ATH Express: Last night's scores and highlights

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This isn’t a full-blown And That Happened. Too much other stuff going on for that. But baseball games did occur last night, so you all should have a place where you can discuss them. So . . .

Nationals 8, Phillies 1: Not even 10 AM yet and all of the “see, I told you Roy Oswalt was no savior” people are coming out of the woodwork. Didn’t hear any of that yesterday afternoon.  Personally, I think the Phillies should never have traded away the ace they used to have. Of course I’m talking about Kevin Gross. Floyd Youmans is NOT the answer people!

Braves 6, Reds 4: Jason Heyward with a big two-run RBI in the 10th. When that happened I went “yay!”  Then, when Martin Prado was writhing in pain due to injuring his finger I curled up into a fetal position.  I’m still in that position actually, and won’t be out of it until we hear that it’s OK. Hell of a way to type, though.

Rays 3, Yankees 2: 0 for 4 for A-Rod. Man, that guy is just never gonna make it in New York.

Diamondbacks 9, Mets 6: This fall, as the Mets are watching the playoffs from their homes, they’ll probably be thinking of just how badly they were abused by the Dbacks this year.

Tigers 6, Red Sox 5: Detroit takes the first game in the battle of the What Coulda Beens. Yes, that’s the second time in three days I’m writing off the Red Sox. Wanna fight about it? Jose Valverde got a shaky as all hell save, throwing nearly 60 pitches. John Hiller nods approvingly.

Blue Jays 8, Indians 1: Jose Bautista hits a grand slam. I can’t decide if his continued power display means that the Jays should keep him or be even more intent on trading him as his value peaks.

Astros 5, Brewers 0: J.A. Happ shuts out the Brewers on two hits over six innings in his Houston debut.

White Sox 6, Athletics 1: After learning what we learned last night about the Edwin Jackson thing I think the Twins should call Kenny Williams and tell him that they’d totally trade him Joe Mauer — and send cash in the deal — if only he could find some way to get Barry Zito or Carlos Lee or someone to flip back in a trade.

Royals 7, Orioles 5: FOX and TBS were seriously considering broadcasting this series nationally this weekend, but then those kill-joy human rights groups chimed in, putting the kibosh on the deal.

Cardinals 1, Pirates 0: The rain dealy (2:22) was almost as long as the game (2:38) as Chris Carpenter, Jeff Karstens and all of the relievers not named Javier Lopez kept the opposition scoreless.

Twins 5, Mariners 3: Matt Capps makes his debut for the Twinkies. He comes out to Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” by the way. He got the save!  So maybe the Twins didn’t make a huge mistake.

Rockies 17, Cubs 2: Sometimes I miss the old Coors Field. Nice to see it come back once in a while.

Angels 9, Rangers 7: First loss of the year for Tommy Hunter, who got shelled.

Marlins 4, Padres 2: Miguel Tejada’s presence somehow didn’t will the Padres to victory. Huh.

Giants 6, Dodgers 5: Brian Wilson wasn’t available due to back spasms, so Jonathan Sanchez, Chris Ray, Denny Bautista and Sergio Romo combine to handle the ninth inning and create/fend off a late Dodger rally.

Eh. This feature is way more fun to write at 11PM the night before while half-crocked on Maker’s Mark.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.