And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Braves 4, Mets 1: Johan Santana struck out 11 Braves, but they nickled
and dimed him for three runs in the first and then Chipper Jones knocked
one out off him in the seventh. Chipper’s career may be on death’s
door, but he could wake up in 2027 and hit a home run off the Mets. It’s
just what he does. And you bet your bippy I have this one first with a pic of Jones hitting the bomb because it will drive Mets fans nuts.

Rays 4, Twins 2: Jeremy Hellickson gets called up, makes his major
league debut, allows two runs on three hits over seven innings while
beating one of the hottest teams in baseball and then is promptly sent
right back down to Durham. I bet he’ll be on a bus this afternoon,
telling the other Durham Bulls about how you never handle your luggage
in the
show, somebody else carries your bags. About how you hit white
balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the
hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and
brains.

Indians 6, Red Sox 5: I’m not linking to video of Carlos Santana’s knee injury, nor do I even want to think about it. I watched the play once — won’t watch it again — and I couldn’t tell based on my one viewing of it if Santana was out of position or messed up in the way he took that throw. All I can think is about how, as I watched him hit multiple times in Columbus this year and once in Cleveland, that the guy was born to have a bat in his hands but never looked quite right behind the plate. I hope he makes it back and proves me wrong next year.

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 6: An ineffective A.J. Burnett watched the Jays make like the Gashouse Gorillas and do a conga line around the bases in the fifth inning and Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 5, but I’m sure this was somehow Joba Chamberlain’s fault. Six doubles for the Jays in that 5th inning, by the way, two of which came off the bat of Travis Snider.

Reds 4, Pirates 0: Travis Wood toyed with the Buccos, shutting them out on two hits over seven innings. Miguel Cairo continues to play decidedly un-Miguel Cairolike baseball, getting two RBI and keeping his average at a cool .300 on the season.

Brewers 18, Cubs 1: I accidentally closed out of the page with the box score so I can’t be 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure this one ended with the mercy rule being applied in the fourth inning and Lou Piniella talking his players out for ice cream afterwards, telling them that the point of the game is to simply try your best.

Astros 9, Cardinals 4: I didn’t watch any of this game, but based only on the box score I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Tony La Russa overthought the matchups with his bullpen and once again pulled his best reliever out of the game in order to go with an inferior one that God Almighty himself wouldn’t put into the game in that situation. If that’s what happened, I’ll take it one step further and guess that La Russa did not accept any responsibility over this afterward and instead said something like “God Almighty doesn’t have access to my super secret pitching charts and assorted genius goodies.”  Welcome to St. Louis, Jake Westbrook (6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 7K).

Athletics 6, Royals 0: If you polled 100 casual baseball fans I wonder how many of them would be able to tell you the first thing about Trevor Cahill. Whether it’s because he’s on the west coast or because he’s an Athletic I’m not sure, but I’m guessing the number is small. A shame too, because the kid is something else. He three-hit the Royals last night, moving to 11-4 on the season and lowering his ERA to 2.72.

Padres 10, Dodgers 5: Chase Headley had four hits including a three-run bomb and Will Venable homered and drove in four. The Dodgers matched the Padres in the hit department with 14, but hit into double plays, stranded runners and generally played like a team that looked like it’s nine games out of first place. Which it is.

Nationals 3, Diamondbacks 1: I’m trying to think of anything more annoying for an opposing fanbase than to have the local nine get totally flummoxed by Livan Hernandez but I can’t think of a thing. He just throws his slop up there and — when the slop is working — you just can’t do anything with it despite it looking like you should be able to totally crush the guy. It was working last night (7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5K).

Braves’ prospect Ronald Acuna wins AFL MVP, helps clinch AFL Championship Game

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The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.

At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.

Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.

From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.

Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.