And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1: I guess I owe Kevin Kernan an apology. Apparently the Yankees were waiting for A-Rod to get his 600th home run before the team would focus on winning baseball games again. He did it, they won, Kernan was right, Q.E.D.

Twins 2, Rays 1: And hey, the Yankees now own first place again thanks to the Rays loss. This one went 13 innings, though the Rays didn’t score their first run until Dan Johnson hit an RBI single off Matt Capps in the bottom of the ninth to send it into extras, blowing an excellent start for Scott Baker. But a win, as they say, is a win. Well, except for Scott Baker. That dude just doesn’t know how to win I guess.

Dodgers 9, Padres 0: Vicente Padilla with the two-hit shutout as the Dodgers take their second in a row from San Diego. This guy is turning into Livan Hernandez part deux: when he’s hit hard you totally understand it and when he’s hardly touched at all it almost drives you nuts.

Braves 8, Mets 3: The Mets throw the ball all over the field during what many Mets fans were saying on Twitter last night was the night they officially fell out of contention. I don’t know about that, but it certainly feels like it.  Not that (a) the Braves looked good either; or (b) the news was all good for them. But hey, Chipper hit another homer against the Mets, so a pretty strong sense of normalcy remains.

Phillies 7, Marlins 2:  Three RBI for Domonic Brown, though they came in less than glamorous fashion: a single, a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice. But hey, they’re runs.

Cardinals 8, Astros 4: Single, double and a homer for Albert Pujols and seven and a third strong innings from Chris Carpenter. As for the Astros, J.A. Happ didn’t exactly make anyone forget about Roy Oswalt last night (1 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 3 BB). On the bright side, the Houston bullpen allowed only one run in the next eight innings.

Indians 9, Red Sox 1: The Indians are 12-8 since the All-Star break. This is good. It will cause people to once again make them their “frisky pick” next spring, however. This is bad. For the sake of prognosticators and spring training optimists everywhere, Manny Acta, tank the rest of the season! Cleveland sports fans can’t afford to have their hopes — however irrational they may be — crushed again!

Orioles 9, Angels 7: Torii Hunter hit an RBI double in the ninth to bring the Angels to within two. Then, with no one out and the tying run at the plate, he tried to steal third and was thrown out.  On what planet does a guy try to steal third base with nobody out in the ninth inning, down by two?

Cubs 15, Brewers 3: I’ll stop saying that the NL Central is a rec softball league on a night when one of their teams doesn’t put up a couple of touchdowns on an in-division opponent. Jesus, this is ugly baseball.

Rockies 6, Giants 1: Even if I don’t think the Rockies have enough go-go to their game right now to get back into the race in the NL West, Ubaldo Jimenez’s season has at least given Rockies fans something worth following. He picked up his 17th win, striking out nine and allowing only one run over seven innings. He also scored all the way from first base on a Ryan Spilborghs double in the second innings, so the kid’s got stamina too. Must be all that good food his mama makes him.

White Sox 4, Tigers 1: Edwin Jackson was kind of the white elephant of the trade deadline. No matter what he says now, Kenny Williams did not intend to be stuck with him, but stuck he was after the Nationals decided that they only liked Jackson, not like-liked him. Having him paid off like crazy last night, though, as Jackson allowed only one run in seven innings. Only threw 95 pitches too, which is very un-Edwinlike.

Reds 9, Pirates 4: Heard this: Johnny Cueto owns a little shadowbox in which he stores and displays the Pirates’ butts, which he so thoroughly owns. He’s 3-0 against them this season, having allowed only four runs in 26 innings while striking out 27.

Athletics 4, Royals 3: Jose Guillen is 0 for his last 21. Which makes me
wonder why in the hell I listed him in my little “guys who could be
traded after clearing waivers” segment on HBT Daily yesterday. The
lesson, as always, is that I’m an idiot.

Nationals 7, Diamondbacks 2: Two homers and four RBI for Adam Dunn, who (a) is now the sole home run leader in the NL; and (b) is making himself a lot of money in this next contract.

Rangers 11, Mariners 6: A win on the field and an even bigger win in the courthouse. Grand slams for Michael Young and Chuck Greenberg.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.