And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Cardinals 8, Reds 4: Fisticuffsmanship! Or, Footsticuffsmanship, if you watched Johnny Cueto kicking people in the donnybrook. Look, I know that, depending on who ends up winning the division, either Reds fans or Cards fans are going to point to this series as some sort of turning point or inspiration or whatever, but the fact is that they’re all kind of embarrassing themselves at this point. Phillips started it, but Yadier Molina’s short fuse ignited it and then Cueto’s crap was unreal. Dusty Baker and Tony La Russa are supposed to be two of the game’s more respected managers. If they’re worthy of the praise and press they get, they’ll beat their teams upside the head today and this afternoon’s game will go off without all of the baloney we saw last night.

Braves 4, Astros 2:
The Superman exists — and he’s Brooks Conrad. OK, that’s putting it a
bit strongly. Dude’s just had a couple of gigantic pinch-hit home runs
this year, this one a two-run job that brought the Braves back from down 2-1 in the ninth. Troy Glaus added another for insurance. On
the bad side, Chipper Jones left the game with what looked like a bad
knee injury, though as of now they’re calling it a sprain. Jason Heyward
sat out with “a sore knee.” It also happened to be the day after he
turned 21, so there’s a distinct possibility that flulike symptoms could
have waylaid him as well.

Twins 12, White Sox 6:
Minnesota takes sole possession of first place in the central. Five
homers for Minnesota, including one from Joe Mauer who has been torrid
in August. He ain’t the MVP this year, but he’s stepping up when the
Twins need him to do so, and that’s what they’re paying the man to do.

Rangers 4, Yankees 3:
Not a lot of managers would put their ace closer into a tie game in
extra innings on the road. Joe Girardi did. And you know what? I don’t
care if the Rangers ended up scoring off him to win the game. It was —
and usually is — the right freakin’ choice. Put your best damn guy in
there when the game could be lost and do your best not to lose it.
Girardi and Rivera got beat last night, but that’s going to happen
such a low percentage of the time I’d do it again whenever
the situation presents itself. Screw the save statistic.

Marlins 8, Nationals 2: The return of Strasburg does not go well (4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER). Rust? Adrenaline? Some residual shoulder wonkiness? The fact that, for the first time, he faced a team who has seen his jazz before?  I vote for a little bit of each of those things.

Mets 1, Rockies 0: If you had “Mike Pelfrey will outduel Ubaldo Jimenez” in the pool, please proceed to the cashier’s cage and collect your winnings. Both starters were pretty fabulous, actually, but the Mets managed to string a walk, a double and a sacrifice off Jimenez in the seventh.

Dodgers 15, Phillies 9: Kyle Kendrick got beat around for three and a third innings and then he graciously allowed the bullpen to get beat around for five and two-thirds. Andre Ethier reached base six times and scored four times. Ross Gload had two two-run homers for the Phillies. Domonic Brown hit his first major league bomb. Just a hell of a lot going on in this game. Most of it bad for Philly, though.

Orioles 14, Indians 8: This is the American League version of the
Phillies-Dodgers games, except done with suckier teams. Showalter’s O’s
are now 7-1.

Diamondbacks 2, Brewers 1: A Miguel Montero homer puts Arizona ahead for good in the eighth. Sadly, however, the closeness of this game prevented Adam LaRoche from pitching.

Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 5: Mike Lowell homered in the eighth to break a 5-5 tie and Jed Lowrie hit an RBI double for insurance. In other news, with Lowell and Lowrie leading the charge it must be 2008.

Rays 8, Tigers 0: Things we know: (1) Jeremy Hellickson is a stud (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7K); (2) The Detroit Tigers are deader than vaudeville.

Cubs 8, Giants 6: Who was that man wearing the number 55 Giants jersey and what has he done with Tim Lincecum? Because I know damn well that the real Tim Lincecum wouldn’t give up six runs on eight hits in four innings to a team like the Cubs. That just doesn’t happen.

Padres 4, Pirates 1: Ryan Ludwick hit two homers, one of which was his 100th home run. And you know what? He didn’t need a ridiculous propaganda piece in a national newspaper to make a note of it.

Mariners 2, Athletics 0: King Felix struck out 13 and shutout the A’s over eight innings. He basically had to, as Brett Anderson was pretty sharp himself (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Angels 3, Royals 1: Dan Haren gets his first win since the trade that sent him to Anaheim. Peter Bourjos drove in the go-ahead run with a suicide squeeze. Those are always fun. Scioscia has a lot of confidence in the rookie, I presume.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”