And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Rays 6, Rangers 4: Once again, a highly touted pitching matchup fails to yield a great pitchers duel. David Price walked five guys, but only gave up two runs. Cliff Lee was cruising, striking out ten guys, but he hit a brick wall in the eighth, giving up a series of hits while watching his 4-2 led turn into a 6-4 deficit. Circumstances conspired to keep me from watching this game, but anyone who did: why did Ron Washington wait so long to pull Lee when he was apparently throwing batting practice by the time the eighth rolled around?  It seems like Lee has gone really long quite often since coming over to Texas. Does anyone realize that, yes, they’re going to need him come October, so maybe he could use a bit of a rest? Especially when he’s in trouble?

Blue Jays 3, Athletics 1: Shaun Marcum is the latest to flirt with a no-no, losing his in the seventh on a Connor Jackson homer. That’s all he’d give up, however, finishing with a complete game one-hitter. Jose Bautista hit what, at the time, was ruled an inside-the-park home run because my fellow New Albany, Ohio resident — umpire Tim Timmons — ruled the ball in play. After the game it was ruled that the ball actually left the park, making it a regular homer. Strange. People from my town never make mistakes.

Pirates 7, Marlins 1: Pittsburgh breaks its seven game losing streak. Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez each had three RBI and James McDonald gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. The Pirates are 13-48 on the road and 27-30 at home. Is this heaven? No, it’s Pittsburgh.

Braves 4, Dodgers 3: If you would have told me last winter that Melky Carbrera and Rick Ankiel would be hitting back-to-back in the Braves lineup in August I would have killed myself. But there they are. On Sunday Ankiel took a couple of walks and was a key contributor to a 13-run outburst and last night Melky had a clutch two-run single to bring the Braves back from 3-1 deficit to win the game in the bottom of the ninth.  I don’t recommend counting on these guys to be heroes — and I may still kill myself before this is all said and done — but on those rare occasions they do come through it is, well, not satisfying really, but certainly something.

Orioles 5, Mariners 4: A walkoff bunt single for Adam Jones. That’s something you don’t see every day.

Mets 3, Astros 1: Taking the lead on a ninth inning wild pitch. That’s something you don’t see every day. You also don’t see RBI triples from Jeff Francoeur that often, but he provided the insurance. And, introducing your new Mets closer: Hisanori Takahashi. I was hoping for Oliver Perez, but you can’t always get what you want.

Padres 9, Cubs 5: Who went and woke up Miguel Tejada? Dude went 4 for 5
with a double and a couple of RBI. He’s been a nice pickup for the
Padres so far. Rare shaky night for the Padres’ pen, though. It took
five relievers to nail this one down.

Tigers 3, Yankees 1: Max Scherzer keeps the Yankees bats silent (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 6K). A-Rod and Nick Swisher left the game early with various ailments. Derek Jeter grounded out into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded. I’m sure the people who keep track of how clutch he is and inform the rest of us about it all the damn time missed the play while watering flowers or walking the dog of holding their hands over their ears, eyes closed, yelling “LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!” Oh, and expect Scherzer’s performance to bring forth “The Yankees do poorly against guys they face for the first time” stuff we’ve been hearing so much of lately. Anyone have any numbers on this? It seems like fans of every team says this sort of thing.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

Associated Press
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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Hall of Fame baseball announcer Rafael ‘Felo’ Ramirez dies

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) Rafael “Felo” Ramirez, a Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster who was the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over three decades, has died. He was 94.

The Miami Marlins announced Ramirez’ death Tuesday.

Ramirez, who died Monday night, began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 before calling 31 All-Star games and World Series in Spanish. He was the Marlins Spanish-language announcer since their inaugural season in 1993 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was known for an expressive, yet low-key style and his signature strike call of “Essstrike.”

Several Spanish-language broadcasters, including Amury Pi-Gonzanez of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, have admitted to emulating his style.