And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Twins 7, White Sox 6: The Twins jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first, couldn’t hold it and the Sox hung tight with them for most of the game. Then, down a run in the bottom of the 10th, Jim Thome hit a two-run walkoff bomb that in no way made Ozzie Guillen regret the fact that he lobbied hard all winter to be able to avoid having to carry a dedicated DH on his roster, thereby sending Thome in Minnesota’s direction rather than come back to the Sox where he said he wanted to go in the first place.

Rays 10, Rangers 1: We all talked about how this was a division series preview. If so, the Rangers have their backs up against the wall, previewly-speaking.  The AP story said that Matt Garza “scattered five hits over seven innings.”  I’d like to read one that says Rangers pitchers “scattered 15 hits over eight innings.” I mean, the act of scattering is always used to refer to hits that don’t amount to many runs, but there’s nothing inherent in the term that requires it.  The Rangers scattered the hits. The Rays scored following an inordinate amount of them.

Braves 10, Nationals 3: The Braves’ bats snoozed for five innings and then woke up just in time to give Mike Minor some run support after his night was over but while he was still the pitcher of record, thereby handing him his first career win. Martin Prado returned and got three hits. Adam Dunn threw a ball away like a quarterback on the five yard line who couldn’t find an open receiver in the end zone. Melky Cabrera got a clutch hit and made a nice catch in left. It was a really entertaining final few innings if you weren’t a Nats fan.

Phillies 9, Giants 3: Chase Utley returned and put up an 0 for 5, but it didn’t matter because Oswalt was dealing and the rest of the Philly bats broke it open late. The Phillies take a one game lead in the wild card race.

Red Sox 6, Angels 0: Clay Buchholz shuts the Halos down for seven innings and Ryan Kalish hits a grand slam. Darnell McDonald hit a solo homer that crashed through the rear window of a
Toyota parked on the top floor of the garage across Lansdowne Street. While Kalish got more RBIs for his, McDonald received 10 more points for style in the big ledger I keep next to my TV.  Dustin Pedroia returned and went 0 for 4 despite the fact that we were led to believe that there would be laser shows.

Padres 1, Cubs 0: Garland, Adams and Bell combine for the six-hit shutout. Randy Wells deserved a better fate (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER), but we all do, don’t we?

Astros 4, Mets 3: For weeks all we’ve been hearing in the media is constant hype about how Nelson Figueroa was going to get his chance to exact his revenge on the Mets for cutting him. So, like millions of others, I’m happy this is finally behind us. Oh — and I think it was the cutest thing in the world was how that, during the Braves-Nats game, FOX Sports South flashed this score up on the screen along with the Phillies-Giants score in its little “playoff race roundup” feature. It’s as if we can’t tell the Mets that they don’t matter anymore and have to keep up appearances or something.

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2: Three losses in a row for St. Louis, two to the Cubs and this one to the Brewers. I can’t recall a more yo-yoing contender in some time.

Royals 2, Indians 1: The usual power display from Yuniesky Betancourt and Wilson Betemit provide enough to give Zack Greinke the win. The Indians walked seven times. You probably need to score more than once when that happens.

Marlins 6, Pirates 0: Ricky Nolasco did it all. He won his fifth game in six starts, allowing only five singles, no extra base hits and a lone walk to go with nine strikeouts. He also went 2-for-3 and drove in
two runs. No word as to whether he broke out his powerful, paralyzing, perfect pachydermous percussion pitch.

Yankees 6, Tigers 2: Walkin’ five dudes and throwing 114 pitches in five innings is no way to go through life, Justin Verlander. In other news, the Yankees’ success against pitchers they’re facing for the eighth time continues.

Mariners 4, Orioles 0: Matt Tuiasosopo had four RBI and continued his streak of days on which I see his name in print and picture him playing quarterback for the Washington Huskies to about 67.

Dodgers 6, Rockies 0: Clayton Kershaw shuts the Rockies out over seven innings and the pen decides not to blow up this time.

Athletics 6, Blues Jays 2: Some early offense for the A’s, who haven’t had much of it lately. Dallas Braden outpitched Brandon Morrow in a battle of guys who might have been better off long term if they didn’t have that one kickass start this year.

Reds 6, Diamondbacks 2: The Reds open a dreaded west coast swing with a win which bumps their division lead to two games. Given how poorly they usually do out west, they need to give themselves as much of a cushion in Arizona as they can before hitting San Diego, L.A. and San Francisco.

Video: Minor League Manager goes on epic rant

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Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik got his money’s worth last night. He was ejected after arguing an automatic double play on an enforcement of the slide rule, and he didn’t go gently into that goodnight.

Rather, he threw things, kicked things, threw things and then subsequently kicked those same things, gave overly-demonstrative slides and safe signs and basically went all Earl Weaver/Lou Piniella on everyone.

Double-A baseball is the best minor league because you tend to see more prospects there than you do at Triple-A. But it’s also the best because, when you’re a manager who is not quite a heartbeat away from getting your shot at the big leagues, you’re a little less uptight about things. Or at least Mikulik was. Or maybe he was more uptight. I don’t know. He just went with it, and going with it has its charms.

 

(h/t Big League Stew)

A must-read oral history of the 1998 home run chase

7 Jul 1998:   American Leaguer player Mark McGwire #25 of the St Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa #21 of  the Chicago Cubs answer questions during  the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver,  Colorado.The American  League defeated the
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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the nation with their epic chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. But it has been, and after years of reaction, counter-reaction and, of course, baseball’s reckoning with the performance-enhancing drugs which helped fuel the chase, it’s probably finally time to do our best to contextualize it historically.

Today one of my favorite news outlets does that with an oral history. All of the key figures weigh-in on it, from McGwire and Sosa to Bud Selig to Tony La Russa. Randy Johnson makes an appearance as well, reminding us that it wasn’t just the sluggers who had an amazing year in 1998. Indeed, his story, including his being traded to Houston and going on an amazing second-half run, has almost been lost to history.

This is bookmark material, my friends. For savoring later if you can’t read it now. And for revisiting at another time given the depths to the drama which justifies multiple readings. I’ll just warn you that there is some adult language in the story, but that’s to be expected given the passion the 1998 baseball season inspired.

Go check it out.

UPDATE: Asdrubal Cabrera leaves Mets-Nats game with back spasms

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the New York Mets throws to first from his knee after diving to catch a ground ball to get Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second out of the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: Cabrera was removed from the game due to back spasms.

1:21PM: This is not good: Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from today’s game against the Nationals with an apparent injury.

It’s unclear what the injury was, as Cabrera had yet to even play in the game. Matt Reynolds came on to play shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, but Cabrera didn’t bat in the top of the first. It could be an illness. Or some freak occurrence.

We’ll update when we hear more.

There are apparently unwritten rules about manager replay challenges now

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs shakes hands with manager Mike Matheny #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals before the Opening Night game at Wrigley Field on April 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last night’s Cardinals-Cubs game was a blowout, with the Cubs beating the Cards 12-3. Apparently, however, in the ninth inning of the game, Reynoldsburg, Ohio’s own Mike Matheny played the Cardinals infield in, which is a move you never see in a blowout. Why did he do that?

He hasn’t said yet, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon just spoke to the media before today’s game and he’s speculating that Matheny did it as a form of protest:

God, I hope that’s true. I hope that manager replay challenges, which are already dumb enough inasmuch as they turn what should be an officiating correction device into a strategic tool, are now turning into another front in the Great Unwritten Rules Wars. I hope that we now have a bunch of people talking about how there’s a right way and a wrong way to use the replay system and that one can disrespect the other side if they do it the wrong way. The way the replay system has been implemented often resembles tragedy. Why not make it farce?

Oh well, I guess it beats throwing at someone for doing that wrong. And I guess it’s just a reminder that no matter what we do, baseball is always gonna give us an opportunity for petty bits of silliness.