And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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It’s gonna take me a few hours to get back up to speed after a week off, so bear with me.  Can’t wait to fire up my DVR and check out those couple of Stephen Strasburg starts I missed! That kid is fantastic!

Braves 7, Marlins 6: If you thought that after a week off I wasn’t going to come back leading with a Brian McCann walkoff jack to bring the Braves back from a 6-1 eighth inning deficit then you’re just not familiar with my work.

Phillies 5, Padres 0: Swept by the Astros at home, sweep the Padres at home. I dunno man, you figure the Phillies out.

Brewers 8, Pirates 4: The Brewers have so thoroughly owned the Pirates at Miller Park the past couple of years (28-2) that they’re considering taking out an equity loan on their asses and adding a deck. Or maybe a gazebo. Save number 599 for Trevor Hoffman. I hope he gets to an even 600 and shuts himself down for good so he can (a) have a nice round number next to his name in the books; and (b) end his career with a fist pump and a high five from his catcher after closing one out, because that’s the only way it should be.

Mariners 2, Twins 1: Nice outing for Carl Pavano, but as people have been saying for years, there’s just not a hell of a lot you can do when you’re facing Luke French (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER). Well, I’m guessing someone said that once or twice. Like, his mom or his Legion coach or someone like that.

Nationals 4, Cardinals 2: The Cards are 2-5 in their last seven. Those seven were against Washington and Pittsburgh. Gettin’ your butt handed to you by last place teams is no way to win the NL Central, son.

Reds 7, Cubs 5: The Reds take advantage of the Cardinals’ loss, extending their division lead to five games. They’re now 11-4 since getting swept by the Cardinals at home. The lesson: trash talking and kicking dudes in the face = victory.

Rockies 10, Dodgers 5: For the first time in six starts since coming over to L.A. in the trade, Ted Lilly loses. In fact, he gets pummeled (4 IP, 9 H, 7 ER). Three of those seven runs came on a pair of Carlos Gonzalez bombs.

Orioles 1, Angels 0: The O’s took all six this year from the defending AL West champs. And this series was your basic flogging: the Angels scored one run on Friday night and were shut out both yesterday and Saturday night. The O’s will finish the month with a winning record and, in fact, will have the best August of any AL East team. Sadly, however, the Yankees’ and Ray’s victories yesterday eliminated them from playoff contention.

Athletics 8, Rangers 2: The A’s take two of three to pull within seven and a half of Texas. Doesn’t seem very doable for Oakland, especially with only one series left between these guys. Not impossible, I guess. In 2002 the A’s were down four and a half at the beginning of that 20-game win streak and found themselves up three and a half when they lost their next game. Now, if Oakland can find that extra run or so a game that 2002 team had over the 2010 team, they’ll be in business.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 7: San Francisco avoids the sweep at the hands of Arizona. They did their best to lose it, though. Adam LaRoche hit a two-run RBI double to right in the seventh inning. The time it took Jose Guillen to get to that ball is best measured in epochs. Guillen got the two runs back on his own RBI single, but really, no team that considers itself a contender should be playing that guy in right every day.

Yankees 2, White Sox 1: Frank Thomas Day, as The Big Hurt gets his number retired. The Sox could have used him in the lineup, though, as Ivan Nova allowed one run and five hits and struck out seven.

Tigers 10, Blue Jays 4: Dave Stieb Day, as the Blue Jays honor Sir David. The Jays could have used him the rotation, though, as Ryan Raburn hit two homers and the Tigers rattled off 12 hits. By the way, Dave Stieb was better than Jack Morris, and no one ever goes all crazy making his Hall of Fame case.

Royals 6, Indians 2: You can’t stop Bruce Chen and Kila Ka’aihue, you can only hope to contain them.

Mets 5, Astros 1: As of 7:30 P.M. last night, the little AP game story headline was “Dickey Handcuffs Astros.”  Heh heh, “Dickey handcuffs.”  Heh heh heh heh.

Rays 5, Red Sox 3: The season is growing short for Boston. Um, wait, that’s kind of an oxymoron. But you know what I mean. They’re 6.5 back. Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford hit dingers off John Lackey.

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.