And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Phillies 7, Nationals 6: The Phillies are white hot and may very well be the best team in baseball at the moment. They were down 6-3 in the ninth but, hey, no problem: They got a two-run single by Ryan Howard and a two-run homer by Jayson Werth and with that they won their seventh in a row. Philly has only dropped three games in September, and now they have their number one, number one-A and number one-B starters going against the Braves at home this week.

Giants 9, Brewers 2: The NL West has been tighter than a duck’s butt lately (note: I think Dan Rather said that one once about an election. I’m not
really sure), but the Giants take over the top spot. Jose Guillen hit a grand slam in the first and the
Giants never looked back. Thanks to the run support — which he has not
had a hell of a lot of recently — Barry Zito got his first win since
July 16th.

Cardinals 4, Padres 1: Adam Wainwright shut the Padres down to win his
19th. San Diego falls into second place, a half game behind San Francisco and 2.5 back of the
Braves in the wild card.

Dodgers 7, Rockies 6: The Rockies jumped all over Clayton Kershaw,
grabbing a 6-1 lead after two innings. That’s all they’d get, though, as
L.A. chipped away at the lead, tying it on a Matt Kemp double in the
ninth and winning it on an A.J. Ellis — A.J. Ellis? — yes, A.J. Ellis
RBI single in the 11th. This one ended in a brisk four hours and
twenty-one minutes.

Angels 6, Rays 3: A couple of homers from Bobby Abreu and a win for Scott Kazmir give the Angels a series win. Not exactly the way Tampa Bay wanted to enter the Yankees series.

Orioles 4, Yankees 3: Luke Scott hits the tying homer off Mariano Rivera in the ninth and comes around to score the winning run on an RBI single in the 11th. Not exactly the way New York wanted to enter the Rays series.

Braves 6, Mets 3: The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and then decided to go to sleep or watch football games on their iPhones or something. Derrek Lee smacked a grand slam off double-agent Manny Acosta to help the Braves complete the sweep.

Astros 4, Reds 3: Who ever would have guessed that Brett Myers would be having the season he’s having? Another sharp outing: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER. He lowered his ERA to 2.76 on the season. He’s 8-0 with a 2.01 ERA at home.

Pirates 4, Diamondbacks 3: I don’t know that Kirk Gibson is managing for the permanent gig right now or if the front office has already made up its mind on the matter. But to the extent his destiny is in his own hands, getting swept by the Pirates ain’t gonna help him.

Mariners 2, Rangers 1: The Mariners have lost a ton of games this year due to their failure to score runs. This past weekend they won two of three despite only scoring five times.

Athletics 6, Twins 2: Losing the game sucks, but losing Joe Mauer to “a jammed knee,” whatever the hell that is, sucks worse. Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the fourth after Jim Thome flew out to center and Delmon Young was called out at second for failing to tag up at first. Gardenhire’s argument was that the centerfielder dropped the ball — which he did — but the ump said it was after the catch and on the transfer, not a drop of the fly itself. Which seems right based on the replay. Just the latest bit of evidence for the need for an outfield fly rule.

Royals 6, Indians 4: This one was alright — Yuniesky Betancourt stole home on a double steal — but Saturday night’s game was the real gem: Time of game: 2:57. Time of rain delays: 3:40.

Cubs 13, Marlins 3: Tyler Colvin’s injury is nothing short of horrific — the bat shard punctured his chest wall and required a chest tube to keep his lung from collapsing.  It was also nothing short of avoidable. Ban maple bats now.

Red Sox 6, Blues Jays 0: Jon Lester won his fifth straight and upped his win total to 18 on the year. Jose Bautista homered on Friday and Saturday — he’s at 49 on the season now — but he grounded out with the sacks jacked twice in this one. The loss officially eliminated the Jays from playoff contention.

Tigers 9, White Sox 7: The Tigers had a 7-3 lead as late as the seventh but blew it, only to win it in extras. Brandon Inge scored the winning run, but he probably shouldn’t have been in a position to do so: he ran to first on a wild pitch on strike three, A.J. Pierzynski threw down to try and nail him and actually did — on the foot — and the ball went flying, sending Inge to third. Oh, and Manny struck out with the bases loaded to end the game. I have this feeling some Chicago writers (and maybe some Boston and L.A. writers) will consider that symbolic of something.

Report: Marlins intent on adding a big-three reliever

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 28:  Aroldis Chapman #54 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the 9th inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the White Sox 3-1.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Marlins are intent on adding one of the three best relievers available on the free agent market, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Those three, of course, are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.

As Ashley noted earlier, Melancon is reportedly fielding multiple four-year offers in excess of $60 million. The price tags for Chapman and Jansen are likely to match or exceed that. The Marlins haven’t typically been eager to whip out the checkbook for free agents but with the bullpen being the name of the game in baseball these days, GM Michael Hill may feel the need to match his rivals.

The Nationals, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the teams most often linked to the “big-three” group of relievers, so it won’t be easy for the Marlins.

A.J. Ramos handled the closer’s role for the Marlins this past season and did an admirable job, saving 40 games with a 2.81 ERA and a 73/35 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. There’s no doubt, though, that Chapman, Jansen, or Melancon would represent a significant upgrade in the ninth inning.

Bryan Price likely to use Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen in closer’s role

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Raisel Iglesias throws in the first inning of their opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo
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C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds manager Bryan Price is likely going to use a trio of pitchers in the closer’s role: Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen. At RedsFest on Saturday, Price said:

I’d say right now that we have a series of guys that I’m comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen). Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there’s no defined closer. There are multiple options and I’d like to stick with the philosophy that we’re going to have our multi-inning guys, so we’re going to need multi-closers.

This seems to be part of the new bullpen zeitgeist in which managers are shying away from strictly-defined roles for their relievers. Indians manager Terry Francona’s postseason success using Andrew Miller likely had some degree of influence on Price’s willingness to go with a three-headed giant.

Iglesias started the 2016 season in the Reds’ rotation but missed two months with an injury, then moved to the bullpen in late June. Price put him in the closer’s role down the stretch in September. The right-hander overall finished the season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.

Cingrani battled control issues in his 63 innings of work this past season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA and a 49/37 K/BB ratio. He’s left-handed, though, and gives Price some matchup flexibility in the late innings.

Lorenzen impressed in his first full season as a reliever, ending the year with a 2.88 ERA and a 48/13 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. The right-hander uses a fastball that sits around 96 MPH on average along with a cutter and slider.