And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Mets 7, Phillies 3:
Two dingers for Carlos Beltran. It’s almost like he’s a really damn
good baseball player or something rather than some schmuck Mets fans
want to trade for random mediocre players every other day. Cole Hamels
was smacked around for five runs on nine hits in four innings. He’s
worried! You cut him! You hurt him! You see? You see? He’s not a
machine, he’s a man!

Yankees 4, Red Sox 3:
After getting shut down by Dice-K all night, Alex Rodriguez hit a
two-run jack to put the Yankees ahead 2-1 in the seventh. Mariano Rivera
then blew the save (and it was an odd one: he and battery mate Jorge
Posada allowed four stolen bases). Then in the bottom of the ninth
Jonathan Papelbon blew save as well. New York won it on a Juan
Miradna walkoff walk in the tenth.  The win salvages a game of the
series for the Yankees and all but eliminates the Red Sox.

Giants 4, Rockies 2:  Matt Cain had a no-hitter through seven and a third but lost it on an infield
hit by Jay Payton. Which I guess was a single. Uribe couldn’t get to it quickly and couldn’t unload it and I bet a lot of shortstops could, but that play is called a hit just as often as it’s called an error, so it’s not like cosmic injustice happened. And while, yeah, Cain gave up a homer to Melvin Mora right after that, it’s probably worth reminding the portion of the country that goes to bed before most Giants games end that the Phillies aren’t the only playoff team (or, in the case of the Giants, possible playoff team) with good pitching.

Reds 12, Padres 2: The Reds blow the Padres out of the water, causing the lead to change hands in the NL West for the seventh time in ten days. Padres pitchers issued nine walks.

Nationals 4, Braves 2: The Braves aren’t choking. That would imply that they’re good but that they’re freezing up and failing to play to their ability. That’s not what’s happening though — they just suck. They walked everyone. They left runners on. They’ve left their fate to guys like Brandon Beachy, Rick Ankliel, Melky Cabrera and Kyle Farnsworth. They’re not choking. They’re just being the rookies and mediocre talents they are.

Brewers 7, Marlins 1: The last Brewers home game of 2010 could have been Prince Fielder’s last home game in Milwaukee as well. If so, it was nice of him to leave the hometown fans with a dinger. Ryan Braun left them with two dingers, however, which may remind people that the offense can survive is Fielder is flipped for pitching. And the team may be better off for it.

Pirates 9, Astros 3: Pittsburgh finishes the home portion of their season 40-41, which is fairly astounding for a team as awful as they are. Are they that energized by home cookin’, does the opposition get that discombobulated when they come to town, or are the Pirates’ suitcases lined with kryptonite? I dunno. I’ve never really understood extreme home-road splits in baseball.

Mariners 6, Rays 2: Anyone else in Rays Nation worried about James Shields heading into the postseason? I would be. Giving up five runs on eight hits to the 2010 M’s is the equivalent to giving up, like 11 to the real baseball team (note: that calculation may be slightly off: as I wrote this last night I was under the influence of certain products from Kentucky that inhibit one’s ability to do math).

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 2: The O’s plunked Jose Bautista twice, leading to Buck Showalter getting ejected. The fierce and acrimonious battle for fourth place in the AL East in 2011 has begun!

Tigers 5, Twins 1: The Tigers are another awesome home team that just never figured it out on the road this year. They swept the Twins. Miguel Cabrera hit a homer and got the “MVP!” chants again. The crowd may be right.

Indians 5, Royals 3: Robinson Tejada surrendered five runs on six hits in one inning to waste a great start from Bruce Chen. By the way, I just did a search, and “great start from Bruce Chen” is the second to the last most common thing written anywhere on the Internet. Only “awesome British restaurant” comes in behind it.

Cardinals 8, Cubs 7: St. Louis jumped out to an 8-0 lead by the fifth inning and then held on as the Cubs rallied. A three-run homer for Pujols. It was his 42nd on the year. It’s a shame is elbow hurts and everything. I’d really like to see what the kid can do at full strength.

White Sox 4, Angels 3: The Angels got all three of their runs in the first and then got rocked to sleep by Tony Pena, Scott Linebrink and Matt Thornton. The Sox swept the Angels.

Rangers 16, Athletics 9: Seven runs on 12 hits in four innings off Trevor Cahill? With the post-clinch hangover lineup on the field? Mercy. Jeff Francoeur went 4 for 6 with four RBI. Mitch Moreland was 3 for 5 with two homers and five RBI.

Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 4: The bullpen blows a great Chad Billingsley start (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 13K). Tony Abreu and Chris Young each hit two-run bombs in the eighth, one off George Sherrill one off Jonathan Broxton. absolutely everything that was supposed to be a strength for the Dodgers this year — the pen, the outfield, etc. — has wound up being a weakness.

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.