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.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.