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.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.