And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Twins 5, Yankees 4: CC Sabathia was one of many pitchers who were dominant on this night — the big man shut out the Twins on two hits over seven innings — but his bullpen betrayed him. Rafael Soriano, to be specific, who loaded the bases on two walks and a single when he came in for the eighth. He was pulled after one more walk gave the Twins their first run and was replaced by Dave Robertson, who promptly allowed a bases-clearing double to Delmon Young. Mariano Rivera did his job in the ninth, but Boone Logan walked the leadoff batter in the 10th and then gave up two straight singles for the loss.  And if you think this will be brushed off as a mere bullpen blip by the New York media, know this: Soriano bailed from the clubhouse after the game before the press could talk to him. The New York media doesn’t like that:

I can’t tell you how Soriano will handle his implosion. He bolted the clubhouse before talking to reporters, leaving his teammates to answer for his mess. Nick Swisher, Dave Robertson and Boone Logan all stood by their lockers like men and took accountability for their part in the loss. Soriano can’t say the same.

Jo-no-show-Mo?

Indians 3, Red Sox 1: But hey, for as bad as it is in New York, at least they’ve won a couple of games so far. Boston — anointed by everyone as the 2011 World Series Champions — is now 0-4 after being stymied by Josh Tomlin on a cold night in a near-empty Progressive Field. Tomlin gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. Terry Francona after the game: “It’s not a lot of fun, but I don’t think anyone is going to feel sorry for us.”  That’s for damn sure. Indeed, I think we’re one more loss before the Soxenfreude reaches maximum levels.

Mets 7, Phillies 1: Cole Hamels didn’t last long, allowing six runs on seven hits in two and two-thirds, including two hits to Mets pitcher Chris Young in a single inning. He then left the game to a chorus of boos from baseball’s allegedly most loyal fans. Which I’m sure will be explained away by my Phillies commenters as “passion” or some such. Which it may be, but it seems that the “loyal” and the “passionate” titles are often at odds.

Brewers 1, Braves 0: Yovani Gallardo was rough stuff, allowing only two hits — one in the first inning, one in the eighth — while shutting out the Braves on a mere 111 pitches. The Braves were less overpowered than completely and utterly flummoxed, seemingly unable to get anything approaching good wood on Gallardo’s stuff. Derek Lowe was nearly as good for the Braves, but with the way Gallardo was going, he could have shut ’em out for another two or three innings if he had to.

Rangers 3, Mariners 2: Alexi Ogando didn’t figure he’d be starting this year, but he took the ball in this one and pitched six scoreless innings while allowing only two hits. For Seattle, Michael Pineada acquitted himself well enough in his first major league start. I mean, he at least kept the Rangers from hitting any homers and that’s better than Boston could do.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 0: Jhoulys Chacin was sharp, shutting out the Dodgers on five hits over seven innings before turning it over to the bullpen. Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Ianetta homers did most of the damage for Colorado, who accomplished no mean feat in beting Clayton Kershaw.

Cardinals 3, Pirates 2: A couple of RBI for the Cardinals as they beat the Pirates. As usual, it was Regis’ fault.

Padres 3, Giants 1: The champs are reeling like Rocky Balboa in the first Clubber Lang fight. Aaron Harang did exactly what he hoped he’d do upon coming to Petco Park: pitching confidently in a pitcher-friendly environment, knowing that all of the fly balls he’s prone to allowing won’t fly over the fence like they did in Cincinnati. He allowed only one run on six hits, struck out six and walked two.

Angels 5, Rays 3: Tampa Bay is keeping Boston company at the bottom of the AL East, remaining winless after Jered Weaver gave them nothing through six and two-thirds. For the Angels, Jordan Walden’s debut as closer was exactly what Mike Scioscia wanted: he set the Rays down in order for the save. Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez are now a combined 2 for 27 on the young season.

Blue Jays 7, Athletics 6: Yunel Escobar provided the heroics with a two-run homer in the tenth, but the Athletics’ porous defense continued to be a problem for the men in green, as they blew an early 5-0 lead. Oakland has nine errors in its first four games, and this was a team that was supposed to have a pretty decent defense. Well, Kevin Kouzmanoff is a weak link and his miscues were central to the Jays’ four-run sixth inning, so let’s just forget I said anything.

Royals 7, White Sox 6: As usual, Melky Cabrera was the offensive hero. He was 3 for 6 with 3 RBI, including the game-winner in the bottom of the 12th. But screw Melky, the real heroics came from the Royals’ bullpen once again: six innings of shutout ball.

Marlins 3, Nationals 2: The Feesh win it with a Donnie Murphy bases-loaded single in the 10th. The runner who scored — All-Star Omar Infante — reached base when Jayson Werth dropped a pop fly in right.  The Marlins had a bunch of chances to put it away before then, but until Murphy’s hit they were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position. So, no, it wasn’t an altogether pretty night of baseball in Miami.

Reds 8, Astros 2: The Reds keep rolling, extending their record to 4-0, which is their best start since the wire-to-wire Reds of 1990 began the year winning their first eight. This one was just about over as soon as it began, when J.A. Happ walked the ballpark. His actual quote after the game: “They definitely took some quality pitches.” Yeah, well, that’s just your opinion, man.

Cubs 6, Diamondbacks 5: There are still dead-enders who think pitcher wins matter. They never explain how games like this fit into the calculus. Cubs reliever James Russell came into a bases-loaded jam in the seventh. He struck out Russell Branyan and then gave up a two-run single to Willie Bloomquist of all people, blowing the Cubs’ lead. Chicago took the lead back in the bottom of the inning, however, and Mike Quade sent Russell out for the eighth allowing him to vulture the win. James Russell just knows how to win, baby!

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.