Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees

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!

Carlos Ruiz leaves a goodbye note for the Phillies

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 26, 2016 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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And then there was one. One player from the 2008 World Series champs, that is. Ryan Howard likely isn’t going anywhere so he’ll be the last one to turn the lights off, but today Carlo Ruiz bid adieu to the Phillies following his trade to Los Angeles.

Lost in all of the emotions the Dodgers are reported to be feeling about A.J. Ellis leaving is the fact that Ruiz was one of the most beloved Phillies players ever, by both his teammates and their fans. Yesterday Roy Halladay penned a heartfelt goodbye to Ruiz, suggesting that he was every bit as essential to his and the Phillies’ success as Ellis has been to Clayton Kershaw (and in pure baseball production, obviously, quite more).

Today Chooch left a message for his now former teammates:

A far-fetched sounding drug test scam

NES TSIONA, ISRAEL - JANUARY 22:  A laboratory technician checks human blood samples before placing the glass tubes on an automated testing line at the Maccabi Health Services HMO central laboratory January 22, 2006 in Nes Tsiona which is located in central Israel. The laboratory, which operates a fully automated system complete with advanced robotics, can test more than 50,000 blood samples a day. The lab is considered one of the most modern of its kind in the western world.  (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)
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Kevin Draper at Deadspin is passing along a story — and that’s not me editorializing; he’s admitting that it’s unconfirmed gossip at the moment — about a major league player paying a teammate $2.5 million to take the fall for him on a drug test. The story came via a tip from someone who, apparently, had a conversation about the drug test scam with a college baseball player who knew the players allegedly involved in the scam.

Here is how the conversation was recounted:

College Baseball Player: [MLB player’s star teammate] paid him to take his blood test. $2.5 million dollars.

Bar Patron: How does that even work?

College Baseball Player: [MLB player] and [MLB player’s star teammate] were getting tested the same day. They traded samples.

Deadspin says that the story is “probably bulls**t” but that some preliminary investigating they’ve done doesn’t disprove it and, to some extent corroborates it. How it’s been supported or not is left unclear and Deadspin couches all of this in a request for more information if anyone has any. Which, OK, fine.

I’ll offer that, on the surface, this seems like a bit more than mere “bulls**t.” It sounds structurally impossible. If it’s a blood test for HGH as the excerpt suggests, the samples are tested back in the lab to make sure they match up with previous samples. Meaning: the lab processing the sample knows if it’s your blood or not. If it’s a urine test, as Deadspin thinks it may have been, I’m not sure how samples could be switched given that urine tests are directly observed by testing officials. Yes, they watch you pee. They’d likely prevent you from peeing right next to your bro teammate, but even if you did, they’d see you exchange little plastic containers of urine with him.

I’m not going to say that this is 100% bull because we can’t really know for sure, but the scenario as described sounds highly unlikely, approaching the impossible. If someone had a story about bribing a sample taker with $2.5 million well, hey, maybe we’re getting somewhere, because that would get you over some procedural hurdles. For now, though, this all sounds like someone passing along a tall tale.

If it is true? Hoo boy, that’d be fun. At least for people like me who write about this stuff.