And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 8, Marlins 0: Clayton Kershaw was probably happy to have all of that offense behind him, but he sure as hell didn’t need it (CG SHO 2 H, 10K).

Rays 7, Indians 0: Actually, the same can be said for Jeremy Hellickson (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 6K). Evan Longoria was 2 for 3 with two walks from the leadoff spot. It was his second day in a row there and his second day of getting on base like it’s going out of style. Which, given the depressed offensive numbers around baseball this year, it kind of is. Interesting.

Red Sox 4, Tigers 3; Tigers 3, Red Sox 0: A ninth-inning pinch hit homer by Big Papi wins the first of the twin bill. That was the second time Oritz had faced Jose Valverde in his career, and it was the second time he went long off him. In the nightcap it was all Justin Verlander, with the Tigers’ ace throwing 132 pitchers in seven and two-thirds. But (a) he didn’t allow a run; and (b) he was still throwing nearly 100 m.p.h. when he finally left the game. I think paying attention to pitch counts has saved a lot of guys’ arms. But I also think that there will always be a handful of guys who would have been just fine had they been handled like they were 1970s starters anyway. Verlander is one of those guys.

Rangers 7, Royals 6: Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria each allowed the other team to take the lead in the ninth, but since the Rangers batted last, it was a bit more problematic that Soria did it. And check out the play at the plate that ended the game. Did Brayan Pena have images of Buster Posey dancing in his head? Is not trying to slam into the catcher the new inefficiency? Or are we trying to hard to graft narratives onto what are essentially random events?

Brewers 6, Giants 0: Sometimes someone does a way better job of distilling a game’s essence than I do. Here’s a tweet from Andrew Baggarly yesterday: “Well, this game is a turd sandwich for the Giants.” Eight shutout innings for Yovanni Gallardo. That’s twelve earned runs in just over 19 innings for Matt Cain since he agreed to be interviewed on HBT Daily that time.

Braves 2, Reds 1: Martin Prado hit a two-run homer to put the Braves up in the sixth and threw out the would-be tying run at the plate in the top of the eighth. Well, he was credited with throwing out the would-be tying run, but the replay showed pretty clearly that David Ross didn’t get the tag on Paul Janish before he crossed the plate. In this case the lack of replay helped my rooting interest, but I don’t care, we really do need replay to correct these kinds of calls. TV viewers knew within 20 seconds that the call was wrong. An ump in the booth could have known just as quickly, if not quicker given that he wouldn’t be sifting through reaction shots. Anyway, another solid outing for Jair Jurrjens (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER).

Cardinals 4, Rockies 3: Seven wins for Kyle Lohse as the Cards finish up their nine-game road trip with a 6-3 mark. Of course six of those games came against the Royals and the Padres, but hey, they’re winnin’ the ones they’re supposed to win.

Angels 6, Twins 5: I can’t decide if I’m more impressed by Mark Trumbo’s 436-foot home run or by the fact that Russell Branyan stole a base.  Well, I suppose Branyan does average one a year or so for his career, so maybe this was inevitable.

Athletics 6, Orioles 4: The Athletics give Zach Britton his worst day as a major league starter, touching him up for six runs on ten hits. More significantly, the A’s see the return of Andrew Bailey, who pitched a perfect seventh inning and allowed Bob Geren to do what a lot of people figured he could do this year, trotting out Bailey, Fuentes, Balfour and Breslow one after another (though not necessarily in that order).

Diamondbacks 4, Astros 2: J.A. Happ was pretty solid and hit a home run to — wait for it — help his own cause, but the Dbacks rallied because they are now apparently invincible. Really, since the five-game losing streak they had in the middle of May, the Diamondbacks are 14-2. And now they are alone in first place at the top of the NL West.

Yankees 7, Mariners 1: Andruw Jones (a three-run double in the third) and CC Sabathia (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) help the Yankees avoid the sweep.

Padres 5, Nationals 4: Given that they had only scored 15 runs in their previous 11 games, five runs for the Padres is pretty impressive. And they needed all five. The last one came on a ninth-inning infield single by Ryan Ludwick. Ludwick had three hits and two RBI and Brad Hawpe had two hits and two RBI.  The Nats have lost nine of 11.

Mets 9, Phillies 5: Vance Worley just didn’t have it yesterday, so Charlie Manuel decided to send out Kendrick, Romero and Baez after him, which is basically the “let us live to fight another day” pupu platter.  Three RBI for Josh Thole, who also had three hits. Four hits for Jose Reyes. Seventeen in all for the Metropolitans.

Blue Jays 13, White Sox 4: This game was basically over once Aaron Hill hit a grand slam in the first inning. A 4 for 5, 3 RBI day for Corey Patterson because the world has gone crazy or something.

Cubs 3, Pirates 2: Rain delay: 2:34. Game time: 2:36. Cool. A nice start from Ryan Demptser and solid relief from Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol.

What in the heck is Derek Jeter doing with the Marlins?

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Last night we linked the Miami Herald story about the Marlins firing special assistants Jeff Conine, Andre Dawson, Tony Perez and Jack McKeon. Let’s talk about that a little bit.

The firings themselves are eyebrow-raising inasmuch as “special assistants” like that are rarely key front office personnel. Former players, Hall of Famers and former managers like those guys are really ambassadors for the team and, particularly in the case of Jeff Conine, who is known as “Mr. Marlin,” why would new ownership want to kick its ambassadors to the curb? It’s not like you can just hire a bunch of new franchise legends for he role. Who ya gonna call? Dan Uggla?

Sure, I can see an argument for changing their responsibilities. If they actually had say in baseball operations, I can see new ownership wanting to relieve them of those duties. It’s also possible that Jeff Loria paid them too much money for guys who are only team ambassadors. So, sure, if the job is too cushy by the standards of the gig, I could see Jeter cutting their pay or their duties to make it conform to what other clubs do with their former stars. Maybe that makes them want to quit. If so, that’s OK I suppose.

Beyond that, however, it’s hard to see why you would NOT want guys like Conine, Dawson, Perez and McKeon to represent your club in the community and in the service of impressing prospective season ticket holders. The franchise’s first star player, a Hall of Famer who ended his career with the club, another Hall of Famer who is from Cuba (which is kind of a big deal in a place like Miami) and the manager who brought the club its last World Series championship are exactly who you want to represent your team. Especially when nearly everything else about your team has, for so very long, alienated the very public you want supporting it.

But let’s say, for the moment, that there was a good reason to fire those guys. Let’s say they’re all flaming jackwagons who have secretly poisoned the franchise from within. Let’s say that, despite his grandfatherly charm, Jack McKeon is a ruthless Machiavellian. Let’s say that Conine, Dawson and Perez beat up copy boys in the stairwells and microwave leftover fish in the break room every day. Even if that’s the case, how does this happen?

And here’s the twist: Jeter asked Marlins president David Samson to fire those four Marlins luminaries for him, because Jeter didn’t want to do it.

Even more strange, Jeter made the request after telling Samson what he already knew: that Samson would not be returning as team president.

It seems that Samson did carry out the firings. Unless some handsome severance package was being held hostage over it, I’m not sure how Samson doesn’t tell Jeter, “Hey Captain RE2PECT, know what? Up yours, you do it yourself.” Of course, one can only project one’s own sensibility on a guy like David Samson so much, so let’s cut him a bit of slack here. We don’t know how the conversation went. Maybe Samson was happy to tell those guys to hit the bricks.

But really, how doesn’t Jeter man-up and handle this himself? It’s not because he’s not yet officially the owner, because if he has the power to fire Samson, he has the power to fire Conine and his friends. Maybe there is more to this than the Herald story lets on, but as it stands now, it comes off as cowardice on Jeter’s part. It’s a really bad look.

I’ll be curious to see how this plays in the baseball establishment over the next couple of days. Everyone — particularly the press — loves Derek Jeter an credits him with a class, smoothness and media savvy matched by few others. This, though, was either (a) a failure of class and an act of disrespect to baseball luminaries; or (b) a complete bungling of public relations, serving to make what was, in reality, a reasonable move appear classless. It has to be one or the other.

Derek Jeter has been a teflon star for more than two decades, but two of the few things the media loves more than Derek Jeter are (a) old Baseball Men like McKeon, Dawson, Perez and Conine; and (b) “classiness.” It’ll be interesting to see if, for the first time in his professional life, the media gets its knives out for Derek Jeter for seeming content to dispense with both.

Dodgers top Giants, clinch fifth straight NL West title

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The Dodgers are NL West champions for the fifth time in a row. They clinched with a 4-2 win over the Giants on Friday night, taking their first and only lead on a mammoth record-breaking home run from Cody Bellinger in the third inning.

Rich Hill turned in another quality start, going six innings with five hits, a run and nine strikeouts to keep the Giants at bay. He tacked on an RBI hit of his own, too, lashing a double to left field for his first extra-base hit since 2007.

The Giants, meanwhile, deployed Jeff Samardzija and his 4.42 ERA for 4 1/3 innings. Samardzija was on the hook for the Dodgers’ four-run spread in the third and took his 15th loss of the season. Pablo Sandoval came through with a solo home run in the ninth, but the rest of San Francisco’s offense wasn’t so lucky against Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side to clinch the game — and the division.

After Friday’s showstopper, the Dodgers are just two wins away from their first 100-win season since 1974. If they win the remaining eight games of the season, they’ll beat out the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers for the most wins in franchise history.