Giants Cubs Baseball

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cubs 5, Giants 2: Just your standard hit-a-tying-homer-off-the-World-Champs’-closer-in-the-ninth/hit-a-three-run-walkoff-homer-in-the-13th-inning kind of game for the Cubbies. Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto did the honors on those homers, respectively. Another in a long series of wasted Matt Cain starts for the Giants.

Tigers 5, Mets 2: Justin Verlander watched the Mets’ blitzkrieg from the dugout on the previous two nights and apparently decided that enough was enough. He has been sharper lately — he only struck out 6 — but he only allowed a run in seven innings. After the game Verlander trotted out the old “good pitching beats good hitting” saw. Which is something that is only said after someone pitches well. Because, by definition, if the hitting wins it wasn’t good pitching.  Think about that for a while and it will blow your friggin’ mind.

Yankees 5, Brewers 0: CC Sabathia was dominant, striking out a career high 13, all of them swinging. Those who watched said that his slider was the best it has ever been. Some days you just wake up with a spring in your step, I guess. Mark Teixeira hit his 300th career homer, and now leads the majors in bombs this year with 25.

Marlins 5, Athletics 4: The Feesh almost frittered away a 5-0 lead when the A’s charged late, but the defenses held. June, mercifully, is over for the Marlins. They finish the month with five wins.

Red Sox 5, Phillies 2: Anyone who had guessed that Jason Varitek was going to hit two homers in this one, raise their hand. Not so fast … everyone. Cole Hamels left early, but it really didn’t matter, because Jon Lester was on point (7 IP, 2H 0 ER). The Sox’ shaky bullpen made it look closer than it ever felt.

White Sox 6, Rockies 4: Colorado blew a 4-1 lead and Juan Pierre hit the go-ahead single in the 10th. Chicago takes two of three from Colorado and now head back to Illinois to face the Cubs.

Pirates 6, Blue Jays 2: Jeff Karstens yields but two runs over seven innings. The Jays, as is their wont, get a couple of runs on dingers, but are unable to string anything else together.

Cardinals 9, Orioles 6: I think I said something about “Lance Berkman not being able to keep this up” during yesterday’s HBT Daily video. The answer, as always, is that I’m a moron. Two homers for Berkman as the Cardinals complete the series sweep of Baltimore. A series they utterly dominated.

Astros 7, Rangers 0: Wandy Rodriguez and three relievers combine for the four-hit shutout. Jason Michaels had a homer and three RBI. The win snaps an eight game home losing streak for Houston.

Josh Hamilton has knee surgery, out 2-3 months

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.

As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:

That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.