Wily Mo Pena, Rich Harden

Rich Harden strikes out six and wins in season debut

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Baseball truly is a wonderful game.

– Rich Harden, making his first start for the A’s since July 6, 2008, went six innings without walking a batter to defeat the Diamondbacks in his season debut.  It’s just the 10th time in 146 career starts that he’s pitched at least six innings and not walked a batter.  He walked two batters every three innings for the Rangers last season.

– Hideki Matsui beat Miguel Montero’s errant throw to second base to record his first steal since Sept. 12, 2007.

– Wily Mo Pena, who was playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish a year ago, delivered a line-drive homer for the Diamondbacks, giving him four homers in seven starts and three pinch-hitting appearances since his callup.

– Batting one spot below him was Sean Burroughs, who was even further removed from the majors than Pena a year ago.  He was eating out of trash cans in Las Vegas.

OK, so Burroughs went 0-for-3.  He might end up back in the minors next week.  Pena could join him there a couple of weeks later.  Harden will surely return to the DL at some point.

But tonight was cool, and it served as a good reminder to never count anyone out.

Marlins sign Martin Prado to a three-year extension

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 06:  Martin Prado #14 of the Miami Marlins hits a sacrifice fly in the third inning during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 6, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
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The Miami Herald reports that the Marlins and Martin Prado have agreed to a three-year, $40 million contracy extension.

Prado has been highly effective for Miami, hitting .297/.350/.405 over two seasons The Marlins were eager to keep him and many teams were no doubt interested in trying to sign him this winter as he stood pretty darn tall on a pretty weak free agent market. He may very well have done better than the $40 million he’s getting, but a qualifying offer could’ve made the free agency process a bit more drawn out one than he would’ve preferred. And, of course, he seems very happy in Miami, as evidenced by his increasing role as a team leader with the Marlins.

For his career Prado has hit .293/.342/.423 over 11 seasons. He’ll now be locked up through his age-35 campaign.

The Cardinals were jeered at home last night

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 26: Reliever Michael Wacha #52 of the St. Louis Cardinals is removed from the game against the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on September 26, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals got shellacked 15-2 by the Reds, one of baseball’s worst teams, last night. In so doing they fell a half game behind the Giants for the second Wild Card.

Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote about last night’s game. What struck him was the reaction from the crowd at Busch Stadium:

And the fans, in a rare moment of pique, let the Cardinals hear about it, first booing and then erupting in a Bronx cheer when the final out of a seven-run fourth was recorded. They booed a little more later on and then many of them beat the traffic, with some of them at least leaving with a Grateful Dead T-shirt, a special theme night promotion . . . The paid crowd to witness the carnage was 34,942, snapping a string of 240 straight crowds here of over 40,000, dating to Sept. 24, 2013. Matheny said he noticed the reaction of the crowd and appeared to find little fault with it.

It’s been such a weird season for the Cardinals. Maybe the weirdest part of all has been how terrible they’ve been at home, with a record of 33-42. They have six more games at home, and they no longer control their own playoff destiny.

Is this booing and leaving a one-time thing, or will we see a lot more of it between now and Sunday?