And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights


Cardinals 8, Reds 1: Albert Pujols was activated, but did not play. Makes me think this was a whole “Westley bluffing his way to victory over Humperdink even though he was still partly paralyzed from the ‘mostly dead’ thing” from “The Princess Bride.”  His mere presence and threat carried the day, at least psychologically speaking. Meanwhile, Matt Holliday and his two home runs fill the role of Inigo Montoya, kicking everyone’s butt to very little fanfare.

Reds Sox 3, Blue Jays 2: One of the more harrowing 3-2 games you’ll see. Partially because the Sox lost Jon Lester to strain of the old latissimus dorsi. Partially because Jonathan Papelbon has apparently been bored lately and decided to make a 3-0 game interesting. And then of course, the home plate umpire blew the call at home, calling Edwin Encarnacion out when he really was safe. An assist on that to Jason Varitek, who blocked the plate in a way that we all sorta decided catchers shouldn’t do back when Buster Posey got injured, but which I’m guessing most folks will call a heads up play today.  But really, if you’re looking for intellectual consistency in sports, don’t come to baseball. We’re all about nuance and duality here.

Pirates 5, Astros 1: Jeff Karstens allowed one run in seven innings. Is it just me or does it seem like Karstens starts every other day for the Buccos?  OK, I’ll admit that’s improbable and is likely a function of me not paying as close attention to the box scores as a I should. But really, I’m pretty sure he’s had 42 starts so far this year (no, I’m not checking; no time).

Nationals 3, Cubs 2: Jeff Baker thew what should have been an easy out way clear of the second base bag, leading to two Nats’ runs and more or less deciding the ballgame, even though it happened in the first inning. Five Nats pitchers took it the rest of the way.

Phillies 14, Marlins 2: Amazing but true fact: when you give Cole Hamels 14 runs, he never loses.

Braves 5, Rockies 3: Freddie Freeman hit another homer. And as I was looking at his player bio page, I notice that he looks a lot like my high school friend Eric used to look circa 1989 or so. Eric and I saw “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” together at the theater and then went to Myrtle Beach together after we graduated, but you probably don’t care about that, though. How about this, then: Derek Lowe helped his own cause with a bases-loaded double. Wait, you think Eric is more interesting than my cliche phrases? Man, tough crowd.

Rangers 4, Orioles 2: Matt Harrison gave up 11 hits in six innings and only two runs scored. Without having seen any of this game, that seems like a failure to capitalize issue from the O’s part, no? Mostly, though, it was a failure of Orioles’ reliever Jim Johnson to shut the damn door when he came in with a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning.

Diamondbacks 7, Brewers 3: Hey, look on the bright side Brewers’ fans: starting down 7-1 early, at least your boys didn’t blow a big lead this time!

Yankees 9, Indians 2: Jeter had two hits. I was hoping he’d get four or five simply so that the Yankees could worry that even a moderately decent day tomorrow would have him reach 3,000 on the road. But hey, we can’t get everything we want. More significantly, Curtis Granderson had two homers and CC Sabathia continued to make the people who left him off the All-Star team look like fools (7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 11K).

Twins 3, Rays 2: The Twins — who used six pitchers, thanks in part to starter Scott Baker’s strained elbow– beat James Shields, who looked mortal for his second straight start. One gets the sense that he needs the All-Star break to be here about as bad as anyone.

Royals 5, White Sox 3: After Kansas City frittered away a 3-0 lead, a two-run Matt Treanor single in the sixth broke the 3-3 tie and pushed the Royals over.

Padres 5, Giants 3:  San Diego beats San Francisco 5-3 for the second straight day. Cameron Maybin drove in three and Anthony Rizzo two.

Mets 6, Dodgers 0: Jason Bay … is … alive. Two homers for him and a two-run shot for Carlos Beltran go nicely with six shutout innings from Mike Pelfrey. The Dodgers, they reel.

Mariners 4, Athletics 2: Felix Hernandez deserved better than a no-decision after allowing one run in eight innings and striking out ten. But Brandon League blew the save in the ninth and Andrew Bailey and the A’s defense couldn’t get it done in the tenth, with the go-ahead run scoring on a throwing error and some insurance on an Adam Kennedy double.

Angels 1, Tigers 0: Dan Haren beat Justin Verlander at his own game (gettin’ lots of dudes out and not allowing many hits). A two-hit shutout for Haren. Oh, and you’ll be shocked to learn that Joe West’s crew ejected three people in this one.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.