And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 14, Braves 1: Like I’ve always said: you give Cole Hamels 14 runs to work with, and he’s probably going to win. Raul Ibanez drove in five runs in the entire month of June. He drove in six in this game. Oh, and watch the comments here: some readers/Braves fans foolishly bet some Phillies fans that, if the Phillies won this series, they’d write some variation of “Phillies Rule” in their comments today. I kept out of that because I’m neither a betting man nor am I deluded regarding the relative power of these two teams. But for those of you who did bet: keep your word, folks. Keep your word.

Yankees 1, Rays 0: CC Sabathia gets his 13th win with a four-hit shutout. James Shields’ throwing error led to the only run scored in the game.

Cardinals 4, Diamondbacks 2: Albert Pujols had a couple of hits to make for a pretty productive weekend and David Freese hit a homer because, well, he’s got to occasionally, right?

Tigers 2, Royals 1: I went outside for, like, ten minutes yesterday and almost collapsed from heat exhaustion. Justin Verlander allowed no earned runs over seven and two-thirds, and threw 119 pitches on a brutally hot day in Kansas City. Other than that, he and I are alike in all kinds of ways.

Brewers 4, Reds 3: Francisco Cordero came in to close things out with a one-run lead in the ninth but couldn’t get it done. An RBI single for Mark Kotsay tied it and a sacrifice for Craig Counsell won it for Milwaukee. In other news, I have mixed up Mark Kotsay and Craig Counsell for years, often referring to one when I meant the other. So, heck, maybe click through to the box score to make sure I’m right. Maybe Kotsay had the sac fly.

Twins 6, White Sox 3: Jake Peavy was eminently hittable. Anthony Swarzak pitched six strong innings. By the way, Anthony Swarzak is a pretty solid Midwestern name. Kind of has a Bill Brasky thing going on with it, so I hope he stays in Minnesota and pitches well for a long time.

Pirates 9, Cubs 1:  Andrew McCutchen homered and drove in five. The Pirates are 47-43, which is their best record at the break since Barry Bonds played there.

Red Sox 8, Orioles 6: A four-game sweep of the O’s for Boston. Baltimore is skidding out of control, having lost 12 of 13 and seven in a row. Both managers were ejected as there was more chin music in this one. Just an pug ugly series in a lot of ways.

Rangers 2, Athletics 0: An Adrian Beltre two-run homer took care of all of the offense. Matt Harrison and a couple of relievers took care of the shutout.

Nationals 2, Rockies 0: Much like the Rangers-A’s game. Jordan Zimmermann and three relievers combined for the shutout here. The Nationals are at .500 at the break, which wasn’t something a ton of people were expecting.

Marlins 5, Astros 4: I love the lede from the AP game story for this one:

With his enthusiasm and veteran leadership, center fielder Mike Cameron has helped rejuvenate the Florida Marlins, who are undefeated since he joined the team. On Sunday he contributed a hit, too.

I’ve read that a couple of times, and I can’t decide if the writer is being sincere about the value of Cameron’s leadership and enthusiasm or if he’s making a somewhat sly comment on that, noting the coincidence between Cameron’s presence and the Marlins’ wins in his first three games there.  Has me looking like this.

Blue Jays 7, Indians 1: A five-run third inning off Carlos Carrasco helped the Jays win their third in a row. The Indians fall a half-game back of Detroit at the break. I’m mildly pleased by this. Not because I’m rooting against Cleveland or anything, but I get mild pleasure from knowing that everyone writing their “first half in review” stories can’t go with the easy “well look who’s in first place” lead-in.

Angels 4, Mariners 2: Three straight games with a homer for Mark Trumbo. Who, whenever I hear his name, makes me think of Dalton Trumbo, which in turn makes me think of either (a) the Hollywood Blacklist; or (b) “Spartacus.”

Dodgers 4, Padres 1: Two homers for Andre Ethier and four wins in a row for the Dodgers. Almost enough to make you forget that the franchise is an utter train wreck. But just almost, or else I wouldn’t have typed that.

Giants 4, Mets 2: Pablo Sandoval extended his hitting streak to 21 games, hitting an RBI double. Matt Cain pitched six scoreless. Both All-Stars, you know, but then again, who isn’t an All-Star these days? I’m pretty sure I’m on the team too.

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.