And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 1, Giants 0: In 1968, a gallon of gas cost 34 cents, the average cost of a car was $2,282 and the federal minimum wage was $1.60.  In other news, Clayton Kershaw (8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 12K)  beat Tim Lincecum (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Mets 6, Cardinals 5:  The walkoff homer from Angel Pagan in the bottom of the tenth. But he doesn’t get all of the kudos. Some are owed to Jason Isringhausen, who gave a valiant effort in two innings of relief, including striking out Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman consecutively between the ninth and tenth innings.

Rockies 3, Braves 2: Carlos Gonzalez with the walkoff RBI single off Eric O’Flaherty. Why was Eric O’Flaherty, the Braves third best reliever, pitching with runners on in the ninth inning instead of one of the Braves’ All-Star relievers? Because the damn book says you (a) use your setup man in the eighth inning, so yep, Johnny Venters had to be in there in the eighth; and (b) you never use your closer in a tie game on the road because then the gods up on Olympus will release the friggin’ Kraken and innocent women and children will be killed. Or at least that’s what Fredi Gonzalez’ book says, because that’s the way he manages.

Angels 9, Rangers 8: A six-run sixth inning brings the Angles back to beat the Rangers, ending their winning streak. All good things must come to an end. Or, if you’re an Angels fan, all bad things, I suppose.

Twins 7, Indians 5: Danny Valencia was the hero  For the second day in row, singling in what proved to be the winning run. The Twins and Tribe split the series, further establishing that no one really wants to win the AL Central.

Phillies 9, Cubs 1: Two homers for Jimmy Rollins.  Vance Worley gave up one run over eight innings as the Phillies win it in a laugher.  Game time temperature was 97 degrees with high humidity and the Phillies had a huge lead all game, so why Worley pitched eight innings I have no idea. I mean, it’s not like Phillies pitchers have been affected by the heat in Chicago already or anything.

Red Sox 4, Orioles 0: Andrew Miller walked six guys in five and two-thirds innings and the Orioles still couldn’t score. That’s just kinda sad.

Astros 3, Nationals 2: Break up the Astros. They’ve won two in a row — and a series —  for the first time in a month. Jason Michaels with the game-winning single in the 11th.

Reds 3, Pirates 1: Chase d’Arnaud had two critical errors, one in the first, one in the fifth, that let the Reds score a couple of runs.  Of course, when you only score one run yourself, you don’t leave yourself that much of a margin for such things.

Yankees 4, Rays 0: Anyone else getting the distinct impression that the Rays are falling out contention? Freddy Garcia is no slouch, but he shouldn’t shut you out into the seventh inning if you have any designs on contending.

Padres 14, Marlins 3: Not Ricky Nolasco’s night (1.1 IP, 9 H, 9 ER). And, mere hours after I voiced dread over the prospect of Ryan Ludwick being traded to the Braves, he drives in four runs.

Blue Jays 11, Mariners 6: It just keeps getting worse for the Mariners, who drop their 11th straight. A three-run homer for Travis Snider, who drove in five on the night. Homers for Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion as well.

Athletics 7, Tigers 5: Hideki Matsui hit his 500th career home run (NPB + MLB of course). He also hit the go-ahead-for-good RBI single in the seventh. Eleven pitchers were used in this one. I note that because it seems odd to see that this season. It’s far less common than it was even just a couple of years ago. I suppose depressed offense will do that for you.

Royals 2, White Sox 1: Runners at first and third with two out in the 11th, and Ozzie Guillen calls for Sergio Santos.  Santos goes 3-1 to Billy Butler and then throws a wild pitch, allowing Alex Gordon to score from third. Ozzie probably blew a gasket.

Brewers 5, Diamondbacks 2: Nyjer Morgan, Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks all hit RBI singles in the 10th inning.  Academic though given the carnage in this one: Stephen Drew broke his ankle and Carlos Gomez broke his collarbone. This obviously hurts both teams playoff chances.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”