And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 3, Angels 2: Wow, this was a wild one. Made all the more wild by the fact that (a) it was going on just as the trade deadline was approaching; and (b) since Justin Verlander had a no-hitter going, it seemed like everyone was watching it. At least everyone in my little corner of the Internet.  Read the game stories to get the full flavor, but any game that has home run poses (Carlos Guillen), headhunting (Jered Weaver on Alex Avila), a starting pitcher yelling eff you at an ump right after the ejection (Weaver again) and then eleventeen violations of the unwritten rules (Erik Aybar laying down a bunt to try to break up the no-no), all in the space of a about a half hour, you know it was an awesome game.

Reds 9, Giants 0: Just when you want to write the Reds off they go and sweep the reigning champs. Of course, Barry Zito started this one for San Francisco, and he wasn’t even on the roster when they won the World Series, so let’s not go too crazy.  Johnny Cueto was fantastic, pitching a three-hitter and lowering his ERA to 1.72.  Three-run homer for Joey Votto who had five RBI on the day.

Phillies 6, Pirates 5: Remember how I mentioned that the schedule was about to get tough for Pittsburgh and that the fairytale was about to end? This is what I was talking about. Philly sweeps.  New hire Hunter Pence doubled in the tenth inning and was then doubled in for the winning run by Raul Ibanez, who had himself a whale of a day, homering twice and hitting the game-winner.  Don’t worry, though, Pirates fans: Joel Hanrahan is well-rested, not having been bothered during the 10th inning. You’ll be happy to know that he will be available to “save” meaningless games against the Astros in August and September.

Yankees 4, Orioles 2: The big hit was Brett Gardner’s bases-loaded triple in the fourth, when the Yankees scored all of their runs. Freddy Garcia won his tenth, striking out six in six innings and allowing two runs on five hits.  The Yankees made no trade deadline moves. But really, there wasn’t a good move out there for them to make.

Brewers 5, Astros 4: The Astros get swept. Not surprising given that (a) they were on a 109-loss pace when the weekend began; and (b) they then traded their two best players over the weekend.  Good times in Houston!

Blue Jays 7, Rangers 3: Brandon Morrow struck out 11. Koji Uehara made his Rangers debut and, during the game, Texas traded for Mike Adams.  But as this game shows, your bullpen can’t do it all for you. C.J. Wilson got rocked.

Nationals 3, Mets 2: The Nats take two of three, winning this one on a Ian Desmond chopper in the bottom of the ninth.  There wouldn’t have been a bottom of the ninth if Drew Storen had protected the ninth inning lead.  But he won the game, so he must have been doing something valuable, right?

Marlins 3, Braves 1:  The 10,000th loss in Braves franchise history! Woo!  Who cares? Michael Bourn will join the team later today, and all will be right with the world. Or so I’m telling myself.

Royals 5, Indians 3: Homers from Jeff Francoeur and Alex Gordon and a solid outing from Danny Duffy.  Going forward, though, this will be a different Indians team thanks to the additions of Ubaldo Jimenez and Ryan Ludwick.

Red Sox 5, White Sox 3: Andrew Miller was eminently hittable — he gave up ten in five and two-thirds — but Dustin Pedroia bailed him out with a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez had an RBI double in the ninth for some insurance.

Padres 8, Rockies 3: A six-run eighth wraps this one up for the Padres, averting a sweep. Three RBI for Jesus Guzman.

Athletics 7, Twins 3: I guess six-run innings are the new inefficiency, because the A’s pulled one off too. Three stolen bases for Coco Crisp. Home run 597 for Jim Thome.

Rays 8, Mariners 1: Ben Zobrist went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI and Jeremy Hellickson held the Mariners to basically bupkis.

Diamondbacks 6, Dodgers 3: Two homers for Gerardo Parra. And no, I’m not above hackey crap like thinking of this every time I hear his name.

Cubs 6, Cardinals 3: Jake Westbrook looked good until the sixth, when he gave up four runs. A three-run homer from Lance Berkman was all the Cards could muster.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.