Aubrey Huff, Orlando Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval, Jeff Keppinger

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

44 Comments

Giants 8, Diamondbacks 1: The Giants beat back the charging horde. Three hits and two runs scored for Carlos Beltran, three runs batted in for Orlando Cabrera and a strong six innings for Ryan Vogelsong. Jason Marquis: eh, not quite the game-changing acquisition Kevin Towers may have imagined.

Red Sox 4, Indians 3: Walkoff homer for Jacoby Ellsbury. His second game-winning hit in as many nights.

Mariners 7, Athletics 4: Get the sea-saw Seattle Mariners. Seventeen straight losses not too long ago and now five wins in their last seven. Charlie Furbush allowed one run and two hits while striking out three and not walking anybody. Not a world-beating performance, but it did at least allow me to say “Charlie Furbush.”

Phillies 8, Rockies 6: Ryan Howard drove in four with a homer and a double helping Roy Halladay get his 14th win despite not having his best stuff going.  Six wins in a row for inevitable and irresistible force that is the Philadelphia Phillies.

Brewers 10, Cardinals 5: I touched on this one yesterday. La Russa allowed Edwin Jackson to take just an awful beating. He said that it was because the bullpen needed the rest. Query: what is the point of having a zillion guys in your bullpen like La Russa insists upon if you can’t use the thing every day? Of course, La Russa largely led the charge to eliminate the traditional bullpen roles of “long man” and “mop up man,” each of whom would have been really useful here, so I guess we shouldn’t be shocked.  Three homers for Casey McGehee, by the way. Sorry to slight him here, but I’m still suffering from La Russa derangement syndrome.

Braves 6, Nationals 4: Nice to see that the real Dan Uggla has been returned to the Braves and that impostor Uggla who spent the first three and a half months with the team has been removed. Two-for-four with a big homer as Uggla extends his hitting streak to 25. As for the Nats: I think Chien-Ming Wang may be done. I like the guy, but if you face 23 Braves hitters and fail to strike out a single one, things are bleak. The Braves ain’t picky. Your mama could strike out six Braves hitters on short rest.

Cubs 1, Pirates 0: Matt Garza and Charlie Morton each threw seven shutout innings, but Starlin Castro connected on a solo homer off Chris Resop in the eighth. Oh, and Bob Davidson got all ejecty again in this one, because that’s what he does. Well, that and call an awful, awful strike zone, to the point where the announcers were openly wondering why he was still employed. Six straight losses for the former darlings of the NL Central.

Rays 9, Blue Jays 1: Carlos Villanueva didn’t fool anyone (2.2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 3 HR). Casey Kotchman, Ben Zobrist and Robinson Chirinos all went deep, and by then things were out of hand.

Tigers 5, Rangers 4: Doug Fister’s Detroit debut worked out quite nicely (7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER). Homers for Ryan Raburn and Alex Avila.

Twins 11, Angels 4; Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young each had two homers. One of Cuddyer’s was a grand slam. This is what happens when a sinkerball — in this case Joel Piniero’s — doensn’t sink.

Padres 3, Dodgers 0: Tim Stauffer shut out the Dodgers for six innings. Homer from Jason Bartlett as the Padres avoid the sweep.

Astros 5, Reds 4: Jordan Lyles finally gets the winless monkey off his back. J.D. Martinez was 3 for 4 with a homer and four RBI.

Royals 6, Orioles 2: Luke Hochevar shut the O’s down into the eighth inning. Billy Butler had a three-run homer in the seventh to give the Royals some insurance.

Yankees 18, White Sox 7: Good for the Yankees — rah rah rah — but seriously: A.J. Burnett was given 13 runs to play with — 13! — and he still couldn’t last the five innings to pick up the win.  All kinds of crooked numbers in the box score. Granderson had five RBI. Jeter went 5-for-6 with two runs batted in.

Marlins vs. Mets: POSTPONED: Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.