And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 4, Angels 3: Watching the Angels get beat by the Rangers puts me in mind of some sci-fi movie where a group is under attack from an invading army. Mike Scioscia is the defending general in a command center somewhere and keeps getting reports that the defenses are crumbling. He steels himself and says “send out Santana,” who in the movie is thought of as some last resort defense, only to see him overrun. Then, tonight, he orders the “Weaver maneuver” — a really, really, last defense; like a ship captain ordering his helmsman to ram the intruder — to be deployed. If the usual narrative holds, Weaver gets annihilated and Scioscia orders a full retreat and the second half of the movie results in a change of tactics, guerrilla warfare or some sort of doomed resistance movement.  I’m having trouble putting my finger of what movie this is but I’m sure someone knows the general arc I’m talking about. Maybe it’s partly the end of “The Best of Both Worlds” when Riker orders Crusher to ram the Borg cube combined with a little bit of “Red Dawn.” What? No, I really have been with a woman before. Why do you ask?

Giants 7, Braves 5: On a day when yet another Giant — closer Brian Wilson — is unavailable due to owies, Matt Cain plays stopper, allowing only one run — unearned — in eight innings. Of course, without Wilson the bullpen kind of melted down in the ninth, but San Francisco’s 7-1 lead entering the bottom of the inning provided enough of a cushion.

Rays 4, Red Sox 0: Hit this one up yesterday. The best offense in baseball is suddenly not at its best.

Astros 4, Cubs 3: That man, Brian Bogusevic, comes through again with an RBI double and the Astros have themselves a nice little two-game winning streak. They should probably do champagne showers and everything for this.

Athletics 6, Orioles 5: Kurt Suzuki had two homers and held on to the ball on a wacko play to end it.  All kinds of ugly outfield defense in this one.

Cardinals 7, Pirates 2: Allen Craig hit two homers. Whenever he makes SportsCenter, my brother calls me and says “hey, your name is Craig Allen, and there’s a baseball player named Allen Craig! Did you know that?”  Yes, Curt, I knew that.

Reds 2, Nationals 1: Johnny Cueto allows one run in eight innings and drops that ERA down to 1.89.

Phillies 9, Diamondbacks 2: An effective Cliff Lee keeps the Dbacks’ bats quiet and Hunter Pence reaches base four times, scoring three times. I credit the fiery bacon.

Mets 7, Padres 3: David Wright pwned Cameron Maybin. Total pwnage.

Rockies 12, Marlins 5: Ricky Nolasco had beaten the Rockies five straight times. This time, not so much. Four RBI a piece for Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Iannetta.

Blue Jays 6, Mariners 1: Brandon Morrow struck out 12 Mariners in six innings. When do the Orioles play the M’s? I wanna see Adam Jones hit for the cycle.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 1: Betting on baseball is idiotic because anything can happen in one game. But if I had to bet on one game yesterday, it would have been Greinke and the Brewers beating L.A. That’s six straight for Milwaukee

Royals 5, Yankees 4: Yankees lose by one on a night with a controversial home run call? Yeah, we’re gonna have more about that later.

Indians 4, White Sox 1: Nothing like a fierce battle for second place in baseball’s worst division. But this year, it’s pretty much all we have.

Twins 6, Tigers 5: And of course, the division’s best team loses a series like this.

Giancarlo Stanton dented the outfield wall in Marlins Park

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If we haven’t said it before, it bears repeating: When it comes to pure muscle mass and power, no major league player rivals the sheer force of Giancarlo Stanton. His record-setting 504-foot home run in 2016 has yet to be bested in the Statcast era (though it narrowly beat out Jake Arrieta‘s 503-foot blast in 2015, because baseball is weird), he broke the Dodgers’ outfield fence on an attempted catch at the wall last Sunday, and he carries 25 home runs that have each exceeded 460 feet.

It should come as little surprise, then, that when Stanton muscled his 12th home run of the season against the Angels on Friday night, it not only hit the batter’s eye, but left a visible dent in the wall:

Stanton’s mammoth shot put the Marlins on the board in the first inning, setting the stage for a four-run effort that gave the club an early lead. The home run measured a cool 462 feet, the slugger’s longest of the season. He still has a little ways to go to catch up to the 2017 season leader, Jake Lamb, whose 481-foot home run against the Rockies currently leads the pack.

The next item on Stanton’s bucket list? If we’re lucky, maybe something a little like this:

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.