137th Kentucky Derby

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Yankees 6, Red Sox 2; Red Sox 7, Yankees 4: Early game: when you get beat by a strong outing from A.J. Burnett and a big homer from Jorge Posada, maybe the universe is trying to tell you something, Red Sox. Late Game: Wowzers. Jacoby Ellsbury is getting all the glory — as he should — but let’s not overlook the fantastic job the Sox pen did in that game. Jonathan Papelbon went way past his usual allotment.  Franklin Morales and Felix Doubront likewise came up big. Boston retains a one-game lead in the wild card.

Rays 5, Blue Jays 2: Tampa Bay takes two of three from Toronto as the Red Sox falter. All Rays runs came on homers, including an inside-the-parker for Ben Zobrist.

Nationals 3, Braves 0: OF COURSE the Nats took two of three from the Braves. There have been less certain things than that carved into stone by ancient civilizations possessing Oracles of Seeing. Ross Detwiler shut ’em out for six innings and the bullpen did the rest.

Cardinals 3, Cubs 2: OF COURSE the Cubs blew a lead in two of three games to the Cardinals. There have been less certain things than that done by the Nationals to the Braves. Late homers for Yadier Molina and Rafael Furcal pull the Cardinals to within a game of Atlanta with three to play.

Diamondbacks 5, Giants 2: Talk about an F-U series. The Dbacks didn’t need these games at all — they had clinched — and then they sweep the Giants anyway. Cold, man. Ice water. Assassin-like.

Tigers 10, Orioles 6: Miguel Cabrera went 2 for 3 with a homer and a couple of RBI. He could still win the batting title and has an OPS of 1.025. But he can’t be mentioned as an MVP candidate — no sir! — because to do so would ruin the whole “Justin Verlander is a one-man gang” narrative with which everyone seems so smitten.

Phillies 9, Mets 4: Philly breaks a nine-game losing streak. You guys can now immediately go from “we’re doomed!” back to “we’re the best team evah!”

Dodgers 6, Padres 2: Matt Kemp’s 1 for 5 didn’t help his triple crown case, but hey, the win is what is important. Wait. Not at this point of the season it isn’t. Damn.

Brewers 9, Marlins 5: Ryan Braun went 2 for 3 with a homer. But to hear Milwaukee fans tell it — when they’re denigrating Matt Kemp’s MVP case — that homer shouldn’t count. I mean, after all, since the Brewers have already clinched, that game was meaningless, right?

Athletics 6, Angels 5: Just wasn’t meant to be for the Angels this year. Blowing leads of 3-0 and 5-2 in the eighth and ninth innings would probably have hurt more if they were another game or two closer. Now they need both Tampa Bay and the Red Sox to get swept in the season’s final series. Not bloody likely.

Rangers 12, Mariners 5: Anyone besides me hoping against hope for a Rangers-Tigers ALCS?  Seems like the two best clubs goin’ right now.  Yorvit Torrealba hit two homers, one of which was a grand slam.

Reds 5, Pirates 4: Dontrelle Willis wins his first game of the year. He also doubled in two runs. Perhaps he can build on this into his next … oh, wait.

Royals 2, White Sox 1: Luis Mendoza allowed one run over seven and two-thirds.

Twins 6, Indians 4: All kinds of guys I’ve never heard of and most of us will not hear much about again any time soon figured in this one. Rene Tosoni with a big homer in tenth which stood up as the game-winner. Kyle Waldrop got the win in relief. Hunter McKenzie had a nifty defensive play to help send it to extra innings. One of those three was made up. I bet without looking most of you couldn’t say which one it was.

Rockies 19, Astros 3: Take comfort, Atlanta! Houston looks primed to give the Cardinals a big fight in the season’s final series! Oy. Two homers for Kevin Kouzmanoff. Five RBI a piece for him and Chris Ianetta.

Erik Johnson likely to open 2016 in the White Sox rotation

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Erik Johnson #45 of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the White Sox 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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With the White Sox losing Jeff Samardzija to free agency, Erik Johnson will likely get a shot to contribute out of the rotation to open up the 2016 season, GM Rick Hahn said in a conference call on Wednesday, per a report from MLB.com’s Scott Merkin.

“As we sit here today, I think it will be an opportunity for Erik Johnson to convert on sort of the return to form he showed back in 2015 when he was International League pitcher of the year for [Triple-A] Charlotte,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he got some starts in September and continued to show the progress in Chicago he had shown in the Minor Leagues over the course of the last season.

“So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot. But if we were strictly looking at today, then I would think Johnson has the inside track on filling Samardzija’s innings.”

Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in September and made six starts, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 32 hits and 17 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings. That followed up an impressive five months in the minors where he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 136/41 K/BB ratio across 132 2/3 innings.

Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com each included Johnson on their top-100 prospect lists, ranking him 63rd, 67th, and 70th, respectively. The right-hander was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (8:45 PM EST): Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Happ will get $10 million in 2016 and $13 million each in 2017 and ’18.


MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.

This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.