down to the wire

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 8, Orioles 7: It came down to the last at bat. An epic 10-pitch job to Adam Jones with a runner on second that I watched live even though I didn’t watch the whole game because, hell, how can you not?  Two homers for Ryan Lavarnway. In other news, who in the hell is Ryan Lavarnway?

Rays 5, Yankees 3: Matt Joyce with the three-run homer off Rafael Soriano brought the Rays back from a 3-2 deficit. Russell Martin grounded into a triple play at one point. I assume he did that to screw the Red Sox somehow.

Phillies 7, Braves 1: I would like to offer an apology to Derek Lowe. Yesterday on Twitter, while I was feeling pessimistic, I said that he’d offer up a “4 IP, 6 ER performance.” In fact he offered up a 4 IP, 5 ER performance. Why I doubted my team’s $15 million, 17-loss ace, I have no idea, but I just hope to make it up to him someday.

Cardinals 13, Astros 6: This was a massacre, but it’s worth noting that it was Ryan Theriot’s two-run double that broke the tie and helped open the floodgates. We’ve had a lot of fun at his expense lately, what with all of the “it is what it is” quotes, but good on him for coming up big. Oh, and congrats to Tony La Russa for burning through 139 players in this game. Can’t wait for him to face the Yankees in the World Series. We might be able to catch the end of the games after we wake up for work the next morning.

Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 6: Wow, talk about wild! Eleven runs were scored between these two in the 10th inning, with Ryan Roberts walking off with a grand slam for the Dbacks. He did the Kirk Gibson fist pump thing as he rounded the bases too. I’m assuming the fact that Roberts lived to talk about after the game means that the successful season has mellowed Gibson a bit.

Brewers 6, Pirates 4: Three homers for Prince Fielder tie him with Matt Kemp at the top of the NL leaderboard. Ryan Braun remains a single point off the batting title lead. Why…?

Reds 5, Mets 4: … Because Jose Reyes hit two homers and singled, raising his average to .336. In a losing effort, however, because the Reds tied it in the ninth and then won it on a squeeze play in the 13th.

Twins 7, Royals 4: Rene Tosoni is about the only Twins player I’ve called by name in a week. Four RBI here is a good enough reason for it, but really I don’t know why he’s on my mind. My mind got bent last night anyway. I gave up on Derek Lowe’s crap-fest early and decided to watch a “Battlestar Galactica” episode. It was the one in which Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” played a significant part, and that’s messed up for about 15 reasons, the least of which is that these people all come from a planet in which there is no such thing as Bob Dylan. But I’ll let it slide. I’m just going to assume it all makes sense sometime in the next 25 episodes. Hopefully it ends with Bob Dylan being a Cylon. That would be epic.

Giants 7, Rockies 0: Oh, so there’s the offense. Sorry dudes, too late.

Athletics 7, Mariners 0: Oh, so there’s Trevor Cahill’s dominance. Sorry dude, too late.

White Sox 2, Blues Jays 1: Don Cooper now has the best winning percentage in the history of White Sox managers. I’m not sure how you don’t rehire him based on that. If it was Mark Buehrle’s last game for the White Sox, it was very Mark Buehrle-ish. Seven shutout innings in two hours and fifteen minutes.

Marlins 3, Nationals 2:  Bryan Petersen homered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to win it. Javier Vazquez was awesome again. It may have been the final game of his career. Today will be the last ever game in whatever the hell they’re calling that ballpark now. Good riddance.

Cubs 6, Padres 2: Starlin Castro had a couple of hits. He’ll become the youngest man to ever lead the NL in that category when the season ends today. He has also reached base in 39 consecutive games.

Rangers 10, Angels 3: Texas wins its 95th game. That’s one more than Detroit as it seeks home field advantage in the playoffs. Detroit holds the tiebreaker, however, so thew Rangers need to win today or have the Tigers lose to secure it and a matchup against the wild card winner. Kudos to the game story writer for using the word “penultimate” in the AP recap.

Tigers 9, Indians 6: Wilson Betemit had been suffering from a sore knee and Jim Leyland had said just yeasterday that he’s worried about him. No worries: Betemit hit a 423-foot homer.

Mike Piazza, Ken Griffey, Jr. inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 24:  Mike Piazza (L) and Ken Griffey Jr. pose with thier plaques at Clark Sports Center after the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 24, 2016 in Cooperstown, New York.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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As Craig previewed on Friday, catcher Mike Piazza and outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. The Hall’s official Twitter account tweeted photos of each player’s plaque.

Junior, of course, should’ve been depicted with a backwards baseball cap in his plaque. He did put his cap on backwards during his speech.

Craig covered the analysis angle on Friday, so I’ll share my personal perspective.

As someone who grew up watching Piazza and Griffey, it’s cool to see them inducted into the Hall of Fame. As I’m not yet in my 30’s, I only recently got used to seeing my childhood favorites getting inducted into Cooperstown. Looking at the list, Barry Larkin was probably the first player inducted whose career I completely remember following. Since then, this time every July has made me feel pretty old, even if that’s not actually the case. It’s like, “It’s been six years since he retired already?”

If you were a kid growing up in the 1990’s and you played baseball, you mimicked Griffey’s swing. I was terrible at hitting, so it didn’t help me any, but it was a cool feeling when you did Junior’s signature waggle at the plate and connected with a pitch. And if you grew up with video games in the ’90’s, you probably also played his self-titled Super Nintendo Game:

Piazza is a special case, as I’m from southeast Pennsylvania. He was from nearby Norristown and Phoenixville, and as such was the pride of the state even if he spent most of his time across the country and, later, with the rival Mets. It wasn’t uncommon to see people hate the Mets’ guts but still cheer when Piazza homered, as long as it wasn’t against the Phillies. There was one particular home run which had everyone cheering, no matter their affiliation:

Congratulations to Griffey and Piazza for being immortalized into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, a well-deserved honor.

The 2017 Hall of Fame ballot will bring back Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Trevor Hoffman, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith, Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent, Larry Walker, Gary Sheffield, Billy Wagner, and Sammy Sosa. First-timers will include Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, Javier Vazquez, Mike Cameron, J.D. Drew, Jorge Posada, Magglio Ordonez, Derrek Lee, Tim Wakefield, Edgar Renteria, Melvin Mora, Carlos Guillen, Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, Aaron Rowand, Pat Burrell, Freddy Sanchez, Arthur Rhodes, Julio Lugo, and Danys Baez.

White Sox suspend Chris Sale five games over Saturday’s clubhouse incident

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 02:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
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White Sox starter Chris Sale was scratched from Saturday’s start against the Tigers due to a clubhouse incident. It turns out Sale wasn’t happy that the White Sox wanted to use throwback uniforms that featured collars. Sale reportedly cut up his uniform and got into a heated argument with front office staff.

The White Sox released a statement on Sunday, announcing that Sale has been suspended five games. White Sox senior vice president and general manager Rick Hahn said, “Chris has been suspended for violating team rules, for insubordination, and for destroying team equipment.”

Hahn continued, “While we all appreciate Chris’ talent and passion, there is a correct way and an incorrect way to express concerns about team rules and organizational expectations.”

Matt Albers made a spot start in Sale’s place on Saturday against the Tigers. He gave up one run on one hit with one strikeout in two innings of work before giving way to the bullpen.

Sale, 27, has been mentioned in trade rumors lately with the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline approaching. The White Sox reportedly turned down a “king’s ransom” for Sale recently, but one wonders if the clubhouse incident might motivate the club to make a trade.