And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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There were only 14 games yesterday. On a Sunday. Because the A’s and Mariners didn’t play thanks to the Japan Series. Look, I don’t care if you want to start the season in Japan, but there should be a federal law against anything less than a full slate of games on a Sunday.  Anyway:

Tigers 13, Red Sox 12: How about the back end of that Red Sox bullpen? Alfredo Aceves blew a 10-7 lead in the ninth thanks to a Miguel Cabrera three-run homer and Mark Melancon blew a two-run lead in the eleventh thanks to a walkoff job by Alex Avila. Anyone want to see Vicente Padilla closing? He threw 50 m.p.h. heat to Prince Fielder and lived to tell the tale. Anyway, so far Miguel Cabrera has begun the season 5 for his first 11 with three homers and eight RBI. Both Fielder and Avila are 5 for 12 with two bombs. Mercy.

Pirates 5, Phillies 4: That’s two walkoff wins in a row for Pittsburgh, this one courtesy of Andrew McCutchen. Phillies starters gave up only two runs in twenty innings this series, yet they dropped two of the three games.

Rays 3, Yankees 0: Jeremy Hellickson allowed three hits while shutting out the Yankees for eight and two-thirds. He just couldn’t get the shutout, however, as he walked Nick Swisher, pushing his pitch count up to 118. Four Fernando Rodney pitches later and it was over. The Rays sweep the Yankees. This never would have happened if The Boss were still alive!  Oh, wait, it very well might have.

Orioles 3, Twins 1: Jason Hammel took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and the Twins mustered just two hits in the whole ballgame.  The Twins scored just five runs in the entire series. Against Baltimore. The Baltimore Orioles.

Mets 7, Braves 5: Jon Niese took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score suggests (the Mets had a 7-0 lead until that seventh inning). The Braves scored seven runs on fourteen hits in three games.

Indians 4, Blues Jays 3: Carlos Santana hit two home runs. It was also his birthday so, hey, free dessert at Applebee’s too. According to the AP recap, Santana is 10 for 17 with five homers and 13 RBIs on his last four birthdays.

Cubs 4, Nationals 3: Man, I’ve gone several years now without having any compelling reason to learn how to spell Jeff Samardzija’s name, but now it looks like I gotta. Samardzija nearly went the distance — and had what should have been the last out except Starlin Castro committed an error — before giving up a homer to Adam LaRoche.  Still, eight and two-thirds innings, allowing only one earned run on four hits while striking out eight is not bad. Not bad at all.

Cardinals 9, Brewers 3: Lance Lynn wasn’t even supposed to be here today, man. Indeed, but for the Chris Carpenter injury, Lynn would be working from the pen. But he did just swell starting, giving up one run in six and two-thirds while punching out eight. The Cards take two of three from the Brew Crew. Corey Hart went yard for the third time in two days. Which is kind of nuts considering the dude had surgery and was on crutches about a month ago.

Padres 8, Dodgers 4: Clayton Richard gave up two runs on two hits but neither of the runs were earned. Chase Heddy — wait, that’s Headley — had a grand slam.

Diamondbacks 7, Giants 6: San Francisco had a 6-0 lead after they finished batting in the fourth, but Matt Cain and Jeremy Affeldt couldn’t hold the Dbacks down.

Royals 7, Angels 3: Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler homered and drove in three runs apiece as the Royals take two of three from Anaheim. Albert Pujols went two for three with a double and his first RBI as a Halo.

Astros 3, Rockies 2:  Juan Nicasio put forth a fine effort (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) in his first regular season action since taking that nasty comebacker last year. It didn’t hold up, however, as the Rockies’ defense failed on a ball back to the mound in the eighth, allowing Houston to score the tying run while extending the inning for the go-ahead single by Brian Bogusevic. Pfun Pfact: This is the first time the Astros have been over .500 since July 29, 2009. They shouldn’t get used to it, but good for them.

Rangers 5, White Sox 0: Matt Harrison and three relievers combine for the shutout. Homers from Murphy, Beltre and Hamilton. And yeah, I watched “Mad Men” instead of the last few innings of this game. I’m still in spring training form I guess. Anyway: WTF with Don’s fever dream? Crazy!

Reds 6, Marlins 5: Heath Bell couldn’t hold a one-run lead, giving up a homer to Jay Bruce and then a hot-shot infield single by Scott Rolen.  Ozzie Guillen has now gone two whole days without expressing his admiration and affection for brutal socialist dictators.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.

David Price’s season debut could be pushed back to May

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David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.

Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:

[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.

The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.