And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 4, Rockies 2: Madison Bumgarner took a no-hitter into the sixth, silencing the Rockies bats that rocked Tim Lincecum’s world the night before. That, and some bad defense by Dexter Fowler, prevented Jamie Moyer from becoming the oldest pitcher to ever win a game. Can’t have errors behind the old guy or he’s toast. Why? Because as Jason Giambi said after the game: “He’s not a strikeout pitcher.” To which the interviewer responded thusly.

Cubs 8, Brewers 0: Attention Zack Greinke: you’re doing this whole free agency push thing wrong (3.2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER). Matt Garza, in contrast, was masterful (8.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER).  Well, almost masterful.

Nationals 3, Reds 2: The first place Nationals one won (professional writer, folks!) their home opener in front of a sellout crowd. There are, like, three things unusual about that sentence. But which over the next several years will seem pretty normal I reckon. Ryan Zimmerman scored the winning run on an Alfredo Simon wild pitch in the 10th.

Rangers 5, Mariners 3: Michael Young went 3 for 4 and drove in four. Derek Holland struck out eight in seven and a third. The Rangers have gotten a lot of really good starting pitching over the past three games.

Twins 10, Angels 9: The Twins rapped out 20 hits, including homers from Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau (who were booed earlier in the game, BTW. What the hell is wrong with you people?). Not that it was an offensive tour de force, as Minnesota stranded a bunch of runners. But that paled compared to the Angels’ bullpen, which gave up 11 hits and seven runs over the last four innings.

Tigers 7, Rays 2: Drew Smyly made his major league debut for the Tigers. It was rough at first — he loaded the bases with no one out to start the game — but wiggled out of it. Still didn’t get the win, though, as he threw 90 pitches over four innings.  It was Brennan Boesch’s birthday, it was his birthday, so he partied like it was his birthday, driving in four.

Phillies 3, Marlins 1: Joe Blanton had no trouble handling the Marlins, giving up one run on three hits in seven innings.

Dodgers 3, Pirates 2: The Dodgers sweep. Third game in a row without Vin Scully, by the way, as he recovers from a bad cold. Which just means that when he comes  back and the Dodgers don’t win the division, I’m going to start claiming that it was because of the curse of Vin Scully. That ought to be popular.

Diamondbacks 3, Padres 1: Ian Kennedy strikes out nine in six innings. A lot of people, myself included, thought that Kennedy would regress some this season. I think what we were forgetting is just how many games he gets to pitch against the Padres each year.

Giants remove pitching coach Dave Righetti

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After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.

According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.

Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.

Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.