And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 5, Astros 4: Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez hit home runs, finally putting that crazy home run sculpture into action. Somehow we all survived, though I’m not ruling out the possibility that we all got thrown into an alternate timeline or something and won’t truly realize it until all the crazy occult stuff starts happening. Kind of like when Ash heard that tape of the professor reciting passages from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. If Logan Morrison starts calling his bat his “boomstick” and decapitates a possessed Giancarlo Stanton, we’ll know that there is some serious stuff going down.

Dodgers 5, Padres 4: L.A. sports the best record in baseball at 9-1 following a walkoff RBI single by Dee Gordon. Weird triple play in this one. Runners on first and second and Jesus Guzman squared to bunt. He thought it was foul as did the runners, none of whom moved. Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis fired to third, it went around the horn to second and first and everyone was out. Kind of b.s if you ask me, as the home plate umpire held his arms up as though it were a dead ball at first.

Cardinals 10, Cubs 3: Matt Carpenter only has playing time because everyone on the planet is injured, but he’s making the most of it. He’s hitting .409 with 10 RBIs in 22 at-bats on the young season. Yesterday he hit a homer, a triple and drove in five. Jake Westbrook allowed only four hits in seven innings.

Braves 7, Brewers 4: Atlanta lost its first four games but has won its last five. Chipper Jones hasn’t played much, but he’s contributed each time he has played, hitting a three-run homer in this one. Brandon Beachy gave up only three hits and an unearned run in seven innings.

Blue Jays 9, Orioles 2: The Jays put up a seven spot in the sixth inning to turn this one into a laugher and averted a sweep by the Orioles. Kyle Drabek had his second strong start in a row.

Reds 8, Nationals 5: Joey Votto doubled in two in the 11th to help the Reds avoid a sweep in Washington. Grand slam for Ryan Ludwick.

Red Sox 6, Rays 4: Nothing like winning three straight over a division rival while scoring 31 runs to make everyone feel better about everything. Patriots Day game early today during which the Sox will go for the sweep. In other news, Ralph Branca threw out the first pitch. The ghost of Bobby Thomson stole the sign that was relayed to him and smacked it over the left field wall. Don DeLillo is writing all about it as we speak.

Phillies 8, Mets 2: Cole Hamels strikes out ten in seven innings, helping the Phillies avoid the sweep. Ty Wigginton drove in four, three of which came on a bases-clearing double that broke the game open in the eighth. The Phillies now start a ten game west coast swing.

Tigers 5, White Sox 2: Rick Porcello gave up one run in seven and two-thirds and Gerald Laird went 3 for 4 with a homer. Believe it or not, Porcello’s win was the first W notched by a Tigers starter this season.

Indians 13, Royals 7: The Indians scored 32 runs in a three-game sweep of the Royals, reminding everyone who thought the Royals were a sexy pick this season that they really don’t have the pitching to do it. Unless you count Mitch Maier, who now leads the team in ERA. Travis Hafner murdered a baseball in this one, sending it some 456 feet, which was one of the longest homers in the history of Kaufman Stadium.

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 2: Yet another game yesterday in which the winner avoided a three-game sweep. Trevor Cahill allowed only four hits, all of them singles, and only one run in seven and a third. Chris Young homered and drove in three.

Rangers 4, Twins 3: Texas scored three in the eighth, capped by a Josh Hamilton two-run bomb. Hamilton has four homers on the season and his 16 for 41. The Rangers lead the AL with an 8-2 record.

Pirates 4, Giants 1: Pittsburgh snaps a five game losing streak. Garrett Jones homered, described in the AP game story as “Jones pulled a solo home run over the right-field arcade.” When it landed it hit a guy who was pounding the l-r buttons on Track and Field so hard  he couldn’t hear the crowd noise, then it bounced over to the other side of the arcade and rolled under the Dragon’s Lair machine. Which no one ever really plays because we all feel like it’s rigged.

Yankees 11, Angels 5:  Jerome Williams got shelled out of the gate, the bullpen didn’t help and the Angels slow start continues. Raul Ibanez absolutely destroyed a baseball in the bottom of the seventh, putting it up in the upper deck on one of the longest homers ever hit in new Yankee Stadium.

Mariners 5, Athletics 3: Remember back when the Mariners and A’s used to play teams besides each other? I don’t. Brendan Ryan hit a homer. I don’t remember that happening too often either.

Joey Votto thinks he can win the Home Run Derby, but hasn’t been invited yet

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Despite having hit at least 20 home runs in eight of his 11 seasons in the majors, Reds first baseman Joey Votto has never participated in a Home Run Derby. Currently, he’s tied for the National League lead in home runs with 20, and he hasn’t been invited to this year’s festivities at Marlins Park.

In the event he is invited, Votto said he thinks he can win it, C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto likened himself to Ichiro Suzuki, a player known more for his contact abilities and mastery of the strike zone than power. “Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro — Japan has theirs and Canada has theirs,” Votto said. “I could pull homers into the seats at will.”

Along with the 20 homers, Votto is currently hitting .306/.419/.601 with 53 RBI, and 52 runs scored in 313 plate appearances.

Teammate Scott Schebler also has 20 home runs at the moment and Adam Duvall, who made it to the semifinals of the Derby last year, has 16. Neither of them have been approached about participating in the Derby, either. Per Rosecrans, in the event each was invited, Duvall said he would consider participating if he wasn’t an All-Star and Schebler would participate regardless. Votto said he would only participate if he made the All-Star team.

There was apparently some miscommunication between Pete Mackanin and Pat Neshek

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The Phillies won their first game since last Thursday, beating the Cardinals 5-1 on Thursday afternoon. Starter Aaron Nola pitched into the eighth inning, but left with one out. Pat Neshek took the mound with a runner on first base and induced an inning-ending double play on a 3-1 count to Tommy Pham.

Given that Neshek only threw five pitches and the Phillies were staked to a four-run lead, it wouldn’t have seemed unreasonable if the sidewinding right-hander came back out to finish the ninth inning as well. But Luis Garcia had that honor, tossing a scoreless final frame to nail down the win in a non-save situation.

After the game, manager Pete Mackanin said he asked Neshek to go back out for the ninth, but Neshek didn’t want to, per Stephen Gross of the Morning Call. Neshek told the media that Mackanin never asked him. There was also a miscommunication on Wednesday. The combination of Joaquin Benoit, Hector Neris, and Edubray Ramos combined to allow four runs in 2 1/3 innings, helping the Phillies lose 7-6. Neshek never appeared. According to Mackanin, Neshek told him that he wasn’t available to pitch. Neshek said he was told he’d have the day off.

The disconnect between Mackanin and Neshek could speak to a larger divide between the manager and his failing team. The Phillies have underwhelmed across the board due to players like Odubel Herrera (whose head was down and did not see Juan Samuel’s stop sign last night in what became a base running blunder), Maikel Franco, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola (today’s start notwithstanding), and Hector Neris not living up to expectations. The Phillies signed Mackanin to a contract extension last month, but the team has completely fallen apart since then and the latest communications issues certainly don’t reflect well on him. Neither does last night’s travesty of a game.

As for Neshek, he said that going to the Phillies was “the best thing that happened to me in a few years” but also realized, given the state of the team, that it remains very likely he winds up in a new uniform by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. After Thursday’s performance, Neshek is carrying a 0.63 ERA with a 25/4 K/BB ratio in 28 2/3 innings. He very well could be the Phillies’ lone representative at the All-Star Game in Miami next month. That is, if he’s still wearing their uniform. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Nationals have shown interest in Neshek.