And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 7, Rangers 4: The platonic ideal of a late-dynasty Yankees game: Four hits for Jeter, homer for A-Rod, a CC Sabathia win and a Mariano Rivera save.  In other news, I sorta feel like I wanna be the guy who starts writing the breathless “can Derek Jeter hit .400?” articles. Maybe I’ll do one later today.

Giants 6, Mets 1, Giants 7, Mets 2: In the first game, Lincecum  finally pitches like Lincecum. Well, not really like Lincecum — more like a shadow of Tim Lincecum who likes to walk guys — but after his first couple of stinkers, this was quality. Madison Bumgarner ties up the Mets in the nightcap.

Blue Jays 4, Royals 1: Eleven straight losses for K.C., ten at home. In other news, someone you love lost their job since 2008 while Ned Yost remains gainfully employed. For now.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 2: Jason Motte came in to lock down a 2-1 lead in the ninth, but the Cubbies had different ideas: walk, walk, groundout to put both runners in scoring position and then a Joe Mather two-run RBI single to win it for Chicago. A great Jaime Garcia start was waster (7.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER).  If Tony La Russa was still alive, Motte would be working mopup duty tomorrow and La Russa would be claiming that the Cardinals never had a closer, and who are you talking about anyway?

Red Sox 6, Twins 5: Cody Ross homered in the 7th to tie it and homered again in the ninth to put the Sox ahead for good. Jon Lester wasn’t sharp — he gave up five runs in seven — but the pen actually held Minnesota scoreless for two innings, which is a cause for celebration with the Sox.

Dodgers 7, Braves 2: I watched the first couple innings of this. Between listening to Vin Scully and watching Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp play, I’m sorta tempted to turn heel on my Braves and root for the Dodgers this entire series. It was especially easy to do last night what with Jair Jurrjens becoming this year’s version of 2011 Derek Lowe and over four innings of Livan Hernandez Time.

Diamondbacks 9, Phillies 5: The return of an effective Justin Upton (2 for 3, HR 2 RBI). I may have said on the HBT Extra going up today that Kyle Kendrick filling in for Cliff Lee wouldn’t be horrible. Which just goes to show you that you can’t believe anything you see on video (3 IP, 11 H, 7 ER).

White Sox 4, Athletics 0: Jake Peavy throws a three-hit shutout, overshadowing another great Bartolo Colon start.

Brewers 6, Astros 5: Ryan Braun was 3 for 4 with a double, homer and two RBI, breaking a 2 for 20 slump. Zack Greinke struck out nine in six innings. As go the Brewers stars, so go the Brewers.

Rockies vs. Pirates: POSTPONED: When the rain falls, there’s magic in our lives. When the rain falls, we’re happy deep inside. When the rain falls, it cleans away the corners of our minds.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.