And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 2, Yankees 0: Yu Darvish finally arrives. Eight and a third innings, ten strikeouts and a big goose egg in the runs column against the best offense in baseball.

Rays 5, Angels 0: David Price: five-hit shutout. Albert Pujols: 0 for 4. He has the lowest slugging percentage of anyone in last night’s Angels lineup with the exception of Peter Bourjos.

Mariners 7, Tigers 4: Sometimes Max Scherzer is good, sometimes he’s bad and rarely is he anything in between. This was a bad night: five runs on ten hits in five innings. Michael Saunders had a couple of RBI doubles for the M’s. Meanwhile, while the box score shows no errors for Brandon Inge, Kurt from SB Nation felt it necessary to depict his play at second base thusly.  Which says a lot about how the Tigers blogosphere feels about Brandon Inge.

Orioles 2, Blue Jays 1: Matt Wieters hit a homer that was made possible thanks to the glove of outfielder Eric Thames. As in, the ball bounced off Thames’ glove and over the fence. Thames hit his own homer the inning before, so I suppose this made it even.

Reds 9, Giants 2: Matt Cain proves somewhat mortal, but what put this game out of reach was the bullpen “help” from Dan Otero, who gave up six runs on six hits in an inning and two-thirds. Meanwhile, Matt Latos shuts San Francisco out over the course of seven innings. Three RBI for Brandon Phillips.

Pirates 5, Rockies 4: When Jim Tracy’s Rockies meet Clint Hurdle’s Pirates, I like to pretend that the two of them — each of whom once managed for the other team — were traded for one another. Straight-up challenge trade, like, in the middle of the season. Manager had to fly in before game time, get his new jersey and just get out there.  In other news, Jamie Moyer — whose first ever appearance against the Pirates came when the now nearly 63 year-old Rick Reuchel was on the team — left with a 2-1 lead after six strong innings but the pen couldn’t hold it.

Mets 2, Marlins 1: Jose Reyes returns to New York and goes 0 for 4. So much for that drama. More important here were the performances of Johan Santana and Josh Johnson, each of whom are trying to show the world that they’re truly healthy and an be aces again. On this night they were: Santana struck out 11 in six and two thirds while giving up only one and Johnson struck out nine and gave up one over the same distance.

Indians 4, Royals 3: Derek Lowe: one run on eight hits over six innings. Jonathan Sanchez: 115 pitches and he couldn’t even go five. Uglyville, U.S.A. as the Royals drop their 12th straight.

Red Sox 11, Twins 2: The Sox break out the bats. Six guys in the lineup had at least two hits. David Ortiz drove in three. Mike Aviles went 4 for 5 with a homer. Josh Beckett allowed two runs over six.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 2: The second 3-2 loss in a row for St. Louis. Alfonso Soriano drove in the winning run with an RBI single in the 10th. It maybe shouldn’t have happened, though, as Tony Campana — who scored the winning run — maybe shoulda been called out at second when he stole it earlier in the inning. Silver lining for the Cardinals: Adam Wainwright finally pitched well (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Brewers 9, Astros 6: A five-run sixth inning capped by a Rickie Weeks homer. Corey Hart, Travis Ishikawa and Carlos Gomez also homered. Milwaukee has beat Houston 11 straight times.

Phillies 8, Diamondbacks 5: I guess Hunter Pence’s shoulder is OK: he hit a two-run homer, sparking the Philly offense to its best day in over a week.

Athletics 2, White Sox 0: Tommy Milone shut the Chisox out over eight innings, besting Gavin Floyd in a pitcher’s duel and stopping the Sox’ winning streak at four.

Braves 4, Dodgers 3: Martin Prado only had one hit, but it was a biggie: an RBI triple in the ninth to break a 3-3 tie. He drove in another earlier in the game on a groundout. Atlanta also scored on a wild pitch.  Chipper Jones had a homer too. On his 40th birthday. He always hits on his birthday: for his career his is 21 for 49 with five homers on April 24th and the Braves are 11-2.

Nationals 3, Padres 1: So far the Gio Gonzalez deal is feeling pretty good for Washington. He allowed only two hits in six shutout innings, running his scoreless innings streak to 20.

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.