Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

39 Comments

Blue Jays 8, Rangers 7:  We hear a lot about Bryce Harper, but Brett Lawrie is a more fully formed version of “young, confident dude who can be a difference maker.”  Toronto fought back from an early 5-0 deficit, took the lead, then blew the lead before Lawrie hit a leadoff homer that just barely cleared the wall to walk things off in the bottom of the 9th.

Phillies 4, Braves 2: It’s not often that Jonny Venters is going to give up two runs on four hits in a given outing, but when he does, you know the Braves are sunk. Venters gave up a double, a single, struck a dude out but threw strike three wild and then gave up a couple more hits in the eighth inning and that was all she wrote.

Rays 3, Mariners 1: On a day when all of the off-the-field news was miserable for Tampa Bay at least the on-the-field part went OK.  The Rays had only three hits, but Matt Joyce’s homer and RBI triple were two of them. The Rays have won nine of ten.

Diamondbacks 5, Nationals 1: Bryce Harper’s home debut didn’t go well for him — he was 0 for 3 — or the Nationals, who have lost five straight. Trevor Cahill allowed one run over seven and a third.

Orioles 7, Yankees 1: Phil Hughes was largely ineffective again. Brian Matusz: not so much.  Matusz allowed only one run in six and a third, giving him his first win since last June and Buck Showalter his 1000th win of all time.

Tigers 9, Royals 3: Detroit scores five in the first inning, which while it took all of the drama out of this one, meant that the Tigers finally won one. Austin Jackson was four for five two batted in. He’s at .314/.398/.523 on the year, which is a bright spot indeed.

Marlins 2, Giants 1: Maybe the Marlins just needed to get out of town. They break their losing streak behind seven string innings from Ricky Nolasco and a Giancarlo Stanton homer. Matt Cain, who has pitched so brilliantly this season, is now only 1-2 on the year, putting him in the early lead for the King Felix Award, which goes to starters whose records stink because they get totally boned by their teammates all the time.

Angels 4, Twins 0: Minnesota is either doing a wonderful service in giving confidence to struggling teams this season or else they have officially become jobbers. If I were Gregg Easterbrook and gave every team putatively clever nicknames and never let go of them, I’d consider calling the Twins the Iron Mike Sharpes or the Randy Mulkeys or something like that. Jerome Williams with a three-hit shutout.

Padres 2, Brewers 0: Shaun Marcum shut out the Padres for seven innings but Edinson Volquez did the same to the Brewers and he didn’t have K-Rod giving up a two-run pinch hit homer to Mark Kotsay in the eighth. By the way, if you told me before I looked at the box score that Mark Kotsay hit the game-winning homer in this one, I would have assumed the Brewers won.  Kotsay is one of those guys who, gun to my head, I could never tell you who he played for in a given season until he did something that forced me to take notice.

White Sox 7, Indians 2: Gordon Beckham went 3 for 4 with a homer. Easily the best Beckham-related news of the day yesterday. This one had an extended rain delay and then fog. This is why they’ll never expand to Scotland.

Dodgers 7, Rockies 6: Dee Gordon hit his first homer and A.J. and Mark Ellis each had a bunch of hits. I wish those two were good. If they consistently helped the Dodgers win I’d consider some fun Ellis-related nickname for them or some clever pro wrestling reference or something. But, nah, I don’t think it’s gonna come up much.

Cardinals 10, Pirates 7, Adam Wainwright gets his first win since 2010. David Freese remains hot with another homer. Matt Holliday had a homer among his three hits and drove in two.

Astros 6, Mets 3: The difference between good teams and bad teams this year: good teams go into Houston on their way out west and take care of business against the Astros. The Mets aren’t doin’ it. Chris Snyder hit a three-run homer, Jed Lowrie had a two-run bomb.

Athletics 5, Red Sox 3: Jarrod Parker allowed only one run in six and two-thirds for his second straight strong start at the beginning of his career.

Cubs vs. Reds: POSTPONED: O Rain! that I lie listening to, You’re but a doleful sound at best: I owe you little thanks,’tis true, For breaking thus my needful rest! Yet if, as soon as it is light, O Rain! you will but take your flight, I’ll neither rail, nor malice keep,
Though sick and sore for want of sleep. But only now, for this one day, Do go, dear Rain! do go away!

The Mets are among six teams that help Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 19:  A detailed view of the blackboard with theoretical physics equations in chalk by Alberto Ramos, Theoretical Physics Fellow and visitor, Antonio Gonzalez-Arroyo from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (both not in frame) at The European Organization for Nuclear Research commonly know as CERN on April 19, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
2 Comments

In a special for USA TODAY Sports, Mike Vorkunov details how six teams — the Mets in particular — provide an education program that helps their Dominican prospects earn high school diplomas. It seems like an obvious win-win: smarter players make smarter decisions, making them more likely to achieve their potential as athletes. That, of course, requires spending money, which is why only six teams make the investment. For the players, if baseball doesn’t work out, they are better able to support themselves in other ways.

Vorkunov lists the Pirates, Tigers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners as the other teams who provide an education program for their Dominican prospects. We learned earlier this month that the Phillies were also investing in making sure their minor leaguers eat healthy. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “few teams” supply their minor league players with healthy food options.

Juan Henderson, the head of the Mets’ Dominican academy, said, “We see the benefit of it. I gotta tell you, we’re working with a new generation of baseball players. You see in the past that players just carry a bat and a glove and a helmet on the baseball field and in the academy. Those years, I think, are going to be pretty much over. Now they also do that, but they also carry books, they also carry an iPad, they also carry a laptop.”

Kudos to the six teams for making a great decision and here’s hoping the other 24 teams follow suit.

Video: Albert Pujols hits 569th career home run, tying Rafael Palmeiro

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 22:  Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the third inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 22, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Angels first baseman Albert Pujols cranked out a two-run home run in the third inning against Rangers starter Derek Holland, breaking a scoreless tie. It’s the ninth homer of the season for Pujols and the 569th of his career, putting him into a tie with Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard.

Harmon Killebrew is Pujols’ next target at 573, followed by Mark McGwire at 583 and Frank Robinson at 586.

Pujols hadn’t homered since May 13. He entered Monday night hitting a mediocre .228/.309/.395 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 188 plate appearances.

Alex Gordon to miss three to four weeks with a fractured scaphoid bone

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 22:  Alex Gordon #4 and Mike Moustakas #8 of the Kansas City Royals collide going for a foul ball against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on May 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Royals 3-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
2 Comments

Monday has unfortunately been a day of injury news. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is the latest to hit the 15-day disabled list, as he has been diagnosed with a fractured scaphoid bone in his right wrist. The club has recalled infielder Cheslor Cuthbert from Triple-A Omaha.

Gordon suffered the injury colliding with third baseman Mike Moustakas attempting to catch a fly ball on Sunday afternoon. He is expected to miss three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.

Gordon was having a tough 2016 campaign and the injury only makes it worse. He’s hitting .211/.319/.331 with four home runs and 10 RBI in 166 plate appearances on the year.

The Royals will likely use Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando in left field in Gordon’s absence.

Orioles trade reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 17:  Brian Matusz #17 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning on May 17, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
5 Comments

The Orioles announced on Monday night that the club has traded reliever Brian Matusz to the Braves in exchange for minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves are also receiving a Competitive Balance Round B pick (76th overall) in the 2016 draft.

Matusz, 29, made his season debut on April 23 after battling a back injury since early March. It’s been a struggle, as the lefty has yielded eight runs on 11 hits and seven walks with just one strikeout in six innings. He is earning $3.9 million and can become a free agent after the season.

MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports that the Braves are expected to designate Matusz for assignment. Essentially, the Braves bought the draft pick for Matusz’s remaining salary of $3 million of $3.9 million total.

Barker, 23, has been pitching at Double-A Mississippi after getting a taste of Triple-A last year. So far this season, the right-hander has a 2.00 ERA with a 40/12 K/BB ratio in 45 innings spanning eight starts and a relief appearance.

Belicek, a 23-year-old left-hander, has spent most of the year with Single-A Rome, compiling a 2.49 ERA with a 29/1 K/BB ratio in 25 1/3 innings over 11 relief appearances.