And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Red Sox 5, Mariners 0: That Josh Beckett is such a disgrace! He’s poisoning this team, I tell you, poisoning them! Oh, wait, he pitched well? Seven shutout innings while striking out nine? Well, in that case, I stand corrected.

Cardinals 7, Cubs 6: Jason Motte vultured a win when he gave up a tying homer to Alfonso Soriano in the ninth but then stayed on to be the pitcher of record when Yadier Molina hit the game winning single in the bottom half of the inning. After the game Mike Matheny said “”There’s going to be some loud music playing in the clubhouse, and there’s going to be some crazy stuff on the plane, too.”  Somewhere, wherever he is, Tony La Russa had a pain shoot up his side.

Phillies 4, Astros 3: As we noted yesterday, Hunter Pence hit the walkoff homer. But the real play of the day came from umpire Bob Davidson, who in ejecting Charlie Manuel for no apparent reason apart from his own combative insecurity, truly lived up to his reputation yesterday. Oh, and Cliff Lee was pretty amazing despite the no decision.

Tigers 10, White Sox 8: Ugly all around. An eight-spot for the Tigers in the sixth inning helped them win it, but that was sandwiched by another bad, bullpen-stressing Max Scherzer start and a Jose Valverde injury on the other side. Chicago of course feels bad about it too, what with giving up a six-run lead.

Padres 6, Nationals 1: Strasburg was cold from the get-go. Just icy. The fireballer had to be hot about how bad his start was. Really burned him up, I’m sure. Oh, and Bryce Harper hit another homer, but he’s old news compared to Strasburg’s burning bits and pieces.

Indians 5, Twins 0: Derek Lowe’s shutout — and really, his entire season so far — is basically this to all Braves fans who enjoyed him losing 17 games last year. Not that we’re crying because we’re doing just fine without him, but still.  As for the Twins: currently on a worse pace than the 1962 Mets, so there’s that.

Angels 4, Athletics 0: Albert Pujols broke out, going 3 for 4 with two RBI singles. Ervin Santana pitched seven and two-thirds shuout innings.

Brewers 8, Mets 0: The Travis Ishikawa and Zack Greinke show. The former drove in five with the help of two homers. The latter shut the Mets out for seven innings, striking out seven. Oh, and right after Rickie Weeks hit a homer, Ryan Braun was plunked on the next pitch by D.J. Carrasco. Umpire Gary Darling ejected Carrasco. Darling must be an HBT reader and knows that intentional plunkings should not be tolerated. Good man.

Marlins 6, Pirates 2: Omar Infante went 4 for 5 and is hitting .325/.350/.598.  Remember when everyone made fun of him making the All-Star team a couple of years ago. Tell me: how many teams wouldn’t want that kind of production from their second basemen right now? Josh Johnson: two runs over seven innings for his first win in over a year.

Rays 4, Blues Jays 3: Down 3-0 after four innings, the Rays rallied and David Price won his fifth, retiring 12 of the final 13 he faced. And then there was ugliness, as Brett Lawrie was ejected after losing his sh** and throwing his batting helmet at the umpire. Then manager John Farrell got ejected too. Then:

Police and stadium security were seen pointing into the crowd after an exchange between fans and umpires as the crew headed off the field through the visitor’s dugout.

Canadian players and fans? Acting threateningly? Unpossible! Enjoy your suspension, Mr. Lawrie.

Braves 6, Reds 2: Tim Hudson allowed two runs over seven innings and the Braves had no problems holding the 6-0 lead they had after only four innings. Why are the Braves winning so much? The top seven of last night’s lineup sported OBPs as follows: .399, .374, .368, .360, .331. .348, .362.

Orioles 5, Yankees 2: Chen outduels Sabathia.  Guessing that’s the only time I’m gonna ever write that.

Royals 7, Rangers 4: The last time we saw Vin Mazzaro throw a pitch that counted he was in the process of giving up fourteen runs to the Indians in what was probably the worst single-game performance by a pitcer in baseball history. Last night: surprisingly repectable: he gave up three runs in five innings, which isn’t bad against that Ranger lineup.

Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 1: Weird: Andre Ethier started in center, which is something he has never done. Chad Billingsley continues to struggle. The Dodgers’ five-game winning streak ends.

Rockies 5, Giants 4: The Rockies blew a 4-1 lead in the eighth inning, but Marco Scutaro’s ninth inning homer broke the 4-4 tie.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.