Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 8, Royals 3: Alex Rodriguez would like the New York sporting press to write more career obituaries for him. It seems to suit him nicely (2 for 4, 2 HR, 3 RBI).

Reds 2, Braves 1: Todd Frazier hit a walkoff homer. It came off  Cristhian Martinez because, as everyone knows, Fredi Gonzalez would be drummed out of the managers’ guild if he had actually used his best reliever in a tie game in the ninth inning. The Reds are surging, winners of five straight.

Rays 5, Blue Jays 4: Another walkoff, this one a double from B.J. Upton (a.k.a. “Flash”)  in the 11th.

Mets 3, Pirates 1: Jon Niese allowed one run in 7 and two-thirds, bouncing back from some craptastic starts.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 5: Daniel Nava and Kelly Shoppach hit sixth-inning homers, breaking what had been a 2-2 tie. The Sox are back to .500 and they took two of three from the first place O’s.  Now, if form holds, they’ll cruise into first place for the bulk of the summer and then everyone can write some “will they collapse again?” stories in late August.  Nice to have the summer planned out like that, yes?

Phillies 4, Nationals 1: Cole Hamels was on-point, taking a no-hitter into the sixth, shutting out the Nats for eight innings and ending the Phillies losing skid. And no, no one threw at anyone or otherwise acted like a jackwagon.

Cardinals 6, Padres 3: On a night when I watched the Cardinals double-A team beat the Padres double-A team, the Cardinals major league team beat the Padres, well, sure, I suppose we can call them a major league team. They had a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but that was all they’d get. Carlos Beltran hit his 14th home.

Diamondbacks 11, Dodgers 4: If you have to end your winning streak, end it big. The Dbacks had 14 hits. Willie Bloomquist of all people had three. Joe Saunders struck out seven.

White Sox 6, Twins 0: Chris Sale shut ’em out for seven. Paul Konerko hit a homer. Apparently Konerko played for the San Antonio Missions once too back when they were a Dodgers affiliate. I like that the Missions honor their old players who were there when there was a different affiliation. Not ever minor league club does that. The Missions seem to say “MLB teams come and go in these parts; we’ll always be here.”

Astros 5, Cubs 1: That’s nine straight losses for Chicago. This is starting to look like a historic season for the Cubbies.

Rockies 8, Marlins 4: Troy Tulowitzki homered and drove in four. After the game he said this was “a big win for us.” I suppose all wins are big, but I’ll get more excited when the Rockies are less than 13 and a half back.

Indians 4, Tigers 2: After seeing that they loaded the bases with no one out in the eighth and didn’t freaking score, I’m searching for something good to say about the Tigers right now. How about: “well, their streak of not being shutout is still intact.”  Cleveland, on the other hand has lots going for them. Like Jason Kipnis, who had three hits and then bloodied his arm up really good when he slid into home in the eighth inning with the go-ahead run.

Mariners 5, Rangers 3: In what I’m going to take as a sign that no team is going to be a total juggernaut this year, Seattle took two of three from the Rangers. From the game story: “Alex Liddi hit the first major league grand slam by an Italian-born player in a half-century.” OK, then.

Angels 3, Athletics 1: Alberto Callaspo hit a go-ahead two-run double in the 11th. Ernesto Frieri continues his good work.

Brewers 8, Giants 5: Remember a few weeks ago when people were starting up that “Hey, Barry Zito may have finally figured it out!” stuff?  Yeah, let’s just shelve that until he has two or three good starts again next year. The Brewers unloaded on him for eight runs — only four earned — in three innings.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.