Bryce Harper

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 7, Mets 6: The legend of Bryce Harper grows. A game-winning hit in the 12th inning. What say you, Harper?

“I’m happy to get the W, of course. I’m happy to get that walk-off hit, but I don’t like going 2 for 7,” Harper said. “I don’t like striking out twice in one game, either.”

Bryce … we talked about the me-first stuff …

“To get that moment at the end, that wipes everything away,” Harper said.

OK, good. Just checking, because everyone’s watching, kid.

Braves 11, Marlins 0: Tim Hudson with a five-hit shutout and Dan Uggla hit two homers and drove in five against his old team. Rookie Andrelton Simmons had three hits including a triple and drove in three. That’s coming up big. Of course everything about him’s big. Kid, do us all a favor and buy yourself a jock, OK? You’re gonna hurt someone out there.

Dodgers 2, Phillies 1: Cliff Lee: 12 strikeouts and two runs in 7 2/3 innings but he still took the loss. That’s nine starts and no wins despite a 2.92 ERA. Chad Billingsley tied up the Philly bats, allowing six singles, a double and only one run in seven innings.

Angels 6, Mariners 1: Mark Trumbo smacked two homers, doubled, singled and drove in four. His line on the year is .337/.384/.634.

Cubs 10, Brewers 0: Ryan Dempster gets out of the Cliff Lee club, finally gets some run support and a win. He was perfect through five innings, but the aw shucks Dempster wasn’t about to say anything about it:

“Yeah, I was thinking about a perfect game for sure,” Dempster said. “I’m not an idiot. I know that I hadn’t had anybody on base. But it’s the second-best thing: a win right here.”

Dude, talk to Bryce Harper’s media relations team, OK?

Diamondbacks 10, Rockies 0: Ian Kennedy struck out 12 in six innings. Afterwards he said a mechanical tweak was responsible. What tweak?  “It’s a secret,” Kennedy said. Fine, be that way. Jason Kubel drove in five.

Indians 4, Tigers 2: Ubaldo Jimenez has been a hot mess this year, walking the whole league, but the Tigers made him look like it was 2010 all over again. Asdrubal Cabrera, Lou Marson and Michael Brantley each hit RBI triples. I love triples. They’re so much damn fun.

Yankees 7, Rays 0: Andy Pettitte struck out ten while shutting out the Rays for seven. Russell Martin went 3 for 4 and hit a grand slam. New York has won 9 of 12.

Pirates 8, Reds 4: Clint Barmes had three hits and drove in three runs. The Pirates have hit seven homes in their last two games. Is what has been the worst offense in the NL starting to wake up?

Orioles 8, Red Sox 6:  Jim Johnson blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning but held on to vulture a win. Wasn’t a pure vulture-job in that he came back and shut the Sox down in the tenth. And given how good he’s been — he had saved 25 straight coming in — he’s entitled to one of those every now and again. Baltimore is 4-0 in Fenway this year.

Blue Jays 9, White Sox 5: Colby Rasmus went 5 for 5 with a double, homer and 3 RBI. Brett Lawrie lead off and went 3 for 5 and scored three times. Interesting. Phil Humber continues his quest to cement himself as the most fluky perfect game pitcher ever, as he allows five runs in five innings and runs his ERA up to 5.68.  Seriously: how many guys have thrown perfectos and lost their rotation job in the same season?

Astros 9, Cardinals 8: Houston led 6-1 after two innings, saw the lead shrink, built it back up again and managed to hold on as St. Louis put up four in the ninth. Jose Altuve responded to your collective snubbing of him in the All-Star voting by going 4 for 5 and scoring 3 runs. Jaime Garcia looks totally off, and is clearly not better after missing a start due to a sore elbow.

Royals 1, Twins 0: Bruce Chen shut ’em out for seven and the pen took over.

Rangers 6, Athletics 3: Texas survives Oakland’s offensive outburst. Well, an outburst for them. Derek Holland struck out two, walked two and allowed three runs on seven hits, so it’s likely that he avoided a spanking.

Padres 6, Giants 5:  Logan Forsythe’s first ever home run was a walkoff job:

“I was just trying to get on base for the guys. Luckily, it got out,” he said.

Kids these days with their selfish attitude.

Mets owners get some breathing room on their Bernie Madoff settlement payments

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon stands on the field before baseball's Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Associated Press
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For years the central fact of life of the New York Mets has been that their owners, the Wilpon family and Saul Katz, lost a ton of money after investing it with friend and business partner Bernard Madoff, perpetrator of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. It has hampered their payroll and led to huge amounts of borrowing and restructuring that, before last year’s pennant run, seemed like it’d be a millstone on the Mets competitive prospects for years to come.

In addition to losing money, it was later determined that Katz and the Wilpons unfairly gained in some other respects and thus they ended up having their phony earnings clawed back via a settlement with the trustee managing the fallout of the Madoff scandal.  The upshot: the Wilpons and Katz, in addition to their losses, were ordered to pay nearly $60 million dollars back, half payable this week, half payable next year. That’s a lot of money for anyone to fork over and this week’s payment loomed large.

Now, however, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Wilpons and Katz will get some breathing room. Specifically, they have modified their agreement with the trustee and some of the owed money has been deferred. Instead of some $29 million payable this week, they will only have to pay $16 million. The remainder will be paid in four installments — from 2017 through 2020 — with an interest rate of 3.5 percent on the unpaid balance, Rubin says.

Now, there obviously was no promise that the $13 million saved this week be invested in the baseball team, but it’s probably a good thing overall for the Mets if their owners’ debt payments are reduced a bit.

Mike Napoli hit a homer for a fan with cancer

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 30: Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field on May 30, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Last night a fan named Kathi Heintzelman showed up at Progressive Field in Cleveland with a sign asking Indians first baseman Mike Napoli to hit a home run for her and to give her a hug. But there was a reason beyond her love for Mike Napoli. She’s starting chemotherapy today and the hug and homer would be a nice thing.  Hard to disagree with that, even if everyone knows that ballplayers can’t hit homers on demand.

Well, most players can’t. Mike Napoli did the easy part before the game, giving her a hug. Then in the sixth inning, he went yard:

 

Whether you believe that such things can be fated or if you merely acknowledge that Heintzelman asked Napoli for a homer at a good time — he’s on a hot streak right now and has hit bombs in four of his last 11 games — it’s a great story.

 

The Twins recall Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton
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Byron Buxton has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester by the Twins.

Buxton will replace Danny Santana, who was placed on the disabled list following a hamstring injury. But the bigger picture here is that Buxton will get a fresh go-around to show that he is the future of the Twins like so many assume he will be. The 22-year-old hasn’t hit so far in the majors, but he batted .336/.403/.603 with six homers, four steals, and a 26/11 K/BB ratio over 129 plate appearances after his demotion to Triple-A last month.

At this point the Twins, who stink on ice, need to just put their top young player in the game and let him learn to swim at the big league level rather than try to squeak out a few extra relatively meaningless wins with guys who won’t be part of the next contending Twins team.

92-year-old World War II vet throws a nifty ceremonial first pitch

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 9.04.09 AM
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Think of how many bad ceremonial first pitches you’ve seen. From the worm burners from local business owners and pillars of the community at minor league games to ex-big leaguers who obviously haven’t picked up a ball since they retired to the famous celebrity ones that go viral the next day, there are probably a lot more bad first pitches out there than good ones.

But when the good ones come, they’re really enjoyable. And few are more enjoyable than the one which preceded yesterday’s Padres-Mariners game in Seattle. The pitcher: Burke Waldron, a 92-year-old veteran of World War II. He did it in his dress whites. He ran out onto the field beforehand. And though his catcher didn’t set up the full 60 feet, six inches away from where Waldron threw it, it was still a spiffy pitch. Way better than most: