Norichika Aoki

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Brewers 4, Cubs 3: Norichika Aoki hit two homers including the walkoff. Overall, he’s kicking some major butt.

Mets 3, Nationals 1: As I said yesterday: Dickey beats Wang. I’m still giggling, by the way.

Pirates 5, Reds 4: Aroldis Chapman finally allowed a run. You see? You see? He’s not a machinehe’s a manhe’s a man!  Someone alert the authorities. Wait, don’t do that. Chapman doesn’t need anymore interaction with the authorities.  It was a an RBI double by Michael McKenry in the 10th which proved to be the game winner.

Giants 8, Padres 3: The Giants stay hot, winning their ninth in 11 tries. Matt Cain struck out nine and withstood some awful San Francisco defense to win his sixth straight start.

Dodgers 8, Phillies 3: The sweep. Aaron Harang won his 100th. And Charlie Manuel is losin’ it:

Asked about his frustration level, manager Charlie Manuel said: “I never put it up to a level. I just feel how hot my face gets.” And it is, he said, “pretty damn hot.”

Nightmare season for Philly thus far.

Red Sox 7, Orioles 0: The Sox finally beat the O’s at home. And do it in impressive fashion. Clay Buchholz with the four-hit shutout.

Athletics 7, Rangers 1: Yu Darvish gets shelled by one of the worst offenses in baseball and walks six on top of that. Brandon McCarthy, meanwhile, allows one run in seven innings. Coco Crisp had a triple a homer and drove in four. The A’s took three of four from Texas, which according to the Rangers fans I follow on Twitter has caused some Texas fans to freak out and think about trading everyone.

Tigers 7, Indians 5: Casey Crosby won his first ever game. Not that it came easy. Detroit was up 7-1 and the Indians started to rally to close it to 7-5 and had the bases loaded in the eighth but couldn’t get one more hit that they needed. It was the first win by the Tigers over the Indians in six tries.

Braves 8, Marlins 2: Jason Heyward had two homers in a game for the first time since 2010 and Mike Minor finally had an effective outing, allowing one run in five innings. The Braves scored all of their runs from the sixth inning on. It was a 4-1 road trip for the Braves and now they get nine straight at home.

Rays 7, Yankees 3: David Price only went five innings but he survived them well, striking out eight and getting out of a one-out bases loaded jam in the fifth by retiring Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.  CC Sabathia struck out 12 over seven innings in a losing effort.

White Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Orlando Hudson singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Alex Rios drove in three.

Cardinals 14 vs. Astros 2: Two homers and six RBI for David Freese as Lance Lynn joins R.A. Dickey with nine wins. Just as everyone predicted would be the case before the season began.

A must-read oral history of the 1998 home run chase

7 Jul 1998:   American Leaguer player Mark McGwire #25 of the St Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa #21 of  the Chicago Cubs answer questions during  the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver,  Colorado.The American  League defeated the
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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the nation with their epic chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. But it has been, and after years of reaction, counter-reaction and, of course, baseball’s reckoning with the performance-enhancing drugs which helped fuel the chase, it’s probably finally time to do our best to contextualize it historically.

Today one of my favorite news outlets does that with an oral history. All of the key figures weigh-in on it, from McGwire and Sosa to Bud Selig to Tony La Russa. Randy Johnson makes an appearance as well, reminding us that it wasn’t just the sluggers who had an amazing year in 1998. Indeed, his story, including his being traded to Houston and going on an amazing second-half run, has almost been lost to history.

This is bookmark material, my friends. For savoring later if you can’t read it now. And for revisiting at another time given the depths to the drama which justifies multiple readings. I’ll just warn you that there is some adult language in the story, but that’s to be expected given the passion the 1998 baseball season inspired.

Go check it out.

UPDATE: Asdrubal Cabrera leaves Mets-Nats game with back spasms

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the New York Mets throws to first from his knee after diving to catch a ground ball to get Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second out of the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: Cabrera was removed from the game due to back spasms.

1:21PM: This is not good: Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from today’s game against the Nationals with an apparent injury.

It’s unclear what the injury was, as Cabrera had yet to even play in the game. Matt Reynolds came on to play shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, but Cabrera didn’t bat in the top of the first. It could be an illness. Or some freak occurrence.

We’ll update when we hear more.

There are apparently unwritten rules about manager replay challenges now

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs shakes hands with manager Mike Matheny #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals before the Opening Night game at Wrigley Field on April 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last night’s Cardinals-Cubs game was a blowout, with the Cubs beating the Cards 12-3. Apparently, however, in the ninth inning of the game, Reynoldsburg, Ohio’s own Mike Matheny played the Cardinals infield in, which is a move you never see in a blowout. Why did he do that?

He hasn’t said yet, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon just spoke to the media before today’s game and he’s speculating that Matheny did it as a form of protest:

God, I hope that’s true. I hope that manager replay challenges, which are already dumb enough inasmuch as they turn what should be an officiating correction device into a strategic tool, are now turning into another front in the Great Unwritten Rules Wars. I hope that we now have a bunch of people talking about how there’s a right way and a wrong way to use the replay system and that one can disrespect the other side if they do it the wrong way. The way the replay system has been implemented often resembles tragedy. Why not make it farce?

Oh well, I guess it beats throwing at someone for doing that wrong. And I guess it’s just a reminder that no matter what we do, baseball is always gonna give us an opportunity for petty bits of silliness.

The Royals and Cardinals make a minor trade

FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2006 file photo, a freshly painted St. Louis Cardinals logo adorns the grass behind home plate at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The St. Louis Cardinals have been the toast of their Midwestern town for generations, a source of civic pride as one of baseball's most successful and cherished franchises. Suddenly, they're an embarrassment, under federal investigation for the previously unprecedented crime of hacking into the computer database of an opponent, the Houston Astros, whose general manager, Jeff Luhnow, is a former Cardinals executive. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)
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The St. Louis Cardinals just announced that they have acquired minor league outfielder Jose Martinez from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations.

Martinez was the 2015 Pacific Coast League batting champ, hitting .384 in 98 games. This year he’s hitting .298/.356/.433 in 37 games. He doesn’t have a ton of power — he’s more of a doubles guy — and turns 28 this year so he’s not a prospect but he’s not chopped liver.

Meanwhile, Cash Considerations continues to be well-traveled. It must be hard for him to be dealt so many times a season. So much uncertainty and time away from his family. Feel for the guy.