Kansas City's Mendoza delivers a pitch against Milwaukee in their MLB baseball game in Kansas City

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

47 Comments

Royals 2, Brewers 1: Luis Mendoza took a no-hitter into the seventh, but it was still close as prodigal Royal Zack Greinke was pretty sharp too, striking out eight and allowing one run over seven innings. Billy Butler’s RBI single in the eighth was the difference.

White Sox 6, Cardinals 1: Paul Konerko is batting .373. And he’s still, like, 300,000 votes behind Prince Fielder for the All-Star Game. One day he’s gonna be dead and we’re gonna treat him like we treated Whitney Houston and Levon Helm Donna Summer and all of those others who died recently: we’re gonna pretend we always recognized his greatness when, in the moment, most of us truly didn’t.

Yankees 6, Braves 4: If you get up 4-0 on CC Sabathia after seven innings and you have a bullpen like the Braves do, you can normally expect to win the game. But nope, not last night. Jonny Venters has been a weak link this year (he’s got a 7.04 ERA and a .382 opposition average in his last 20 appearances) and gave up a grand slam to Alex Rodriguez, after which Cory Gearrin gave up a two-run job to Nick Swisher. The slam was A-Rod’s 23rd, tying Lou Gehrig’s record. I expect someone today will write a column in a New York tabloid about how A-Rod doesn’t deserve to hold the record or some noise like that.

Reds 7, Indians 1: It’s the BATTLE OF OHIO!  Winner gets to leave, I suppose.  Anyway, Johnny Cueto went the distance, allowing only one run on six hits. Joey Votto’s ridiculously good season continues with a two-run homer.

Cubs 4, Tigers 3: Know what was fun? Before the season how if you suggested that Detroit’s defense was lacking and how, in response, Tigers people on the Internet would get all up in your face about it, saying how that’s all overblown and how easy and lazy a storyline that was to be peddling. Well, sorry, it’s true. Last night the Tigers were undone by defense once again as the Cubs scored the winning run by virtue of not one but two Jhonny Peralta throwing errors in the eighth inning. Some easy, lazy storylines are easy and lazy because they’re true.

Red Sox 2, Marlins 1: A strong outing from Clay Buchholz, who allowed one run in seven innings to help the Sox snap a four-game skid. The Marlins played with the roof open for the second straight night, presumably because they broke a losing streak the other night while doing it. Guess it goes back to closed now.

Rangers 9, Diamondbacks 1: Colby Lewis went the distance and allowed one run on four hits. He didn’t allow a base runner until the sixth inning.

Twins 11, Phillies 7: Another easy storyline? How the Phillies are playing so bad because of so many injuries. Guess what: the people who aren’t injured sort of suck this year too. Kyle Kendrick was shelled and Joe Savery and B.J. Rosenberg weren’t much help in relief. The Phillies are actually farther out of first place than are the Twins.

Mets 11, Rays 2:  Jordany Valdespin drove in four runs. Ike Davis chipped in three more with a homer. That’s a name we haven’t called around here very often this year. Chris Young is one too. He got his first win in a year.

Nationals 4, Blue Jays 2: Bryce Harper hit a looong homer run. Yawn. I’m far more interested in the one hit by Nats catcher Jhonatan Solano. Because if he can stick in the bigs, he and Jhonny Peralta could form some sort of super hero team of misspelled Johns.

Orioles 8, Pirates 6: Brian Roberts returned to action for the first time in13 months. He led off, went 3 for 4 and hit a sac fly. The 1-4 hitters in the O’s lineup combined to go 11 for 19 while driving in six.

Dodgers 5, Angels 2: The Dodgers had a four-run eighth inning to rally. And you know what was special about that inning?

The entire inning was set up when second-base umpire Joe West called Dee Gordon safe on a two-out stolen base. Television replays appeared to show the throw from catcherHank Conger beat the runner.

Knock me over with a feather.

Padres 5, Mariners 4: Down 5-1 in the ninth, the Mariners rallied, but it fell short. Felix Hernandez looked rusty after going 11 days between starts. He went six innings, allowing nine hits, five runs and three walks.

Athletics 8, Rockies 5: Brandon Moss homered twice. When he was called up the other day I asked whether he was truly an upgrade over Kila Kaʻaihue. Since that callup he isn’t exactly setting the Earth on fire, but he has hit three home runs.

Giants 6, Astros 3: Madison Bumgarner: one-man wrecking crew. He struck out 12 in seven and two-thirds and hit a homer.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Getty Images
15 Comments

The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Getty Images
2 Comments

Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.