Matt Cain, Buster Posey

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 10, Astros 0: A simply unbelievable night for Matt Cain.  As we noted last night, this was among the best games ever pitched in the history of baseball. Perfection is one thing. Doing it while striking out 14 is dominant perfection.  And don’t try to diminish it by saying “hey, it was the Astros.” Their offense is respectable this season. And Cain only faced the opposing pitcher one time.

Mets 9, Rays 1: When you east coasters went to bed I bet you thought R.A. Dickey was going to have the best game of the night among pitchers, huh?  And it was good. Dickey tossed a one-hitter, striking out 12. The Mets are appealing the one hit, though, arguing it was an error. Um, OK, I guess David Wright — the man who would be charged with the error — won’t mind. But it’s not like Dickey is gonna get a dogpile and a pie to the face out of this if it is overruled. All of the joy of a no-hitter tends to come in the moment, ya know?

Cardinals 1, White Sox 0: Last night I decided to go retrogeek so I dialed up a couple of Star Trek TNG episodes on Netflix and let my dork flag fly.  One of them I watched was “Parallels,” a seventh season number in which Worf finds himself shifting among alternate universes. A pretty good one. Partially because it featured a lot of late-model Counselor Troi with a part big enough for her to hang around a lot — which was something I certainly appreciated back in 1993 — but not so big to where the writers’ inability to give her anything approaching decent dialogue or things to do would ruin the episode.

The gist of the episode was that any moment in time presents infinite possibilities and that all of those possibilities actually do occur, just in parallel universes.  So, for example, back in February, the Chris Carpenter in our universe was injured and went on the DL.  But in some other universe, Carpenter was fine and has taken his turn in the Cardinals’ rotation every time out.  If that were to happen here, Lance Lynn would not have won his tenth game last night, would not have struck out 12 and would not have lowered his ERA to 2.42 after seven and a third shutout innings.

Rangers 1, Diamondbacks 0: The other episode I watched was “Tapestry,” because I love me some Q. It had absolutely nothing to do with Matt Harrison shutting out the Dbacks for seven and a third and Craig Gentry singling in a run. Unless of course it was found out later that Harrison winning this one caused some future problem for him that he wished never happened, the win was undone by an omnipotent being, it caused Harrison to totally lose his mojo and he then begged to have time set right again, whatever the consequences.

And now that I think about it, I probably could have more easily shoehorned the Mets/R.A. Dickey recap into “Tapestry” if I wanted to, imagining a future where Dickey is awarded the no-hitter only to have it ruin his life somehow. I imagine his conversations with Q would be way more interesting than Matt Harrison’s at any rate.

Tigers 8, Cubs 4: Brennan Boesch went 4 for 5 and drove in two and Jhonny Peralta went 3 for 4 and drove in two more. Ramon Santiago drove in two also, but both came on groundouts. I guess I’d feel OK with that if I were him, even if it wasn’t quite as fun.

Phillies 9, Twins 8: The Phillies had six-run leads twice, almost blowing both of them but ultimately holding on. Jim Thome was big, driving in four. Too bad the Phillies can’t use a DH all season.

Red Sox 10, Marlins 2: Any team in baseball streakier than the Marlins this year? They’ve gone from cold to hot to cold again. Maybe Ozzie should talk up some despot once again and try to jump start things.   “I love Gul Madred.  A lot of people have wanted to kill Gul Madred for the last 60 years, but that (expletive) is still here.”

Reds 5, Indians 3: Mat Latos gave up two runs over seven innings and Brandon Phillips went 3 for 3 with a two-run homer. Oh, and Derek Lowe called Dusty Baker out after the game with one of those “he knows what he did” rants that are always so amusing.

Orioles 7, Pirates 1: Jake Arrieta wasn’t even supposed to be there yesterday. It was Brian Matusz’s start, but he knocked himself in the face in the batting cage the other day. Arrieta was up to the challenge, however, as he struck out nine over seven innings, ending a personal six-game losing streak and helping the O’s win their fourth straight.

Yankees 3, Braves 2: New York comes into Atlanta and takes three straight. Just like 1996 all over again.

Nationals 6, Blue Jays 2: Stephen Strasburg continues his outrageously good year, striking out eight in six innings and winning his eighth game. Tyler Moore is 25 and is just now getting his footing in the majors, but after a two-homer five RBI day, it looks like he’s gonna make it after all.

Royals 4, Brewers 3: John Axford doesn’t blow a lot of saves, but he blew a two-run lead in the ninth here, giving up a two-run triple to Alcides Escobar, sending it to extras.  In the 11th, Kameron Loe loaded the bases, was yanked for Jose Veras and Veras walked Mike Moustakas on five pitches. Ballgame.

Angels 2, Dodgers 1: Erick Aybar doesn’t hit a lot of homers. Indeed, the game-winning shot he hit in the ninth inning of this one was his first all season. Aybar was also involved in a weird play in which he “dropped” a line drive with a runner on first, but began a double play when he picked up the ball. Umpire Sam Holbrook ruled, however, that Aybar did it on purpose, called the batter out but sent the runner back to first. I can’t recall ever seeing that happen in a game.

Padres 1, Mariners 0: The third 1-0 game of the night. From the files of the unexpected: Jason Marquis threw six and third shutout innings. Shame he has an “r” in his name. If he didn’t he’d be way more badass.

Athletics 10, Rockies 8: Seven straight losses for Colorado, this after leading since the bottom of the first. Brandon Inge hit a two-out, two-run double in the ninth to plate the winning run and an insurance run. Michael Cuddyer hit two homers in a losing cause. Not to be a poop-stirrer, but at what point does Jim Tracy get canned here?

Remembering Carlos Delgado’s protest in the wake of Kaepernick

NEW YORK - AUGUST 9:  First baseman Carlos Delgado #25 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on August 9, 2004 in the Bronx, New York. The won Blue Jays won 5-4.  (Photo by M. David Leeds/Getty Images)
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Over the weekend, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick created a stir when he did not stand for the National Anthem before an exhibition game and later told reporters that his refusal to do so was a protest of institutional racism in America. Given how issues which touch on patriotism and protest play in a sports setting, it’s not at all surprising that this quickly turned into a huge controversy, with many decrying Kaepernick’s act, even as many have rushed to his defense.

Because this is the NFL and because we live in the social media era, the volume of this controversy is understandably cranked to 11. But it’s not the first time an athlete has mounted such a protest. Back in 1995 NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf similarly refused to stand for the Anthem and the same sorts of pro and con arguments emerged, albeit at the far more measured pace of 1990s discourse.

In 2004 a baseball player made a somewhat similar protest. That player was Carlos Delgado, who made a point to not be on the field during the by then de rigueur playing of “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch which most teams adopted in the wake of 9/11. Part of Delgado’s protest stemmed from his opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It likewise reflected his protest of the United States Navy’s use of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques as a weapons testing ground for decades and Puerto Ricans’ call for the government to clean up the island which had become contaminated with ordinance over 60 years of bombing.

Delgado was backed by his team, the Blue Jays, who made no effort to intervene in his protest. He likewise had the support of his teammates. Even profoundly conservative ones like Gregg Zaun, who disagreed with the substance of Delgado’s protest yet respected his right to protest how he chose. At the time Zaun said “He has his opinion and he’s decided to use that as his platform. Whether or not I agree with him, I salute him.”

Which is not to say that Delgado did not take considerable criticism for his protest. Many, including commissioner Bud Selig, said that, while they respected his right to protest how he wished, they hoped he wouldn’t protest in such a fashion. Or, at the very least, they hoped to better understand why he chose to make a political statement at a sporting event, suggesting that they really didn’t think his act to be appropriate. Lost on them all, it seemed, was that the act of playing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch was itself a political statement, but I suppose that’s an argument for another time.

Carlos Delgado weathered the controversy well, playing for five more seasons after 2004 and maintaining the respect he had always had in baseball as a team leader, a respected veteran and a consummate professional. Kaepernick doesn’t have the track record in his sport that Delgado had by 2004 and there are some who have suggested that, this controversy aside, he may not have long in the league due to his skills and health and things. It’ll be interesting to see how those differences, as well as the different media environment in 2016 compared to 2004 affect this whole saga.

What we know for certain, however, is that Kaepernick’s reasons for protest are his own and he is, obviously, free to protest however he’d like. He is, of course, likewise subject to criticism from those who don’t care for his protest. That’s how free speech works. Even in sports, where a great many people choose to believe that protest and political speech, at least of a certain variety and of a certain leaning, does not have a place.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 28: Derek Holland #45 of the Texas Rangers points out a pop fly against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 28, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rangers 2, Indians 1: Derek Holland was solid, allowing one run over six innings and Ian Desmond and Jonathan Lucroy each had an RBI single. The Rangers take three of four in what could be an ALCS preview. Although, given that no teams have been eliminated yet, any game between AL teams could be an ALCS preview if you think about it hard enough. Open your mind, man.

Dodgers 1, Cubs 0: All goose eggs until the eighth when the Dodgers cobbled together a run out of a hit-by-pitch, a two-base throwing error by Trevor Cahill and a fielder’s choice. Then all goose eggs after that. Brock Stewart and four relievers combined on a four-hit shutout for the Dodgers. This could be an NLCS preview, by the way. I won’t finish the joke here. I already told it.

Orioles 5, Yankees 0: Kevin Gausman had no trouble with the somehow resurgent Yankees, shutting them out for seven innings and fanning nine. I rarely say “fanning” for striking out and I don’t hear at all that often anymore. Back in the 80s it seemed like there was a lot more “fanning” going on. Steve Pearce drove in three. Earlier this season, while he was still with the Rays, I mistakenly identified some Orioles player in a photo as Steve Pearce. I’m glad he’s back where he belongs.

Blue Jays 9, Twins 6: Josh Donaldson hit three homers, including the go-ahead dong, continuing a year that, by the numbers, is better than his MVP year last season, even if people aren’t talking about it as much. On his third homer Jays fans tossed hats out onto the field. Get it? Yeah. Anyway, Minnesota had a 5-2 lead in the middle of the game but blowing moderate leads with lots of time to go is one of the primary traits of teams that suck.

Angels 5, Tigers 0: Jefry Marte hit a two-run homer and drove in a third run on a sac fly. Marte’s performance would really serve as a great “bet you miss me NOW, huh?!” game for him if anyone remembered that he played for the Tigers last year.

Phillies 5, Mets 1: A.J. Ellis hit a two-run double to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning. Somewhere Clayton Kershaw shed a single tear, Iron Eyes Cody-style.

Padres 3, Marlins 1: Luis Perdomo tossed a complete game while allowing only one run and requiring only 99 pitches. Having six double plays get turned behind you certainly helps the old pitch count.

Rockies 5, Nationals 3: Nolan Arenado went 4-for-4 with a homer and a triple as the Rockies take two of three from the Nats. Lucas Giolito ran into trouble in the third when Arenado hit that dinger. Dusty Baker after the game: “It’s that one bad inning that does you in. That was the one bad inning.”

One Bad Day

So what I’m saying is, yes, Lucas Giolito is now either The Joker or Batman. That’s how this works.

White Sox 4, Mariners 1: Carlos Rodon allowed a run and five hits while pitching into the seventh. After a pretty disappointing season he’s turning things around lately, going 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last five starts.

Pirates 3, Brewers 1: The Sweep. John JasoGregory Polanco and Starling Marte all homered. Ivan Nova pitched well but left with a wonky hamstring. Which, given that Gerrit Cole is hurt, does not bode well for a team that needs everything to go right for the next month and change if they don’t want to go home in a month and change.

Athletics 7, Cardinals 4: The A’s have won four of five. Khris Davis hit a two-run shot and Steven Vogt hit a three-run homer. A’s starter Andrew Triggs got his first win. He’s from Nashville and said that a bunch of his friends and family drove to St. Louis from there to see him pitch. Can’t think of a road trip I’d rather do less in the August heat than Nashville-to-St. Louis, but you crank up the AC and do it for your friends and family I suppose.

Rays 10, Astros 4: Chris Archer allowed three runs on four hits in seven innings and struck out ten. Astros pitchers allowed ten runs on 15 hits and only struck out four. The order of things matters, man. Corey Dickerson his a three-run homer.

Giants 13, Braves 4: Four homers from the Giants — two from Joe Panik — to back a less-than-perfectly-sharp-but-good-enough-against-a-team-like-the-Braves Madison Bumgarner. The Giants took two of three from Atlanta to remain two back of the Dodgers. It was only the second series they have won since the All-Star break.

Diamondbacks 11, Reds 2: A.J. Pollock went 3-for-5 and stole two bases, showing Diamondbacks fans what they missed with him gone all year. Welington Castillo drove in four in this laugher of a game.

Royals 10, Red Sox 4: Down 4-2 in the sixth and the Royals put up an 8-run inning. Raul Mondesi‘s bases-loaded triple and Eric Hosmer‘s two-run single were the big blows. The Royals have won 17 of 21 and have moved to 5.5 back in the AL Central and three back in the wild card. They’re tied with Houston and are a game back of Detroit in that race. Maybe the defending champs were only mostly dead.