And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 8, Rangers 2: I suppose the critical mass of people mocking the Yankees’ pickup of Derek Lowe was just too delicious for God or Loki or Fate or whatever controls our world to pass up, because He/it/whatever decided to play it funny with us and allow Mr. Lowe to toss four scoreless innings in relief against the AL’s best offense. And his sweat is in such high form that it doesn’t look like he missed a single outing. A pro’s pro.

Nationals 14, Giants 2: An annihilation, as the Nats rack up 21 hits. The bottom part of the order did the damage here, with Danny Espinosa and Roger Bernadina each driving in three and Kurt Suzuki driving in four. Only one home run in the game — Espinosa’s. It was just a constant onslaught.

Phillies 4, Marlins 0: Cole Hamels with the seven hit shutout. Man, that’s gonna make him even more expensive in free agency. Oh, wait. Sorry. Was on autopilot there for a minute. I think Hamels made a good move signing that deal and that he belongs in Philly, but I gotta say, him not hitting the market is gonna make this winter a lot more boring.

Padres 4, Braves 1:  Eric Stults and two relievers shut the Braves down. I loved him in “Killing Zoe.”

Blue Jays 3, White Sox 2: Adam Dunn had two homers, including the game-tying yiketty in the ninth, but Carlos Villanueva was otherwise strong. David Cooper won it with an RBI single in the 11th.

Dodgers 5, Pirates 4: The Dodgers have won four of five and are closing in on these Pirates for the wild card and, for that matter, the Giants for the division. I’ve been expecting them to fall off all year and they just haven’t. Shane Victorino homered and drove in three.

Twins 9, Tigers 3: So apart from that one home start a week ago Friday, Anibal Sanchez has not exactly been bringing the noise since he came over from Miami, eh? He was lit up for five runs on 12 hits in five and a third innings, raising his post-trade ERA to 7.97. Ryan Doumit was 3 for 4 with three driven in.

Cubs 7, Astros 1: When the Cubs and Astros get together you can throw out the record book! I mean, you really, really should throw it out, because if the fans got wind of how bad these two teams are, no one would come to the game. Ah, I keed, I keed. here the irresitable force of stink (the Cubs) displaced the immovable object of stank (the Astros) behind seven innings of solid work from Jeff Samardzija, who struck out 11. Anthony Rizzo was 4 for 5.

Rockies 9, Brewers 6: Mike Fiers was a disaster (2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER). The Brewers chipped back slowly after finding themselves down 8-0 but the hole was too great.

Rays 4, Mariners 1: Seven straight for the Rays and ten of 12 overall. This one came behind yet another strong pitching performance, with Alex Cobb allowing one run on four hits over seven. Jose Molina stole a base. His second of the year. That’s something.

Indians 6, Angels 1: Justin Masterson tossed six scoreless and C.J. Wilson drops his fifth straight decision. The Angels are two and a half out in the wild card, eight back of Texas.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.