Pirates Cardinals Baseball

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 6, Cardinals 3: For the second straight year the Pirates play a nineteen inning game. This time, unlike the game against the Braves in which they were royally screwed, the Pirates won. Thank you Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen who drove in runs in the 19th, Alvarez with a homer. They had to burn Wandy Rodriguez for a couple of innings in this one even though he was supposed to start today, but a game against the Cardinals is worth way more to Pittsburgh than a game against the Padres. Eight shutout innings from Jaime Garcia ended up not mattering, but they weren’t meaningless either.

Giants 7, Padres 1:  At least I think that’s the right score. I was directed to a scores website I had never seen before that showed the Giants as having one. Let me check the site’s info for a second … MELKY!

Yankees 4, Red Sox 3: Two homers for Ichiro three hits for Jetes and eight strong innings from Hiroki Kuroda. That was the second time this season Ichiro has hit two homers in a game. Not bad for a guy who only has 102 in 12 years. I missed this game, unfortunately, as I spent all evening texting my girlfriend from Adrian Gonzalez’s phone. Which makes about as much sense as anything else I’ve heard this week.

Phillies 8, Brewers 0: Kyle Kendrick threw eight shutout innings, striking out seven. This game had a rain delay. In Milwaukee. Where they have a retractable roof. That makes sense.

Rockies 3, Marlins 2: For the first time on seven games in Coors Field, Giancarlo Stanton didn’t homer. Colorado has won five of seven.

Mariners 5, Twins 1: The M’s sweep the Twins. We’re starting to get to the point of the season where I ask myself if I got the scores of these meaningless games wrong — like, as an accident, not for yuks like I did with the Padres-Giants score — would anyone notice. I’m guessing not.

Diamondbacks 8, Astros 1: Obviously Tony DeFrancesco isn’t the answer. Bring back Larry Dierker!  Aaron Hill homered twice.

Athletics 7, Indians 0: Yesterday was apparently “pitcher throws eight shutout innings day. Jarrod Parker did it too. Another nightmare road trip for Cleveland, as they’re now 1-5 on the current nine-game jaunt out west.

Nationals 5, Mets 2: Gio Gonzalez wins his 16th game, setting a Nats team record. Bryce Harper tripled and homered. He homered on Friday night too — I was there and it was fun — so it looks like maybe he’s heating up, bro.

Rays 8, Angels 3: The Rays sweep the Angels. So: your team has a big payroll after signing Pujols and Wilson in the offseason, you call up the best rookie since, I dunno, Fred Lynn, and you trade for Zack Greinke at the deadline. And yet you find yourself nine games out of first and four and a half out of the wild card, with four teams above you? Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that could get you fired, Mike Scioscia.

Dodgers 5, Braves 0: Chad Billingsley pitched seven shutout innings and is now 6-0 since the break. The Dodgers move into first with that Giants loss. The Braves go to D.C. to face the Nats. Big series for them.

Royals 5, White Sox 2: Jeremy Guthrie flirted with a no-no, but mild controversy intervened. Eh, I’ve seen that kind of play called a hit in the past. It happens.

Reds 5, Cubs 4: The Reds won ugly, because of some bad defense. Dusty Baker actually asked this after the game: “Is there stink on the field?” Well, if it is on the field, that’s gotta be an improvement as far as Dusty is concerned.

Rangers 11, Blue Jays 2: Michael Young drove in five runs with a three-run homer and a two-run double. It was Young’s first homer in 88 games.

Orioles 7, Tigers 5: Everyone’s been saying the Orioles are going to collapse eventually. But what happens if they don’t collapse? Here they found themselves down 5-0 after the first inning yet didn’t pack it in. They may not pack it in all year.

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
Getty Images
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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: