And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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In addition to the box scores, I also watched Bill Clinton last night. No matter what your politics, I hope we can agree that Clinton makes everyone want to listen to their “Siamese Dream” cassette and drive around in their Chevy Cavalier, waiting for their pager to blow up.  Anyway:

Nationals 9, Cubs 1: Gio Gonzalez tossed seven three-hit shutout innings and the Nats smacked six home runs. Two for Bryce Harper and one for the incandescent Adam LaRoche. There hasn’t been scoring like this in Washington since Clinton left office.

Braves 1, Rockies 0: Mike Minor took a no hitter into the seventh, but gave up a hit on his first pitch of that innings. People on Twitter blamed me for jinxing it. Whatever. I want to gamble or play games of skill with these people who believe in such sorcery.

Brewers 8, Marlins 5: The season is starting to become a blur to me. As I sit here and type this right now, I am convinced that there has been a Brewers-Marlins game end in the score 8-5 every night for the past three weeks. I won’t check it. I’m just sure of it.

Yankees 6, Rays 4: Wait, I was convinced after reading all of the tabloids yesterday that the Yankees were never going to win again. What happened? Three RBI for Russell Martin and, while it wasn’t Hiroki Kuroda’s best start, he continues to be the defacto ace of the staff in the second half.

Pirates 6, Astros 3: Brock Holt — Brock Holt! — had two RBIs. The Pirates are now one and a half games back of the Cardinals for the wild card.

Blue Jays 6, Orioles 4:  Rajai Davis homered and had three RBIs to help the Jays avoid the sweep. Now the Orioles go home for four against the Yankees and three against the Rays.

Rangers 7, Royals 6: Homers from Adrian Beltre and Michael Young and Ryan Dempster struck out eight over six innings.

Mets 6, Cardinals 2: R.A. Dickey won his 18th on his charge to 20 and the Cy Young award and Ike Davis had a three-run bomb. Adam Wainwright, in contrast, was a better hitter than pitcher yesterday. He allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings, but hit a home run.

White Sox 6, Twins 2: Alex Rios hit two homers — one a grand slam — and drove in six. And a day after the Twins erupted for 18, Jake Peavy restored order.

Tigers 7, Indians 1: But Detroit keeps pace behind homers from Cabrera and Fielder. Now the Tigers have a ten game road trip which I do not think it is hyperbole to say will determine the outcome of the season for them.

Phillies 6, Reds 2Erik Kratz hit a three-run home run and Chase Utley hit a two-run bomb, which was more than enough for Roy Halladay, who allowed one run in seven and a third. Joey Votto returned and went 2 for 3 with a walk.

Angels 7, Athletics 1: Torii Hunter drove in three and the Angels swept Oakland, helping put themselves back in the wild card race. The result, however, is way less important than the health of Brandon McCarthy who took a liner off his head. He appears to be doing OK, thankfully.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2: Trevor Cahill took a no-hitter into the seventh. Chris Johnson doubled, tripled and drove in two. There was the threat of fisticuffsmanship in the eighth when John McDonald ran into Pablo Sandoval on a play at third without sliding, but cooler heads prevailed.

Padres 4, Dodgers 3: L.A. couldn’t take advantage of the San Francisco loss, thanks in part to a great Cameron Maybin play, robbing Matt Kemp of a home run.  Now the Dodgers face the Giants for three this weekend in San Francisco. Moving time, Dodgers.

Mariners 2, Red Sox 1: With this win, Seattle matches their win total from 2011 with 24 games left to play. Kevin Millwood allowed one run over six before Eric Wedge went expanded rosters bullpen crazy. Dustin Ackley hit a two run single.

There is, indeed, an MLB-to-Portland group

Associated Press
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On Monday, Baseball America reported that MLB is prepared to expand to Portland and Montreal. We talked about that at length yesterday. One of the most common responses to that piece has been “Portland? Really?”

There’s good reason for that response. Baseball-to-Portland has been talked about for years, but there has never been any real traction. Past initiatives have failed, significant public funding for a stadium seems to be a political impossibility and, heck, Portland wasn’t even interested in keeping its Triple-A team, turning its stadium into a much more successful soccer venue and not missing the Beavers all that much.

It would seem, however, that the reports are not mere speculation and there is a genuine baseball-to-Portland initiative afoot once again. From the Oregonian:

On Tuesday, former Trail Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that he is part of the Portland group.

“I am officially involved with a campaign to bring Major League Baseball and a stadium development to Portland,” Barrett said. “There is also a formally organized, sophisticated and seasoned management group running this initiative. We will keep you fully apprised of any/all developments as this project progresses.”

One guy — a broadcaster no less — saying he’s part of a group is not exactly a major needle-mover, of course. But it does contrast with past Portland initiatives that have been well-publicized grassroots affairs. While those may have been more broad-based and while their public nature may have provided some refreshing transparency, the simple fact of professional sports ownership in the 21st century is that well-monied groups who play things close to the vest are more likely to make waves. We’re in an age when technocratic hedge fund-type guys make things happen in this arena, not in an age when flamboyant public personalities do.

None of which is to say that baseball in Portland is a lock or that expansion anywhere is a short term proposition. It’s just to note that, yeah, there is a bit more going on, it seems, than just pointing at a map and saying “yeah, a team would make sense here.”