And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Reds 5, Angels 4: Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton finally upped their averages north of .000 — each went 1 for 4 and drove in a couple — but not enough to matter. Aroldis Chapman came in to pitch the ninth against the top of the order. Mike Trout singled but then he got Aybar — who sacrificed — Pujols and Hamilton, with his velocity going up a couple miles per hour each pitch. It was a nice closing job, but boy howdy I’d like to see him start a game at 93 and slowly crank it up to 99, Verlander-style, someday.

Yankees 4, Red Sox 2: Pettitte-to-Mariano. If you’re struggling, go back to what works. This has worked for about 17 years or so. In other news, the Yankees and Red Sox played a game against each other that lasted two hours and thirty eight minutes. I didn’t think such things were possible, but it actually happened.

Royals 3, White Sox 1: An impressive outing from Jeremy Guthrie (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 9K). Then the hard-throwers in the bullpen did their thing for three innings. This is what the Royals pretty much drew up happening every game this season. It won’t, but this is what success looks like for this team.

Twins 8, Tigers 2: We all laughed a bit yesterday afternoon when the Tigers signed Jose Valverde. But after watching Brayan Villareal stink up the joint to the tune of fives runs in two-thirds on an inning, it’s not as if Valverde would be the worst part of this bullpen. At the moment the entire bullpen is the worst part of the bullpen.

Cubs 3, Pirates 2: I watched way more of this one than the Angels-Reds game which was on TV at the same time. Guess I just wanted to see teams I’ll see less of over the course of the year. Travis Wood was good and Carlos Marmol was his usual shaky self. My favorite thing was the Pirates, though. In the seventh inning, with the Cubs up 1-0, Clint Hurdle had his cleanup hitter bunt with a fast runner on second and no one out. The cleanup hitter could not get the bunt down and strikes out. The next two batters pop out and strike out. Oh, and the fast runner stole third in the meantime. Maybe if they had one more out. Maybe if Hurdle put a guy in the cleanup spot that he trusted to, you know, clean up.

Padres 2, Mets 1: Eric Stults and five relievers combined for 14 strikeouts and kept the Mets scoreless until the ninth. If you had New York at 162-0, well, sorry.

Nationals 6, Marlins 1: I suppose if you had the Marlins at 0-162 that you still have a lot of life in that proposition. But hey, at least they finally scored a run. The Nats’ 2-3-4 hitters combined to drive in all six of the team’s runs. I suppose Werth, Harper and Zimmerman are gonna do that a lot.

Orioles 6, Rays 3: Chris Davis, have yourself an Opening Week. He homered for the third straight day and drove on four. For the series he went 7 of 11 with three homers, three doubles and 11 RBI. And if we’re gonna mention the Nats’ 2-3-4, we should mention the O’s 3-4-5. In taking two of three from Tampa Bay they went 17 for 37 with four homers, six doubles, 13 runs scored and 15 RBI.

Phillies 2, Braves 0: Cliff Lee dominated, allowing only two hits — both singles — and striking out eight. Last year Cliff Lee didn’t win his first game until the fourth of July. Speaking of wins, this was the first time in 24 tries that the Braves lost a Kris Medlen start. Which, to be honest, makes me happy in some strange way. Seemed like that streak — which stretched over years, a Tommy John surgery and a lot of improbable stuff — was giving people a sense that this kid was somehow magical rather than simply good and fortunate. And from there it’s a short slide to people thinking pitcher wins matter. If you want to see how awful it is when people think that, just ask folks if they think Cliff Lee is still an ace. Those poor deluded sods who say “no” are basing this on his win total last year.

Athletics 8, Mariners 2: L.A. Woman-era Jim Morrison hit a homer and drove in four runs for Oakland. Wait, sorry. That was Josh Reddick. Michael Morse homered for the third straight day.

Blue Jays 10, Indians 8: J.P. Arencibia hit two homers. Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista did too. But some bad news: Bautista left the game early with a twisted ankle. Probably not serious, but Toronto needs him healthy all year.

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Friday’s scores and highlights:

Red Sox 9, Angels 4: David Ortiz commanded center stage at Fenway Park for the first time since 2016, becoming the 10th player in franchise history to have his number retired. The club hung his jersey number between those of Wade Boggs and Jackie Robinson and invited the slugger to toss out the ceremonial first pitch, which landed just a few feet wide of the plate:

Following the ceremony, the Red Sox capped their tribute with a decisive 9-4 win over the visiting Angels, powered by 6 1/3 innings of four-run ball from Rick Porcello and a two-RBI performance from Sandy Leon. They remain tied with the Yankees for first place in the AL East.

Nationals 6, Reds 5 (10 innings): Bryce Harper came through in the clutch on Friday, walking off on a two-out single in the 10th after Brian Goodwin tied the game with a home run in the seventh inning. It was the first lead the Nats held all night after the Reds’ offense erupted with a four-run inning to start the game, and, thankfully, the only one they needed to preserve a nine-game advantage in the NL East.

Yankees 2, Rangers 1 (10 innings): Everyone was a winner on Friday — well, except for the Rangers. The Yankees clung to first place with an airtight performance from Masahiro Tanaka, who matched Yu Darvish inning-for-inning and finished the night with just three hits, two walks and nine strikeouts. The offense did the rest, saving their first run for the ninth inning on Brett Gardner‘s one-out home run and securing the win with Ronald Torreyes‘ walk-off hit in the 10th.

If it feels like it’s been a while since the Yankees won a game via walk-off, that’s because they haven’t done it since April:

Marlins 2, Cubs 0: Giancarlo Stanton won’t get a chance to defend his Home Run Derby title for a few more weeks, but he got plenty of practice against the Cubs this weekend. He fueled the Marlins’ shutout with a 458-foot blast, putting the club on the board in the third inning and lending some support to Jose Urena‘s fifth win of the season.

Rays 15, Orioles 5: According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Orioles have allowed a cumulative 160 runs over their last 20 games. They took their sixth double-digit defeat in that span on Friday, handing the Rays a 10-run lead after Tampa Bay engineered three separate innings of 4+ runs. To say that Baltimore skipper Buck Showalter is concerned about his rotation is an understatement. Via MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli:

Got to pitch better. It is what it is. The help’s going to come from within,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We got to get back in step and create some rhythm for the offense, and even the defense gets out of step when the game’s being played so choppy and not very crisp. I really don’t like hanging it around one phase of it, but it starts if we could just string some good starts together. You can get into some type of rhythm.

Twins 5, Indians 0: The Twins entered a pivotal series this weekend as they attempt to unseat the Indians from first place, and Friday’s 5-0 shutout saw them pull within two games of the division lead. Adalberto Mejia strung five scoreless innings together, flummoxing the Indians at the plate with two hits, five walks and four strikeouts en route to his second win of the year. Not only was it the first win Mejia recorded since the Twins’ doubleheader last month, but it was the first time the southpaw managed to log more than 100 pitches in any major league start to date.

Braves 5, Brewers 4: Just call Dansby Swanson the next time you need a save. The Braves’ shortstop was instrumental in the team’s nail-biting finish on Friday evening, executing a run-saving fielder’s choice to catch Eric Thames off the third base bag in the ninth inning and helping right-hander Arodys Vizcaino secure his first save of the year with a diving stop to end the game.

Athletics 3, White Sox 0: The A’s finally brought their four-game skid to a halt, coasting to their second shutout of the season on five solid innings from right-hander Jharel Cotton. Cotton exited in the sixth inning with a blister on his pitching hand, but the bullpen kept things rolling against the White Sox with four scoreless frames. Khris Davis and Matt Joyce took care of things at the plate, muscling two home runs to give the A’s the edge they needed to lock down their 32nd win of the year.

Pirates 4, Cardinals 3: Jameson Taillon and Adam Wainwright were locked into a pitcher’s duel during the Cardinals’ home opener, holding their respective opponents to just two runs apiece over the first four innings. After Taillon’s exit in the sixth inning, the Cardinals jumped on reliever Daniel Hudson with a tie-breaking home run from Paul DeJong, but couldn’t quite close the door after the Pirates rebounded with a David Freese RBI single in the eighth inning. John Jaso smacked a game-winning home run in the ninth, securing the win and breaking the Bucs’ seven-game losing streak at Busch Stadium to boot.

Royals 5, Blue Jays 4: The Blue Jays appeared to be on the verge of a much-needed win on Friday, but some late-game struggles from the bullpen quickly unraveled eight innings of hard work. With two outs in the ninth inning, Alcides Escobar cut the Jays’ lead in half with an RBI single, followed by another from Alex Gordon and a game-winning two-run double off the bat of Whit Merrifield — the first walk-off of his major league career.

Phillies 6, Diamondbacks 1: Don’t look now, but the Phillies are… well, still in the last place. A 6-1 win is still worth celebrating, however, as they turned in an impressive four-run spread in the ninth inning to hand Mark Leiter his first win of the year. The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, now sit 2.5 games behind the division-leading Dodgers after squandering another quality start from left-hander Patrick Corbin.

Padres 1, Tigers 0: The Padres have won all but one home opener this season, and Friday’s 1-0 shutout was no exception. They continued their dominant streak with their fourth shutout of the year, backed by six innings of two-hit ball from right-hander Luis Perdomo. Despite Perdomo’s season-high five walks, not a single runner was able to advance past second base, gifting the Padres with a win after Austin Hedges doubled home the winning run in the second inning.

Mariners 13, Astros 3: Felix Hernandez may not look like the King the Mariners crowned back in 2010, but he certainly got the royal treatment upon his return from the disabled list on Friday night. The offense put up a sparkling 13 runs behind Hernandez’s six-inning, six-strikeout effort, topped by a trifecta of home runs from Mike Zunino, Ben Gamel and Kyle Seager. The double-digit finish extended the Mariners’ win streak to six games, giving Seattle hope that they’ll stick above .500 for more than a couple of days.

Dodgers 6, Rockies 1: The Dodgers steamrolled the Rockies to their eighth consecutive win on Friday, extending Alex Wood‘s record to 8-0 with 6 1/3 innings of a three-hitter. The Rockies struck early on an RBI double from Tom Murphy in the second, but found themselves unable to move a runner past first base in any subsequent inning. With the win, the Dodgers are now 14-1 in their last 15 contests, good for the best record in the majors, though they’ll need more than a couple of wins to completely shake the Rockies and Diamondbacks from contention.

Mets 11, Giants 4: The Giants took one step forward and two steps back this week, earning their 10th loss in 11 games after the Mets turned out an 11-run win on Friday. Ty Blach imploded after three innings with a career-high 11 hits and seven runs and failed to strike out a single batter. Club manager Bruce Bochy didn’t let his players off the hook, either, and told reporters that he wouldn’t excuse the team’s poor performance despite their early-morning arrival from Atlanta prior to the game. “Sure, we landed early in the morning, but it’s not the first time this has happened,” Bochy said. “You deal with it.”

Alex Dickerson to miss 2017 season after undergoing back surgery

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Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.

Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.

The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.