Country Breakfast

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 9, Phillies 8: Country. Breakfast. Billy Butler drives in seven via a grand slam and a three-run double. The loss is an especially disheartening one for Philly, as they were staked to a 4-0 lead early with their ace on the hill. Cole Hamels was rocked, though, and now stands at 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA on the young season.

Red Sox 13, Blue Jays 0: Will Middlebrooks went bomb-bomb-bomb. And added a double. The AL East champs, presumptive, are now 2-4. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA. Jon Lester, meanwhile, shut out the Jays for seven innings. It’s gonna be awesome later today when I read all the stories about how character and stuff are the reasons the Red Sox have started out strong rather than getting some nice pitching from now-healthy pitchers.

Braves 5, Cubs 1: Jeff Samardzija struck out 13 Braves but it didn’t really slow ’em down any. And really, if they win five of every six and double the MLB record for team strikeouts in a season I won’t give a tinker’s damn, nor should anyone else. Justin Upton had the golden sombrero, going 0 for 4 with 4Ks. Jeez. Didn’t even hit a home run? Maybe Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson were right about him. Guess he’s totally content to lazily chill his way to a 135 home run season rather than keep up that 162 pace.

Indians 13, Rays 0: Mentioned the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. How about that reigning AL Cy Young Award winner? The Indians rocked David Price like a hurricane, getting eight runs on ten hits off the guy. Carlos Santana went 5 for 5 and drove in three. Mark Reynolds went three for four and drove in four. Meanwhile, seven shutout innings for Justin Masterson. Wait — was this a carbon copy of the Red Sox-Jays game? Is someone printing up duplicates?

Mets 4, Marlins 3: Nice start for rookie Jose Ferdnandez in his MLB debut (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER 8K), but Steve Cishek couldn’t hold it down in the ninth. The Mets won it on a Marlon Byrd RBI single.

Reds 6, Nationals 3: Well, on the bright side, this time Steven Strasburg was allowed to throw more than 80 pitches. The bad news, though, is that he needed 114 pitches just to get through five and a third. Washington looked pretty sweet sweeping the Marlins. In their first action against a major league team, however, they drop two of three.

Yankees 7, Tigers 0: That’s more like it from New York. And from CC Sabathia, who pitched seven scoreless. If they had lost this one it would have been the Yankees’ worst start since 1989. That team had Steve Balboni on it, though, so at least it was fun.

Diamondbacks 8, Brewers 7: Not fun at all: what the Brewers are doing at the moment. In case you missed it, you have to read Matthew’s full write-up of what happened in the late innings of this one. When you call Ryan Braun off the on-deck circle and put Kyle Lohse in to hit for him in extra innings with two men on in a one-run game you are living wrong. You are suffering the consequences of roster malpractice. This is disgraceful.

Twins 4, Orioles 3: Who had the Twins at 4-2 after six games against teams which made the playoffs in 2012? You? Really? Lying like a cheap rug, dude. Meanwhile, the Orioles are now 0-3 in one-run games on the year. Here’s a shoutout to the folks who yelled at the people citing their excellent record in such games last  year as a function of luck, who are now presumably saying that the O’s have just stumbled into some bad luck this week.

Dodgers 6, Pirates 2: Hyun-Jin Ryu got his first big league victory, with a first inning homer to Andrew McCutchen the only blemish. Adrian Gonzalez drove in four. Three game sweep for the Dodgers.

White Sox 4, Mariners 3: Dayan Viciedo hit a walkoff bomb in the tenth. Credit the sweet, sweet, sweet 1983 throwbacks. Probably my favorite (non-traditional) uniform of the double knit-era. Just look at these things. They’re glorious, I tell you. Oh: from the AP game story: Viciedo’s nickname is apparently “Tank.” I was unaware of this. I have a friend whose nickname is Tank. I’ve known a couple other Tanks too. You cannot be a bad person if your nickname is Tank. It’s just impossible.

Rockies 9, Padres 1: Colorado is 5-1, which is what we all expected, obviously. And you’ll be shocked — SHOCKED! — to learn that Edinson Volquez had a rough first inning. It’s so unlike him. Wilin Rosario hit a three-run homer. Dexter Fowler hit a homer in the first after unsuccessfully trying to deke the home plate umpire into thinking he was plunked, only to be called back to the plate. Saved from himself.

Cardinals 14, Giants 3: On the day the Giants wore their purty gold uniforms and got their rings, the team they unseated as defending World Series champs laid a whuppin’ on them. The bad day for aces continued, as Matt Cain was roughed up for nine runs in three and two-thirds.

Athletics 9, Astros 3: Well, not all aces got rocked. Brett Anderson — who was the Opening Day starter, so he could theoretically be an ace I suppose — struck out ten Astros in six innings, allowing two unearned runs.

Rangers 7, Angels 3: Prime time game that, ain’t gonna lie, interested me way less than the “Mad Men” premier. Sorry, dudes. Anyway, Josh Hamilton actually started hitting — he went 3 for 5 — but L.A. didn’t get enough otherwise. Bigger news: both team’s aces — Yu Darvish and Jered Weaver — left early with injuries. Not major ones. Darvish had a recurrence of that blister he first developed last week and Weaver sprained his non-throwing elbow. But not good news for either of them.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.