Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 10, Athletics 1: Austin Jackson was 4 for 6 with three RBI. Prince Fielder is now hitting .429/.527/.833. Once this team gets its bullpen figured out, man, watch out.

Diamondbacks 1, Dodgers 0: When Nick Swisher hit a walkoff homer single in a 1-0 game the other day I thought to myself, “man, you don’t see that happen all that often.” Then it happened again, this time with Paul Goldschmidt hitting a game-winning single to win a 1-0 game. If it happens one more time in the next week I’m going to take it as a sign of something important and meaningful and will use the experience to examine everything I thought I knew.

Braves 9, Nationals 0: Impressed yet, Danny Espinosa and Gio Gonzalez? No? What do you need to see, then?

Mariners 4, Rangers 3: Rookie Brandon Maurer was shellacked by the Astros in his last start but tamed the Rangers in this one. Mildly unexpected stuff like this, multiplied by the thousands upon thousands of times they occur during a baseball season, is why I spend most of my energy reacting to things rather than predicting things or acting like I have some key to understanding this game that no one else has. Stuff happens. In a couple thousand games a year. Anyone who ever claims that they know what’s gonna happen in any one, or really, any small handful of games is a liar or a fool.

Red Sox 5, Rays 0: Clay Buchholz took a no-hitter into the eighth. Pity the Rays broke it up, as it puts them behind their usual schedule of getting no-hit. They’re really gonna have to work to get back on pace.

Rockies 2, Padres 1: Todd Helton’s two-run, pinch-hit homer in the seventh would’ve fallen about ten feet in front of the wall a year ago. Hope you like the new dimensions at Petco Park, Padres. You asked for ’em.

Giants 10, Cubs 7: The Cubs threw five wild pitches while giving up four runs in the sixth. Then Shawn Camp balked in what would be the winning run in the tenth. Strong effort, fellas.

Angels 4, Astros 1: Josh Hamilton singled, tripled and homered. That and taking two out of three from Houston is a nice way to make up for Friday night’s embarrassing effort. Perchance that was the low point and now the ship is righted. Or perhaps anyone can take two of three from the Astros.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: This guy was probably happy after Jonathan Lucroy hit a homer in the tenth. All Brewers fans were probably happy to see Milwaukee’s 32-inning scoreless streak end in the eighth when Ryan Braun went deep.

Royals 3, Blue Jays 2: Kansas City avoids being swept with Alex Gordon’s walkoff RBI single. Ervin Santana pitched eight strong innings. Jays’ manager John Gibbons said this after the game: “They’re scrappy. They battle you.” If the Royals meet the Diamondbacks in the World Series the narrative-construction is going to be so thick and insufferable I’m probably just gonna give the whole thing a miss and take a vacation someplace instead.

Pirates 10, Reds 7: Michael McKenry hit two homers. The Pirates were down by five heading into the seventh and then scored ten runs in the seventh and eighth. I credit the sweet, sweet pullover jerseys and yellow caps they were wearing.

White Sox 3, Indians 1: Jake Peavy struck out 11 and gave up a lone run helping the pale hose break their five-game losing streak. In other news, I think after a couple years worth of using “Chisox” as this team’s third reference (following “the White Sox” and “Chicago,”) I’m now gonna try hard to use pale hose more often.

Phillies 2, Marlins 1: Roy Halladay gets his 200th career win. Assuming you count wins against minor league teams like Miami too.

Yankees 3, Orioles 0: Hiroki Kuroda shut ’em out on five hits without walking a soul. The Yankees continue not to be doomed somehow.

Mets vs. Twins: POSTPONED: The wind it was howling and the snow was outrageous. We chopped through the night and we chopped through the dawn. When he died I was hoping that it wasn’t contagious. But I made up my mind that I had to go on.

Ruben Amaro is workin’ out and gettin’ ready to coach first base

Ruben Amaro Jr.
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One of the weirder stories of the offseason was Ruben Amaro going from the Phillies front office to the Red Sox, where he’ll coach first base. That kind of transition is almost unheard of but it’s happening with old Rube.

Today Pete Abraham of the Globe has a story about how Amaro is preparing for the role. And how, while it may look weird on paper, the move actually makes a lot more sense than you might suspect given the Red Sox’ coaching staff and Amaro’s own background. It’s good stuff. Go check it out.

On a personal note, it serves as a signal to me to keep my eyes peeled for reports about Amaro from Fort Myers once camp gets started:

Amaro has been working out in recent weeks with his nephew Andrew, a Phillies prospect, to get ready for throwing batting practice and hitting fungoes.

Could we be so lucky as to get the first-ever Best Shape of His Life report for a coach? God, I hope so!

It’s pretty stupid that athletes can’t endorse beer

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner celebrates after pitching the Giants to a 8-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League wild card game in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) ORG XMIT: PAGP102
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One of the more amusing things to spin out of the Super Bowl were Peyton Manning’s little Budweiser endorsements in his postgame interviews. It was hilarious, really, to see him shoehorn in references to going and cracking a crisp cool Budweiser multiple times. It was more hilarious when a Budweiser representative tweeted that Manning was not paid to do that. Of course, Manning owns an interest in alcohol distributorships so talking about The King of Beers was in his best financial interest all the same.

After that happened people asked whether or not Manning would face discipline about this from the NFL, as players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic beverages. This seemed crazy to me. I had no idea that they were actually banned from doing so. Then I realized that, huh, I can’t for the life of me remember seeing beer commercials with active athletes, so I guess maybe it’s not so crazy. Ken Rosenthal later tweeted that Major League Baseball has a similar ban in place. No alcohol endorsements for ballplayers.

Why?

I mean, I can fully anticipate why the leagues would say athletes can’t do it. Think of the children! Role models! Messages about fitness! All that jazz. I suspect a more significant reason is that the leagues and their partners — mostly Anheuser-Busch/InBev — would prefer not to allow high-profile athletes to shill for a competitor. How bad would it look for Alex Rodriguez to do spots for Arrogant Bastard Ale when there are Budweiser signs hanging in 81% of the league’s ballparks? Actually, such ads would look WONDERFUL, but you know what I mean here.

That aside, it does strike me as crazy hypocritical that the leagues can rake in as much as they do from these companies while prohibiting players from getting in on the action. If it is kids they’re worried about, how can they deny that they endorse beer to children every bit as effectively and possibly more so than any one athlete can by virtue of putting it alongside the brands that are the NFL and MLB? Personally I don’t put much stock in a think-of-the-children argument when it comes to beer — it’s everywhere already and everyone does a good job of pushing the “drink responsibly” message — but if those are the leagues’ terms, they probably need to ask themselves how much of a distinction any one athlete and the entire league endorsing this stuff really is.

That aside, sports and beer — often sponsored by active players — have a long, long history together:

Musial

And the picture at the top of this post certainly shows us that Major League Baseball has no issues whatsoever in having its players endorse Budweiser in a practical sense.

Why can’t they get paid for doing it?

The Orioles signed Rafael Palmeiro’s son

Rafael Palmeiro
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Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.

Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.

As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.

This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”

Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.