St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 11, Reds 4: I’ll take “Improbable scores for an extra-inning game for $200, Alex.” It was already 7-4 in the top of the 10th when Matt Holliday came to the plate but he hit a grand slam off Curtis Partch to truly ice the game. J.J. Hoover was charged with six of the seven runs scored by St. Louis that inning. I wonder if anyone in Cincinnati can think of clever and/or crude ways to describe Hoover’s performance in this one that incorporate his name somehow.

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4: The Rangers avoid a sweep and move back into first place by a half game. Homers from Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy.

Tigers 4, Indians 1: Jose Alvarez makes his MLB debut in a spot start, allows one run in six innings, gets the W and is sent back down. Such is life when you play for a veteran-laden, first place team. Don Kelly hit a three-run homer to break the 1-1 tie in the sixth.

Marlins 8, Mets 4: The Marlins have 18 wins. Eight of them have come against the Mets. The Mets made news after this one by sending down a few players and calling up a few in their place. Thing is, there are still a bunch of minor leaguers in talent and essence on this club.

Nationals 7, Twins 0; Nationals 5, Twins 4: Jordan Zimmermann tossed seven two-hit shutout innings in game one while Anthony Rendon doubled in two and singled in ones. In the nightcap it was the bullpen that did the heavy lifting as Nathan Karns didn’t have much but the pen held the Twins scoreless for the final six innings.

Red Sox 10, Angels 5: Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit two homers. David Ortiz hit a three-run job. The Sox took two of three, have won six of eight overall and are sitting on top of the AL East by a game and a half.

Brewers 9, Phillies 1: Kyle Lohse was strong and got his first win in eight starts and the Brewers take three of four. But Ryan Braun came out of the game as his thumb continues to bother him, and he’s probably gonna hit the DL soon.

Orioles 10, Rays 7:  Baltimore: unimpressed by Matt Moore. The racked up nine runs on 12 hits off him, with J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Alexi Casilla and Nick Markakis each driving in two. Oh, check out this play by Casilla. That’s some Neo-from-Matrix crap right there.

White Sox 4, Athletics 2: Alex Rios and Tyler Flowers homered as the Sox earn a split against one of the hottest teams around. Sure, it comes after a stretch that put them in last place and gave new meaning to the word “punchless” but it’s at least something.

Cubs 4, Pirates 1: Cody Ransom hit a three-run homer. Which I heard on the radio while riding in a cab in Chicago. Which was kind of cool. I had a pretty sweet weekend up there. I’ll offer a couple of mini ballpark reviews of both Wrigley and U.S. Cellular, each of which I hit on Friday, later today.

Braves 8, Dodgers 1: Two homers for Dan Uggla. Homers have basically been his whole season. He’s on pace for 33 this year. He’s on pace for butt in basically every other offensive category. Yasiel Puig went 3 for 5. He’s 13 for 28 to start his career.

Royals 2, Astros 0: Look at Kansas City, winners of five straight. Sure, those wins came against Houston and Minnesota, but they still count. Luis Mendoza and Lucas Harrell had quite the duel going here, each tossing seven shutout innings. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer each singled in runs in the eighth.

Rockies 8, Padres 7: The Rockies were down 7-4 entering the bottom of the ninth before rallying off Luke Gregerson.  Dexter Fowler scored the tying run that frame and drove in the winning run in the tenth. Carlos Gonzalez was the man, though, making two fantastic catches and driving in two on a ninth inning double.

Yankees 2, Mariners 1: Story of Felix Hernandez’s life: one runner over seven innings but a no decision because his team’s bats couldn’t do anything. David Phelps held them at bay and then Chris Stewart drove in the go-ahead run on with a ninth inning single.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 2: Chad Gaudin threw up during the third and sixth innings but only coughed up two runs in the fourth against the Dbacks. Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers probably yelled at their team for not being truly gritty compared to Gaudin after this one.

Is Bud Black the favorite to be the next Braves manager?

Bud Black
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We talked last week about how Fredi Gonzalez is likely a dead man walking as the Braves manager. They stink, he’s a lame duck and part of the team’s whole marketing thrust is “2017 will be a new beginning,” what with the new ballpark and all. It stands to reason that Mr. Gonzalez doesn’t have long for this world.

Last week I suspected he’d be fired tomorrow, the Braves off day before a home stand. They’ve won in the past week, but it still wouldn’t shock me. Even if firing Gonzalez would be an act of scapegoating. It’s the roster that’s the problem, not the manager, even though Fredi doesn’t exactly inspire anyone.

Today Bob Nightengale throws this into the mix:

As of yet he hasn’t followed that up with an actual column or more tweets about who, exactly, considers Black to be the heavy favorite, but there’s a definitiveness to that which makes me think he’s heard something solid.

Black, as you know, was the long time Padres manager who had an unsuccessful flirtation with the Nationals before they hired Dusty Baker this past offseason. Black is now cooling his heels with his longtime boss Mike Scioscia in Anaheim, in what is clearly a “wait for his next managing opportunity” posture.

Could it be in Atlanta? At least one national writer and some nebulous group of insiders believe so, it would seem.

The Reds bullpen set a record for futility

Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher J.J. Hoover reacts after giving up a solo home run to Chicago Cubs' Javier Baez, left, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 22, 2016, in Cincinnati. The Cubs won 8-1. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Associated Press
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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning but it’s worthy of its own post.

The Cincinnati Reds’ bullpen gave up two runs last night. In so doing it made for the 21st consecutive game in which it has allowed at least one run. That’s a new major league record, having surpassed the 2013 Colorado Rockies’ record of 20, according to Elias.

Last year the Reds set a record — shattered it, really — by going with rookie starting pitchers in 64 straight games to end the season. Those guys aren’t rookies anymore, but they’re still really inexperienced. They could probably use some better bullpen help than they’ve been getting.

Headline of the Day– A-Rod: “Trophy Boyfriend”

Alex Rodriguez
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For as long as there have been couples, the woman in a couple has been publicly defined by the man’s life and accomplishments. It doesn’t matter if the woman cures cancer, walks on the moon or wins the Eurovision Song Contest, when news stories or obituaries are written, she is invariably referred to as “wife of ___” or “girlfriend of ___.” Even if the guy is a grade-A schmuck.

While that pattern still persists, it’s nice to see someone flip the script on it once in a while. Like The Cut did in its story about a new, high-profile couple going public:

 

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The couple: Alex Rodriguez and Anne Wojcicki. Who, if you were unaware, is a Silicon Valley biotech CEO and a billionaire. She went to Yale, played varsity hockey in college and is a mother. Alex Rodriguez is accomplished and famous, but outside of the sports bubble he’s a padawan to Wojcicki’s master Jedi. Despite this, in places other than The Cut, it would still not be surprising to see her referred to as “A-Rod’s girlfriend,” because that’s just how people roll. Here’s hoping others take The Cut’s lead when referring to women in the public sphere more often.

A related note: in the rare cases when a famous male personality is identified in reference to his female partner and not the other way around, people like to make jokes and like to question the masculinity of the man. Which is equally stupid. And, to the man in question, should be utterly beside the point.

To that end, I think it’s worth noting that Alex Rodriguez has been involved with several women who, outside of baseball, are far more famous than he is and it’s never seemed to be an issue for him whatsoever. People like to say a lot of things about A-Rod’s ego and personality, but in this respect I bet he’s a hell of a lot better adjusted, grounded and self-assured than the vast majority of men who might find themselves in his place.

Video: Jeff Samardzija breaks a bat over his knee after striking out

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Jeff Samardzija had a great night last night. He allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and picked up the win. In the early going he’s proving wrong those who thought that the Giants overpaid for him and is providing solid performance from the third spot in the Giants rotation. It’s all good.

But good is not always good enough for a professional athlete. Especially one like Samardzija, who excelled in multiple sports and likely can count his lifetime athletic failures on one hand. No, when you’re wired like that you get upset even when you’re excellent because sometimes you want to be perfect.

For example, most pitchers don’t get too worried about striking out. They’re there to pitch, not bat. They turn on their heel and calmly walk back to the dugout. Samardzija, however, got a bit irate when he struck out. Then he did this: