R.A. Dickey

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Blue Jays 3, Rays 0: R.A. Dickey throws a Maddux (i.e. a shutout in under 100 pitches), with his knuckler back up to the velocity he featured so often during his Cy Young season. Game was over in two hours, ten minutes.

Athletics 5, Reds 0: A.J. Griffin needed 108 pitches for his two-hit shutout and the game lasted ten more minutes but he still did it. Surprising too, given that he walked two of the first three batters he faced in the game.

Marlins 5, Twins 3: Placido Polanco — who I had no idea played for the Marlins, if that tells you how much attention I pay to the Marlins — homered for the first time in a year. Jeff Mathis hit one too. That’s the Marlins’ 13th win this month, which ensures they’ll have a winning record for June. How about them apples?

Phillies 7, Padres 5: This one ended in the 13th inning when Ben Revere hit a grounder to second baseman Logan Forsythe who (a) bobbled it; and (b) made an errant throw home. Two runs scored and that’s all Philly needed. Philly lost the first one of this series in awful fashion but then took the final two. Tell anyone who talks about momentum in baseball to get bent.

Rangers 8, Yankees 5: Nelson Cruz homered and  Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski hit back-to-back two-run doubles. Andy Pettitte was more like Andy MEHttitte again.

Nationals 3, Diamondbacks 2: Jordan Zimmermann gave up two runs on three hits in seven innings. The runs and two of those hits came in the first. The final six were dominant.

Pirates 4, Mariners 2: Felix Hernandez struck out 11 and gave up only two runs, but as so often is the case with him on this team, it wasn’t enough. The Buccos rallied for two in the ninth to break the tie and win the game. Six straight wins for the Pirates, who are now tied with the Cardinals for both the NL Central lead and the best record in all of baseball.

Cubs 5, Brewers 4: At the other end of the division, the Brewers loss here ties them with the Cubs for last in the NL Central. Scott Feldman pitched well and Kevin Gregg bent pretty hard but did not break in the ninth.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: The sweep. If you didn’t pick the Giants to win the NL West odds had you picking the Dodgers before the season began. Now these two are in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Clayton Kershaw gave up two runs over eight innings.

Reds Sox 5, Rockies 3: John Lackey’s fastball was up to 95 and he struck out 12 over seven innings. Roy Oswalt failed to impress for the second straight time, allowing five runs in six innings.

Indians 4, Orioles 3: A one run lead in the ninth? Call Jim Johnson. Jim Johnson. Wat R U doin’? Jim Johnson. Stahp! Walk-double-walk-fielder’s choice-fielder’s choice, lead blown.

Angels 7, Tigers 4: The Angels have won eight straight over the Tigers. Mike Trout homered and drove in three. Tommy Hanson was scratched from the start before the game and was replaced by Billy Buckner and a cast of thousands. More or less.

Mets 3, White Sox 0: Eight shutout innings for Shaun Marcum who picks up his first win of the year. Eric Young Jr. was 3 for 4.

Royals 4, Braves 3: The Royals blew a 3-0 lead in the seventh but then Alex Gordon won it with a walkoff single in the 10th.

Astros 4, Cardinals 3: St. Louis has now lost four of five and, as noted above, fall into a first place tie with Pittsburgh. I predict now I will be asked 100 times this week if Pittsburgh is for real. No one ever asks me if the Cardinals are for real.

Video: Adrian Beltre belts a walk-off home run on Monday against the Athletics

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 25:  The Texas Rangers celebrate the two-run walk off homerun by Adrian Beltre #29 against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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The Rangers found themselves in a 5-1 hole after three innings against the Athletics on Monday, but scratched out some runs in the middle innings. That allowed them to enter the bottom of the ninth inning trailing by only one run, 6-5, facing A’s closer Ryan Madson.

Adrian Beltre, who hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, stepped to the plate with a runner on first base and two outs. He was the Rangers’ last hope to keep the game alive. The veteran third baseman swung at Madson’s first pitch, a 96 MPH fastball, and drilled it to left-center field for a walk-off two-run home run.

Beltre now has nine walk-off home runs in his career. While the 37-year-old isn’t quite the offensive dynamo he was even two years ago, his numbers are still respectable. He’ll head into Tuesday’s action batting .281/.334/.468 with 16 home runs and 63 RBI in 392 plate appearances.

Jay Bruce: “This is such a fleeting game. It’s so unforgiving.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 25:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds swings and watches the flight of his ball as he hits a two-run homer against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the fourth inning at AT&T Park on July 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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Outfielder Jay Bruce was the catalyst in the Reds’ 7-5 victory over the Giants on Monday night, drilling a pair of two-run home runs. It’s good timing for the Reds, as the trade deadline is six days away. The Reds might prefer to get a prospect or two for Bruce rather than pick up his $13 million club option for 2017 or buy him out for $1 million and let him walk into free agency.

It was only a year ago that it seemed like the Reds would have to settle for next-to-nothing to get rid of Bruce. He posted career-lows across the board in 2014, including a .654 OPS and 18 home runs. He improved last season, returning to 26 home runs, but came with an uninspiring .729 OPS.

This year is another story. Bruce is currently hitting .272/.326/.564 with 23 home runs and a league-best 77 RBI. He’s on pace to set career-bests in a lot of categories if he’s able to stay healthy.

Bruce was honest about his resurgence, though, admitting that he doesn’t know why he’s so much better this year as Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

This is such a fleeting game. It’s so unforgiving. You’re never settled. You’ve never got it. You’ve never figured it out. It’s like a puzzle that never has all the pieces to it. You might get close and feel pretty good about your progress, but you never are going to have the puzzle put together.

Bruce, who welcomed a child into the world back in April, also discussed the difficulties of hearing his name bandied about in trade rumors once again.

It’s harder this year. I have a family I have to focus on now. Logistically, it’s much more intricate. I know the skit. I know how it goes. But it will be nice when it’s passed because we’ll have a plan of attack on whether my family is staying where they are in Cincinnati or elsewhere.

This is a point of view that is not often covered. This time of the year can be very difficult for players who may be traded, as they await a phone call that could send their lives into upheaval. It may mean being away from their families for three months. It means living out of a hotel room or finding a place to live on very short notice. Even Bruce’s comments about his success this year are illuminating about the mental strain of the game.

As usual, great reporting by Buchanan. His full article is worth your time.