San Diego Padres v Miami Marlins

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 6, Padres 2: An improbable walkoff grand slam from Jeff Mathis caps an improbable winning month from the Miami Marlins. 15-10 in June for the worst team in baseball. Not bad. Oh, and Mathis’ homer was the 3,000th in team history.

Pirates 2, Brewers 1: A 14th inning walkoff win for the hottest and — at least by record — best team in baseball. Nine in a row for the pirates who, at the season’s halfway point, are 51-30. Six Pirates relievers combined for 11 scoreless innings, including five from Vin Mazzaro. The Pirates bullpen calls itself “the Shark Tank,” by the way. Which in addition to violating the rules of nicknames — thou shalt not five thyself a nickname — is going to be really insufferable if and when Tim McCarver is talking about it in October. He’s gonna draw out his pronunciation of “Shaaark Tank,” an then hit the meaning of that moniker — dropping teeth and fin and “Jaws” and “smells blood in the water” references — like a boot stamping on a human face forever.

Indians 4, White Sox 0: Justin Masterson? More like Justin Masterful, amirite? Eh, sorry. (CG SHO 1 BB, 8K). The Indians sweep the Chisox and are now tied for first place in the AL Central because …

Rays 3, Tigers 1: … Jeremy Hellickson shuts down the Tigers for his fifth win in the month of June. Rick Porcello hit Ben Zobrist early, likely in retaliation for the inside pitch from Fernando Rodney to Miguel Cabrera the day before which the Tigers seemed unreasonably bent-out-of-shape about. After that, though, no fisticuffsmanship or anything like that.

Nationals 13, Mets 2: The Nationals were less than impressed with Zack Wheeler. Ian Desmond and Kurt Suzuki each drove in three while Gio Gonzalez tossed seven shutout innings.

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4: Josh Thole playing first base in the ninth inning of a tie game is what can be referred to as a sub-optimal situation. He muffed Shane Victorino’s grounder which allowed the winning run to score. They took three of four from Toronto, whose momentum from that winning streak which ended last week seems to have evaporated.

Braves 6, Diamondbacks 2: Atlanta sweeps Arizona, completing the season series between them and taking five of six from the GrittyBacks. Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla and Brian McCann each homered.

Royals 9, Twins 8: David Lough homered and hit three doubles. The Royals have a losing record on the season, but are .500 after DFAing Jeff Francoeur. Coincidence?

Dodgers 6, Phillies 1: Yasiel Puig’s Ridiculousness Tour continues. He went 4 for 5, scored twice and is now hitting .436/.467/.713 in 101 at bats. Seven shutout innings for Stephen Fife. The Dodgers may be in last place but they’re only four back in an otherwise weak division following a 15-13 month of June.

Angels 3, Astros 1: The other presumably dead L.A. team is showing itself to only have been mostly dead as well. The Angels win their sixth straight behind a strong outing from C.J. Wilson. Josh Hamilton doubled in a run and scored on an error on the same play. Kind of like a little league home run, that, as he reached third on the throw home and then scored on a throwing error. The Angels are still nine back because their division is tougher than the Dodgers, but you can’t count them out yet.

Rangers 3, Reds 2: Yu Darvish struck out eight in six and two-thirds scoreless innings. The rare two-run squeeze bunt for the Rangers in this one.

Giants 5, Rockies 2: Michael Cuddyer extends his hitting streak to 27 games, but it wasn’t enough as Madison Bumgarner allowed just one run in seven innings. Homers from Buster Posey and Hunter Pence.

Athletics 7, Cardinals 5: Josh Donaldson homered and reached base four times. The A’s third baseman is hitting .316/.384/.525 on the year with 13 homers and 53 RBI and bet most fans couldn’t pick him out of a lineup.

Cubs 7, Mariners 6: The Cubs went up 7-1 by the fourth inning and then held on. After the game starting pitcher Edwin Jackson said “An ugly win is better than a pretty loss any day.” Given his style of pitching over the years he’d definitely be the expert there. Jeremy Bonderman’s little renaissance was interrupted with a six-run, three and a third inning outing.

Orioles 4, Yankees 2: Chris Davis homered — his 3rd of the series and 31st on the year — and Manny Machado added a dinger of his own as the O’s sweep the reeling Yankees. It was Baltimore’s first sweep of the Yankees in a three-game series in eight years.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.