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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Yankees 9, Red Sox 6: All of the fireworks. All of the intrigue. All of the A-Rod. But this game really came down to the bullpens. The Yankees’ was fresh and effective, the Red Sox’ wasn’t. Our more thorough write-up can be read here. For now the Red Sox probably need to think less about which rats they want to punish and more about how to get guys out and how to protect a division lead which has been cut in half since Tuesday.

Marlins 6, Giants 5: Hero of the game, Jeff Mathis. He homered and hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth that just eluded Andres Torres’ dive. Worst part: The home run sculpture in the outfield in Miami got jammed and did not go off after Mathis’ home run. Which, jeez, if I had to play for that owner and that team the least I’d want is that sculpture to spin around and fart all over itself.

Tigers 6, Royals 3: Chalk up another win for Max Scherzer — his 18th — and another homer for Miguel Cabrera, his 40th. I’d be rather shocked if this wasn’t your Cy Young -MVP combo in the American League this year. The Tigers won three of five in this rare five-game series and I feel like that’s enough to put any hope of anyone in the AL Central challenging them to rest.

Phillies 3, Dodgers 2: That’s the end of the Dodgers’ ten-game winning streak thanks to not one but two ninth-inning errors from Hanley Ramirez. For the Phillies it was the first win — and first runs scored — of the Ryne Sandberg Administration.

Orioles 7, Rockies 2: Chris Davis went 4 for 5 with a double, a homer and a couple driven in. The homer was his 45th. Adam Jones had three hits including a two-run homer. So weird that last year they needed all the runs but had an awesome bullpen, this year they have been scoring just fine but have needed better relief. Baseball, man. Baseball.

Braves 2, Nationals 1: Julio Teheran tossed six scoreless. The Braves won two of three and now have a 15.5 game lead. All of this stupid beanball crap has reflected poorly on the Braves in my view — and Braves fans booing Harper like they did here is dumb — but it’s not going to amount to the stuff of rivalry until next year, it seems.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 1: Jose Lobaton hit a walk-off home run in the 10th. This goes with his walkoff triple on Friday. Now all he needs is the single and double for the walkoff cycle. That’s a thing, right?

Diamondbacks 4, Pirates 2: Sixteen innings. The Dbacks held the Pirates scoreless in the last 13 of those. Adam Eaton had four hits including the go-ahead double in that final frame. The Pirates dropped two of three — Saturday’s game in ugly fashion allowing 15 runs on 20 hits, this one with no punch at all — and have lost three straight series. Their division lead is down to one game. They need to find a way to stop the bleeding.

White Sox 5, Twins 2: Alexei Ramirez homered and had three RBI. Hector Santiago pitched in and out of trouble but got the win. After the game his manager, Robin Ventura, said it was like a root canal watching him pitch. He really did. Which, well, thanks, skip.

Reds 9, Brewers 1: Homer Bailey allowed one run in eight innings. Not that he needed to be so good, as Wily Peralta fooled no Reds batters and coughed up seven runs on eight hits in four and a third. Ryan Hanigan drove in three.

Mariners 4, Rangers 3: Kyle Seager with a go-ahead double in the ninth on a pitch from Joe Nathan at which he probably had no business swinging. The M’s take two of three from Texas.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 1: Adam Wainwright struck out 11 in seven innings to snag his 14th win. Jon Jay drove in four with a homer and a double. After a rough stretch St. Louis has now won five of seven and are only a game behind the Pirates. Now they get the pleasure of facing the punchless Brewers for three games. After that, though, 17 straight against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.

Astros 7, Angels 5: Matt Dominguez hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Astros take two of three. They took two of three from the A’s before that, so that’s a pretty nice stretch for them. Mike Trout left the game with some hamstring tightness, but he doesn’t think it’s serious.

Padres 4, Mets 3: A walkoff homer for Will Venable to lead off the ninth. He also drove in a run in the fifth. He now has a 15-game hitting streak.

Athletics 7, Indians 3: Chris Young and Alberto Callaspo homered in the fifth inning. Josh Donaldson drove in three. Lots of good defense from the A’s too.  Oakland is now only a half game behind Texas. Cleveland has lost six of its last seven in the Coliseum.

Angels sign catcher Geovany Soto to one-year contract

Geovany Soto
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
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As first reported by beat writer Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels have signed free agent catcher Geovany Soto to a one-year major league contract.’s Alden Gonzalez says the deal is worth $2.8 million guaranteed.

Soto will offer some veteran presence at catcher for the Halos alongside 25-year-old Carlos Perez, who hit .250/.299/.346 as a rookie in 2015.

Soto slashed .219/.301/.406 with nine homers in 78 games this summer for the White Sox.

The 32-year-old backstop is a .246/.331/.434 career hitter at the major league level.

White Sox acquire right-hander Tommy Kahnle from Rockies

Tommy Kahnle
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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According to the official Twitter account of the Chicago White Sox, the club acquired right-hander Tommy Kahnle from the Rockies on Tuesday evening in exchange for minor league pitcher Yency Almonte.

Kahnle was designated for assignment by the Rockies last week in a flurry of moves made in preparation of next month’s Rule 5 Draft. The 26-year-old former fifth-round pick posted an ugly 4.86 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, and 39/28 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings this past season for Colorado and he wasn’t much better at Triple-A Albuquerque.

Almonte, 21, had a 3.41 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 110/38 K/BB ratio in 137 1/3 innings this past season between Low-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem.

It’s a straight one-for-one deal of two non-prospects, and the timing of it — in the evening, with Thanksgiving approaching — has our Craig Calcaterra wondering whether an executive was just trying to get out of some family responsibilities …

Mark McGwire to become the Padres bench coach

Los Angeles Dodgers batting coach Mark McGwire roams the field during practice for the National League baseball championship series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in St. Louis. The Dodgers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The other day Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres were in discussions with former Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire about their bench coach job. Today Jon Heyman reports that the deal is done and will soon be announced.

McGwire has been the hitting coach for Los Angeles for the past three seasons. When his contract was not renewed following the end of 2015 he was rumored to be up for the Diamondbacks’ hitting coach job. He likely view staying in Southern California to be a plus, as he makes his home in Irvine, which is around 90 miles from Petco Park. That’s a long commute, but Mac can afford the gas, I guess.

How to talk to your family about the designated hitter at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner

While political topics are normally the subject of awkward conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table, hardcore baseball fans know that it can be just as awkward to talk about the game with relatives.

They don’t know baseball as well as you do — not by a long shot — but for some reason everyone thinks they have the God-given right not only to offer their baseball opinions but to demand acknowledgement that those opinions are correct. Baseball may be dying, you guys, but it’s vestigial status as our National Pastime makes everyone think they’re an expert by simple virtue of being an American. It’s maddening.

I can’t tell you how to keep your family away from sensitive topics, but here are brief answers to some frequently asked questions about the state of the game, and how you can defuse combustible conversations:

Will the National League adopt the designated hitter?

Despite the fact that the DH has been around four 43 seasons, your relatives — even those far younger than 43 — will loudly proclaim it to be a new-fangled abomination as they pass the sweet potatoes. While the best way to avoid conflict here is to say something like “I think the differences between the leagues are special and should be preserved” and try to quickly move on to something else, we don’t progress as a civilization by indulging foolishness in the name of peace. Tell your relatives that pitchers batting is dumb and that the DH should be universal. And then tell them to get their own sweet potatoes. You’re trying to eat here for cryin’ out loud.

Where will the big free agents go? Don’t the Yankees spend all of their big money and buy championships anyway?

My god, your uncle/cousin/sister’s boyfriend who probably shouldn’t be piping up about ANYTHING right now given that none of you really like him and it’s not going to last anyway is out of touch when it comes to such things. Tell them that the Yankees haven’t won jack since the first year of Obama’s first term and that even when they were winning the World Series all the time they did so on the back of homegrown talent, savvily-developed. Indeed, they STOPPED winning championships once they went huge on free agency and jacked up payroll and, despite the fact that they still owe a lot of old guys money, they are back to developing talent again and are way less likely to spend stupid money in free agency than they used to be. Careful here, though: people have strong feelings about the Yankees regardless of their ignorance and will likely fight back on this point. Maybe it’s safer just to discuss Obama. Here’s an idea to that end: how — as your drunk uncle claims — can Obama simultaneously be the least effective president ever AND a total dictator? Maybe Obama is one of those two things, but my drunk uncle has never given me a satisfactory answer to how he can be both.

Why doesn’t baseball have a salary cap? The players make too much money.

The idea of a salary cap in baseball is dead. Deader than vaudeville. It blew up the game in 1994-95, and the owners blinked rather than try it again in 2002.  Since then the money has been flowing, competitive balance has been better than most people will admit, and the owners seem to have very little desire to fight that fight again.  It’s not going to happen. Yet, for some reason — likely the Football Industrial Complex’s propaganda machine — every sports dilettante thinks that baseball not only needs a salary cap but that it’s actually something that could happen, even though it isn’t.

Here some ju-jitsu is in order. Rather than bog things down with facts which show that there is no need for a salary cap, turn the question around on them and ask them when the billionaires who own baseball teams will accept a cap on how much they should earn for their “labor.” When they spout off about how owners built the business themselves and are entitled to whatever they can get, ask them which of the current owners, who form a veritable Who’s-Who of Paper Movers, Genetic Lottery Winners and Men Who Were Born on Third Base Yet Think They Hit a Triple, built a dang thing. Peter Angelos, maybe. Just don’t tell them that he’s a rich plaintiff’s lawyer who had the union’s back during the 1994-95 strike.

What’s wrong with young players today? Why don’t they act professionally and respect the game? 

By this time your uncle may be so drunk on the Beaujolais Nouveau that he may actually slip and say “Latin players” instead of “young players,” and that’s assuming he’s polite enough to use words like “Latin” to refer to people from the Caribbean, Central and South America. If so, skip the lecture about how arguments regarding baseball decorum and “playing the game the right way” are really just proxies for cultural anxiety and creeping xenophobia and go directly to the inevitable conversation about immigration, refugees and Donald Trump. It’ll save you time and make everyone angrier way, way faster. And this is a wonderful thing.

Or, at least it is for me. I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year and the quicker people get to open warfare the quicker I can kick everyone out, bringing some peace and quiet back to my house. Plus: more pie for me.


(with both thanks and apologies to Brendan Nyhan of the New York Times)