Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 4, Rays 2: Chris Davis homers again. Number 46 on the year. He’s four short of the all-time Orioles record. He tied Rafael Palmiero for the most home homers in Orioles history with 25. Tommy Hunter got the save, as it does appear that Buck Showalter is gonna go with the hot hand now. Or, at the very least, avoid Jim Johnson.

Braves 4, Mets 1: Three run homers in the tenth inning are great. Blown calls at first base that allow those three run homers to happen instead of the third out of the inning being properly recorded are not so great. I’ll get over this one and won’t renounce the win because that would be silly, but yeah, this game woulda been very different if it were the Replay Era.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 2: Hit number 4,000 for Ichiro between the U.S. and Japan. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’d be pushing that mark if he had spent his whole career here too. Such a unique talent. Alfonso Soriano — who also spent some time in Japan — hit the tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth. The Yankees still have to climb over three teams, but they are only four back in the wild card.

Mariners 5, Athletics 3: Brendan Ryan got to play and had two hits and drove in three runs. GIven how awesome his glove is it’s sad that he doesn’t hit better so he can hang around longer and get more PT.

Cardinals 8, Brewers 6: Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig homers and four relievers help bail out the redbirds after Jake Westbrook couldn’t make it out of the fifth. Westbrook did hit a bases-loaded double THHOC, however.

Red Sox 12, Giants 1: Barry Zito was shellacked for six runs on seven hits in three and two-thirds. We may have seen his final start as a Giant, if Bruce Bochy’s cryptic comments about changes to be made mean what they sound like they mean. Even if he gets another, his time in San Francisco is almost over and it’s ending very much like it began.

Indians 3, Angels 1: A year ago Cleveland ended the year with just 68 wins. Last night won their 69th. With more than a month remaining, the Indians are just five and a half games behind division leading Detroit and two and a half behind the A’s for the wild card. Not bad for a team that, at times anyway, has looked lost. Just very hot and cold. A two-run homer for Nick Swisher and a strong outing for Justin Masterson who, last start against them notwithstanding, has historically owned the Angels.

Padres 2, Pirates 1: Ian Kennedy tossed seven shutout innings and the Padres avoided the sweep. Yonder Alonso did all the damage on offense. Or, yonder, Alonso did all the damage. Unless you actually were in San Diego yesterday in which case that would be misleading.

Phillies 4, Rockies 3: Another low-run-support no-decision for Cliff Lee as the Phillies failed to capitalize on many early opportunities, but Michael Young hit a walkoff single to end it.

Tigers 7, Twins 1: Boy the Twins stink. I watched the second half of this game and the Tigers’ late rally was the stuff of both good hitting on their part but a lot of boneheaded plays and curious pitch selection on the part of Minnesota. It just looks like a totally lost team.

Reds 10, Diamondbacks 7: Shin-Soo Choo went 4 for 5 with a homer and three RBI and the Reds started early with an 8-0 lead. They needed all of that to hold of the Dbacks. But hold them off they did and now have a pretty comfortable six-game lead over Arizona for the second wild card.

Rangers 5, Astros 4: Elvis Andrus with a walkoff sac fly. That’s probably among the least uplifting walkoff events you can have. Walkoff errors or wild pitches at least have some moment of unexpected excitement to them. Walkoff walks have a sense of building tension as the pitcher struggles to locate. A walkoff sac fly is, like, “and, yep, there it is. It will be deep enough. Ballgame.”

Dodgers 4, Marlins 1: Zack Greinke had eight innings of one-run ball. Yasiel Puig went 0 for 5, but hey, at least he was on time to the ballpark.

White Sox 5, Royals 2: Dayan Viciedo hit a grand slam and that made all the difference. Well most of the difference, but I read Robert Frost before bed last night and I wanted to say “that made all the difference” at some point today.

Nationals 11, Cubs 6: Two homers for Anthony Rizzo were nice but Cubs pitchers gave up two three-run homers to Nats hitters. And that has made all the difference.

OK, that worked a little better, with the exception of the awkward “has.” But we’ll just go with it.

Mets owners get some breathing room on their Bernie Madoff settlement payments

New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon stands on the field before baseball's Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Associated Press
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For years the central fact of life of the New York Mets has been that their owners, the Wilpon family and Saul Katz, lost a ton of money after investing it with friend and business partner Bernard Madoff, perpetrator of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. It has hampered their payroll and led to huge amounts of borrowing and restructuring that, before last year’s pennant run, seemed like it’d be a millstone on the Mets competitive prospects for years to come.

In addition to losing money, it was later determined that Katz and the Wilpons unfairly gained in some other respects and thus they ended up having their phony earnings clawed back via a settlement with the trustee managing the fallout of the Madoff scandal.  The upshot: the Wilpons and Katz, in addition to their losses, were ordered to pay nearly $60 million dollars back, half payable this week, half payable next year. That’s a lot of money for anyone to fork over and this week’s payment loomed large.

Now, however, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Wilpons and Katz will get some breathing room. Specifically, they have modified their agreement with the trustee and some of the owed money has been deferred. Instead of some $29 million payable this week, they will only have to pay $16 million. The remainder will be paid in four installments — from 2017 through 2020 — with an interest rate of 3.5 percent on the unpaid balance, Rubin says.

Now, there obviously was no promise that the $13 million saved this week be invested in the baseball team, but it’s probably a good thing overall for the Mets if their owners’ debt payments are reduced a bit.

Mike Napoli hit a homer for a fan with cancer

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 30: Mike Napoli #26 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field on May 30, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Last night a fan named Kathi Heintzelman showed up at Progressive Field in Cleveland with a sign asking Indians first baseman Mike Napoli to hit a home run for her and to give her a hug. But there was a reason beyond her love for Mike Napoli. She’s starting chemotherapy today and the hug and homer would be a nice thing.  Hard to disagree with that, even if everyone knows that ballplayers can’t hit homers on demand.

Well, most players can’t. Mike Napoli did the easy part before the game, giving her a hug. Then in the sixth inning, he went yard:

 

Whether you believe that such things can be fated or if you merely acknowledge that Heintzelman asked Napoli for a homer at a good time — he’s on a hot streak right now and has hit bombs in four of his last 11 games — it’s a great story.

 

The Twins recall Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton
Getty Images
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Byron Buxton has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester by the Twins.

Buxton will replace Danny Santana, who was placed on the disabled list following a hamstring injury. But the bigger picture here is that Buxton will get a fresh go-around to show that he is the future of the Twins like so many assume he will be. The 22-year-old hasn’t hit so far in the majors, but he batted .336/.403/.603 with six homers, four steals, and a 26/11 K/BB ratio over 129 plate appearances after his demotion to Triple-A last month.

At this point the Twins, who stink on ice, need to just put their top young player in the game and let him learn to swim at the big league level rather than try to squeak out a few extra relatively meaningless wins with guys who won’t be part of the next contending Twins team.

92-year-old World War II vet throws a nifty ceremonial first pitch

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 9.04.09 AM
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Think of how many bad ceremonial first pitches you’ve seen. From the worm burners from local business owners and pillars of the community at minor league games to ex-big leaguers who obviously haven’t picked up a ball since they retired to the famous celebrity ones that go viral the next day, there are probably a lot more bad first pitches out there than good ones.

But when the good ones come, they’re really enjoyable. And few are more enjoyable than the one which preceded yesterday’s Padres-Mariners game in Seattle. The pitcher: Burke Waldron, a 92-year-old veteran of World War II. He did it in his dress whites. He ran out onto the field beforehand. And though his catcher didn’t set up the full 60 feet, six inches away from where Waldron threw it, it was still a spiffy pitch. Way better than most: