Kemp Ramirez

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


Dodgers 6, Giants 2: Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez each socked two homers. The ball was carrying pretty well in Chavez Ravine last night, apparently, because Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence each homered as well. Both of those came in the sixth, after Zack Greinke appeared to do, well, something to himself while running the bases in the bottom of the fifth. He didn’t look himself when he pitched the sixth — Schulman and Kruk made mention of it too — but no one on the Dodgers came out to see if he was OK. I feel like we may hear more about this today, because he really did appear like he was uncomfortable. As if he had tweaked something.

Twins 10, Indians 7: All Chris Colabello does is drive in runs in bunches. Well, a couple of times a week, anyway. A few days after his six-RBI performance he drove in four here, including a three-run double in the sixth inning which broke a 6-6 tie. I was going to suggest that he has made a Faustian bargain for this newfound success after years toiling in the independent leagues, but that’s not nice. And it’s not even appropriate, as Faust is a German legend and Colabello is Italian. So let’s just say it was a Mefistofelean bargain.

Orioles 3, Tigers 1: And there goes our shot at having a team go 162-0. Thanks, Orioles. Sheesh. Good day for Chris Tillman, though. Apart from a Torii Hunter dinger, there was nothing doing off him over eight and a third.

Pirates 2, Cardinals 1: Tony Sanchez: master of the game-winning RBI. Which isn’t a real stat anymore, but since I get all of my baseball information from the back of 1986 Topps cards, it’s good enough for me. Sanchez broke the tie with an RBI double off Adam Wainwright. This a couple of days after he had the game-winning hit in that 16-inning affair. Three hits all season, but two of them really counted.

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 3: Mark Trumbo hit a two-run homer to put the Dbacks up 5-0, so let’s call his a game-winning RBI too. Let’s also call what he’s been doing — he’s hit homers in four straight games — earning his keep. I watched a couple innings of him play left field on Saturday night and it was such a vividly affecting experience that I could taste colors afterward. He’s only safely viewed while he’s holding a bat.

Yankees 6, Blues Jays 4: CC Sabathia wasn’t fantastic or anything, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings, but he got the win. The Yankees scored three in the first with a single hit thanks to a walk, a stolen base, two groundouts, another walk, a plunked batter and a double. If Drew Hutchison doesn’t give the Yankees all of those base runners to start things off, maybe he’s getting the win here. In other news, Derek Jeter passed Paul Molitor on the all-time hits list.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Padres 4, Marlins 2: Alexi Amarista hit a a go-ahead, three-run pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning. And yesterday was his birthday too. So, if he played his cards right, he had a Grand Slam to go with that three-run job,

Reds 2, Mets 1: When Aroldis Chapman went down a lot of people suggested that Alfredo Simon may take over the closer’s role. Good for Cincinnati that he didn’t, because he looked pretty good as a starter. Simon allowed one run over seven innings. He even got a hit and scored the Reds’ first run. Not too shabby.

Brewers 4, Red Sox 0: The sweep. On a shutout, no less, as Yovani Gallardo gave up nothin’ for six and two-thirds and the pen took it the rest of the way. The Red Sox just matched their longest losing streak in all of 2013. It’s the first time the Sox have lost their first three home games of the season since 1984. Rough start for the champs.

Nationals 2, Braves 1: Good starts from both Alex Wood and Taylor Jordan, but Ian Desmond’s homer in the seventh was the difference maker. An even bigger deal when you read about what he went through yesterday morning. You have to figure anyone in that situation would be off his game, but good for Desmond for both doing the right thing in life and in baseball yesterday. Braves take two of three from the Nats, however. Also: B.J. Upton was 0-for-4 but didn’t strike out even once. I feel like we should have a party for him or something.

Rangers 3, Rays 0: Yu Darvish missing the first week of the season: not a big deal. He came back yesterday and all he did was pitch seven shutout innings with six strikeouts. Including his 500th career strikeout. He is the fastest ever to 500 strikeouts, beating Kerry Wood to the milestone by three innings.

Astros 7, Angels 4: Five homers for the Astros — four off Jered Weaver — and a nice outing from Scott Feldman. That’s two nice outings in a row for him, actually. I feel like that three-year, $30 million deal of his will end up being quite a nice bargain for Houston.

White Sox 5, Royals 1: Chris Sale tossed eight shutout innings, outdueling James Shields who had a nice outing himself. Tim Collins has walked four guys and given up four runs in one total inning pitched across two outings so far. May want to start putting him in some lower-leverage situations, Ned.

Cubs 8, Phillies 3: A.J. Burnett was roughed up for eight runs — only four earned — in five and two-thirds. He walked six, too, so eww. Ryan Kalish had RBIs on a double and a triple. The Cubs avoid the sweep.

Athletics 6, Mariners 3: Homers for Brandon Moss and Yoenis Cespedes and an actually-converted save for Jim Johnson. Sonny Gray allowed one earned run and six hits in six innings.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.

Braves and Jim Johnson reunite on a one-year contract

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 17: Jim Johnson #53 of the Atlanta Braves throws a ninth inning pitch against the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field on July 17, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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UPDATE: The deal is official. Bowman adds that Johnson will make $2.5 million in 2016.

6:11 p.m. ET: Jim Johnson enjoyed some success out of the Braves’ bullpen in 2015 until a midseason trade to the Dodgers and Mark Bowman of reports that he has returned to Atlanta on a one-year contract. No word yet on the terms involved.

After an awful 2014 between the Athletics and Tigers, Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Braves last winter and bounced back to the tune of a 2.25 ERA and 33/14 K/BB ratio over 48 innings. He also saved nine games. However, things went south for him after a trade to the Dodgers in late July, as he put up an ugly 10.13 ERA in 23 appearances. He was left off the team’s roster for the NLDS against the Mets.

It’s unclear what role the Braves have in mind for Johnson, as Arodys Vizcaino finished the season as the closer, but they have made upgrading their bullpen a priority this winter.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

Brayan Pena Reds

Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.