And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Twins 1, Indians 0: Our season-long tribute to 1968 continued last night with four games in which the losing team was shut out. Here both teams posted goose eggs for nine innings and Eduardo Escobar’s 10th inning homer was the only offense.

Nationals 4, Dodgers 0: A three hour-plus rain delay chased Zack Greinke and Jordan Zimmermann. Five Nats relievers finished what Zimmermann started, however, completing the shutout. Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa two-run homers bookended the scoring here.

Tigers 2, Astros 0: Max Scherzer gambled by not taking what was reported to be a huge long term contract offer from the Tigers this past offseason, but so far the gamble is looking pretty good. He’s 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA after shutting down the Astros for eight innings on three hits while striking out nine. Anthony Bass pitched an inning for the Astros. He’s from the Detroit area and pitched at Wayne State. His mom was in the stands and the Fox Sports Detroit crew interviewed her and had the camera trained on her. Then he gave up a homer to Victor Martinez. So that was an uncomfortable bit of narrative building gone awry.

Blue Jays 3, Phillies 0: Old friend J.A. Happ shut out the Phillies for five and the bullpen carried it home. Kyle Kendrick gave up three runs in the first two innings. A costly win for the Jays, as they lost Brett Lawrie with a hamstring injury.

Cardinals 4, Braves 3: Lucky number seven losses in a row for Atlanta. This one despite Fredi Gonzalez’s tribute to Tony La Russa via batting the pitcher eighth. Ninth hitter Ramiro Pena went 2 for 4 and homered so I guess that sorta worked, but Gonzalez can manage the hell out of a game and it’s all for naught if the Uptons and Chris Johnson go a collective 0 for 11 and you spot the opposition a 5-0 lead. In other news, on April 10, Freddie Freeman said “pitchers got nothin’ to get me out with.” He went 2 for 4 last night but since then he’s batting .258. In the past ten days he’s batting .225. Guess those pitchers found something.

Angels 4, Yankees 1: Jered Weaver allowed one run over eight and Ernesto Frieri, apparently restored to closing duties by Mike Scioscia, handled the ninth. Joe Girardi and Yankees pitcher Shawn Kelley were ejected in the eighth for arguing balls and strikes. I wonder if we’ll have a lot more of those this year. Managers can’t argue anything else anymore now that replay is here, so they have to channel that stuff someplace else, right?

Mariners 4, Athletics 2: Stefen Romero’s first major league homer broke the tie in the fifth and put Seattle up for good. Chris Young allowed two hits over six strong innings to win his second straight start

Marlins 4, Mets 3: The Mets took a 3-0 lead into the eighth but the Fish rallied for three that inning and walked off in the ninth on a Casey McGehee RBI single. That eighth inning rally came while Dice-K was pitching for the Mets, ruining a Jon Niese gem, so I assume that bullpen experiment with him is nearing an end.

Giants 11, Pirates 10: If the shutouts were an homage to 1968 this one was an homage to 1999: a long game with crappy pitching which ended on a bad defensive play. Of course that run scored on a bunt by one pitcher to the opposing pitcher, so there was some element of small-ball at play here. The Giants win their sixth straight after being down by six runs after five innings. In other news, one of the Pirates’ pleasant surprises last year — Jeff Locke — made his first big league start of the season here and looked terrible. Then again the Pirates as a whole, at 12-20, are reminding us all that it’s not 2013 again.

White Sox 3, Cubs 1: Baseball used to pump up these big city crosstown interleague rivalries with P.R. and weekend starts. Guess we don’t do that anymore, because I didn’t hear a peep about this one until I looked at the scores before bed last night. Anyway, Jose Quintana freakin’ rolled, allowing only one hit and a sac fly over seven innings and Marcus Semien hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the top of the 12th. Jeff Samardzija deserved a better fate: he went nine, allowing only an unearned run on a sac fly in the first inning, but got no decision.

Brewers 8, Diamondbacks 3: Carlos Gomez hit a leadoff homer, walked three times, singled and drove in three. A lot of people say Gomez doesn’t respect the game. Who cares if he can play it this well. He’s at .291/.360/.567 on the season and is probably the best defensive center fielder in baseball. The game should respect him.

Rockies 8, Rangers 2: Troy Tulowitzki won the April Player of the Month Award yesterday then went out and hit two homers and drove in four. Meanwhile, Jordan Lyles improved to 4-0 with a 2.62 ERA so, despite the guff the Rockies took for dealing Dexter Fowler, that trade is working out for Colorado so far.

Padres 6, Royals 5: Another 12-inning game, this one ending on a Will Venable two-run single. It was the second walkoff in a row for the Padres. And that wasn’t the only drama: Jedd Gyorko’s ninth inning homer forced extras.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.