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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Athletics 9, Nationals 1: A pair of three-run homers for Derek Norris off the guy for whom he was traded to Oakland in Gio Gonzalez. A three-game sweep for the A’s, in which they outscored Washington 21-4. Oh, and Gio got mad at a teammate for missing a fly ball and flashed some Natitude at him:

Angels 9, Blues Jays 3: Hank Conger hot a three-run homer and drove in five. Even walked once. He also was shocked in the seventh inning when Jered Weaver — who had a pretty good game going — walked a dude and then, during the subsequent mound discussion, told pitching coach Mike Butcher that he needed to come out of the game because he was gassed. Which ended up being the right call, but was kinda weird. No one ever admits that. Usually a manager or a pitching coach has to make that judgment call with the starting pitcher usually claiming he’s good to go even if he’s missing several limbs like the Black Knight in “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.” Personally, I like the honesty. Weaver has nothin’ to prove. Good to see a guy risk violating baseball’s rules about pitchers always having to say they want the ball for the good of the team.

Brewers 6, Yankees 5: Mark Teixeira tied things up with a homer in the top of the ninth but then Mark Reynolds’ drove home Rickie Weeks from third with two outs in the bottom half for the walkoff win. K-Rod gave up that homer to Teixeira, blowing his first save of the year. But he did vulture a win, so good for him.

Red Sox 5, Rangers 2: One man on in the first inning — THE FIRST INNING — and Ron Washington intentionally walks David Ortiz to get to Mike Napoli. This even though a lefty was on the mound. All three guys ended up scoring. Someone probably needs to check on Joe Posnanski to see if he didn’t stroke out or anything when that happened.

Twins 4, Tigers 3: I went up to Detroit for the game on Saturday. On the way up there I learned that Don Kelly, and not Rajai Davis, was playing left. I was kinda sad because I’d never seen Davis play in person before and sort of wanted to see his defense and maybe see him steal a base. Yes, I realize that’s kinda pathetic, but some players just sorta interest me and Davis is one of them. Anyway, in the first inning Kelly makes a leaping catch to rob someone of a homer and the next inning Ian Kinsler or someone stole a base, so I got all of that defense and base running jones out of my system. Then a day later this game happens, Davis gets the nod in left and lets a ball skip past him, helping the Twins rally in the eighth. Can’t predict baseball.

Braves 5, Cubs 2: Homers from Evan Gattis and Jason Heyward and another solid start from Aaron Harang help the Braves to a series sweep. Harang struck out nine Cubs in six innings and Braves pitchers struck out 14 overall. Even more can’t predict baseball.

Diamondbacks 5, White Sox 1: Chase Anderson — who could easily be the name of a secondary male character in an airport bookstore-quality espionage thriller — made his major league debut and acquitted himself quite well, allowing one run on two hits in five and a third. Gerardo Parra and Miguel Montero each hit homers. And then Anderson was killed passing along the microfilm to the main character who, however broken up he acted about his faithful sidekick’s death, totally forgets about it for the rest of the story.

Mets 5, Phillies 4: The Mets ended their five-game skid after a late three-run rally and then won it in the 11th after loading the bases ahead of Ruben Tejada’s walkoff single. Cole Hamels struck out 10 in seven innings while throwing 133 pitches but was denied his first win of the year and the 100th win of his career.

Indians 6, Rays 5: Nyjer Morgan and Michael Bourn each drove in two. One of those for Morgan came on a solo homer in the eighth which was his first big league homer since July of 2012. Cleveland took two of three.

Reds 4, Rockies 1: Aroldis Chapman can’t be bargained with. He can’t be reasoned with. He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until he notches 102 on the radar gun in his first appearance back since having his bran pan cracked by that comebacker. Homer Bailey allowed one run in seven and a third.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Astros 5, Orioles 2: The Astros avoid a sweep and halt the O’s five-game winning streak. I feel like any time the Astros win in Game 3s or Game 4s of series this year it will halt the opponents’ extended winning streak.

Royals 9, Mariners 7:  Dustin Ackley hit two homers and Kyle Seager hit a two-run shot to give the M’s a 7-5 lead but then Johnny Giavotella hit a three-run homer in the seventh so there went that. The Mariners committed five errors which, God.

Giants 7, Dodgers 4: Sergio Romo blew the save to sent it to extra innings but the Giants pulled it out. Of course they did. It’s Dodger Stadium and the Giants have owned Dodger Stadium of late, having taken five of six from their rival in Chavez Ravine.

Padres 5, Marlins 4: They lost to the Marlins in dramatic fashion on Thursday night but the Padres came back and took three of four. Bud Black:

“It’s a much better vibe, there’s less tension in the clubhouse and in the dugout. When you don’t score there’s tension. And it’s been released a little bit and the guys are playing a little more relaxed. That is what winning does. When you don’t score, things get a little tight.”

And here I thought winning is caused by a positive attitude, not the cause of it. Crazy.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 5: Pittsburgh tried to climb back late with a ninth inning rally but Trevor Rosenthal squelched it. Allen Craig and Yadier Molina had RBI singles in a four-run first inning which probably caused a lot of folks to switch away from ESPN.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
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The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.

 

Justin Turner talks “Easy D”

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Justin Turner #10 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up prior to game six of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:

No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!

Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:

It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:

I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.

And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.