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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


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.

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.