Al Alburquerque

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 11, Tigers 10: You may call it sloppy, but say that a walkoff balk is the perfect way to end a long, sloppy, horribly pitched baseball game.Al Alburquerque did the balking, but let’s not hang it on him. It was Phil Coke who started the fire, allowed the first run and put the eventual runner who scored on base. The Indians sweep the Tigers, two via walkoffs. Curse of the Zubaz streak stands at three.

Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 4: Edwin Encarnacion homered twice for the second day in a row and the Jays beat the Sox again. Time is a flat circle.

Yankees 4, Cubs 2: Once again Jeff Samardzija pitches a gem — seven shutout innings here — once again he has nothing to show for it. The Cubs could only score one run off something called Chase Whitley and a second run off of Adam Warren. Meanwhile, the Yankees rallies for two off Hector Rondon and the Cubs’ porous defense in the ninth and then plated two more in the 13th thanks to a wild pitch and an RBI single. Samardzija is now 0-4 despite a 1.46 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.

Reds 2, Nationals 1: Manager Bryan Price held a team meeting. Not before the game but in the dugout right before the fourth inning, which Zack Cozart called a “kick in the butt.” The Reds scored both of their runs in that fourth innings, so let’s all go along with the idea that the pep talk worked.

Rangers 4, Mariners 3: Shin-Soo Choo hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the fifth to break a 3-3 tie and Nick Tepesch won for the first time in ten months.

Dodgers 4, Mets 3: Adrian Gonzalez homered for the third straight game and Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back homers of their own. More significantly: Hyun-Jin Ryu came off the DL and provided six quality innings.

Pirates 9, Orioles 8: Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 4 with an RBI Starling Marte and Ike Davis had three hits and two RBI each. The Pirates win for the third time in nine games.

Athletics 3, Rays 2: You know you’re living right when you only get one hit in a game and still win. That one hit was a Brandon Moss solo shot. Otherwise, the A’s scored twice via non-conventional means. An error-walk-walk-fielder’s choice-error combo in the second inning.

Brewers 6, Braves 1: Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam in the first inning and Kyle Lohse had absolutely no problem with the Braves’ bats.Manager Ron Roenicke credited skipping batting practice before the game for the Brewers’ bounceback after a Tuesday night shutout and says there will be no batting practice again today. Eventually that’ll stop working and they’ll talk about needing to get back in the cage. I know a lot of scientists who love baseball, but I sometimes wonder if baseball drives scientists crazy.

Royals 3, White Sox 1: Jeremy Guthrie, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined on a four-hitter and the Royals got just enough offense.

Marlins 14, Phillies 5: Fourteen runs on fourteen hits including a Marcell Ozuna grand slam. And a sick, sick Giancarlo Stanton catch in the fifth inning.

Angels 2, Astros 1: A two-hit, one-run complete game for Jered Weaver. Albert Pujols hit his 13th homer of the year.

Cardinals 3, Diamondbacks 2: Allen Craig hit a bases bases-loaded grounder with no one out in the 12th, but Chris Ownings’ wild throw home, allowed Matt Holliday to score the winning run.

Giants 5, Rockies 1: Three solo homers from the Giants who are — get this — third in team home runs in all of Major League Baseball. Not the sort of thing you’d expect. They were 29th last year. 30th the year before.

Twins 2, Padres 0: Phil Hughes with seven shutout innings. He’s now 5-1 with a 3.15 ERA. Those numbers would probably be impossible if he was still pitching in Yankee Stadium, but it’s still gotta be a bit baffling to Yankees fans to see Phil Hughes, you know, not stink.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.