And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 4 Padres 0: Most of what has been said about Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter has been said. I’ll add this though, which a Twitter correspondent told me and which I find kinda neat: Lincecum joins Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers to have two or more no-hitters two or more Cy Young Awards and two or more World Series championships. Also: Lincecum’s closest comp: Bob Dylan. Early dominance and greatness followed by a falloff, but still punctuated by occasional brilliance. Let’s call this no-hitter Lincecum’s “Blood on the Tracks,” as it’s a clear high point after a considerable time of confusion and lack of direction.

Braves 4, Astros 0: Justin Upton homered for the second day in a row and drove in three. Alex Wood and the pen combined for a three-hit shutout. It was Wood’s start since May 4, as he had been shifted to the pen then and then sent down to be stretched out again. I guess the stretching worked.

Athletics 8, Mets 5: Maybe it’s the uniforms? Because it sorta doesn’t matter who these guys are or where they come from, if the A’s run ’em out there, they do OK. Take Brad Mills. He was in Nashville and, given how easily he was obtained from the Brewers, was basically, by definition, a spare part. In his second start as an Athletic, though, he proved to be effective, pitching into the seventh inning and allowing three runs to pick up his first win in two years. He was helped along by a Yoenis Cespedes bases-clearing double.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3: I linked a story the other day about how the Associated Press is going to reduce game stories to a couple of short paragraphs and then bullet points. For the reasons I stated I think that’s a good thing. That said, once in a while I stumble across something like this from the AP and I can’t help but smile:

Mark Teixeira made sure the New York Yankees had something to declare at customs on their way home from Canada: a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

That’s “so bad it’s good” stuff right there, and I will kinda miss it when it’s gone.

Marlins 3, Phillies 2: Henderson Alvarez only one earned run on seven hits in six and two-thirds to keep up his hot streak. He’s 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA in his last seven starts. Remember that time about five days ago when people actually thought the Phillies had turned it around? Since then they’ve dropped four of five.

Rays 5 Pirates 1: In what could possibly be David Price’s last game as a Ray — I don’t think it is as it usually takes big trades longer to come together, but a lot of people suggested it yesterday — he did the Rays a solid by (a) winning the game; and (b) showing potential suitors that they should and probably will have to pay a big price to land him. He struck out 11 batters and allowed five hits in eight and a third. That’s five straight starts in which he has struck out ten or more.

Reds 4, Cubs 1: Mat Latos picks up his first win of the year, allowing one run on five hits. Jay Bruce drove in two on a pair of RBI doubles. Marty Brennaman did not die alone in his hotel room.

Cardinals 9, Rockies 6: Both Marco Gonzalez and Yohan Flande were making their major league debuts, for the Cardinals and Rockies, respectively. Neither of them had a game worth writing home about. The best part of this game was the second-to-last at bat in the bottom of the ninth. Trevor Rosenthal had walked two batters to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo battled for 11 pitches but then struck out on a 100-mph fastball. That’s some serious sh*t right there, friends.

Brewers 9, Nationals 2: Scooter Gennett drove in five with the help of a grand slam. Stephen Strasburg got beat up for seven runs in four and two-thirds. I wonder if it was someone else’s fault this time too.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on ThursdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Red Sox 5, Mariners 4: The Sox avoid a sweep thanks in part to Clay Buchholz, who was making his first start in a month. He wasn’t great, but he did pitch into the eighth inning and, given how badly the Mariners had battered Sox pitching the past two games, allowing only four runs was a moral victory.

Angels 6, Twins 2: Garrett Richards pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning to win his fourth straight win and the Angels won their fifth in a row. Richards has a 1.06 ERA in June and has allowed only four runs over his last five starts.

Indians 6, Diamondbacks 1: A day after playing a long extra innings game, the winner here was going to be the team that got the most innings out of its starter. Well, usually the winner of any game is the one which gets the most wins out of its starter, but you know what I mean. Here Corey Kluber pitched seven shutout innings for Cleveland, striking out eight.

Dodgers 5, Royals 4: The Dodgers scored the go-ahead run in the eighth when Wade Davis hit A.J. Ellis with a pitch with the bases loaded. Obviously not intentional. And I obviously did not need to say that, but given that the Diamondbacks set new precedent with that kind of crap last week I suppose I need to be 100% clear about these things. Anyway, that was the first run Davis had given up since April.

Tigers 8, Rangers 6: Six in a row for Detroit. Martinez homered. So did Martinez. On back to back pitches. That Martinez sure is good. So is the other one.

Orioles 5, White Sox 4: Nelson Cruz hit a game-tying grand slam in the eighth inning and David Lough scored the winning run on a walkoff wild pitch in the 12th. The O’s take two of three from the Pale Hose, with both wins coming in their final at bat.

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.