Indians celebration

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

61 Comments

Indians 4, Rangers 3: Excitement in Cleveland. David Murphy’s two-run homer with one out in the ninth tied it up and sent it to extras. Michael Brantley’s leadoff homer in the 12th ended it. That’s a three-game sweep for the Indians. Murphy, who played for the Rangers until this year, went 12 for 25 with seven RBIs in seven games against the Rangers this season. That’s gotta feel good.

Giants 9, Mets 0: As has often been the case in this pitching-dominant year, there were several great pitching performances yesterday. A lot of seven shutout innings kinds of things. Madison Bumgarner was not content with seven. He went the distance, striking out ten and allowing only two hits. Meanwhile, Hunter Pence smacked two homers. His first was a two-run shot which scored the first two and only two runs the Giants would need all game.

Diamondbacks 3, Pirates 2: The game ended as Dbacks baserunner Nick Ahmed slid into second base — or the general vicinity of it anyway — with his arms raised, deflecting the throw to first that may have completed the double play, only to deflect the ball thereby allowing the winning run to score. Was he trying to interfere with the ball? Yeah, probably. But when you’re the Dbacks you care way more about the unwritten rules, not the rules that are actually written down.

Royals 4, Athletics 2: James Shields was on cruise control, retiring the first 15 batters he faced. He ended up allowing two runs over eight. The Royals have won nine of 11 and are only a game and a half out of a wild card slot.

Padres 4, Braves 3: Everth Cabrera singled in the winning run in the 10th for the Padres’ second straight walkoff win in extras. Meanwhile, the Braves have lost six and row and now find themselves three and a half back of Washington and two out of a wild card slot. It’s fun just watching their season just slip away like this.

Astros 6, Blue Jays 1: Scott Feldman tossed a complete game, scattering eight hits and run. Chris Carter and Matt Dominguez each drove in two. Melky Cabrera had his hitting streak snapped at 10.

Cubs 7, Dodgers 3: Josh Beckett continues to struggle, tossing 94 pitches in four innings. Well, he did pitch into the fifth, but gave up a double to the opposing pitcher and then a homer to Chris Coghlan which put the Cubs ahead to stay. One single later and he was lifted. When Beckett is good he’s good. When he’s bad he is stomach-turning.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $10,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Twins 16, White Sox 3: Danny Santana had five hits and four RBI in what, eventually anyway, became a laugher. Minnesota sent 14 batters to the plate in the eighth. Then in the ninth Chris Parmelee, Oswaldo Arcia and Eric Fryer hit back-to-back-to-back homers. Party time.

Cardinals 3, Brewers 2: John Lackey wins his Cardinals debut after allowing two runs in seven innings. When he left the game, however, he stood to be the loser, but the Cards rallied for three in the seventh. Biggest reason they were able to rally? Matt Garza leaving the game after six with an oblique injury. Until then he had allowed only one hit and had needed only 71 pitches through those six.

Angels 7, Rays 5: There was a delay in this one after a lightning strike led to a partial power outage. No word on whether the Tampa station that is fascinated with urban infrastructure had anything to say about this. For what it’s worth, I spent the weekend in downtown Detroit and I had a lovely time. Mike Trout was 3 for 4 and drove in a couple. Jered Weaver picked up his 12th win.

Nationals 4 Phillies 0: Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 over seven shutout innings as Washington and Philly split four games. Of course when your competition in the division is stinking on ice like the Braves are, you can split series forever and still build your lead.

Orioles 1, Mariners 0: Chris Tillman tossed seven shutout innings himself and the pen gave the O’s two more. Nick Markakis’ first inning homer was the only scoring in the game. Tough luck loss for Hisashi Iwakuma.

Reds 7, Marlins 3: A fifteen-hit attack for the Reds. Fourteen of them were singles. Four of them came from Todd Frazier. Billy Hamilton scored thrice.

Tigers 4, Rockies 0: The sweep, as Anibal Sanchez strikes out 12 in seven innings and Victor Martinez hit a three-run homer. He homered the night before too. I was at that game on Saturday night. It was Fiesta Tigres at Comerica Park, when baseball’s Latino culture is celebrated. I had three darn good tacos and purchased a V-Mart shirsey with “Tigres” in script on the front instead of the English D. I sorta love it.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 7: When I went to bed it was 7-7 in the fifth and it felt like the game would never end. When I woke up I discovered that Brett Gardner hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth. He had three hits overall. He has five homers in his past six games.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
4 Comments

Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
2 Comments

Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.