Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 6.51.57 AM

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

71 Comments

Red Sox 2, Cardinals 1: Joe Kelly pitched against the guys who, this time last week, were his teammates. And he did well: one run on three hits over seven. Shelby Miller was just as good, but the Sox got to Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth, loading the bases with no one out before a Xander Bogaerts sac fly. The Cardinals were lucky they only gave up one run there, but one run was enough.

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 1: But I was told Tuesday night was a “statement game” from the Orioles. Huh. Maybe the statement has been hereby recanted? Maybe, for some reason, this game did not count as much as Tuesday’s, making it far less important? Tell me, Orioles fans who got on my case for doubting Bud Norris’ assessment of Tuesday’s night game, why is this one different? While I wait, I’ll just tell everyone that Drew Hutchison almost went the distance, allowing just the one run.

Yankees 5, Tigers 1: Chris Capuano of all people tied up the Tigers, allowing only one run over six and two-thirds. And it wasn’t even earned. Meanwhile Justin Verlander held ’em close, but the bullpen was pretty stinky, allowing three in the eighth. The contrast between Tuesday, when Brad Ausmus could use Chamberlain, Soria and Nathan, and last night when he had to go with Blaine Hardy and Phil Coke, is pretty major. It’ll behoove the Tigers to rest up those latter three as much as possible between now and the playoffs so the Tigers don’t have their soft underbelly exposed in close games like this one.

Rays 7, Athletics 3: The Rays avoid a sweep thanks to Jeremy Hellickson allowing just two hits in seven innings and Sonny Gray having his worst day as a major leaguer (4.1 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 4 BB). Well, I dunno, maybe he’s had worse days. Like, if he had to put his dog down on the same day he tossed a three-hitter that would probably be a way worse day, all things considered. But this was his worst pitching performance.

Royals 4, Diamondbacks 3: Mike Moustakas hit a two-run homer and drove in four. His fourth RBI — which provided the winning margin — came in the ninth when he beat out a play at first on a would-be double play. He was initially called out but the call was overturned on review. The game story I read praised Moustakas for his hustle in beating that throw, but it wouldn’t have been as close if he didn’t flop on his belly for the head first slide which is a really idiotic way to go into a bag which you are allowed to overrun. But hey, god for him.

Rockies 13, Cubs 4: Gonzalez homered, doubled and singled and Corey Dickerson drove in three runs on four hits. And this was fun: Despite being down nine runs in the ninth inning, Cubs manager Rick Renteria challenged a play at first on the final out of the game. Which is totally what MLB had in mind when it initiated the replay system. But hey, their fault. They’re the ones who made it all about manager challenges instead of something sensible.

Mariners 7, Braves 3: Down 3-1 in the third, the Mariners turned on the power: Dustin Ackley led off with a homer and Logan Morrison hit a three-run shot of his own. Chris Young got the win and after the game said “you can’t get caught up in wins and losses as a starting pitcher. One day the media will stop evaluating us on that.” I heart him. I don’t heart the Braves lately. They’ve lost eight straight. But I do hope they are enjoying their visits to San Diego, Los Angeles and Seattle. They’re lovely cities in August. Perhaps they will bring back souvenirs!

Nationals 7, Mets 1: And now the Nats have a four-game lead in the division, validating my prediction at the break that they would slowly pull away and take control of the division. Wish, like with so many other things, I was wrong about that, but alas. Doug Fister allowed one earned run in seven and a third and Adam LaRoche drove in three.

Rangers 3, White Sox 1: Adam Rosales hit two homers, providing all of the Rangers’ runs. He was then waived and claimed by the A’s, sent back to the Rangers and had the process repeat ten times before going to sleep. This joke is brought to you by the year 2013.

Reds 8, Indians 3: Mat Latos pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning before running out of gas and the Reds got a three run homer from Zack Cozart and a two-run shot from Kristopher Negron.

Pirates 7, Marlins 3: Josh Harrison remains hot. He extended his hitting streak to ten games and is is 20 for 44 over that span. And it ain’t all singles: he’s got six doubles, a triple and five home runs.

Phillies 10, Astros 3: I guess the Phillies’ offense is waking up. Ryan Howard had two hits and two RBIs, Ben Revere had four hits and Chase Utley hit a three-run homer. This one was over after the first inning, really. David Buchanan pitched nicely in Cliff Lee’s spot. I guess it’s really Buchanan’s spot now given that Lee’s season is almost certainly over.

Padres 5, Twins 4: Seth Smith’s solo homer in the 10th put the Padres ahead for good, but if Alexi Amarista doesn’t make this awesome play in center in the bottom of the ninth, the Twins walk off with this one.

Dodgers 2, Angels 1: Dan Haren, who has been awful, wasn’t awful. Indeed, he was pretty good, allowing one run in seven and a third. Might have had a run saved by a sick throw from Yasiel Puig to gun down Hank Conger at third in the sixth inning. Kudos to Justin Turner’s quick tag too.

Giants 7, Brewers 4: Michael Morse and Pablo Sandoval each drove in three runs. The Giants have won 5 of 7.

Darvish wins 1st start since 2014 as Rangers top Pirates 5-2

160528 darvish
Getty Images
1 Comment

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Yu Darvish struck out seven in five strong innings in his first start in the majors in almost 22 months, and the Texas Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Saturday night.

The Japanese right-hander allowed three singles with a walk in his return from last year’s Tommy John surgery, ending Pittsburgh’s five-game winning streak.

Adrian Beltre had a two-run homer in the first inning off Juan Nicasio (3-3) to become the fourth third baseman with at least 1,500 RBIs, finishing with 1,501.

Mitch Moreland snapped a 1-for-27 skid with a solo home run in the fourth.

Four Texas relievers allowed four hits and a run with four strikeouts in four innings.

The “Yuuu” calls from a sellout crowd started early for Darvish, who last pitched in the big leagues on Aug. 9, 2014. He missed the rest of that season with right elbow inflammation, and ended up needing ligament reconstruction surgery after his only spring training appearance last year.

Darvish (1-0) had a 0.90 ERA in five rehab starts this month, culminating with an 87-pitch outing. He threw 81 against the Pirates, hitting 98 mph with his fastball in the first inning and displaying his usual array of breaking pitches, some as slow as 70 mph.

John Jaso had a leadoff single on Darvish’s second pitch before Andrew McCutchen struck out. The Pirates didn’t get another hit until Francisco Cervelli‘s sinking liner in front of rookie right fielder Nomar Mazara in the fifth.

No. 9 hitter Cole Figueroa ended Darvish’s shutout bid by pulling a hanging slider into right-center field for a single that scored Cervelli from second. Darvish then struck out Jaso for the second time to finish his outing.

Beltre’s homer just cleared the wall in center field after Prince Fielder‘s RBI groundout to score leadoff hitter Jurickson Profar, who had two hits filling in for suspended second baseman Rougned Odor. It was the second game of Odor’s seven-game ban.

SHORT HOPS

Joey Gallo, who had just one at-bat in his five-day stint, was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room on the roster for Darvish. … Pirates lefty reliever Tony Watson came off the paternity list and pitched a perfect eighth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: Manager Clint Hurdle planned to give 2B Josh Harrison the night off after he came out of the series opener early. He’s been battling an illness that kept him out of the lineup Thursday as well.

Rangers: C Robinson Chirinos is expected to start a rehab assignment Tuesday with Double-A Frisco. He’s been out since April 10 with a broken right forearm and could be activated as soon as he is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on June 9.

UP NEXT

Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano (4-3, 4.30) has won his last four starts against the Rangers and is 5-1 with a save and a 2.89 ERA in nine career games against them, most of those with Minnesota. His last appearance against Texas was Sept. 10, 2013.

Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (2-4, 3.13) makes his team-high 11th start and has gone 2-2 with a 2.23 ERA in his past six starts. He threw six shutout innings in a 4-1 win over the Angels in his last start

Utley answers with slam, solo HR as Dodgers rout Mets 9-1

160528 utley
Getty Images
5 Comments

NEW YORK (AP) After the New York Mets missed, Chase Utley connected twice.

Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing New York 9-1 on Saturday night.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch – which certainly appeared to be his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year’s playoffs.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers’ bench to keep teammates calm – and later responded by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.

“I think a loud, energizing environment gets the best out of you. I think it’s fun,” said Utley, who has 19 RBIs this season, nine in the first two games of this series. “It kind of gets the adrenaline going a little bit, makes you kind of dig down deeper.”

Asked if he thought Syndergaard delivered a purpose pitch, Utley said: “Possibly, but I understand it.”

Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets’ 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Howie Kendrick and Corey Seager also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.

Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that hit him on the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings. The right-hander yielded two hits, both singles in the first, and stopped his three-game losing streak.

“Pretty impressive. You wouldn’t see too many other pitches staying in the game at that point,” Utley said.

The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets – and their fans – were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.

But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night; Utley played all four games without incident May 9-12 when the teams split a series in Los Angeles.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard’s first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman by a considerable margin.

Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.

“The ruling was that he intentionally threw at the batter,” crew chief Tom Hallion told a pool reporter. “We can either warn or eject. And with what happened in that situation, we felt the ejection was warranted.”

Hallion said no warnings were issued before the series.

“We take each game individually,” he said when asked if last year’s playoff series played a role in the ejection. “We have to make a snap decision. We can’t think about, OK, well this guy did this or he did that in Game 6 of whatever. We don’t have enough time to think that way. We make a decision on what happens in the game.”

Collins said he had never before seen a pitcher get ejected without a warning.

“My argument was, nobody got hit,” Collins said. “There was a time when, in this game, where you had a shot and nothing happened, the ball went to the backstop. So that was kind of my argument.”

After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.

“It was just a pitch that got away from me. That’s all I got,” Syndergaard said. “I can understand why he did what he did. I still think a warning would have been better.”

Collins acknowledged he’s a little concerned Syndergaard might get suspended.

Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett’s first pitch of the sixth for a 1-0 lead.

Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, making it 6-0 with his 38th homer against the Mets.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.

In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBIs in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.

“We came together as a group,” Utley said. “We battled, and it was a good win.”

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: RF Trayce Thompson exited in the fifth with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Yasiel Puig, who hit an RBI single off Verrett in the sixth.

Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.

UP NEXT

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts vs. the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May – including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.

Mets’ Syndergaard ejected after throwing behind Utley

160528 noah
Getty Images
46 Comments

NEW YORK — In a scene that has seemed inevitable since October, New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard has been ejected for throwing a 99 mph fastball behind Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since his late takeout slide in last year’s playoffs broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.

New York was incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules on slides at bases this season. But the Mets had not attempted to retaliate until Saturday night.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard’s first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman’s back by a considerable margin.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting irate Mets manager Terry Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected.

Indians’ Brantley unsure of return from shoulder injury

160528 brantley
Getty Images
Leave a comment

CLEVELAND — Indians outfielder Michael Brantley has no timetable for his return from the shoulder injury that has sidelined him for the second time this season.

Brantley spoke to reporters Saturday for the first time since being placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 14. He began the season on the DL following surgery for a torn right labrum in November. Brantley hit .231 with seven RBIs in 11 games before being shut down again.

“I wasn’t bouncing back quick enough to keep playing back-to-back games, which is very important,” he said. “I want to be healthy each and every day and I have to play at a high level. This is the major leagues. You have to be at the best of your ability and the highest health-wise you can be.”

Brantley, who received an anti-inflammatory shot in the shoulder two weeks ago, doesn’t think he returned from the surgery too soon.

“I was ready,” he said. “We talked about it. We had a great process laid out. Everything went smoothly. It was just a bump in the road.”

Brantley has been hitting off a tee but isn’t sure when he will begin taking swings in the batting cage. He is playing catch since he throws left-handed but wants to be cautious about resuming a hitting program.

“Surgery is nothing to play with,” he said. “You have to be smart and understand your body.”

Brantley visited Dr. Craig Morgan, who performed the surgery, in Wilmington, Delaware after he returned to the DL. An MRI showed no changes in the shoulder.

“He said everything checks out good, just make sure to take your time and we’ll see what happens from there,” Brantley said.

Brantley finished third in the AL MVP voting in 2014 when he hit .327 with 20 homers and 97 RBIs. He batted .310 with 15 homers and 84 RBIs last season.