Brian McCann

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 7, White Sox 4: A pinch-hit, walkoff homer for Brian McCann in the bottom of the tenth inning. The Yankees scored four runs — none of them earned — against Chris Sale. They’ve won four in a row and refuse, Rasputin-like, to die.

Rockies 7, Marlins 4: Sure, the Rockies won this one, but the Marlins took the season series 4-3. And, as you’re no doubt aware, the winner of the Rockies-Marlins series each year takes home the 1993 Cup. It’s a large, pewter trophy with a little speaker in it that plays Haddaway’s “What is Love” if you press the button. It’s also filled with VHS tapes containing the first season of the “X-Files.” It’s pretty prestigious, actually.

Indians 3, Astros 1: Trevor Bauer tossed six shutout innings. The Indians runs came on a sac fly and a couple of singles. No inning featured more than one run scored. Yet it took three hours and fourteen minutes. I feel like this is exactly the kind of game that baseball needs to speed up as it looks at pace-of-play issues.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 1: Evan Longoria with an RBI single in the tenth to put the Rays ahead to stay. I suppose this being an extra innings game takes it out of the pace-of-play conversation, but it’s still nuts that even a ten-inning 2-1 game can take three hours and twenty-eight minutes.

Mariners 8, Red Sox 6: The M’s sweep the Sox, sending Boston to its eighth straight defeat. Dustin Ackley was 3 for 5 with a double, a triple and three runs scored. This one was over four hours long. It featured (a) tons of men left on base; (b) two stars in Robinson Cano and David Ortiz leaving with illness and injury, respectively; and (c) with an otherwise top-flight pitcher in Hisashi Iwakuma getting beat up. That’s about a 9.6 on the ugly scale. A long rain delay or an instant replay debacle would’ve pushed it to a 10.

Mets 11, Dodgers 3: A big win and a triple play? That’s a fun day at the old ballpark for the visiting team. Of course, the triple play doesn’t happen if Puig doesn’t Puig his way into out number three at hime plate. Didnt even slide or anything. But hey, they were down by five at the time. It’s not like making dumb outs on the base paths really mattered at that point. [Someone whispers in my ear]. I’m sorry, I take that back. Running into outs is way worse when you’re down by a bunch of runs. My apologies. Oh, Yasiel.

Reds 5, Braves 3: Not as close as the score would suggest, as Alfredo Simon held the Braves in check all day before the bullpen let a couple of runs across. It was Simon’s first win since the All-Star break. I had forgotten that he was actually an All-Star this year.

Nationals 14, Giants 6: The Nats were down 5-0 after three innings and were down 6-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Then they scored 12 unanswered runs off of Giants pitchers. Well, the runs were answered with lots of expletives and stuff — Jake Peavy was ejected for arguing balls and strikes and he didn’t even pitch in this game — but they weren’t answered with any other runs. The Nats extend their division lead to eight games.

Padres 7, Diamondbacks 4: Yasmani Grandal had a three run homer and a sac fly. Ian Kennedy beat his old mates. Well, normally we assume that former teammates are “old mates” in that friendship way, but I’m pretty sure the Dbcaks’ team handbooks requires no relationship higher then “frenemies” for former Diamondbacks players under penalty of a Miguel Montero wedgie.

Phillies 7, Cardinals 1: Jerome Williams allowed one run on five hits in eight innings. I suppose the third team of the 2014 season is the charm. Justin Masterson has a 7.43 ERA in five starts since being traded to the Cardinals at the deadline. So that’s not looking to hot I suppose.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,500. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Brewers 4, Pirates 3: Mike Fiers allows two runs on two hits in seven and helps the Brew Crew avoid the sweep. Fiers has been a revelation for the Brewers since being called on to replace Matt Garza in the rotation. He’s struck out 32 and walked just four in four starts with a 1.29 ERA since.

Cubs 2, Orioles 1: Tsuyoshi Wada didn’t allow a hit until surrendering a Steve Pearce homer with one out in the seventh. And that was the only offense Baltimore would get.

Tigers 13, Twins 4: Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter each drove in four in this rout. Seventy-three runs were scored in this four-game series. The Twins outscored the Tigers 42 to 31 yet the series was a split.

Rangers 3, Royals 1: The Rangers avoid the sweep. Scott Baker got his first win as a starter in more than three years. It was around 100 degrees for this game. Kind of sticks out for those of us in the Midwest and/or east coast, where’s it’s been a pretty cool and went summer. My brain really hasn’t gotten into “crap, summer heat sucks” mode all season. And my kids start school today, so it’s not going to feel mentally like summer much more either. Weird year.

Angels 9, Athletics 4: Josh Hamilton homered and drove in three, Mike Trout hit a homer and the Angels salvaged one in Oakland. Still, they leave on top of the division. To be continued next weekend.

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
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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
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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.