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And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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There were quite a few oddities during Friday’s games, from the Joey Gallo‘s record-setting home run to an inning that granted the Rockies both a grand slam and an inside-the-park homer. You can find the full scores here and the rest of the highlights below:

Phillies 4, Braves 3: The Braves took their fourth consecutive loss on Friday, and according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki and Mark Bowman, their first loss to the Phillies since July 30, 2016. Bartolo Colon pitched through seven innings, his longest outing of the season, allowing 11 hits, four runs and striking out four of 32 batters. The Braves made a concerted effort in the ninth after Adonis Garcia went yard (in the pouring rain, no less) and Nick Markakis and Brandon Phillips put runners on first and second with back-to-back singles, but right-hander Hector Neris caught Tyler Flowers swinging on an eight-pitch at-bat to preserve the Phillies’ lead and take the win.

Pirates 6, Yankees 3: The Pirates got off to a quick start on Friday, amassing four runs in the first two innings after a pair of home runs from Jordy Mercer and Josh Bell and an RBI single from David Freese. The same could not be said for the Yankees:

Orioles 2, Red Sox 0: It’s worth mentioning, if only in passing, the quality of Dylan Bundy‘s start. The right-hander delivered seven shutout innings in his fourth start of the season, issuing six hits, a walk and three strikeouts in the Orioles’ 2-0 win. The outing fed into Bundy’s 1.37 ERA and the Orioles’ continued dominance in the AL East, but was ultimately overshadowed by a disputed takeout slide by Manny Machado in the eighth inning.

Cubs 6, Reds 5 (11 innings): The defending World Series champs reclaimed their position atop the NL Central division after orchestrating three dramatic comebacks to win their last three games this week. Those wins snapped a four-game losing streak, during which the Cubs had blown three leads against the Pirates and Brewers.

Whether or not this come-from-behind strategy will hold much longer is yet to be determined, but the Cubs don’t seem too concerned. “[Winning] is always fun; when you come back, it just makes it a little bit better,” Chicago left-hander Jon Lester told reporters following the game. “It doesn’t matter how it looks, we got it done.” Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon shared the sentiment: “It’s so entertaining, isn’t it? We like the tough games, the big series. We like that stuff.”

Astros 6, Rays 3: For once, the preseason predictions got something right: the Astros are running away with the AL West this season. They capped their eighth win in nine games, returning from a two-run deficit with two RBI base hits from Brian McCann and Yuli Gurriel, two productive, game-winning outs from George Springer and Josh Reddick and a run-scoring wild pitch in the ninth inning.

Nationals 4, Mets 3 (11 innings): After cycling through ten pitchers and four home runs, it seemed only fitting that the 11-inning marathon would end on a bases-loaded walk:

Rangers 6, Royals 2: On a day full of a variety of record-breaking and -setting homers, Joey Gallo raised the bar for any aspiring home run hitter in 2017. He went deep against Royals’ right-hander Nathan Karns in the second inning, nearly driving the ball into a concourse popcorn stand:

Per Statcast, the ball left Gallo’s bat at a speed of 116.1 m.p.h. and traveled an estimated 462 feet. It’s both the longest and hardest-hit home run so far this year, though it still falls a little shy of the records set by Giancarlo Stanton (504 feet) and Carlos Gonzalez (117.4 m.p.h.) in 2016.

Indians 3, White Sox 0: After putting up a 6.38 ERA during his first three starts of the season, Corey Kluber finally regained some equilibrium on the mound. He leveled the White Sox with his first complete game shutout since June 21, 2016, firing nine scoreless innings with three hits, two walks and nine strikeouts. The reemergence of his cutter may have had something to do with his successful outing, as MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian pointed out:

Twins 6, Tigers 3: The Tigers have undoubtedly seen better days. Justin Verlander collapsed against the Twins, handing over four run, six walks and four strikeouts in his second loss of the season. Victor Martinez and Justin Upton put the Tigers on the board in the third inning with an RBI single and double, respectively, but a six-run rally by the Twins unraveled the Tigers’ lead.

Cardinals 6, Brewers 3: With Madison Bumgarner on the disabled list, another member of the #PitchersWhoRake club was called upon to deliver the goods on Friday night. Adam Wainwright blew past the Brewers with five innings of two-run, nine-strikeout pitching, then turned around and blasted his first home run of the season, a two-run, double-deck shot that put the Cardinals up 2-1 in the third inning.

Wainwright later returned for another two-run single in the fourth and now officially leads all pitchers with three hits and four RBI in 2017.

Rockies 6, Giants 5: According to MLB.com’s Owen Perkins, the Rockies’ grand slam/inside-the-parker combo was only the second such combination of events since September 19, 2011, when the Red Sox’ Conor Jackson and Jacoby Ellsbury tag-teamed for the two unusual home runs against the visiting Orioles. The grand slam was a career first for both Trevor Story and Giants’ right-hander Johnny Cueto, who enjoyed an 8-2 record against the Rockies prior to his meltdown on Friday afternoon.

Diamondbacks 13, Dodgers 5: The Diamondbacks’ offense took approximately eight innings to heat up during Friday’s series opener, but no one was complaining when they constructed a nine-run comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning. Against an ailing Dodgers’ bullpen, the D-backs pulled five walks, six hits, and best of all, a tie-breaking balk from right-handed reliever Sergio Romo.

Athletics 3, Mariners 1: The Mariners are 1-8 on the road so far this season, a record that was underscored by the Athletics’ dominant showing on Friday. Sean Manaea turned in six solid innings, allowing one run and striking out six of 24 batters, while Ryan Dull, Sean Doolittle and Santiago Casilla combined for three scoreless frames to clinch the A’s ninth win and push them just over .500.

Blue Jays 8, Angels 7 (13 innings): There wasn’t a better moment for Jose Bautista‘s first home run of the season:

Padres 5, Marlins 3: Trevor Cahill enjoyed a triumphant return to his hometown during Friday’s series opener, delivering seven innings of one-run, six-strikeout ball for his first win of the season. He kept the game scoreless after allowing a solo home run to Marcell Ozuna in the second inning, shutting down 15 consecutive batters before allowing the Marlins a final base hit in the seventh. The Marlins did their best to contribute to Cahill’s win, issuing four hits, four runs and a run-scoring double play in the seventh to boost the Padres to a four-run lead.

Alan Trammell’s Hall of Fame election validates a child’s baseball memories

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla — My great uncle Harry was a boat salesman in Detroit. He had some Tigers front office types as clients so he got a lot of free tickets to Tigers games. and he’d use them to take my brother and me to Tiger Stadium several times a year. We were always right behind home plate.

My parents tell me that I went to my first game in Tiger Stadium on the Fourth of July, 1978. I was too young to remember a thing about that one. The first one I do remember was June 17, 1979. A few years ago I tracked down the box score for that game on Baseball-Reference.com to get all of the details, but before I knew all of the specifics I remembered the important details: it was a day game against the California Angels and Alan Trammell hit a home run. He instantly became my favorite player. I was not quite six years old.

Like any other kid who has a favorite player, I obsessed over him. I collected every one of his baseball cards. I looked for his name in every box score. When I played Little League I begged the coach to let me play shortstop even though I had no business playing shortstop (the coach did let me wear number 3 at least). I made sure that, when a Tigers game was on TV, no one turned it off until Trammell had come to bat at least once.

On one occasion I even sort of stalked him.

My grandparents lived in Detroit and rumor had it that Trammell rented a house just down the street from them during the season. Once, when we were visiting my grandmother, my brother and I walked to the house and knocked on the door. A woman in her 20s answered it. We presumed it to be his wife or girlfriend. We asked if Alan Trammell was there. She said no and shut the door on us. At the time we assumed that, darn our luck, he had already left to go to the ballpark that day. In hindsight I realized that it probably wasn’t his house, and that the woman, while taciturn to the point of being misleading, was technically telling the truth. The point here is that back then I just liked to assume that Alan Trammell lived two doors down from my grandparents. A kid will believe a lot about his hero ballplayer in order to be closer to him.

My thing for Trammell continued for a good decade or so. By the end of that decade it seemed plain to me that was the greatest shortstop in the history of baseball and anyone else who didn’t recognize that was simply irrational. With nearly 40 years of hindsight, I now know that Trammell wasn’t the greatest shortstop in baseball history. Probably. He was damn good, though.

After I moved away from Michigan and Trammell’s career began to wind down, Greg Maddux became my favorite player. It was a different thing with him — I was too old for a baseball player to be my hero, exactly — but it’s the case that I thought less about Trammell than I had in the 80s. That probably would’ve happened naturally, but there were other factors which worked to make me think of Trammell less than I did when I was younger.

It’s easy to get jaded if you spend enough time writing about baseball. I’ve never stopped loving or enjoying the game, but if you focus most of your life on it, you end up seeing so many amazing things that you forget some of the other amazing stuff you’ve seen. In my case, I’ve pushed out a lot of the stuff I enjoyed when I was a kid. I didn’t do it on purpose. It just happened. There is only so much baseball you can hold in your head at once and I have a lot of baseball in my head.

Part of me pushing Trammell out of my head was defensive, though. He first made the Hall of Fame ballot in 2002. He didn’t get even 20% of the vote until his ninth year. He never got as much as 37% of the vote. It pained me to see the Hall of Fame voters — many of whom would eventually become my friends and colleagues — fail to recognize him year after year. I get why that happened. Trammell was a bit of an odd duck for his era. After decades of being used to heavy leather, light bat shortstops, Hall of Fame voters weren’t ready for a guy at that position who could play gold glove defense, hit for both average and power and take an occasional walk. At the very least they weren’t ready to process several of them at once. Cal Ripken and Robin Yount, understandably, filled up that space in their heads while Ozzie Smith impressed upon them that the traditional shortstop archetype remained strong. There just wasn’t room for Tram their minds.

But even if his being overlooked was somewhat understandable, it was still painful. It seemed like a rebuke of my childhood memories. I’m not a sentimental guy. I don’t believe in that whole fathers-and-sons-passing-baseball-down-from-generation-to-generation thing. But I did wonder why I’d bother taking my kids to the Hall of Fame if I could not go into the plaque room and see my Hall of Fame-worthy boyhood idol. Why should I care about the Hall of Fame if, as far as it was concerned, Alan Trammell was an invisible man? Alan Trammell happened. I saw it. I saw him do all of those great things and, because of the manner in which baseball history is chronicled and remembered, he was forgotten in some important way. It pissed me off.

I never thought Trammell would make the Hall of Fame. Not for a moment. I knew a couple of years in that the BBWAA wouldn’t vote him in and I had no confidence, until the moment I heard the news of his election last night, that the Veteran’s Committee would ever give him his due. But they did.

It was a shock and a surprise. When I heard he made it I stopped what I was doing and just sat back dumbfounded. Happy. Flooded with memories of watching Trammell play when I was a kid and he was my favorite player. Happy that, after years and years of almost wondering if I was the only person alive who watched him play, my childhood memories were validated. Validated in a way that I never thought was really necessary but, now that it has happened, makes me feel better than I did before. Better about baseball. Better about baseball history. Better about the memories I had that, for a while, I began to even question since no one else seemed to remember Trammell like I did.

This old man’s memories of Alan Trammell aren’t all that important. Baseball memories of old men have had more than their fair share of validation over the years to the point where baseball history is almost distorted as a result. But what of the baseball memories of younger generations?

The Baseball Hall of Fame and its voters have seen fit to shun the baseball greats of the 1990s and 2000s. A host of them — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez and others — are now and likely forever will be kept out of the Hall of Fame. We certainly have not forgotten those players, but we’re not honoring them.

The Hall and its voters will eagerly explain to you why that is. It’s about ethics and morality and authenticity and all of that, they say. I’m not sure, however, why that would matter to a person who, when they were six-year-old, was amazed by their feats and exploits. I’m not sure how an entire generation of people who became baseball fans as a result of those players should be made to feel that their memories are somehow not worth memorializing. Why they should be expected to go to the Hall of Fame with their children if they can’t walk into the plaque room and say “there’s the greatest player I ever saw.”

Until last night I discounted that feeling. I don’t think I’ll discount it anymore.