Getty Images

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

3 Comments

Friday’s slate featured Joe Mauer‘s first career walk-off home run, Zack Greinke‘s impressive run at Coors Field, and Tommy Pham’s breakthrough at the plate. Here are the rest of last night’s scores and highlights:

Yankees 3, Cubs 2: Brett Gardner has been on a tear lately, and Friday was no exception. Down 2-0 in the ninth inning, the Yankees’ left fielder deposited a three-run homer just under the scoreboard in Wrigley Field, his sixth such blast in six games.

Behind Gardner’s game-winning knock, the Yankees turned in a solid performance against the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks. Michael Pineda allowed two runs and struck out six batters in six innings (and recorded his first hit as a Yankee, to boot), and Aroldis Chapman capped the bullpen’s three scoreless innings with his seventh save of the season.

Reds 13, Giants 3: Amid the Reds’ 13-run onslaught, the Giants’ Christian Arroyo did something cool: he hit a home run off of Bronson Arroyo. (Get it? It’s cool because they have the same last name. Oh, and they attended the same high school, too, albeit 18 years apart.)

Despite the nifty coincidence, the Giants lost badly after Matt Cain imploded, allowing ten hits, nine runs and six walks and leaving the bullpen to bear the remaining four runs and seal their 19th loss of the year.

Pirates 4, Brewers 0: A two-hour, 27-minute rain delay dampened the Brewers’ chances of getting a run on Friday evening. The gloomy weather forced starter Chad Kuhl to pitch through just three innings before the tarp was rolled out, and when the rain finally let up, Wade LeBlanc took the mound — and the win — in his stead. LeBlanc helped the Pirates’ efforts at the plate, too, contributing his first RBI base hit since 2011 and lifting the club to a 3-0 lead in the fourth.

Orioles 4, White Sox 2: The Orioles had to improvise a new game plan after Wade Miley exited in the first inning, taking back-to-back line drives off of his left wrist and leg. Luckily, Miley’s injuries were minor, and Baltimore soldiered on with right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, who tossed six scoreless frames to hold a 2-0 lead through the seventh inning. It didn’t hurt that Chris Davis had a monster night as well, going 3-for-3 with a 427-foot home run to clinch the Orioles’ 18th win of the year.

Mets 8, Marlins 7: If the Mets were concerned about their four-run deficit, they didn’t show it. Following a catastrophic six-run inning, during which they issued six hits, an intentional walk and a hit by pitch to the Marlins, the Mets rebounded for a five-run spread in the seventh, collecting two RBI singles and an RBI double to knot the score 7-7. The game-winning knock was decidedly less impressive, ending on Wilmer Flores’ bases-loaded walk to drive in the go-ahead run and cement the Mets’ first win of the series.

Blue Jays 8, Rays 4: If there’s unresolved beef between the Blue Jays and Rays, Kevin Kiermaier doesn’t want any part of it. The Rays center fielder was forced to exit in the fourth inning of Friday’s 8-4 win after taking a 91.5 m.p.h. fastball to his right hand. It was unclear whether or not the hit by pitch was intentional, but it follows another tense moment between the teams from last Sunday, when Chris Archer appeared to target Jose Bautista with a pitch that just missed the slugger’s hip. “Who knows what his thought process is or anything,” Kiermaier told reporters following the game, “but any time you miss up and in, I think us batters, no matter what the situation, you have a reason to be mad about it.”

Cardinals 10, Braves 0: Tommy Pham has been a kind of enigma for the Cardinals over the last four years, but one thing was clear during last night’s win: the center fielder can rake.

Behind Pham’s breakout? Not tweaked mechanics or a new swing, but contact lenses. The 29-year-old’s new lenses helped him manage a chronic eye disease called kertoconus, which causes blurry vision due to a misshapen cornea, allowing him to literally see the ball and hit it.

Nationals 4, Phillies 2: Some historical records are better left unbroken. Just ask Nationals’ reliever Matt Albers, who snapped his 102-game streak of games finished without a save during Friday’s series opener against the Phillies. Albers converted his first save opportunity in the ninth inning, plunking Cesar Hernandez before inducing two strikeouts and a game-ending groundout from Maikel Franco.

It was a grueling path to the most basic benchmark for relief pitchers, taking Albers through 12 seasons in the majors and bringing him within three games of tying former major leaguer Ryan Webb and his 105-game streak. No one else has come within miles of the record, which is now being chased by the Giants’ George Kontos, with 63 consecutive games finished sans save.

Twins 4, Red Sox 3: It took Joe Mauer 14 years and 132 home runs, but circumstance and power finally aligned for his first career walk-off homer during Friday’s 4-3 nail-biter against the Red Sox. After leading 3-1 through eight innings, Minnesota hurler Brandon Kintzler handed Boston the game-tying runs in the ninth, allowing Chris Young a two-RBI single that threatened to bring extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Eddie Rosario and Kenny Vargas grounded out in consecutive at-bats, and Mauer worked a 1-2 count before belting the walk-off homer:

Royals 3, Indians 1: There’s no stopping Eric Hosmer this week. The Royals’ power-hitting first baseman had a banner night on Friday, highlighted by a career-best 458-foot home run that effectively quashed the Indians’ chances of making a comeback. Danny Salazar, despite his best efforts, couldn’t pitch around the zone to retire Hosmer and found his first-pitch fastball down the middle parked well beyond the right field wall.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 3: Few visiting pitchers have gone undefeated in the homer-happy confines of Coors Field, but then again, few pitchers are as dominant as Zack Greinke. The Diamondbacks’ right-hander lasted seven innings in Friday’s series opener, issuing two runs and striking out seven to bring the D-backs within half a game of the division lead.

In eight career starts at Coors Field, Greinke is 3-0 with a 4.14 ERA in 50 innings. He has yet to lose a game in Colorado, and at least on Friday night, found his win streak upheld by a strong showing from Paul Goldschmidt (3-for-3 with two home runs and an RBI single) and the rest of the D-backs’ lineup. His only thoughts on the streak?

“I hate pitching here,” Greinke told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. “It’s really tough.”

Tigers 7, Athletics 2: Michael Fulmer‘s resume is looking good these days. The former AL Rookie of the Year handcrafted eight innings against the Athletics, striking out a season-high nine batters and allowing two runs on eight hits. The A’s got a bit of a breather in the ninth inning, when Oakland outfielder Rajai Davis recorded his 1,000th career hit, but left their only baserunner stranded and dropped the game by a five-run deficit.

Astros 7, Angels 6 (10 innings): The Astros clawed their way to the best record in the American League on Friday, battling through 10 innings before Carlos Correa‘s two-out RBI single sent them home with their 20th win.

The last time Houston started the season this well was in 1973, when they jumped out to a 20-10 record before regressing to a fourth-place finish in the NL West. The landscape of the West division was a little different than it is today, and it was the 99-63 Reds who pocketed the division title that year, leaving the Astros to labor through another seven seasons before getting their first chance at the playoffs in 1980.

Dodgers 8, Padres 2: With Adrian Gonzalez on the disabled list for the first time in his career, it was up to rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger to make his presence felt in the lineup on Friday. The 21-year-old rose to the occasion, catapulting a pair of home runs to put the Dodgers on the board in the fourth inning and boost them to a six-run lead in the ninth.

Even more remarkable: it marked Bellinger’s second two-homer game of the season. Add those totals to a .303/.361/.576 batting line through his first 36 PA, and it’s clear the rookie has made a home for himself in the big leagues.

“The best thing for our team right now is for Cody to keep playing, because he is playing well, and let me get right,” Gonzalez told MLB.com’s Tim Powers. “Obviously, if he keeps playing well, he should be in the lineup. But when I’m ready, when I’m right, I know I can contribute and we’ll reassess at that point.”

Rangers 3, Mariners 1 (13 innings): It’s been a taxing week for the Mariners’ pitching staff. After Hisashi Iwakuma‘s injury scare on Wednesday and James Paxton‘s forearm strain on Friday, the last thing Seattle needed was a five-hour marathon designed to wear out the rest of their staff. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they got. The Rangers cycled through eight of Seattle’s pitchers, collecting seven hits and a game-winning, two-run shot by Rougned Odor to take the win after 13 innings.

The Mariners and Cardinals make a minor trade

Getty Images
1 Comment

The Seattle Mariners and the St. Louis Cardinals have made a minor trade. Seattle has acquired lefty Marco Gonzales from the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Tyler O’Neill.

Gonzales, the Cardinals’ first round pick out of Gonzaga back in 2013, is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. It’s been a good season, in which he has posted a 2.78 ERA and 64/17 K/BB ratio over 74.1 innings across two minor league levels. He’s pitched one game for St. Louis this year and got shelled, but we’ll leave that go.

O’Neill is a third rounder from 2013. He has hit .269/.344/.505 in five minor league seasons. He’s holding his own in Triple-A this year, smacking 19 homers in 93 games.

Topps has eliminated Chief Wahoo from both new and throwback card designs

13 Comments

I’ve been out of the baseball card game for a good long time, but despite this — maybe because of this — I enjoy the posts from SABR’s Baseball Card Committee. A lot of that is old time stuff that old men like me enjoy — check out the airbrushing on the “Traded” cards! — but they talk about new cards too. Definitely worth your time if cards are now or have ever been your bag.

Today there’s an interesting post, pointing out something most of us wouldn’t have otherwise noted: Topps has dropped Chief Wahoo from Indians card designs. They’re doing it for the old Braves “screaming Indian” logo as well, though the Braves no longer use that themselves.

They’re not airbrushing these logos out of photos of players — that would be Orwellian even for my extreme Wahoo-hating tastes — but in card designs which have team logos, Topps is using the block-C logo, not Wahoo, and the Braves “A” logo in place of the old logo. This includes throwback issues like the Heritage sets which put modern players on card designs from the 1950s-1960s and on simple retro designs like their 1987 variations. Any cards which once featured Wahoo on the border or on the back now features the block-C.

As you may or may not know, Topps is now the official card producer for Major League Baseball. As such, I take their doing this as a sign that MLB is continuing the slow process of de-Chiefing in whatever areas it has ultimate say.

Now if only the Indians themselves would get on board.