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And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores and highlights from Friday’s games:

Brewers 6, Cubs 3: The Brewers extended their win streak to four games on Friday night, capsizing the third-place Cubs with five shutdown innings from the bullpen and a late-game rally by Orlando Arcia, Jesus Aguilar and Domingo Santana. The only thing that would have made this win sweeter? A custom beer crafted by Eric Thames and Oliver Drake.

Orioles 5, Blue Jays 3 (10 innings): It looked like the Blue Jays had a much-needed win in the bag in the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Justin Smoak swung at a pitch from Darren O'Day, which appeared to graze his knee before ricocheting behind the plate. Chris Coghlan came home to score, but a challenge from the Orioles prompted the umpires to overturn the play after Smoak was ruled out on a swinging strike three.

The game dragged on for another three innings, ending on Wellington Castillo’s second home run of the night and bringing the Orioles just half a game within the division lead.

Phillies 7, Pirates 2: If anyone is due for a break these days, it’s the Phillies. They’re 4-12 through the first half of the month, due in large part to an extended slump by their starting rotation. Jeremy Hellickson turned out an impressive showing in his ninth start of the year, but left in the seventh inning after tweaking his lower back at the plate. That’s four injured pitchers for the Phillies now, though an early diagnosis has Hellickson slated to return for his next start, so all hope isn’t lost just yet.

Mets 3, Angels 0: The Mets have been down lately, but don’t count them out just yet. Their Friday night win halted a seven-game losing streak, which had sunk the club just below the Braves in the NL East standings. Spearheading the win: Jacob deGrom, who clinched his third victory of the year, issuing three walks and decorating seven scoreless frames with nine strikeouts. It marked the right-hander’s first shutout performance since April 5 and his first seven-inning shutout since last August. Partial credit goes to Jose Reyes, however, whose run-saving grab ended a bases-loaded threat in the seventh, preserving deGrom’s efforts and the Mets’ three-run lead.

Rays 5, Yankees 4: The Yankees are now 1-3 when bench coach Rob Thomson sits in the manager’s chair, an unenviable position after the team dropped their second consecutive game against the Rays on Friday. Evan Longoria powered the Rays’ offense with his first four-hit game against New York, capping his run with a game-winning RBI single in the eighth.

Rangers 5, Tigers 3: The only thing better than nine consecutive wins is ten consecutive wins. The Rangers vaulted over the Tigers on the back of Joey Gallo‘s 13th home run of the season, good for second-most among major league batters.

They’ll look for their 11th win on Saturday evening against Detroit ace Justin Verlander, who is 9-5 over his past 17 outings against the Rangers.

Braves 7, Nationals 4: Don’t look now, but the Braves are on a roll. They took their fourth win of the week after Nick Markakis and Kurt Suzuki combined for a three-run rally in the eighth inning. That’s enough to keep the club in second place in the NL East, which would look a lot more impressive if any of the four trailing teams were above .500.

Indians 5, Astros 3: You can hang the Astros’ loss on any number of factors: their inability to solve Trevor Bauer, Lonnie Chisenhall‘s two-run effort, the 10,000 fedoras they handed out before the game… anything, really.

Twins 4, Royals 3 (10 innings): The Twins kept their lock on first place with some late-game heroics by Kennys Vargas, who delivered a one-out, game-tying home run in the ninth inning of Friday’s win.

The Twins stranded the winning run in the ninth, but returned in the tenth to finish the job. Kansas City relievers Al Alburquerque and Travis Wood combined for a disastrous finish, issuing three consecutive walks and allowing Jorge Polanco the walk-off sac fly to end the game.

Giants 6, Cardinals 5: There’s nothing like a good ol’ game-winning replay review to get your heart racing. The Giants saved all their runs for the last three innings of Friday’s game, putting up the go-ahead run on an Eduardo Nunez two-run double in the top of the ninth. The real excitement came in the bottom of the inning, however. Mark Melancon caught a comebacker from Dexter Fowler, flipping the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford and first baseman Brandon Belt for a game-ending double play. Crawford’s throw sailed a bit wide of the base, prompting the Cardinals’ challenge after Belt stumbled on the catch.

The call went in the Giants’ favor, but the club still has just 72 double plays on the season — good for third-fewest among major league teams.

Athletics 3, Red Sox 2 (10 innings): Good defense wasn’t enough to bail the Red Sox out on Friday. Chris Sale cruised through seven innings, producing 10 strikeouts to tie an all-time MLB record while Jackie Bradley Jr. made highlight reel-worthy grabs at the wall. The A’s hung on through 10 innings, however, prevailing on a game-winning home run — Mark Canha’s second blast of the season.

Diamondbacks 10, Padres 1: Jered Weaver never stood a chance against the Diamondbacks. An eight-run first inning forced Weaver off the mound after he recorded just two outs, making it his shortest start in five years. Jake Lamb started the hit parade with his tenth home run of the season, followed by Brandon Drury‘s two-run blast and Taijuan Walker‘s second major league RBI base hit. Walker’s hit was the last straw for Weaver, who left reliever Miguel Diaz to serve up another two runs and cement the Padres’ fate. San Diego cycled through four relievers and one relief-pitching shortstop to finish off the remaining eight innings, preserving Saturday’s starter after infielder Luis Sardinas hurled his second career scoreless inning in the ninth.

Rockies 12, Reds 6: The Diamondbacks weren’t the only team to put their dazzling offense on display on Friday night. The Rockies extended their one-run lead with an eight-run effort in the sixth inning, chasing the Reds’ Lisalverto Bonilla and Wandy Peralta from the game with home runs from Alexi Amarista and Nolan Arenado, a two-run double from DJ LeMahieu and another two-RBI single from Amarista. The Reds’ bats weren’t completely cold, either — their six-run spread was the most they’d seen in a game since May 6 — but it did little more than cut the Rockies’ lead in half.

 

White Sox 2, Mariners 1: For a team that has seen their rotation gutted by injuries over the last month, the Mariners looked nearly unbeatable on Friday night. Ariel Miranda fired seven innings of one-run ball, setting a season-high mark with nine strikeouts against the White Sox. He was matched by Jose Quintana, who went eight strong with seven whiffs for the second time since May 2. In the end, however, it was Melky Cabrera who found the weak spot, lining an RBI double off of Seattle’s Tony Zych in the tenth inning to give the White Sox the edge.

Dodgers 7, Marlins 2: Alex Wood improved his record to 5-0 and the Dodgers set down their third win in a row, but Friday night’s victory was largely overshadowed by a ninth-inning fracas between the two teams. The benches emptied after Dodgers’ right-hander Ross Stripling threw behind Giancarlo Stanton, in supposed retaliation for a pitch Brett Eibner took to the ribs in the eighth.

Stripling, Miami manager Don Mattingly and L.A. bench coach Bob Geren were promptly ejected, which Stripling later described as a “bucket-list thing,” according to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick and Austin Laymance.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Hall of Fame baseball announcer Rafael ‘Felo’ Ramirez dies

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) Rafael “Felo” Ramirez, a Hall of Fame baseball radio broadcaster who was the signature voice for millions of Spanish-speaking sports fans over three decades, has died. He was 94.

The Miami Marlins announced Ramirez’ death Tuesday.

Ramirez, who died Monday night, began his broadcasting career in Cuba in 1945 before calling 31 All-Star games and World Series in Spanish. He was the Marlins Spanish-language announcer since their inaugural season in 1993 and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was known for an expressive, yet low-key style and his signature strike call of “Essstrike.”

Several Spanish-language broadcasters, including Amury Pi-Gonzanez of the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, have admitted to emulating his style.