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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.

Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel lead 19 newcomers on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot

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Hall of Fame ballots for the 2018 induction class have been mailed out to the Baseball Writers Association of America voters and the names on the ballot were released to the public this morning. Among the top newcomers: Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, Kerry Wood and Jamie Moyer . There are 19 new candidates in all. There are, of course, several holdovers too.

The newcomers, in alphabetical order:

Chris Carpenter
Johnny Damon
Livan Hernandez
Orlando Hudson
Aubrey Huff
Andruw Jones
Chipper Jones
Jason Isringhausen
Carlos Lee
Brad Lidge
Hideki Matsui
Kevin Millwood
Jamie Moyer
Scott Rolen
Johan Santana
Jim Thome
Omar Vizquel
Kerry Wood
Carlos Zambrano

Chipper Jones, the 1999 MVP, one of the best switch-hitters of all time and the unparalleled offensive star of the great Braves teams of the 1990s and early 2000s seems like a shoe-in. His case is boosted above his fantastic offensive numbers in the eyes of many voters by virtue of playing for the same team for his entire career.

Jim Thome is probably going to get a very large vote total and possibly will be inducted, having hit over 600 homers in his career. A challenge to his first-year induction is presented by the very large backlog of deserving candidates, which we’ll discuss in a moment, and by the fact that Thome’s career corresponded with baseball’s home run boom of the 1990s. Unlike other passed-over candidates of his era, Thome was never implicated in performance enhancing drug use, but it is the case that homers became cheaper for everyone during his career, and some may consider him a one-dimensional candidate. I suspect he’ll be in Cooperstown soon, be it this year or next year.

Omar Vizquel will receive a lot of support but his candidacy will also draw a lot of controversy. His backers will cite his defense and his longevity. His detractors will note that his defense was nowhere near as good as other defense-first inductees in the past such as Ozzie Smith, and that it was in no way good enough to make up for his below average bat. Complicating all of this will be fact that two superior defensive candidates who happened to have outstanding offensive numbers to go with them — Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen — are unlikely to receive anything approaching the level of support Vizquel will get, leading to . . . a lot of arguing.

And now the holdovers from last year’s ballot and ballots past, with last year’s percentage of the vote in parenthesis. Candidates need 75% of the vote in order to be inducted:

Barry Bonds (53.8)
Roger Clemens (54.1)
Vladimir Guerrero (71.1)
Trevor Hoffman (74.0)
Jeff Kent (16.7)
Edgar Martinez (58.6)
Fred McGriff (21.7)
Mike Mussina (51.8)
Manny Ramirez (23.8)
Curt Schilling (45.0)
Gary Sheffield (13.3)
Sammy Sosa (8.6)
Billy Wagner (10.2)
Larry Walker (21.9)

We’ve talked about all of these guys before, of course. Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero seem likely to be elected given how close they came to induction last year. Many quite worthy candidates such as Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling will likely continue to receive less support than they deserve. PED-associated candidates Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a boost in their previously-flagging candidacies last year, getting over 50% of the vote for the first time, but it’s unlikely that they’ll jump 22 and 21 points, respectively. Lesser PED-associated candidates such as Sammy Sosa and Manny Ramirez will likely forever remain on the outside looking in.

The results of the election will be announced by Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson at 6 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, live on MLB Network.