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And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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From Rio Ruiz’s first major league home run to Mike Clevinger’s first seven-inning shutout, here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

Braves 5, Nationals 2: The Braves hammered Max Scherzer and Matt Albers for three home runs on Saturday, putting the cherry on a week that has already seen five wins in seven games. No home run was sweeter than that of rookie third baseman Rio Ruiz, whose 372-foot bomb in the second inning was also his second extra base hit in the major leagues.

Pirates 6, Phillies 3: Whatever glimmer of hope Jeremy Hellickson gave the Phillies on Friday was gone by Saturday afternoon. Vince Velasquez hurled his fourth loss of the year, exiting after 5 1/3 innings with five runs, two walks and six strikeouts. The Pirates, meanwhile, picked up their fourth win of the week on a four-run inning from Francisco Cervelli and Adam Frazier, though it wasn’t quite enough to dig them out of last place in the NL Central.

Athletics 8, Red Sox 3: All eyes were on the A’s on Saturday. Mark Canha, Khris Davis and Chad Pinder dominated in the fifth inning, muscling three home runs to put the A’s up 7-3 after five. Jed Lowrie returned in the seventh to unleash the final home run of the day, a 409-foot blast that landed in the right field bleachers and cemented Oakland’s third consecutive win.

Rays 9, Yankees 5: A feud between Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi and home plate umpire Scott Barry escalated during the club’s 9-5 loss on Saturday. Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild told Barry that he missed a few pitches during Logan Morrison‘s at-bat against Giovanny Gallegos, which eventually led to a two-RBI single in the fifth inning. Both Rothschild and Girardi (who also claimed Barry had been giving his players odd looks) were ejected, but not before the skipper expressed the full extent of his irritation:

Reds 12, Rockies 8: No pitcher was safe at Great American Ball Park this weekend. Both Tim Adleman and Antonio Senzatela had vanished by the sixth inning, leaving 12 runs in their wake — including the Rockies’ six-run spread in the fifth. The Reds returned in the sixth with a six-run spread of their own, grabbing the go-ahead run on a three-run shot by Scott Schebler, his 11th of the season:

Indians 3, Astros 0: Mike Clevinger hasn’t looked this good since… well, maybe ever. The Indians’ right-hander hurled seven pristine innings against the league-leading Astros on Saturday, holding them to two hits and two walks and setting down a career-high eight strikeouts. Backed by the dynamic duo of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, each of whom also set down scoreless innings, the shutout was in the books in just two and a half hours.

Mets 7, Angels 5: Jose Reyes isn’t exactly having a banner year, but he managed to worm his way into the exclusive 2,000-hit club on Saturday. He lined a base hit off of the Angels’ Alex Meyer in the first inning, joining Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Beltran, Ichiro Suzuki, Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano and Matt Holliday as the eighth active major leaguer with at least 2,000 hits under his belt.

Giants 3, Cardinals 1 (13 innings): The Giants currently rank second-worst among major league teams with just 154 runs scored in 44 games, good for an average of 4.53 runs per game. Their focus on small ball was evident during Saturday’s extra-inning win, driven by eight shutout innings from Jeff Samardzija and a shutdown performance by the ‘pen.

Rookie sensation Christian Arroyo finally broke through in the 13th inning, smashing a one-out, two-run double to the left field wall to get the Giants on the board. Nick Hundley followed with a sac fly in the next at-bat and Mark Melancon did the rest, allowing the Cardinals a single run before shutting the rest of the lineup down for his eighth save of the season.

Tigers 9, Rangers 3: The Rangers’ 10-game win streak came to an abrupt and dramatic end on Saturday. Justin Verlander led the charge against Texas, silencing the Rangers’ bats through three frames before allowing a two-run double in the fourth. Jonathan Lucroy returned for a solo shot in the sixth inning, but that’s about as much damage as the Rangers could muster. The Tigers, on the other hand, lost no time building their lead, going back-to-back-to-back with three long blasts in the first inning:

The win brought the Tigers within 1.5 games of the division lead, though they might find it difficult to unseat the 21-17 Twins (a concept that, for some reason, doesn’t seem entirely ludicrous in 2017).

Diamondbacks 9, Padres 1: The Diamondbacks continued building their case for first place in the NL West on Saturday, stymieing the Padres’ efforts with a nine-run effort and chasing right-hander Luis Perdomo out of the fourth inning. They only needed one inning’s worth of runs to secure their 26th win of the year, however, putting up a five-run lead on Paul Goldschmidt‘s two-run single, Jake Lamb‘s RBI double and a center field blast for Chris Herrmann:

White Sox 16, Mariners 1: It was a big day for the White Sox, who netted Cuban prospect Luis Robert and celebrated with a season-high 16 runs against the Mariners. Seattle right-hander Yovani Gallardo was tagged for 10 runs in his fourth loss of the season, spreading nine hits, two walks and four strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings. The bullpen fared little better against Chicago’s explosive offense, giving up another five runs in the seventh inning with Todd Frazier‘s two-RBI single and a pair of home runs from Matt Davidson and Willy Garcia:

Garcia’s blast was his first in the majors, a double-deck shot that put the White Sox up 15-1 through seven innings. The win marked the Sox’ highest-scoring game since April 2014, and their highest-scoring game against the Mariners since 2000.

Royals, Twins (postponed): The Twins will host a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon, led by Minnesota lefty Adalberto Mejia and Kansas City right-hander Ian Kennedy for Game 1 and followed by Phil Hughes and an unnamed starter in Game 2.

Brewers, Cubs (postponed): Just because there wasn’t baseball at Wrigley Field on Saturday doesn’t mean there wasn’t fun to be had:

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

Associated Press
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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.