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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Astros 7, Royals 3:  Houston got a three-run homer from Yuli Gurriel and a two-run shot from Brian McCann to win their eleventh straight game. The Astros are one win shy of their franchise record of 12 straight wins, which they did twice: 1999 and 2004. Oh, and it was their eleventh straight road win as well, which is perhaps even more impressive. Business trips suck.

Reds 4, Cardinals 2: Carlos Martinez was dominant through six innings, shutting out the Reds on one hit. But then the seventh happened. The Reds loaded the bases off of him before he gave up a two-run double to Eugenio Suarez. Mike Matheny pulled him for Kevin Siegrist and Scooter Gennett hit a two-run double off of him. All runs were charged to Martinez, of course. Just goes to show you how quickly everything can turn to hell in this world. St. Louis has lost four in a row and seven of ten.

Phillies 11, Braves 4: Bartolo Colon continues his nightmare season. Here one of the worst teams in baseball lit him up for eight runs in three and and two-thirds, puffing his ERA up to an unsightly 7.78. It was a good plan for the Braves to bring in veterans who could eat innings during the rebuild, but the Bartolo Colon/R.A. Dickey experiment has been a failure. Time to cut bait. In other news, I wish like hell that Mac Thomason, the founder of Braves Journal, was still alive. His roasting of Colon right now would be savage. It’d almost be enough to make me want to watch one of his starts.

Giants 7, Brewers 2: Jeff Samardzija was shaky at first, allowing two early runs, but then he settled down and shut the Brewers out for the next seven innings or so, retiring 19 batters in a row at one point. It was close while he was in the game too, as the Giants did not take the lead until pinch hitter Aaron Hill doubled in two in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie.

Cubs 3, Marlins 1: Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer in the first and Albert Almora Jr. hit a solo shot in the fourth to back Eddie Butler, who tossed one-run ball into the sixth. Mike Montgomery took it the rest of the way, working like a piggyback-starter and tossing three and a third shutout innings for the long save. I know the Cubs did this out of necessity — Wade Davis is out on paternity leave — but I’m surprised we don’t see more of this. There are a lot of starters who are good one time through the lineup before getting lit up after three innings or so.

Nationals 4, Dodgers 2:Anthony Rendon hit a solo homer in the second, Matt Wieters hit a two-run single in the fourth and Bryce Harper hit an RBI single in the fifth. Wieters’ and Harpers’ hits came with two outs, which is something managers and broadcasters love. I’m not sure if they love that more than guys hitting the ball to the opposite field, but man do they love two out hits. The Nats have now won six of seven.

Athletics 5, Blue Jays 3: There was a couple of year stretch where it seemed like Khris Davis was hitting multiple homers in a game all the dang time. I guess some of that magic has rubbed off on his teammate Ryon Healy, who homered twice and drove in all five of the A’s runs. This is the second time in three games he has hit two bombs, as he did so Saturday against the Nats. Sean Manaea won his fourth straight start, striking out seven over six innings while allowing two runs on four hits.

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.