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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mets 9, Cubs 4: A five-run eighth inning, kicked off by Curtis Granderson‘s 300th career homer and extended by Lucas Duda‘s three-run blast put the Mets ahead comfortably. Neil Walker left the game with hamstring injury as he ran down the line. That’s a blow for the Mets, as he’s been en fuego of late, batting .321 with 23 RBI, 7 HR, 9 doubles & 26 runs scored over his previous 36 games. Also: Kyle Schwarber hit a moon shot homer.

Diamondbacks 2, Tigers 1: Jordan Zimmermann pitched his best game of the year (8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) but it didn’t matter because Taijuan Walker, Randall Delgado and Fernando Rodney combined to pitch a better one. The two runs scored by the Dbacks in the first inning held up. I watched this game and, as it unfolded, my belief that Zimmermann looks like the well-meaning dad in a TV movie was solidified. The one who doesn’t see eye-to-eye with his teenage daughter and whose misunderstanding of her leads to a lot of drama in the middle section, but who toward the end, when some sort of teenage crisis emerges, shows that he’s always there for her, despite their differences. He’s a good man, and his daughter comes to realize it too:

“Heather, I know the dance is important to you, but there are REASONS your mother and I are not letting you go.”

Blue Jays 7, Rays 6: Kendrys Morales drove in four via a three-run homer and a fielder’s choice, but it took an eighth inning Russell Martin homer for the Jays to win after they coughed up a lead. Also, this came from the AP game story, as it stood at 6am this morning:

Obviously it’s Francisco, not Nelson, who hasn’t played since 1998. But I don’t offer this as mockery. Any of you who have been reading this feature for any length of time know that I routinely sub in the first name of long-retired players when a current player has the same last name. Carlos Quintana for Jose, etc. I am TERRIBLE about that. Whoever this AP writer is has my sympathy and thanks for making me not feel so alone in this old man habit.

Braves 13, Nationals 2Brandon Phillips had four hits and three RBI and Julio Teheran had a strong outing as the Braves takes two of three from the Nats. How did you pitch so well against a tough team, Julio?

“I just have to stay focused and execute pitches,” Teheran said. “That’s something I was doing really good — getting ahead in counts and throwing strike one. It was big today.”

Good to know.

Royals 7, Giants 2: Mike Moustakas, Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain all homered as the Royals win both in a two-game series. Two-game series are dumb, by the way, but getting only two games in one of the best road cities in the country seems like a super big ripoff for the Royals. They just had three in San Diego and now get four in L.A. so that’s OK, but I’d want more than two days in San Francisco.

Padres 4, Reds 2: Hunter Renfroe hit a two-run shot that tied the score 2-2 in the sixth inning and an RBI groundout for the game’s final run. In between Franchy Cordero hit a go-ahead RBI single. This is the third day in a row I have written “Franchy Cordero,” and this fact makes me enormously happy. Franchy. Franchy. Franchy. Franchy.

Marlins 11, Athletics 6: The A’s took an early 4-0 lead, but then Marcel Ozuna and Tyler Moore hit second inning homers and the comeback began. Ozuna’s third inning groundout RBI tied things up and Dee Gordon‘s RBI single in the fourth put the fish ahead for good. Ozuna knocked in three, Gordon and Christian Yelich knocked in two a piece.

Angels 7, Yankees 5: Leads of 4-0 weren’t very safe yesterday. The Yankees leapt out to that score in the first inning, but the bad Michael Pineda showed up in Anaheim last night, allowing five runs on ten hits in six innings. Andrelton Simmons‘ two-run homer in the seventh gave the Angels the winning margin, but credit to Parker Bridwell and Blake Parker — the Parkers — for picking up a shaky Matt Shoemaker and tossing five innings of one-run ball in middle relief.

Brewers 7, Cardinals 6: Milwaukee mounted an early 6-0 lead. That proved safe, even if the Cards made it close. Three of those early runs came off the bat of Eric Thames, who hit a two-run homer and doubled in a run. And yes, I have written “Marcus Thames” a good half dozen times this year, though I don’t think any have made it to the final post yet.

Astros 13, Rangers 2: Top prospect Derek Fisher got called up yesterday and he didn’t take long to make a good first impression. Fisher homered and had an RBI single in the Astros’ nine-run sixth inning. Factoid from the AP gamer: Fisher is the first player to get the first two hits of his career in the same inning since Adam Laroche did it for the Braves on April 7, 2004. Which means it’s only 12 more years until Fisher retires in a huff because his kid isn’t allowed to be the bench coach or whatever.

Although, really, he may have grandkids already. His bio says he’s only 23, but this looks like a guy who has been playing for 13 years and is just easing into part-time play:

He could play Jordan Zimmermann’s golf buddy in the TV movies. Says stuff like, “I’ve had the same trouble with my daughter, Jordan. But Julie and I are seeing things more eye-to-eye now. You and Heather will soon too.”

Mariners 6, Twins 4Mike Zunino hit a three-run homer. He’s hitting .396 with five home runs since being called up a couple of weeks ago. Mitch Haniger hit a two-run homer too, as the M’s put up an early 5-0 lead on Ervin Santana. The Twins mounted a comeback but it was too little, too late. Eduardo EscobarByron Buxton and Miguel Sano all homered for Minnesota.

Orioles 10, White Sox 6: The White Sox blew a 5-1 lead here, thanks in part to a Wellington Castillo grand slam. Castillo drove in five overall. Trey Mancini had a double and two singles and scored three times. Matt Davidson homered in his third straight game for the Sox.

Dodgers 6, Indians 4: Andrew Miller is supposed to be close to unhittable, but no one has told that to the Dodgers. One night after Cody Bellinger — I will call him Clay at some point — homered off of the Indians’ relief ace, Kiké Hernandez hit a tiebreaking homer off of him in the eighth inning. Miller gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning, in fact, as the Indians fall to .500. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have won six straight.

Rockies 5, Pirates 1German Marquez allowed only one run over five innings and Ian Desmond homered as the Rockies snap a three-game losing streak. Marquez also knocked in a run on a squeeze play. Benches cleared briefly in this one when Marquez hit Francisco Cervelli with a first pitch fastball, but it was clearly unintentional and only shade, not punches, was thrown.

Red Sox 7, Phillies 3: Mookie Betts hit two homers, hit an RBI double while collecting four hits in all, driving in three. Xander Bogaerts drove in three as well. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that it’s not the Phillies’ year.

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.