Bartolo Colon

Getty Images

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

2 Comments

There were quite a few oddities during Friday’s games, from the Joey Gallo‘s record-setting home run to an inning that granted the Rockies both a grand slam and an inside-the-park homer. You can find the full scores here and the rest of the highlights below:

Phillies 4, Braves 3: The Braves took their fourth consecutive loss on Friday, and according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki and Mark Bowman, their first loss to the Phillies since July 30, 2016. Bartolo Colon pitched through seven innings, his longest outing of the season, allowing 11 hits, four runs and striking out four of 32 batters. The Braves made a concerted effort in the ninth after Adonis Garcia went yard (in the pouring rain, no less) and Nick Markakis and Brandon Phillips put runners on first and second with back-to-back singles, but right-hander Hector Neris caught Tyler Flowers swinging on an eight-pitch at-bat to preserve the Phillies’ lead and take the win.

Pirates 6, Yankees 3: The Pirates got off to a quick start on Friday, amassing four runs in the first two innings after a pair of home runs from Jordy Mercer and Josh Bell and an RBI single from David Freese. The same could not be said for the Yankees:

Orioles 2, Red Sox 0: It’s worth mentioning, if only in passing, the quality of Dylan Bundy‘s start. The right-hander delivered seven shutout innings in his fourth start of the season, issuing six hits, a walk and three strikeouts in the Orioles’ 2-0 win. The outing fed into Bundy’s 1.37 ERA and the Orioles’ continued dominance in the AL East, but was ultimately overshadowed by a disputed takeout slide by Manny Machado in the eighth inning.

Cubs 6, Reds 5 (11 innings): The defending World Series champs reclaimed their position atop the NL Central division after orchestrating three dramatic comebacks to win their last three games this week. Those wins snapped a four-game losing streak, during which the Cubs had blown three leads against the Pirates and Brewers.

Whether or not this come-from-behind strategy will hold much longer is yet to be determined, but the Cubs don’t seem too concerned. “[Winning] is always fun; when you come back, it just makes it a little bit better,” Chicago left-hander Jon Lester told reporters following the game. “It doesn’t matter how it looks, we got it done.” Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon shared the sentiment: “It’s so entertaining, isn’t it? We like the tough games, the big series. We like that stuff.”

Astros 6, Rays 3: For once, the preseason predictions got something right: the Astros are running away with the AL West this season. They capped their eighth win in nine games, returning from a two-run deficit with two RBI base hits from Brian McCann and Yuli Gurriel, two productive, game-winning outs from George Springer and Josh Reddick and a run-scoring wild pitch in the ninth inning.

Nationals 4, Mets 3 (11 innings): After cycling through ten pitchers and four home runs, it seemed only fitting that the 11-inning marathon would end on a bases-loaded walk:

Rangers 6, Royals 2: On a day full of a variety of record-breaking and -setting homers, Joey Gallo raised the bar for any aspiring home run hitter in 2017. He went deep against Royals’ right-hander Nathan Karns in the second inning, nearly driving the ball into a concourse popcorn stand:

Per Statcast, the ball left Gallo’s bat at a speed of 116.1 m.p.h. and traveled an estimated 462 feet. It’s both the longest and hardest-hit home run so far this year, though it still falls a little shy of the records set by Giancarlo Stanton (504 feet) and Carlos Gonzalez (117.4 m.p.h.) in 2016.

Indians 3, White Sox 0: After putting up a 6.38 ERA during his first three starts of the season, Corey Kluber finally regained some equilibrium on the mound. He leveled the White Sox with his first complete game shutout since June 21, 2016, firing nine scoreless innings with three hits, two walks and nine strikeouts. The reemergence of his cutter may have had something to do with his successful outing, as MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian pointed out:

Twins 6, Tigers 3: The Tigers have undoubtedly seen better days. Justin Verlander collapsed against the Twins, handing over four run, six walks and four strikeouts in his second loss of the season. Victor Martinez and Justin Upton put the Tigers on the board in the third inning with an RBI single and double, respectively, but a six-run rally by the Twins unraveled the Tigers’ lead.

Cardinals 6, Brewers 3: With Madison Bumgarner on the disabled list, another member of the #PitchersWhoRake club was called upon to deliver the goods on Friday night. Adam Wainwright blew past the Brewers with five innings of two-run, nine-strikeout pitching, then turned around and blasted his first home run of the season, a two-run, double-deck shot that put the Cardinals up 2-1 in the third inning.

Wainwright later returned for another two-run single in the fourth and now officially leads all pitchers with three hits and four RBI in 2017.

Rockies 6, Giants 5: According to MLB.com’s Owen Perkins, the Rockies’ grand slam/inside-the-parker combo was only the second such combination of events since September 19, 2011, when the Red Sox’ Conor Jackson and Jacoby Ellsbury tag-teamed for the two unusual home runs against the visiting Orioles. The grand slam was a career first for both Trevor Story and Giants’ right-hander Johnny Cueto, who enjoyed an 8-2 record against the Rockies prior to his meltdown on Friday afternoon.

Diamondbacks 13, Dodgers 5: The Diamondbacks’ offense took approximately eight innings to heat up during Friday’s series opener, but no one was complaining when they constructed a nine-run comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning. Against an ailing Dodgers’ bullpen, the D-backs pulled five walks, six hits, and best of all, a tie-breaking balk from right-handed reliever Sergio Romo.

Athletics 3, Mariners 1: The Mariners are 1-8 on the road so far this season, a record that was underscored by the Athletics’ dominant showing on Friday. Sean Manaea turned in six solid innings, allowing one run and striking out six of 24 batters, while Ryan Dull, Sean Doolittle and Santiago Casilla combined for three scoreless frames to clinch the A’s ninth win and push them just over .500.

Blue Jays 8, Angels 7 (13 innings): There wasn’t a better moment for Jose Bautista‘s first home run of the season:

Padres 5, Marlins 3: Trevor Cahill enjoyed a triumphant return to his hometown during Friday’s series opener, delivering seven innings of one-run, six-strikeout ball for his first win of the season. He kept the game scoreless after allowing a solo home run to Marcell Ozuna in the second inning, shutting down 15 consecutive batters before allowing the Marlins a final base hit in the seventh. The Marlins did their best to contribute to Cahill’s win, issuing four hits, four runs and a run-scoring double play in the seventh to boost the Padres to a four-run lead.

Four of the top five best-selling jerseys belong to Cubs players

Getty Images
12 Comments

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association just released their list of the most popular jerseys. Since the end of the 2016 season, more Kris Bryant jerseys have been sold than that of any other player. He has the most since the end of 2015 as well.

Second on the list is his teammate, Anthony Rizzo. Then Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, at number three. Another Cub, Javier Baez, is fourth. Fifth is yet another Cub, Kyle Schwarber. That’s right: four of the five best-selling jerseys belong to Cubs players.

Here’s the entire top 20:

Major League Baseball’s press release makes a big deal of the fact that the average age of players on this list is 26-and-a-half, which is more than 1.5 years younger than any previous list’s average age. I suppose David Ortiz retiring drops that average age quite a bit.

Baez and Schwarber are two of six new faces cracking the top 20. Also new to the list: Corey Seager, Gary Sánchez, Mookie Betts and Francisco Lindor.

Bartolo Colon was robbed.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Getty Images
20 Comments

Hope you had a quiet, enjoyable Easter Sunday with family and loved ones. And hope that you either have the day off or can get away for a few minutes today, as we have morning baseball thanks to Patriots Day in Boston.

Anyway, here are yesterday’s scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 4, Indians 1: If the Indians were stealing signs to beat up on Justin Verlander on Saturday, they must’ve stopped stealing them yesterday. Or else the Tigers changed ’em. Here they couldn’t do anything against Matt Boyd, managing only one run in his six innings of work, and doing jack against the pen. Alex Avila hit a two-run homer. Miguel Cabrera knocked in a run but had to leave early due to a bad back. Worth watching.

Orioles 11, Blue Jays 4: Last week I mused that the name “Trey Mancini” sounded like it came from a Ross Macdonald novel. That maybe he was a third or fourth banana bad guy who Lew Archer braces for information but then sets straight. He’s much bigger than that now, having hit two homers in the O’s romp yesterday. Easily moved up to the “boyfriend of the heriess who ran away and who Archer has been hired to find.” Mancini is a bit shady, but only a little. Mostly he’s just out of his league with that heiress and, while he thought he was protecting her, she was protecting him all along by leaving him and keeping his parents, who have a deep, dark secret, from hurting him like they hurt her.

Brewers 4, Reds 2: Four homers led to all six of the runs scored here, with the winners’ homers coming from Ryan Braun, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames.

Marlins 4, Mets 2: A game in which a one team was held hitless until the eighth would be notable enough — here, Dan Straily and three relievers no-hit the Mets until there were two down in the eighth — but this one was notable for a wild ninth inning as  well. That’s when the Mets tied things up at two with a two-run single from Asdrubal Cabrera. But then in the bottom half JT Riddle walked the Marlins off with a two-run bomb. It was only his second hit in the majors, too. Crazy town.

Red Sox 7, Rays 5: Mitch Moreland was not a pickup that a ton of people outside of Boston thought much about over the winter, but he’s been a pretty fantastic pick up for the Sox so far. Here Moreland hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh inning and drove in three runs, helping Boston to a come from behind victory.

Braves 9, Padres 2: The Padres had a 1-0 lead until the fifth but then the Braves got home from Easter brunch and started piling on the runs. Bartolo Colon made his major league debut the same day the Braves’ old park, Turner Field, opened. Yesterday he made his debut in their new park, allowing only one hit and one run in seven dominant innings. Not many players’ careers are longer than the time entire stadiums are in use, but we do live in interesting times.

Nationals 6, Phillies 4: Have yourself a day, Bryce Harper. The 2015 MVP hit a two-run home run in the third inning, breaking a 1-1 tie. In bottom of the ninth with the Nats trailing by one, Harper hit his second bomb, a deep drive to center, for a walk-off three-run homer. I think that kid may be a pretty decent ballplayer one day.

Royals 1, Angels 0: Yet another walkoff, this off the bat of Alcides Escobar, who singled in the game’s only run to break a 0-0 tie. The scoreless game before that left Ian Kennedy and Tyler Skaggs out of the decision, but each of them were fantastic, tossing eight and seven shutout innings, respectively.

Pirates 6, Cubs 1: And the Pirates sweep the world champs. Pittsburgh scored all six of their runs in the final two frames, notching three — two earned — off of Koji Uehara and three off of Justin Grim. For Chicago, it certainly was grim.

Rockies 4, Giants 3: All the scoring here was over after the top of the second, with Jeff Samardzija allowing four and Antonio Senzatela allowing three. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, Samardzija, Senzatela, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated! We’re gonna do it . . .

White Sox 3, Twins 1: Not a walkoff, but it there were late inning/last inning heroics from Avisail Garcia, who hit a two-run bomb in the top of the 10th. Garcia, after the game:

“I said to myself, `Hey, don’t try to do too much. Just put the barrel on the ball because he throws hard. That’s what I do. I just tried to put a good swing, see the ball and hit it.”

Which puts lie to the idea that ballplayers come up with the cliches in response to reporters’ questions. They apparently inner-monologue in cliche too.

Mariners 8, Rangers 7: Yet another wild finish. Nelson Cruz singled in the tiebreaking run to cap a two-run, ninth-inning rally. The M’s overcame a five-run deficit in all. Most of that deficit had been made up before embattled Rangers closer Sam Dyson got the ball, but he was unable to hold a 7-6 lead and got yet another blown save. Dyson has allowed 13 runs in four and a third innings this season. Ouch.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 1: Rich Hill‘s blister nightmare continues. He was activated from the 10-day disabled list before this start but made it only three innings into this one before having to leave. No such problems for Dbacks’ starter Taijuan Walker, who allowed one run and struck out seven over five, handing it over to the pen, which allowed no runs on one hit over five.

Yankees 9, Cardinals 3: The Yankees are on fire, winning their seventh straight and sweeping the Cardinals. Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks hit homers. Michael Pineda allowed only two runs over seven innings, following up his near no-no from last week.

Astros vs. Athletics — POSTPONED:

Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothin’ ever seems to fit
Hangin’ around
Nothin’ to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down