Eddie Rosario

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Catcher Carlos Ruiz pitched in last night’s rout of the Mariners

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Last night we had an ugly game in Minnesota as the Twins blasted the Seattle Mariners, 20-7. While it’s always fun to read the box scores after one of these things, there isn’t much that can salvage an ugly game as it’s happening. It’s just a lot of dejected guys on one team and a lot of guys laughing on the other, the outcome no longer in doubt.

But one saving grace of such games is the possibility of a position player pitching. It’s usually a utility infielder or a backup catcher. Last night M’s manager Scott Servais called on his backup catcher: Carlos Ruiz.

Chooch got off to a rough start when he entered the game in the bottom of the eighth, giving up a 450-foot homer to Eddie Rosario on his third pitch. Not that that’s so terrible given that Rosario hit three homers last night. Credit to Ruiz for at least going 1-1 on him first.

And heck, credit to Ruiz for shaking that off. He walked two guys and gave up a double, but no more runs scored. Andrew Miller is one of the best pitchers on the planet and he gave up a run to the Dodgers last night. Advantage: Chooch.

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And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 7, Indians 5: Just the other day I said something about how doomed you are if you have to go at the end of the Indians bullpen. It’s till daunting, but the Dodgers showed last night that it’s not a complete lot cause. Here Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer each allowed two runs a piece before Terry Francona called on Andrew Miller. Miller got the last out of the sixth and made it through the seventh unscathed. Cody Bellinger led off the eighth inning. A rookie lefty like him would seem to be a dead duck against baseball’s top relief ace.

Bellinger had different ideas, though, and took Miller deep to break the 2-2 tie. Miller made way for Bryan Shaw, also a tough one, but he walked two guys, one of whom came around to score on a throwing error. Bellinger would homer for a second time in the ninth to give the Dodgers some needed insurance. The kid is still making adjustments, but he’s slugging .630 on the year. He’s on a 42-homer pace despite spending almost the first month of the season in the minors. Oh, and Yasiel Puig flipped a fan off:

Nationals 10, Braves 5: Ryan Zimmerman came back after missing a few games due to a sore back. His back seemed fine as he smacked two homers as the Nats romped, ending their losing streak. Daniel Murphy homered, doubled and had three hits and drove in two. He also got into a little tiff with second base umpire Alan Porter. Normally, if a player doesn’t like an ump’s positioning for some reason, he’ll ask him to move a bit. The umpire almost always obliges. Porter got testy:

People cite instances like this when they call for robot umpires, but frankly, I’d be way more upset if a robot said “F— you” to me than a person with actual feelings.

Cardinals 6, Brewers 0; Brewers 8, Cardinals 5: Jose Martinez hit two homers and a sac fly in game 1 of the doubleheader, backing Lance Lynn who tossed five shutout innings. In the nightcap, Keon Broxton and Travis Shaw hit solo home runs and combined for five RBI as the Brewers and Cardinals split. That’s a lot of baseball played only to end up with a complete lack of movement according to Newtonian mechanics.

Pirates 5, Rockies 2: Andrew McCutchen hit two homers and John Jaso hit a pinch-hit two-run homer to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh. McCutchen is hitting .396 with four home runs and 13 RBI since being dropped from third to sixth in the batting order on May 26.

Rays 8, Blue Jays 1: Jake Faria scattered six hits over six and a third innings, striking out eight and giving up one run in his second big league start. Corey Dickerson went 4-for-5 with his 15th homer of the year. Taylor Featherston  and Logan Morrison also went deep.  The Rays have won six of seven.

Red Sox 4, Phillies 3: Second game in a row between these two which ended with a walkoff base hit in extra innings. Here Andrew Benintendi did the honors, knocking in Xander Bogaerts with a single in the 12th. Benintendi also made a key defensive play, throwing out Howie Kendrick at home in the eighth inning as he tried to score the go-ahead run. The Phillies have lost seven in a row.

Diamondbacks 7, Tigers 6: David Peralta led off the ninth inning and swung at the first pitch from Tigers closer Justin Wilson. He deposited that pitch in the seats to break a 6-6 tie. That it was even that close is sort of crazy as the Snakes had a 6-0 lead heading into the sixth and the Tigers had barely been able to touch starter Zack Greinke. The roughed him up for five that frame and the stage was set for the late inning heroics.

Cubs 14, Mets 3Ian Happ hit a grand slam. Antony Rizzo — batting leadoff! — led off the game with a homer. The rout was on, but the Cubs still got a strong start from Jon Lester struck out 10 and allowed one run and five hits over seven.

Marlins 8, Athletics 1: Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer after missing a game by being hit by a pitch in the wrist. Nothin’s stopping him lately. He’s batting .354 with six homers in 18 games since moving to the No. 2 spot in the batting order. Ichiro Suzuki had a pinch-hit single. That was his 364th career hit in interleague play, tying Derek Jeter’s major league record. There are more hallowed marks I suppose, but a record is a record.

White Sox 6, Orioles 1: Give credit to the Orioles pitching staff for keeping it under ten this time. Matt Davidson hit a grand slam and Derek Holland allowed one run over six.

Twins 20, Mariners 7: Speaking of double digit run totals, the Twins allowed more than ten runs in back-to-back losses — 14-3 to the Mariners, 13-8 to the Giants — entering this one. Here they turned the tables by scoring 20. Eddie Rosario homered three times — two two-run homers and a solo shot. Max Kepler and Brian Dozier also homered. The team had 28 hits in all, with every starter in the lineup getting at least one. Seven Twins had two or more RBI. Kennys Vargas, Jason Castro, and Rosario each had four hits. Eduardo Escobar had five hits. Bad day at the office for M’s pitchers.

Rangers 4, Astros 2: Rougned Odor hit a solo homer in the seventh inning and a tie-breaking two-run shot in the eighth to help the Rangers to their fifth straight win. Odor has hit four homers in the last eight games.

Angels 3, Yankees 2: Eric Young Jr. was the hero of the game, tying it up with a solo homer in the eighth and the winning RBI single with two outs in the 11th. The Yankees winning streak is snapped at six. And some bad news accompanied it: CC Sabathia left the game with a strained hamstring. He’ll be heading to the DL, no doubt. We’ll update this later this morning.

Padres 6, Reds 2: Clayton Richard took a shutout into the ninth. He didn’t hold it or complete the game as the Reds mounted a modest little rally, but two runs over eight and two-third is not bad. Franchy Cordero hit two homers. Also: I like to say “Franchy Cordero.” Say it. It’s fun!

Royals 8, Giants 1: The Royals pounded six runs in the sixth inning and seven overall against the Giants starter Ty Blech. Er, sorry, Ty Blach. Jason Vargas allowed one run over seven and notched his ninth win of the year. Where the hell did this guy come from?

And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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Friday’s slate featured Joe Mauer‘s first career walk-off home run, Zack Greinke‘s impressive run at Coors Field, and Tommy Pham’s breakthrough at the plate. Here are the rest of last night’s scores and highlights:

Yankees 3, Cubs 2: Brett Gardner has been on a tear lately, and Friday was no exception. Down 2-0 in the ninth inning, the Yankees’ left fielder deposited a three-run homer just under the scoreboard in Wrigley Field, his sixth such blast in six games.

Behind Gardner’s game-winning knock, the Yankees turned in a solid performance against the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks. Michael Pineda allowed two runs and struck out six batters in six innings (and recorded his first hit as a Yankee, to boot), and Aroldis Chapman capped the bullpen’s three scoreless innings with his seventh save of the season.

Reds 13, Giants 3: Amid the Reds’ 13-run onslaught, the Giants’ Christian Arroyo did something cool: he hit a home run off of Bronson Arroyo. (Get it? It’s cool because they have the same last name. Oh, and they attended the same high school, too, albeit 18 years apart.)

Despite the nifty coincidence, the Giants lost badly after Matt Cain imploded, allowing ten hits, nine runs and six walks and leaving the bullpen to bear the remaining four runs and seal their 19th loss of the year.

Pirates 4, Brewers 0: A two-hour, 27-minute rain delay dampened the Brewers’ chances of getting a run on Friday evening. The gloomy weather forced starter Chad Kuhl to pitch through just three innings before the tarp was rolled out, and when the rain finally let up, Wade LeBlanc took the mound — and the win — in his stead. LeBlanc helped the Pirates’ efforts at the plate, too, contributing his first RBI base hit since 2011 and lifting the club to a 3-0 lead in the fourth.

Orioles 4, White Sox 2: The Orioles had to improvise a new game plan after Wade Miley exited in the first inning, taking back-to-back line drives off of his left wrist and leg. Luckily, Miley’s injuries were minor, and Baltimore soldiered on with right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, who tossed six scoreless frames to hold a 2-0 lead through the seventh inning. It didn’t hurt that Chris Davis had a monster night as well, going 3-for-3 with a 427-foot home run to clinch the Orioles’ 18th win of the year.

Mets 8, Marlins 7: If the Mets were concerned about their four-run deficit, they didn’t show it. Following a catastrophic six-run inning, during which they issued six hits, an intentional walk and a hit by pitch to the Marlins, the Mets rebounded for a five-run spread in the seventh, collecting two RBI singles and an RBI double to knot the score 7-7. The game-winning knock was decidedly less impressive, ending on Wilmer Flores’ bases-loaded walk to drive in the go-ahead run and cement the Mets’ first win of the series.

Blue Jays 8, Rays 4: If there’s unresolved beef between the Blue Jays and Rays, Kevin Kiermaier doesn’t want any part of it. The Rays center fielder was forced to exit in the fourth inning of Friday’s 8-4 win after taking a 91.5 m.p.h. fastball to his right hand. It was unclear whether or not the hit by pitch was intentional, but it follows another tense moment between the teams from last Sunday, when Chris Archer appeared to target Jose Bautista with a pitch that just missed the slugger’s hip. “Who knows what his thought process is or anything,” Kiermaier told reporters following the game, “but any time you miss up and in, I think us batters, no matter what the situation, you have a reason to be mad about it.”

Cardinals 10, Braves 0: Tommy Pham has been a kind of enigma for the Cardinals over the last four years, but one thing was clear during last night’s win: the center fielder can rake.

Behind Pham’s breakout? Not tweaked mechanics or a new swing, but contact lenses. The 29-year-old’s new lenses helped him manage a chronic eye disease called kertoconus, which causes blurry vision due to a misshapen cornea, allowing him to literally see the ball and hit it.

Nationals 4, Phillies 2: Some historical records are better left unbroken. Just ask Nationals’ reliever Matt Albers, who snapped his 102-game streak of games finished without a save during Friday’s series opener against the Phillies. Albers converted his first save opportunity in the ninth inning, plunking Cesar Hernandez before inducing two strikeouts and a game-ending groundout from Maikel Franco.

It was a grueling path to the most basic benchmark for relief pitchers, taking Albers through 12 seasons in the majors and bringing him within three games of tying former major leaguer Ryan Webb and his 105-game streak. No one else has come within miles of the record, which is now being chased by the Giants’ George Kontos, with 63 consecutive games finished sans save.

Twins 4, Red Sox 3: It took Joe Mauer 14 years and 132 home runs, but circumstance and power finally aligned for his first career walk-off homer during Friday’s 4-3 nail-biter against the Red Sox. After leading 3-1 through eight innings, Minnesota hurler Brandon Kintzler handed Boston the game-tying runs in the ninth, allowing Chris Young a two-RBI single that threatened to bring extra innings. In the bottom of the ninth, Eddie Rosario and Kenny Vargas grounded out in consecutive at-bats, and Mauer worked a 1-2 count before belting the walk-off homer:

Royals 3, Indians 1: There’s no stopping Eric Hosmer this week. The Royals’ power-hitting first baseman had a banner night on Friday, highlighted by a career-best 458-foot home run that effectively quashed the Indians’ chances of making a comeback. Danny Salazar, despite his best efforts, couldn’t pitch around the zone to retire Hosmer and found his first-pitch fastball down the middle parked well beyond the right field wall.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 3: Few visiting pitchers have gone undefeated in the homer-happy confines of Coors Field, but then again, few pitchers are as dominant as Zack Greinke. The Diamondbacks’ right-hander lasted seven innings in Friday’s series opener, issuing two runs and striking out seven to bring the D-backs within half a game of the division lead.

In eight career starts at Coors Field, Greinke is 3-0 with a 4.14 ERA in 50 innings. He has yet to lose a game in Colorado, and at least on Friday night, found his win streak upheld by a strong showing from Paul Goldschmidt (3-for-3 with two home runs and an RBI single) and the rest of the D-backs’ lineup. His only thoughts on the streak?

“I hate pitching here,” Greinke told MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert. “It’s really tough.”

Tigers 7, Athletics 2: Michael Fulmer‘s resume is looking good these days. The former AL Rookie of the Year handcrafted eight innings against the Athletics, striking out a season-high nine batters and allowing two runs on eight hits. The A’s got a bit of a breather in the ninth inning, when Oakland outfielder Rajai Davis recorded his 1,000th career hit, but left their only baserunner stranded and dropped the game by a five-run deficit.

Astros 7, Angels 6 (10 innings): The Astros clawed their way to the best record in the American League on Friday, battling through 10 innings before Carlos Correa‘s two-out RBI single sent them home with their 20th win.

The last time Houston started the season this well was in 1973, when they jumped out to a 20-10 record before regressing to a fourth-place finish in the NL West. The landscape of the West division was a little different than it is today, and it was the 99-63 Reds who pocketed the division title that year, leaving the Astros to labor through another seven seasons before getting their first chance at the playoffs in 1980.

Dodgers 8, Padres 2: With Adrian Gonzalez on the disabled list for the first time in his career, it was up to rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger to make his presence felt in the lineup on Friday. The 21-year-old rose to the occasion, catapulting a pair of home runs to put the Dodgers on the board in the fourth inning and boost them to a six-run lead in the ninth.

Even more remarkable: it marked Bellinger’s second two-homer game of the season. Add those totals to a .303/.361/.576 batting line through his first 36 PA, and it’s clear the rookie has made a home for himself in the big leagues.

“The best thing for our team right now is for Cody to keep playing, because he is playing well, and let me get right,” Gonzalez told MLB.com’s Tim Powers. “Obviously, if he keeps playing well, he should be in the lineup. But when I’m ready, when I’m right, I know I can contribute and we’ll reassess at that point.”

Rangers 3, Mariners 1 (13 innings): It’s been a taxing week for the Mariners’ pitching staff. After Hisashi Iwakuma‘s injury scare on Wednesday and James Paxton‘s forearm strain on Friday, the last thing Seattle needed was a five-hour marathon designed to wear out the rest of their staff. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they got. The Rangers cycled through eight of Seattle’s pitchers, collecting seven hits and a game-winning, two-run shot by Rougned Odor to take the win after 13 innings.