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Must-Click Link: David Freese and his battle with depression and anxiety

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David Freese became a St. Louis legend in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. That night, in the bottom of the ninth, with the Cardinals one strike from elimination and the Rangers one strike from glory, Freese hit a two-run triple that eluded Nelson Cruz and sent the game into extra innings. Then, in the 11th, he hit a walkoff homer, giving the Cardinals a Game 7 which they’d go on to win and become World Series champions. It’s virtually impossible to script baseball heroics greater than that.

But despite it all, Freese was not in a good place. He had suffered from depression and anxiety his entire life and, to compensate for that, he abused alcohol. All of it was exacerbated by the expectations of being the hometown hero and feeling he had to be a certain sort of person to the people in St. Louis who either knew him all of his life or were introduced to him as a conquering hero. His life spun out of control.

Today Bob Nightengale of USA Today has an interview with Freese about all of that. He talks about his struggles with depression, anxiety and the bottle and how (a) getting traded away from the Cardinals; and (b) meeting and marrying a woman who was not a baseball fan who helped him bring balance to his life helped lift him out of the fog and into a healthier, more balanced life.

Some must-read material for Cardinals fans, Pirates fans, Freese fans and anyone who has struggled with the issues he has.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 4, Rays 3: Morning baseball on Patriots’ Day featured Andrew Benintendi hitting a go-ahead, two-run single in the second inning which put the Sox ahead for good. All three runs in that inning were unearned thanks to a Brad Miller error. In his defense, ballplayers usually either play night games on Monday or have the day off, so he’s probably usually still asleep at the time the error occurred. You try fielding something at 4 AM. Ain’t easy.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 1: The Cards snap a three-game losing streak thanks to seven shutout innings from Lance Lynn. St. Louis still has the worst record in the NL, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Yankees 7, White Sox 4: Eight straight for the Bombers, powered by a three-run homer from Matt Holliday and a homer and three RBI from Aaron Judge. Rookie Jordan Montgomery took a shutout into the seventh. There’s somethin’ special happening in the Bronx right now. Special April things are never guaranteed to last even into May, let alone October, but this hot start has got to have Yankees fans pretty stoked.

Braves 5, Padres 4: Two homers and a double from the red hot Freedie Freeman and a walkoff RBI single from Dansby Swanson, breaking a 4-4 tie with two outs. The Braves finished their first series in their new ballpark with a four-game sweep. It was only the Padres, but Ws are Ws. Overall the Braves have won five in a row. Which comes after losing five in a row. Which means, like, the last 11-12 days never happened, right? Baseball with zero velocity?

Brewers 6, Cubs 3Eric Thames brought his big bat from Korea. The newest Brewer homered again, making that five games in row with a dinger. Ryan Braun and Jett Bandy also homered, giving the Brewers their sixth win in seven games. If Jett Bandy was named after James Dean’s character in “Giant,” I am going to track down his parents and buy them a steak dinner because that’s all kinds of cool. The Cubs fall to 6-7 overall.

Indians 3, Twins 1: Michael Brantley homered and drove in two. Having him back this year is so big for Cleveland. Danny Salazar allowed one run over six innings and struck out seven. Having him back to full strength after he was barely available for the playoffs last year is big too.

Astros 3, Angels 0: Charlie Morton tossed five shutout innings and three relievers took the five-hitter rest of the way home. Jose Altuve drove in two of the Astros’ three runs.

Rangers 7, Athletics 0: A.J. Griffin stymies his former club, allowing only one hit in six shutout innings. Nomar Mazara knocked in three. Carlos Gomez and Mike Napoli each drove in two themselves.

Mariners 6, Marlins 1Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back homers in the first, and the rest was just paperwork. Ariel Miranda threw seven shutout innings. Feels like every pitcher threw six or seven shutout innings last night. All 20 starters across major league baseball. All relievers did too, even if the box score says otherwise. The government is keeping that information from you. But it’s true, every pitcher tossed six or seven shutout innings last night.

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 2: It was 2-2 heading into the eighth but then Jake Lamb hit the go-ahead solo homer. That was followed up by an RBI triple from David Peralta in the ninth. On-pace stats are stupid this time of the year, but with three bombs and 12 RBI so far, Lamb is proving that last year’s 29-homer, 91-RBI season was no fluke.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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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