Craig Calcaterra

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 15:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox congratulates Hanley Ramirez #13 after he hit the game winning three run homer during the ninth inning against the New York Yankees  at Fenway Park on September 15, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeat the Yankees 7-5.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Hanley Ramirez’s walkoff blast stuns the Yankees

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The Yankees were in the driver’s seat last night, with Masahiro Tanaka allowing one run on four hits over seven innings and Yankees hitters knocking Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez out of the box before two innings could be completed. Yep, that was exactly what New York needed as it begins an 11-game road trip during which its Wild Card dreams will be realized or shattered.

David Ortiz hit a homer in the eighth to make things closer, but it was still only 5-2 and if you give Dellin Betances a three-run lead in the ninth you’re usually gonna do OK. He hasn’t been charged with four runs or more since June of last year. He had only done it one other time before that, way back in 2013. He’s a different pitcher now. One who is normally a lock in such situations.

But not last night. Maybe because he’s been worked hard lately, having pitched for three straight days. Indeed, that’s why Joe Girardi didn’t start the ninth with him, likely trying to give him a break in what should’ve been an easy save for Tommy Layne or Blake Parker. That didn’t happen, though. Girardi only let Layne face one batter, bringing in Parker, who hit the only batter he faced. With one on and one out, it was Betances’ game to save.

Betances walked Dustin Pedroia. Then he and the guy Parker plunked, Chris Young, advanced to second and third, respectively, on a pitcher’s indifference. Young was thrown out at home for out number two, but then Betances gave up two RBI singles to cut the lead to 5-4 with two men on. Then Hanley happened:

I’ve seen a lot of Yankees fans angry at Girardi over all of this. But Betances is normally reliable and, at some point every year, your closer is gonna pitch a few games in a row and be asked to get you out of a jam despite not having his best stuff. It often works. Last night it didn’t. The Red Sox have a lot of good hitters, you see.

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Hanley Ramirez #13 of the Boston Red Sox hits the game winning three run homer against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 15, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeat the Yankees 7-5.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Brewers 5, Cubs 4: The Cubs lost — thanks in large part to some uncharacteristically bad Addison Russell defense — but the sting of the loss didn’t last too long thanks to the Giants beating the Cardinals, which clinched the N.L. Central for Chicago. The Cubs likely stayed up late last night to watch that west coast game and then likely celebrated. They have a day game today. All of which is to say that today’s Cubs lineup is going to be sketchy, hungover or both. Congrats, guys.

Red Sox 7, Yankees 5: New York had a 5-1 lead entering the eighth inning when David Ortiz — who I am going to start tagging with the hashtag #R34PECT, because it pisses off Yankees fans — hit a homer. That was just prelude to the ninth inning rally, kicked off with an Ortiz RBI single to make it 5-3 followed by Mookie Betts singling in Xander Bogaerts to make it 5-4 and capped off with a Hanley Ramirez three-run walkoff homer. Yesterday I saw a lot of people tweeting some factoid about how the back end of the Yankees bullpen has put up identical numbers to Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman before they were traded. That probably didn’t provide any comfort as they were giving up six late runs.

Twins 5, Tigers 1: That whole “watch out for the Tigers in the Wild Card race because they have an easy schedule down the stretch” thing doesn’t hold up very well if they go and lose to the easy teams on their schedule. Which is to say that splitting four to the Twins is not ideal. All five Twins runs came on RBI singles. Mike Pelfrey lasted an inning and two-thirds. If he makes another start for Detroit before the end of the season it’ll be fair to ask Brad Ausmus if he’s actually trying to get fired.

White Sox 2, Indians 1: Carlos Sanchez with a walkoff RBI single. More impressively, before the game, Jose Abreu met with a young cancer patient and said he would try to hit a home run for the boy, which he did in the third inning. Note: this was just one of three instances of home runs by request yesterday.

Pirates 15, Phillies 2: Instance number two: former Pirate A.J. Burnett was at the game and a witness said that Andrew McCutchen promised Burnett that he’d hit him two home runs. McCutchen hit two homers.

Giants 6, Cardinals 2: Finally, we have this:

In the first inning Pence hit a two-run homer. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go play the lottery.

Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 3: Mitch Haniger hit a three-run homer in the Snakes’ five-run sixth inning and Rich Hill proved to be mortal, being touched for four overall and not making it out of that sixth.

Rays 7, Orioles 6: Evan Longoria homered and drove in five. With this and the Sox and Jays wins, Baltimore dropps to two games behind Boston in the East and are tied with Toronto for the two AL Wild Cards.

Athletics 14, Royals 5: Steven Vogt drove in five in this laugher of a game. The highlight, however, was the A’s mounting a replay challenge while leading 14-0. Then again, if you’re the defending World Series champs and think you still have a playoff shot and then let THIS A’s team come into your home park and sweep you, well, you kinda deserve it.

 

Blue Jays 7, Angels 2: Josh Donaldson missed three games but came right back and went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored. Russell Martin hit a three-run homer. J.A. Happ got his 19th win. It’s most wins for a Toronto pitcher since Roy Halladay won 20 in 2008. Halladay in a Jays uniform seems like 50 years ago.

Padres GM A.J. Preller suspended 30 days over the Drew Pomeranz trade.

A.J. Preller
Associated Press
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We wrote a few minutes ago about the investigation into Padres GM A.J. Preller and how he allegedly kept two sets of medical records in order to deceive trade partners. Major League Baseball just weighed in on at least one part of that investigation.

The league has suspended Preller for 30 days:

Major League Baseball has completed an investigation into the July 14th transaction in which pitcher Drew Pomeranz was traded from the San Diego Padres to the Boston Red Sox.  MLB’s Department of Investigations conducted the thorough review, which included interviews with relevant individuals from both Clubs.  The findings were submitted to Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr.

As a result of this matter, Major League Baseball announced today that A.J. Preller, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Padres, has received a 30-day suspension without pay.

The statement says nothing else of substance. It does not say what, exactly, Preller did wrong. Nor does it weigh in on the Padres’ other controversial transaction this summer involving Collin Rea to the Marlins.

With respect to Pomeranz, it is known that, after acquiring him from San Diego, the Red Sox became aware of certain preventative health measures provided for Pomeranz by the Padres that weren’t disclosed in baseball’s medical database.

Thirty days for Preller is something one presumes that he can endure just fine given what he likely makes. The far more significant angle to this is what 29 other general managers think about dealing with him and the Padres now that they know he’s been trying to put something over on them.