Craig Calcaterra

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann delivers to a Kansas City Royals batter during the first inning a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, April 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Associated Press

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 3, Royals 2: Jordan Zimmermann won his third game, allowing no runs into the seventh inning. On the season as a whole he’s allowed no runs in his first nineteen and a third innings. So far he’s looking like the free agent pickup of the year.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2Kendall Graveman pitched strongly into the seventh. He also got to bat because the A’s gave up their DH when third baseman Danny Valencia got hurt. He hit cleanup, actually. Struck out on three pitches and after the game said it was the first time he had batted in eight years. The A’s will likely keep him for a while but think of how many pitchers who come up with an AL team and take the same path as Graveman, not hitting for close to a decade, and then get traded to the NL and are suddenly expected to bat because of the NL’s allegedly superior style of play. The Yankees, meanwhile, kind of stink in the early going.

Brewers 10, Twins 5Aaron Hill, Chris Carter and Domingo Santana all hit homers. Another Minnesota star was in the news yesterday. It may be someone you all know well:

 

Congratulations, dude.

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 3: A walkoff passed ball in the 10th inning gives the O’s the game. It happened when a slider from Joe Biagini got past Toronto catcher Josh Thole, allowing Caleb Joseph to score from third. That’s one you don’t see every day. That’s one you might not see in 10,000 days.

Phillies 5, Mets 4: Yet another walkoff in extra innings, this one more conventional, as Peter Bourjos hit an infield single with two outs in the 11th. He was batting in the ninth slot, as batting pitchers eighth has become quite a trend these days, being used by the Phillies for the first time in 37 years. Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda hit back-to-back homers and Neil Walker had four hits for the Mets; winning efforts in a losing cause. Kind of like the Browncoats in “Firefly.” You can’t take the sky from them.

Red Sox 7, Rays 3: Mookie Betts hit a two-run homer and David Ortiz drove in three runs with a pair of doubles. Rick Porcello was key, though, allowing three runs and six hits in seven innings, striking out nine and walking one. The Sox needed the innings more than anything given how taxed the bullpen was after Tuesday night’s all-hands-on-deck game following Joe Kelly‘s early exit.

Dodgers 5, Braves 3: Justin Turner drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th. He had help via a rookie mistake from Braves center fielder Mallex Smith, who tried to make a diving catch of Turner’s hit and ended up kicking it away. Chase Utley scored from second on the play, but he had been waiting to tag up if necessary. If Smith just lets it fall in front of him and the left fielder who was also converging, the old man doesn’t make it home. Maybe it doesn’t matter — the Dodgers scored one more time after that — but it was some help the Dodgers didn’t need. Help the Dodgers got from their own ranks: six  relievers combining to allow only one hit over six and a third.

Nationals 3, Marlins 1: Another great team bullpen performance here, where four Nationals relievers combined to pitch seven innings after starter Joe Ross left the game in the first inning with a blister. Yusmeiro Petit led the charge, allowing one run in four innings as the fist guy up after Ross went down.

Rangers 2, Astros 1: Cole Hamels hit the first two batters he faced in the game. It wasn’t a Dock Ellis “do the do” sort of thing, as Hamels was just off, but he settled down and won his tenth straight decision. Rougned Odor hit a two-run homer for all of the Texas offense.

Padres 8, Pirates 2Drew Pomeranz notched a career-high 10 strikeouts while Matt Kemp homered and both Melvin Upton Jr. and third baseman Adam Rosales made some great plays on defense. Two in a row for San Digeo off of Pittsburgh, guaranteeing them their first series win of the year.

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1: THAT’S the Zack Greinke we’ve been expecting: one run on six hits in six and two-thirds as he outduels Madison Bumgarner. Both Dback runs came on a Wellington Castillo homer in the seventh. Indeed, all of the game’s scoring came in the seventh, truly making a pitcher’s duel until that moment the shots were fired.

Reds 6, Rockies 5: The Reds pen blew a three-run lead in the eighth but Tucker Barnhart hit a walkoff single to salvage the game. A long replay review of a missed bag/maybe missed bag by a Rockies baserunner in the seventh cost Colorado a run, however, and that loomed pretty large too.

Cardinals 5, Cubs 3: The Cardinals salvage one thanks to two two-run innings early on, seven strong innings from Carlos Martinez and Randal Grichuk robbing Anthony Rizzo of a home run with an over-the-wall catch in the first inning. The game was delayed 3 hours, 21 minutes by rain in the middle of the seventh. The time to actually play the game was 2 hours, 40 minutes. Quite a long day at the ballpark.

White Sox 2, Angels 1: Chris Sale allowed one run — unearned — on two hits over seven. Sale has four wins. The Chisox have ten. Sale has started off strong like this before but it’s the Sox’ best start in a decade.

Mariners 2, Indians 1: Taijuan Walker pitched a mini-Sale, allowing an unearned run over six innings. Walker has owned the Indians. Too bad for him he doesn’t pitch in the AL Central.

ESPN Fires Curt Schilling

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With the way he had been proceeding it was only a matter of time. And now his time is up. Curt Schilling has been fired by ESPN.

The final straw came yesterday when Schilling shared a disgusting anti-transgender meme on Facebook and followed it up with supportive comments which took a distinct, inflammatory side in the ongoing debate about access to public facilities for transgender people. He later doubled down in a combative blog post on the matter. The matter has become highly controversial and Schilling weighing in in the manner he did was both insensitive to transgender persons and flew in the face of ESPN’s mandate to its on-air talent — often broken by Schilling himself — to not wade into highly-charged political topics in an inflammatory manner.

Schilling has constantly defended his behavior in this regard as a matter of his personal beliefs, but when one’s personal beliefs are in direct contradiction of your employer’s values and when you cease to heed your employer’s warnings to cease making controversial public comments, you are eventually going to be fired. And if there is any doubt that Schilling’s beliefs conflicted with his employer’s, ESPN’s statement this evening regarding the firing put that to rest:

“ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”

Schilling had already been demoted from his job on Sunday Night Baseball last year for a similar incident involving a social media meme which equated Muslims to Nazis. In the past he had also gotten into controversies regarding the teaching of evolution and, last month, was on a radio show when he said that Hillary Clinton should “be buried under a jail somewhere.” By some counts, Schilling has had no less than seven separate instances in which he came under scrutiny for his social media habits. And a guy with Schilling’s distinguished career on the mound knows that, by the time you get to seven strikes, you’re out.

A person hired to be a sports commentator can, with caution and care, wade into public matters. Many do. But the reckless and offensive way Schilling did and his repeated violation of his employer’s orders in this regard made his position untenable. And now one of the best pitchers of his generation is out of a job.

Busch Stadium banned the Joe Maddon “Try Not to Suck” t-shirts

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In spring training Cubs manager Joe Maddon gave out t-shirts to his players which said “Try Not to Suck” on them. The message and its intent, I would hope, was obvious. And, because it’s irreverent, Cubs fans started wearing “Try Not to Suck” t-shirts too. You can buy them here. A percentage of the proceeds go to Cubs charities.

But don’t try to wear them to Busch Stadium. Some Cubs fans tried to for the series against the Cardinals. Officials there banned the shirts following complaints from . . . someone. It’s not entirely clear. The Chicago Tribune has the full story on it, along with Maddon’s reaction. He’s a bit perplexed to say the least.

I’m gonna guess that “Try not to suck” is not the most offensive message to ever appear on a t-shirt in Busch Stadium, but I’m sure some of you have anecdotes about that.

Rockies acquire 1B Decker from Royals

Kansas City Royals first baseman Cody Decker stops a ground out by San Francisco Giants' Ryder Jones in the eighth inning during a spring training baseball game, Friday, March 25, 2016 in Scottsdale, Ariz. (John Sleezer/The Kansas City Star via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Associated Press
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CINCINNATI (AP) The Colorado Rockies acquired first baseman Cody Decker from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash on Wednesday. He was assigned to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Decker, 29, was hitting .278 with three home runs and five runs batted in over seven games with Triple-A Omaha this season.

He signed with the Royals as a free agent after spending seven seasons in the San Diego system, including an eight-game stint with the Padres during which he went 0-for-11 last season.

Babe Ruth on the $1 bill!

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It’s a slow news day in baseball and all anyone is talking about online is how Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

Which, by the way, is a good call. Jackson is celebrated as a general and an all-around tough guy and Americans have always liked that kind of thing in our presidents, but objectively speaking he was bad. He led a ruthless effort to push American Indians off their land in the eastern United States in order to open southern land for white farmers and real estate speculators, himself included, and it led to the death and displacement of an untold number of Indians. He was also hostile to a central bank and paper currency in general, and his polices in that regard led to the Panic of 1837. Why THAT guy should be on paper money is a really dang good question, so, we’re going to get Harriet Tubman, a true hero, and it’s hard to argue with that.

Which makes me wonder, in the interests of both boredom and content creation, which baseball figures should be on which bills. Which will totally happen when I’m elected president. My stab:

  • $1 Babe Ruth;
  • $5 Willie Mays;
  • $10 Walter Johnson;
  • $20 Hank Aaron;
  • $50 Earl Weaver;
  • $100 Jackie Robinson

Not a TON of thought went into these and they’re not meant to be direct analogies to the figures currently on the bills. I personally think Willie Mays is the greatest ever and that Lincoln was the greatest president, so sure. Babe Ruth would just look good on a greenback. Walter Johnson is a little bit of affirmative action for pitchers and Weaver is for managers. I’m totally open to other suggestions there, I just like them both. Aaron has to be someplace. There’s an argument that Jackie should be on a lower denomination so more people could have Jackie Bucks, but the phrase “all about the Robinsons” just flows, right? Hi, I’m old.

Anyway: mindless stuff for a boring Wednesday. Yell at me about it in the comments.