Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

Video: Hideki Matsui hits a monster homer in the Yankees Old Timers Game

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Hideki Matsui doesn’t seem like an old timer. His last season was 2012 but it sort of feels like yesterday. Indeed, a lot about his career feels time warpy in certain respects. His last season as a Yankee was 2009 but it feels like he never played anywhere else. His wanderings through Anaheim, Oakland and Tampa Bay feel distinctly non-canon. He was one of the more beloved Yankees of the past 10-15 years or so, so it’s hard to picture him with anyone else even though we know he did.

I guess, by baseball standards, he’s an old timer. He’s younger than Bartolo Colon and Ichiro. He’s only a month and a half older 13 and a half months older than A-Rod. But thats still old. And yesterday he played in the Yankees Old Timers Game. He took fellow Old Timer David Cone deep to right field:

Jayson Werth calls Jonathan Papelbon “The D.C. Strangler”

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Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. All bad times that are survived are transformed into better times with the passage of time. A player going after a teammate in the ugly waning days of an ugly season becomes the basis of a pretty great nickname during the course of what it turning out to be a pretty darn nice season for the Washington Nationals.

Last year, a we all know, Jonathan Papelbon choked Bryce Harper in the dugout after a week or two of escalating tensions and back biting. It was the stuff of suspensions and acrimony at the time, but now that the Nats are winning, it’s much better. To wit: Jayson Werth, after his game-winning hit yesterday afternoon, was being interviewed on the field and talked about his teammates mobbing him:

On-field interviewer: “Man, you got battered out there. What type of damage did they do to you in the outfield?”

Werth: “Well, I knew I was in trouble when I saw The Strangler coming at me.”

Interviewer: “Who’s The Strangler?”

Werth: “You know, The D.C. Strangler”

Interviewer: “Ohhhh”

Given that Papelbon, who Werth just helped vulture a win given that he gave up a homer in the top of the ninth, was leading the mob, it was pretty clear who he meant. And it’s a pretty fantastic nickname given how easily it can be transformed to “The D.C. Choker” if he blows a playoff game.

Winning fixes everything.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 10, Orioles 9: Pitching need not apply, as the Blue Jays take three of four from Baltimore. Toronto enjoyed a five run fifth and then sat uncomfortably through an O’s comeback late but held on. Russell Martin hit a three-run homer, but doubles were the name of the game on Sunday. Seven in all for the Blue Jays, four in the first inning alone. The idea that homers kill rallies is dumb as all get-out, but there is something kind of helpless and disconcerting about giving up a crap-ton of doubles. It’s like the wheels are all falling off, constantly.

Athletics 6, Reds 1: The A’s snap a seven-game skid. That two of those games came against Cincinnati was rather embarrassing for them, but here we are. Marcus Semien and Jake Smolinski each hit two-run homers and Danny Valencia had a solo shot.

Rays 5, Astros 0: Matt Moore tossed seven shutout innings striking out 10 and allowed only two hits. Dallas Keuchel had four shutout innings. Unfortunately he pitched five innings in all, and that fifth one was a lulu: five runs on four hits and an error.

Cubs 13. Braves 2: Jon Lester allowed only one unearned run in seven and the Cubs’ bats did what you’d expect them to do against a bunch of jabroni Braves pitchers. Chicago has won 14 of 18. Anthony Rizzo drove in three. David Ross drove in two. Javier Baez had a three-run shot.

Tigers 4, Yankees 1: Michael Fulmer continue his dominant run, winning his seventh and adding six more scoreless innings. That brings his total up to twenty eight and a third. If he retires the first batter he faces the next time out, he’ll set the Tigers scoreless innings record. In addition to that 7-1 record, the Tigers rookie has a 2.52 ERA and a 52/19 K/BB ratio over 53 and two-thirds innings.

Royals 3, White Sox 1: Yordano Ventura allowed one run over seven innings, struck out ten and somehow managed not to hit anyone or have an embarrassing emotional meltdown of some sort. Progress, man.

Brewers 5, Mets 3: Bad day all around for the Mets. First manager Terry Collins was taken to the hospital and then Zach Davies dominated them, allowing one run — unearned — and striking out seven in six innings. Milwaukee had a 5-0 lead by the fifth. New York made a little noise agains their old friend Carlos Torres in the eighth, but not enough noise.

Twins 7, Red Sox 4: Rookie Max Kepler hit his first career home run at a great time: tie game, bottom of the tenth for a walkoff win. It was a three-run shot after an 0-for-4 day. The heroics salvaged the final game of the series for Minnesota and prevented the sweep.

Indians 8, Angels 3: Francisco Lindor homered and drove in three runs. And that came in just the first two innings. He had three hits on the day. Carlos Santana hit two homers and drove in three himself. The Indians have won nine of 12. Mike Trout left the game late with a hurt thumb after being hit by a pitch, though the x-rays were negative, which is a positive.

Nationals 5, Phillies 4: Jayson Werth played the hero, hitting a walkoff two-run single with two outs in the ninth. That’s a three-game sweep of the reeling Phillies, who have lost 17 of 22. It was tied entering the ninth but Jonathan Papelbon gave up a homer to Maikel Franco in the top of the inning. He was still pitcher of record in the bottom half so Werth’s hit helped him vulture a win. Pitcher wins are the best, man.

Rangers 6, Mariners 4: Cole Hamels struck out five dudes on the day. One of them was his 2,000th career strikeout. Only 77 pitchers have struck out as many as 2,000 batters. I would’ve guessed more, but nope. I bet there aren’t many things you’ve done in your life that only 76 other people have done. Good things, I mean.

Rockies 2, Padres 1: Tyler Anderson made his major league debut and gave up one run on six hits while pitching into the seventh. The Rockies scored their two runs on a bases loaded walk and a homer. Must’ve been late-90s throwback day. The Padres are 0-10 on Sundays. Maybe they just give up and try to lose fast in order to watch all of that prestige cable TV and awards shows and stuff. Maybe they just think Sunday’s to relax.

Diamondbacks 6, Marlins 0: Robbie Ray threw shutout ball into the eighth. Peter O’Brien hit a three-run homer in the first inning. It was basically over at that point but they still had to keep playing because it’s baseball. There have been four different Pete/Peter O’Brien’s in baseball history, by the way. It’ll take Peter O’Brien playing, like, five more years before I stop thinking that he’s this guy.

Cardinals 8, Pirates 4: The Redbirds sweep the Buccos. Big fan of secondary team nicknames, by the way. “Redbirds,” “Buccos,” “Bombers,” “Fish,” “Tribe,” “Pale Hose.” Not every team has them, I don’t think. Not sure the Dodgers do. Or the Giants. Maybe there are some hyper-local ones most of us don’t know. Some teams’ are kind of lame — just initials like the “M’s” or the “O’s.” I guess it’s like individual nicknames in that way.

Giants 2, Dodgers 1Brandon Belt hit a two-run homer off rookie Julio Urias in the sixth inning. Urias had an otherwise nice day, so his first two starts of the season are starting to fade a bit. No run support, however, as Jake Peavy tossed six shutout innings to earn his 150th win.