Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 4, Yankees 3: Toronto blew a 2-1 lead in the top of the ninth but scored two of their own in the bottom half, first with an Ezequiel Carrera squeeze bunt topped with an Edwin Encarnacion walkoff RBI single to win it. Toronto remains in the first Wild Card position, a game and a half ahead of Baltimore and three games ahead of the Tigers.

White Sox 3, Indians 0: Carlos Rodon was dominant, shutting the Tribe out for eight and punching out 11. Carlos Sanchez drove in two of the Sox’ three runs. Fun fact: when we bought our first house back in 1999, my ex-wife’s credit report came back with the name “Carlos Sanchez” listed under “possible aliases.” We got the mortgage anyway and nothing was ever disrupted, but I’m keepin’ my eye on you, Carlos. Or maybe I should’ve just been more suspicious about my ex-wife back in the day. She seems like a normal, well-adjusted person, but what if she’s really a spy for the Venezuelan government?

Royals 12, Tigers 9: The Royals jumped out to a 7-0 lead after three innings against Matt Boyd and Anibal Sanchez and, try as they did, the Tigers never pulled closer than to within two. Whit Merrifield tripled in the first and hit a single and a double as well. The Royals hit four homers as a team. Dropping two of three to the Royals caused the Tigers to drop out of Wild Card position.

Mets 17, Phillies 0: The Mets are losing pitchers every week but it sorta does’t matter when you play the Phillies. New York took three of four in the series, scoring 44 runs in those four games. Yes, they gave up 23 and that might not always be the best thing in a four-game series, but they’re up a game on San Francisco and up a game and a half on St. Louis at the moment so they can’t really complain. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a grand slam, Jose Reyes had four RBI, including two, not one, but two bases-loaded walks. Curtis Granderson hit his 30th homer of the year.

Red Sox 3, Rays 2: And the Red Sox never lost again. That’s 11 in a row. Dustin Pedroia scored the go-ahead run in the 10th on David Ortiz‘s RBI double despite the fact that he should’ve been dead to rights at the plate. He avoided the tag — and missed home plate — but lunged back to the plate as Rays catcher Luke Maile dropped the ball. Pedroia also hit a homer. Oh, and Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in five and a third. At one point he and reliever Heath Hembree combined to strike out 11 consecutive batters. That’s a major league record. It’s also the sort of thing which should probably make the Rays petition the league to just let them go home and forfeit the last week of the season because, Jesus, what’s the point?

Orioles 2, Diamondbacks 1Hyun Soo Kim hit an early two-run homer and it held up. Dylan Bundy allowed the one run on three hits over five innings. Zach Britton got his 46th save.

Nationals 10, Pirates 7: Controversy here as Jung Ho Kang faked a tag on Bryce Harper, causing Harper to slide awkwardly which caused him to injure his thumb. Later, when Kang came up to bat he was buzzed by Nats pitcher A.J. Cole, leading to the benches clearing. So, apparently, faking a tag is a violation of the unwritten rules. Maybe someone should tell that to Derek Jeter and the million of other guys who have deked runners in the past:

Whatever the case, the Nats scored five runs in the eighth inning to come back from a deficit, powered by a Jayson Werth two-run homer which tied it along with two RBI singles and a bases loaded walk. Harper will have X-Rays on his thumb today to see how bad off he is.

Reds 4, Brewers 2Brandon Finnegan tossed five shutout innings to kick things off and Cincinnati built a 4-0 lead by the seventh inning. Finnegan only needed 54 pitches to get through five, but he game out as his leg tightened up following being hit with a comebacker in the second inning.

Mariners 4, Twins 3: Two homers for Nelson Cruz and one for Jesus Sucre. Seattle is two and a half behind Baltimore for the second Wild Card spot after going 12-5 in their last 17. Such and up and down team this year.

Astros 4, Angels 1: Joe Musgrove was strong and Evan Gattis, Tony Kemp and Tyler White homered. Houston is three back of Baltimore. They and Seattle can play the what-coulda-been game all winter.

Athletics 7, Rangers 1: The A’s avoid the sweep with a seven-run second inning that ended this one not long after it started. Jharel Cotton was strong once again, going seven innings while allowing one run. Since his callup in early September he’s allowed only four earned runs in 25 innings. The season highlight for the A’s is gonna be a midseason trade with the Dodgers to get Cotton.

Dodgers 4, Rockies 3: The Dodgers have had a load of highlights this year, including this walkoff win to clinch the NL West. Second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered the solo homer in the bottom of the 10th inning. Not that he was the only hero. The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh when Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl gave Colorado the lead in the ninth with a solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager hit a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth to send it to extras. What an exciting final game in Dodger Stadium for Vin Scully.

Padres 4, Giants 3: Manuel Margot tripled in the seventh inning and then scored the go-ahead run on Wil Myers‘ RBI single. The Giants were eliminated from division crown contention, and are hanging on by their fingernails in the Wild Card race after splitting a four-game set with San Diego.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 1: David Ross homered on the night he was given a touching tribute by the Cubs while Jon Lester tossed shutout ball into the seventh to pick up his 19th win. Ross got a nice sendoff when Joe Maddon came to lift Lester in the seventh. Rather than just pat Lester on the butt and let him walk off, he took Ross out of the game first, allowing him to leave to a standing ovation.

Braves vs. Marlins: POSTPONED: The time you won your town the race,
We chaired you through the marketplace;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
As home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.

Marlins game canceled, Major League Baseball issues a statement

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Due to the death of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández, today’s game between the Marlins and Braves at Marlins Park has been cancelled.

Commissioner Manfred just issued the following statement:

“All of Baseball is shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández. He was one of our game’s great young stars who made a dramatic impact on and off the field since his debut in 2013. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, the Miami Marlins organization and all of the people he touched in his life.”

Jose Fernandez’s death is, sadly, not without precedent

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As we still try to process the death of Marlins star Jose Fernandez in a boating accident, we can’t help but be reminded that it is, sadly, not without precedent. Indeed, as soon as the news broke this morning baseball fans were immediately put in mind of other instances where active major leaguers were suddenly and tragically lost.

The example which most obviously and immediately springs to mind are the deaths of Cleveland Indians pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews, who were killed in a boating accident on Little Lake Nellie in Clermont, Florida during spring training in 1993. Teammate Bob Ojeda was with them and was seriously injured in the crash. Crews was 31 at the time of his death and, after six seasons with the Dodgers, was getting ready for his first season as an Indian. Olin was only 27 and had four years in the bigs, all with Cleveland, under his belt. Three years ago, Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com caught up with the families of Crews and Olin — their widows and their children — and told us about how they have all coped with their shocking deaths over the previous two decades.

In June 2002 Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile died of a heart attack in Chicago the night before a game against the Cubs. Kyle had won 133 games in his career during which he starred for the Astros, Rockies and Cards. To this day all three teams honor his memory in various ways. In 2003 the Darryl Kile Good Guy Award was established by the St. Louis and Houston chapters of the BBWAA and is presented annually to the Astros player and Cardinals player who best exemplify Kile’s traits of “a good teammate, a great friend, a fine father and a humble man.”

In 2006 we lost Cory Lidle, a nine-year veteran of six teams. In July 2006 he was traded to the Yankees and finished the season with New York. On October 11, Lidle, an amateur pilot, was flying a small plane from New York to his home in California with his flight trainer. While flying above the East River and executing a turn, a gust of wind sent the plane out of control, crashing into an apartment building on New York’s Upper East Side, killing both aboard the plane and injuring 21 people in the building. The Yankees wore black armbands in Lidle’s memory during the 2007 season. George Steinbrenner called Lidle’s death a “terrible and shocking tragedy that has stunned the entire Yankees organization.”

Sadly, Lidle was not the first active Yankees player to die in a plane crash. On August 2, 1979, Yankees captain and 1976 AL MVP Thurman Munson was killed in a plane crash near his Canton, Ohio home while practicing touch-and-gos at the Akron-Canton airport on a day off. On his final approach the plane was too low, clipped trees and crashed over 800 feet short of the runway. The next day the Yankees held an emotional tribute before their game against the Orioles and on August 6, the entire team attended Munson’s funeral in Ohio. Munson’s number 15 was retired and a plaque in his memory was placed in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. It bears the inscription, “Our captain and leader has not left us, today, tomorrow, this year, next . . . Our endeavors will reflect our love and admiration for him.”

On April 9, 2009, Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver in Fullerton, California, hours after making his first start of the season, tossing six scoreless innings against the A’s, and only the fourth start of his career. Adenhart was only 22-years old and his future seemed limitless. Though neither Adenhart or those in the car he was riding had been drinking, his death due a drunk driver’s acts led to a renewed focus on drinking and driving in the baseball community.

Sadly, there have been many others. Twins and Angels outfielder Lymon Bostock was shot and killed while riding in the backseat of a car in his hometown of Gary, Indiana after a game against the White Sox in Chicago late in the 1978 season. Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock was killed in a car crash early in the 2007 season. He had been driving while intoxicated. There are others, of course. Far too many.

Even one is too many.