Craig Calcaterra

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

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I hope your morning went better than Buster Posey‘s evening.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cardinals 5, Reds 4: The Reds took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth and then the Reds bullpen Reds bullpenned all over itself. The Cards scored five runs in the final frame, all charged to Tony Cingrani but with a strong assist from Ross Ohlendorf, who walked in the Cardinals’ tying run and then hit Yadier Molina with the bases loaded, allowing the winning run to score on a walkoff HBP. Bryan Price probably spent a long time after this one, staring into middle distance, wondering why he never went to, I dunno, dental school or something. Dentists make a good living, the hours are better and they never have days like this.

Blue Jays 7, Rays 5: Toronto wins the Battle of the Domes, as Devon Travis had four hits, including the go-ahead single in the seventh and Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista each drove in three.

Giants 8, Marlins 7: Brandon Crawford has seven hits in this game, notching a triple, a double and five singles. He was the first player to do that in 41 years. When I first heard that time frame I thought “I wonder if it was Ted Williams or Stan Musial” and then I quickly remembered that 41 years ago was 1975, time stops for no man and now I feel really friggin’ old. Rennie Stennett did it in 1975, by the way. And he did it in nine innings, not 14 like Crawford did, but it was still pretty cool that Crawford did it.

In other news, Buster Posey face-planted into third base:

Given how MLB has rolled with this sort of thing with Posey in the past, I expect them to ban third base this offseason.

Braves 4, Brewers 3: Braves relievers Jose Ramirez, Mauricio Cabrera, Brandon Cunniff and Jim Johnson combined for six scoreless innings as the Braves won in 12. The winning run came via a dropped sac fly. Which would’ve been deep enough to score the runner anyway, so it probably didn’t matter. It just looked kinda weird.

Twins 3, Astros 1: The Twins have won seven of nine. Baseball seasons are long and weird. Minnesota enjoyed a three-run fifth inning which came courtesy of Carlos Gomez playing some clown shoes center field. First he let a single get passed him for a two-base error which scored a run and then he lost a fly ball in the lights, turning what should’ve been an out into an RBI triple. We all have bad days at work, I suppose. Thankfully for us, ours aren’t in front of 20,000 people.

Rangers 4, Rockies 3: Colorado had a 3-1 lead heading into the ninth when Elvis Andrus singled in Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar, who had put themselves into scoring position with a double steal — and then Mitch Moreland doubled in Andrus. Adrian Beltre and Nolan Arenado homered, the former in a winning cause, the latter in a losing one, obviously.

Athletics 3, Orioles 2: Kendall Graveman went seven innings allowing only one run and Stephen Vogt homered and drove in another run with a single. With this loss and the Blue Jays’ win, Baltimore and Toronto are tied, virtually anyway, for first place in the AL East.

Mariners 3, Tigers 0: Hisashi Iwakuma tossed seven shutout innings and the M’s got three RBI singles. Iwakuma has won seven of his last eight starts.

Dodgers 9, Phillies 4: Corey Seager hit two homers and Chase Utley and Yasmani Grandal each went deep as well. L.A. had a 5-0 lead after one inning, so I assume Vin Scully had to dig deeper into his story telling repertoire than usual on this night.

Credit is due to the Yankees for making A-Rod’s exit drama-free

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If, two or three years ago, you had to bet how Alex Rodriguez‘s exit from the New York Yankees was going to eventually go down, the smart money would’ve been on outcomes ranging from “rancorous litigation” to “pistols at dawn.” The odds against “special farewell night dedicated to the man, his salary paid-in-full and Rodriguez assuming an advisory position on the team” were so long that they weren’t worth calculating. Indeed, they would’ve triggered alarms at the state gambling commission.

Yet here we are. A-Rod got to have a press conference — without lawyers — yesterday and on Friday he’ll get to tip his cap to the fans in Yankee Stadium, see highlights from his career on the Jumbotron, try to ignore flashbulbs with each pitch he is thrown and, when it is all over, leave the field to a standing ovation. It’s almost as if he’s just like any other all-time great.

A lot of this was made possible by Rodriguez himself, of course. After his scorched Earth campaign around the time of his suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal in 2013 he retreated to Miami and, by all outward appearances, became a changed man. He called off his lawyers, went to school, spent time with his kids, worked out hard and, it seems, began to appreciate all of the things which he had almost completely lost. His bounceback 2015 season and, more importantly, his team-first attitude and newfound self-awareness and aversion to controversy, made it conceivable that, yes, Alex Rodriguez could very well leave the game on his own terms. Or at least something close to them.

But it was the Yankees who always controlled the exact circumstances of A-Rod’s departure. Despite being on the hook for tens of millions of dollars between 2015 and 2017, the Yankees could’ve always just decided they didn’t want Rodriguez back following his year-long suspension. They could’ve released him and stepped away from what they might’ve reasonably feared would be a renewed A-Rod Circus. They could’ve eaten his entire salary and traded him to a team willing to take a flier on an intriguing DH possibility and a potential box office draw. They never had to let him suit up in pinstripes in 2015 and, after he faltered at the end of that year and well into this year, they could’ve just unceremoniously pulled the plug with nothing more than a curt goodbye and a single line on the transaction wire.

That they didn’t do that and that they are, instead, giving A-Rod, in effect, a five-day farewell tour capped off by a farewell night, is quite admirable and quite honorable. Given that he’s really unable to play anymore and given where the Yankees are on the rebuild cycle, it’d be too much to just guarantee his roster spot through 2017 like some clubs might’ve done for a declining superstar. And, of course, the relationship between the Yankees and A-Rod has enough of a rocky history to suggest that pushing things that far was never in the cards. But no one really expected that it would end this nicely, all things considered. With a farewell game, a seemingly satisfied A-Rod and the chance for him to ease into an advisory role with the club after his playing career is over.

Last night Jon Heyman gave some of the background on how this all came about. It was mostly the doing of Hal Steinbrenner who, realizing that A-Rod’s position on the team was becoming untenable and realizing that it would soon become a daily item in the tabloids, flew up to New York to talk to A-Rod and to convince him to accept his impending release with grace. It’s a chance that the Yankees organization would never have given him a couple of years ago and, to be fair, one which A-Rod never would’ve accepted then either. A-Rod is getting a lot of credit for stepping away quietly, but Hal Steinbrenner and the Yankees are deserving of praise for extending the offer when they did and how they did.

Maybe there’s a chance that pistols are still drawn and maybe there’s enough time between now and Friday for the old A-Rod/Yankees circus to put up the tent one least time and give us all something to gawk at. But for now the only thing that is truly eye-opening is just how much both sides, the Yankees and Rodriguez, have grown and how thoroughly they’ve let go of the past.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Marlins 10, Rockies 7: Congratulations to Ichiro for his 3,000th major league hit. A triple no less, showing that at least some dudes over 40 still have great wheels. He’s also only the second guy to have his 3,000th hit be a triple, with Paul Molitor being the other. Molitor was Ichiro’s hitting coach in Seattle for a time and after the game Ichiro have Molitor a nod. He’ll be joining Molitor in Cooperstown the first time he’s eligible for induction. Lost in the history and in the loss was the fact that the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado homered twice and drove in five.

Yankees 3, Indians 2: A-Rod announced his retirement (or whatever it is) but doesn’t get into the game. Fellow short timer Mark Teixeira, however, hit an RBI double. He’s had extra-base hits in four of his past five games, actually, and is hitting quite well for a guy who is hanging it up. Maybe this means A-Rod will get a big hit, like, Tuesday or something.

Mets 3, Tigers 1: Neil Walker hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to break a 1-1 tie and give the Mets the win. He hit it off of Francisco Rodriguez who, despite getting the save on Saturday night, was shaky as hell doing it, requiring a putout on a play at the plate in order to stave off disaster. All of which is to say that the Tigers usual trouble — the bullpen — will likely be a source of problems as they try to make up those two games the Indians have on ’em.

Twins 6, Rays 3: Miguel Sano was rumored to be on his way back to the minors late last week. Here he homered twice. He also became the first player to hit a ball off the roof at Tropicana Field. Many have hit catwalks, but none have hit the roof. It ended up being an F-5, though, because Evan Longoria caught it.

Nationals 1, Giants 0: A tough luck loss for Madison Bumgarner, who went the distance yet gave up one run while Tanner Roark and two Nats relievers combined for a five-hit shutout. Bumgarner’s only blemish: A solo homer to Wilson Ramos in the 7th. Ramos is hitting .338/.387/.556 with 18 homers and 62 RBI. Ramos is a free agent this offseason. I feel like someone is gonna give him a really bad contract based on what looks like a fluke season. Kind of like Javy Lopez after the 2003 season.

Reds 7, Pirates 3: The Reds may be the most entertaining bad team in baseball. Billy Hamilton is a big part of that and yesterday he was particularly fun: four stolen bases, three hits and three runs scored. He also made a leaping catch. I sure hope he figures out how to get on base more than he does so that this kind of fun can happen more often. Maybe that’s too much to ask for a nearly 26-year-old player, but even if we just get one breakthrough season in which some balls find their way through the infield and he hits .315 or something with a .355 OBP, man, that would be something.

Orioles 10, White Sox 2: Manny Machado hit three homers in three innings and drove in seven. He didn’t get any hits for the rest of the day but if you come in and get all your work done early, you’re allowed to loaf by the water cooler all afternoon. Dylan Bundy didn’t need to pitch well with all of the run support he got but he did anyway, allowing two runs and striking out nine dudes over six innings.

Rangers 5, Astros 3: The manner in which the Rangers won was new — Ian Desmond and Rougned Odor hits in the 11th inning — but the fact that they beat the Astros was not. that’s 11 of 13 from Houston on the year, which explains at least part of their seven and a half game lead over Houston in the AL West. Only seven over Seattle, who has gotten past the Astros. Houston has lost 8 of 10 overall, so maybe it’s not just about their divisional foes. “Anytime I leave this podium after a loss I hate it,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said after the game. Give the man credit for knowing the difference between a podium and a lectern. 95% of people get that one wrong.

Royals 7, Blue Jays 1: It was close until the seventh when Kendrys Morlaes hit a grand slam. A decent start for Yordano Ventura, who hasn’t had many decent starts lately.

Braves 6, Cardinals 3: Atlanta took two of three from the Cards, and took them pretty decisively. This is not technically the Cardinals’ low point of the season — they’re 11.5 back now and were 12.5 back for a day in late June — but it may be their low point cosmically speaking. Matt Kemp had two hits and an RBI, Nick Markakis and Erick Aybar had two RBI each and Mike Foltynewicz allowed one run over six innings.

Cubs 3, Athletics 1: Kyle Hendricks allowed one run while pitching into the eighth. Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler homered. The Cubs sweep the A’s. Their seventh straight win gives them 69 on the season. Nice.

Mariners 3, Angels 1: James Paxton allowed one run — unearned — while pitching into the ninth. He only left because he took a line drive off his arm. X-Rays were negative, though, which is positive. Mike Trout struck out four times, but he also saved four runs by stealing a grand slam with a spectacular catch.

Diamondbacks 9, Brewers 3Jake Lamb and Phil Gosselin each hit two-run homers. The Dbacks had five extra-base hits in their five-run fifth inning. Speaking of, does anyone else remember 5 from “Peanuts?” I used to get all of the old “Peanuts” compilations and treasuries from the entire run of the strip and I loved 5. He was a pretty damn subversive character for the comics in the early 1960s.

Phillies 6, Padres 5Tommy Joseph hit a tie-breaking RBI single in the top of the seventh inning, but Maikel Franco and the Phillies D helped hold that slim lead with a triple play in the bottom half of the inning:

 

A nice around-the-horn job too, not one of those weird ones with a line drive and a couple of boring runners-getting-doubled-off deals.

Dodgers 8, Red Sox 5: Rob Segedin made his major league debut for the Dodgers, playing left field, and all he did was go 2-for-4 with a double and four RBI. Adrian Gonzalez his his 300th career homer. Howie Kendrick and Justin Turner hit homers too.