Craig Calcaterra

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

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 15, Reds 6: The Ohio Series! Loser gets Ohio? They should play this series in Columbus, by the way. Actually, the exact geographic center between these the two ballparks is just north of Columbus, 3-4 miles north of the Polaris Mall on I-71, before you get to the exit for Route 37/36 a few miles east of Delaware. Lots of land to build a ballpark there. Which is also fairly close to Governor Kasich’s house. MAKE IT HAPPEN, JOHN. Anyway, the Reds actually led this one 4-0 entering the bottom of the third before the Indians went off. Yan Gomes went off more than anyone, driving in four. The Tribe notched 19 hits.

Marlins 5, Phillies 3: Marcell Ozuna has a 16-game hitting streak, and homered in this one. Bill wrote last night about how Ozuna has been using hitting coach Barry Bonds’ bats during the streak. Well, at least the same model with Bonds’ name on it, which Bonds orders for him. When he was hired as hitting coach a lot of people made jokes about how he could “help” Marlins hitters by supplying them with some of his, ahem, special products. Who knew it would be bats?

Pirates 8, Braves 5: The Pirates had a 6-0 lead before the Braves decided to wake up and start hitting, but as usual it was too little, too late for Atlanta. Actually, most of the season it’s been simply too little, full stop, so the “too late” part is an improvement. Matt Joyce homered and drove in three off the bench. Joyce is hitting .372/.500/.767 with five homers as a pinch hitter/bench dude this year. That’s the stuff of an epic player in those 1980s computer sim baseball games I used to play, none of which controlled for plate appearances and would thus give a player that kind of production over a full season’s worth of work. I DESTROYED people with Pedro Guerrero’s 1978 season. The last time I played one of those, in college, I used Chipper Jones’ 1993 line. Triples and doubles out the yang from those two.

Rays 13, Blue Jays 2: The Rays hit four homers —Curt Casali hit a three-run shot, Tim Beckham and Steve Pearce each hit two-run shots and Desmond Jennings soloed —  and won in a laugher. There are probably angry Jays fans on the Internet right now saying that they were all sucker hits or are unearthing old video of Rays hitters not signaling before turning or throwing styrofoam in recycling bins as a means of proving their poor character or something. They spent a lot of time doing that yesterday and old habits die hard.

Tigers 10, Twins 8: The Tigers blew an 8-0 lead and Brad Ausmus got ejected after one of those classic “uh-oh, they’re speculating about my job in the papers so I had better show them I still have some fire in me” meltdowns. I don’t know if him getting ejected led to the late Nick Castellanos and J.D. Martinez homers which salvaged the game for Detroit, but if the team somehow turns things around now and the season is saved, they’ll say that his meltdown did it. That’s how storytelling works.

Diamondbacks 12, Yankees 2: Jake Lamb singled, doubled and homered — a three-run shot — as the Dbacks cruised. Arizona scored six runs in four games against the Giants and doubled that in one night here. Lamb on his homer, which went over the swimming pool: “I got the barrel on it and the ball flew.” Still holding out hope that one day a hitter describes his home run with a total non-sequitur instead of a basic, literal description of what happened. Reporter: “talk about what happened with that homer in the sixth.” Player: “Well, I just I mambo dogfaced to the banana patch.”

Athletics 3, Rangers 1: Sean Manaea got his first major league win. He did so after cutting off his long, curly locks before the game. Or, as they used to say in the business back in the day, he “pulled a reverse Samson.” In the 90s my generation replaced that by saying he “listened to Pavement.” I don’t know what they say now. Damn Millennials.

Angels 7, Dodgers 6: The exact geographic midpoint between Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium is Norwalk, California. If anyone has any leads on a place where these guys could play there, forward it on to Stan Kasten or Arte Moreno or someone. We’ll figure it out. Albert Pujols and Mike Trout combined to drive in six runs as the Angels win their fourth in a row.

Red Sox vs. Royals — POSTPONED: Rain ammunition
The foreign prey
Winter is rapt
And it’s a cold, bitter trap
Ride away
Lose the virgin tribe (yeah)

Tim Lincecum close to signing with the Angels

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that Tim Lincecum is closing in on a deal with the Angels. Passan said the Giants and White Sox, who were in the mix previously, are now out.

Lincecum would fit well into a decimated Angels rotation, still dealing with the loss of Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney. The Angels last week picked up Jhoulys Chacin in a trade from the Braves, but any additional arms would help. For Lincecum’s part the chance to start, instead of come out of the bullpen, has been reported as a top priority.

Lincecum pitched in only 15 games last year and has been a free agent since last fall as he recovered from hip surgery. He pitched in a showcase for multiple teams a couple of weeks ago, and the Angels apparently liked what they saw.

Bonds: Harper should diversify his game to adapt to walks

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WASHINGTON — When pitchers were intentionally walking Barry Bonds more than anyone else in baseball history, his father had simple message for him.

“It’s your fault,” Bobby Bonds told his son. “You didn’t have to be this good.”

That’s what Barry Bonds thinks when he sees Bryce Harper getting so many free passes to first base. But he also believes the Washington Nationals outfielder and reigning National League MVP needs to diversity his game if opposing teams are going to take the bat out of his hands.

“He’s going to need to learn to steal bases and get to second base and make his teammates’ job easier,” Bonds recently told The Associated Press.

The Chicago Cubs walked Harper 15 times during a four-game series earlier this month, including four times intentionally, and he scored only three runs. Bonds, baseball’s intentional walk king, said too much was being made of Ryan Zimmerman‘s struggles batting behind Harper as the Cubs swept the Nationals.

Teammates had bad series hitting behind Bonds, too, when he was intentionally walked. But Bonds remembers what he said to his children during his playing days.

“My kids used to tell me, `Daddy, I’m sorry they walk you all the time,”‘ said Bonds, who led baseball in intentional walks 12 times and tops the all-time list with 688. “I said, `Yeah, but my job’s now to steal.’ I could run then, so I had to steal bases and my job’s to score runs and keep the pressure on the team regardless of what happened. But I had a different game than him.”

Bonds stole 514 bases during his 22-year major league career. Harper has 43, and it’s an element that Bonds says would make the 23-year-old a five-tool player.

That doesn’t mean that Bonds believes Harper is doing anything wrong.

“Bryce Harper can only do what his job is,” Bonds said. “If they walk him, his job is to go to first base and then run bases. His teammates’ job is to drive him in. Bryce Harper can only do what he’s capable of doing and what he’s given the opportunity to do.”

After the final game of the walk-this-way series against the Cubs, Harper said he was walked a lot during high school and that he can’t get frustrated if the treatment continues.

“You’re getting on base, and that’s what your team asks you to do,” Harper said. “If I can get on base every time I get up there, I’m doing it the right way. If it’s a hit, a walk, I get drilled or whatever. Get on base. Maybe steal second, steal third and get it done.”

Dusty Baker is the common thread between the two superstars, as he managed the San Francisco Giants during Bonds’ heyday and is now managing Harper with the Nationals. Baker said the onus is on Harper’s teammates to make opponents pay for all the walks.

When Bonds was playing, Baker didn’t have to give him any advice because he could lean on his father’s and godfather Willie Mays’ experiences.

“I knew how to deal with it,” said Bonds, now the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins. “I had my own father in me. I had my dad and Willie. I had enough pressure with those two that I didn’t need to add more with Dusty.”

Harper has plenty of pressure on him as the face of the franchise and one of the best players in baseball, but he can only hit what he’s thrown. Bonds became baseball’s home run king with 762 despite walking a major league-leading 2,558 times.

Bonds estimates that he lost four or five years of at-bats from walks. Still, if he were pitching to Harper, he wouldn’t give him much to hit.

“If I was a pitcher and I need to leave it in the ballpark, I’m going to pick somebody who’s going to leave it in the ballpark more than someone who has a chance to hit it out of the ballpark,” he said. “Not every time, but there will be a situation. Even me as a pitcher, he’s going to have to walk if it’s the game on the line.”

AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman contributed to this report.