Brian McCann

Daniel Murphy

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights


Mets 3, Marlins 1: Amazin.’ Daniel Murphy hit a go-ahead/come-from-behind three run bomb and Mets improve to 15-5. Murphy also made a nifty play in the field the next half-inning. Adrenaline is a hell of a thing. The Mets have a 4.5 game lead in the East and are eight games up everyone’s favorites, the Nationals. Which, wow.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5: MookieMania is running wild, brother. Betts with the walkoff RBI single through a drawn-in infield. Betts said he “got a decent pitch to hit.” He’s only 22 but his cliche game is that of a seasoned veteran.

Royals 6, Indians 2: Mike Moustakas got four hits and Alex Gordon drove in two, which ain’t too bad against the reigning Cy Young Award winner. Bonus from this game came from the Royals’ booth, where I am told Fox Sports Kansas City’s Rex Hudler was talking about my annual Baseball’s Most Handsome Managers rankings. Hudler was quoted by viewers as saying “Did you say it was a guy that made that list up?” Yes, Rex, it was. And have a nice, heteronormative day yourself.

Braves 8, Nationals 4: The Braves beat up the Nats in a game that featured some chippiness following a hard Andrelton Simmons’ slide into third base which led to a cut on Yunel Escobar’s hand. There were warnings and then Simmons was hit by a pitch. And even though he wasn’t in the game Jonny Gomes got ejected for running out of the dugout. Which, hey, he has a personal brand to maintain. The key thing here, though, is the Nats are now 7-13 and sit eight games back with only one team in all of baseball — the Brewers — featuring a worse record than them. Which is quite a thing.

Oh, and another broadcast datapoint: the Braves booth which has, in the past, engaged in all kinds of silly and unwarranted hatred and hostility with respect to Bryce Harper here said, at one point, “He’s a good player. Easy not to like him, but a good player.” I suppose that’s progress. Maybe in another year or two they’ll acknowledge that no one gives a crap if they like him.

Yankees 4, Rays 1: Brian McCann homered, Adam Warren pitched effectively and the Yankees’ winning combination so far — good defense, just enough hitting and a shutdown bullpen — kept things chugging along. A-Rod did not tie Willie Mays in this game as he went hitless. But someone asked Brian McCann about it afterward and McCann said A-Rod’s place on the all-time home run list is “an amazing accomplishment.” I presume the Yankees will fine him now given his failure to follow team policy which prohibits the stating of the bleedin’ obvious.

Reds 9, Brewers 6: Jay Bruce homered and drove in three. Jason Marquis allowed two runs and seven hits in eight innings. He also hit an RBI single, probably to spite me.

Mariners 3, Rangers 1: Taijuan Walker allowed one unearned run in seven innings in his second solid start following a couple of disasters to open up the season. Both of these teams had to be exhausted, as they didn’t get into Texas until the wee hours of the morning due to severe storms which diverted their flights. Then this one started an hour late due to a rain delay. Hope their cell phones are on Do Not Disturb this morning.

Cubs 4, Pirates 0: Kris Bryant was 2-for-4 and drove in two. Jason Hammel tossed eight shutout innings. The Cubs won their third straight and snapped the Pirates’ five-game winning streak. Bryant has driven in nine in ten games. Scary moment here, though, as a fan was taken away in an ambulance after being hit by a flying bat during an Addison Russell plate appearance.

Tigers 5, Twins 4: Yoenis Cespedes had a homer, a double and three RBI. Jose Iglesias hit a homer and a triple, notching three hits in all. He’s hitting .397. All of us wanted to talk about how the Tigers would do after losing Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello in the offseason, but between those two it’s as if the Tigers added two plus bats to an already potent lineup.

Phillies 4, Cardinals 1: Cole Hamels doesn’t need a ton of run support, so when he even gets a little bit here that’s enough. As it was he struck out nine in seven innings and allowed only one run. Don’t tell anyone, but the Phillies have won three of four and are ahead of the Nats in the standings.

Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 4: Justin Morneau hit a three-run homer in the first. Tyler Matzek limited the Diamondbacks to two runs on five hits in five innings. He had to leave early with a leg cramp, though, and the bullpen just barely held on. The Rockies have won five in a row against Arizona.

Dodgers 8, Giants 3: Joc Pederson and Justin Turner went yard. Pederson also doubled in a run and made a sweet play in the field, ranging back to the wall, catching it with his back to the field and then turned around and doubled off Nori Aoki, who had broke from first on the play. Pederson is hitting .296/.458/.556 on the year and doing that kind of crap in the field. Mercy.

Astros 9, Padres 4: Colby Rasmus homered and drove in three as the Astros won their fourth in a row. Jed Lowrie and Jason Castro also homered. The book on Astros hitters this year was that they’d lead the AL in strikeouts and be near the top of the league in homers. At the moment they lead the AL in strikeouts and are fourth in homers, two off the league lead. So, yep.

White Sox vs. Orioles: Postponed: Unrest in Baltimore continues, which may move this series out of the city and down to Washington or someplace else. Baseball, however, seems very, very unimportant compared to what’s happening there. But this is important. You should probably read this.

BREAKING: Brett Gardner is trying to get Alex Rodriguez to grow a mustache

Alex Rodriguez, Caleb Joseph

It’s well known that the Yankees have a strict team policy regarding facial hair, but their players are still allowed to grow mustaches. They are taking advantage of it in a big way this season, with Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, and Brian McCann among those sporting ‘staches or at least their best attempt at one. However, a certain someone has yet to participate. Could that change?

Rodriguez is off to a strong start after his year-long PED suspension, batting .269/.424/.558 with four home runs and 11 RBI over 16 games, but growing a mustache would pretty much clinch the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award for him, no? It’s of utmost importance that this happens. We here at HardballTalk wish Gardner luck in his efforts.

Rays designate Grant Balfour for assignment

Grant Balfour

Per the Rays on Twitter, the club has designated reliever Grant Balfour for assignment. To take Balfour’s spot on the 25-man roster, the Rays have promoted reliever Brandon Gomes from Triple-A Durham.

Balfour hadn’t been scored upon in 3 2/3 innings coming into Saturday night’s game against the Yankees. That, however, changed rather abruptly. The seventh inning began with starter Jake Odorizzi allowing a lead-off single. Manager Kevin Cash immediately replaced Odorizzi with C.J. Riefenhauser, but the Yankees continued to rally, scoring twice on two singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly.

Balfour entered with runners on first and second and one out. He walked Alex Rodriguez to load the bases, induced a sacrifice fly from Mark Teixeira, hit Brian McCann to re-load the bases, allowed a grand slam to Chris Young, walked Chase Headley, uncorked a wild pitch, walked Stephen Drew, and finally got Gregorio Petit to foul out to end the inning. The Yankees led 9-0, the score by which they would eventually win. Balfour’s line: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. His ERA ballooned to 6.23.

The 37-year-old Balfour is earning a $7 million salary from the Rays. Considering he struggled immensely last season and his velocity has fallen from 93.4 MPH on average in 2013 to 91.6 last season and 89.7 MPH this season, Balfour may not draw much interest from other teams.