Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris experienced a real emotional roller-coaster during his Wednesday start.
First the 22-year-old rookie acquired from the Blue Jays in the David Price trade last month hit a home run in the first at-bat of his entire professional career–minors or majors. And then he exited the game in the fifth inning with an oblique strain.
And now he’s headed to the disabled list. Given the typical recovery timetable for oblique injuries it’s possible he’s thrown his last pitch of the season, in which case Norris would finish the year with a 4.43 ERA and 34/17 K/BB ratio in 45 innings split between Toronto and Detroit.
He’s a huge part of the Tigers’ plans in 2016 and beyond.
Orioles 5, Mets 4: Henry Urrutia with the walkoff bomb to cap a night in which the O’s rallied from 3-1 and 4-3 deficits. It was Urrutia’s first big league homer. A Mets fan caught it and gave it back to him, after which Urrutia said “That’s the best gift for me tonight. Now I can give that baseball to my son.” If this was a bad 1980s action movie the terrorist with whom Urrutia served in special forces back in the day would now kidnap the son, causing Urrutia to go on a rampage after him. In the final battle, Urrutia and the terrorist would exchange some one-liners, the terrorist would say something like “we’re not so different, you and I” and then Urrutia would kill the terrorist with the actual baseball from that homer, and the credits would roll as he hugged his son. Man, they don’t make good movies anymore.
Rangers 7, Mariners 2: Derek Holland came back from four months on the disabled list and allowed two runs while pitching into the seventh inning. Mitch Moreland, Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus all went deep as the Rangers keep pace with the Angels and Astros in the west and the Angels and Orioles in the wild card race. Still not quite believing the Rangers are in the thick of things, but they are.
Brewers 8, Marlins 7: Remember when I said a week ago or so that the only time I notice Khris Davis is when he hits two homers in a game? It happened again. A two-run shot and a three-run shot for a man with the most specific and odd super power of all the comic book heroes. Not as useless as Aquaman or anything, but still very esoteric as far as these things go.
After the low-budget A’s won 5-4 in 10 innings Tuesday night, they beat baseball’s biggest spender again to win consecutive games following a seven-game skid on a recent road trip through Toronto and Baltimore.
Fun fact: there is basically no correlation between payroll and playoff contention this year, with just as many low budget teams in playoff position as high budget and just as many big spenders near the bottom of league standings as poor sisters. It’s always fun for baseball writers to talk about payrolls, but it’s fair to say that the A’s disappointing season is just as much a function of their bad decisions as their payroll this year. As such, it’d be just as insightful to say the “green-wearing team beat the blue-wearing team” in the above passage.
Padres 3, Braves 2: The Padres complete the three-game sweep of the Braves, for whom San Diego has become a personal hell in recent years. But at least the opposition beating up on my boys looked sharp as hell yesterday:
Phillies 7, Blue Jays 4: Aaron Altherr, which sounds like a name some underaged kid makes up on the spot when questioned by campus security about where he got that beer, homered, doubled and drove in three runs. The real story here, however, is that this was the first Phillies game in nearly a decade and a half in which Chase Utley was not a member of the team. Which is causing some feelings among Phillies fans, you should know:
Pirates 4, Diamondbacks 1: J.A. Happ pitched six shutout innings. Not gonna say there was a lot going on at the trade deadline, but I completely missed that Happ was traded to the Pirates. Hi, I’m Craig Calcaterra, baseball news man.
Red Sox 6, Indians 4: David Ortiz, Travis Shaw, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Ryan Hanigan all homered. It was Dave Dombrowski’s first game as team president following his, I dunno, inauguration, or whatever it was that happened yesterday. As Bradley hit that homer, I assume he was fondly remembering all of the times he flipped peaking outfielders for way better value in trades when he ran the Tigers. I almost feel bad for Dave Stewart, because the odds of him getting fleeced out of a great player when Dombrowski calls him this winter have been taken off the Vegas boards.
Royals 4, Reds 3: Ben Zobrist had four hits. And, for the first time in my baseball-watching life, some dude tried to score from third after the infield fly rule was called. Jason Bourgeois of the Reds, specifically. He was tagged out. What in the heck? Bourgeois was also picked off first base early in the game. Not the best day on the basepaths for him.
Cardinals 4, Giants 3: Yadier Molina hit his 100th career homer to put the Cards over the Giants. He also had an RBI single in the game. I suppose this will cause Cards fans to renew that whole “Molina is better than Posey” argument that always makes me smile. Posey has 99 homers in his career, for what it’s worth. In five fewer seasons.
Tigers 15, Cubs 8: Tigers starter Daniel Norris homered but he also suffered an oblique injury, so a decidedly mixed bag for him last night. A worse bag for Jon Lester, who got pounded by Tigers hitters to the tune of three homers and seven runs in two and two-thirds innings. Nick Castellanos homered twice and drove in five.
Astros 3, Rays 2: Carlos Correa homered and hit a walkoff single in the 13th inning. It’s so cool to watch a star being born. Two straight walkoffs in extra innings for the Astros over the Rays. An .895 OPS and a 20-homer pace for Correa, who will end the season playing in around half of his team’s games. This kid is going to be incredible.
Nationals 4, Rockies 1: As I’ve been watching Nationals fans melt down over the past few weeks, two of their favorite targets have been Stephen Strasburg and Jayson Werth. Here Strasburg pitched seven strong innings and Werth hit a tiebreaking triple in the eighth, so I guess they get a day off of abuse.
Angels 1, White Sox 0: A sixth inning homer from Carlos Perez was all that happened with the bats here. Jered Weaver pitched shutout ball into the seventh. That homer was all that Jeff Samardzija let happen. In light of that, how this game went nearly three hours is a mystery to me, but I guess not everyone is Mark Buehrle.
Video: Daniel Norris homers in first professional at-bat
That wasn’t just the first major league plate appearance for Norris. It was his first place appearance at any level of professional baseball. Lester had allowed just three home runs to left-handers all year. Crazy.
The guys from the Detroit Sports Rag are Tigers fans but they’re not big fans of Brad Ausmus. So last night their second in command, a guy named Justin Spiro, brought a “Fire Ausmus” sign to his seats in Wrigley Field behind the Tigers dugout. He also had a “Hire Acta” sign. Which, man, no matter what you think of Ausmus, is a clear sign that we’re dealing with a dangerous and unhinged mind.
In any event, Miguel Cabrera saw the sign and defused the situation, Jack Bauer-like, by trading Spiro a ball for the sign:
Whatever happened to principles, man?
Anyway, that wasn’t the only sign incident Spiro had last night. Apparently some Cubs fan didn’t like his Acta sign or him standing up or . . . something . . . and came over and slapped him, so there’s that. The whole sordid story is here.
Fandom, man. It’s just not worth it.
(h/t to the DSR’s Jeff Moss for supplying this headline. He’s insane if he wants Manny Acta to manage the Tigers, but he has spirit, and that’s important).
And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights
Yankees 8, Twins 4: Six months ago the Yankees’ view of Alex Rodriguez was “Who?” And if he so much as farted off-key, they probably would’ve tried to void his contract. Now, in August, the Yankees are in a pennant race, Rodriguez has an OPS of .868 and 25 homers and, after he hit a grand slam with the Bombers down three in the seventh, he gets his own hashtag from Yankees Twitter. “#BAEROD”
Mets 5, Orioles 3: Jacob deGrom allowed one run and took a four-hitter into the eighth inning. Curtis Granderson hit two homers. If this was the 1980s they’d make some cheesy poster of them with the words “deGrom and deGrand” on it and they’d be wearing, I dunno, chef’s uniforms or something. And that’d be one of the more understated posters as far as those things went. I have such a hard time explaining the 1980s to my kids.
Angels 5, White Sox 3: Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols homered in the first inning and the Angels never looked back. Well, it was close late so they were looking back a good bit. But it was only a glance or two. The sort of looking back you do when you try to see if you’re being followed but you don’t want it to look like you think you’re being followed. But really, if someone wants to follow you, there are better methods. As one of my cinematic heroes once said: “People know they’re being followed when they turn around and see someone following them. They can’t tell they’re being followed if you get there first.” There’s some wisdom there, friend.
Pirates 9, Diamondbacks 8: Pedro Florimon tripled home Francisco Cervelli with two outs in the bottom of the 15th to end this marathon. Pittsburgh had a five-run lead after seven innings but the Snakes came back with three in the eighth and two in the ninth. Those ninth innings runs were both the product of infield errors, so there are some infielders happy about the end of this one getting them off the hook.
Red Sox 9, Indians 1: It’s definitely been an eventful week in Boston. John Farrell’s cancer diagnosis, Dave Dombrowski getting hired and the Sox winning four of five. Travis Shaw went 4-for-4 and Brock Holt had three hits and two RBI. Trevor Bauer’s nightmare second half continues. He didn’t make it out of the second inning, having given up five runs on six hits.
Royals 3, Reds 1: It was 1-0 heading into the ninth when Ben Zobrist managed to hit a homer off of Aroldis Chapman, sending it on to extras. He was also part of the Royals’ two-run rally in the top of the thirteenth. The blown save was Chapman’s first one at home in 57 save opportunities, dating back to September 2012. Overall, sixteen pitchers combined to allow four runs — only three earned — in 26 innings, striking out 24. Welcome to baseball in 2015.
Tigers 10, Cubs 8: Ian Kinsler had five of the Tigers’ 19 hits, one of which was a homer in this wild one. A rain delay knocked out the starters in the third inning, which means the Tigers needed to depend on their relievers. And Detroit had a 6-2 lead heading into the fifth inning but blew it before rallying later. Brad Ausmus:
“Offensively the lineup did their part. We’ve just got to be better out of the bullpen.”
This is not a repeat from 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 . . . .
Mariners 3, Rangers 2: Last time he pitched Hisashi Iwakuma tossed a no-hitter. It seems that whenever guys do that lately their next start — or next several starts — are lackluster. Not here. Iwakuma allowed two runs over seven and got the win. All of the M’s runs came in the first, including a Seth Smith homer.
Marlins 9, Brewers 6: Ichiro was 4-for-5 with two runs scored. It was his first four-hit game in two years. He now has 2,919 hits on his career, with 75 this year. If he says on his current pace he’ll likely get 20-25 more or so this season. It’s inevitable, then, that someone will give him a chance to break the 3,000-hit mark in the United States next season and it’s very likely that he’ll do it, one assumes. It’s just astounding when you realize that he didn’t start here until he was 27. And has 1,278 hits in Japan.
Astros 3, Rays 2: Marwin Gonzalez had three hits including a tenth inning walkoff homer. He also doubled in a run earlier. A.J. Hinch said that Gonzalez, normally a utility guy, gets to play again today. I’d say that’s only fair.
Giants 2, Cardinals 0: Ryan Vogelsong pitched six shutout innings, but he wasn’t the only Giants starting pitcher who played a role here. In the seventh inning Bruce Bochy used Bumgarner to pinch hit for Vogelsong, and he singled. Two walks and a hit-by-pitch later and he came in to score the Giants’ second run. Bumgarner homered in his last start. The Giants have three games at Oakland in late September. Maybe he should DH? The Giants have won six of eight.
Nationals 15, Rockies 6: Washington snaps its six-game skid. Yunel Escobar and Ian Desmond each drove in four. Bryce Harper walked four times. The Nats as a team walked ten times, including three times in a four-run eighth inning. A run scored that inning on a balk too. You’d think the Rockies had played in Colorado long enough to realize that you can’t get away with that sort of thing.
Athletics 5, Dodgers 4: Clayton Kershaw didn’t have his a-game, but he did allow only one run through seven innings and stood to be the winner after the Dodgers scored three in the top of the eighth. Then Pedro Baez gave those three runs back in the bottom of the eighth and Yimi Garcia allowed back-to-back doubles to Mark Canha and Billy Butler to lead off the tenth to let the A’s walk it off. In addition to scoring the winning run, Canha was 4-for-5 and drove in two.
Padres 9, Braves 0: Melvin Upton Jr. homered twice against the team who signed him to a $75 million deal before the 2013 season and who did jack squat for them while he played there. If you forfeit a game you lose 9-0 according to baseball rules. That may have been preferable to watching Upton hit two homers against the Braves. In fact I know it would’ve been.