Toronto Blue Jays

Todd Frazier

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Reds 8, Tigers 4: Todd Frazier plays the hero with a 13th inning walkoff grand slam. It was his second homer of the game and second day in a row in which he hit two homers. Between the 13 innings and an hour and a half rain delay, this thing ended at almost 1:30AM. Todd Frazier may be one of the more overlooked players in baseball, but all he’s doing is hitting .294/.361/.639 and is on a 55-homer pace.

Mariners 2, Giants 0: King Outduels Bum. Felix Hernandez has alternated good and bad starts lately, but this one was good. And necessary, as he was facing Madison Bumgarner. Felix shut the Giants out for eight innings, however, while Austin Jackson and Robinson Cano hit a triple and a double, respectively, off of Bumgarner in the sixth for the M’s only runs.

Rays 5, Nationals 0: Steven Souza was a hero in Washington the last time he played a regular season game in Nats Park. That’s when he saved Jordan Zimmermann’s no-hitter with an acrobatic catch in the last game of the 2014 season. Last night, as a Ray, he had three hits including a homer. The home crowd probably wasn’t as welcoming of that. They were probably even less welcoming of the fact that the Rays tossed a two-hit shutout in what was basically a bullpen game for them.

Yankees 2, Marlins 1: The Yankees’ winning equation: good starting pitching and old guys coming through. It was a gamble at the outset of the season and one that seemed like a longshot, but it’s paying off often enough for them to keep them in contention. Here the formula played out with Michael Pineda looking sharp into the seventh and both Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran knocking in a run.

Orioles 6, Phillies 4: Chris Parmelee homered for the third time in two games. That’s twelve wins in their last fourteen for Baltimore. Nine losses in a row for Philly. When Ryne Sandberg was asked about the club’s record he said “It’s surprising.” Have to expect heads will be rolling soon.

Blue Jays 8, Mets 0: Drew Hutchison bounced back from a poor start to shut the Mets down into the sixth. Kevin Pillar went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. Terry Collins: “We’ve got to start playing better on the road. We’ve got to start winning some games.” Between him and Sandberg it must’ve been Obvious Night last night.

Cubs 17, Indians 0: I sort of operate like the guy from that old HBO series “Dream On,” in that when stuff happens in life, little movie or TV clips play in my head to characterize it. In the past couple of days this has been getting worn out as I peruse the box scores:

 

Kris Bryant had a grand slam and Kyle Schwarber was 4-for-5. For the second night in a row we saw two position players take the mound for a team, this time Ryan Raburn and David Murphy, who combined to allow seven runs in the ninth. None of them were earned, however, as all seven runs scored after Francisco Lindor booted what would’ve been out number three in the inning.

Braves 5, Reds Sox 2: Boston has now lost eight of nine overall and 11 of 12 on the road. Nick Markakis knocked in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning. Pedro Ciriaco knocked in two. John Farrell lost a replay challenge, argued when asking for an umpire replay review later on and then got tossed arguing balls and strikes. Tough night at the office.

Pirates 3, White Sox 2: No one knew whether Jung Ho Kang’s gaudy numbers from Korea would translate to the majors, but he’s doin’ just fine, no? A two-run homer in this one puts him at .280/.363/.420 on the year and I think the Pirates are quite pleased with it. That’s seven wins in a row for Pittsburgh, who actually made up a game in the standings because . . .

Twins 3, Cardinals 1: . . . The Cardinals finally lost a game on a night Pittsburgh won. Tommy Milone gave up one run in seven innings and Glen Perkins notched a four-out save. This from the AP gamer strikes me as odd:

Carlos Martinez (7-3) gave up two runs — one earned — on five hits and struck out six in 6 2/3 innings for the Cardinals, who are embroiled in a federal investigation into allegations that members of the team’s baseball operations hacked into the Houston Astros’ personnel database.

Multiple additional words appear about the hacking thing as well. I guess context is context, but it seems really odd to me to insert this into a game story as the scandal seems so very far removed from actual game play. Especially given that no one is quoted talking about it.

Royals 10, Brewers 2: Joe Blanton got his first win — and made his first start — in nearly two years. I suppose this now means he’ll be the starting pitcher for the American League All-Star team.

Astros 8, Rockies 4: Carlos Correa hit one of Houston’s four home runs and he and George Springer each had three hits. In his first nine games he’s hitting .359/.375/.641 with three homers. And he won’t be able to have a legal beer for over three months.

Diamondbacks 3, Angels 2: Paul Goldschmidt and Welington Castillo each hit homers and Yasmany Tomas had three hits with an RBI triple. Goldschmidt is putting up video game numbers this year: .363/.481/.679 with 19 homers and 54 RBI. He’s five homers and eight RBI behind Giancarlo Stanton for the lead in all three triple crown categories. Heck, we actually could have a Triple Crown race this year between him and Bryce Harper.

Athletics 16, Padres 2: Another blowout, this one paired with a dominating pitching performance from Jesse Chavez, who struck out 11. Billy Butler had a big game, hitting a homer on a 4-for-5, 3 RBI night. And of course we got more position player pitching, this time from Alexi Amarista. He only threw two pitches, though, which is kind of sad. We’ve come to expect so much more this week.

Rangers 5, Dodgers 3: Clayton Kershaw struck out ten but he was touched for a Joey Gallo homer and a lot of timely Rangers hitting. Sort of the story of his year, really. Good stuff but you look up at the end of the night and wonder how he gave up four runs.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

Manny Machado
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Orioles 19, Phillies 3: Well that was thoroughly ridiculous. The Orioles set a franchise record with eight homers in this one., with Manny Machado and Chris Parmalee each hitting two. Of course the highlight of this — or was it the lowlight? — was Jeff Francoeur coming in and pitching two innings, about which we’ll have more to say later this morning. Or maybe the lowlight was the Phillies’ bullpen phone being off the hook, preventing Ryne Sandberg from getting anyone else to warm up when Frenchy was clearly laboring. Or maybe it was when Chase Utley was quite visibly mad at Sandberg when he was on the mound talking to Francoeur to see if he could get more pitches out of him. Either way, for every bit as uplifting and hilarious this was from the Orioles’ perspective, it was pathetic and awful from the Phillies’ perspective. I’d say it’s the kind of game that gets managers fired, but to be honest, I can’t say I’ve ever seen this kind of game before.

Cardinals 3, Twins 2: For as much as I wanted to wake up this morning and write about how the Cardinals went up there hacking, I can’t, because they only struck out four times and didn’t hit any homers. Maybe the greatest disappointment for me, personally, in the 2015 baseball season. You only get so many shots at zingers like that, an when they fail to present themselves it’s really disheartening.

Astros 8, Rockies 5: Luis Valbuena, however, took his hacks, hitting two homers and knocking in four. But really, it’s not just the same here. Sure, I could maybe make some contrived “victim takes ownership and control over the crime that befell them,” analogy, but that’s tortured even for me. Anyway, Valbuena has 41 hits this season, 16 of which are homers. After the game Hank Conger said “This guy is like the kid who only hits homers.” Which I’m pretty sure was a rejected Donald Westlake book title from 1979. He still wrote the book, but it ended up way, way too dark so he slapped his Richard Stark pen name on it and turned it into a Parker book. As usual, the movie adaptation was lacking.

UPDATE: I had no idea this existed, but multiple people have mentioned it now:

source:

That kid HAD to have been given a bunt sign once or twice, right? Took one the other way once in a while in order to take what the pitcher was giving him? Or is this a steroids story? So many questions.

Athletics 6, Padres 5: Eric Sogard drove in the go-ahead in a tie game in the ninth inning off Craig Kimbrel to spoil Pat Murphy’s managerial debut. Murphy was Sogard’s college coach. Not going to go back and read any background on them because I’m going to choose to believe that they had a falling out once and this was a student-comes-back-and-kills-his-old-sensei-for-reasons-we’ll-never-know situaish.

Giants 6, Mariners 2: The first Giants home win in ten tries. Matt Duffy hit a two-run homer and added an RBI single. He also said after the game that the win came following a team conversation:

“We had a little discussion about it today. These fans are too good for us to be playing the way we have been at home.”

In other news, most of human experience can be described as dealing with an inherently chaotic and random universe by attempting to craft fictions in which we portray ourselves as having agency and control.

Red Sox 9, Braves 4: The losing streak ends and Brock Holt hits for the cycle. If I was a member of the Boston media I’d write a straight-faced column this morning wondering why Holt couldn’t have hit a second double instead of that single and ask whether it means his focus is lacking. It could cause Dustin Pedroia to explode and that would be sort of fun. Julio Teheran gave up six earned runs on 13 hits. I can’t remember the last pitcher I saw who, when he was good he was fine, but when he was off got totally tattooed as much as Teheran get tattooed.

Pirates 3, White Sox 0: The Pirates shut the White Sox out for the second straight game. This time it was Charlie Morton who led the way, with seven scoreless innings. Morton’s ERA is 1.62. The Pirates, in fact, have three starters with ERAs under 2.00.

Reds 5, Tigers 2: Todd Frazier had two homers and Jay Bruce added one. There was an odd replay after a play at the plate on Anthony Gose in this game that (a) took a long time; and (b) seemed to go the wrong way. After the game, Brad Ausmus voiced his frustration at the way replay has gone this year:

“I definitely think that instant replay has regressed this season,” he said. “I thought for the most part, they changed calls in order to get the play right, and they did that on a regular basis.

“I’m not seeing that this year.”

His comments on that closely mirrored what I had to say about this yesterday: that replay officials are giving too much deference to the call made on the field as opposed to simply making the better call from their better vantage point.

 

Mets 3, Blue Jays 2: The good Matt Harvey made an appearance, shutting out the best offense in baseball for seven innings and striking out six. Not that the Blue Jays’ efforts were in vain. Kevin Pillar helped provide a teachable moment to all the little leaguers out there: never forget to look to your third base coach. Or at third base, for that matter, as someone may be standing on it when you try to advance there.

Marlins 12, Yankees 2: Nathan Eovaldi returned to Miami and did more for the Marlins last night than he did all last year, really. The Fish scored eight off of him in the first inning ending this one before it began. Giancarlo Stanton hit a three-run homer in the fifth giving him 24 on the year. Maybe if he hits more he’ll pass Nori Aoki in the All-Star voting.

Nationals 16. Rays 4: Jeff Francoeur may have gotten all the headlines for position players pitching last night, but the Rays used two position players on the mound: Jake Elmore and Nick Franklin. Wilson Ramos homered off of each of them in this rout. Things got pretty wild last night, man.

Rangers 3, Dodgers 2: The Rangers coughed up a two-run lead in the top of the ninth when Josh Turner hit a two-run bomb, but Robinson Chirinos got it back with a walkoff homer. Before the Turner homer, Rangers starter Chi Chi Gonzalez was going for a shutout. In other news, I can’t tell you how happy I am that we have a Chi Chi playing major league baseball.

Indians 6, Cubs 0: Trevor Bauer tossed seven shutout innings and Carlos Santana drove in four with a three-run homer and an RBI double. Santana also walked twice, helping end a personal skid. Or maybe just interrupting it. Recall what I said above about an inherently chaotic and random universe? Part of dealing with that also involves grafting artificial end-points onto a never-ending river of time.

Royals 7, Brewers 2: Chris Young pitched well (7IP, 5 H, o ER) and drove in three at the plate on two RBI singles. Royals fans suddenly vote him ahead of Mike Trout as the ninth starter in the All-Star Game.

Angels 4, Diamondbacks 1: Two-run homers from Albert Pujols and David Freese was all the Angels needed, but they also got seven strong innings from Garret Richards in which he allowed only one unearned run. The game story leads with stuff about how Mike Scioscia switched the lineup around to put Pujols in the cleanup spot. Pujols will not hear about that meaning anything:

“You don’t change your approach because of where you’re hitting in the lineup. It doesn’t matter if you hit eighth, leadoff … you’ve still got to go out there and play. I wish you guys flip that page and stay focused on the things we have to concentrate on, and that’s winning — not about where I hit, or Trout hitting third. I mean, if that’s your wish, you got it tonight.”

Prediction: a future Hall of Famer explaining in no uncertain terms that hitters don’t change their approach based on where they are in the lineup will do nothing to stop the media from claiming that hitters change their approach based on where they are in the lineup. Why? Probably because, in addition to (a) attempting to craft fictions in which we portray ourselves as having agency and control; and (b) grafting artificial end-points onto a never-ending river of time, we deal with a hostile and uncaring universe by telling ourselves that we truly matter and that our place in it gives us importance merely by our occupying it. “I’m a baseball writer,” the baseball writer thinks, “and if I say something, it must be insightful and true, even if it is demonstrably not.”

Man. Today got kind of existential. Not sure why. I’m guessing Francoeur pitching had something to do with that. Really threw my ju-ju off.

Mets rally in extras to snap Blue Jays’ 11-game winning streak

at Citi Field on June 15, 2015 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
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The Mets came from behind to beat the Blue Jays 4-3 in 11 innings tonight at Citi Field, snapping Toronto’s winning streak at 11 games.

The Blue Jays grabbed the early lead in this one when Jose Bautista connected for a long solo home run off Noah Syndergaard in the top of the first inning. The Mets didn’t get their first hit against Mark Buehrle until the fifth, but they grabbed the lead in the sixth on back-to-back RBI doubles from Juan Lagares and Ruben Tejada.

Asked to get a four-out save, Jeurys Familia struck out Josh Donaldson swinging to get out of jam in the top of the eighth inning, but he gave up a leadoff solo home run to Bautista in the ninth to tie things up. The Blue Jays took the lead on a sacrifice fly from Dioner Navarro in the top of the 11th, but the Mets got a rally going in the bottom of the inning after Ruben Tejada drew a one-out walk against Brett Cecil. Michael Cuddyer followed with a ground ball to second base, but Tejada evaded the tag long enough for him to reach first base. Lucas Duda then tied things up with a bloop hit to left field before Blue Jays manager John Gibbons brought in Liam Hendriks to face Wilmer Flores. However, Flores hit a single up the middle to score Duda for the walk-off win for New York.

Here’s the video of the walk-off hit:

By the way, Syndergaard, who was traded from the Blue Jays to the Mets in the R.A. Dickey deal, struck out a career-high 11 batters over his six innings of work.

Tonight was the first loss for the Blue Jays since June 2. The Mets have secured comeback victories in back-to-back days and now sit at 35-30 on the season, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals for first place in the National League East.

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Miguel Cabrera
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source:

Ah, it’s good to be back. If you’re curious about where I was, you can read what I wrote about it here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. If you’re not curious, well, let’s get right back into it, shall we?

Tigers 8, Indians 1: All Miguel Cabrera does is hit 450+ foot homers against the Indians. He did it on Friday and again here yesterday, this time tagging Corey Kluber. Also, if you ever visit Miguel Cabrera’s house, ask him to show you the bill of sale for when he acquired Kluber. For he certainly owns him: he’s 20-for-35 with five homers against him in his career.

Mets 10, Braves 8: The Braves were up five at one point, but the Mets just bashed the living hell out of them to come from behind. Four homers in all for New York, including Juan Lagares’ go ahead three-run homer in the sixth to cap the scoring in a game that looked like the American League circa 2000. Oh, and I should note that Dana Eveland pitched in this one for the Braves. He was acquired by them while I was gone, and I did not get to make mention of it. Long time readers will know of my fascination with Eveland and the fact that he has the EXACT name I would use if I was a pretty young starlet in 1940s Hollywood. And which I bet at some point some starlet did use, only she didn’t make it big because she wouldn’t sleep woth Howard Hughes or some such thing and got buried in RKO B-movies. Sure, she came back once in a “Murder, She Wrote” episode in the late 80s and John Waters stunt-casted her a couple of times, but it wasn’t much of a career, frankly.

Rockies 4, Marlins 1: I’ll always remember where I was when Jorge De La Rosa passed Aaron Cook for the all-time Rockies franchise win record. Specifically, I was . . . um. Wait. I did some laundry yesterday. And I met some friends for an early dinner. Hmm, not sure when this game ended so I can’t really be sure. OK, guess I won’t always remember where I was, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado homered in this one.

Dodgers 4, Padres 2: Adrian Gonzalez drove in three, including a two-run single in the top of the 12th to put the Dodgers over. I did not say “put them ahead,” because I wanted to use a wrestling term there in honor of the Late, Great Dusty Rhodes who died last week. I don’t follow wrestling now but I sure as hell followed it back in the mid-80s and Georgia/Mid-Atlantic was my circuit of choice. Rhodes owned that world, jack, telling us all about “Hard Times” and lamenting the time Baby Doll — that Jezebel! — spent $5,000 of his hard-earned dollars on assorted men and papaya juice. RIP, American Dream.

 

Rays 2, White Sox 1: Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer off Chris Sale in the seventh and that’s all the Rays would need. Which was unfortunate given how well Sale pitched otherwise, striking out 12 and allowing only two hits apart from that mistake to Cabrera. Sale was clearly tiring, however and finished that inning with 125 pitches on the day.

Yankees 5, Orioles 3: The Yankees kept pace and maintained their percentage points lead over Tampa Bay with a victory here. Free passes helped key the Yankees’ rally. Two Orioles pitchers managed four straight walks to force in a run and then John Ryan Murphy hit a two-run double.

Blue Jays 13, Red Sox 5: The last time I did an “And That Happened” was ages ago. June 3, to be exact. And that is the last time anyone around here was able to write about a Blue Jays’ loss, which last happened the evening before. Now it’s 11 straight for Toronto, and they stand only a game behind the Yankees and Rays. Some things are the same as before I went on my little trip: the Red Sox sucked then and they suck now. Ryan Goins homered, doubled and drove in five in this one.

Pirates 1, Phillies 0: Josh Harrison drove in Neil Walker with two outs in the bottom of the 11th for the win, but it was really A.J. Burnett and Cole Hamels who owned the day. Burnett pitched nine, shutting out the Phillies in regulation on five hits. Hamels only went seven but he too shut out the opposition, striking out 12. It’s a shame neither of them figured in the decision and one of their team’s had to come out on the losing end.

Nationals 4, Brewers 0: Max Scherzer must’ve been feeling right yesterday: 1 hit, 16 strikeouts and the complete game shutout. All he’s done this year is post a 1.93 ERA with a 113/14 K/BB ratio over 93 1/3 innings. Yet he’s only 7-5 and the Nationals aren’t in first place, meaning that he really has not done his job, right?

Astros 13, Mariners 0: The Astros take two of three from Seattle. In the two wins they outscored the M’s 23-0. Not too bad. Here Lance McCullers had a no-hitter going through five but was nonethless pulled. That’s what happens when you’re a well-regarded kid and you’ve already tossed 90 pitches in those five innings. Four relievers came in after him and helped to combine for a two-hitter. Evan Gattis had four hits. Colby Rasmus and Hank Conger each drove in three. Houston: still in first place after Flag Day. Who’da thunk it?

Twins 4, Rangers 3: Byron Buxton made his big league debut. No hits and he struck out twice, but he scored the go-ahead and winning run from first base in the top of the ninth after reaching on a botched sac bunt in which the lead runner was thrown out.

Athletics 8, Angels 1: The A’s are double-digits behind the division leaders but Sonny Gray has done his job at least. He allowed only one unearned run in seven and two-thirds to lower his ERA to 1.60. Ben Zobrist — likely coming to a contender near you in the next month or so — went 3-for-5 and scored three times.

Diamondbacks 4, Giants 0: Good day for De La Rosas. Jorge set a team record and Rubby took a shutout into the ninth. He couldn’t seal the deal but he did get his first win in ages. Chris Heston, alas, did not pull a Johnny Vander Meer, allowing a hit in the second and being chased after five after giving up three runs.

Cubs 2, Reds 1: For the second game in a row Starlin Castro got a walkoff hit. This one in the 11th. Chicago took three of four. They’re seven games over .500. Six and a half back and in third place, mind you, but they’d be leading three other divisions and, given how strong the NL Central is, it’s totally possible three playoff teams come out of that division anyway.

Royals vs. Cardinals: POSTPONED: Another rainy day, we’re trapped inside with a train set
Chocolate on the boil, steamy windows when we met
You’ve got the attic window looking out on the cathedral
And on a Sunday evening bells ring out in the dusk

(sorry; I saw Belle and Sebastian in concert last night, so everything is nice and twee today)

Blue Jays sweep Red Sox, extend winning streak to 11 games

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox
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The red-hot Blue Jays polished off a series sweep of the division-rival Red Sox with a 13-5 win at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon to extend their winning streak to 11 games. Six Blue Jay hitters had multiple hits, including Ryan Goins, who knocked in five runs. Starter Marco Estrada wasn’t very effective, so he certainly enjoyed the outpouring of run support.

On their 11-game winning streak, the Jays have averaged exactly eight runs per game, hitting 23 doubles, two triples, and 18 home runs, accounting for about 35 percent of their 123 total hits during that span of time. The pitching, overall, has been quite good as well, as the Jays’ staff has a 3.12 ERA collectively over their last 11 games.

After losing the first game of a doubleheader on June 2 versus the Nationals, the Jays were 23-30, 4.5 games out of first place, in fourth place in the AL East. After Sunday’s win, they’re 34-30, just one game behind the first-place Yankees and Rays. The Jays will finish off their short road trip with two games in New York against the Mets, then head home for two more games against the Mets, followed by three against the Orioles.