And That Happened: Sunday's scores and highlights

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Why do we need an All-Star break? I’m not even tired . . .

Tigers 10, Indians 1:
I listened to this game on the radio while painting the railing and
trim around my front porch with my old man. My dad is great, if for no
other reason than he’ll help me paint my porch, but he’s never been a
big baseball fan. It took a couple of innings before he realized that
it was a Tigers game, and when he did, he said “you can pick up WJR
here?” I explained to him that it was the Tribe’s broadcast and that
even if it wasn’t, WJR doesn’t carry the Tigers anymore. “Ah.” We
painted on. A few minutes later: “Harwell doesn’t do Tigers games
anymore.” I think it was a statement and not a question, but I wasn’t
completely sure. “No,” I said, “he’s been retired for a few years now.
He’s still sharp — did an inning or two at the World Series a couple
of years ago, I think — but he’s done.” We painted on, enjoying the
game. “George Kell’s dead.” This one I know was a statement because he
told me about it when he heard it on the news a few months back. I
didn’t have much of a response beyond “yep.” We painted on. Brandon
Inge hit his second home run in the 5th and my dad, who I’m certain
hasn’t paid any attention to baseball since the mid 80s, said “Man, the
Indians are terrible.” This was definitely a statement, and I quote it
here for truth.

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 2:
Between this game and the one above, I’m really missing the old AL East
right now. Hows about trading the Rays to the NL for the Brewers,
realigning back to two divisions and picking two Wild Card teams? It
wouldn’t actually change the playoff picture too much — the Tigers and
Rangers would be in a mad dash for the second Wild Card slot right now
— but it would restore the aesthetics of it all. As for this game,
Brad Bergesen continues his solid ways, leading a team that seems to be
trending up past a team that is clearly trending down as the season
progresses. Oh, and plate umpire Ron Kulpa suffered a mild concussion
after being smacked in the mask by a foul ball. They finished the game
with three umps. I wish they would have moved the third base ump to the
mound like they did when I played eight year-old minor league or
whatever it was.

Cubs 7, Cardinals 3:
Zambrano hits a home run and pitches six decent innings to win the
game. Phil Rogers demands that he be waived. Kyle Lohse made his first
start in over a month, but it didn’t go too well. To make room for him,
the Cardinals optioned reliever Blake Hawksworth to Memphis. “Blake
Hawksworth?” That doesn’t sound like a ballplayer. It sounds like a
guest character from a four-episode arc of “Dynasty” or the male lead
in some bodice-ripping romance novel or something. From the back cover:
“Cattle baron Blake Hawksworth is used to getting his way. So he is
baffled when Annie Jones, a feisty little hellion who steps between him
and a bullet in the back, isn’t interested in becoming his latest
plaything. If only he knew that Annie is really the Countess of
Montevarchi — in disguise and on the run! — and that their fledgling
relationship is a scandal-in-the-making!” I know what I’m reading
during the All-Star break!

Cardinals 4, Cubs 2:
Ryan Ludwick: 3-4, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Albert Pujols hits in front of
Ludwick and went 0-4 with nary a walk. I think he did it on purpose to
show Ludwick how it feels to have absolutely no help around him in the
lineup. I may be letting my Pujols man-crush cloud my reasoning on
this, however.

Red Sox 6, Royals 0:
Josh Beckett ties the Royals up in knots (CG SHO 3 H, 7K, 94 pitches)
and wins his 100th game. Jason Bay reached base five times without
registering an official at bat, drawing three walks and getting plunked
twice.

Mets 9, Reds 7:
Francoeur went 2-for-4 with two RBI in the win on Saturday, and then
went 2-5 yesterday. Probably worth noting that he started pretty darn
hot in Atlanta too. In fact, that hot start is the only reason he stuck
around as long as he did. So I guess what I’m saying to my Met-fan
friends out there is this: hope and pray that Francoeur cools off
quickly, because if he doesn’t, Omar won’t non-tender him this winter
as nature intended, and then he’ll be your starting right fielder next
year. Making like $5 million.

Athletics 7, Rays 3:
Andrew Bailey pitches a two-inning save. Now he may not be available
for the All-Star Game on Tuesday! Doesn’t Bob Geren know that this time
it counts? What will Joe Maddon do without a fresh Andrew Bailey? What
if Buehrle, Fuentes, Greinke, Halladay, Hernandez, Jackson, Nathan,
Papelbon, Rivera, and Wakefield get into a jam? What then?!!!!

Phillies 5, Pirates 2:
Not surprisingly, J.A. Happ (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) is a better fit in the
Philly rotation than Chan Ho Park was. Not to take anything away from
Happ, but the list of people who would be better fits in the Philly
rotation than Chan Ho Park is not limited to Mr. Happ. In fact, even if
we limited it to just the H’s the list would quite long, and would
include just about everyone except for Stephen Hawking and Corey Haim.
And I’m not sure about Hawking.

Twins 13, White Sox 7:
Nice day for the Twins, but it’s a negative like this — Joe Mauer,
0-5, 4K — which sticks out the most. In other news, on Saturday night the Twins went throwback with their 1984 jerseys.
I think they should go back to those full time when they move into the
new park next year. They’re simple, clean and classic looking. My only
suggestions are: keep blue caps with the “TC” logo at all times (i.e.
no red) and don’t mess at all with solid blue alternates or anything
else. Keep it white at home and gray — or even be daring and go powder
blue — on the road. The era of the “M” logo and pinstripe should be
over the moment the dome is in Minnesota.

Dodgers 7, Brewers 4:
Orlando Hudson hit two homers and Clayton Kershaw improved to 4-0 with
a 0.76 ERA in his last six starts. Oh, and Manny since his return from
suspension: .308/.400/.654. The Dodgers: 6-3.

Angels 5, Yankees 4:
New York blew four-run leads on Friday and Saturday. They didn’t really
blow this one, they just lost, as John Lackey had one of his better
starts of the year (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER). For those of you keeping score at
home, the Yanks are now 2-4 against the Angels to go with their 0-8
against Boston.

Marlins 8, Diamondbacks 1:
Josh Johnson gets to go to the All-Star Game, but won’t be pitching, as
he put up six and two-thirds quality innings yesterday. From the game
story: “A woman sitting in the second row near the plate was hit in the
face by a Cantu foul ball in the first inning. Her head was wrapped in
bandages and she was carried out on a stretcher.” And I hereby renew my call for additional netting for the seats down by the field.

Astros 5, Nationals 0:
The Nats couldn’t figure out the enigma that is Brian Moehler (6.1 IP,
7 H, 0 ER) and end the first half with a crisp 26-61 record. I’m more
surprised that the Astros are at .500.

Mariners 5, Rangers 3:
A Chris Shelton sighting. Called up to the Mariners on Wednesday, the
former Ranger and Tiger hit a pinch hit RBI single to put the Ms ahead
for good in the seventh.

Rockies 8, Braves 7:
Atlanta led 4-0, 5-1, and 7-3 in this game, but lost because when your
starting pitcher only gives you four innings, your bullpen is going to
get beat up in a place like Coors Field.

Padres 10, Giants 4:
Barry Zito — after throwing the game of his Giants’ career last time
out — pinches off a 4.1 IP, 10 H,9 ER performance against the worst
offense in the league. Wait, make that the worst offense that had been
struggling mightily entering this game, having only score six runs in
the previous four games. Bengie Molina was back in the lineup after
taking two days off to be with his wife for the birth of his daughter,
Jayda, on Saturday. Little Jayda Molina — being a Molina — was signed
by the Marlins, who expect her to compete for the starting catcher’s
job next spring.

Nationals GM Rizzo won’t reveal length of Martinez’s new contract

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WASHINGTON — Dave Martinez spoke Saturday about managing the Washington Nationals for “many, many years” and over the “long term” and “quite some time,” thanks to his contract extension.

Sharing a table to a socially distanced degree with his manager on a video conference call to announce the new deal – each member of the duo sporting a 2019 World Series ring on his right hand – Nationals GM Mike Rizzo referred to the agreement’s “multiyear” nature, but repeatedly refused to reveal anything more specific in response to reporters’ questions.

“We don’t talk about terms as far as years, length and salaries and that type of thing. We’re comfortable with what we have and the consistency that we’re going to have down the road,” said Rizzo, who recently agreed to a three-year extension of his own. “That’s all we want to say about terms, because it’s private information and we don’t want you guys to know about it.”

When Martinez initially was hired by Rizzo in October 2017 – his first managing job at any level – the Nationals’ news release at the time announced that he was given a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year.

That 2021 option had not yet been picked up.

“The partnership that Davey and I have together, our communication styles are very similar. Our aspirations are similar, and kind of our mindset of how to obtain the goals that we want to obtain are similar. I think it’s a good match,” Rizzo said. “We couldn’t have hit on a more positive and enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse. I think you see it shine through even in the most trying times.”

The Nationals entered Saturday – Martinez’s 56th birthday – with a 23-34 record and in last place in the NL East, which Rizzo called “a disappointing season.” The team’s title defense was slowed by injuries and inconsistency during a 60-game season delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg threw just five innings because of a nerve issue in his pitching hand and players such as Starlin Castro, Sean Doolittle, Tanner Rainey, Adam Eaton and Carter Kieboom finished the year on the IL.

“This year, for me, we didn’t get it done. We had a lot of bumps in the road this year. But I really, fully believe, we’ve got the core guys here that we need to win another championship,” Martinez said. “I know Mike, myself, we’re going to spend hours and hours and hours trying to fill the void with guys we think can potentially help us in the future. And we’ll be back on the podium. I’m really confident about that.”

Rizzo was asked Saturday why the team announces contract lengths for players, as is common practice around the major leagues, but wouldn’t do so in this instance for Martinez.

“The reason is we don’t want anybody to know. That’s the reason,” Rizzo said, before asking the reporter: “How much do you make? How many years do you have?”

Moments later, as the back-and-forth continued, Rizzo said: “It’s kind of an individual thing with certain people. I don’t want you to know what I make or how many years I have. Davey doesn’t want you to know. And I think that it’s only fair … when people don’t want certain information out there, that we don’t give it.”

There were some calling for Martinez to lose his job last season when Washington got off to a 19-31 start. But Rizzo stood by his manager, and the team eventually turned things around, going 74-38 the rest of the way to reach the playoffs as an NL wild-card team.

The Nationals then beat the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals to reach the World Series, where they beat the Houston Astros in Game 7.

Washington joined the 1914 Boston Braves as the only teams in major league history to win a World Series after being 12 games below .500 during a season.

“Everything from Day 1 to where he’s gotten to now, he’s grown so much. He’s really become one of my favorite managers of all,” three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer said after helping Washington win Saturday’s opener of a doubleheader against the New York Mets. “Davey really understands how to manage a clubhouse, manage a team. We saw it in the postseason. He knows how to push the right buttons when everything is on the line.”