And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Pedroia fist pump.jpgRed Sox 9, Yankees 7:  The Yankees were supposed to have a great bullpen. The Red Sox weren’t supposed to have enough offense because of all that run prevention they had imported. Well, The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men gang aft agley, and all that. The Yankees blew a 5-1 lead. The Red Sox pounded out 12 hits, five of which went for extra bases. One of the Yankees runs — on the double steal — was the result of approximately 14 defensive mistakes on the same play, aptly pointed out by what I’m going to henceforth call ESPN’s “Matrix-vision.”

And I probably owe an apology. Before the game I kept claiming that it would be a turgid, boring and sloppy four-hour affair, and I was wrong about that.  It was a turgid, boring and sloppy three hour and forty-six minute affair.  But as Sox and Yankees purists have warned me, I shouldn’t complain. The additions of bad live singing by Stephen Tyler (“God Bless America”) and Neil Diamond (“Something that sounded almost but not quite entirely unlike ‘Sweet Caroline'”) only added to the pure, unspoiled majesty that is The Greatest Rivalry in All of Baseball.*

Oh, and the Red Sox’ magic number is 161.

*Why they didn’t have the best musical talent in the house performing last night is beyond me.

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.