And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Damon homers.jpgTigers 5, Yankees 4: Johnny Damon hit a homer and Austin Jackson drove in a run on a groundout. That’s cool and all, but otherwise they combined to go 1 for 7 with three strikeouts. Despite that, how much you wanna bet that the New York papers make a huge “oh, if we only had those guys!” fuss this morning?

Reds 2, Pirates 1: How to tell if a team is for real? It wins the games it’s supposed to win. A lot of teams have had a problem doing that when the Pirates are involved this year, but Cincy took care of it last night.

Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 3: Andre Ethier went 3 for 5 with two doubles and two RBI. He’s probably happy that Ronnie Belliard had that contact clause requiring him to lose weight seeing as though he’s carrying this team on his back and everything.

Phillies 9, Rockies 5: Carlos Ruiz and Ross Gload (?!) did most of the damage here, as the Phillies came from behind twice and capped the night off with a four-run ninth inning. In other news, Huston Street threw a bullpen session yesterday. He has been missed.

Braves 8, Brewers 2: Tommy Hanson threw eight scoreless with 8Ks and Martin Prado hit a grand slam. I love the quotes from the Braves in the game story about how it feels like they’re turning it around and everything. One-game winning streak, dudes. For Milwaukee, Ryan Braun left the game in the seventh after getting plunked.

Marlins 4, Cubs 2: Ted Lilly took a no-hitter into the sixth but, in clear violation of baseball’s unwritten rules, the Marlins broke it up and won the game. Wait, correction: it was only a violation of Ted Lilly’s unwritten rules. Still, gotta have respect for (Ted Lilly’s) game, Marlins. Totally bush league if you ask me.  In other news, Cody Ross stole home on a double steal, and that’s always fun (video here).

Angels 5, Rays 4: The Rays’ bats were suffering a perfect game hangover for a long time in this one, but finally woke up late to come from behind and tie it at 4 in the ninth. The winning run came in the 11th, with the sequence going like this: a single, a sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. Note: no animals or baseballs were harmed in the manufacturing of this run.

Nationals 3, Mets 2: Adam Kennedy and Ryan Zimmerman hit back-to-back jacks and Luis Atilano and five relievers, who did not include closer Matt Capps or winning machine Tyler Clippard, kept the Mets’ bats quiet. A couple of baserunning mistakes hurt the Mets. First, David Wright got doubled off first base on a popup. It had been so long since he had been standing on first perhaps he forgot what to do over there. Second, Jeff Francoeur got caught in a rundown between third and home after breaking for it on a chopper back to the mound.  He’s Jeffy, though, and for him those things just happen sometimes.

Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 6: Brandon Morrow walked five dudes in the second inning. In fact, the Red Sox’ four runs that inning came by virtue of a single hit. The Jays’ 2-5 hitters combined to go 0 for 16.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.