And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Cardinals 8, Reds 4: Fisticuffsmanship! Or, Footsticuffsmanship, if you watched Johnny Cueto kicking people in the donnybrook. Look, I know that, depending on who ends up winning the division, either Reds fans or Cards fans are going to point to this series as some sort of turning point or inspiration or whatever, but the fact is that they’re all kind of embarrassing themselves at this point. Phillips started it, but Yadier Molina’s short fuse ignited it and then Cueto’s crap was unreal. Dusty Baker and Tony La Russa are supposed to be two of the game’s more respected managers. If they’re worthy of the praise and press they get, they’ll beat their teams upside the head today and this afternoon’s game will go off without all of the baloney we saw last night.

Braves 4, Astros 2:
The Superman exists — and he’s Brooks Conrad. OK, that’s putting it a
bit strongly. Dude’s just had a couple of gigantic pinch-hit home runs
this year, this one a two-run job that brought the Braves back from down 2-1 in the ninth. Troy Glaus added another for insurance. On
the bad side, Chipper Jones left the game with what looked like a bad
knee injury, though as of now they’re calling it a sprain. Jason Heyward
sat out with “a sore knee.” It also happened to be the day after he
turned 21, so there’s a distinct possibility that flulike symptoms could
have waylaid him as well.

Twins 12, White Sox 6:
Minnesota takes sole possession of first place in the central. Five
homers for Minnesota, including one from Joe Mauer who has been torrid
in August. He ain’t the MVP this year, but he’s stepping up when the
Twins need him to do so, and that’s what they’re paying the man to do.

Rangers 4, Yankees 3:
Not a lot of managers would put their ace closer into a tie game in
extra innings on the road. Joe Girardi did. And you know what? I don’t
care if the Rangers ended up scoring off him to win the game. It was —
and usually is — the right freakin’ choice. Put your best damn guy in
there when the game could be lost and do your best not to lose it.
Girardi and Rivera got beat last night, but that’s going to happen
such a low percentage of the time I’d do it again whenever
the situation presents itself. Screw the save statistic.

Marlins 8, Nationals 2: The return of Strasburg does not go well (4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER). Rust? Adrenaline? Some residual shoulder wonkiness? The fact that, for the first time, he faced a team who has seen his jazz before?  I vote for a little bit of each of those things.

Mets 1, Rockies 0: If you had “Mike Pelfrey will outduel Ubaldo Jimenez” in the pool, please proceed to the cashier’s cage and collect your winnings. Both starters were pretty fabulous, actually, but the Mets managed to string a walk, a double and a sacrifice off Jimenez in the seventh.

Dodgers 15, Phillies 9: Kyle Kendrick got beat around for three and a third innings and then he graciously allowed the bullpen to get beat around for five and two-thirds. Andre Ethier reached base six times and scored four times. Ross Gload had two two-run homers for the Phillies. Domonic Brown hit his first major league bomb. Just a hell of a lot going on in this game. Most of it bad for Philly, though.

Orioles 14, Indians 8: This is the American League version of the
Phillies-Dodgers games, except done with suckier teams. Showalter’s O’s
are now 7-1.

Diamondbacks 2, Brewers 1: A Miguel Montero homer puts Arizona ahead for good in the eighth. Sadly, however, the closeness of this game prevented Adam LaRoche from pitching.

Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 5: Mike Lowell homered in the eighth to break a 5-5 tie and Jed Lowrie hit an RBI double for insurance. In other news, with Lowell and Lowrie leading the charge it must be 2008.

Rays 8, Tigers 0: Things we know: (1) Jeremy Hellickson is a stud (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7K); (2) The Detroit Tigers are deader than vaudeville.

Cubs 8, Giants 6: Who was that man wearing the number 55 Giants jersey and what has he done with Tim Lincecum? Because I know damn well that the real Tim Lincecum wouldn’t give up six runs on eight hits in four innings to a team like the Cubs. That just doesn’t happen.

Padres 4, Pirates 1: Ryan Ludwick hit two homers, one of which was his 100th home run. And you know what? He didn’t need a ridiculous propaganda piece in a national newspaper to make a note of it.

Mariners 2, Athletics 0: King Felix struck out 13 and shutout the A’s over eight innings. He basically had to, as Brett Anderson was pretty sharp himself (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Angels 3, Royals 1: Dan Haren gets his first win since the trade that sent him to Anaheim. Peter Bourjos drove in the go-ahead run with a suicide squeeze. Those are always fun. Scioscia has a lot of confidence in the rookie, I presume.

Dan Straily suspended five games, Don Mattingly one for throwing at Buster Posey

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Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins pitcher Dan Straily has been suspended five games and Don Mattingly one game for throwing intentionally at Giants catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday in San Francisco. Straily plans to appeal his suspension, so he will be allowed to take his normal turn through the rotation until that matter is settled.

Everything started on Monday, when the Marlins rallied in the ninth inning against closer Hunter Strickland. That included a game-tying single from Lewis Brinson, who pumped his fist and yelled in celebration. Strickland took exception, jawing at Brinson who was on third base when the right-hander was taken out of the game. Strickland went into the clubhouse and punched a door, breaking his hand.

The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a fastball, which prompted warnings for both teams. Mattingly came out to argue with the umpires about the fairness of issuing warnings right then and there. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly apparently said, “You’re next” to Posey, who was standing around home plate. The next inning, Straily hit Posey on the arm with a fastball, which led to immediate ejections for both him and Mattingly.

Neither Rodriguez nor Giants manager Bruce Bochy were reprimanded, which is ludicrous because it was plainly obvious Rodriguez was throwing at Brinson. But neither team had been issued warnings. Essentially, Major League Baseball is giving free reign for teams to get their revenge pitches in. Furthermore, Straily’s five-game suspension is hardly a deterrent for throwing at a hitter. The Marlins could simply give Straily an extra day of rest and it’s like he was never suspended at all.

Beanball wars are bad for baseball. It puts players at risk for obvious reasons. When players have to miss time due to avoidable injury, self-inflicted (in the case of Strickland) or not (if, for example, Posey had a hand or wrist broken from Straily’s pitch), the game suffers because it becomes an inferior product. That’s, of course, second behind the simple fact that throwing at a player is a tremendously childish way to handle a disagreement. When aimed intentionally at another human being, a baseball is a weapon. That’s especially true when it’s in the hands of someone who has been trained to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 MPH.

Commisioner Rob Manfred has spent a lot of time trying to make the game of baseball more appealing, such adding pitch clocks and limiting mound visits. He should spend some time addressing the throwing-at-batters problem.