And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 12, Angels 9 (13 innings): Fernando Rodney blew the save in the bottom of the ninth by allowing two runs. More inexcusable than the runs, however, is that he walked Jeff Francoeur in the process. Actually, he walked the bases loaded before Wilson Betemit doubled in the tying runs. Angels pitchers walked ten Royals in all which should be a felony of some kind. Skip ahead to the 13th inning and Matt Treanor wins it with a walkoff three-run homer. The Royals skip out of the gate with a 3-1 record. The Angels make it nice and clear that, no, they aren’t going to be doing much of anything this year.

Cardinals 2, Padres 0: Wow. After the spring he had, I was a bit worried about Jaime Garcia. Maybe he was actually “just workin’ on some stuff,” because yesterday he was fantastic tossing a four-hit shutout. The game took two hours and three minutes. I like quick games, but man, any shorter and you’re approaching “not getting your money’s worth” territory. Well, Cardinals fans won’t complain.

Rangers 5, Red Sox 1: Boom-boom-boom-boom, homers for Murphy, Kinsler, Napoli and Cruz, as the Red Sox pitching staff completed three straight games of getting shelled. I watched about half of this one on TBS, and I loved how Dennis Eckersley didn’t try to put a shine on it all by saying stuff like “the Red Sox just weren’t making their pitches” or whatever. He just came right out and said stuff like “man, John Lackey sure got shelled on Saturday, they just teed off on him.”  Kind of refreshing to hear commentators talk like you and I would if we were watching the game on the couch. Indeed, I’d love to see a game — just one game, as an experiment — in which the regular broadcasters were replaced by a couple of dudes just talking. As long as they weren’t total Neanderthals it could be fun.

Indians 7, White Sox 1: The Tribe finally figured out a way to silence the Chisox’ bats. Part of it was via the help of a triple play. It came on a diving catch of a pop bunt by Carlos Santana (who was playing first base), who then doubled the runners who were on first and second in a somewhat anti-climactic manner. I always find those plays awkward in that, as opposed to those exciting around-the-horn jobs, you sort of don’t realize that it’s a triple play until after it happened. But still, triple play, dude.

Dodgers, 7, Giants 5: A weekend the Giants would like to forget, partially because of the three losses to the Dodgers, but also because their defense was so ugly that it bodes seriously ill for the future. Seriously, I’m concerned that Aubrey Huff is gonna pull a Bump Baily and just friggin’ die out there in right.

Braves 11, Nationals 2: Jordan Zimmermann did OK in the start, but bad defense and poor relief pitching by the Nats turned this one from a close game to a blowout in the late innings. Three hits, including two doubles, for Martin Prado. Brian McCann had four RBI. Tim Hudson slid into home plate head first while wearing a warmup jacket to score the Braves’ third run, so that was fun.

Tigers 10, Yankees 7: The balls were flying out of Yankee Stadium like crazy. Both Miguel Cabrera and Jorge Posada had two homers, and Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Brennan Boesch each had one as well. Cabrera and Boesch each had 4 RBI, with the latter doing it on a 4 for 4 day. I didn’t see this one, but people were saying during the game that Phil Hughes velocity was pretty bad. Seems that the chatter from spring training may have something to it.

Athletics 7, Mariners 1: Gio Gonzalez picked up where he left off back in Phoenix, hurling seven innings of one-run ball and averting the sweep for the A’s. I’ll risk the ire of Gleeman by noting that Coco Crisp finished a homer short of they cycle. Which isn’t nearly as bad as noting that someone was a triple short of the cycle, but probably deserves some disapprobation. Hideki Matsui’s first hit of the day gave him a combined 2,500 hits between his career in Japan and the majors.

Reds 12, Brewers 3: Ryan Hannigan went 4 for 4 with two homers and the Reds complete the sweep. Cincy banged out 19 hits. They had the best offense in the National League last year. The Brewers had one of the worst pitching staffs. Not much seems to have changed.

Mets 9, Marlins 2: Remember all of that “Javy Vazquez will be way better off back in the National League East” stuff from over the winter? Nah, me neither (2.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 5 BB). The Mets take two of three to open the season, on the road no less. Thanks aplenty goes to R.A. Dickey who struck out seven in six innings.

Orioles 5, Rays 1: It was Zach Britton’s major league debut and he made the most of it, giving up one run on three hits in six innings with six strikeouts as 30 of his friends and family members looked on down in St. Pete. Just par for the course so far for the O’s this year, as they completed the sweep of Tampa Bay, allowing three total runs in the series. Every single time I was asked to opine on the Orioles chances this spring I started off by saying “well, you can never bank on young pitching,” but so far so good.

Pirates 5, Cubs 4: Ouch. Carlos Marmol was staked to a 4-3 lead and couldn’t close the deal, walking a guy and allowing a hit. A sac bunt — which in this case proved essential — moved the runners to second and third and then Pedro Alvarez drove them both in with an infield single. Wait, what? An infield single scored two?  Yep: Starlin Castro’s throw to try to get Alvarez pulled Carlos Pena off the bag and Pirates’ third base coach Nick Leyva didn’t hesitate to send Neil Walker from second and he beat the throw. That’s some sharp damn baseball right there, kids. When you’re the Pirates you got nothin’ to lose. Send the runner all season, Leyva. It won’t always work, but it will always be exciting.

Phillies 7, Astros 3: Roy Oswalt got the win against his old team as the Phillies complete the sweep. Cliff Lee got the win the day before. Halladay on Opening Day: no-decision. Slacker.

Twins 4, Blue Jays 3: Toronto made things dicey for Joe Nathan in the ninth, but the Twins held on to salvage the series. Edwin Encarnacion made two errors and already has three on the year. That should be fun to watch all season.

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies: POSTPONED:  It was in the 80s on Saturday in Denver and then this one was cancelled due to a combination of rain and snow. At least Denver weather isn’t boring. In other news, I had this feeling that if I Googled the term “Rocky Mountain rain” that something would come up. Maybe a deep album track from John Denver. Maybe an obscure brand of small batch whiskey sold primarily at tourist destinations. The actual result: a Rick Derringer album from 2009 that appears on AllMusic.com, but which does not, strangely enough, appear on Derringer’s own website. Did Rick Derringer finally create an album so lame that he himself will not own up to its existence?  Oh well. “All American Boy” will always stand out. Seriously: it’s easily a top-10 “put on headphones, sit in a beanbag chair, play air guitar and just groove” kind of record. And it has to be a record, not a CD. Preferably one that older cousin of yours left at the house the last time he visited. You know, the one that went to jail back in ’83? Wonder whatever happened to him.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

White Sox 8, Red Sox 7: Sox win! Chicago led by three in the seventh, blew that by the bottom of the eighth, but José Abreu hit a two-run jack in the top of the ninth to bring the White Sox back. The foundation of the win was the White Sox pouncing on Chris Sale for five runs in the first three innings. He struck out ten and only walked one, but when he wasn’t missing bats he wasn’t missing bats. Sale is still one of the best pitchers in the game but he hasn’t won at home in almost a year. “For some reason, I suck here,” he said after the game. Relatable. To any number of situations in basically of our lives.

Yankees 8, Blue Jays 7: The Jays jumped out to a 5-0 lead but there really isn’t any safe lead against the Yankees this year. Didi Gregorius homered in the second, Aaron Judge singled in a couple in the second as well and D.J. LeMahieu hit a two-run homer to tie things up at five in the fourth. It was tied up at seven by the bottom of the ninth and Gleyber Torres hit a walkoff single to win it for the Bombers. Lourdes Gurriel Jr hit two homers and a double in a losing cause.

The Yankees and Red Sox now head off to London. Blimey, cor, wot’s all this, then, etc.

Indians 5, Royals 3: Trevor Bauer finally had a great day after a couple of months of struggling, striking out 12 while allowing one run into the seventh. He didn’t even allow a hit until the fifth. Jake Bauers and Tyler Naquin homered in support. Francisco Lindor was 3-for-4 and Jason KipnisOscar Mercado and Jordan Luplow each drove in a run. Hunter Dozier hit a ninth inning grand slam on Tuesday. He struck out four times in four at bats here. Baseball is just the worst, you guys, right?

Padres 10, Orioles 5: Franmil Reyes hit two homers. The Padres hit five in all, with Eric Hosmer, Greg Garcia, and Hunter Renfroe going deep as well. This was the tenth time this year the Orioles have allowed five homers in a game. They’ve now allowed 165 homers on the year in 80 games. The 1970 Orioles allowed 125 all year long. Just sayin’.

Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 2: Arizona was facing off against Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin, who was making his big league debut and jumped out to a 4-0 lead, so, yeah. A three-run homer from Eduardo Escobar paced things in the first and the Snakes would never trail. Jarrod Dyson had three hits, knocked in a run and stole two bases. Russell Martin pitched in this one. Tossed a scoreless eighth, actually, and struck a dude out.

Rockies 6, Giants 3: The Giants jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first but David Dahl hit a grand slam in the third and drove in five in all. Man of the match, right? Is that a thing we have in baseball? We should have that.

Rangers 4, Tigers 1: Mike Minor tossed a complete game allowing on run on five hits and needed only 108 pitches to do the job. Homers from Willie Calhoun, Danny Santana and Jeff Mathis backed him up. The game only took two hours and nineteen minutes. I’d say the Tigers had a plane to catch or something but they’re just playing the Rangers again today. Maybe they all had early reservations at Sammy Sofferin’s Wonder Bar and Indian Room. I hear that Latin troupe extraordinaire, the La Playa Dancers, led by the exotically beautiful Grace Conrad often play on Wednesday nights. Get there early, get a seat by the stage, fill up on Shrimp a la Powhatan and you’re living, buddy.

Phillies 5, Mets 4: Jason Vargas pitched great, giving up only one run to the Phillies for the first six innings, but he ran into trouble in the seventh. That’s when he gave up a second run and left, having struck out ten. Seth Lugo came on in relief and gave up a two more runs, and bing-bang-boom, tied at four, which is how it’d end in regulation. Stephen Nogosek came on to handle the 10th inning but couldn’t record an out, giving up a walk, a single and then a walkoff double to Jay Bruce to end the game. If you wanna feel bad for Vargas for having such a great start blown by his pen, know that a few days later he’s still trying to justify threatening a reporter with violence. Here’s what he said after last night’s game:

“I don’t think all the information is really out there. I don’t think this is a time to get into that. But I think that anybody that knows me, anybody that has played with me, there’s never been a situation like that. So to think it happened out of the blue, it’s foolish . . . “It’s over. Our organization made a statement. We put an end to it. But I think it’s pretty obvious all the info isn’t out there.”

Whatever, my man.

The Mets have lost four in a row. Philly’s seven-game losing streak is now way back in the rear-view mirror, with three straight wins over the Mets.

Angels 5, Reds 1: Yasiel Puig and Justin Bour exchanged solo sots to make it a 1-1 game until the eighth inning. The the Halos scored one more before Bour homered again, this time a three-run blast to give him a four-RBI night and to give the Angels a win. Bour has four homers in five games since being recalled from Salt Lake. You might say he’s really enjoyed the spotlight since being recalled:

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Nationals 7, Marlins 5: It was close until the sixth when Matt Adams hit a three-run blast to make it 4-1. The Nats added three more in the ninth, with runs coming on a wild pitch, a passed ball and a sac fly. They all count. And two of those runs were needed as the Marlins made it interesting with a four-run ninth inning rally of their own, with Bryan Holaday singling in a run and Curtis Granderson tripling with the bases loaded. The old man is still an artist with a Thompson.

Athletics 2, Cardinals 0: Daniel Mengden and his old-timey delivery stymied the Cards for six innings and three relievers finished the five-hit shutout. Beau Taylor and Matt Chapman went deep for Oakland. St. Louis has been shut out six times this season. Three of them have come in the last 14 games.

Mariners 4, Brewers 2: J.P. Crawford drove in three of the M’s four runs and scored the fourth, notching two RBI doubles and an RBI triple. Wade LeBlanc allowed two runs after coming in following an opener and the opener and two other relievers shut Milwaukee out. That’s three straight wins for Seattle.

Braves 5, Cubs 3: Atlanta took a 4-0 lead off of Yu Darvish early thanks to a wild pitch, a Brian McCann solo shot and a Nick Markakis three-run homer. Willson Contreras and Kris Bryant homered for Chicago and they’d add a third run on a Jason Heyward ground out, but otherwise Dallas Keuchel was solid — more solid before a 48 minute rain delay in the fourth than he was upon resuming the game after — and picked up his first win of 2019.

Pirates 14, Astros 2: It was 8-2 heading into the ninth when A.J. Hinch sent first baseman Tyler White to the mound. Sometimes those position players pitching do an OK job mopping up. White did not, allowing six runs on four hits — two of ’em dingers — while walking four. Every team has eleventeen relief pitchers but they’re all drag racers instead of horses and so none of ’em can go more than an inning, leading to silliness like this. Great game we got going right now, eh? Anyway, Josh Bell, Jung-Ho Kang, José Osuna and Kevin Newman homered and Corey Dickerson had four hits and three RBI. 

Twins 6, Rays 4: Minnesota jumped out to a 3-0 lead, had blown it by the seventh to trail 4-3 but then Nelson Cruz hit a go-ahead, three-run, two-out double in the seventh to give the Twins the win. The Rays have lost seven of nine.