And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 16, Red Sox 5: After scoring 20 runs in their first nine games, the Rays asplode for 16. The most damage was inflicted by leadoff hitter Sam Fuld who went 4 for 6 — all extra base hits — with three RBI.  If this was the NBA Fuld would have stopped on first with that last double of his to get the cycle. Thank God this isn’t the NBA. Oh, and Fuld has some sweet catches in left, too. Before the season started there were Red Sox fans who liked to mock the Yankees’ pitching problems. Well, the Red Sox have now given up 69 runs in 10 games, so there isn’t anyone this side of that team of guys with handlebar mustaches who played the Gashouse Gorillas in the Bugs Bunny cartoon who Red Sox fans can mock for their pitching. And at least they signed Bugs later.

Mariners 8, Blue Jays 7: Wow. You figure that if you get seven runs and 12 hits in six innings off Felix Hernandez that you’re going to win. And the Jays had to figure they would given that they were up 7-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh. But nope: the M’s came back. Luis Rodriguez’s two-run single with two outs in the ninth was the game-winner. Milton Bradley was a key part of the comeback too, homering in the seventh and walking in a run and scoring the following inning. After this debacle, I’m guessing John Farrell is going to be loathe to go to his pen tonight.

Indians 4, Angels 0: Break up the Indians. That’s eight straight for Cleveland, this one coming on eight shutout innings from Mitch Talbot of all people. Asdrubal Cabrera’s solo homer in the first was all the Indians would need, but Matt Laporta added a three-run jack in the second.  Are the Indians this year’s version of last year’s Padres?

Rockies 7, Mets 6: Stop me if you’ve heard this one: the Mets took the lead but the bullpen blew it. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: the Rockies were powered by Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, each of whom drove in three. Jason Isringhausen pitched for the Mets. It was his first action in a Mets uniform since 1999.  Man, 1999 was a long time ago.

Rangers 2, Tigers 0: I thought that putting Neftali Feliz in the pen in favor of Alexi Ogando was a dumb move. And the part of that in which Neftali Feliz is not currently a starter is still dumb. Overall, however, the Ogando-in-the-rotation thing has been straight aces. He shut out the Tigers for seven innings running his scoreless innings streak to 13 in his two starts.  He left with a blister problem in this one and had a blister in his first start as well. Here’s hoping that isn’t a recurring theme.

Athletics 2, White Sox 1: Man, this one has to hurt. Mark Buehrle pitched eight innings of two-hit, shutout ball only to get the no-decision because his offense couldn’t do much of anything against Dallas Braden and Tyson Ross and because a Juan Pierre error in the ninth inning allowed the A’s to tie it up. Into the 10th and Kurt Suzuki homers off Jesse Crain for the game winner. Anyone have surveillance on Crain to make sure he’s not really a double agent, still on the Twins’ payroll?

Cubs 5, Astros 4: The Cubbies jumped all over Nelson Figueroa for 5-0 lead and then held on as the Astros chipped away but fell short. Starlin Castro was 3 for 5 with three runs scored. Second smallest crowd in the history of Minute Maid Park (20,175). I’m not going to say that baseball has come a long way in the past 25 years, but I remember some random promotional giveaway night at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium in the late 80s that drew a little over 20,000 and Skip Caray went on and on about how weird it was to play in front of such a big crowd. And while the Braves drew particularly poorly then, it wasn’t uncommon for teams to routinely have four digit attendance nights without anyone saying much about it.  Only a handful of teams back then would think of a 20K night as some dire low.

Dodgers 6, Giants 1: For the second time on the young season, Clayton Kershaw shut the Giants down. Shutting them out, in fact, through six and two-thirds anyway. Including Opening Day and his last start against the G-men last September, he hasn’t allowed a run over his last 23 and two-thirds innings against San Francisco. The game was dedicated to Bryan Stow, who was beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on Opening Day. Before the game the players came together on the mound, offering a joint statement about how the rivalry needs to stay on the field. It was a nice gesture as was the fund raising to benefit Stow that each team has done in recent days. Sadly, however, the type of people who attacked Stow are likely immune to this message. After all, if the example of sportsmanship baseball players typically exemplify and the nature of baseball itself doesn’t set the proper example, the words of players likely won’t either. Like the man said: there’s a meanness in this world.

Reds 3, Padres 2: Once again Edinson Volquez was shaky in the first, allowing two runs, but once again he settled down and that’s all the Padres would muster all night. Mat Latos was the opposite in his season debut: he started strong, notching five strikeouts in his first three innings, but then made mistakes to Jonny Gomes and Chris Heisey, whose homers accounted for all of the Reds’ scoring.

Cardinals 8, Diamondbacks 2: Kyle McClellan allowed one run over six innings. He also doubled in a run in the third and singled in a run in the fourth to — wait for it! — help his own cause. Yadier Molina scored on the double, so without looking I’m going to say he was on third or else the double lodged in the wall or something. It was the most runs the Cards have scored all season. Oh, and Albert Pujols hardly contributed, going 1 for 5 with no runs scored.

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

aaron judge
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TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.