And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 7, Phillies 4: Heavy matchup. Both literally — Livan Hernandez vs. Joe Blanton — and figuratively as Jayson Werth faced the Phillies for the first time since he signed with the Nats. A signing that the Phillies fans who made the now-customary trek to Washington and decided to boo Werth throughout the game apparently wouldn’t have consummated if they were in Werth’s shoes because loyalty to some abstraction of what a Major League Baseball team is supposed to be is worth far more than the nearly $80 million that Werth would have sacrificed to stay in red pinstripes. Or something. Whatever the case, booing a guy who helped bring home what was only the second championship in the team’s 128 year existence and only left because it was clear that he’d be lowballed if he stayed makes no kind of freakin’ sense.  Oh, and Werth had a double and a home run. Booooo!!!!

Rays 3, Red Sox 2: And the Bosox are now 0-8 vs. non-Yankees teams and are now tied with the Rays for have the worst record in the AL.  When can we stop dropping the “it’s early, so …” before talking about the Red Sox?

Angels 2, Indians 0: Dan Haren put an end to the Indians winning streak with ath-or-i-tah, shutting them out on two one hit (sorry, I keep messin’ up today) and striking out eight. He and Jered Weaver are currently the most lethal one-two punch in baseball.

Braves 5, Marlins 0: Heyward and McCann homer and Tommy Hanson shuts the opposition down. Sort of the Platonic Ideal of a Braves game for fanboys like me.  And a lot of good defense from Alex Gonzalez and Dan Uggla, which is … like, whatever the opposite of the Platonic Ideal is. Platonic Gravy? Platonic Whatever, We’ll Take it?

Tigers 5, Rangers 4: The loss of the game is meaningless compared to the loss of Josh Hamilton, who will be out at least 6-8 weeks with a broken funny bone thanks to his head first slide into home. Well, maybe it was the slide. It’s possible that he broke his arm while throwing his third base coach under the bus when explaining how the play went down after the game.

Astros 11, Cubs 2: The James Russell: Starting Pitcher experiment did not achieve optimal results in its first cycle. Russell was tagged for five runs (four earned) on seven hits in less than two innings before making way for the pen to which he’ll likely be soon returning. After the bleeding stopped for a bit, Jeff Samardzija reminded us that he can’t really pitch and John Grabow got rocked too. For Houston, Angel Sanchez and Hunter Pence went nuts, combining to go 7 for 10 with six RBI.

Twins 4, Royals 3: Pop quiz, hot shot! You’re on the road, tied 3-3 in extra innings. After retiring the first batter in the 10th, you change pitchers. The new guy loads the bases with a walk and two singles, one of which was a freakin’ blast. You have arguably the second best closer in all of baseball in your pen, coming off an off-day. What do you do, hot shot? What do you do?!  Well, if you’re Ned Yost you leave Joakim Soria in the pen, let Robinson Tejada pitch and he gives up one more hit, losing the game. Which is not how I would have handled it, but what the hell do I know? I’m just speculatin’ on a hypothesis here.

White Sox 6, Athletics 5: Two homers and four RBI for Alexi Ramirez, including the game-winning bomb in the bottom of the 10th. This makes up for the error he made in the fifth that led to an Oakland run, I’d say.

Diamondbacks, 13, Cardinals 8: Three run homers from Justin Upton and Juan Miranda led the onslaught. Oh, and did Aaron not tell you yesterday that umpire Bob Davidson’s act was getting tired? Ask Kirk Gibson about that.

Giants 5, Dodgers 4: Check out the leather from Linceucm. Didn’t get the win, though, as Jeremy Affeldt vultured it from him when he allowed a game-tying homer in the seventh but then hung on as the pitcher of record in the bottom of the inning when the Giants took the lead for good. Brian Wilson gets his first save of the year.

Reds 8, Padres 2: Remember how awesome the Padres bullpen was last year? Yeah, well you sort of lose any claim to awesomeness when you give up six runs in the 11th inning. Not that it should have gotten that far. The Padres lost chances to win when they were met with a sick defensive play by Jay Bruce in the ninth and again when they squandered a one-out bases loaded situation in the 10th, again with help from the Cincinnati leather. Well, a Cincinnati misplay-but-recovery on a ball resulting in what at least looked like good leather if you didn’t see the initial misplay.

Mariners 3, Blue Jays 2: Michael Pineda wins his second major league start in impressive fashion, taking a shutout into the eighth inning while striking out seven.

Rockies vs. Mets, Orioles vs. Yankees and Brewers vs. Pirates: POSTPONED:  April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – Moments after Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost two decades after his final game, he got the question.

Asked if Barry Bonds belonged in Cooperstown, a smiling McGriff responded: “Honestly, right now, I’m going to just enjoy this evening.”

A Hall of Fame committee delivered its answer Sunday, passing over Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling while handing McGriff the biggest honor of his impressive big league career.

The lanky first baseman, nicknamed the “Crime Dog,” hit .284 with 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs over 19 seasons with six major league teams. The five-time All-Star helped Atlanta win the 1995 World Series.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot in 2019. Now, he will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the writers’ vote, announced Jan. 24.

“It’s all good. It’s been well worth the wait,” said McGriff, who played his last big league game in 2004.

It was the first time that Bonds, Clemens and Schilling had faced a Hall committee since their 10th and final appearances on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and support for Schilling dropped after he made hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

While the 59-year-old McGriff received unanimous support from the 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee – comprised of Hall members, executives and writers – Schilling got seven votes, and Bonds and Clemens each received fewer than four.

The makeup of the committee likely will change over the years, but the vote was another indication that Bonds and Clemens might never make it to the Hall.

This year’s contemporary era panel included Greg Maddux, who played with McGriff on the Braves, along with Paul Beeston, who was an executive with Toronto when McGriff made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1986.

Another ex-Brave, Chipper Jones, was expected to be part of the committee, but he tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall.

The contemporary era committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A player needs 75% to be elected.

“It’s tough deciding on who to vote for and who not to vote for and so forth,” McGriff said. “So it’s a great honor to be unanimously voted in.”

In addition to all his big hits and memorable plays, one of McGriff’s enduring legacies is his connection to a baseball skills video from youth coach Tom Emanski. The slugger appeared in a commercial for the product that aired regularly during the late 1990s and early 2000s – wearing a blue Baseball World shirt and hat.

McGriff said he has never seen the video.

“Come Cooperstown, I’ve got to wear my blue hat,” a grinning McGriff said. “My Tom Emanski hat in Cooperstown. See that video is going to make a revival now, it’s going to come back.”

Hall of Famers Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also served on this year’s committee, which met in San Diego at baseball’s winter meetings.

Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy rounded out the eight-man ballot. Mattingly was next closest to election, with eight votes of 12 required. Murphy had six.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their final chances with the BBWAA. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) on the 2021 BBWAA ballot. The right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 seasons, winning the World Series with Arizona in 2001 and Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Theo Epstein, who also served on the contemporary era committee, was the GM in Boston when the Red Sox acquired Schilling in a trade with the Diamondbacks in November 2003.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.