And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Rockies 6, Mets 5; Rockies 9, Mets 4:  The Rockies sweep the doubleheader and the series, with Troy Tulowitzki hitting home runs in both games yesterday.  His line on the year right now is .364/.491/.909 with seven homers and 14 RBI, which I think makes him your NL MVP at the 12 game mark.  In the first game Scott Hairston stopped running for a ball when he got to the warning track, allowing it to drop for a two-run double by Seth Smith. I’m guessing he saw his shadow or something. Or maybe it was a hallucination of his dead grandmother crawling up his leg with a knife in her teeth. Either way, it inspired Dustin Parkes to tell a funny joke on Twitter.

Yankees 6, Orioles 5: This one has to hurt. Baltimore had a 5-0 lead after they got done batting in the fifth, only to watch the Yankees steadily chip away.  I didn’t see this game, but I bet it was one of those deals where the team in front seemed like they were behind even before they actually were. It wasn’t all grins for the Yankees, though. Phil Hughes continues to suffer from low velocity and, consequently, continues to stink. For the second straight start Bartolo Colon came in to bail him out and to do so effectively. Hmmm, I wonder who gets the next start when Hughes’ turn comes up? Anyway, four straight losses for Baltimore, as the bloom continues to come off the rose for some early season surprises. They’re off to face Cleveland next, though, so at least one of the First Week Friskies will likely leave with some momentum.

Phillies 4, Nationals 0: Cliff Lee dominates with a three-hit shutout and 12Ks. This kind of update is going to become so ubiquitous in Phillies games by the middle of the season that I may just start reducing their ATH entry to the pitcher’s name and line score.

Marlins 6, Braves 5Mac points out something I hadn’t realized: the Braves keep winning the first game of series and then losing the rest of them. Cool. I mean, no, not cool, but it is slightly less unpleasant to momentarily appreciate a pattern rather than to stare at an undifferentiated pile of stank.

Brewers 4, Pirates 1: The Ships in the Night Series. Four straight losses for the Pirates and five of six, all at home. The Brewers, for their part, have won four straight and seven of eight. Randy Wolf struck out ten and shut out the Pirates over six and two-thirds. The Pirates need to get back out on the road where it’s safer.

Royals 5, Mariners 1: A rain-shortened game. Which was probably fine by the Mariners, because one doesn’t want to be forced to sit and dwell too long on the fact that one can’t hit Bruce Chen (8 IP, 6 H, 0 ER).

Rays 4, Twins 3: Walkoff two-run bomb for Johnny Damon in the 10th inning after Minnesota had taken a one-run lead in the top of the inning. This was a bullpen meltdown for Ron Gardenhire’s crew. Carl Pavano was money, shutting the Rays down over eight innings, but Joe Nathan and Matt Capps each gave up two runs, in the ninth and tenth, respectively. If Gardenhire were Ozzie Guillen he’d probably consider calling Rick Aguilera right about now.

Astros 1, Padres 0: Bud Norris and a trio of relievers shut out the Padres on three hits. Dustin Mosely has had three starts for the Padres this year. In all three, the Padres have been shut out. On the bright side, the experience has inspired Mosely to launch a career in music. His first song is actually about his Padres teammates.

Cardinals 9, Dodgers 5: A homer from Pujols and two doubles and three RBI from Matt Holliday. This is how it was supposed to go from the get-go for St. Louis. The offense has done a complete about-face in the last week. You know, ever since La Russa had that hissy fit at the press conference. Which is a shame, because it’s just going to make him feel validated for acting like a little brat.

Tigers 3, Athletics 0: Our third shutout of the night comes courtesy of Phil Coke and three relievers who three-hit the A’s. The Tigers couldn’t do anything against Gio Gonzalez but broke through for three against the Oakland pen. A pen which, I’m starting to believe, I talked up entirely too much over the winter.

Cards’ Pujols hits 700th career home run, 4th to reach mark

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run on Friday night, connecting for his second drive of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and becoming the fourth player to reach the milestone in major league history.

The 42-year-old Pujols hit No. 699 in the third inning, then launched No. 700 in the fourth at Dodger Stadium.

With the drive in the final days of his last big league season, Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762 homers), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs.

It’s been a remarkable run for Pujols. This was his 14th home run since the start of August for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and his 21st of the season.

Pujols’ historic homer was a three-run shot against Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford. The ball landed in the first few rows of the left-field pavilion, the same location his two-run shot touched down the previous inning off left-hander Andrew Heaney.

Pujols received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd – he finished out last season while playing for the Dodgers. He took a curtain call, raising his cap in acknowledgment.

The fans chanted “Pujols! Pujols!” They finally sat down after being on their feet in anticipation of seeing history.

Pujols snapped a tie with Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the list when he hit career homer No. 697 against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11.

Reaching 700 homers seemed like a long shot for Pujols when he was batting .189 on July 4. But the three-time NL MVP started to find his stroke in August, swatting seven homers in one 10-game stretch that helped St. Louis pull away in the division race.

“I know that early in the year … I obviously wanted better results,” Pujols said after he homered in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 22. “But I felt like I was hitting the ball hard. Sometimes this game is going to take more away from you than the game (is) giving you back.

“So I think at the end of the day you have to be positive and just stay focused and trust your work. That’s something that I’ve done all the time.”

Pujols has enjoyed a resurgent season after returning to St. Louis in March for a $2.5 million, one-year contract. It’s his highest total since he hit 23 homers for the Angels in 2019.

He plans to retire when the season ends.

Pujols also began his career in St. Louis. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 amateur draft and won the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year award.

The Dominican Republic native hit at least .300 with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons. He helped the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He set a career high with 49 homers in 2006 – one of seven seasons with at least 40 homers. He led the majors with 47 homers in 2009 and topped the NL with 42 in 2010.

Pujols left St. Louis in free agency in December 2011, signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels. He was waived by the Angels in May 2021, and then joined the Dodgers and hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 85 games.