And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Twins 1, White Sox 0: The no-no! Francisco Liriano came into the game with a 9+ ERA and his job on the line and he didn’t allow a hit.  It wasn’t the most dominant no hitter you’ll ever see. He walked six guys, only struck out two and threw 123 pitches, but it doesn’t really matter. Liriano had never even had a complete game before. This is the kind of thing that makes baseball beautiful. A team and a player, both of which are having a crappy year, can have one night where everything is perfect. You play every day, and every day there’s the possibility for something wonderful.

Rays 3, Blue Jays 2: And that, my friends, is B.J. Upton. Belt-high fastball with zilch movement from Jon Rauch turns into a walkoff job.

Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 3: It wasn’t a walkoff, but Justin Upton joined his brother in the game-winning homer club, his coming in the eighth. My brother and I talked on the phone with each other and complained about how we get aches and pains for seemingly no reason anymore. And can’t sleep through the night without having to wake up and pee. So it was almost the same.

Phillies 4, Nationals 1: Cole Hamels allowed only five hits. Raul Ibanez broke his 0-for-gajillion streak with a couple of doubles. Jayson Werth, in his return to Philly, was getting booed when he came to the plate, then he stopped and tipped his cap to the crowd. Then the boos quickly turned into cheers. I can’t decide if that’s beautiful or if the Phillies fans’ lack of conviction on the matter is mock-worthy.

Astros 10, Reds 4: Since their four-game losing streak ended on April 20th, the Reds have alternated wins and losses every day … until last night, when they lost their second in a row. On ESPN.com, the team schedule lists wins in green and losses in red. As Lt. Giardello used to tell the homicide unit: there’s a lot of red on that board.

Red Sox 7, Angels 3: Jon Lester vs. Dan Haren was something to look forward to. So of course I missed it because I had 18 things to do and then decided to watch the Liriano no hitter once I was able to turn my attention to TV.  Lester got the better of it, striking out 11 in seven innings, holding the Sox close in a 1-0 ballgame before they helped him out with seven runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth.

Giants 7, Mets 6: Mets jumped out to a 3-0 lead and blew it, took a 5-4 lead and blew it and then battled back to make it 6-6 and send it into extras. Then Aubrey Huff went yard in the 10th, ending a personal 0 for 20 slump.

Tigers 4, Yankees 2: Detroit snaps a seven-game losing streak. Scott Sizemore gets three hits and drives in a run in his first action since being called up from Toledo. Lots of people thrive when they leave Toledo.

Cubs 4, Dodgers 1: Going forward, unless someone hits four homers or something, Andre Ethier’s hitting streak is what we’re going to care about most in Dodgers games. So: yes, he got a hit, so he’s at 29. More improbable than an extended hitting streak was Carlos Pena actually putting good wood on the ball, but he did that too with a homer.

Padres 6, Pirates 5: Speaking of “good wood” this one was helped along by some bad wood. Specifically, bad Brandon Wood who, after reaching second base with one out in the ninth decided to try to take third on a pitch in the dirt but was thrown out. Clint Hurdle’s opinion of the play: “You’re already in scoring position and if you’re safe, we’re all happy. But he pushed the envelope a little bit. At times you have to be smart, so when you’re out at third like that, it never looks good.”

Mariners 4, Rangers 3: The M’s have won six of seven and — get this — while still in last place in the West, are only two games back of co-leaders Anaheim and Texas.

Indians 4, Athletics 1: Key series for the Indians, as they have to prove that they can be more consistent on the road and that they can beat good pitching. So far so good, as they take this one for their seventh straight victory. Strong outing for Fausto Carmona, who gave up only the one run in eight innings of work.

Royals 6, Orioles 5: A game-winning sac fly by Jeff Francoeur in the 10th. He also had the homer that tied the game for Kansas City to send it to extras. He’s at .315/.362/.604 with 7 homers and 23 RBI on the year. But no, I am not yet preparing my hat for consumption purposes.

Cardinals 7, Marlins 5:  Daniel Descalso hit a go-ahead three-run shot in the seventh inning — his first ever homer — to give this one to St. Louis. On the less-than-bright side, Albert Pujols was 0-for-5, hit into his 10th double play of the year and stranded eight runners. Hurm. I still think he’ll bust out of it, but man, if he doesn’t, and turns in a poor year by his standards, it only makes the free agent stuff harder for the Cardinals, doesn’t it? It’s one thing to commit a boatload of cash to the best player in baseball. But do you commit a boatload to one who you’re not sure will continue to be elite?  Because it’s not like one bad year will cut his demands down to 3/$30 million or something.

Brewers vs. Braves: POSTPONED:  Don’t come around here no more, bringing me all of your bad rain. Can’t you see I’ve got troubles of my own. I ain’t got time to be messing with all of your bad rain. Why in the world can’t you just leave that stuff alone?

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.