And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

70 Comments

Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 4: One of four games to require ten frames last night. This from the AP gamer:

Reliever Matt Reynolds tried to outthink his former teammate, guess what pitch Wilin Rosario would be looking for and throw the opposite. Only, Rosario knew Reynolds was trying to get inside his head, so …

Long story short, Rosario spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocane powder, thus his game-winning RBI single in the 10th.

Angels 12, Mariners 0: As Matt noted, Trout hit for the cycle. May be the first bit of actual fun the Angels and their fans have had all year. Now, pardon me while I go relitigate the 2012 MVP race again like the Cabrera people did when he hit three homers the other night. Oh, wait, I won’t do that because I’m not a crazy person.

Orioles 3, Yankees 2: This one ended on a Nate McLouth walkoff bomb. Chris Dickerson hit two homers. Those homers were Phil Hughes’ only two blemished, but they were enough to get it to extras.

Pirates 5, Cubs 4: A pinch hit grand slam for Travis Snider in the sixth spoiled Matt Garza’s return. Garza pitched well but, unfortunately, the Cubs have a bullpen.

Tigers 5, Indians 1: Max Scherzer was dominant, allowing one earned run in eight innings and at one point retiring 22 straight Tribe hitters. Miguel Cabrera homered again and is now one bomb off Triple Crown pace.

Braves 5, Twins 4: Evan Gattis hit a tying homer in the ninth and Freddie Freeman singled in Jason Heyward in the tenth. It was Bobby Cox’ and Kent Hrbek’s birthdays yesterday. Glad one of ’em is sad and one of ’em is happy.

Rays 4, Blues Jays 3: The second straight Alex Cobb start that went 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER. If he made that his thing he’d have a pretty nice career. A late rally for the Jays but it fell just short.

Reds 4, Mets 0: Mike Leake shut the Mets out on three hits over seven innings and the pen handled the other two. The Mets offense is, whoa.

Athletics 1, Rangers 0: Yu Darvish’s last start was billed as a pitcher’s duel. It wasn’t. This one was, but Drew Dan Straily bested him, tossing seven two-hit shutout innings.

Phillies 7, Marlins 3: I guess Ryan Howard’s knee is OK. The big guy drove in three on a pair of RBI singles. Delmon Young homered. Most of the Phillies damage came after Jose Fernandez left after five.

Brewers 5, Dodgers 2: Zack Greinke had a nice run at Miller Park when he was with the Brewers. Not so nice last night as he surrendered five runs on nine hits in four innings. The Dodgers offense all came via Greinke’s helping his own cause and a Nick Punto RBI. In other words, the big guns.

White Sox 3, Red Sox 1: Sox win.

Royals 7, Astros 3: Houston took a three-run lead into the top of the seventh and then the Royals put up 2, 4 and one-spots in the seventh, eighth and ninth. Is a one-spot a thing? OK, sure it is.

Cardinals 10, Padres 2: Adam Wainwright coulda sucked last night and the Cards still woulda been OK, what with five runs to play with while he was in the game. He didn’t suck (7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 6K). And the Cards woulda bailed him out with five more late runs anyway.

Giants 4, Nationals 2: The Braves rallied and one in the tenth, the Nats got rallied against and lost in the tenth. Trains heading in different directions this past week, with the Nats now 4.5 back. As for the Giants: a Gregor Blanco triple ties it in the ninth, a boooooming Pablo Sandoval wins it in the tenth.  We’ll have more on this one later this morning.

This Day in Transaction History: Phillies acquire John Kruk from Padres

John Kruk
Bernstein Associates/Getty Images
4 Comments

John Kruk is one of the more underrated hitters in baseball history. Kruk, who is currently a broadcaster for the Phillies, had a 10-year career during which he hit exactly 100 homers, batted exactly .300, and posted an excellent .397 on-base percentage. In baseball history, there are only 32 members of the admittedly arbitrary 100/.300/.395+ club. Kruk is one of only 10 members of the club that played after 1963. The others: Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Todd Helton, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramírez, Frank Thomas, Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez, and Wade Boggs. Of them, five are Hall of Famers. Trout and Votto will be, and Helton and Ramírez should be.

On this day in 1989, the Phillies made a franchise-altering trade, acquiring Kruk along with infielder Randy Ready from the Padres in exchange for outfielder Chris James. The Padres had just swept the Phillies at home and were hoping to jump into the playoff race. They immediately went into a losing skid, but caught fire at the end of the season, finishing 89-73. However, that wasn’t good enough as the Giants won the NL West with a 92-70 record. James was solid for the Padres, posting a .743 OPS with 11 homers and 46 RBI in 87 games.

Kruk had an interesting but brief major league career with the Padres. His roommate, Roy Plummer, was an armed robber. Kruk was completely unaware of this. In spring training of 1988, the FBI informed Kruk of his roommates’ activities. Kruk feared retribution from Plummer and said that the anxiety affected his baseball performance. In 1988, Kruk batted what was for him a poor .241/.369/.362 with nine homers and 44 RBI over 466 plate appearances.

The Phillies didn’t enjoy immediate success upon Kruk’s arrival in 1989. The club finished the season with a losing record and would do the same in the ensuing three seasons. None of it was Kruk’s fault, though: in aggregate, from 1990-92, he hit .303/.393/.459, earning two All-Star nominations. In this span of time, the only other first basemen to hit above .300 were Frank Thomas, Paul Molitor, Hal Morris, and Rafael Palmeiro. The Padres had used Kruk both in the corner outfield and at first base, but the Phillies made him a full-time first baseman, which turned out to be a good move.

In 1993, everything came together for the Phillies and Kruk had what was arguably the greatest season of his career. He hit .316, which was actually seven points below his average the previous year, but he drew 111 walks to push his on-base percentage up to .430. Kruk hit third in the lineup, creating plenty of RBI opportunities for Dave Hollins in the clean-up spot, Darren Daulton at No. 5, and the trio of Jim Eisenreich, Pete Incaviglia, and Wes Chamberlain in the No. 6 spot. The Phillies shocked the world in ’93, winning the NL East by three games over the Expos with a 97-65 record. They then dispatched the Braves in six games in the NLCS to advance to the World Series against the Blue Jays.

Kruk was productive in the NLCS, contributing six hits including a pair of doubles, a triple, a home run, four walks, five RBI, and four runs scored. But he turned things up a notch in the World Series, registering multi-hit performances in the first three games. He would finish the World Series with eight hits in 23 at-bats along with seven walks, four RBI, and four runs scored. The World Series was winnable for the Phillies as they lost a barnburner Game 4 15-14, and of course, dropped the deciding Game 6 on a World Series-clinching walk-off three-run home run by Joe Carter off of Mitch Williams.

1994 was tough on Kruk in many ways. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in spring training. Knee issues continued to bother him, and then Major League Baseball had a work stoppage. In an abbreviated season, Kruk hit a still-productive .823 OPS. He became a free agent and, when baseball came back, he signed with the White Sox. In the first inning of a July 30 game against the Orioles in ’95, Kruk singled to left field off of Scott Erickson. He reached first base, bowed to the fans, and walked off the field into retirement. Kruk told the media, “The desire to compete at this level is gone. When that happens, it’s time to go.”

Kruk has spent his post-playing days working in sports media as both a broadcaster (Phillies, ESPN nationally) and as a commentator (The Best Damn Sports Show Period, Baseball Tonight). The Phillies inducted him into their Wall of Fame in August 2011. One wonders if Kruk hadn’t been bit by the injury bug, and if there hadn’t been a work stoppage, if he might have been able to accrue some more numbers to have a borderline Hall of Fame case. Regardless, he’ll go down as one of the games’ quietly great hitters.