And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Players who hit multiple home runs in a game are the new inefficiency. Teams should definitely stock up on those guys while they’re undervalued.

Cubs 9, White Sox 3: Backup catcher Dioner Navarro smacked three homers — a solo, a two-run and a three-run jack — to pace the Cubbies. A Cubbies team who happen to have a +1 run differential despite a record of 21-30. That doesn’t mean a ton in a mere 51 games and I doubt it will be sustainable, but it is an “aw, neat” kind of thing.

Orioles 9, Nationals 6: Three homers for Ryan Zimmerman too. Unfortunately not enough for the Nats, as his partner in Zimmermanness — Jordan — got rocked for seven runs in six innings. Chris Davis had two homers of his own and the O’s pen tossed four and a third shutout innings in relief of Chris Tillman.

Phillies 4, Red Sox 3: Dom Brown hit two homers to add to his great month of May. A weird month of May too. He has 10 home runs this month but no walks. Maybe pitchers ought to stop throwing him strikes? Just a suggestion! Ryan Howard also went yard, breaking an extremely long home run drought for him.

Indians 5, Reds 2: Mark Reynolds and Jason Giambi each hit homers and Justin Masterson allowed only one run in six innings for his eighth win of the year. The Indians snap a five game losing streak.

Pirates 5, Tigers 3: Anibal Sanchez almost no-hit the Twins his last time out. This time he was far more mortal as the Pirates plated five runs off him in six and two thirds. Wait, one can’t be “more mortal.” One is either mortal or immortal. Being “more mortal” is like being “more pregnant.”

Mets 9, Yankees 4:Ruben Tejada and Ike Davis were called into a meeting the other day and were told they could be sent down to Las Vegas. It’s even being reported that, had the Mets not rallied against Mariano Rivera on Tuesday night, the demotions would’ve happened. Now, I have no idea what difference the rally against Rivera made — how can a weird fluke like that determine personnel decisions? — but it did get them a reprieve. And last night Tejada led off the game with a hit an scored and Davis drove in two in the first inning. David Phelps only recorded one out before he was yanked. Ivan Nova later pitched five solid innings in relief. Let’s pretend they were flip-flopped and this was a bullpen implosion. Makes for better copy. That’s four losses in a row for the Yankees. Maybe they’ve reached the limits of what no-names can do for them.

Blue Jays 3, Braves 0: The Jays went with a committee approach to pitching in this game, starting a reliever and having no one go more than three and a third innings, and it friggin’ worked to the tune of a four-hit shutout. Braves starter Kris Medlen left the game after being hit on the calf with a comebacker but he’s expected to make his next start. Of course, given that there’s a chance he goes to the pen when Brandon Beachy comes back, I’m gonna call this yet another bullpen injury for Atlanta.

Rays 3, Marlins 1: Eight straight losses for the Marlins. Thank god they got rid of all of those players who made them stink last year. Fauxsto Carmona allowed but an unearned run in eight and two-thirds. There should be someone keeping track of how many Marlins game stories talk about the opposing pitchers seemingly figuring something out or taking a strong step forward with little or no acknowledgment that facing these minor league bats is the most relevant factor.

Twins 4, Brewers 1: Aaron Hicks hit a homer and had a nice, home run-saving catch. I feel like I’ve written that before very recently.

Angels 4, Dodgers 3: Jered Weaver returns and pitches six one-run innings. Well, one one-run inning and five in which he allowed no runs. Six one-run innings would be dreadful.

Cardinals 5, Royals 3: Remember when the Royals won spring training and started pretty good and some people were all like “hey, here come the Royals?” Hahaha, that was awesome. Aaron Crow was rocked for four runs in a nightmare eighth inning. Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran each homered for the second straight game.

Astros 6, Rockies 3: Tyler Chatwood struck out ten guys in six innings but Erik Bedard matched him in the more important runs allowed column and the Astros got to the Colorado pen. A homer and a safety squeeze helped Houston in their three-run ninth.

Padres 3, Mariners 2: Eric Stultz was dominant for eight innings, striking out 12, but the Padres bats couldn’t make anything happen against Joe Saunders. Will Venable hit a walkoff single in the tenth, however. Very little offense on a cool night in San Diego. Who woulda thunk it?

Athletics 9, Giants 6: The A’s are on fire, winners of six straight. This one wasn’t easy, though: it was a seesaw affair that lasted nearly four hours. As for the Giants, Bruce Bochy said this:

“We pretty much covered all facets of the game tonight as far as not playing well.”

At least they were thorough?

Diamondbacks vs. Rangers: POSTPONED: In the twilight glow I see them. Blue eyes cryin’ in the rain. When we kissed goodbye and parted. I knew we’d never meet again. Love is like a dyin’ ember. Only memories remain. Through the ages I’ll remember. Blue eyes cryin’ in the rain. Some day when we meet up yonder. We’ll stroll hand in hand again. In a land that knows no partin’. Blue eyes cryin’ in the rain. Now my hair has turned to silver. All my life I’ve loved in vain. I can see her star in heaven. Blue eyes crying in the rain.

Astros hitting coach receives 20-game suspension; A’s Laureano six

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
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OAKLAND, Calif. — Houston Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron received a 20-game suspension and a fine Tuesday for his role in a benches-clearing brawl at Oakland, while Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano was given a six-game suspension and a fine.

Cintron’s suspension is the longest for an on-field transgression in 15 years, since Texas pitcher Kenny Rogers received 20 games for his altercation with two cameramen in 2005.

“I accept MLB’s suspension and will learn from this,” Cintron said in a statement. “Although I never referenced Ramon’s mother, my actions were inappropriate. I apologize for my part in Sunday’s unfortunate incident. As coaches, we are held to a higher standard and should be an example to the players. Hopefully, other coaches will learn from my mistake so that this never happens again in the future.”

Laureano appealed, so his discipline didn’t begin Tuesday night in Oakland’s game against the Angels. He was in the lineup batting second and playing center field at Angel Stadium.

Laureano was hit by a pitch from Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh inning of Oakland’s 7-2 victory Sunday. He began exchanging words with a gesturing Cintron then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting toward the 41-year-old Cintron.

Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A’s outfielder got to the hitting coach. Laureano is a former Astros player and the rival clubs have been the top two in the AL West the past two years. A’s pitcher Mike Fiers, another former Houston player, revealed the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal in November to The Athletic.

Laureano was hit for the third time in the weekend series swept by Oakland – the fifth time the A’s were hit in all while the Astros didn’t get plunked once – and he pointed at Castellanos.

Players rushed out of both dugouts. Laureano was ejected by plate umpire Ted Barrett, and the umpiring crew could easily be heard yelling at the players to “get back to the dugout!” through a ballpark with no fans.

“I just thought that, whew, boy they threw the book at us big time. But what can you do?” said Astros manager Dusty Baker, who had already been ejected by the time the brawl occurred and didn’t see it on TV. “The ruling is the ruling. I talked to the powers that be in the commissioner’s office this afternoon and we had a good conversation. So … we have to deal with it and hopefully this brings our guys even closer together. He was a big part of our team.”

The A’s lost the AL wild-card game each of the past two seasons after winning 97 games both years to place second in the AL West behind three-time reigning division champion Houston, which won a World Series in 2017 and an AL pennant last season.

Laureano began Tuesday batting .259 with three homers and 10 RBIs as the A’s regular center fielder and No. 2 hitter.

“It’s just something we have to deal with,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of the suspension. “I don’t make those decisions, and whatever I think about them doesn’t really matter anyway, so I think the best thing to do is try to get it behind us as quickly as we can.”

Melvin wasn’t sure how he would potentially structure his outfield and lineup without Laureano for several games.

“You can’t replace him,” Melvin said. “You just have to play short.”

The Dodgers and Astros had their own dustup when Los Angeles visited Houston last month. LA lost the ’17 World Series to the Astros when the sign-stealing scam was happening.

In announcing the punishments, MLB said Cintron’s discipline was “for his role in inciting and escalating the conflict between the two clubs.” Given the coronavirus pandemic, baseball has established strict guidelines about avoiding brawls.

“The explanation was that he’s a coach and especially with the COVID situation out here … in essence they’re not going to stand for it,” Baker said. “Basically, somebody had to be the example. Especially in these times that we’re going through.”

A former infielder from Puerto Rico, Cintron played parts of nine major league seasons with Arizona, the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore and Washington. He won’t be eligible to coach again until Sept. 2, when the Astros are scheduled to host Texas.

“Cintron said what he did was wrong, and he apologized for it,” Baker said. “It still doesn’t take the fact away that it happened.”