And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 1, Cubs 0: More like Neil Walkoff, amirite? All goose eggs until the bottom of the tenth when Walker pulled a Mazeroski. Well, it wasn’t quite as significant as that, but you know what I mean.

Phillies 14, Rangers 10: Cliff Lee: eight runs on 11 hits in five innings and the win. Given how many amazing games he’s pitched over the past couple of years only to get a no-decision or a loss thanks to the lack of bullpen or run support, he deserves every bit of this ugly win. Meanwhile, Jimmy Rollins spent all spring being called every name in the book because he’s not a leader and doesn’t always say the right stuff but he hit a grand slam here, so take that leadership.

Brewers 2, Braves 0: A two-run double by Aramis Ramirez in the fourth was all the scoring in this fairly boring, offensively impotent game. Ryan Braun’s big standing O and the temper tantrum’s from the media in its wake was the most exciting thing about it.

Tigers 4, Royals 3: Everyone mocked the Tigers when they traded for Alex Gonzalez last week. And, over the course of months, I question whether Gonzalez is gonna earn his keep. But on this day he was the hero, knocking in the winning run in the ninth. Off Greg Holland, no less. Worth noting that Ned Yost went with the classic “don’t bring your closer in when it’s tied on the road” orthodoxy to begin the inning, but then relented and brought in Holland with two men on. I guess he gets some sort of credit for that even though it ended up not working.

Nationals 9, Mets 7:  Anthony Rendon hit a three-run homer in the 10th and drove in four overall. It doesn’t get to the tenth if Bobby Parnell doesn’t blow the save in the form of a two-out double to Denard Span in the ninth. But hey, at least it got that far.

Orioles 2, Red Sox 1: A big day for Grady Sizemore, but Nelson Cruz was the hero here, hitting the tiebreaking homer in the seventh. Tommy Hunter made it mildly interesting in the ninth, but locked down the save. As I was watching it, I pictured Grant Balfour watching the game in the Rays’ clubhouse, saying “Yeah, blow the save, mate! Blow the bloody save!”

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $70,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $9,000. Starts at 6:40pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Cardinals 1, Reds 0: Great start from Wainwright, shutdown bullpen work, big hit from Molina. Yep, these are the Cardinals. Billy Hamilton led off for the Reds and went 0 for 4 with 4Ks. So, yeah, that experiment is off to a bumpy start.

Rays 9, Blue Jays 2: If you bought stock in 2012 Cy Young Award winners, I hope you bought it in David Price and not in R.A. Dickey. Price took a shutout into the eighth before he hit a wall. Still only gave up two runs. Dickey, on the other hand walked six dudes and allowed six runs on five hits.

White Sox 5, Twins 3: Alejandro De Aza hit two homers and Jose Abreu had two hits. Also, some tech fun: The Twins’ replay system suffered two blown fuses which messed up the monitors in the their clubhouse. Lucky for everyone, though, this one wasn’t close.

Marlins 10, Rockies 1: Jose Fernandez struck out nine and allowed one run in six innings and Marcell Ozuna [altogether now] was a triple short of the cycle. Fernande’z grandmother Olga, who is from Cuba and with whom he had a tearful reunion this past winter, was at the game. The cameras showed her more than most of the Rockies. This was probably the smart move. She’s adorable.

Mariners 10, Angels 3: Mike Trout hit a homer and drove in a couple but Justin Smoak drove in three and King Felix struck out 11. It was close until late when Seattle put up six in the ninth to win their eighth consecutive opener. Which, given how Seattle has done over the past few years, tells you all you need to know about the value of winning the opener.

Indians 2, Athletics 0: Cubs-Pirates West. All zeroes until the ninth when Nyjer Morgan hit a sac fly and Nick Swisher singled in a run for insurance. Both runs came off the A’s new $10 million closer Jim Johnson, who started the carnage off with a walk, a single and a hit-by-pitch before Morgan and Swisher came up. Justin Masterson shut out the A’s for seven. Yeah, Cleveland, that’s not a guy to whom you want to give a short, team-friendly contract extension. Oy. The loss is Oakland’s tenth straight on Opening Day. Which, given how Oakland has done over the past few years, tells you all you need to know about the value of winning the opener.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 8: San Francisco was down 7-3 heading into the seventh before the Giants woke up and put their rally caps on and put up four on Brandon McCarthy, Oliver Perez and Brad Zeigler. Buster Posey put the Giants ahead for good with a two-run homer in the ninth. All four of the runs Giants starter Madison Bumgarner gave up were unearned because apparently it was defense-optional night at Chase Field. But when you have Buster Posey that stuff can be overcome. The Dbacks catcher was pretty good too. Miguel Montero had three hits and reached base five times.

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
Mark Brown/Getty Images
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Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.

No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.

Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:

Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.

Manfred didn’t stop there, however.

An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?