And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1: Eight innings, ten strikeouts no earned runs for Clayton Kershaw. Ho-hum. It’s his third straight start with double digits in strikeouts. Ho-Hum. He’s 16-3 with a 1.73 ERA. Ho-hum. The guy leads MLB in wins despite spending five weeks on the disabled list. Ho-effeing-Hum.

Pirates 3, Cardinals 1: Ike Davis with a long two-run shot in the second ended up being all the scoring the Pirates would need as Jeff Locke allowed only one run over seven, outdueling Adam Wainwright. After the game Wainwright said he had a dead arm. Which is way better than an undead arm. Although there are fixes for that too.

Rangers 12, Mariners 4: Rougned Odor hit a grand slam, Tomas Tellis drove in three and everyone on the Rangers was detained by the Seattle police for suspected fraud and identity theft because there is no way those are real people’s names.

Phillies 8, Nationals 4: The Phillies sweep the Nats, with Grady Sizemore’s two-run pinch hit homer in the sixth putting them ahead. If the Phillies keep winning like this Ruben Amaro is going to go into next season thinking that this group is totally dandy, isn’t he?

Yankees 8, Tigers 4: The Yankees banged out nine straight hits off David Price in their eight-run third inning. Meanwhile, every baseball analyst, present company included, is spending their morning deleting old posts and columns in which we claimed that the Tigers picking up Price ensured them a playoff spot and made them World Series favorites.

Rays 3, Orioles 1: Meanwhile, the other part of the David Price trade — Drew Smyly — was just dandy, allowing one run on two hits over seven innings. We pundits will not be deleting anything we said about Smyly. At least those of us who said that he was a really solid young pitcher who the Rays will be happy to have. He’s certainly been showing that so far.

Reds 7, Cubs 5: Jorge Soler was called up yesterday and made his big league debut. Not a bad one — 2 for 4 with a homer and an RBI single — but it wasn’t enough. Mat Latos stuck out ten and the Reds bats chased Jacob Turner in the fourth. Not that it was all his fault: the Cubs committed three errors. They threatened in the ninth too, but it came up short.

Braves 3, Mets 2: The Braves snap their losing streak thanks in part to a lead-saving, mind-blowing freakout of a play by Andrelton Simmons. I saw people comparing his range-right, jump-throw to first play to Derek Jeter. And I suppose it was in form. But I’d love to see a video overlay of Simmons’ play with any of Jeter’s from the past, oh, 15 years. I’d bet the farm there was none in which Jeter was a deep in the hole as Simmons was here.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2: Danny Valencia had a pinch-hit, go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh. In a bleak season, Boston’s bullpen had actually been pretty OK until recently. Now even it is disappointing.

Padres 3, Brewers 2: Rene Rivera took care of everything here, tying the game with a home run in the ninth inning, and winning it with an RBI single in the 10th. He also allowed a run to score on a passed ball, so he really did dominate this game in every way.

White Sox 3, Indians 2: The Sox end a seven game losing streak that had them actually tied with the Cubs for the worst record in Chicago (which is a thing I just made up). Jose Abreu hit a pair of RBI singles. Corey Kluber lost his second straight start after not taking a loss since June before that.

Royals 6, Twins 1: Phil Hughes shut Kansas City down until the eighth inning, then they broke through for four runs against him and two more off the pen. Sal Perez and Billy Butler had the big hits. The Royals gain another game in the standings and they now lead Detroit by two and a half.

Giants 4, Rockies 2: Buster Posey had two homers on Tuesday and then broke a 2-2 tie — and ended the game — with a walkoff two-run homer. Tim Hudson, who pitched excellently despite the no-decision,  notched his 2,000th career strikeout. Bruce Bochy got his 1,600th career win.

Athletics 5, Astros 4: Sam Fuld broke a tie with a two-run homer in the ninth. Man, there were a lot of tie-breaking homers last night. The A’s have won 12 games this year when trailing after the seventh inning. That’s the most in baseball. Now they face the Angels in a [pick your adjective which generally means important] four-game series.

Angels 6, Marlins 1: Mike Trout notches his 30th homer of the year. Trout leads the majors with 71 extra-base hits and 283 total bases. I look forward to someone trying to construct an argument about how he’s not the American League MVP.

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – Moments after Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost two decades after his final game, he got the question.

Asked if Barry Bonds belonged in Cooperstown, a smiling McGriff responded: “Honestly, right now, I’m going to just enjoy this evening.”

A Hall of Fame committee delivered its answer Sunday, passing over Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling while handing McGriff the biggest honor of his impressive big league career.

The lanky first baseman, nicknamed the “Crime Dog,” hit .284 with 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs over 19 seasons with six major league teams. The five-time All-Star helped Atlanta win the 1995 World Series.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot in 2019. Now, he will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the writers’ vote, announced Jan. 24.

“It’s all good. It’s been well worth the wait,” said McGriff, who played his last big league game in 2004.

It was the first time that Bonds, Clemens and Schilling had faced a Hall committee since their 10th and final appearances on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and support for Schilling dropped after he made hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

While the 59-year-old McGriff received unanimous support from the 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee – comprised of Hall members, executives and writers – Schilling got seven votes, and Bonds and Clemens each received fewer than four.

The makeup of the committee likely will change over the years, but the vote was another indication that Bonds and Clemens might never make it to the Hall.

This year’s contemporary era panel included Greg Maddux, who played with McGriff on the Braves, along with Paul Beeston, who was an executive with Toronto when McGriff made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1986.

Another ex-Brave, Chipper Jones, was expected to be part of the committee, but he tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall.

The contemporary era committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A player needs 75% to be elected.

“It’s tough deciding on who to vote for and who not to vote for and so forth,” McGriff said. “So it’s a great honor to be unanimously voted in.”

In addition to all his big hits and memorable plays, one of McGriff’s enduring legacies is his connection to a baseball skills video from youth coach Tom Emanski. The slugger appeared in a commercial for the product that aired regularly during the late 1990s and early 2000s – wearing a blue Baseball World shirt and hat.

McGriff said he has never seen the video.

“Come Cooperstown, I’ve got to wear my blue hat,” a grinning McGriff said. “My Tom Emanski hat in Cooperstown. See that video is going to make a revival now, it’s going to come back.”

Hall of Famers Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also served on this year’s committee, which met in San Diego at baseball’s winter meetings.

Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy rounded out the eight-man ballot. Mattingly was next closest to election, with eight votes of 12 required. Murphy had six.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their final chances with the BBWAA. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) on the 2021 BBWAA ballot. The right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 seasons, winning the World Series with Arizona in 2001 and Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Theo Epstein, who also served on the contemporary era committee, was the GM in Boston when the Red Sox acquired Schilling in a trade with the Diamondbacks in November 2003.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.