And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 7, Braves 0: I talked about the no-hitter at length yesterday when it happened, so allow me to ask why we haven’t seen more of these in the past couple of years. More strikeouts and less contact. More hard throwers. More bullpen specialization. It seems to me like these should happen more often than they do. I guess that they don’t shows that, yes, these are still special, obviously, but conditions favor such beasts now more than they have for a long time.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 4: The Cards, for the first time all year, are alone in first place in the NL Central. The lore about this team is that if a relatively lackluster Cards squad makes the playoffs, watch out, they’re bound to win it all. I guess that’s happened a couple of times, but I suppose they’d rather finish strong and with the division going away.

Cubs 4, Brewers 2: Not that it’s up to them. The Brewers, however, need to not do things like drop six in a row, which is what they’ve done. Here Jorge Soler helped do them in, doubling twice and scoring a run. He has extra base hits in all five of his major league games so far. He’s the third guy to do that in his first five games in the past century.

Padres 3, Diamondbacks 1: Cory Spangenberg — which sounds like the name of a tight end from the 1980s more than a big league third baseman — made his big league debut. He hit a two-run single. He also irked the Padres by announcing on Twitter that he was being promoted and making his debut before they had a chance too. So it was a big day.

Marlins 9, Mets 6:  The Mets had a chance here — it was tied heading into the bottom of the eighth — but they blew it thanks in part to Jeurys Familia’s two throwing errors on a single play and a wild pitch. Oh, and the wild pitch was accompanied by a throwing error by Travis d’Arnaud. Six errors for the Mets in all, after which manager Terry Collins said afterward that “It wasn’t a big-league baseball game, I can tell you that.” Not that he needed to tell us that.

Athletics 6, Mariners 1: The A’s get back on track, thanks to new addition Adam Dunn. Who, let’s be honest, was born to be an Oakland Athletic. Dunner hit a homer in his first at bat in the green and gold and added another hit later. Five first inning runs for Oakland, which ended things before they started. A strong performance from Jason Hammel as well plus a two-run single for Geovany Soto. Viva La Mid-Season Imports.

Tigers 12, Indians 1: Miguel Cabrera was given a bit of a rest — allowed to DH rather than play 1B — and it must have paid off: two homers on a 4 for 5 day. This after an August in which he only his one homer the whole bleedin’ month. David Price did his part too, allowing one run over seven and striking out eight. Corey Kluber, who has somehow lost his super powers, allowed five runs and couldn’t escape the third inning.

Giants 4, Rockies 2; Rockies 10, Giants 9: The first game took three months to complete. Really, guys, we HAVE to do something about the pace of play. *Someone whispers in my ear and explains that it was the resumption of a suspended game from May*  Ahem, never mind. The second game took about three hours and forty-four minutes. I’m gonna err on the side of caution and assume it was suspended and resumed too. *guys whispers in my ear again.* Well I’ll be damned. Charlie Blackmon with a walkoff single. The Giants’ six-game winning streak comes to an end. They are now only two back of the Dodgers because  . . .

Nationals 6, Dodgers 4: . . . The Dodgers dropped their third game in four tries. The dingers did it here. Denard Span socked two homers and Jayson Werth and Asdrubal Cabrera added their own. Gio Gonzalez was solid and won his first game in ages. He also [altogether now[ helped his own cause, singling and scoring. The Nats have the most wins in the NL.

Twins 6, Orioles 4: Four RBI for Joe Mauer. Phil Hughes allowed three runs in eight innings, but none of them were earned. Hughes has 15 wins on a team that only has 60 overall.

Rays 4, Red Sox 3: Matt Joyce had an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth to help the Rays salvage a split. I basically got nothing else here. It’s weird when normally good teams are just playing out the string.

Royals 4, Rangers 3: Sal Perez homered and drove in three as the Royals won for the first time in a week. This was your standard Royals win: close game and then in the late innings Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland shut the door with hitless relief. Regarding what I said in the Phillies recap at the top? If just one Royals pitcher can toss six hitless innings — or, heck, five maybe — this is the sort of pen which can pretty much end the game when it comes in.

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cardinals 6, Reds 4Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler homered and Tommy Pham broke out of a 0-for-20 slump with a two-run, go-ahead single. The Cardinals are now 1-0 after firing Mike Matheny. They should consider firing him before every game (note: here’s my article from yesterday morning explaining why they fired Matheny). The clubhouse was also happy for the first time in a dog’s age, with a big postgame celebration afterward. Here’s interim manager Mike Shildt describing it:

“They got me in a laundry basket and they spin you around and then they go at you with a bunch of cold water to the point where I was hyperventilating”

That sounds like the celebration they had for Flat Top’s 1000th landing in the Season One “Act of Contrition” episode of “Battlestar Galactica.” Unlike there, however, a loose missile did not fall off of a cart due to a poor coupling, thereby killing thirteen members of the Cardinals and injuring seven more. Or, if it did, it did not make the game stories I read. You figure something like that would be noted, of course. We’ll know for sure if, in the first game back after the All-Star break, the Cards roster consists of a bunch of untested nuggets, one of whom bears a strong resemblance to the manager, even if no one ever acknowledges it.

Rockies 4, Mariners 3: Trevor Story led off the ninth inning with a walkoff homer. From the gamer:

It was the first career game-ending hit for Story, who tossed his helmet to the ground after rounding third and was showered with ice water and popcorn by his teammates as he stepped on home plate.

I think that happened in the Season 2 finale of “Battlestar Galactica,” entitled “Lay Down Your Burdens,” but I’m too tired to check right now.

Orioles 6, Rangers 5: Manny Machado homered in the first and was removed from the game in the fifth inning because it was wet after a half hour rain delay. Which, after the game, Buck Showalter acknowledged was solely based on the fact that Machado is being aggressively shopped to other teams. I know that has happened in the past, but it’s weird to hear managers admit it. Though I suppose it’s better than all of the kayfabe managers normally engage in regarding a team trying its hardest to win all of the time when it’s often the case that they are not. That aside, the O’s did win here, thaks in part to that homer and to a three-run Adam Jones double in the O’s five-run third inning, which completed Baltimore’s climb out of a 4-0 first inning hole. The four runs came on a grand slam from rookie Ronald Guzman, by the way. Shin-Soo Choo walked and homered, extending his on-base streak to 51 games.

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 2: Xander Bogaerts hit a walk-off grand slam to end Saturday night’s game and he hit a homer in his first at bat in this one, driving in two on the day. Brock Holt drove in a couple too as the Red Sox enter the All-Star break winners of 12 of 13 games and stand four and a half games ahead of the Yankees. The Jays enter the break skidding and playing awful. They’re super cranky too. Well, at least Marcus Stroman is.

Pirates 7, Brewers 6: Pittsburgh trailed 5-3 in the ninth but tied it up and forced extras with two runs, the tying one coming on a David Freese RBI triple. Brett Phillips put the Brewers ahead in the tenth with an RBI single but the Buccos had one more rally in them — a game-ending one, in the driving rain — in the bottom half with two singles and then a Josh Bell RBI double plating the tying and go-ahead runs. Here’s a video recap of the 9th and 10th inning rallies. Come to see Bell’s hit in the downpour, stay to hear the Pirates broadcaster acting as if it was the seventh game of the World Series:

Thanks to a doubleheader on Saturday, this was a five-game series. The Pirates won all five of them, for the first five-game series sweep in the majors since 2006.

White Sox 10, Royals 1Daniel Palka and Yoan Moncada homered, and Lucas Giolito tossed two-hit ball into the seventh inning and Greg Luzinski was transported forward 35 years and reduced by about 100 pounds to appear in this game:

He’s using the code name “Yolmer Sanchez,” but we all know it’s Future Shrunken Bull Luzinski. Don’t even act like it isn’t.

Indians 5, Yankees 2: Michael Brantley broke a 2-2 tie with a solo homer off of Chad Green in the eighth and then a sac fly and a wild pitch later we had our final score. Trevor Bauer got a no-decision despite seven solid innings of work and Carlos Carrasco — who is not normally a reliever — picked up the W after pitching the eighth. He was available as a reliever given that he only went five innings in his last start and now has the All-Star break off. Not as many Indians have the All-Star break as players on most teams do. Six Indians are in D.C. for the festivities this week.

Nationals 6, Mets 1: Jeremy Hellickson allowed one run over six and the Nats put up five-runs in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie thanks to a pair of two-run RBI singles from Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner and Adam Eaton getting smacked by a pitch with the bases loaded. The Nationals split the series and reach the All-Star break with a 48-48 record, in third place, five and a half behind the Phillies.

Marlins 10, Phillies 5: The Marlins scored eight runs on eight hits in the fifth inning, with Brian Anderson‘s three-run homer being the biggest blow. Cameron Maybin homered and singled that inning two and Justin Bour drove in a couple. The Marlins have actually been playing pretty respectable baseball for the past month and change. The Phillies lose the series but remain a half game ahead of the Braves in the east.

Braves 5, Diamondbacks 1: Lots of teams scored their runs in bunches yesterday. Here the Braves scored four of their five runs in the third, with four different players each driving in a single run, none via a homer. Preston Tucker did hit a homer for Atlanta — a punch hit number — in the seventh. Julio Teheran tossed shutout ball into the seventh inning.

Twins 11, Rays 7: This was a wild one, with lead changes, back and forth momentum and a couple of benches-clearing incidents thanks to some trash talk that, thankfully, did not result in any punches or shoving. It also featured fifteen pitchers — nine by the Rays alone — and three separate blown saves in a ten-inning game that lasted four hours and thirty-eight minutes. Woof. Brian Dozier put an end to it all, however, with a walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the 10th. It was a fun final frame, too, with Jake Cave doubling to start it off, eventually being sacrificed to third base. Given that he was the only run that mattered, Rays manager Kevin Cash ordered two intentional walks to load the bases to get to Dozier, playing a five-man infield in the hopes of something being hit on the ground. “It didn’t work, obviously,” Cash said after the game. You don’t say. The Twins won nine of eleven on their home stand heading into the break.

Tigers 6, Astros 3: Justin Verlander struck out 12 of his former mates — or, at the very least, 12 guys wearing the uniform of his former mates — but he also gave up six runs in six innings thanks to his serving up four gopher balls. John Hicks hit a two-run blast and Jeimer Candelario, Niko Goodrum and Jim Adduci had solo shots. Between the Ks and the long balls, Verlander called it one of the weirdest starts of his career.

Dodgers 5, Angels 3Yasmani Grandal and Enrique Hernandez each homered and even Clayton Kershaw drove in a run. He pitched pretty well too as the Dodgers earn a split of the Freeway Series overall, 3-3. Given that we’re talking about L.A. freeways here, it’s pretty appropriate that it’s all locked up like that.

Athletics 6, Giants 2Stephen Piscotty homered as the A’s take two of three from their cross-bay rivals and win their ninth game in their last 12. The A’s have been absolutely torrid for the past month, winning 21 of 27 and cutting the Mariners’ lead for the second Wild Card down to 3.5 games. They were 11 games back of Seattle a month ago.

Cubs 7, Padres 4: Chicago had a 5-0 lead after the first couple of innings and cruised from there. Jon Lester won for the eighth time in nine starts and Jason Heyward drove in a couple of runs. The Cubs enter the All-Star break with the best record in the National League.