And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 6, Orioles 5:  For everything that was and will be said about this game — for all of the stuff about storybook endings and rising to the occasion and everything else — my biggest takeaway from Derek Jeter‘s heroics was the replay in which they showed his dad reacting to the walkoff hit.

The man watched his son kick ass for 40 years. And on the occasion of the last big hit his son will ever have, he reacted as if it was his first. He jumped out of his seat with a big smile on his face and whooped it up. It was just wonderful

It spoke to me more than anything else anyone has said about Derek Jeter these past few weeks has spoke to me. It explained more about the guy than any of the people reaching beyond their grasp to try to explain the guy have managed. People have tried to figure out why Jeter is who he is and why he has been what he has been these past 20 years. It’s a thing we’ll never know for sure because Jeter doesn’t, to his credit, open up like a book to everyone. But if we had to guess, I’d say the answer to it is somewhere in his dad’s reaction. Some bit of grounding and normalcy and good damn sense that a great many star athletes don’t have surrounding them from the youngest of ages because they’re star athletes and, in this day and age anyway, they’re treated differently.

Derek Jeter’s dad looked like a guy cheering on his son’s first goal in kindergarten soccer. And in that there was something absolutely beautiful.

Red Sox 11, Rays 1: Rusney Castillo and Christian Vazquez each hit their first ever big league homers. Vazquez had four hits and drove in three. Allen Webster had a solid start. The Sox’ season ends with a visit from the Yankees. Jeter will likely DH a bit during the series, but that’s all. What a weird, ignominious ending for both of these teams.

Pirates 10, Braves 1: The Pirates trounce the Braves, who could almost literally be seen checking their October vacation reservations on their smart phones during the game. Pittsburgh is one game behind the Cards for the Central with three games to go. The scoreboard watching between the two of those teams will be about the most meaningful baseball played this entire weekend.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: Homers from Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez and a win from Max Scherzer despite not having his best stuff. Best sign for the Tigers: three innings of bullpen work from three pitchers. Nine batters faced, nine batters retired. The Tigers maintain their two-game lead with three to play. Seems pretty safe as long as they don’t just totally woof away the weekend.

Mets 7, Nationals 4Nationals 3, Mets 0: The split. In the first game, Matt den Dekker singled home the go-ahead run off Tyler Clippard in the eighth. Curtis Granderson had three hits in the Mets’ 15-hit attack. In the nightcap, Gio Gonzalez allowed one hit in seven innings while striking out 12. Not a lot of offensive fireworks here, as the Nats’ three runs scored on a bases-loaded walk, a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and a fielder’s choice. The Nats play another doubleheader today, this time against the Marlins. I’ll be flying to Washington this afternoon to meet up with a good friend and she and I are going to take in the nightcap. I will not wear my Braves gear to the game out of respect, but nor will I do my usual When-in-Rome thing and buy Nats gear because, man, a dude has to have standards. I think I’ll wear my Columbus Clippers cap, to be honest. And root like hell for the Marlins, because I am nothing if not a man animated by spite.

Marlins 6, Phillies 4: The Marlins win ensures that the Phillies will finish in last place for the first time in 14 years. Good effort, fellas. They now go on to play the Braves who may actually be a bigger disappointment than the last place Phillies. I’d say this is the World Series for both of these teams, but they’re both so terrible that it’s more like a lame spring training game on March 25th when everyone is just tired of the routine and they all want to break camp,

Mariners 7, Blue Jays 5: Two homers for Logan Morrison as the Mariners stay alive, albeit in critical condition. The A’s lost, so Seattle remains two back with three to play. Seattle has three against the Angels. The A’s have three against the Rangers.

Rangers 2, Athletics 1: Of course, the Rangers beat them here, courtesy of a walkoff homer from Adrian Beltre. They stunk all year, but in the second half of September, the Rangers have come alive. They stand ready to spoil the A’s season just like the A’s have spoiled the Rangers’ past couple of years. If they do it, boy howdy, that’d be something.

Reds 5, Brewers 3: Speaking of spoiled, the Reds did that to the Brewers, officially eliminating them from playoff contention. Jay Bruce went 3 for 4. Brandon Phillips homered. Yovani Gallardo gave up ten hits in five innings. And like that — poof — it was gone. Quick — someone ask Jonathan Lucroy if he still thinks the Brewers are better than the Cardinals.

Royals 6, White Sox 3: Three runs across the eighth and ninth innings for the rallying Royals. Eric Hosmer was 3 for 5 with a couple driven in. James Shields gets the no-decision and the Kansas City pen does its usual three scoreless innings thing.

Giants 9, Padres 8: The Padres made it interesting, scoring five in the seventh to take the lead, but the Giants roared back with three in the bottom of the inning to seal it. Either way, the Giants clinched the playoffs yesterday with Milwaukee’s loss, so it was going to be champagne, win or lose for San Francisco.

And That Happened . . . Classic!

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Due to the All-Star break, we now bring you a special “Classic” version of “And That Happened.” The following originally ran in the HardballTalk Tribune, the former print edition of this publication, on July 17 1949. 

Reds 7, Dodgers 6: I haven’t seen Reds rally like this since Mao kicked Chiang Kai-shek’s butt over to Formosa! Brooklyn built a 4-1 lead after seven innings, but then Preacher Roe began to falter and Cincinnati clawed back. After a run on a fielder’s choice, Virgil Stallcup knocked in two with a single in the eighth to things at four. They’d trade runs and it was tied at five after nine, but Walker Cooper’s two-run homer in the top of the 10th gave the game to the visitors. This is a terrible Cincinnati team overall — you’re more likely to get a hit from a Red on the Hollywood 10 list than from one who plays in Crosley Field — but they really put it together yesterday afternoon.

Braves 9, Cubs 1: Pete Reiser tripled and knocked in three. I was thinking of ole Pistol Pete just four days ago when the owners got together and agreed to build warning paths before each fence in the outfield. Nice move, but it’s a few years too late for Pete, even if he’s still grinding it out. Meanwhile, Johnny Sain went the distance, allowing one run on six hits. Spahn won the day before. Consulting the forecast for the doubleheader in Cincinnati tomorrow now and . . . ugh, it looks sunny. I like the Reds’ chances. 

Indians 7, Athletics 3: Jim Hegan hit a three-run home run to lead the Tribe’s offense, but I’m more taken with what happened with their pitching. Steve Gromek got the “start” for the Indians, but he’s more often used as a relief pitcher. He pitched only an inning and a third, after which three other relievers — Mike Garcia, Gene Bearden and Satchel Paige — finished out the game. Seems like a kinda loopy thing to do, but it worked. I wonder if manager Lou Boudreau is trying out some sort of new strategy in which he just uses bullpen arms every few games for some reason? I’ll call it “Boudreu-ing.” I’m sure it won’t catch on.

White Sox 5, Senators 1: Cass Michaels hit a two-run double and a two-run single and Chisox starter Bob Kuzava allowed only an unearned run in a complete game. You won’t see a performance from Senators this bad until the real ones get together to ratify that “NATO” treaty next week. Don’t do it, fellas! Sure, NATO is great in theory — I’m all for stopping those Russkies before they can even get going — but this joint-defense thingamajig is TOTALLY dependent upon everyone agreeing its good and showing confidence in it! If even one country — one backwards banana republic that elects some tinpot wannabe dictator somehow — starts to undermine it, the thing will unravel and Russia’s power will grow immensely! This report hopes to God it doesn’t happen in his lifetime, but what about down the line? Hopefully the US of A will keep all of these other shaky members in line and backing their commitments.

Red Sox 11, Tigers 1: The Bosox beat the tar out of Virgil Trucks and Marv Grissom, with Williams, Doerr, Zarilla and Tebbetts each hitting homers and driving in multiple runs. The Tigers — as close to two games back of the Yankees in the American league a couple of times this year — need to get their pitching on track or else they’re gonna plummet faster than James Forrestal did in Bethesda.

Too soon?

Phillies 4, Cardinals 2: Willie Jones homered and singled in a run and the Phillies scored two more on an error and a wild pitch. Guess the catcher was more crossed-up by Harry Brecheen’s screwball than the Phillies were. Despite the win, the Phillies are struggling lately and remain 6.5 back in the National League. A month ago they were only two games out. That injury to first baseman Eddie Waitkus (15-day DL, shot in the goddamn chest by obsessed fan Ruth Steinhagen) is really starting to affect them.

Browns 4, Yankees 2: 3,481 fans showed up for this one, which isn’t bad for a Browns game! They only played six innings here because of bad weather. It may have been the greatest game so far this season for the 25-55 Browns. As for the Yankees, yes, they’ve been doing OK, but rookie manager Casey Stengel is no Joe McCarthy, and I’d wager that last year’s third place finish is a more likely result this year than them staying in first place. The Red Sox are too strong and I think Boston will take the pennant. To be honest, those two clubs should investigate a big trade — Williams for DiMaggio — that helps unload each team’s biggest problem on the other. Do it Yawkey and MacPhail! 

Pirates 9, Giants 0; Pirates 7, Giants 6: From 30 feet away the Giants look like they have an OK lineup. From 10 feet away it looks like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away. At least that’s how it was in Game 1 of this twin bill when Bob Chenes shut ’em out. Wally Westlake — who hit two longballs — and the rest of the Pirates lineup beat Giants starter Clint Hartung’s teeth out and then kicked him in the stomach for mumbling. Game two was a closer affair. The Giants still couldn’t find a way to win but when you play extra innings you lose more slowly. The Giants were in first place for a time this year, but not anymore. Now they’re in the deep water. It’s dark and unclear and the taste of the salt is in their mouths. By the time the second game of the twin bill was over it was getting dark on the streets of the big city, with the rain-clouded lights of the stores soaked up by the black street.