And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 3, Mets 0: When I noticed that Clayton Kershaw — who, after a slow-for-him start has been his old dominant self lately — was going to be facing the Mets this week, my first thought was that it was gonna be a slaughter. Then my second thought was that baseball is weird and unpredictable and you can’t ever hype games in advance and hope that they’ll conform to the hype, so that it’d probably be the case that the Mets would score six runs off of him in five innings. Just go with your first impulse, Craig. Just go with your first impulse. A perfecto into the seventh which ended in a three-hit shutout on 104 pitches with 11 strikeouts. He now has 29 consecutive scoreless innings and is on pace for a 300+ strikeout year.

Yankees 9, Orioles 3: The sweep, as the Yankees are just rolling. It must suck to be a Yankees columnist now, what with there being no controversy and stuff. Maybe you can write a “are the Yankees peaking too soon?!” alarmist column, but that only really gets you a day. Thoughts, prayers.Jacoby Ellsbury singled, doubled and homered — but did not “finish a triple shy of the cycle because that is not a notable thing as it has happens hundreds of times a season — and drove in four runs. Chase Headley hit a bases-clearing double in the first inning.

Blue Jays 5, Athletics 2: Russell Martin drove in three  — two of ’em on a two run homer — to back R.A. Dickey who pitched into the ninth inning. So if it was just the two of them playing the Jays would win. Wait, not. If it was just the two of them there would be a LOT of inside the park homers. Never mind.

Pirates 7, Nationals 3: Francisco Liriano pitched into the seventh, allowing three hits and struck out 11. Crazy stat/factoid thingie from the AP wire story: Liriano retired the first 12 hitters he faced on either strikeouts or grounders back to the mound. So maybe in this one the pitcher, catcher and first baseman could’ve been the only ones to play and the Pirates would’ve been just fine?

Cardinals 4, Royals 3: World Series preview? Well, maybe not quite as this was just a rainout makeup and the real World Series will last longer than one game. At least as long as we don’t have a “Dark Knight Rises” situaish happen with some garbled-mouth terrorist taking over Kansas City. Of course if that does happen it’ll be a lot easier to escape what with K.C. really only having a river on one side of it and a lot of ways to leave it without having to cross major bridges and things. Oh, this game, right: John Lackey pitched well. Grichuk and Carpenter each hit two-run homers. As for these two teams matching up, ugh. We’re all sort of tired of the Cardinals, right? If they’re playing deep into October again I *Bane voice* won’t fear death. I’ll welcome it. Our punishment must be more severe.

Mariners 3, Tigers 2: Mike Zunino had an RBI double in the top of the 12th inning. He also extinguished a scoring threat in the 10th by throwing out Anthony Gose trying to steal. All this after entering the game late following Jesus Sucre being lifted for a pinch hitter. Which means that, technically speaking, he wasn’t even supposed to be here today.

Marlins 4, Padres 0: In Soviet Russia, Koehler flushes YOU! Tom Koehler: 7 IP, 3 H 0 ER. The Fish put up a four-run sixth on a wild pitch a throwing error and a couple of singles.

Twins 3, Angels 0: Ervin Santana tossed eight four-hit shutout innings against his old mates. And this time it could be meant literally as there are a lot of dudes on that Angels team who were there when Santana played for ’em. Trevor Plouffe hit a three-run homer for the game’s only offense. This thing lasted two hours and sixteen minutes. Getaway day, man. Getaway day.

 

White Sox 8, Indians 1: Jeff Samardzija could’ve just made his last start as a White, um, Sock. If so it was a good one: he allowed one run on four hits in eight innings. Meanwhile, Melky Cabrera went 2-for-3 with two homers.

Astros 5, Red Sox 4: Jose Altuve’s walkoff homer sent the Sox to their eighth straight loss. Altuve had four hits on the night. When does Patriots training camp start? Heck, folks in Boston may even settle for the Celtics right about now.

Diamondbacks 8, Brewers 3: Zack Godley made his major league debut and all he did was strike out seven in six shutout innings. From the AP story, this quote from Chip Hale:

“The umpire, Brian O’Nora, came over and said, `This guy has got really good stuff.'”

That’s pretty good, yes? According to Elias, Godley is the first pitcher since at least 1900 to throw at least six scoreless innings with no walks and seven or more strikeouts in his major league debut. That’s also pretty good.

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.