And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

Associated Press
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 7, Pirates 4: A quietly excellent start for the Tigers, who took three of four in a home-and-home against the Pirates. Jordan Zimmermann pitched six shutout innings, Nick Castellanos homered and drove in four. Last year the Tigers could never really depend on starters in Zimmermann’s position in the rotation and didn’t get much out of Castellanos. If those things have changed, so too have the team’s fortunes.

Phillies 3, Padres 0: I wrote up how amazing Vince Velasquez’s start was here and Bill added some extra facts about it here. Then on Twitter I had the audacity to note that, perhaps, this Padres team, which has been shutout in half of its games so far this year, is not actually very good and that their futility also contributed to the results. Because it’s possible, is it not, for a pitcher to have (a) pitched AMAZINGLY well; and (b) for a team to suck.

Guess not! Because Phillies fans came out of the woodwork to tell me how crappy a thing that was to say and how disrespectful I was. One called me a “clown” and many said I had an axe to grind because I’m a Braves fan. One person asked if I would dare say such a thing if John Smoltz had turned in such a performance. Another asked if I’d say it if Clayton Kershaw did. Because, yes, Velasquez has totally earned a comp to a Hall of Famer and the best pitcher in baseball. In other news, I missed Phillies fans and how insanely sensitive and insecure they can be. Their team having sucked for a while has kept them quiet in recent years, but it only took one game for that “you must not only note how GOOD we are, but you must also RESPECT us and not say ONE THING BAD ABOUT US EVER, EVEN INDIRECTLY, or else we’ll lose our minds” side to reemerge. I missed that. 2010 seems so long ago.

Cardinals 7, Brewers 0: An equally fantastic outing from Jaime Garcia, who handcuffed the Brewers with 13 strikeouts in a complete game shutout. To be on the safe side here, let me say that the 2016 Milwaukee Brewers are as good as the 1927 Yankees and Jaime Garcia is basically Walter Johnson. Let no man say that I have disrespected the Cardinals!

White Sox 3, Twins 1: Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but the Twins lost again. The Twins have scored only 14 runs in those nine games. The White Sox, meanwhile, are 7-2, which is their best start since they went 8-1 to begin the 1982 season.

Indians 6, Rays 0: Danny Salazar pitched six shutout innings, striking out nine and walking three. Chris Archer, meanwhile, is 0-3 after giving up three runs on seven hits in five and a third. He is 0-6 with a 5.83 ERA in nine starts since beating Baltimore on Aug. 31.

Rockies 11, Giants 6: Jorge De La Rosa will probably have a statue at Coors Field some day. Sounds crazy, but really, he’s the only pitcher who has truly survived that place and, at times, has thrived. Yesterday he contributed with his bat and his arm, notching two hits and driving in two runs while allowing three earned runs, striking out seven and pitching into the seventh inning. Is that pitching line the stuff of legends? Nah, but merely going into the seventh as a Rockies starter is impressive and without checking, I’m going to assume he’s done it more than anyone, perhaps by a factor of two or three.

Cubs 8, Reds 1: The sweep. The Cubs are now 8-1 for the first time in 47 years. That, for those of you who can do math, was 1969. That year they started out as winners of 11 of 12. The season didn’t end well for them then — black cats and the New York Mets happened — but it certainly can’t be a bad thing to start out this hot.

Nationals 6, Braves 2: Bryce Harper’s 100th career homer was a grand slam. It broke a piece of the friggin’ scoreboard too. For those who pay attention to such things, Harper’s 100th came in his 518th career game, when he was 8,851 days old. Hank Aaron’s 100th homer came in his 538th game, when he was 8,594 days old. The Braves will likely not win a game for another 8,937 days.

Blue Jays 4, Yankees 2: A three-run bomb from Josh Donaldson in the fifth and a solo shot from Troy Tulowitzki in the sixth. Donaldson’s went a long, long way. The reigning MVP has five home runs, 12 RBI, and a .325 average on the season.

Rangers 6, Orioles 3: A five-run sixth inning by Texas got Cole Hamels off the hook for a loss and handed him a win while handing the O’s their second straight loss. Rougned Odor had a tie-breaking two-run double as part of that rally.

Royals 6, Astros 2: So far so good for a free agent pickup a lot of people thought could be a bust or, at the very least, an overpay. Ian Kennedy turned in his second straight strong outing to start the season, allowing only two hits — though one was a homer — in seven innings. In his debut last weekend against the Twins he pitched six and two-thirds shutout innings. Of course, that was the Twins and they’re terrible [waits for Royals fans to get as pissy as Phillies fans about such a statement; waits forever; dies having never heard a peep because Royals fans, while increasingly hilarious lately, aren’t crazily insecure people].

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 2: The Dodgers were down 2-0 in the seventh — with starter Ross Stripling’s excellent outing seemingly going for naught for a second straight time — but then their bats woke up. Kiké Hernandez hit a two-run double and Yasiel Puig, Jacob Turner and Adrian Gonzalez each singled in runs. In other news, Kiké Hernandez’s heroics are the single biggest reason I’ve learned how to write the accent symbol.

Gaylord Perry, two-time Cy Young winner, dies at 84

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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GAFFNEY, S.C. — Baseball Hall of Famer and two-time Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry, a master of the spitball and telling stories about the pitch, died at 84.

Perry died at his home in Gaffney, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said. He did not provide additional details. A statement from the Perry family said he “passed away peacefully at his home after a short illness.”

The native of Williamston, North Carolina, made history as the first player to win the Cy Young in both leagues, with Cleveland in 1972 after a 24-16 season and with San Diego in 1978 – going 21-6 for his fifth and final 20-win season just after turning 40.

“Before I won my second Cy Young, I thought I was too old – I didn’t think the writers would vote for me,” Perry said in an article on the National Baseball Hall of Fame website. “But they voted on my performance, so I won it.”

“Gaylord Perry was a consistent workhorse and a memorable figure in his Hall of Fame career,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, adding, “he will be remembered among the most accomplished San Francisco Giants ever … and remained a popular teammate and friend throughout his life.”

Perry was drafted by the San Francisco Giants and spent 10 seasons among legendary teammates like Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who said Thursday that Perry “was a good man, a good ballplayer and my good friend. So long old Pal.”

Juan Marichal remembered Perry as “smart, funny, and kind to everyone in the clubhouse. When he talked, you listened.”

“During our 10 seasons together in the San Francisco Giants rotation, we combined to record 369 complete games, more than any pair of teammates in the Major Leagues,” Marichal said. “I will always remember Gaylord for his love and devotion to the game of baseball, his family, and his farm.”

Perry, who pitched for eight major-league teams from 1962 until 1983, was a five-time All-Star who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991. He had a career record of 314-255, finished with 3,554 strikeouts and used a pitching style where he doctored baseballs or made batters believe he was doctoring them.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame said in a statement that Perry was “one of the greatest pitchers of his generation.” The Texas Rangers, whom Perry played for twice, said in a statement that the pitcher was “a fierce competitor every time he took the ball and more often than not gave the Rangers an opportunity to win the game.”

“The Rangers express their sincere condolences to Gaylord’s family at this difficult time,” the team’s statement said. “This baseball great will be missed.”

Perry’s 1974 autobiography was titled “Me and the Spitter,” and he wrote it in that when he started in 1962 he was the “11th man on an 11-man pitching staff” for the Giants. He needed an edge and learned the spitball from San Francisco teammate Bob Shaw.

Perry said he first threw it in May 1964 against the New York Mets, pitched 10 innings without giving up a run and soon after entered the Giants’ starting rotation.

He also wrote in the book that he chewed slippery elm bark to build up his saliva, and eventually stopped throwing the pitch in 1968 after MLB ruled pitchers could no longer touch their fingers to their mouths before touching the baseball.

According to his book, he looked for other substances, like petroleum jelly, to doctor the baseball. He used various motions and routines to touch different parts of his jersey and body to get hitters thinking he was applying a foreign substance.

Giants teammate Orlando Cepeda said Perry had “a great sense of humor … a great personality and was my baseball brother.”

“In all my years in baseball, I never saw a right-handed hurler have such a presence on the field and in the clubhouse,” Cepeda added.

Seattle Mariners Chairman John Stanton said in a release that he spoke with Perry during his last visit to Seattle, saying Perry was, “delightful and still passionate in his opinions on the game, and especially on pitching.

Perry was ejected from a game just once for doctoring a baseball – when he was with Seattle in August 1982. In his final season with Kansas City, Perry and teammate Leon Roberts tried to hide George Brett’s infamous pine-tar bat in the clubhouse but was stopped by a guard. Perry was ejected for his role in that game, too.

After his career, Perry founded the baseball program at Limestone College in Gaffney and was its coach for the first three years.

Perry is survived by wife Deborah, and three of his four children in Allison, Amy and Beth. Perry’s son Jack had previously died.

Deborah Perry said in a statement to The AP that Gaylord Perry was “an esteemed public figure who inspired millions of fans and was a devoted husband, father, friend and mentor who changed the lives of countless people with his grace, patience and spirit.”

The Hall of Fame’s statement noted that Perry often returned for induction weekend “to be with his friends and fans.”

“We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Deborah, and the entire Perry family,” Baseball Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said.