And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Two teams without wins enter the weekend and each of them sweep their series. This, my friends, is why baseball does not lend itself well to two-hour pregame shows and hours and upon hours of talk radio breaking things down to the nth degree. Things change fast in this sport and what happened yesterday has little bearing on what happens today. Baseball isn’t prone to IN DEPTH BREAKDOWNS. Baseball just . . . happens. Maybe someone should do a show about that. About how that just happened. Hmmm . . .

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights.

Yankees 4, Mariners 3: A-Rod was 0-for-19 and then hit a two-run homer. Maybe he’s done. I have no idea. 40-year-olds are often toast before they realize it, but he got around on that one. Masahiro Tanaka beat Hisashi Iwakuma. They used to play together for Rakuten in NPB. All the stories about this make some reference to “his old friend . . . ” in some way. They probably are friends. I’m going to choose to believe, however, without reading further, that they actually have a long-simmering feud over, say, a woman. Or a promise one made to another over strong drink, later broken. “Ah, yes, I beat my old friend,” Tanka says to the press. But deep down there are scars that will never heal. Sorry, just makes it all the more interesting for me.

Mets 6, Indians 0: Steven Matz was declared dead and there was much panic after his first start but then came back and struck out nine and allowed three hits over seven innings, which makes me think that the Mets coverage tends to skew toward unreasonable extremes. He was just mostly dead, I guess. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there’s usually only one thing you can do . . . go through his clothes and look for loose change.

Braves 6, Marlins 5: Braves win three in a row! They gonna go 153-9 now, I presume. In other news, on Friday night as I was watching them win their first game of the season, one of my Twitter correspondents informed me that Peter Buck of R.E.M. came up with the idea for — and the mandolin line to — “Losing My Religion” while watching the 54-106 1988 Atlanta Braves on TV with the sound down. I was probably watching the same games as him at the time and all I came up with were increasingly implausible fantasies about how I was gonna get some sophomore girl to notice me. Oh well, genius works in varying ways. OK, the 2016 Braves aren’t going to win 153 games. But here’s hoping they, like their similarly futile 1988 counterparts, inspire a great song in a couple of years.

Twins 3, Angels 2: Oswaldo Arcia walked ’em off with a single to score Byron Buxton in the 12th inning, giving the Twins a three-game sweep. I’m going to assume that Prince or the Replacements or someone wrote a great song while watching the Twins lose 91 games in 1986 and that someone will likewise do so in Minneapolis this summer.

Rays 3, White Sox 2: Matt Moore struck out 10 over six and a third innings and Brandon Guyer had four hits. It seems like forever ago that Moore had Tommy John surgery, but he’s still just coming back from it, having made only 12 starts last year in that “man, I just don’t have my command back yet” phase of TJ recovery.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 3: The Jays salvage one. Edwin Encarnacion has two singles and an RBI and Jose Bautista went long. Aaron Sanchez allowed two hits in seven innings of one-run ball.

Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Jonathan Papelbon came into the game in the bottom of the 10th for the one-run save against his former team. And his former team shoved it down his throat, with Andres Blanco hitting an RBI single and Freddy Galvis hitting an RBI double as Papelbon gave up three hits in all.

Pirates 9, Brewers 3: The Buccos rattled off 17 hits against Brewers pitchers. Andrew McCutchen homered for the second day in a row, Sean Rodriguez had a two-run homer and Josh Harrison and John Jaso each had two hits as the Pirates took two of three from Milwaukee to end a brief four-game skid.

Astros 5, Tigers 4Jose Altuve hit a leadoff home run and had three RBI while George Springer hit a solo shot. While it came in a loss, Ian Kinsler had a helluva day. He hit a two-run homer and then, in the field, he let a Tyler White pop up fall in front of him in order to throw out Colby Rasmus at second. The announcers thought it was an infield fly rule situation at first but it wasn’t because that only applies with force outs at multiple bases. This was just a thing where Kinsler made it so the faster runner, Rasmus, was exchanged for a slower runner in White. Some good deep diving on this play here, including some history as to how this kind of play actually led to the creation of the infield fly rule, even though it didn’t actually apply in this case.

Cardinals 4, Reds 3: Subbing for Yadi Molina, Eric Fryer had three hits, including a go-ahead double with two outs in the eighth inning. He’s 6-for-6 on the year. He should retire now, tied for the all-time highest single-season batting average.

Rockies 2, Cubs 0: Two homers for Nolan Arenado who continues to remind everyone that he’s a ridiculously good baseball player trapped on an otherwise bad team. Also good: Tyler Chatwood, who had seven shutout innings while allowing only two hits. He’s had two TJ surgeries, by the way. It’s always good to see a guy like that come up big.

Athletics 3, Royals 2Josh Reddick hit a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run in the eighth, but that run came in the form of Billy Burns, who had just tripled to set it all up. Reddick gets the RBI, but Burns would get the assist if this was somehow basketball.

Diamondbacks 7, Padres 3: Yasmany Tomas homered twice, drove in three and scored three. This all came hours after the Dbacks dropped a 14-inning game that took 5 hours, 25 minutes, so you figure they were all gassed. Probably felt like I did all day Sunday after giving blood on Saturday. I’ve given blood a bunch of times before, but for some reason this time it made me crazy-fatigued. So basically I’m just like a professional ballplayer who just played a 14-inning game.

Dodgers 3, Giants 1: Down 1-0 in the fifth, Joc Pederson hit a two-run homer that ended up being enough to win the game even if L.A. added an insurance run later. Kenta Maeda allowed his first run of the year, but only that run, to get the win. He’s now 2-0 with 0.47 ERA and 15 strikeouts and four walks in 19 innings.

Orioles vs. Rangers — POSTPONED: I feel the toxins fill my blood stream as I’m walking through the parking lot
Over and over and over and over and over and over
The clouds hanging over
Choking the life out of me
The motto seems to be
“We work in order to be free”

It’s the black sheets of rain
Following me again
Everywhere I go
Everywhere I’ve been
Following me again

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.