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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 8, Nationals 4: Chase Utley hit a leadoff homer and drove in three on three hits. Scott Kazmir gave up one run and four hits in seven innings, striking out eight. He’s 6-0 in his last 12 starts. The last time Clayton Kershaw pitched for the Dodgers the club lost and they fell to eight games back of the Giants. Since then they’re 12-6 and are 4.5 games back. Baseball is a team sport, you guys.

Marlins 2, Phillies 1Christian Yelich homered and drove in the game-winning run with a single in the 10th inning. He’s been on fire since making a mysterious tweet about someone making a defamatory video that someone tried to claim depicted him doing . . . something, but which was not him. I’m still stuck on the notion that someone, somewhere in this country considered Yelich, a nice player but by no means a super celebrity, the reasonable target for a faked, well, whatever video.

Blue Jays 5, Diamondbacks 1: Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer. He’s hit nine homers in seven career games at Chase Field. After the game he suggested it was maybe the batter’s eye at that park. Who knows. As Crash Davis said, “if you believe you’re playing well because you’re getting laid, or because you’re not getting laid, or because you wear women’s underwear, then you *are*! And you should know that!” But I guess a nice batter’s eye is good too. Aaron Sanchez won. He’s 9-0 in his last 15 starts. Maybe he’s wearing women’s underwear.

Rays 10, Rockies 1: Blake Snell pitched well and Even Longoria drove in three as the Rays routed the Rockies. In other news, am I the only person who ever sits and wonders how they’d explain the modern world to time travelers who suddenly appeared at their door? Like, say, suddenly Thomas Jefferson — and for me it’s always been Thomas Jefferson for some reason — were to just show up and it was my job to explain to him air travel and world events like the Civl War and Wourld War II and everything that had happened in the past 200 years or so? Sometimes it’s in a baseball context and the person would be Cap Anson or someone and I’d have to explain that, yeah, we have teams in Denver and St. Petersburg, Florida now. I guess if it was Anson I’d also have to explain why we allow non-whites to play. He’d probably get super mad about it too, but I suppose if Jefferson had to deal with the end of slavery — THAT was a tense imaginary conversation, brother — Anson could grow the hell up too. Man, I’ve gone on about this long enough now to where I sure hope I’m not the only one who has had super lame daydreams about historically significant time-travelers. That would be rather nerdy and embarrassing. So, um, if I am the only one, know that I am TOTALLY joking about that and it never, ever happened. Yeah.

Pirates 3, Brewers 2: Josh Harrison hit a walkoff homer. Well, it was actually a triple and an error which allowed him to score, but every kid in America who is unfamiliar with official scoring would call it a homer. We’re so hung up on rules and stuff, man. Free your mind, sheeple. In other news Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon took a 105 m.p.h. line drive to the head and somehow was allowed to stay in the game. That seems . . . responsible and stuff.

Mets 2, Cubs 1Rene Rivera drove in the tiebreaking run with two outs in the top of the ninth and then Jeurys Familia escaped a bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the ninth to save it. The late drama eclipsed nice starts from Jake Arrieta (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8K) and Noah Syndergaard (5.2 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 8K).

Yankees 7, Orioles 1: Starlin Castro hit a two-run homer and doubled in a couple more. Chase Headley hit a two-run shot as well as the Yankees win their third straight and move a game over .500.

 

Red Sox 4, Giants 0: David Ortiz hit a three-run homer and Brock HoltBROCK HOLT! — hit a solo shot. The Giants have lost four straight to start the second half. After the game Bruce Bochy said “We just need somebody to get a big hit and inject some life into this offense.” Yet this same man is not allowing Madison Bumgarner to hit for himself in this weekend’s series against the Yankees. Physician, heal thyself.

Twins 6, Tigers 2: Tommy Milone shut out the Tigers for eight innings before running out of gas in the ninth. Still, not too shabby for a pitcher no often accused of being not too shabby. Eduardo Nunez was named the Twins Heart and Hustle Award winner yesterday morning and drove in three yesterday evening. Not a bad day for him.

Braves 5, Reds 4: The Braves led 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Reds rallied for two to force extras but then Ender Inciarte hit a sac fly for the go-ahead run in the 11th. Tyrell Jenkins allowed two runs on four hits in six innings in his second big league start. That’s somethin’ I guess.

Indians 7, Royals 3: Danny Salazar held the Royals to three runs — two earned — in six and two-thirds and struck out seven. The Tribe’s 3-4-5 hitters, Francisco Lindor, Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana, drove in two runs a piece. Cleveland maintains a 6.5 lead over the Tigers and an eight game lead over the Royals in the Central.

Angels 8, Rangers 6: Two three-run homers for Albert Pujols. That’s pretty good, huh? Both came off of former teammate Kyle Lohse, who is 0-2 and has allowed 13 runs in 9.1 innings pitched so far. That’s pretty bad, huh? Both of these guys debuted in 2001. I feel like only one of them will be playing past 2016. In other news, Texas reliever Tony Barnette hit Pujols in the head with a 92 mph pitch in the seventh inning. It was an accident — Barnette apologized profusely on the field — and Pujols is OK, but I’m sure some old school jackass somewhere thinks Pujols deserved it for hitting a couple of bombs.

Athletics 4, Astros 3: Marcus Semien won the A’s Heart and Hustle Award yesterday morning. Then he scored the game-winning run from second base on an infield single. That’s . . . something we probably need to see:

[mlbvideo id=”947852183″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

 

More like the Heart and Hustle and Reddick Hit Away From The Shift and Correa’s Throw Was Offline Award, but that’s pretty spiffy all the same.

White Sox 6, Mariners 1: Melky Cabrera hit a tie-breaking homer leading off the seventh inning and Todd Frazier added a two-run shot in the ninth as the White Sox snapped a five-game losing streak. Brett Lawrie hit a solo homer too. Jose Quintana allowed one run over six innings. That creep can roll, man.

Padres vs. Cardinals — POSTPONED: I wish, I hope, I wonder
Where you’re at sometimes
Is your back against the wall?
Or just across the line
Have you been standing in the rain
Reciting nursery rhymes?
Trying to recall
Some long lost kind of peace of mind
Peace of mind
Try spending the night sometime
All alone in a frozen room
Afterneath you’ve lain
Your Saddle in the rain

Keone Kela’s return gives beleaguered Pirates a boost

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PITTSBURGH — A surprising positive COVID-19 test when he arrived at summer camp forced Pittsburgh Pirates closer Keone Kela to find creative ways to say in shape. Really creative.

With PNC Park off limits while he followed Major League Baseball’s health protocols, Kela started riding around the city with a stash of balls, a net and time to kill. He long tossed into a net in the parking lot at the Pittsburgh Zoo. He played “Wall Ball” off the pillars of the Fort Duquesne Bridge. He rolled through the South Side bar district in search of open space to let it rip.

“I’ve seen Pittsburgh now during this quarantine,” Kela said with a laugh on Wednesday.

The view will change considerably on Thursday for Kela when he joins the injury-ravaged Pirates for a four-game series in Cincinnati. Six Pittsburgh pitchers currently find themselves on the injured list, including relievers Kyle Crick, Clay Holmes and Nick Burdi. The strain on those left has been obvious.

The last-place Pirates are 27th in the majors in ERA (5.32) and the turnover in the bullpen has been particularly jarring. Nearly two dozen pitchers have taken the hill for Pittsburgh through 16 games, including catcher John Ryan Murphy, who actually tossed a scoreless ninth in a loss to Detroit last Saturday.

The fiery Kela’s arrival provides some semblance of a return to normalcy. Or at least whatever passes for normalcy in 2020.

“Getting him back in our clubhouse and his leadership and the person he is, I’m excited about that,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “Secondly, the guy that we talked about being our closer the second day of spring training is now back in the fold, so it kind of lets guys go into regular roles moving forward, as much as availability allows.”

Kela isn’t worried about being bit by the injury bug that’s made throwing a baseball this season a dicey proposition. He is confident in the path set out by pitching coach Oscar Marin and is confident the form that helped his record 25 saves for Texas in 2018 before moving into primarily a set-up role after being traded to Pittsburgh at the deadline is not far off.

“I don’t really feel like I’ve lost much of the pep in my step,” the 27-year-old said. “The ball’s coming out hot. Curveball is sharp. I feel like I have my command. I’m convicted when I’m up there. I have confidence. I don’t feel like the quarantine necessarily knocked me off my game.”

Kela returns to a team that is a major-league worst 3-13. He’s aware that opportunities to be a difference-maker in the ninth might not come along that often. He’s told Shelton to feel free to use him in whatever high-leverage situation works best and if that’s not the final frame, so be it.

“With the way that we’ve been playing ball, I just want to be able to get out there to secure the innings that are most important for us to move forward and put a (win) on the board at the end of the night,” Kela said. “If I have to face 3-4-5 in the eighth inning because that’s the most pivotal inning, that’s what I’m here for.”

Though Kela is careful to talk only in the present tense, he’s in an unusual spot in his career. The Pirates are in the beginning stages of a reboot, and Kela is one of the few tradeable assets they have. He’s also on the brink of free agency and it’s unlikely Pittsburgh would spend big on a closer for a team whose return to contention might still be a few years down the road.

Not that Kela is in the mood to think about the future. It’s been enough of a journey just to get to the present. He endured a chaotic 2019 that included getting suspended for igniting a brawl in Cincinnati with a couple of wayward pitches and being hit with a two-game ban from the Pirates for an altercation with a member of the team’s support staff.

He talked extensively in the spring about his eagerness to turn the page. Six months later, it’s finally time to do just that.

“This is a game of a lot of failure,” Kela said. “You have to go through the ups and downs and to stay even-keeled through it to find success.”

NOTES: Burdi (right forearm strain) will receive what director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk called a “biological injection” and at the moment will not require surgery. He will be re-evaluated in 10-12 weeks. … Starting pitcher Mitch Keller (right lat strain) has yet to play catch but could return at some point this season. … Crick (forearm sprain) will attempt to throw to live hitters next week.