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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 6, White Sox 3: Justin Verlander struck out 10 and three Tigers batters — Nicholas Castellanos, Ian Kinsler and JaCoby Jones — hit bombs. Jose Quintana gave up six runs in a little over five innings, which isn’t great for that whole “we’re gonna get a boatload of prospects for Jose Quintana” thing Rick Hahn and the Sox had in mind. Of course, looking back to my first season of “And That Happened” the other day reminded me that that was the year the Indians wanted to trade CC Sabathia and he ended up starting the season by getting shelled on the regular for the whole first month and change. By the end of the year he was carrying the Brewers into the playoffs on his back, so it works out. Not that Jose Quintana is 2008 vintage CC Sabathia or anything.

Yankees 5, Rays 0: 2017 vintage CC Sabathia is no 2008 vintage CC Sabathia either, but he did just fine last night, tossing five shutout innings. Chase Headley has started out quickly, in large part because he’s been taking what the defense gives him and hitting it the opposite way away from the shift. Of course, sometimes it’s fun just to hit a friggin’ dinger, and he did that last night too. Shortstop Ronald Torreyes did so too, a two run shot.

Rockies 6, Brewers 5: Two games, two saves for Greg Holland. The entire Rockies bullpen has been doing alright too, starting the year with 8.1 scoreless innings in two games. Setup man Mike Dunn struck out three Brewers, all looking, while protecting a one-run lead in the eighth. Meanwhile, former Brewers Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds were impolite to their former team, with Parra hitting a bases-loaded double in the third inning which put the Rockies ahead Reynolds hitting an RBI double in the fifth.

Indians 4, Rangers 3: Welcome back Carlos Carrasco. The Tribe starter who missed the playoffs last year with a broken hand struck out seven in five and two thirds last night, giving up two runs and snagging the win. Carlos Santana hit a short homer — 367 feet — in a winning effort. Joey Gallo hit a long homer — 442 feet — in a losing effort. Gallo has some holes in his swing, but he knocks the hell out of the ball when he connects:

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Astros 2, Mariners 1: The Astros’ biggest question this year is their rotation, a year after hardly anyone stepped up for them in that department. Lance McCullers‘ failure to do last year was more about injury than ineffectiveness, but he’s healthy now and gave Houston their second strong starting pitching outing in two games, striking out seven and allowing only one run while tossing six innings. The offense came via Brian McCann‘s first homer in an Astros uniform and a solo shot from Marwin Gonzalez in the sixth.

Cubs 2, Cardinals 1: Jake Arrieta allowed one run, unearned, in six innings. The highlight of the game, though, was Albert Almora Jr. robbing Matt Adams of a home run in the bottom of the seventh:

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All of the StatCast stuff that goes with that is there to inform you that it was, in fact, a good catch. Because you would’ve had no way of knowing that it was without it. Or at least that’s how I interpret most StatCast stuff.

Giants 8, Diamondbacks 4: A Dante-from-Clerks game for Gorkys Hernandez — he wasn’t even supposed to be here today — but he made the most of it, driving in four runs with a two-run single and a two-run double. No word as to whether he had a run in with his girlfriend after she brought him lasagna. Johnny Cueto went five innings and got the win despite giving up home runs to Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt. Cueto thinks this job would be great if it wasn’t for the f*****g opposing batters and has strong feelings about the contractors on the Death Star.

Angels 7, Athletics 6: Matt Shoemaker made his first start since a comebacker fractured his skull last year, so he’d prefer not listening to you complain about having to come in to work this morning. Shoemaker pitched five innings allowing two runs on four hits. He left with a lead but got the no-decision after his bullpen faltered. Danny Espinosa did not falter, however, as he hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning to bring the Angels back from a 6-4 deficit and help them to a 7-6 win. Welcome back Matt.

Padres 4, Dodgers 0: Clayton Richard tossed eight shutout innings for San Diego, turning things around pretty dramatically after the drubbing the Padres received at the hands of the Dodgers on Opening Day. Yangervis Solarte drove in two, singling home a run in the first and hitting a solo homer in the third.

 

This Day in Transaction History: The Kirk Nieuwenhuis orbit

Kirk Nieuwenhuis
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Outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis had, on the surface, a forgettable 2015 season. Taking most of his cuts with the Mets, he finished the year with a .645 OPS over 141 plate appearances. Two things stood out during that campaign, though: he had an out-of-nowhere power surge in one game, and he started and ended the year with the Mets but sandwiched a stint with the Angels in there.

After striking out in a pinch-hit at-bat in the 10th inning of a May 18 game against the Cardinals, Nieuwenhuis owned a .257 OPS across 40 trips to the plate. Unsurprisingly, the Mets designated him for assignment. A little more than a week later, the Mets found a home for him, sending him to the Angels in exchange for cash considerations.

Nieuwenhuis would spend roughly two weeks with the Angels, batting .136 in 22 at-bats. The Angels designated him for assignment on June 10. And wouldn’t you know it, the Mets claimed Nieuwenhuis off waivers from the Angels several days later. The Mets had him report to Triple-A Las Vegas, spending about a month there before returning to the majors.

Nieuwenhuis had a great first game back, starting in left field. He drew two walks and hit a double in a 3-0 win over the Giants. He would go hitless in his next five plate appearances, spanning four games. On July 12, something magical happened. To date, Nieuwenhuis had zero home runs. Something got into his bat in this afternoon game at home against the D-Backs. He drilled a solo shot to the opposite field off of Rubby De La Rosa in the second inning, opening the scoring. In the third, with a runner on first base and the Mets leading 2-1, Nieuwenhuis swatted a De La Rosa fastball out to left-center field for his second homer of the day. Nieuwenhuis made it three, leading off the fifth against reliever Randall Delgado, this time pulling a breaking ball down the left field line.

Nieuwenhuis became, at the time, the 10th Met to have a three-homer game. As Gary Cohen noted in the below clip, he became the first to do it at home. Somehow, the first nine Mets — Jim Hickman, Dave Kingman, Claudell Washington, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Edgardo Alfonzo, José Reyes, Carlos Beltrán, and Ike Davis — all did it on the road. In the time since, Lucas Duda, Yoenis Céspedes (twice), and Robinson Canó have had three-homer games. Duda and Canó’s were at home.

In one afternoon, Nieuwenhuis went from zero to three homers on the season and raised his OPS 190 points. Later that month, he would bang out a four-hit, four-RBI game in a blowout of the Dodgers. It was only the second time in his career he had a four-hit game, and the third time he had a four-RBI game. However, after the game against the Dodgers, Nieuwenhuis would slump, batting .194 through the end of the season, spanning 41 plate appearances. He’d add one more homer to his ledger, a pinch-hit, go-ahead solo shot on September 8 against Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Nieuwenhuis went to the Brewers for the 2016 season, getting semi-regular playing time. He racked up 18 doubles and 13 homers with 44 RBI over 125 games, but finished with a subpar .709 OPS. In 2017, Nieuwenhuis got off to an abysmal start, holding a .473 OPS on April 20. The Brewers placed him on waivers, but he went unclaimed, so he ended up accepting an assignment to Triple-A Colorado Springs. He made it back to the majors just one more time on July 29, providing a pinch-hit single. That was the last time he played in the majors. Nieuwenhuis inked a minor league deal with the Mariners for the 2018 season, then played for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. He retired last July. Nieuwenhuis will always have July 12, 2015, though.