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And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rays 3, Marlins 1: You know how people talk about “the song of the summer?” In baseball we have the “injury of the summer.” A few years ago — I think it was the summer Pharrell’s “Happy” was all the rage — all the ballplayers tore their oblique muscles. I don’t know what the song of the summer for 2017 is yet, but the injury is the blister. Here Edinson Volquez left early with a blister. Alex Cobb, also suffering from a blister, managed six scoreless innings. I think I’ve written the word “blister” more this season than I have in any season since I started covering baseball. Anyway, when asked for comment about his blister, Volquez said, “Here come bad news, talking this and that . . . Well, I should probably warn ya, I’ll be just fine. Cause I’m happy.”

Braves 9, Mets 7: R.A. Dickey beat Matt Harvey for the second time in less than a week. Asked after the game, Dickey said that he didn’t even have his best stuff: “on a scale of one to 10, I probably only had a four knuckleball.” I always assumed knuckleballs were judged weirdly, given their nature. Like, “on a scare of one to 10, my knuckleball was potato.” Oh well. Anyway, Jay Bruce drove in six runs in the losing cause. Ender Inciarte drove in three runs with three hits, but he had more help than Bruce did.

Cubs 8, Phillies 3: Javier Baez had four hits, including a triple and a homer, driving in three. Kris Bryant homered and tripled himself. Jon Lester wasn’t sharp — he walked five dudes — but allowed only three runs and did enough to snag the win. Joe Maddon didn’t hold the walks against Lester. He hated the strike zone, saying “There wasn’t a strike zone tonight, it was a ball zone . . . I don’t know what was going on.” I wish he had gone full meme with it and said “more like a BALL ZONE, amirite?” I mean, if you’re gonna be the hip dad like Maddon always seems like he wants to be you have to appropriate outdated memespeak, which will provide maximum embarrassment for your children. Believe me, I have a lot of experience in this.

Angels 6, Mariners 4: Albert Pujols hit an RBI double in the top of the 11th inning. Then the old man stole third base — how does anyone let that happen? Pujols barely has any feet at this point, right? They’re just fleshy stubs patched together with some sort of surgeon’s epoxy — and scored an insurance run on a fielder’s choice. His RBI put him past Al Simmons and Ted Williams on the all-time list. He’s now at 14th for his career, with 1,840 driven in. The Angels have won seven of eight.

Yankees 11, Blue Jays 5: Mat Latos gave up seven runs by the fourth inning and the rest was just details. Aaron Judge hit two more homers, bringing his season total to 12 — that’s a 78-homer pace — and Brett Gardner hit a couple himself. Aaron Hicks hit a homer too and Masahiro Tanaka, while not great, pitched into the seventh inning.

Diamondbacks 6, Nationals 3: Taijuan Walker was not fantastic himself, allowing three runs while walking five and not even lasting five innings, but the Arizona pen pitched four and two-thirds scoreless innings and the bats popped three long ones. The Nats, who have been scoring runs in buckets, stranded ten runners. That’s baseball.

Red Sox 5, Orioles 2: Drama galore in this one, including a standing ovation for Adam Jones, a Chris Sale pitch that went behind Manny Machado and a Machado postgame tirade against the Red Sox. Also a weird and sloppy triple play. Lost in all of this: Machado hitting a long homer off of Sale later in the game and Sale striking out 11 and allowing only two runs in eight innings.

Tigers 5, Indians 2: Miguel Cabrera came back and hit a two-run homer — the 450th of his career — and Justin Verlander allowed only two runs over seven. Corey Kluber pitched only three innings, leaving early with a sore back. That’s one worth watching.

Pirates 12, Reds 3: Josh Harrison hit a three-run homer and the Buccos’ starting pitcher, Tyler Glasnow (all together now) helped his own cause with a two-run single as the Pirates put together a six-run fifth inning. Harrison hit two homers on Monday night too. The Reds have lost 9 of 12. So, yeah, that brief moment in April when they looked kind of sexy was just a trick of the light.

Twins 9, Athletics 1: Ervin Santana struck out seven in six shutout innings and Brian Dozier jacked two out of the park. Also jacking balls out of the park for Minnesota: Miguel Sano, Jason Castro, Byron Buxton and Joe Mauer. I know it’s not even close to an appropriate time to watch the standings yet, but the Twins are 13-11 and only a half game out of first in the Central.

Astros 8, Rangers 7: Texas jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning but, unfortunately for them, we play nine in this game. Marwin Gonzalez hit two home runs, including a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth to bring the Astros back. They’ve come back from five-run deficits three times on the young season. Overall, they’ve come from behind in 12 games, leading the majors in Rasputins.

White Sox 6, Royals 0: Jose Quintana was brilliant, tossing eight shutout innings, allowing only four singles. He has suffered from a lack of run support so far this year but that wasn’t a problem here as he had an early four-run cushion. Royals starter Danny Duffy, meanwhile, has lost back-to-back starts to the White Sox, allowing 12 runs and 19 hits in nine and two-thirds over those two games. Kansas City has lost ten of eleven.

Cardinals 2, Brewers 1: Carlos Martinez allowed only one unearned run while pitching into the eighth, outdueling Wily Peralta, who allowed two over five and a third. Both Cardinals runs scored in the sixth, when Yadier Molina hit a sac fly and Kolten Wong singled in a run. Eric Thames was 0-for-4 and has gone six games without a homer. The baseball season is long, you guys, and everything evens out over that long, long time.

Dodgers 13, Giants 5: San Francisco scored four runs in the top of the second. Then the Dodgers put up six in the bottom half, outscoring the Giants 13-1 over remainder of the game. Yasiel Puig went 3-for-5 with four driven in, all on singles. Rookie Cody Bellinger hit a bases-loaded triple. Justin Turner and Franklin Gutierrez each added two RBI, and Gutierrez had a homer. The Dodgers have won 5 of 6.

Padres 6, Rockies 2Yangervis Solarte and Ryan Schimpf hit back-to-back home runs off Tyler Chatwood in the sixth inning. Manuel Margot hit a triple that could’ve been an inside the park homer if not for the fact that less-than-fleet-footed Trevor Cahill was running ahead of him. I mean, watch this. Makes me tired just watching Cahill.

This Day in Transaction History: Phillies acquire John Kruk from Padres

John Kruk
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John Kruk is one of the more underrated hitters in baseball history. Kruk, who is currently a broadcaster for the Phillies, had a 10-year career during which he hit exactly 100 homers, batted exactly .300, and posted an excellent .397 on-base percentage. In baseball history, there are only 32 members of the admittedly arbitrary 100/.300/.395+ club. Kruk is one of only 10 members of the club that played after 1963. The others: Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Todd Helton, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramírez, Frank Thomas, Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez, and Wade Boggs. Of them, five are Hall of Famers. Trout and Votto will be, and Helton and Ramírez should be.

On this day in 1989, the Phillies made a franchise-altering trade, acquiring Kruk along with infielder Randy Ready from the Padres in exchange for outfielder Chris James. The Padres had just swept the Phillies at home and were hoping to jump into the playoff race. They immediately went into a losing skid, but caught fire at the end of the season, finishing 89-73. However, that wasn’t good enough as the Giants won the NL West with a 92-70 record. James was solid for the Padres, posting a .743 OPS with 11 homers and 46 RBI in 87 games.

Kruk had an interesting but brief major league career with the Padres. His roommate, Roy Plummer, was an armed robber. Kruk was completely unaware of this. In spring training of 1988, the FBI informed Kruk of his roommates’ activities. Kruk feared retribution from Plummer and said that the anxiety affected his baseball performance. In 1988, Kruk batted what was for him a poor .241/.369/.362 with nine homers and 44 RBI over 466 plate appearances.

The Phillies didn’t enjoy immediate success upon Kruk’s arrival in 1989. The club finished the season with a losing record and would do the same in the ensuing three seasons. None of it was Kruk’s fault, though: in aggregate, from 1990-92, he hit .303/.393/.459, earning two All-Star nominations. In this span of time, the only other first basemen to hit above .300 were Frank Thomas, Paul Molitor, Hal Morris, and Rafael Palmeiro. The Padres had used Kruk both in the corner outfield and at first base, but the Phillies made him a full-time first baseman, which turned out to be a good move.

In 1993, everything came together for the Phillies and Kruk had what was arguably the greatest season of his career. He hit .316, which was actually seven points below his average the previous year, but he drew 111 walks to push his on-base percentage up to .430. Kruk hit third in the lineup, creating plenty of RBI opportunities for Dave Hollins in the clean-up spot, Darren Daulton at No. 5, and the trio of Jim Eisenreich, Pete Incaviglia, and Wes Chamberlain in the No. 6 spot. The Phillies shocked the world in ’93, winning the NL East by three games over the Expos with a 97-65 record. They then dispatched the Braves in six games in the NLCS to advance to the World Series against the Blue Jays.

Kruk was productive in the NLCS, contributing six hits including a pair of doubles, a triple, a home run, four walks, five RBI, and four runs scored. But he turned things up a notch in the World Series, registering multi-hit performances in the first three games. He would finish the World Series with eight hits in 23 at-bats along with seven walks, four RBI, and four runs scored. The World Series was winnable for the Phillies as they lost a barnburner Game 4 15-14, and of course, dropped the deciding Game 6 on a World Series-clinching walk-off three-run home run by Joe Carter off of Mitch Williams.

1994 was tough on Kruk in many ways. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in spring training. Knee issues continued to bother him, and then Major League Baseball had a work stoppage. In an abbreviated season, Kruk hit a still-productive .823 OPS. He became a free agent and, when baseball came back, he signed with the White Sox. In the first inning of a July 30 game against the Orioles in ’95, Kruk singled to left field off of Scott Erickson. He reached first base, bowed to the fans, and walked off the field into retirement. Kruk told the media, “The desire to compete at this level is gone. When that happens, it’s time to go.”

Kruk has spent his post-playing days working in sports media as both a broadcaster (Phillies, ESPN nationally) and as a commentator (The Best Damn Sports Show Period, Baseball Tonight). The Phillies inducted him into their Wall of Fame in August 2011. One wonders if Kruk hadn’t been bit by the injury bug, and if there hadn’t been a work stoppage, if he might have been able to accrue some more numbers to have a borderline Hall of Fame case. Regardless, he’ll go down as one of the games’ quietly great hitters.