And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rockies 10, Cubs 4; Cubs 8, Rockies 1: Let’s play two! Let’s split two! Let’s realize that we’ve made no real forward progress as a result of these two games and that we’re, essentially, in the same place we were when the day began! Let’s contemplate our mortality and the notion that, ultimately, our time on Earth is inconsequential except for the way in which we touch the lives of others! Let’s remember that those others die eventually too and, absent some rare, transcendent accomplishment, the universe will go on, ignorant and uncaring of our very existence! Mark Reynolds homered in his fourth straight game in the first one. John Lackey struck out ten in seven shutout innings in the second.

Rangers 11, Padres 0: Your eyes go to the 11 runs, but they should go further down to the pitching lines, which reveal that A.J. Griffin tossed a complete game shutout, allowing only four hits. Griffin grew up in nearby El Cajon and went to the University of San Diego, so it was a nice dang homecoming. If he ate at Pokez it’d be even better. Always eat at Pokez. Joey GalloRyan Rua and Robinson Chirinos all homered.

Orioles 5, Nationals 4: Max Scherzer was cruising until the eighth, up 4-1 with six outs to go. Then Adam Jones homered to bring the O’s within two. Enter Enny Romero, who walked a guy, balked and then gave up a run-scoring double to Jonathan Schoop and a subsequent RBI single to J.J. Hardy, sending things to extras. In the 12th, Jacob Turner gave up two singles, loaded the bases with an intentional walk and then gave up a walkoff single to Mark Trumbo. Mark Trumbo hits singles? Who knew?

Mariners 10, Phillies 9: Philly had leads of 4-0 and 9-5. The M’s chipped away, however, and Taylor Motter hit a go-ahead-for-good double in the ninth inning. Ben Gamel went 4-for-5 with a three-run home run, two singles, a double and three runs scored. He keeps this up and, maybe, one day, I’ll stop writing “Mat Gamel” each time he does something.

Haha, just kidding. I’ll be writing Mat Gamel for him until the day I die. Just like I keep writing Carlos Quintana every time Jose comes up and Marcus Thames whenever I go to write about Eric. My brain just calcified sometime in the past six months. Sorry every other baseball player who starts his career going forward!

Indians 6, Blue Jays 0: Carlos Carrasco and two relievers combined on a four-hit shutout. Carrasco went seven, allowing only three hits and not walking a soul. Yan Gomes hit a three-run homer.

Reds 5, Yankees 3: Two early homers didn’t stand up for the Yankees, who saw the Reds rally for all five of their runs in the second inning. Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto each singled in two and Adam Duvall knocked in another one. CC Sabathia allowed three total earned runs in his first three starts this season. In his lat four he’s allowed 22 in 20 and two-thirds innings. Ouch.

Mets 6, Giants 1: Zack Wheeler allowed one run over six innings, with a Buster Posey homer being one of only two hits the Giants managed in the entire game. The Mets, despite all of their recent injuries and controversies, have won 8 of 11. Remember, narrative writers, if they keep this up, late April and early May will be “when the team came together to overcome adversity.” If they do not, that time will be when the season became “troubled” and “embroiled in turmoil.” Thankfully, no one will make you decide which one of those things this all is until much later, and no one will look back on what you’re saying about it now to see if you changed your story.

Cardinals 6, Marlins 5: Yet another comeback on a night filled with ’em. The Fish led 5-1 heading into the eighth. That’s when pinch-hitter Matt Adams hi5 an RBI single, Randal Grichuk hit a sac fly and Jedd Gyorko hit a two-run single to tie the game.    Pinch hitter Dexter Fowler singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth. The Cards have won five in a row and seven of ten and sit in first place in the Central.

Royals 7, Rays 6: Another team blows a decent lead. This one the Rays, who led 4-0 after two innings and 5-1 as late as the sixth. That didn’t hold up, as Sal Perez hit a two-run homer that inning to bring Kansas City closer and Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer had seventh inning RBIs to make it a one-run game. Alex Gordon sent it to extras by driving in Perez in the eighth. Moustakas played the hero in the top of the 12th by smacking a solo shot off of Diego Moreno and Kelvin Herrera shut things down in the bottom half. “Well, tough loss,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said after the game. Given that he was ejected way back in the third inning, he thankfully didn’t have to see it.

Brewers 11, Red Sox 7: Baseball game: pitchers need not inquire. The clubs combined for 18 runs on 25 hits and neither starter made it out of the fifth inning. Eric Thames hit his 13th homer and Keon Broxton drove in four for Milwaukee. Mookie Betts was 4-for-4 with four RBI on two doubles and a homer. Here’s a photo of him in action.

Twins 7, White Sox 2: Hector Santiago allowed two runs, over six and two-thirds. A 2006 White Sox draftee who played in Chicago for three seasons, Santiago is 5-1 with a 1.59 ERA against the White Sox. I’d say he “beat his old mates,” but outside of Jose Quintana there’s no one of note from the last Chisox team he played for on the current roster. I’m sure Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn would feel weird about it all if they weren’t busy playing parcheesi in the common room at whatever Old Ballplayers Home they’re living in these days.

Astros 8, Braves 3: Five runs in the first inning for Houston thanks to homers from Carloses Correa and Beltran. They came off of Bartolo Colon. Colon was playing at Burlington in the Appalachian League the year Correa was born. He and Beltran are a combined 83 years old. In any event, the Braves couldn’t come back from an early 5-0 deficit against their own mother on the comebackingest day of their lives if they had an electrified comeback machine.

Tigers 7, Diamondbacks 3Justin Upton and James McCann homered and Mikie Mahtook singled in two runs. Justin Verlander, pitching on a couple of days extra rest due to some high pitch counts in recent games, allowed three runs and struck out seven over six. Afterward he said he had too much rest and his arm was too fresh, messing with the rhythm of his curveball. Pitchers are like Italian sports cars.

Angels 7, Athletics 3: Yunel Escobar hit a three-run homer and drove in four. Albert Pujols and Ben Revere hit solo shots. The A’s had won three straight games via walkoffs, but to have done it here would’ve taken a five-run homer. Those are pretty rare.

Dodgers 4, Pirates 3: The Dodgers, however, would walk off. That thanks to pinch hitter Austin Barnes doubling in pinch runner Ross Stipling in the bottom of the 10th. Julio Urias took a no-hitter into the seventh, where it was broken up by an Andrew McCutchen leadoff double. Probably for the best as the hit came on Urias’ 95th pitch and he doesn’t do the high pitch count thing. The Dodgers have won four in a row and are creeping up on the Rockies. Who, as we noted at the outset this morning, are battling universal entropy, as are we all.

Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak ended 78 years ago today

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There’s nothing special about a 78-year anniversary. It’s not a round number or anything and we tend to like round numbers. But (a) I was reminded of this today; and (b) we have no idea if the Martians will have invaded and taken over the planet come 2021, so I feel like it’s best to run this now than wait for the 80th anniversary. Cool? Cool.

Anyway: on this day in 1941, Joe DiMaggio’s still-unbroken and possibly unbreakable (see below) 56-game hitting streak came to end. The game took place in Cleveland in front of a staggering 67,468 fans. Not bad for a Thursday night. The way the streak ended, courtesy of an ESPN Classic post from Larry Scwartz back in 2003:

Third baseman Ken Keltner makes two outstanding plays, grabbing DiMaggio smashes down the line in the first and seventh innings and throwing him out at first base. In between these at-bats, left-hander Al Smith walks DiMaggio in the fourth.

The Yankee Clipper has one more chance to extend his streak when he bats in the eighth with the bases full against Jim Bagby, a young right-hander who just enters the game. DiMaggio hits the ball sharply, but shortstop Lou Boudreau plays a bad hop perfectly and turns the grounder into a double play.

Stuff happens.

To be clear: 56 may not be broken in my lifetime or yours. It’s obviously a SUPER difficult task to string together a hitting streak of considerable length. As we saw when guys like Pete Rose or Paul Molitor or whoever have come within spitting distance of DiMaggio’s record — long spitting distance — the pressure ramps up and it’s hard to do you job with a lot of pressure. Add in the fact that simple base hits are harder to come by in today’s game than they used to be due to prevalent hitting, pitching and defensive trends, and it’d be no shocker whatsoever if no one ever does it.

But I draw the line at “unbreakable,” simply because, as noted above, stuff does happen. And because there’s nothing structural preventing it from happening. It’s not like Cy Young’s 511 wins or something which fundamental changes in the game have made basically impossible. No one is going to win 26 games a year for 20 years straight or what have you. Heck, CC Sabathia is baseball’s current gray hair among pitchers and only has a few dozen more career starts than that. It’s just a different game.

Hitters do play in 150-160 games now, though, and the good ones do average more than one hit per game. Putting them in the right arrangement may never be likely, but doing so is only a matter of stars aligning, not breaking the fundamental rules of engagement. It could happen. Maybe. Because, unlike some other records, it did before under broadly similar circumstances.

OK, that aside, I’ll offer up my favorite and most maddening DiMaggio hitting streak fact.

During his streak, which lasted from May 15-July 17, DiMaggio went 91-of-223, which is a .408 average. Between April 15-September 28 (i.e. the whole dang season) Ted Williams hit .406. And when it was all said and done he was substantially better in virtually every other batting category as well.

Joe DiMaggio won the MVP Award.