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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 3, Tigers 0Trevor Williams tossed a one-hit shutout for seven innings and George Kontos and Juan Nicasio were each perfect for an inning to complete the job. Williams left with only a 1-0 lead but John Jaso hit a two-run pinch-hit homer when replacing him in the lineup in the seventh. That’s gotta feel pretty good if you’re Williams.

Nationals 3, Marlins 2: I guess Max Scherzer was no worse for wear following that neck spasm-shortened outing from last week. Here he didn’t hit a homer — he did single! — and went seven innings allowing two runs and striking out nine. He got a no decision, however, as four Marlins pitchers matched him, collectively. Adam Lind solved all of that with an eighth inning RBI single to give the Nats the lead for good. Bryce Harper homered.

Reds 11, Padres 3: Joey Votto homered for the third straight game, Patrick Kivlehan hit a grand slam and Adam Duvall and Zack Cozart went deep as well. Votto’s blast was his 251st, which ties him on the all-time Reds home run list with Ted Kluszewski. If Votto were to walk out on the field one day with no sleeves like Big Klu did, people would lose their minds. You can pretty much do anything you want, though, when you’re hitting .314/.438/.604 and you’re on pace for 43 bombs and 117 RBI.

Twins 5, Brewers 4: Eddie Rosario doubled home the tying run in the seventh inning. He then advanced to third and the Brewers went in to a big shift for the next hitter, Ehire Adrianza, leaving no one to even pretend to cover him at third base. As a result, Rosario decided to take a biiiiiig lead off third because, hey, why wouldn’t you? That rattled pitcher Oliver Drake, who promptly balked Rosario in for what would be the winning run:

Shifts work a lot of the time, but there are still inefficiencies to exploit in them.

Cardinals 11, Royals 3: Matt Carpenter hit a three-run homer in St. Louis’ six-run fourth inning as the Cards cruised. Earlier he doubled. Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong each hit two-run homers and Dexter Fowler tripled, walked and scored two runs in his first game back off the disabled list. The Royals have dropped six of eight.

Cubs 5, Giants 3: Javier Baez hit one to the deep recesses of AT&T Park, it bounced off the brick wall, he turned the jets on and got himself a two-run inside-the-park homer:

That’s great, but give credit to Giants outfielder Carlos Moncrief for making it a pretty dang close play at the plate with his throw from right field once he caught up to the ball. Later in the game Moncrief would have a chance to show off that hose again:

Orioles 6, Angels 2: Mike Trout homered on his 26th birthday to tie things up at two in the sixth inning and earlier he doubled to collect his 1,000th career hit. Manny Machado and the Orioles would be the ones celebrating, however, as he hit a grand slam in the seventh to give the Orioles their third win in a row and their eighth in ten games. Dylan Bundy struck out ten Angels in seven innings of two-run work.

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.