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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 10, Pirates 0: Are the Astros and Tigers still talking about Justin Verlander? Is he showing off to encourage a trade to Houston? I dunno, but he was fantastic here, allowing only one hit in eight innings of work. He was dealing with a small lead for most of that time, as the Tigers scored seven of their ten runs from the seventh inning on. Nick Castellanos and Ian Kinsler did most of the damage, driving in five and four, respectively.

Nationals 10, Marlins 1: Gio Gonzalez allowed one run over seven while Ryan Zimmerman did heavy damage with two homers on his 4-for-4, two-homer, four-run, five-RBI night. Zimmerman passed Tim Wallach as the all-time RBI leader for the Expos-Nationals franchise, which I realize makes many Nats fans grumpy because they like to pretend the franchise just sprung into existence out of the head of Zeus in 2005 or whatever.

Rockies 3, Indians 2: Jonathan Lucroy doubled in Carlos Gonzalez to tie things up in the ninth and Charlie Blackmon hit a homer in the top of the 12th to give Colorado the win. Blackmon is on pace for 38 homers and 105 runs and has a 1.004 OPS. He’s the leadoff hitter.

Rangers 5, Mets 1: Martin Perez allowed one run on three hits over eight innings and Joey Gallo homered again, a two-run shot. The Rangers’ other three runs scored on a balk, a fielder’s choice and a bases-loaded walk. The Mets are playing inspiring baseball.

Mariners 6, Athletics 3: Kyle Seager hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Nelson Cruz homered twice. Seattle has won four of five and is tied for the second Wild Card.

Angels 5, Orioles 1: Ten-year minor league veteran Cesar Puello got called up to make his debut and, with his first big league hit, singled in the go-ahead run in the fourth inning. Don’t stop doing what you want to do until you’re really, really sure it’s something you don’t want to do anymore.

Giants 3, Cubs 1: Madison Bumgarner allowed one run and struck out seven, scattering five hits over seven innings, Hunter Pence homered and the Giants won. It’s like 2014 or something.

Red Sox 8, Rays 2: Eight wins in a row for Boston. This one broke open when Eduardo Nunez hit a ball that slammed into Rays starter Jake Odorizzi‘s foot, knocking him out of the game and allowing the Sox to feast for five runs off of the Tampa Bay bullpen. Odorizzi’s X-Rays came back negative, which is a positive. Porcello allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. At one point he threw 19 consecutive strikes. Despite nine pitchers being used, the game lasted just less than three hours. That bit about working fast and throwing strikes is still the best pitching advice there is.

 

Reds 8, Padres 3: Joey Votto had a double and a single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games and Stuart Turner homered as the Reds won easily. Asher Wojciechowski got the win for the Reds. He also got his first big league hit. It was a single to right field, but he’s not fast and Padres right fielder Hunter Renfroe almost threw him out at first base. I love that play when the outfielder gets the putout. It has to be the most embarrassing thing for a base runner. Or base jogger, I guess.

Yankees 11, Blue Jays 5: Todd Frazier homered and doubled in a couple more runs for his best game as a Yankee.  Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius homered as well and Garrett Cooper had four hits. They needed all of that offense as Masahiro Tanaka issued five walks and three runs in four innings of work. Five Yankees relievers combined to allow two runs over the final five frames.

Phillies 3, Braves 2Odubel Herrera maintained his hot hitting of late, tripling in a run with another run scoring on the same play due to a Braves error. He’d hit another triple as well. Freddy Galvis singled in the Phillies other run while Jerad Eickhoff pitched into the seventh. The Phillies are 11-2 against Atlanta this year.

White Sox 7, Astros 1: Miguel Gonzalez flummoxed the Astros, allowing one run over eight innings and the Sox beat up on Collin McHugh for seven runs in less than six innings of work. Tim Anderson homered and drove in three and Leury Garcia and Yolmer Sanchez each had two-run singles. Houston has now dropped eight of 11 and are ensured a series loss against one of the worst teams in baseball this year.

Twins 4, Brewers 0: Bartolo Colon looked finished not too long ago, but now he’s won two straight, the last a complete game, and this one consisting of seven shutout innings. A couple more of these and someone may give the dude a major league contract next spring. Brian Dozier homered, doubled and singled.

Cardinals 8, Royals 5: The Royals had a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning when Yadier Molina came up with the bases loaded and deposited one in the left field seats for a grand slam. But don’t thank Yadi: thank the Rally Cat.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 2: Joc Pederson doubled in the tying run off of Zack Greinke in the seventh and Yasiel Puig singled in Pederson for the go-ahead run two pitches later to give the Dodgers a comeback win. It was their 80th win of the year. If they go 1-48 in their final 49 games, they’re a .500 team.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

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A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?