And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Giants 6, Padres 5: San Diego led 5-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth and had All-Star reliever Brad Hand on the hill. Last year the Giants would’ve been dead men walking at this point — that team had no pluck at all — but they had pluck in spades last night. Hand led the inning off by plunking Austin Slater, but then got two strikeouts in a row. There would not be a third out. Buster Posey took a walk, and then Evan Longoria hit a bloop single against a deep outfield to knock in Slater to make it 5-4. Brandon Belt then walked to load the bases, bringing up pinch hitter Nick Hundley. Hundley did this:

Like I said: pluck.

Cubs 3, Rockies 2: The Rockies had a lot of chances — many handed to them thanks to Chicago miscues — but they couldn’t capitalize. It’s so weird to see the Rockies having basically only two hitters. When one of them — Nolan Arenado — doesn’t come through in a clutch situation, such as when he had runners on first and third in the ninth but struck out to end the game, it has to sting that much more. Anyway, that’s five wins in a row for the Cubs. They have not scored more than three runs in any of those five wins, by the way. Baseball is weird and it’s good to get good starting pitching.

Nationals 3, Pirates 2: Tanner Roark allowed two runs over seven and knocked one in himself. The Nats, like the Cubs, haven’t been scoring many runs lately. They haven’t been as lucky either, as this was only their fourth win in their last ten games. This early season business is really putting a dent my whole “super teams” preseason analysis of the season, but I suppose each of these teams are in a better position than the other NL “super team” who . . .

Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 5: . . . lost again. And on the day they lost their star shortstop for the whole season. Ouch. L.A. was down 5-0 by the sixth inning thanks to two homers from A.J. Pollock and a homer and an RBI single from Nick Ahmed. Pollock would homer for a third time in the eighth inning, all three being solo shots. That was enough support for Zack Greinke, who struck out ten and allowed two runs over six. Arizona has the largest division lead in all of baseball right now, standing ahead of the Giants by five and a half games, the Rockies by six and the Dodgers by eight.

Indians 7, Rangers 5: Trevor Bauer and Cole Hamels struck out a bunch of guys and kept the game low scoring and close but each bullpen got got, with the Rangers bullpen being more got. Rangers reliever Chris Martin was the most got, giving up four in the eighth, with Jose Ramirez knocking a two-run double and Francisco Lindor and Yonder Alonso each singling home a run. The Rangers had a chance to rally late, but Tribe reliever Jeff Beliveau struck out Joey Gallo with two runners on in the ninth to end the game. It was a Dante-from-“Clerks” kind of game for Beliveau — he wasn’t even supposed to BE here today — but with Andrew Miller out Terry Francona tried to get a two-inning save from closer Cody Allen and it didn’t go as smoothly as planned. It’s OK, though. Worked out in the end.

Rays 3, Tigers 2: It was 0-0 until the ninth when C.J. Cron and Brad Miller each went deep off of Tigers reliever Shane Greene to give Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead. Detroit’s offense tried to rally — Victor Martinez hit a two-run single — but that’s all they’d get. Tampa Bay has won nine of ten.

Brewers 6, Reds 5: Brewers reliever Josh Hader was called on to get an eight-out save on Monday against the Reds. He was more than up to the task, getting all eight of his outs on strikeouts. His victims:  Joey Votto ,Scott Schebler in the seventh inning. In the eighth, he fanned Eugenio SuarezAlex Blandino, and Adam Duvall and he punched out Billy HamiltonJesse Winker, and Jose Peraza in the ninth to close it out. Hader now has a K/BB ratio of 39/5 in 18 innings of work on the year. His performance last night is the first time ever that a pitcher has struck out eight batters in less than three innings. On offense, Manny Pina hit a solo homer and Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run shot to end the Brewers’ four-game losing streak.

Red Sox 10, Royals 6Xander Bogaerts hit a grand slam and had three hits. Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer and had three hits as well. The Red Sox have set a pre-May record for grand slams, and reporters asked various Sox folk about it after the game. Bogaerts wins the award for the most cliche-packed quote of the night:

“Especially with the bases loaded, we’re getting some good swings. I think we’ve been really selective and looking for some good pitches to hit.”

No word on whether the Red Sox are taking them one game at a time, but that doesn’t matter I suppose. The win was Boston’s 19th in the month of April, the most the team has ever hit in the season’s traditional first month.

Marlins 8, Phillies 4: Brian Anderson homered and drove in four. He also made this catch with the bases loaded and the Fish only leading by two:

Come for the great catch, stay for the Marlins announcer saying “wow . . . wow . . . wow . . .” He’s not the best color man in the league for nothing, folks.

Blue Jays 7, Twins 5: Curtis Granderson took a bases-loaded walk in the second for the Jays second run and he scored on a passed ball in the fourth for their third run. There should be a name for a category of those sorts of runs which involve no balls in play and/or other dubious things. Justin Smoak and Russell Martin homered, but homers already have their own category.

Astros 2, Yankees 1: Charlie Morton tied up the big Yankees bats, striking out ten and allowing only one run in seven and two-thirds. Sonny Gray was actually pretty good for once, allowing only a run-scoring groundout in the first and a Yuli Gurriel RBI double in the fourth, but on this night that was enough to lose to ChazMo. Ok, maybe we’re not doing “ChazMo.” I use this feature to workshop, you know. They’re not all winners.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.