And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Sorry the post is a bit late this morning. Stuff and Things and Reasons.

Anyway: Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 4, Astros 0: When your starter strikes out 14 batters in eight shutout innings and the other team loses their starter one inning in due to elbow tightness, you’re probably gonna win that game. Probably, but not always, because that’s what happened to the Astros last night and they STILL lost. Justin Verlander did the 14-strikeout thing and Jordan Montgomery did the leave-after-one-inning thing, but it was still 0-0 after eight thanks to a host of Yankees relievers, led by Domingo German‘s four shutout innings, blanking the champs for the rest of the game. A.J. Hinch called on Ken Giles to relieve Verlander in the top of the ninth and he provided no relief, giving up a three-run homer to Gary Sanchez, watching him put more dudes on after that and then seeing Will Harris throw a wild pitch for the fourth run to score. What a wild and improbable game.

Braves 3, Mets 2: The 2005 Atlanta Braves were called the “Baby Braves” because they had a ton of young players and, at one point or another, 18 or 19 rookies contributed them winning the NL East. This year the Braves are being driven by three players in Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuña and now rookie pitcher Michael Soroka, all of whom are younger than all 18 or 19 of those “Baby Braves.” Sokora made his big league debut last night and seemed far more mature than his 20 years, allowing one run in six innings of work, striking out five and not walking a soul, outdueling Noah Syndergaard or all people. His only blemish was a solo homer given up to Yoenis Cespedes, but hey, someone’s gotta welcome you to the big leagues. Meanwhile, Brian Snitker putting Albies and Acuña 1-2 in the lineup is paying off so far. Here both of them reached in the first inning, via a single and a double, respectively, and Freddie Freeman doubled them in. Nick Markakis then singed in Freeman in for the Braves’ third and final run of the game, which held up as the winning run for young Mr. Soroka.

Tigers 2, Rays 1: I watched this game with my visiting father-in-law, who is a Tigers fan. He keeps up on baseball pretty good too, but even he was stumped at some of the names in both of these lineups. Take your eye off things for even a little while and, bam, your team is rebuilding and you need a program. Thankfully he knows Matt Boyd though, and Matt Boyd impressed him, allowing one run over six innings and only walking one dude. As my father-in-law lives in Texas he knows Leonys Martin too, so him doubling in the go-ahead and eventually winning run wasn’t too disorienting either. He was really confused by the Tigers bullpen though. Not because of who their pitchers were last night — Joe Jimenez, Shane Greene and Alex Wilson were all on last year’s roster — but because they tossed three innings of scoreless baseball, striking out five, walking no one and only allowing one hit. “Who the hell are these guys?!” he said, trying to understand a world in which any Tigers relief pitchers, known or unknown, were not pouring kerosene all over the field.

Rangers 8, Indians 6: The Indians came back from a 6-0 deficit late, with the big shot being a bottom-of-the-ninth, two-out grand slam from Michael Brantley. It’s the sort of big dramatic thing that, in the movies, would form the basis of a big comeback win either with another homer or some extra innings heroics. This is real life, though, not the movies, and real life doesn’t do narratives like that. It’s random and rarely gives us neat resolution like that. Here the actors merely stumbled on for three more innings before Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit back-to-back solo homers on back-to-back pitches in the top of the 12th, and that held up.

Nationals 12, Pirates 4: The Nationals moved Bryce Harper to the leadoff spot and it paid off, apparently, with him hitting a three-run homer in the fifth, scoring Max Scherzer and Wilmer Difo. Harper being on base for the Nats other good hitters worked too, as  as Trea Turner doubled him once for one of his three RBI. Matt Adams drove in three as well, backing Scherzer’s six and two-thirds of two-run ball, giving him his sixth win on the year.

Brewers 7, Reds 6: Ryan Braun broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth with a two-run homer, Jonathan Villar tripled in a run the next inning and Hernan Perez homered in the inning after that to give the Brewers their seven. Jeremy Jeffress came in to get the almost two-inning save, working himself out of a serious jam in the ninth to lock things down. Pretty impressive especially given that part of working his way out of that jam involved striking Joey Votto out looking with a runner on third. That’s not a thing people do every day.

Royals 7, Red Sox 6Alex Gordon hit a tying home run off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth to send it to extras. They took a lead in the 12th but Eduardo Nunez homered off of Kelvin Herrera to tie it back up and send it to the 13th. That’s when Jorge Soler hit a three-run homer to give the Royals a wild, rally-filled comeback win. Bad night to be an elite closer.

Marlins 2, Phillies 1: Another extra innings affair, this one ended by a pinch-hit walkoff RBI single from Yadiel Rivera. Earlier, Justin Bour homered in the sixth for Miami to tie it at one. The Marlins have now won four games in a row and have even taken three series in a row. Look at them go.

Rockies 3, Cubs 1: Chicago’s five-game win streak comes to an end, thanks to Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl leading off the game with back-to-back shots. “Homers are the best,” Blackmon actually said after the game, rather than it being one of those on-the-nose quotes I sometimes make up, “I’m pro-homer, yes.” The dumbest thing about baseball is that, sometimes, you actually hear people take the “con” position on that. Blackmon, though, has his head on straight.

Blue Jays 7, Twins 4: A wild extra innings affair. Literally wild, as the Jays scored two of their three tenth inning runs on wild pitches, one from John Curtiss and one from Matt Magill. A hero outside of wildness and blind luck was Kendrys Morales, who homered twice and reached base all five times he batted, including once via intentional walk in the 10th, which helped load up the bases and set the stage for those wild pitch runs.

Cardinals 3, White Sox 2: Down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth and the Cards rallied with a Matt Carpenter solo shot and a walkoff RBI single from Yadier Molina to plate Marcel Ozuna who doubled. The homer was Carpenter’s 100th career blast. The Cards snap a three-game losing streak.

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 3Daniel Descalso hit a two-run, go-ahead triple in the seventh. That and an earlier pinch hit homer from Christian Walker helped the Dbacks overcome a 3-1 deficit and six innings of two-run ball from Clayton Kershaw. Earlier A.J. Pollock homered again, hitting his fourth blast in the past two games. The Dodgers have lost four in a row and seven of eight, falling NINE games behind the Snakes in the NL West. Yeah it’s early and all of that but it’s possible to dig yourself into a hole you can’t get out of early. The Dodgers seem to be doing just that.

Angels 3, Orioles 2: More late inning stuff, as three of the game’s five runs scored in the ninth. Two in the top of the ninth from the O’s to tie things up at two, but the Halos rallied in the bottom half, winning it on a Justin Upton walkoff single. Just before that Mike Trout took his fourth walk of the game — three were intentional — suggesting that O’s had a plan in mind with that man. Not a bad plan as Upton had been in a 5-for-46 slump, but sometimes even the slumping players can make you pay.

Mariners 6, Athletics 3: Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer in the fifth. M’s manager Scott Servais: “Certainly, he was looking for a pitch. He got it, and he didn’t miss it.” That’s why he’s the best color man in the business, folks. Dee Gordon went 5-for-5 with two stolen bases. He had four hits the game before. En fuego.

Padres 3, Giants 2: On a night when every game seemed to come down to late heroics, even the latest game was decided late. Eric Hosmer did the deciding here, hitting a solo homer in the top of the ninth to break a 2-2 tie. Earlier Hosmer tripled and scored. Here’s what Padres manager Andy Green said about Hosmer’s homer: “He pierced the wind the other way.” That’s much more poetic than Servais’ “looking for a pitch to hit” jive, though not as direct as Charlie Blackmon‘s stuff about being “pro-homer.”

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.