And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Those of you who have been reading this feature for a while know that, on occasion, I get a score wrong. That usually happens because I just misread something or mistype something. When it’s pointed out to me, I go back and change it, admitting I was mistaken. I don’t go into a press conference claiming that I knew the actual score but wrote the recap the way I did for implausible reasons.

Just saying, you should be happy that I do these and J.R. Smith doesn’t.

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

Cardinals 10, Pirates 8: The Cards were down by three in the bottom of the ninth and put up a five spot, with all of those runs — four earned, one unearned — on Felipe Vazquez’s ledger. The capper was  Yairo Munoz‘s three-run walkoff homer. Munoz also drove in two in the first for a five-RBI day. Lost in this was the fact that Francisco Cervelli hit a tie-breaking three-run homer in the eighth to give the Cardinals a deficit to dramatically climb back from. Kudos for the dramatic staging, Pittsburgh!

Tigers 6, Angels 2: Detroit came out and put up a five-spot in the first thanks in large part to Victor Reyes hitting a three-run triple and that was basically that. They also put up a decoy goose in honor of the real goose which invaded Comerica Park on Wednesday night, allegedly causing a Tigers rally. Can’t argue with results, though: the Tigers are 2-0 when a Goose is involved, at least in the post-Gossage-era. They take three of four from the Angels.

Athletics 7, Rays 3: Daniel Mengden shut the Rays out for eight innings. It may have been a bit much for him to pitch the ninth — he came out and gave up three runs without retiring a batter — but the A’s had a cushion so it was all good. Matt OlsonMatt Chapman and Matt Joyce all homered in what, for the A’s anyway, was a tremendous offensive outburst.

Cubs 5, Mets 1: Jose Quintana tossed six shutout innings. That creep can roll, dude. Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer, doubled and singled. Highlight of the game, though, may have been when Javier Baez drew a walk. It was his first unintentional walk in 183 plate appearances. Never give in, man. Live and die on your own terms. 

Braves 4, Nationals 2: Sean Newcomb keeps doing the dang thing for the Braves, winning his sixth straight decision after allowing two runs over seven innings. On offense he also beat out what should’ve probably been a force out which allowed a Braves run to score. The Braves ended the Nationals’ six-game winning streak and moved a half game ahead of the Nats, into first place.

Phillies 2, Dodgers 1: Aaron Nola allowed only one run over seven, striking out seven, and outlasting Clayton Kershaw, who returned from the disabled list but who is now likely to return to the disabled list. Kershaw topped out at 90 with his fastball and didn’t look right. Jorge Alfaro drove in both of the Philly’s runs.

Astros 4, Red Sox 2: This 2017 ALDS rematch begins as the ALDS ended: with an Astros victory. Lance McCullers allowed four hits and two runs in six innings and Carlos Correa hit a two-run bomb. The Sox’ three-game winning streak ends as Drew Pomeranz fails to pitch longer than four innings for his third straight start.

Indians 9, Twins 8: Cleveland jumped out to an 8-0 lead and blew the whole thing, but Francisco Lindor‘s second homer of the game — a solo shot in the eighth — put the Tribe back up. Lindor hit two doubles in addition to those two homers and drove in four. Jose Ramirez hit his fourth homer in the last five games, giving him 18 on the year. The Twins have dropped seven of eight. Lost in all of that was Shane Bieber, making his big league debut on his birthday no less, shut the Twins out for the first four inning and was staked to that big league before running out of gas and ending with a no-decision. I suppose he’ll still remember this one, though.

Padres 8, Marlins 3: Look at the Padres. They’re winners of three straight and four of their last six. Christian Villanueva hit his 15th homer on the year and Jordan Lyles allowed two runs on six hits while walking one and striking out seven over seven innings. Wei-Yin Chen started for Miami and did poorly. He did offer this quote, through a translator, after the game, though:  “It’s baseball. Sometimes you have good days, sometimes you have bad days.” He did not add “sometimes it rains,” but that’s probably because he plays in a domed stadium and this one took place in a town that almost never gets rain delays.

Mariners 6, Rangers 1: Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer and drove in a third on a sac fly and Wade LeBlanc held Texas to one run over five. Dee Gordon made his return from the disabled list and he did it in style, leading off the game with a triple and then scoring on a sac fly that required him to come in with a head first slide. Guess that got him back to game speed in a hurry.

Yankees vs. Orioles — POSTPONED:

There’s a storm outside
And the gap between crack and thunder
Crack and thunder
Is closing in
Is closing in
The rain floods gutters
And makes a great sound on concrete
On a flat roof, there’s a boy
Leaning against a wall of rain
Aerial held high
Calling “Come on thunder
Come on thunder!”

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – Moments after Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, almost two decades after his final game, he got the question.

Asked if Barry Bonds belonged in Cooperstown, a smiling McGriff responded: “Honestly, right now, I’m going to just enjoy this evening.”

A Hall of Fame committee delivered its answer Sunday, passing over Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling while handing McGriff the biggest honor of his impressive big league career.

The lanky first baseman, nicknamed the “Crime Dog,” hit .284 with 493 homers and 1,550 RBIs over 19 seasons with six major league teams. The five-time All-Star helped Atlanta win the 1995 World Series.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot in 2019. Now, he will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the writers’ vote, announced Jan. 24.

“It’s all good. It’s been well worth the wait,” said McGriff, who played his last big league game in 2004.

It was the first time that Bonds, Clemens and Schilling had faced a Hall committee since their 10th and final appearances on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and support for Schilling dropped after he made hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

While the 59-year-old McGriff received unanimous support from the 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee – comprised of Hall members, executives and writers – Schilling got seven votes, and Bonds and Clemens each received fewer than four.

The makeup of the committee likely will change over the years, but the vote was another indication that Bonds and Clemens might never make it to the Hall.

This year’s contemporary era panel included Greg Maddux, who played with McGriff on the Braves, along with Paul Beeston, who was an executive with Toronto when McGriff made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1986.

Another ex-Brave, Chipper Jones, was expected to be part of the committee, but he tested positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall.

The contemporary era committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A player needs 75% to be elected.

“It’s tough deciding on who to vote for and who not to vote for and so forth,” McGriff said. “So it’s a great honor to be unanimously voted in.”

In addition to all his big hits and memorable plays, one of McGriff’s enduring legacies is his connection to a baseball skills video from youth coach Tom Emanski. The slugger appeared in a commercial for the product that aired regularly during the late 1990s and early 2000s – wearing a blue Baseball World shirt and hat.

McGriff said he has never seen the video.

“Come Cooperstown, I’ve got to wear my blue hat,” a grinning McGriff said. “My Tom Emanski hat in Cooperstown. See that video is going to make a revival now, it’s going to come back.”

Hall of Famers Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also served on this year’s committee, which met in San Diego at baseball’s winter meetings.

Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy rounded out the eight-man ballot. Mattingly was next closest to election, with eight votes of 12 required. Murphy had six.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their final chances with the BBWAA. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) on the 2021 BBWAA ballot. The right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 seasons, winning the World Series with Arizona in 2001 and Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Theo Epstein, who also served on the contemporary era committee, was the GM in Boston when the Red Sox acquired Schilling in a trade with the Diamondbacks in November 2003.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.