And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cubs 7, Phillies 5: Jose Quintana left with a 3-0 lead in the sixth, but Aaron Altherr hit a three-run shot to tie things up. In the ninth, the Phillies’ Dylan Cozens hit a two-run homer to put the visitors up by two. The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth. It was dicey, but there were two outs and Gabe Kapler had a lefty, Adam Morgan, facing a lefty who has trouble with lefties in Jason Heyward. The odds favored Morgan, as Heyward had not had an extra base hit against a lefty all year and often looks lost against them. Never tell Jason Heyward the odds:

Walkoff grand slam. That’ll do.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 0: Nothing but goose eggs for 12 innings as Sonny Gray tossed eight shutout frames, Sam Gaviglio tossed seven and the bullpens kept up the work for five more innings a piece. The problem was that the Jays pen had to pitch six innings of relief, and that sixth one went sideways, when Aaron Judge hit a two-run homer and Giancarlo Stanton followed it up with a solo shot. Judge, you’ll recall, struck out eight times on Monday and was given a blow on the bench for Tuesday’s game against the Jays. The rest did him well. You can’t keep those bats down for long, I suppose.

Nationals 11, Rays 2: Over before it began as the Nats scored 5 runs in the first innings off of he Rays reliev–, er, I mean “starter,” Jonny Venters. Venters, who had never started a game following 244 relief appearances and three Tommy John surgeries, began things because the Rays did that thing where they begin with a reliever as their “opener” for the eighth time in 17 games. I’m sure it makes everyone feel clever, but it hasn’t been working very well so far. Tampa Bay is 3-5 in those games and has lost six overall. Anthony Rendon had four hits and drove in three runs, Michael Taylor had three hits and three RBI. Trea Turner and Juan Soto had two hits each and even starter Tanner Roark drove in a couple. In other news, Taylor stole third base with a 9-2 lead while Sergio Romo was pitching, the throw to get him went wild and Taylor scored. You’ll be shocked to hear Romo didn’t like it:

“I’m just pretty sure no one is stealing with Scherzer on the mound with a seven-run difference, no matter what the inning . . . I understand it. It’s foot on the gas pedal. I get it . . . There’s just things that were here before you and will be here after you that definitely don’t need to be said or written about . . . I’ve got no quarrels. I just didn’t like that he took off.”

Counterpoint: Scherzer wouldn’t be down by seven runs or let a guy reach third base because he’s Scherzer.

Indians 3, Brewers 1: The Indians Chased Chase Anderson with a three-run fifth inning and Carlos Carrasco allowed one run over seven while striking out ten. Brewers manager Craig Counsell got ejected for complaining about a strike call. In describing it he noted that he did not use profanity and that there had not been any previous barking back and forth with the umps. “Nothing was brewing all day,” he said, in a phrase that, if you think about it, could’ve been the whole recap here.

Orioles 1, Mets 0: Dylan Bundy tossed seven shutout innings and two relievers helped finish the shutout of the listless Mets. In other news, I watched the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, the Norfolk Tides, take on the Columbus Clippers last night. It was beautiful out so I had fun, but there were three disconcerting things about the evening:

  1. Mike Yastrzemski is the Tides’ left fielder. He is the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski, who I saw play in person once or twice in the early 80s. I realize Yaz was, like, 132 years-old at the time, but it’s still rather sobering to realize that I was watching the GRANDSON of someone I had seen play baseball himself;
  2. Seeing Orioles minor leaguers was kind of sad. The Tides are a winning team this year and they looked like they were having fun, but every once in a while you detected their underlying feelings of horror that, one day soon, they might have to go be Baltimore Orioles. The pitchers, particularly, seemed to be filled with this dread; and
  3. The game was tied at two after regulation and, per the new rules, extra innings started with a runner on second base. The Clippers won on a Francisco Mejia RBI single in the 10th, but it was, of course, preceded by a bunt and an intentional walk, which about 95% of these situations are likely going to do because it’s a dumb setup which dictates boring strategy, all in the name of pace of play, which was not really affected by this at all.

All that aside, it was a nice night out at the old ball game.

Padres 3, Braves 1: A bullpen game — by necessity, not by some bold new strategic plan — worked out well for the Padres, as Johnny Wholestaff allowed a Freddie Freeman homer in the first but nothing the rest of the way. Cory Spangenberg, who himself pitched in relief the night before, tripled in a run and would then come in to score three batters later. The Padres take two of three from the first place Braves who, as a result of this one and the Nats’ win, became the tied-for-first-place Braves.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4: The Dbacks led 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth when Alen Hanson came in and hit a pinch-hit two-run jack with two outs to force extras. In the tenth came another two-out rally when Andrew McCutchen doubled and then Brandon Crawford singled him home to give the Giants the walkoff win. All of those late heroics spoiled Clay Buchholz‘s pretty nice start for Arizona (6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 7K). One of those strikeouts came against Pablo Sandoval, which predictably caused a lot of Boston people on Twitter to make jokes because Boston, for all of the culture, history, glory and success which embodies that city and its sports teams, are the most provincial people on the planet.

Pirates 11, Dodgers 9Josh Harrison went 2-for-3 with a three-run double , David Freese and Gregory Polanco drove in two runs each and Corey Dickerson had three hits and scored four times. Matt Kemp homered and drove in five, but the Dodgers four-game winning streak came to an end. Not that it ended easily: the Pirates had four-run leads three times in this game, blew the first one, came close to blowing the second one and were halfway to blowing the third one when the final bell rang. Figuratively speaking, of course, as there are no bells in baseball. Well, except at Columbus Clippers games:

Red Sox 7, Tigers 1: Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts and Christian Vazquez each drove in a pair — Benintendi and Vazquez both dingered and doubled — as the Sox romped. Eduardo Rodriguez pitched into the sixth allowing one and the bullpen put up zeroes for three and a third.

Rockies 6, Reds 3: Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer and Gerardo Parra and Tony Wolters each drove in a pair. That accounted for all six of the Rockies runs. It was the one-year anniversary of Scooter Gennett hitting four homers in a game. He still had a nice night — he drove in a pair of runs with a double and a sac fly — but it was, predictably, a tad less dramatic.

Rangers 8, Athletics 2: Bartolo Colon got his 243rd career win, tying him with Juan Marichal for the most wins for a Dominican-born player. He tossed five innings allowing two runs and did not attack John Roseboro with a bat. He’s two more wins away from the all-time record for a Latin American player. Dennis Martinez holds that mark. In non-Bartolo news, Jurickson Profar homered twice and Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman each went deep as well.

White Sox 5, Twins 2: Hector Santiago faced his old mates and he wasn’t screwing around, allowing just two runs on six hits in five innings pitched. Actually, he was screwing around because he throws a screwball. Get it. I made a screwball joke. I’m pretty sure I’ve never done that even though Santiago has pitched for eight years. What a terrible oversight on my part.

[Editor whispers to me].

My apologies, but I will never make that joke again.

Astros 7, Mariners 5: Houston was down but a four-run seventh inning put ’em up. Evan Gattis hit a two-run homer and Yuli Gurriel‘s two-run single helped fuel that rally. Nelson CruzDenard Span and Kyle Seager all homered for the Mariners, but the loss snaps a three-game skid for Houston and a five-game win streak for Seattle.

Marlins 11, Cardinals 3Lewis Brinson hit two solo homers and Derek Dietrich had four hits including a homer of his own, driving in three, as the Marlins pound the Cardinals. The top of the order did a lot of damage here, as Starlin Castro, Dietrich and J.T. Realmuto combined for 11 hits, seven runs and four RBI. The Marlins scored three unearned runs, thanks in part to three errors from St. Louis shortstop Yairo Munoz. Munoz has made six errors in his last five games. That’s not what you want.

Angels 4, Royals 3: Shohei Ohtani left early with a blister on his finger but the Angels didn’t fold, as Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Justin Upon hit a solo shot an inning later.

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.