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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Hi folks. As I mentioned on Friday, I spent the weekend in West Virginia watching Appalachian League baseball and, boy howdy, did I have fun. I’ll be writing a handful of posts about it this week, some short, some longer, but suffice it to say that it was one of the best baseball experiences I’ve ever had. Sadly we cannot move a major league team to Bowen Field in Bluefield, where it would be WAY better to watch games than literally any of the big league parks these days. But man, if we could.

For now, though, it’s back to the big leagues, so let’s do some recaps. Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 11, Red Sox 1: Aaron Hicks hit three homers and drove in four, Gleyber Torres knocked in three with a three-run shot and Aaron Judge went deep too, as the Yankees roughed up David Price and atoned for getting roughed up themselves on Saturday. All of those runs were somewhat unnecessary as Luis Severino shut Boston out into the seventh. New York takes two of three in the three-game series.

Orioles 8, Angels 2: Mark Trumbo hit two homers and Manny Machado and Trey Mancini each hit one as the Orioles snap their seven game losing streak. After the game Buck Showalter said “we’re undefeated in July.” Gotta keep your sense of humor, I suppose, or else you’ll go mad.

Tigers 9, Blue Jays 1: The Tigers had an even longer losing streak going than the O’s and they snapped theirs too. Nick Castellanos hit a grand slam in the Tigers’ five-run fifth. He almost hit another homer but Kevin Pillar did this:

That looked like one of those fake videos people made a few years ago of guys climbing 10 feet up walls and stuff. And my god did he cover ground before snagging that, didn’t he?

Reds 8, Brewers 2: Like in the Tigers game, the winning team had a five-run inning and a grand slam. Here the winning team was the Reds and the grand slam came from Jose Peraza. Peraza on his homer:  “I just tried to hit the ball. When I hit the ball in the sky, I say, `Wow, it’s a home run.’ Everybody is happy.” There are a lot of baseball writers who are paid a lot of money to describe the game in fascinating and complicated ways, but Peraza pretty much nails it.

Mets 5, Marlins 2: New York decided that one day in last place was enough, so they beat the Marlins and climbed out of last place. At least that’s what I assume they decided. Either way, Steven Matz and three relievers worked their way around three Mets errors and held the Marlins to four hits.

Rays 3, Astros 2: The Astros were the hottest team in baseball for much of June but they ended the month — and began July — by dropping three of four to the Rays. Blake Snell allowed one run and struck out ten while pitching into the eighth. He’s also on the cover of the program that the Class-A Princeton Rays of the Appalachian league are selling at their ballpark right now, but I bet he doesn’t know that. Evan Gattis hit two homers in a losing cause.

Phillies 4, Nationals 3: It got to the 13th inning, it was like a million degrees and Andrew Knapp said “I wanna go home,” so he hit a walkoff pinch hit homer to give Philly the win. The Phillies won three of four, all by one run. The Nationals are 6-15 in their past 21 games and fall six games behind Atlanta in the NL East. Good thing they fired Dusty Baker, huh?

Braves 6, Cardinals 5: Mike Foltynewicz cruised for five, giving up only one hit and no runs, while Atlanta built up a 6-0 lead. He left at that point and the Braves pen tossed one scoreless inning but then the Cards rallied for five runs in the seventh to make a game out of it. That was all they’d get, though, as the Braves held on to sweep the three-game series. The Cards have lost four in a row.

Cubs 11, Twins 10: The Cubs had an 8-0 and a 9-1 lead, thanks in large part to Jon Lester, who hit a three-run homer in the second inning. He wasn’t terribly sharp, allowing four runs, two earned, in five, but that was enough for the win on a day when he had a lot of run support. But just barely. The Twins, who found themselves in that early hole because Lance Lynn was shellacked, clawed back with a couple runs here, a couple runs there and then five in the eighth to make it close, but close was all they’d get. Minnesota played six straight games in Chicago, facing the Cubs and White Sox, and went 1-5. They’re nine back of the Indians and are 35-45. This after a lot of folks picked them as a wild card team or, perhaps, even a frisky pick for the Central. Oh well.

White Sox 10, Rangers 5: Avisail Garcia had four hits and Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu each had three RBI as the Chisox avoid a sweep. Shin-Soo Choo extended his on-base streak to 42 games. Cole Hamels gave up seven runs on nine hits in five innings. Woof.

Indians 15, Athletics 3: The Indians hit 11 doubles. That’s . . . a lot of doubles. Francisco Lindor hit two of those doubles and he also homered. Jose Ramirez, Yonder Alonso and Lonnie Chisenhall each had two doubles too. Edwin Encarnacion also homered as the Indians avoided a sweep and ended the A’s six-game winning streak.

Mariners 1, Royals 0: Yesterday was Canada Day. James Paxton is Canadian and it was his day too. He was pretty awesome in fact. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask the Mariners’ social media folks:

Dodgers 6, Rockies 4: Hero of the game, Matt Kemp. The old man — and in baseball, 33 is old — had three hits, one of which was a go-ahead homer in the eighth, and drove in four runs. That helped Los Angeles avoid a sweep and ended their three-game skid. Nolan Arenado hit a homer for the Rockies in the loss. He probably still feels like this.

Pirates 7, Padres 5: Pittsburgh had a four-run fifth, with all four runs the product of a Colin Moran grand slam. Corey Dickerson and Elias Diaz also homered for the Pirates, who took two of three games from the Padres.

Giants 9, Diamondbacks 6: The Giants sweep the Dbacks, have now won seven of eight and also move into a second place tie with the Dodgers, two and a half behind Arizona. Brandon Belt and Joe Panik drove in two runs each and Hunter Pence had a pinch-hit, two-run double.

Cardinals move Luke Weaver to the bullpen

Luke Weaver
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Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver has been reassigned to the bullpen, manager Mike Shildt announced Sunday. Fellow righty Daniel Poncedeleon will take his spot in the rotation for the time being, though it’s still unclear whether Weaver’s demotion is a permanent one or not.

Still, it’s not the most surprising of moves, especially as the club advances toward a potential playoff berth in October. Weaver, 24, has struggled to find his groove this season after putting up a 6-11 record in 24 starts and a 4.67 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2018. During two of his last three outings in August, he was pulled before the fifth inning, citing mechanical issues with his delivery that may be impacting his fastball location and delivery and having an adverse effect on his results — and those of the team — as well.

Poncedeleon, on the other hand, appears primed to take on more responsibility following an impressive run with the Cardinals this summer. He maintained a sub-3.00 ERA through his first six appearances, issuing four runs, nine walks, and 10 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t handled more than one start in the big leagues, his track record in the minors speaks to his ability to get consistent results on the mound: he went 9-3 in 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis with a 2.15 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 across 92 innings. He’s scheduled to cover for Weaver on Tuesday against the Pirates and will presumably continue to pitch out of the rotation for the remaining six weeks of the season.