And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cubs 5, Tigers 2: Having done game recaps every weekday morning of the season for over ten years now, I hereby declare that games which end with the score 5-2 are the most innocuous games and also the most boring to recap. Generally, 5-2 games are not close enough to be exciting, not high-scoring enough to have an offensive hero but not low-scoring enough to have an exceptional pitching performance. If a 5-2 game doesn’t have a fight, a guy hitting two homers or something else it just . . . is. Usually, anyway. But not here, as the Tigers led 2-1 and the Cubs tied it on a steal of home by Javier Baez of all things. They then went on to take the lead and win the game thanks to the heroics of Willson Contreras who homered in the sixth and then hit a two-run double in the seventh.

Check out Baez’s trip around the bases which ended on the steal of home. Yes, it was a steal that started off with the Tigers pitcher throwing to first — it was not some brazen Jackie Robinson-style thing — but the slide totally makes it:

Athletics 4, Padres 2: Stephen Piscotty had a two-run double and a one-run double while Sean Manaea was solid over seven. There are far more complicated names that “Stephen Piscotty” and “Sean Manaea” to write, but they may be the most low-key hardest to spell in baseball right now. I can never remember if Piscotty is a “v” or a “ph” Ste[v][ph]en and you always run the risk of not putting the second “t” in his last name. You have the “Shawan”/”Sean” issue with Manaea and, even though he’s been in the league a while now, the spelling of his last name just does’t come naturally to me at all. It simply won’t click, even if I can now do “Jeff Samardzija” without looking now.

You guys liking this “inside ATH” content this morning? Riveting stuff, eh?

Red Sox 3, Nationals 0: Eduardo Rodriguez and the pen shut out Washington to complete the sweep. Washington is now a game under .500, seven games out of first place. Indeed, they’re just as close to the Mets, who are 14 back, as they are to the Braves.

Yankees 6, Braves 2: Homers from Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka, and a solid performance from CC Sabathia, give the Yankees the series in the rubber match. It wasn’t all rosy, though, as Gleyber Torres left the game in the top of the fifth inning because of tightness in his hip and was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right hip strain.

Marlins 3, Rays 0: JT Riddle tripled in a run and homered and Jose Urena led a group-effort shutout. Given that everyone except Urena — who was allowed to go home early during Tuesday night’s 16-inning game due to him being the day game’s starting pitcher — was likely gassed, the advantage was clearly Miami’s.

Phillies 4, Orioles 1: Philly wins thanks to a two-run error by Chris Davis and a two-run homer by Nick Williams. Oh, and Aaron Nola striking out nine over seven innings and allowing one run helped a bunch too. Nola is now 11-2 and has won five straight decisions.

Brewers 3, Twins 2: The Brewers don’t get as many national games as a team of their caliber should, so you may not have seen Keon Broxton play as much as you should’ve by now. Here’s what you’re missing:

That robbed Brian Dozier of a homer in the ninth that would’ve brought the Twins to within one run. Given that Eduardo Escobar did, in fact, homer just after this catch made it matter a lot more than it first seemed too. Rookie Nate Orf homered for Milwaukee, which was his first hit in the bigs. Brad Miller hit a solo shot too.

Angels 7, Mariners 4: The M’s eight-game winning streak came to an end thanks to Kole Calhoun‘s two-run homer and three-RBI game and two driven in by Luis Valbuena. Shohei Ohtani went 2-for-4 in his second game as the Angels’ DH.

Reds 7, White Sox 4: The Reds had a six-run fourth, but it wasn’t all big fireworks. The rally consisted of three RBI singles and a suicide squeeze laid down by pitcher Sal Romano of all things. The Reds have won 13 of 17 and have come from behind in eight of their last 11 wins. They are also 8-2 in interleague play.

Astros 5, Rangers 4: Texas had a 4-0 lead after three innings and wouldn’t score again as the Astros got three in the fourth, one more to tie it in the fifth and then Evan Gattis hit a 10th inning sac fly to seal the win. Houston got homers from Josh Reddick and Yuli Gurriel. Gurriel homered, doubled and scored twice in the game.

Mets 6, Blue Jays 3: The Mets had no trouble with Marcus Stroman, lighting him up for six runs on six hits in less than five innings, capped by a two-run homer from Todd Frazier. Jose Bautista singled in a run off of his old mates in his old stadium as well. Stroman ain’t right, folks.

Indians 3, Royals 2: Trevor Bauer allowed two runs while pitching into the eighth inning, supported by two sac flies and a Michael Brantley RBI double. The Royals have lost six straight and 18 of 21 and they’ve looked really bad doing it.

Dodgers 6, Pirates 4: L.A. sweeps Pittsburgh, with Chris Taylor and Yasmani Grandal each driving in three runs. Rich Hill pitched solidly but he was also a terror on the base paths:

Well, not really, but that was kinda fun to watch. Pittsburgh was outscored 31-8 in the three-game series.

Rockies 1, Giants 0: Tyler Anderson stymied the Giants for eight innings, out-pitching Andrew Suarez, whose only mistake was a gopher ball to Chris Iannetta in the seventh. This was only the tenth 1-0 game that has taken place at Coors Field in its entire history and the first one in over eight years. 

Cardinals 8, Diamondbacks 4: St. Louis was behind but rallied for five in the seventh and two in the eighth, kicked off by Yadi Molina’s three-run shot. Tommy Pham drove in three with a double and two singles and Matt Carpenter doubled twice, singled and drove one in.

Nationals GM Rizzo won’t reveal length of Martinez’s new contract

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WASHINGTON — Dave Martinez spoke Saturday about managing the Washington Nationals for “many, many years” and over the “long term” and “quite some time,” thanks to his contract extension.

Sharing a table to a socially distanced degree with his manager on a video conference call to announce the new deal – each member of the duo sporting a 2019 World Series ring on his right hand – Nationals GM Mike Rizzo referred to the agreement’s “multiyear” nature, but repeatedly refused to reveal anything more specific in response to reporters’ questions.

“We don’t talk about terms as far as years, length and salaries and that type of thing. We’re comfortable with what we have and the consistency that we’re going to have down the road,” said Rizzo, who recently agreed to a three-year extension of his own. “That’s all we want to say about terms, because it’s private information and we don’t want you guys to know about it.”

When Martinez initially was hired by Rizzo in October 2017 – his first managing job at any level – the Nationals’ news release at the time announced that he was given a three-year contract with an option for a fourth year.

That 2021 option had not yet been picked up.

“The partnership that Davey and I have together, our communication styles are very similar. Our aspirations are similar, and kind of our mindset of how to obtain the goals that we want to obtain are similar. I think it’s a good match,” Rizzo said. “We couldn’t have hit on a more positive and enthusiastic leader in the clubhouse. I think you see it shine through even in the most trying times.”

The Nationals entered Saturday – Martinez’s 56th birthday – with a 23-34 record and in last place in the NL East, which Rizzo called “a disappointing season.” The team’s title defense was slowed by injuries and inconsistency during a 60-game season delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.

World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg threw just five innings because of a nerve issue in his pitching hand and players such as Starlin Castro, Sean Doolittle, Tanner Rainey, Adam Eaton and Carter Kieboom finished the year on the IL.

“This year, for me, we didn’t get it done. We had a lot of bumps in the road this year. But I really, fully believe, we’ve got the core guys here that we need to win another championship,” Martinez said. “I know Mike, myself, we’re going to spend hours and hours and hours trying to fill the void with guys we think can potentially help us in the future. And we’ll be back on the podium. I’m really confident about that.”

Rizzo was asked Saturday why the team announces contract lengths for players, as is common practice around the major leagues, but wouldn’t do so in this instance for Martinez.

“The reason is we don’t want anybody to know. That’s the reason,” Rizzo said, before asking the reporter: “How much do you make? How many years do you have?”

Moments later, as the back-and-forth continued, Rizzo said: “It’s kind of an individual thing with certain people. I don’t want you to know what I make or how many years I have. Davey doesn’t want you to know. And I think that it’s only fair … when people don’t want certain information out there, that we don’t give it.”

There were some calling for Martinez to lose his job last season when Washington got off to a 19-31 start. But Rizzo stood by his manager, and the team eventually turned things around, going 74-38 the rest of the way to reach the playoffs as an NL wild-card team.

The Nationals then beat the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals to reach the World Series, where they beat the Houston Astros in Game 7.

Washington joined the 1914 Boston Braves as the only teams in major league history to win a World Series after being 12 games below .500 during a season.

“Everything from Day 1 to where he’s gotten to now, he’s grown so much. He’s really become one of my favorite managers of all,” three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer said after helping Washington win Saturday’s opener of a doubleheader against the New York Mets. “Davey really understands how to manage a clubhouse, manage a team. We saw it in the postseason. He knows how to push the right buttons when everything is on the line.”