And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

Associated Press
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There were a bunch of blowouts yesterday. Feels like a lot of teams could use a few days off. Guess it’s good that a week from today they get ’em.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 2, Blue Jays 1: Domingo German and Ryan Borucki battled, each allowing only a run and the pens tossed shutouts for the rest of regulation. Some small ball in the 10th was the difference, with Greg Bird getting plunked by former Yankee Tyler Clippard, Austin Romine sacrificing his pinch runner over and Brett Gardner singling him in for what would be the winning run. Blue Jays first base coach Tim Leiper was ejected in this one. I can’t for the life of me remember the last time I saw a first base coach ejected. They tend to be a timid lot, doing nothing more aggressive than patting a runner on the tush and yelling “BACK!”

Athletics 6, Indians 0: What looked like was going to be a bad weekend in Cleveland sure did turn around nicely for Oakland. They were on the verge of losing 3-0 to Corey Kluber on Saturday afternoon but rallied for three in the eighth as soon as he left and then won in extras. That momentum carried over into Sunday when Brett Anderson — fresh back after nearly two months on the disabled list — tossed five shutout innings and three relievers finished the job. Stephen Piscotty hit a two-run homer. If you haven’t been paying attention, the A’s have been playing great baseball lately. They have either won or split their last seven series and are now ten games over .500 for the first time in nearly four years. If they played in the AL Central, NL East or NL West they’d be in a dogfight for the division lead.

Rangers 3, Tigers 0: Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who is named like either the son of an Edwardian dandy who took a wife from Texas or, possibly, a mid-ranking official in a galaxy-spanning government in a science fiction novel, shut out the Tigers into the sixth inning and then handed it over to either his mates or his galactic comrades, depending on his provenance. The Rangers got all their scoring done by the second inning and this one was done in less than three hours. Shin-Soo Choo got an infield single in the ninth to extend his on-base streak to 47 consecutive games, setting a new Rangers record. The old record was held by Julio Franco, who set it when he was still relatively young. Which, without looking, I’ll say was 1939.

Rays 9, Mets 0: Nate Eovaldi was perfect through six and ended up tossing seven one-hit shutout innings, striking out nine. He knocked in a run in the fifth, too. C.J. Cron‘s first inning three-run homer was all the scoring Eovaldi needed, but Joey Wendle and Jake Bauers also homered for Tampa Bay because professionals don’t stop trying just because the other team is already beat.

Marlins 10, Nationals 2: Miami rattled off 22 hits, 20 of which were singles. Death by, um, a score of cuts I guess. J.T. Realmuto had five of them and Martin Prado had four of them. Not that the Marlins even get the bulk of the headlines. Mark Reynolds, who had 10 RBI on Saturday, played again, went 2-for4 with a walk and even pitched a third of an inning, retiring the only batter he faced. In other news, I’m going to choose to believe that the Marlins housing the Nats here was karmic payback for Dave Martinez trying to find something to bitch about when his team was actually playing well for the first time in weeks. Crash Davis once said what not to do with a streak, and I think that even applies to little streaks.

Pirates 4, Phillies 1: Nick Kingham allowed one over six and also knocked in the go-ahead run. Go-ahead two runs, actually, with a fourth inning double that turned a 1-1 game into a 3-1 game. Artist’s rendering of Nick Kingham.

Brewers 10, Braves 3: A five-run third inning capped by a three-run bomb from Hernan Perez set the tone here and sent Milwaukee on course for a blowout win. Jesus Aquilar homered twice, a solo shot in in the seventh and a three-run shot in the eighth. Aguilar has 11 homers in his last 20 games. The Braves left [mashes hand on calculator haphazardly while trying to forget the game) about 2,402 men in scoring position in this one. They’ve also lost five of six and are doing things like benching guys for lack of hustle. Which is to say that, yeah, they could use a break.

Twins 10, Orioles 1: Jake Odorizzi tossed six shutout innings but it was tight when he left. Thankfully his teammates put up an eight-run sixth to let him shower easily.  Mitch GarverEduardo Escobar and Brian Dozier homered. Dozier homered in the same inning in which he scored off of Escobar’s homer, in fact. Alex Cobb took his 11th loss. He’s on pace for 20. I hope Baltimore gives him a chance to do it. We need more noble and honorable ignominy in this world. People doing less-than-great things but still holding their head up high with dignity and all of that. You know, for the kids.

Astros 2, White Sox 1: Jose Altuve homered for one run. The second scored after a double, a sacrifice fly and a sac back to the pitcher from Marwin Gonzalez. And they say manufacturing is a dead sector in this country. Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over seven.

Red Sox 7, Royals 4: Boston sweeps Kansas City. After adjusting for team quality that goes down as a split somehow. Stats are weird. Andrew Benintendi had four hits and scored twice and Rick Procello scattered nine hits over seven innings, allowing three. Boston got two RBI a piece from Mitch Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Eduardo Nunez. The Royals have lost nine in a row, 10 of 11 and . . . well, we could do that all the way back to the beginning of the season seeing as though they have the second worst record in baseball and look poised to challenge Baltimore for that mark all season long.

Cubs 6, Reds 5: The second walkoff walk we’ve seen in a week, this one coming in the tenth inning when Jackson Stephens issued a free pass to David Bote. Stephens issued three walks that inning — one intentional — and uncorked a wild pitch. Chicago has won eight of ten, all by coming from behind.

Mariners 6, Rockies 4: Ryon Healy homered and drove in five via a two-run double and a three-run homer. Not bad for a guy who was 0 for his last 13 heading into the game. Charlie BlackmonCarlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story hit the homers off of M’s starter Wade LeBlanc, but he still got the win. Between the contract extension he signed and the trail magic here it was a pretty good week for LeBlanc.

Giants 13, Cardinals 8: There wasn’t much in the way of pitching here. Pablo Sandoval had five RBI, though, Andrew McCutchen and Alen Hanson had three hits and Brandon Belt and Gorkys Hernandez had two. Greg Holland gave up five runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning. He now has an 8.27 ERA, has given up 29 hits in 20.2 innings and has walked only one fewer batter than he has struck out. Everyone said the Cardinals got a bargain with that one-year, $14 million deal they gave him but, boy howdy.

Padres 4, Diamondbacks 3: Sixteen innings of baseball were concluded with Wil Myers hitting a homer off of . . . Jeff Mathis? Yep, Jeff Mathis. The catcher. If it’s any consolation to Mathis, Myers said he was the best position player he’d ever seen pitch. And yeah, it wasn’t terrible apart from the gopher ball. The homer is in this video sequence, but check out how he froze Carlos Asuaje with that perfectly-placed 81 m.p.h. fastball:

Easy gas, man.

Angels 4, Dodgers 3: Yasiel Puig hit a three-run homer off of his former teammate Andrew Heaney (note: Heaney was a Dodger for a few hours when he was traded there in December 2014; he was traded to Anaheim that same day. I wonder what his best memory was of being a Dodger?) but that’s all L.A. would get off of him. Justin Upton singled in two runs in the third to make it 3-2 and then Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani hit solo homers in the sixth and seventh, respectively, to give the men from Anaheim the victory.

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.