And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cubs 4, Nationals 3: When you’re 11-years-old and you’re imagining that you’re in the big leagues and you say something to yourself like “bottom of the ninth . . . two outs . . . two strikes . . . bases loaded . . . down by three . . . AND CALCATERRA HITS A GRAND SLAM!!!” you actually stop yourself because you realize, dude, you’re gilding the lily a bit. Yet that’s exactly what David Bote did to the Nationals last night. As a pinch-hitter, no less. He’s already living a dream as a rookie called up to fill in for an injured All-Star and is doing a fantastic job of that, but then he adds this to the memory book. All of this after Max Scherzer tossed three-hit ball over seven scoreless innings, striking out 11. An amazing moment for Bote and the Cubs. A rip-your-heart-out-and-show-it-to-them-while-it’s-still-beating moment for the Nats.

The best thing about it? Bote knew he did it the second the ball came off the bat:

Red Sox 4, Orioles 1Chris Sale struck out 12 guys in five one-hit, shutout innings. Now that he appears healthy again I suppose the Sox will end this minor league rehab stint and activate him from the disabled list.

[Editor: Uh, Craig, he was activated for this start. He was facing the Baltimore Orioles]

I stand by my statement.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: It was Jack Morris Number Retirement Day in Detroit and, afterward, Tigers starter Matt Boyd joked that Morris might be mad at him for only pitching six innings. Given that Morris, his reputation as a complete game-slingin’ horse notwithstanding, averaged 6.9 innings per outing for his career, I hope he was OK with it. Boyd also said that he has talked to Morris a bunch about pitching and that Morris has given him lots of advice. The upshot of that advice, according to Boyd:

“The theme of every conversation we’ve had is competing,” Boyd said. “Compete on every pitch . . .”

No one tell that to the BBWAA guys who, for years, erroneously claimed that Morris’ ERA was so high specifically because he did NOT compete on every pitch but, rather, “pitched to the score,” easing up in games when the Tigers had big leads.

Oh well. Boyd got the win, giving up one run on two hits and struck out three in six innings. A pretty Jack Morris-like outing, actually.

Yankees 7, Rangers 2: CC Sabathia threw six shutout innings of one-hit ball and Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius homered. In other news, the AP game story for this one framed it, basically, as “Didi Gregorius has done a good job filling Derek Jeter’s shoes at shortstop for the Yankees.” That’s an . . . interesting choice. Or at least it would be if it were written in 2015. I didn’t read the Cubs gamer, but I hope said something like “Move over Vance Law, there’s a new slugger at the hot corner in Chicago!”

Padres 9, Phillies 3: Freddy Galvis hit a grand slam against his old mates and Travis Jankowski stole four bases and scored three times which is not the sort of thing that happens much in baseball these days. Talk to some old timer and they’ll tell you it happened six times every day back in the days of big hair and plastic grass, of course. It didn’t, but they’ll still say that. Never trust an old guy telling you about how things were when he was young. A lot of the times he may be telling the truth, but always check it because old guys are often full of crap.

Giants 4, Pirates 3: I woke up at 3:30am today for no reason at all — old guys are often full of crap, but we’re also filled with non-specific anxiety and acid reflux too — so these recaps could’ve been up at 4:30am if I had tried harder. Instead I spent a lot of time screaming into the void on Twitter and getting lost in Wikipedia holes. Part of me said it shouldn’t matter. No one pays me enough to work at 3:30am and, even if I did have the recaps up at 4:30am, the only person who would’ve read them then would be my friend Lisa, who is a Five-Star General in the Wake Up Early Army and is doing stuff like going to the gym or cooking pork roasts and crap at that time. A woman after my own early-rising heart, I tells ya. Of course, thinking about how Lisa would’ve liked to read the recaps at 4:30am, and me not having them up then even though I could’ve, made me sort of sad. But then I remembered that she’s a Pirates fan and who wants a reminder that their team lost at 4:30am? That’s the sort of thing that can really kill the buzz of, I dunno, some squat-thrusts or a good pork roast. All of which is to say that now, at just before 6:30am, I’m feeling rather conflicted about it all.

Anyway: rookie Dereck Rodriguez threw seven innings of two-hit ball to up his rookie-year record to 6-1 and drop his ERA to 2.25. Son of Pudge is a pretty good one, yeah?

Cardinals 8, Royals 2Yadier Molina broke a tie with a two-run single in the seventh inning and the Cards won going away. Patrick Wisdom — who, somehow, is not a character from a low-budget 80s action movie –had two hits, drove in a run and scored two in his major league debut. The Cardinals have won five in a row. They also win the season series over the Royals, 4-2. For losing the Battle of Missouri, the Royals, I imagine, get stuck with Missouri.

Lay off, Missourians. I’ve been making this joke about Ohio for years.

Blue Jays 2, Rays 1: Marcus Stroman allowed one over five but had to hit the showers early because of a blister. Five relievers shut the Rays down the rest of the way, however, so it all worked out OK. Well, except for Stroman, who still has that blister. The Jays avoid the sweep.

Diamondbacks 9, Reds 2: The Dbacks jacked five homers out of Great American Ballpark. Paul Goldschmidt had two of them. Daniel DescalsoEduardo Escobar and David Peralta had the other three. Goldschmidt and Descalso drove in three runs a piece. The Dbacks avoid the sweep and, thanks to L.A. losing again, take over sole possession of first place in the National League West.

Mets 4, Marlins 3: Noah Syndergaard allowed three runs over seven innings and Jose Reyes and Michael Conforto each homered. The Mets take two of three. Imagine watching a Mets-Marlins game.

Braves 8, Brewers 7: The Braves blew an early lead and were outhit 19-9 on the day but they kept themselves in it and then clawed back on top via Ozzie Albies‘ tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning. Ronald Acuña and Dansby Swanson each hit two-run shots of their own. Atlanta takes two of three from the Brewers after taking two of three from the Nats. Not a bad week.

Indians 9, White Sox 7: Cleveland led 6-1 after two innings and Carlos Carrasco was outstanding, allowing a run on three hits over seven innings, striking out nine. Relievers Adam Cimber and Dan Otero tried to make it interesting in the eighth and ninth innings, allowing six runs between them, requiring Terry Fancona to bring in Cody Allen on a day when Cody Allen shoulda gotten a breather. Melky Cabrera homered and drove in three and Yandy Diaz and Jason Kipnis each knocked in a pair.

Mariners 4, Astros 3: Shut out through seven, the Astros rallied for three runs in the eighth and figured they had this one, but Ryon Healy figured differently, swatting a homer off of Hector Rondon with two out in the top of the ninth to force extras. In the tenth Dee Gordon singled off of Roberto Osuna and Mitch Haniger promptly doubled him in to give the M’s the lead and, ultimately, the win. The Mariners completed a four-game sweep of the Astros and now the AL West is a happy jumble, with Houston’s lead down to 2.5 games over Oakland, four over Seattle.

Rockies 4, Dodgers 3: The Rockies win on a walkoff walk drawn by Chris Iannetta. That’s not quite as exciting as the way they won on Saturday, via Ryan McMahon’s three-run walkoff homer, but no one in Colorado was complaining. The Rockies took three of four from L.A. All three of the losses were awarded to Dodgers relievers. Yeah, they’re already missing Kenley Jansen.

Athletics 8, Angels 7: Jed Lowrie homered and notched his 1,000th career hit as the A’s took their ninth win in the last 11 and moved to within two and a half games of the slumping Astros. The A’s led by five after five innings and almost saw the Angels come back, but they fell short.

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.

Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.

Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.