And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Brewers 2, Reds 1: Eleven total innings, twelve total hits and thirteen total pitchers led to only three total runs, the last of which came on a Lorenzo Cain dinger in the final inning to give Milwaukee the win. This a day after these two beat the tar out of each other. Baseball, man.

Indians 5, Twins 3: Jason Kipnis hit a three-run homer in the Tribe’s four-run sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie. Mike Clevinger pitched into the seventh allowing only two unearned runs. Both of those unearned runs, however, came on a two-run homer that, no matter what preceded it, was Clevinger’s fault. Which just bolsters my long-held view that earned/unearned runs are mostly bullcrap and that we should just call every run earned unless the run literally would not score absent some Three Stooges action. Which, yes, I will define in the rules if I am made Commissioner.

Tigers 8, Yankees 7: Victor Martinez tied the game in the ninth with a two-run homer — his second homer and this third and fourth RBIs of the game — and the very next batter, Niko Goodrum, put the Tigers up for goodrum with a solo shot. That was possibly the last great night of Martinez’s fine career, which is likely to end in a month. Nice to see him have (at least) one more moment of glory. Anyway, both of the ninth inning homers came off Dellin Betances. Think the Yankees miss Aroldis Chapman?

Cardinals 5, Pirates 0: Six Cardinal pitchers combine to shut out the Buccos, led by John Gant who started and took the shutout into the sixth. Gant homered too, as did Harrison Bader. Jose Martinez drove in two on a single. The Cardinals have won 17 of 21 and have won ten consecutive series.

Cubs 5, Braves 4: Chicago took a 3-0 lead early, lost the lead in the fifth when Freddie Freeman tripled in two and Kurt Suzuki knocked in a run but Tommy La Stella‘s two-run pinch-hit homer in the sixth brought the Cubs back to a one-run lead that held up over the final four frames. Chicago won for the eighth time in nine games, Atlanta lost for the fourth time in six.

Red Sox 9, White Sox 4: Sox win! Some late inning drama on a night with a good deal of it. Mookie Betts tied it with a two-run homer in the seventh and then in the ninth the Sox rallied for five thanks to RBI singles from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi and a three-run homer from J.D. Martinez capping things off. The Red Sox have dominated all year, but lately they’ve shown that they can come back late too. Indeed, they’ve trailed late in each of their last three games yet have won each time.

Angels 5, Astros 2: For the second game in a row Tyler White homered in the ninth inning but when your team is down 5-0 that’s not quiiiiite as dramatic as a walkoff situaish. That deficit came largely courtesy of Andrelton Simmons, who hit a bases-loaded double in the sixth inning which plated all three runners and gave the Halos a 4-0 lead that proved to be enough.

Mariners 7, Athletics 1: Unlike many of the other games last night this one featured an early rally rather than a late one, with the M’s plating five in the opening inning, all on a couple of singles, a bases loaded walk and an error. Somehow A’s starter Frankie Montas stayed in the game after that and didn’t allow too much more damage, but Wade LeBlanc wasn’t allowing any damage for Seattle, twirling seven shutout innings. The Mariners pulled to four and a half games of the A’s for the second Wild Card. Oakland remains two and a half back of Houston in the AL West.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 1: The Dodgers came into this big series hot but the Dbacks cooled them down and pushed their lead over L.A. back to two games. All of Arizona’s runs came on a three-run homer from David Peralta in the fifth inning. Manny Machado hit a solo shot in the sixth but that’s all Robbie Ray would allow on the game and five Snakes relievers finished off the night for him.

Padres 3, Rockies 2: Arizona gained a game on the Rockies too, who they now lead by a game and a half, thanks to a two-out, 13th inning walkoff homer from Franmil Reyes. The game featured only nine total hits between the teams, with the Rockies having only three all night. Again, 13 innings. There were 13 pitchers too. That walkoff jack was cool, but sometimes I wonder if baseball isn’t broken lately.

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.