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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 9, Braves 8: I wrote this one up yesterday and would prefer not to re-live it. The long version is here. The short version: the Red Sox are really good and they can beat you even if they rest their MVP candidates on getaway day, even if they spot you six or seven runs. And my God, where does Brandon Phillips get off making his season debut in September and hitting a go-ahead, come-from-behind two-run homer when the Sox are down to their last out? And here’s a fun fact, at least if you were not rooting for Atlanta: before this game teams were 0-487 when down by six or more runs entering the eighth inning. Now they are 1-487. Good effort, Braves!

Marlins 2, Phillies 1: The Braves suffered one of the most back-breaking losses of the season but the Phillies could not capitalize on it because, apparently, no one really wants to win the NL East. Sandy Alcantara tossed seven shutout innings against them, allowing only three hits while Austin Dean knocked in two, one with a single, one on a fielder’s choice. Not bad for a guy whose name would seem more at home in some bad, derivative neo-western novel or, perhaps, erotica.

Indians 3, Royals 1: Corey Kluber wins his 18th game of the season after striking out 10 and allowing only one run on two hits while working into the seventh inning. Brad Keller of the Royals lost, but let us tip our caps to him for somehow giving up 11 hits over seven innings and still allowing only one earned run. Or don’t. I don’t care. I just find it interesting when guys live out on a thin line like that. Tell me now, what is he, supposed to do?

Cardinals 7, Nationals 6: Matt Adams was with the Nationals until a couple of weeks ago — and he has struggled since returning to St. Louis — but he came back to Washington last night and smacked two home runs. That’s gotta feel great for Nats fans who, I assume, did not fill the seats at Nats Park because they were all waiting in line to buy season tickets for 2019. Yairo Munoz also homered and Marcell Ozuna had four hits.

Pirates 3, Reds 2: Colin Moran doubled in a run and Gregory Polanco and Francisco Cervelli hit back-to-back RBI singles in the third to snap a 1-all tie and give the Pirates the cushion they needed. Their starter, Jameson Taillon, allowed one run while scattering eight hits over five innings. The Reds stater, Homer Bailey, took the loss and is now 1-14 on the season. What’s more, the Reds are 1-19 when he pitches. In other news, Bailey is in year five of a six-year, $105 million contract that most people were even surprised he got at the time and which now stands as one of the worst deals in the game.

Blue Jays 10, Rays 3: Yesterday, the morning after seven Rays pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout, I wrote a big thing on the Rays’ strategy of bullpenning. Last night the Rays went with a guy who is projected to be a more traditional starter in Tyler Glasnow. He was knocked out in the first inning after allowing seven runs, so maybe expect some more bullpenning from the Rays going forward. Aledmys Diaz hit a three-run homer in that first frame for the Jays. Devon Travis had two hits in the inning. Kevin Kiermaier had two homers in a losing cause for Tampa Bay.

Mets 7, Dodgers 3: Zack Wheeler took a comebacker off the bat of Justin Turner in the fourth inning that required him to go get X-Rays and and a CT-scan after the game but he nonetheless stayed in the game and finished off seven innings of three-run, three-hit ball. Wilmer Flores knocked in two and Amed Rosario got three hits for the Mets. New York finishes up a nine-game road trip that took them to both Chicago to face the Cubs and L.A. to face these Dodgers and finished it at 5-4. Indeed, they’ve been fairly respectable for a couple of months now, relatively speaking.

Rockies 5, Giants 3: The Rockies take advantage of the Dodgers’ loss thanks to Trevor Story‘s three-homer night. They were all solo shots but I don’t think we’ll hold that against him. One of his homers was an absolute moonshot that StatCast is saying went 505 feet.* Just a real big boy bomb:

Cubs 6, Brewers 4: Chicago salvages one against their division rival — psst! someone ask Cole Hamels if it’s OK to call the Brewers a rival — and push their lead back up to four games in the NL Central. Daniel Murphy hit a homer and had three hits in all. Kyle Schwarber hit a long homer of his own. Ben Zobrist knocked in two. Jose Quintana gave up two runs in six and two-thirds.

Angels 9, Rangers 3: Mere hours after Shohei Ohtani learned that he’d be having Tommy John surgery he hit two homers on a 4-for-4, three-RBI night while scoring three times and stealing a base as the Angels’ DH. Billy Eppler shot the idea down in no uncertain terms yesterday, but I wonder who, if anyone, in the Angels organization has advocated to simply make him a full-time position player rather than mess around with his elbow. Not saying that’s what I’d do — I have no idea — but it’s a defensible position, I bet. Anyway, Andrelton Simmons also homered for the Angels and drove in three runs as their very weird and very disappointing season winds to an eventual close.

Tigers 10, White Sox 2Ronny Rodriguez hit a two-run homer and Jeimer Candelario, Mikie Mahtookand JaCoby Jones each hit solo shots as the Tigers beat the poop out of Sox rookie Michael Kopech (3.1 IP, 9 H, 7 R). Detroit has won three of four.

Astros 9, Twins 1: Alex Bregman‘s fantastic season continued as he homered, doubled and knocked in five. Evan Gattis went deep too and Framber Valdez and five relievers held Minnesota to one run on six hits. Houston has won five in a row and 12 of 15.

Athletics 8, Yankees 2: Oakland keeps pace by beating up on Luis Severnio for six runs — five earned — on six hits in two and two-thirds. Two of the A’s four first-inning runs came on Severino wild pitches. Matt Chapman and Steven Piscotty each knocked in a couple. Mike Fiers took a shutout into the seventh before giving up a two-run homer to Gary Sanchez. The cake was baked by then, however.

Mariners 5, Orioles 2Nelson Cruz and Denard Span hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth to take a one-run lead and Span knocked in another run for some insurance in the seventh. Mitch Haniger also went deep for Seattle as Mike Leake allowed only two unearned runs in six innings of work. No Mariners engaged in in-house brawling in this game either. At least that we know of.

*Earlier this recap made reference to a box score showing it at 460-something feet, which it did, but the box score I look at for such things has updated to 505. I don’t think I was hallucinating that, but either way, it is now consensus that it was a 500-plus foot homer. 

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.”