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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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The 2009 Winter Meetings were first Winter Meetings I ever covered. They took place in Indianapolis, a little over a week after Thanksgiving. On the second morning of the Winter Meetings Ozzie Guillen, then manager of the Chicago White Sox, came into the media room and started shooting the breeze with some reporters he knew. As often happened when Guillen got talking, a crowd formed. I was in that crowd. To this day I can’t believe what I was hearing.

I made oblique reference to it at the time, but the subject he was going on about was Tiger Woods, who a few days before crashed his SUV and was attacked by his wife with a golf club after she found out about his affairs. You probably heard about that. Guillen thought this was the most interesting thing ever and went on and on about it. But not in a “wow, that’s crazy!” kind of way. He went on about it like the coach that he was. He did play-by-play of Woods’ travails, explaining where he thought Woods went wrong. How he had made poor decisions in failing to keep his phone away from his wife. About how to defend against a very tall, athletic and determined woman armed with a golf club. About all the ways that, if Woods had simply been coached better, he never would’ve found himself in that situation in the first place. Guillen dropped about 50 F-bombs and could barely contain his laughter throughout the whole thing, but make no mistake: he was disappointed. Not in Woods’ acts or the consequences which flowed from them, but from his poor execution.

I don’t offer this, on the day after Tiger Woods made history at The Masters, in order to make light of Woods and his past or to detract from his success yesterday. I offer it merely to put a frame of reference on it all that underscores the improbability of his victory. It was so, so, so long ago that happened. Ozzie Guillen was not only an active manager but one who had, in recent years, won a World Series, still had another job in his future and who then commanded the attention of the press. His players included Jermaine Dye and Jose Contreras for crying out loud. It was that long ago — a time that, in baseball history anyway, seemed eons ago — that the beginning of the end for Tigers’ Woods career was thought to have occurred. And until this past weekend — over nine years later — it might’ve still been accurate to say that Woods’ time as a star truly ended then. And he hadn’t won a major since over a year before even that. Or, for that matter, a Masters since over four years before that.

I’m generally not a big fan of giving attaboys for comebacks when the person doing the coming back is the primary reason for his need to make a comeback in the first place. But it sure is a hell of a thing when it happens, especially when it’s coming back from stuff that happened back when Ozzie Guillen still roamed dugouts.

Anyway, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 4, Orioles 0: Boston got seven shutout innings from David Price and four RBI from Xander Bogaerts. Price’s win was the first from the top four dudes in the rotation so far this season, so that’s progress. The Red Sox took two of three from the O’s on the weekend portion of the series (they will face the O’s this morning in the annual Patriots Day game to finish the series). That’s progress too. Playing bad teams will cure what ails ya.

White Sox 5, Yankees 2: Well, it’ll cure most folks. If you’re the Yankees, playing bad teams is kind of an issue right now. They dropped the opening series of the year to Baltimore, dropped a series to the Tigers and now lost a series to the lowly Chicago White Sox. Not what ya want. Tim Anderson hit a grand slam for the Chisox and Carlos Rodon allowed two over six. Now the Red Sox will come to town for a two-game series.

Rays 8, Blue Jays 4: The Red Sox are trying to bounce back, the Yankees are floundering and the Rays just keep chugging along, winning their fifth series in a row to start the season. Guillermo Heredia homered as part of a five-run eighth inning that turned a close game not close. It was a wet day in Toronto and even though they have a roof, water was dripping in and landing on the warning track. They had to catch it with buckets and dry it with blowers and stuff. Kevin Kiermaier told reporters after the game that it didn’t bother him and that they’ve had the same issue at Tropicana Field before. Maintenance on old houses is the worst, right? The Blue Jays have lost seven of nine.

Phillies 3, Marlins 1: You never want to play 14 innings on getaway day, but if you have to, it’s best to win. That’s what the Phillies did thanks to a Jean Segura homer in the 14th. Miami batters struck out 18 times and went 5-for-45 on the day. There were 16 pitchers used who threw 424 pitches in the four-hour, 38-minute game. Sounds riveting.

Astros 3, Mariners 2: The M’s had a 2-0 lead in the sixth when Michael Brantley hit a two run single. Aledmys Díaz homered in the seventh. Gerrit Cole struck out 11 dudes and allowed two runs in six innings. The Astros have won nine in a row and swept the Mariners, whose weekend was spent being given an object lesson in whose division this really is.

Pirates 4, Nationals 3: It was a tie game from the third to the ninth when Jason Martin hit a ground-rule double to score Josh Bell. The Nats threatened in the bottom half, loading the bases with two outs with Anthony Rendon at the plate but Felipe Vazquez got him to fly out to end it. Oh well. The Nationals entered the day with the worst bullpen ERA in the majors and it got worse. The Buccos took two of three.

Twins 6, Tigers 4: C.J. Cron homered and drove in three, and Eddie Rosario homered, doubled and singled as the Twins take both games of the weather-shortened series. Oh, and Byron Buxton went 2-for-4 and did this:

Royals 9, Indians 8: It was tied at eight in the bottom of the ninth and Ryan O'Hearn led off with a walk. Terrance Gore is way faster than O’Hearn and Ned Yost knows it, so he put Gore in as a pinch-runner. Gore stole second and then took third when catcher Roberto Pérez threw the ball away. Three pitches later Hunter Dozier singled Gore in. That’s what speed do. The Royals sweep the Indians in three.

Rangers 8, Athletics 7: The Rangers scored four in the eighth to rally from a five-run deficit. Danny Santana had a two-run, pinch-hit triple to tie it and then scored the go-ahead run on a Delino DeShields bunt single. An earlier homer from Elvis Andrus helped as well.

Rockies 4, Giants 0: German Márquez took a no-hitter into the eighth and finished with a one-hit shutout, striking out nine on the afternoon. He didn’t walk a batter, allowed a single to Evan Longoria and plunked one guy. It was the first shutout in the bigs this year. Nolan Arenado hit a three-run homer and scored on a Trevor Story double.

Dodgers 7, Brewers 1: The Dodgers broke a six-game losing streak thanks to homers from Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo and a nice outing from Ross Stripling. Stripling allowed one run and four hits in eight innings. In other news, there has been this weird thread on Twitter happening since before the season started between some Padres fans and Dodgers fans arguing about which team is better even though it’s still April and everyone should just chill out.

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 4: Arizona avoids the sweep. David Peralta hit a pinch-hit three-run homer. Ketel Marte and Christian Walker homered too. Zack Greinke allowed two runs over seven and had two hits of his own. Manuel Margot and Fernando Tatis Jr. homered for San Diego. It was Tatis’ fifth on the year already. If the Padres had played service time games with him it may have only been his first.

Cardinals 9, Reds 5: St. Louis jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first, the Reds tied it up by the fifth, but Matt Carpenter‘s seventh inning homer put the Cards ahead for good. Marcell Ozuna hit two home runs. Ozuna has been on a tear, by the way, hitting four home runs in his last five games and driving in eight. The Reds and Redbirds split two in Mexico.

Braves 7, Mets 3: Julio Teheran outdueled Jacob deGrom, allowing one run in six innings of work to deGrom’s three runs — and four walks — in five innings of work. It could’ve been even worse for the Cy Young winner, as he had to escape a bases-loaded jam in the third inning that could’ve blown the then close game open. Josh Donaldson and Nick Markakis homered as the Braves forced a split of the four-game set.

Angels vs. Cubs — POSTPONED:

Oh, so cold up north that the birds can’t hardly fly
So cold up north that the birds can’t hardly fly
I’m going back south
And let this winter pass on by
And let this winter pass on by
And let this winter pass on by
Let this winter pass on by, yeah

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mets 6, Nationals 1: Max Scherzer tossed six shutout innings and the pen blanked the Nats in the seventh, but Washington clung to only a 1-0 lead thanks to an almost-as-good start from Jacob deGrom. In the eighth, Dave Martinez called on Kyle Barraclough to hold things down. He got two out but also put two runners on, so Martinez called on Sean Doolittle to get a four-out save in a tight game. Tough order, but Doolittle’s good. Usually.

Doolittle hit the first batter he faced to load the bases, gave up a bases-clearing double to Juan Lagares, intentionally walked a guy and then gave up a three-run jack to Rajai Davis. The best part: Davis was just called up the Mets mere hours before. Hell, he had already taken batting practice for Syracuse, who was playing at Lehigh Valley. He took an Uber to New York, got there by the third inning, got lost and was finally suited up not long before entering the game as a pinch hitter.

As I wrote once upon a time, an essential part of living life is dealing with stuff when you’re basically unprepared. When you’re just thrown into a situation for which you didn’t have time or opportunity to gear up. Here’s a salute to Rajai Davis, who may not have been prepared to face a big league pitcher in a big league stadium when he woke up yesterday morning but who rose to the occasion because, really, what else can you do?

Cubs 8, Phillies 4: Cole Hamels took on the Phillies for the first time but, more importantly, he took on Cole Irvin in what I’m going to assume was a “Highlander” situation. Hamels didn’t pitch that well or get the win but he did a lot better than Irvin, so I assume Irvin’s head was cut off. There can only be one. Albert Almora Jr. hit a grand slam. Anthony Rizzo hit a three-run bomb to help the Cubs get out of an early hole. Let’s call it a Cole hole.

[Ed. — Let’s not]

White Sox 9, Astros 4: Not a great night for Coles. The White Sox beat up on Cole, Gerrit for six runs on seven hits. Eloy Jiménez hit two homers in this one and the Chisox even turned a triple play. A good one, too! Around-the-horn, bang-bang-bang, not one of those janky “baserunner screwed up and stood in the baseline as a guy caught a pop fly, stepped on the bag, and tagged out the confused runner” things. Watch:

Brewers 11, Reds 9: Zach Davies, with a 1.54 ERA, faced off against Luis Castillo, owner of a 1.90 ERA. So naturally 20 runs were scored. The Reds led 6-1 and blew it, then led 8-6 and blew it before the Brewers pulled away. The 8-6 lead went away when Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer to tie it. He also started a double play when, with the bases loaded, a strikeout pitch got past him but ricocheted right back to him. The guy on first took off but no one else did because they saw the ricochet. Grandal threw down to first to retire the struck out batter then the Brewers got the baserunner out in a rundown. Just how they drew it up.

Yankees 7, Orioles 5: The Bombers hit five more homers against an Orioles pitching staff that is going to do some ghastly things to the record books before this season is out. Thairo Estrada, D.J. LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres went deep in the first three innings go give New York a 5-0 lead. Gary Sánchez homered in the fourth to make it 6-1 and Torres homered again in the fifth to make it 7-2. Sánchez has homered in three straight games. Torres has 12 homers on the year. Ten of them have come against the Orioles.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5: This thirteen-inning game ended twenty minutes before midnight. Today they get started at 12:37PM. Look for some super crisp play from the Sox and Jays today! Here Michael Chavis hit a tiebreaking homer in the 13th inning to give Boston the win. Rafael Devers homered earlier for his third blast in as many games. That gave Boston a lead that Marcus Walden could not hold thanks to a ninth inning rally from Toronto that made everyone stay up late. Meanwhile, Craig Kimbrel was, I imagine, tucked into bed back wherever he calls home and will be a fresh as a daisy this morning.

Athletics 7, Indians 2: Jefry Rodríguez didn’t fool A’s batters, who touched him for five runs in four innings while Frankie Montas blanked the tribe for six while striking out nine. Mark Canha homered and drove in three and Nick Hundley on a three-hit day as the A’s won their sixth game in a row and took their 10th of 14 overall.

Royals 8, Cardinals 2; Cardinals 10, Royals 3: New rule idea: when teams split a doubleheader the team which outscores the other in the aggregate gets some sort of bonus in the standings. So, here, since the Cards “beat” the Royals 12-11, each team gets one win and the Cards get, um, a point on top. Wait, that would require some sort of hockey-style points system too. OK, we can work with that. It might require some more changes. Like, when you lose a getaway day game in under two and a half hours, you lose a point as a “phoning it in tax.” There are all kinds of variations we can come up with here. Let’s blow this dang game up!

Oh, here: Brad Keller tossed two-hit, two-run baseball and the Royals — boosted by a Jorge Soler three-run homer — beat up on Michael Wacha in the first game. In the second game Homer Bailey got shelled, failing to make it out of the second inning, while Marcell Ozuna, Matt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler and Kolton Wong all went deep. Adam Wainwright was shaky but John GantAndrew MillerCarlos Martinez and John Brebbia combined for four innings of scoreless relief to disabuse Kansas City of any notions of a comeback.

Rockies 9, Pirates 3: For the second time in a couple of weeks Josh Bell hit a homer into the Allegheny River on the fly. That was nice but, at least until my points-system rules changes come into effect which would provide Bell a “cool factor” bonus, it was just a solo shot. Meanwhile, Rockies batters Daniel Murphy and Tony Wolters each hit three-run homers in the early going. Rockies starter Jon Gray allowed three runs and seven hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings. One of those strikeouts was of Bell, on three pitches no less, in his next plate appearance after the splash homer. That would take a half point away, by the way.

Rangers 2, Mariners 1: The sweep. And the seventh win in eight games for Texas. Hunter Pence homered. Seattle is now in last place where most people expected them to be. That opening series in Japan seems like a thousand years ago.

Padres 5, Diamondbacks 2: Eric Lauer allowed one run on four hits over seven frames Eric Hosmer drove in a couple. Kirby Yates got his 20th save of the year. That’s a 65-save pace for a team that’s just above .500.

Rays 8, Dodgers 1: A couple of solo homers had this one tied at one entering the bottom of the seventh, with Dylan Floro taking over for the Dodgers to start the inning. He hit a guy, gave up two straight singles, then a homer and just like that L.A. was down 5-1. The homer — a three-run shot — came from Avisail García and chased Floro. Caleb Ferguson then came in, walked a guy, struck out two, then hit a guy and surrendered a three-run bomb to Kevin Kiermaier. Not what you want out of your bullpen.

Marlins 6, Tigers 3: The Marlins were down 3-0 entering the sixth before coming back. Brian Anderson hit a two-run shot for Miami, Neil Walker doubled in a couple and Garrett Cooper hit his first career homer to power the comeback. That’s five straight wins for the Fish. Eight straight losses for the Tigers, whose early season friskiness has long since passed.

Braves 9, Giants 2: Jeff Samardzija allowed six unearned runs but, as we said the other day, not all unearned runs are created equally. He put a couple of guys on and the would-be out number three of the inning was postponed due to an error, but before it was finally recorded he gave up a run on a wild pitch and coughed up homers to Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman. So, yeah, take that “unearned” stuff with a grain of salt. The Giants couldn’t do much against Max Fried, who allowed two over six, and nothing against the Atlanta pen which tossed two shutout innings.

Twins vs. Angels — POSTPONED:

Got on board a westbound seven forty-seven
Didn’t think before deciding what to do
Oh, that talk of opportunities, TV breaks and movies
Rang true, sure rang true
Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours