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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Angels 13, Tigers 0: This game featured Albert Pujols’ 2,000th RBI and four RBI — and two homers — from Tommy La Stella. Pujols is a Hall of Famer and we knew he was gonna get to 2,000 eventually. La Stella, meanwhile has nine homers in 32 games. Before this season he had ten homers, total, in 396 career games. The Angels used an opener here and after he left Felix Pena threw seven scoreless innings, giving up just three hits and striking out seven.

Indians 5, White Sox 0: This game went the bare minimum — five innings — due to rain. I feel like the White Sox had enough, though. They got bupkis from Carlos Carrasco, who gave up only two hits in five shutout innings, striking out six. Jordan Luplow homered twice for Cleveland, both solo shots.

It was good that they called the game for rain, though. The outfield was getting so slippery that it was affecting not only the outfielders’ footing, but it was also affecting the official scorer’s brain:

Cubs 4, Marlins 1: A Yu Darvish special. One hit! One run! But only four innings because he walked six and struck out seven and needed 97 pitches to get even that far. The guy has talent and when he was younger he was electric to watch but my God is he . . . an experience these days. Mike Montgomery relieved him and went five innings, shutting out the Fish the rest of the way on only three hits. he needed only 71 pitches to get that far. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo went deep for the Cubbies.

Rockies 12, Giants 11: It was 39 degrees at first pitch and there was a snowpocalypse in Denver, but that didn’t stop everyone from hitting:

It certainly didn’t stop Nolan Arenado, who went deep, had three hits and reached base five times. Ian Desmond and Mark Reynolds also homered. Colorado built an early 7-0 lead but the game was tied at eight by the sixth because, well, that’s what happens in Denver. Chris Iannetta hit a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth, though, to keep the Rockies from totally choking away the game. Giants first baseman Tyler Austin had two home runs and six RBI in a losing cause. The game lasted almost four hours and the temp barely got into the 40s. Sounds absolutely lovely.

Reds 3, Athletics 0: Tanner Roark and three relievers combined to toss as six-hit shutout, backed by homers from Derek Dietrich and Eugenio Suárez to avoid being swept in Oakland. It was Dietrich’s fifth dinger in six games. Suárez also doubled twice and flashed some leather. If you get through the offensive highlights here you can watch a pretty fantastic pick and jump throw from foul territory and a super nice stab for a hot liner after which he quickly doubled off the runner at first:

Yankees 3, Mariners 1: J.A. Happ and four Yankees relievers combined to two-hit the M’s, with their only run coming on a ninth inning homer by Domingo Santana off of Aroldis Chapman. There was some controversy here too as Happ plunked Dee Gordon on the wrist, when his wrist happened to be up near his head. Gordon was salty about it after the game because he didn’t like Happ coming up and in at him, but there’s really no reason to believe this was intentional. I get mad when I hit my thumb with a hammer too. Doesn’t mean I meant to do it. The M’s have lost nine of 11.

Cardinals 17, Pirates 4: St. Louis scored these 17 runs all without the benefit of a homer and they sent nine batters to the plate in three times in the first six innings. Marcell Ozuna drove in four of them, three on a double, one on a fielder’s choice. Paul Goldschmidt reached base four times and had three hits and two RBI. Dexter Fowler drove in three. Fowler credits the outburst to him and his wife taking several other players and their wives out for karaoke after Wednesday’s bad game. No word on what they sang, but for the record, my go-to is always “Laid” by James. And yes, I can hit those high notes.

Astros 4, Rangers 2: Josh Reddick hit the tiebreaking RBI single in the sixth and made a game-saving, home-run robbing catch off the bat of Hunter Pence with two men on base:

Wade Miley outpitched Mike Minor, allowing two runs on only two hits and striking out seven over six.

Diamondbacks 3, Braves 2: It was 1-1 in the ninth when Josh Donaldson and David Peralta traded solo homers to send it to extras. The Dbacks rallied in their half of the tenth with a walk and consecutive singles off of Braves reliever A.J. Minter, the second single was a walkoff RBI from Ketel Marte. Ballgame. Good job, Braves bullpen. Capital effort. There was a home run robbery in this one too, with Adam Jones stealing a dinger from Ronald Acuña Jr.:

My favorite thing about that is when Jones slaps his glove to his thigh, which is the gesture outfielders make to signal “I got this one.” I get that on a regular fly ball, but it’s pretty sweet to see a guy so experienced and confident that he knows he’s got one that would’ve otherwise gone over the fence.

Nationals 6, Dodgers 0: The Nats have been on the skids lately but Patrick Corbin played stopped, tossing seven innings of shutout ball. The Nats got three off of Rich Hill in the first thanks to a Howie Kendrick homer. Kendrick is one of those guys you have to remind yourself is still in the league and then you look up and see that he’s hitting .325/.383/.588 with six homers on the year.

Tigers manager Gardenhire announces immediate retirement

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DETROIT — Ron Gardenhire mostly maintained his jovial demeanor this season. As recently as Friday night, he was needling a reporter while discussing a strategic decision from the late innings.

Less than 24 hours later, Gardenhire announced his retirement. This year was taking more of a toll on the 62-year-old Detroit Tigers manager than he’d necessarily let on.

As much as he enjoyed managing, Gardenhire valued his health more.

“It’s been wonderful here, but I also know I have to take care of myself,” said Gardenhire, who was nearing the end of his third season with the Tigers. “When you come to the ballpark, and you’re stressed out all day, and your hands are shaking, that’s not fun. I’ve got grandbabies, I’ve got kids that I need to take care of, and my wife.”

Gardenhire’s announcement came in an abruptly scheduled video conference about an hour before Saturday night’s game against Cleveland. General manager Al Avila said he made a routine visit to Gardenhire’s office Saturday, when the manager told him about the decision.

Gardenhire, who has battled cancer and diabetes, recently missed a couple games because of stomach issues.

“This is tough. It’s a tough day for me. Didn’t expect it, tell you the truth, when I walked in,” Gardenhire said. “But I just know how I’ve been feeling lately, and I expressed that to Al, and elected to just go ahead and step down.”

A message of “Thank you, Gardy” was posted on the scoreboard at Comerica Park.

“On behalf of all of us with the Detroit Tigers, congratulations to Ron Gardenhire on a tremendous managerial career,” Tigers CEO Christopher Ilitch said in a statement. “One of the best baseball men around, we’re fortunate to have had Gardy lead our team for the past three seasons, and during this rebuilding period. He has done a great job in shaping the future successes I know our organization will see.”

Bench coach Lloyd McClendon is taking over as manager for the rest of the season, which is scheduled to end Sept. 27. Detroit was 21-29 heading into Saturday’s game and was unlikely to make the postseason.

Gardenhire previously had a 13-year run with the Minnesota Twins that included six AL Central titles.

“I’d like to congratulate Gardy on one of the best managerial careers, really in major league baseball history,” Avila said. “His leadership and hard work over the last three seasons has put us in a position to get closer to our goal of bringing back winning baseball to Detroit.”

Gardenhire had to oversee a significant rebuild with the Tigers that included a 114-loss season in 2019.

“He took us through the toughest two years of the transition. This year, this third season, probably as tough as any, just because of the pandemic,” Avila said. “The COVID-19 over your head, all the new changes … the stress level was through the roof.”

Gardenhire’s surprise retirement came as the Indians were getting ready to play their 38th game without their manager, Terry Francona, who has been sidelined after undergoing surgery for a gastrointestinal issue and some blood clotting complications which followed the procedure.

The 61-year-old Francona, who is in his eighth year with Cleveland, still hopes to return before this season ends.

Whoever takes over the Detroit managerial job will be tasked with guiding the team through an important stage in its process. Pitching prospects Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal had a chance to get some experience in the majors this year, and other young players will be crucial over the next couple seasons.

Gardenhire took over for longtime Twins manager Tom Kelly and managed Minnesota from 2002-14, going 1,068-1,039. Minnesota won the division six times in his first nine seasons at the helm, and he was American League Manager of the Year in 2010.

He was a bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks before returning to the AL Central with the Tigers for the 2018 season. Detroit was 132-241 under Gardenhire.

Gardenhire played five seasons in the majors, all with the New York Mets, and was a light-hitting infielder in the 1980s.

“Always, you’ll miss baseball,” Gardenhire said. “You miss the game, but you miss the people in it, the coaches, the staff here. Those are the tough things, but I’m only a phone call away. … I won’t just go away totally. This is just a moment, I know I have to take care of myself right now and get myself back to where I need to be.

“I appreciate baseball for everything they’ve given me and my family, and it’s been a good career.”