And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights
Royals 12, Angels 9 (13 innings): Fernando Rodney blew the save in the bottom of the ninth by allowing two runs. More inexcusable than the runs, however, is that he walked Jeff Francoeur in the process. Actually, he walked the bases loaded before Wilson Betemit doubled in the tying runs. Angels pitchers walked ten Royals in all which should be a felony of some kind. Skip ahead to the 13th inning and Matt Treanor wins it with a walkoff three-run homer. The Royals skip out of the gate with a 3-1 record. The Angels make it nice and clear that, no, they aren’t going to be doing much of anything this year.
Cardinals 2, Padres 0: Wow. After the spring he had, I was a bit worried about Jaime Garcia. Maybe he was actually “just workin’ on some stuff,” because yesterday he was fantastic tossing a four-hit shutout. The game took two hours and three minutes. I like quick games, but man, any shorter and you’re approaching “not getting your money’s worth” territory. Well, Cardinals fans won’t complain.
Rangers 5, Red Sox 1: Boom-boom-boom-boom, homers for Murphy, Kinsler, Napoli and Cruz, as the Red Sox pitching staff completed three straight games of getting shelled. I watched about half of this one on TBS, and I loved how Dennis Eckersley didn’t try to put a shine on it all by saying stuff like “the Red Sox just weren’t making their pitches” or whatever. He just came right out and said stuff like “man, John Lackey sure got shelled on Saturday, they just teed off on him.” Kind of refreshing to hear commentators talk like you and I would if we were watching the game on the couch. Indeed, I’d love to see a game -- just one game, as an experiment -- in which the regular broadcasters were replaced by a couple of dudes just talking. As long as they weren’t total Neanderthals it could be fun.
Indians 7, White Sox 1: The Tribe finally figured out a way to silence the Chisox’ bats. Part of it was via the help of a triple play. It came on a diving catch of a pop bunt by Carlos Santana (who was playing first base), who then doubled the runners who were on first and second in a somewhat anti-climactic manner. I always find those plays awkward in that, as opposed to those exciting around-the-horn jobs, you sort of don’t realize that it’s a triple play until after it happened. But still, triple play, dude.
Dodgers, 7, Giants 5: A weekend the Giants would like to forget, partially because of the three losses to the Dodgers, but also because their defense was so ugly that it bodes seriously ill for the future. Seriously, I’m concerned that Aubrey Huff is gonna pull a Bump Baily and just friggin’ die out there in right.
Braves 11, Nationals 2: Jordan Zimmermann did OK in the start, but bad defense and poor relief pitching by the Nats turned this one from a close game to a blowout in the late innings. Three hits, including two doubles, for Martin Prado. Brian McCann had four RBI. Tim Hudson slid into home plate head first while wearing a warmup jacket to score the Braves’ third run, so that was fun.
Tigers 10, Yankees 7: The balls were flying out of Yankee Stadium like crazy. Both Miguel Cabrera and Jorge Posada had two homers, and Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Brennan Boesch each had one as well. Cabrera and Boesch each had 4 RBI, with the latter doing it on a 4 for 4 day. I didn’t see this one, but people were saying during the game that Phil Hughes velocity was pretty bad. Seems that the chatter from spring training may have something to it.
Athletics 7, Mariners 1: Gio Gonzalez picked up where he left off back in Phoenix, hurling seven innings of one-run ball and averting the sweep for the A’s. I’ll risk the ire of Gleeman by noting that Coco Crisp finished a homer short of they cycle. Which isn’t nearly as bad as noting that someone was a triple short of the cycle, but probably deserves some disapprobation. Hideki Matsui’s first hit of the day gave him a combined 2,500 hits between his career in Japan and the majors.
Reds 12, Brewers 3: Ryan Hannigan went 4 for 4 with two homers and the Reds complete the sweep. Cincy banged out 19 hits. They had the best offense in the National League last year. The Brewers had one of the worst pitching staffs. Not much seems to have changed.
Mets 9, Marlins 2: Remember all of that “Javy Vazquez will be way better off back in the National League East” stuff from over the winter? Nah, me neither (2.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 5 BB). The Mets take two of three to open the season, on the road no less. Thanks aplenty goes to R.A. Dickey who struck out seven in six innings.
Orioles 5, Rays 1: It was Zach Britton’s major league debut and he made the most of it, giving up one run on three hits in six innings with six strikeouts as 30 of his friends and family members looked on down in St. Pete. Just par for the course so far for the O’s this year, as they completed the sweep of Tampa Bay, allowing three total runs in the series. Every single time I was asked to opine on the Orioles chances this spring I started off by saying “well, you can never bank on young pitching,” but so far so good.
Pirates 5, Cubs 4: Ouch. Carlos Marmol was staked to a 4-3 lead and couldn’t close the deal, walking a guy and allowing a hit. A sac bunt -- which in this case proved essential -- moved the runners to second and third and then Pedro Alvarez drove them both in with an infield single. Wait, what? An infield single scored two? Yep: Starlin Castro’s throw to try to get Alvarez pulled Carlos Pena off the bag and Pirates’ third base coach Nick Leyva didn’t hesitate to send Neil Walker from second and he beat the throw. That’s some sharp damn baseball right there, kids. When you’re the Pirates you got nothin’ to lose. Send the runner all season, Leyva. It won’t always work, but it will always be exciting.
Phillies 7, Astros 3: Roy Oswalt got the win against his old team as the Phillies complete the sweep. Cliff Lee got the win the day before. Halladay on Opening Day: no-decision. Slacker.
Twins 4, Blue Jays 3: Toronto made things dicey for Joe Nathan in the ninth, but the Twins held on to salvage the series. Edwin Encarnacion made two errors and already has three on the year. That should be fun to watch all season.
Diamondbacks vs. Rockies: POSTPONED: It was in the 80s on Saturday in Denver and then this one was cancelled due to a combination of rain and snow. At least Denver weather isn’t boring. In other news, I had this feeling that if I Googled the term “Rocky Mountain rain” that something would come up. Maybe a deep album track from John Denver. Maybe an obscure brand of small batch whiskey sold primarily at tourist destinations. The actual result: a Rick Derringer album from 2009 that appears on AllMusic.com, but which does not, strangely enough, appear on Derringer’s own website. Did Rick Derringer finally create an album so lame that he himself will not own up to its existence? Oh well. “All American Boy” will always stand out. Seriously: it’s easily a top-10 “put on headphones, sit in a beanbag chair, play air guitar and just groove” kind of record. And it has to be a record, not a CD. Preferably one that older cousin of yours left at the house the last time he visited. You know, the one that went to jail back in ’83? Wonder whatever happened to him.