And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights
Giants 8, Padres 4: Lincecawesome. I can only say that once a year in ATH or else people start yelling at me, but I figured I’d get it out of the way early. Lincecum struck out 13 dudes in seven innings of work while allowing only three hits. He was buoyed by Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval, each of whom had three hits. Troubling, however, was Brian Wilson’s first action after coming off the DL. He came in with a seven run lead and the wheels came off. He allowed an infield single, then a walk, then another infield single, compounded by a Miguel Tejada error which allowed two runs to score. Jeremy Affeldt came on and allowed two more of Wilson’s baserunners to score before Ramon Ramirez finally nailed the thing down. Wilson’s line is ugly, but it’s probably Tejada who Giants fans really aren’t liking right now.
White Sox 10, Royals 7: This was an up-is-down, black-is-white, dogs-and-cats-living-together kind of game. For one thing, Ozzie Guillen ordered an intentional walk of Jeff Francoeur at one point. When I saw that in the box score I had to spin my little “Inception” top to make sure I wasn’t lost in a dream. Then Joakim Soria, one of baseball’s best closers, gave up four runs and the lead in the ninth. Amazingly the Royals found it within themselves to tie it up in the bottom of the ninth, but the Chisox broke through with three in the 12th. I contend that they were still shaken by the Francoeur walk, unable to mount an effective strategy in the face of such chaos.
Indians 8, Red Sox 4: You can be a glass-is-half-empty guy and say that only two teams who have ever started off 0-5 have made the playoffs (the 1974 Pirates and 1995 Reds). Or you can be a half-full guy and say that lots of teams have five game losing streaks at some point in the season and win it all (the 2010 Giants). With this bunch I lean toward the latter. The reason that teams who start off with big losing streaks do poorly is that they are usually poor teams playing to their level. Nothing you say -- at least for a few weeks -- will convince me that the 2011 Red Sox are a poor team. They’ve just picked a really bad time to have a losing streak, that’s all.
Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 4: According to the game story, before the game Kirk Gibson told his players to “go out and play loose” and to “have fun playing the game.” When they asked Gibson how he said “Well, er ... I’m not sure. It never came up in my day. Just pretend you’re angry at everyone and see how that works.” At least that’s what I think he said. The audio went out a bit on the postgame presser so I just filled in the blanks.
Tigers 7, Orioles 3: Five RBI from Alex Avila, solo homers from Miguel Cabrea and Victor Martinez and eight strong innings from Justin Verlander give the Orioles their first loss. Indeed, gave them their first challenge, as this game was the first time they’d trailed anyone so far this season. This line from the AP game story, which by the time you read it will likely have been fixed, made me larf:
Mark Reynolds has webbing?
Rockies 7, Dodgers 5: The game story led with everyone talking about a great Carlos Gonzalez catch. It was pretty good. But am I nuts, or did it look better because Gonzalez started out running laterally toward center rather than back to where the ball was going, thus necessitating the over-the-shoulder grab? I’m trying to make a point to pay more attention to such things this year -- I think I’m pretty poor at talking intelligently about defense -- but whenever I look at this kind of stuff I feel like I’m being a killjoy. Oh well.
Pirates 3, Cardinals 1: The Pirates take two of three from the Cardinals. After they took two of three from the Cubs. Both series were on the road, and this one sealed the Buccos’ first back-to-back road series victories since 2007. But more importantly, the Pirates beating the Cards made Tony La Russa nice and testy, causing him to rant and rave at a reporter in the postgame presser and then walk out. There is nothing that tickles me more than knowing that somewhere, for some reason, Tony La Russa is annoyed.
Blue Jays 5, Athletics 3: Travis Snider hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Jesse Litsch pitched six and a third decent innings in his first start since August 1st. No errors for the A’s, but there were a couple of bad defensive plays by Adam LaRoche -- filling in for the errorific Kevin Kouzmanoff -- and David DeJesus. In other news, since Texas apparently doesn’t plan on losing any games this year, Oakland should probably start worrying soon.
Rangers 7, Mariners 3: Texas does better against the reigning Cy Young winner than they did against the guy making his first-ever major league start the night before. The second night in a row with no homers for Texas -- what gives?! -- but they strung together enough hits and benefited from enough bad Seattle defense to where they were able to cruise.
Reds 12, Astros 4: The National League’s Rangers. Down 4-0 after one, the Reds scored ten 12 unanswered runs. Well, unmatched runs anyway. I presume they were technically answered by copious amounts of profanity by the Astros, their coaching staff and their fans. Nelson Figueroa went to a fancy liberal arts college so you figure he’d keep it all on an intellectual level, but given that he was tagged for ten runs on 11 hits, I’d guess he was cursing a blue streak too.
Phillies 10, Mets 7: Philly jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but then Joe Blanton -- only an auxiliary member of The Aces Club and one whose application for full membership is in jeopardy after last night -- let the Mets tie it up in an ugly fifth inning. The Phillies got to Blaine Boyer immediately thereafter, however, and all was right in the world (anyone: was Blanton booed?). Ryan Howard was 4 for 4 with a homer. Placido Polanco was 3 for 5 with 3 RBI of his own.
Marlins 7, Nationals 4: The Nats blew a 4-0 lead and then sat back as the Marlins added three more. John Buck hit a bases-loaded triple that almost went out for his second grand slam of the year and the Marlins’ bullpen threw four shutout innings. The dominance of the pen is becoming a patten in this series, as the Nats did nothing against them in extended action the night before either. Nats’ reliever Todd Coffey got into a heated argument with plate umpire Todd Tschida and was ejected (though he was already leaving the game). Funny, but I don’t get the same sense of personal satisfaction knowing that Todd Coffey is frustrated that I get when it’s La Russa.
Angels 5, Rays 1: The Rays have scored seven runs in five games. It was a losing effort, but I was really impressed by Jeremy Hellickson, who struck out ten in five and two-thirds.
Brewers 5, Braves 4: Mike Minor was worthy of his name. Or, er, the plural of his name. Dadgummit, I mean that he kind of stunk last night, allowing five runs on seven hits in four and a third. Prince Fielder did most of the damage for the Brewers, singling in three runs. Jason Heyward had a three-run bomb to pull the Braves to within one, but they would pull no closer.
Twins vs. Yankees: POSTPONED: I usually quote some song or poem with rain in its lyrics when this happens. Here I was going to use “Blame it on the Rain,” but when I thought about the Yankees and blame all I could do was to think about how Joe Girardi can’t manage a bullpen, how Nick Swisher’s lackadaisical attitude costs the team runs and how Rafael Soriano is just the worst kind of person. At least that’s the word on the street.