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And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

Apr 21, 2010, 5:44 AM EDT

Heyward Homers.jpgBraves 4, Phillies 3: Troy Glaus hit a two-out, two-run homer to kick off the comeback in the ninth, and Nate McLouth hit the walkoff job in the tenth, but make no mistake about it: Jason Heyward — whose two-out solo shot tied things up right after Glaus’ jack — is The Man. I keep saying he’s going to come back to Earth because that’s what 20 year-old rookies do, but there’s no question that we’re seeing something special.  The pitch he hit — a changeup down and away — struck him out earlier in the game. But he adjusted this time, he reached down for it and he hit where it was pitched, showing that unlike so many other young sluggers, his power is not merely a function of a violent swing at mistakes in his wheelhouse.

Tough luck no-decision for Kyle Kendrick, who shut out the Braves on four hits over eight innings and sent a huge chunk of the Atlanta fans out the exits before it was over.  One of my NBC bosses is a huge Phillies fan. As soon as McLouth hit his homer he emailed me: “our bullpen sucks.”  My response: I know. That’s why I picked them to finish in second place.

Red Sox 7, Rangers 6: Texas had a 6-2 lead at one point but they blew it. Pfun Pfact: The blown lead came without them once using their best relief pitcher, Neftali Feliz, because games can’t be saved in the sixth, eighth or ninth innings. Lifetime minor leaguer Darnell McDonald, who was called up in the wake of the Ellsbury and Cameron injuries, hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the eighth inning to tie the game and
won it with an RBI single in the ninth.  Look for him to be deified by the Boston press this morning. And with the way things have been going, who can blame them?  Pfun Pfact II: The Rangers had nine stolen bases, most of them off Wakefield/Martinez. They lost the game, but you can’t say they didn’t have a game plan.

Padres 1, Giants 0: Usually when you give up one hit and strike out ten guys you’re going to win the game. Not so for Jonathan Sanchez, who allowed only a single, followed up by a sacrifice fly that same inning, in seven but takes the toughest luck loss of the season. On the Padres’ side, Mat Latos, Mike Adams and Heath Bell combine to shut the Giants out.

Mets 4, Cubs 0: Mike Pelfrey has been straight money so far this year. That’s two straight starts — and one intervening relief appearance — in which he hasn’t allowed a run, and in his only other appearance this year he only allowed two runs.

Reds 11, Dodgers 9: The Reds blew a six run lead in the 8th but got two back in the bottom of the inning to hold on. Dusty Baker used seven pitchers in this one. He had better conserve his resources, though, what with all those innings they won’t be getting from Edinson Volquez they were counting on. Oh, wait . . .

Astros 7, Marlins 5: The return of Lance Berkman happens on the same night the Astros’ post their highest run total of the season. Coincidence? I think not.  Puma had a couple of RBI on fielder’s choices and added a double, and the Astros took advantage of the Marlins’ Tim Wood to come from behind.  Eighteen game hitting streak for Jorge Cantu, though.

Twins 5, Indians 1: Kevin Slowey struck out nine and allowed a single run over eight innings. Lots of ugly for the Indians, particularly on defense, with errors and wild pitches and stuff.

White Sox 4, Rays 1: Tampa Bay finally loses one, thanks to a dominant performance by John Danks (8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 9K). The Rays had three hits in the whole game, all of them by Carl Crawford. Of course they’re used to not hitting against the White Sox. The last time they played, Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game at them.

Brewers 8, Pirates 1: Not long after this game went final, the AP recap of it had the headline “Bush outduels Morton as Brewers win.” They changed it not long afterwards, but it’s nice to see that someone at the Associated Press has a sense of humor (Morton: 1 IP, 6 H, 6 R; Bush: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Some duel!

Blue Jays 4, Royals 3: Vernon Wells went 3 for 4 with a homer and two doubles.  After the game he was told that he had just passed Joe Carter on the Blue Jays’ RBI list. Wells said “It’s cool, but Joe has a number that none of us in this
clubhouse has and that’s two World Series rings.”  Meanwhile Cito Gaston snoozed silently in the corner, no one thinking it right to wake him up.

Rockies 10, Nationals 4: The Rockies played with heavy hearts in light of the death of team president Keli McGregor. The team honored him by hanging a jersey with the No. 88 — McGregor’s college football number — in the dugout. They also honored him by taking the field and unloading on the Nats. You often hear a lot of polite but empty praise for executives who pass on. Based on everything I’ve read about McGregor in the past 24 hours, however, he was truly loved and respected in the Rockies organization and throughout Denver.

Diamondbacks 9, Cardinals 7: Dan Haren gave up seven runs on nine hits, but he also went 4 for 4 with an RBI to hold the Cardinals off. Two homers for Ryan Ludwick in a losing cause, as they say.

Mariners 3, Orioles 1: The M’s have won six of seven and right now their biggest problems are that (a) Milton Bradley’s calf muscle started acting up again and he had to leave the game; and (b) they’ll have a hard time figuring which really good starter will have to get bumped in ten days or so when Cliff Lee comes back, with Jason Vargas gaving up just three hits in seven innings last night. In the grand scheme of things, having Milton Bradley out of the lineup and having too much good pitching aren’t terrible problems to have.

Angels 6, Tigers 5: Howie Kendrick drove in three and Hideki Matsui added two, but the Halos almost blew this one, watching a 6-0 lead almost evaporate — thanks in part to Scot Shields walking three guys in the seventh — before Fernando Rodney shut the Tigers down in the ninth.

Yankees 7, Athletics 3: Javy Vazquez was good enough to get the win, giving up three runs in 5.1 innings. Still, booooooooo, because it’s our God-given right. A-Rod hit a three-run homer. Nick Swisher, who had a hit after he had been slumping badly, said after the game “I
finally found some grass.”  Well, it was 4/20 yesterday, and he was in California . . .

  1. Old Gator - Apr 21, 2010 at 7:37 AM

    There again you have that classic Feesh tendency to scream the reels against the tough teams and then turn to chum against the league doormats. The culprit was the Feesh boolpen again. One of them, Jose Veras, already won his free ticket back to AAA, and took his 19.45 ERA (or something close to that) with him. Wood is now around 9-something. Nunez so far is a bright spot but he’s erratic. I’d love to be pleasantly surprised and have him finally harness his electric stuff but I’ve watched him lose his concentration or get rattled quickly once to often for that to come easily. Even if he does mature, you still have a pretty rough road through the sixth or seventh innings with the likes of Wood and Dan Meyer (15.00-plus ERA) and of course the beloved Renyel Peento. Only Burke Badenhop gets the benefit of the doubt when he strolls on, but he’s also capable of pitching one runnerless inning and then walking the bases full the next. Whereas the Feely bullpen may indeed be erratic in the early going, they have two key guys out but coming back plus the ownership wants to win and will spend what it needs to and try to plug the perceived holes in the relief squad with capable arms before the trade deadline. Meanwhile, you know Scrooge McLoria will have Larry Beinfest checking the scrapheaps for another reclamation project at best.

  2. Moses Green - Apr 21, 2010 at 8:10 AM

    Never in the history of baseball has more dedication and literary attention been focused on a worse franchise. Is there any way we could convince you to move to Tampa and focus your love and keyboard on a real team?
    The Marlin tendency to play better against the better teams is shared by all lousy squads, and it happens because the other teams have high-quality scouts and therefore cannot possibly take the Feesh seriously as an opponent.
    Renyel Pinto is unhittable. And uncatchable. At least he’s entertainingly wild though, otherwise he’d also be unwatchable.

  3. Jonny5 - Apr 21, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    The doggoned bullpen! Here I had already chalked this game up as a loss since Kyle Kendrick built himself a 17 something ERA against the Nats. I was pleasantly suprised to see him shut down the braves for 8 innings. I honestly thought Charlie would leave him in to pitch a complete game, since he’ll do that from time to time, I was worried he’d do that actually. I was wrong on both counts. The bullpen came in and it was batting practice for the Braves. I was so ready to dance a victory jig too. Well Craig, your prophecy about the bullpen finally materialized against the Braves, I think it’s the first time they’ve given up the lead this season ,figures….. At least the Flyers whipped up on the Devils.
    Captcha: the doggoned

  4. Jonny5 - Apr 21, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    BTW Craig, how about that Chase Utley? The dude is on course for an MVP this season. He’s just sick so far this season.

  5. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 21, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    I fear (and appreciate) Chase Utley as much as anyone in baseball. He has utterly killed the Braves for years right now. I’d rather see Howard at bat against a fat-pitching right hander than Utley at bat against anyone. If the Phillies beat the Braves this season, it will be because we have no answer for Utley.
    Not like we’ve ever had an answer for him.

  6. RobRob - Apr 21, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    It struck me that while managers routinely screw up the notion of when to use your best pitcher, it’s commonplace to use pinch hitters at almost any point after the fifth if there’s a chance to take the lead.

    Mike Lowell pinch hit for Ortiz in the 7th when the Sox, down two runs to the Rangers, had two men on with two out. This is not an unusual move, but it’s interesting that the complimentary move on defense never happens. Managers rarely even bring in their top setup guy as early as the 7th inning (let alone their closer), yet they’re quite comfortable to do the analogous thing on offense.

  7. Old Gator - Apr 21, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    I’m watching the Rays too, even though I’m a baseball fan and they play designatedhitterball. Thank Buddha I can get both teams on my U-verse subscription. At some point this season I will have to make the pilgrimage across this great geographic phallic symbol of ours and invest a couple of days, and a few dollars for antidepressants, enduring that Morlock dome they play in long enough to watch a few home games. At least there’ll be the Dali Museum to stumble into afterwards to imbibe a little sublime goofiness, just in case the meds wear off before the game ends. I will definitely be over for the Citrus Series games, of course, but I’d also like to watch the Rays with my feelings uncluttered by my frayed loyalty to my Feesh.

  8. Moses Green - Apr 21, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    Any thoughts on my Renyel LaLoosh musings?

  9. sam - Apr 21, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    Jose Molina has two rings!

  10. Kelly - Apr 21, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    Just in case you missed it – two Twins scored on one wild pitch in their game yesterday. It was pretty sweet. Delmon Young was very aggressive on the basepaths and then, upon scoring, stood up and attempted to swing at the ball cuz he was near a batter’s box…

  11. Utley's hair - Apr 21, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Uh…what the…huh?!?!?!? Ugh
    (captcha: attorney return)

  12. APBA Guy - Apr 21, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    Interesting night in Oakland last night. The Yankees failed to fill the Mausoleum, a first in my memory. A 12.6 unemployment rate will do that, especially when combined with “premium pricing”.
    More notably, A-Rod’s homer was a monster. Of course, Gio had been working hard all game to perfectly center his fastball. He was closing in on the sought-after state of perfection in the 5th when he lost the plate altogether walking Johnson and Texeira. In a brilliant move, Geren called for lefty Craig Breslow to face right handed Alex Rodriguez. With one pitch Breslow showed Gio how to get a fastball exactly centered in the middle of the strike zone. A-Rod was obliged to propel his bomb some 450 feet in the cool, heavy April air. I assume it was Breslow’s Yale education that allowed him to achieve this feat with so little time invested.
    Not to be outdone, Vazquez had deduced that giving up a home run to A-Rod was commonplace, having been achieved 585 times already. Why not do something really hard? Why not a moon shot to a non slugger, from whom there are so many to choose in the Oakland lineup.
    The designated beneficiary of this largess was one Travis Buck, in the lineup for the so-far-in-2010 absent Coco Crisp, the same Crisp who makes as much as Kurt Suzuki, Daric Barton, Buck, Gio, Ryan Sweeney, and Rajai Davis combined. Who says Lew Wolfe is cheap?
    Anyway, as we recall, last year Vazquez had a 2.87 ERA, by far the lowest of his career. Last night he personally extricated himself from two A’s rallies with his defense, snagging a hot liner off Buck in the 2nd and quickly reacting to a Barton grounder in the fifth.
    The Buck liner must have given him the germ of an idea though. Before he had the chance to induce his second double play, Travis Buck strode to the plate in the 5th. Ahead 6-0, Vazquez centered a mush ball to Buck who deposited it nearly over the Jason Giambi Memorial Staircase in right (so named because Giambi of beloved memory used to routinely hit home runs to this area, which now rarely sees a batted ball). Quite a prodigious blast.
    Still, Girardi seemed unimpressed and sent Vazquez out for the 6th. So Vazquez, obviously determined to retire to the comfort of the warm visitor’s dressing room, again centered a mush ball to Kurt Suzuki, who had earlier been the recipient of some good-natured teasing by Derek Jeter during Jeter’s first at-bat, delivered no doubt in a faux Boston accent. Kurt squared up the mush ball which landed at the base of the little-used “luxury” boxes.
    Girardi, now convinced, rushed to the mound to extricate Vazquez and summoned pitchers who appeared a) not to have mush balls in their repertoire, and b) seemed rudely unwilling to throw pitches down the middle of the zone. Thus ended the game.

  13. Old Gator - Apr 22, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    Sorry it took me so long to circle back to you. Been up on Lawn Gisland to see my beloved Cowboy Junkies with a bunch of old friends and stum…er, got back to my hotel kinda late.
    Renyel needs a Crash Davis type to take him by the short n’ curlies and get him to focus. He’s already crossed over that line beyond which you get booed whenever your name is announced, and booed more loudly when you walk a bunch of guys, throw a bunt into the field boxes or get two quick strikes on the potential third out of the inning, throw four straight balls and a dinger to the next hitter that sends you an everyone else to the shower. The degree of booing Pinto receives these days is remarkable considering how few fans are there to boo him in the first place. Then, when he implodes and sends all twelve remaining fans at Joeprodolsharklife Stadium to the parking lot, they boo him loudly enough to sound like the place is packed. That sort of thing. For a player already struggling, that’ll really redline your confidence meter. I think it’s time to see who’ll offer a couple of EYPs for him.

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