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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Apr 4, 2011, 5:30 AM EDT

Matt Treanor

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.

  1. Kevin S. - Apr 4, 2011 at 7:07 AM

    Ah, ATH. For non-work days when I wake up preposterously early, you’re always there for me.

  2. paperlions - Apr 4, 2011 at 7:29 AM

    As expected, the Cardinals MIF defense is all kinds of horrible. They have turned routine plays into scoring opportunities at least once in each game or just went ahead and committed the errors to let runs score. They turn routine double play opportunities into an adventure (but sadly, not into 2 outs). Theriot looks like Jeter going to his left and like Eckstein when he throws (i.e. like it takes everything he’s got to throw a runner out from the SS position, never mind doing so from the hole). Skip still can’t catch; Molina’s CS stats would look a lot better if he had a 2B that could catch the ball and tag the runner all in one motion…you know…like a real MLB (or MiLB) 2B.
    .
    I know it is only 3 games, but these 3 games are in line with what these guys have done previously. It is ugly to watch.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 4, 2011 at 7:30 AM

      At least they provide solid offense for players at their positi… oh, wait. Oops.

  3. Paul White - Apr 4, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    Four rookie relievers for the Royals now have a combined line of:

    2-0, 9 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 12 K, 1.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 12.0 K/9, 6.0 K/BB

    Best. Start. Imaginable.

    • sportsdrenched - Apr 4, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      If the Royals lose 100 games this year…at least we get to watch Aaron Crow and Tim Collins doing it.

      • Tyree Studio - Apr 4, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        If KC loses 100 this year it will be Davies, Chen and Hoch doing it, not Crow and Collins. :)

      • mcs7584 - Apr 4, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        @Tyree Studio: Or maybe Jeff Suppan.

  4. yankeesfanlen - Apr 4, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    This afternoon’s Power Ranking should be good- Royals Attack (Lactose Fries), Bucs in Second Place!

    • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 4, 2011 at 8:34 AM

      Eh, given that it’s only 3-4 games and that I just did one on Thursday, I think I’m going to hold the Power Rankings a week.

  5. steve keane - Apr 4, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    “The airport giveth, the airport taketh away” don’t write ‘em like the use to

  6. bobwsc - Apr 4, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    great point on Eckersley’s candid commentary (re: Sox pitchers getting shredded). he’s a regular on NESN and is the only one that doesn’t sugar coat it. Gammons is great but won’t criticize, and I’m not sure what Jim Rice is saying, ever.

  7. superpriebe - Apr 4, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    There’s a take on that triple play I haven’t seen advanced anywhere, and I’m a little surprised. I’m not generally the type to wail about the lack of hustle from professional athletes, but that triple play reflects very badly on Carlos Quentin. At the time, the Sox are leading 1-0 and have a rally going.

    Watch the replay: There are 7-8 seconds from the time that Santana catches the ball to the time the ball reaches second base. Cabrera (who gets a bit of my criticism too, for not having his head in the play) takes a while to realize that there is another play to be made, so Quentin has ample time to get back to the bag. That would leave the Sox with a runner in scoring position with two out. Base on how the play goes down, he gets back if his head is in the game.

    This is one thing that frustrates me when I watch the professional game. I realize that these guys are there mostly on the merits of their amazing physical talents. And of course, a margin has to be given for bang-bang events that happen in real time. And sure, if Cabrera’s head in the game, Quentin probably gets tripled up. However, in that situation, you have to work the play until it’s over – it’s just not the same as a routine play in which the runner can assume they have next-to-no chance of reaching safely.

    There really isn’t much for Quentin to keep in mind in that situation. The bunt play is on, and you are advancing to a base at which you can be forced. You have to run – the ONLY reason to stop is if someone catches a pop. If that happens, you have to try to get back, or the inning is over and the rally you’ve set up so well is extinguished in disheartening fashion. At least Cabrera can be given a margin for not knowing a bunt play was on, covering a base that he doesn’t ordinarily cover, and not being able to count on Quentin being in outer space.

    Ozzie himself acknowledged as much after the game, saying “I think that triple play changed the game.” The Sox never scored again and lost in lopsided fashion. While he didn’t chide Quentin in public, I would hope he talked to him about focus in the clubhouse.

  8. cur68 - Apr 4, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    The Jays open 2-1 and nearly made it 3-0; not a bad start for the beaver men. I’m looking forward to tuesday when they have a tilt with the Angels. They play Vernon Wells for the first time ever; should be interesting. As to the Eck keepin it real from the booth; no wonder almost everyone likes this guy as a broadcaster. There is no crap with him behind the mike, he doesn’t ramble and he seems to be actually watching the freakin’ game like he cares about it. I really missed him in the off season. And best of all; baseball’s back! 3 days in to the season my team’s keeping pace with the Yankers and the Orioles (THE ORIOLES! can you believe it?! I’m actually writing this and it’s the truth!!!) are in the lead. Pity it probably won’t last but they really do seem to be better than expected. I’m really happy for them (right up till they go and beat my Jays; then they are the bird-satans of the AL east).

  9. APBA Guy - Apr 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    At least you caught the A’s “good” game. I mean, they should hold Ichiro and the gang to one run most of the time. But 7 errors so far, some very shaky relief work, and their typical offensive ineptitude (11 runs in 3 games, 2 in each of the losses) led to a 1-2 start, at home yet, in front of 3 surprisingly good crowds (75,000 for the weekend).

    Still, I expect the defense and the relief to sort itself out (Barton will not average 1 error per game). The offense is still a question mark. After King Felix, that wasn’t the Phillies rotation Seattle was running out there, yet the A’s have 1 HR in 3 games. That’s a bad 2 at-bats for Kinsler or Cruz.

  10. Ari Collins - Apr 4, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    As a fairly level-headed Sox fan, I’m obviously not happy that Boston got swept to start the season, but it’s only 2% of the season, and it was on the road against a very good team that won the pennant last year. By itself, though, a 2-game deficit to the Yankees basically makes us even the rest of the way, as most projections had Boston only about two games better than New York.

    Some things looked good for Boston, some bad. Okay, it was a mostly bad series, but the offense actually performed pretty well against a good-pitching team on the road, so there’s something to take from it going forward.

    • Ari Collins - Apr 4, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      Also (reposted from where I put it in the wrong thread): Eckersley was a joy to listen to when I was in Boston last year. Just calls it like he sees it, doesn’t seem to care if it’s positive or negative.

    • macjacmccoy - Apr 4, 2011 at 6:57 PM

      Jacoby Ellsbury played great and looks to be on the rebound from a horrible season last year. I would count that as a positive.

  11. The Rabbit - Apr 4, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Nothing gets done around here until I’ve read ATH, HBT Weekend Wrapup, etc. I am so glad I am single and “retired”.

    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.

    I’d vote to replace most broadcasters with the “viewers” from Mystery Science Theatre 3000. It could be great.

  12. tribester - Apr 4, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    The Indians have gone three games in a row without an error. I think that may beat last season’s record, but they need to pick up the pace if they want to contend for most hit by pitches again. Three games without a single HBP and I start to wonder who these guys are.

    I’m liking this Hannahan fellow. Anyone know if it’s Han-un or Han-uh-han?

    Really, though, the front office needs to focus on the back-to-back record low attendances on opening weekend.

  13. macjacmccoy - Apr 4, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Haterade. The Phillies start the season off with a 3-0 sweep and get great pitching and hitting and they get the shortest entry.

    Ryan Howard finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Thought I would add that to annoy the writers.

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