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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Apr 7, 2011, 5:30 AM EDT

Tim Lincecum AP

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 HuffBuster 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:

Cabrera was credited with a ninth-inning single when his hard grounder became wedged in the webbing of third baseman Mark Reynolds.

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.

  1. mercyflush - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:49 AM

    Not only was Blanton not booed… he was cheered. not a standing O, but a polite, “dont worry about it big guy” kind of cheer.

    Needless to say, its a big sportstalk radio topic this morning, why Hamels (World Series MVP) gets shelled and gets booed, and Blanton (Post-Game Buffet MVP) does not.

    To me, it’s all about expectations. Hamels pitched far below his expectations, Blanton pitched slightly below them. (Not that Cole deserved to get booed, just explaining why Blanton didn’t).

  2. uuddlrlrbastart - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:01 AM

    It seemed to me that the cheering wasn’t for Blanton, but rather for Charlie Manuel for removing Blanton from the game. And while not technically cheering, I would make the following analogy: Cheering a manager for removing a pitcher is to booing as an upside down frown is to smiling.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    The idiots on talk radio this morning don’t seem to get it like mercy above. It’s so simple, yet they talked about it all morning. Why was Hamels booed and Blanton not booed. It’s like this…say you have a really smart kid who gets all A’s and a kid who struggles to get C’s. They both get a D on a test. The smart kid is going to get his ass kicked while the C student just gets a “Try to do better next time, son”

    Hamels good…Blanton bad. The Phillies pitching staff should be called 4 Aces and a Jack-off.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:29 AM

      Let me guess, you were the one who was told to “try and do better next time, son”, right?

  4. Old Gator - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:15 AM

    John Buck missed that slam by an inch, if not less – the ball hit right off the yellow line that demarcates the top of the low wall. I fear that might be an apt metaphor for the way our elected Klowns crosstown are going to fail to agree to keep the government open tomorrow. My electronic refund is scheduled for Friday. How am I going to buy tickets to a Feesh game without it? How am I going to afford the first fresh morels of the season for that omelet I was planning for breakfast on Sunday? Grave matters to ponder tonight. At least I don’t need to put nickels in my cable box.

    Chris Volstad was, as usual, fast but wild, walking four in five innings as well, and Hanley “Manos de Piedra” Ramirez contributed the infield’s requisite error of the night, helping the Feesh dig themselves a four run (three earned, all deserved) hole against the Gnats before Livan became embarrassed at his wealth and coughed up Buck’s near-dinger. Then Chad Gaudin, floundering beyond the range of the Borg tractor beam, gave back the lead and the Feesh cruised back to port. There was an announced attendance of fantasy bodies last night but when you looked at the stands, you could see that the opening day novelty has already worn off. JJ pitches tonight, which should boost attendance by a few dozen, but the Iron Giant is going to be the draw this year, assuming he starts doing some yoga and can keep himself on the field for more than a few weeks at a stretch. Other good news: Chris Coghlan was 4-for-5 with a couple of doubles, and is looking very much like the 2009 Rookie of the Year after muddling through his pre-injury 2010 season.

    • cur68 - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:21 AM

      Told ya Buck was pretty good. Jays were nuts to let him go.

      • proudlycanadian - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:26 AM

        John Buck? Where have I heard that name before? How soon you forget when your team is leading the AL East.

      • sportsdrenched - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:01 AM

        I’m still mad the Royals let him walk

        John Buck, All-Star

        Matt Treanor/Bryan Pena/Jason Kendall, not All-Stars

    • pwf207 - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:44 AM

      no need to worry gator, if you filed electronically and are getting tour refund electronically, you will get it no matter what. i envy you your morels so much that I almost wish you weren’t getting it.

  5. cur68 - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    Well before the AM Yankees/Sox/Rays/Phillies angst-fest gets going full blast I’d like to wish the Jay’s Junel Escobar well; cracked his head at mach 2 into LaRoche’s knee last night and was so obviously concussed while fielding in the top of the next inning I was yelling at my TV and causing my dog to hide under the kitchen table (something he only does in thunder storms). As for Escobar’s team; 4 -1 now, tied with the O’s for the division lead (if everyone can scream about the Sox being 0 – 5 I can crow about 4 – 1, so there). Jesse Litsch has grown a nice red beard in the off season and now looks like Hagar the Horrible but has improved his school girl fastball and his cutter which he can break either way so we got ourselves a pretty good 5th starter. Now please someone make him shave that krylon-red shag carpet off his face.

  6. kiwicricket - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    Please link Frenchie being intentially walked. I refuse to believe it.

    • sportsdrenched - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:57 AM

      As much as I would like to argue that Frenchy instilled fear into the White Sox pitchers….it was actually to set up a double play with 1 out

      • kiwicricket - Apr 7, 2011 at 12:24 PM

        Many thanks for the reply. Will investigate, but still dubious. I hope our man Frenchie keeps his training wheels on after all this intentional walk business…..wouldn’t want his head to explode or to just literally eat himself or something.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      I saw it, kiwicricket. With my own two amazed eyes. It was spectacular, unbelievable, absurd, and a totally smart move by Ozzie. I do believe that the MLB has destroyed all electronic evidence in order to prevent any further uproar by the baseball gods.

  7. cleverbob - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Sports radio needs something to talk about. Charlie left Blanton out there too long, which stinks because he hasn’t learned anything from last season. Blanton should automatically get pulled in the 5th, and let Kendrick bridge the gap to Madson.

    • professor59 - Apr 7, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      Except that Kendrick had to come to Hamels rescue the previous night. Not many teams are set up to deal with the starter getting knocked out early two nights in a row.

  8. lar @ wezen-ball - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    no mention of the Brewers scoring the 5th and decisive run over the Braves when Prince Fielder was clearly out at the plate (in slow-mo) but the ump called him safe anyway? i didnt think it’d be important, but then Heyward hit that bomb…

    • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 7, 2011 at 8:58 AM

      Heh, I didn’t even see that. I was switching between a bunch of games.

      • lar @ wezen-ball - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:25 AM

        Yeah, you should definitely watch the replay if you can. In slo-mo, he is clearly and decisively out. Not so sure about a real-time view… but it made it 5-1 at the time. Seemed unimportant either way…

      • nps6724 - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:28 AM

        He was obviously out, but the ump was totally out of position. He was standing behind and to the right of the left-handed batter’s box. Which meant any play on the backside of homeplate, he can’t see. The ball beat Prince to the plate, Prince had to go through McCann to get to the plate, and McCann’s glove (with the ball inside) was in front of his body when Prince got there. If your view is obstructed, all the evidence would still lead you to assume he was out.

        Horrible call and it cost the Braves a chance to win. I won’t say it cost them a win since the game would’ve been tied and the Brewers were hitting better in general.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Apr 7, 2011 at 11:39 AM

        Unfortunately, that’s where the umpires are taught to stand. I think that is the second biggest problem with the umpiring, behind the prima donna’s.

        They always seem to be out of position. In the Royals/White Sox game, the first base umpire missed getting hit by inches from a throw by Franceour home.

        Better positoning means better calls, but they get graded on doing what they are taught, and not what actually works.

  9. Jonny 5 - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    Gator, have no fear. Electronic returns will have no delay either way. Mailed returns will only be effected. That’s the story.

    The booing again? But now in reverse? This is what people call “damned if you do, damned if you dont”.

    • spindervish - Apr 7, 2011 at 3:51 PM

      No it’s not. This is a case of “damned if you do in one instance, and then don’t in another seemingly identical one.”

  10. phukyouk - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    Bets thing that could have happened to the Yanks was a rain out. and where the hell are all the off season yankees fans? i have not seen a comment from UYF in the last week.

  11. minnesconsin - Apr 7, 2011 at 9:40 AM

    concussions are so odd. Escobar looked to be terribly scrambled, and in a good deal more pain than Morneau after his similar knee-to-the-head while sliding at Rogers Center last year. But Escobar stays in the game, and Morneau is out for months?

    I was shocked they didn’t pull escobar last night, as a precaution if nothing else. Just goes to show MLB isn’t yet ready to take concussions seriously, despite the fancy new 7-day DL.

    • cur68 - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:04 AM

      They did pull him. He didn’t come to back out after he fielded next inning; that’s when it was REALLY obvious he was concussed. Hard to watch.

  12. tomemos - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    Hey, Chris, would you still rather have Soria than Cain?

    • Chris Fiorentino - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:22 AM

      Absolutely…I’ll take Soria, Rivera, and Wilson over Matt Cain every day. Just ask the Brewers, Astros, and the Yankees how much they love having, or wish they had, a guy like Rivera to close out the toughest inning in baseball…the 9th.

  13. florida727 - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    The Rays will suck all season long. The only bright spot will be Hellickson. I was lucky enough to be at his major league debut. 7 IP, 2 ERs, 6 Ks. Really impressive. Awesome future.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:35 AM

      Hellickson good. Rays bad. Agreed.

  14. wonkypenguin - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    So in other words, the media has finally found the replacement for Jim Edmonds’ defense in Carlos Gonzalez? Good. I was getting concerned.

  15. talbaugh - Apr 7, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    Andy LaRoche is the A’s LaRoche brother. Adam LaRoche mans 1st for the Nats.

  16. APBA Guy - Apr 7, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Note to all who had the A’s to win the West: Not so fast. Dallas Braden, the Gio Whisperer, who was supposed to miss last night’s start, bulldogged his way through 7 mediocre innings in classic “one bad pitch” style, that ignores the fact that Toronto is putting guys on base before blasting the ball, something the A’s used to do. Let’s be honest: 6 hits against a Litsch/Rzep/Rauch combination is made even worse by the two walks, zero HR total for the game. Yes, one bad week does not a season make. But the A’s have a “regression” feel so far. 1-4 with 7 more away games in chilly April. It could get uglier.

  17. Old Gator - Apr 7, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    Kiwicricket: godlike beings who just eat themselves are not without precedent. Check out the originally unfortunate but ultimately exalted fate of Kirtimukha here:

    Just to correct the archetypically lame Wikipedia article, he wasn’t “casually” ordered to eat himself. Shiva conjured him up to eat a demon who had “casually” hit on his squeeze, Parvati, and then Kirtimukha threatened to eat everything else, so Shiva told him to start by eating himself.

    Clever, eh?

    If Frenchie were ordered to do that, though, he’d snap at himself and miss.

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