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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

Jul 9, 2012, 6:09 AM EDT

San Francisco Giants v Pittsburgh Pirates

We have reached the All-Star break. Which means that this is the last And That Happened for a week. Unless there’s a temporal anomaly or something, which has been known to happen …

Pirates 13, Giants 2: Andrew McCutchen was added to the Home Run Derby the other day. He got some early practice yesterday, smacking two dingers. If there is any justice in the world, the All-Star Game will introduce this guy to a lot of casual fans who have no freakin’ idea that one of the best players in baseball is a Pittsburgh Pirate. Also: more Tim LOLcecum.

Cubs 7, Mets 0: Ryan Dempster came off the DL and picked up right where he left off: keeping the opposition scoreless. With five innings of shutout ball here — they’re taking it easy on him to preserve his trade value, er, I’m sorry, I mean his health — he runs his streak to 27 straight innings.

Diamondbacks 7, Dodgers 1: Here come the Diamondbacks. They took three of four from L.A. to move to within four games. Trevor Bauer was way more efficient in his third big league start and wound up throwing six scoreless. I guess it’s easier to pound the strike zone when you know the other team doesn’t have anyone who can make you pay for it if you miss.

Reds 4, Padres 2: A road trip that started pretty crappily — it’s an adverb; look it up — ended much betterly for the Reds, as they took three straight from the Padres to keep pace with the Pirates in the central.

Athletics 2, Mariners 1: Walkoff RBI double for Josh Reddick in the 13th. Probably a good time for people who don’t follow Oakland closely to acknowledge that (a) Reddick, who has 20 jacks in the first half, is pretty darn good; and (b) Oakland is at .500 at the break, which no one would have guessed before the season started. Sure, they’re still in third place which is where everyone guessed they’d be, but it’s a much more respectable, enjoyable-to-watch third place than predicted.

Angels 6, Orioles 0: A spot start for Brad “not the manager of the Astros” Mills and all he does is throw five shutout innings and get homers from Trout, Pujols, Trumbo and Aybar for support. Gee, pitching is easy!

Cardinals 5, Marlins 4: You’re not gonna believe this, but Heath Bell poured kerosene on a ninth inning. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Blue Jays 11, White Sox 9: The Chisox lose their five game winning streak after the Jays launch four homers. Worse: White Sox pitchers walked nine.

Brewers 5, Astros 3: Zack Greinke started on Saturday,  on Sunday and will get the first start after the All-Star break, making him the first dude to start three of his team’s games since 1917. He lost the first one and was saved in the second despite only going three innings. Maybe he’ll actually stick around for the fourth inning in his third go-around.

Tigers 7, Royals 1: The sweep for Detroit. Delmon Young has homered in four straight games. Maybe the Tigers are finally turning the corner. I know people say that every time they win a couple of games, but eventually you figure it’ll be true.

Braves 4, Phillies 3: The Braves sweep the reeling Phillies. Like Delmon Young, Brian McCann has homered in four straight. And maybe like the Tigers, the Braves’ four-game winning streak is a sign that their sluggishness is nearing an end. Philly, in contrast, has lost 10 of 11.

Rockies 4, Nationals 3: Washington was up 3-1 entering the eighth against the lowly Rockies. That’s usually a win, but Sean Burnett gave up two runs in the eighth with the help of a Mike Gonzalez wild pitch and Tyler Clippard sealed the deal in the ninth.

Rays 7, Indians 6: Another blown save, this one from Chris Perez. That breaks a string of 24 straight for him, dating back to his last blown save on Opening Day. Ben Zobrist‘s RBI single was the final blow.

Yankees 7, Red Sox 3: Andruw Jones lookes at Brian McCann and Delmon Young’s four homers in four games and says “meh.” Jones has four homers in three games. The Yanks take three of four from the Sox and show them who remains the beast of the east.

Rangers 4, Twins 3: Minnesota blows a 3-0 lead in the ninth. Total team effort there thanks to a throwing error by Brian Dozier and Glen Perkins being as hitable as a pitching machine. Michael Young delivered the tying run with an RBI single and Ian Kinsler drove in the winner in the 13th.

  1. Old Gator - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    The ninth inning of the Feesh-Cards game couldn’t have been uglier if it had been rear-projected onto a portrait of Kevin Youkilis. .Carlos Beltran strikes out..Allen Craig singles .on a ground ball to left fielder Logan Morrison..Matt Carpenter hits a ground-rule double. Bell walks David Freese to lard the bases. Tony Cruz hits a sac fly to score Craig. Descalso walks to re-lard the bases and move the winning run to second. Rafael Furcal singles to score Freese and Carpenter.

    Why this agonizing detail? Because I wish to convey a sense of the passing of time – to emphasize that while a closer who has repeatedly made it Christmas in April, May, June and July for opposing teams was lovingly constructing his latest debacle on the mound, one Slobbering Ozzie was sitting with his thumb up his ass in the dugout, Randy Choate fully warmed up in the boolpen, watching with the paralyzed fascination of Raymond Burr watching Godzilla incinerate Tokyo from his catbird seat by the tenth floor window of the press building. “George, here in St. Louis time has been turned back four months. A practicing arsonist named Heath Bell has just walked out of the Marlins boolpen. He’s as big around as Thomas the Tank Engine. Now he’s making his way past the Feesh’s last line of defense – a drawn in infield set up as a barrier around the Rainboe Warrior’s disappearing two run lead, a barrier against Heath Bell….George, I can hardly believe what has just happened….now it seems that the Feesh have no defense…This is it, Steve Martin signing off from the press box….so long George….”

    Well, Raymond Burr got some props for playing it straight-faced. Ozzie launched a tirade afterwards in which he excoriated the Hanster for lacerating his pinky in an unequal contest with the dugout fan, and finally admitting – El Slobbero is a slow learner, you know? – that he’s got to do something about the closer situation. There was a brief contest between the Weezard of Odds and Bell, conducted, like a game of Battleship, in two separate rooms, with each one struggling to blame themselves for the fiasco. It was a nice way to disperse for a week of Feeshing.

    • Ben - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      Who the heck thumbs-downs Gator’s posts?? I just don’t get it. People who just don’t like him? ’cause it’s hard to fault the posts. I don’t always read them, I’ll admit, but when I do, I appreciate them immensely.

      • Old Gator - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM

        Well, there’s a couple of “usual suspects,” who thumbs-down my posts because they’ve imprinted on me, like newly hatched ducklings. I pretty much know who they are and it’s kind of comforting always to see them out there. Because they’re boring and stupid, they can’t possibly understand how much I enjoy imagining that they’ve been sitting by their monitors all day and much of the evening with the fierce obsession of the old RCA dalmatian, waiting for me to write something so they can pull out their plums and thereby validate their existences via negativa.

        Then, there’s a couple of them who actually think that Kevin Youkilis is pretty, or that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder – in this case, eyes covered with lead contact lenses with X’s inscribe on them.

        There’s one or two who think I’m a commie pinko fellow travelling socialist nicotine-Nazi tree hugging eco-terrorist pro-Gay Marriage Islamist Bush-hater with a Che Guevara black light poster on my wall who insists on viewing capitalism as a cultural phenomenon instead of as some cockamamie excuse for natural law, and thumb me down on principle. I suspect that many of them had mortgage-backed securities in their retirement portfolios and blame me for how that all worked out. Ah well.

        And maybe a few who think my onomatopoetic rendering of the local Espangleesh dialect is somehow offensive. About those, too bad. You don’t like it, come on down to Macondo and give flatland English elocution lessons to three hundred thousand Hispanic Americans. Buenos suerte.

        And finally, there’s a bunch who are dyslexic and really meant to click on the thumbs-up. I want them to know that I can read between the lines and that I appreciate their good intentions.

      • natslady - Jul 9, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        I dunno on Gator, I LOL on almost every post. Now, when I post, if I check back a few minutes later there is always one thumbs down. Now, whether it’s because I’m a lady, or a Nats fan, or both… Just like clockwork, there it is.

      • Old Gator - Jul 9, 2012 at 1:47 PM

        Gnatslady:

        A couple of these bufones also have multiple accounts. Unsatisfied with a single witless vote, they will occasionally pile on two, three or more dip-digits because they’re little people with no pot of mental gold at the end of their rainbows, and this is a way of indulging in something like what Joseph Campbell called “mythic inflation.” I have auto-refresh on my browser and occasionally notice two or three pro-lion votes popping up within a matter of a few seconds. This is a sure sign of ballot stuffing, and really, when you think about it, it’s a lot like being voted onto the all-star team.

        So smile and relax. You may be reviled by the anencephalic, but you are loved by the well-accoutred minds out there in cyberspace.

    • 78mu - Jul 9, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      Gator:

      How long have you been president of the Heath Bell fan club? I know he’s the favorite this year of fans in other NL cities.

      • Old Gator - Jul 9, 2012 at 1:35 PM

        Herewith, I reiterate (with modifications), just in case you missed it, the advice from the “Hanley Ramirez Cut his Hand in a Fit of Infantile Pique” thread from yesterday to demonstrate with what abundant love and solicitude I look out for Heath Bar…er…Bell. I proffered a detailed program of diet, fitness and fantasization to put him back on track:

        He should get his fat ass on a treadmill, stationary bike and multi-task weight machine, swim 50 laps a day to start, increasing gradually to the distance between Havana and Key West (without the use of a truck tire and paddle) and cut out simple carbohydrates and saturated fats from his diet. This is what he should do. And he should get himself a personal trainer with beeeeg tits clad in gossamer spandex so he’ll be more likely to pay attention to what the hell she tells him.

  2. southofheaven81 - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:26 AM

    So, at what point do we discuss whether or not the Pirates are for real? Cause, man, they kind of look like they could be for real, if they can avoid any significant injuries.

    Also, Andruw (god I hate spelling his name like that for some reason) Jones decided to take down the Green Monster piece by piece, and it was a beautiful thing to behold.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:31 AM

      It’s basically a three team race between them, STL and the Reds. If Pitt can keep up their second in the league run prevention, it’ll help immensely. Is anyone playing way over their heads that could cause them to fall back in the second half?

      • napoleonblownapart6887 - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:57 AM

        In terms of guys playing over their heads, I would say no. Its not like last year when Kevin Correia was an all-star or anything like that. Its been a couple of young guys in Alvarez and Walker who have been providing pop in the line up other than Cutch. Both are former first rounders though who should have high ceilings – just interested to see if this is just another streak for them or if they’re finally playing up to their potential.

    • paperlions - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:21 AM

      I think it’ll all hinge on the ability of the offense to continue getting it done with smoke and mirrors. They have a league low .300 OBP as a team; that needs to improve.

      • Kevin S. - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:33 AM

        You could probably say this about every single team in baseball, but… Justin Upton?

    • jarathen - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:02 AM

      The Pirates are for real so long as McCutcheon never gets injured.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      Until Pittsburgh actually does it for the entire season, I just can’t say they’re for real.

      • florida76 - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:54 AM

        Well, the Bucs were doing it for the first roughly 100 games last year with an inferior team before seven players were on the DL in August. This is a superior club which isn’t likely to have the avalanche of injuries again. While some players are having career years, others aren’t. Bucs don’t need a huge move at the deadline, just something to supplement the team.

        The positive tone to the season was set before opening day, when AJ Burnett was acquired after a lengthy negotiation, and the likely 2012 MVP surprisingly signed a new, long term deal. Of course, the doom and gloom crowd will exist, even if the Bucs make the playoffs. At this point, ending the losing streak would already be a significant achievement, so everything else is a bonus. Important to note the Bucs have a manager with World Series experience.

  3. scapistron - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    No ATH Classics over the break?

    Phillies have 1 win in their last 11 and Cliff Lee was on the mound for it. Go figure.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 9, 2012 at 7:59 AM

      the last And That Happened for a week. Unless there’s a temporal anomaly or something, which has been known to happen …

  4. 4d3fect - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:02 AM

    Unless there’s a temporal anomaly or something

    “Eddies in the space-time continuum.”

    “He is?”

  5. Kevin S. - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    What, no ATH: Home Run Derby and ASG editions?

    Oh, and Jones just barely missed making it five home runs in three games (two days!) in his final plate appearance last night, *just* pulling a towering drive foul before flying out to deep center. Dude’s freaking awesome. I couldn’t understand why Atlanta didn’t try to bring him back this offseason, Chipper isn’t *bad* against lefties per se, but working Andruw in against them with a pseudo-platoon would have been one way to get him regular rest, or having Jones spot Freeman/Heyward if they struggled with southpaws. I’m certainly glad the Yankees brought him back, but Andruw returning to Atlanta would have just felt right.

  6. proudlycanadian - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    The Jays did something last night that has become very rare recently. They sent out their closer in the bottom of the 8th with only 1 out. Janssen went out to face Konerko and Rios with the game on the line. He recorded a 5 out save. Mighty Casey recorded one, two, three strikeouts at the old ball game.

    • cur68 - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      That guy’s been The Bomb. Worth a crap-tonne of Fantasy League pints, too.

  7. umrguy42 - Jul 9, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    ” Zack Greinke started on Saturday, on Sunday and will get the first start after the All-Star break, making him the first dude to start three of his team’s games since 1917.”

    Craig, did you perhaps mean “the first dude to start three consecutive games for his team”? :)

  8. uyf1950 - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Glad to see the Yankees finish off their 4 game series against the Red Sox with a win. In fact 3 out of 4 wins and 5 out of the 6 games played against their rivals this season. But the best part of the end of the game yesterday is that CC will be back to start when the All Star game is over.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Courtesy of RAB:
      Yankees have played 71 games against teams that are .500 or better at the break, 14 games against sub-.500 teams.

      That + the RISP failures and they have the best record in baseball, is insane.

      • uyf1950 - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:31 AM

        Very interesting, thank you.

  9. klownboy - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    This has been one weird, but great, MLB season thus far. I mean, look who is in first place in some of these divisions!

    http://wp.me/p14QSB-4ga7

  10. 18thstreet - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    How to improve the homerun derby:
    (1) Fewer outs per at bat — say, 5 (instead of the current ten)
    (2) More contestants in the opening round.
    (2a) Add Nick Punto to the contest, just to humiliate him.
    (3) Skip the middle round and take the top two homer-hitters into the final.
    (4) Three outs in the finals.

    • groundruledoublebourbon - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      Co-sign. (2a) is just… so good, bravo. Reminds of the time a few years back Brandon Inge (!) was in the Derby and got blanked in the opening round.

    • Old Gator - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      And most of all, delay it another 6-8 weeks so the Iron Giant can participate.

  11. randygnyc - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    The Yankees last 32 games have all been against teams with a winning record. An unfair schedule challenge. It’s besides the point they are 22-10 in those games.

    They continued to dominate the AAA Red Sox by taking 3 of 4 games this weekend, despite the rare and embarrassingly ugly defensive mistakes.

    The game was officially over when God decided to give Adrianne Gonzalez her period in the early innings. I was surprised to hear that the Red Sox clubhouse ran out of midol and maxi-pads. Had Big Mami replenished the stock, the fortunes of the Red Sox may have been different.

    • Old Gator - Jul 9, 2012 at 4:37 PM

      Randy, you would have made a terrific Civil War field surgeon.

  12. Jonny 5 - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    The Phillies are just terrible…. Bleh!

  13. APBA Guy - Jul 9, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    As Captain of the All-Ugly Team ™, Bartolo Colon wants you to know that all rear-projections of appalling highlights are on his portrait, as defined by a subsection of the Standard Player’s Agreement. Youkilis has to wait his turn.

  14. APBA Guy - Jul 9, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Craig was kind enough to mention that the A’s are at .500 and are easier to watch. The first assertion is indisputably true, the second is occasionally true. Yesterday was not one of those occasions, unless you are a big fan of the words “three up, three down.”

    The King was regal, as he so often is against the A’s, but he was matched by the Captain (see comment above) and the game devolved into a bullpen duel for the second time in 3 games. Seattle plays hard, they just don’t have enough players who take quality at-bats, and consequently the likelihood of them losing in extra innings is higher than the A’s. The A’s have actually scored fewer runs than the Mariners in 2012 (337-319) but Oakland’s pitching and defense have yielded fewer runs (316 to 365), so Oakland should win against Seattle more often, especially when Oliver Perez 2012 is on the hill. He lost both games, giving up 3 runs in 1 IP in the series.

    Anyway, fans already expect that anywhere from 2-4 players we associate with the good first half won’t be here on August 1, at least two of them will be pitchers making room for Braden and Anderson. The Captain could be, most likely will be, one of those moved if he keeps going 8.2 of 1 run ball.

  15. annaalamode - Jul 9, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    I appreciate comparing Heath Bell to the Joker. Not sure he does though.

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