Monday, April 18, 2011
And That HappenedPosted by Craig Calcaterra
Dodgers 2, Cardinals 1: Wow. 0-0 game through eight. The Cardinals plate one in the top of the ninth inning. Andre Either leads off the bottom of the ninth with a double off Trever Miller, and Tony La Russa brings in Ryan Franklin to lock it down. First base open. The shakiest closer in baseball on the hill. The most dangerous bat in Los Angeles -- Matt Kemp -- at the plate. Vin Scully said it best when Kemp hit the game-winning homer: "They pitch to the one guy who could beat them, and he does!" You may hate it if you're a Cards fan, but there is nothing better than a Scully call on a dramatic game-ender from an electric player on his way back to elite form. Mercy, this is what it's all about, people.
Indians 4, Orioles 2: Welcome back, Grady Sizemore. In his first major league action since last summer, Sizemore goes 2 for 4 with a homer and a double, helping the Indians to the sweep of the previously-frisky Orioles and their 11th win in the past 13 games. They now go to Kansas City to face the Royals, who are themselves playing some fine baseball. Who knows how long it will last? Who cares? There are some great baseball fans in Cleveland and KC, and they friggin' deserve this.
Mariners 3, Royals 2: The M's cool off the streaking Royals. Literally streaking: Kila Ka'aihue ran naked from the Arrowhead Stadium ticket window all the way across the parking lot to the Kauffman Stadium players' entrance before the game. He did it on a bet with Alex Gordon, who now owes Ka'aihue lunch at Arby's for the next week. Don't go trying to confirm this in any newspaper reports, though, because the media is just a tool of The Man and they don't want you to know about such things.
Pirates 7, Reds 6: Edinson Volquez, once again, blew up in the first inning, allowing four runs to the Buccos. They should have him pitch a simulated inning down in the pen before the game actually starts. Jay Bruce came into the game hitting .224/.278/.327, but went 4 for 5 with a homer and 2 RBI.
Mets 3, Braves 2: The Braves had the bases loaded, a run in and no one out in the second inning and failed to score another run following a pop to short and then one of the more ill-advised squeeze plays I've ever seen. It resulted in a double play, with Tommy Hanson striking out and Eric Hinske getting nailed at the plate. What on God's green earth was Fredi Gonzalez thinking? But hey, at least it wasn't a close game or anything. Grrr. The Mets snap a seven-game losing streak.
Twins 4, Rays 2: Minnesota snaps a four-game losing streak. And they did it with the following lineup: Tolbert, Casilla, Kubel, Thome, Young, Cuddyer, Valencia, Holm and Repko. I'm pretty sure that at least three of those names were from the made-up players in Accolade's "Hardball Baseball" for the Commodore 64. Holm batted right behind Moose Lorenzen for the All-Stars I believe. Anyway, here's hoping this win doesn't give Ron Gardenhire any ideas about "playing the hot hand" or anything.
Yankees 6, Rangers 5: Adrian Beltre was a one-man wrecking crew for Texas (3 for 4, HR, 2B, 4 RBI), but the Yankees had more men. Homers from Granderson, Cano and Martin and then a string of hits off Arthur Rhodes in the eighth capped off by an Eric Chavez RBI single. Rangers' first base coach Gary Pettis was ejected in this one. You don't see that very often.
Nationals 8, Brewers 4; Nationals 5, Brewers 1: The Nats sweep the double header. In the first game twin three-run jacks for Danny Espinosa and Ivan Rodriguez helped the offense explode for its biggest day of the year so far, against Yovani Gallardo no less. Because of two rainouts Gallardo had a week between starts, so he may have been rusty. Livan Hernandez took care of business in the nightcap. Well, the afternoon-cap. One run and six hits allowed over seven innings for Livan. Espinosa starred again with a bases-loaded triple in the seventh, breaking the 1-1 tie.
Phillies 3, Marlins 2: Two of the Phillies' three runs were aided by Marlins blunders, with both Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard making it to third base after errors and then scoring on a single and a sac fly, respectively.
Angels 4, White Sox 2: And the sweep. Dan Haren goes to 4-0. The Angels are the hottest team in baseball. Bright side for Sox fans: the bullpen didn't blow one game in this series! Not that they ever had a lead to blow.
Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 1: A nice outing from Jon Lester and big hits from Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia give the Red Sox back-to-back wins for the first time this year. Tomorrow the Japanese pitcher faces the Canadian baseball team on Patriot's Day.
Padres 8, Astros 6: The Padres trailed 6-4 entering the 8th inning before putting up four on the back of some walks and some singles. A series split.
Diamondbacks 6, Giants 5: The Dbacks end the Giants' four-game winning streak. Stephen Drew had 3 RBI, including the game-winner on a single in the 12th.
Rockies 9, Cubs 5: Nine runs for the Rockies and not one of them were scored by or driven in by Troy Tulowitzki. Carlos Gonzalez certainly got his whacks in -- 4 for 5 with a double and a couple of RBI -- but this is no longer a two-man show in Colorado.
Athletics 5, Tigers 1: A dominant performance by Trevor Cahill salvages a split with Detroit. Cahill struck out nine and didn't walk anyone in eight innings. Seeing Cahill's strikeout rate jump like it has is one of the cooler things that has happened in baseball so far this year.
Craig writes the HardballTalk blog for NBC Sports.com