Friday Night Fireworks in Cleveland, Texas and St. Louis

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In the minor leagues, Friday night fireworks are a staple in almost every city.  Last night the batters provided their version of Friday night fireworks in several big league cities. In Cleveland, before a generously announced crowd at 15,000 at what should still be Jacobs Field, the Mets unloaded early on and the Tribe staged a late attack that was held off by the Mets’ cavalry as the visitors won 6-5.  In the first, Michael Conforto hit a shot to open things up for the Flushing 9.  The Indians tied the game in the bottom half.  Things stayed as they were until the 5th when the Mets unloaded. First it was Alexander De Aza hitting a solo blast to make it 2-1.  With a runner on Yoenis Cespedes brought back “La Potencia,” the Cespedes of last year as he crushed one out of the lot.  The Cleveland starter was Cody Anderson.  It happens, one wing of our family has a dog named Cody. so, I said to my brother-in-law as we watched the game “Cody is on a short leash now.” And he was. A single by Lucas Duda got Cody out of there, not that his relief Ross Detwiler did him any favors. He served up a gopher ball to Neil Walker  who took it over the wall for a 6-1 Mets lead.  The Indians put up one in the fifth off their old teammate Bartolo Colon.  Antonio Bastardo, Hansel Robles and Addison Reed kept things quiet until the 9th when Reed faltered and gave up a home run with a man aboard making it 6-4 Mets.  Their closer Jeurys Familia was summoned.  A walk and two singles later it was 6-5 before the Mets finally got the final out of the game.

Mark Trumbo was the hero of the night in Texas.  His Orioles were behind 5-1 to the home standing Rangers as the 7th inning began. When the smoke cleared they had a huge lead and were on their way to an 11-5 win. Trumbo had homered the night before in an Orioles’ loss.  He hit one with a man aboard in the 7th to make it 5-3 Texas. Two more Orioles homered and two were aboard when Trumbo came up again and unleashed a 3-run shot into the Texas night. That made 5 RBIS in an inning, which no Oriole had done since 1984.  And never_ had an Oriole hit 2 home runs in an inning.  Not either of the Robinsons, Boog Powell, Eddie Murray, no Oriole of any era had done it. On Trumbo’s  first dinger of the inning, with the team still behind  Joe Angel, the Orioles’ radio play-by-play man went for a humorous approach.  He channeled his inner John Sterling and said “A TrumBomb, a Jumbo Trumbo!” Sterling in his declining years has seen a need to give nicknames to home runs, like “An A-Bomb from A-Rod,” or “Teixeira sends a Tex Message.”  Angel wasn’t playing for laughs by the time Trumbo uncorked his unprecedented second bomb in one inning.

In St. Louis, which will never be confused with Coors Canaveral, Baltimore, Texas or any other hitter-friendly park the Cardinals still managed to put 6 out of the lot in a 14-3 demolition of the Reds.  The Cardinals have never put 6 in one game out of the present Busch Stadium, and home runs haven’t come cheaply in St. Louis since the decaying Sportsmans’ Park was replaced by Busch Stadium with its vast dimensions and astroturf surface. It was a sad night for Tim Melville, a St. Louis area product who started for the Reds.  Walks and home runs were this Melville’s  Moby Dick. The voyage couldn’t have started worse for Melville, as he walked Matt carpenter and Jeremy Hazelbaker-the first two Cardinals to lead off the game.  He paid for this cardinal sin by giving up a 3-run home run to Matt Holliday, the ancient mariner of the Cardinals. Melville gave up another run but survived, and was thrown a lifeline when Joey Votto hit a 3-run home run in the third to make it 4-3 Cardinals. But a Yadiyer Molina double and a Colton Wong single set up a 3-run jolt by Aledmys Diaz and the rout was on. Holliday scorched another one, and both Matt Adams and Brandon Moss hit pinch-hit home runs.

Today’s earliest game would have been a great pitching matchup about 4 years ago.  King Felix Hernandez of the Mariners faces CC Sabathia of the Yankees.  Hernandez is still at the peak of his powers, which is frightening for the Yankees’ lineup which has looked so helpless that even Viagra wouldn’t do them a bit of good. He’s 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA since the Yankees moved into the new palace.   Meantime Sabathia has been brutal the past two years and provided an unwanted distraction before the wild card game by announcing he was going into alcohol rehab.

The Reds hope for the best as Brandon Finnegan faces Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.  Finnegan took a no-hitter into the 7th against the Cubs but got no decision. Wainwright is a starter again after losing most of last year to a ruptured Achilles tendon. The Rockies’ Christian Bergman has an unenviable task as he faces Jake Arietta at Wrigley.

Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado is 25 today. He led the league in RBIS and tied for the league lead in home runs in 2015, which was his first All-Star season. He was a high school teammate of the Yankees’ Austin Romine in California. He would have gone to Arizona State, as Reggie Jackson did decades ago but a second-round draft selection by the Rockies trumped that. He made the show in 4 years, relatively short for a high school draftee. He was in the All-Star futures game twice-in 2011 and 2012.  I don’t know of anybody to make two appearances in that game. His brother Jonah is a Giants’ minor leaguer as of this writing.

Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy is 61.  He played with the Astros, Mets and Padres as a catcher between 1978 and 1987. He managed the Padres from 1995 to 2006 and has skippered the Giants since 2007, winning 3 World Series’ in the process. He was the Padres’ backup catcher on their 1984 World Series team and their manager when they made the postseason in 1996, 1998, 2005 and 2006. Born in France where his dad was stationed, Bochy is the first European-born manager to reach, and then to win the World Series.

A Boston battery have birthdays today.  Catcher Bob Montgomery is 72 while Jim Lomborg is 74. Lomborg is best known for his heroics in the 1967 World Series, bravely pitching on very short rest in game 7 in defeat.  Montgomery joined the Sox 3 years later and lasted until 1979, then becoming a broadcaster.  He was at the TV microphone when Roger Clemens struck out 20 Mariners on April 29, 1986.

Hall of Famer Paul Waner, “Big Poison,” was born this day in 1903 and died in 1965. Between 1926 and 1945 he put up a .333 average and over 3100 hits. Once All-Star games began he was selected 4 times, starting with the first midsummer classic in 1933. He put up 3 batting titles and an MVP as a Pirate.  He was a  year early for their  1925  World Series but was there in 1927 when they lost in 4 to the Yankees. playing right field He was “Big Poison,” while his little brother Lloyd,  next to him in center field was “Little Poison.” They just don’t make nicknames like that anymore.


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