About Last Night: Don’t Mess With Texas

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In case you were busy consolidating power by any means necessary to be prepared for the upcoming console wars, here’s what you missed in sports on Tuesday:

  • In a series filled with future Hall of Famers, it was the play of Gary Neal and Danny Green, who scored a combined 51 points while going 13-for-19 from beyond the arc, that led the San Antonio Spurs to a 113-77 win over the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Somewhere out in the vast expanses of America, a curmudgeonly sports reporter sitting on his porch licks two fingers and holds them aloft. “The winds are turning again,” he says to himself with a wry smile. “Oh, LeBron, your time has come.” And the words will start coming together in his head, but he’ll need a deeper source of inspiration. “Honey, can you throw some pretzels in a bowl?,” he’ll yell back into his two-story Craftsman home. “And throw some popcorn in there, too. And maybe some fish that hasn’t been deboned.” And his wife will pop her head out of the screen door and ask, “Is this what I think it is?” And he’ll nod sagely, and whisper “choking season.” And she’ll ask if he’s sure, and he won’t turn to face her, but will say again, “LeBron choking season,” and his words will be taken by the wind, and his wife will know that he’ll be up working late, divining the perfect phrase to describe how the psychology of the world’s greatest basketball player will always betray his talent. And the wind will sing “chokeastrophic” as it swirls through the branches of the oak trees of America. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll get our values back.
  • Jozy Altidore and Eddie Johnson both scored as Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. men’s national team got a critical 2-0 win over Panama in Seattle as they moved atop the CONCACAF standings for World Cup qualifying. The match was the most complete effort by the USMNT during Klinsmann’s tenure, leading the crowd to chant, “Klinsmann, a plan, a canal, pan nam snilk,” in an ill-conceived attempt to honor the former German striker through palindrome.
  • Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig and star pitcher Zack Greinke were both hit by Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy in a 5-3 Dodgers win more notable for its chippiness than the quality of the game itself. Former Dodger legend and current Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson was among six ejected in the second of two bench-clearing scrums, leading Dodgers announcer Vin Scully to exclaim, “High-flying fist, into [Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire’s] right cheek. He is gone!” Then after an extended silence, Scully added, “In a game that has been so improbable … the impossible has happened!”
  • In a battle of former Cy Young winners, Bartolo Colon and the Oakland A’s beat CC Sabathia’s New York Yankees, 6-4, at O.co Coliseum. Colon threw six scoreless innings as he somehow manages to stave off the effects of age and an unathletic physique to remain inexplicably among the most dominant pitchers in baseball years after his prime should have ended. If only there were any clues as to what might be behind this mystery! How does he do it? If only the whole world could share in his secrets! He would be a hero.
  • India advanced to the semifinal at the ICC Champions Trophy ODI event, behind a redemptive effort from Ravindra Jadeja as they beat the West Indies 236 for 2 to 233 for 9. India will advance to the semifinals of the event, while the Windies will have to beat South Africa in their final group-stage match to make a similar advancement. With the caliber of bowlers that the Windies brought to the tournament, they surely have a chance against a South African side that also struggled against India but — OH IT’S SO HARD FOR ME TO WRITE ABOUT CRICKET. How little I still know! Why is the word “for” in the scoreline? This ICC Champions Trophy ODI event shall surely be my undoing!
  • Former no. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole threw 6⅓ quality innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants, 8-2, at PNC Park. Cole’s emergence buoys the upstart Pirates, who rank as one of this season’s biggest surprises, having amassed a 38-26 record despite playing in the competitive NL Central. “Are we terrified?” asked Pirates manager Clint Hurdle rhetorically. “Absolutely. The better we play the deeper the fear. I mean, everything seems to be going a little too well, doesn’t it? Like, we’re about to get a series of massive injuries, or a flash-bang is going to go off in our locker room and all of our hitters will be rendered blind, or perhaps we’ll be set upon by actual pirates while driving on the team bus. I told all the guys to make arrangements with their families and financial advisers, just in case, but they’re young, naive, and have no idea what it’s like when a Pittsburgh Pirates team goes on a run like this.”
  • North Carolina became the final team to qualify for the College World Series in Omaha, as the top-seeded Tar Heels beat South Carolina, 5-4, in its Super Regional matchup. “It was a tough win, and we know they view our actions as some sort of Northern aggression,” North Carolina manager Mike Fox said after the game. “But we’re not going to repeat the mistakes of the past. We’re going to go in there and make sure their team is properly reconstructed. We have a commitment from top recruit Jack Flaherty next year, but we’re urging him to sign when he’s drafted. We are going to eat pancakes, and not turn pancakes against [South Carolina infielder Joey] Pankake. Again, we don’t want this North/South divide to rip our baseballing brotherhood asunder, and we know what equality means for the preservation of our union.”
  • The Seattle Mariners beat the Houston Astros, 4-0, at Safeco Field, as Aaron Harang got his AL-leading second shutout. Wait, hold on … Aaron Harang? The Seattle Mariners beat the Houston Astros, 4-0, at Safeco Field, as Aaron Harang got his AL-leading second shutout. Seriously, guys, I’m sorry, but that can’t be right. Let me try again. The Seattle Mariners beat the Houston Astros, 4-0, at Safeco Field, as Aaron Harang got his AL-leading second shutout — No, no! That’s wrong! That’s impossible. Aaron Harang cannot be tied for the American League lead with multiple shutouts. He came into this game with a 6.70 ERA. I’m going to do this one more time, and I swear, fingers, if you fuck with me again I’m taking you all downtown. The Seattle Mariners (good so far, that’s a baseball team) beat the Houston Astros (still good, the Astros are also a baseball team and are somewhat inferior to the Mariners, suggesting that result is a likely one), 4-0, at Safeco Field (a very possible scoreline for two offensively inept teams playing at Safeco Field, which remains a depressed run-scoring environment) as Aaron Harang (he’s a person, no controversy there, but I don’t like where this is going) got his AL-leading (we’re entering a zone of danger, fingers, but we’re still OK as he could be leading any number of categories that suggest a pitcher struggling with his inevitable physical decline) second shutout — NO! NO! I WARNED YOU, FINGERS! OWWWWWWWW. y did i hurt own fingers now type feel bad.

Filed Under: About Last Night, Arizona Diamondbacks, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Heat, NBA Finals, New York Yankees, North Carolina, Oakland A's, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Antonio Spurs, San Francisco Giants, South Carolina, Zack Greinke

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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