And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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Astros 7, Padres 2;
Look, between my two bloggy spaces and the water cooler at work I have
probably talked about Manny Ramirez more than anyone in the past couple
of weeks. And I’ll admit, my reasons for bringing him up are often
tenuous at best. But nothing I’ve written about the guy is as tenuous
as this bit from the game story, describing how a swarm of bees
descended on Petco Park in the ninth inning: “The bees arrived more
than 24 hours before Manny Ramirez makes his comeback from a 50-game
suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy, when the Los Angeles
Dodgers open a three-game series against San Diego on Friday night.”
Did anyone get Manny’s comment on the bees? Where does Plaschke stand
on all of this? I WANT TO KNOW, DAMMIT!

Mets 9, Pirates 8:
In town for a makeup game, the Mets overcome Tim Redding getting
shelled (2.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER), and then overcome K-Rod blowing the save
in the ninth (though he did vulture the win). Jerry Manuel: “We could
have just said, `Let’s pack up and head to Philly, it’s a short flight,
let’s get this out of the way.'” “They chose to fight and I thought
that was what was most impressive.” I don’t much like Jerry Manuel so I
appreciate that maybe I’m being too hard on him here, but really, could
your team have chosen to just pack it in, Jerry? Is that a potential
option in the current Mets universe such that their choice not to do so
is laudable?

Reds 3, Diamondbacks 2:
Joey Votto was the hero, going 4 for 6 and hitting the game winning
single in the 10th. The Dbacks have lost ten of twelve. They dead? Yep, they’re dead.

Cardinals 5, Giants 2:
Are we sure this was only a four game series? It feels like they’ve
been playing for two solid weeks. Anyway, Todd Wellemeyer offers a bit
of an F.U. to everyone in St. Louis who has been screaming for him to
be sent down or disappeared or shot or whatever (7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER,
6K). A couple of RBI for Ryan Ludwick who, according to Rick Sutcliffe
on Wednesday, needs to start hitting before Albert Pujols can expect to
start seeing anything to hit. It was a moderately useful insight the
first seven times he made it, but it declined in utility over the next
dozen or so times it was repeated.

Braves 5, Phillies 2:
The Bravos sweep the phirst place Phils, bringing them within two games
of first themselves. Or, put differently, making them three games more
likely to do some stupid deal to try and contend this year instead of
loading for bear in 2010. My view of things is that if they can contend
with what they have, wonderful, I’ll enjoy it. But any deal apart from
unloading Jeff Francoeur is probably a bad move. As for this game,
someone better check Bobby Cox for banned stimulants. He used 18
players in this one, and I don’t think he’s done that since Clinton’s
first term.

Mariners 8, Yankees 4:
Ichiro, Branyan and Chris Woodward of all people join in the Mariner
hit parade, ending the Yanks’ seven game winning streak.

Cubs 9, Brewers 5:
Derek Lee bangs in seven runs on a three run homer and a grand slam, as
the Cubs shell Greenbrier East alum Seth McClung. Stupid Greenbrier
East. Woodrow owns you, Spartans! Hells yeah!

Angels 5, Orioles 2:
Bobby Abreu flashes back several years and shows that yes, he is
capable of hitting home runs. Two actually. Meanwhile, John Lackey
flashes back to the non-2009 portions of his career to show that he can
still pitch like an ace (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 7K). Nothin’ much doin’ for
Baltimore outside of a Luke Scott home run. Game story: “Orioles’ 3B Ty
Wigginton replaced Melvin Mora in the lineup. Mora asked for the night
off after the trip to the West Coast.” OK. For what it’s worth, even my
old man sucks it up and plays through jet lag when he visits my brother
in San Diego, and he’s 65 and flies coach. What, Mora couldn’t have
gotten a few winks on the plane?

White Sox 4, Royals 1:
Bruce Chen? Really? In the same season the Royals ran Horacio Ramirez
out there? What, was Terrell Wade not available? Jung Bong won’t return
your calls, Dayton? Aw, don’t look at me like that, whaddaya gonna do,
ban me or someth—-

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.

Indians to move Danny Salazar to the bullpen

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MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.

Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.

Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.