And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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White Sox 5, Rays 0: Nice game for Josh Fields (1-4, grand
slam). Scott Kazmir’s nightmare season continues. Rumors have him on
the trading block to free up some salary for the Rays to get Lee or
someone. What a difference a year makes. Wait, why are you looking at
me like that? Did something else happen in this game worthy of comment?

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: And with that, the AL Central is tied.
Perfect game juju gives the Sox the momentum, though (that’s how that
works, right?). And how about Jarrod Washburn? Walk a few less guys,
strike a few more guys out, and bammo — you’re ending July at 8-6 with
a 2.71 ERA.

Giants 5, Braves 1: It makes total sense that the Braves hit Tim
Lincecum like he’s Derek Lilliquist and then get shut down by Barry
Zito (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER). You’re not going to believe this, but Bobby Cox
was ejected. Strange, though. It was only about 80 degrees and the game
was tied. He usually saves that sort of thing for the really hot days
when the game’s outcome is no longer in doubt. Unlike almost all of his
other ejections it’s possible that he was really upset here.

Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: You can leave in a taxi. If you can’t get a taxi, you can leave in a Huff
(7.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER). If that’s too soon, you can leave in a minute and
a huff. You know, you haven’t stopped talking since I came here? You
must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

Phillies 9, Padres 4: It strikes me that a lot of that “but the Phillies need
Roy Halladay” talk implicitly assumes that Cole Hamels is going to
continue to be a 4.80ish kind of pitcher all year, and I can’t say I’m
sure why people think that. No, the Padres aren’t exactly a formidable
test, but I have this feeling that this fall’s Cole Hamels is going to
look an awful lot like last fall’s Cole Hamels.

Cardinals 4, Nationals 1: Rain put an end to this one early, as
the field became an unplayable mess. Tony La Russa on the conditions
and the grounds crew’s efforts: “You can’t try harder than that —
whether it’s the grounds crew or the umpire. Mother Nature is always
stronger than anybody.” I’d call that profound if I thought he believed
it. Let’s be honest: if there’s a manager in baseball who spends his
offseason building weather-controlling satellites and wishes to one day
destroy the sun itself, it’s Tony La Russa. The man is not exactly the
type to simply defer to nature or anything else. Pfun Pfact: Cards GM
John Mozeliak was on NPR yesterday afternoon being interviewed about
the fact that the team plans on taking the train from D.C. to Philly in
advance of tonight’s game, which is kind of cool. To get in the
era-of-train-travel mood they should all wear suits and smoke too.

Yankees 6, A’s 3: ESPN’s little “Fast facts” box
said “The Yankees came back from four runs down to win their seventh
straight game . . . New York trailed 4-0 before scoring four runs in
the fourth inning.” What happened? Did New York have to begin the game
with -1 runs for some reason, or was Oakland docked one?

Diamondbacks 11, Pirates 4: In a rare events, the Dbacks scored
a lot in a Dan Haren start. Unfortunately for Dan, most of the runs
came after he left the game, so he got a no-decision. Chad Tracy hit a
pinch-hit three-run homer that broke the game open. I have this feeling
that it will not, however, inspire the kind of ruckus Manny Ramirez’s
did the day before.

Angels 6, Twins 5: Howie Kendrick hit one up the middle in the
ninth that ricocheted off of Joe Nathan’s glove and then hit the second
base bag, preventing anyone from making what would have been a
game-ending play and allowing the tying run to score. Not a hell of a
lot you can do about that if you’re the Twins except to hope you don’t
miss the playoffs by one game this year and spend all winter thinking
about stupid bounces.

James Shields lasts only 2 2/3 innings, gives up 10 runs to the Mariners

SEATTLE, WA - MAY 31:  Starting pitcher James Shields #33 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on May 31, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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James Shields has had better afternoons. The Padres’ starter couldn’t make it out of the third inning on Tuesday, ultimately serving up 10 runs on eight hits and four walks with one strikeout in 2 2/3 innings. The Mariners plated one run in the first inning, six in the second, and three in the third against Shields.

The runs came via, in order: a Kyle Seager RBI single, a bases loaded walk to Robinson Cano, a Nelson Cruz two-run single, a three-run Seager home run, and a three-run Seth Smith home run. Things continued to get worse once Shields left, as reliever Luis Perdomo gave up a two-run home run to Franklin Gutierrez in the fourth to make it 12-0. In the fifth, Smith homered again with the bases empty, and Adam Lind later drilled a three-run shot, pushing the score to 16-0.

The White Sox were reportedly discussing a trade involving Shields with the Padres as recently as Sunday. Shields entered Tuesday’s start with a 3.06 ERA and a 56/23 K/BB ratio in 64 2/3 innings. Presumably, a team wouldn’t let one start affect its interest in a player, but Shields’ outing certainly doesn’t help.

Atlanta Braves trade reliever Jason Grilli to the Toronto Blue Jays

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 28: Jason Grilli #39 of the Atlanta Braves throws an eighth inning pitch against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field on May 28, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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Multiple reporters including Robert Murray of Baseball Essential, Mark Bowman of MLB.com and David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that the Atlanta Braves are trading reliever Jason Grilli to the Toronto Blue Jays for a prospect. Murray says the prospect is minor league reliever Sean Ratcliffe

Grilli is having a subpar year but was a more or less effective closer last season. For 2016 he’s got a 5.29 ERA in 21 appearances and has a K/BB ratio of 23/13 in 17 innings. Nice strikeout total, but oof those walks. Last year he saved 24 games for a bad Braves team and posted a 2.94 ERA, struck out batters at the same rate and walked many fewer. Maybe a change of scenery and an adjustment would do him good.

Ratcliffe was an 18th round pick in 2013 for Toronto. He has only played in rookie ball and low A. He hasn’t pitched yet in 2016. Nothing in his previous three seasons shouts “great prospect” but you never know.

Jose Bautista: Rougned Odor “tried a hundred percent to hit me in the face.”

ARLINGTON, TX - MAY 15:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers holds Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays after being punched by Rougned Odor #12 in the eighth inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 15, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is still convinced that Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor was “looking for a fight” on May 15, when the two teams butted heads at Globe Life Park. Bautista also believes he deserves credit for not hurting Odor.

Ostensibly, the Rangers were still salty about Bautista’s bat flip during the ALDS last year. In the last game of the series — and the clubs’ last regular season meeting — on May 15, pitcher Matt Bush hit Bautista in the ribs with a fastball. When Justin Smoak hit a ground ball prime for a double play attempt, Bautista slid hard into Odor receiving the feed at second base. Odor then punched Bautista cleanly in the face, and the benches emptied.

Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated has the quotes:

“Was [Odor] out to play baseball that day? Maybe partly,” Bautista told Verducci. “Part of me also thinks that he was looking for a fight.”

[…]

“I could have hit him,” Bautista said. “I could have hurt him. I chose not to. My cleats were down. I slid through the bag. Was it late? Yes, a hundred percent. But what can I do after they hit me? Should I ask my manager to let me pitch, which he is never going to let me do? Like, what am I supposed to do? Just sit there and take it?”

[…]

“I’ve been playing baseball for a long time,” Bautista said. “I know exactly what he was trying to do when he threw the ball. He tried a hundred percent to hit me in the face. And it’s not the first time he’s done it against me or some of my teammates. And there’s video to prove that.”

Bautista received a one-game suspension which was upheld upon review. Odor’s eight-game suspension was reduced to seven games which Bautista believes was “unfounded” and “unfair.”

What’s on Tap: Previewing Tuesday’s action

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 25: Starting pitcher Steven Matz #32 of the New York Mets works the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 25, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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Welcome back to normalcy. Most of us were treated to a three-day holiday weekend for Memorial Day. Hopefully you spent it doing what makes you happy.

We have two afternoon starts today between the Astros and Diamondbacks, and the Padres and Mariners. The focus tonight will be on the fading White Sox, losers of seven consecutive games. They lost three out of four to the Indians, were swept by the Royals in heartbreaking fashion, and lost Monday’s series opener to the Mets behind seven shutout frames from the struggling Matt Harvey.

In tonight’s 7:05 game at Citi Field, the White Sox have to contend with Steven Matz, who has been nothing short of brilliant in eight starts this season. The lefty owns a 2.36 ERA with a 50/9 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. In a rotation that has heavy star power in Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom, it’s easy to overlook Matz. Meanwhile, the White Sox will counter with Mat Latos. Latos got off to a great start, putting up a 0.74 ERA over his first four starts. In the five starts since, however, has a 7.09 ERA. The advanced stats made Latos’ fall to earth easy to predict — overall, he has a rather unimpressive 26/18 K/BB ratio — but he was giving the White Sox rotation longevity after Chris Sale and Jose Quintana.

The rest of Tuesday’s action…

Texas Rangers (Colby Lewis) @ Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber), 6:10 PM EDT

Boston Red Sox (Eduardo Rodriguez) @ Baltimore Orioles (Kevin Gausman), 7:05 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Joe Ross) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Aaron Nola), 7:05 PM EDT

New York Yankees (CC Sabathia) @ Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ), 7:07 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Gerrit Cole) @ Miami Marlins (Jose Fernandez), 7:10 PM EDT

San Francisco Giants (Jake Peavy) @ Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler), 7:10 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Scott Kazmir) @ Chicago Cubs (Jake Arrieta), 8:05 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals (Mike Leake) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Wily Peralta), 8:10 PM EDT

Tampa Bay Rays (Drew Smyly) @ Kansas City Royals (Dillon Gee), 8:15 PM EDT

Cincinnati Reds (Jon Moscot) @ Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray), 8:40 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers (Anibal Sanchez) @ Los Angeles Angels (Hector Santiago), 10:05 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Tyler Duffey) @ Oakland Athletics (Eric Surkamp), 10:05 PM EDT