And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Braves 15, Mets 2: Brian McCann hit a three-run homer in the second inning after five runs had already scored. And guess what: THE BRAVES DIDN’T SCORE ANOTHER RUN IN THAT INNING AFTER THE HOMER. They’re rally-killers, dude. Avoid the home run at all costs. Bright side for Mets fans: Bobby Parnell didn’t get near that 85 pitch count they’re saying he’s on: he was in the showers after 71 thrown in three innings.

White Sox 4, Royals 2: Jose Contreras allowed one run and three hits in seven innings, struck out eight and walked only one. Zack Greinke only allowed six hits himself — and three of them were rally-killing home runs — but Greinke lost anyway.

Phillies 8, Diamondbacks 1: Cliff Lee (CG 2 H, 0 ER, 11K) is like a one-man army, like Charlton Heston in “Omega Man.” You ever see it? Beauty.

Pirates 3, Brewers 1: Paul Maholm is basically indestructible. In the fourth inning. Mike Cameron hit a liner off Maholm’s pitching arm and it bounced off right to the second baseman, who threw Cameron out. In the eighth inning, Alcides Escobar hit one off of Maholm’s shin, and he too was thrown out on the play. Maholm stayed in the game for another batter after that and was lifted, but it was for cause (he was tired; he gave up a single late) not injury. Final line: 7.2 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, a couple of giant bruises when he wakes up this morning.

Rays 3, Orioles 1: Three solo homers and a solid start by Jeff Niemann. You know, I don’t want to give any false hope here, but the Orioles are not out of the Bryce Harper race yet, sitting back of Washington a scant 4 games in the loss column as the bulldog goes to press.

Mariners 3, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander struck out ten and deserved a better fate, but Ian Snell + the Seattle bullpen pitched a little better. I’ve mentioned this before, but absolutely hate this kind of comment in a game story: “Verlander now has 204 strikeouts, making him the first Tigers pitcher to reach 200 since Jeremy Bonderman in 2006.” Really? All the way back to 2006? Here’s a suggestion: let’s make all such callbacks be required to stretch back at least five years. Like “Verlander is the first Tigers pitcher whose last name starts with a V since Andy Van Hekken’s September callup back in 2002.

Angels 3, Indians 0: Jered Wever shuts down the Indians (CG SHO, 7 H). The Angels are 24-8 since the All-Star break and have won five in a row. Game story: “A light rain sent fans scurrying for cover in the seventh inning as the teams kept playing. It stopped about 15 minutes later.” If I didn’t know better, pardner, I’d say that you was callin’ Clevelanders yella!

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1: If, a month ago, I would have told you that would Buchholz beat Halladay in this game, you would have assumed that the Jays won, wouldn’t you have?


Giants 1, Reds 0: Barry Zito and three relievers combine to shut
out the Reds. The Giants’ only run came when Wladimir Balentien tried
to lay out for a diving catch on Nate Schierholtz’s hit to the outfield
— missed it — which allowed Edgar Renteria to score.

Rockies 5, Nationals 4: Carlos Gonzalez won’t stop hitting home runs.

Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2: Adam Wainwright was throwing a no-hitter
into the sixth inning but ended up getting a no decision. The Dodgers
lead in the west is now only 3.5 games over Colorado. Yikes.

Cubs 7, Padres 1: The Cubs, behind Rich Harden’s seven innings of one-hit shutout ball, wake up to salvage one game of the series.

Yankees 3, Athletics 2: Teixeira hit a two-run homer and Derek
Jeter stays hot. After a day off today, they’re in Fenway for the
weekend with a chance to bury the Red Sox for good, one would think.

Astros 6, Marlins 3: Facts that are neat but kinda mean nothin’
department: The Marlins have had ten hits for fifteen straight games,
which is the longest such streak in baseball since the St. Louis Browns
did it in 1937. Ten hits combined with sixteen stranded runners and
three errors gets you a loss, however.

Twins 5, Rangers 4: Pudge got a big ovation, then went 3 for 4
with an RBI and run scored in his first game with the Rangers. He
couldn’t handle a throw in a play at the plate in the sixth, however,
which allowed the winning run to score.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.