And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Athletics
3, Pirates 2
: Kurt Suzuki should have been out number three in the
eighth inning, but Pirates’ catcher Jason Jaramillo dropped a pop foul
and two pitches later Suzuki hit the game winning dinger. Losing like
that would be a total back breaker for Pirates fans if their bones
hadn’t been ground to dust as a result of the team’s futility already.

Yankees 8, Dodgers 6: Talk about a bullpen implosion. Jonathan Broxton blew a 6-2 lead in the ninth and then George Sherrill gave up the game-winning homer to Robinson Cano in the 10th as the Yankees take two of three from the Dodgers.

Orioles 4, Nationals 3: Break up the O’s! Four straight wins including a sweep of the, well, sure, why not, rival Nationals.  And they’re guaranteed not to lose tonight because they got the day off!

Indians 5, Reds 3: Shin-Soo Choo hit two bombs as the Indians win their first game since a week ago Friday. Matt LaPorta has been up and down, but this was his first start as the unequivocal starting first baseman. His functional debut: 0 for 4, two strikeouts and he grounded into a
double play. Excelsior!

Angels 10, Rockies 3: Brandon Wood hit a grand slam, and I still can’t
get used to seeing the name “Francisco
Rodriguez
” in the Angels’ box score and have it not be K-Rod. Each
time he shows up I think it’s 2008 again, both my kids are in preschool
and I still work at the law firm.

Padres 4, Marlins 2: Will Venable has had a number of key homers in the past week and his two-run job in the eighth yesterday turned out to be the game winner. What say you, Will?  “Yesterday he struck me out with three straight splitties so I knew I
had to be patient. He came with the splitties again and I
was able to go deep enough in the count that he was forced to try
something else and threw a fastball middle-in and I was able to get a
good swing on it.”  We comfortable with “splitties?” I don’t think I am, frankly.

Phillies 11, Blue Jays 2: Jamie Moyer gave up a homer and now owns the all-time record for dingers allowed all by himself, but as was the case with the start in which he tied the mark, he pitched damn well: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 7K. The Jays committed four errors leading to six unearned runs. The hometown fans probably didn’t like that one bit.

Diamondbacks 2, Rays 1: The Rays were no-hit on Friday and two-hit on Sunday. What’s more, they came close to engaging in fisticuffsmanship with each other in the process. Not a good weekend for Tampa Bay.

Mets 6, Twins 0: Homers from Frenchie, Wright and Ike were more than enough given Jon Niese’s six shutout innings and three additional zeros from the bullpen. With the Braves loss the Mets are once again knocking on the door in the East, a mere half game back.  The Twins, on the other hand, are a mere half game up on the Tigers after having lost seven of ten.

Tigers 10, Braves 4: Heyward, Strasburg and a bunch of other guys have gotten all the ink, but there may not be anyone having a better rookie year than Brennan Boesch. Boesch goes 2 for 3 with a homer and three RBI, and now sits at .338/.389/.621 on the season. It might be time for the Braves to worry about Tommy Hanson as the kid got shelled for the second straight start.  But hey, they get to face Stephen Strasburg tonight, so that’s fun.

Cubs 8, White Sox 6: The Chisox finally lose a game, but they had a little rally at the end to make it interesting for a bit. Four RBI for red-hot Tyler Colvin.

Brewers 3, Mariners 0: Chris Narveson shut out the M’s over eight innings. Every time I see his name I think of Kal Varnson. The Brewers should get a relievers named Pennypacker and Vandelay.

Royals 10, Cardinals 3: The Royals take two of three from the Cards after beating up on Jaime Garcia to the tune of five runs on four hits. Jose Guillen has a 21-game hitting streak going right now. Not that this makes him Superman or anything. The last Royal to have a hit streak this long was Rey Sanchez, and no one is carving his visage into any malleable metals. Also worth noting that 27 of his 31 hits during the course of the streak have been singles.

Rangers 10, Astros 1: Josh Hamilton has a 21-game hitting streak of his
own. His has more pop to it than Guillen’s, however, including a homer in the second inning last night that is still flying, I think. And while I like to think teams’ scouting is more sophisticated than this, you have to wonder if the fact that Roy Oswalt got lit up for eight runs on seven hits in four and two-thirds isn’t the kind of thing that’ll make the Rangers less likely to want him.

Red Sox 5, Giants 1: A 103-pitch complete game for Jon Lester with nine strikeouts. Tim Lincecum was knocked out after giving up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings. Big Papi hit one into McCovey Cove. According to the game story, it was picked up by a kayaker. With Barry gone, I’m surprised anyone still floats around out there. Oh, and because the Sox haven’t had enough injuries lately, Victor Martinez fractured his left thumb.

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.