And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Rays 5, Indians 2: Cleveland was done in yesterday by two homers for
Carl Crawford, a strong start from Wade Davis and a
sociopathic heel-turn from LeBron James
.  Cleveland is a tough city, though.  They handled a burning river. They handled the implosion of basically the entire economy. They handle about ten feel of snow every winter.  They’re hurt and angry today, but they’ll get over this. It takes a hell of a lot more than the vicissitudes of some rude young basketball player to keep Cleveland down.

Yankees 3, Mariners 1: Alex Rodriguez took well to his first night of no longer being sports’ most hated figure, hitting a two run RBI single in the ninth which proved to be the game winner.

Padres 7, Nationals 1: Mat Latos shut out the Nats over seven innings and went 2 for 3 with a home run. Four homers in all for the Padres.

Rockies 4 Cardinals 2: Look on the bright side Cardinals fans: the pen didn’t blow this one. And hey, you probably penciled in the Ubaldo Jimenez start as the one you’d drop in this series anyway, right?

Giants 9, Brewers 3: Nothing like a trip to Milwaukee to cure what ails an offense. The Giants busted out the whuppin’ sticks in sweeping the Brewers this week. Four RBI for Aubrey Huff and another home run for Buster Posey. Only bad part: Barry Zito was staked to a 6-0 lead but couldn’t even last the five innings necessary to claim the win.  The Z-man — which no one has ever called him to my knowledge, but why the hell not? — hasn’t won a game in a month.

Phillies 4, Reds 3: Both Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge blow leads in the late innings, but the pen held once the game went into extras and Philly won it on a walkoff bomb from Brian Schneider. Newly-named All-Star Joey Votto stayed hot, hitting a homer of his own.

Orioles 6, Rangers 4: A day after I give them the Detective Munch treatment the O’s show some friggin’ moxie. Down 4-0 in the fifth, Baltimore claws back. They had help in the eighth though, with Frank Francisco plunking a guy to load the bases, Darren Oliver coming in and  plunking the very next guy to force in a run and then walking the guy after that to force in yet another run. Oh, and Nolan Ryan is telling reporters he might not be the next owner of the Rangers now, so all in all a pretty craptacular day for Texas fans.

Astros 2, Pirates 0: I hit this one up yesterday, but suffice it to say that Roy Oswalt did nothing to discourage the many scouts following him around.

White Sox 1, Angels 0: Aaron hit this one up yesterday, but suffice it to say that Torii Hunter is not a happy camper.

Blue Jays 8, Twins 1: The Twins get bombed and are now two back of the Tigers and a game and a half behind Chicago.  Are they getting desperate to trade for Lee yet?

Dodgers 3, Cubs 2: Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 and Rafael Furcal went 3 for 3 with a homer and 2 RBI.  Fact from the game notes: “The Dodgers took a 1,019-1,017 lead in the all-time series between the
teams that began in 1890.” What people don’t know is that the Dodgers had a distinct advantage in the series for a while, but that in 1911 it began to even up when the Cubs called up a young starting pitcher named Jamie Moyer.

Diamondbacks 10, Marlins 4: Smallest crowd in Diamondbacks’ history at 16,664. The Marlins were impressed, though.  They can’t draw that on Free Money and Donuts Night.

Sean Doolittle: “Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans.”

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 25:  Sean Doolittle #62 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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In the past, we’ve commented on Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan’s community service. In 2015, the pair hosted Syrian refugee families for Thanksgiving and their other charitable efforts have included LGBTQ outreach and help for veterans.

Athletes and their significant others have typically avoided stepping into political waters, but Doolittle and Dolan have shown that it’s clearly no concern to them. In the time since, the Syrian refugee issue has become even more of a hot-button issue and Doolittle recently discussed it with Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

I think America is the best country in the world because we’ve been able to attract the best and brightest people from all over the world. We have the smartest doctors and scientists, the most creative and innovative thinkers. A travel ban like this puts that in serious jeopardy.

I’ve always thought that all boats rise with the tide. Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans. But if we include them, we can make the pie that much bigger, thus ensuring more opportunities for everyone.

Doolittle, of course, is referring to Executive Order 13769 signed by President Trump which sought to limit incoming travel to the United States from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. A temporary restraining order on the executive order was placed on February 3, a result of State of Washington v. Trump.

Doolittle spoke more about the plight refugees face:

These are people fleeing civil wars, violence and oppression that we can’t even begin to relate to. I think people think refugees just kind of decide to come over. They might not realize it takes 18-24 months while they wait in a refugee camp. They go through more than 20 background checks and meetings with immigration officers. They are being vetted.

They come here, and they want to contribute to society. They’re so grateful to be out of a war zone or whatever they were running from in their country that they get jobs, their kids go to our schools, they’re paying taxes, and in a lot of cases, they join our military.

Around this time last year, Craig wrote about Doolittle and Dolan not sticking to baseball. They’re still not, nor should they be. Hopefully, the duo’s outspokenness inspires other players and their loved ones to speak up for what’s right.

[Hat tip: Deadspin’s Hannah Keyser]

Russell Martin is not a fan of the automatic intentional walk

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Russell Martin #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts after being struck out in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game two of the American League Championship Series at Progressive Field on October 15, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
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On Tuesday, it was announced that Major League Baseball instituted a new rule allowing for a dugout signal in order to issue an intentional walk rather than having the pitcher throw four pitches wide of the strike zone. It’s commissioner Rob Manfred’s attempt to help improve the game’s pace of play.

As Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin is certainly not a fan of the change.

My thing is, if they really want to speed up the game, then when a guy hits a home run, to speed up the game should a guy, just like in softball, when he hits it, should he just walk to the dugout? It’d be quicker. I’m just wondering, at what point do we just keep the game, the game? Or, how about this calculation: take all the intentional walks that were made in the last couple years and calculate – or maybe just ask to see if they have that information, to see if they really did their homework. Is it really that important to speed up the game (with this rule)? Because how many games did we play last year where we didn’t have one intentional walk? That’s something I’d like to know.

Martin also expressed concern that eliminating the four-pitch intentional walk will hurt teams’ ability to buy time for their relievers to warm up.

It’s called getting your bullpen ready so the guy doesn’t blow out his arm on the mound. Speed up the game, speed up the game.’ How about we just give guys – the human being – time to warm up on the mound after maybe something’s happened in the game? I’m not a manager, but I’m just trying to put myself in the position of a manager. OK, we’re up by one run or two runs and our bullpen’s been taxed and we’re trying to save their arms, and then the other team walks, ball gets away, guy gets to second base. When the coach visits the mound to talk to his player, it’s not like the player necessarily needs somebody to talk to him.

It’s because the guy (in the bullpen) needs time to warm up, man. It’s the same thing when you throw over to first base, like, eight times in a row. It’s not like we’re trying to keep the guy close. The guy maybe has two stolen bases in 18 years. It’s because the guy needs time to warm up. At what point does that become a problem with guys warming up in the bullpen? Sometimes it’s just strategy to give guys a little bit of time to warm up.

The Jays’ backstop then said he’d prefer if Manfred were honest about the intent behind this rule change and others which have been proposed. Martin said, “Save it. I’m tired of hearing that same lame excuse all the time. Just be honest. If they’re honest about it, we’ll get over it. But don’t hide behind the fans.”

We should be hearing from a handful of players about the new intentional walk rule in the coming days. I can’t imagine the rule is very popular among the players.