And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Twins 6, Rangers 5: The coach-touching-the-runner interference call which ended this one is kind of nuts. Mostly because I can’t remember this even being talked about during a ballgame let alone ever having seen it. But it happened, Michael Young was out and the Rangers lost a game it looked like they were poised to at least tie up. My initial thought: even if there was contact here it was nothing of consequence, and did not “physically assist the runner in returning to or leaving third base,” which is what the contact needs to do per the rule in order to justify calling the runner out. In other words, it’s a judgment call, and the ump here, I think, judged it poorly.

All that said, how hilarious was it that third base coach Dave Anderson first yanked his hands back and then busted ass to get back inside the third base coach box as Young was running back to third? He knew they touched, and was trying his best to sell it that they didn’t. I still don’t think Young should have been called out, but maybe there’s a reason they have coaches boxes in the first place, huh?

White Sox 7, Red Sox 5: This is the game that sealed Papelbon’s non-tender this winter, right? Yeah, I realize that Richardson and Manuel walked in the go-ahead run and one to grow on, but they were Papelbon’s guys and the first rule of closing is not to put dudes on, right? Oh, and I’m guessing the White Sox are even angrier at that coach’s interference call in the Rangers-Twins game than the Rangers are. I mean, Texas basically has its playoff spot locked up. The Sox needed Minnesota to lose that one.

Cardinals 4, Reds 2: St. Louis took two of three, but is even that enough at this juncture? Chris Carpenter struck out 11. Matt Holliday hit the three-run bomb to put the Cards up for good. Future Braves centerfielder Colby Rasmus was 2 for 3.

Rockies 4, Padres 2: This is getting really hard to watch. Ten straight down, now the Giants are on the Padres’ heels and the Rockies — 4.5 back — aren’t far behind.

Giants 3, Dodgers 0: How close are the Giants? One game now thanks to a gem from Jonathan Sanchez (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 9K). A two run homer for Juan Uribe — his second of the series — but he had to leave the game because, right before his bomb, he fouled one off his leg. Check in with lar and the Tater Trot Tracker to see if Uribe’s trot was negatively impacted.

Mets 18, Cubs 5: An eighteen run outburst on getaway day. How fun do you suppose that flight to D.C. was for the Mets yesterday? Courtesy of the Crank: the Mets have scored 18 or more runs in games seven times in their glorious history. Four of those games were in Wrigley Field.

Marlins 7, Braves 6: I’m happy I spent my afternoon toiling in our basement crawlspace rather than going from angry (Marlins take 6-0 lead) to happy (Braves tie it up) to angry again (Marlins win it in the 10th). Although the crawlspace toiling sucks on several levels too. For one thing my legs are in flaming pain today from all of the crouching and lugging of stuff. For another, most of the lugging was of baseball cards, getting them out of the main part of the basement and into storage so I can make room for a treadmill and weight setup, which will put me in even more pain. Hell, maybe I should have just had a few beers and watched this mess of a game to begin with? In other news, I have way too many damn baseball cards.

Brewers 6, Phillies 2: Philly couldn’t take advantage of Atlanta’s stumble as Kyle Kendrick gave up a three-run bomb to Prince Fielder in the first inning and the Brewers never gave up the lead. Philly remains one behind the Braves.

Mariners 3, Indians 0: I felt pretty confident that Zack Greinke was going to win the Cy Young last year because his ERA and peripherals were so damn good that they had to overcome a lackluster win total that wasn’t his fault.  I’m less confident in Felix Hernandez pulling the same trick this year. Not because he’s not the best starter in the AL — he clearly is in my mind — but because the writers just ain’t gonna do the right thing twice in a row. Anyway, King Felix shut out the Tribe over eight and struck out nine dudes. He’s now 11-10 on the season, but he has 209Ks, has an ERA of 2.30, a WHIP of 1.09 and is going to finish with something like 250 innings pitched and fewer than 20 homers allowed.

Nationals 8, Pirates 1: Not all last place teams are created equal. Pirates starter Charlie Morton did lower his ERA from 10.03 to 9.66, though, so that’s a moral victory, right? Jason
Marquis refereed to himself in the third person after today’s game, describing his recent struggles thusly: “
That wasn’t Jason Marquis; it was Jason Marquis but pitching hurt, trying to battle through.” Craig doesn’t feel comfortable with a guy like Marquis doing that.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 3: Haven’t scanned the tabloids yet, so someone tell me if any of them have blamed the return of A-Rod for the Yanks’ winning streak getting snapped. I wouldn’t bet a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys that no one went there. I’d probably bet the pink slip to my car that they did.

Orioles 8, Rays 7: Rocco Baldelli hit a two-run homer in his first at bat of the season and three other Rays had dingers too, but they weren’t enough to stop Buck Showalter from snagging his 900th career win.

Royals 2, Tigers 1: Jim Leyland: “You’re not going to win any games normally with three hits.”  That’s why he makes the big bucks, folks.

Angels 7, Athletics 4: Anaheim salvages one after getting shut down on Friday and Saturday. Ervin Santana lowers ran his career ERA against Oakland to 1.80 ERA and improved to 12-3 against them lifetime.

Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2: From the AP recap: “Get rid of the first eight games of the season and the Houston Astros would be a .500 team.” Yeah, and if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his ass a-hoppin’. OK, that was harsh. I get the point — the Astros have been pretty good in recent weeks — but I like to whip out that “if a frog had wings” thing once or twice a year and I don’t think I’ve done it yet. I got another one about how my auntie would be me uncle if certain things were different, but this is a family blog so I’ll save that for when I usually use it: in conversations with my children.

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.