And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Phillies 8, Marlins 7: First place. Homers from Howard, Ibanez and Victorino and a go-ahead single from Placido Polanco in the eighth put the Phillies in the catbird seat for the first time since May 30th.

Pirates 5, Braves 0: The Pirates have allowed more runs than any team in baseball this year, yet the Braves have scored just one run in eighteen innings this series. No offense to the Pirates intended, but if you get your ass handed to you by the Pirates pitching staff the way the Braves have these past two games, you don’t deserve to sniff the playoffs, let alone contend for them.

Orioles 6, Yankees 2: And while it’s nowhere near as bad getting beat by the resurgent Orioles, Yankees fans have to be feeling much the same as Braves fans this week. Jake Arrieta (6.1 IP, 8 H, 2 ER) stifles the Bombers as CC Sabathia is denied his 20th win as the Orioles take another from New York.

Rays 14, Red Sox 5: Five homers for the Rays, who break their losing streak and pull to within one and a half of the Yankees. The bad Dice-K showed up and nibbled. David Price did his usual “walk a lot of guys and pitch relatively inefficiently yet still get the win” thing.

Tigers 9, White Sox 1: The winning streak ends, and how. Freddy Garcia — who has been a Tiger killer lately — had to leave the game early with a bad back. Someone should have told him that when you go out tiger hunting — in case of accidents — you should always bring your mum.

Twins 10, Royals 3: That’s the thing about the Twins: no matter how much the Sox have surged, Minnesota has surged right along with them and have always seemed to take advantage of Chicago’s missteps. Delmon Young and J.J. Hardy combined to drive in seven.

Rockies 4, Reds 3: A three-run bomb from Carlos Gonzalez helps the
Rockies win their fifth straight. I had previously all but handed the
MVP to Joey Votto, but Gonzalez has thrust himself into the conversation
with his — and his team’s — white-hot run of late.

Padres 2, Dodgers 1: But the Rockies are going to have to catch the
Padres for that to happen, I think, and that’s hard when Mat Latos
pitches like this (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 10K).  The Dodgers, by the way, are
snoozing their way towards the end of the season. Nice career and
everything, Joe Torre, and we’ll see you in Cooperstown soon, but you
need to go.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 3: Tim Lincecum helps the Giants keep pace, mowing down 11 batters while giving up three runs through six and
two-thirds. Homers from Huff, Sanchez and Burrell.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 2: Trevor Hoffman gets his 600th save. Great for Hoffman, who has definitely seen some bad times this season. Oh, and home plate umpire Bob Davidson ejected a fan in this one, which is something you don’t see every day. I’d be inclined to rip Davidson because he’s almost always wrong about everything, but word buzzing around the Internets last night was that the fan who was ejected was being abusive to Yadier Molina all night and was probably drunk. It’s a shame that the ump had to take care of his good-for-nothin’ ass instead of an usher or other ballpark personnel.

Astros 7, Cubs 3:
Carlos Silva’s return didn’t go too swimmingly (5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER).
Nelson Figueroa gets the win. Why don’t I remember him coming to
Houston, though? I mean, I know I saw him in Mets camp down in Port St.
Lucie, and I remember the Phillies picking him up briefly, but the
Astros? In some ways it’s been a very long season.

Blue Jays 8, Rangers 5: Two homers for Vernon Wells, as the Jays take it to the reeling Rangers. The way all the other first place teams are playing lately, I should probably just call a Twins-Phillies World Series right now.

Mets 4, Nationals 1: Mets starter Dillon Gee took a no-hitter into the sixth in his major league debut. It’s been eight hours since this game ended and I’ve already heard too many “Gee!” puns. Next person who does it is gonna get fined.

Indians 6, Angels 1: The Angels look so lifelike lying in that box. Still, when I go, I’d prefer to be cremated, because ceremonies like this are so awkward. Oh well. Let’s go to the widow’s house. I hear there will be cold cuts and casseroles.

Mariners 7, Athletics 5: Compared to how they’ve been going, a seven run night for Seattle is equivalent to [tapping calculator keys while wearing green eye-shade . . .] 125 runs.

Billy Butler on altercation with Danny Valencia: “We had equal faults in this.”

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 24: Billy Butler #16 of the Oakland Athletics celebrates a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning to regain the lead against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum on July 24, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Don Feria/Getty Images)
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On Friday, Athletics teammates Billy Butler and Danny Valencia were involved in a clubhouse altercation that started when Butler told an equipment representative that Valencia was wearing off-brand spikes during games. Valencia didn’t like Butler’s interference, potentially costing him an endorsement deal, so he punched Butler in the temple, causing a concussion.

Neither player had said much to the media about the incident, but Butler finally addressed the issue on Wednesday. MLB.com’s Mark Chiarelli reported Butler’s comments:

“This was something that could’ve been prevented on both sides,” Butler said. “We had equal faults in this. I definitely said some things that you shouldn’t have. I definitely stepped in an area where it wasn’t my business.”

[…]

“By no means do I think his intentions were to give me a concussion,” Butler said. “This is me addressing my faults and what I took away from the team.”

[…]

“To say that we’re enemies is not right,” Butler said. “To blame this all on one side is not right either.”

Butler also apologized to his teammates. “I would like to apologize for putting [my teammates] through this because they didn’t deserve this. This was an issue between me and Danny. To be fair for them, they didn’t deserve this. The coaching staff didn’t deserve this. The organization didn’t deserve this,” he said.

Butler is making progress in his recovery from his concussion. He’ll travel with the team to St. Louis to open up a three-game series against the Cardinals starting on Friday. If he passes his concussion protocol test, the Athletics will put him back on the active roster from the seven-day concussion disabled list.

Report: Pablo Sandoval has lost 22 pounds during his rehab

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports that Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval has lost 22 pounds during his rehabilitation after undergoing shoulder surgery in early May. Weight has been the top subject of conversation regarding Sandoval ever since he showed up to spring training and an unflattering photograph was published by the Boston Globe.

Sandoval had a miserable spring training, batting .204 in 49 at-bats and lost out on the starting third base job to Travis Shaw. He went hitless in seven regular season plate appearances before landing on the disabled list with a sprained left shoulder, which ultimately required reconstructive surgery.

Sandoval is still under contract through at least 2019, earning $17 million next season, and $18 million in ’18 and ’19. His controlling club has a $17 million option with a $5 million buyout for 2020 as well. It’s hard to see Sandoval fitting into his current club’s future plans, but it will be tough for the Red Sox to get rid of him without eating a significant portion of his remaining contract.