And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Giants 7, Padres 3: Round one goes to the Giants, who pull to within one game of the lead. And they did it in an unexpected way for this team in this park: the long ball. Huff, Posey, Burrell and Uribe all went yard. Matt Cain — who has had some serious issues vs. the Padres recently — took a three-hitter into the ninth. He worked the corners and threw lots of strikes. Jon Garland didn’t have so great a night:  “Terrible, terrible, especially to start a series. I
guarantee you no person in San Diego feels worse than I do, and I get to
go home and sleep on it. It’s going to be a fun night.”  Poor, poor baby.  And he’s wrong anyway: my brother lives there, and he’s got kidney stones right now. He feels way, way worse.

Rockies 6, Reds 5: Colorado gains a game as well.  And they took the lead in this one in awesomely spectacular style.  Check it out. Reds pitcher Nick Masset was on some other planet on that play, it seems. Or was he? “Before I was about to throw that pitch, I was going to fake to third and go to first,” Masset said. What a shame. If that’s really true, it would have been the first time in recorded baseball history that the fake-to-third-throw-to-first play had ever worked.

Tigers 6, White Sox 3: Chicago is six back with 22 games to play. The only glimmer of hope they seem to have is that the Twins were 5.5 back with 22 to play last year and forced a tie. Countering that: unlike the 2009 Tigers, the 2010 Twins don’t seem like a team that is going to struggle down the stretch.

Cardinals 11, Braves 4: Braves fans may be the only people on the planet who don’t mind that the whole world was all Brett Favre-crazy last night, because this was some embarrassing stuff. Colby Rasmus was 4 for 4 with two homers and four RBI.  FOX’s Dayn Perry — a Cardinals fan — on Twitter last night: “Let’s hope that wasn’t Colby’s Braves audition.” I don’t care if he was joking. That’s the only thing that made me feel remotely good about this one.

Rangers 4, Blues Jays 2: Colby Lewis won for the first time in forever. Jose Bautista hit his 44th home run.

Astros 3, Dodgers 2: Yay! John Lindsey got to bat! He flied out to center while pinch hitting for Ted Lilly, but an at bat is an at bat. And he probably had a lot of family in the stands, as he’s from nearby Mississippi. Lindsey is about the only thing interesting or, at the very least, non-despressing about the Dodgers these days.

The National Anthem: an unwavering sports tradition . . . since the 1940s

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Associated Press
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There’s an interesting article over that the New York Times in the wake of the Colin Kaepernick stuff. This one is about the history of the National Anthem at sporting events.

The anthem is a fixture for as long as those of us reading this blog have been attending games and it’d be weird if it wasn’t there. But it hasn’t always been there, the Times notes. Indeed, it was not a regular fixture until 1942 when it was added for the obvious reason that we were at war. The other major sports leagues all adopted the anthem soon after. The NBA at the inception of the league in 1946 and the NHL in the same year. The NFL’s spokesman doesn’t mention a year, but notes that it’s a non-negotiable part of the game experience. The non-negotiability of it is underscored by the comment from the MLS spokesman who notes that they felt that they had no choice but to play the anthem when that league began play in the 1990s.

I like the anthem at ballgames. It just seems like part of the experience. I like it for its own sake, at least if the performance isn’t too over the top, and I like it because it serves as a nice demarcation between all of the pregame b.s. and the actual game starting.

But this¬†article reminds us that there is no immutable structural reason for the anthem at games. Other countries don’t play their own anthems at their sporting events. We don’t play it before movies or plays or other non-sports performances. It’s a thing that we do which, however much of a tradition it has become, is somewhat odd when you think about it for a moment. And which has to seem pretty rote to the actual ballplayers who hear it maybe 180 times a year.

Jeremy Jeffress will enter rehab after Friday’s DWI arrest

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 23:  Jeremy Jeffress #23 of the Texas Rangers pitches in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 23, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Texas 3-0.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images
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Rangers reliever Jeremy Jeffress was arrested on Friday for driving while intoxicated (DWI). According to a report from WFAA-TV in Dallas, Jeffress changed lanes without signaling and almost hit a car. While he was undergoing sobriety tests, he could not keep his balance or stand on one leg. His blood-alcohol content registered at .115.

Major League Baseball has opted not to suspend Jeffress as he has voluntarily chosen to check into an inpatient rehabilitation clinic, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. He’s expected to spend about a month at the clinic, which is based in Houston. There is still a possibility Jeffress can rejoin the Rangers in time for the postseason.

Jeffress issued a statement, which Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provided:

This is not the first time Jeffress has had trouble with substance abuse. He was suspended 50 games in 2007 after testing positive for a second time for a drug of abuse, which was marijuana. He tested positive again in June 2009 and was suspended 100 games. It was later revealed that Jeffress suffers from juvenile epilepsy and he was self-medicating with marijuana.

Hopefully, his time in rehab helps him recover from substance abuse. Substance abuse is an issue about which people have a shortage of empathy, especially when it comes to celebrities, including athletes.

The Rangers acquired Jeffress along with catcher Jonathan Lucroy from the Brewers at the August 1 trade deadline. They sent prospects Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and a player to be named to Milwaukee. In nine appearances with the Rangers, Jeffress has a 4.00 ERA and a 6/5 K/BB ratio.