And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Twins 8, White Sox 5: Juggernaut. Five wins in a row for the Twins and their 11th in 12 games after making short work of the White Sox. Minnesota is 42-16 since the All-Star break. Mark Buehrle after the game: “Obviously they came in and kicked our butt every which way.”

Cardinals 4, Padres 0: There go the Cards, beating a good team again after dropping a bunch of games to bad ones. I can’t remember a team this schizo. This loss, plus the Giants win, drops the Padres behind the Giants in the NL West by a half game. They, San Francisco and Atlanta are all tied up in the loss column, however, so the wild card is a giant cluster right now.

Giants 10, Dodgers 2: This is the win I was talking about. And get this: runs! The Giants hadn’t had a ton of these in recent games. Jonathan Sanchez struck out 12. Ted Lilly had his shortest start of the season, giving up two homers and lasting only three and a third. He is 0-3 in his last four starts and has allowed 19 earned runs and seven HRs over that time.

Diamondbacks 3, Reds 1: A getaway day loss for the Reds, combined with the Cardinals win, drops their lead to seven. The game story is full of Reds players talking about how they don’t need to worry about St. Louis much anymore, don’t need to watch the scoreboard, etc. I guess that’s probably true — the Cardinals don’t seem like a threat — but it seems a few games too early for that kind of talk to me.

Mets 6, Pirates 2: Mike Pelfrey picks up his 15th win. The Mets sweep Pittsburgh. It was their first four game sweep of any team in over four years, which is rather amazing to me.

Indians 3, Angels 2: A Shelley Duncan roller slipped out of Alberto Callaspo’s hands in the bottom of the 11th, allowing him to reach and allowing Trevor Crowe to score from third. Walkoff error, baby.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.