And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 8, Indians 2: I keep hitting refresh on the scoreboard but nothing changes so, apparently, this is correct and the Royals actually won a game.  Billy Butler hit two homers as Kansas City beat up on Ubaldo Jimenez.

Mets 5, Marlins 1: David Wright hit a two-run homer, giving him 735 RBI in his career, which pushes him past Darryl Strawberry for the all-time Mets RBI crown. Strawberry needed around 300 fewer plate appearances to do it. Wright, however, was not coked out of his mind, so this is really an apples-oranges comparison.

Rangers 7, Yankees 3: Phil Hughes is a wreck. He gave up four runs in two and two-thirds, bringing his year to 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA while allowing 26 hits and six walks in 16 innings.  That is … not acceptable. Adrian Beltre seems to be feeling just fine: 3 for 5 with a homer and 3 RBI.

Reds 4, Giants 2: Barry Zito had a shutout going through six, but then Scott Rolen hit a homer, the bullpen came into play again, bad defense went down and the Giants laid another egg in Great American Ballpark, where they have dropped seven straight.

Nationals 7, Padres 2: Washington continues to cruise behind great starting pitching. The Nats, overall, are 14-4. The starters are 8-2 with a 1.71 ERA with 103 strikeouts and only 22 walks.

Mariners 9, Tigers 1: Felix Hernandez was Felix Hernandez (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), but for once he got run support. Imagine. Detroit has lost five of six.

Rockies 2, Pirates 1; Pirates 5, Rockies 1: I wrote up the first game yesterday (short version: tough luck for James McDonald). In the nightcap, the Bucs rode a five-run fifth inning — complete with Pedro Alvarez’s second homer of the day — to earn the split. I guess the Rockies earned the split too by losing the second game, but we tend not to ever say that for some reason.

Phillies 7, Diamondbacks 2: Cole Hamels drove in two runs with an RBI single. Oh, and he also pitched a little (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 7K).

Cardinals 5, Cubs 1: Lance Lynn — who wasn’t even gonna be in the rotation before Chris Carpenter’s shoulder went wonky — now leads all of baseball with four wins following yet another strong outing. David Freese hit a two-run homer and an RBI double. The Cards avoid the sweep.

Orioles 3, Blue Jays 0: Jason Hammel, who came over from Colorado in the Jeremy Guthrie deal, said after the game “I am still learning a new league and seeing what everybody else is doing.” Mostly they’re busy not hitting Jason Hammel. Hammel tossed seven four-hit shutout innings. He’s 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA on the season. Matt Lindstrom worked a perfect eight inning and has still yet to give up a run on the year. He too came over in the Guthrie deal.

Astros 7, Brewers 5: His name is Jose Altuve.  And he’s the man whose big day helped Houston beat the Brewers for the first time in 12 tries.

Rays 3, Angels 2: I am the conductor of the Don’t Worry About Albert Pujols Because He’s Gonna Be Just Fine Orchestra, but it is probably still worth noting that he’s 0 for his last 19. C.J. Wilson struck out 11 in seven innings. But dude, when your offense goes 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, good is not good enough.

Athletics 5, White Sox 4: Someone tweeted at me yesterday and asked why I don’t have many funny or insightful things to say in White Sox recaps. Well, when the team in question goes 13 innings in a 2-2 game, takes a two run lead in the 14th and still end up losing, well, that sort of limits my options. Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer in the 14th and Kila Ka’aihue hit the game-winning single a few minutes later. That erased Alexei Ramirez’s go-ahead two-run double in the top of the 14th. It also rendered Paul Konerko’s 400th career homer a mere footnote.

Red Sox 7, Twins 6: Not news: Clay Buchholz stunk (5.1 IP, 10 H, 1 ER). News: The Sox’ bullpen shut the opposition down. And they did it by committee: six relievers combined to throw the last three and two-thirds, allowing no runs. Although the ninth inning did get dicey, as Alfredo Aceves loaded the bases on a walk, a single and a hit batsman before striking out Denard Span to end it.

Braves 4, Dodgers 2: L.A. took a 2-1 lead into the ninth but then the Braves hit five straight singles — including those of the RBI variety by Dan Uggla, Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward — to rally Atlanta.  Jones, in addition to the go-ahead RBI — made a couple of solid plays at third base and didn’t seem at all like a creaky 40 year-old on a retirement tour. He said:

“I was like a school kid out there. I mean, that’s what you play the game for — moments like that.”

Great. Now he’s Brett Favre. See you in spring training next year, Chipper.

Miguel Cabrera has two herniated discs in his back

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Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera underwent an MRI which revealed two herniated discs in his back, MLB.com’s Jason Beck reports. With six games remaining in the season, if Cabrera plays again, it will be as a designated hitter.

The back issues shed a lot of light on Cabrera’s uncharacteristically subpar season. He’s batting .249/.329/.399 with 16 home runs and 60 RBI in 529 plate appearances this season. He carries an adjusted OPS of 92, which is eight points below the league average and 14 points below his previous career low set in 2003 with the Marlins.

Cabrera, 34, is signed through 2023 and is owed a minimum of $192 million through the end of his contract.

MLB managers weigh in on anthem protests

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No other Major League Baseball player has taken a knee during the National Anthem since Athletics’ catcher Bruce Maxwell‘s protest on Saturday night. The demonstration was sparked by President Donald Trump’s call for the boycott of the National Football League and the firing of any player who chose not to stand during the anthem. The comments drew harsh criticism from many NFL players, coaches and owners and more than a few in MLB have also lended their support. There is still one game left to play on Sunday, but it’s unclear whether any of Maxwell’s league-mates will show their solidarity by refusing to stand as well.

Given a baseball culture that tends toward conformity more often than not, it seems unlikely. But it’s something league managers are prepared for — even if they don’t all agree with the demonstrations themselves.

White Sox’ skipper Rick Renteria specifically addressed Maxwell’s protest on Sunday, speaking to the league’s policy of inclusivity:

None of the White Sox knelt prior to their series finale against the Royals. Neither did members of the Pirates or the Cardinals, though St. Louis manager Mike Matheny and Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington both weighed in on the situation.

Matheny called the president’s comments “hurtful” and, like the Cubs’ Joe Maddon, appeared content to leave the decision to protest up to each player.

The Pirates, meanwhile, took a firmer tone. “We appreciate our players’ desire and ability to express their opinions respectfully and when done properly,” GM Huntington told Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “When done appropriately and properly, we certainly have respect for our players’ ability to voice their opinion.”

Just what the Pirates consider “appropriate and proper” protocol was left up in the air, and club president Frank Coonelly offered no further insights in a separate statement to the press. Setting strict parameters for players to voice their opinions kind of puts them in a gray area, one they’ll have to clear up should someone elect to protest in the days to come, either with a bent knee and a hand over their heart or in some other fashion.

Equally ambiguous were comments from Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts, who claimed to oppose the movement for personal, if misguided reasons, but also respected the right of his players to make an “educated” statement in protest.

The Indians’ Terry Francona took what was perhaps the most balanced approach of the entire group:

“It’s easy for me to sit here and say, ‘Well, I think this is the greatest country in the world,’ because I do,” Francona told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. “But, I also haven’t walked in other people’s shoes. So, until I think, not just our country, but our world, until we realize that, hey, people are actually equal — it shouldn’t be a revelation — and the different doesn’t mean less. It’s just different. We’ve got work to do.”

These may all be moot points. Maxwell may be the only player to formally protest Trump’s comments, despite the good intentions of his teammates and fellow players around the league. Others may feel too ambivalent, threatened or uncomfortable to protest what the A’s catcher referred to as a “racial divide,” especially in a way that is routinely perceived as unpatriotic.

Even if the protests made by NFL players and Bruce Maxwell fail to gain momentum, however, the underlying issues they speak to are not going away anytime soon. Here, then, is where MLB managers can help foster a more inclusive environment throughout the league, not only by showing respect for a player’s decision to stand against racism but by actively partnering with those who do so. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a start.