Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 8, Royals 3: Alex Rodriguez would like the New York sporting press to write more career obituaries for him. It seems to suit him nicely (2 for 4, 2 HR, 3 RBI).

Reds 2, Braves 1: Todd Frazier hit a walkoff homer. It came off  Cristhian Martinez because, as everyone knows, Fredi Gonzalez would be drummed out of the managers’ guild if he had actually used his best reliever in a tie game in the ninth inning. The Reds are surging, winners of five straight.

Rays 5, Blue Jays 4: Another walkoff, this one a double from B.J. Upton (a.k.a. “Flash”)  in the 11th.

Mets 3, Pirates 1: Jon Niese allowed one run in 7 and two-thirds, bouncing back from some craptastic starts.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 5: Daniel Nava and Kelly Shoppach hit sixth-inning homers, breaking what had been a 2-2 tie. The Sox are back to .500 and they took two of three from the first place O’s.  Now, if form holds, they’ll cruise into first place for the bulk of the summer and then everyone can write some “will they collapse again?” stories in late August.  Nice to have the summer planned out like that, yes?

Phillies 4, Nationals 1: Cole Hamels was on-point, taking a no-hitter into the sixth, shutting out the Nats for eight innings and ending the Phillies losing skid. And no, no one threw at anyone or otherwise acted like a jackwagon.

Cardinals 6, Padres 3: On a night when I watched the Cardinals double-A team beat the Padres double-A team, the Cardinals major league team beat the Padres, well, sure, I suppose we can call them a major league team. They had a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but that was all they’d get. Carlos Beltran hit his 14th home.

Diamondbacks 11, Dodgers 4: If you have to end your winning streak, end it big. The Dbacks had 14 hits. Willie Bloomquist of all people had three. Joe Saunders struck out seven.

White Sox 6, Twins 0: Chris Sale shut ’em out for seven. Paul Konerko hit a homer. Apparently Konerko played for the San Antonio Missions once too back when they were a Dodgers affiliate. I like that the Missions honor their old players who were there when there was a different affiliation. Not ever minor league club does that. The Missions seem to say “MLB teams come and go in these parts; we’ll always be here.”

Astros 5, Cubs 1: That’s nine straight losses for Chicago. This is starting to look like a historic season for the Cubbies.

Rockies 8, Marlins 4: Troy Tulowitzki homered and drove in four. After the game he said this was “a big win for us.” I suppose all wins are big, but I’ll get more excited when the Rockies are less than 13 and a half back.

Indians 4, Tigers 2: After seeing that they loaded the bases with no one out in the eighth and didn’t freaking score, I’m searching for something good to say about the Tigers right now. How about: “well, their streak of not being shutout is still intact.”  Cleveland, on the other hand has lots going for them. Like Jason Kipnis, who had three hits and then bloodied his arm up really good when he slid into home in the eighth inning with the go-ahead run.

Mariners 5, Rangers 3: In what I’m going to take as a sign that no team is going to be a total juggernaut this year, Seattle took two of three from the Rangers. From the game story: “Alex Liddi hit the first major league grand slam by an Italian-born player in a half-century.” OK, then.

Angels 3, Athletics 1: Alberto Callaspo hit a go-ahead two-run double in the 11th. Ernesto Frieri continues his good work.

Brewers 8, Giants 5: Remember a few weeks ago when people were starting up that “Hey, Barry Zito may have finally figured it out!” stuff?  Yeah, let’s just shelve that until he has two or three good starts again next year. The Brewers unloaded on him for eight runs — only four earned — in three innings.

Julio Urias is on his way back to the majors

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 27:  Julio Urias #78 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches against the New York Mets during their game at Citi Field on May 27, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
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Dodgers 19-year-old rookie Julio Urias is coming back to the majors and Alex Wood is headed to the 15-day disabled list with left elbow soreness, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. Urias will likely start Saturday against the Braves, which will mark his debut in front of the home crowd.

Urias made his major league debut on Friday against the Mets at Citi Field, but lasted only 2 2/3 innings. He yielded three runs on five hits and four walks with three strikeouts.

Urias came into the season rated as the Dodgers’ #1 prospect and the #2 overall prospect in baseball. Prior to his promotion, he had compiled a 1.10 ERA with 44 strikeouts and eight walks over 41 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Mookie Betts enjoys a three-homer game against the Orioles

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 31: Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox follows his three run homer against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 31, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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The Red Sox seem to have hit the jackpot on all of their young players so far this year. Jackie Bradley, Jr. just had a 29-game hitting streak snapped. Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 24 games on Tuesday night. And Mookie Betts has been quite productive batting leadoff for the Red Sox this year, entering Tuesday with an even .800 OPS.

Betts, 23, hit 18 home runs in his first full season last year. With a three-homer night against the Orioles on Tuesday, he’s already up to 12 in 2016 with four months of season left. The first was of the solo variety, a line drive to center field off of Kevin Gausman in the first inning. Betts followed up in the third with a liner to left field for a three-run dinger off of Gausman. He made it three in the seventh, drilling a Dylan Bundy offering to right field.

Here’s video of homer number two:

Betts finished 3-for-5 as the Red Sox won 6-2 at Camden Yards.

The stats show the Pirates as an outlier in throwing “headhunter” pitches

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 5: Reliever Arquimedes Caminero #37 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 5, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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Last week at ESPN Sweetspot’s Inside the Zona, Ryan Morrison looked into the data and found that the Pirates stand out among the rest when it comes to throwing “headhunter” pitches. Those are defined as fastballs 3.2 feet or higher and 1.2 feet towards the batter from the center of the plate.

The research was prompted because Diamondbacks second baseman Jean Segura was hit in the helmet by Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero last Tuesday in the seventh inning. The next inning, Caminero hit shortstop Nick Ahmed in the jaw with a pitch and was instantly ejected.

Morrison illustrated the data in a nice chart, which you should check out. The Pirates have thrown 93 of those pitches, which is way more than any other team. The next closest team is the Reds at 68 pitches. The major league average is approximately 48 pitches.

The Pirates have had an organizational philosophy of pitching inside since at least 2013, as MLB.com’s Tom Singer quoted manager Clint Hurdle as saying, “We’re not trying to hurt people, just staying in with conviction.”

Morrison goes on to suggest that the Diamondbacks should have forfeited last Wednesday and Thursday’s games against the Pirates in protest, out of concern for their players’ safety. As it happened, the D-Backs lost both games anyway, suffering a series sweep. The two clubs don’t meet again this season.

D-Backs manager Chip Hale said after last Tuesday’s game that Caminero “shouldn’t be at this level”. Caminero responded to those comments today, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. “I’m actually glad you asked me about that,” Caminero said. “The only thing I’ve got to say about (Hale) is that he is a perfect manager. And he was a perfect player, too. That’s it. I know what I did wasn’t good, but it happens in baseball. I wasn’t trying to hit anyone.”

I realize I’m late on pointing out Morrison’s terrific article and the whole debacle between the two teams, but I felt it was worth highlighting.

Jose Bautista: “I’d be stupid to leave” Toronto

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jayshits a two-run home run in the fifth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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Also included in a recent report on Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista by Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated — along with his belief that Rougned Odor was the only bad guy in the May 15 debacle — was the slugger’s desire to remain a Blue Jay. Per Verducci, Bautista said, “I love the city. I’d be stupid to leave” Toronto.

Bautista, 35, is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million extension signed in February 2011. Back in November, the Jays exercised their 2016 club option for $14 million. Bautista isn’t willing to discuss contract details during the season, so the two sides will have to wait until at least October to come to an agreement.

Entering Tuesday’s game against the Yankees, Bautista is hitting .237/.371/.489 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI, and 40 walks, the latter of which leads the American League.