And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 7, Mets 6: The legend of Bryce Harper grows. A game-winning hit in the 12th inning. What say you, Harper?

“I’m happy to get the W, of course. I’m happy to get that walk-off hit, but I don’t like going 2 for 7,” Harper said. “I don’t like striking out twice in one game, either.”

Bryce … we talked about the me-first stuff …

“To get that moment at the end, that wipes everything away,” Harper said.

OK, good. Just checking, because everyone’s watching, kid.

Braves 11, Marlins 0: Tim Hudson with a five-hit shutout and Dan Uggla hit two homers and drove in five against his old team. Rookie Andrelton Simmons had three hits including a triple and drove in three. That’s coming up big. Of course everything about him’s big. Kid, do us all a favor and buy yourself a jock, OK? You’re gonna hurt someone out there.

Dodgers 2, Phillies 1: Cliff Lee: 12 strikeouts and two runs in 7 2/3 innings but he still took the loss. That’s nine starts and no wins despite a 2.92 ERA. Chad Billingsley tied up the Philly bats, allowing six singles, a double and only one run in seven innings.

Angels 6, Mariners 1: Mark Trumbo smacked two homers, doubled, singled and drove in four. His line on the year is .337/.384/.634.

Cubs 10, Brewers 0: Ryan Dempster gets out of the Cliff Lee club, finally gets some run support and a win. He was perfect through five innings, but the aw shucks Dempster wasn’t about to say anything about it:

“Yeah, I was thinking about a perfect game for sure,” Dempster said. “I’m not an idiot. I know that I hadn’t had anybody on base. But it’s the second-best thing: a win right here.”

Dude, talk to Bryce Harper’s media relations team, OK?

Diamondbacks 10, Rockies 0: Ian Kennedy struck out 12 in six innings. Afterwards he said a mechanical tweak was responsible. What tweak?  “It’s a secret,” Kennedy said. Fine, be that way. Jason Kubel drove in five.

Indians 4, Tigers 2: Ubaldo Jimenez has been a hot mess this year, walking the whole league, but the Tigers made him look like it was 2010 all over again. Asdrubal Cabrera, Lou Marson and Michael Brantley each hit RBI triples. I love triples. They’re so much damn fun.

Yankees 7, Rays 0: Andy Pettitte struck out ten while shutting out the Rays for seven. Russell Martin went 3 for 4 and hit a grand slam. New York has won 9 of 12.

Pirates 8, Reds 4: Clint Barmes had three hits and drove in three runs. The Pirates have hit seven homes in their last two games. Is what has been the worst offense in the NL starting to wake up?

Orioles 8, Red Sox 6:  Jim Johnson blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning but held on to vulture a win. Wasn’t a pure vulture-job in that he came back and shut the Sox down in the tenth. And given how good he’s been — he had saved 25 straight coming in — he’s entitled to one of those every now and again. Baltimore is 4-0 in Fenway this year.

Blue Jays 9, White Sox 5: Colby Rasmus went 5 for 5 with a double, homer and 3 RBI. Brett Lawrie lead off and went 3 for 5 and scored three times. Interesting. Phil Humber continues his quest to cement himself as the most fluky perfect game pitcher ever, as he allows five runs in five innings and runs his ERA up to 5.68.  Seriously: how many guys have thrown perfectos and lost their rotation job in the same season?

Astros 9, Cardinals 8: Houston led 6-1 after two innings, saw the lead shrink, built it back up again and managed to hold on as St. Louis put up four in the ninth. Jose Altuve responded to your collective snubbing of him in the All-Star voting by going 4 for 5 and scoring 3 runs. Jaime Garcia looks totally off, and is clearly not better after missing a start due to a sore elbow.

Royals 1, Twins 0: Bruce Chen shut ’em out for seven and the pen took over.

Rangers 6, Athletics 3: Texas survives Oakland’s offensive outburst. Well, an outburst for them. Derek Holland struck out two, walked two and allowed three runs on seven hits, so it’s likely that he avoided a spanking.

Padres 6, Giants 5:  Logan Forsythe’s first ever home run was a walkoff job:

“I was just trying to get on base for the guys. Luckily, it got out,” he said.

Kids these days with their selfish attitude.

Must-Click Link: Do the players even care about money anymore?

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Yesterday I wrote about how the union has come to find itself in the extraordinarily weak position it’s in. The upshot: their leadership and their membership, happily wealthy by virtue of gains realized in the 1970s-1990s, has chosen to focus on small, day-to-day, quality of life issues rather than big-picture financial issues. As a result, ownership has cleaned their clock in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. If the union is to ever get back the considerable amount of ground it has lost over the past 15 years, it’ll require a ton of hard work and perhaps drastic measures.

A few hours later, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan dropped an absolute must-read that expands on that topic. Through weeks of interviews with league officials, agents and players, he explains why the free agent market is as bad as it is for players right now and why so many of them and so many fans seem not to understand just how bad a spot the players are in, business wise.

Passan keys on the media’s credulousness regarding teams’ stated rationales for not spending in free agency. About how, with even a little bit of scrutiny, the “[Team] wants to get below the luxury tax” argument makes no sense. About how the claim that this is a weak free agent class, however true that may be, does not explain why so few players are being signed.  About how so few teams seem interested in actually competing and how fans, somehow, seem totally OK with it.

Passan makes a compelling argument, backed by multiple sources, that, even if there is a lot of money flowing around, the fundamental financial model of the game is broken. The young players are the most valuable but are paid pennies while players with 6-10 years service time are the least valuable yet are the ones, theoretically anyway, positioned to make the most money. The owners have figured it out. The union has dropped the ball as it has worried about, well, whatever the heck it is worried about. The killer passage on all of this is damning in this regard:

During the negotiations leading to the 2016 basic agreement that governs baseball, officials at MLB left bargaining stupefied almost on a daily basis. Something had changed at the MLBPA, and the league couldn’t help but beam at its good fortune: The core principle that for decades guided the union no longer seemed a priority.

“It was like they didn’t care about money anymore,” one league official said.

Personally, I don’t believe that they don’t care about money anymore. I think the union has simply dropped the ball on educating its membership about the business structure of the game and the stakes involved with any given rule in the CBA. I think that they either so not understand the financial implications of that to which they have agreed or are indifferent to them because they do not understand their scope and long term impact.

It’s a union’s job to educate its membership about the big issues that may escape any one member’s notice — like the long term effects of a decision about the luxury tax or amateur and international salary caps — and convince them that it’s worth fighting for. Does the MLBPA do that? Does it even try? If it hasn’t tried for the past couple of cycles and it suddenly starts to now, will there be a player civil war, with some not caring to jeopardize their short term well-being for the long term gain of the players who follow them?

If you care at all about the business and financial aspects of the game, Passan’s article is essential.