Kansas City's Mendoza delivers a pitch against Milwaukee in their MLB baseball game in Kansas City

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 2, Brewers 1: Luis Mendoza took a no-hitter into the seventh, but it was still close as prodigal Royal Zack Greinke was pretty sharp too, striking out eight and allowing one run over seven innings. Billy Butler’s RBI single in the eighth was the difference.

White Sox 6, Cardinals 1: Paul Konerko is batting .373. And he’s still, like, 300,000 votes behind Prince Fielder for the All-Star Game. One day he’s gonna be dead and we’re gonna treat him like we treated Whitney Houston and Levon Helm Donna Summer and all of those others who died recently: we’re gonna pretend we always recognized his greatness when, in the moment, most of us truly didn’t.

Yankees 6, Braves 4: If you get up 4-0 on CC Sabathia after seven innings and you have a bullpen like the Braves do, you can normally expect to win the game. But nope, not last night. Jonny Venters has been a weak link this year (he’s got a 7.04 ERA and a .382 opposition average in his last 20 appearances) and gave up a grand slam to Alex Rodriguez, after which Cory Gearrin gave up a two-run job to Nick Swisher. The slam was A-Rod’s 23rd, tying Lou Gehrig’s record. I expect someone today will write a column in a New York tabloid about how A-Rod doesn’t deserve to hold the record or some noise like that.

Reds 7, Indians 1: It’s the BATTLE OF OHIO!  Winner gets to leave, I suppose.  Anyway, Johnny Cueto went the distance, allowing only one run on six hits. Joey Votto’s ridiculously good season continues with a two-run homer.

Cubs 4, Tigers 3: Know what was fun? Before the season how if you suggested that Detroit’s defense was lacking and how, in response, Tigers people on the Internet would get all up in your face about it, saying how that’s all overblown and how easy and lazy a storyline that was to be peddling. Well, sorry, it’s true. Last night the Tigers were undone by defense once again as the Cubs scored the winning run by virtue of not one but two Jhonny Peralta throwing errors in the eighth inning. Some easy, lazy storylines are easy and lazy because they’re true.

Red Sox 2, Marlins 1: A strong outing from Clay Buchholz, who allowed one run in seven innings to help the Sox snap a four-game skid. The Marlins played with the roof open for the second straight night, presumably because they broke a losing streak the other night while doing it. Guess it goes back to closed now.

Rangers 9, Diamondbacks 1: Colby Lewis went the distance and allowed one run on four hits. He didn’t allow a base runner until the sixth inning.

Twins 11, Phillies 7: Another easy storyline? How the Phillies are playing so bad because of so many injuries. Guess what: the people who aren’t injured sort of suck this year too. Kyle Kendrick was shelled and Joe Savery and B.J. Rosenberg weren’t much help in relief. The Phillies are actually farther out of first place than are the Twins.

Mets 11, Rays 2:  Jordany Valdespin drove in four runs. Ike Davis chipped in three more with a homer. That’s a name we haven’t called around here very often this year. Chris Young is one too. He got his first win in a year.

Nationals 4, Blue Jays 2: Bryce Harper hit a looong homer run. Yawn. I’m far more interested in the one hit by Nats catcher Jhonatan Solano. Because if he can stick in the bigs, he and Jhonny Peralta could form some sort of super hero team of misspelled Johns.

Orioles 8, Pirates 6: Brian Roberts returned to action for the first time in13 months. He led off, went 3 for 4 and hit a sac fly. The 1-4 hitters in the O’s lineup combined to go 11 for 19 while driving in six.

Dodgers 5, Angels 2: The Dodgers had a four-run eighth inning to rally. And you know what was special about that inning?

The entire inning was set up when second-base umpire Joe West called Dee Gordon safe on a two-out stolen base. Television replays appeared to show the throw from catcherHank Conger beat the runner.

Knock me over with a feather.

Padres 5, Mariners 4: Down 5-1 in the ninth, the Mariners rallied, but it fell short. Felix Hernandez looked rusty after going 11 days between starts. He went six innings, allowing nine hits, five runs and three walks.

Athletics 8, Rockies 5: Brandon Moss homered twice. When he was called up the other day I asked whether he was truly an upgrade over Kila Kaʻaihue. Since that callup he isn’t exactly setting the Earth on fire, but he has hit three home runs.

Giants 6, Astros 3: Madison Bumgarner: one-man wrecking crew. He struck out 12 in seven and two-thirds and hit a homer.

Collins worried David Wright might go on disabled list

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
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NEW YORK — Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York’s captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

“With the condition he’s been playing in and the condition he’s in right now, yeah, I’m concerned about it,” Collins said Monday. “Is it going to happen? I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I know this guy plays with a lot of discomfort. He always has. And when he can’t play, he’s hurt.”

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

Settling the Scores: Memorial Day edition

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 21:  American flags are shown after being placed by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment at the graves of U.S. soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in preparation for Memorial Day May 21, 2015 in Arlington, Virginia. "Flags-In" has become an annual ceremony since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) was designated to be an Army's official ceremonial unit in 1948  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service. At some point in the past couple of decades, however, it has become an all-purpose flag-waving, patriotism-declaring, civilians-in-camouflage holiday. It’s understandable why this is the case. We, as a country, haven’t always done mourning well. I think it’s part of our national cultural DNA that we don’t and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does make days like this difficult.

I feel like the flag-waving and troop-supporting stuff is some sort of subconscious reaction to death. It’s our way of instantly trying to justify those deaths or to explain how they were not in vain, much the same way we might tell someone upon the death of a loved one that they’re in a better place or that they had a full life. Feeling the pain of loss is hard. We want to soften it in any way we can and make our pain serve a larger, better purpose. And so we get today, when Major League Baseball puts its players in camouflage caps and in jerseys with camouflage logos. They’ll sell them too, with proceeds going to good and noble veterans charities. The intent is noble and the ultimate effect of it all is beneficial. But it’s also a little beside the point. Maybe not beside the point as much as mattress sales or big celebratory barbecues which have come to characterize Memorial Day for so many, but still not exactly the purpose of the holiday.

I don’t condemn it. As I wrote last year, the men and women who actually fought and died in wars were hoping that they were, ultimately, making a better and happier world for those they left behind. And they no doubt hoped, among everything else they hoped, that others didn’t have to face what they were facing. They wanted our lives to be happy and our country to be safe and part of a happy and safe country involves 300 million people doing whatever it is they damn please, even if it’s just having barbecues and wearing camo at the ballpark.

I won’t say have a happy Memorial Day because that seems odd. Have any kind of Memorial Day you want, really, even if it includes barbecuing, drinking beer and wearing a cam ballcap. But as you do, please make sure you take some time to think about those who died in military service. And remember that they didn’t get to have as many days like the one you’re having as they were meant to have. And make at least some effort to offset your happy, patriotic or silly pursuits with some mourning and reflectiveness. It’s OK for that to stand on its own.

The scores:

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3
Orioles 6, Indians 4
Yankees 2, Rays 1
Nationals 10, Cardinals 2
Brewers 5, Reds 4
Royals 5, White Sox 4
Cubs 7, Phillies 2
Rangers 6, Pirates 2
Astros 8, Angels 6
Athletics 4, Tigers 2
Twins 5, Mariners 4
Giants 8, Rockies 3
Diamondbacks 6, Padres 3
Marlins 7, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Mets 2

 

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during Monday’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely: