Oakland Athletics v Toronto Blue Jays

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Blue Jays 10, Athletics 4: Backatcha, Athletics. A night after the A’s slammed the Jays, Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer to lead the charge for Toronto, ending the A’s seven game winning streak. This came after the A’s took a 3-0 lead, so nice moxie by the Blue Jays there.

Mets 3, Diamondbacks 1: Matt Harvey’s debut went swimmingly:  5 1/3 scoreless innings and 11 strikeouts for the Mets 2010 first round pick. He also had a double and a single.

Indians 5, Tigers 3: Justin Verlander was cruising along nicely until he hit the seventh inning and the Indians hit him. Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner homered off the reigning MVPYOUNG Award winner to lead of the seventh and the Tribe posted four runs in that inning to put ’em over.

Cardinals 7, Dodgers 4: The Cardinals rattled off 18 hits, three each coming from David Freese and Matt Carpenter. It would be rather delicious if the Dodgers’ trade for Hanley Ramirez coincided with them skidding out of the race.

Orioles 6, Rays 2: Anyone who knows what happened to James Shields this year, please contact the Tampa Bay Rays. Shields struck out ten in six innings — that’s good! — but he also allowed five runs on six hits while walking five — that’s bad! Chris Davis homered and drove in four. That’s good! But the hot dogs at Camden Yards contained contain potassium benzoate ……… That’s bad.

Pirates 5, Astros 3: A.J. Burnett just keeps on humming along. He allowed two runs in seven and a third and won his 12th game of the year. Of course, this coming against the Astros, I suppose the curve they’re graded on means that those two runs should count as five or six.

Nationals 8, Brewers 2: Edwin Jackson scattered eight hits over seven seven shutout innings and the Brewers woes continue. But hey, bright side: no blown save last night.

Mariners 4, Royals 1: Jason Vargas has been a bright spot for Seattle this year. He notched his 11th win while allowing only one run on one hit over eight.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.