Yankees Kuroda pitches to Rangers in MLB game in New York

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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It was shutout Tuesday, apparently. Let’s tally the goose eggs:

Yankees 3, Rangers 0: Hiroki Kuroda with the two-hit shutout. He was masterful, but man, there were a lot of ill-advised Texas swings in the parts of this one I watched. Either Kuroda had them more fooled than someone on the foolingest day of his life if he had an electrified fooling machine, or else the Rangers were just hacking for the hell of it.

Dodgers 11, Pirates 0: L.A. is on fire. Chad Billingsley with eight shutout innings and an 11 run, 13 hit attack by L.A., all without the benefit of a homer. Five of six down for Pittsburgh. Pirates fans: panicking yet?

Braves 6, Padres 0: Tim Hudson shut out the Padres for six and a third and the pen took it the rest of the way. A Martin Prado three-run homer in the seventh put the game out of reach.

Phillies 1, Marlins 0: A first inning mistake to Jimmy Rollins was all that marred Josh Johnson’s night, but that’s all that was needed because Kyle Kendrick, Josh Lindblom and Jonathan Papelbon combined to shut out the Marlins. Philly has won four of five.

Reds 3, Mets 0: Tough luck for the Mets as they tried to join the shutout party, shutting out the Reds until Jay Bruce hit a three-run homer to win it in the bottom of the ninth.The Reds did join the party though. In fact, they were so unimpressed with the Mets bats in this one that they left Aroldis Chapman on the bench so as not to totally humiliate everyone. Mat Latos carried the laboring oar here for the Reds.

Royals 5, Athletics 0: Jeremy Guthrie, Tim Collins and Greg Holland do the honors here. Notice the sameness to these recaps? Shutouts are awesome if you’re rooting for the team doing the shutting out. They’re kind of boring for the rest of us, though.

Cardinals 8, Diamondbacks 2: The Dbacks, just when they looked to be making a move in the West, have dropped four of six. Homers from Matt Holliday and Jon Jay.

Orioles 7, Red Sox 1: Two homers for Mark Reynolds. Another disaster of a start for Josh Beckett. I wonder if anyone is texting the front office to tell them that they won’t play with him anymore.

Astros 10, Cubs 1: Man, a Darwin Barney fielder’s choice deprived us of another shutout. Lucas Harrell was still pretty spiffy, though (8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER).  And he was staked to a lead even the Astros bullpen couldn’t blow.

Tigers 8, Twins 4: Doug Fister has been really strong of late. He’s won 3 of 4 and has helped stop the bleeding after bad Anibal Sanchez outings. He did it again here, going eight innings in which he allowed four runs, though none of them were earned. Miguel Cabrera becomes the first member of the 100 RBI club this year.

Rockies 8, Brewers 6: A 14-run, 28 hit game that took just over three hours. Not bad, actually, given all that carnage. A 4 for 4 night for Carlos Gonzalez, who I have decided is the most invisible superstar in baseball. There, I just called it.

White Sox 3, Blue Jays 2: After the game Robin Ventura said “It was good for us, a big win.”  I wish once a manager would say something like “Eh, we won. Whatever. No big deal. It’s not like it mattered or anything.”

Giants 6, Nationals 1: Like I said yesterday, “statements” in baseball last one day sometimes. Madison Bumgarner restores order with a five-hitter. Brandon Belt with two RBI singles and an RBI double.

Mariners 3, Rays 2: Facing a golden sombrero and down 0-2 to Fernando Rodney, Eric Thames avoided his fourth strikeout of the game in the ninth and, instead, hit a walkoff RBI single. This is fun:

“Casper (Wells) said to me in the seventh inning, ‘Hey, in the ninth, you’ll be the hero, don’t worry about it,'” Thames said. “It’s crazy how this game works.”

Hurm. And I was told you can’t predict baseball.

Angels 9, Indians 6: Zack Greinke wasn’t fantastic or anything, allowing four runs over seven innings, but he got his first win as an Angel. Thanks in part to Ubaldo Jimenez, who was much farther from fantastic. Albert Pujols doubled and homered and drove in four.

Dexter Fowler: “I didn’t say anything wrong.”

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Dexter Fowler #81 poses for a portrait during St Louis Cardinals Photo Day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2017 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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New Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler was recently asked by ESPN’s Mark Saxon how President Trump’s efforts to institute a travel ban affected him and his family. Fowler’s wife is from Iran and Fowler said that he had reconsidered traveling with his daughter to Iran to visit her family. His wife’s sister also delayed her return from a business trip to Qatar as a result of Trump’s executive order. “It’s huge,” Fowler said. “Especially anytime you’re not able to see family, it’s unfortunate.”

Fowler’s statement was pretty bland as far as athletes wading into political waters go. He didn’t criticize Trump or conservatives, nor did he espouse support for liberals or Democrats. It was a simple statement that his life had been adversely impacted by an executive order.

The responses to Fowler’s comment were mostly awful. The @BestFansStLouis Twitter account highlighted this, as did Jeff Passan for Yahoo Sports and Will Leitch for Sports on Earth. Fans suggested that Fowler “shut up and play” because “nobody cares” and that Fowler is “property” of the Cardinals. The responses were so negative that Fowler tweeted about it:

Fowler, however, isn’t backing down. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:

“I didn’t say anything wrong,” Fowler said. “I think it was taken out of context [by other outlets]. I don’t think people read the article. I think people made their own [headlines]. The question was asked out of empathy to my family, and I appreciate that. If anybody is asking about my family, then I’m going to let them know that, ‘Yeah, obviously it affected my family. My wife is Iranian.’ … I think it’s kind of ignorant of people to just come at me like that and not read the article.”

[…]

“I’m always going to care for my family,” Fowler said. “And if a question is asked out of concern, I’m going to answer the question. And I’m going to answer it truthfully. It’s not to hurt anybody. It’s unfortunate that people think of things that way. I believe they’re sensitive. I’m not the sensitive one. I appreciate the ones that understood.”

Manager Mike Matheny has Fowler’s back. He said, “I think he handled it correctly. He was very clear that he was trying to make a statement about his family [and it] ended up becoming a political statement.”

Tony Clark, executive director of the MLBPA, also expressed support for Fowler:

“Baseball players are a microcosm of society, and I was a grown man before I was a baseball player,” Clark said. “If I have a view, I should be willing to share it, while understanding what I’m a part of and what my responsibilities are. Any player understands that when they take a particular position, it may not be a popular one.

“There may be pushback. That shouldn’t be a reason not to have an opinion. In this instance, it’s a very personal one to Dex. I respect the commentators that responded. I respect their freedom to respond to it.”

Indeed, Fowler had every right to say what he said and it’s good to see that both his manager and the head of the MLBPA support him fully. It would have been easy and politically safe to allow Fowler to hang out to dry.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.