And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 4, Braves 1: I have been arguing against a Stephen Strasburg shutdown for a while now, but allow me to say that if those dudes are really gonna do that, I wish they would have done it before last night. Strasburg struck out ten in six innings, allowing a single run and winning his 15th. Jesus Flores’ three-run homer was all Washington needed. The Braves are pretty much playing for the wild card now. Viva Los Nationals.

Royals 1, Rays 0: If you told me that a big time pitchers duel was going to go down involving David Price, sure, I’m on board. Luke Hochevar? Eh, color me skeptical. But that’s what we had. Each of the starters tossed eight shutout innings, with Hochevar giving up only one hit and Price three. It was decided in the 10th when Eric Hosmer singled in Jeff Francoeur, who wouldn’t have even been in scoring position but for a Ben Zobrist throwing error. In other words: offense was tough to come by here. BTW: David Price has been utterly fantastic in all of his no-decisions this year but has gotten butt for run support. Guess he doesn’t know how to win.

Rockies 6, Mets 2:  Jhoulys Chacin came back for the first time in nearly five months, holding the Mets to one run on four hits in six innings. Bad defense hurt the Mets, with Chris Young throwing a ball away, contributing to a big inning and the Mets botching a rundown. Is it Jets season yet?

Reds 5, Phillies 4: Cliff Lee was cruising until the seventh and then ran the heck out of gas in a hurry. By the time Charlie Manuel got him it was 3-1 Reds. Not that it was over by then. That’s when it went all see-saw. Philly tied it on a Jimmy Rollins RBI double in the bottom half, Todd Frazier homered in the eighth, Philly tied it back up in the bottom half, but then Zack Cozart homered in the ninth. And, yes, the Phillies threatened in the ninth, with Jimmy Rollins stealing and second and third with Chase Utley up to bat. Aroldis Chapman doesn’t give a flying eff, though, and throws a 102 m.p.h. fastball by him, leaves and presumably goes to sit in his hotel room and dream about someone who can challenge him one day.

Angels 5, Red Sox 3: The four game losing streak is over, thanks in part to Mark Trumbo’s 30th homer. Mike Trout had two hits, but the highlight of the game had to be Aaron Cook actually striking Trout out. Cook had struck out seven dudes all season before then. Trout probably saw Cook’s eminently hittable junk just hanging there and about came out of his shoes he was so excited to mash it. He didn’t, but every other Angel did, practically, so it was all good.

Tigers 5, Blues Jays 3: Max Scherzer struck out eight in seven innings, allowing one run. Rickey Romero: not so good. He lost his 10th straight decision, giving up five runs on seven hits while walking eight. EIGHT. And no, he didn’t strike out anyone. How Detroit only scored five here is a miracle.

White Sox 7, Yankees 3: It was 2-2 in the fifth when Kevin Youkilis walked up to the plate with the bases loaded. Bammo, grand slam. I’m sure the Yankees fans who came to love Youk so much over the years dug that.

Cardinals 7, Astros 0: St. Louis didn’t really need Adam Wainwright to throw eight and a third shutout innings while fanning 11 a shutout while striking out 12, but he did it anyway. Bring on Roger Clemens. Heck, bring on Mike Scott or J.R. Richard. The Astros could use a side show right around now. UPDATE: Glitch in the matrix on that Wainwright line. Wrote it last night after I saw from Twitter that the game ended, but the box score I had up didn’t refresh for some reason and I was too tired to notice. Derp.

Brewers 5, Cubs 2: Chris Rusin was meh at Iowa this year, but his major league started out well enough: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 ER. But then Alberto Cabrera came in and set fire to the place, allowing one run on a wild pitch and two more on an RBI double. Is it Bears season yet?

Orioles 5, Rangers 3: Manny Machado must have heard that I talked smack about him yesterday because he went 2 for 3 with an RBI triple. Nate McLouth, who is apparently alive, homered and scored on a wild pitch.

Mariners 5, Indians 1: Johnny Vander Meer’s legacy remains safe, but Felix Hernandez was once again fantastic, allowing one run over seven and two thirds.

Giants 4, Dodgers 1: Tim Lincecum beats Joe Blanton. Had decent velocity too, which has been elusive for him this season. The Giants lead over the Dodgers is now one and a half.

Padres 7, Pirates 5: Garrett Jones had two homers but Chase Headley’s walkoff in the 10th won it for San Diego. Headley has had a fantastic August, hitting nine homers and driving in 26 to lead the bigs. The Pirates are now 7.5 back of the Reds so, like Atlanta, they too are clearly in Wild Card City.

Athletics 4, Twins 1: Brett Anderson made his first start since mid-2011 and it was pretty darn good (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 6K).  The A’s turned a 5-4-3 triple play too, which is pretty nifty. Oakland is a half game back of Baltimore for the wild card.

Marlins 6, Diamondbacks 5: Arizona jumped out to a 5-run lead in the first but that’s all they’d get, as the Fish chipped away and Giancarlo Stanton delivered an RBI single in the 10th. “We should have won that game,” Kirk Gibson said afterward. Yep, you should have.

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.