And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 9, Phillies 8: Country. Breakfast. Billy Butler drives in seven via a grand slam and a three-run double. The loss is an especially disheartening one for Philly, as they were staked to a 4-0 lead early with their ace on the hill. Cole Hamels was rocked, though, and now stands at 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA on the young season.

Red Sox 13, Blue Jays 0: Will Middlebrooks went bomb-bomb-bomb. And added a double. The AL East champs, presumptive, are now 2-4. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA. Jon Lester, meanwhile, shut out the Jays for seven innings. It’s gonna be awesome later today when I read all the stories about how character and stuff are the reasons the Red Sox have started out strong rather than getting some nice pitching from now-healthy pitchers.

Braves 5, Cubs 1: Jeff Samardzija struck out 13 Braves but it didn’t really slow ’em down any. And really, if they win five of every six and double the MLB record for team strikeouts in a season I won’t give a tinker’s damn, nor should anyone else. Justin Upton had the golden sombrero, going 0 for 4 with 4Ks. Jeez. Didn’t even hit a home run? Maybe Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson were right about him. Guess he’s totally content to lazily chill his way to a 135 home run season rather than keep up that 162 pace.

Indians 13, Rays 0: Mentioned the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. How about that reigning AL Cy Young Award winner? The Indians rocked David Price like a hurricane, getting eight runs on ten hits off the guy. Carlos Santana went 5 for 5 and drove in three. Mark Reynolds went three for four and drove in four. Meanwhile, seven shutout innings for Justin Masterson. Wait — was this a carbon copy of the Red Sox-Jays game? Is someone printing up duplicates?

Mets 4, Marlins 3: Nice start for rookie Jose Ferdnandez in his MLB debut (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER 8K), but Steve Cishek couldn’t hold it down in the ninth. The Mets won it on a Marlon Byrd RBI single.

Reds 6, Nationals 3: Well, on the bright side, this time Steven Strasburg was allowed to throw more than 80 pitches. The bad news, though, is that he needed 114 pitches just to get through five and a third. Washington looked pretty sweet sweeping the Marlins. In their first action against a major league team, however, they drop two of three.

Yankees 7, Tigers 0: That’s more like it from New York. And from CC Sabathia, who pitched seven scoreless. If they had lost this one it would have been the Yankees’ worst start since 1989. That team had Steve Balboni on it, though, so at least it was fun.

Diamondbacks 8, Brewers 7: Not fun at all: what the Brewers are doing at the moment. In case you missed it, you have to read Matthew’s full write-up of what happened in the late innings of this one. When you call Ryan Braun off the on-deck circle and put Kyle Lohse in to hit for him in extra innings with two men on in a one-run game you are living wrong. You are suffering the consequences of roster malpractice. This is disgraceful.

Twins 4, Orioles 3: Who had the Twins at 4-2 after six games against teams which made the playoffs in 2012? You? Really? Lying like a cheap rug, dude. Meanwhile, the Orioles are now 0-3 in one-run games on the year. Here’s a shoutout to the folks who yelled at the people citing their excellent record in such games last  year as a function of luck, who are now presumably saying that the O’s have just stumbled into some bad luck this week.

Dodgers 6, Pirates 2: Hyun-Jin Ryu got his first big league victory, with a first inning homer to Andrew McCutchen the only blemish. Adrian Gonzalez drove in four. Three game sweep for the Dodgers.

White Sox 4, Mariners 3: Dayan Viciedo hit a walkoff bomb in the tenth. Credit the sweet, sweet, sweet 1983 throwbacks. Probably my favorite (non-traditional) uniform of the double knit-era. Just look at these things. They’re glorious, I tell you. Oh: from the AP game story: Viciedo’s nickname is apparently “Tank.” I was unaware of this. I have a friend whose nickname is Tank. I’ve known a couple other Tanks too. You cannot be a bad person if your nickname is Tank. It’s just impossible.

Rockies 9, Padres 1: Colorado is 5-1, which is what we all expected, obviously. And you’ll be shocked — SHOCKED! — to learn that Edinson Volquez had a rough first inning. It’s so unlike him. Wilin Rosario hit a three-run homer. Dexter Fowler hit a homer in the first after unsuccessfully trying to deke the home plate umpire into thinking he was plunked, only to be called back to the plate. Saved from himself.

Cardinals 14, Giants 3: On the day the Giants wore their purty gold uniforms and got their rings, the team they unseated as defending World Series champs laid a whuppin’ on them. The bad day for aces continued, as Matt Cain was roughed up for nine runs in three and two-thirds.

Athletics 9, Astros 3: Well, not all aces got rocked. Brett Anderson — who was the Opening Day starter, so he could theoretically be an ace I suppose — struck out ten Astros in six innings, allowing two unearned runs.

Rangers 7, Angels 3: Prime time game that, ain’t gonna lie, interested me way less than the “Mad Men” premier. Sorry, dudes. Anyway, Josh Hamilton actually started hitting — he went 3 for 5 — but L.A. didn’t get enough otherwise. Bigger news: both team’s aces — Yu Darvish and Jered Weaver — left early with injuries. Not major ones. Darvish had a recurrence of that blister he first developed last week and Weaver sprained his non-throwing elbow. But not good news for either of them.

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

Athletics 10, White Sox 2: Matt Olson, Jaycob Brugman and Franklin Barreto stole the spotlight on Saturday, going deep for the first home runs of their respective major league careers. Not only was it a franchise first for the Athletics, but it was the first time three rookies accomplished the feat for any major league team to date. The last trio to pull it off did so for the Kansas City Packers of the Federal League, when Duke Kenworthy, Art Kruger and John Potts went yard for their first home runs in 1914.

Lost in all the mayhem? James Shieldscareer 2,000th strikeout, a 1-2 knuckle curveball that caught Khris Davis looking to end the second inning.

Rangers 8, Yankees 1: Aaron Judge may be unstoppable, but the Yankees are not. The rookie slugger collected his league-best 26th home run on Saturday afternoon, putting the Yankees on the board with a solo shot during the sixth inning.

It was a mistake Texas’ right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx wouldn’t make again, shutting down four of the next five batters he faced and leaving the bullpen to polish off the win with two scoreless frames.

Royals 3, Blue Jays 2: Jason Vargas may not have the pinpoint control of Ivan Nova or the sheer strikeout power of Chris Sale, but as of Saturday afternoon, he now owns the best record in the American League. He cruised to his 11th win against the Blue Jays, spinning seven innings of two-run ball and striking out just two of 27 batters. Marco Estrada matched him pitch for pitch, but lost the edge after Alex Gordon tripled to break the 2-2 tie in the seventh.

Nationals 18, Reds 3: It’s safe to say this was not the season debut Homer Bailey had been anticipating. The veteran right-hander was activated from the 60-day disabled list on Saturday and lasted just 1 2/3 innings against the Nationals’ blistering offensive drive. A six-run second inning forced Bailey’s early exit and brought his ERA to a bloated 43.20 mark after he surrendered eight runs on six hits and two walks. Trea Turner and Michael Taylor were the centerpiece of the Nationals’ 18-run drubbing, combining for nine hits, two home runs and five RBI as the Nats coasted to their 45th win of the year.

Orioles 8, Rays 3: Goodbye, ugly losing streak. Hello, Dylan Bundy. The Orioles pulled within five games of the division lead on Saturday, giving up fewer than five runs for the first time since June 2. Bundy led the charge, issuing three runs on five hits and four walks and striking out eight over seven innings for his eighth win of the season. An explosive four-run effort propelled the club to a comfortable lead in the seventh inning, while Manny Machado‘s eighth-inning sac fly put the finishing touches on an 8-3 finale.

Cubs 5, Marlins 3: After 12 years in the majors, Cubs’ veteran lefty Jon Lester still had some career firsts left to record — including his first win against the Marlins. He cut through Miami’s lineup with expert precision during Saturday’s win, giving up a J.T. Realmuto home run in the first inning and settling down to retire 18 of the next 20 batters he faced. The next team on his list? The Red Sox, whom the Cubs are not scheduled to face this season (barring a chance meeting in the World Series, of course).

Braves 3, Brewers 1: Is R.A. Dickey… good again? The knuckleballer commanded his third quality start on Saturday, squelching the Brewers’ offense with just one run and six strikeouts over seven innings. His only snafu came in the first inning, when he turned to pick off Travis Shaw at third base and was instead penalized with a balk, his first of the year.

The Freeze, meanwhile, was not nearly as successful as his parent club, missing the finish line by mere inches during the customary between-inning sprint around the warning track.

Twins 4, Indians 2: There’s nothing more tragic than a solid pitching effort gone to waste. Corey Kluber allowed two runs and fanned 13 batters for his fifth quality start and second no-decision of the month, dropping what looked like a guaranteed win after Brian Dozier and Chris Gimenez reclaimed the lead with a pair of home runs in the eighth and ninth.

Angels 6, Red Sox 3: Not everyone was as delighted about Kole Calhoun‘s run-scoring balk as the Angels were. Calhoun plated a run in the seventh inning after Fernando Abad stopped his delivery on a 3-1 pitch, boosting the Angels’ lead to three runs and eventually securing their 6-3 win. Neither Abad nor Red Sox manager John Farrell saw eye-to-eye with crew chief Bill Miller, however, and contested the ruling after Abad claimed that he inadvertently balked after seeing Calhoun call for a time out.

Mets 5, Giants 2: From injuries to slumps, it’s been a rough ride for the Mets this month. Enter Jacob deGrom, who crafted his third consecutive quality start with eight innings of one-run ball, striking out seven and going 1-for-3 with a single against the Giants’ Johnny Cueto. The Giants, on the other hand, became the first team to record 50 losses this season after the bullpen blew a 1-1 tie in the eighth.

Pirates 7, Cardinals 3: Look, there may be plenty of legitimate baseball-related reasons to skip out on a wedding reception. I can’t think of any compelling enough to leave your own wedding, however, at least not just to watch Lance Lynn give up seven runs during the Cardinals’ 40th loss of the year.

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

Dodgers 4, Rockies 0: Clayton Kershaw is still very, very good. After faltering in a six-run outing against the Mets last week, the Dodgers’ ace returned with six shutout innings against the Rockies, striking out eight and matching Jason Vargas’ league-best 11 wins. He manufactured his own run support, too, drawing a bases-loaded walk in the third inning to cement the club’s four-run lead:

Padres 7, Tigers 3: The Tigers continued their eight-game skid with a tough loss at PETCO Park on Saturday, marring six solid innings from Anibal Sanchez with a five-run implosion in the eighth inning. Andrew Romine put up two of the Tigers’ three runs on an RBI double and single, but wasn’t able to single-handedly rally from a four-run deficit in the ninth.

Astros 5, Mariners 2: Sometimes, it’s difficult to identify the exact moment when a game swings out of control. Other times, it’s all too obvious. For the Mariners, that moment could be traced back to one line drive in the seventh inning:

In Mitch Haniger‘s defense, clearing 69 feet in under five seconds is a feat few can pull off, even with the game on the line.

Diamondbacks 9, Phillies 2: Nothing the Diamondbacks and Phillies did — not even the Ben Lively home run that made this play possible — was as impressive as the coordination and grace of this lone D-backs fan:

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.