San Francisco Giants v Pittsburgh Pirates

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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The losing team scored two runs in eight of last night’s fifteen games. I have no idea if that’s uncommon or not, but I noticed it and I’m going to pretend it’s a sign or portent or something. Anyway:

Pirates 8, Giants 2: Welcome to the big leagues Gerrit Cole. The 2011 number one pick pitched shutout ball into the seventh before running out of gas, allowed two runs total, got the win and drove in the first two runs of the game with an RBI single.

Dodgers 5, Diamondbacks 3: Any time you have a fight where some of the most active participants include multiple former MVPs and a couple of guys with arguments for one, well, that’s something. Hats off to you, Don Mattingly, Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell, Mark McGwire, Matt Williams, and Don Baylor! Show ’em how we do it, 80s-style!

Mariners 4, Astros 0: Aaron Harang got shellacked his last time out. This time? He tossed a two-hit, ten strikeout shutout in a game that lasted only two hours and fifteen minutes. He may be one of the more hard-to-predict pitchers of the past decade or so. Just never know what you’re gonna get with him.

Orioles 3, Angels 2: Miguel Gonzalez was sharp, allowing one run over eight innings. Nick Markakis delivered the go-ahead runs on a two-run single in the seventh.

Cardinals 9, Mets 2: Five unearned runs for the Cardinals, helped in part by a Daniel Murphy error at first base. Miss Ike yet? OK, maybe not. Allen Craig with a three-run homer. Michael Wacha got his first win and helped his own cause with an RBI.

Rays 8, Red Sox 3: Two homers for Desmond Jennings as the Rays rough up Jon Lester for seven runs in four and two-thirds. He hasn’t won since May 15.

Marlins 5, Brewers 4: Giancarlo Stanton returns and hits a two-run homer that put the Marlins in front for good. The Miami fans weren’t all that impressed with the return of their team’s best player, however: a paltry 13,110 bought tickets, the Marlins’ lowest attendance total of the year.

Indians 5, Rangers 2: The Indians snap their eight-game losing streak — and a 12-game road losing streak — behind Corey Kluber’s one-run performance over eight innings. Texas fans weren’t totally unhappy, though, as it was Yu Darvish bobblehead night. And that’s what it’s all about, yes?

Reds 12, Cubs 2: Four homers for the Reds as they continue their dominance of the Cubs. Four driven in for Zack Cozart.

Blue Jays 7, White Sox 5: Chien-Ming Wang makes his 2013 debut. It wasn’t pretty — five runs and ten hits allowed in seven and a third innings — but he kept his team in the game. The winning run scored on a Ramon Troncoso wild pitch. In other news there was a fog delay at U.S. Cellular on Monday and a lighting malfunction delay on Tuesday.

Rockies 8, Nationals 3: Tyler Colvin homered twice and drove in four runs in his first game since being recalled from the minors. Carlos Gonzalez hit a tiebreaking three-run homer. Remember when Dan Haren was good?

Tigers 3, Royals 2: Max Scherzer improves to 9-0 and shows that he doesn’t need crazy run support to win games. The Royals win streak ends.

Twins 3, Phillies 2: A three-hit night and the go-ahead RBI for Justin Morneau. The Phillies have dropped four in a row.

Padres 3, Braves 2: Andrew Cashner allowed only two runs in eight innings — his longest career outing — and the Padres scored single runs in the first, second and third, which is all they needed.

Athletics 6, Yankees 4: A late rally by the Yankees fell short as Seth Smith made a nice catch on what looked like it could have been a game-tying homer by Travis Hafner in the ninth. Derek Norris homered and drove in four runs, Bartolo Colon continued to be as solid as a rock and the A’s won their eighth game in their last 11. They have the franchise’s best record at this point of the season since 1992.

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 tomorrow’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)
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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:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Bruan is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.

Mets unhappy with Dodgers’ request to make outfield markings to position fielders

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28:  The 1986 New York Mets are honored before the game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets are honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1986 championship season.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Mets have asked MLB for clarification on the Dodgers’ use of a laser rangefinder for defensive positioning over this weekend’s series at Citi Field. The Dodgers notified the Mets’ ground crew that they wanted to mark certain positions in the outfield grass after determining positions with the rangefinder. The grounds crew said they could leave two marks in center field and one in left field.

However, the grounds crew then went to their superiors and told them that the Dodgers threatened to dig holes in the outfield grass with their cleats, so the grounds crew was then instructed to “erase or obliterate” any of the Dodgers’ markings.

According to Rosenthal, Major League Baseball reinforced a few weeks ago that teams aren’t allowed to use markers to aid defensive positioning. The Dodgers haven’t been accused of doing anything nefarious during a game. Howie Kendrick was seen pulling something out of his pocket in the outfield, but Brett Anderson clarified on Twitter that it was just a piece of paper with notes for defensive positioning.

The series between the Mets and Dodgers has been heated, as Noah Syndergaard was ejected for throwing at Chase Utley on Saturday. Utley then responded by hitting two home runs, one of which was a grand slam. The Mets may have a legitimate concern, or it may just be gamesmanship.