Orioles' Jones watches his two-run home run off of Yankees closing pitcher Rivera during the ninth inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 2, Yankees 1: Even Superman gets beat up once in a while. Adam Jones handed Mariano Rivera his second blown save of the year and the first blown save in Yankee Stadium in a dog’s age when he smacked a two-run homer in the ninth.

Speaking of Superman, I finally got around to seeing “Man of Steel” yesterday. It was OK, and the whole creation story was handled well I think, but man, the whole second half is problematic. I don’t think I’m giving anything away here because it’s a standard Superman trope, but please tell me how Superman’s long-held weakness/motivation of “protecting the precious human beings he’s adopted” becomes such a motivator/game changer in the climax of his battle with General Zod after he’s just spent the previous hour literally knocking down dozens and dozens of skyscrapers. I mean it: the damage he and the bad guys do to Metropolis during the battle is like 100 9/11s and he doesn’t friggin’ blink, but one family of three is in harm’s way at the end and THAT’S what sets him over the edge? It was a pretty movie and I think the actors were great and all of that, but at some point the filmmakers got carried away in portraying Superman-scale damage to a city simply because they had the special effects skills to do so without once thinking about or dealing with the consequences of the human damage and what it would mean for any of the characters involved.

OK, back to baseball.

Mariners 3, Reds 1: Joe Saunders pitched seven strong innings and Nick Franklin and Justin Smoak each homered. The M’s took two of three from the Rangers and then two of three from the Reds. Not a bad little road trip.

Nationals 11, Padres 7: Ryan Zimmerman hit a grand slam. Bryce Harper had three hits and two stolen bases. The Nats sweep the reeling Pads who have lost nine straight. Washington is now four back of the Braves and finally — finally — looking like they’re making a move.

Indians 9, Tigers 6: Michael Brantley had two homers and five RBIs. In other news, I went to Cleveland for the game on Saturday and was gobsmacked at how many Tigers fans invaded the city. Back in the mid-to-late 90s I went to Tiger Stadium a couple of times when the Indians were there and was gobsmacked at how many Indians fans had invaded Detroit. Guess these things go in cycles. Also fun: for Saturday’s game Carlos Carrasco was called up from Columbus, pitched awfully, and was sent back down on Sunday. I wish the Tribe had given us a heads up about all of that. We totally would have let him road trip back and forth with us.

Phillies 7, Braves 3: Domonoic Brown with a triple and a homer and two RBI. The Phillies took two of three from a Braves team which looks like a last place team on the road.

Blue Jays 11, Twins 5: Rajai Davis hit a three-run homer and Jose Reyes and Colby Rasmus each homered too. Todd Redmond allowed one hit over five innings. If the Jays could play the Twins all the time they’d be a playoff team.

Mets 2, Brewers 1: Juan Francisco had two throwing errors which led to two unearned runs by the Mets. It’s almost like maybe he shouldn’t be playing first base. anywhere? OK, he was playing third. Still not a fantastic defensive player.

Rays 3, White Sox 1: David Price tossed a complete game, allowing one run on eight hits (the official scorer has deemed the term “scattered” appropriate for those eight hits) as Tampa Bay sweeps Chicago. That’s four in a row overall for the Rays, who are now tied for second in the East, 4.5 back of the Sox.

Cardinals 3, Marlins 2: Lance Lynn outdueled (also an official scorers designation) Jose Fernandez and the Cardinals climbed back into a tie with the Pirates at the top of the Central. Lynn earned it, striking out Giancarlo Stanton all three times he faced him.

Athletics 10, Royals 4: Josh Reddick homered and drove in four and Jed Lowrie had three hits and a homer. Eric Sogard homered too, his first since April 2012. Jesse Chavez got a four-inning save, which is weird.

Cubs 4, Pirates 3: Dioneer Navarro with a walkoff sac fly in the 11th. Which isn’t quite as dramatic as a walkoff anything else, but ’twas enough. ‘Twill serve.

Rangers 5, Astros 4: Joakim Soria pitched for the first time since 2011. He was one of five Rangers relievers who combined for five shutout innings to save the bacon of starter Justin Grimm. A.J. Pierzynski had a two-run bomb.

Dodgers 4, Giants 1: Tied 1-1 in the top of the ninth with three men on, A.J. Ellis hit a bases-clearing double off Sergio Romo. Clayton Kershaw allowed one run over eight innings. Chad Gaudin nearly matched him, allowing one run in seven.

Angels 3, Red Sox 0: The Angels have won 10 of 12 after Jered Weaver tossed six shutout innings and three relievers finished it off. Homers for Mike Trout and Hank Conger.

Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 1: Patrick Corbin was stuck on nine wins for seven straight starts but finally got his tenth after fanning ten Rockies and allowing one run on three hits over eight innings.  Five wins in a row for the Dbacks helps solidify their hold on the otherwise shaky NL West.

Adams homers in 16th to lift Cardinals over Dodgers 4-3

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ST. LOUIS — Matt Adams homered in the 16th inning to lead the Cardinals to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night for St. Louis’ season-best fifth straight victory.

It was the second consecutive game that the Cardinals won in their final at-bat. They beat the Padres on Thursday after scoring a run in the ninth inning.

Adams homer came with one out off Bud Norris (5-9), who gave up six runs as a starter in an 8-1 loss at Washington on Wednesday.

Seth Maness (1-2) picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief for St. Louis, which was playing its longest game of the season.

Jedd Gyorko hit a two-out homer off closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth to tie the game 3-3.

Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick homered for the Dodgers. Los Angeles has lost four of six. The red-hot Turner has seven homers and 17 RBI this month. He hit two homers in a 6-3 win over Washington on Thursday.

Turner blasted his career-high 18th homer of the season off Seung Hwan Oh in the ninth to break a 2-2 tie.

Corey Seager had four hits and drove in the first run of the game. He had hit in seven successive at-bats before flying out in the ninth.

Kendrick’s solo shot in the sixth tied the game 2-2. He has hit in 14 successive games trying Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the longest current streak in the majors.

Los Angeles starter Brandon McCarthy allowed one hit and two runs over 6 1-3 innings, the longest of his four starts this season. He left with leg cramps. McCarthy struck out four and walked three.

St. Louis starter Michael Wacha allowed two runs on 10 hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore recorded his 28th successive scoreless outing by retiring two of four batters in the seventh. He has not allowed a run in 41 of 42 appearances this season.

Minor League Players’ Wage Suit against Major League Baseball suffers a huge setback

The judge's gavel is seen in court room 422 of the New York Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street February 3, 2012. REUTERS/Chip East
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A judge handed minor leaguers looking to hold Major League Baseball liable for underpaying and exploiting them a huge setback today, ruling that the case cannot go forward as a class action. Minor leaguers who want to sue over their pay and treatment still can, but they’ll have to do it individually. The ruling saps the minor leaguers of their leverage, as Major League Baseball would likely be able to fend off individual cases which, by themselves, might only amount to several thousand dollars per claim.

The background: in 2014, former Miami Marlins player Aaron Senne sued Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, and three major league clubs claiming that minor leaguers are underpaid and exploited in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. He was later joined by former Royals minor leaguer Michael Liberto and Giants farmhand Oliver Odle. Eventually others joined and the suit had been expanded to 22 teams as defendants.

The upshot of the case is that, while the minor league season lasts only part of the year, players are required to do all sorts of things outside of merely playing games for which they are not compensated. Training, meetings, appearances and the like. When all of that time is added up, the players claim, their already low salaries are effectively far below minimum wage in violation of the law. Major League Baseball has countered this by claiming that minor leaguers are basically part time seasonal workers — like landscapers and pool boys — who are not subject to federal labor laws.

Last year the judge gave the case conditional certification, allowing the players to try to establish that it should go forward as a class action. This would streamline the case from the plaintiffs’ perspective and give them the power of collective action by asserting hundreds or more similar cases into one proceeding. The judge’s ruling today, however, was that the cases really weren’t factually similar and thus collective action was not appropriate because figuring out how many hours each player worked and what was required of him varied too greatly among the players.

From his order:

“The difficulties associated with determining what activities constitute ‘work’ in the context of winter training are compounded by the fact that there appear to be no official records documenting these activities. Because it may be impossible to determine from official records the types of conditioning activities in which the players engaged, membership in the state classes based on winter training would depend largely upon the players’ ability to remember, with a reasonable amount of detail, what they did during the off-season (often for multiple years and for many, several years in the past) to stay fit.”

The judge said that, in light of this, each case would be unique and would require “individualized inquiries” to find damages and liability. That phrase –“individualized inquiries” — constitutes magic words which sink would-be class actions. If a company overcharges all of its customers by $8 due to an error repeated a million times, it’s easy to look at one set of facts and judge them together. If you had to look at a million different wrongs, that’s no class action. And so it is not a class action for the players.

As many courts who have dealt with these sorts of cases have noted, for many plaintiffs, a class action is the only practical method of adjudicating Fair Labor Standards Act cases because individual plaintiffs are frequently unable to bear the costs of separate trials. They are, by definition, (allegedly) exploited workers. They’re not going to be able to pay legal costs and fight off a multi-billion dollar business in order to collect the few thousand dollars they were underpaid. At the same time, however, the defendants have rights too and, if the facts of each players’ treatment truly differ (e.g. the Yankees make their minor leaguers do more than the Brewers do) it’s not fair to bind one defendant’s defense to the acts of another.

So, where does this leave the players? Not dead. Not yet, at least. Their claims have not been dismissed on the merits. They have only been denied the right to act collectively. The individual plaintiffs can now file separate lawsuits against their former employers and Major League Baseball under the same theories. It would be harder to land a big blow in such a scenario, but if enough do, it could end up being death by a thousand cuts for the clubs and the league. Their legal fees might go up and, eventually, if they lose enough of these cases, more might be filed. There are a lot of former minor leaguers, after all, and once there’s some blood in the water, more of them — and their lawyers — may enter the frenzy. Decertification is certainly a win for the league right now, but it’s not necessarily a permanent win.

There are likewise some other quasi-collective forms this case could take such as multi-district litigation in which the cases, while individual, are coordinated in a loose fashion. That could lead to some efficiencies for suing players even if it’s not as robust as a class action.

We’ve written quite a bit about minor league pay and treatment in this space by now, so you probably know where we stand on it. We believe that minor leaguers are exploited and underpaid and we believe that Major League Baseball has been happy to exploit and underpay them for some time. Ultimately we believe that this state of affairs cannot and will not persist and that eventually, somehow, baseball will either see fit to pay its workers fairly or, more likely, will be forced to do so by a court or by collective bargaining of some fashion.

Today, however, was a big setback for the minor leaguers. Today’s ruling will give Major League Baseball and its clubs more time and more comfort in which to underpay them. There’s no doubt about it.