And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 13, Cubs 2: It’s almost as if Josh Hamilton hadn’t totally forgotten how to play baseball or something. Go figure. Two homers and five RBI in this romp. One of his homers was back-to-back with a Pujols home run. First time that’s happened this year.

Nationals 5, Phillies 1: The Nats hit four homers off Cliff Lee: back-to-back in the fifth, back-to-back in the sixth. Otherwise Lee was fine and Mrs. Lincoln enjoyed the play.

Dodgers 7, Diamondbacks 5: The sweep, as A.J. Ellis ties it up in the ninth and then homers in the fourteenth. The Dodgers were 12 games under .500 and nine and a half games out of first on June 22. Now they are back to .500 and one and a half back of the Diamondbacks after winning 15 of 18. I do a lot of radio spots around the country each week. A lot of the same stations over and over. It’s cute how the hosts and I talk about the surging Dodgers without acknowledging that we both talked about Don Mattingly’s imminent firing just a few weeks ago. We totally pretend we never said that stuff.

Blue Jays 5, Indians 4: They Jays rallied for three in the ninth and then held the Tribe’s own ninth inning rally to two runs. Terry Francona explains the ninth inning:

“Smitty had faced Arencibia four times and struck him out four times,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “That’s the matchup we wanted. With Kawasaki, he just left the ball over the plate and Bourny mishandled it for the unearned run.”

It takes a real pro to be obviously angry and disappointed but STILL use silly, childish nicknames for your players. That’s why Tito is Tito. Or maybe he should be Titoy or something.

Mets 7, Giants 2: Zack Wheeler was in the Giants organization once. They decided that a rental of Carlos Beltran was more valuable to them than keeping Wheeler. Probably not feeling that way this morning. Wheeler gave up one run in seven innings and had an RBI. Matt Cain lasted only two-thirds. The Mets sweep. The Giants are a disaster.

Marlins 6, Braves 2: A four-run first inning included a Giancarlo Stanton RBI double, which helped break his slump and the Marlins five-game losing streak.

Orioles 6, Rangers 1: Wei-Yin Chen finally returns from the DL and gives the O’s exactly what they needed: Seven innings, three hits and one run.

Reds 6, Brewers 2: Mike Leake helped stop the Reds bleeding — they’ve dropped five games behind the Cardinals — by pitching into the ninth inning, allowing only two runs.

Yankees 8, Royals 1: Ivan Nova allowed one run in eight innings while Robinson Cano and Lyle Overbay homered. Overbay’s was a slam. Both Brett Gardner and Travis Hafner left the game with contusions of one kind or another.

Pirates 5, Athletics 0: A’s beat writers were tweeting pics of ominous skies before this game started, remarking how strange it looked to them and how in California you simply don’t see that sort of thing. Maybe it threw the A’s off too. Maybe a three hour rain delay did. Either way, Francisco Liriano stymied Oakland batters.

Tigers 8, White Sox 5: Three hits a piece for Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, who added a home run. Joaquin Benoit walked two in the ninth but he did manage to convert his eighth save opportunity of the year so perhaps there is finally some stability at the end of the Tigers bullpen.

Rays 4, Twins 3: Thirteen innings played, 35 strikeouts between the teams. Bet this one was riveting to watch. Ben Zobrist with the game winning single. The Twins have dropped 10 of 11. The Rays are on fire.

Red Sox 11, Mariners 4: David Ortiz doubled, homered and drove in three. Felix Doubront allowed one run in seven. Ortiz’s double put him past Harold Baines for the most hits from a DH all-time.

Cardinals 5, Astros 4: Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer in the seventh — off a lefty — to put the Cards past Houston. Take that, platoon splits.

Rockies 5, Padres 4: Jorge De La Rosa took a one-hit shutout into the sixth inning. It was his sixth straight win against the Padres.

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.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.