And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 8, Royals 4: Jeter returns. And got a hit! And an RBI! And scored a run! And left with a strained quadricep! Oy vey.

Braves 6, Reds 5: Freddie Freeman wins the Final Vote than goes out and has himself a nice night (3 for 4, 4 RBI). Bad news, though: Jason Heyward left with a strained hamstring.

Phillies 3, Nationals 1: And the Phillies take three of four from the Nats. This after winning series against the Braves and Pirates. Now they have the White Sox leading up to the break. It feels like they’re doing better. They’re not gaining much ground on Atlanta, however. They’ve been back eight or nine games at times this year, but 7.5 games back is basically where they’ve been hovering forever now. It’s hard to dig out of a hole.

Indians 4, Blues Jays 2: Rookie Danny Salazar was most impressive, pitching six innings while allowing only one run on two hits and striking out seven. He’s proof that you can ply your trade in Columbus, Ohio and then, one day, make it to the big time.

Rays 4, Twins 3: That’s eight straight for the streaking Rays. And the 13th win of the year for Matt Moore, who struck out ten in seven and a third innings. Luke Scott, who has been hot in his own right of late, hit a homer.

Cubs 3, Cardinals 0: The good Edwin Jackson showed up and tossed seven shutout innings. All three of the Cubs runs were batted in by Anthony Rizzo. Matt Holliday joined Jason Heyward in the left-the-game-early-because-of-a-hamstring club.

Diamondbacks 5, Brewers 3: Wade Miley gave the snakes what they needed: a long outing following a 14-inning game. He pitched eight and the Diamondbacks snapped their three-game skid.

White Sox 6, Tigers 3: There was some bench-clearing action after some purpose pitches but nothing too chippy went down. Josh Phegley hit a grand slam and Chris Sale finally broke his string of winless starts, getting the first real run support he’s had in a dog’s age.

Dodgers 6, Rockies 1: The Dodgers are now above .500 after Chris Capuano tossed six shutout innings and Mark Ellis drove in four. That’s 16 of 20 for the men in blue. Well, mostly white with a splash of blue. There’s a touch of red in there too. The men in blue are umpires, really. Although I think it’s way more black these days than blue. Man, it’s hard to keep track of such things.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 7: Seattle took a 5-1 lead but the Sox came back and eventually forced extras. This is not to be confused with Tuesday’s game in which they also found themselves down 5-1 and won.

Giants 4, Padres 2: Madison Bumgarner: stopper. For the third straight time he came out with the Giants on a four-game losing streak and won. I guess when your team is terrible overall it’s easier to be seen as a “stopper.” Pitch for the Cardinals or Red Sox or something and there isn’t all that much to stop.

Orioles 3, Rangers 1: Chris Davis hit his 34th homer and drove in his 86th run. His home run snapped an 0 for 17 slump. He went on to strike out twice after the homer, though.

The Yankees attendance and revenue is down, but it makes sense

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There’s a long article in the New York Times today noting that the Yankees attendance is down and that, based on financial figures released as part of their stadium bond disclosures, ticket and suite revenues through last season have fallen by $166 million since the end of 2009.

There is a lot of talk in the article about the exciting young team the Yankees have put together and how much they’ve won so far in the early going. And there is a lot of talk about marketing and demographics — Hal Steinbrenner talks about baseball’s “millennial problem” — but the story of the Yankees’ box office issues, such as they are, is pretty straightforward.

All teams suffer attendance and revenue decline when they play poorly. While the Yankees have not been bad for a long, long time, that’s a somewhat relative thing. They Yankees have sold themselves and sold their fans on the idea that nothing short of a championship is acceptable, so missing the playoffs for three of the past four years is bad for them. Fans don’t want to go see a bad team, be it Yankees fans, Rays fans, Royals fans or whoever.

Despite the recent lack of success, the Yankees have still, perversely, continued to price their tickets, concessions, parking and everything else as though they’re the only game in town. When demand falls and prices remain super high, fewer people are buying your product. Even if you’re the New York Yankees.

The Yankees are good this year. What’s more, they’re good in that exciting way that only young promising players bursting out onto the scene can deliver. It’s a wonderful thing for marketing and stuff, but even under the best of circumstances, ticket sales tend to lag on field success, often by as much as a year. Go back and look at World Series winning teams — especially the surprise winners — and you’ll see that it’s the year after on-field success when the real attendance bumps happen. I expect, if the Yankees continue to play well, their gate will get really nice by the end of the summer, but I suspect we’ll also see a more dramatic bump next year.

Taken all together, this is a dog-bites-man story. The Yankees are not some transcendent institution, immune from market forces. They’re just one of 30 Major League Baseball teams competing against other entertainments for a finite amount of the public’s money and attention. Nothin’ to see here.

David Price had a rocky rehab start last night

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Red Sox starter David Price has been rehabbing a left elbow injury since early March. Last night he made his latest rehab outing for Triple-A Pawtucket. It didn’t go well.

Price allowed six runs — three earned — on seven hits in three and two-thirds innings, requiring 89 pitches to do it. His velocity was good, but otherwise it was a night to forget. This was supposed to be Price’s last rehab start before returning to the Sox’ big league rotation, but one wonders if he’s ready for it.

Price didn’t talk to the media after the game, but Pawtucket’s manager said he was “upbeat” and “felt good.” For his part, John Farrell, upon hearing about the outing, said this:

“There’s no announcement at this point. We’ve got to sit with him and talk about what’s best for him, best for us as we move forward.”

The Sox could really use Price back in the rotation given their injury problems, but rushing him back if he’s not ready is certainly not ideal.

Stay tuned.