And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 9, Cardinals 2: In what is the most meaningful baseball played in Pittsburgh in over 20 years, Francisco Liriano was dominant and Pedro Alvarez hit his NL-leading 27th homer and the Pirates pull to within a half game of first place.

Rays 2, Red Sox 1: Gotta love that a blown call impacted a game in which a division lead changed hands. That’s just fantastic. Hey Bud: now that you’re showing how tough and powerful you’re getting with a union that once gave you fits with the drug stuff, how about doing the same with the umpires and unilaterally instituting replay?

Braves 9, Rockies 8: Four wins in a row for the Braves. The winning pitcher: Scott Downs, who didn’t show up to the park until ten minutes before first pitch and literally had to introduce himself to his infielders when he came into the game in the 10th. Lost in this win: Brandon Beachy’s return: pretty disastrous (3.2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER).

Rangers 4, Angels 3: Ninth inning home runs from catchers is the new inefficiency. First A.J. Pierzynski homered then Geovany Soto, giving the Rangers a come-from-behind win.

Mets 6, Marlins 5: Mets blew a 3-0 lead and found themselves down 5-3 but Ike Davis hit an RBI double in a three-run seventh.

Indians 3, White Sox 2: The fifth straight win for the Indians, this on a Jason Giambi walkoff homer. He’s the oldest player to ever hit a walkoff player. The previous record holder was Hank Aaron, who did it in 1976. Except then they didn’t call them walkoffs. Indeed, I believe someone woulda looked at you funny if you called it a walkoff in 1976.

Brewers 5, Cubs 0: Scoreless until the ninth then the Brewers put up a five-spot. If you squinted you could see Carlos Marmol out there on the mound for Chicago. Then you realize it wasn’t him and you shed a single tear.

Athletics 9, Blue Jays 4: Yoenis Cespedes continues to climb out of his post All-Star Game funk. He homered and hit an RBI triple as the A’s scored four in the first and then cruised.

Padres 2, Reds 1: Chris Denorfia sat fastball on Aroldis Chapman and then drove a two-run homer over the wall in the bottom of the ninth. In other news, it feels like the Reds have been on this west coast swing for a month.

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.