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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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I went to Detroit over the weekend where I took in Saturday and Sunday’s Tigers-White Sox games. Such a wonderful time. Cool temperatures, no humidity, good company, good pitching, good food, good beer. It’s really all you could want.

As I watched these games and hung around a city that, no matter what else you can say about it, is a lot of fun and loves baseball, I occasionally checked in on Twitter and baseball blogs to see what sort of news was happening. Observed: the closer you are to real baseball and the more fun you’re having while watching it, the less any of that Alex Rodriguez and Biogenesis stuff matters. Even in Detroit, fans were 100% able to (a) talk about that news as intelligent baseball fans might; while (b) cheering for Jhonny Peralta like mad. It’s not either/or. That stuff doesn’t cast a shadow on the team or the season or anything. It’s just something happening.

Baseball is also happening. And it totally trumps that noise. Don’t let anyone wringing their hands over the Biogenesis stuff today and on for the next few weeks tell you differently. Anyway: this happened too:

Tigers 3, White Sox 2: Jim Leyland had the junior varsity in the lineup to start things — Andy Dirks and Don Kelly batting two and three — but once it got to the 12th inning Leyland had Miguel Cabrera (pinch hit single) and Torii Hunter (pinch hit to enter the game in the tenth and a game-winning single in his second at bat) bail the kids out. The White Sox ended their road trip 0-7 and they’ve lost ten in a row overall. Which, eww.

Blue Jays 6, Angels 5: Two in the eighth and two in the ninth help Toronto come back and avoid a sweep. The AP game story lead off by saying “The Toronto Blue Jays avoided a four-game sweep the hard way.” I agree that coming back late is a hard way, but there are harder ways to do it. For example, winning by forfeit when your manager realizes that the other team’s starting pitcher is actually one kid riding on another kid’s shoulders wearing an overcoat, thereby revealing that the other team has violated roster rules is extraordinarily difficult to pull off. La Russa did that once. No one else.

Dodgers 1, Cubs 0: You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. You on point Fife? All the time, Tip. Well then grab the horsehide and let your pitch rip (Stephen Fife: 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 5K, weighs a buck 150, 36 waist). Also, WTF is up with the caption on this photo?

Cardinals 15, Reds 2: Well, the Cardinals offense seems to be doing better. They scored 13, 13 and 15 runs in three of their last four games, respectively. Now, after a tough road trip that took them through Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, they have one more tough assignment: the Dodgers at home.

Red Sox 4, Diamondbacks 0: Felix Doubront continues his remarkable consistency, shutting out the Dbacks for seven innings and making his 15th straight start in which he has given up three runs or fewer.

Royals 6, Mets 2: The Royals had a three-run fifth inning in which Marlon Byrd misplayed not one but two balls due to the sun. After the game Byrd said “I need to get better with sun balls.”  I wish the reporter he was talking to shot back with “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell. — C. S. Lewis,” but I suppose that’s too much to ask of our decrepit educational system.

Mariners 3, Orioles 2:  Henry Blanco hit a two-run homer in the seventh to help the M’s to a win. Also: Henry Blanco is still alive and is playing baseball and everything. Kids: forget trying to perfect a curve ball. Forget trying to be a shortstop. Learn how to be a backup catcher and you’ll never be unemployed in your life.

Indians 2, Marlins 0: Scott Kazmir and three relievers combine for a shutout. It was the Indians’ major league-best 15th shutout this season. It was Cleveland’s 10th win in 11 games. Now they have four big ones against Detroit, trailing them by three games.

Rays 4, Giants 3: Wil Myers homered and the Rays’ bullpen tossed four and a third scoreless innings after Fauxsto Carmona struggled.

Pirates 5, Rockies 1: A.J. Burnett went the distance and struck out nine. Russell Martin hit a three-run homer. Some Yankees fan somewhere is trying to craft some argument about how what they’re doing matters less because they’re on the Pirates.

Twins 3, Astros 2: Twins sweep the Astros.  It was their first sweep and is their first three-game winning streak in over a month.

Brewers 8, Nationals 5: Down 4-1 in the sixth the Brewers put up a five-spot.  Jeff Bianchi’s bloop single over a drawn-in infield put Milwaukee ahead. He also had a squeeze bunt in the game. It was definitely a nice day for backup catchers.

Rangers 4, Athletics 0: Derek Holland tossed eight shutout innings with ten strikeouts. Ron Washington became the Rangers’ winningest manager of all time with this win. Which, honestly, I figured had happened a year or two ago, but I guess Johnny Oates was there longer than I realized. UPDATE: Or make that Bobby Valentine. Whatever.

Padres 6, Yankees 3: Yankees third basemen went 1 for 5. The lede for all game stories tomorrow should be “Thank God A-Rod is back!” But I figure they won’t be.

Braves 4, Phillies 1: Ten straight for the Bravos. Chris Johnson with a couple of RBI. Dude is batting .346. Not bad for a throw-in in the Justin Upton deal.

Pitchers to receive new visor-like protective headgear

Headgear
MLB/MLBPA
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For the past few years MLB, the MLBPA and cap and helmet manufacturers have been working on various models of protective headgear for pitchers. Some of the models have been unworkable, some of them have not met the satisfaction of pitchers and others have, well, looked a little odd. At present the only pitcher who routinely wears any headgear is Alex Torres, who wears the bulky isoBLOX helmet.

Now, however, there is a new option. And, as you can see above it’s a bit different than what we’ve seen before. It’s more or less like a visor, which will have a nylon top on them to give a full cap-like appearance. The ear flaps will be lefty and righty-specific, given that righties are more likely to be hit on the right and lefties on the left given their follow-throughs.

The new caps will be given out to players this spring and, like the old ones, will be used or not used at the choice of the players. You can read more about the new helmet at ESPN’s Outside the Lines report.

Brewers sign reliever Blaine Boyer

Blaine Boyer
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Right-hander Blaine Boyer, who spent last season with the Twins, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Brewers that includes an invitation to spring training.

Boyer was also on a minor-league deal last spring when he snagged a spot in the Twins’ season-opening bullpen and he stayed there all year, posting a 2.49 ERA in 65 innings. His secondary numbers weren’t quite so impressive, particularly his managing just 33 strikeouts compared to 19 walks, but the 34-year-old journeyman is a decent middle relief option.

Boyer has a 4.22 career ERA, including a 2.91 ERA in 105 innings since returning from injuries in 2014.

The Padres have been shopping Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp
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Robert Murray of BaseballEssential.com reports that the Padres have tried to trade Matt Kemp.

Shocker given that he’s 31 and is owed $21.75 million over each of the next four seasons. Still, if the Padres eat some cash someone may bite. Kemp started slowly in 2015 but was solid in the second half. He finished with a line of .265/.312/.443, 23 home runs, and 100 RBI in 648 plate appearances. That last number is key because the once-fraglie Kemp has been healthy for two years now. Someone could use that level of production.

Just not at those prices.

The Braves and Fulton County are fighting over a Hank Aaron statue

FILE- In this Nov. 12, 2013 file photo, a statue of Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron stands outside Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves pulled perhaps the most surprising move of the year. They announced after months of secret talks with Cobb County leaders plans to move to a suburban stadium and leave downtown where they’ve played since moving from Milwaukee in 1966. The impending Braves’ departure aside, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed managed to keep the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons happy. He agreed for the city to cover part of the construction costs for a new retractable-roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome downtown. Both new stadiums are projected to open in 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Associated Press
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Divorce is hard. It’s hard on the kids and hard on your own emotions. Then, of course, there’s the fighting over money. Eventually you sort that stuff out too, but at some point you’ll come across something that cannot be divided between you and for which visitation schedules simply aren’t suitable.

Maybe it’s the family photo album. Maybe it’s that 60-year-old cast iron skillet which you got at that estate sale and which is perfectly seasoned and, oh God, you can’t imagine making fried chicken in anything else YOU GOT THE HOUSE, JENNY, MY GOD I GET TO KEEP THE SKILLET!!!

Um. Sorry. Got carried away there for a second. Where was I? Oh yes. Maybe it’s that statue you and your ex both love. You know, that one of the guy who hit 755 home runs and who has served as the face of your franchise for over 60 years:

For about three hours Wednesday, it looked like the statue of baseball hall of famer Hank Aaron would be staying in Atlanta.

The agency that owns Turner Field proudly announced it holds documents showing “the people of Atlanta and Fulton County” own the bronze, and that a deal had been struck with the Braves to keep the statue at Turner Field.

Then came a statement from the Braves saying, in effect: nuh huh. The statue, the team said, should go wherever the Hammer wants it.

And with those dueling press statements, the fate over one of Atlanta’s treasured sports landmarks remained in limbo, just as it has been since the day the Braves announced plans in late 2013 to move from downtown to Cobb County after the 2016 season.

The latest: Hank Aaron says he wants no part of the dispute and that the club and the city should solve it themselves. Which is absolutely the right move. And, frankly, kind of crappy of the Braves to throw it in Aaron’s lap in the first place. They’re the ones who, figuratively speaking, broke up the marriage by messing around with that younger, richer suitor after all. Now they’re trying to make Aaron either be a bad guy to Braves fans who attend games after 2016 and don’t get to see the statue or the city of Atlanta who would have yet another piece of their baseball history transplanted to the burbs? Forget that.

If I were Aaron I’d propose that we saw the thing in half. Then we’d see who values it more. I heard that approach has worked before.