And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 5, Tigers 4: Michael Brantley with the walkoff job ends Cleveland’s four-game losing streak. It wasn’t easy to get there — Detroit’s J.D. Martinez hit a pinch-hit homer in the ninth to tie it up at four — but the Indians will take a win any way they can get it these days.

Reds 4, Nationals 3: Todd Frazier connected for a two-run homer in the 15th inning off Ross Detwiler. But the real story was the leather flashed by the Redlegs in order to get to the 15th inning in the first place. Brandon Phillips robbed Wilson Ramos of a hit with a catch behind second base with a runner on third to end the 12th inning. Then, in the 14th, Billy Hamilton made a diving grab to rob Anthony Rendon of a hit and, in all likelihood, the game-winning RBI given that there was a runner on second. Check them out here.

Braves 9, Brewers 3: Atlanta’s offense has been turrible, turrible, but they finally broke out. Every player except Chris Johnson had a hit and Freddie Freeman, Ryan Doumit And Justin Upton all had homers. I’m assuming that the offense was caused by me not watching the game, as every time I’ve tuned in lately they’ve been pathetic. Instead I watched the first four innings of the Tigers-Indians game followed by the first two hours or so of “Magnolia” because I apparently didn’t want to be happy last night.

White Sox 7, Royals 6: Kansas City was up 5-0 after one inning. But that’s why they play nine. The Chisox scored three in the third, one in the fourth and then had one run in in the fifth to make it 6-5 Kansas City before Paul Konerko connected with a two-run homer. Lots of great bullpen work from the Sox, first after Scott Carroll struggled and then after closer Matt Lindstrom ran into trouble in the ninth.

Astros 5, Angels 2: Dallas Keuchel continues to be a stopper for Houston. He ran out of gas in the ninth, falling one out short of pitching his second straight shutout, but he picked up his fifth win anyway, despite two runners he put on coming around after he gave way to a reliever. Having someone step up like he has been can be the difference between a team being super, dispiritingly bad and merely bad, as the avoidance of big losing streaks and the occasional preservation of a the bullpen is a nice thing, mentally speaking.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Aaron Judge ties the rookie home run record with his 49th blast

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Monday afternoon baseball that isn’t either (a) part of a doubleheader; or (b) on a holiday is always a bit unsettling, but today’s rare Monday tilt gave us a gift in the form of history: Aaron Judge hit his 49th home run, tying the rookie record.

The dinger came in the third inning of this afternoon’s Royals-Yankees tilt. It was the sixth pitch from Jake Junis and left via right field. Mark McGwire also hit 49 with the Athletics in 1987. Judge has the rest of today’s game and five more games after it to hit number 50 and claim the record for himself.

Watch:

Major League Baseball wants you to look at a screen while you’re at the ballpark

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During the debate last week involving expanded netting at major league ballparks, the familiar refrain from the anti-netting crowd rung out: “hey, netting wouldn’t be necessary if you simply paid attention!” These folks get particularly upset at the idea of people looking at their phones or other electronic devices during the game, implying — or sometimes explicitly stating — that if you do that you almost deserve to be hit with a 100 mph foul ball.

The problem with that, though, is that Major League Baseball increasingly encourages fans to use their phones during games. You can order your concessions through them now. Fans are encouraged to use the MLB.com Ballpark app for an increasing number of in-game features. And, of course, the video boards — always in the opposite direction of the hitter — are getting larger and larger and contain more and more information that the clubs and the league want you to see.

But it goes farther than that. Or at least it will soon. As this article from TechCrunch makes clear, in the future, Major League Baseball wants you actually watching the game action through your phone or your iPad. It’s an augmented reality feature in which you hold up your tablet and . . .

In essence, it’s a bit like watching TV broadcast in person, with information overlaid on the action as it happens in real-time. The data is gathered from Statcast, MLB’s in-house analytics tool . . . Players on the field, meanwhile, get small, square popups featuring their faces that can be tapped open to offer up personalized player information

Which is kind of cool, actually. Personally I am fascinated with the possibilities of augmented reality. For me it usually comes to mind when I’m out hiking and I want to know what a certain kind of tree is or something (my natural education was sorely lacking as a child), but there are tons of other applications. Even though I probably know more about the players and what’s going on on the field than your average American, I’d still probably use such a product, at least a little bit at a game.

But, of course, there is that safety tradeoff. How can Major League Baseball continue to be hands-off about a netting policy and maintain that fans assume the risk of foul ball injuries while simultaneously encouraging the use of electronic devices that will, necessarily, distract them from directly observing on-field action? Indeed, if they do continue to maintain that paradoxical approach, I’d expect this quote from the article to be used at a trial of an injured fan suing for damages:

“People are already using their phones, and we don’t think this is all that different,” MLB Product VP Chad Evans told us at the event. Of course, in a sport where small spherical objects are regularly projected into the stands at high speeds, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on the field. Perhaps popping up an alert on screen when a ball approaches would be a good start.

That last bit — not the quote, but the article’s suggestion of a warning — is comical given how quickly a ball can make it into the stands. Even fans paying rapt attention can get hurt by fast foul balls. Expecting them to process a warning and then act based on it when instinct often isn’t fast enough is ridiculous.

Cool product, for sure. Like I said, I’d probably even use it on occasion. But the more technology and the more distractions Major League Baseball pours into the game, the more responsibility it will have when those distractions contribute to fan injuries. In light of that, they simply cannot continue to be hands-off with respect to the matter.