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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 11, Tigers 8: The Royals win their eighth in a row and pull to within a half game of the Tigers for first place. They did so here by beating the tar out of Justin Verlander, who gave up seven runs on 12 hits in six innings. Of 99 qualifying pitchers, Verlander’s ERA — 4.98 — is 91st. In other news, the five-year, $140 million extension he signed doesn’t kick in until next year.

Phillies 6, Braves 1: There was a time — oh, from about 2004 through a week or two ago — when if the Braves were down late, you knew it was over. They just had no catchup gear and their fate was pretty much sealed. The late great Mac Thomason used to call it “hibernation mode,” and while it was annoying, it was rather handy if you wanted to get to bed early or go walk the dog. Twice in the past week the Braves have found that gear and avoided hibernating, tying things up late. Both times they the gave up a crap-ton of runs in extra innings. Well, David Hale did, but he speaks for all Braves when he’s on the mound. Anyway guys, I love this newfound catchup ability, but that late collapse thing is way worse than hibernation mode ever was. Cut it out.

Red Sox 1, Twins 0:  Rubby De La Rosa one-hit the Twins through seven innings. When I first saw this guy in Dodgers camp a few years ago I was super impressed. Glad to see him doin’ thangs at the big league level like this.

Indians 4, Angels 3:  Carlos Santana snoozed for April and May, but he’s 13 for 39 with three homers and nine RBI in June, including a bomb last night. In other news, when I mentally say “Angels and Indians” as I write up the recap to these matchups, I always think “Angels and Indians” would be the name of a halfway decent indie film.

Mariners 5, Padres 1: Walking seven guys in five and two-thirds is no way to go through life, Tyson Ross. Shutting out the opposition for six innings is much better, Chris Young.

Dodgers 6, Rockies 1: Dee Gordon goes 4 for 4 with three singles and a triple, and he came all the way home on the triple thanks to Charlie Blackmon kicking the ball around in the left field corner. Gordon never stopped running so, even though the scoring wasn’t as such, it looked like an inside-the-park homer. The second highlight here has it. He just flies.

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.

Rangers 14, Athletic 8: Four homers — two by Donnie Murphy — and 16 his in all as the Rangers romp. This is Texas’ fourth straight win in Oakland. At least someone likes playing in that ballpark.

Brewers 9, Diamondbacks 3: It was all tied up heading into the eighth but then Milwaukee put up three-spots in each of the last two innings, spoiling a solid Brandon McCarthy start.

Rays 5, Orioles 4: For the second straight game Jerry Sands came off the bench and delivered a big pinch hit. Here a tie-breaking pinch-hit homer in the eighth. Also: periodic reminder that “Jerry Sands” is the first name every writer in need of a fictitious standup comedian and/or nightclub singer for their novel set in the 1960s and 1970s uses for their character. Most change it during revisions because it’s too obvious. Sort of like naming the lead character of your fantasy novel “Valiant Goodknight.”

Cardinals 6, Mets 2: The Cards are hot, winning their seventh of eight. Allen Craig and Matt Adams each had two RBI and four pitchers, led by Carlos Martinez, subbed for the skipped Adam Wainwright to subdue the Mets’ bats. Not that they weren’t already subdued.

Cubs 5, Marlins 4: When you play 13 innings and basically empty your bench, you have to do things like use a starting pitcher as a pinch-hitter. Travis Wood got the call for the Cubbies n the 13th and all he did was double in a run to put the Cubs ahead. Of course, he does have a line of .276/.323/.552 on the year, so he’s no slouch. Indeed, by OPS he’s the Cubs’ second best hitter.

 

 

Mariano Rivera to get his plaque in Monument Park on August 14

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The greatest closer in history is going to get the ultimate honor the New York Yankees bestow on August 14. That’s when Mariano Rivera will get his plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before a game against the Rays.

There was some chatter in the last year or two about whether the Yankees were somehow lowering their standards out there, what with guys like Tino Martinez getting honored. But if that’s something you care about it won’t matter in this instance. Rivera would’ve been worthy even if the old snobby ways had held and only inner-circle types got a plaque, what with him being a key member of five World Series-winning teams and his status as the all-time saves leader in the regular season and the postseason.

The Yankees retired Rivera’s No. 42 in 2013. He’ll get his plaque in August. Then, on the first ballot for which he is eligible, he’ll be voted into the Hall of Fame, likely with a percentage in the mid-to-high 90s.

Dodgers “trying to trade” Alex Guerrero

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Alex Guerrero is a potentially good right-handed bat without a position to play in Los Angeles, so Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that the Dodgers are “trying to trade” him makes sense.

Guerrero, who signed with the Dodgers out of Cuba for $28 million in October of 2013, spent last season in the majors hitting .233 with 11 homers and a .695 OPS in a part-time role that generated 230 plate appearances. He logged a total of just 355 innings defensively, mostly as a left fielder and third baseman.

Guerrero could be intriguing–particularly to an American League team for whom his defense isn’t much of an issue–because he hit .329 with 15 homers and a 1.113 OPS in 65 games at Triple-A in 2014 and was consistently a .300 hitter with an OPS around 1.000 in Cuba. He’s also 29 years old, so Guerrero is no doubt looking to play regularly.

The New Zealand World Baseball Classic team performs the Haka

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It’s World Baseball Classic time again. Just the qualifying rounds. The actual tournament happens in 2017. Qualifiers will happen in Sydney, Australia, Mexicali, Mexico, Panama City, Panama and Brooklyn, N.Y., periodically, between now and September.

The Sydney round just got underway yesterday, so yes, some actual baseball is going on. As I’ve written and ranted before, the WBC is not my favorite thing that happens in baseball and certainly not the most important thing, but it’s pretty fun. Especially when there are displays of enthusiasm and pageantry and the like.

Such as the Haka, which basically every New Zealand sports team does and which never gets old:

 

Down in Sydney, the Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and South Africa teams are competing in a six-game, modified double-elimination format. In the other three qualifying rounds, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Nicaragua, Colombia, France, Panama, Spain, Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan will compete. Each qualifying round puts one representative in the WBC.

Those four qualifiers will compete in the WBC itself against countries that performed well enough in the past that they need not submit to qualifying: Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.

Someone make sure Jon Morosi is well-hyrdrated. It’s gonna be a long year.

Yovani Gallardo and the Orioles are both “optimistic” about a deal

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Multiple reports Wednesday had the Orioles and free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo deep in negotiations on a multi-year deal. Nothing has been finalized yet, but Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com says “both sides appear to be pretty optimistic still.”

Ghiroli adds that the “ball is in the Orioles’ court,” although that may simply reveal her likely source to be Gallardo’s agent. Whatever the case, Baltimore is apparently now willing to forfeit their first-round draft pick to sign Galllardo and he may lead to a domino effect in which they also forfeit a second-round draft pick to sign outfielder Dexter Fowler.

The idea being that if you’re going to cough up the 14th overall pick to sign a mid-level free agent with spring training right around the corner you might as well cough up a lower draft pick to sign a second one. Gallardo has shown signs of decline, including a big dip in strikeout rate, but he logged 184 innings with a 3.42 ERA for the Rangers last season.