And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 11, Tigers 4: Two games, two Tigers Cy Young Award winners shelled. And with that, the Kansas City Royals are in sole possession of first place in the AL Central. This is the latest they’ve been in first place since that crazy, flukey year they had back in 2003, when they finally fell out of first place in August.

Angels 9, Indians 3: Mike Trout had two homers. He had a three-run homer in the fifth that broke a tie and a leadoff homer in the seventh for extra measure. A few weeks ago people were talking about Trout’s “down year.” Even if it was down, he was still having a great season by most people’s standards. Now, after a Trout is batting .410 over his last 22 games he has raised his average from .264 to .311 and sits at .311/.397/.610, which is a great season even by his own.

Brewers 7, Diamondbacks 5: Jonathan Lucroy hit two homers including a grand slam. Which was set up by a bunch of idiocy on the part of the Dbacks. But hey, at least no one can accuse of Kirk Gibson and his players of not Playing The Game The Right Way. That is, assuming trying to win baseball games isn’t part of Playing The Game The Right Way.

Nationals 6, Astros 5: Washington took a 6-1 lead into the top of the eighth and then weathered a four-run Houston rally to hold on. Anthony Rendon doubled twice and drove in three runs and the Nats broke their four-game losing streak.

Mariners 6, Padres 1: Homers for Robinson Cano and Jesus Montero. Montero also played first base, which is a new thing for him in the bigs. Not a bad couple of first steps back for a dude who got (a) underachieved tremendously; (b) got a drug suspension; and (c) showed up to camp after all of that in bad shape.

Reds 6, Pirates 5: Todd Frazier with a homer in the ninth to break a 5-5 tie. It was his 16th homer of the year and, at the moment anyway, he is the best offensive third baseman in the NL. He and Milwaukee’s Lucroy are the two dudes who, on first-half merit anyway, deserve to start the All-Star Game but aren’t currently leading at their positions. Maybe their big nights last night will goose the voters into giving them more love.

Phillies 5, Braves 2: The Phillies have won six of eight. They got a nice performance from Kyle Kendrick and Ryan Howard homered. Atlanta has lost seven of 11 and 13 of 21 and it’s only by the grace of God and the Nationals’ inconsistency that they aren’t buried right now.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 1: You can’t count on much in this crazy world, but if you can count on anything you can count on Tanaka. The Yankees’ ace wins his 11th game after striking out ten in six innings. The only blemish was a homer to Jose Reyes on the first pitch of the game. After that: the Blue Jays couldn’t do a thing.

Marlins 6, Cubs 5: Garrett Jones hit a three-run homer. In other news, I had completely forgotten that Garrett Jones plays for the Marlins. Because, really, who watches a ton of Marlins games?

Cardinals 5, Mets 2: That’s eight of nine for the Cardinals, as Michael Wacha got some key strikeouts to get out of jams. The Mets have lost 11 of 14.

Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Phil Hughes was impressive, allowing two runs over eight, but Jon Lester allowed only one while pitching into the seventh and got some nice support from his bullpen. Also: some nice defensive support from a corner infielder playing center field.

Orioles 7, Rays 5: Chris Davis hit a grand slam that was originally called a double, but viva replay. Part of Buck Showalter’s rationale for challenging the call — which was a close one and hard for Davis himself to determine if it was gone or not — was that he heard it clang off the foul pole. Which is something that can probably only happen in the mostly empty and echoey Tropicana Field.

Dodgers 4, Rockies 2: Matt Kemp went deep and Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run shot. Ramirez also left the game in the seventh with a bruised ring finger on his right hand. X-Rays were negative. Which is positive.

White Sox 8, Giants 2: My kids wanted to watch baseball last night. By the time they were showered and in their jammies the Braves were losing 4-0 and our secondary viewing habit — the Tigers — were in an even deeper hole. So I turned on this one because my daughter asked me to watch “the best team playing a game right now.” Right after we turned it on Gordon Beckham hit a homer and the Giants started throwing the ball all around the infield. Then Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow started doing Hawk Harrelson impressions on the air which was both funny and painful. The upshot: not a great night for watching games with the kids. Probably should’ve watched the Tanaka game.

Athletics 10, Rangers 6: Derek Norris did a nice Vinnie Johnson impression last night:five RBI coming off the bench. Stephen Vogt went 3 for 3 with two RBI. Yu Darvish has lost eight straight to the A’s.

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.