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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 5, Athletics 4: I would have to think that a walkoff grand slam when you’re down by three is, if one scored such things on style and drama points, the highest possible scoring walkoff there is. And get this: the Tigers last had a walkoff grand slam June 27, 2004. Before that: June 21, 1994. So basically, late June, every ten years, someone does this for Detroit. I’m calling June 2024’s to be done by either Nick Castellanos or some kid in the ninth grade someplace.

Nationals 7, Rockies 3: Bryce Harper went 1 for 3 with an RBI single on Bryce Harper bobblehead/Everyone hates Bryce Harper night. Adam LaRoche homered, Ryan Zimmerman had three hits and Ian Desmond hit two doubles. Denard Span, the guy Harper implied he did not want in the lineup during his controversial comments yesterday, went 0 for 3.

Rays 4, Yankees 3: The Rays had a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth but Joel Roberts blew it by giving up a game-tying Brian Roberts homer. Tampa Bay got a Logan Forsythe RBI single in the 12th to win it, though, because Mystique and Aura have apparently retired and have opened up a craft store or something back in the small town they came from.

Braves 5, Mets 3: The Braves were down 3-1 in the eighth, but they were playing the Mets, and this is their theme song, so you never really felt the game was out of hand. In that eighth Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia center fielder Juan Lagares and third baseman Eric Campbell all committed errors as the Braves rallied for four runs. Familia’s error could’ve been a double play. If he converts that and Lagares doesn’t commit his error, the Mets escape the inning with no runs scoring. But then again, if that happens we’re deprived of all of the comedy.

Orioles 7, Rangers 1: Steve Pearce hit two homers and drove in four. In other, crazy-unexpected news Ubaldo Jimenez pitched well and won at home and that never happens.

Dodgers 1, Indians 0: Dan Haren and the bullpen combine to one-hit the Indians. The only hit: a Michael Bourn single that was originally called an out but overturned on replay review. Probably for the best, though. Haren left the game after seven with 103 pitches. If he had a no-no going he’d probably have stayed in the game, eventually tired out and, more importantly, wouldn’t have been pinch-hit for by Clint Robinson, who ended up plating the game’s only run.

Padres 1, Reds 0: Not a great offensive day for Ohio teams in Southern California. This one featured a one-hitter too. Except it was the winning team notching only one hit. And it wasn’t even an RBI. Their run scored on a sac fly. Jesse Hahn and four relievers combine for the shutout. Mat Latos, back in San Diego where his career got going, gets the loss despite allowing that lone hit in seven innings.

Cubs 2, Red Sox 0: No offense for the home team in Boston, as the Red Sox were no-hit by Jake Arrieta until there were two outs in the eighth. Arrieta has been crazy-good lately. On his last outing six days ago he carried a perfect game into the seventh.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 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.

Royals 6, Twins 1: Alcides Escobar had two doubles and four RBI. Kansas City has won three of four.

Mariners 10, Astros 4: Robinson Cano had a three-run blast and the M’s had four homers in all, supporting Taijuan Walker in his 2014 debut. Walker allowed three runs over six.

Angels vs. White Sox: POSTPONED:

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.”

Don Mattingly thinks pace of play can be improved by changing views on strikeouts

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly sits in the dugout prior to a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Monday, April 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo
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Marlins manager Don Mattingly has one potential solution to the pace of play issue: change the way people value strikeouts, the Associated Press reports.

Strikeouts have been rising steadily since 2005. Then, a typical game averaged 6.30 strikeouts. In 2016, there were 8.03 strikeouts per game. There are many explanations for this phenomenon. For one, teams are searching specifically for young pitchers who can throw hard — like triple-digits hard. They figure they can teach them the other pertinent skills in the minors. Second, Sabermetrics has shown that a strikeout is only marginally worse than an out made on a ball put in play. Sometimes, the strikeout is preferable, especially if there’s a runner on first base with less than two outs and a weak hitter at the plate. Sabermetrics has also shown home runs to be the best and most efficient way to contribute on offense. Furthermore, younger players tend to focus more on power in order to get noticed by scouts. Unless it’s paired with other elite skills, a scout isn’t going to remember a player who hit the ball into the hole on the right side, but he will remember the kid who blasted a 450-foot homer.

Here’s what Mattingly had to say:

Analytically, a few years back nobody cared about the strikeout, so it’s OK to strike out 150, 160, 170 times, and that guy’s still valued in a big way. Well, as soon as we start causing that to be a bad value — the strikeouts — guys will put the ball in play more. So once we say strikeouts are bad and it’s going to cost you money the more you strike out, then the strikeouts will go away. Guys will start making adjustments and putting the ball in play more.

[…]

If our game values [say that] strikeouts don’t matter, they are going to keep striking out, hitting homers, trying to hit home runs and striking out.

Simply believing strikeouts are bad won’t magically change its value. However, creating social pressure regarding striking out can change it. Theoretically, anyway. Creating that social pressure is easier said than done.

There is a dichotomy here as well. Home runs are exciting. Strikeouts and walks are not. Often, though, the three go hand-in-hand-in-hand. A player actively trying to cut down on his strikeouts by putting the ball in play will also likely cut down on his strikeout and walk rates. There doesn’t seem to be an elegant solution here. Wishing for fewer strikeouts, walks, and homers doesn’t really seem to give way to a more exciting game.

Sean Doolittle: “Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans.”

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 25:  Sean Doolittle #62 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 25, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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In the past, we’ve commented on Athletics reliever Sean Doolittle and his girlfriend Eireann Dolan’s community service. In 2015, the pair hosted Syrian refugee families for Thanksgiving and their other charitable efforts have included LGBTQ outreach and help for veterans.

Athletes and their significant others have typically avoided stepping into political waters, but Doolittle and Dolan have shown that it’s clearly no concern to them. In the time since, the Syrian refugee issue has become even more of a hot-button issue and Doolittle recently discussed it with Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

I think America is the best country in the world because we’ve been able to attract the best and brightest people from all over the world. We have the smartest doctors and scientists, the most creative and innovative thinkers. A travel ban like this puts that in serious jeopardy.

I’ve always thought that all boats rise with the tide. Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans. But if we include them, we can make the pie that much bigger, thus ensuring more opportunities for everyone.

Doolittle, of course, is referring to Executive Order 13769 signed by President Trump which sought to limit incoming travel to the United States from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. A temporary restraining order on the executive order was placed on February 3, a result of State of Washington v. Trump.

Doolittle spoke more about the plight refugees face:

These are people fleeing civil wars, violence and oppression that we can’t even begin to relate to. I think people think refugees just kind of decide to come over. They might not realize it takes 18-24 months while they wait in a refugee camp. They go through more than 20 background checks and meetings with immigration officers. They are being vetted.

They come here, and they want to contribute to society. They’re so grateful to be out of a war zone or whatever they were running from in their country that they get jobs, their kids go to our schools, they’re paying taxes, and in a lot of cases, they join our military.

Around this time last year, Craig wrote about Doolittle and Dolan not sticking to baseball. They’re still not, nor should they be. Hopefully, the duo’s outspokenness inspires other players and their loved ones to speak up for what’s right.

[Hat tip: Deadspin’s Hannah Keyser]