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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Blue Jays 7, Brewers 4: A three-run walkoff homer for Edwin Encarnacion to give one surprise first place team the win over another surprise first place team. This is what Encarnacion actually, truly said about the hit after the game: “He hanged it, I banged it.” I don’t feel like that’ll turn into the hot new t-shirt of the summer, but then again, I did not expect “Turn down for what” to turn into some thing Tigers players put on their t-shirts either.

Cubs 16, Red Sox 9: A three game sweep for the Cubbies punctuated by a four-homer, sixteen run thrashing. Justin Ruggiano drove in five and had a two-run homer. Mike Olt, Nate Schierholtz and Wellington Castillo added homers of their own. Mookie Betts had his first big league bomb, but the Sox lost their ninth of 13.

Marlins 5, Phillies 0: Tom Koehler tossed six shutout innings and then got the hell out of the park because his wife is about to give birth. This is very similar to what I did the night before my son was born: I went to go see “Batman Begins” by myself. Both of us picked up the win.

Royals 4 ,Twins 0: Jason Vargas threw seven scoreless innings and Raul Ibanez homered for the first time since his return to the Royals. The last time he homered as a Royal was September 22, 2003. Wanna put that date in perspective? It was so long ago that, on that very same date, David Hempleman-Adams became the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open-air, wicker-basket hot air balloon! Wait, that doesn’t put it in perspective for you? What the hell do you want from me? There wasn’t much that was both historic and perspective-inducing happening on that day, OK? Ibanez being in his 30s is about as crazy-old as it gets.

Padres 3, Reds 0: My phone rings in the middle of the afternoon yesterday. It’s my brother.

Curt: Dude! Are you watching any baseball right now?

Me: I have a game on, sure [I was half watching the Dodgers-Indians]

Curt: Is it the Padres game?

Me: No. Why would I be watching the Padres game? They’re boring.

Curt: Because I’m THERE dude! I’m sitting in left field, wearing a Social Distortion shirt! Turn it on!

Me: I’m probably not going to see you.

My Daughter, who is watching the Dodgers game with me and has caught enough of the conversation to know what’s going on, grabs the remote and switches it to the Padres game. Then yells so my brother can hear it: “I’m looking for you Uncle Curt! Wave!”

Curt: [yelling in an effort to get my daughter to hear him] “HI ANNA!!”

Sometimes I feel like the only adult for miles and miles. Sometimes I also feel like the only one not having any fun. Then again, no one hit a homer to left field — indeed, the only runs scored on a crazy-rare three-run single from Rene Rivera — so I ended up being right. And still boring.

Mariners 5, Astros 2: Chris Young struck out eight and the M’s bullpen once again put up zeroes. That’s four straight wins for the M’s and as I’ll note below, three straight losses for Oakland. The A’s are still in first and the M’s are still in third, but Seattle is now only four and a half back. They were 7.5 back when we woke up on Monday morning.

Braves 3, Mets 1: The sweep gives the Braves their seventh straight win. Julio Teheran gave up a run on four hits and pitched around three walks while getting what was, for him anyway, copious run support.

Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 1: Gregory Polanco hit a two-run homer and reached base three times. The Pirates have won nine of 11.

Tigers 9, Athletics 3: The Tigers finished off a sweep of the A’s behind a better-than-he-has-been-but-not-as-good-as-he-can-be Justin Verlander. Verlander scattered nine hits (if there were ten, those hits would have been “weathered”) as the Tigers put up a six spot in the sixth with three RBI singles and an RBI double. The A’s may be the best team in baseball so far this year, but the Tigers seem to have their number. They probably shouldn’t panic, though. Maybe it’s just one of those Michael-Jordan-can’t-get-passed-the-Pistons situations that will eventually resolve itself.

Not gonna go back and count, but I bet I used more hyphens in that recap than I ever have in the six-year history of “And That Happened.”

Nationals 4, Rockies 3: Ian Desmond hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh. At least it ended up being a called a homer after a four-minute video review. So that was dramatic. The Nats have picked a great time to win five in a row, thereby blunting the Braves’ own winning streak.

Rays 6, Yankees 3: I was on the phone waiting to do a radio spot yesterday and the producer guy was talking to me, telling me that the Rays were going to win the AL East this year. He even said “You can mark it down!” So here I am marking it down. I didn’t have much of a response to that but, if I had been thinking more quickly I probably would’ve told him that sweeping this version of the New York Yankees is probably not a good basis for making any sort of predictions.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on ThursdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Indians 5, Dodgers 4: A three-run rally against Brian Wilson in the eighth sealed it. Wilson retired only one of the six batters he faced, giving up a tying single to David Murphy and a two-run RBI to Mike Aviles.

White Sox 3, Angels 2: Leury Garcia with a pinch-hit walkoff single. It was the first White Sox win over the Angels in seven tries. Also: it just occurred to me, a decade later, that you’ll probably be able to stump more people with questions about who won the World Series in 2002 and 2005 than you will with almost any other World Series in recent history.

Orioles 6, Rangers 4: Adam Jones and Ryan Flaherty hit solo homers. The Rangers have lost eight straight road games.

Cardinals 2, Giants 0: Adam Wainwright pitched shutout ball into the eighth. Matts Carpenter and Holliday had RBI singles.

Tony La Russa went into the Pirates broadcast booth over Hit-by-pitch criticism

MESA, AZ - MARCH 10:  Chief baseball officer Tony La Russa of the Arizona Diamondbacks gestures as he talks with coaches in the dugout before the spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at HoHoKam Stadium on March 10, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday a couple of Arizona Diamondbacks batters were hit in head by Pirates pitcher Arquimedes Caminero. Caminero did not appear to be trying to bean these guys. He simply had no control whatsoever. That the Pirates just sent him down to the minors underscores that. Still: a bad situation given the inherent danger of plunkings in general and beanballs in particular. Thank goodness nether Dbacks batter appears to be injured.

It would make sense that Dbacks folks would be a bit upset at this, but Tony La Russa took things to the next level. The Pirates announcers apparently mentioned something about the Diamondbacks’ and La Russa’s history with hit-by-pitch controversies. And then this, from Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic . . .

La Russa acknowledged he went into a broadcast booth during Tuesday night’s game after he “heard some stuff on the air” that he considered inaccurate about his history with retaliatory pitches during his managerial days.

“I never have stood for inaccuracies,” La Russa said, “so I corrected the inaccuracies.

“It’s about taking responsibility. If you’re going to speak untruths then you’re going to get challenged and you should be responsible for what you say. I am. I reacted.”

That’s a totally chill and above-it-all way for a Hall of Famer and the head of baseball operations of a major league club to react. Glad to see La Russa, as always, is a portrait of zen.

Either way, the Pirates announcers should be excused if they were somewhat inaccurate. For you see, La Russa has always been somewhat hard to pin down on his plunking/beanball politics. In the past he’s said that another team accidentally hitting his team is bad while defending his own team’s clear and obvious retaliation. He once blamed an opposing hitter for escalating a situation by not avoiding what was clearly intentional attempt to hit him by his own player, claiming that a mere inside pitch with no intent was worse than his own guy TRYING to hit the opposition.

The common denominator to La Russa’s history with this stuff is (a) whatever the Tony La Russa-led team is doing is correct; (b) whatever the other team did was incorrect; and (c) almost everyone who isn’t Tony La Russa just doesn’t get it and that’s their problem, not his.

So of course he’s gonna go into a broadcast booth to La Russa-splain things to them. It’s a complicated business about which he and he alone has clarity. He’s doing us a favor, really.

Wade Boggs embroiled in non-controversy over his Yankees World Series ring!

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The Red Sox held a ceremony honoring the 1986 team last night and one of the key members of that team, Wade Boggs, was in attendance wearing  his Red Sox jersey. He also wore his Yankees World Series ring.

When I heard about this controversy a few minutes ago I did something that neither I nor most people who are a part of the Internet Industrial Complex usually do: wondered whether this was actually a controversy.

I quickly scanned around and found a good dozen or so articles talking about it and people talking about them talking about it. I noticed people making reference to how, theoretically, this could upset some Red Sox fans or be seen as a sign of disrespect. But I could not find anyone who actually cared. Anyone who was actually upset about it. I can’t say that I read every comment to every article, but you usually don’t have to dig deep to find people mad about something on the Internet and I could not immediately find anyone who was mad about this. Lots of jokes and comments about the idea of being mad, but no one who actually cared. It was like an obligatory ceremonial function the meaning of which everyone has forgotten.

There are a lot of “controversies” like that. They tend to be more common in the entertainment world than the sports world — people referencing a “scandalous” thing some singer or actor did which, in reality, scandalized no one — but it happens in sports too. In sports it’s when a convention or custom is not followed or when someone doesn’t otherwise conform to some set of expectations. A lot of the time no one cares at all. It’s all about the politics of recognizing situations in which someone might, in theory, care. Or once did long, long ago.

Maybe someone is genuinely mad at Wade Boggs over this If so, I’d love to hear from that person and wonder why on Earth they’d care. But I sort of feel like such a beast does not exist. And for that I’m pretty glad.

The Cardinals had a “statement loss” yesterday

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 25: Manager manager Mike Matheny #22 congratulates Matt Adams #32 of the St. Louis Cardinals as he enters the dugout after scoring a run during the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium on May 25, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
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I’ve always been critical of the concept of “statement games” in Major League Baseball. Maybe it matters more in football where there are far fewer games and thus each one means much more, but in baseball a win lasts, at best, 48 hours and usually less. Like Earl Weaver said, we do this every day, lady. When you’re constantly talking, as it were, any one statement is pretty unimportant.

I’ll grant that a “statement win” is a thing players use to motivate or validate themselves, of course. We on the outside can roll our eyes at the notion, but we can’t know the minds of a major league player. If they think that they made a statement and it’s important to them, hey, it’s important to them. I’ll admit, however, that a statement loss is a new one to me:

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Kolten Wong provided the basis of that headline. Here is what he said:

“I think we still made a statement. We were down 6-1 right off the bat. The game before, we were kind of in the same situation. We were tired of it,” second baseman Kolten Wong said. “Our pitchers have been our go-to these past few years. It was time for us to step up and I think we all kind of felt that, too. We just wanted to make this a game and show that we have our pitchers’ backs.”

In context it makes sense. A moral victory, as it were. They got to one of the best pitchers in the game after finding themselves down by several runs thanks to their starting pitching betraying them. The hitters didn’t go into a shell when most folks would excuse them for doing so against a guy like Jake Arrieta.

Makes sense and no judgments here. Moral victories matter. Still, it’s hard not to chuckle at the headline. I can’t remember a big leaguer talking quite that way after a loss.

Julio Urias to be called up, make his MLB debut tomorrow

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 20:  Starting pitcher Julio Urias #78 of the Los Angeles Dodgers participates in a spring training workout at Camelback Ranch on February 20, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Dodgers have been mulling this for a long time, but they just announced that they plan on calling up top prospect Julio Urias. He’ll be making his major league debut against the Mets tomorrow evening in New York.

Urias is just 19 years-old, but he’s shown that he’s ready for the bigs. In eight Triple-A games this year — seven starts — he’s 4-1 with a 1.10 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 44/8 in 41 innings. He has tossed 27-straight scoreless innings to boot. While the Dodgers and Urias’ agent are understandably wary of giving the young man too much work too soon, he has nothing left to prove at Oklahoma City.

Urias turns 20 in August. Tomorrow night he will become the first teenager to debut in the majors since 2012 when Dylan Bundy, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Jurickson Profar each made their debuts.