And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 4, Royals 1: You can’t stop Corey Kluber, you can only hope to contain him. And I don’t mean that in the ironic, 1990s-Dan Patrick way. I really mean it. He allowed only one run on four hits while pitching into the ninth while striking out 10 in this one, but he’s been doing this stuff all year. His record is only 8-6, but he has struck out 137 dudes in 125.2 innings while walking only 30. He’s sporting a 2.86 ERA and a WHIP of 1.18.

Marlins 8, ,Cardinals 4: Henderson Alvarez is the National League’s Corey Kluber (i.e. that dude you really didn’t realize was having a fantastic season, but by gum he sure is. One run allowed in seven innings here, a 2.27 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP on the season. While his record is nothing to write home about, the Marlins have won his last ten starts.

Angels 6, Astros 1: Garrett Richards allowed one run in seven and a third while striking out 11 and notching his tenth win of the year. His ERA is 2.71, his strikeout rate is great, he has the lowest batting average against in the AL and he doesn’t walk too many dudes. Didn’t make the All-Star team, though, because. Well, I don’t know exactly. He’s in that final five thing with a bunch of other pitchers, including our friend Corey Kluber, but gee zooey, what’s a guy got to do?

Pirates 6, Phillies 2: The sweep. Jeff Locke gave up two runs — only one earned — on three hits and a walk in eight innings. Both Marlin Byrd and A.J. Burnett returned to face their former mates in Pittsburgh. It went better for Byrd, who homered, than it did for Burnett.

Diamondbacks 3, Braves 1: The Braves’ nine-game winning streak comes to an end thanks in part to a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt. B.J. Upton’s 11-game hitting streak came to an end too, thanks in part to B.J. Upton.

Mets 8, Rangers 4: The Mets scored five in the first and cruised from there. Which is probably the least Mets thing to happen in quite some time, but every dog has his day. Anthony Recker hit a three-run homer in the first. Recker? Damn near killed him! Wait.

Reds 4, Brewers 2: Jay Bruce was 0 for his last 26 before hitting a tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth. That’s two of three from first place Milwaukee and 10 of 15 overall for the Reds. I feel like this NL Central race is gonna get freaky and crazy within the next month or so.

Nationals 2, Cubs 1: Denard Span’s wheels helped win this one. He led off the eighth with a hit that would’ve been a single for most guys but he busted hard out of the box and just beat the tag sliding into second. Two outs and an intentional walk later, Ryan Zimmerman singled in Span for the go-ahead run. Otherwise, a nice pitching duel between Jake Arrieta and Jordan Zimmermann.

White Sox 1, Mariners 0: Hector Noesi is on his third team of the season and yesterday he faced his first team this season, shutting them out into the seventh inning. The Sox had just two hits and scored their lone run on a wild pitch. In other news, how a 1-0 game with only seven hits in it lasts close to three hours is a bloody mystery.

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

Yankees 9, Twins 7: The Yankees took a 9-0 lead and then held on just hard enough as the Twins charged back. Jacoby Ellsbury homered, doubled and drove in four. More impressive: Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki each had three hits. Not bad for a couple of dead guys.

Dodgers 8, Rockies 2:  Matt Kemp had four hits and drove in two, Adrian Gonzalez drove in three and Juan Uribe had three hits as L.A. takes three of four. Josh Beckett allowed three hits in five scoreless, but still threw 82 pitches and it took him around an hour and a half to get that far. This is somewhat comforting to me. I had begun to grow discombobulated by quick and efficient Josh Beckett starts. This, however unwatchable it was, does restore some semblance of normalcy to the cosmos.

Giants 5, Padres 3: Tim Lincecum would very much like to pitch against the Padres forever. Two starts after no-hitting them, he allowed one run while pitching into the seventh. Overall, Lincecum had tossed 23.1 scoreless innings before Brooks Conrad hit a homer in the seventh. After the game Bruce Bochy and Lincecum each talked about how this resurgence may be the real deal, and that after several years of talking about how he has to make adjustments and learn to reinvent himself, he finally has. I hope so, because I really think baseball is more fun when The Freak is dominating, but I think I need to see more than three starts against poor offenses before I’ll buy in.

Athletics 4, Blue Jays 2: Jeff Samardzija made his Oakland debut and he immediately showed why the A’s wanted him. He allowed one run on four hits and a walk in seven innings, helping the A’s finish off the sweep against the Jays. Samardzija also learned yesterday that he made the NL All-Star team. He won’t pitch, however, and he’ll actually be in the AL dugout. He’ll still get more run support doing that than he ever got in Chicago.

Orioles 7, Red Sox 6: The O’s and Red Sox played a day-night doubleheader on Saturday and then went 12 innings here. The Orioles blew a 6-1 lead in the seventh but then David Lough hit a triple in the 12th and then scored on a J.J. Hardy single to give Baltimore their sixth win in seven games.

Rays 7, Tigers 3: Rick Porcello had been on a roll, but his roll was slowed by the Rays, who scored seven runs on 11 hits off him. David Price, in contrast, was in control until the ninth when he gave up a leadoff homer and then lost his mojo and couldn’t get the complete game, but by then it was academic. Tampa Bay took three of four from the Tigers and have won 8 of 10 overall.

Evan Longoria: “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.