And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 7, Nationals 6: Rafael Soriano and a three-run lead in the ninth seems safe. Not last night it wasn’t. The Marlins rallied for four, capped by a Jeff Baker two-run single. The Nats had a 6-0 lead at one point here. This is the kind of game that comes back to haunt later in the season when things are tight. Or at least what this Braves fan’s wishful thinking is telling him.

Mets 7, Phillies 1: A.J. Burnett was probably a decent trade deadline candidate until recently. But he has certainly put the kibosh on that. Seven runs allowed here in five innings and six runs in five innings two starts ago vs. eight shutout innings against the Giants six days ago. You willing to bet a prospect on that anyone? I don’t know that I would be.

Rays 2, Brewers 1: Jake Odorizzi allowed one run and three hits in seven innings and a couple of RBI from James Loney. Also: a kind of compliment by Ron Roenicke to former Angels coaching colleague Joe Maddon: “Joe is out there, but he’s got great common sense and you don’t usually see that in a guy that’s out there.” Thanks?

Braves 2, Padres 0: Ervin Santana was fantastic — 11 Ks in seven innings — but the story here is, or at least should be, Jason Lane pitching six solid innings in his first major league start at age 37. This after seven years in the wilderness when his career as a hitter fizzled out. You don’t make this long, hard climb back unless you are made out of pure, unadulterated desire and unless you love baseball like no one’s business. Jason Lane is a story waiting to be told. Someone please tell it, because I bet it’s fantastic.

Blue Jays 14, Red Sox 1: I guess it was a game until the sixth inning. Then the Jays put up a nine-spot. Which in the metric system is, like, a three-spot I guess. I dunno, I always had a hard time with conversions like that. All I know is that Toronto unloaded hectares and liters and kilos of hurt on Boston. Clay Buchholz couldn’t retire anyone in the sixth and gave up seven runs in all. Five RBI for Mely Cabrera, four for Ryan Goins. R.A. Dickey struck out ten and allowed one run in seven innings. I guess no one ever taught him to pitch to the score.

Cubs 4, Rockies 1: Tsuyoshi Wada picked up his first big league win in his third big league start, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings. Anthony Rizzo drove in two.

Astros 7, Athletics 3: Homers from Chris Carter, Jason Castro, Marc Krauss and Matt Dominguez. Carter’s was a three-run shot. His was of saying ‘ello to this old friends on the A’s. Castro and Krauss went back-to-back in the sixth.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Rangers 4, Yankees 2: Two runs on nine hits (scatters, smothered and capped) in seven innings for Yu Darvish. He struck out eight as well. Two homers for Brett Gardner in a winning effort in a losing cause.

Diamondbacks 2, Reds 1: A 15 inning affair that ended a bit before midnight a bit after Nick Ahmed hit an RBI single in the top of the inning. Twelve pitchers used in all, most of whom put up zeroes in the box score. Indeed, Dbacks relievers combined for eight shutout innings after starter Chase Anderson managed to allow just one run in seven. As an Ohioan who has been to Cincinnati an awful lot, I truly have to wonder where the players in this one go out for dinner afterward. Like, it’s Taco Bell I guess. Great town in some respects, but not a night life kind of town. Should make next year’s All-Star Game all kinds of fun.

Pirates 5 vs. Giants 0: 4-0 in the first on a night when Vance Worley needed almost no help at all, tossing a four-hit shutout. It was his second career complete game. His first: against the Giants as well.

 

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.