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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 4, Yankees 3: David Price didn’t get the decision in his Tigers debut but he pitched just fine, thank you. Eight and two-thirds innings, three runs ten strikeouts and no walks. Alex Avila had an RBI single off of Hiroki Kuroda n the seventh to force extras and then smacked the go-ahead and, eventually, game-winning homer in the top of the 12th. Joba Chamberlain pitched and retired all four batters he faced, but he was booed like crazy by Yankees fans. Which I totally get. I mean, he had the nerve to have his career in New York screwed up by injury, by the Yankees taking three years to figure out a role for him and by being far too overhyped and then over-criticized by the New York press. How dare he?

Reds 9, Indians 2:  This was . . . odd. The Indians were starting a little rally in the seventh on an RBI double by Yan Gomes that sent baserunner David Murphy toward third. Murphy tried to score when he saw the ball rolling on the field but it turned out it was merely a ball, not the ball. Specifically a ball that had gotten loose from the Reds bullpen, fooling Murphy into thinking it was the ball in play. Meanwhile, the ball in play was relayed to third where Murphy was tagged out. Not sure why the umpires didn’t call the play dead once the second ball came onto the field or why they didn’t use their handy-dandy replay in order to set this right, but they didn’t. Terry Francona’s comments after the game suggest that he did not have too big an issue with all of this so if he’s not mad I guess we shouldn’t be. But still: bizarre.

Rangers 16, White Sox 0: Adam Dunn pitched. ADAM DUNN PITCHED. That’s all you really gotta know, dudes. Robinson Chirinos homered twice, J.P. Arencibia drove in four and Colby Lewis pitched a six-hitter. He coulda pitched a six runner and been fine. Maybe the most amazing part of this was that a sixteen-run game with position players pitching took less than three hours.

Cubs 6, Rockies 5: Welcome to the big leagues, Javier Baez! He hit the go-ahead homer in the top of the 12th that proved to be the game winner. Before that he struck out in three of his five at bats, but no one will remember that. Heck, given where the Cubs and Rockies are in the standings, no one will remember anything about this game other than the Baez bomb.

Orioles 9, Blue Jays 3: Chris Davis, Caleb Joseph and Jonathan Schoop all homered for the O’s and afterward O’s pitcher Bud Norris called it a “big statement game.” Whatever. As O’s manager Earl Weaver once said, “we do this every day.” There are 162 of these things, man. None of them are ever really statements.

Twins 3, Padres 1: Kennys Vargas — which is also the proper plural form for when there are mutiple men named “Kenny Vargas” around — hit a three-run homer in the sixth which is all the Twins needed.

Phillies 2, Astros 1: This one took 15 innings but ended on a Ryan Howard RBI single. He had some incentive to do some damage too, as they walked Chase Utley to get to him. I mean, I know he’s not what he used to be, but Ryan Howard still has some pride, dammit, and he made ’em pay.

Marlins 6, Pirates 3: A five-run eighth inning rally which featured a based loaded walk to Marcell Ozuna, who drove in two on the night. Tough for Charlie Morton who pitched seven sharp innings allowing only one run before having to witness his bullpen cough it all back up.

Brewers 4, Giants 3: This one ended on an overturned 4-3 play n which the Giants runner was originally called safe. After the game Bruce Bochy grumbled about the call, saying that he wasn’t sure how what he saw on the video could be called “conclusive.” Oh wells. Gerardo Parra had a nice game, with a go-ahead homer in the seventh and a sweet catch on a foul ball that was slicing away from him in the eighth.

Cardinals 3, Red Sox 2: Jon Jay hit an RBI single with two outs in the eighth inning to break the tie and put the Cards up for good. The rally that inning was started by recent Red Sox and current Cards catcher A.J. Pierzynski, how smacked a two-out hit. The Cards have won three and a row and four of five. The Sox have lost three straight. The World Series was a long time ago.

Mets 6, Nationals 1: Zack Wheeler started didn’t have his best stuff and started slowly but got on track and ended up winning his fourth straight. He’s now 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his last seven appearances.

Athletics 3, Rays 0: Jason Hammel had lost four straight starts and had an ERA pushing ten since coming to Oakland from Chicago and had even been subject to trade and/or waiver rumors, but he tossed five and two-thirds shutout innings here. Drew Smyly was not so effective in his Rays debut, allowing three over five and a third. Coco Crisp had an RBI single in his first start in a week and a half.

Royals 12, Diamondbacks 2: Billy Butler had a three-run homer and had four hits and Nori Aoki hit a grand slam, giving Danny Duffy all the run support he needed. Wade Miley was forced to wear this one a good while before coming out, having given up ten runs.

Mariners 4, Braves 2: Ho-hum, the Braves lose again. It’s cool, I wasn’t too invested in having strong personal emotions about baseball this October anyway. To be honest, I wasn’t all that invested in the Braves winning this one either given that they had to face Felix Hernandez. The King struck out eight over eight innings allowing one run. He has now made 15 straight starts in which he has gone at least seven innings and allowed two runs or fewer, which a record. Speaking of records, his is now 12-3, which projects out to 17-4. Which for him is insane. Just give him the Cy Young now and save all the waiting.

Dodgers 5, Angels 4: Clayton Kershaw was human — he gave up three runs over seven innings and walked a couple dudes — but the Dodgers prevailed thanks to an errant David Freese throw to the plate in the ninth which allowed Juan Uribe to score the winning run. If Freese’s throw is on target he probably gets Uribe too. It just took Chris Ianetta out of position too far to handle it, let alone snag it and make the tag.

Dee Gordon reinstated from PED suspension

Miami Marlins' Dee Gordon celebrates after hitting a double against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Miami. Derek Dietrich scored on the double. The Tigers won 8-7. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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The Miami Marlins have reinstated second baseman Dee Gordon from his suspension.

Gordon, of course, has missed the last 80 games while serving his drug suspension. He’s coming off a minor league rehab assignment and will be the everyday second baseman for the contending Marlins. He was hitting .266/.289/.340 with three doubles, two triples, five RBI, 13 runs scored, and six stolen bases in 97 plate appearances when he was popped. He was replaced by Derek Dietrich, who hit a nice .275/.366/.398 with 22 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 314 PA in Gordon’s absence, so don’t expect a tremendous upgrade at second down the stretch, even if they get a nice upgrade in the utility and depth department.

To make room for Gordon, the Marlins designated utilityman and sometimes hero Don Kelly for assignment. Sad jams.

Chris Sale called “a competitor” for stuff that gets most guys called “head cases”

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox reacts during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Chris Sale has had an eventful week.

On Saturday he was scratched from his start and subsequently suspended for five games for cutting up the 1976 throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear, making them unusable. That cost the team over $12,000 and cost the Sox their best pitcher hours before game time.

On Monday Sale gave an interview to Scott Merkin in which he apologized to fans and teammates and explained his rationale for the uniform shredding. Even if his act was over the top, there was a core of understandable motivation at least: Sale said he voiced his displeasure with the untucked jersey months ago and asked to not pitch on a night they’d have to wear them because he believed it would mess with his mechanics and/or mental state. The Sox didn’t heed his request and Sale took issue, as many probably would, with what he felt was the business of throwback jerseys taking precedence over on-the-field stuff.

Of course, there are still some pretty big problems here. Mostly having to do with the facts that (a) the Sox have people on staff who could’ve optimized his jersey any way he needed it to be optimized if he had asked; (b) ballplayers have been wearing throwbacks for a long time now and, even if they don’t like them, they tend to endure them; and (c) he’s a ballplayer who needs to suck things up sometimes like every single ballplayer ever has done. There are a ton of things ballplayers are expected to do which are insisted upon by the business folks. It’s part of the gig.

A little more seriously than that is the fact that Sale pretty publicly threw his manager, Robin Ventura, under the bus :

“Robin is the one who has to fight for us in that department,” Sale said. “If the players don’t feel comfortable 100 percent about what we are doing to win the game, and we have an easy fix — it was as easy as hanging up another jersey and everyone was fine. For them to put business first over winning, that’s when I lost it.”

An undercurrent to all of this is Sale being fairly obvious in voicing his desire to be traded.

Today Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a story about Sale’s week. It’s sourced largely by Sale’s friend Adam Eaton who defends Sale as a passionate competitor who just wants to win and how all of this stuff of the past week was about his desire to do so. The headline of the story buys in to all of that:

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We heard much the same along these lines when Sale blasted Sox brass following the Drake LaRoche stuff during spring training, going on an expletive-filled rant in a meeting behind closed doors but then bringing the same noise, albeit cleaned up, in front of reporters after it all became public.

Chris Sale is who he is, of course, and I’m not going to too harshly judge who he is. He’s an amazing pitcher and, as most athletes will tell you, the mental part of the game is almost as important or, maybe, even more important than the physical part. Asking Sale to be who he isn’t would probably be counterproductive in the long term.

But I am fascinated with the way in which someone who has behaved like Sale has behaved is described. He’s a “competitor” whose objectively disruptive and literally destructive behavior is explained away as merely a function of his desire to win. His friends on the team, like Eaton, are sought out for damage control and spin and his detractors, which there are likely some, aren’t quoted, even anonymously. He has publicly called out his manager as not wanting to win as much as he wants to please his bosses and he has likewise called out his manager’s bosses and has welcomed a trade, yet we aren’t seeing stories about how that’s a bad thing for the Sox’ clubhouse.

I don’t much care for that sort of stuff, actually, as I suspect most clubhouse controversy stories are somewhat overblown and overly dramatized. But those stories have been go-to tropes of sports writers for decades, and I am trying to imagine this sort of story about players who aren’t Chris Sale. Players who don’t have as friendly a relationship with the media as he has or who don’t have clubhouse allies who do. I feel like, most of the time, a story about a guy who who has done the odd things Sale has done both this week and last March would play a hell of a lot differently.

How does this all play of it’s Yordano Ventura? Or Yasiel Puig? Or Jose Fernandez? How does this play if it took place in the NBA and it was Kevin Durant who shredded up a bunch of short-shorts on 80s throwback night? How does it play if it’s Cam Newton?

I bet it plays differently.