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And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 1, Tigers 0: When the story is told of the 2014 Wild Card winning Yankees, someone is gonna talk about back-to-back great starts by Chris Capuano and Shane Greene, of all people, against the Detroit Tigers. Or maybe I’m nuts, but if the Yankees haven’t been killed yet, maybe they’re impossible to kill? Ever think of that? Huh?

Nationals 5, Mets 3: Bryce Harper with the walkoff two-run homer in the 13th inning. Not bad for a guy who, less than 48 hours ago, was at the center of a little blowup about whether he should be sent to the minors. Leave the kid alone. Let him get healthy. He’s gonna produce.

Reds 4, Indians 0: I guess Bryan Price calling out his players after Monday’s game was effective, because they turned around and took the next three from the Indians. Homer Bailey with seven shutout innings and eight Ks. Billy Hamilton had an RBI triple and scored a run. The guy he knocked in was Bailey. But then he was thrown out rounding third too far. Speed is great, but sometimes speed kills, man.

Pirates 7 Marlins 2: Gregory Polanco drove in four and Edinson Volquez pitched one-hit, shutout ball over seven. But all of this was overshadowed by a scary moment in the seventh when Marlins reliever Dan Jennings was hit in the head by a line drive comebacker. Our friend Old Gator provides some detail:

“The ball came off of Jordy Mercer’s bat at 101 MPH, caught Jennings on the upper right side of his head and bounced straight up and then back in an arc far enough to be caught on the fly by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria for the out. That’s a hard hit ball.”

It was hard to watch. He got hit, popped up and then was clearly dazed before falling again. In some ways it’s almost more unsettling to see that than to see a guy stay down. Thankfully he was able to make it to the trainer’s cart under his own power and wave to the crowd. But he sure as hell looked out of it while doing it. Figure a lot of time off for Jennings to come back from this.

Phillies 6, Astros 5: Ryan Howard has certainly woken up this week. A grand slam here, which capped a five-run rally in the eighth when the Phillies were down 5-1. A three-game sweep for the Phillies, who overcame two homers from Chris Carter.

Cubs 6, Rockies 2: Two more homers for Javier Baez, who is certainly having a nice opening series. To be sure, he opened in Colorado and has been facing pitchers who, arguably, are not as good as the guys he was facing down in Iowa. But rather than consider that some sort of detraction from his accomplishments, let us consider that a testament to the Cubs for putting a guy in the right place to succeed.

Orioles 2, Blue Jays 1: A tightly pitched game and a rather tough luck loss for J.A. Happ, who struck out 12 over eight innings. One mistake, though: Caleb Joseph hit him up for a two-run homer early and that was all the O’s would get. But it was all they’d need as Miguel Gonzalez and the Orioles pen was just better.

Brewers 3, Giants 1: Wily Peralta is the first pitcher in baseball to reach 14 wins this year as he tosses six and two-thirds of one-run ball while striking out a career-high nine. Jake Peavy is now 0-12 in his last 18 outings. That’s just– man, that’s just.

Royals 6, Diamondbacks 2: Jeremy Guthrie scattered seven hits and allowed only two runs will pitching a shutout as the Royals sweep the Dbacks. Randall Delgado pitched three shutout innings in relief. Which is weird, because I was positive that he got a suspension for intentionally hitting Andrew McCutchen last weekend. It is most irregular that he was allowed to play.

Cardinals 5, Red Sox 2: Adam Wainwright with seven solid innings. His final out came after Mike Matheny came to the mound to check on him. Matheny let him face Yoenies Cespedes. From the game story: “[Cespedes] took a third strike on a full-count curveball and catcher Tony Cruz sprinted to the dugout before home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom raised his right arm.” Oooooh . . . The Unfair One!

Athletics 3, Twins 0: Meanwhile, the guy who was traded for Cespedes, Jon Lester, tossed a three-hit shutout. I’d say that was a good pickup at the deadline.

Mariners 13, White Sox 3: Roenis Elias took a no-hitter into the fifth and notched his fourth straight good start in a row and then he got optioned to Tacoma. Oh well, that’s life for guys on innings limits. Dustin Ackley had four RBI and Endy Chavez, Robinson Cano, and Kyle Seager each had two-run homers. And, while I didn’t see this, reader CMP78 writes in to tell me we had some grit-in-action. In his words: “The Mariners hit Jose Abreu twice this evening, both unintentionally. The White Sox in retaliation hit Kendrys Morales. The very next hitter, Kyle Seager, hit a two-run home run to make it 13-3.”

Dodgers 7, Angels 0: Hyun-Jin Ryu with seven two-hit shutout innings. Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez each had two-run singles. A lot of people in L.A. think there’s a great chance that the Dodgers and Angels will meet in the World Series. If they do, the Angels had better figure something out, because they just dropped three of four to their freeway rivals.

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 optimize 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.

Mike Scioscia and the Angels played yesterday’s game under protest

KANSAS CITY, MO - JULY 27: Matt Shoemaker #52 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws to first as he tries to get the out on Raul Mondesi's #27 of the Kansas City Royals bunt in the seventh inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 27, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. Shoemaker's throwing error lead to Mondesi advancing to third and Alex Gordon and Paulo Orlando scoring.  (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Royals beat the Angels last night, but Mike Scioscia is hoping Joe Torre and the Commissioner’s Office gives him a do-over.

The Angels played the game in protest following what they believe to be a rules misinterpretation following a base running incident in the seventh inning. That’s when Raul Mondesi reached on a bunt single which scored two runs following a throwing error from Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker, whose attempt to put out Modesi sailed into right field. Watch the play:

Mike Scioscia came out claiming interference, arguing that Mondesi was not running within the baseline. The play was reviewed for over six minutes but the call — everyone’s safe and two runs scored — was upheld. After that Scioscia indicated tht he was playing under protest.

The thing about protests, though, is that they cannot be based on judgment calls. Rather, they have to be based on misapplication of rules by the umpires. Running outside of the baseline is a judgment call, though, right? So how can Scioscia protest it? Here’s his explanation:

“It’s not a judgement call. I would not have protested if I was not 100 percent correct on this. This is a misinterpretation of a rule. It was very clear. Phil Cuzzi, the home plate umpire, had Mondesi running inside the line in jeopardy the whole way, and stated that it’s okay because he was stepping back toward the bag, which is wrong.”

For his part, Royals manager Ned Yost believed it was a judgment call. For everyone’s part, protests are almost never upheld in baseball and, despite Scioscia’s comments, baseline calls are generally considered judgement calls.

If Scioscia is right, the game will be replayed, resuming with one out in the seventh inning and the runners where they started. But don’t hold your breath.