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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.

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.