Lloyd McClendon, Tony Randazzp

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Mariners 8, Tigers 1: Chris Young continues a nice stretch of pitching, putting up six shutout innings helping the M’s to the series victory against their strongest competition for the wild card. Kyle Seager drove in three.  Lloyd McClendon was ejected by umpire Tony Randazzo for the second game in a row because, in Randazzo’s words, McCleandon “took his hand and shooed away my call.” In other news, if Tony Randazzo is so easily upset, he is a big friggin’ baby who probably doesn’t have any business umpiring at the major league level.

Brewers 7, Dodgers 2: All the smart kids have been assuming the Brewers were just gonna stop playing well eventually, but they haven’t. To the point where now they’re sending messages about potential October playoff meetings with teams like the Dodgers, sweeping them in this three-game series. And still, I guarantee, sometime in the next week someone will ask me when the Brewers are going to turn into a pumpkin. Welp, maybe they’re not?

Giants 5, Phillies 2: The Phillies had their chances early against a shaky Tim Lincecum, but he never did break. And then Michael Morse just kept doing what he’s been doing lately in getting on base. Indeed, he’s reached base in nine straight plate appearances. Don’t ask him what he’s doing though. His quote after the game was about how he’s looking for pitches to hit. Hope no one gets mad at him for revealing the innermost secrets of the hitting fraternity.

Rangers 3, Angels 2: Huston Street came in to lock down a 2-1 lead in the ninth but couldn’t get the job done. He gave up four straight singles in the ninth without retiring a batter, allowing Adam Rosales to get the walkoff RBI. He was pretty efficient about it, though. Only ten pitches to lose the lead and the game. I’m sure his teammates were grateful that he didn’t drag things out and allowed everyone to get to the airport in a timely fashion.

Cardinals 7, Padres 6: Matt Carpenter homered, doubled and drove in three and while Trevor Rosenthal tried his hardest to give up the lead in the ninth, the Cards held on. Adam Wainwright got his 15th win, tying him with Johnny Cueto for the league lead.

Royals 12, Twins 6: Seven runs in the second innings — invoking ATH’s patented seven-run inning rule — and five more for good measure for the Royals. Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Josh Willingham homered, and Kansas City has now won 20 of 25. And their lead in the Central is now a game and a half.

Marlins 10, Diamondbacks 3: Giancarlo Stanton homered and drove in four. He has 32 homers and 88 RBI on the season. The homer total leads all of baseball. The RBI total leads the National League. He went 7 for 14 with four walks and six RBI against the Dbacks in the four game series.

White Sox 7, Blue Jays 5: The Chisox jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first thanks in part to a Conor Gillaspie grand slam. The real hero of this game, however, was the throwback uni the Sox wore. Which are always awesome:

source: Reuters

Cubs 2, Mets 1: Starlin Castro hit a tiebreaking homer on the first pitch of the ninth inning to put the Cubs ahead to stay. And of course the game story is focused on how good he’d look in a Mets uniform because that’s how it always goes with New York teams for some reason. Yes, I get that the Cubs could deal Castro given the value he has now and given the infield prospects they have coming up through the system, but rarely do you hear such open covetousness about other team’s players for the non-New York teams.

Yankees 4, Rays 2: Hiroki Kuroda gave up two runs and four hits in six and two-thirds and Brett Gardner drove in two. The Yankees are three back in the loss-column from the second wild card. I keep figuring they’ll slide out of it, but they sort of keep hanging around. I figure we’ll start to see a lot of “Derek Jeter has willed a flawed team to stay in contention” stories soon. Can’t wait.

Astros 8, Red Sox 1: Jose Altuve hit a grand slam. He got the chance to do it because Xander Bogaerts fired the ball to first base early — before stepping on the second base bag — on what should have been a double play. Instead he only got the force out at first, leaving two men on with two outs. A walk later and Altuve went yard. After that the game was never close again. Oops.

Orioles 4, Indians 1: The O’s avoid being swept for the first time since May. Kevin Gausman allowed one run over six. Despite the bad overall weekend the O’s still sport a seven-game lead in the East.

Nationals 6, Pirates 5: Both closers — Rafael Soriano and Mark Melancon — blew leads in the ninth. Then pinch-hitter Scott Hairston hit a sacrifice fly with one out in the 11th to give the Nats the sweep. the Pirates have lost five straight. Pittsburgh is falling out of the NL Central race. And if they’re not careful, they’re going to fall out of the wild card race too.

Braves 4, Athletics 3: Just when I’m about to declare the Braves dead and start to transition into the acceptance stage of grieving this season they do something like sweep the best team in baseball, capped by defeating Jon Lester. That keeps the A’s — who have lost five straight — in a tie with the Angels. And keeps the Braves within a game and a half of the wild card. Not going to declare Atlanta alive or anything, but I suppose that’s not dead.

Rockies 10, Reds 9; Reds vs. Rockies: Colorado rallied for five runs in the ninth of game one, overcoming a 9-5 deficit with a three-run homer from former Red Drew Stubbs. Four of those runs came off of Aroldis Chapman, who didn’t record an out, walking all four batters he faced. Which, holy crap, that never happens. Three hits overall for Stubbs. The nightcap: Michael Cuddyer hits for the cycle as the Rockiesput up another 10-spot. In other news, Michael Cuddyer is still alive and playing.

Should Dave Roberts have taken Clayton Kershaw out of Sunday’s game?

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers a pitch in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 29, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will likely be second-guessed heavily during tomorrow’s news cycle. Starter Clayton Kershaw had pitched a terrific ballgame, as is his tendency, but with 114 pitches to his name, Roberts decided to pull him from the game in the eighth inning with two outs and a runner on first base.

Roberts opted not for closer Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but for another lefty in Adam Liberatore. He was playing the numbers, with the left-handed-hitting Curtis Granderson coming up. Liberatore, much to Roberts’ chagrin, served up what turned out to be a game-tying triple to Granderson, hitting a rocket to right-center just out of the reach of a leaping Yasiel Puig.

Jansen has, for six years, been one of the game’s elite relievers. Kershaw, though at a high pitch count, doesn’t seem to suffer from the times through the order penalty like most pitchers. Kershaw’s opponents’ OPS facing him for the first time was .525 coming into Sunday. Twice, .597. Three times, .587. Four times, .526 (but this suffers from survivorship bias so it’s not exactly representative).

Furthermore, Kershaw held lefties to a .546 OPS over his career. Liberatore, in 99 plate appearances against lefty hitters, gave up a .575 OPS. Jansen? .560. It seems that, faced with three decisions, Roberts arguably made the worst one. Playing conservative with Kershaw at 114 pitches is defensible, but only if Jansen comes in. If Roberts wanted the platoon advantage, Kershaw should have stayed in.

Luckily for the Dodgers, Mets closer Jeurys Familia didn’t have his best stuff. He loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth on a single and two walks, then gave up a two-run single to Adrian Gonzalez, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Jansen came on in the bottom half of the ninth and retired the side in order to pick up his 15th save of the season.

Royals sweep White Sox over the weekend on three late rallies

KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 28:  Brett Eibner #12 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his game-winning RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium on May 28, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 8-7. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
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The Royals had themselves a pretty good weekend. The quickly fading White Sox, not so much.

On Friday, the Royals fell behind 5-1 after the top of the sixth. They would score once in the bottom of the sixth, four times in the seventh, and once in the eighth to steal a 7-5 win facing pitchers Miguel Gonzalez Dan Jennings, Matt Albers, Zach Duke and Nate Jones.

On Saturday, the Royals entered the bottom of the ninth down 7-1. They scored seven runs on closer David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to win 8-7.

On Sunday, the Royals were down 4-2 after the top of the eighth. They plated three runs in the bottom half of the eighth against Jones and Albers, going on to win 5-4.

Coming into the weekend, the Royals were 24-22 in third place. The White Sox were 27-21, a half-game up in first place. Now the Royals are in first place by a game and a half, and the White Sox are in third place, two games out of first.

Here’s video of the Royals’ comeback on Saturday, since it was so unlikely:

Report: Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there”

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 24: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers waits to hit during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 24, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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In Saturday’s column for The Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo notes that, according to a scout, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is “the hot name out there.” Braun has been bothered by neck and back issues this year, missing on Sunday his eighth start out of the Brewers’ last 14 games, but he has still put up a quality .351/.424/.583 triple-slash line in 170 plate appearances this year.

More importantly for an acquiring team, Braun is in the first year of a five-year, $105 million contract. He’s earning $19 million this season and in the ensuing two seasons, and then his salary decreases slightly to $18 million in 2019, $16 million in 2020, and $15 million if both sides pick up his mutual option (else a $4 million buyout would be exercised).

Per Cafardo, the Astros, Cardinals, Red Sox, Phillies, Mets, Giants, and White Sox are potential landing spots for Braun.

Mets unhappy with Dodgers’ request to make outfield markings to position fielders

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28:  The 1986 New York Mets are honored before the game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets are honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1986 championship season.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Mets have asked MLB for clarification on the Dodgers’ use of a laser rangefinder for defensive positioning over this weekend’s series at Citi Field. The Dodgers notified the Mets’ ground crew that they wanted to mark certain positions in the outfield grass after determining positions with the rangefinder. The grounds crew said they could leave two marks in center field and one in left field.

However, the grounds crew then went to their superiors and told them that the Dodgers threatened to dig holes in the outfield grass with their cleats, so the grounds crew was then instructed to “erase or obliterate” any of the Dodgers’ markings.

According to Rosenthal, Major League Baseball reinforced a few weeks ago that teams aren’t allowed to use markers to aid defensive positioning. The Dodgers haven’t been accused of doing anything nefarious during a game. Howie Kendrick was seen pulling something out of his pocket in the outfield, but Brett Anderson clarified on Twitter that it was just a piece of paper with notes for defensive positioning.

The series between the Mets and Dodgers has been heated, as Noah Syndergaard was ejected for throwing at Chase Utley on Saturday. Utley then responded by hitting two home runs, one of which was a grand slam. The Mets may have a legitimate concern, or it may just be gamesmanship.