Brian McCann

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 7, White Sox 4: A pinch-hit, walkoff homer for Brian McCann in the bottom of the tenth inning. The Yankees scored four runs — none of them earned — against Chris Sale. They’ve won four in a row and refuse, Rasputin-like, to die.

Rockies 7, Marlins 4: Sure, the Rockies won this one, but the Marlins took the season series 4-3. And, as you’re no doubt aware, the winner of the Rockies-Marlins series each year takes home the 1993 Cup. It’s a large, pewter trophy with a little speaker in it that plays Haddaway’s “What is Love” if you press the button. It’s also filled with VHS tapes containing the first season of the “X-Files.” It’s pretty prestigious, actually.

Indians 3, Astros 1: Trevor Bauer tossed six shutout innings. The Indians runs came on a sac fly and a couple of singles. No inning featured more than one run scored. Yet it took three hours and fourteen minutes. I feel like this is exactly the kind of game that baseball needs to speed up as it looks at pace-of-play issues.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 1: Evan Longoria with an RBI single in the tenth to put the Rays ahead to stay. I suppose this being an extra innings game takes it out of the pace-of-play conversation, but it’s still nuts that even a ten-inning 2-1 game can take three hours and twenty-eight minutes.

Mariners 8, Red Sox 6: The M’s sweep the Sox, sending Boston to its eighth straight defeat. Dustin Ackley was 3 for 5 with a double, a triple and three runs scored. This one was over four hours long. It featured (a) tons of men left on base; (b) two stars in Robinson Cano and David Ortiz leaving with illness and injury, respectively; and (c) with an otherwise top-flight pitcher in Hisashi Iwakuma getting beat up. That’s about a 9.6 on the ugly scale. A long rain delay or an instant replay debacle would’ve pushed it to a 10.

Mets 11, Dodgers 3: A big win and a triple play? That’s a fun day at the old ballpark for the visiting team. Of course, the triple play doesn’t happen if Puig doesn’t Puig his way into out number three at hime plate. Didnt even slide or anything. But hey, they were down by five at the time. It’s not like making dumb outs on the base paths really mattered at that point. [Someone whispers in my ear]. I’m sorry, I take that back. Running into outs is way worse when you’re down by a bunch of runs. My apologies. Oh, Yasiel.

Reds 5, Braves 3: Not as close as the score would suggest, as Alfredo Simon held the Braves in check all day before the bullpen let a couple of runs across. It was Simon’s first win since the All-Star break. I had forgotten that he was actually an All-Star this year.

Nationals 14, Giants 6: The Nats were down 5-0 after three innings and were down 6-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth. Then they scored 12 unanswered runs off of Giants pitchers. Well, the runs were answered with lots of expletives and stuff — Jake Peavy was ejected for arguing balls and strikes and he didn’t even pitch in this game — but they weren’t answered with any other runs. The Nats extend their division lead to eight games.

Padres 7, Diamondbacks 4: Yasmani Grandal had a three run homer and a sac fly. Ian Kennedy beat his old mates. Well, normally we assume that former teammates are “old mates” in that friendship way, but I’m pretty sure the Dbcaks’ team handbooks requires no relationship higher then “frenemies” for former Diamondbacks players under penalty of a Miguel Montero wedgie.

Phillies 7, Cardinals 1: Jerome Williams allowed one run on five hits in eight innings. I suppose the third team of the 2014 season is the charm. Justin Masterson has a 7.43 ERA in five starts since being traded to the Cardinals at the deadline. So that’s not looking to hot I suppose.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,500. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Brewers 4, Pirates 3: Mike Fiers allows two runs on two hits in seven and helps the Brew Crew avoid the sweep. Fiers has been a revelation for the Brewers since being called on to replace Matt Garza in the rotation. He’s struck out 32 and walked just four in four starts with a 1.29 ERA since.

Cubs 2, Orioles 1: Tsuyoshi Wada didn’t allow a hit until surrendering a Steve Pearce homer with one out in the seventh. And that was the only offense Baltimore would get.

Tigers 13, Twins 4: Victor Martinez and Torii Hunter each drove in four in this rout. Seventy-three runs were scored in this four-game series. The Twins outscored the Tigers 42 to 31 yet the series was a split.

Rangers 3, Royals 1: The Rangers avoid the sweep. Scott Baker got his first win as a starter in more than three years. It was around 100 degrees for this game. Kind of sticks out for those of us in the Midwest and/or east coast, where’s it’s been a pretty cool and went summer. My brain really hasn’t gotten into “crap, summer heat sucks” mode all season. And my kids start school today, so it’s not going to feel mentally like summer much more either. Weird year.

Angels 9, Athletics 4: Josh Hamilton homered and drove in three, Mike Trout hit a homer and the Angels salvaged one in Oakland. Still, they leave on top of the division. To be continued next weekend.

Adams homers in 16th to lift Cardinals over Dodgers 4-3

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ST. LOUIS — Matt Adams homered in the 16th inning to lead the Cardinals to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night for St. Louis’ season-best fifth straight victory.

It was the second consecutive game that the Cardinals won in their final at-bat. They beat the Padres on Thursday after scoring a run in the ninth inning.

Adams homer came with one out off Bud Norris (5-9), who gave up six runs as a starter in an 8-1 loss at Washington on Wednesday.

Seth Maness (1-2) picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief for St. Louis, which was playing its longest game of the season.

Jedd Gyorko hit a two-out homer off closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth to tie the game 3-3.

Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick homered for the Dodgers. Los Angeles has lost four of six. The red-hot Turner has seven homers and 17 RBI this month. He hit two homers in a 6-3 win over Washington on Thursday.

Turner blasted his career-high 18th homer of the season off Seung Hwan Oh in the ninth to break a 2-2 tie.

Corey Seager had four hits and drove in the first run of the game. He had hit in seven successive at-bats before flying out in the ninth.

Kendrick’s solo shot in the sixth tied the game 2-2. He has hit in 14 successive games trying Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the longest current streak in the majors.

Los Angeles starter Brandon McCarthy allowed one hit and two runs over 6 1-3 innings, the longest of his four starts this season. He left with leg cramps. McCarthy struck out four and walked three.

St. Louis starter Michael Wacha allowed two runs on 10 hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore recorded his 28th successive scoreless outing by retiring two of four batters in the seventh. He has not allowed a run in 41 of 42 appearances this season.

Minor League Players’ Wage Suit against Major League Baseball suffers a huge setback

The judge's gavel is seen in court room 422 of the New York Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street February 3, 2012. REUTERS/Chip East
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A judge handed minor leaguers looking to hold Major League Baseball liable for underpaying and exploiting them a huge setback today, ruling that the case cannot go forward as a class action. Minor leaguers who want to sue over their pay and treatment still can, but they’ll have to do it individually. The ruling saps the minor leaguers of their leverage, as Major League Baseball would likely be able to fend off individual cases which, by themselves, might only amount to several thousand dollars per claim.

The background: in 2014, former Miami Marlins player Aaron Senne sued Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, and three major league clubs claiming that minor leaguers are underpaid and exploited in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. He was later joined by former Royals minor leaguer Michael Liberto and Giants farmhand Oliver Odle. Eventually others joined and the suit had been expanded to 22 teams as defendants.

The upshot of the case is that, while the minor league season lasts only part of the year, players are required to do all sorts of things outside of merely playing games for which they are not compensated. Training, meetings, appearances and the like. When all of that time is added up, the players claim, their already low salaries are effectively far below minimum wage in violation of the law. Major League Baseball has countered this by claiming that minor leaguers are basically part time seasonal workers — like landscapers and pool boys — who are not subject to federal labor laws.

Last year the judge gave the case conditional certification, allowing the players to try to establish that it should go forward as a class action. This would streamline the case from the plaintiffs’ perspective and give them the power of collective action by asserting hundreds or more similar cases into one proceeding. The judge’s ruling today, however, was that the cases really weren’t factually similar and thus collective action was not appropriate because figuring out how many hours each player worked and what was required of him varied too greatly among the players.

From his order:

“The difficulties associated with determining what activities constitute ‘work’ in the context of winter training are compounded by the fact that there appear to be no official records documenting these activities. Because it may be impossible to determine from official records the types of conditioning activities in which the players engaged, membership in the state classes based on winter training would depend largely upon the players’ ability to remember, with a reasonable amount of detail, what they did during the off-season (often for multiple years and for many, several years in the past) to stay fit.”

The judge said that, in light of this, each case would be unique and would require “individualized inquiries” to find damages and liability. That phrase –“individualized inquiries” — constitutes magic words which sink would-be class actions. If a company overcharges all of its customers by $8 due to an error repeated a million times, it’s easy to look at one set of facts and judge them together. If you had to look at a million different wrongs, that’s no class action. And so it is not a class action for the players.

As many courts who have dealt with these sorts of cases have noted, for many plaintiffs, a class action is the only practical method of adjudicating Fair Labor Standards Act cases because individual plaintiffs are frequently unable to bear the costs of separate trials. They are, by definition, (allegedly) exploited workers. They’re not going to be able to pay legal costs and fight off a multi-billion dollar business in order to collect the few thousand dollars they were underpaid. At the same time, however, the defendants have rights too and, if the facts of each players’ treatment truly differ (e.g. the Yankees make their minor leaguers do more than the Brewers do) it’s not fair to bind one defendant’s defense to the acts of another.

So, where does this leave the players? Not dead. Not yet, at least. Their claims have not been dismissed on the merits. They have only been denied the right to act collectively. The individual plaintiffs can now file separate lawsuits against their former employers and Major League Baseball under the same theories. It would be harder to land a big blow in such a scenario, but if enough do, it could end up being death by a thousand cuts for the clubs and the league. Their legal fees might go up and, eventually, if they lose enough of these cases, more might be filed. There are a lot of former minor leaguers, after all, and once there’s some blood in the water, more of them — and their lawyers — may enter the frenzy. Decertification is certainly a win for the league right now, but it’s not necessarily a permanent win.

There are likewise some other quasi-collective forms this case could take such as multi-district litigation in which the cases, while individual, are coordinated in a loose fashion. That could lead to some efficiencies for suing players even if it’s not as robust as a class action.

We’ve written quite a bit about minor league pay and treatment in this space by now, so you probably know where we stand on it. We believe that minor leaguers are exploited and underpaid and we believe that Major League Baseball has been happy to exploit and underpay them for some time. Ultimately we believe that this state of affairs cannot and will not persist and that eventually, somehow, baseball will either see fit to pay its workers fairly or, more likely, will be forced to do so by a court or by collective bargaining of some fashion.

Today, however, was a big setback for the minor leaguers. Today’s ruling will give Major League Baseball and its clubs more time and more comfort in which to underpay them. There’s no doubt about it.