And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 7, Braves 0: I talked about the no-hitter at length yesterday when it happened, so allow me to ask why we haven’t seen more of these in the past couple of years. More strikeouts and less contact. More hard throwers. More bullpen specialization. It seems to me like these should happen more often than they do. I guess that they don’t shows that, yes, these are still special, obviously, but conditions favor such beasts now more than they have for a long time.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 4: The Cards, for the first time all year, are alone in first place in the NL Central. The lore about this team is that if a relatively lackluster Cards squad makes the playoffs, watch out, they’re bound to win it all. I guess that’s happened a couple of times, but I suppose they’d rather finish strong and with the division going away.

Cubs 4, Brewers 2: Not that it’s up to them. The Brewers, however, need to not do things like drop six in a row, which is what they’ve done. Here Jorge Soler helped do them in, doubling twice and scoring a run. He has extra base hits in all five of his major league games so far. He’s the third guy to do that in his first five games in the past century.

Padres 3, Diamondbacks 1: Cory Spangenberg — which sounds like the name of a tight end from the 1980s more than a big league third baseman — made his big league debut. He hit a two-run single. He also irked the Padres by announcing on Twitter that he was being promoted and making his debut before they had a chance too. So it was a big day.

Marlins 9, Mets 6:  The Mets had a chance here — it was tied heading into the bottom of the eighth — but they blew it thanks in part to Jeurys Familia’s two throwing errors on a single play and a wild pitch. Oh, and the wild pitch was accompanied by a throwing error by Travis d’Arnaud. Six errors for the Mets in all, after which manager Terry Collins said afterward that “It wasn’t a big-league baseball game, I can tell you that.” Not that he needed to tell us that.

Athletics 6, Mariners 1: The A’s get back on track, thanks to new addition Adam Dunn. Who, let’s be honest, was born to be an Oakland Athletic. Dunner hit a homer in his first at bat in the green and gold and added another hit later. Five first inning runs for Oakland, which ended things before they started. A strong performance from Jason Hammel as well plus a two-run single for Geovany Soto. Viva La Mid-Season Imports.

Tigers 12, Indians 1: Miguel Cabrera was given a bit of a rest — allowed to DH rather than play 1B — and it must have paid off: two homers on a 4 for 5 day. This after an August in which he only his one homer the whole bleedin’ month. David Price did his part too, allowing one run over seven and striking out eight. Corey Kluber, who has somehow lost his super powers, allowed five runs and couldn’t escape the third inning.

Giants 4, Rockies 2; Rockies 10, Giants 9: The first game took three months to complete. Really, guys, we HAVE to do something about the pace of play. *Someone whispers in my ear and explains that it was the resumption of a suspended game from May*  Ahem, never mind. The second game took about three hours and forty-four minutes. I’m gonna err on the side of caution and assume it was suspended and resumed too. *guys whispers in my ear again.* Well I’ll be damned. Charlie Blackmon with a walkoff single. The Giants’ six-game winning streak comes to an end. They are now only two back of the Dodgers because  . . .

Nationals 6, Dodgers 4: . . . The Dodgers dropped their third game in four tries. The dingers did it here. Denard Span socked two homers and Jayson Werth and Asdrubal Cabrera added their own. Gio Gonzalez was solid and won his first game in ages. He also [altogether now[ helped his own cause, singling and scoring. The Nats have the most wins in the NL.

Twins 6, Orioles 4: Four RBI for Joe Mauer. Phil Hughes allowed three runs in eight innings, but none of them were earned. Hughes has 15 wins on a team that only has 60 overall.

Rays 4, Red Sox 3: Matt Joyce had an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth to help the Rays salvage a split. I basically got nothing else here. It’s weird when normally good teams are just playing out the string.

Royals 4, Rangers 3: Sal Perez homered and drove in three as the Royals won for the first time in a week. This was your standard Royals win: close game and then in the late innings Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland shut the door with hitless relief. Regarding what I said in the Phillies recap at the top? If just one Royals pitcher can toss six hitless innings — or, heck, five maybe — this is the sort of pen which can pretty much end the game when it comes in.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.