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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 7, Tigers 5: Blowing a one-run lead is not a mortal sin, but the Tigers had leads of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3 and blew ’em all. That seems sort of excessive. Especially given that the 4-3 lead was blown via a four-run eighth inning. On Friday I wrote an ode to the Tigers’ bullpen. It’s still applicable.

Rays 7, Blue Jays 2: There was some yelling between Troy Tulowitzki and Steven Souza following Souza’s slide into second base on a double play in the second inning. The benches cleared, but nothing happened. As for the slide: eh. It was less a hard slide than just a poor slide in my view. It also seems like Souza assumed that Tulo was not going to try to apply a tag because he didn’t realize that Justin Smoak got the force at first before the throw. It ended up like a couple of cats who surprise each other by being face-to-face when turning a corner and end up with fluffy tails and arched backs:

Later in the game Souza hit a three-run jack. The Rays took three of four from Toronto. The Jays are now 1-5. Ouch. And ouch.

Yankees 7, Orioles 3: New York was down 3-0 heading into the sixth when Ronald Torreyes hit a two-run triple. In the eighth Aaron Judge tied it with a solo homer and in the ninth Starlin Castro hit an RBI single to put New York ahead. The Yankees would add three insurance runs in the ninth as well and avoid the sweep. Matt Holliday had five plate appearances but no at bats. Dude walked five times.

Phillies 4, Nationals 3: Philly was on its way to comfy win until the ninth when closer Jeanmar Gomez gave up a three-run homer to Ryan Zimmerman, tying the game. The Nats’ Koda Glover blew a save himself, however, when he walked leadoff hitter Daniel Nava and then allowed two singles, the second of which was a walkoff RBI from Cesar Hernandez. Jeremy Hellickson would’ve been the winner following five innings in which he allowed one hit and no runs. He also would’ve pitched another couple of innings had he not gotten a cramp in his arm.

Pirates 6, Braves 5: A two-run walkoff homer for Starling Marte in the 10th– when the Pirates were down by one — ended an eventful day for the Pirates’ center fielder. Earlier in the game he was picked off twice. Then, in the eighth inning, he hit a single that resulted in a run as Pittsburgh mounted the comeback from two runs down that would send the game to extras. Freddie Freeman hit two homers for Atlanta. Here’s a fun photo of him.

Twins 4, White Sox 1: Break up the Twins. They started last year by dropping their first nine games. They’ve begun this year by winning five of their first six. This one came via six shutout innings from Ervin Santana and homers from Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano. Sano is 7-for-20 with two doubles, a triple, two homers, eight RBI and four walks to start the season. That’s .350/.458/.850 to you and me.

Cubs 7, Brewers 4: The Cubs had a 5-0 lead before the Brewers batted in the second inning and the lead would hold up. The five runs came via an Addison Russel double and a Jason Heyward triple. Heyward would add an RBI single later in the contest to finish 2-for-5 with three RBI on the day. Jake Arrieta struck out ten in seven innings of work. Kyle Schwarber and Ben Zobrist homered.

Astros 5, Royals 4: El oso blanco que camina. Houston wins on a walkoff walk to Evan Gattis in the 12th. Royals reliever Matt Strahm walked three men that inning, actually, one of them intentionally. The Royals had a 3-1 lead in the seventh but Travis Wood walked Gattis, natch, and then gave up a two-run homer to Marwin Gonzalez. Remember when the Royals had a bullpen?

Reds 8, Cardinals 0: Cincinnati was up 2-0 on Carlos Martinez entering the sixth inning before things melted down for the Cardinals’ ace. Some of it was because his defense let him down, as the Cards committed three error that inning, two of which came from Jhonny Peralta on the same play. Of course, Martinez himself put two men on to lead things off the frame via a walk and a hit by pitch so he was not blameless. He ended the day having given up six runs on six hits with five of them earned. Not that it mattered given that Scott Feldman shut St. Louis out for six innings and the pen shut ’em out for three.

Rangers 8, Athletics 1Joey, Joey! King of the streets, child of clay. Joey, Joey! Soon you’ll lose your job to Adrian Beltre!

That’s Dylan for “Joey Gallo hit a three-run homer and singled in two more as the Rangers demolished the A’s.”

Dodgers 10, Rockies 6: Conversation with my better half over dinner last night:

Me: We should go to a ballpark we haven’t been to yet sometime this season. Weekend trip.

Her: Yeah. We haven’t been to Coors Field. It’s supposed to be great and I want to go to Denver anyway. Never been.

Me: Yeah, good idea.

*Craig sees that the the Rockies and Dodgers played a nearly four-hour-long nine inning game with 16 runs 24 hits, nine pitchers, seven walks and three errors*

Me: Neither of us have been to Tropicana Field yet either. Maybe we should go to Tropicana Field.

Angels 10, Mariners 9: Seattle was up 8-1 in the seventh inning and 9-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth only to see the Angels rally for seven runs and a wild walkoff win. Well, they didn’t just see it. They participated, issuing four walks to help the rally along. Apart from the walks, Albert Pujols homered to start the rally and then came up again and hit a two-run single to tie it. In between Yunel Escobar doubled in two himself. Cliff Pennington knocked in the game-winning run with an RBI single scoring Mike Trout. The relievers responsible for this atrocity will remain nameless, but their names rhyme with “Dacey Kline” and “Nedwin Ziaz.”

Diamondbacks 3, Indians 2: Patrick Corbin tossed six shutout innings and Chris Owings went 3-for-4 with a homer. He also scored a run on an error after stealing third base. The Diamondbacks are 6-1, folks.

Giants 5, Padres 3: The Giants jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the third inning thanks in part to back-to-back jacks from Hunter Pence and Buster Posey. Johnny Cueto allowed two runs over seven and struck out seven.

Mets 5, Marlins 2: Noah Syndergaard got an extra day’s rest due to a blister suffered on Opening Day. The extra day must’ve done the trick as he allowed only one earned run and struck out nine over seven innings.

MLB managers weigh in on anthem protests

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No other Major League Baseball player has taken a knee during the National Anthem since Athletics’ catcher Bruce Maxwell‘s protest on Saturday night. The demonstration was sparked by President Donald Trump’s call for the boycott of the National Football League and the firing of any player who chose not to stand during the anthem. The comments drew harsh criticism from many NFL players, coaches and owners and more than a few in MLB have also lended their support. There is still one game left to play on Sunday, but it’s unclear whether any of Maxwell’s league-mates will show their solidarity by refusing to stand as well.

Given a baseball culture that tends toward conformity more often than not, it seems unlikely. But it’s something league managers are prepared for — even if they don’t all agree with the demonstrations themselves.

White Sox’ skipper Rick Renteria specifically addressed Maxwell’s protest on Sunday, speaking to the league’s policy of inclusivity:

None of the White Sox knelt prior to their series finale against the Royals. Neither did members of the Pirates or the Cardinals, though St. Louis manager Mike Matheny and Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington both weighed in on the situation.

Matheny called the president’s comments “hurtful” and, like the Cubs’ Joe Maddon, appeared content to leave the decision to protest up to each player.

The Pirates, meanwhile, took a firmer tone. “We appreciate our players’ desire and ability to express their opinions respectfully and when done properly,” GM Huntington told Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “When done appropriately and properly, we certainly have respect for our players’ ability to voice their opinion.”

Just what the Pirates consider “appropriate and proper” protocol was left up in the air, and club president Frank Coonelly offered no further insights in a separate statement to the press. Setting strict parameters for players to voice their opinions kind of puts them in a gray area, one they’ll have to clear up should someone elect to protest in the days to come, either with a bent knee and a hand over their heart or in some other fashion.

Equally ambiguous were comments from Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts, who claimed to oppose the movement for personal, if misguided reasons, but also respected the right of his players to make an “educated” statement in protest.

The Indians’ Terry Francona took what was perhaps the most balanced approach of the entire group:

“It’s easy for me to sit here and say, ‘Well, I think this is the greatest country in the world,’ because I do,” Francona told MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. “But, I also haven’t walked in other people’s shoes. So, until I think, not just our country, but our world, until we realize that, hey, people are actually equal — it shouldn’t be a revelation — and the different doesn’t mean less. It’s just different. We’ve got work to do.”

These may all be moot points. Maxwell may be the only player to formally protest Trump’s comments, despite the good intentions of his teammates and fellow players around the league. Others may feel too ambivalent, threatened or uncomfortable to protest what the A’s catcher referred to as a “racial divide,” especially in a way that is routinely perceived as unpatriotic.

Even if the protests made by NFL players and Bruce Maxwell fail to gain momentum, however, the underlying issues they speak to are not going away anytime soon. Here, then, is where MLB managers can help foster a more inclusive environment throughout the league, not only showing respect for a player’s decision to stand against racism but actively partnering with those who do so. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a start.

Nationals plan to activate Bryce Harper on Monday

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The Nationals are planning to activate Bryce Harper from the 10-day disabled list on Monday, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Janes adds that Harper has been taking his knee injury on a day-to-day basis, so if he experiences pain ahead of tomorrow’s series opener in Philadelphia, then the Nationals won’t activate him.

Harper, 24, suffered a knee injury running out a grounder last month against the Giants. The Nationals hope to get him into some game action before the end of the regular season just so he can get acclimated in time for the playoffs.

When Harper returns, he’ll look to improve on his .326/.419/.614 slash line with 29 home runs, 87 RBI, and 92 runs scored in 472 plate appearances.