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And That Happened: Friday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Friday’s scores and highlights:

Cubs 6, Pirates 1: The Cubs pulled within five games of first place on Friday, thanks in large part to a two-homer, four-RBI performance from Kris Bryant. Eddie Butler turned in another abbreviated performance after four innings — he’s pitched into the sixth inning just once this season — but kept the game scoreless for the bullpen, who limited the Pirates’ offense to one run and two hits.

Padres 4, Phillies 3: Austin Hedges appears to be past that bout of neck stiffness. He returned to the Padres’ lineup on Friday and dropped go-ahead sac fly into center field in the ninth inning. Things aren’t looking so good for Padres’ left-hander Christian Frederich, however, who was shut down from throwing and may miss the rest of 2017 after sustaining some discomfort in his left elbow.

Nationals 5, Braves 4 (10 innings): The Nationals are now 4-4 in extra-inning games this season, and took home their third extra-inning walk-off win on Friday night with a decisive RBI single from Daniel Murphy.

The single scored rookie journeyman Adrian Sanchez, who pinch-hit in the 10th inning and recorded his first major league hit on a line drive off of the Braves’ Ian Krol.

Brewers 9, Yankees 4: Aaron Judge has now homered in each of the Yankees’ three consecutive losses. His blast on Friday night set a new record, topping Joe DiMaggio’s 1936 rookie season record with his 30th homer of the year:

Josh Hader, the unlucky soul who surrendered the home run, went on to notch his first major league win after the Brewers stormed back to a five-run lead on Jesus Aguilar‘s go-ahead grand slam and Manny Pina‘s RBI hit in the seventh.

Astros 12, Blue Jays 2: The Astros steamrolled the Blue Jays with yet another double-digit finish — their third of the week — and improved to a ridiculous 16.5-game lead in the AL West this weekend. Their big break came in the second inning, when a six-run spread forced Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez from the game after just 1 2/3 innings in his first start since landing on the disabled list with blister issues. Charlie Morton, also back from the DL for the first time on Friday, held the Blue Jays to one run over six innings for his sixth win of the year.

Red Sox 8, Rays 3: Whatever adjustments Dustin Pedroia has been making at the plate finally paid off on Friday night. The Red Sox’ second baseman snapped his 41-game skid without a home run, taking Jake Odorizzi deep in the third inning to boost the Sox to a four-run lead.

Aside from a few nail-biters — including this 3-5-4-5 double play to extinguish runners on second and third — Boston won handily, evening the series and becoming the second American League team to reach 50 wins in 2017.

Indians 11, Tigers 2: The first Indians pitcher to record an immaculate inning was Justin Masterson, who laid down three consecutive three-pitch strikeouts on June 2, 2014 against the Red Sox’ Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore and Stephen Drew.

The second Indians pitcher to match the feat? Carlos Carrasco, whose one-run outing was highlighted by his first immaculate inning against the Tigers’ Nicholas Castellanos, Mikie Mahtook and Jose Iglesias in the fifth inning of Friday’s win.

Several innings earlier, in the second, Victor Martinez put his own mark in the history books with his 2,000th major league hit: an 0-1 single that bounced just shy of left fielder Michael Brantley. He’s the ninth active major league player to reach 2,000 career hits so far.

Rangers 10, Angels 0: Speaking of historic hits, Adrian Beltre swatted a three-run homer off of Ricky Nolasco during the Rangers’ shutout, padding their eight-run lead in the second inning and becoming the 21st major league player with over 5,000 career bases. (No doubt he was the first to enter the club while homering off of one knee, too.)

By the end of the night, Beltre had 5,003 bases under his belt, just 38 short of Mel Ott’s 5,041. He also inched closer to the 3,000-hit mark, though he’ll still need 23 more hits to earn a spot on that list.

Twins 9, Orioles 6: The Twins celebrated their acquisition of Bartolo Colon with a 9-6 win on Friday, taking the first of three games from the Orioles and improving to 1.5 games back of the division-leading Indians. Byron Buxton turned heads with an incredible sprint from first base, clocking in at just 9.47 seconds to race home and pad the Twins’ lead:

Meanwhile, rookie starter Felix Jorge was forced from the mound in the third inning, but a five-run fifth inning from the Twins’ offense and six shutdown innings from the bullpen salvaged the game in the end.

Mets 6, Cardinals 5: Jacob deGrom experienced a new career first this weekend, but it wasn’t a good one. The right-hander surrendered four home runs during his ninth win of the season, allowing back-to-back homers from Randal Grichuk and Paul DeJong in the third inning and another pair of consecutive homers by Dexter Fowler and Jedd Gyorko in the fourth. Despite deGrom’s command issues, the Mets’ offense rose to the occasion, powering the win with two blasts of their own and plating the winning run on T.J. Rivera’s RBI double in the seventh.

Rockies 12, White Sox 4: With just two games left to go until the All-Star Game, DJ LeMahieu, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado are soaking up every last practice session they can get. Each of the Rockies’ All-Stars went deep during the club’s series opener, twice driving in starting pitcher German Marquez, who went 2-for-3 with a double and single in his sixth win of the year.

Diamondbacks 6, Reds 3: The D-backs muscled their way back from a three-game sweep at the hands of the Dodgers as they kicked off their last homestand before the All-Star break. Zack Greinke tossed seven scoreless frames with four hits, a walk and seven strikeouts — his first scoreless outing of the season — and contributed an RBI single in the win.

Joey Votto and Scott Schebler returned with a two-homer, three-run rally in the ninth inning, but couldn’t quite close the gap against Fernando Rodney.

Dodgers 4, Royals 1: Two winning streaks went head-to-head on Friday night, and one of them had to come to an end. The Royals’ four-win streak was felled by Kenta Maeda, who guided the Dodgers to their own four-win streak with five solid innings of one-run ball. The offense generated a modest four-run backing, including Chase Utley‘s eighth inning double and 1,000th career RBI. He’s the ninth active player with over 1,000 career RBI to date.

Mariners 7, Athletics 2: Not one to be left out of the party, Nelson Cruz hit one for the record books on Friday. The Mariners’ All-Star designated hitter engineered a three-run, 433-foot drive into the Safeco Field bullpen, putting the team up by four runs in the eighth inning.

The smash was Cruz’s 16th of the season and 300th of his 13-year career. Only nine other active players have 300+ home runs, including Adrian Beltre, Carlos Beltran, Jose Bautista, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson and Albert Pujols.

Marlins 6, Giants 1: While Marlins Park is being prepped for next week’s All-Star festivities, the Marlins made themselves at home in AT&T Park. Dan Straily settled the Giants’ offense with 8 1/3 innings of one-run ball, while Giancarlo Stanton practiced his swing for Monday’s Home Run Derby, becoming the first visiting right-handed hitter to drive an opposite-field home run over the right field wall since 2014.

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.