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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 3, Tigers 0Trevor Williams tossed a one-hit shutout for seven innings and George Kontos and Juan Nicasio were each perfect for an inning to complete the job. Williams left with only a 1-0 lead but John Jaso hit a two-run pinch-hit homer when replacing him in the lineup in the seventh. That’s gotta feel pretty good if you’re Williams.

Nationals 3, Marlins 2: I guess Max Scherzer was no worse for wear following that neck spasm-shortened outing from last week. Here he didn’t hit a homer — he did single! — and went seven innings allowing two runs and striking out nine. He got a no decision, however, as four Marlins pitchers matched him, collectively. Adam Lind solved all of that with an eighth inning RBI single to give the Nats the lead for good. Bryce Harper homered.

Reds 11, Padres 3: Joey Votto homered for the third straight game, Patrick Kivlehan hit a grand slam and Adam Duvall and Zack Cozart went deep as well. Votto’s blast was his 251st, which ties him on the all-time Reds home run list with Ted Kluszewski. If Votto were to walk out on the field one day with no sleeves like Big Klu did, people would lose their minds. You can pretty much do anything you want, though, when you’re hitting .314/.438/.604 and you’re on pace for 43 bombs and 117 RBI.

Twins 5, Brewers 4: Eddie Rosario doubled home the tying run in the seventh inning. He then advanced to third and the Brewers went in to a big shift for the next hitter, Ehire Adrianza, leaving no one to even pretend to cover him at third base. As a result, Rosario decided to take a biiiiiig lead off third because, hey, why wouldn’t you? That rattled pitcher Oliver Drake, who promptly balked Rosario in for what would be the winning run:

Shifts work a lot of the time, but there are still inefficiencies to exploit in them.

Cardinals 11, Royals 3: Matt Carpenter hit a three-run homer in St. Louis’ six-run fourth inning as the Cards cruised. Earlier he doubled. Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong each hit two-run homers and Dexter Fowler tripled, walked and scored two runs in his first game back off the disabled list. The Royals have dropped six of eight.

Cubs 5, Giants 3: Javier Baez hit one to the deep recesses of AT&T Park, it bounced off the brick wall, he turned the jets on and got himself a two-run inside-the-park homer:

That’s great, but give credit to Giants outfielder Carlos Moncrief for making it a pretty dang close play at the plate with his throw from right field once he caught up to the ball. Later in the game Moncrief would have a chance to show off that hose again:

Orioles 6, Angels 2: Mike Trout homered on his 26th birthday to tie things up at two in the sixth inning and earlier he doubled to collect his 1,000th career hit. Manny Machado and the Orioles would be the ones celebrating, however, as he hit a grand slam in the seventh to give the Orioles their third win in a row and their eighth in ten games. Dylan Bundy struck out ten Angels in seven innings of two-run work.

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.