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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 10, Yankees 6: Well this sure got out of hand. I wrote up all of the fisticuffsmanship as it happened, so if you need the blow-by-blow, go here. For now, know that the best part of it was Alex Wilson admitting after the game that, yeah, he hit Todd Frazier on purpose. There’s something refreshing about that. In all five players were ejected, along with both managers and the Yankees’ bench coach. There were beanings and plunkings. It all may have been avoided if the umpires had properly warned everyone when Michael Fulmer hit Gary Sanchez, which is basically what set everyone off. No one covered themselves in glory here, though, no matter who you think was more responsible. The Tigers may have started it, but the only guy throwing at someone’s head was on the Yankees. Gary Sanchez was throwing cheap shots in the scrum, but Miguel Cabrera‘s failure to keep his cool is what set off the actual fighting. It was just a mess. Justin Upton and James McCann homered for Detroit, but it’s not like anyone cared too much about the game from the sixth inning on.

Diamondbacks 3, Mets 2: Robbie Ray returned to action for the first time since being hit in the head with a line drive last month, and he was pretty darn good, striking out nine in five innings. He allowed only one run on two hits, one of which was a Yoenis Cespedes homer. Gregor Blanco and Ketel Marte had an RBI single and sacrifice fly, respectively, and Brandon Drury singled in the Dbacks’ third run. Also, there was a super bad call in this game that made us happy that replay exists now.

Marlins 9, Phillies 8: Giancarlo Stanton hit his 47th homer on the year and  J.T. Realmuto hit an inside-the-park job. As with most inside-the-park homers, he had an assist from an outfielder who made choices, this time Nick WilliamsA.J. Ellis and Christian Yelich also homered for Miami. Rhys Hoskins went deep again for Philly, which set a new record. In the future, if this trend continues, all recap posts will be nothing but a list of home runs hit by dudes.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 0: Five pitchers combined to shut the Jays out, with starter Alex Cobb only making it through four and a third. No worries though, because even if he wasn’t efficient, Kevin Kiermaier was. Check out how far this cat ranges for these two balls:

Rockies 3, Royals 2: Greg Holland has been a hot mess of late, blowing a save and taking the loss on Wednesday night, so a lot of eyebrows were raised when Bud Black called on him to protect a one-run lead in the ninth here. No worries, though: he got the save and needed only seven pitches to do it, retiring the Royals in order. Before that the Rockies came back from a 2-0 deficit thanks to a Raimel Tapia RBI single in the sixth and a two-run homer from Pat Valaika in the eighth.

Dodgers 5, Pirates 2: If Wednesday night’s no-hitter-busting walkoff loss was demoralizing the Dodgers shook it off pretty quickly. Here Curtis Granderson homered in the fourth to give L.A. a lead they’d never relinquish and Yasmani Grandal and Adrian Gonzalez hit back-to-back homers in the eighth to give them insurance. Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed one run over six innings as the Dodgers win the series. They win basically every series.

Reds 4, Cubs 2: Jose Peraza hit a ground rule double off of Pedro Strop that scored two in the eighth and then Strop uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a third eighth inning run to score. I guess we all have bad innings sometimes. Sal Romano didn’t get the win but he did allow only two runs in seven innings AND he directed that Patio Cola commercial that was inspired by “Bye-Bye Birdie,” and that was pretty quality work for a novice.

Indians 13, Red Sox 6: Chris Sale is the Cy Young favorite in the American League and some people have even suggested him as an MVP candidate in recent weeks. Last night the Indians beat him around like a journeyman, however, lighting him up for seven runs on seven hits and three walks in just three innings. That’s not even something especially new, as  Sale is 5-8 with a 4.87 ERA in 29 career appearances vs. the Indians. Yandy Diaz was 4-for-4 with two driven in. Giovanny Urshela — who? — drove in four. Baseball is hard to explain sometimes.

Padres 4, Cardinals 3: The Padres broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the ninth when Carlos Asuaje singled home a run and added a necessary insurance run via a Jose Pirela sac fly. Luis Perdomo allowed two runs over six. The Cards bullpen allowed 12 runs in seven innings in the series.

Nationals 5, Astros 4: Anthony Rendon‘s sac fly gave the Nats the lead in extra innings and Matt Weiters singled home a necessary insurance run. Huh, sounds familiar. Extra innings wouldn’t have been necessary except the Astros got to both Sean Doolittle and Brandon Kintzler for three late runs. The Nats previously troubled bullpen had vastly improved since the trade deadline, mostly because of those two guys, but everyone gets got sometimes.

White Sox 5, Twins 1: The White Sox scored two runs on errors and one a fielder’s choice. Those were bookended by a Yolmer Sanchez homer and an RBI double from Kevan Smith. Byron Buxton homered for the Twins only run. Since the All-Star break he’s batting .302/.340/.570.

Rangers 3, Angels 0: Martin Perez shut the Angels out for seven innings and Jason Grilli and Ricky Rodriguez finished the job. Drew Robinson hit a two-run homer and Old Friend Mike Napoli hit a solo shot.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.