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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 3, Royals 2: Amazingly, the Indians never ending winning streak had not featured a walkoff win. They changed that last night by rallying from a 2-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth and then winning via Jay Bruce‘s RBI that drove in Jose Ramirez. Ramirez, by the way, was only able to score because he hustled his butt off to turn his single into a double. Every little thing counts when you’re winning 22 games in a row, of course. Not that anyone is alive who would know that before now.

White Sox 17, Tigers 7Avisail Garcia had a five-hit, seven-RBI day. He’s the fourth player this season to have five hits and seven RBI in a single game. He did his damage via a two-run single, two RBI singles, and a three-run home run. Garcia is batting .333/.380/.509 with 17 home runs, 77 RBI, and 67 runs scored across 503 plate appearances this season. Back when he was with the Tigers they used to call him Little Miguel, due to his resemblance to Cabrera. He’s finally grown into that moniker. And yesterday he showed the Tigers what they’re missing.

Yankees 13, Orioles 5: The Baltimore Orioles were owned by Peter Angelos until April of this year. Since then, they have been owned by Aaron Judge. Jude hit two more homers against the O’s last night — both three-run shots — brining his season total against the Orioles to 11. He’s batting .472/.611/1.170 versus Baltimore in 2017, which is practically obscene. Overall his homers were numbers 42 and 43 on the season, brining him to within six of Mark McGwire’s rookie record.

Phillies 10, Marlins 0: After Wednesday’s game, which the Marlins lost 8-1, Don Mattingly said “My whole career, playing, coaching, that was the worst feeling I’ve ever had after a game.” Then he walked into the ballpark last night and saw his men get slaughtered 10-0. As was the case Wednesday, Rhys Hoskins homered.  Freddy Galvis and Jorge Alfaro also went deep as the Phillies scored two in the first and seven in the second to give Mattingly ample time to stew. Or, based on his comments after this one, maybe he used the time to ascend to some higher plane where such things don’t matter:

“I didn’t have any problem with tonight except for the first two innings,” Mattingly said. “The guys kept fighting all night.”

The Marlins lost their fifth in a row and 15th in their last 17 games.

Nationals 5, Braves 2: Rookie Victor Robles tripled and scored in the fourth. Most players would’ve had a double on the ball he hit there. His speed may have also been a contributing factor to a throwing error that allowed him to take second and another runner to take third later in the game. Both of them would then score. Quite the spark plug the Nats have in Robles.

Red Sox 6, Athletics 2Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three driven in. Drew Pomeranz won his 16th game with one-run ball over six innings. It was close the entire time Poemeranz was in the game, though. Indeed, he finished his outing by striking out Matt Olson, who had taken him to a full count with two men on in a 1-1 game. Boston scored two while Pomeranz was still pitcher of record in the bottom half of the sixth to give him the win and then added more late.

Cardinals 5, Reds 2: Luke Weaver threw six innings of two-hit, one-run ball and Tommy Pham drove in two and stole two to join the 20-20 club. Not bad for a couple of guys who began the year in Memphis. The Cardinals have won five of their last six and nine of 12.

Diamondbacks 7, Rockies 0Zack Godley tossed eight shutout innings, scattering five hits and A.J. Pollock capped a five-run first inning for the Dbacks with a bases loaded, bases clearing double. He’d add another RBI later to give him four on the day. Also: both teams were wearing vests:

That’s just . . . eww.

 

Mariners 10, Rangers 4Nelson Cruz went 4-for-4 with a home run and Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer. Felix Hernandez made his first start since the end of July and, though he was limited to 54 pitches, having him back on the mound was a boost to the M’s, who have won three straight.

Cubs 14, Mets 6Anthony Rizzo homered and had three hits, Kris Bryant drove in a couple and Jason Heyward homered and drove in four. he Cubs sweep the Mets, outscoring them 39-14 in their three-game series. The Cubs extended their NL Central lead to three games over Milwaukee and St. Louis. The Cardinals come to Chicago for a big three game series this weekend.

Twins 3, Blue Jays 2: Byron Buxton hit a 10th-inning homer to give the Twins their second straight walkoff win. Buxton has hit four homers in four games against Toronto this season. If Aaron Judge owns the Orioles, he’s at least put a down payment on the Blue Jays.

Astros 5, Angels 2: Yuli Gurriel had three hits and drove in a run, Marwin Gonzalez added a two-run double and Brad Peacock was solid as the Astros reduce their magic number to three. The Angels, meanwhile, have fallen three back of the Twins for the second Wild Card.

Aaron Judge ties the rookie home run record with his 49th blast

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Monday afternoon baseball that isn’t either (a) part of a doubleheader; or (b) on a holiday is always a bit unsettling, but today’s rare Monday tilt gave us a gift in the form of history: Aaron Judge hit his 49th home run, tying the rookie record.

The dinger came in the third inning of this afternoon’s Royals-Yankees tilt. It was the sixth pitch from Jake Junis and left via right field. Mark McGwire also hit 49 with the Athletics in 1987. Judge has the rest of today’s game and five more games after it to hit number 50 and claim the record for himself.

Watch:

Major League Baseball wants you to look at a screen while you’re at the ballpark

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During the debate last week involving expanded netting at major league ballparks, the familiar refrain from the anti-netting crowd rung out: “hey, netting wouldn’t be necessary if you simply paid attention!” These folks get particularly upset at the idea of people looking at their phones or other electronic devices during the game, implying — or sometimes explicitly stating — that if you do that you almost deserve to be hit with a 100 mph foul ball.

The problem with that, though, is that Major League Baseball increasingly encourages fans to use their phones during games. You can order your concessions through them now. Fans are encouraged to use the MLB.com Ballpark app for an increasing number of in-game features. And, of course, the video boards — always in the opposite direction of the hitter — are getting larger and larger and contain more and more information that the clubs and the league want you to see.

But it goes farther than that. Or at least it will soon. As this article from TechCrunch makes clear, in the future, Major League Baseball wants you actually watching the game action through your phone or your iPad. It’s an augmented reality feature in which you hold up your tablet and . . .

In essence, it’s a bit like watching TV broadcast in person, with information overlaid on the action as it happens in real-time. The data is gathered from Statcast, MLB’s in-house analytics tool . . . Players on the field, meanwhile, get small, square popups featuring their faces that can be tapped open to offer up personalized player information

Which is kind of cool, actually. Personally I am fascinated with the possibilities of augmented reality. For me it usually comes to mind when I’m out hiking and I want to know what a certain kind of tree is or something (my natural education was sorely lacking as a child), but there are tons of other applications. Even though I probably know more about the players and what’s going on on the field than your average American, I’d still probably use such a product, at least a little bit at a game.

But, of course, there is that safety tradeoff. How can Major League Baseball continue to be hands-off about a netting policy and maintain that fans assume the risk of foul ball injuries while simultaneously encouraging the use of electronic devices that will, necessarily, distract them from directly observing on-field action? Indeed, if they do continue to maintain that paradoxical approach, I’d expect this quote from the article to be used at a trial of an injured fan suing for damages:

“People are already using their phones, and we don’t think this is all that different,” MLB Product VP Chad Evans told us at the event. Of course, in a sport where small spherical objects are regularly projected into the stands at high speeds, it’s a good idea to keep your eye on the field. Perhaps popping up an alert on screen when a ball approaches would be a good start.

That last bit — not the quote, but the article’s suggestion of a warning — is comical given how quickly a ball can make it into the stands. Even fans paying rapt attention can get hurt by fast foul balls. Expecting them to process a warning and then act based on it when instinct often isn’t fast enough is ridiculous.

Cool product, for sure. Like I said, I’d probably even use it on occasion. But the more technology and the more distractions Major League Baseball pours into the game, the more responsibility it will have when those distractions contribute to fan injuries. In light of that, they simply cannot continue to be hands-off with respect to the matter.