Yasiel Puig

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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 10, Nationals 4: Adam Frazier had a heck of a game out of the leadoff spot for the Buccos, going 3-for-5 with four RBI. Tanner Roark started for the Nationals but gave up seven runs in five-plus frames. Roark finished 10th in NL Cy Young Voting last year with a 2.83 ERA, but he’s now sporting a 4.73 ERA this season over nine starts.

Rockies 5, Twins 1 (Game 1): Nolan Arenado hit a solo home run in the first inning to put the Rockies up early and they never looked back. Arenado also made a sweet backhand play in the bottom half of the first. While he hasn’t had an explosive month and a half the way Bryce Harper has, it still would not be surprising if he once again winds up in the NL MVP race.

Twins 2, Rockies 0 (Game 2): Jose Berrios pitched one of the best games of the year, blanking the Rockies on two hits and a walk with 11 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Berrios looked lost last year, when he put up an 8.02 ERA in 14 starts, but he’s been much better so far this season. He held the Indians to one run in 7 2/3 innings last Saturday. The Twins now have a slight first-place lead in the AL Central now. Who’dathunkit.

Cubs 9, Reds 5: Six losses in a row for the Reds now. Javier Baez gave the Cubs a large early cushion, crushing a grand slam in the first inning off of Amir Garrett. Kris Bryant also crushed a solo home run to center field in the fourth. Ian Happ collected two more hits to raise his average to .353 and his OPS to 1.324 since being called up.

Tigers 6, Orioles 5: J.D. Martinez stays red-hot as he blasted another homer, a three-run shot. He also drew three walks. In six games since making his season debut, Martinez has five homers and 11 RBI in 25 PA. Three Orioles homered: Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and Seth Smith. But the Tigers’ bullpen, surprisingly, was able to hold onto a narrow lead — something that has been a rarity this season.

Rangers 8, Phillies 4: Nine wins in a row for the Rangers now. To be fair, they’ve beaten up on the lowly Padres, Athletics, and Phillies, but still. Ryan Rua struck the big blow in this one, as his fifth-inning three-run home run capped off a five run inning. Martin Perez pitched well, holding the Phillies to two runs on five hits and no walks with eight strikeouts over seven innings.

Brewers 4, Padres 2: The first-place Brewers added to their lead in the NL Central as the Cardinals had the night off. Leadoff man Eric Sogard collected four hits and three RBI. Eric Thames finally made an appearance, but as a pinch-hitter and he made an out, stranding two runners. Zach Davies put up a quality start, yielding two runs in six innings. For the Padres, Hunter Renfroe went yard again, giving him three in his last five ballgames.

Blue Jays 9, Braves 0: After Wednesday’s fracas, the storyline going into Thursday’s game was centered around Jose Bautista, who flipped his bat after hitting a home run last night. Sure enough, Julio Teheran threw an inside fastball and hit Bautista on the thigh. Both benches were warned and nothing else happened. Thankfully, a better narrative emerged as catcher Luke Maile and starter Marcus Stroman hit back-to-back home runs, becoming the first American League battery to go back-to-back since May 9, 1970, per Sportsnet. That’s before the DH era began. As for the pitching, Stroman was solid but inefficient, lasting only 5 2/3 innings after throwing 103 pitches.

Royals 5, Yankees 1: Danny Duffy’s excellence continued, as he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts. Mike Moustakas gave the Royals plenty of breathing room with a three-run home run in the fifth.

Athletics 8, Red Sox 3: Red Sox starter Hector Velasquez got knocked around for six runs in five frames in his major league debut. The A’s hit three homers, including Khris Davis who now has 12 on the year. Trevor Plouffe collected three hits. Every regular in the Athletics’ lineup had a hit except Stephen Vogt.

Dodgers 7, Marlins 2: Hyun-Jin Ryu held the Marlins to two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Yasiel Puig crushed a two-run home run halfway up the bleachers in left field off of Edinson Volquez in the second inning. Statcast measured that one at 442 feet. Kenley Jansen turned in an immaculate inning in the ninth to close out the game. There were a total of three immaculate innings in 2015 and ’16 combined, but we’ve already had four this season: Drew Storen, Craig Kimbrel, Max Scherzer, and Jansen.

Mariners 5, White Sox 4: The Mariners picked up their fifth walk-off win of the season as Guillermo Heredia singled to bring in Jarrod Dyson in the bottom of the ninth inning. Jean Segura hit a three-run home run to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. He now has a .359 average and a .915 OPS.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rays 3, Marlins 1: You know how people talk about “the song of the summer?” In baseball we have the “injury of the summer.” A few years ago — I think it was the summer Pharrell’s “Happy” was all the rage — all the ballplayers tore their oblique muscles. I don’t know what the song of the summer for 2017 is yet, but the injury is the blister. Here Edinson Volquez left early with a blister. Alex Cobb, also suffering from a blister, managed six scoreless innings. I think I’ve written the word “blister” more this season than I have in any season since I started covering baseball. Anyway, when asked for comment about his blister, Volquez said, “Here come bad news, talking this and that . . . Well, I should probably warn ya, I’ll be just fine. Cause I’m happy.”

Braves 9, Mets 7: R.A. Dickey beat Matt Harvey for the second time in less than a week. Asked after the game, Dickey said that he didn’t even have his best stuff: “on a scale of one to 10, I probably only had a four knuckleball.” I always assumed knuckleballs were judged weirdly, given their nature. Like, “on a scare of one to 10, my knuckleball was potato.” Oh well. Anyway, Jay Bruce drove in six runs in the losing cause. Ender Inciarte drove in three runs with three hits, but he had more help than Bruce did.

Cubs 8, Phillies 3: Javier Baez had four hits, including a triple and a homer, driving in three. Kris Bryant homered and tripled himself. Jon Lester wasn’t sharp — he walked five dudes — but allowed only three runs and did enough to snag the win. Joe Maddon didn’t hold the walks against Lester. He hated the strike zone, saying “There wasn’t a strike zone tonight, it was a ball zone . . . I don’t know what was going on.” I wish he had gone full meme with it and said “more like a BALL ZONE, amirite?” I mean, if you’re gonna be the hip dad like Maddon always seems like he wants to be you have to appropriate outdated memespeak, which will provide maximum embarrassment for your children. Believe me, I have a lot of experience in this.

Angels 6, Mariners 4: Albert Pujols hit an RBI double in the top of the 11th inning. Then the old man stole third base — how does anyone let that happen? Pujols barely has any feet at this point, right? They’re just fleshy stubs patched together with some sort of surgeon’s epoxy — and scored an insurance run on a fielder’s choice. His RBI put him past Al Simmons and Ted Williams on the all-time list. He’s now at 14th for his career, with 1,840 driven in. The Angels have won seven of eight.

Yankees 11, Blue Jays 5: Mat Latos gave up seven runs by the fourth inning and the rest was just details. Aaron Judge hit two more homers, bringing his season total to 12 — that’s a 78-homer pace — and Brett Gardner hit a couple himself. Aaron Hicks hit a homer too and Masahiro Tanaka, while not great, pitched into the seventh inning.

Diamondbacks 6, Nationals 3: Taijuan Walker was not fantastic himself, allowing three runs while walking five and not even lasting five innings, but the Arizona pen pitched four and two-thirds scoreless innings and the bats popped three long ones. The Nats, who have been scoring runs in buckets, stranded ten runners. That’s baseball.

Red Sox 5, Orioles 2: Drama galore in this one, including a standing ovation for Adam Jones, a Chris Sale pitch that went behind Manny Machado and a Machado postgame tirade against the Red Sox. Also a weird and sloppy triple play. Lost in all of this: Machado hitting a long homer off of Sale later in the game and Sale striking out 11 and allowing only two runs in eight innings.

Tigers 5, Indians 2: Miguel Cabrera came back and hit a two-run homer — the 450th of his career — and Justin Verlander allowed only two runs over seven. Corey Kluber pitched only three innings, leaving early with a sore back. That’s one worth watching.

Pirates 12, Reds 3: Josh Harrison hit a three-run homer and the Buccos’ starting pitcher, Tyler Glasnow (all together now) helped his own cause with a two-run single as the Pirates put together a six-run fifth inning. Harrison hit two homers on Monday night too. The Reds have lost 9 of 12. So, yeah, that brief moment in April when they looked kind of sexy was just a trick of the light.

Twins 9, Athletics 1: Ervin Santana struck out seven in six shutout innings and Brian Dozier jacked two out of the park. Also jacking balls out of the park for Minnesota: Miguel Sano, Jason Castro, Byron Buxton and Joe Mauer. I know it’s not even close to an appropriate time to watch the standings yet, but the Twins are 13-11 and only a half game out of first in the Central.

Astros 8, Rangers 7: Texas jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning but, unfortunately for them, we play nine in this game. Marwin Gonzalez hit two home runs, including a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth to bring the Astros back. They’ve come back from five-run deficits three times on the young season. Overall, they’ve come from behind in 12 games, leading the majors in Rasputins.

White Sox 6, Royals 0: Jose Quintana was brilliant, tossing eight shutout innings, allowing only four singles. He has suffered from a lack of run support so far this year but that wasn’t a problem here as he had an early four-run cushion. Royals starter Danny Duffy, meanwhile, has lost back-to-back starts to the White Sox, allowing 12 runs and 19 hits in nine and two-thirds over those two games. Kansas City has lost ten of eleven.

Cardinals 2, Brewers 1: Carlos Martinez allowed only one unearned run while pitching into the eighth, outdueling Wily Peralta, who allowed two over five and a third. Both Cardinals runs scored in the sixth, when Yadier Molina hit a sac fly and Kolten Wong singled in a run. Eric Thames was 0-for-4 and has gone six games without a homer. The baseball season is long, you guys, and everything evens out over that long, long time.

Dodgers 13, Giants 5: San Francisco scored four runs in the top of the second. Then the Dodgers put up six in the bottom half, outscoring the Giants 13-1 over remainder of the game. Yasiel Puig went 3-for-5 with four driven in, all on singles. Rookie Cody Bellinger hit a bases-loaded triple. Justin Turner and Franklin Gutierrez each added two RBI, and Gutierrez had a homer. The Dodgers have won 5 of 6.

Padres 6, Rockies 2Yangervis Solarte and Ryan Schimpf hit back-to-back home runs off Tyler Chatwood in the sixth inning. Manuel Margot hit a triple that could’ve been an inside the park homer if not for the fact that less-than-fleet-footed Trevor Cahill was running ahead of him. I mean, watch this. Makes me tired just watching Cahill.

Yasiel Puig: “We [Latinos] love to show our joy on the field, and I think sometimes that confuses people.”

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Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig penned a special article for MLB.com titled, “In my Words: Puig growing as ballplayer, man.” He writes about his motivations for playing the game, which include his new son Daniel Sebastian and doing charitable work in Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Puig has been a lightning rod for controversy since signing a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Dodgers in June 2012. His production has fluctuated at times, which has been frustrating for Dodgers fans. But the thing that has enraged the most people is Puig’s penchant for flipping the bat. His rival, no surprise, is Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, as the two have squared off many times as NL West rivals.

In Puig’s article, he clarifies his bat-flipping:

There is a passion I have and we have as Latinos because we love to have fun, we love to show our joy on the field, and I think sometimes that confuses people. Sometimes, other teams get upset with our bat flips or expressions, but that’s how we show our joy. The pitcher can strike you out four times in a game so we like to show our joy when we hit that one home run. Baseball is fun. It’s exciting. I enjoy it. It’s a game.

It is saddening that Puig felt he needed to clarify this in his article. As we’ve noted here several times, there does seem to be a cultural war happening within baseball, however, and Puig is one of the biggest faces in that war, along with Jose Bautista. One one side, you have mostly white players who think the game should be played with as little emotion as possible. And on the other side, you have players who have mostly come from poorer areas like the D.R., Cuba, and Mexico that grew up playing a game that was to them as much a party as a contest.

Puig, ultimately, is right: it’s a game. And it’s a game that’s struggling to reach younger audiences. Maybe let the players have some fun, yeah?