And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 8, Royals 3: Alex Rodriguez would like the New York sporting press to write more career obituaries for him. It seems to suit him nicely (2 for 4, 2 HR, 3 RBI).

Reds 2, Braves 1: Todd Frazier hit a walkoff homer. It came off  Cristhian Martinez because, as everyone knows, Fredi Gonzalez would be drummed out of the managers’ guild if he had actually used his best reliever in a tie game in the ninth inning. The Reds are surging, winners of five straight.

Rays 5, Blue Jays 4: Another walkoff, this one a double from B.J. Upton (a.k.a. “Flash”)  in the 11th.

Mets 3, Pirates 1: Jon Niese allowed one run in 7 and two-thirds, bouncing back from some craptastic starts.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 5: Daniel Nava and Kelly Shoppach hit sixth-inning homers, breaking what had been a 2-2 tie. The Sox are back to .500 and they took two of three from the first place O’s.  Now, if form holds, they’ll cruise into first place for the bulk of the summer and then everyone can write some “will they collapse again?” stories in late August.  Nice to have the summer planned out like that, yes?

Phillies 4, Nationals 1: Cole Hamels was on-point, taking a no-hitter into the sixth, shutting out the Nats for eight innings and ending the Phillies losing skid. And no, no one threw at anyone or otherwise acted like a jackwagon.

Cardinals 6, Padres 3: On a night when I watched the Cardinals double-A team beat the Padres double-A team, the Cardinals major league team beat the Padres, well, sure, I suppose we can call them a major league team. They had a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but that was all they’d get. Carlos Beltran hit his 14th home.

Diamondbacks 11, Dodgers 4: If you have to end your winning streak, end it big. The Dbacks had 14 hits. Willie Bloomquist of all people had three. Joe Saunders struck out seven.

White Sox 6, Twins 0: Chris Sale shut ’em out for seven. Paul Konerko hit a homer. Apparently Konerko played for the San Antonio Missions once too back when they were a Dodgers affiliate. I like that the Missions honor their old players who were there when there was a different affiliation. Not ever minor league club does that. The Missions seem to say “MLB teams come and go in these parts; we’ll always be here.”

Astros 5, Cubs 1: That’s nine straight losses for Chicago. This is starting to look like a historic season for the Cubbies.

Rockies 8, Marlins 4: Troy Tulowitzki homered and drove in four. After the game he said this was “a big win for us.” I suppose all wins are big, but I’ll get more excited when the Rockies are less than 13 and a half back.

Indians 4, Tigers 2: After seeing that they loaded the bases with no one out in the eighth and didn’t freaking score, I’m searching for something good to say about the Tigers right now. How about: “well, their streak of not being shutout is still intact.”  Cleveland, on the other hand has lots going for them. Like Jason Kipnis, who had three hits and then bloodied his arm up really good when he slid into home in the eighth inning with the go-ahead run.

Mariners 5, Rangers 3: In what I’m going to take as a sign that no team is going to be a total juggernaut this year, Seattle took two of three from the Rangers. From the game story: “Alex Liddi hit the first major league grand slam by an Italian-born player in a half-century.” OK, then.

Angels 3, Athletics 1: Alberto Callaspo hit a go-ahead two-run double in the 11th. Ernesto Frieri continues his good work.

Brewers 8, Giants 5: Remember a few weeks ago when people were starting up that “Hey, Barry Zito may have finally figured it out!” stuff?  Yeah, let’s just shelve that until he has two or three good starts again next year. The Brewers unloaded on him for eight runs — only four earned — in three innings.

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]