And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Angels 4, White Sox 1: Did you know that if you win the AL Central that you contract a horrible disease? If you answered yes, you must be either the Tigers or the White Sox. That’s five straight losses for Chicago. Jered Weaver wins his 19th, allowing one run over six and a third. Kendrys Morales homers and Pujols drives in two.

Twins 10, Tigers 4; Twins 2, Tigers 1: Joe Mauer drove in four in the opener, handing Max Scherzer a rare second half loss. In the nightcap the Tigers couldn’t muster a lick of offense and blew a chance to gain ground on the Sox.  This is just getting pathetic.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 3: St. Louis wins its sixth game in the past seven and continues to hold off the horde.Pete Kozma and Allen Craig each drive in a pair.

Brewers 6, Nationals 2: Milwaukee keeps pace with the Cards. Ryan Braun doubled, singled and hit a sac fly. I can’t wait until no one gives him any MVP votes out of spite.

Dodgers 5, Reds 3: L.A. keeps pace as well, beating the regular-resting Reds. Two homers for Adrian Gonzalez.

Braves 2, Phillies 1: A pretty sweet pitcher’s duel. It’s a shame someone had to lose. But I suppose Cliff Lee has gotten used to that this season. The Braves have won 14 of their last 20 and are on the verge of clinching the wild card. Philly, in contrast, could not afford dropping two of three. The patient is not yet dead, but his next of kin have been told to hang around a phone.

Athletics 5, Yankees 4: The Yankees’ seven game win streak is snapped and the A’s get a much needed win to hold off the Angels. Cliff Pennington homered and drove in three.

Red Sox 2, Orioles 1: The O’s win-streak is snapped as well. And in a one-run game, no less. Quite unusual!  What’s next? Republicans admitting that Obama inherited, rather than created, a bad economy and has done a pretty decent job managing the recovery? Ok, now I’ve seen everything.

Pirates 8, Astros 1: A.J. Burnett was sharp, allowing one run over eight innings while striking out 11, picking up his 16th win and stopping the Pirates’ five game skid.

Rays 3, Blue Jays 0: Your standard six-pitcher shutout for Tampa Bay. B.J. Upton with a solo shot in the first and Evan Longoria with a two-run double in the eighth.

Indians 15, Royals 4: The Tribe outscored the Browns yesterday. I bet that’s happened on more than one Sunday in recent years. Carlos Santana was 3 for 6 with two homers and five driven in.

Mets 3, Marlins 2: Ruben Tejada singled in the winning run with two out in the bottom of the ninth. The Mets season may be a disappointing one, but the straight own the Marlins lately. Seven straight, in fact.

Padres 6, Giants 4: Most of the Giants got a day off the day after clinching the division and the results followed.

Rangers 3, Mariners 2: Texas avoids the sweep thanks to homers from Mike Napoli and Geovany Soto. They had the good sense to lose when the A’s were losing, however, thereby keeping their four game lead in the west.

Diamondbacks 10, Rockies 7: Aaron Hill broke the 4-4 tie in the top of the eighth. The Dbacks are four and a half games back of the Cardinals for the second wild card, but unlike Philly and the Dodgers, no one talks about them really being in it. Wonder why that is?

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.