And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: Michael Pineda was the whole story. Both for pitching a shutout into the seventh and for having some gunk on his hands that sorta looked like pine tar but which, because no one complained about it or brought it to the umps’ attention, couldn’t be examined or dealt with in any way. It was gone by the fifth, so let’s just put this one in the file along with Clay Buchholz’s Bullfrog sunscreen and pretend it never happened. Haha, kidding. We’ll be talking about it all day because that’s what we do. Here, let me start things off: “Heh, more like Michael Pine-tar-eda, amirite?” Eh, sorry. We’ll work on that.

White Sox 7, Indians 3: If I told you Danny Salazar struck out ten of the first 11 batters he faced, you’d think he had a good night. Welp, no. He had a crappy night, those strikeouts notwithstanding (3.2. IP, 6 H, 5ER, 2 BB, 2 HR). Jose Abreu, however, had a fantastic night, homering once off Salazar and once off the inappropriately named Josh Outman. Abreu is hitting .300/.383/.725 on the young season.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 5:  Tony Campana and Cliff Pennington don’t start much, but the former had four hits and the latter three Pennington. And the former drove the latter in for the go-ahead run in the 10th. The Dbacks took two of three.

Mets 6, Braves 4: Eric Young got three hits, stole three bases and scored four times. He stole five bases in the three-game series. Any team not running wild on the Braves isn’t doing it right, by the way, as Evan Gattis and Ryan Doumit have shown that they really aren’t a threat to base runners with even a modicum of speed. Justin Upton hit two homers.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday evening MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Brewers 6, Phillies 2: The Brewers have won six straight, all on the road. In Philly, the scored 25 runs and notched 38 hits in a three-game sweep. Ryan Braun was 6 for 12 with 10 RBI in the series, giving him 24 RBI in 21 career games in Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies should totally trade for him. He’d look great there. Plus: they’d cheer for him like crazy, current claims by Phillies fans to their superior ethics and morals notwithstanding.

Astros 6, Blue Jays 4: Former big league knuckleballer Steve Sparks is a radio broadcaster for the Astros. Yesterday, as he did once last year, Sparks tossed knuckleballs in BP to Astros hitters to prepare them to face R.A. Dickey. Then, as last year, they weren’t too fazed with R.A. Dickey, notching five runs on six hits in seven innings. Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over seven while striking out six.

Nationals 7, Marlins 1: Stephen Strasburg was on point, striking out 12 over six and two-thirds. His only mistake was a solo home run surrendered to Marcell Ozuna to make it 2-1 Nats, but a five-spot by Washington in the eighth — including an Ian Desmond grand slam — secured things after Strasburg departed.

Pirates 5, Cubs 4: Down 4-0 in the seventh, the Pirates rallied for five, via a three-run shot from Pedro Alvarez and a two-run pinch hit homer from Travis Snider. That blew a nice pitching performance from Travis Wood (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER 9K).

Athletics 6, Twins 1: Dan Straily pitched three-hit ball for seven innings even though he had nothing approaching his best stuff. You can do that when you’re facing the Twins, of course.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
LG Patterson/MLB via Getty Images
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: