And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 3, Mets 0: It’s not just Jose Fernandez in Miami. Henderson Alvarez tossed his second shutout of the year, allowing six hits, striking out seven and not walking a soul. Casey McGehee drove in two.

Braves 2, Cardinals 1: The Braves snap their seven-game losing streak and do so with a fantastic performance from Gavin Floyd, making his first start post-Tommy John surgery. Floyd went seven, allowing only one run on six hits.

Dodgers 8, Nationals 3Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL Clayton Kershaw! Nine hits scattered over seven innings, nine strikeouts and nothing else doing. 

Pirates 2, Giants 1: A walkoff replay review. Well, a walkoff triple with the runner advancing home on an error, but Starling Marte was initially called out and then the call was reviewed and overturned. That’s the first time that has happened in history. And, for as odd and anticlimactic the whole thing was, this is the sort of play — a game-deciding play that the umpires on the field got wrong — that replay was designed to overturn.

Blue Jays 6, Phillies 5: Toronto jumped out to a 5-0 lead, Philly rallied for five with the help of a Cody Asche grand slam and then Toronto scored the winning run in the tenth on a sac fly. Cole Hamels gave up five runs on ten hits in six innings. He has given up 13 earned runs in 16.2 innings over three starts.

Tigers 11, Astros 4: A seven-run win and still not as close as the score would suggest. Miguel Cabrera had four hits and drove in four. The Tigers have won seven straight.

Indians 4, Twins 2: Josh Tomlin got the callup from Columbus and then got his first win since 2012, striking out four, walking one and taking a shutout into the seventh. Nice bit of bookending going on here as his last start before TJ surgery was against the Twins and he was shelled.

Diamondbacks 7, Brewers 5: Aaron Hill went 4 for 4 with a pair of RBI singles on Monday. On Tuesday he hit a two-run homer in the eighth to help the Snakes take this one. I’m sure there are other ways to have fun in Milwaukee, but this is a pretty good one for a ballplayer.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Wednesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Orioles 5, Rays 3: There was a 19-minute delay in this one due to the lights going out thanks to a nearby storm. Which, sure, scoff all you want about the quality of Tropicana Field, but at least they have a roof. Ryan Flaherty and Nick Markakis drove in runs after play resumed to give Baltimore the lead and the game.

White Sox 5, Cubs 1: Gordon Beckham’s homer in the eighth broke a 1-1 tie and the Southsiders rallied for three more in the ninth to beat the Northsiders. Four hits in all for Beckham, which is pretty spiffy for a guy who has been struggling as much as he has.

Red Sox 4, Reds 3: A walkoff hit for Grady Sizemore in the 12th. He had previously singled home a run in the third and had another hit in the eighth.

Mariners 8, Athletics 3: Roenis Elias struck out six while pitching into the seventh, Justin Smoak drove in three and the M’s won their fourth straight.

Rockies 12, Rangers 1: The Rockies rap 21 hits. Carlos Gonzalez had five of them and Troy Tulowtizki and Drew Stubbs each had three. Nolan Arenado extended his hitting streak to 26 games. The 2014 Rockies are re-earning the name Blake Street Bombers. They are just destroying everyone on offense.

Royals 3, Padres 1: Alex Gordon singled in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning and Billy Butler followed with an RBI double to help the Royals snap their five-game losing streak. Jeremy Guthrie, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined to hold the Padres to six hits.

Yankees 4, Angels 3: Most of these games last night felt the same, at least when reading the box scores. A late run to break a tie with a solo shot or something. Which, hey, OK, not every game needs to be totally dramatic. Just odd. Here Brian Roberts did the deed for New York, hitting his first one of the year.

Something needs to change to avoid future incidents like Machado-vs.-Welke

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced that Padres third baseman Manny Machado was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for “aggressively arguing” and making contact with home plate umpire Bill Welke after a controversial strike three call in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game against the Rockies in Colorado. The clip of the incident is below, showing that Welke’s call was poor. Machado’s behavior was also poor, as he indeed made contact — inadvertently or not — with Welke and repeatedly swore at him. Machado also threw his bat, though it was not in anyone’s direction and no one was put in harm’s way.

Machado chose to appeal his suspension, as is his right. While that matter is in the process of being resolved, the Major League Umpires Association put out a lengthy statement on Facebook and a shorter but hashtag-laden post on Twitter. The statements were problematic for a number of reasons, chiefest being that the union is publicly commenting on an ongoing matter. MLB can keep Machado’s suspension at one game, which seems likely, or it can reduce his suspension to zero games. The league can also choose to reduce or remove the fine as well. Once the matter is resolved, the MLBUA should feel free to comment publicly on the matter.

MLBUA’s statement was also poorly proofread, hyperbolic, and creates a very legitimate argument for bias against Machado and/or the Padres going forward. The MLBUA described Machado as “violently” throwing his bat “with no regard to anyone’s safety.” It continued, “It is NOT okay to throw a temper tantrum and physically touch someone of authority, just because you don’t agree.”

MLBUA then moralized, asking, “What does this teach the MLB’s immense and ongoing influential youth movement trying to attract young fans to the game? Major League Baseball has to always lead by example in all cases of violent behavior, on and off the field.” It closed out, saying that the union was “extraordinarily disappointed” in MLB’s “inaction.”

Among the hashtags MLBUA used on Twitter were “#TemperTantrum,” “#RepeatOffender,” and “#Nonsense.”

Major League Baseball then released a statement on Tuesday night, saying, “…we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association.” The league added, “We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”

Whoever put out the message on behalf of the MLBUA should have asked themselves, “What is my purpose here and for whom am I posting this?” The entire purpose of a trade union is to create a cohesive unit, establishing bargaining power on behalf of labor versus capital. So, MLBUA is not writing this for fans, for players, or for MLB executives; it is publicly commenting for umpires. An ancillary benefit might be to engender public support for umpires vis-a-vis Welke.

It must then ask itself if the statement creates solidarity among umpires. And I think that’s a solid no. Machado is not the first player and will not be the last to make contact with an umpire and to throw a “temper tantrum” of that magnitude. So why single Machado out and die on this hill today? I would be shocked if more than a handful of umpires outside of Welke and his closest confidantes appreciated the MLBUA reacting the way it did. It doesn’t help them achieve any union-specific goals and might actually hurt them. Repeatedly referring to Machado’s actions as a “temper tantrum” and “nonsense,” and calling him a “repeat offender” is unprofessional. It’s something an Internet commenter would write in the heat of the moment, not the representative of a trade union in one of the most profitable industries in the country. Furthermore, in singling out Machado, Machado himself as well as his teammates have a legitimate reason to believe Welke and his crew might be biased against them not just for the remainder of the season but for the foreseeable future.

On a more pedantic note, the MLBUA wrote that it is not okay for players to act the way Machado did against “someone of authority.” It’s not the power that should shield umpires from workplace violence; it’s their humanity. Machado should no more or less scream and yell at an umpire than he should anyone else in any walk of life. However you rank umpires, coaches, front office executives, teammates, opponents, fans, etc. — they should all be treated equally.

All of this being said, there was one part of MLBUA’s statement that rang true. As mentioned, Welke did suffer violence in the workplace. I disagree with MLB that the comparison was inappropriate. There is nuance to what constitutes “workplace violence.” Is it a mass shooting? Of course not. But in no other employment setting would it be appropriate for one person to scream, curse, and throw items across the room during a disagreement. The union correctly wrote, “Physical contact simply cannot be tolerated.” The crux of all of this is that Major League Baseball doesn’t discourage altercations between umpires and players/coaches. Things have gotten better since the implementation of instant replay, but some instances — especially ball/strike judgment — can turn into very heated altercations.

MLB needs a flat rule instructing players and coaches not to argue with umpires. The team of the offending person(s) would incur an in-game penalty as well as a potential fine and suspension. In exchange for this loss of power on the part of players and coaches, the umpires should be subject to actual oversight. As it stands, umpires are almost never punished in any way for any kind of behavior towards players and coaches, nor are they often punished for poor results in terms of correct calls made. The umpires already have the advantage with their authority; their lack of oversight puts that advantage on steroids, which is why there’s often so much frustration. Umpires instigate confrontations a non-negligible amount of the time. If they felt like they would actually be held accountable for it, they might be much more reluctant to act, for example, the way Ron Kulpa did towards the Astros in early April.

MLBUA helped gain that power imbalance for its members, so it isn’t likely to give it up very easily. I don’t see my utopian dream coming to fruition anytime soon. But that’s the crux of every umpire-involved confrontation: authority. Umpires and players/coaches need to be on a level playing field in that regard, and the rules need to be crystal clear on what kind of behavior is allowed from both sides. Until that happens, we’ll be seeing a Machado-vs.-Welke incident once or twice every year ad infinitum.