And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 6, Reds 1: Six straight for Madison Bumgarner as he allows one run on three hits over eight innings. Fun times: I spent part of last night in Columbus’ wonderful Bob’s Bar — The Cultural Hub of the Midwest — and they were showing a replay of this game. Dude next to me thought the bright sunshine on the field was because the game was in San Francisco and that we were watching it live. I’d like to spend some time in his head for a while.

Astros 8, Angels 5: Jose Altuve drove in two, George Springer three and each had two a piece in the Astros’ four-run eighth inning. My favorite line of the night goes to Chris Carter, though: 0 for 0, four walks, no runs scored. There’s something beautiful about that, even if it amounted to nothing. It’s like some pure statement of purpose made with little heed for its practical impact. I shall walk.

Marlins 11, Rays 6: Ten losses in a row for the Rays. Figure they’re a couple of losses away from petitioning for the “Devil” to be returned to their name. Macrell Ozuna homered and drove in four. Something called Jacob Realmuto had three RBI in his major league debut. That sorta sounds like a made-up name. Like “Rollo Tomasi” or something.

Blue Jays 7, Tigers 3: The Blue Jays are an absolute buzzsaw right now. And no one saw it coming. Anyone who did is a liar. Six runs off of Justin Verlander, five of them earned. A serviceable outing from J.A. Happ. Just not the sort of things you might expect.

Cubs 7, Mets 4: And the Mets are swept. Travis Wood pitched five decent innings and, though he didn’t get the win, he hit a homer and drove in three. He was a one man gang, really. Like this.

Royals 3, Cardinals 2:  Yordano Ventura won it and was effective, but it was weird that he pitched to contact, relied on his defense and only struck out one. I’d like to see a few more starts out of him to know that he’s feeling better. Lots of dudes with hurt elbows were able to crafty-their-way to a a win here and there. I’d like to see him airing it out and snapping off wicked stuff before we feel better about him.

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

Nationals 4, Phillies 2: The sweep. Highlighted by Doug Fister doing this. You’re the man now, Dog.

Yankees 2, Athletics 1: Tanaka tames the A’s. He’s pretty much the lone bright spot for the Yankees this year, yes? He and Dellin Betances, maybe. Beyond that it’s pretty much “meh,” right? We’re all waiting for A-Rod to come back next year and save everyone.

Diamondbacks 12, Rockies 7: It was just a few weeks ago when people were all like “that Rockies pitching is not terrible. This could be a difference-maker for them!” My feelings were “Let’s give it some time. It’ll get warmer and drier in Colorado and then people are gonna start knocking the ball all over the place.” Well, they just dropped a three-game series to Arizona while giving up 32 runs on 48 hits. Overall the Rockies have lost seven straight and 11 of 13. So, welp.

Rangers 8, Orioles 6: The Rangers blew a 5-0 lead but scored three in the seventh thanks in part to two J.J. Hardy errors which, gah, what are the odds of that happening?

Brewers 8, Twins 5: The Brewers were down 4-0 thanks to a third inning grand slam by Oswaldo Arcia, but then they clawed back with a three-run shot by Carlos Gomez and a two-run shot by Khris Davis. Jonathan Lucroy’s two-run blast n the ninth gave them some insurance.

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.