Orioles extend lead in AL East to 10 games, their largest since 1979

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The American League East is turning into a runaway.

The Orioles defeated the Red Sox 4-0 at Fenway Park this evening to extend their division lead to 10 games over the Yankees and Blue Jays. They also trimmed their magic number to 11.

Miguel Gonzalez tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the victory while allowing six hits and three walks. He was pulled after loading the bases with three straight singles in the seventh, but Tommy Hunter wiggled out of the jam by getting Will Middlebrooks and David Ross to strike out swinging. Gonzalez has allowed just four runs in 34 2/3 innings over his last five starts and now sits at 9-7 with a 3.22 ERA on the year.

Nelson Cruz and Steve Pearce each had two hits for the Orioles, though three errors from Boston helped give Baltimore’s bullpen some extra breathing room.

Per Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com, this is the largest division lead for the Orioles since way back on September 22, 1979. They currently have the biggest lead of any of the six division leaders.

Nationals back off of minor league stipend cut

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Yesterday it was reported that the Washington Nationals would cut the weekly stipend paid to their minor leaguers from $400 a week to $300 per week through the end of June.

For frame of reference, MLB had agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through May 31. Several teams have agreed to extend that, with the Royals and Twins agreeing to do it all the way through the end of August. The Oakland A’s decided to stop the payments in their entirety as of today. The Nationals were unique in cutting $100 off of the checks.

The A’s and the Nationals have taken a great amount of flak for what they’ve done. The Nats move was immediately countered by Nationals major league players announcing that they would cover what the organization would not.

The A’s are, apparently, still sticking to their plan. The Nats, however, have reversed course:

One can easily imagine a situation in which Nats ownership just decided, cold-heartedly, to lop that hundred bucks off of each minor league check and not worry about a moment longer. What’s harder to imagine is what seems to have actually happened: the Nats did it without realizing that anyone would take issue with it, were surprised by the blowback, and then reversed course. Like, what kind of a bubble where they living in that they did not think people would consider that a low-rent thing to do?

In any event, good move, Nats, even if I cannot even begin to comprehend your thought process.