And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 3, Yankees 2:If I told you before the season that the Orioles would lose Manny Machado and Matt Wieters to injuries and that Chris Davis would hit below .200 and then be suspended for PEDs, you’d probably assume that they’d be in fourth or fifth place this year. Yet here they are, poised to clinch their first division title in 17 years. As for this game: with Davis suspended, the Orioles are going to need Kelly Johnson. Johnson was just dandy last night, hitting a walkoff double. He did that just after Steve Pearce hit an RBI double to tie it. Viva La Fill-Ins who have made this season for Baltimore.

Tigers 6, Indians 4: Homers from Ian Kinsler and Victor J.D. Martinez as the Tigers sweep the Indians and win their sixth of seventh and take a one and a half game lead in the Central. They have a series against Kansas City next weekend. If they tread water through the week they can put this thing away when they face the Royals.

Red Sox 8, Royals 4: Speaking of the Royals, they deserve whatever they get with Ned Yost. The game was lost in the sixth inning when Aaron Crow gave up a walk and a homer after coming in with men on. Yost said after the game that he was frustrated because they were “one out away from getting to Kelvin Herrera.” Asked why he didn’t just go to Herrera an out earlier: “Aaron Crow’s inning is the sixth inning. Kelvin’s is the seventh.” You see why this guy got fired just before the playoffs the last time he had a team this close.

Marlins 5, Phillies 4: Jonathan Papelbon blew a three-run lead in the top of the ninth, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk. As he left the mound he was booed by Phillies fans, then he appeared to grab his crotch and was ejected. He said he was just adjusting his cup. Joe West thought it was a rude gesture came in and rather forcefully ejected Papelbon, so who knows who was worse here. Man, it is so totally the end of the season.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 5: Yunel Escobar walked, singled, doubled and homered. And when he homered he played it up to the crowd with a big “safe” gesture and pointed and taunted as he crossed home plate. They don’t much care for Escobar in Toronto.

Nationals 3, Mets 0: Wilson Ramos hit a two-run homer and Jordan Zimmermann pitched shutout ball into the seventh. The Nats have taken 13 of 16 from the Mets this year.

Pirates 7, Cubs 3: Josh Harrison hit a two-run double and started a triple play. Harrison is .317/.351/.508 on the year and has come on like crazy lately. Edinson Volquez allowed one earned run over seven innings. The Cubs are officially eliminated. In case you were still holding out hope that they’d make a playoff push.

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Twins 6, White Sox 4: Trevor May struck out ten in six innings. On Saturday Phil Hughes struck out 11 while Jose Quintana struck out 13. All kinds of Ks in these meaningless games.

Brewers 9, Reds 2: Matt Clark his a three-run homer and Mark Reynolds hit a solo shot. The Brewers have won four of five and remain a game and a half back.

Cardinals 4, Rockies 1: Marco Gonzales struck out nine in five and two-thirds, allowing one run, and five relievers shut out the rockies the rest of the way. Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer. Colorado has lost six straight. They’ve scored eight runs in those games. Wheeeee!

Rangers 10, Braves 3: The Rangers sweep the Braves, who have done more in the past few weeks to show they got no business being mentioned as part of a playoff race than any team that still gets mentioned as being part of a playoff race. Now they’re four out of the wild card, which puts them out of it for good, I reckon. Just a terrible second half for a team that should not be this bad, even with the injuries to the rotation. Whether anyone actually pays for this failure of a season is an open question, but I’m not holding my breath.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: L.A. takes two of three from the Giants and extending its lead to three games. Clayton Kershaw picked up his 19th win, tossing eight effective innings. Matt Kemp’s sixth inning, two-run homer helped seal it.

Astros 6, Angels 1: Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over seven and the Angels’ ten-game winning streak ends, but at this point what does it matter?

Athletics 4, Mariners 0: Six shutout innings for Jon Lester despite him not having his best stuff with three relievers finishing off the shutout. The A’s take two of three in a critical series with Seattle. The A’s have a one and a half game lead over Kansas City and two and a half over the Mariners.

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 6: Trevor Cahill wasn’t too effective, but the Snakes’ bullpen was up to the task for awhile. Then in the ninth Addison Reed faltered, but not enough to cost ’em the game.

Major League Baseball threatens to walk away from Minor League Baseball entirely

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The war between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball escalated significantly last night, with Minor League Baseball releasing a memo accusing Major League Baseball of “repeatedly and inaccurately” describing the former’s stance in negotiations and Major League Baseball responding by threatening to cut ties with Minor League Baseball entirely.

As you’re no doubt aware, negotiations of the next, 10-year Professional Baseball Agreement, which governs the relationship between the big leagues and the minors — and which is set to expire following the 2020 season — have turned acrimonious. Whereas past negotiations have been quick and uncontroversial, this time Major League Baseball presented Minor League Baseball with a plan to essentially contract 42 minor league baseball teams by eliminating their major league affiliation while demanding that Minor League Baseball undertake far more of the financial burden of player development which is normally the responsibility of the majors.

That plan became public in October when Baseball America reported on it, after which elected officials such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren began weighing in on the side of Minor League Baseball. Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball were not happy with all of that and, on Wednesday, Manfred bashed Minor League Baseball for taking the negotiations public and accused Minor League Baseball of intransigence, saying the minors had assumed a “take it or leave it” negotiating stance.

Last night Minor League Baseball bashed back in the form of a four-page public memo countering Manfred’s claims, with point-point-by-point rebuttals of Major League Baseball’s talking points on various matters ranging from stadium facilities, team travel, and player health and welfare. You can read the memo in this Twitter thread from Josh Norris of Baseball America.

Major League Baseball responded with its own public statement last night. But rather than publicly rebut Minor League Baseball’s claims, it threatened to simply drop any agreement with Minor League Baseball and, presumably start its own minor league system bypassing MiLB entirely:

“If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”

So, in the space of about 48 hours, Manfred has gone from being angry at the existence of public negotiations to negotiating in public, angrily.

As for Minor League Baseball going public itself, one Minor League Baseball owner’s comments to the Los Angeles Times seems to sum up the thinking pretty well:

“Rob is attempting to decimate the industry, destroy baseball in communities and eliminate thousands of jobs, and he’s upset that the owners of the teams have gone public with that information in an effort to save their teams. That’s rich.”

Things, it seems, are going to get far worse before they get better. If, in fact, they do get better.