Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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You guys aren’t going to believe this, but the Athletics won a game last night.

Fresh off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rangers, Jon Lester played the role of stopper as the Athletics defeated the Phillies 3-1 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland. The southpaw struck out seven and walked none over seven innings of one-run ball and is now 6-3 with a 2.20 ERA over 10 starts since coming over from the Red Sox at the trade deadline. Can’t blame him for the collapse.

Coco Crisp, Derek Norris, and Eric Sogard all had run-scoring hits for Oakland while Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 22nd save.

The Royals got blown out by the Tigers, so the Athletics are now back in the top spot in the American League Wild Card race by a half-game. The Mariners hit four home runs last night to power past the Astros, so they are just a half-game behind the Royals. This is fun stuff.

Your Friday box scores:

Phillies 1, Athletics 3

Dodgers 14, Cubs 5

Red Sox 5, Orioles 3 (10 innings)

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 5

Brewers 2, Pirates 4

White Sox 4, Rays 3

Nationals 3, Marlins 2

Tigers 10, Royals 1

Mets 5, Braves 0

Indians 4, Twins 5 (10 innings)

Diamondbacks 3, Rockies 15

Mariners 10, Astros 5

Reds 1, Cardinals 2

Rangers 12, Angels 3

Giants 0, Padres 5

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.