And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 4, Brewers 0: John Lackey was fantastic, tossing seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out eight. He’s also making $500K this year because of that farkakte contract he signed with the Red Sox way back when. St. Louis’ gain, I suppose. And if Lackey keeps pitching like this, his gain this coming offseason when he signs a new deal.

Twins 8, Royals 5: Kennys Vargas was better than Jason Vargas on this day. They’re not related but I sort of wish they were so that we could invent some crazy family backstory here, but alas. Anyway, Kennys and Kurt Suzuki each hit two-run homers as the Twins win again.

Nationals 5, Phillies 2: The Phillies can shuffle their lineup all they want — Howard batting seventh, Frenchy cleaning up — and it’s not going to matter much given that they don’t have any hitters who can do a dang thing against decent pitching this year. And here Doug Fister was more than decent, allowing two runs — only one of them earned — while pitching into the seventh. Cole Hamels have up five runs in six innings, but really, he and all other Phillies pitchers are going to have to be close to perfect this year.

Rays 4, Blue Jays 2: Chris Archer struck out 11 and allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings. Steven Souza did not hit a monstrous, 450-foot or so home run last night. I wonder what’s wrong with him?

Mets 7, Marlins 5: New York spotted the Marlins three runs — one of them on Giancarlo Stanton’s first dinger of the year —  but no worries. Lucas Duda had three hits. Wilmer Flores had a three-run shot. There was a replay challenge that lasted six minutes, so that was fun, but after the game Travis d’Arnaud admitted that the replay officials got it right.

Diamondbacks 7,  Giants 6: Aaron Hill hit a two-run double with two outs in the 12th to put the Snakes ahead. The Giants have lost seven straight.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.