And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Phillies 5, Braves 2: Of course Jeff Francoeur comes back to Atlanta, riding an 0-for-19 streak, and knocks the cover off the ball. This is the place of his birth. Where he was forged like steel into a machine that destroys garbage pitching like that he faced last night. Frenchy was 4-for-5 with a double, a triple and a couple driven in. A big night all around for ex-Braves as Aaron Harang allowed one run over six. Hell, I half expected Kyle Davies to pitch a couple scoreless frames.

Rays 5, Red Sox 1: Jake Odorizzi tames the Sox’ lineup, scattering seven hits. A lineup without Hanley Ramirez, who left in the first inning with a shoulder injury. Clay Buchholz continued to struggle, giving up five runs in six and a third. After the game he said “You go out there and try to throw a lot of strikes, not walk guys.” If you read that with a lot of emphasis on the “you,” as if he’s contrasting all other pitchers with himself, it sounds like a fairly accurate description of much of his past couple of seasons.

Rangers 2, Astros 1: The winning streak is over. A Jake Smolinski RBI single in the eighth and then a Robinson Chirinos sac fly in the ninth was all the Rangers needed because a first inning Evan Gattis sac fly was all the Astros got. The streak stops at 10 despite a fine outing from April AL Pitcher of the Month Dallas Keuchel (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8K).

Mariners 3, Angels 2: The AL Player of the Month had a decent night too, with Nelson Cruz going yard to snap a scoreless tie in the seventh.That’s his 14th on the year, and Cruz is on an 87-homer pace. I am inclined to believe he won’t keep it up, but man, I don’t think most folks expected him to even keep up his 2014 pace this year.  Felix Hernandez, whose greatness is rarely confined to single month, was excellent (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8K).

Giants 2, Padres 0: Madison Bumgarner tossed no-hit ball into the seventh and shutout ball into the eighth and the pen locked it down. In his last two starts he has beaten Clayton Kershaw and Tyson Ross and shut down the Dodgers and Padres’ potent lineups. He’s pretty good when you think about it some.

Nationals 6, Marlins 4: A comeback thanks to four in the eighth. The offensive charge was led by Yunel Escobar who had a career-high five hits. Ian Desmond hit a homer during that eighth inning. Tanner Roark got his first career save.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 1: Russell Martin knocked in a run with a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning. We usually say “against his old mates,” and then I usually say “well maybe they weren’t his old mates because teams turn their rosters over so much” but then I remembered it was the Yankees and, yeah, they are his old mates because it’s been mostly the same guys there forever.

Brewers 4, Dodgers 3: Craig Counsell is now the all-time leader in winning percentage among Milwaukee Brewers managers. His new club rallied for three runs in the eighth inning off of a tiring Clayton Kershaw and a less-than-jake Chris Hatcher. Gomezes Hector and Carlos helped key the rally, the latter with a homer the former with an RBI double.

Cardinals 10, Cubs 9: A five-run first inning for the Cubs was met with a four-run first inning for he Cards. Having lost a five-run lead early, the Cubs then went and lost a four-run lead later. when St. Louis rallied in the sixth and seventh. Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam in the first rally. The rally in the sixth and seventh was a little more sustained. The Cardinals’ 19-6 record is their best start since 1900. And it’s not like they haven’t had a couple other halfway decent squads in the past 115 years.

Twins 8, Athletics 7: Another 4-0 first inning lead blown, this one by Oakland. The big hit: a two-out, three-run homer by Torii Hunter in the sixth to break the 5-5 tie. After that the A’s tried to claw back but couldn’t quite get there. That’s five wins in a row for Minnesota.

Diamondbacks vs. Rockies: POSTPONED:All the rain

All the rain
Cover me now
All the rain
All the rain
Cover me now

The Nationals have inquired about Kris Bryant

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The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.

Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.

Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.

For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.

Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.

But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.