And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Reds 5, Nationals 0: Johnny Cueto has submitted his resume to the other 29 teams, nailed the interview and now awaits offers. Or at least the Reds do, and they’re likely going to get a nice haul for him. A complete game two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and not a care in the world that his opponent was Max Scherzer. Joey Votto didn’t much care that he was facing Scherzer either, as he went 3-for-5 with a double, homer and three driven in. Neither Votto nor Cueto was selected for the All-Star team, by the way.

Pirates 3, Padres 2: A couple of Pirates, including Gregory Polanco got a save here. As in helping save a groundscrew member who was being swallowed up by the tarp during a third inning rain delay:

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Later an even better highlight: Justin Upton stone-cold robbing Andrew McCutchen of what would’ve been a go-ahead homer in the fifth:

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The Pirates got the win anyway, again with help from Polanco, who hit a go-ahead triple in the eighth.

Royals 9, Rays 5Royals 7, Rays 1: The walkoff grand slam by Paulo Orlando in the first game was only soured a tad for the Royals in that it came against Brad Boxberger, who Royals manager Ned Yost had just added to the All-Star team the day before. Maybe rethinking the omission of Corey Kluber is in order? Eh, maybe not. In the second game it was the Alex Gordon show, as he drove in four on a 4-for-5 night. The Royals are now four and a half up in the Central, tied for the biggest division lead in all of baseball with the Cardinals.

Cubs 7, Cardinals 4Cubs 5, Cardinals 3: The Cardinals’ lead was reduced thanks to dropping both ends of this twin bill. Jake Arrieta held their bats at bay and Anthony Rizzo homered. Worse: Kolten Wong went out with a head contusion. Addison Russell helped lead a comeback in the nightcap, giving the Cubs the first doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals since 1992. Note: the Addison Russell hit in that comeback was REALLY controversial. More on that later.

Athletics 4, Yankees 3: Bad day for All-Star relievers, eh? Here Brett Lawrie homered off Dellin Betances in extras. Not that Lawrie dominated the night — he struck out thrice and was behind in the count to Betances, almost to the Golden Sombrero — but he certainly made up for it. Oakland has strangely owned the Yankees of late, having won 12 of their last 15 meetings.

Red Sox 4, Marlins 3: The Sox came from behind with a three-run seventh, with all of those runs coming off the bat of Xander Bogaerts, who cleared the bases with a single. Wade Miley struck out nine.

Indians 2, Astros 0: Corey Kluber: not an All-Star, but he did shut down one of the scariest lineups in the American League, tossing shutout ball into the seventh. Michael Brantley was 3-for-4 with a homer.

Diamondbacks 4, Rangers 2: Robbie Ray took a shutout into the eighth inning, outdueling Yovani Gallardo, whose long-playing scoreless innings streak ended at 33 and a third.

Blue Jays 2, White Sox 1: Felix Doubront started this one, his first start since last year. It went well: six and two-thirds innings, one earned run and six strikeouts. Josh Donaldson’s fourth inning homer was the eventual game-winner, as the Jays played a rare low-scoring game.

Braves 4, Brewers 3: Manny Banuelos put up his second nice start to begin his major league career, allowing one run in five and a third. This after his debut in which he pitched five and two-thirds shutout innings against the Nats. A.J. Pierzynski homered and had three hits in all. Pierzynski is hitting .289 on the year and has an OPS of .778. I never would’ve guessed he’d be that solid, but he’s been a solid pickup for Atlanta.

Twins 8, Orioles 3: Miguel Sano hit his first career homer — a two-run shot — and walked with the bases loaded. He has hit safely in all six games since he was called up. This has been an absolutely nuts year for great young players being called up.

Angels 10, Rockies 2: Four homers from the Angels’ bats: Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Matt Joyce and Chris Iannetta. The Angels have won four straight, scoring 43 runs in those games. It’s almost as if playing the Rangers in Texas and the Rockies in Colorado is good for offense.

Mariners 7, Tigers 6: Robinson Cano with a walkoff single in the bottom of the 11th. Cano also hit a solo homer. The Tigers had their chances in the 10th and 11th innings, having the go-ahead run at third both times, but couldn’t deliver.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 2: Chad Billingsley faced his old mates in Dodger Stadium and notched his first win in over two years. A nice story after the dude had two elbow surgeries. Not a lot of guys could come back from that. The Phillies beat up Brett Anderson a bit, who didn’t look completely right after slipping on the mound early on, but he apparently didn’t hurt himself or anything. Maybe it was my imagination.

Giants 3, Mets 0: Hunter Pence comes back and just like that the Giants’ seven-game losing streak ended. Pence made a sweet sliding catch to turn a double play and drove in two runs on a single and a fielder’s choice. Matt Cain tossed six shutout innings.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
LG Patterson/MLB via Getty Images
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: