And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 6, Phillies 0: The Phillies were shut out for the second straight night, this time by Zack Greinke over eight one-hit innings. He only threw 94 pitches and probably could’ve gone the distance, but Don Mattingly likely pitied the Phillies and allowed them to take a shot at a reliever. They couldn’t do anything against Joel Peralta either, so I guess it didn’t matter. Greinke didn’t walk anyone. And he reduced his ERA to a crazy 1.39.

Yankees 6, Athletics 2: Masahiro Tanaka allowed only one earned run, two total, in seven and two-thirds innings, Jacoby Ellsbury drove in two and newly-named All-Star Brett Gardner went 3-for-5. You should really read the game story, though, which focuses on Cole Figueroa’s debut for the Yankees. The key takeaway: after his Wednesday night game for Scranton, on the road in Syracuse, he was called up and took a car service from Syracuse down to a hotel in Manhattan, getting there at 3AM. That may sound fancy, but I have had the privilege of using a car service before and I can tell you that there is nothing more awkward in the world than either (a) talking to the car service guy; or (b) NOT talking to the car service guy. It’s like that awkward small-talk-with-the-hair-stylist thing, but way longer — it’s almost four hours between Syracuse and Manhattan — with an added sheen of class stuff on top because, really, who gets driven around like that? So props to Figueroa for his 2015 debut, his sleep deprivation AND surviving a four hour ride with a total stranger.

White Sox 2, Blue Jays 0: Jeff Samardzija with a four-hit shutout. If the White Sox are considering trading him it was a nice showcase, especially given that Toronto has the best offense in the game. The Sox have won seven of nine.

Royals 8, Rays 3: Yordano Ventura came back from the DL and pitched five innings. Not fantastic innings, but healthy ones, and that’s more important right now. The Royals scored three runs in the first inning, all coming on the first five pitches. The sweep the Rays. They’re gonna miss Alex Gordon, but they’re gonna be fine.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 1: Carlos Martinez shuts out the Pirates over seven and a third innings, striking out eight. The Cards had a 4.5 game lead over Pittsburgh coming into this series and extend it to 5.5. There’s a lot of baseball to be played, but if the Cards can bury the Pirates in this series, on the road, heading into the break, it would go a long way toward ending the NL Central race before it even becomes a race.

Indians 3, Astros 1: Cody Anderson pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning in his fourth big league start. He has a 0.89 ERA since being called up from Columbus. People always seem to do better after leaving Columbus.

Marlins 2, Reds 0: Jose Fernandez wasn’t fantastic in his first start back from Tommy John surgery. He was amazing in his second, however, striking out nine batters over seven scoreless innings. He didn’t walk anyone and threw 72 out of 94 pitches for strikes. And he sure loves Miami: he’s undefeated through the first 22 home starts of his career.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: There sure were a lot of good pitching performances last night. Another: David Price’s, who allowed two unearned runs in eight innings. Ian Kinsler was 2-for-4 and drove in three. The Tigers are 8-2 against the Twins this year. They’re also amazingly dominant against the Indians. Against everyone else they rather suck. Ain’t no one loves the unbalanced schedule more than Detroit.

Rockies 5, Braves 3: Troy Tulowitzki extended his hitting streak to 21 games and Carlos Gonzalez hit three doubles. Nolan Arenado had three hits too. How a team can have a core like those three and do nothing is beyond me. It was a soggy night, with a two-hour rain delay just after the dang game started, which ended up burning both starters, seemingly needlessly. I guess they don’t have the Weather Channel in Denver.

Mariners 7, Angels 2: Felix Hernandez threw seven shutout innings and won his 11th game of the year. That ties him with Dallas Keuchel for most wins in the American League while Gerrit Cole has 12. He’s on perfect rest to start the All-Star Game on Tuesday. If I’m Ned Yost, that’s the call I make.

Roger Clemens says he’s not running for Congress

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Apparently some people in Texas wanted Roger Clemens to run for Congress? At least enough people to where Clemens felt it necessary to tell Pete Olson, the congressman whose seat is going vacant due to his retirement, that, no, he had no interest in running for it.

From ESPN:

“The climate in politics at this time is much more than I would want to undertake, along with my family considerations,” Clemens said in a message to Olson that was obtained by ABC News.

“I am a Republican and I support our President and will continue to do so,” Clemens said. “No matter who our President may be, I will continue my support of them and root for them to be successful, just as I did when President Obama was in office.”

That’s a pretty diplomatic answer from Clemens. But even if he did not have family concerns and even if the “climate” disinterested him, I’m struggling to imagine Clemens as a viable political candidate in the first place.

For as good a pitcher as he was — and for as generally popular as he may be in Texas — the guy has some serious baggage, right? And I mean that beyond just the broad arc of the PEDs controversy that surrounded him for so long. The specifics of that controversy spun off his indictment for perjury before Congress, for example. He was acquitted — and I think it was a proper acquittal — but that was not exactly his finest hour.

It also led to a nasty battle of defamation lawsuits with a drug dealer that, remarkably, caused Clemens to come off way worse than the drug dealer, and that’s quite a trick. That whole process also revealed that he had an extraordinarily problematic extra-marital relationship with a now-dead country music singer. In all, it was a profound, 100% self-inflicted, reputation-trashing, public relations disaster that, even years later, he has taken no responsibility for. It was the sort of episode that, in addition to the ammo it might give any political opponent he may have, calls into serious questions Clemens’ judgment and sense of strategy, both of which are things that, to put it lightly, can be useful in politics.

Clemens, of course, is not going to cite any of those things as a reason for not wanting to run for office, nor does he have to. His simple “no” is all he needs to say and he can go back doing whatever it is he does for the Houston Astros.

But I am struggling mightily to understand why those people who are apparently encouraging him to run for office are doing so despite all of that being out there on the record. Is fame all that matters in politics now? Is a win bought by fame the be-all and end-all, even it means electing a candidate who is profoundly compromised both ethically and morally?

Haha, just kidding. You don’t need to answer that. I think we already know the answer.