And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cubs 9, Brewers 2: Kyle Schwarber hit two homers and drove in four. In 31 games since his callup he’s hitting .330/.420/.621 with eight homers. It just boggles the mind how many amazing rookies baseball has this year. The Cubs have won seven in a row and stand four and a half games ahead of the next-closest team in the wild card race. Which, in addition to being good for them, is kind of good for us as we may very well get to see two win-or-go-home division title races in the NL East and West given that no wild card may be available to them. Some real old school Thunderdome stuff, baby! Two teams enter, one team leaves! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls . . . dyin’ time’s here! Bust a deal, face the wheel! Bartertown! Somebody stop me, please!

Reds 10, Dodgers 3: Billy Hamilton had a huge game, going 4-for-4 with a homer, stole a base and scored four times. He and his teammates took former Red Mat Latos to the woodshed, scoring five runs — four earned — in four and two-thirds. The Dodgers are certainly looking like a two-starting-pitcher club. Sadly, it’s gonna be hard to come up with a “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” kind of slogan for them. I mean, what in the hell rhymes with “Greinke?”

Rangers 6, Twins 5: Mitch Moreland smacked a two-run homer and drove in four. After the game manager Jeff Banister said “We’ve just got to play with the grit every day from here on out that we showed today.” Rare use of “grit” in a game when a dude knocked in four and hit a homer.

Angels 7, Royals 6: The Royals had a 5-1 lead heading into the eighth before the Angels rallied big. And here I thought six runs in the eighth and ninth inning against Royals relievers violates the laws of bullpen thermodynamics. Wade Davis was a bit rusty after not pitching for a week but, still, he’s wade Davis. And the Halos rallied off of Greg Holland too: he allowed four runs and four hits and a pair of walks without retiring a batter. It was a weird game all around, of course: Albert Pujols even played third base.

Mets 12, Rockies 3: The sweep. Curtis Granderson and Kelly Johnson each homered and drove in three and Noah Syndergaard allowed three over seven innings. That’s 11 wins in the last 13 for the Mets who now sport a four and a half game lead over the Nats.

Blue Jays 4, Athletics 2: And the Blue Jays never lost again. Mark Buehrle allowed two runs in seven innings and Ryan Goins hit a three-run homer.

Yankees 8, Indians 6: The Yankees finally break their losing streak and get out of their offensive funk. Brian McCann and Stephen Drew each homered and Brett Gardner drove in three. Their big series in Toronto starts tonight.

Pirates 10, Cardinals 5: Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run homer in a seven-run first inning which helped the Buccos knock Lance Lynn out of the game after only two-thirds of an inning and snap an eight-game losing streak at Busch Stadium.

Giants 3, Nationals 1: Yunel Escobar hit the first pitch of the game for a homer and then the Nats did nothing else the rest of the night. The Nats have lost three in a row and seven of eight. Two teams that need to get moving due to that wild card getting farther and farther away. Remember where you are, guys. This is Thunderdome, and death is listening, and will take the first man that screams.

Nationals to pay minor leaguers $300 — not $400 — per week through June

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The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reports that the Nationals will pay their minor leaguers $300 per week through the end of June. MLB agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through today, May 31. Many teams have extended that by at least a month. Some, like the Marlins, Padres, and Mariners, have committed to paying their minor leaguers beyond that.

Ghiroli also notes that the Nationals cut more than 30 minor leaguers, as there will almost certainly not be a minor league season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is interesting that the Nationals are only offering $300 per week as opposed to the standard $400 weekly. If we assume that the Nationals’ organization has 275 minor leaguers, they will save $110,000 in August by offering $100 less. The Nationals are coming off of winning a championship. While the Nationals haven’t experienced as much of a boon as other champions due to the unfortunate timing, their owner still has a net worth north of $4 billion. The Nats’ franchise value is approximately $2 billion, per Forbes. No, it’s not all liquid, but $110,000 is change that gets lost between the couch cushions for this and many other franchises.

Players are taking note of which teams take care of their players and other personnel, and which are not. The teams that continued to pay minor leaguers, kept staff paid and on board, and helped in other ways will have a better time going forward of attracting and retaining talent both in terms of players and front office personnel (including scouts). While teams should pay their players out of a sense of morality, there is a competitive advantage to doing so as well.