And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 5, Astros 3: The first round of the biggest four-game series in Texas baseball history goes to the Rangers. It was tied 3-3 before Prince Fielder came up in the bottom of the eighth and smacked a two-run homer off Astros reliever Will Harris for what proved to be the winning runs. Earlier Mitch Moreland hit a homer and Cole Hamels scattered seven hits over seven innings, working his way out of trouble as needed. Only a half game separates these two now.

Orioles 2, Red Sox 0: A race at the opposite end of the spectrum, this one to avoid the cellar in the AL East. Boston “led” that race by a game over Baltimore heading into this one and managed to keep that “lead” thanks to Kevin Gausman and four relievers combining to stifle the Sox.

Nationals 8, Phillies 7: Yesterday Jonathan Papelbon said that he was “one of the few that wanted to actually win” when he played for Philly. Freddy Galvis was either one of those too or else he found the light after Paps left town, because he hit a homer off of him in the 10th inning, causing his former teammate to blow his first save of the season. Papelbon managed to get the win, however, by being the pitcher of record when Yunel Escobar knocked in a run in the 11th for the winning margin. Before that, the Nats hit four homers, including two by Jayson Werth, who drove in five runs.

Indians 8, Royals 3: Very quietly, the Indians have gotten into at least nominal contention, winning their 13th of 18 and pulling to .500. They’re four and a half back of Texas for the second wild card too. Still kind of hard to say they’re a strong contender given that the Angels and Twins stand in between them and Texas and jumping a couple of teams is hard in the last couple of weeks of the season, but still.

Mets 4, Marlins 3Yoenis Cespedes homered once again and David Wright had the go-ahead double in the seventh. It was Cespedes’ ninth homer in the past 13 games.

Yankees 4, Rays 1: Alex Rodriguez hit a tying, two-out RBI double in the ninth — he’s always been clutch, right? — and Slade Heathcott hit a three-run homer to complete the Yankees’ four-run rally. All of this despite the fact that Erasmo Ramirez had a no-hitter going until Carlos Beltran led off the eighth with a single. Ramirez ended up with a one-hit, no-run no-decision and one of those “games which he started, the team lost” factoids for his trouble. George Burns was right: baseball is a hideous bitch-goddess.

White Sox 8, Athletics 7: Chicago blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning — where have you gone Bobby Thigpen? Where have you gone David Robertson, for that matter — but then Melky Cabrera drove in Geovany Soto with two outs in the 14th. I say “but then” as if it just happened right after that, but I imagine there isn’t much longer than the innings between the ninth and the fourteenth when you’ve blown a lead.

Twins 7, Tigers 1: Six runs in the first two innings off of Kyle Lobstein made it an easy night for the Twins. Tyler Duffey struck out seven while allowing one run on seven hits and pitching into the seventh inning. They remain a game back of the Rangers for the second wild card. Although after tonight they could be chasing the Astros instead, I suppose.

Padres 10, Diamondbacks 3: Rain poured through the Chase Field roof into the stands behind home plate at one point here. I feel like this happened a couple of months ago too. I realize that in Phoenix a roof is more designed to keep air conditioning in than rain out, but really guys. The Padres rained on the Diamondbacks’ parade too (note: that there is a professional writer’s segue; do NOT attempt that at home) as Wil Myers hit a leadoff homer in San Diego’s five-run first inning and added a three-run double later in the game. Just a downpour of offense for the Padres. A deluge. Quite a precipitous offensive night. Wait, that’s not what “precipitous” means. Dammit, forget that part. I’ll work on some more later.

Mariners 10, Angels 1: An offensive deluge in Seattle too, though they’re more used to it. Taijuan Walker allowed one run over seven and was backed by a six-run seventh inning. Seth Smith drove in three with a homer and a double.

Dodgers 4, Rockies 1: Clayton Kershaw allowed one run over seven, winning his ninth straight decision and reducing his ERA to 2.12. Justin Turner hit a tie-breaking double in the fifth and Scott Schebler hit a two-run homer in the eighth for insurance.

Giants 5, Reds 3: The fourth straight win for the Giants, doing well in their race for the Pride Division championships at least. Brandon Belt tripled and drove in two. Matt Duffy doubled twice and drove in two.

Baseball Question of the Day: Have you ever permanently changed your rooting interests?

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Oscar Wilde once wrote, on the subject of loyalty, “My dear boy, the people who only love once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination.”

He was talking about young love, but I think the concept applies to broader conceptions of loyalty. A concept that, while noble and respectable, is often mistakenly considered irrevocable. There’s this notion out there that loyalty must be blind and never-ending. Which, frankly, is bullcrap.

Loyalty is earned — or at least it should be — and loyalty that is taken for granted or even abused is misguided in the extreme. When the facts and circumstances which gave rise to that loyalty change, it’s entirely reasonable to question the very basis for that loyalty.

I won’t get into matters of love, but I will apply it to sports.

As I’ve written in the past, due to geography and circumstance, I was a Detroit Tigers fan when I was a child. In 1985 I moved away to West Virginia where I could not see or hear Tigers games anymore and, in 1985, the technology simply did not exist to let me follow them remotely in anything resembling a satisfying way. The Braves were on TV every day, however, I began watching them because I loved baseball. Seeing them every day, over time, made them my team. While I always have been and always will be fond of the Detroit Tigers of my youth, staying “loyal” to them going forward in the way sports fans usually think of that term when it comes to rooting interests would’ve been unreasonable, right? If you disagree, how was I supposed to maintain that loyalty in the pre-Internet and pre-Extra Innings Package era?

There might be other reasons for one’s rooting interest to change. The team may betray your trust as a fan. It may show itself to be unethical as an organization. It may cynically choose to alienate fans via sharp business practices or it may cease to truly care about putting the best team it can on the field in either the short term or the long term. That — along with the simple fact that, while you may have pledged your loyalty to the team, the team has never pledged its loyalty to you — could certainly justify you changing your rooting interests.

All that said, I don’t know too many people who have, actually, changed their rooting interests. Most I know were like me, who did it when they were 11 years-old or something. The latter example — a principled and reasoned change in rooting interests — is pretty rare. Indeed, it’s more likely that such a person may just decide to give up following sports all together rather than switch from Team A to Team B.

But I’m sure it happens, and I want to know: have you ever switched — permanently — your primary rooting interest? If so, tell me your story.