And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Astros 5, Athletics 1Colby Rasmus homered twice and George Springer hit a two-run homer of his own as Houston takes two of three to stabilize themselves after that hellacious road trip. One and a half back of Texas who lost and two and a half up on their wild card challengers.

Yankees 11_, Mets 2: CC Sabathia was shaky as heck early on but the Mets couldn’t deliver. That allowed the Yankees to hang around and then put up a five-spot in the sixth after Matt Harvey, who had been dominating but is on a work load limit, left, the Mets forgot how to play defense and Carlos Beltran and Dustin Ackley made them pay with big hits. Greg Bird added a three-run homer in a five-run eighth later on which allowed anyone who wasn’t already watching the Emmy Awards to switch to ’em and allowed the rest of us to continue reading Richard Stark’s “The Outfit” which all of you should do it, for no other reason, than to learn how the numbers racket technically works. It’s sort of like the lottery, by the way, except the lottery has fewer transfers of money in sci-fi magazines and the numbers give you a better chance to win.

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 3: Three errors for the Jays, two by pitchers, one by a catcher as Toronto drops two of three to the Sox. Now they have the Yankees in town for three, with a chance to put ’em away for the year or find themselves right back in a tight race. Beauty of baseball: it just keeps going and going.

Royals 10, Tigers 3: Not sure what’s more amazing: that Kendrys Morales had three homers and a triple and 15 total bases or that he did all of that and only drove in three runs. He scored five times, though. Runs > RBI, folks. You know in your heart it’s true.

Indians 6, White Sox 3: Lonnie Chisenhall hit a homer and drove in three as the Indians keep pace with the Twins and Astros. Unfortunately they’ve been so up and down lately that they’re still four back with 14 to play the Angels are ahead of them too. Math and the calendar are not their friends at the moment.

Rays 7, Orioles 6: Baltimore had a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth but Zach Britton blew it by giving up a homer to Brandon Guyer and then allowed a triple to Evan Longoria, walked a couple of dudes and then allowed a walkoff infield single to Kevin Kiermaier, plating Longoria. One bright spot for the O’s is that they’ve reached the part of the season where they can use their iPads to book October vacations with their wives and girlfriends without having to hide the screen.

Braves 2, Phillies 1: With this sweep the Braves most likely ensured that they wouldn’t finish with the worst record in baseball this year but, rather, Philly will. I suppose it’s possible for Philly to make up those four games, but it’s not super likely. A.J. Pierzynski played the hero here, hitting the walkoff single. So strange seeing a long-time heel being a hero like A.J. has been this year, but it’s not like the Braves have had many other options. Other unexpected face-turns? Randy Savage? Roddy Piper? Frankly, face turns are boring anyway. It’d be way better if Freddie Freeman attacked someone with a chair and turned heel instead.

Nationals 13, Marlins 3: Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 and allowed only one earned run in seven innings. Four driven in by Oo-ee-oo infielder Yunel Escobar and oh-oh-oh three more runs by Tyler Moore. I don’t care what they say about us anyway. I don’t care bout that.

Brewers 8, Reds 4: I wonder what the breakdown of fans in each city caring more about the Packers and Bengals over the Brewers and Reds are at this point of the year? 95-5%? OK, maybe not that bad as there are right-thinking people who only like baseball and think football is awful. But whatever the number is, I bet the shift to football is more stark among fans of these two teams than fans of any other two teams who matched up yesterday.

Twins 8, Angels 1: Minnesota arrests a five-game losing skid and remains two and a half back of the Astros. Rookie Tyler Duffey allowed three hits in seven shutout innings while Eddie Rosario, Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter homered.

Cardinals 4, Cubs 3Carlos Martinez allowed two runs on four hits while pitching into the seventh and Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty each homered. Bad news, though: Yadier Molina leaving with a thumb injury. Contrary to what Cardinals fans often say, Molina is not the single most valuable or indispensable player in baseball, but his loss for any length of time would hurt the Cardinals. Mostly because, yes, he is still an excellent player. Partially, however, because I have come to believe that he is the actual keeper of the Cardinals Devil Magic.

Mariners 9, Rangers 2: Felix Hernandez won his 18th and Robinson Cano drove in four. Five of those 18 wins have come against the Rangers, which I believe makes Hernandez a minority owner in the club, which entitles him to part-time use of a suite and stuff. Not his best outing — he walked five guys and left with a stiff elbow — but that just gives him more time to use that suite.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 1: Six scoreless for Tim Hudson and a three-run homer for Buster Posey. That ends a six-game home losing streak by the Giants to the Diamondbacks. I suppose I’d be happier if I lived in Phoenix and got to take trips to San Francisco too.

Pirates 4, Dodgers 3: The Pirates’ win gives them a two-game lead over Chicago for the top seed in a would-be wild card game between them. Gerrit Cole won his 17th, allowing three runs on six hits in seven innings and striking out nine.

Padres 10, Rockies 4: A homer and two doubles for Matt Kemp who has been on fire in the second half and a win for James Shields, who pitched a two-hitter into the seventh inning. Yangervis Solarte, Jedd Gyorko and Cory Spangenberg also homered. Justin Upton had three hits and drove in three. No idea where all that went the rest of the season.

 

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.