And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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White Sox 2, Tigers 0White Sox 3, Tigers 2:  Hats off to Jeff Samardzija for dominating with his one-hit shutout in game one of this doubleheader, but he had some help here. That help came from a Tigers team that has clearly given up, as they saw only 88 pitches from Samardzija on the afternoon. We call a complete game requiring fewer than 100 pitches a “Maddux.” Given how thorough a surrender the Tigers showed here we should call one that requires fewer than 90 pitches an Appomattox.

Blue Jays 4, Yankees 2: David Price was dominant in seven innings of shutout ball. Price got the hell beat out of him by the Yankees back on April 22, allowing eight runs in less than three innings of work back when he played for the Tigers. Since then he’s allowed five runs in 26 and a third innings against them in four starts. That’s a pretty good performance from a midseason pickup against the team you’re fighting for the division.

Red Sox 8, Rays 7Xander Bogaerts grand slam in the eighth inning lifted Boston past the Rays in this game and in the division. The Red Sox, by the way, just as close to a playoff slot as the San Francisco Giants are and only a half game farther away than are the Washington Nationals. While it also says something about parity in the American League overall, it also shows you how much better a second half team the Sox have been than you’ve probably noticed.

Mets 4, Braves 0: Jon Niese combined with Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia for a five-hit shutout. Shelby Miller lost his seventh straight start and is winless in 23 straight outings. This despite allowing only two runs over six. He is dead last among all major league pitchers in run support with 2.45 an outing.

Cubs 9, Brewers 5Anthony Rizzo had three hits, reached base in all five plate appearances and scored three runs and Jorge Soler hit a pinch-hit, 3-run homer as the Cubs’ magic number for clinching a playoff spot fell to four. They’ve won six of seven.

Astros 6, Angels 3: Last week I said — not quite believing if I was being sincere or not and I still don’t know — that it was gut check time for the Astros. They appear to have checked and have found, well, whatever one finds when one checks one’s gut in such situations. Evan Gattis and Carlos Correa each hit two-run homers and Dallas Keuchel allowed one run while pitching into the eighth. They’re now winners of three in a row, are back to a three-game lead in the wild card and remain within striking distance of the Rangers.

Cardinals 2, Reds 1Stephen Piscotty and Tommy Pham have been little baby sparkplugs of late. The fomer doubled in the go-ahead run just after Pham scored the tying run following his leadoff triple in a two-run eighth inning rally. The kids are alright.

Pirates 9, Rockies 3: Jordy Mercer had four hits and drove in two and Starling Marte fell [all together now] a triple short of a cycle. The Pirates’ playoff magic number is now two and they’re the second team to reach 90 wins on the year. That the Cardinals were the first is why Pittsburgh is looking to clinch a wild card and not a division.

Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 4Paul Goldschmidt Yasmany Tomas and Aaron Hill all homered. It was something of a moral victory for Arizona too, as the Dodgers cannot now clinch the division during this series, preventing them from installing a pool in Dodger Stadium, painting the words “Property of the Arizona Diamondbacks” on it and jumping in. I suppose they could’ve gone to whatever hotel the Dbacks are staying in in Los Angeles and jumping in THAT pool but that would probably the folks at the Marriott or whatever it is.

Orioles vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: Rain came pouring down when I was drowning
That’s when I could finally breathe
And by morning gone was any trace of you,
I think I am finally clean

Angels fire back at Rob Manfred’s comments re: Mike Trout

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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Angels outfielder Mike Trout‘s marketability has been a topic of conversation in recent days as the best players in baseball converged upon Washington, D.C. for the All-Star Game. We learned that, according to one firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, Trout is as recognizable to the average American as Brooklyn Nets reserve forward Kenneth Faried, despite being far and away the best player in baseball and one of the greatest players ever to play the game.

Commissioner Rob Manfred also addressed Trout’s marketability, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reported. Manfred said, “Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time. I think we could help him make his brand very bug. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.”

The Angels fired back on Wednesday, releasing a statement that said:

On behalf of the Angels Organization and baseball fans everywhere, congratulations to Mike Trout on another outstanding All-Star Game performance.

Mike Trout is an exceptional ambassador for the game. Combined with his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization, and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools, and countless other charities. One of Mike’s traits that people admire most is his humility. His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate.

In addition, Mike spends quality time as a husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion. That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.

It’s not on Trout to build a brand that appeals to MLB’s marketing department, so the Angels are right to back Trout’s decision to stay out of the limelight. The Angels’ motivation likely isn’t entirely selfless, however, as supporting him in this situation may make it more enticing for him to sign a contract extension before his current contract expires after the 2020 season.