And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Blue Jays 5, Rays 4: Josh Donaldson and big homers have been the Blue Jays’ calling card this year and both came calling in the Jay’s home finale. Donaldson hit a walkoff — his 41st homer of the year — to win the game. Justin Smoak had three hits, including a two-run homer himself. The next time the Jays play at home will be for the opener of the ALDS. You figure the joint will be as crazy then as it was after Donadlson connected yesterday.

Astros 4, Rangers 2: Dallas Keuchel was huge here, making his penultimate statement in support of his Cy Young Award, allowing one run on two hits in seven innings and striking out ten. The Astros close to two and a half of the Rangers for the division but, perhaps more importantly, they maintain their razor-thin lead in the wild card over the Angels. They’re tied in the loss column, though, so this last week is gonna be a blast.

Phillies 12, Nationals 5: In case you missed all of the ugliness here. Trading for Papelbon is gonna be remembered as successfully by Nats fans as hiring the Joker to kill the Batman was remembered by the mob bosses in “The Dark Knight.” [Michael Caine accent] The Mets hammered the Nationals to the point of desperation. And in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn’t fully understand. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Mets 8, Reds 1: The lineup the day after a team clinches is often called the “hangover lineup,” as in everyone is generally hungover from the previous day’s celebration and the manager thus rests most of his starters and it’s accepted that the team ain’t really gonna try too hard. Terry Collins did his part, starting mostly randos, but they still scored eight runs. One guy who wasn’t a rando was Jacob deGrom, who allowed one run over six innings and struck out nine.

Red Sox 2, Orioles 0: The Red Sox complete a three-game shutout sweep of the Orioles in which they outscored Baltimore 17-0. Did the Orioles just give up or did the Red Sox finally, in the season’s last ten days, finally figure out how to pitch? I’m gonna go with “yes.”

Brewers 8, Cardinals 4: Jason Rogers hit a grand slam in the ninth, which helps put lie to the notion that homers kill rallies, as Milwaukee scored three more times that inning. All three of those runs came on a homer too, Khris Davis, putting even more lie to the idea. Of course, if you actually believed that idea beforehand you’re basically a moron, but it’s worth pointing these things out on occasion.

Royals 3, Indians 0: The Royals win their 90th behind Chris Young, who was pitching with a heavy heart yet still managed to toss five no-hit innings. He had to leave to catch a flight to be with his family following the death of his father and the bullpen picked up the no-hit bid in the sixth. Francisco Lindor broke it up with a bunt single in the seventh. It’s something you’d probably hear more grumbling about if it was a single pitcher’s no-no instead of a potential combined no hitter. Or if the score wasn’t only 2-0, making the bunt single more valuable in that situation.

Yankees 6, White Sox 1Luis Severino tossed six innings of five-hit ball and Dustin Ackley of all people hit a homer. Ackley has had a nice September, actually, which I doubt a ton of people really expected. The Yankees’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot is three.

Twins 7, Tigers 1: Byron Buxton hit an RBI double and hit his first big league homer in this rout. The Twins kept pace with Houston and the Angels and remain one and a half back.

Marlins 9, Braves 5: Martin Prado and Justin Bour each drove in three and the Marlins sweep the Braves. Bour homered twice. Bour abused the Braves in this series, going 7-for-12 with four homers and eight RBI. He has 23 homers on the year and is slugging close to .500. And I bet 90% of baseball fans couldn’t pick him out of a lineup.

Angels 3, Mariners 2: Kole Calhoun‘s RBI single in the eighth put the Angels over, gave them their fifth straight win and helped them keep pace with Houston. And the Rangers, frankly, as they’re only three back of Texas and end the season with a four-game series against ’em. The Angels have won 8 of 10 overall.

Giants 5, Athletics 4: The win at least technically keeps the Giants alive in the West, though they’re six back with seven left to play. They now face the Dodgers in a four-game series starting to night. It’s at home, where Los Angeles is 0-6 this season, so I guess that’s as good as they can expect things to be under the circumstances.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 2Ender Inciarte hit two homers and had four hits in all. David Peralta homered as well. All three homers came off of James Shields. In his defense, this was not a particularly Big Game.

Rockies 12, Dodgers 5: On the one hand, the Dodgers got swept by a last place team. On the other hand, it now gives them a chance to clinch at AT&T Park in San Francisco, and that would annoy the hell out of Giants fans. They don’t have a pool in which they can celebrate, but if they’re not too worried about hypothermia and sharks and crap they can jump into McCovey Cove. Nolan Arenado, who deserves a hell of a lot better than playing for the Rockies, homered and drove in a career-high five runs

Cubs 4, Pirates 0: Jake Arrieta tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit go win his 21st game. It’s gonna be Arrieta vs. Gerrit Cole in the Wild Card game and that’s gonna be amazing.

The Royals are paying everyone. Why can’t all of the other teams?

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Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.

The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.

Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.

While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.

Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?