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And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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I think we still have a couple of home openers to go, but we’re almost to regular run-of-the-mill, day-in, day-out baseball. Yesterday, however, there was still some pomp and still some circumstance.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cardinals 10, Brewers 1: Jeremy Hazelbaker went 4 for 4 with a triple, double and sacrifice fly and is now 10-for-19 with five RBI on the young season. He’s a 28-year-old rookie who played seven seasons in the minors before 2016. The Cardinals just manufacture guys like this, though. It’s like their minor league coordinator is Morgoth and players like Hazelbaker are forged in Mordor, in mockery and envy of other teams, of whom they are afterwards the bitterest foes.

Orioles 9, Red Sox 7: Six straight wins to start the season for the O’s. That puts me in mind of the gold standard for hot starts of my youth, which was he 1987 Milwaukee Brewers, who began 13-0. Of course they also had a 12-game losing streak a month later. Man that team was crazy streaky. Won 91 games, though, which while not good enough to make the playoffs back in the pre-wild card days would be a nice total for this year’s Orioles. Here Chris Davis hit a three-run shot off of Craig Kimbrel to break a 6-6 tie in the ninth. The O’s bats also got to David Price, scoring five in five innings. If you can’t count on Price and Kimbrel, man, what can you count on in this crazy world?

Pirates 7, Tigers 4: Justin Verlander had a great second half last year and was sharp all spring and there was this “JV is BACK” sentiment floating around. This start, however — 4.1 IP, 10 H, 7 ER — looked like old-new JV, not new-new JV and especially not old-old JV. Or maybe it’s just the case that the Pirates are really, really good and everyone has a bad day sometimes.

Padres 4, Phillies 3: An infield fly rule and a squeeze play figured in prominently here, in case you’re needing to go bother your non-baseball fan coworkers with a bunch of “beauty and nuance of the game” baloney at the water cooler this morning. Normally it’s just U.S. soccer fans which pull that stuff with their otherwise uninterested coworkers, but I feel that baseball is fertile ground for you to become That Guy too. Here are the details of the infield fly rule play, but the upshot is that it took the Phillies out of a potential rally. The squeeze came from Alexi Amarista in the seventh innings, scoring Derek Norris with the go-ahead run. I hope Andy Green got himself a beer after this one, because that’s a W to the manager.

White Sox 4, Twins 1: The Twins are now 0-7 and are probably sending this article to everyone they know (NSFW language warning). Bright side, though: they’re still only one third of the way to the 1988 Orioles. And that club had already fired its manager by now.

Marlins 10, Mets 3: A seven-run second inning capped by a Giancarlo Stanton homer pretty much ended this one not long before it got started and handed Steven Matz his first regular-season loss. Every Marlins starting position player had a hit and scored a run. The Mets are 2-4 and that same link from the White Sox-Twins recap applies to them, but you still know the tabloids are gonna start poking pretty soon.

Nationals 6, Braves 4: Being a Braves fan makes life easier to live sometimes. They scored four runs in the first two innings off of Max Scherzer and, if you rooted for another team, you might feel hopeful at that point. If you’re a Braves fan, though, you know that things will even out, your team will still manage to lose and thus you avoid all of that unhealthy up-and-down that’s hard on the heart and stomach. Also: before the game is over you can catch up on the stuff on your DVR and even enjoy it some. Like “Gotham,” which I am about 95% hate-watching at this point but which, because two hours of Braves baseball preceded it, actually was OK. Like, I want Paul Reubens’ character and his weird family to get their own spinoff, set about 10 years previously. Which would make that show a prequel of a prequel of sorts. Otherwise “Gotham,” like the 2016 Braves, is mostly hot garbage.

Cubs 5, Reds 3: Brandon Finnegan had a no-hitter going until there were two outs in the seventh inning. That’s when David Ross broke things up and the Cubs went on to score two runs charged to him. It wasn’t exactly a dominant performance anyway as he walked five. The pen went on to allow three more thanks to an Addison Russell three-run homer the following inning. Reds reliever Tony Cingrani played a role in both rallies, so he’s probably feeling really awesome today. Reds fans should have a good summer of catching up on stuff on their DVRs too.

Astros 8, Royals 2: Collin McHugh got shelled in his first start of the year but he pitched seven scoreless innings here against the defending champs. He allowed eight hits, though, which by law requires us to say that they were “scattered.” Carlos Correa had three hits and two RBI, Jose Altuve had three hits and Colby Rasmus hit a two-run bomb. The top of that Houston lineup is pretty sweet: 10 hits in all for the top four of the Astros’ order.

Angels 4, Athletics 1: Mike Trout hit his first home run of the season — this one off of Sonny Gray — and Nick Tropeano pitched five scoreless innings. So I guess that means Mike Trout is good again.

Rangers 7, Mariners 3: Colby Lewis allowed one run on four hits over six innings. The Mariners scored 19 runs in their two wins last week, both against Texas. They’ve scored nine runs in their five losses. That’s not good. Also: it’s more data in my grand theory that — hear me out now — teams don’t score as much when they lose. Or they lose when they don’t score much. I have to gather more data before I can make any definitive conclusions.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”