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Kenta Maeda baffles Rockies, leads Dodgers to 4-1 win

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DENVER (AP) Kenta Maeda held Colorado hitless into the sixth inning, A.J. Ellis lined a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Rockies 4-1 on Saturday night.

Maeda (3-0) allowed three hits – all in the sixth – no runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings as the right-hander from Japan lowered his ERA to 0.36.

With a wind-up reminiscent of countryman Hideo Nomo, Maeda was cruising along until one out in the sixth when DJ LeMahieu singled for Colorado’s first hit. Nomo remains the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter at Coors Field – on Sept. 17, 1996.

Ellis hit his first homer of the season in the second to help the Dodgers end a five-game slide in Denver. Kenley Jansen threw a perfect ninth for his eighth save.

Tyler Chatwood (2-2) allowed three runs before exiting after the fourth with an elevated pitch count. He missed last season after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery.

Maeda was untouchable most of the night by keeping the Rockies off balance with a nasty breaking ball mixed in with a pinpoint fastball.

Early on, the Dodgers defense did their part to keep the no-hitter intact with left fielder Enrique Hernandez making a full-sprint, over-the-shoulder catch to rob Tony Wolters of an extra-base hit in the fifth.

An inning earlier, third baseman Howie Kendrick shifted over to shallow right field with Carlos Gonzalez at the plate. Gonzalez sent a hard liner that Kendrick easily caught.

So dominant most of the night, Maeda ran into trouble in the sixth after LeMahieu’s single. He gave up another to Trevor Story and then an infield single to Gonzalez to load the bases. But he retired Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra to get out of the inning.

The 28-year-old Maeda faced one batter – striking out Ryan Raburn – in the seventh before turning it over to the bullpen. The shutout was spoiled later in the inning on an RBI double from Brandon Barnes.

Maeda signed a $25 million, eight-year contract in January that could be worth $106.2 million if he stays healthy.

The 28-year-old received his first taste of Coors Field, which requires a pitcher to keep his pitches down and stay in command – all of which Maeda does, anyway.

“When he does that, he can pitch on the moon,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Yimi Garcia (biceps soreness) was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Righty Zach Lee was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. … LHP Scott Kazmir is dealing with a sore left thumb/wrist, but is still scheduled to start Wednesday against Miami. … INF Justin Turner wasn’t in the lineup after having his big toe stepped on by Rockies catcher Tony Wolters on Friday.

Rockies: C Nick Hundley (concussion) will play two rehab games in Las Vegas with Triple-A Albuquerque as he tests a new mask with more padding. He may be activated Monday, “if all goes well,” manager Walt Weiss said. … OF Charlie Blackmon (turf toe) could be sent out on a rehab assignment as soon as next week.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (1-2) tries to bounce back after allowing six runs – three earned – in four innings during an 8-1 loss to Atlanta last Tuesday.

Rockies: RHP Jordan Lyles (1-1) is 0-3 with a 6.85 ERA in his career against Los Angeles.

MLB suspends Tim Anderson for using the n-word

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This is weird.

As you no doubt recall, on Wednesday White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson hit a two-run home run off of Royals starter Brad Keller. Anderson celebrated by throwing his bat back towards his dugout. The next time Anderson stepped to the plate Keller threw a fastball at him. The benches emptied. Keller and Anderson were ejected, as was White Sox manager Rick Renteria.

Why Anderson was ejected was something of a mystery. He did not charge the mound. He did not throw a punch and he did not shove anyone or anything. At most you figure he said something intemperate and, sure, saying intemperate things can sometimes get you ejected. Only sometimes, of course, as many a blue streak-swearing manager has gotten a pass as long as he doesn’t say some magic words “Bull Durham” taught us about. But that’s usually the end of that.

MLB just announced via press release that Keller has been suspended for five games for throwing at Anderson. We’ve argued that that’s too light a sentence for pitchers in the past, but let’s leave that aside for now. What’s interesting is that Anderson has been suspended too. For one game.

Why? Major League Baseball’s press release merely says “for his conduct after the benches cleared.” Which isn’t very helpful as, again, there was nothing apparent in his conduct that seemed to warrant a suspension. Before the release came out, however, Jeff Passan reported that it was “language”:

I can’t recall a player ever being suspended merely for “language” before. Guys drop F-bombs and say aggressive things to one another fairly often when tempers flare, but that’s not the stuff of suspensions. What has been the stuff of suspensions — two games, specifically — are homophobic slurs, with players such as Kevin Pillar and Matt Joyce, among others paying the price for saying such things. There has been no report at all, however, that Anderson said such a thing. And, if he did, why would he only get one game?

There’s gotta be more to this. A player getting one game just for cussing makes no sense. If we hear any more about it, we’ll certainly provide an update.

UPDATE: And here it is:

Again, specifics definitely matter, and I presume we’ll get them soon, but I strongly suspect that this is a case where Anderson, who is black, used a word that is historically acceptable when used by and among black people and always unacceptable when used by non-black people. If that is the case, MLB has thrown itself into the insanely controversial and likely indefensible position of presuming that it can and should police a black person’s use of that term. I hope I’m wrong about this, but I feel like I’m not.

UPDATE: Nope, I’m not.

Bold move, MLB. But not a wise one I don’t think.

And it goes without saying that you all had best mind yourself in the comments on this one.