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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 11, Rangers 6: I’m guessing it’s just subjective on my part, but I feel like the ugliest baseball of the year is played in the week before the All-Star break. The All-Stars have a lot of stuff on their mind and the non-All-Stars are practically tasting the margaritas they’ll have on their long weekend getaways with their sweeties. David Ortiz hit his 20th homer and drove in three. Bryce Brentz drove in three runs. Boston took two of three from Texas.

Tigers 12, Indians 2: So much for that losing streak to the Indians. This one went sideways for Cleveland in the five-run fifth, capped by Nick Castellanos‘ three-run jack. Michael Fulmer continued his nice campaign, winning his ninth game, after allowing one earned run over six innings.

Phillies 4, Braves 3: Atlanta took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth, courtesy of Adonis Garcia‘s second RBI double of the game. The Braves didn’t have much time to get cocky, though, because Freddy Galvis hit a two-run blast in the bottom half of the inning to put the Phillies ahead for good. It’s the sort of loss that, were the Braves worth a tinker’s damn, would kind of hurt. Now it’s just a new and interesting way to lose.

Twins 4, Athletics 0: Ervin Santana tossed a two-hit complete game shutout, needing exactly 100 pitches to do it. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a soul. If you’re into game scores, Santana’s 91 was the seventh highest of the year by any pitcher.

Mets 4, Marlins 2: Giancarlo Stanton homered twice for the second game in a row, but they were both solo shots and that’s all the Marlins would get. Jacob deGrom gave up zero runs on six hits to the non-Giancarlo portions of Miami’s lineup. Contrary to my post yesterday, Don Kelly was not the Hero of the Game. One wonders whether he was even the best option named Don that the Marlins could’ve theoretically played at first base yesterday.

Reds 5, Cubs 3: The Reds declared yesterday opposite day, as they decided to see what it was like to win a game when the other team’s bullpen couldn’t get the job done. Tucker Barnhart hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off Trevor Cahill as the Cubs dropped their sixth game of their last seven and fell below the Giants for the best record in baseball. Zack Cozart homered for the third straight game.

Orioles 6, Dodgers 4: A five hour 26 minute game that was largely sloppy, featured 36 strikeouts and 14 walks and which dumped over 30,000 people out onto the L.A. freeways during rush hour sounds like a lot of fun. Sad I couldn’t make that one. Jonathan Schoop doubled in two runs with two outs in the 14th inning to win it. Chase Utley had six hits in a losing cause.

Nationals 7, Brewers 4: The Nats leaped out to a 4-0 lead after two but Milwaukee came back and tied it in the top of the third. With the game reset, Washington scored a run in the bottom of the third and the rest of the day ended up being academic. A three-run homer from Bryce Harper and a two-run shot from Ryan Zimmermann bookended the festivities.

Blue Jays 4, Royals 2: Michael Saunders hit a solo shot and singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth. Russell Martin then doubled in Saunders for some insurance. The Jays sweep the Royals for their fifth straight win. They’re only 2.5 back of the Orioles. Things got sexy for Toronto in the second half last year. Are we seeing the beginnings of 2015 redux?

Angels 7, Rays 2: Mike Trout had the day off Tuesday and the Angels romped. He was back in the lineup yesterday — homered even — and the Angels romped. The AP gamer sets forth this factoid about Trout:

With his 100th hit, Trout became the first player to collect 100 hits and 15 home runs before the All-Star break four times before his age-25 season. Miguel Cabrera and Jimmy Foxx are the only other players to have accomplished the feat three times.

So I guess Trout is good. In some ways, though, I’m more impressed by his consistency. Here are his OPS+ numbers from each of his full seasons and for 2016: 168, 179, 168, 176, 172. He’s like a robot, stuck on the “Mickey Mantle” setting.

White Sox 5, Yankees 0: Miguel Gonzalez tossed seven shutout innings and the Sox won via a single, a couple of doubles and a fielder’s choice. The Sox take two of three from the Yankees and remain on a hot streak in which they’ve won 11 of 16. Weird season for Chicago.

Astros 9, Mariners 8: The Astros sweep the M’s. Carlos Gomez singled, doubled and tripled, driving in three. Luis Valbuena hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth. Remember how those two were being cast as the scapegoats for the Astros’ slow start a month or two ago? Baseball is like the weather everyplace besides, like, San Diego: wait a few minutes. It’ll change.

Pirates 7, Cardinals 5Jung Ho Kang hit a double that scored the tying and the go-ahead runs in the seventh. Jeff Locke was knocked out early but Pirates relievers combined for five scoreless innings as Pittsburgh won its third straight series from the Cards at Busch Stadium.

Padres 13, Diamondbacks 6Ryan Schimpf, who, um, of course I had heard of before because I’m totally a baseball expert, homered twice. Schimpf homered the night before too. Good old Schimpfy! He’s always doin’ stuff like that! He really makes me smile. [Craig frantically Googles “Ryan Schimpf”]

Giants 5, Rockies 1: Johnny Cueto allowed one run in a complete game to win his 13th of the year and to put the Giants on top of all of baseball with a record of 54-33. Nice pickup that Cueto was, eh?

Mike Piazza presided over the destruction of a 100-year-old soccer team

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Mike Piazza was elected to the Hall of Fame in January of 2016 and inducted in July of 2016. In between those dates he purchased an Italian soccer team, A.C. Reggiana 1919, a member of Italy’s third division. In June of that year he was greeted as a savior in Reggio Emilia, the small Italian town in which the team played. He was the big American sports star who was going to restore the venerable club to its past and rightful place of glory.

There were suggestions by last March that things weren’t going well, but know we know that in less than two years it all fell apart. Piazza and his wife Alicia presided over a hot mess of a business, losing millions of dollars and, this past June, they abruptly liquidated the club. It is now defunct — one year short of its centennial — and a semipro team is playing in its place, trying to acquire the naming rights from Piazza as it wends its way though bankruptcy.

Today at The Athletic, Robert Andrew Powell has a fascinating — no, make that outrageously entertaining — story of how that all went down from the perspective of the Piazzas. Mostly Alicia Piazza who ran the team in its second year when Mike realized he was in over his head. She is . . . something. Her quotes alone are worth the price of admission. For example:

Alicia, who refers to Mike’s ownership dream as “his midlife crisis,” offered up a counter argument.

“Who the f**k ever heard of Reggio Emilia?” she asked. “It’s not Venice. It’s not Rome. My girlfriend said, and you can quote this—and this really depressed me. She said, ‘Honey, you bought into Pittsburgh.’ Like, it wasn’t the New York Yankees. It wasn’t the Mets. It wasn’t the Dodgers. You bought Pittsburgh!”

In their Miami living room, Mike tried to interject but she stopped him.

“And imagine what that feels like, after spending 10 million euros. You bought Pittsburgh!”

At this point it may be worth remembering that Piazza is from Pennsylvania. Eastern Pennsylvania to be sure, but still.

Shockingly, it didn’t end all that well for the Piazzas in Reggio Emilia:

One week later, the Piazzas returned to Reggio Emilia, and were spotted at the team offices. More than a hundred ultras marched into the office parking lot, chanting and demanding answers. Carabinieri—national police aligned with the military—showed up for the Piazzas’ safety. The police advised the Americans to avoid the front door of the complex and exit through the back. Mike assured them it wouldn’t be necessary—he had always enjoyed a good relationship with the fans.

The carabinieri informed him that the relationship had changed. The Piazzas slipped out the back door, under police escort.

The must-read of the week. Maybe the month. Hell, maybe the year. The only thing I can imagine topping it is if someone can tell this story from the perspective of the people in Reggio Emilia. I’m guessing their take is a bit different than the Piazzas.