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And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores and highlights from Saturday’s games, including Jeremy Guthrie’s worst birthday ever.

Tigers 4, Red Sox 1: So much for the Twins’ undefeated streak. White Sox’ right-hander Miguel Gonzalez rattled off five scoreless frames on Saturday afternoon, striking out six of 27 batters and holding the Twins to two runs and two walks in over six total innings. Jason Castro bounced back in the sixth with a two-RBI home run to center field, but it wasn’t enough to even the score after Avisail Garcia and Geovany Soto went back-to-back in the bottom of the inning.

Cardinals 10, Reds 4: According to Elias Sports Bureau, Bronson Arroyo became the first 40-year-old to start a game for the Reds since 46-year-old Hod Lisenbee and 40-year-old Boom Beck appeared in the Reds’ rotation in 1945. It was a tumultuous and short-lived return to the mound for the veteran right-hander, who has been conspicuously absent from the majors for over three years. Whether it was nerves or rustiness, Arroyo sank the Reds into a six-run deficit by the fourth inning after handing the Cardinals six hits, three walks and two Aledmys Diaz home runs.

Orioles 5, Yankees 4: Baseball stats mean precious little in the first few months of a new season, but it’s worth pointing out that the Yankees currently have the third-most valuable bullpen in the American League, trailing only the Orioles and Angels. That did them little good on Saturday, however, when they lost another one-run game on a pair of RBI base hits in the seventh. Complicating matters was Gary Sanchez’s biceps strain, which he sustained after fouling off a pitch in the fifth. Perhaps it’s better to just remember Saturday’s game as the day Matt Holliday notched the 2,000th hit of his 14-year career:

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Rays 3, Blue Jays 2 (11 innings): For four solid innings, Chris Archer and Aaron Sanchez were flawless. Archer delivered six strikeouts and kept a perfect game going until the fifth, while Sanchez allowed just two hits and prevented runners from reaching past second base. It was fitting, then, to see a pitchers’ duel decided by a pitching flub in the eleventh inning, when, with the bases loaded and two outs, the Blue Jays’ Casey Lawrence worked a 3-2 count against Brad Miller and walked in the winning run.

Pirates 6, Braves 4: Things could be going better for the Braves. An early win against the Mets last week ensured that they wouldn’t repeat their nine-game losing streak to start the season, but they’ve taken three consecutive losses since. Saturday was no better: R.A. Dickey buckled under nine runs, six walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings, and despite an airtight performance from the bullpen, Atlanta couldn’t quite muster the two runs they needed to regain the lead in the eighth inning.

Phillies 17, Nationals 3: Jeremy Guthrie has undoubtedly seen better birthdays. The Nationals selected the right-hander’s contract on Friday while Joe Ross finished his optional assignment, allowing Guthrie a brief window to make an impression on the team. Unfortunately, the impression he made was a poor one. Guthrie served up six hits, four walks, and a staggering ten runs through 2/3 of the first inning before left-hander Enny Romero came in to replace him. There’s no coming back from a disadvantage that great, especially after the Nationals saw their ten-run deficit snowball to a 14-run gap by the end of the eighth inning.

Cubs 11, Brewers 6: The Cubs looked more like their old World Champion selves on Saturday, evening the series with an 11-run effort on the back of Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr., among others. Every starting player — including right-hander Kyle Hendricks — logged at least one hit, and they collectively tagged the Brewers’ Tommy Milone with nine hits and four runs through four innings.

Royals 7, Astros 3: The Cubs weren’t the only ones who recovered some of their championship-caliber stuff this weekend. The Royals found a spark against the Astros’ bullpen, driving five hits, six runs and two homers against Houston right-hander Luke Gregerson in a decisive eighth-inning rally that brought to mind another late-game comeback from Kansas City’s 2015 postseason run. This time, however, the only compensation the Royals received was a series win, which they’ll look to convert into a sweep on Sunday.

Marlins 8, Mets 1: It looks like another standout performance is in the cards for Marcell Ozuna this season. The 26-year-old outfielder was batting .412/.444/.412 through his first four games of 2017 before Saturday, when he drove in two runs and unleashed a 437-foot, double-deck home run off of Robert Gsellman, falling just 10 feet shy of his all-time home run record.

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Athletics 6, Rangers 1: With Sonny Gray still working his way back to the mound after sustaining a lat injury, Kendall Graveman has stepped to the forefront of the A’s rotation. It’s easy to see why. The right-hander was dominant on Saturday, taking a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings against the Rangers and serving up two walks, five strikeouts and an unfortunately-placed 94 mph sinker to Mike Napoli.

Diamondbacks 11, Indians 2: You’ve seen a player hit for the cycle before, but have you seen a team collectively hit for the cycle in the span of one inning? The Diamondbacks engineered such a cycle in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game, starting with a David Peralta home run and followed by a Paul Goldschmidt double, Yasmany Tomas triple, Brandon Drury double and Jeff Mathis single. The inning ended, fittingly, with a seven-pitch strikeout to Zach Grienke, but the damage was already done, and another six-run spread in the eighth inning cemented the Diamondbacks’ 11-run rout.

Rockies 4, Dodgers 2: Coors Field is bound to get the best of every pitcher at some point, and on Saturday, it got the best of Clayton Kershaw. Nolan Arenado crushed a home run in the bottom of the first inning, while Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra went back-to-back in the sixth. By the end of the night, the Rockies had worked eight hits, four runs and three homers off of the Dodgers’ ace, marking the first game since April 17, 2013 in which Kershaw had allowed more than two home runs to opposing batters.

Padres 2, Giants 1: Giants’ left fielders Jarrett Parker and Aaron Hill continued their scoreless streak at the plate on Saturday, making the club’s recent acquisition of Melvin Upton Jr. all that more appealing. Madison Bumgarner wasted a complete game effort in the loss, issuing two runs, two walks and five strikeouts over eight innings.

Angels 5, Mariners 4: Despite Felix Hernandez’s steady decline over the last two seasons, there’s no denying he’s still a dominant force on the mound. No one felt the brunt of that more than Mike Trout, who lost a 14-pitch battle with the King during his first at-bat on Saturday:

The Angels had the last laugh, however, returning in the second to kick off a five-run effort that propelled them to their second win of the series.

Indians send down Clevinger, Plesac after virus blunder

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CLEVELAND — After hearing Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac explain their actions, the Cleveland Indians sent the pitchers to their alternate training site on Friday after the two broke team rules and Major League Baseball coronavirus protocol last weekend in Chicago.

Clevinger and Plesac drove to Detroit separately with their baseball equipment on Thursday for an “open forum” meeting at the team’s hotel before the Indians opened a series with the Tigers.

Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti said following “the discussion” that he met with manager Terry Francona, general manager Mike Chernoff and decided it was best to option Plesac and Clevinger to the alternate training site instead of allowing them to rejoin the team.

“We had a chance to meet as small group and decided this would be the best path of action for us,” Antonetti said.

So before the opener, the Indians activated Clevinger and Plesac from the restricted list and optioned them to Lake County.

It’s a stunning slide for the right-handers and close friends, both considered important pieces for the Indians. There’s no indication when they may be back on Cleveland’s roster. They’ll have to be at Lake County for at least 10 days.

Last weekend, the pitchers broke the team’s code of conduct implemented during the pandemic by leaving the team hotel and having dinner and socializing with friends of Plesac’s and risking contracting the virus.

While the Indians got a car service to take Plesac back to Cleveland, Clevinger flew home with the team after not telling the Indians he had been out with his teammate.

Although both players have twice tested negative for COVID-19 this week, the Indians aren’t ready to have them back.

Earlier this week, pitcher Adam Plutko said he felt betrayed.

“They hurt us bad,” Plutko said after Cleveland’s lost 7-1 to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. “They lied to us. They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things that they didn’t follow through on.”

Antonetti was asked if there are still hard feeling in the clubhouse toward the pair.

“We’re all a family,” Antonetti said. “We spend a lot of time together. Sometimes there are challenges in families you have to work through. I’d use that analogy as it applies here. There are things that have happened over the course of the last week that have been less than ideal and people have some thoughts and feelings about that.”

Both Clevinger and Plesac issued apologies in the days after their missteps. However, on Thursday, the 25-year-old Plesac posted a six-minute video on Instagram in which he acknowledged breaking team curfew but then aimed blame at the media, saying he and Clevinger were being inaccurately portrayed as “bad people.”

Antonetti said he watched the video.

“I’m not sure Zach was able to convey what he intended to convey in the video after having a chance to speak with him afterwards,” he said. “I think if he had a do-over, he may have said things a bit differently.”

Francona also felt Plesac could have chosen a better way to handle the aftermath.

“I was disappointed,” he said.