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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Orioles 5, Red Sox 2: Manny Machado said hello to the Boston fans who probably aren’t big fans of his given the recent dustups between the O’s and Sox. He did so via a homer, a couple of runs batted in and some solid glovework at third base. The Boston fans, in turn, said hello to Adam Jones via racial slurs and throwing peanuts at him. I think Machado’s way of saying hello was far more polite and sporting.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 1: Three in a row for the Jays. Marco Estrada allowed one run over seven. Jose Bautista hit a homer. So did Ryan Goins, but that wasn’t nearly as cool as his two-run sac fly. Really:

That was a great catch by Ellsbury, but such is life. It was the first two-run sac fly in baseball since 2014.

Tigers 7, Indians 1: Tyler Collins hit a three-run homer in the second as the Tigers gang up on Trevor Bauer for seven runs on seven hits, drawing five walks. Detroit has taken three of four from the Indians so far this year. Last year the Indians beat the Tigers 14 out of the 18 times the teams faced one another.

Reds 4, Pirates 3: Pittsburgh only had three hits in the whole game. All three of them were solo homers. They also had two errors, and both were costly. Billy Hamilton doubled home the winning run in walkoff fashion in the bottom of the 10th. That winning run, was scored by Arismendy Alcantara, who was on second base thanks to an errant pickoff throw from Pirates reliever Daniel Hudson just before. One of the Reds other runs also scored thanks to a Pirates error. That was Hamilton, who was on base in the sixth inning thanks to a Phil Gosselin error, then scored on an Adam Duvall three-run homer.

Rays 4, Marlins 2: The Battle of Florida. As far as battles go that’s less Gettysburg than, say, Dranesville, but it’s all the same to the soldiers involved. Here Jake Odorizzi came back for his first start in a couple of weeks due to a bum hamstring. He was solid, allowing two runs, one earned, in five innings of work.

Mets 7, Braves 5: Best thing about baseball is that there’s a game almost every day, providing a chance to put what happened yesterday behind you pretty quickly. One day after getting shellacked 23-5 by the Nats, and a few hours after finding out that Noah Syndergaard would be lost for an extended period, the Mets beat the Braves and were able to go to sleep soundly. Michael Conforto homered and drove in three. Jose Reyes homered as well.

Phillies 10, Cubs 2: With four in the first and three in the second the Phillies had an insurmountable lead before some people even took their seats. Tommy Joseph hit a three-run homer and Aaron Altherr had three RBI of his own. Michael Saunders and Freddy Galvis also homered as the Phillies snap a three-game losing streak.

Astros 6, Rangers 2: Things got chippy before the game as Alex Bregman of the Astros tweeted out a misspelled taunt. Then they got chippy during the game as guys threw at each other causing the benches to clear. It started when Andrew Cashner hit two guys in the first two innings, which I’m going to take as an anniversary homage to Dock Ellis’ famous “do-the-do” game, which went down 43 years ago yesterday. Later, Lance McCullers threw a fastball behind Mike Napoli, which led to the benches clearing, though no one threw punches because no one ever throws punches in baseball anymore. As far as the baseball went, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel each hit RBI doubles in a five-run seventh inning which brought the Astros from behind.

Royals 6, White Sox 1: Kansas City snaps a nine-game losing streak. Eric Hosmer and Jorge Bonifacio each hit two-run homers and Jason Vargas allowed one run over six. Vargas, who is 4-1 with a 1.42 ERA in five starts, is one of the Royals’ few bright spots in the early going.

Brewers 7, Cardinals 5: Travis Shaw hit a three-run shot off Seung Hwan Oh to break a 4-4 tie with two outs in the top of the 10th. Dang thing went about 450 feet. Earlier in the game Jonathan Villar hit homer himself. Dang thing went about 450 feet. There were six homers hit in the game. Dang balls were flying out all over the dang place in dang St. Louis last night. Dang.

Giants 4, Dodgers 3: The Dodgers had Clayton Kershaw on the hill, at home, where he’s been unbeatable for a year, against a struggling, punchless Giants team. Baseball doesn’t care about streaks and patterns though. Baseball just happens. So, naturally, the Giants hit a couple of homers off of him, touching the best pitcher in baseball for four runs, three earned, in six innings. Hunter Pence had a two-run bomb and Buster Posey hit a solo shot. The unearned run against Kershaw came when Kershaw himself threw away Gorkys Hernandez‘s bunt which allowed Hernandez to reach second. He would then score on Christian Arroyo’s single. I hate how pitcher’s own errors lead to unearned runs. It’s like my kid leaving plates of crusty old food congealing on them in their bedrooms and then claiming they’re not responsible for the ants, but whaddaya gonna do? About the unearned runs, I mean. I know what to do about the plates. I stand in their doorway with my hands on my hips and angrily say “THIS is how we get ants!” Then they do nothing about it. Oh well, only 5-6 years and then they’re some college’s problem.

Neal Huntington thinks players should be allowed to re-enter games after concussion testing

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Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has suffered many concussions throughout his 12-year career, was hit on the back of the helmet on a Joc Pederson backswing Saturday against the Dodgers. Through Cervelli remained in the game initially, he took himself out of the game shortly thereafter and went on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday.

Perhaps inspired by Saturday’s event, Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested that players should be allowed to re-enter games once they have passed concussion tests, the Associated Press reports. Huntington said, “Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game. Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Huntington added, “The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him. He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”

Huntington, who has been forward-thinking on a number of other issues, has it wrong here. The concussion protocols were created because players frequently hid or under-reported their injuries in order to remain in the game. Especially for younger or otherwise less-proven players, there is pressure to have to constantly perform in order to keep one’s job. Furthermore, there is an overarching sentiment across sports that taking time off due to injury makes one weak. Similarly, playing while injured is seen as tough and masculine. Creating protocols that take the decision-making out of players’ hands keeps them from making decisions that aren’t in their own best interests. Removing them would bring back that pressure for players to hide or minimize their ailments. If anything, MLB’s concussion protocols should become more stringent, not more relaxed.

The powers that be with Major League Baseball have no doubt followed the concussion scandal surrounding the National Football League. In January, the NFL settled for over $1 billion with retired players dealing with traumatic brain injuries, including dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For years, the league refused to acknowledge the link between playing football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia and has many negative effects, such as increasing the risk of suicide. Since baseball isn’t often a contact sport, MLB doesn’t have to worry about brain injuries to this degree, but it still needs to take preventative measures in order to avoid billion-dollar lawsuits as well as avoiding P.R. damage. In December 2012, former major league outfielder Ryan Freel committed suicide. Freel, who claimed to have suffered as many as 10 concussions, suffered from CTE. MLB players can suffer brain injuries just like football players.

Huntington seems to be worried about not having enough rostered catchers in the event one or two catchers get injured. That is really an issue of roster management. Carrying only two catchers on the roster is a calculated risk, often justified. Huntington can ensure his team never has to be put in the position of not having a catcher in an emergency by rostering a third catcher. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next year, by the way.