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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Good to be back after a few days off. I got married. The food and drink was cool. And the family looked great. What’s new with you?

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rockies 6, Reds 4: The Rockies hit four homers off of Bronson Arroyo. One of them came from starting pitcher Kyle Freeland. Colorado takes two of three from the Reds and maintains the best record in the National League.

Angels 12, Mets 5: Mike Trout homered , doubled and drove in three and C.J. Cron hit a grand slam. Andrelton Simmons and Jefry Marte also homered as Anaheim built an early 9-0 lead and never looked back.

Yankees 3, Rays 2: Like the Mets, the Yankees avoid a sweep, this thanks to Brett Gardner hitting a homer and CC Sabathia allowing one earned run — two total — over five. Also helping? This catch from Aaron Judge:

 

If Judge was only 6’6″ instead of 6’7″ that’s extra bases and a run scored.

Blue Jays 3, Orioles 1: Devon Travis hit a three-run homer in the first inning and that’s all the Blue Jays needed. Well, the seven and two-thirds of one-run ball avec 12 strikeouts from Marco Estrada came in pretty dang handy too.

Nationals 3, Braves 2: Daniel Murphy homered, Bryce Harper singled in a run and a run scored when Ryan Zimmerman hit into a double play. Stephen Strasburg pitched into the eighth, striking out 11. The Nats snapped their four-game losing streak.

Pirates 1, Phillies 0: Aaron Nola pitched seven innings of one run ball but still got the loss thanks to Chad Kuhl‘s five innings of shutout ball and the Pittsburgh bullpen’s four innings of the same. The only run in the game came when Nola hit David Freese with a pitch with the bases loaded. The only reason the bases were loaded was because Nola issued an intentional walk to set up a double play.

Indians 8, Astros 6: Cleveland sweeps the best team in baseball thanks in part to Yan Gomes‘ five RBI. The Astros have lost three series this year. Two of them have come against Cleveland, who are 5-1 against Houston.

Royals 6, Twins 4; Twins 8, Royals 4: In the first game, Brandon Moss hit two of Kansas City’s four home runs. Salvador Perez and Jorge Bonifacio hit the others, each of them two-run jobs. Mike Minor came in in relief and got the win. It was his first victory since 2014. In the second, Robbie Grossman, Max Kepler and Chris Gimenez homered to help Adalberto Mejia get his first ever win and salvage the double header split. Mejia was then sent right back down to Triple-A because life is nothing but a seven to ten decades of absurdity and pain.

Cardinals 8, Giants 3Matt Carpenter homered and Adam Wainwright allowed one run and five hits in six and a third. Wainwright even (all together now) helped his own cause with an RBI double. The Cards ended a four-game losing streak.

Cubs 13, Brewers 6: Kris Bryant hit two jacks and Jake Arrieta surrendered only one run — unearned — in six innings. The Cubbies’ offense rattled off 13, with Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist also homering and Willson Contreras going 3-for-3 with three RBI . It wouldn’t have even been this close if it wasn’t for Cubs mopup man Dylan Floro allowing five runs over the final two frames.

Red Sox 12, Athletics 3: Boston avoids a four game sweep. Mitch Moreland homered for the third game in a row and Eduardo Rodriguez was solid for eight innings, retiring 14 of the final 15 batters he faced.

White Sox 8, Mariners 1: Derek Holland had a five run cushion before he threw his first pitch but he didn’t rest on that, going out and tossing eight one-run innings instead of pitching to the score.

Dodgers 6, Marlins 3: Brandon McCarthy allowed one run over six innings, putting things back on track after two less-than-great starts. Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-4 and drove in three. He was able to do that, in part, because Yasmani Grandal went 3-for-4 in front of him.

Padres 5, Diamondbacks 1: The Padres snap a five-game losing streak. Clayton Richard was the big man here, tossing a complete game. His only mistake was a third inning homer allowed to Chris Iannetta. Richard even drove in a run himself with an RBI single.

Rangers 5, Tigers 2: Yu Darvish wasn’t efficient — he tossed 105 pitches in five innings, walking four — but he got the win. Mike Napoli hit a long fifth inning homer to break a 2-2 tie and make that possible. Later Pete Kozma and Jonathan Lucroy went deep for insurance.

The Giants are winning but they’re still gonna sell

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The state of baseball in general, the state of the National League in particular and the state of the San Francisco Giants as a competitor are conspiring to create what seems like at least a mildly absurd situation.

The Giants, a veteran-laden team that, as recently as this past offseason but definitely within the past couple of years, were at least talking about being on a win-now footing, just swept a four-game series, have won five straight games and have won 12 of 14 to pull themselves to within two and a half games of a playoff spot.

Yet, that’s all for temporary show, because they’re about to sell off. At least according to Jeff Passan at ESPN. Giants president Farhan Zaidi tried to push back on that in a radio interview yesterday, denying that the club has foreclosed the possibility of a postseason push, but I’m not really buying that and I don’t think most people are.

On one level it makes sense to ignore the recent surge and forge on with a rebuild. Sure, the Giants are winning but they’re not exactly good. They’re two and a half out of the Wild Card, but there are many teams ahead of them. There’s a lot of reason to think that they’re playing in good fortune right now and that that, rather than finding some extra gear of sustainable better play, is what’s to credit. Hot streaks can happen at any time but the trade deadline only comes once a year. When you have the best starter available in Madison Bumgarner and the best reliever available in Will Smith, you gotta make those deals. That’s what I’d probably do if I ran the Giants and I think that that’s, wisely, what Zaidi will do.

Still, it’s an odd look, less for the Giants specifically than for baseball as a whole. We may in an era of cheap front offices who don’t like to contend if it means spending money, but it’s unfair to paint the Giants with that brush. They’ve spent money and acquired talent and have done whatever they can to extend their 2010-2014 mini-dynasty a few more years and in doing so they’ve made a lot of fans happy. That team has pretty much reached the end and, even in an earlier, more competitive era, they’d not be properly criticized for starting in on a rebuild. Heck, they’d be excused if they had done it a year or two earlier, frankly.

But, because so many teams have punted on improving themselves, these aging Giants are at least superficially competitive. As such, when they do sell off in the coming days, it’ll look to some like they’re waving a white flag or something when they’re not really doing that. I mean, the Rockies and the Pirates, among other teams, should be much better than they are but didn’t seem all that interested in improving, thereby helping the Giants look better, right? It’s less a knock on the Giants for rebuilding when they’re within striking distance of the playoffs than it is on the rest of the league for allowing a team like the Giants to be within striking distance of a playoff spot.

But that’s where we are right now. An insanely competitive Wild Card race from teams that, on the whole, are rather unconcerned with being competitive. What a time to be a baseball fan.