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And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

White Sox 5, Blue Jays 2: The White Sox extended their winning streak to three games on Saturday, bolstered by six solid innings from Mike Pelfrey and three home runs from Todd Frazier, Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu. Frazier tacked on an insurance run in the eighth inning, capitalizing on a fielding error by Josh Donaldson to put the Sox up 4-2, while Yolmer Sanchez delivered a sac bunt for the fifth and final run of the game.

Indians 9, Twins 3 (Game 1): The Twins relinquished first place to the Indians, tying their division rivals at the top of the AL Central standings after their first loss of Saturday’s doubleheader. Jose Ramirez and Bradley Zimmer combined for eight of the Indians’ nine RBI, a performance that was highlighted by Ramirez’s first-inning home run off of Adam Wilk and Zimmer’s line drive double in the third.

Indians 6, Twins 2 (Game 2): After a short break between games, during which the Twins kept busy by signing first-round draft pick Royce Lewis, the Indians cemented their first-place status with another win. Mike Clevinger went 4 1/3 innings before the teams entered a one-hour rain delay, distributing two hits and a run and striking out four of 15 batters. At the plate, the Twins struck first on a Joe Mauer double in the third inning, but the Indians responded in full force, lashing four home runs to gain a four-run advantage.

Rockies 5, Giants 1: Sometimes, it’s not the quality of hits that matters, but the quantity. The Rockies racked up 13 singles and one double during their five-run rout of the Giants, forcing opposing starter Matt Cain to exit after just five frames, nine hits and two runs. Kyle Freeland, meanwhile, went a full six innings for his eighth win of the year, and survived a scary moment when he took a line drive off of his left forearm in the third inning:

Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 1: Jerad Eickhoff was having a pretty good night, all things considered. He outlasted the Diamondbacks’ Zack Godley, tossing six frames on five hits and one run, and appeared to be in line for his first win of the season. That all changed in the seventh inning, when the D-backs pounced on relievers Edubray Ramirez and Casey Fien for a four-run lead that proved insurmountable. With the loss, the Phillies are now just 1-10 in their last 11 games.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2: Ryon Healy may not be drawing the same kind of attention lavished on sluggers like Aaron Judge or Eric Thames, but he’s creeping up on their home run totals after completing his third multi-homer game of the month. He went 3-for-4 on Saturday, connecting twice for his 16th and 17th blasts of the season.

His first home run came courtesy of a 1-2 cutter from Masahiro Tanaka, knotting the score 2-2 in the second inning:

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His second, a 3-2 solo shot in the fourth, propelled the A’s past the Yankees with a one-run lead:

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Orioles 15, Cardinals 7: Adam Wainwright didn’t stand a chance against the Orioles. The Cardinals’ right-hander issued back-to-back runs to Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo in the first inning, which looked like child’s play compared to the seven-run spread that awaited him in the second inning. Baltimore lost little time establishing a lead, collecting five hits, two walks and seven runs off of Wainwright before he was forced off the mound. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the bullpen fared little better in Wainwright’s absence, handing over another four runs before the game’s 15-7 conclusion.

Dodgers 10, Reds 2: The Reds are 5-13 against NL West opponents this season, thanks in no small part to their current eight-game losing streak against the Dodgers and Rockies. Saturday’s game was the worst of the eight losses, led by a five-run third inning and a rare two-homer effort from Yasiel Puig. With the win, the Dodgers maintained their second-place status in the division, just on the heels of the 45-26 Rockies.

Braves 8, Marlins 7 (10 innings): The Freeze rebounded for another win on Saturday night, an omen of good luck as the Braves stormed back from a 7-5 deficit to clinch their 30th win of the season in extras. More exciting than Matt Adams‘ four-RBI night, Nick Markakisgame-tying double and Brandon Phillipswalk-off base hit in the 10th? This postgame interview with the Marlins’ Dee Gordon, who discussed a potential race against the Braves’ racing phenom… even one without the standard 200-foot head start.

Padres 7, Brewers 5 (11 innings): The Padres prevailed in extras for their 28th win of the season, capping an impressive start by rookie right-hander Dinelson Lamet. Lamet fired 12 strikeouts over six innings, allowing four hits and three runs — one of which was an inside-the-park home run by Brewers’ shortstop Orlando Arcia.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, Lamet pitched his way into the history books, becoming just the 22nd rookie hurler to set down 12+ strikeouts within his first five career games in the majors.

Rays 3, Tigers 2: A pitcher’s duel can have only one victor, as the Tigers’ Michael Fulmer discovered the hard way on Saturday. He went toe-to-toe against the Rays’ Chris Archer for four scoreless frames, but lost some of his edge in the fifth inning, surrendering an RBI base hit to Daniel Robertson and allowing another two runs in the seventh on Robertson’s second RBI single and a go-ahead base hit from Mallex Smith.

Nationals 7, Mets 4: After going 1-5 in their last two series, the Nationals are back on top with a three-game win streak against the Mets. Another three-home run effort solidified their lead on Saturday, powered by blasts from Trea Turner, Jose Lobaton and Adam Lind and a five-strikeout performance from Stephen Strasburg.

Rangers 10, Mariners 4: The Rangers may still be a distant second to the 46-23 Astros, but you wouldn’t know it by their dominant run this past week. They’re 7-1 against the Nationals, Astros and Mariners, putting up consecutive 10-4 wins in Seattle to stay one step ahead of the third-place Angels. On Saturday, they got things started with a five-run first inning, highlighted by Mike Napoli‘s two-out homer off of Yovani Gallardo:

The Mariners made a good-faith effort to catch up with an RBI double from Taylor Motter and Mike Zunino’s seventh home run of the year, but it wasn’t enough to overtake their rivals, who returned in the sixth with another five-run spread on three homers from Napoli, Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo.

Astros 7, Red Sox 1: The Astros coasted to a much-needed win on Saturday, banking on six solid innings from rookie right-hander David Paulino. Paulino fanned four of 21 batters, holding the Red Sox to just three hits and one run to clinch his first big league win. Helping matters was the seven runs of support he received from a blistering offensive drive, featuring the Astros’ three-run first inning, home runs from Jose Altuve and Carlos Beltran and a run-scoring double play by Norichika Aoki.

Altuve’s blast crowned the Astros’ impressive run, measuring an estimated 428 feet and ricocheting off the train in left field:

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Pirates 4, Cubs 3: The Cubs took a tough loss to their division rival on Saturday night, one that Jake Arrieta later pinned on the high humidity at PNC Park. The heat caused Chicago’s ace to sweat profusely, making the ball too slippery to find consistency within the strike zone. He exited in the fifth inning after loading the bases on a hit by pitch, and issued two wild pitches during his abbreviated start.

It wasn’t all bad news for Arrieta and the Cubs, however. The right-hander struck out the side in the second, registering seven strikeouts before making an early exit. At the plate, he logged his second home run of the year off of opposing starter Ivan Nova, skying it 380 feet into the left field bleachers to put the Cubs on the board in the fifth:

Angels 9, Royals 0: Don’t look now, but Cameron Maybin has a pretty nifty streak going. The Angels’ outfielder has reached base safely in 22 consecutive games, bringing his season batting line to a comfortable .267/.375/.408 through 224 PA. He kicked things off on Saturday with a first-pitch home run off of Jake Junis in the first inning:

Maybin wasn’t the only Angel to earn recognition for his prowess at the plate. Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 against the Royals and smashed a two-run homer in the fifth inning, earning his 1,865th career RBI — good for tenth-most among all past and present major league hitters.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
LG Patterson/MLB via Getty Images
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: