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And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 5, Giants 3: The streak is over. Clayton Kershaw allowed two runs — one earned — and pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth to get the win and stop the bleeding. Kenley Jansen got a four-out save but it was shaky, with him giving up three straight singles with one out in the ninth to face a bases-loaded jam of his own, though he struck his way out of it. Chase Utley homered and Yasiel Puig doubled in two to give the Dodgers their winning margin. The win ensured the Dodgers of at least a playoff spot in the National League.

Indians 2, Tigers 0: Wrote this up here, but it was pretty simple: Corey Kluber was dominant, tossing a complete game shutout and Francisco Lindor continued his hot hitting with a solo homer. The win ties the AL record winning streak of 20, held by the 2002 Athletics. This afternoon the Tribe seeks to break that and tie the all-time record winning streak held by the 1935 Cubs.

Royals 4, White Sox 3: Brandon Moss hit a grand slam in the first inning and the Royals held on for the rest of the game. It was the third straight game with a homer for Moss. He has nine RBI in those three games.

Braves 8, Nationals 0: The Nationals ran out a fairly legit lineup for a team that popped champagne corks the day before, but they got creamed anyway. Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer and Ozzie Albies hit a solo shot. Julio Teheran scattered seven hits over seven shutout innings. The only bright spot for the Nationals — aside from knowing that they have already won the division — was Gio Gonzalez clinching his 2018 option by notching his 180th inning pitched.

Phillies 9, Marlins 8: This was a wild one. The Phillies at first thought they had a walkoff win in the ninth — they made a mess on the field, throwing buckets of chewing gum, Gatorade and sunflower seeds and stuff all over Hyun-Soo Kim, who got the hit —  but a replay review showed that Cesar Hernandez was out at home, negating that run and forcing them to play on. In extras, Rhys Hoskins hit his second homer of the game to tie it back up after the Marlins had taken a lead in the top of the 10th. Then, in the bottom of the 15th Nick Williams walked if off — legitimately this time — with an RBI double. Williams had three hits and reached base five times in the game. The Marlins blew an five run lead they held as late as the sixth inning. Whew.

Blue Jays 3, Orioles 2: Baltimore took a 2-1 lead into the ninth but the Jays rallied off of O’s closer Zach Britton with a walk and a few singles, capped by Richard Urena’s walkoff single. That was the sixth straight loss for Baltimore, and while they all hurt, that one had to hurt more.

Red Sox 11, Athletics 1: Mookie Betts put on a show, smacking two homers on a 3-for-5, six-RBI night. That was more than enough for Eduardo Rodriguez and three Boston relievers. If Betts starts hitting like he did in 2016 and keeps it up in October, the Red Sox will be a completely different team than they’ve been of late.

Rays 2, Yankees 1: Sonny Gray allowed only two runs on five hits in eight innings but Blake Snell and his friends in the pen allowed only one run all game. The Rays runs came on solo shots from Kevin Kiermaier and Adeiny Hechavarria. The Rays and Yankees drew over 21,000 fans, which isn’t bat for a neutral site game with only a couple of days notice.

Brewers 5, Pirates 2Eric Thames hit his 29th home run, Domingo Santana went 3-for-4 with two RBI and the Brewers kept pace with the Cubs and Cards, each of which also won. Not bad considering starter Brent Suter lasted only three innings. The pen did the job, though, with  Jeremy JeffressOliver DrakeJared HughesAnthony Swarzak and Josh Hader each tossing a scoreless inning and Corey Knebel tossing one of his own to notch the save.

Mariners 10, Rangers 3: Kyle Seager and Ben Gamel both hit three-run homers. Marco Gonzales struck out six while allowing three runs over five innings. The Rangers dropped three games behind Minnesota for the American League’s second Wild Card. The Mariners remained three and a half back.

Cubs 8, Mets 3: Kris Bryant hit a three-run homer in the Cubs’ four-run fourth and Jose Quintana allowed two runs over seven, striking out seven. Quintana knocked in a run himself with a safety squeeze.

Twins 16, Padres 0: This one got out of hand early with the Twins taking a 9-0 lead after three innings and never looking back. Minnesota was homer happy too, hitting a dinger in each of the first seven innings. Jason Castro homered twice. Brian DozierJorge PolancoEddie RosarioEduardo Escobar and Kennys Vargas also went deep.

Cardinals 13, Reds 4: The Cardinals have won four straight and six of their last seven as they keep pace with the Cubs, two back in the Central. Paul DeJong homered. It was his 22nd on the year, setting a new mark for Cardinals shortstops. Yadier Molina drove in three. St. Louis farting around all year and then, in the last month, putting together a run that could put them in the playoffs is about the most Cardinals thing ever.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 2: Carlos Gonzalez hit two homers and drove in all four of the Rockies’ runs and Jon Gray was solid, striking out ten and not waking a batter in seven innings. Colorado wins its sixth straight. They’re three back of the Dbacks for the top Wild Card and home field advantage for their presumed one game playoff.

Astros 1, Angels 0: This is why the Astros got Justin Verlander. Their newest addition allowed only one hit and struck out nine over eight shutout innings and that made it possible for a Yuli Gurriel RBI single in the second inning to hold up.

Something needs to change to avoid future incidents like Machado-vs.-Welke

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced that Padres third baseman Manny Machado was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for “aggressively arguing” and making contact with home plate umpire Bill Welke after a controversial strike three call in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game against the Rockies in Colorado. The clip of the incident is below, showing that Welke’s call was poor. Machado’s behavior was also poor, as he indeed made contact — inadvertently or not — with Welke and repeatedly swore at him. Machado also threw his bat, though it was not in anyone’s direction and no one was put in harm’s way.

Machado chose to appeal his suspension, as is his right. While that matter is in the process of being resolved, the Major League Umpires Association put out a lengthy statement on Facebook and a shorter but hashtag-laden post on Twitter. The statements were problematic for a number of reasons, chiefest being that the union is publicly commenting on an ongoing matter. MLB can keep Machado’s suspension at one game, which seems likely, or it can reduce his suspension to zero games. The league can also choose to reduce or remove the fine as well. Once the matter is resolved, the MLBUA should feel free to comment publicly on the matter.

MLBUA’s statement was also poorly proofread, hyperbolic, and creates a very legitimate argument for bias against Machado and/or the Padres going forward. The MLBUA described Machado as “violently” throwing his bat “with no regard to anyone’s safety.” It continued, “It is NOT okay to throw a temper tantrum and physically touch someone of authority, just because you don’t agree.”

MLBUA then moralized, asking, “What does this teach the MLB’s immense and ongoing influential youth movement trying to attract young fans to the game? Major League Baseball has to always lead by example in all cases of violent behavior, on and off the field.” It closed out, saying that the union was “extraordinarily disappointed” in MLB’s “inaction.”

Among the hashtags MLBUA used on Twitter were “#TemperTantrum,” “#RepeatOffender,” and “#Nonsense.”

Major League Baseball then released a statement on Tuesday night, saying, “…we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association.” The league added, “We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”

Whoever put out the message on behalf of the MLBUA should have asked themselves, “What is my purpose here and for whom am I posting this?” The entire purpose of a trade union is to create a cohesive unit, establishing bargaining power on behalf of labor versus capital. So, MLBUA is not writing this for fans, for players, or for MLB executives; it is publicly commenting for umpires. An ancillary benefit might be to engender public support for umpires vis-a-vis Welke.

It must then ask itself if the statement creates solidarity among umpires. And I think that’s a solid no. Machado is not the first player and will not be the last to make contact with an umpire and to throw a “temper tantrum” of that magnitude. So why single Machado out and die on this hill today? I would be shocked if more than a handful of umpires outside of Welke and his closest confidantes appreciated the MLBUA reacting the way it did. It doesn’t help them achieve any union-specific goals and might actually hurt them. Repeatedly referring to Machado’s actions as a “temper tantrum” and “nonsense,” and calling him a “repeat offender” is unprofessional. It’s something an Internet commenter would write in the heat of the moment, not the representative of a trade union in one of the most profitable industries in the country. Furthermore, in singling out Machado, Machado himself as well as his teammates have a legitimate reason to believe Welke and his crew might be biased against them not just for the remainder of the season but for the foreseeable future.

On a more pedantic note, the MLBUA wrote that it is not okay for players to act the way Machado did against “someone of authority.” It’s not the power that should shield umpires from workplace violence; it’s their humanity. Machado should no more or less scream and yell at an umpire than he should anyone else in any walk of life. However you rank umpires, coaches, front office executives, teammates, opponents, fans, etc. — they should all be treated equally.

All of this being said, there was one part of MLBUA’s statement that rang true. As mentioned, Welke did suffer violence in the workplace. I disagree with MLB that the comparison was inappropriate. There is nuance to what constitutes “workplace violence.” Is it a mass shooting? Of course not. But in no other employment setting would it be appropriate for one person to scream, curse, and throw items across the room during a disagreement. The union correctly wrote, “Physical contact simply cannot be tolerated.” The crux of all of this is that Major League Baseball doesn’t discourage altercations between umpires and players/coaches. Things have gotten better since the implementation of instant replay, but some instances — especially ball/strike judgment — can turn into very heated altercations.

MLB needs a flat rule instructing players and coaches not to argue with umpires. The team of the offending person(s) would incur an in-game penalty as well as a potential fine and suspension. In exchange for this loss of power on the part of players and coaches, the umpires should be subject to actual oversight. As it stands, umpires are almost never punished in any way for any kind of behavior towards players and coaches, nor are they often punished for poor results in terms of correct calls made. The umpires already have the advantage with their authority; their lack of oversight puts that advantage on steroids, which is why there’s often so much frustration. Umpires instigate confrontations a non-negligible amount of the time. If they felt like they would actually be held accountable for it, they might be much more reluctant to act, for example, the way Ron Kulpa did towards the Astros in early April.

MLBUA helped gain that power imbalance for its members, so it isn’t likely to give it up very easily. I don’t see my utopian dream coming to fruition anytime soon. But that’s the crux of every umpire-involved confrontation: authority. Umpires and players/coaches need to be on a level playing field in that regard, and the rules need to be crystal clear on what kind of behavior is allowed from both sides. Until that happens, we’ll be seeing a Machado-vs.-Welke incident once or twice every year ad infinitum.