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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Braves 4, Nationals 2Charlie Culberson came off the bench and hit a walkoff solo home run against the Mets a week ago. Six days later he came off the bench and hit another walkoff home run, this time against the Nationals. Gonna start calling him Vinnie Johnson. Wait, you don’t know who Vinnie Johnson is? For shame. Educate yourself. Like, really. Anyway: the The Braves took three of four from Washington and extended their lead to 1.5 games over the Nationals in the East.  

Cardinals 5, Pirates 0: Michael Wacha took a no-hitter into the ninth, finishing with eight shutout innings and striking out eight, leaving after giving up that hit. Back in 2013, then-rookie Michael Wacha was one out away from a no-hitter against the Nats, so I guess he knows the feeling. A first inning grand slam from Marcel Ozuna held up.

Blue Jays 8, Tigers 4: Randal Grichuk and Justin Smoak both homered and both drove in three while Aaron Sanchez allowed one over six to help the Jays end a five-game losing streak. It also ends a four-game winning streak for the Tigers, with all of those wins coming since a Canada goose crashed into the scoreboard trying to escape the ballpark on Wednesday. The Tigers have kept a goose decoy in the dugout since then. Now that they have lost, perhaps they can accept the unquestionable truth of the matter: Canada geese are annoying pests who crap all over sidewalks and we desperately need coyote and bobcat populations to rebound in order to bring balance back to the upper Midwest’s ecosystem. If that means more coyotes and bobcats in your subdivision, welp, that’s the circle of life, my friends. Keep an eye on your toddlers.

Cubs 2, Mets 0: Jon Lester shut the Mets out for seven and the pen handled the final two. One Cubs run scored when Javier Baez stole home. It wasn’t a straight steal — he broke home when Steven Matz lollygagged a throw to first base to check another runner — but it was still a go-go play:

The Cubs swept the Mets in the four-game series and are winners of seven of eight. Chicago is now two back of Milwaukee in the Central because . . .

White Sox 6, Brewers 1: . . . the Brewers dropped two of three to the Chisox of all teams. Dylan Covey and five relievers teamed up to hold the Brew Crew to one run, and it wasn’t even earned. Adam Engel and Daniel Palka each drove in couple and hit back-to-back homers in the sixth. I’m sure you know who they are and that I don’t have to talk about them that much. At least I hope so. It’s too early in the morning for me to look them up myself. Frankly, I have no idea. Viva rebuilds. It was the first series loss for the Brewers in a month.

Diamondbacks 6, Marlins 1: Matt Koch shut the Marlins out for seven innings to help the Snakes sweep the Fish in the three-game set, outscoring them 21-4 in the series. David Peralta homered for the third straight game. The Diamondbacks, who had lost 15 of its 17, have won five of six. Those six games came against the Reds and Marlins, the two worst teams in the National League, but they all count, man. Go back and look at all the teams that won the World Series. They beat up on crappy teams too. Though, to be fair, they didn’t lose 15 of 17 all that often. So, no, I’m not sure what my point is, really.

Twins 7, Indians 5Eddie Rosario dominated this one, hitting three dingers, including  a walkoff two-run home run, for his third and fourth RBI of the day. Rosario is hitting .317/.352/.573 with 13 home runs, 40 RBI, and 36 runs scored on the year. This was his second career three-run game. No other Twins batter — including Killebrew, Puckett, Hrbek, Gaetti, Brunanski, Morneau or Mauer has ever done it. Not too shabby.

Athletics 5, Royals 1: A four-run eighth inning — with three of those runs coming on a Matt Olson three-run homer — broke a 1-1 tie and have Oakland the W. Olson, who has homered in each of his last four games, went 5-for-11 with three home runs, eight RBI and scored five times in the series. When that guy hits, he really friggin’ hits.

Dodgers 10, Rockies 7: The Rockies jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first and had a 6-1 lead after two, but blew it, falling behind by one when Trevor Story threw a ball away and let two runs score in the sixth. Colorado fought back to tie it back up at seven before a three-run Dodger ninth inning, capped by a Yasmani Grandal two-run homer, gave the Dodgers the win. L.A. swept the formerly first place Rockies at Coors Field to pull even with the Giants in third place, a game behind the second place Rockies and 2.5 behind the now-first place Diamondbacks. Given how everything in the world has gone wrong for the Dodgers this year, the fact that they’re this close has to feel pretty encouraging for them and pretty discouraging for the clubs who were all picked to finish far behind them this year.

Giants 6, Phillies 1: Dereck Rodriguez picked up his first big league win by allowing one run over six and striking out six against the Phillies. The only run he gave up was a homer to his counterpart, Jake Arrieta. It was all that went well for Arrieta on the day, however. He allowed five runs on eight hits, including an opposite-field three-run home run to Andrew McCutchen in the sixth giving the Giants’ a 5-1 lead. It sounded like he went to bed rather cranky last night, too, going off on the Phillies for shifting too much and calling for “accountability . . .top to bottom.” Well then.

Angels 3, Rangers 1: Tyler Skaggs was not efficient and was not sharp, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. He tossed six scoreless frames, Justin Upton homered and Luis Valbuena doubled in a couple of runs as the Angels won despite getting only four hits. Again: lucky > good.

Mariners 2, Rays 1: Blake Snell tossed six shutout innings and struck out 12 — at one point striking out seven in a row — but he didn’t get run support or, as it was, bullpen support. Felix Hernandez, meanwhile, allowed one run over eight and took the win thanks to a two-run eighth, thanks to a Denard Span RBI single and Dee Gordon knocked in one with an infield single. The Mariners sweep the three-game series.

Padres 6, Reds 3: Hunter Renfroe‘s pinch-hit grand slam in the bottom of the fifth broke things open and a couple insurance runs provided, uh, insurance for the Padres. San Diego has won five of seven. Like the Dbacks, they’ve done it against the Marlins and the Reds. It’s almost like there’s a pattern here or something.

Red Sox 9, Astros 3: Charlie Morton has been pretty tough all year, but the Red Sox weren’t impressed, knocking him around for six runs on nine hits in five and a third. Mitch Moreland and Andrew Benintendi’s homers off of him gave the Sox a 3-1 lead and then a two-run triple from Brock Holt and Blake Swihart‘s RBI single put the game out of reach. Holt would knock in another run later and Sam Travis would knock in a couple of gratuitous runs late as Boston splits the four-game set with Houston.

Yankees vs. Orioles — POSTPONED:

Maybe I don’t really wanna know
How your garden grows cos I just want to fly
Lately, did you ever feel the pain?
In the morning rain as it soaks you to the bone
Maybe I just want to fly I want to live I don’t want to die
Maybe I just want to breathe maybe I just don’t believe
Maybe you’re the same as me we see things they’ll never see you and I
were gonna live forever

Minor League Baseball accuses MLB of making misleading statements

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Yesterday several members of Congress, calling themselves the “Save Minor League Baseball Task Force,” introduced a resolution saying that Major League Baseball should drop its plan to eliminate the minor league clubs and, rather, maintain the current minor league structure. In response, Major League Baseball issued a statement accusing Minor League Baseball of refusing to negotiate and imploring Congress to prod Minor League Baseball back to the bargaining table.

Only one problem with that: According to Minor League Baseball, it has been at the table. And, in a new statement today, claims that MLB is making knowingly false statements about all of that:

“Minor League Baseball was encouraged by the dialogue in a recent meeting between representatives of Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball and a commitment by both sides to engage further on February 20. However, Major League Baseball’s claims that Minor League Baseball is not participating in these negotiations in a constructive and productive manner is false. Minor League Baseball has provided Major League Baseball with numerous substantive proposals that would improve the working conditions for Minor League Baseball players by working with MLB to ensure adequate facilities and reasonable travel. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball continues to misrepresent our positions with misleading information in public statements that are not conducive to good faith negotiations.”

I suppose Rob Manfred’s next statement is either going to double down or, alternatively, he’s going to say “wait, you were at the airport Marriott? We thought the meeting was at the downtown Marriott! Oh, so you were at the table. Our bad!”

Minor League Baseball is not merely offering dueling statements, however. A few minutes ago it released a letter it has sent to Rob Manfred, the entirely of which can be read here.

In the letter, the Minor League Baseball Negotiating Committee says it, “is singularly focused on working with MLB to reach an agreement that will best ensure that baseball remains the National Pastime in communities large and small throughout our
country,” and that to that end it seeks to “set forth with clarity in a letter to you the position of MiLB on the key issues that we must resolve in these negotiations.”

From there the letter goes through the various issues Major League Baseball has put on the table, including the status of the full season and short season leagues and implores MLB not to, as proposed, eliminate the Appalachian League. It blasts MLB’s concept of “The Dream League” — the bucket into which MLB proposed to throw all newly-unaffiliated clubs — as a “seriously flawed concept,” and strongly counters the talking point Major League Baseball has offered about how it allegedly “subsidizes” the minor leagues.

You should read the whole letter. And Rob Manfred should probably stop issuing statements that, it would appear, are easily countered.