Associated Press

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Giants 6, Marlins 3Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer, Mac Williamson went deep and Pablo Sandoval hit a tie-breaking two-run single in the top of the 16th to help the Giants salvage a win in a series that was otherwise a nightmare. The nightmare fuel: they had lost the last three and, by the time of Sandoval’s heroics, they had also lost Evan Longoria to a broken hand. In other news, if I was on the Giants and I had to play a 16-inning game in Miami before a getaway day flight all the way the hell to Los Angeles for a game against the Dodgers with no day off in between, I would be pretty cranky. Maybe that’s what motivated Sandoval.

Phillies 9, Rockies 3: When Vince Velasquez is off he can get rung up like a cash register. When he’s on he looks great. He was on yesterday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning. He almost had to as the game was fairly close until then with nine of the game’s 12 runs scoring from that point on.  Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams hit solo homers with the former driving in three. The Rockies, once in first place in the West, have lost 10 of 13 and have fallen to fourth.

Tigers 3, Twins 1: Michael Fulmer was excellent, allowing one run on five hits over seven. He was poised for a no-decision, however, until JaCoby Jones hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh after Fulmer had already thrown his last pitch. Despite the Tigers tearing it all down last year and over the winter, and despite them losing Miguel Cabrera for the season, they’ve been pretty respectable this year. They’re 23-17 at home and aren’t laying down like so many teams in their position might do. Credit is likely owed to Ron Gardenhire. It probably helps to have a manager who has seen it all and knows that a season of sub-.500 baseball is not the end of the damn world.

Indians 5, White Sox 2: Francisco Lindor hit a leadoff homer and scored when Jose Ramirez hit a two-run shot in the seventh. In between, Mike Clevinger allowed two runs — one earned — on five hits while striking out 11 over seven. The Indians split the four-game set with Chicago.

Astros 7, Athletics 3: Earlier this season Justin Verlander and the other Astros starters had to be near perfect to get a win due to the Astros’ bats unexpected early-season snooze. That’s not the case any longer. The day before Gerrit Cole was less than sharp but did just fine due to massive run support. So too with Justin Verlander here. I mean, no, he wasn’t bad — he allowed three runs over seven, which will usually get you a win — but he didn’t have to be April-May Justin Verlander, tossing bullets, just to have a chance. He got the win yesterday quite easily, thank you, due to Brian McCann homering and Carlos CorreaJose Altuve,  Josh Reddick, Marwin Gonzalez and Tony Kemp all getting two his each. That’s eight wins in a row for Houston, who now stands alone at the top of the AL West standings, a half game ahead of Seattle, who . . .

Red Sox 2, Mariners 1: . . . lost, thanks to David Price shutting them down over seven innings, allowing only one run on five hits as he outdueled a nearly as effective Felix Hernandez. Xander Bogaerts‘ solo homer in the sixth broke the 1-1 tie and closed the scoring.

Yankees 4, Rays 3: Youth was served, as Gleyber Torres hit his fifth three-run homer of the year — that leads the bigs, not that most folks count such things — and Domingo German struck out 10 over six innings for his first big league win. Aaron Hicks added a solo shot for New York.

Braves 4, Padres 2: Anibal Sanchez is someone I’ll never figure out. Like a longer-tenured Vince Velasquez, capable of looking really good or really bad and you never know what you’re gonna get. Yesterday we got the good Sanchez, as he shut the Padres out for seven innings, striking out six and not walking anyone. He has a 1.93 in seven games, six of which are starts. Ender Inciarte homered and drove in another run on a ground out. Ozzie Albies doubled home a run.

Diamondbacks 6, Mets 3: The Diamondbacks got two homers for David Peralta and solo shots from Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb as Matt Koch allowed only three hits in six innings. Two of ’em were homers — Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo hit solo shots — but you can work around that when you’re not putting anyone else on base.

The Royals are paying everyone. Why can’t all of the other teams?

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Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.

The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.

Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.

While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.

Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?