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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 19, Reds 4: A day after Terry Francona used the wrong pitcher in a key situation, the game plan was, apparently, to score so many runs that it didn’t matter who was pitching. As for the Reds, the best pitcher they trotted out there all night was shortstop Alex Blandino, who tossed an inning of shutout ball, striking out two dudes. Before that, though, Jose Ramirez homered twice, driving in five, all before the fifth inning when he was given the rest of the night off. Jason Kipnis went deep too, Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin drove in three a piece in the Indians 19-run-on-19-hit blowout.

Rockies 19, Diamondbacks 2: The Rockies likewise scored 19 runs on 19 hits. Carlos Gonzalez hit two homers and drove in six and Ian Desmond went deep and drove in five. The Dbacks used not just one, but two position players to pitch, with Daniel Descalso coming in in the dang FOURTH inning and pitching two and two-thirds and Alex Avila handling the final two innings. Descalso gave up three runs but Avila shut the Rockies out while he was on the bump.

Mets 3, Phillies 0: Jacob deGrom was once again dominant (8 IP, 0 ER, 7K) and once again got no run support. Vince Velasquez had a fine day himself (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER) and got no run support himself, and this one went to extras tied at zero. That changed in the tenth when Brandon Nimmo socked a pinch-hit, walkoff three-run homer off of Mark Leiter Jr. to give the Mets the win. It was New York’s third walkoff homer in the last week, with Jose Bautista doing it las Friday and Wilmer Flores doing it on Monday.

Pirates 2, Nationals 0: Trevor Williams and four Buccos relievers combine to shut out the Nats and an early Starling Marte homer was all of the scoring on the day. The game lasted two hours and thirty-four minutes. Classic getaway day stuff. That’s how Rob Manfred is gonna solve the pace of play and game length problem, by the way: one-game series, with every day being getaway day.

Giants 5, Cubs 4: Buster Posey won this one with a walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the 13th. That salvaged an early blown lead in which the Giants led 4-0 after the first inning. Homers from Jason Heyward, Kris Bryant and Javy Baez brought Chicago back by the seventh, forcing extras. The game lasted over four and a half hours so, no, maybe not all getaway days are the same.

Rays 4, Tigers 2C.J. Cron‘s hit a three-run home run in the seventh to help the Rays sweep the Tigers in their three-game series. That’s five straight wins for Tampa Bay and 14 of their last 18.

Twins 8, Royals 5: Brian Dozier hit a two-run homer and the bottom third of the Minnesota lineup — Max KeplerJake Cave and Bobby Wilson — combined to go 6-for-11 with five runs scored. Logan Morrison went deep as the Twins take their sixth win in their last seven games.

Red Sox 4, Rangers 2Chris Sale struck out 12 in seven innings of shutout ball as the Bosox win their ninth straight game and their 14th in their last 16 contests. Rangers batters struck out 18 times in all, in fact. Mookie Betts had two hits, Xander Bogaerts had three and J.D. Martinez drove in two.

Yankees 9, Orioles 0: The Orioles had been giving the Yankees fits and Sonny Gray has been on the hot seat, so of course New York wins behind six shutout innings and eight strikeouts from Gray. Greg Bird hit a grand slam and Tyler Wade and Austin Romine each went deep. Giancarlo Stanton didn’t homer but he knocked in two.

Marlins 5, Brewers 4: Starlin Castro singled in a run in the bottom of the 12th to give Miami the walkoff win. The Marlins took two of three from Milwaukee, winning twice in extra innings. Jesus Aquilar, added to the NL All-Star roster before the game via the Final vote, had three hits and drove in three but this is a team game, folks.

Braves 9, Blue Jays 5: Ozzie Albies hit two homers and drove in four as the Braves win for only the second time in eight games, moving back into a tie for first in the NL East. The homers were Albies 19th and 20th on the year. Which is a good thing, because after the game he revealed that his mom was in the stands — she flew in from Curacao — and that before he left Curacao for spring training back in February, she told him she wanted him to hit 20.  Given that he hit six last year that seems like an unreasonable request, but some moms are like that I suppose.

White Sox 4, Cardinals 0: Carlos Rodon pitched three-hit shutout ball into the eighth and Tim Anderson tripled and drove in two as the Chisox beat the Cards to end their six-game losing streak. Joakim Soria got the save. Not gonna say I don’t look at White Sox box scores too carefully, but if you had put a gun to my head an hour ago and asked me where Joakim Soria was playing at the moment I probably couldn’t have told ya.

Athletics 8, Astros 3Chad Pinder hit a three-run homer and Khris Davis added three RBI as the A’s built a 6-0 lead by the top of the fourth inning. Davis has a 13-game hitting streak. Those six runs came off of Lance McCullers. After the game A.J. Hinch said, “you could just tell he was battling himself,” thereby breaking the first and second rules of Fight Club.

Mariners 3, Angels 0: Marco Gonzalez won his 10th game on the year after twirling a two-hit, seven shutout innings gem. David Freitas homered — his first ever in the bigs — while Nelson Cruz doubled in two. Freitas’ mom, wife and son were all in attendance. He’s 29 and he’s been up and down from the minors to the majors over the past few years. Hopefully he has bigger baseball highlights in his career, but this could be one of those things he looks back on one day as his greatest day as a ballplayer. It has to be pretty cool to know, just as you’ve done something, that it’s something you’ll always remember. Given how most people’s lives unfold, it doesn’t happen to most of us.

Dodgers 4, Padres 2: Kenta Maeda allowed a run on four hits while pitching into the sixth inning and Matt KempLogan Forsythe and Chris Taylor each had RBI singles. The Dodgers are now only a half game back of the Diamondbacks. With a win today, L.A. — who was heavily favored to win the division this year — can move into first for the first time all year long.

Report: Some MLB teams using outside labs for COVID-19 testing

MLB COVID-19 testing
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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.

The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.

In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.

The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.

We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.