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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 2, Phillies 1: David Price and Aaron Nola battled admirably for eight innings, each allowing a run, but this one would head to extras. In the 13th Eduardo Nunez led off with a single, stole second and then Blake Swihart ended things by hitting a walkoff ground rule double to drive him in. Then, after the game, the Red Sox acquired a second baseman who will probably get more playing time than Nunez going forward. You’re welcome.

Braves 5, Marlins 3: Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña each went deep and the Braves bullpen tossed four scoreless innings as Atlanta cut Philly’s lead in the East to a half game.

Twins 5, Indians 4: Jose Ramirez hit two home runs for Cleveland, but the game was tied in the ninth when Mitch Garver drove in the winning run with a walkoff double. The Indians have somehow dropped seven of ten against Minnesota this year.

Cardinals 5, Rockies 4: The third walkoff win of the night, this one courtesy of a Marcell Ozuna 10th inning homer. It was Ozuna’s third straight game with a homer. The Rockies had taken an early 4-0 lead in this one thanks to a Nolan Arenado grand slam, but the Cardinals came back to tie it thanks to a Jedd Gyorko homer, Harrison Bader walking with the based loaded and a Matt Carpenter RBI single, setting the stage for Ozuna.

Rangers 9, Diamondbacks 5Shin-Soo Choo homered twice and had four RBI in a game that was delayed 21 minues by a power outage due to a storm that rumbled through downtown Phoenix.  Rougned Odor hit a solo homer that gave the Rangers the lead in the seventh. The Rangers have won four in a row.

Brewers 5, Dodgers 2: Eric Thames‘ three-run homer in the third gave the Brewers an early margin that proved to be sufficient as five Milwaukee pitchers combined to tame the Dodgers. Manny Machado made his debut in Los Angeles and hit a homer, but it was too little, too late for the Dodgers. There was a power outage delay in this one too —  it lasted for 23 minutes between the first and second innings — but it was because of power grid issues, not a storm, as it never rains in southern California.

Athletics 10, Blue Jays 1: Edwin Jackson tossed five shutout innings to notch his 100th career win and the A’s pounded the Jays thanks in part to homers from Mark Canha and Stephen Piscotty and three RBI from Jonathan Lucroy. The only downside to any of this is that, with the A’s winning this year, the plan to filp Jackson — that had to the plan, right? — is no longer operative so, absent an A’s collapse in August that gets him traded in a waiver deal he won’t also get to play for his 14th team. All milestones are important, man.

Mariners 2, Astros 0: The A’s pick up no ground on Seattle, but they and the Mariners pick up a game on Houston as James Paxton twirled seven shutout innings which rendered Nelson Cruz‘s sixth inning two-run double sufficient enough offense to beat the Astros. Houston has lost five in a row and six of seven. Their lead in the AL West is down to three games.

Giants 5, Padres 3: San Diego came back from an early 3-0 deficit to tie things up with a Christian Villanueva RBI double in the eighth to force extras. Gorkys Hernandez broke that tie with a 12th inning homer and Buster Posey added an insurance run with a fielder’s choice later that inning.

Neal Huntington thinks players should be allowed to re-enter games after concussion testing

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Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has suffered many concussions throughout his 12-year career, was hit on the back of the helmet on a Joc Pederson backswing Saturday against the Dodgers. Through Cervelli remained in the game initially, he took himself out of the game shortly thereafter and went on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday.

Perhaps inspired by Saturday’s event, Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested that players should be allowed to re-enter games once they have passed concussion tests, the Associated Press reports. Huntington said, “Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game. Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Huntington added, “The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him. He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”

Huntington, who has been forward-thinking on a number of other issues, has it wrong here. The concussion protocols were created because players frequently hid or under-reported their injuries in order to remain in the game. Especially for younger or otherwise less-proven players, there is pressure to have to constantly perform in order to keep one’s job. Furthermore, there is an overarching sentiment across sports that taking time off due to injury makes one weak. Similarly, playing while injured is seen as tough and masculine. Creating protocols that take the decision-making out of players’ hands keeps them from making decisions that aren’t in their own best interests. Removing them would bring back that pressure for players to hide or minimize their ailments. If anything, MLB’s concussion protocols should become more stringent, not more relaxed.

The powers that be with Major League Baseball have no doubt followed the concussion scandal surrounding the National Football League. In January, the NFL settled for over $1 billion with retired players dealing with traumatic brain injuries, including dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For years, the league refused to acknowledge the link between playing football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia and has many negative effects, such as increasing the risk of suicide. Since baseball isn’t often a contact sport, MLB doesn’t have to worry about brain injuries to this degree, but it still needs to take preventative measures in order to avoid billion-dollar lawsuits as well as avoiding P.R. damage. In December 2012, former major league outfielder Ryan Freel committed suicide. Freel, who claimed to have suffered as many as 10 concussions, suffered from CTE. MLB players can suffer brain injuries just like football players.

Huntington seems to be worried about not having enough rostered catchers in the event one or two catchers get injured. That is really an issue of roster management. Carrying only two catchers on the roster is a calculated risk, often justified. Huntington can ensure his team never has to be put in the position of not having a catcher in an emergency by rostering a third catcher. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next year, by the way.