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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Nationals 6, Braves 3: The Braves normally enjoy hitting against Gio Gonzalez, but that wasn’t the case yesterday. Gonzalez allowed only one run and scattered six hits over seven innings of work. Meanwhile, Braves starter Anibal Sanchez left early after taking a comebacker to the leg. Once he left, the Nats bats teed off on relievers Wes Parsons and Adam McCreery. By the by, “Parsons and McCreery” sounds like the name of a West Virginia funeral home. If there was a “Lilly” in there it’d sound specifically like a Southern West Virginia funeral home. The, like, two of you out there besides me who are from West Virginia are nodding at that and the rest of you are wondering how I wasn’t fired from this job ages ago. Life is full of mysteries, but I am right about the funeral home thing.

Yankees 7, Rangers 3: Neil Walker hit two homers for the Yankees and Aaron Hicks and Miguel Andujar each went deep too, but the homer everyone was talking about was hit by Giancarlo Stanton.

You may or may not be a fan of Statcast, but according to the metrics it tracks, Stanton’s homer was the hardest hit since it began recoding such data:

I, personally, don’t think Statcast adds much to my enjoyment of baseball — even old man John Sterling knew that ball was hit about as hard as a ball could be hit as soon as he saw it, as would anyone who has watched a bit of baseball in their life — but it is something, I suppose, to be at the top of that particular leader board.

Indians 5, Twins 4: Another day, another walkoff loss for the Twins at the hands of the Indians. It was Michael Brantley doing the deed yesterday with an RBI single off of Addison Reed. This one has to hurt for the Twins, because they were down 4-0 to Corey Kluber of all people and rallied to tie it, with Jorge Polanco hitting a three-run jack off of him in the fifth. It’s, the 12th walkoff loss for the Twins this year. Yikes.

Padres 8, Brewers 4: The Brewers’ bullpen was a major strength for the club in the first half. It sure as hell wasn’t yesterday. Milwaukee took a 4-2 lead into the top of the ninth and entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 8-4. The damage in terms of runs allowed came mostly against Corey Knebel, who walked three batters and gave up a hit with all four baserunners eventually scoring. The damage in terms of the fireworks lit was attributable to Joakim Soria, who entered into the bases-loaded situation created by Knebel and served up a grand slam to Hunter Renfroe‘s. Soria was replaced by Jacob Barnes who immediately threw a gopher ball to Franmil Reyes to complete the meltdown. Milwaukee drops two games behind the first-place Cubs.

Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 5: Mookie Betts hit for the cycle but that only amounted to one RBI, on the homer, thanks to most of the rest of the order not doing a whole heck of a lot. Meanwhile, the Jays battered Rick Porcello for seven runs in four innings, with Teoscar Hernandez and Randall Grichuk each taking him deep. Justin Smoak went 3-for-4 and drove in a couple as well. It was Boston’s first loss in seven games.

Rays 5, Orioles 4Jake Bauers drove in three, with two of ’em coming on a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning. The Orioles are now one loss away from being eliminated from the AL East race. But hey: the Wild Card is still, mathematically anyway, in play!

Mariners 8, Astros 6: Homers from Mitch Haniger, Denard Span and Jean Segura gave the M’s a six-run lead after two innings, all off of Justin Verlander of all people. Seattle got a couple more RBIs from Haniger and Span in the sixth which provided enough insurance to withstand Houston’s late push.

Dodgers 8, Rockies 5: This was a 1-1 game, nicely pitched by Ross Stripling and Tyler Anderson, heading into the seventh. At that point it was turned over to the bullpens, each of which decided that they weren’t interested in doing their job too well. Joc Pederson and Max Muncy each hit homers in the top of the seventh and the Rockies scored four in their half of the frame with three coming off of a Chris Iannetta homer. Cody Bellinger hit a two-run homer in the eighth to tie things up at five and L.A. added three more in the ninth via a solo shot from Chris Taylor and a two-run homer from Brian Dozier. The Dodgers have won six straight at Coors Field. They also pulled into a first-place tie with idle Arizona in the West.

Pirates 10, Giants 5: Ivan Nova allowed two runs in six innings and he was backed by three homers, including David Freese‘s 100th career bomb. Elias Diaz and Josh Bell were the other two Buccos to go yard. The Giants have dropped five of six and are now two games below .500. Pittsburgh has won three in a row.

Rafael Devers won’t visit White House with Red Sox

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The World Series champion Red Sox are scheduled to visit President Trump in the White House on February 15. Some have speculated that manager Álex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico and has been critical of Trump and has been a big factor in Hurricane Maria relief efforts, might not go as a form of protest. Thus far, nothing concrete has been reported on that front.

However, third baseman Rafael Devers says he isn’t going to join the Red Sox on their visit to the White House, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports. Devers would prefer to focus on baseball, as the Red Sox open spring training on February 13 and position players have to report on February 17. Per Chris Mason, Devers also said via a translator, “The opportunity was presented and I just wasn’t compelled to go.”

Devers hails from the Dominican Republic and he, like many of Major League Baseball’s foreign-born player base, might not be happy about Trump’s immigration policies. Understandably, he is being tight-lipped about his motivation, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Devers is making a silent protest by choosing not to attend. He is thus far the only member of the team to bow out.

Devers, 22, hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs, 66 RBI, and 59 runs scored in 490 plate appearances last season.

Last year, when the Astros visited Trump at the White House, they did so without Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltrán. Both are from Puerto Rico. It is certainly not unprecedented for individual players to opt out of the White House visit.

No word yet on what food will be served during Boston’s trip to the nation’s capital, but the smart money is on hamberders.