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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rays 3, Red Sox 2: In the bottom of the fifth, the Rays tied the game at 2-2 on a Joey Wendle RBI single and took the lead on an RBI single by Guillermo Heredia. That would be it for the offense. Things got interesting in the top of the eighth as Rays manager Kevin Cash tried to do some lineup trickery to keep lefty reliever Adam Kolarek available. Red Sox manager Alex Cora wasn’t buying it, as he chose to play the remainder of the game under protest. Here’s the post about it if you want more details. Emilio Pagán worked a scoreless ninth to close out the game.

Nationals 3, Rockies 2 (Game 1): Anthony Rendon broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning with a solo home run that proved to be the game-winner. Starters Erick Fedde and Jon Gray each allowed a run over four innings, turning the game over to their respective bullpens early.

Nationals 2, Rockies 0 (Game 2): This low-scoring affair featured the struggling Kyle Freeland and Patrick Corbin. Corbin narrowly outdueled Freeland, tossing six scoreless innings on three hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. Freeland allowed an unearned run on four hits and a walk with four punch-outs. Victor Robles opened the scoring when he reached on a fielding error in the fourth inning. The light-hitting Yan Gomes tacked on a solo homer in the seventh. The slumping Rockies are now 3-15 in July.

Phillies 4, Tigers 0: For the first time since April 19, Vince Velasquez pitched into the sixth inning. He held the Tigers scoreless over 5 2/3 innings on four hits and two walks while striking out a season-high nine batters. Nick Williams and J.T. Realmuto hit solo homers off of Jordan Zimmermann to provide run support for Velasquez. Ranger Suárez and Adam Morgan bridged the gap to struggling closer Héctor Neris, who struck out the side to end the game. The Phillies will head home to open a three-game series against the Braves, a crucial series with the trade deadline a week away.

Astros 4, Athletics 2: Justin Verlander dominated, allowing a lone unearned run on two hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts over six innings. His ERA is down to 2.86. George Springer and José Altuve each homered. For Altuve, it was a two-run shot in the fifth inning. Roberto Osuna gave up a run in the ninth but the three-run lead he was granted proved to be enough. Osuna has now allowed runs in three consecutive appearances and in five of his last seven.

Brewers 5, Reds 4: The Brewers finally snapped their five-game losing streak against the Reds. Yasmani Grandal had what proved to be the game-winning hit, coming with the bases loaded in the fifth inning when he grounded a two-run single to left field. Ryan Braun and Keston Hiura both homered in the winning effort. For the Reds, Eric VanMeter singled, doubled, and homered.

Diamondbacks 5, Orioles 2: The two sides combined to hit four homers, but it was Carson Kelly‘s three-run homer in the fourth that proved to be the difference maker. Anthony Santander and Trey Mancini hit solo homers for the O’s while Ketel Marte added a solo shot of his own for the D-Backs. Taylor Clarke allowed the two runs on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts over six innings of work. Yoshihisa Hirano and Archie Bradley bridged the gap to Greg Holland, but Holland walked the first two batters in the ninth inning. Yoan López and slammed the door himself.

Mariners 5, Rangers 3: Daniel Vogelbach hit a pair of solo homers to pace the Mariners’ offense. Mike Leak turned in seven solid innings, hold the Rangers to three runs — all coming on Rougned Odor‘s three-run homer in the sixth — on nine hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Mike Minor, perhaps making his final start for the Rangers ahead of the trade deadline, gave up five runs (four earned) over six innings. He has allowed four earned runs in three consecutive starts, pushing his ERA into the 3.00’s for the first time since April 22.

Cubs 4, Giants 1: Jon Lester was scratched due to illness, so Tyler Chatwood made the spot start. He was solid, limiting the Giants to one run on four hits and a walk with five strikeouts over five innings. The bullpen had it the rest of the way. All four Cubs runs scored on homers. Javier Báez hit a solo shot in the first inning, Kris Bryant hit a two-run jack in the third, and Albert Almora Jr. hit a solo jack in the fourth.

Cardinals 14, Pirates 8: Wednesday’s slugfest took place in Pittsburgh with the two squads combining for 22 runs on 26 hits. Paul DeJong had himself a night, belting three homers in a four-hit, five-RBI effort. Paul Goldschmidt also homered, giving him three consecutive games with a round-tripper. As we saw last year, the first baseman can pick his numbers up in a hurry. His .759 OPS on July 21 wasn’t long for this world. Starling Marte doubled three times and knocked in three runs for the Buccos while Alex Dickerson reached base four times and scored four times.

Indians 4, Blue Jays 0: Shane Bieber brought a no-hit bid into the seventh, ultimately settling for a one-hit shutout. He walked one and struck out 10 on 102 pitches. Marcus Stroman was no slouch, allowing one run on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts over seven innings. In what may be his final start for the Blue Jays, he brought his ERA down to 2.96. Greg Allen tallied three singles for the Tribe.

Padres 7, Mets 2: Fernando Tatis Jr. paced the Padres, picking up three hits. Manny Machado, Hunter Renfroe, Franmil Reyes, and Austin Hedges also enjoyed a multi-hit evening. Noah Syndergaard was on the hook for four runs (three earned), allowing eight hits and five walks with eight strikeouts over seven innings. The Padres’ bullpen was stellar, limiting the Mets to one hit in five innings in relief of Dinelson Lamet.

Royals 2, Braves 0: Perhaps the most surprising series result among the current slate is the Royals sweeping the Braves in two games. They won 5-4 on Tuesday, then rode a stellar Brad Keller outing on Wednesday. Keller went seven scoreless, yielding four hits and a walk with three strikeouts in seven innings of work. Jake Diekman and Ian Kennedy handled the final two frames. Julio Teheran was solid, giving up two unearned runs over six innings. The Phillies have momentum heading into a three-game series in Philly against the Braves beginning on Friday. The Braves hold a 5.5 game lead over the third-place Phillies and are up four games on the second-place Nationals.

Yankees 10, Twins 7: The Yankees really seem to have the Twins’ number historically. They won again on Wednesday after escaping by the skin of their teeth on Tuesday. The Yankees survived three Twins homers with three homers of their own, matching jacks from Eddie Rosario, Marwin González, and Nelson Cruz with taters from Aaron Hicks, Gleyber Torres, and Edwin Encarnación. The 2-5 spots in the Yankees’ lineup combined to go 9-for-20 with six RBI. It was a bloodbath for starters J.A. Happ and Jake Odorizzi as neither could pitch past the fourth inning.

Marlins 2, White Sox 0: Another pitchers’ duel, this time between Zac Gallen and Reynaldo López. Gallen got the upper hand, putting up zeroes for seven innings on just two hits and a walk with nine strikeouts. López gave up two runs — both on a César Puello home run in the eighth inning — on four hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts over eight innings. Sergio Romo picked up his 17th save and now owns a 3.58 ERA. Seems like a decent chance Romo gets moved in the next week.

Angels 3, Dodgers 2: The Dodgers got swept in a two-game series against their crosstown rivals. Kole Calhoun played a big factor yet again, racking up a pair of doubles and a solo home run, knocking in two of the Angels’ three runs. Mike Trout accounted for the deciding run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. On offense for the Dodgers, Justin Turner smacked a solo dinger and Corey Seager had an RBI single. The Angels swept the season series against the Dodgers, winning all four contests.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: