And That Happened: Thursday's scores and recaps

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Cardinals 6, Marlins 5:
Cody Ross let one get through the wickets in the eighth and it rolled
all the way back to the 434′ sign in center, allowing the tying runs to
score and putting the eventual winning run, in the person of Ryan
Ludwick, on third. It happens. Trever Miller on the home run he gave up
to Pujols: “That wasn’t a situation where I was going to nibble on
[Pujols] at 3-1. He’s too good of a hitter, he’s not going to chase a
bad pitch. He’s going to get his pitch and hit it. Unfortunately, he
did.” Wait, why exactly don’t you nibble on Pujols there? He’s only
going to get his pitch to hit if you give it to him, and once you’ve
gone 3-1 on the guy, you really have no business giving it to him
unless the bases are juiced, and maybe even then you don’t. Wait . . .
unless Pujols has finally developed telekinetic powers which enable him
to will fat pitches into his wheelhous (as many of us have long
expected he might some day). Crap. That’s it. We’re all doomed. All
hail our Pujolsian overlord.

White Sox 4, Tigers 3:
The White Sox almost frittered this one away, but then Joel Zumaya
slipped on some wet grass while fielding a bunt in the ninth and then
Scott Podsednik singled in Brian Anderson to eke out the win. Anderson
after the game: “Had that gone the other way, it definitely would not
have been as fun a bus ride.” It’s 97.4 miles from U.S. Cellular Field
to Miller Park so a bus makes sense, but I haven’t thought too much
about this before and now I’m wondering what the cutoff is. Do the
Tigers take a bus to Cleveland (167 miles)? How about L.A. to San Diego
(124)? Sure, you and I always drive those, but these are rich, pampered
baseball players here. How about Philly-Queens? It’s 111 miles, but
there’s lots of traffic. But back to the White Sox: do you think they
considered carpools for the Milwaukee trip? I bet Ozzie Guillen never
drives. And he probably calls shotgun even when the car isn’t within
eyeshot yet. I get the feeling Jim Thome’s music collection is just
awful. Probably a lot of modern female pop country artists. On
cassette. I’d probably want to ride with Buehrle. I bet he hauls ass.

Astros 2, Cubs 1:
Game story: “Geoff Blum is the first Houston player with winning hits
in back-to-back games since Derek Bell did it on July 20-21, 1996,
against Atlanta.” I call B.S. on that. I watched virtually every Braves
game there was while Bell played in the National League, and I never
once recall Derek Bell getting a big hit. Ever. He was a total bust
against Atlanta, at least in my memories. In fact, I can’t think of a
supposedly decent opposing hitter that I, as a Braves fan, feared less
than Derek Bell. OK, fine, I’ll look: Hmmm . . . .270/.322/.405
lifetime against the Braves. That’s only slightly below his career
averages. I hate to say this, Forman, because you usually do such a great job, but you seem to have somehow screwed up Derek Bell’s page.

Phillies 6, Mets 3:
Raul Ibanez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning to
win the game. I wonder what could make him do that. I mean, he’s old,
it was late in the game and it was past dinner time, so he was probably
tired too. Maybe a little something to help a ballplayer gain an extra
step when he might otherwise be flagging? Some sort of unnatural
fountain of youth, hmmm? Yeah, I’m just gonna come out and say it, and
I don’t care what anyone says: Ibanez is clearly doin’ the Dew.

Rockies 5, Brewers 4:
The problem with the Rockies’ winning streak is that if it goes on much
longer, it’s going to fool someone in the front office into taking the
“interim” tag off of Jim Tracy. Even a blind hog finds an acorn once in
awhile.

Pirates 3, Braves 1:
Javier Vazquez was brilliant (8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 12K) but got the no
decision because the Pittsburgh staff was, on the whole, brillianter.
Odd things: Francoeur led the Braves’ offensive onslaught, getting two
hits and even walking once. See above note about blind hogs. Also,
Bobby Cox was ejected. That’s not news — he’s the record holder after
all — but this was very un-Bobbylike. I’m pretty sure Cox premeditates
most of his ejections, because they’re usually quick (i.e. he goes
straight to the magic word — God, he’s so romantic . . .) and because
they usually happen early in the game to ensure plenty of couch time in
the clubhouse. This one came in the ninth inning, so he really got no
leisure/beer time out of it to speak of. Just not like him, ya know? I
hope he’s alright.

Indians 4, Royals 3:
Greinke rebounded from his previous shelling, but he needed to be
better than good on a night when his offense didn’t really show up.
Shin Soo Choo hit a single off a freakin’ seagull in the 10th, driving
in the winning run. Learning to play the seagull carom in Progressive
Field is one of those things visiting defenders just don’t have time to
master in a short series. Oh, and now that the memories of the Royals’
early-season friskiness have long since passed, can we just get to the
end game on Trey Hillman and save everyone a lot of hassle?

Athletics 4, Twins 3:
It’s a shame about that lead Blackburn lost. It was. That was really a
shame. To go so suddenly. Ah, he was tiring for innings. But the very
end, when he actually gave it up . . . was extremely sudden.

Nationals 3, Reds 2:
The eighth inning throwing error by Brandon Phillips that allowed
Christian Guzman to score the winning run wasn’t as ugly as the second
inning throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman that allowed Alex Gonzales to
score the Reds’ first run. Phillips had a dude bearing down on him and
just misfired. Zimmerman’s was an air mail job that, at last report,
was entering Canadian airspace.

Mariners 6, Orioles 3: 3 RBI for Russell “how in the hell is he still at .317/.413/.614” Branyan.

Diamondbacks 2, Giants 1:
Max Scherzer gave up only three hits while shutting out the Giants over
seven and two thirds. Mark Reynolds struck out three times to raise his
total to 87. In 1948, Hank Sauer led the NL with 85 for the whole
season. The year before, Chris Nicholson led the league with 83. In
fact, since the end of the deadball era, guys have led the league in
strikeouts with 87 Ks or fewer on 21 occasions. Just thought you’d like
to know that.

Rays 11, Angels 1:
The Angels have given up 33 runs in their last four games. David Price
left in the fourth because he had already thrown 105 pitches. Dude’s
gonna have to figure out how to reign that in, because hanging around
long enough to take advantage of offensive outbursts like this is the
stuff that 18-win (and better) seasons are made of.

Rangers 1, Blue Jays 0:
Two good offenses collide in one of the most offense-friendly parks in
baseball. It’s 80 degrees at game time, so sit back, babies, and watch
the horsehide fly! Or, if that’s not your speed, all of the scoring in
the game can happen on a second inning sacrifice fly.

Red Sox 4, Yankees 3:
What a miserable night for the Yankees. Getting beat by the Red Sox for
the eighth time in a row is bad enough, but having it happen in a cold
rain via a blown lead has to add some extra pain. I guess someone has
to win a game in the Mets-Yankees series this weekend, but the way
things are going, I can’t feature either team doing it.

Evan Gattis undergoes surgery for hernia; recovery is 4-6 weeks

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news

One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.

Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.

Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.

Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.

Seung-Hwan Oh finally receives his work visa, will be on time for Cardinals camp

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At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

But that is now officially a non-story.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.

Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”

Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

John Lamb had back surgery in December, will likely get off to late start in 2016

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John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.

Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.

It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.

This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.