And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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All manner of pathetic offensive/excellent pitching performances last
night, characterized by multiple 1-0 games. Many of these games can be
broken down into three categories: the pitcher who pitched great and
won; the pitcher who pitched great and got boned; and the blind pig of
a batter who managed to find the one stinkin’ truffle of a run that
made the difference. Oh, and there’s a nice Monty Python bit down in
the Yankees-Mariners recap and some totally uncalled for Canada bashing
down in the Blue Jays-Rays item. Enjoy!

Dodgers 1, Rockies 0: Won:
Ramon Troncoso, but he was a reliever. Clayton Kershaw started but
couldn’t hang around for the win because he walked too many guys and
threw 97 pitches in five innings. Boned: Jason Hammell (8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5K), who pitched way better than Kershaw but had no blind pig on his side. Blind Pig: Rafael Furcal with an RBI single.

Reds 1, Diamondbacks 0: Won: Johnny Cueto (6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER 8K); Boned: Jon Garland (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER); Blind Pig: Joey Votto with an RBI single.

Mets 1, Brewers 0: Won: Mike Pelfrey (7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 6K). Boned: Yovani Gallardo (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 12K). Blind Pig: Ryan Church, RBI single.

OK, so it was only three, but I don’t recall any days in the past couple of years with even that many 1-0 games. Anyway:

Yankees 4, Mariners 2: Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!

Buster Olney: Here’s one
Cart-master: Ninepence.
Alex Rodriguez: (feebly) I’m not dead!
Cart-master: (surprised) What?
Buster Olney: Nothing! Here’s your ninepence….
Alex Rodriguez: I’m not dead!
Cart-master: ‘Ere! ‘E says ‘e’s not dead!
Buster Olney: Yes he is.
Alex Rodriguez: I’m not!
Cart-master: ‘E isn’t?
Buster Olney: Well… he will be soon– he’s very ill…
Alex Rodriguez: I’m getting better!
Buster Olney: No you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment.
Alex Rodriguez: I feel happy! I feel happy! (2-4, HR, 2 RBI)

Red Sox 6, Orioles 5:
Back atcha, Baltimore! The O’s blow a 5-1 lead in the ninth and woof it
away in the 11th. “I thought today was a great opportunity for our
bullpen to come show the league what we’re really made of,” Papelbon
said after the game. “I think we answered that with flying colors.” And
that answer is that the bullpen is made out of mixed metaphors until
the cows come home to roost.

Braves 11, Phillies 1:
Following up on yesterday’s comment, I did tell Bill at Crashburn Alley
that the Braves would lose the Hamels-Jurrjens game, so I was
technically wrong. Still, I predicted Atlanta winning two of three, so
they can vindicate me with a loss tomorrow. Jair Jurrjens pitched
better than the guys up in the 1-0 games (7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 6K) and the
Braves actually got some offense for a damn change.

Cubs 4, Pirates 1:
That’s three straight wins for Randy Wells (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). Some
other good news: Aramis Ramirez is ready to rehab, and now the Cubs get
to see how he plays in Peoria.

White Sox 6, Indians 2:
Oh come on cut the rah rah sh*t Taylor! Year after this I go free
agent. Plus me and my agent got a couple of plans for life after
baseball. So I am not about to risk major injury or displace this
property for a collection of stiffs!

Athletics 5, Tigers 1:
This is kind of how the A’s drew it up in the offseason: Bombs from
Giambi and Cust, a solid start from Dallas Braden and a nice win at
home. Two facts from the game story: (1) “The 38-year-old Giambi, who
has been dealing with sore legs . . .”; and (2) “[Giambi] was in a
2-for-28 stretch before the homer after striking out in his first two
at-bats.” How in the hell are his legs getting sore? Turning on his
heel and walking back to the bench too hard?

Twins 5, Royals 1:
Joe Mauer was 3 for 3, knucklebaler R.A. Dickey was perfect for an
inning and a third, the Twins won, and Justin Morneau experienced
tightness in his groin. Only one of these facts is truly significant in
the grand scheme of things, but good for Mauer and the Twins and bad
news for Morneau all the same.

Marlins 5, Nationals 3:
From the game story: “Asked to explain Florida’s baffling mastery of
the Washington Nationals, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez offered the
simplest explanation. ‘We’ve been lucky,’ he said.” Wait. Since when
did beating the Nationals on a regular basis constitute “baffling
mastery” as opposed to “utter inevitability?”

Cardinals 2, Giants 1:
Both Adam Wainwright (9 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 12K) and Matt Cain (7 IP, 6 H, 1
ER) were kinda boned in what I’m choosing to call Game 3 of “Molina
Fest.” Worth noting in light of my little anti-La Russa bit on Tuesday,
that this is exactly the kind of game where an extra bat or two off the
bench — as opposed to three or four pitchers you have no intention of
using down in the bullpen — might come in handy once in a while. And
for the record, I had this on in the background and found Sutcliffe
somewhat less annoying than he was when I ranted about him last week. I
can only assume that I either missed all of the obnoxious parts or else
the pod people got hold of him the other day and replaced him with a
less-assaulting replica.

Rangers 9, Angels 7:
This looked like a wild one, at least from the box score. How wild?
Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out yet still scored in the sixth inning.

Astros 7, Padres 1:
Not much interesting here, but this is interesting “The Padres say
Friday night’s game against Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers
is a sellout.” But . . . but . . . Bill Plaschke said we shouldn’t
approve of Manny Ramirez’s vile and wicked ways!

Blue Jays 5, Rays 0:
Ricky Romero (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 7K) can join the 1-0 All-Stars along
with Jurrjens. Oh, and yesterday was Canada Day, too. For those of you
who don’t know, Canada Day celebrates the anniversary of the 1 July
1867 enactment of the British North America Act, which defiantly
declared Canada’s independence from the evil British and promised that
blood will be shed in the interests of Canadian freedom if necessary.
Wait . . .what’s that? Oh, I’m sorry, I got that wrong. The Act
actually declared that Canada was requesting to form a federation, with
said request being gradually granted by British fiat over multiple
ensuing decades. All while being overseen by Canada’s Governor General,
who, to this very day, remains in place as a viceregal representative
of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who still goes by the title The
Queen in Right of Canada. Inspiring, when you think about it.*

*Before Jonah Keri, Pete Toms and the ghost of John Brattain
come after me for this gratuitous anti-Canadian rant, please know that
both of my maternal grandparents hailed from the Great White North.
Maybe that’s a weak (and in and of itself offensive) defense for my
thinly-veiled American exceptionalism, but I’m hoping that this,
combined with my general tolerance/occasional enjoyment of Rush, my
love of Tim Hortons Timbits, and the fact that my family hosted a
visiting table tennis player during the 1984 Canusa Games
will get me off the hook. Though, in the interests of full disclosure,
I feel obligated to say that we all hated that table tennis kid and
were happy when he went back home to Hamilton.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.