And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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Astros 7, Padres 2;
Look, between my two bloggy spaces and the water cooler at work I have
probably talked about Manny Ramirez more than anyone in the past couple
of weeks. And I’ll admit, my reasons for bringing him up are often
tenuous at best. But nothing I’ve written about the guy is as tenuous
as this bit from the game story, describing how a swarm of bees
descended on Petco Park in the ninth inning: “The bees arrived more
than 24 hours before Manny Ramirez makes his comeback from a 50-game
suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy, when the Los Angeles
Dodgers open a three-game series against San Diego on Friday night.”
Did anyone get Manny’s comment on the bees? Where does Plaschke stand
on all of this? I WANT TO KNOW, DAMMIT!

Mets 9, Pirates 8:
In town for a makeup game, the Mets overcome Tim Redding getting
shelled (2.1 IP, 6 H, 5 ER), and then overcome K-Rod blowing the save
in the ninth (though he did vulture the win). Jerry Manuel: “We could
have just said, `Let’s pack up and head to Philly, it’s a short flight,
let’s get this out of the way.'” “They chose to fight and I thought
that was what was most impressive.” I don’t much like Jerry Manuel so I
appreciate that maybe I’m being too hard on him here, but really, could
your team have chosen to just pack it in, Jerry? Is that a potential
option in the current Mets universe such that their choice not to do so
is laudable?

Reds 3, Diamondbacks 2:
Joey Votto was the hero, going 4 for 6 and hitting the game winning
single in the 10th. The Dbacks have lost ten of twelve. They dead? Yep, they’re dead.

Cardinals 5, Giants 2:
Are we sure this was only a four game series? It feels like they’ve
been playing for two solid weeks. Anyway, Todd Wellemeyer offers a bit
of an F.U. to everyone in St. Louis who has been screaming for him to
be sent down or disappeared or shot or whatever (7.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER,
6K). A couple of RBI for Ryan Ludwick who, according to Rick Sutcliffe
on Wednesday, needs to start hitting before Albert Pujols can expect to
start seeing anything to hit. It was a moderately useful insight the
first seven times he made it, but it declined in utility over the next
dozen or so times it was repeated.

Braves 5, Phillies 2:
The Bravos sweep the phirst place Phils, bringing them within two games
of first themselves. Or, put differently, making them three games more
likely to do some stupid deal to try and contend this year instead of
loading for bear in 2010. My view of things is that if they can contend
with what they have, wonderful, I’ll enjoy it. But any deal apart from
unloading Jeff Francoeur is probably a bad move. As for this game,
someone better check Bobby Cox for banned stimulants. He used 18
players in this one, and I don’t think he’s done that since Clinton’s
first term.

Mariners 8, Yankees 4:
Ichiro, Branyan and Chris Woodward of all people join in the Mariner
hit parade, ending the Yanks’ seven game winning streak.

Cubs 9, Brewers 5:
Derek Lee bangs in seven runs on a three run homer and a grand slam, as
the Cubs shell Greenbrier East alum Seth McClung. Stupid Greenbrier
East. Woodrow owns you, Spartans! Hells yeah!

Angels 5, Orioles 2:
Bobby Abreu flashes back several years and shows that yes, he is
capable of hitting home runs. Two actually. Meanwhile, John Lackey
flashes back to the non-2009 portions of his career to show that he can
still pitch like an ace (8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 7K). Nothin’ much doin’ for
Baltimore outside of a Luke Scott home run. Game story: “Orioles’ 3B Ty
Wigginton replaced Melvin Mora in the lineup. Mora asked for the night
off after the trip to the West Coast.” OK. For what it’s worth, even my
old man sucks it up and plays through jet lag when he visits my brother
in San Diego, and he’s 65 and flies coach. What, Mora couldn’t have
gotten a few winks on the plane?

White Sox 4, Royals 1:
Bruce Chen? Really? In the same season the Royals ran Horacio Ramirez
out there? What, was Terrell Wade not available? Jung Bong won’t return
your calls, Dayton? Aw, don’t look at me like that, whaddaya gonna do,
ban me or someth—-

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.