And That Happened: Thursday's scores and highlights

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Nationals 11, Astros 10: Everyone will be writing this morning
about how Joel Hanrahan got the win in this game despite no longer
playing for the Nats and how Nyjer Morgan scored the winning run even
though he was playing for the Pirates when the game started. Even
trippier, though, is that (a) both men were succeeded by
vice-presidents named Johnson who were southern Democrats and former
senators; and (b) Hanrahan had a secretary named Morgan, and Morgan had
a secretary named Hanrahan!

Astros 9, Nationals 4: While this one wasn’t a continued game
like the previous on, Jose Cruz somehow drove in the winning run and
Bob Knepper got the win. Strange, really.

Indians 10, White Sox 8: They’re replaying this on STO as I
write this, but looking at this box score makes me want to run away
screaming. A 3:43 nine-inning game, the winning team’s starting
pitcher gave up eight runs on eleven hits in four and a third, and a
game story in which the manager says that he thought it was OK for the
closer to pitch a four-out save because, hey, he’s had four days off?
Nah, you can keep this one.

Yankees 6, Twins 4: The Alfredo Aceves-as-starter gambit didn’t
go quite according to plan (3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R), but a win’s a win.
Actually, against the Twins this year, a win’s a win a win a win a win
a win a win a win.

Cardinals 5, Brewers 1: I suppose you could blame the Brewers’
bullpen for this — they gave up five runs in the eighth — but Joel
Pineiro pretty much had Milwaukee handcuffed (CG, 3 H, 1 R, 5 K, 100
pitches). The Cards are now 4-2 over the first six games of a ten game
road trip, and will enter the break after four against the Cubbies.

Rays 3, Blue Jays 2: How did David Price bounce back from his
awful start against the Rangers last week to beat Roy Halladay and the
Jays last night?

“Like every team, the Rays compile lots of data on opposing batters
and share it with pitchers before games. Maddon asked pitching coach
Jim Hickey not to go over the reports with Price. “We have so much
information, and it’s good. It’s good to utilize it and we do utilize
it,” he said. “But there are certain moments when you really want to
walk away from it and just permit your instincts” to take over.

That’s probably smart and all, but didn’t Price go to Vanderbilt?
They’re supposed to be pretty smart down at that place, so you’d think
he could handle the scouting reports too.

Phillies 9, Reds 6: Inside the park homerun for Chase Utley, but then again, you know how I feel about those.

Royals 8, Red Sox 6: David DeJesus hit a go-ahead two-run homer
in the sixth inning, pulling the Royals back from a four run deficit.
The loss pulls the Sox down into a first place tie with the Yankees.

Dodgers 11, Mets 2: The Dodgers rap out 17 hits and take 2 of 3
from the Mets, who have lost 10 of 13. 10 of 13. How’d they ever win
three? It’s a miracle!

By the way, here’s a great example of why I don’t get enough sleep
on nights I write these things. Looking at the Dodgers-Mets box score,
I notice that Manny Ramirez has a bunch of twos. Two hits, at bats,
runs, RBIs, walks, etc. I immediately think, “hmm, maybe I can say
something funny about that.” The first thing that pops into my mind is
Doublemint gum, which is almost immediately followed by some vague
memory of Mel Brooks telling a set of twins to “chew your gum” in one
of his movies. Wondering if there was any worthy context around that, I
search for “Mel Brooks” and “chew your gum.” I didn’t find what I was
looking for, but I did find the “Memorable Quotes” page for “Blazing Saddles.”
Forgetting that I have recaps to write, I read every single quote on
there, laughing my head off because I had forgotten just how funny
“Blazing Saddles” is. By the time I’m done I’m (a) wondering how many
protests and carefully-crafted damage control statements the release of
a movie half as explosive as “Blazing Saddles” would cause today; (b)
missing Madeline Kahn an awful, awful lot (It’s twue! It’s twue!); and
(c) many, many long minutes have passed and I’ve got nothing else to
write about the Dodgers-Mets game. So I punt, go with that vague
allusion to the “Bull Durham” quote, because really, that’s about 95%
of my material these days, and I move on.

Multiply that by 15 games a night, five nights a week, and you see where my sleep deficit comes from. Moving right along:

Giants 9, Padres 3: Lincecum continued to be ridiculous in the
way he’s been ridiculous lately into the seventh inning, but then he
ran into trouble. Relatively speaking, of course, because to him,
giving up three runs is like most pitchers getting touched for, like,
six. His scoreless innings streak ends at 29.

Marlins 14, Diamondbacks 7: This looks like the NL version of that Cleveland game.

Rockies 7, Braves 6: Some of the pixie dust comes off of Tommy
Hanson, as he gives up four runs on six hits in five innings. Still, he
stood to be the winner until Pete Moylan and Mike Gonzales got into the
game. I feel obligated to acknowledge the fact that Jeff Francoeur had
a good game, going 3-4 with a double and a couple of RBI. This in no
way constitutes an endorsement, however. Garrett Atkins, who has had a
hell of a time this year, came through with a two-out, two-run,
pinch-hit double in the eighth inning that proved to be the winner.

Mariners 3, Rangers 1: How interesting and unexpected would it
be if the Mariners sweep Texas and the AL West goes into the break as a
log-jam of a three-way race? It’s been a couple of years since that
division has been really exciting, but when it is — like it was back
in 2002, say — it’s always fun for those of us back east to wake up in
the morning and see what crazy stuff happened while we were sleeping.

White Sox sign catcher Alex Avila to a one-year deal

Detroit Tigers' Alex Avila, right, is congratulated by third base coach Dave Clark after his solo home run in the third inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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There have been a lot of articles published in the past few days about how to navigate awkward Thanksgiving conversations with your relatives. Heck, we even wrote one.

But there’s always room for more! Such as “How to talk to your father at Thanksgiving dinner about the fact that he let you walk away from the only team you’ve ever known to sign with a division rival.” Which is what Alex Avila will likely be talking about with his father, Tigers GM Al Avila:

The older Avila can’t even say he did it because he’s opposed to nepotism. After all, he just hired his other son — who has had his law degree for just over a year — as the Tigers assistant legal counsel for baseball operations. Though I’m sure that wasn’t nepotism. He probably just aced the interview and impressed everyone more than the other candidates did.

OK, those are jokes. In all seriousness, this is a good move for Alex and Al and, probably, the White Sox. With the emergence of James McCann, there really is not space for Alex Avila in Detroit in anything other than a backup capacity. In Chicago, he’ll get more playing time. At least if he can (a) stay healthy; and (b) not hit .191/.339/.287 again like he did in 2015.

Pirates sign outfielder/first baseman Jake Goebbert

Jake Goebbert
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The best thing about minor Thanksgiving week transactions is that they are almost certainly done by GMs frantically looking for some work to do rather than go pick up their in-laws at the airport. I mean, sure, the player in question could very easily be an important player who fills a key role in the organization, but it’s not like it couldn’t have waited until Monday, right? This is the GM equivalent of you pretending you have to run into the office on Wednesday afternoon and, in reality, driving around in your car, listening to Neil Young and promising that NEXT YEAR you’re just doing a small Thanksgiving dinner with no family and, maybe, might even go on a little trip, just you and the wife.

Or is that just me? OK, maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, that’s how I’m choosing to view the Pirates activity today. First they traded for Allen Webster and now they’re signing minor league free agent first baseman/outfielder Jake Goebbert, according to Adam Berry of

Goebbert, 28, hit .294 with an .844 OPS and 10 homers for Triple-A El Paso last season. He has 115 plate appearances in the bigs, all for San Diego in 2014. Overall he has a line of .282/.386/.465 with 30 homers in 997 Triple-A plate appearances in the Astros, Athletics and Padres organizations.

Not a bad depth move, especially given that the Pirates are looking to trade Pedro Alvarez and otherwise re-jigger their first base situation.

Blue Jays sell Triple-A MVP Matt Hague to Japanese team

Matt Hague Blue Jays
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Matt Hague got a cup of coffee in Toronto this year after winning the International League MVP, but the 30-year-old first baseman/third baseman found a better opportunity in Japan and the Blue Jays have sold him to the Hanshin Tigers.

Hague hit .338 in 136 games at Triple-A this past season and is a career .301 hitter in eight minor-league seasons overall, but his lack of power limits his opportunities in the majors and he’s received a grand total of 91 plate appearances as a big leaguer.

Ben Nicholson-Smith of Toronto Sportnet reports that the sale price for Hague is $300,000, which goes to the Blue Jays. And then Hague will no doubt sign a deal for a lot more than he could have earned at Triple-A and perhaps more than the MLB minimum salary.

Diamondbacks trade Allen Webster to the Pirates

Allen Webster
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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that have traded righty Allen Webster to the Pirates for cash considerations.

Webster, who turns 26 in February, was DFA’d by the Dbacks a few days ago. He pitched in nine games, starting five, in 2015, posting a 5.81 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 17/20 (eww) in 31 innings. Before that he pitched 89.1 innings for the Red Sox over two years with numbers not too terribly more impressive than that.