And That Happened: Monday's scores and highlights

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Pirates 8, Brewers 5: Pittsburgh snaps their 17-game skid
against Milwaukee, and the Brewers look pretty damn immature in defeat,
plunking Jeff Karstens in what I guess was retaliation for him hitting
Ryan Braun back in April. This despite the fact that they hit three
Pirates the day after the Braun thing, and had an opportunity to hit
Karstens if they wanted to the same day he hit Braun (why John Russell
so frequently has his relief pitcher hitting is a topic for another
day). Jason Kendall had to be restrained from, it appeared anyway,
going after Pirates’ pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, and then after the
game kept calling him “Dave Kurwin,” even after being corrected. So
apparently Kendall is 6 years-old.

Athletics 14, Twins 13: You don’t win a lot of games when your
starter gives up 11 runs on 10 hits in 2.2 innings, but the A’s did.
Yep, the Twins led this game 12-2 at one point, but after Matt
Holliday’s grand slam in the seventh, followed immediately by a Jack
Cust solo shot, the lead was history. Largest blown lead for the Twins
in 25 years. Largest comeback for the A’s in 84 years.

Dodgers 7, Reds 5: Jason Schmidt threw his first pitches in
anger in over two years, and got the win to boot. Oh, and Manny Ramirez
hit his 537th home run to pass Mickey Mantle into 15th place on the
all-time list, which should inspire about 125 rage-filled,
single-sentence paragraphs from Bill Plaschke or someone like him.
Mantle was pure, you see. At least once you took away the booze and the
speed and the painkillers.

Mets 6, Nationals 2: Jeff Francoeur! Livan Hernandez! Now if
those two just keep on producing like we know they can, well, then, um
. . . crap, this was a fluke, wasn’t it?

Phillies 10, Cubs 1: Now that is seems the Phillies have figured
out how to win at home, there seems to be nothing that can stop them.
Jack Nicholson was at the game, and according to the game story, the
Phanatic wore a Batman suit. That’s kind of cool, but it would have
been way cooler if he had dressed up like Nurse Ratched or the waitress
who wouldn’t hold the chicken. I mean, I love Batman as much as the
next guy, but Nicholson has had better foils.

Braves 11, Giants 3: The Braves hit Jonathan Sanchez and then
continued hitting Segio Romo. Tommy Hanson, on the other hand, was much
harder to hit (7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 11K). And as Mac notes, not all of those earned runs were really “earned.”

Astros 3, Cardinals 2: Carlos Lee hits a three-run homer, receives “stingy kisses.”

White Sox 4, Rays 3: Carl Crawford hit an inside the park home
run, but as is the case with so many of those things, it was the
product of a bad defensive play. In this case, a crappy jump by Scott
Podsednik. Sox won, anyhow, and are only a game and a half behind

Rangers 6, Red Sox 3: There are a lot of smart people working
for the Red Sox, so surely someone will soon realize that John Smoltz
only pitches effectively for a few innings and then falls apart. If
only there were some place he could pitch where his outings would be shorter, and maybe more frequent as opposed to longer and more sucky (5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 ER).

Yankees 2, Orioles 1: Eric Hinske has started off with a bang in
New York, hitting four homers in his first five games. Jose Molina
turned in two sweet plays behind the plate late in the game. No need to
congratulate him, though. He’s a Molina and that is what they do.
Walkoff for Matsui, and after the game he was hit in the face with a
cream pie. Those zany, zany Yankees.

Marlins 3, Padres 2: The Padres have lost 15 of 19. I’m assuming that will all turn around once Oscar Salazar gets a chance to play more.

Rockies 10, Diamondbacks 6: With Colorado’s win and the Giants’
loss, the Rockies take a half-game lead in the wild card standings. And
no, I don’t think it’s too early to talk about it. There isn’t a ton
going on right now, so I’m totally cool with getting an early start on
pennant race stuff.

Angels vs. Royals: Postponed: The fitful alternations of the
rain/ When the chill wind, languid as with pain/ Of its own heavy
moisture, here and there/ Drives through the gray and beamless

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.

A’s reacquire Jed Lowrie in trade with Astros

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.

Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.

He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.

In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.

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)

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

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.