And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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Braves 4, Giants 2: “Ladies and gentlemen: the part of Tim Lincecum will be performed tonight by Jair Jurrjens.” (7.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9K).

A’s 16, Twins 1: The A’s scored so much so early that starter
Trevor Cahill had to run down to the bullpen to warm up again while his
teammates were up to bat. Or maybe the fact that they were actually
scoring like this just blew his effing mind and he needed some alone
time to get it together. This is like a fortnight’s worth of offense
for this team. Yeah, forsooth I said fortnight.

Nationals 3, Mets 1: Bad: the Mets losing two of three to the
Nats. Worse: rumor has it that, after the game, V.P. of player
development Tony Bernazard drove a Cadillac into the hotel swimming
pool, blew up a toilet with cherry bombs, and challenged the security
staff to an “I quit” match, Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A.-style.
Bernazard is expected to be fired later this week, and replaced by
either former Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones or by Lex Luger.

Dodgers 6, Reds 2: Pinch hit grand slam for Manny in the sixth
to break a 2-2 tie! Wow! Oh, wait, I forgot: We’re not supposed to be
enjoying this. Bad Manny. Bad, bad, bad. You have ruined baseball.

Yankees 6, Orioles 4: The Bombers are rolling. If you don’t
believe it, just read the game stories which talk about how they’ve won
six in a row, 16 of their last 19, 19 of their last 26, LVII of their
last XCIV, etc. I’m sure there are other ways that could be expressed,
but I don’t know how to do exponents and quadratic equations and all of
that stuff.

Blue Jays 10, Indians 6: I’m glad I didn’t stick with that
“Major League”-quote-until-a-three-game-winning-streak gag from a few
weeks ago, because I’d be out of material and moving on to the Tony
Danza version of “Angels in the Outfield” by now. And man, between the
Indians putridity and the sense of foreboding surrounding the Jays at
the deadline, this series is more depressing than watching “Requiem for
a Dream” while listening to a Morrissey box set.

Rangers 3, Red Sox 1: Don’t worry, Red Sox Nation. Chris Duncan
will be there in time for Friday’s game against the Orioles and make
all the hurtin’ go away. And how is it that Buchholz was so dominating
in Pawtucket but can’t avoid throwing 90 pitches in four innings in the
bigs? Do they just offer up at any weak, nibbling crap down in the
International League, or is he pitching scared?

Astros 4, Cardinals 3: If Chris Carpenter thinks he was betrayed by his bullpen, just wait until he has Julio Lugo playing behind him in five days.

Mariners 2, Tigers 1: Felix Hernandez bottles up the Tigers (7
IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8K) and Russell Branyan hits a two-run homer in the
eighth to take a close one. Also, as my CTB homey Matt Casey noted yesterday,
David Aardsma is pretty Aawesome. On the year he has converted 23 of 25
saves, has an ERA of 1.79 and has struck out 55 in 45.1 IP.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3: From the “fast facts” section of ESPN’s version of the game story:
“Todd Helton’s 11th homer of the season and 500th double of his career
carried the Rockies. Helton joined Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth
and Ted Williams as the only players with 500 doubles, 320 homers and a
.325 batting average since 1900.” Talk about trying to make a good
player seem better than he is via selective endpoints. I haven’t seen
that much gerrymandering since Patrick Henry and the Anti-Federalists
drew the boundaries of Virginia’s 5th Congressional district in such a
way as to keep James Madison out of the House of Representatives in
1788!

White Sox 4, Rays 3: Chad Bradford had a line that you don’t see
every day: 0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0K, 0 pitches. Unfortunately it was
because he hurt himself after he was announced but before he completed
throwing his warm-up pitches. An Alexi Ramirez triple followed by a
Jermaine Dye RBI single in the seventh was the difference maker for the
Sox.

Marlins 5, Padres 0: I think they scheduled this one as a
matinee simply so I wouldn’t mail in the recap as I so often do with
the late games. Probably should have kept it a night game, San Diego,
because now that I have more time and alertness to comment on this
tilt, I can truly focus on just how wretched a club you have become.
Three hits. All singles. Ten strikeouts. Barf. Yet they were still in
the game until the late innings. At least until the bullpen coughed up
three more runs. Man, if only they had a moderately effective reliever
to help out. Oops.
Well, trades mean tradeoffs, right? Oops, the guy they got for Meredith
didn’t even play. The Padres are 12-33 since the first of June, which
is the worst in baseball. I repeat: for nearly half of the season, the
Padres have been worse than the Nats and the Royals.

Cubs 10, Phillies 6: The Phillies Phinally lose. “Zambrano
pitched well. He had good stuff,” Piniella said after the game. OK,
Lou, whatever you say (6.2 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 3 BB). I guess if you win you
had “good stuff” by definition?

Pirates 8, Brewers 7: Who the hell is Adam LaRoche? Garrett
Jones: 3-4, HR; Andy LaRoche: 1-3, 2B, RBI. The fans are happy. His
brother kept it together. They’ll all soldier on somehow.

Angels 9, Royals 6: Do you get full credit for a big rally when
it comes against the Royals? I mean, first you have to fall behind this
pathetic team, and that’s kind of embarrassing, and knocking around
this bullpen to erase the deficit is easier than knocking around any
other bullpen. I guess what I’m saying is that we need some kind of
handicapping system here.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

Screenshot 2016-02-10 at 6.22.24 PM
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images North America
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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.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.