And That Happened: Monday's scores and highlights

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Dunn.jpgAll law and no blogs makes Craig a dull boy. Let’s try to remedy that today, shall we?

Nationals 8, Pirates 4: The Laughingstock Series went four games, and nothing was decided. Adam Dunn went 3-for-4 and was a triple short of the cycle. He may as well have been eight unicorns, cold fusion and a perpetual motion machine short, because you were just as likely to see that stuff as an Adan Dunn triple.

Tigers 6, Orioles 5: I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that not many teams have tagged Justin Verlander for five runs right out the box and have gone on to lose the game. Heck, the Os had five hits in that first frame and only had three the rest of the night. I haven’t seen anyone start so fast and peter out so quickly since Christopher Cross won all those Grammy awards back in ’81.

Padres 4, Braves 2: Can someone explain to me why the Braves had to play the Sunday night game right before flying across the damn country and playing on the west coast without an off day? Twelve teams had friggin’ off days yesterday, but not the team who played the late game and had to fly to California? Sure, that’s fair. And tired or not tired, I couldn’t be more proud of my Bravos here, losing to perhaps the worst team in baseball on a night when they did not even play Adrian Gonzalez.

Brewers 6, Dodgers 5: And lest you think that previous bit is my Braves’ homerism coming out, it stunk that the Dodgers had to fly home and play without a day off too. Totally weak scheduling, here. At least the Dodgers had a chance here. Down 6-2 entering the ninth, the Dodgers came back to within one, loaded the bases and Manny Ramirez came to the plate . . . and flew out, alas.

Diamondbacks 6, Mets 5: The Dbacks teed off on Nelson Figueroa (1.2 IP, 10 H, 6 ER) and could have turned it into a laugher. Instead, New York clawed back, though just not quite enough. You’ll all be shocked to learn that Jeff Francoeur made the third out in the eighth inning with a bouncer to third to end a potential rally. Mark Reynolds took Sunday off, but still finished the series 5-for-12 with four homers and five RBIs.

Cubs 4, Reds 2: Thank goodness for Kevin Gregg’s tired arm, or else Lou might have been tempted to use him in this one. As it stood, Carlos Marmol just didn’t have it in him to cough this one away, instead only allowing one late run. Mike Fontenot’s three-run homer in the second was the big blow here. The Cubs are now 13-5 since the break. Paid attendance: 22,222. This means something. This is important.

Astros 4, Giants 3: You don’t see a ton of complete game losses anymore, but Matt Cain had one (8 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 5K).

Rays 10, Royals 4: Zack Greinke has his worst start of the year. He hasn’t won since June 28th, though apart from last night he hasn’t pitched too terribly. Eventually you just sort of get dragged down by the folks around you, I guess. More surprising than Greinke getting roughed up — and maybe even more surprising than an Adam Dunn triple would be — was Yunieksy Betancourt hitting a homer. As for the Rays, Willy Aybar hit two homers and Scott Kazmir got his second straight win.

A’s 3, Rangers 2: Just a thought, but if you’re going to use Neftali Feliz out of the pen, maybe you want to think about using him as the closer. Dude pitched two innings, retired all six batters he faced in order, struck out the first four, in fact, with several pitches registering at 100 miles per hour. In the ninth, C.J. Wilson gave up three singles and a pinch hit triple to Rajai Davis, blowing a 2-0 lead.

Joe Panik says he’s “100 percent” recovered from back injury

San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik follows through on a single off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg in the eighth inning of Game 1 of a baseball doubleheader Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Denver. The Giants won 10-8. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Giants second baseman Joe Panik missed nearly all of August and September last season due to a nagging back injury, but he told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com on Friday that he’s feeling “100 percent.”

Panik, who earned his first All-Star selection last season, originally landed on the disabled list in early August due to what was described as lower back inflammation. He made his return in September, but appeared in just three games before being shut down. The good news is that he was cleared by doctors in mid-December and considers himself “back to normal.”

“It was right around the time of all the signings,” he said, smiling. “I was able to fly under the radar. I got tested and everything had healed up. I got cleared and was able to have my full offseason workouts. I’m good to go. I’m happy to be feeling good and going back out on the field to show that I’m healthy. My swing feels strong.”

Panik altered his offseason workout routine and plans to spend less time in his spikes in the early part of spring training. The hope is that these changes will prevent future issues.

After a strong showing as a rookie in 2014, the 25-year-old Panik proved to be one of the best second baseman in the majors last season by batting .312/.378/.455 with eight home runs and 37 RBI over 100 games while playing solid defense.

Baseball America names Corey Seager as baseball’s top prospect

Los Angeles Dodgers' Corey Seager follows through a single that scored Austin Barnes, in front of Colorado Rockies' Wilin Rosario during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
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Baseball America unveiled their top 100 prospect list Friday night during a special on MLB Network. It should come as no surprise that Dodgers infielder Corey Seager came in at No. 1.

This makes Seager the consensus top prospect in the game. He was also ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN’s Keith Law. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked second on all four lists.

Baseball America has the most aggressive ranking of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox, who checked in at No. 3. He was followed by pitching prospects Lucas Giolito from the Nationals and Julio Urias from the Dodgers to round out the top five.

You can see Baseball America’s full top 100 list here.

Jenrry Mejia: “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”

New York Mets' Jenrry Mejia reacts after getting the last out against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 25, 2014, in Milwaukee. The Mets won 3-2. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps
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Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”

Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.

Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.

Bryce Harper on potential $400 million contract: “Don’t sell me short.”

Bryce Harper
AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.

When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.

During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.