And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Braves 15, Mets 2: Brian McCann hit a three-run homer in the second inning after five runs had already scored. And guess what: THE BRAVES DIDN’T SCORE ANOTHER RUN IN THAT INNING AFTER THE HOMER. They’re rally-killers, dude. Avoid the home run at all costs. Bright side for Mets fans: Bobby Parnell didn’t get near that 85 pitch count they’re saying he’s on: he was in the showers after 71 thrown in three innings.

White Sox 4, Royals 2: Jose Contreras allowed one run and three hits in seven innings, struck out eight and walked only one. Zack Greinke only allowed six hits himself — and three of them were rally-killing home runs — but Greinke lost anyway.

Phillies 8, Diamondbacks 1: Cliff Lee (CG 2 H, 0 ER, 11K) is like a one-man army, like Charlton Heston in “Omega Man.” You ever see it? Beauty.

Pirates 3, Brewers 1: Paul Maholm is basically indestructible. In the fourth inning. Mike Cameron hit a liner off Maholm’s pitching arm and it bounced off right to the second baseman, who threw Cameron out. In the eighth inning, Alcides Escobar hit one off of Maholm’s shin, and he too was thrown out on the play. Maholm stayed in the game for another batter after that and was lifted, but it was for cause (he was tired; he gave up a single late) not injury. Final line: 7.2 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, a couple of giant bruises when he wakes up this morning.

Rays 3, Orioles 1: Three solo homers and a solid start by Jeff Niemann. You know, I don’t want to give any false hope here, but the Orioles are not out of the Bryce Harper race yet, sitting back of Washington a scant 4 games in the loss column as the bulldog goes to press.

Mariners 3, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander struck out ten and deserved a better fate, but Ian Snell + the Seattle bullpen pitched a little better. I’ve mentioned this before, but absolutely hate this kind of comment in a game story: “Verlander now has 204 strikeouts, making him the first Tigers pitcher to reach 200 since Jeremy Bonderman in 2006.” Really? All the way back to 2006? Here’s a suggestion: let’s make all such callbacks be required to stretch back at least five years. Like “Verlander is the first Tigers pitcher whose last name starts with a V since Andy Van Hekken’s September callup back in 2002.

Angels 3, Indians 0: Jered Wever shuts down the Indians (CG SHO, 7 H). The Angels are 24-8 since the All-Star break and have won five in a row. Game story: “A light rain sent fans scurrying for cover in the seventh inning as the teams kept playing. It stopped about 15 minutes later.” If I didn’t know better, pardner, I’d say that you was callin’ Clevelanders yella!

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1: If, a month ago, I would have told you that would Buchholz beat Halladay in this game, you would have assumed that the Jays won, wouldn’t you have?


Giants 1, Reds 0: Barry Zito and three relievers combine to shut
out the Reds. The Giants’ only run came when Wladimir Balentien tried
to lay out for a diving catch on Nate Schierholtz’s hit to the outfield
— missed it — which allowed Edgar Renteria to score.

Rockies 5, Nationals 4: Carlos Gonzalez won’t stop hitting home runs.

Cardinals 3, Dodgers 2: Adam Wainwright was throwing a no-hitter
into the sixth inning but ended up getting a no decision. The Dodgers
lead in the west is now only 3.5 games over Colorado. Yikes.

Cubs 7, Padres 1: The Cubs, behind Rich Harden’s seven innings of one-hit shutout ball, wake up to salvage one game of the series.

Yankees 3, Athletics 2: Teixeira hit a two-run homer and Derek
Jeter stays hot. After a day off today, they’re in Fenway for the
weekend with a chance to bury the Red Sox for good, one would think.

Astros 6, Marlins 3: Facts that are neat but kinda mean nothin’
department: The Marlins have had ten hits for fifteen straight games,
which is the longest such streak in baseball since the St. Louis Browns
did it in 1937. Ten hits combined with sixteen stranded runners and
three errors gets you a loss, however.

Twins 5, Rangers 4: Pudge got a big ovation, then went 3 for 4
with an RBI and run scored in his first game with the Rangers. He
couldn’t handle a throw in a play at the plate in the sixth, however,
which allowed the winning run to score.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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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.