And That Happened: Wednesday's scores and highlights

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Dodgers 6, Rockies 1: Randy Wolf (7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) and Andre Either (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI) put this one away pretty early, thereby preventing me from being able to use the second in a series of choke jokes I had prepared. There’s still a lot of time left in the season, however, and I’m sure the occasion will present itself again.

Phillies 4, Pirates 1: All day yesterday people were saying “Forget Lidge, bring in Ryan Madson! Madson can get the job done!” Guess not, as Madson’s blown save cost Cole Hamels his first win in a month despite pitching eight shutout innings. Best part: Madson gets the W! Which means that he’s a winner. QED. At least that’s what Joe Morgan taught me. Anyway, Ryan Howard saves everyone’s bacon with a three-run homer in the 10th. Mmmm . . . bacon.

Marlins 5, Mets 3: This Mets team is so depleted that the very concept of depletion is insulted by being associated with them. The latest DL resident is Oliver Perez, who was sidelined with a season-ending knee injury. While is absence would seem like just what the doctor ordered, the Mets were still somehow lost this one.

Red Sox 3, White Sox 2: A walkoff homer for Big Papi, who homered earlier in the game as well. In fact four of the game’s five runs came on solo home runs. Tim Wakefield made his first start since the All-Star break, and pitched well despite not getting the win (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). Victor Martinez did his best to catch the knuckler, though the first pitch of the game did get away from him. The late Senator Edward Kennedy was honored before the game with a solemn ceremony and “Taps” and all of that. With all due respect to the recently departed, however, don’t you think he would much rather have been honored by the allowance of beer sales past the seventh inning?

Padres 12, Braves 5: This is basically the Braves we’ve been living with for the past four years: Awful play out of the gate, a nice little run to give you hope, and then an inexplicable swoon in games a contending team has no business losing. Mac calls the 6th-9th innings “the worst four innings that the Braves have played this year . . . probably the worst anyone has played.” Another tragic thing about this game, courtesy of reader Melissa D: Jerry Springer sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Melissa does point out one ray of light: the Turner Field organist continues to dazzle, playing “Papa Don’t Preach” each time Tony Gwynn, Jr. came to bat. I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before this organist is punched out cold by an angry player. Which I hope is something he would view as a very, very worthy goal.

Cardinals 3, Astros 2: The scary thing about all of this is that the guy who is 13-9 with a 3.11 ERA is only this Cardinal team’s third best starter. Pineiro gave up two runs over eight innings pitched, and without looking, I’m going to guess that the Cardinals have won more close, low-scoring games than any team in baseball this year. Seriously, I’ve recapped around 100 Cardinals games this year, and I’m pretty sure that 92% of them finished 3-2.

Orioles 5, Twins 1: His team lost, but Alexi Casilla made a humdinger of a play, ranging right, diving to snag the ball, and then flipping it out of his glove to Orlando Cabrera covering second for the out as Casilla face planted. Also, I was not aware that the Twins have a pitcher named Jeff Manship, which is perhaps the coolest last name in the world. I’d lose the “Jeff” though, and go with something like “Jack” or “Brock” or “Pud.” Seriously, tell me that “Pud Manship” wouldn’t be your favorite player. See, now I know you’re lying.

Blue Jays 3, Rays 2: Rod Barajas ties it up with a ninth inning homer off of J.P. Howell. Howell was apparently the only relief pitcher the Rays brought with them on this road trip, as he was allowed to stay in to issue three straight walks and then a wild pitch which allowed Marco Scutaro to score the winning run. Bad day for the home plate umpires, as first Jerry Crawford was knocked out of the game in the third after he was hit by a foul ball to the face, and then his replacement, Tom Hallion, left in the sixth inning after taking one off the chest. Hallion manshipped up, however, and stayed in the game over at third base following a delay in play, with Brian O’Nora moving behind the plate. Sadly, O’Nora was stampeded by wild buffalo in the eighth, but by then I think everyone knew it was coming.

Cubs 9, Nationals 4: Livan Hernadez made his first start on his second tour of duty with the Nats, but the final score wasn’t his doing. He actually pitched pretty well (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER). It was the bullpen — mostly Jorge “how in the hell do I still have a job in baseball” Sosa — that did Washington in. Milton Bradley had three RBI, but make no mistake: he still feels your hatred.

Yankees 9, Rangers 2: The Yankees win this one easily behind a
nice outing from Pettitte and a three-run homer from Posada. The
Rangers are now two and a half behind Boston for the wild card, which
kind of bums me out, because I think they’d be fun to watch in the
playoffs, whereas Boston is the opposite of fun to watch.

Indians 4, Royals 2: I have mornings when I can’t find anything
interesting to talk about in a given game. AP game story writers have
nights like those too: “Most of the game was nondescript, as might be
expected of two teams with little left to play for and a crowd that
hardly seemed there . . . Lots of lazy popups, routine grounders, a few
strikeouts, the occasional grounder through the infield. Boring? Maybe
a little, especially after what Greinke did the night before, but it

Angels 4, Tigers 2: Vladimir Guerrero got his 1,000th hit as an
Angel. Seven other guys have done that: Garret Anderson, Tim Salmon,
Brian Downing, Darin Erstad, Jim Fregosi, Bobby Grich and Chone
Figgins. Before looking that up I tried to guess the other seven. I got
five right, forgetting Fregosi for some reason that probably has to do
with me being too young to remember him as a player, and Figgins, who
for some reason I still tell myself is, like, 24 and just got called up
a year ago, even though I know better.

Reds 4, Brewers 3: You don’t hear nearly as much about Ryan
Braun’s defensive deficiencies these days as you used to, but once in a
while we do get a reminder that, for all of his merits as a ballplayer,
he can be a liability out in left. Such a reminder came when
Pinch-hitter Darnell McDonald hit a liner over Braun’s head in the 10th
inning which he misjudged, allowing Craig Tatum to score. It’s a
testament to the Reds’ season by the way, that I had not heard of
either McDonald nor Tatum before this morning. A greater testament,
however, comes in connection with the Brewers’ season: 19 of the their
22 losses since the break have come to teams that are currently under

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 3: Benjie Molina hit a pinch hit
three-run home run in the eighth. Good game for Jonathan Sanchez, who
went seven innings giving up three runs and six hits while striking out

Mariners 5, Athletics 3: Seattle sweeps Oakland despite not
having Ichiro available. Surprisingly, they’re 9-2 without him this
year so, like, they should totally trade him to Atlanta for cash
considerations or something.

Erik Johnson likely to open 2016 in the White Sox rotation

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Erik Johnson #45 of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the White Sox 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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With the White Sox losing Jeff Samardzija to free agency, Erik Johnson will likely get a shot to contribute out of the rotation to open up the 2016 season, GM Rick Hahn said in a conference call on Wednesday, per a report from’s Scott Merkin.

“As we sit here today, I think it will be an opportunity for Erik Johnson to convert on sort of the return to form he showed back in 2015 when he was International League pitcher of the year for [Triple-A] Charlotte,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he got some starts in September and continued to show the progress in Chicago he had shown in the Minor Leagues over the course of the last season.

“So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot. But if we were strictly looking at today, then I would think Johnson has the inside track on filling Samardzija’s innings.”

Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in September and made six starts, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 32 hits and 17 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings. That followed up an impressive five months in the minors where he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 136/41 K/BB ratio across 132 2/3 innings.

Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and each included Johnson on their top-100 prospect lists, ranking him 63rd, 67th, and 70th, respectively. The right-hander was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (8:45 PM EST): Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Happ will get $10 million in 2016 and $13 million each in 2017 and ’18.

*’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.

This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.