And That Happened: Friday's scores and highlights

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Cardinals 3, Nationals 2: Pujols gets a walkoff homer, but the
bigger story is that John Smoltz was strong again, giving up one run
and striking out six over six innings. Yes, it was once again against a weak
team, but unlike San Diego, Washington can actually hit and are sixth
in the NL in runs per game.

Giants 2, Rockies 0: Eight shutout innings for Lincecum, and the Rockies wild card lead is down to two games.

Angels 11, Athletics 7: The A’s led this one 6-1 at one point,
but then Anaheim turned on the afterburners, mostly due to Kendry
Morales, who was 5-5 with a homer and six RBI. All seven of the Angels’
runs in the seventh were unearned.

Reds 4, Dodgers 2: It’s tempting to say that Homer Bailey has
finally turned the corner after a couple of strong starts (and this one
was strong: 8 IP, 0 ER, 7K), but he’s done this kind of thing before
only to revert back to, well, being Homer Bailey. The difference now is
that the Reds have no business messing with him anymore, and should
start next season with him in the rotation to either sink or swim for
good.

Yankees 5, White Sox 2: Three-run walkoff job for Robinson Cano
in the 10th. The Golden Sombrero for Jim Thome (0-4, 4 Ks). Not trying
to slam Thome here. I like him. I just like to say “Golden Sombrero.”

Phillies 4, Braves 2: Stupid rain. Due to a 45 minute rain delay
early in the game the Braves lost Tommy Hanson which, all due respect
to Pedro Martinez, is a bigger loss to them than losing Pedro was to
Philly. Moyer and Chen mop up for the Phillies, and Ryan Howard went 3
for 3 with two homers. I won’t say the Braves are quite done yet, but
if you took them off the fire and let them rest covered on the counter
for a little while they’ll probably be nice and medium rare in a few
minutes.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5: Josh Beckett continues to struggle and give up long balls, but the Sox rallied.

Diamondbacks 14, Astros 7: Just like a 68 degree day in August
gives you a refreshing but premature taste of fall, a 14-7 game before
labor day between two non-contenders gives you a depressing but
premature taste of just-playing-out-the-string season.

Tigers 6, Rays 2: From the “You have GOT to be kidding me”
department, Brandon Inge: “There’s a kid named Noah that I’ve visited a
couple times in the hospital, and he’s at home right now, and I spent a
couple hours with him today. He asked me the dreaded question — could
I hit a home run for him in the game, and I told him I’d do the best I
could.” And he did.

Cubs 5, Mets 2: A three-run homer by Alfonso Soriano breaks a
tie in the eighth and wins the game. It was his first homer in a month.
Milton Bradley had three hits, but don’t think for a second he enjoyed
any of them.

Orioles 13, Indians 4: Matt Wieters was 3-4 with 4 RBI. Fausto Carmona, who looked so damn good his last time out, got shelled.

Brewers 8, Pirates 6: Braun, Fielder and Jason Bourgeois hit
homers. John Russell benched Ryan Doumit in the middle of the game and
the two of them had a closed-door meeting after the game. Neither of
them are talking to the media, so until we hear anything further, I’m
going to assume that they were arguing over whether Pitt the Elder or
Lord Palmerston was England’s greatest Prime Minister.

Padres 9, Marlins 5: Chris Volstad was lit up like a Christmas
tree. The Braves fan in me likes to see that San Diego is effectively
ending Florida’s shot at the wild card on the same road trip that they
killed the Braves’ chances.

Twins 3, Rangers 2: Brian Duensing is no fireballer, but he
struck out eight in seven innings. The Rangers’ Tommy Hunter looked
good too. He’s also tough: Justin Morneau lined one off his chest, but
Hunter stayed in the game.

Mariners 6, Royals 3: Mike Sweeney is 112 years old and really
hasn’t been able to run since he was in grade school, but he scored
from third on a comebacker to the mound in the second, belly-flopping
past Olivo as he tried to apply the tag. Calling hours for Sweeney will
be held for Sweeney at the Ranier Funeral Home this Tuesday. In lieu of
flowers, donations can be made to the Harold Baines Home for the Aged
and Decrepit.

Gerrit Cole set to begin throwing program

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates sits in the dugout in the second inning during the game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on August 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.

The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.

The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.