And That Happened: Monday's scores and highlights

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Angels 11, Rangers 0: The Angels clinch the West, and in a fit of wrongheadedness so comically tragic that it strains credulity, they soak the jersey of a victim of a fatal drunk driving accident with beer and champagne in celebration. Here’s hoping that someone in Angels’ management was passing out cab vouchers last night.

Tigers vs. Twins, POSTPONED: I usually put rainouts last, but this rainout was more significant than most of the actual games that were played last night. Not sure whether a doubleheader today gives either team a big advantage. The Twins have a better bullpen, but the Tigers are going with two starters — Porcello and Verlander — who will make their own bullpen less important by comparison. All I know is that if I was in Detroit tomorrow I’d probably be skipping work. Heck, the wine I ordered when I was out in California last week is getting delivered today, so I may skip work anyway.

Pirates 11, Dodgers 1: John Russell lifted Zach Duke with one out to go for a complete game. Russell’s explanation: that he wanted to give Duke a standing ovation as he left the mound. Sorry John, this ain’t basketball and I ain’t buyin’ it. My guess: Russell is in a fantasy league in which CGs are a stat and the guy he’s battling for first place owns Duke. It’ll be a scandal if people can ever prove it. Like the Pete Rose thing, but boring. As for the rest of the game: Andy LaRoche homered twice, doubled twice and singled, driving in six runs. Some genius once told me that homers were rally killers. They’re also cycle killers, so your failure was two-fold, Mr. LaRoche. So, L.A.? Is this how you’re gonna bring it against Philly or Atlanta or whoever you get next week? Good luck with that.

Braves 4, Marlins 0: I don’t know if the Rockies are going to cooperate and lose two or three games before Sunday, but if they do, ain’t nobody gonna want to face the Braves in the playoffs. Based on some stuff I read yesterday, there are still some people who don’t quite appreciate how awesome Jair Jurrjens is (“middle of the rotation starter?“). I wouldn’t trade the dude — who shut the Marlins out over seven — if the money for Fielder was dead even.

Astros 8, Phillies 2: Well, I suppose it’s possible that the Braves AND Rockies could make the playoffs. Such a collapse would be damn nigh historic as far as collapses go, but as I sit here this morning anything seems possible. I thought the 1987 Blue Jays had the division wrapped up too.

Rays 7, Orioles 6: If the Rays were to move from St. Pete after building a new stadium in Tampa or Branden or Riverview or something, could they change their name to the East Bay Rays? Because that would be cool.

Blue Jays 11, Red Sox 5: This one was called in the seventh inning because of rain and the mercy rule and the fact that three-fourths of the Red Sox roster is having spasms of some kind this week. Michael Bowden gave up seven runs on seven hits and a walk in a spot start for Beckett. In this he was like the substitute teacher who would just put on the “Free To Be You and Me” video, read her Better Homes and Gardens magazine and let the class run amok the entire period. Not that we all didn’t stop when Rosey Grier sang “It’s alright to cry,” some of us because we were touched, others because we couldn’t believe our frickin’ eyes. Man, being born in the 70s sucked.

White Sox 6, Indians 1: It blows my mind that, despite how nightmarish a season it has been for the Royals, they could once again finish out of the cellar and ahead of a team everyone thought would go to the playoffs when camp broke. But here are the Indians, losing again and letting this race go down to the wire.

Yankees 8, Royals 2: Not that Kansas City is going to go down without a fight. Luke Hochevar, pitched a three hit shutout a couple of starts ago, got shelled for eight runs on 12 hits in six innings. Atta boy, Lukey, always keep ’em guessing! This performance, by the way, came against a Yankee lineup containing such luminaries as Brett Gardner, Eric Hinkse, Shelley Duncan, Juan Miranda, and Frank Cervelli.

Nationals 2, Mets 1: Helen Keller once said “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.” She went on to say that the second most pathetic person in the world is any Mets fan who hasn’t jumped ship before now.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.