And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Ricky Romero 3.jpgBlue Jays 4, White Sox 2: A no-hitter into the eighth inning for Ricky Romero, broken up by a two-run homer by Alexis Rios. Should it have been a solo shot? I’m not sure because I was on a plane last night when it happened and I haven’t gone back and checked the video yet today, but my friend Neate Sager says that the HBP that put A.J. Pierzynski on came “on a ball that didn’t even come close to hitting him.”  Of little consequence, ultimately. The Jays remain at the top of the East.

Mariners 3, Athletics 0: Like I’ve always said: Milton Bradley is grace under pressure personified. Bradley hit a three-run homer in the eighth, just after showing bunt, because apparently he’s a master of psychology or something. And those of you who had Doug Fister in the “who will be the first Mariners starter to throw eight scoreless innings this year” pool, please come forward to collect your winnings.

6, Royals 5
: Really, Trey Hillman? Your 5-0 lead is evaporating
before your very eyes in the seventh inning and you don’t even think
about bringing in Joakim Soria?  You do realize, don’t you, that games
can be “saved” even if it’s not a situation in which a “save” is
awarded, right?  Hillman after the game: “It was disheartening,
disappointing, unbelievable and a lot of other
words that I don’t want to use.”  I’ve got some words: “Avoidable!”
“Unnecessary!”  “Self-Inflicted!”

Reds 10, Marlins 8: These teams love their bonus baseball. Extras for the second straight night and a Reds win for the second straight night, this time on a Joey Votto with a two-out single in the 11th. That saved everyone’s bacon, because the Reds had blown leads of 4-1 and 8-5 earlier in the game. Four RBI for Jonny Gomes. Another night of about 2,500 people in Joe Robbie. Go Feesh.

Rays 8, Orioles 6: Brian Matusz took a two-hitter and a 3-0 lead into the eighth, but then he lost it, was replaced, and the bullpen coughed it all up and then some. Luke Scott tied it back up again in the bottom of the inning but Carlos Pena put it away with a three-run job in the tenth. Surprisingly, Mike Gonzalez did not appear in this game, having apparently outsourced his lead-blowing responsibilities to others.

Dodgers 9, Diamondbacks 5: Two homers in the fourth and two homers in the fifth put the Dodgers up 6-1 and from there they just had to vamp until the end. Clayton Kershaw was so-so. Russell Martin said “he lost a little bit of command at the end, got in a funk.” Ian Kennedy was even funkier — which is usually a good thing, but not so here — giving up six runs and six hits over 4.1.

Yankees 7, Angels 5: The rings made them happy. The 7-1 lead heading into the ninth made them happy. The fact that Dave Robertson came in, loaded the bases and then gave up a homer to Abreu, thereby necessitating a Mariano Rivera save could not have made anyone very happy. As for the Angels: Jesus. I saw a guy jump off the 10-story parking garage next to my office once about five years ago. I took the rest of the day off and thought about my mortality and stuff. Not sure I could hang out at the ballpark. let alone mount a late rally.

Pirates 6, Giants 5: Three hits and two RBI for Garrett Jones, who also caught a hot shot off Pablo Sandoval’s bat to end the game.

Rockies 11, Mets 3: John Maine allowed eight runs in three innings of work and was way below his normal velocity. He says it’s mental, not physical. I get this feeling he’s going to have some time to work through the mental aspects of all of this as a long man in the bullpen pretty soon.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.