And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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kids at Huntington Park small.JPGRays 11, Royals 1: The Rays are good the Royals are bad and you all know
that, so there’s no sense in dwelling on it here. Let’s take things in a
different direction: My wife and I took the kids to the Columbus
Clippers-Charlotte Knights game last night, which the Clippers won 9-7. 
My daughter is six, and she thought it was quite hilarious and a little
bit cute that there was a
player with the last name of “Flowers”
and a
player with the first name of “Shelley”
playing in the game. My son,
who is 4, decided that he wanted to boo the Charlotte Knights because
“they’re not from around here.” Later he decided to boo a couple that
came in and sat down three innings into the game “for bein’ late to the ballgame.”  I was a bit uneasy with the former booing, but
strongly approved of the latter.

Tigers 3, Twins 0:  D-Train beats the Twins’ Morneau and Mauer-free lineup, shutting them out over six innings. Given that he couldn’t even get the ball over the plate this time last year I got nothin’ but kudos for the guy, and would even if it was an American Legion lineup from Minnetonka.

White Sox 7, Rangers 5: Paul Konerko homered twice, the second of which put the Sox’ lead out of reach. That brings him up to 10 which leads the league. Great Moments in Energy Conservation: Michael Young checked his swing in the fifth, and the ball traveled so short a distance that A.J. Pierzynski was able to pick it up and tag Young before he had even left the batter’s box.

Yankees 4, Orioles 0: Robbie Cano had two homers and Marcus Thames had three hits, but after all these years we’re used to those two legends carrying this storied franchise on their broad shoulders.

Blue Jays 6, Athletics 3: John Buck was a 50% better hitter than Paul Konerko and Robbie Cano last night, blasting three bombs. The Athletics have lost seven of 10, shifting them back towards the “not for real” side of the ledger. The Jays can tell them all about it. And bad news for the Athletics as Justin Duchscherer had to leave the game with an injured hip, which appears to be serious.

Reds 4, Astros 2: Four in a row for the Redlegs. Pfun Pfact, courtesy of Red Reporter: despite the fact that Bronson Arroyo and Roy Oswalt have pitched in the same division for the past 4 seasons, last night was the first time they have faced each other in nine years, back when Arroyo was with the Pirates. How they’ve avoided each other for so long is just one of them things, I guess.

Diamondbacks 13, Cubs 5: Kelly Johnson was 4 for 5 with a homer — his NL-leading 9th — and three RBI. Adam LaRoche hit two homers and drove in five.  We’re basically one Mark DeRosa hitting streak and a Jason Marquis no-hitter away from me becoming more interested in rooting for the Braves alumni club more than I root for the Braves themselves.

Cardinals 10, Braves 4: A six RBI day for David Freese as the Cardinals win easily. Again. It’s bad enough that the Braves have dropped nine straight, but now they’re racking up injuries to go along with their futility. Jair Jurrjens left the game with a sore hamstring. Yunel left with a strained left adductor. Bobby Cox has a blown gasket: “It was a lousy trip. It’s been a horrible experience to endure,” Cox
said of the Bravos 0-7 road trip.

Padres 9, Brewers 0: Death by a thousand cuts: the Padres had seven straight singles in the fifth inning.  In fact, all 13 of the Padres hits in the game were singles, a good number of them which were chancey kind of things like the ball hitting off someone’s shoe and stuff.

Pirates 2, Dodgers 0: The Pirates score both of their runs when Matt
Kemp O-lays what should have been a single off the bat of Ryan Doumit
into a two-run “triple.” It’s a shame that Kemp would go from where he
was a year ago to
revert back to when the ball goes up in the air and you’re not sure
where it’s going, or if it’s going to get caught.

Athletics sign Santiago Casilla to two-year, $11 million deal

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 10: Santiago Casilla #46 of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch during the 9th inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.

Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system. Who has the worst?

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 06:  General manager Dave Stewart of the Arizona Diamondbacks laughs on the field before the Opening Day MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field on April 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.

For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.