And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Mariano River irked.jpgRed Sox 7, Yankees 6: For the second time in three days Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera blew a game. This one was way more on Chamberlain — he came into the eighth with a 5-1 lead and the inning ended with things knotted at 5 — but Rivera came in and gave up two of his own.  I’m sure you’ll hear absolutely nothing else about this game today, however, so please, pay it no mind.

Giants 7, Padres 6: Matt Downs had three hits in the game, all coming from the ninth inning on, none bigger than the two-run double in the 12th that proved to be the game winner. The Giants finally take one from San Diego. I think the last time they won one in San Diego the Padres were wearing brown and yellow.

Braves 3, Mets 2: Fundamentally unsound baseball decided this one. First the Braves couldn’t bunt over the pinch runner on two attempts, with such “failure” leading to a walk and a chopper that ended up scoring the winning run when David Wright threw the ball away. I’m willing to bet my 1986 Hank Aaron Donruss Diamond Kings puzzle that, had the Braves gotten the first bunt down, they never would have gotten the runner home.  In other news, Johan Santana not getting run support against the Braves is a tale as old as time. Well, a tale as old as his time in the National League, but we’ve all heard it by now. He deserved a better fate, but he usually does, doesn’t he?

Pirates 2, Phillies 1: Zach Duke + Pirates bullpen > Roy Halladay all
by his lonesome. At least for last night, anyway. Chase Utley missed his second game in a row with “flu-like symptoms,” which either means (a) that old saw about “flu-like symptoms” being a euphemism for a hangover isn’t true; or (b) Utley is on one HELL of a bender.

Orioles 4, Royals 3: Nice line for Luke Scott: 2 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 2 RBI, 2 BB and 2 HR.  And hey, a Bryan Bullington sighting!  He’s like that cat in the nursing home that curls up on the terminal patients right before they die. When he shows up on your roster, good night Irene.

Marlins 8, Diamondbacks 0: I hit this one yesterday afternoon, but let me just add: I have never won the “you can’t come out of your room until you apologize” game with my son. It’s way easier to be bad than it is to be good. I wish that weren’t true, but it is.

Rays 6, Indians 2: The fundamental problem with the Cleveland Indians is that they don’t have good players like David Price (6 IP, 4 H, 0 ER) and Evan Longoria (2 for 4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI), and they have a lot of bad players like David Huff.  Don’t spread that one around though — that’s my scoop, babies.

Reds 5, Brewers 4: Gotta agree with Broseph Gleeman on this one: Trevor Hoffman is toast. Hate to see it go down like this, but that’s usually what happens. John Wetteland is the last elite closer I can think of who left on his own two feet. Tom Henke did too. Billy Wagner looks poised to do it, and probably Rivera, but most guys have the ball taken from them.

White Sox 6, Tigers 2: Freddy Garcia was referred to in the AP game story as “the crafty right hander.”  The writer has been fined $50 and ordered to take a lap after violating the clear style-book rule which specifies that only lefties can be described as “crafty.” I realize this is harsh, but if we don’t enforce this now we’ll soon be up to our eyeballs in grizzled rookies, scrappy black guys and balls hit to the opposite field that are not described as “nice pieces of hitting.” In other words: chaos.

Cardinals 3, Nationals 2: Five straight losses for Washington. Methinks they’re turning back into a pumpkin. Oh, and Tyler Clippard may have seven wins, but he still stinks, so take that you Blyleven haters. Oh, wait, sorry. I thought it was December there for a second. I promised myself I wouldn’t start that crap up again until December. Time and place, Craig. Time and place.

Blue Jays 11, Twins 2: Among the carnage yesterday afternoon was an Edwin Encarnacion two-run homer. I always take note of what he does in a game. Why? Because in June of 2005, I was checking into the Marriott in downtown Cleveland, and right in front of me was Edwin Encarnacion, fresh from the airport after being called up to join the Reds for his major league debut against the Indians.  He told the person at the counter his name and they handed him a big envelope with “E. Encarnacion” written on it in magic marker. They explained to him that everything he needed was in that envelope. After I checked in and started walking towards the elevator, I saw him sitting on a bench, looking through the envelope — filled with tickets and cash and all kinds of stuff — basically overwhelmed at everything.  I always sort of wished that he had gone on to a Hall of Fame career so that I could tell that story in more important settings — it could make a great introduction to a motivational speech of some kind — but I’ll take it for what it is.

Rangers 8, Angels 7: C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver each gave up seven runs in four innings and change, opening up the proceedings to a parade of relievers and rendering this the sort of game I enjoy watching the least. Look closely, and you’ll likely see at least two guys from your high school in the pitchers’ portion of the box score.

Cubs 6, Rockies 2: Six strong innings from Carlos Silva, who remains unbeaten. I haven’t seen a career turnaround like this since Bobby Shelton met Harry O. Tophet.

Athletics 6, Mariners 5: Kurt Suzuki got the RBI single in the 10th to win it, but it was made possible by some sloppy play by the M’s and some heads up base running by Cliff Pennington. Specifically, a poor throw back to the infield allowing Pennington to advance from first to second on a fly out, and then a wild pitch allowing him to take third. Sixteen hits for the A’s offense, which is their season high.

Dodgers 7, Astros 3: Not having Andre Ethier around is a lot easier when the Astros are the opponent. Manny Ramirez, James Loney and Casey Blake each had two RBI.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.