And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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R.A. Dickey crazy looking.jpgMets 8, Phillies 0: In light the Phillies’ struggles against Tim Wakefied and R.A. Dickey (6 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 7K), the Mets are rumored to have offered contracts to Charlie Hough and Steve Sparks, the Braves are trying to persuade Phil Niekro to come out of retirement , the Nationals have been in communication with Tom Candiotti’s agent and the Marlins are mulling an offer to the ghost of Hoyt Wilhelm.

Marlins 6, Braves 4: Kenshin Kawakami continues to get crap run support. Line of the game story: “[Hanley] Ramirez lost control of his bat and it sailed into seats along the
third-base side in the eighth, hitting a few of the 63,000 or so empty
seats in Sun Life Stadium.”

Red Sox 2, Rays 0: Jon Lester threw six innings of one-hit ball for the Bosox’s latest fabulous starting pitching performance. Big Papi’s two-run double was the only scoring in the game.  If I was one of those hack sports writers who like to spout cliches I’d say something like “the Red Sox are making a statement!” or “the Rays’ were exposed against a tough lefty,” but  I’m not one of those guys, so I won’t.

Cubs 3, Dodgers 0: Ryan Dempster outdueld Clayton Kershaw with a scoreless eight inning performance in which he allowed three measly singles.

Pirates 2, Reds 1: Strong starts from both Paul Maholm and Mike Leake, but neither figured in the decision. Ryan Doumit’s homer in the ninth was his second game-winner in three days.

Giants 4, Nationals 2: Four days after I write off Todd Wellemeyer and say he needs to be drummed out of the rotation he throws six decent innings and even gets a hit to help a severely slumping Giants offense. None of us know nothin’, really.

Padres 1, Cardinals 0: You know, I’m beginning to think that all of these teams that can’t score against the Padres aren’t just hitting offensive skids as a matter of coincidence. Jon Garland had seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts.

Mariners 5, Tigers 3: Milton Bradley homered and then drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth
inning off Verlander. Then, during the pitching change Bradley — who was on first base — ran into the dugout and gave everyone a round of jubilant high fives before running out and returning to the bag.  You can’t spell “manic depression” without “Milton!” Um, at least if you leave out the L and the T.

Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 2: Three in a row for Colorado, aided by three hits by Todd Helton.  Have the Rockies finally gotten it out of neutral?

Angels 8, Blues Jays 3: Ervin Santana pitched a four-hit complete game with ten Ks. Three of the four hits were first-pitch homers by
Jose Bautista, Aaron Hill and Jeremy Reed, though, which is kind of odd.  Are there any Three True Outcome pitchers?

Brewers 6, Astros 1: Randy Wolf threw seven scoreless, giving Milwaukee its first effective outing from a starting pitcher since Pete Vukovich retired.  Well, at least it seems that way.

Rangers 8, Royals 7: I’m beginning to think that the Vlad Guerrero signing was a wise one (3 for 5, 2 HR, 2B, 5 RBI).  His double came on a pitch that, according to the game story “few batters would be able to handle.”  When the writers are back to describing Vlad’s awful plate discipline like that, you know he’s humming.

Indians 7, White Sox 3: The Tribe chased Jake Peavy after jumping out to a 6-0 lead on eight hits after six innings.  For the record, Peavy also gave up six runs on eight hits in his last start, against the Angels, last Thursday. But hey, at least he’s consistent.

Orioles 5, Athletics 1: Three of the O’s five runs came without hits: two on sac flies and one on a fielder’s choice + error.  Dallas Braden left this one early with a sore ankle.  Remember how Mark Buehrle scuffled a good deal after his perfect game last year? Braden seems to be doing the same. Coincidence? Yeah, I think so.

Yankees 0, Twins 0: SUSPENDED:  The umps suspended this one after a 1-hour,
23-minute rain delay with the score 0-0 after five innings. The game will resume in the top of the sixth today at 4:10 p.m., though obviously not with Scott Baker or A.J. Burnett — who were cruising — on the mound.

Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.