And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Mariners 7, Yankees 4: Cliff Lee throws his third straight complete game. How Nick Swisher managed to hit two homers off him I have no idea, but West Virginia boys who go on to Ohio State are cunning and resourceful by nature. Phil Hughes got beat up. I’m sure all sorts of people will be wringing their hands over the new “Phil Rules” in which his starts are getting pushed back to give him extra rest. Hopefully they can (a) accept the fact that sometimes pitchers just have bad games; and (b) realize how sick to death most of us get at every Yankees loss bringing forth some big Situation of the Day that must be discussed and analyzed to the nth degree until the next Yankees win.  One or two more of these and I’m sure they’ll be campaigning for Hughes to go back to being a setup guy or something.

Phillies
9, Reds 6
: First Brad Lidge got smacked around, blowing a three-run
lead in the ninth and then Arthur Rhodes got smacked around, giving up
three runs of his own in the tenth, snapping his 30-game scoreless
streak and losing the ballgame. Wilson Valdez started at second base for
the Phillies in place of the injured Chase Utley and all he did was hit
a three-run homer and drive in four overall. So Phillies fans can stop
freaking out for at least one day.

Marlins 7, Mets 6: The Mets blow a 3-0 lead and lose a chance to make up a game on the Braves. That’s two straight troubling starts for Hisanori Takahashi. Who — and I’m just sayin’ here — is currently on the same schedule as Cliff Lee.

Nationals 7, Braves 2: The Braves’ 3-7 hitters combine to go a cool 0 for 19. This used to happen a lot when the Braves’ 3-7 hitters included guys like Gerald Perry, Andres Thomas and Ozzie Virgil. I just have to remember how I used to cope with that.

Cubs 3, Pirates 1: Alfonso Soriano had a couple of homers and Ted Lilly pitched seven strong innings. The Pirates have scored a mere five runs in their last four games.

Red Sox 8, Rays 5: Boston is now only one game behind the Yankees. They also happen to lead the AL in runs per game. Still plenty of room on the “well, maybe I was too quick to make those ‘run prevention is no substitute for run scoring’ jokes I spent all April and May writing” bandwagon, Boston media. Plenty of seats available!

Indians 5, Blue Jays 4: Three straight wins for the Tribe, this one on the back of a nice outing by Fausto Carmona and the first homer for Matt LaPorta since his callup. Appropos of nothing other than the fact that this involves Cleveland, LeBron James flashed across the TV at Chez Calcaterra last night. I’m not the biggest NBA fan in the world, but Mrs. C. knows next to nothing about it. This was our conversation:

Mrs. C: So, is he staying in Cleveland?

Me: I have no idea.

Mrs. C: Won’t he a make boatload of cash if he stays in Cleveland?

Me: He’ll make a boatload of cash no matter where he goes. He’s a free agent.

Mrs. C: Where might he go?

Me: New York. Chicago. Miami.

Mrs. C: If he’s going to make millions anywhere he goes, he should just go to Miami. It’s nicer there during the basketball season than it is in Cleveland.

Brewers 7, Astros 5: So we’re working up an agenda for this week’s HBT Extra segment, and the idea of underachieving players comes up. I pencil in the notion of mentioning Prince Fielder. Not because he’s having a terrible year, really, but just that as a superstar approaching free agency or a trade, the hope had to have been for him to just go crazy this season. We’re also thinking of talking about under-the-radar trade candidates, and I pencil in Brett Myers because he’s pitched well for a team going nowhere. So of course, the night before we tape, Fielder goes off and hits two homers and Myers gets his ass shelled.

White Sox 4, Royals 3: Sometimes you hear that every starter on a given team got a hit and imagine that they beat the tar out of the other guys. The Royals had every starter get a hit, but no one had more than one and all but one of the hits were singles. This is how you “lead the league in hitting” as the Royals are, but rank in the bottom half of the league in, you know, actually scoring.

Cardinals 8, Diamondbacks 0: Seriously, at what point will the Dontrelle Willis torture end? Yet another awful outing for D-Train (4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 6 BB, 2 HR).  He can’t pitch anymore and just because the Diamondbacks aren’t in the race doesn’t mean that its acceptable to keep running him out there.

Twins 11, Tigers 4: Detroit held onto first place for approximately 24 hours.  Denard Denard Denard Span Span Span had had had three three three triples triples triples.

Athletics 4, Orioles 2: Dallas Braden was scratched before the game with elbow problems, extending his “only bad things have happened since he threw the perfect game” streak to 52 days.  Vin Mazzaro filled in admirably, however, Kurt Suzuki had three RBI and Coco Crisp had three hits, stole two bases and scored twice. Four wins in a row for the Athletics.

Angels 6, Rangers 5: Vlad Guerrero had a homer and three RBIs in his return to Anaheim. Him having a great night but the Rangers losing is how most Angels fans probably hoped it would go in a having your cake and eating it too kind of way.

Rockies 6, Padres 3: The Rockies are certainly challenging that whole “the Padres have awesome pitching and Petco Park is an offense-killer” conventional wisdom this series. Clint Barmes and Carlos Gonzalez went deep for Colorado.

Dodgers 4, Giants 2: Stat that shocked me: Matt Cain is now 0-8 in 14 career starts against the Dodgers. I haven’t seen a record that bad in a rivalry setting since John Cooper was fired from the Ohio State coaching job.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.