And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Indians 6, Blue Jays 1: This game freaked me out in that the score went final before 2:30 yesterday afternoon.  There’s almost something unnatural about a game being over that early in the day. I’d love to live on the west coast, but having baseball be over before noon out there would totally wig me out.  Anyway: I’m going to resist the urge to use the word “masterful” to describe Justin Masterson’s start because I bet he’s got that since he was in little league. Oh, wait, I did it anyway, didn’t I? 8.1 IP, 8 H, 1 ER.  And Matt LaPorta homered for his third straight game, which just goes to show you that some quality time in Columbus, Ohio is good for the body and soul.

Angels 2, Rangers 1: Jered Weaver pitches two-hit, shutout ball over
seven to give the Angels a series win over the Rangers. It’s the
Rangers’ first series loss in nearly a month.

Yankees 4, Mariners 2: A-Rod hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the
eighth inning. Remember back when he wasn’t clutch? Nah, me neither.

Reds 3, Cubs 2: The AP game story goes several paragraphs talking about
Dusty Baker’s history in Chicago rather than talk about the actual game.
Annoying, but worth it for this line from Dusty: “I was here four out
of the 100 years. Most people act like I
was here the whole hundred.” As for the game, Travis Wood makes his
major league debut for Cincy and it was a good one: 7 IP, 2 H, 2 ER. 
The scoring ended on a fielder’s choice in the 10th and that’s kind of
boring so maybe it’s OK that the game story guy spent so much time
talking about Baker and Chicago.

Astros 6, Padres 3: Luke Gregerson couldn’t find the zone in the tenth inning, walking two guys with two outs and then allowing a triple to Michael Bourn. The Astros have won six of nine games.

Rockies 7, Giants 3: The good news: the Giants actually scored more than two runs for the first time since last Friday. The bad news: they still lost, which makes it six in a row. And memo to the AP writer who put the game recap together: you are fined $10 for using the term “danced” to describe Aaron Cook’s sinkerball. If you’d read your style book you’d see that it clearly states that only knuckleballs “dance.”  Please make a note of it in the future.

Rays 5, Twins 4: A day after quoting that “the Twins are 38-0 when leading after eight innings” stat they lose a game they were leading after eight innings. George Burns was right: statistics are a horrible bitch goddess.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 1: The Brewers little hot streak continues as they take their eighth win in 11 games. Prince Fielder homered again. He had seven homers at the end of May. Now he has 18.

Pirates 3, Phillies 2; Nationals 2, Mets 1: Can I tell you how
satisfying it is for your team to have a night off and having them still
gain ground in the division because their opponents lost to a couple of
hapless teams?

Athletics 8, Orioles 1: It’s getting to be a stretch to even call the Orioles “hapless” seeing how long
it’s been since they had any hap. It’d be like describing city streets
as “horseless.” I mean, sure, there ain’t no horses out there anymore,
but are we really saying anything meaningful by noting their absence? As for the Athletics, Trevor Cahill wins again after allowing one run over seven innings. Ryan
Sweeney and Chad Cliff Pennington (I have no idea, so don’t ask) each had four hits. Nice performances, but as I was looking at ESPN.com’s little scores page last night I noticed that, for a while at least, their little “top performers” box to the right of the scores had all three positions filled with Athletics. Typical ESPN East Bay bias. 

Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves

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The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.

Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.

Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.