And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Giants 2, Mets 0: Carlos Beltran returns and goes 1 for 4 — and was caught stealing after the hit — but Tim Lincecum puts on his 2009 pants and throws a six hit shutout. And RBI double for Pablo Sandoval too, which is a far more important bounceback for the Giants if they want to get back in contention in the West.  Beltran on the caught stealing: “”I was trying to pick up the catcher’s sign,” Beltran said. “I saw two
fingers and I just felt that I was going to be able to make it. I guess
when you drink too many coffees and too much sugar before the game, it
makes you do crazy things.”  I know most baserunners are trying to do it, but I don’t know that I can remember a player saying, right after the game, that he was trying to snag the catcher’s signs like that.

Cardinals 7, Dodgers 1: Like Lincecum, it looks like Chris Carpenter benefited from the time off (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 6K 0 BB). Not so much for Clayton Kershaw, who gave up five runs over four and a third inefficient innings. Joe Torre: “He hadn’t pitched in a week, you’ve got to chalk it up to that.” Rest helps some guy, hurts others. Sometimes I think we don’t know a damn thing about pitching.

Angels 8, Mariners 3: Ichiro Suzuki and Erick Aybar both lead off and both drove in three runs. Eight runs on sixteen hits for the Angels is a good sign after stumbling into the break in a run-scoring funk. Which unlike most kinds of funk, isn’t good!

Cubs 12, Phillies 6: Picked a hell of a day to write my “is Jamie Moyer a Hall of Famer” post, eh? The aged one gets smacked around for six runs in three innings and Ryan Demptser handles the Phillies bats for six innings. Aramis Ramirez hit a couple of doubles and had four RBI and Derek Lee and Geovany Soto each had two-run bombs. Which is how they figured over the winter the lineup would work.

White Sox 8, Twins 7: The White Sox pulled off four hit-and-runs and got all bunty and stuff. As a fan I enjoy watching that stuff. As someone who tries to think hard about baseball, I worry about the diminishing returns of all of that. Worked last night, though. For the Twins, Joe Mauer had three hits and three RBIs, but Kevin Slowey couldn’t miss any bats. Oh, and Justin Morneau is on the DL now, so things just keep getting better for Minnesota.

Rangers 7, Red Sox 2: What happens when the flutterball doesn’t flutter: seven runs pm eight hits in two innings, that’s what happens. Three doubles for Josh Hamilton who now leads the AL in hitting. The Sox have dropped six of eight.

Braves 2, Brewers 1:  Jason Heyward returned. He had no hits, but he made two big defensive plays, each victimizing Casey McGehee. First he threw McGehee out at third when he tried to take two bases on a Jim Edmonds single, then he made a running, smash-into-the-wall catch of a McGehee drive.  In a game as close as this one, both plays were critical.  And with the Mets and Phillies losses, Atlanta leads them in the East by five and five and a half games, respectively.

Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.

Report: Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson agree to two-year, $29 million extension

Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson celebrates his two run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning in Game 3 of baseball's American League Championship Series on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, in Toronto. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.

The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.

Giants and Brandon Belt have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday

San Francisco Giants'  Brandon Belt reacts after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Jim Joyce to end the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Friday, Sept.. 4, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.

Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.

Padres sign veteran utility player Skip Schumaker

Cincinnati Reds' Skip Schumaker is tagged out at home plate by San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
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The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.

While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.