And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Rangers 3, Angels 2: The Rangers get Cliff Lee and unleash him on their division rivals! Not to be outdone, the Angels acquire Alberto Callaspo!  Wait, that’s totally being out-done. It’s been a nice run, Anaheim, but you just ain’t got the horses this year.

We now begin a stretch of five straight games in which the losers were shut out:

Phillies 2, Cardinals 0: Cole Hamels and Adam Wainwright respectfully disagree with the notion that the Phillies and Cardinals should be fighting over who lands the big pitcher at the trade deadline. Each would prefer some run support, thank you. Eight innings of one-hit ball for Hamels, six innings of shutout ball for Wainwright, neither in on the decision. Placido Polanco and Jayson Werth come through in the 11th for the Phillies.

Dodgers 2, Mets 0: If it’s Thursday it must mean that the Mets are getting shut out in California. Hiroki Kuroda this time, who combined with Hong-Chih Kuo to blank New York. All of the scoring came via the bat of Matt Kemp who hit a homer and had an RBI double.  In other news, this is the kind of nightmare road trip that gets managers fired.

Braves 8, Padres 0: Tim Hudson shuts down the Padres as Alex Gonzalez, Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones lead the way on offense. After the game Chipper said this team reminded him of the 1995 Braves. I guess he’d know best. My view: needs more Lemke.

Giants 3, Diamondbacks 0: Matt Cain and Brian Wilson spin a three-hit
shutout of the Dbacks. Buster Posey extends his hitting streak to
sixteen games.

Twins 5, Orioles 0: A five-hit shutout for Carl Pavano, replete with all kinds of ejecty-goodness for a very frustrated Orioles team. Aaron Gleeman with the fact of the day: “Carl Pavano has now started 32 games for the Twins: 17-10 with 3.72 ERA, 140/35 K/BB ratio in 217.1 IP.” Yankees fans, you may now bang your head against a table.

Nationals 7, Reds 1: Watching pitchers fresh off Tommy John surgery is like watching Ash in “Evil Dead II.”  Sometimes they kick ass, sometimes they have absolutely no control over their own hand. The ball was going all over the place for Edinson Volquez, and Adam Dunn used his boomstick to hit a two-run home run off him.  Hail to the king, baby.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 6: John Lackey had a no-hitter into the eighth inning, and the Bosox had a 6-1 lead entering the ninth when the pen — and to be fair, the defense — imploded, allowing Seattle to tie it. Eric Patterson saved everyone’s bacon with a two-run double in the top of the 13th, but really, this was a near disaster for Boston.  Oh, and check out this sick catch by Ichiro to rob Big Papi of a homer.

Yankees 10, Royals 4: Inside the park homer for Jeter (and some pfun pfacts about it!). Home run number 599 for A-Rod.  All hail the Royals’ AL-high team batting average: fourteen hits a piece for the Royals and the Yankees, a six-run difference on the scoreboard. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

Brewers 3, Pirates 2:  The top of the eighth inning ended with Prince Fielder (ginormous) barreling into Pirates’ catcher Erik Kratz (humongous) on a play at the plate.  The reverberations were felt all the way back home in Milwaukee, ripping the ground wide open and causing this Cadillac Escalade to be swallowed by the Earth.  True story.

Marlins 3, Rockies 2: A walkoff RBI single for Ronny Paulino gives the Feesh their third win in four games against the Rockies, who certainly haven’t started out the second half of the season the way they wanted to.

Tigers 5, Blue Jays 2: The Jays had opportunities to extend an early two-run lead, but stranded runners and failed to get a timely hit or two. After that Verlander bore down and Toronto just didn’t have a chance.  The Jays ran themselves out of an inning when Yunel Escobar got thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple with two-outs in the seventh. Cito Gaston: “I’m sure our coaches will talk to him about that play. You can’t go for third in that situation unless you know you are going
to make it standing up. You can score just as easily from second with
two out as you can from third.” Somewhere Bobby Cox chortled good luck wishes to the Blue Jays coaches.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.