And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Mets 3, Braves 2: I get the sense that we’ll be calling this one the “Francoeur Game” for some time. A bad route by Frenchie on what should have been a single to right led to the Braves’ second run, but then (a) Kyle Farnsworth walked Francouer on four pitches in the seventh and he came around to score; and (b) Frenchie hit the winning home run off Billy Wagner in the ninth. I can’t be mad at Francoeur. The guy’s not evil and he used to be part of my baseball life. Good for him for doing something great in the course of such an awful season. That dinger probably made his year, and everyone should get that kind of joy in their lives once in a while, even if it pains some of us to have to watch it.

Rays 6, Twins 4: Three-run bombs by Sean Rodriguez and B.J. Upton and now the Rays are in first place.  Why?

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 2: That’s why. Rickey Romero tosses a complete game two-hitter. But New York writers can’t be bothered to break down a great pitching performance by the opposition. No, they have to latch onto or create some narrative to explain the outcome in a way that creates a Yankee hero or a Yankee goat.  To wit: I haven’t seen the column yet, but after this game ended last night the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan tweeted that his story for today would be that the Yankees are “letting 600 get in their heads.”  As if anyone on the team cares beyond what it means for dumb reporters’ questions after the game.  Nothing to do with Girardi penciling in a peculiar bottom of the order. Nothing to do with Romero throwing bullets. It’s not even just an A-Rod story anymore. No, the whole damn team is infected by 600-itis!  Brilliant! UPDATE: Kernan didn’t disappoint: “The milestone has become a millstone around the neck of A-Rod and the Yankees.” Oy.

Red Sox 3, Indians 1: Fisticuffsmanship!  Well, pushing, shoving and jawing anyway. Josh Beckett hit a couple of dudes. So later Indians’ relievers Justin Germano and Jensen Lewis threw behind the backs of Papi and Beltre, respectively, which led to he aforementioned shoving and jawing and then ejecting. As for the baseball, Mike Lowell smacked a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw.

White Sox 12, Tigers 2; Tigers 7, White Sox 1: Like I said a couple of weeks ago: split a double-header and it’s like you wasted a day. Like you’ve ended on a note of ambiguity instead of being able to go to bed with the satisfaction of a win or the emptiness of a loss. With at least said emptiness being a resolved note, rather than a dissonant one. But a split? Runnin’ to stand still, baby. Ha La La La De Day. Ha La La La De Day, ha La La De Day.

Phillies 6, Marlins 1: Roy Halladay struck out nine over seven innings and had a two-run single to boot. The Phillies have lost a ton of position players, but Halladay has been there all year, and there’s no way to overstate how huge that has been.

Orioles 6, Angels 3: Buck Showalter’s Orioles are undefeated.

Pirates 7, Reds 6: The Reds came close to fighting back from a 7-1 deficit but fell a tad short. Hard core Pirates fans and fantasy junkies will be interested to note that Joel Hanrahan appears to have been given closer’s duties in Pittsburgh following the trade of Octavio Dotel. The rest of you can continue reading up on Steelers’ camp.

Astros 18, Cardinals 4: I’m becoming convinced that the NL Central is really a rec softball league.  Best part of this rout: Tony La Russa had infielder Aaron miles pitch the ninth inning yet somehow resisted the urge to play the matchups and yank Miles with a situational lefty infielder later in the inning.

Brewers 4, Cubs 3: When you strike out ten dudes in your major league debut you should probably win that game. Tough stuff for the Cubs’ Thomas Diamond, I guess.  The Cubs just couldn’t get the timely hit to support the kid.

Dodgers 2, Padres 1: The Ted Lilly deal is a good one so far. Lilly allowed only one run on two hits over seven without walking a dude. The Padres’ lone run came from one of their deadline pickups, Miguel Tejada, who hit a first inning dinger.

Mariners 3, Rangers 2: The M’s not only scored their first run since Friday, but they snapped their seven game losing streak too. Not that they really brought out the lumber: “They singled us to death,” Ron Washington said after the game.  Hey, whatever gets the job done.

Diamondbacks 6, Nationals 1: Mark Reynolds hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, then was beaned by a pitch in the sixth. Reynolds on the pitch from Colin Balester: “I guess the pitch just got away from him.” I truly hope so. There’s nothing uglier in baseball than pitchers hitting a dude on purpose simply because they hit a homer.

Royals 3, Athletics 2: Alex Gordon was 2 for 4 with a double and a home run, and came around to score the winning run on a fielder’s choice by Gregor Blanco in the ninth. I wonder if they’d take Kyle Farnsworth for Gordon?

Giants 10, Rockies 0: Jonathan Sanchez strikes out nine Rockies in six shutout innings and Colorado does nothing to stop the Giants’ bats (note: I’m still having trouble getting my mind around the Giants having bats).  That sound you hear is all hope abandoning the few remaining riders of the Rockies’ bandwagon.

The Orioles signed Rafael Palmeiro’s son

Rafael Palmeiro
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Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.

Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.

As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.

This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”

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.