And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Cardinals 8, Reds 4: Fisticuffsmanship! Or, Footsticuffsmanship, if you watched Johnny Cueto kicking people in the donnybrook. Look, I know that, depending on who ends up winning the division, either Reds fans or Cards fans are going to point to this series as some sort of turning point or inspiration or whatever, but the fact is that they’re all kind of embarrassing themselves at this point. Phillips started it, but Yadier Molina’s short fuse ignited it and then Cueto’s crap was unreal. Dusty Baker and Tony La Russa are supposed to be two of the game’s more respected managers. If they’re worthy of the praise and press they get, they’ll beat their teams upside the head today and this afternoon’s game will go off without all of the baloney we saw last night.

Braves 4, Astros 2:
The Superman exists — and he’s Brooks Conrad. OK, that’s putting it a
bit strongly. Dude’s just had a couple of gigantic pinch-hit home runs
this year, this one a two-run job that brought the Braves back from down 2-1 in the ninth. Troy Glaus added another for insurance. On
the bad side, Chipper Jones left the game with what looked like a bad
knee injury, though as of now they’re calling it a sprain. Jason Heyward
sat out with “a sore knee.” It also happened to be the day after he
turned 21, so there’s a distinct possibility that flulike symptoms could
have waylaid him as well.

Twins 12, White Sox 6:
Minnesota takes sole possession of first place in the central. Five
homers for Minnesota, including one from Joe Mauer who has been torrid
in August. He ain’t the MVP this year, but he’s stepping up when the
Twins need him to do so, and that’s what they’re paying the man to do.

Rangers 4, Yankees 3:
Not a lot of managers would put their ace closer into a tie game in
extra innings on the road. Joe Girardi did. And you know what? I don’t
care if the Rangers ended up scoring off him to win the game. It was —
and usually is — the right freakin’ choice. Put your best damn guy in
there when the game could be lost and do your best not to lose it.
Girardi and Rivera got beat last night, but that’s going to happen
such a low percentage of the time I’d do it again whenever
the situation presents itself. Screw the save statistic.

Marlins 8, Nationals 2: The return of Strasburg does not go well (4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER). Rust? Adrenaline? Some residual shoulder wonkiness? The fact that, for the first time, he faced a team who has seen his jazz before?  I vote for a little bit of each of those things.

Mets 1, Rockies 0: If you had “Mike Pelfrey will outduel Ubaldo Jimenez” in the pool, please proceed to the cashier’s cage and collect your winnings. Both starters were pretty fabulous, actually, but the Mets managed to string a walk, a double and a sacrifice off Jimenez in the seventh.

Dodgers 15, Phillies 9: Kyle Kendrick got beat around for three and a third innings and then he graciously allowed the bullpen to get beat around for five and two-thirds. Andre Ethier reached base six times and scored four times. Ross Gload had two two-run homers for the Phillies. Domonic Brown hit his first major league bomb. Just a hell of a lot going on in this game. Most of it bad for Philly, though.

Orioles 14, Indians 8: This is the American League version of the
Phillies-Dodgers games, except done with suckier teams. Showalter’s O’s
are now 7-1.

Diamondbacks 2, Brewers 1: A Miguel Montero homer puts Arizona ahead for good in the eighth. Sadly, however, the closeness of this game prevented Adam LaRoche from pitching.

Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 5: Mike Lowell homered in the eighth to break a 5-5 tie and Jed Lowrie hit an RBI double for insurance. In other news, with Lowell and Lowrie leading the charge it must be 2008.

Rays 8, Tigers 0: Things we know: (1) Jeremy Hellickson is a stud (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 7K); (2) The Detroit Tigers are deader than vaudeville.

Cubs 8, Giants 6: Who was that man wearing the number 55 Giants jersey and what has he done with Tim Lincecum? Because I know damn well that the real Tim Lincecum wouldn’t give up six runs on eight hits in four innings to a team like the Cubs. That just doesn’t happen.

Padres 4, Pirates 1: Ryan Ludwick hit two homers, one of which was his 100th home run. And you know what? He didn’t need a ridiculous propaganda piece in a national newspaper to make a note of it.

Mariners 2, Athletics 0: King Felix struck out 13 and shutout the A’s over eight innings. He basically had to, as Brett Anderson was pretty sharp himself (7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 7K).

Angels 3, Royals 1: Dan Haren gets his first win since the trade that sent him to Anaheim. Peter Bourjos drove in the go-ahead run with a suicide squeeze. Those are always fun. Scioscia has a lot of confidence in the rookie, I presume.

Jacob deGrom open to extension with Mets

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom talks during media day for the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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The Mets are currently enjoying the spoils of the best young rotation in the game, but the big question is whether this is just a brief window or the start of sustained success. Given the huge prices on the free agent market, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep the band together, but at least one member of the rotation is open to sticking around for the long-term.

While there haven’t been any talks yet, All-Star right-hander Jacob deGrom told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he could see himself discussing an extension with the Mets.

“I’m a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that,’’ deGrom told The Post at Mets pre-camp. “You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It’s something I’d have to look into and make sure I agree with it.’’

It makes sense from deGrom’s perspective. He broke into the majors later than most prospects, so he’ll be 28 this June. Depending on whether he qualifies as a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after either 2016 or 2017. Either way, he’s under team control through 2020, which means that he’s currently on track to hit free agency after his age-32 season. The market might not be kind to him even if he manages to stay healthy, so it could behoove him to get as much guaranteed money as possible right now. The Mets could always decide to play things year-to-year, but perhaps deGrom would be willing to settle for a discount in order to get them to buy out a free agent year or two. It’s a really interesting situation to think about, but odds are the two sides will wait on contract talks until he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time.

DeGrom owns a 2.61 ERA in 52 starts over his first two seasons in the majors. Among starters, only Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw have a lower ERA since the start of 2014.

Royals, Mike Moustakas avoid arbitration with two-year deal

Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas celebrates after hitting an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Seriesagainst the Toronto Blue Jays  on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $14.3 million deal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The deal, which was initially discussed last month, buys out Moustakas’ final two years of arbitration. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports that it’s believed he’ll make $5.6 million in 2016 and $8.7 million in 2017.

The 27-year-old Moustakas posted an underwhelming .668 OPS over his first four seasons in the majors, but he enjoyed a big postseason in 2014 before breaking out last season by batting .284/.348/.470 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI.

Report: Rays having “advanced talks” with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter

Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Tommy Hunter throws to the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Miami, Friday, May 22, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.

Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.

Pirates sign left-hander Cory Luebke

Cory Luebke Getty
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.

It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.