And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Padres 8, Giants 2: So much for Jonathan Sanchez’s big prediction. The Padres take two of three from San Francisco and run their lead to 3.5 games. Another distressingly bad start from Tim Lincecum (3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER). The scary question of the day: is he just lost, or is he attempting to pitch through an injury?

Twins 4, Athletics 2: David Pinto at Baseball Musings coined the term “short shutout” for a pitcher who didn’t go the distance but who didn’t allow any runs. I guess Kevin Slowey gets a “short no-hitter,” then, after being pulled following seven innings of no-hit ball. The fans booed Ron Gardenhire when he pulled Slowey. Gardenhire: “I’d boo me too.”  But he made the right call.

Reds 2, Marlins 0: Homer Bailey with six shutout innings, but the star
of this game was Reds’ radio color man Jeff Brantley who, during the
broadcast, was asked by a listener if he preferred Texas, Carolina, or
Kansas City barbecue. I was on the road and missed it, but my good
friend and former co-worker Mark was listening and he gives us a very
close-to-verbatim transcript:

“Debate?  The debate is I like all of them.  How bout that.  The thing
that you have to realize is that if you’re from Texas, or Kansas City,
or Carolina, well, obviously you think your barbecue is the best.  If
you are a barbecue connoisseur as I claim to be and I know that I am,
they’re all good.  That’s why you have different types of barbecue – so
you don’t have to eat the same thing every day.  Monday you’ll have
Kansas City, Tuesday you’ll have Carolina, Wednesday you’ll have Texas. 
Then you go from those three days of ribs into the Boston Butt and into
the pulled pork.  Then you spend the weekend with the roasted chicken.”

Jeff Brantley really brings the game to life.

Royals 1, Yankees 0: Brian Bullington, bitches, you better aks someone (8 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 5K).

Braves
13, Dodgers 1
: No Chipper? No Heyward? No problem. Now, if Rick Ankiel
will just walk twice a game and if Alex Gonzalez will just drive in four every
day, the Bravos will be sitting pretty. OK, that’s jocularity. The
reality: for all the hand wringing over the injuries and the concerns
over people going cold in the lineup, Atlanta is going to live or die
based on the rotation. They can carry through if Jurrjens, Hanson and
Hudson stay solid. If not, forget it.

Indians 9, Mariners 1: Improbable: Travis Hafner comes off the DL to hit a grand slam off King Felix. More improbable: Hernandez gave up six runs, but none of them were earned. Even more improbable: Justin Masterson gave up only one hit, but walked six dudes and threw six shutout innings.

Rays 3, Orioles 2: I think we can all agree that Jeremy Hellickson is pretty good (6 IP, 3 H 1 ER, 5K). The Rays move on to face the Rangers now, which should be fun.

Tigers 13, White Sox 8: Chicago came back from being down 5-1 to take the lead and then the Tigers stepped on the accelerator. The Chisox are spinning out of control.

Nationals 5, Diamondbacks 3: A better start than last time for Strasburg (5 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 7K), but a no-decision on the day. The two unearned runs were his fault, by the way, thanks to a throwing error. A bunch of dumbass fans ran onto the field to protest the Arizona immigration law. I don’t care what your issue is. I don’t care if I subscribe to it or not. Don’t interrupt friggin’ baseball games OK? Because if you do, I will totally change my view on one issue, and that’s on whether or not trespassing fans should be tased.

Astros 8, Pirates 2: Seven straight losses for Pittsburgh. Which is good, because I had a September series at PNC in mind for a little road trip, and frankly, I didn’t want to have to fight for tickets.

Cubs 9, Cardinals 7: The Cards follow up the big emotional sweep of the Reds by dropping two of three to the DOA Cubs at home, surrendering the division lead to Cincy. Derrek Lee hit two bombs, giving him four in three games. Too bad the whole “take a couple days off due to bereavement leave and come back and rake” thing isn’t the kind of routine anyone wants to follow.

Rangers 7, Red Sox 3: Texas is now 3-2 in the eight game Yankees-Red Sox-Rays gauntlet through which they’re running. Of course, I don’t suppose it will be 103 degrees in Arlington in October, so we may only be able to learn so much from this test.

Rockies 6, Brewers 5: A walkoff RBI single for Troy Tulowitzki in the latest  act of the “Trevor Hoffman is done” play.

Blue Jays 4, Angels 1: Rickey Romero celebrates his contract extension with a spiffy day on the mound (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER). No homers for Jose Bautistia this series, which is a rarity these days.

Phillies 3, Mets 1: New York scored nine runs during their six game homestand. The only good thing that happened for them was when Angel Pagan thew out Kyle Kendrick out 9-3 on what should have been a single to right. By several steps. And that’s less good than freaky and mercifully game-shortening.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Getty Images
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.