And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Twins 7, White Sox 6: The Twins jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first, couldn’t hold it and the Sox hung tight with them for most of the game. Then, down a run in the bottom of the 10th, Jim Thome hit a two-run walkoff bomb that in no way made Ozzie Guillen regret the fact that he lobbied hard all winter to be able to avoid having to carry a dedicated DH on his roster, thereby sending Thome in Minnesota’s direction rather than come back to the Sox where he said he wanted to go in the first place.

Rays 10, Rangers 1: We all talked about how this was a division series preview. If so, the Rangers have their backs up against the wall, previewly-speaking.  The AP story said that Matt Garza “scattered five hits over seven innings.”  I’d like to read one that says Rangers pitchers “scattered 15 hits over eight innings.” I mean, the act of scattering is always used to refer to hits that don’t amount to many runs, but there’s nothing inherent in the term that requires it.  The Rangers scattered the hits. The Rays scored following an inordinate amount of them.

Braves 10, Nationals 3: The Braves’ bats snoozed for five innings and then woke up just in time to give Mike Minor some run support after his night was over but while he was still the pitcher of record, thereby handing him his first career win. Martin Prado returned and got three hits. Adam Dunn threw a ball away like a quarterback on the five yard line who couldn’t find an open receiver in the end zone. Melky Cabrera got a clutch hit and made a nice catch in left. It was a really entertaining final few innings if you weren’t a Nats fan.

Phillies 9, Giants 3: Chase Utley returned and put up an 0 for 5, but it didn’t matter because Oswalt was dealing and the rest of the Philly bats broke it open late. The Phillies take a one game lead in the wild card race.

Red Sox 6, Angels 0: Clay Buchholz shuts the Halos down for seven innings and Ryan Kalish hits a grand slam. Darnell McDonald hit a solo homer that crashed through the rear window of a
Toyota parked on the top floor of the garage across Lansdowne Street. While Kalish got more RBIs for his, McDonald received 10 more points for style in the big ledger I keep next to my TV.  Dustin Pedroia returned and went 0 for 4 despite the fact that we were led to believe that there would be laser shows.

Padres 1, Cubs 0: Garland, Adams and Bell combine for the six-hit shutout. Randy Wells deserved a better fate (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER), but we all do, don’t we?

Astros 4, Mets 3: For weeks all we’ve been hearing in the media is constant hype about how Nelson Figueroa was going to get his chance to exact his revenge on the Mets for cutting him. So, like millions of others, I’m happy this is finally behind us. Oh — and I think it was the cutest thing in the world was how that, during the Braves-Nats game, FOX Sports South flashed this score up on the screen along with the Phillies-Giants score in its little “playoff race roundup” feature. It’s as if we can’t tell the Mets that they don’t matter anymore and have to keep up appearances or something.

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2: Three losses in a row for St. Louis, two to the Cubs and this one to the Brewers. I can’t recall a more yo-yoing contender in some time.

Royals 2, Indians 1: The usual power display from Yuniesky Betancourt and Wilson Betemit provide enough to give Zack Greinke the win. The Indians walked seven times. You probably need to score more than once when that happens.

Marlins 6, Pirates 0: Ricky Nolasco did it all. He won his fifth game in six starts, allowing only five singles, no extra base hits and a lone walk to go with nine strikeouts. He also went 2-for-3 and drove in
two runs. No word as to whether he broke out his powerful, paralyzing, perfect pachydermous percussion pitch.

Yankees 6, Tigers 2: Walkin’ five dudes and throwing 114 pitches in five innings is no way to go through life, Justin Verlander. In other news, the Yankees’ success against pitchers they’re facing for the eighth time continues.

Mariners 4, Orioles 0: Matt Tuiasosopo had four RBI and continued his streak of days on which I see his name in print and picture him playing quarterback for the Washington Huskies to about 67.

Dodgers 6, Rockies 0: Clayton Kershaw shuts the Rockies out over seven innings and the pen decides not to blow up this time.

Athletics 6, Blues Jays 2: Some early offense for the A’s, who haven’t had much of it lately. Dallas Braden outpitched Brandon Morrow in a battle of guys who might have been better off long term if they didn’t have that one kickass start this year.

Reds 6, Diamondbacks 2: The Reds open a dreaded west coast swing with a win which bumps their division lead to two games. Given how poorly they usually do out west, they need to give themselves as much of a cushion in Arizona as they can before hitting San Diego, L.A. and San Francisco.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.