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.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.