And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

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Yankees 9, Tigers 5: The play in this one was defined by the six home
runs that were hit (two by Miguel Cabrera), but the game was defined by
chin music. Or at least leg and back music.  After last night’s hard slide
by Brett Gardner knocked Carlos Guillen out indefinitely, Gardner was
plunked in the first. Warnings issued. Fine. But then Chad Gaudin hit
Cabrera in the eighth. No ejections, though, because umpires have a lot
on their minds and can’t be bothered with remembering warnings they
issued a mere two hours earlier. Leyland got ejected complaining about
that. Then Jeter got one thrown behind his back by Enrique Gonzalez and
both Cano and Teixeira got some inside pitches. Still no ejections.

Depending on how you value inside pitches (does three of them = one
plunking?) the Tigers and Yankees are either even on the Great Manhood Ledger or else the Yankees are up 2-1 (slide into Guillen + Cabrera
plunking vs.the Gardner plunking).  Of course, given that the umps
aren’t going to do anything to anyone over all of this I fully expect the scores to
be settled via someone swinging a pillow case full of soda cans at an opposing player, “Bad Boys”-style. I’ll call it now: Ryan Raburn will play the Sean Penn role and Nick Swisher’s will be Esai Morales.

Twins 7, White Sox 6: Gavin Floyd vs. Francisco Liriano was just the latest cracker jack on-paper pitching matchup that fizzled out when both guys proved mortal. Floyd was mortaler, though, allowing all seven Twins runs on ten hits. Bright side for the Sox: the bullpen didn’t blow this one! The Sox are now five games back.

Braves 3, Nationals 2: Once again Atlanta hitters couldn’t do anything against a Nats’ starter for the first few innings, but once again they came through late. They didn’t come through as big as they did on Tuesday night, though, so this one was tied heading into the bottom of the ninth, when Jason Heyward won it for Atlanta with an RBI single. I haven’t mentioned my man crush on Heyward for some time, but I assure you, it still burns.

Marlins 3, Pirates 2: Josh Johnson goes eight, striking out six and allowing only two runs to snag his first win in six starts. Meanwhile, Dan Uggla continues to chug along in what is turning out to be the best season of his career. He hit another bomb in this one, and now has 28 on the season and a quite spiffy .294/.381/.532 line, all three of which would be career highs if the season ended today.

Red Sox 7, Angels 5: The Sox are now 9-0 against the Angels this year. I guess that atones for the 3-0 sweep in last year’s ALDS, huh?

Phillies 8, Giants 2: Can I go back and re-declare the Giants dead? I won’t claim I was 100% right the first time I did it. I’ll just say that I was ahead of my time.

Padres 5, Cubs 1: A double and a couple of RBI for Matt Stairs who, no matter who he plays for and no matter how he’s doing, always makes me happy. Dude has worked for 12 teams in 18 years. Until this year he’s just about always hit pretty well. He’s never complained or been a problem that I can recall. He’s always just taken his suitcase wherever he was wanted and has done what was asked of him. This is probably his last year. This could have been one of his last starts. Glad to see him going out and gettin’ it.

Mariners 6, Orioles 5: Matt Tuiasosopo homers again. Then he scored on a keeper from the four yard line, putting the Huskies up for good. If they hold on here and then beat the Cougars next week, there’s a potential Sun Bowl birth in it for them.

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2: As Aaron noted, the Brewers were lucky to hold on, but Trevor Hoffman still has enough fumes in the tank to make it a few more miles. Adam Wainwright certainly did enough to win on most days, but the Cards just couldn’t break through against Randy Wolf. Four straight losses for St. Louis.

Royals 9, Indians 7: Cleveland attempted a bit of a late comeback, but it fell short. Let’s face it, though: if you knock 11 hits off Bruce Chen, you should probably win that game. The Tribe, alas, did not.

Athletics 5, Blue Jays 4: Gio Gonzalez was robbed. He gave up only one run on two hits in seven innings, but his pen let him down, allowing Toronto to tie it up in the ninth. In the bottom half the A’s strung together a Steve Tolleson single, a passed ball allowing him to make it to second and then a Cliff Pennington single to knock him in for the game winner.

Rays 8, Rangers 6: As far as playoff previews go, this one was pretty yawn-inducing. Evan Longoria was a stud: his 3 for 4 day, with two doubles, a homer and four RBI led the charge for the Rays.

Mets 3, Astros 2: R.A. Dickey and Brett Myers pitched well, but Dickey ran out of gas in the ninth, allowing the Astros to tie it on a Geoff Blum bomb. The pens each pitched well too, pushing this one into the fourteenth inning when Jose Reyes walked, advanced to second on a sacrifice, stole third and then came in on a sac fly for what what proved to be the winning run. And they say the manufacturing sector is dead in this country.

Reds 11, Diamondbacks 7: Just yesterday I read something about how Arizona’s bullpen had finally settled down a bit under Kirk Gibson’s deft management. Guess they’re still working out the kinks, because Cincy put up eight runs between the eighth and ninth innings, coming back from being down 7-3 to win it going away. The run that put them over the top came on a squeeze play with Jim Edmonds running at third base. I’ll admit it: if I was the Dbacks, I wouldn’t have been expecting that one.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 2: A wild one! Wait, make that a wild three! Octavio Dotel got two strikeouts in the tenth inning, but he allowed Melvin Mora to advance to second on a wild pitch and then come home on a second wild pitch with the winning run. He had a third wild pitch that inning, but it ended up not doing him any additional harm. For what it’s worth, the Dodgers scored their first run of the game on a wild pitch too.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.