And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Twins 8, White Sox 5: Juggernaut. Five wins in a row for the Twins and their 11th in 12 games after making short work of the White Sox. Minnesota is 42-16 since the All-Star break. Mark Buehrle after the game: “Obviously they came in and kicked our butt every which way.”

Cardinals 4, Padres 0: There go the Cards, beating a good team again after dropping a bunch of games to bad ones. I can’t remember a team this schizo. This loss, plus the Giants win, drops the Padres behind the Giants in the NL West by a half game. They, San Francisco and Atlanta are all tied up in the loss column, however, so the wild card is a giant cluster right now.

Giants 10, Dodgers 2: This is the win I was talking about. And get this: runs! The Giants hadn’t had a ton of these in recent games. Jonathan Sanchez struck out 12. Ted Lilly had his shortest start of the season, giving up two homers and lasting only three and a third. He is 0-3 in his last four starts and has allowed 19 earned runs and seven HRs over that time.

Diamondbacks 3, Reds 1: A getaway day loss for the Reds, combined with the Cardinals win, drops their lead to seven. The game story is full of Reds players talking about how they don’t need to worry about St. Louis much anymore, don’t need to watch the scoreboard, etc. I guess that’s probably true — the Cardinals don’t seem like a threat — but it seems a few games too early for that kind of talk to me.

Mets 6, Pirates 2: Mike Pelfrey picks up his 15th win. The Mets sweep Pittsburgh. It was their first four game sweep of any team in over four years, which is rather amazing to me.

Indians 3, Angels 2: A Shelley Duncan roller slipped out of Alberto Callaspo’s hands in the bottom of the 11th, allowing him to reach and allowing Trevor Crowe to score from third. Walkoff error, baby.

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.