And That Happened: Thursday's Scores and Highlights

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Cubs 1, Padres 0: It’s not the end, but it certainly is the beginning of the end for the Padres. They need to sweep the Giants to force a playoff for the NL West. They need to sweep the Giants and hope that the Braves lose 2 of 3 in order to get the Wild Card (or, I guess, take two of three from the Giants and hope the Braves get swept). Given that they can’t score a run to save their damn lives, however, neither scenario seems possible. Close — oh so close — but no cigar, it would seem, for the 2010 San Diego Padres.

Giants 4, Diamondbacks 1: San Francisco clinches no worse than a tie for the West, thanks to a Buster Posey blast. I still think Heyward would be my choice — and I say that objectively, not as a fan boy — but Posey may have won the Rookie of the Year Award for himself with that homer.

Royals 3, Rays 2: There’s a decent chance that this was Zack Greinke’s last start as a Royal. If so, it was a good one (7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 9K).

Cardinals 6, Rockies 1: A four-hitter for Chris Carpenter busts him out of a terrible slump. The Rockies’ season-ending skid has been sad to watch. Maybe not as sad as, oh, Glenn Danzig wearing his own band’s shirt while carrying kitty litter, but pretty sad.

Marlins 11, Pirates 9: The Feesh had a 10-2 lead night to start the seventh inning, thanks in part to Mike Stanton’s five RBI night. The Pirates fought back, with Pedro Alvarez leading the charge with five RBIs of his own. It wasn’t enough, though, as Florida held on.

Rangers 3, Angels 2: Cliff Lee is ready for the playoffs (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 8K). His bullpen may not be — the save, she was blown, giving Lee a no-decision — but this all about tuning up right now for the Rangers. Josh Hamilton is supposed to be back tonight. Whether he can swing a bat is, by far, the most important question facing this team.

Brewers 9, Mets 2: Aw, darn. That loss ensures that the Mets will have a losing season. And here I had such hope.  I am sort of rooting for a Mets sweep of the Nats this weekend, though, because Ken Davidoff of Newsday predicted that they’d go 80-82 this season, and I love it when improbable, shot-in-the-dark predictions like that come true.

Reds 9, Astros 4: Bronson Arroyo wins his 17th as the Reds trounce the Astros. Jonny Gomes, Drew Stubbs and Brandon Phillips all homered. I don’t know if any NL team can beat Philly in the playoffs, but I like the Reds’ chances better than the Braves or the Giants. They have some bats there at least.

Blue Jays 13, Twins 2: A bloodbath for Minnesota, as they gave up two homers to Juan Jose Bautista [sue me, I was sleepy] — one an absolute monster shot — and two more to Edwin Encarnacion. Molina and Snider each had one as well.  Three of them came off Francisco Liriano. I’m not saying it’s time to panic yet, Twins fans, but if you do start panicking, no one is going to think you’re crazy.

White Sox 8, Red Sox 2: Paul Konerko hit a grand slam, spoiling Jon Lester’s shot at 20 wins. At one point, late in the game, the power went out, darkening U.S. Cellular Field. Everyone was calm, though, and eventually the lights came back on. If this had happened in the 70s, there would have been chaos and violence and all manner of mayhem. Man, I miss the 70s.

Athletics 8, Mariners 1: Gio Gonzalez beat the M’s to get his 15th win
of the season. Which, based on my reading of national baseball
commentary, makes him a better pitcher than Felix Hernandez.

Tigers vs. Orioles: Postponed: There is not even silence in the mountains, but a dry, sterile thunder without rain.  Wait, that’s not true. It rained a butt-ton yesterday. Let us go then, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky, for a doubleheader. Till human voices wake us, and we drown. 

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.