Tim Lincecum

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 8, Padres 4: Lincecawesome. I can only say that once a year in ATH or else people start yelling at me, but I figured I’d get it out of the way early. Lincecum struck out 13 dudes in seven innings of work while allowing only three hits. He was buoyed by Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval, each of whom had three hits.  Troubling, however, was Brian Wilson’s first action after coming off the DL. He came in with a seven run lead and the wheels came off. He allowed an infield single, then a walk, then another infield single, compounded by a Miguel Tejada error which allowed two runs to score. Jeremy Affeldt came on and allowed two more of Wilson’s baserunners to score before Ramon Ramirez finally nailed the thing down. Wilson’s line is ugly, but it’s probably Tejada who Giants fans really aren’t liking right now.

White Sox 10, Royals 7:  This was an up-is-down, black-is-white, dogs-and-cats-living-together kind of game. For one thing, Ozzie Guillen ordered an intentional walk of Jeff Francoeur at one point. When I saw that in the box score I had to spin my little “Inception” top to make sure I wasn’t lost in a dream. Then Joakim Soria, one of baseball’s best closers, gave up four runs and the lead in the ninth. Amazingly the Royals found it within themselves to tie it up in the bottom of the ninth, but the Chisox broke through with three in the 12th. I contend that they were still shaken by the Francoeur walk, unable to mount an effective strategy in the face of such chaos.

Indians 8, Red Sox 4: You can be a glass-is-half-empty guy and say that only two teams who have ever started off 0-5 have made the playoffs (the 1974 Pirates and 1995 Reds). Or you can be a half-full guy and say that lots of teams have five game losing streaks at some point in the season and win it all (the 2010 Giants). With this bunch I lean toward the latter. The reason that teams who start off with big losing streaks do poorly is that they are usually poor teams playing to their level. Nothing you say — at least for a few weeks — will convince me that the 2011 Red Sox are a poor team. They’ve just picked a really bad time to have a losing streak, that’s all.

Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 4: According to the game story, before the game Kirk Gibson told his players to “go out and play loose” and to “have fun playing the game.” When they asked Gibson how he said “Well, er … I’m not sure. It never came up in my day. Just pretend you’re angry at everyone and see how that works.” At least that’s what I think he said. The audio went out a bit on the postgame presser so I just filled in the blanks.

Tigers 7, Orioles 3: Five RBI from Alex Avila, solo homers from Miguel Cabrea and Victor Martinez and eight strong innings from Justin Verlander give the Orioles their first loss. Indeed, gave them their first challenge, as this game was the first time they’d trailed anyone so far this season. This line from the AP game story, which by the time you read it will likely have been fixed, made me larf:

Cabrera was credited with a ninth-inning single when his hard grounder became wedged in the webbing of third baseman Mark Reynolds.

Mark Reynolds has webbing?

Rockies 7, Dodgers 5: The game story led with everyone talking about a great Carlos Gonzalez catch. It was pretty good. But am I nuts, or did it look better because Gonzalez started out running laterally toward center rather than back to where the ball was going, thus necessitating the over-the-shoulder grab? I’m trying to make a point to pay more attention to such things this year — I think I’m pretty poor at talking intelligently about defense — but whenever I look at this kind of stuff I feel like I’m being a killjoy. Oh well.

Pirates 3, Cardinals 1: The Pirates take two of three from the Cardinals. After they took two of three from the Cubs. Both series were on the road, and this one sealed the Buccos’ first back-to-back road series victories since 2007.  But more importantly, the Pirates beating the Cards made Tony La Russa nice and testy, causing him to rant and rave at a reporter in the postgame presser and then walk out. There is nothing that tickles me more than knowing that somewhere, for some reason, Tony La Russa is annoyed.

Blue Jays 5, Athletics 3: Travis Snider hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Jesse Litsch pitched six and a third decent innings in his first start since August 1st. No errors for the A’s, but there were a couple of bad defensive plays by Adam LaRoche — filling in for the errorific Kevin Kouzmanoff — and David DeJesus. In other news, since Texas apparently doesn’t plan on losing any games this year, Oakland should probably start worrying soon.

Rangers 7, Mariners 3: Texas does better against the reigning Cy Young winner than they did against the guy making his first-ever major league start the night before. The second night in a row with no homers for Texas — what gives?! — but they strung together enough hits and benefited from enough bad Seattle defense to where they were able to cruise.

Reds 12, Astros 4: The National League’s Rangers. Down 4-0 after one, the Reds scored ten 12 unanswered runs. Well, unmatched runs anyway. I presume they were technically answered by copious amounts of profanity by the Astros, their coaching staff and their fans.  Nelson Figueroa went to a fancy liberal arts college so you figure he’d keep it all on an intellectual level, but given that he was tagged for ten runs on 11 hits, I’d guess he was cursing a blue streak too.

Phillies 10, Mets 7: Philly jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but then Joe Blanton — only an auxiliary member of The Aces Club and one whose application for full membership is in jeopardy after last night — let the Mets tie it up in an ugly fifth inning. The Phillies got to Blaine Boyer immediately thereafter, however, and all was right in the world (anyone: was Blanton booed?). Ryan Howard was 4 for 4 with a homer. Placido Polanco was 3 for 5 with 3 RBI of his own.

Marlins 7, Nationals 4: The Nats blew a 4-0 lead and then sat back as the Marlins added three more. John Buck hit a bases-loaded triple that almost went out for his second grand slam of the year and the Marlins’ bullpen threw four shutout innings. The dominance of the pen is becoming a patten in this series, as the Nats did nothing against them in extended action the night before either. Nats’ reliever Todd Coffey got into a heated argument with plate umpire Todd Tschida and was ejected (though he was already leaving the game). Funny, but I don’t get the same sense of personal satisfaction knowing that Todd Coffey is frustrated that I get when it’s La Russa.

Angels 5, Rays 1: The Rays have scored seven runs in five games. It was a losing effort, but I was really impressed by Jeremy Hellickson, who struck out ten in five and two-thirds.

Brewers 5, Braves 4: Mike Minor was worthy of his name. Or, er, the plural of his name. Dadgummit, I mean that he kind of stunk last night, allowing five runs on seven hits in four and a third. Prince Fielder did most of the damage for the Brewers, singling in three runs. Jason Heyward had a three-run bomb to pull the Braves to within one, but they would pull no closer.

Twins vs. Yankees: POSTPONED:  I usually quote some song or poem with rain in its lyrics when this happens. Here I was going to use “Blame it on the Rain,” but when I thought about the Yankees and blame all I could do was to think about how Joe Girardi can’t manage a bullpen, how Nick Swisher’s lackadaisical attitude costs the team runs and how Rafael Soriano is just the worst kind of person.  At least that’s the word on the street.

Jacob deGrom open to extension with Mets

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom talks during media day for the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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The Mets are currently enjoying the spoils of the best young rotation in the game, but the big question is whether this is just a brief window or the start of sustained success. Given the huge prices on the free agent market, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep the band together, but at least one member of the rotation is open to sticking around for the long-term.

While there haven’t been any talks yet, All-Star right-hander Jacob deGrom told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he could see himself discussing an extension with the Mets.

“I’m a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that,’’ deGrom told The Post at Mets pre-camp. “You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It’s something I’d have to look into and make sure I agree with it.’’

It makes sense from deGrom’s perspective. He broke into the majors later than most prospects, so he’ll be 28 this June. Depending on whether he qualifies as a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after either 2016 or 2017. Either way, he’s under team control through 2020, which means that he’s currently on track to hit free agency after his age-32 season. The market might not be kind to him even if he manages to stay healthy, so it could behoove him to get as much guaranteed money as possible right now. The Mets could always decide to play things year-to-year, but perhaps deGrom would be willing to settle for a discount in order to get them to buy out a free agent year or two. It’s a really interesting situation to think about, but odds are the two sides will wait on contract talks until he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time.

DeGrom owns a 2.61 ERA in 52 starts over his first two seasons in the majors. Among starters, only Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw have a lower ERA since the start of 2014.

Royals, Mike Moustakas avoid arbitration with two-year deal

Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas celebrates after hitting an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Seriesagainst the Toronto Blue Jays  on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $14.3 million deal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The deal, which was initially discussed last month, buys out Moustakas’ final two years of arbitration. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports that it’s believed he’ll make $5.6 million in 2016 and $8.7 million in 2017.

The 27-year-old Moustakas posted an underwhelming .668 OPS over his first four seasons in the majors, but he enjoyed a big postseason in 2014 before breaking out last season by batting .284/.348/.470 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI.

Report: Rays having “advanced talks” with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter

Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Tommy Hunter throws to the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Miami, Friday, May 22, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.

Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.

Pirates sign left-hander Cory Luebke

Cory Luebke Getty
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.

It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.