Matt Kemp

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 5, Braves 3: A gut punch of a game for the Braves. Having rallied back against Clayton Kershaw in the 9th — Mattingly, seriously, what was he still doing out there? — and having squandered their own opportunities in extra innings, they watch as Matt Kemp hits his second walkoff homer of the week. Given the way they’ve been going, I want to say that the Braves merely tying it up was the best victory they’ve had all season. Blah. Oh well, at least I got four games of listening to Vin Scully in. Yesterday’s musing about how James Loney and Jamey Carrol basically have the first name but are called something different — concluding with “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” — is the kind of thing no one else on the planet could pull off without being corny, but Scully makes it work. Really, about 60% of his stuff is corny but works fabulously. Even a dreadful game (from my perspective) is enjoyable when he’s talking.

Marlins 9, Pirates 5: Scott Cousins and Brett Hayes combined for seven RBI. In other news, guys named “Scott Cousins” and “Brett Hayes” could easily have been members of a mid-1980s NWA tag team. I picture them working the Mid South region as mild heels but capable of an occasional face turn when pitted against Russians, possibly partnered up with Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a six-man match. After they beat the Russians, though, Cousins and Hayes attack Duggan with folding chairs when they perceive him to take two much credit while holding the mic after the match. This sets off a feud lasting several months. Buddy Landel and Mr. Wrestling II are involved somehow too, but I’m not quite sure where they fit yet. Give me some time on that one.

Cardinals 5, Nationals 0: A two-hit shutout for Kyle Lohse and a homer by Albert Pujols help do in the Nats. True story: I was taping today’s installment of HBT Daily during this game yesterday — yeah, we do Friday’s a day in advance; sue me — and Tiffany and I were talking about Albert Pujols’ slump the very moment he hit his homer.  What a narrative killer.

Reds 7, Diamondbacks 4: The Dbacks were going for the sweep, but Mike Leake and the Reds steal one on getaway day.

White Sox 9, Rays 2: Jeff Niemann has been pretty terrible for the Rays this year. He’s had one good start in five this year and was a disaster in the second half of last season. Omar Vizquel, Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin each had a couple of RBIs.

Twins 3, Orioles 1: A pitchers’ duel with Scott Baker getting the best of Jeremy Guthrie. Jim Thome — who hadn’t had a hit since Sunday — hit a homer and an RBI single.

Mets 9, Astros 1: The Mets bust out the whuppin’ sticks for the first time in a while — it was the most runs they’ve scored in a game since the third day of the season — getting homers from David Wright, Ike Davis and Mike Nickeas of all people. Jason Bay returned and went 1 for 4 and scored a couple of runs.

Royals 3, Indians 2: We learned the other day that Chris Perez comes out to the song “Firestarter.” I guess that since he was on the road last night he didn’t get his song, but at least his pitching matched it in spirit. Called in to lock down a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth, the Royals got three hits off him, with the last one — a two-run Melky Cabrera single  — giving the Royals the walkoff win. Cabrera also gunned down Carlos Santana at the plate in the eighth inning.  Overall: a 2-2 split and a well-played series for the two most surprising teams in baseball.

Phillies 3, Padres 0: Roy Oswalt and three relievers combine to shut out woeful Padres offense. Mat Latos continues to fail to inspire confidence (4.1. IP, 4 H, 3 ER).

Mariners 1, Athletics 0: King Felix makes one lone run stand up, because that what he does. An Adam Kennedy homer plated it. This is what 1968 must have felt like.

Red Sox 4, Angels 2: Josh Beckett and Tyler Chatwood were pretty even in regulation, but an Adrian Gonzalez double and a Jed Lowrie sac fly in the 11th was the difference.  And check this out: some moron decided to throw crumpled up dollar bills at Carl Crawford while he was in the on-deck circle. Nice protest. Those dollars are just going to get picked up by the grounds crew who will give them to Arte Moreno who will then not give them to a worthy free agent next year. Actually, maybe he’ll just give them to Vernon Wells.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.

Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.

Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.