Justin Upton

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Diamondbacks 3, Giants 2: Justin Upton with the walkoff homer, served up by Santiago Casilla in the 10th. It was Upton’s first game-ending homer ever. He also had a single and a double on the day, but remember, don’t you dare say that he was a triple short of the cycle, because that’s just dumb, man.

Nationals 7, Cardinals 4: Upton wasn’t the only one walking off in the 10th inning:  Danny Espinosa with the three-run walkoff jack. Anyone think St. Louis is gonna look back at this series in September and say “man, how did the Nats give us so much crap?”

Phillies 3, Marlins 0: A three-hitter for Cliff Lee. He also drove in the only run that the Phillies would end up needing. So yeah, I guess he’ll stick at this level.

Braves 9, Mets 8: Atlanta wins on a walkoff balk in the 10th. Sad: the Braves still have a celebration at the plate as if it were a bases loaded double. Sadder still: that, given how crappy their offense has been, the celebration was sorta justified.

Cubs 12, Brewers 7: Fukodome had a huge day and Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Pena also went deep. Which is sort of like what most Cubs games would have been like if all of the huge money gambles on veterans Jim Hendry has made over the years had always paid off on the upside. A train wreck of a day for Zack Greinke (5.1 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 6 ER, 10K).

Athletics 8, Royals 4: This has nothing to do with this game, but APBA Guy will be along in the comments soon to recap it better than me anyway:  a shallow entertainment gossip website I like to go to sometimes summed up the “Moneyball” trailer that has been floating around thusly: “So this movie tells the story of how the worlds most boring sport added math to create a system that doesn’t work. Holy sh*t, can I go stand in line now?”  I ain’t gonna lie: I lol’d.

Pirates 5, Astros 4: Everyone gets well in Houston. That’s four straight wins for Pittsburgh. A three-run homer for Garrett Jones. Andrew McCutchen’s hitting streak ended in this one despite the fact that he had a single. Weird, I know.

Twins 1, White Sox 0: Combine Mark Buehrle on his game with the White Sox not hitting themselves, and you’re going to get a short game. This one: 2:09, and the Twins on top thanks to eight shutout innings by Nick Blackburn. A Michael Cuddyer homer was the only offensive noise here.

Yankees 3, Rangers 2: The Rangers get swept for the first time all year. The hero of the day for New York: Brian Gordon, a 32-year-old who, until a couple of days ago, was in the Phillies organization and who was making just his fourth ever major league appearance. The previous three were for Texas back in 2008, but in this one he gave the Yankees a solid spot start, allowing two runs in five and a third. Nice story. Too bad it will be beat into the ground today by the overzealous New York press like it’s their very own Jim Morris thing, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a nice story.

Tigers 6, Indians 2: Detroit takes two of three from the Indians, have won 13 of 18 total, and now have first place to themselves. Jim Leyland: “We’ve got a little something going, but it’s such a long grind. I don’t get carried away.”  Actually, he gets carried away a lot, but he’s just deciding not to in this instance, which is kind of cute.

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 3: Jeremy Guthrie pitched well but strained his back, left early and got a no-decision, so that’s kind of a bummer.

Red Sox 4, Rays 2: Eleven wins in twelve games. A road trip on which they go 8-1.  The Red Sox are in juggernaut territory.

And now a brief programming note: Beyond the recaps I won’t be blogging today (my HBT companions will be, of course).  Why am I out?  Because the missus and I are taking a three-day romantic getaway. Where? Bourbon country. And yes, the bourbon is the object of the romance and the entire point of the trip. Take that, wine country fancy pantses.

Do what you love in life, people. It’s the key to happiness.

See you Monday.

Brett Lawrie will take a pay cut to avoid arbitration with White Sox

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 12: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox fields a ground ball during batting practice before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 12, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.

The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.

Cubs sign LHP Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Duensing #50 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the eleventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.