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And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cubs 5, Giants 2: Just your standard hit-a-tying-homer-off-the-World-Champs’-closer-in-the-ninth/hit-a-three-run-walkoff-homer-in-the-13th-inning kind of game for the Cubbies. Aramis Ramirez and Geovany Soto did the honors on those homers, respectively. Another in a long series of wasted Matt Cain starts for the Giants.

Tigers 5, Mets 2: Justin Verlander watched the Mets’ blitzkrieg from the dugout on the previous two nights and apparently decided that enough was enough. He has been sharper lately — he only struck out 6 — but he only allowed a run in seven innings. After the game Verlander trotted out the old “good pitching beats good hitting” saw. Which is something that is only said after someone pitches well. Because, by definition, if the hitting wins it wasn’t good pitching.  Think about that for a while and it will blow your friggin’ mind.

Yankees 5, Brewers 0: CC Sabathia was dominant, striking out a career high 13, all of them swinging. Those who watched said that his slider was the best it has ever been. Some days you just wake up with a spring in your step, I guess. Mark Teixeira hit his 300th career homer, and now leads the majors in bombs this year with 25.

Marlins 5, Athletics 4: The Feesh almost frittered away a 5-0 lead when the A’s charged late, but the defenses held. June, mercifully, is over for the Marlins. They finish the month with five wins.

Red Sox 5, Phillies 2: Anyone who had guessed that Jason Varitek was going to hit two homers in this one, raise their hand. Not so fast … everyone. Cole Hamels left early, but it really didn’t matter, because Jon Lester was on point (7 IP, 2H 0 ER). The Sox’ shaky bullpen made it look closer than it ever felt.

White Sox 6, Rockies 4: Colorado blew a 4-1 lead and Juan Pierre hit the go-ahead single in the 10th. Chicago takes two of three from Colorado and now head back to Illinois to face the Cubs.

Pirates 6, Blue Jays 2: Jeff Karstens yields but two runs over seven innings. The Jays, as is their wont, get a couple of runs on dingers, but are unable to string anything else together.

Cardinals 9, Orioles 6: I think I said something about “Lance Berkman not being able to keep this up” during yesterday’s HBT Daily video. The answer, as always, is that I’m a moron. Two homers for Berkman as the Cardinals complete the series sweep of Baltimore. A series they utterly dominated.

Astros 7, Rangers 0: Wandy Rodriguez and three relievers combine for the four-hit shutout. Jason Michaels had a homer and three RBI. The win snaps an eight game home losing streak for Houston.

Diamondbacks name Dan Haren as pitching strategist

PHOENIX - APRIL 05:  Starting pitcher Dan Haren #15 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Diego Padres during the Opening Day major league baseball game at Chase Field on April 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 6-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday afternoon that former major leaguer Dan Haren has been named the organization’s new pitching strategist. The role will include working with the front office, the major league coaching staff, and the analytics department.

Haren, 36, ended his 13-year playing career after the 2015 season. He finished with a 153-131 record and a 3.75 ERA across 2,419 2/3 innings.

Since retiring, Haren has been one of the more enjoyable players to follow on Twitter. He promised to teach his disciples how to tweet as part of his new responsibilities.

Pablo Sandoval is in the best shape of his life

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For a guy who won a World Series MVP Award and has been to a couple of All-Star Games, it’s amazing how many stories have been written about Pablo Sandoval‘s off-the-field exploits compared to his on-the-field exploits. Specifically, stories about his conditioning. Or lack of conditioning. Of him getting into shape, falling out of shape and getting back into shape again. It’s been this way since he emerged as an everyday player in 2009.

And it continues anew:

There is no claim here that Sandoval is, in fact, in The Best Shape of His Life. However, longtime BSOHL fans know that the claim is not about the magic words being used. The idea is that, in the offseason, players with something to prove will routinely make an effort to create the impression that they are a new man. Often it is from claiming that one is in The Best Shape of His Life. Often it comes from surrogates talking about how many pounds of fat one has lost or pounds of pure muscle one has added. Sometimes — as here — it comes in the form of showing post-workout photos.

Whatever the purpose of the photo, Sandoval is certainly looking good compared to where he was last spring:

FORT MYERS, - MARCH 14: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox makes the throw to first on the ground ball from Jason Rogers (not in photo) of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning of the Spring Training Game on March 14, 2016 at Jet Blue Park at Fenway South, Florida. The Pirates defeated the Red Sox 3-1. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Or at the end of the 2015 season:

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 31: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox warms up prior to the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on August 31, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won the game 4-3. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Even if this is part of a plan to get Sandoval some good press heading into the 2017 season, I’m happy to see that he appears to be recovered from shoulder surgery and appears to be taking good care of himself and is thinking about his baseball futrue.

Either way, expect the Panda Weight Watch to continue at Red Sox spring training come February.