Luke Gregerson

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 6, Padres 2: Aaron Harang has now shut out the opposition for two straight starts totaling 13 innings, and each time the Padres have lost. I imagine there have been some “I’m just trying to give my team a chance to win” quotes in there someplace, but it’s too depressing to look for ’em.  Aubrey Huff homered to tie it at one in the ninth inning and then the Giants erupted for five runs in the top of the 12th, including an RBI infield single from Huff. But hey, at least the Padres looked good in their mustard and brown throwbacks.

Marlins 6, Cubs 3: Carlos Marmol came in to close out a 2-0 lead in the ninth and was rocked for five runs. He did it by walking the bases loaded — he threw only one strike to those three hitters — and then giving up a bases-clearing double (though an error helped). He walked another guy before getting yanked.  Oy.

Rangers 5, Mariners 0: Derek Holland with the five-hit shutout. That’s eight straight wins for Texas, though you’d be forgiven for forgetting that what with the eighteen months off we’ve had due to the All-Star Break.  At least that’s what it has felt like.

Blue Jays 16, Yankees 7: The Blue Jays scored 16 runs — eight off Bartolo Colon in the first inning — all without the benefit of a homer. Is Colon turning back into a pumpkin?

Twins 8, Royals 4: Plouffe, Young and Mauer combine to lead the offensive charge for Minnesota. In other news, “Plouffe, Young and Mauer” sounds like the name of a mid-sized auditing firm.

Rockies 12, Brewers 3: Ryan Spilborghs had four hits including a homer. Twenty hits in all for Colorado, who made relative short work of Yovani Gallardo. Francisco Rodriguez did not play, which confounded my “shiny new toy” theory of baseball personnel use (i.e. if a manager gets a shiny new toy, he’ll almost always use it the first chance he gets).

Indians 8, Orioles 4: Let no one say the Orioles lost focus during the All-Star break. Nope, they picked up exactly where they left off.

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.