And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Cubs 5, Astros 4: The Astros should be bottled like some 19th Century patent medicine, guaranteed to cure all!  They can call it “Dr. Mills’ Blood, Liver and Stomach Invigorational Tincture” or something. Jeff Baker took a swig of it, obviously, and it gave him the gumption and pep to hit the game-winning single in the 10th. Or maybe Hunter Pence forgot to take it, causing bad humours and vexation to build up in his ocular region, this leading to him missing Marlon Byrd’s fly ball, which put Byrd on third base for the waiting Baker.  The Cubs take all three from Houston.

Reds 4, Braves 3: Drew Stubbs: walkoff homer. And for the second time in a week, when the game was on the line, the Braves lost it because Fredi Gonzalez has a pathological aversion to using his best reliever in a tie game on the road.  But hey, at least the feelings of whoever wrote The Book weren’t hurt.

Giants 2, Brewers 1: Madison Bumgarner outduels Yovani Gallardo. Pfun Pfact: I misspell Bumgarner’s and Gallardo’s names 100% of the time I write them, having to go back and change them. Every single time. And half the time I change them to another misspelling.

Yankees 7, Athletics 5: Bartolo Colon had a nice outing, suggesting that the “oh noes, he’s turning back into a pumpkin” fears are either overstated or premature.  Oakland had a chance to tie or win this one in the ninth, loading the bases against Mariano Rivera. The one-out line drive off the bat of David DeJesus found Mark Teixeira’s glove, however, and he turned the double play.

White Sox 4, Indians 2: Ezequiel Carrera woofed a simple Adam Dunn fly ball with two runners on in the sixth, scoring the Sox’ second and third runs of the game. But hey, when you’re a household name like Ezequiel Carrera, you can shake those sorts of things off, secure in the knowledge that you won’t get benched tomorrow or anything.

Diamondbacks 7, Rockies 0:  Justin Upton went 4 for 4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBIs and Micah Owings — really? — threw five shutout innings. He also had an RBI single, natch, because that’s what Micah Owings does.

Pirates 4, Cardinals 3: The Pirates needed this one. And they got the winning run small-ball style, which is about the only style they have at the moment: infield hit, steal of second, advance to third on a throwing error and in to score on a sac fly.

Rays 5, Royals 0: Alex Cobb throws seven shutout innings and three relievers carry the final two.

Red Sox 12, Mariners 8: The Red Sox were none too impressed with Michael Pineda (4.1 IP, 8 H, 7 ER).  Tim Wakefield got beat up too, but he’s been taking punches like that for years, so it was no sweat to him. Fifteen (15) (XV) straight losses for the M’s.

Phillies 5, Padres 3: Five in a row for Philly and seven of nine since the break. They’re just making it look easy.

Marlins 5, Mets 4: A great day for David Wright — homer, double and a single — but Bobby Parnell went kablooey in the eighth, giving up a Logan Morrison homer and a John Buck RBI double.

Angels 9, Orioles 3: The Angels put up a five-spot in the eighth, turning a close one into a not-so-close one, thanks in part to Mike Trout and Torii Hunter homers. Trout’s first one, by the way.

Dodgers 3, Nationals 1: Chad Billingsley struck out 10 over seven innings. The Nats have dropped six of nine since the break.

Blue Jays 4, Rangers 0: Brett Cecil threw a four-hit shutout against the Rangers in Arlington? All singles? Only one runner reaches second base? That’s pretty cool.

 

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.