Aubrey Huff, Orlando Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval, Jeff Keppinger

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 8, Diamondbacks 1: The Giants beat back the charging horde. Three hits and two runs scored for Carlos Beltran, three runs batted in for Orlando Cabrera and a strong six innings for Ryan Vogelsong. Jason Marquis: eh, not quite the game-changing acquisition Kevin Towers may have imagined.

Red Sox 4, Indians 3: Walkoff homer for Jacoby Ellsbury. His second game-winning hit in as many nights.

Mariners 7, Athletics 4: Get the sea-saw Seattle Mariners. Seventeen straight losses not too long ago and now five wins in their last seven. Charlie Furbush allowed one run and two hits while striking out three and not walking anybody. Not a world-beating performance, but it did at least allow me to say “Charlie Furbush.”

Phillies 8, Rockies 6: Ryan Howard drove in four with a homer and a double helping Roy Halladay get his 14th win despite not having his best stuff going.  Six wins in a row for inevitable and irresistible force that is the Philadelphia Phillies.

Brewers 10, Cardinals 5: I touched on this one yesterday. La Russa allowed Edwin Jackson to take just an awful beating. He said that it was because the bullpen needed the rest. Query: what is the point of having a zillion guys in your bullpen like La Russa insists upon if you can’t use the thing every day? Of course, La Russa largely led the charge to eliminate the traditional bullpen roles of “long man” and “mop up man,” each of whom would have been really useful here, so I guess we shouldn’t be shocked.  Three homers for Casey McGehee, by the way. Sorry to slight him here, but I’m still suffering from La Russa derangement syndrome.

Braves 6, Nationals 4: Nice to see that the real Dan Uggla has been returned to the Braves and that impostor Uggla who spent the first three and a half months with the team has been removed. Two-for-four with a big homer as Uggla extends his hitting streak to 25. As for the Nats: I think Chien-Ming Wang may be done. I like the guy, but if you face 23 Braves hitters and fail to strike out a single one, things are bleak. The Braves ain’t picky. Your mama could strike out six Braves hitters on short rest.

Cubs 1, Pirates 0: Matt Garza and Charlie Morton each threw seven shutout innings, but Starlin Castro connected on a solo homer off Chris Resop in the eighth. Oh, and Bob Davidson got all ejecty again in this one, because that’s what he does. Well, that and call an awful, awful strike zone, to the point where the announcers were openly wondering why he was still employed. Six straight losses for the former darlings of the NL Central.

Rays 9, Blue Jays 1: Carlos Villanueva didn’t fool anyone (2.2 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 3 HR). Casey Kotchman, Ben Zobrist and Robinson Chirinos all went deep, and by then things were out of hand.

Tigers 5, Rangers 4: Doug Fister’s Detroit debut worked out quite nicely (7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER). Homers for Ryan Raburn and Alex Avila.

Twins 11, Angels 4; Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young each had two homers. One of Cuddyer’s was a grand slam. This is what happens when a sinkerball — in this case Joel Piniero’s — doensn’t sink.

Padres 3, Dodgers 0: Tim Stauffer shut out the Dodgers for six innings. Homer from Jason Bartlett as the Padres avoid the sweep.

Astros 5, Reds 4: Jordan Lyles finally gets the winless monkey off his back. J.D. Martinez was 3 for 4 with a homer and four RBI.

Royals 6, Orioles 2: Luke Hochevar shut the O’s down into the eighth inning. Billy Butler had a three-run homer in the seventh to give the Royals some insurance.

Yankees 18, White Sox 7: Good for the Yankees — rah rah rah — but seriously: A.J. Burnett was given 13 runs to play with — 13! — and he still couldn’t last the five innings to pick up the win.  All kinds of crooked numbers in the box score. Granderson had five RBI. Jeter went 5-for-6 with two runs batted in.

Marlins vs. Mets: POSTPONED: Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.