And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 9, Red Sox 2: And things get closer. Three RBI a piece for B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria and Casey Kotchman. Bad starting pitching, bad middle relief, slumbering bats swung by aching men. In other words, par for the course for Boston.

Phillies 3, Marlins 1Phillies 2, Marlins 1: Kyle Kendrick and five relievers limited the Marlins to one run in the first game. In the nightcap, Cliff Lee was one strike — one measly strike! — short of another shutout, but gave up a game-tying homer to Jose Lopez. Ryan Howard drove in the game-winner in the 10th, however. And please save me the sarcastic “I guess all of Ryan Howard’s RBIs are useless” rebop. He was 0 for his previous 15 going back to Sunday. Yes, the RBI was great. But the 0 for 15 happened too. You gotta judge it all, not just the good stuff.

Giants 8, Rockies 5: Pablo Sandoval — the only Giant who decided to pack his bat when they came north from Scottsdale this year — hit for the cycle. Here’s video of all four hits.  I gotta tell ya, the triple looks like the product of a conspiracy with Carlos Gonzalez. I’ve seen European soccer players stand more resolutely against contact than Gonzalez did when he fell down.  I’m calling shenanigans. Launch an investigation.

Pirates 6, Dodgers 2: Ross Ohlendorf pitched well and hit a three-run homer. Sad. This is one of the last “he helped his own causes” of the regular season.

Athletics 6, Tigers 1: Finally, Lloyd McClendon can change his underwear. The streak ends at 12. Brandon McCarthy allowed one run over seven.

Nationals 10, Mets 1: Five hits and three batted in for Ian Desmond. A pathetic display for the Mets, who lost their sixth in a row. After which Terry Collins said his team “folded it up.” It’s a charge that seems to have a little weight. They’re just mailing it in and looking forward to tee times two weeks from now.

Royals 7, White Sox 2: Is it misplaced to praise Mark Buehrle for still working fast when he gives up 15 hits?  Yeah. probably is. Still: two hours and thirty-eight minutes. The man is a the model of efficiency. Even when he’s getting beat like a red headed stepchild.

Rangers 7, Indians 4: Alexi Ogando surrendered but two hits in six shutout innings. No one tell him that he probably took the plurality of the vote in the Ugliest Active Player in Baseball poll in yesterday’s Twitter questions post, OK?

Reds 8, Cubs 6: The Cubs tied it up off Francisco Cordero in the ninth, but Jay Bruce won it with the walkoff job in the 11th inning. Reds starter Homer Bailey gave up a couple of homers. He hasn’t done that a lot lately, so he was asked about it: “You come out there and you don’t expect it to be 40 degrees,” Bailey said.  Fine, maybe it was the weather’s fault. But you can totally expect the weather. There are websites and everything that tell you all about it.

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.