Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox

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.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.