And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 8, Cardinals 6:  Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, the Mets saved the Braves’ bacon, at least for another day. The Cards had a 6-1 lead after seven, but the bullpen — obviously channeling April — blew it. Or La Russa blew it with the parade of relievers and intentional walks to load the bases and all of that kind of nonsense. Whatever the case, a six-run ninth against a Mets team that looked to be mailing in this getaway day game for the first several innings is inexcusable. If the Cards fall a game short of the wild card, this will the game they look at and wonder how in the frak they let it get away.

Rays 15, Yankees 8: The Rays shave a half game off Boston’s lead by pounding New York. Matt Moore: money. He struck out 11 in 5 innings in his first big league start. I have no idea if Tampa Bay will catch Boston, but I know that they’re gonna be good for a long time after this year.

Blue Jays 4, Angels 3: The Angels, alas, do not make up that half game. Walkoff shot for Edwin Encarnacion in the 12th. Check out the home run call. Pretty fantastic stuff.

Nationals 6, Phillies 1: Look: the 2010 Phillies were pretty dominant in September and they lost in the NLCS, so it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. But dudes, seriously. When something called a “Brad Peacock” shuts you down for nearly six innings you have to take a look in the mirror. A sweep by the Nats, who now look to kill the Braves’ season this weekend. Six straight south for the Phillies.

Orioles 6, Tigers 5: The O’s have won eight of ten. Yes, last year taught us not to draw too much from what happens after the meaningful baseball games end, but it’s been nice to see Baltimore play like they mean it these past couple of weeks.

Indians 11, White Sox 2: Asdrubal Cabrera drove in five. Tribe starter Jeanmar Gomez won his fifth straight since being recalled from Columbus. Speaking of guys going up to Cleveland from Columbus, I’ll be at the Indians-Twins game tonight, sitting in the Tribe Social Suite with other bloggery types. I mean look: when you can drive 130 miles to see the 2011 Minnesota Twins play, that’s just something you do.

Twins 3, Mariners 2: Oh, maybe I shouldn’t hate on the Twins too much. They’ll be heading in to Cleveland on a winning streak. A one-game winning streak after dropping 11 straight. Rene Tosoni hit an RBI double with two outs in the ninth to win it.  No, I have no idea who Rene Tosoni is. If you would have asked me before I read the box score I would have assumed that he was a composer. Light opera. Maybe got into some television scoring in the early 50s before he died.

Athletics 4, Rangers 3: Oakland avoids the sweep behind a bullet-dodging start from Trevor Cahill. Ten hits in six and two thirds, but the Rangers weren’t able to string ’em together well enough to do too much damage.

Dodgers 8, Giants 2: Matt Kemp: 4 for 5 with a two-run homer and three doubles. M-V-P! M-V-P!

Astros 9, Rockies 6: Four RBI for Carlos Lee, three for Matt Downs.  Alex White gave up five runs in four and two-thirds innings, hitting two batters and throwing two wild pitches. But hey, at least he’s not in Ohio.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.