New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 5, Tigers 1: If I were to tell you that one of this game’s starting pitchers — Justin Verlander or Phil Hughes — was going to toss a complete game, I’m guessing none of you would have guessed it would be Hughes.  But that he did, allowing one run on four hits. Verlander loses his third in a row. Him pitching lights-out had been the last preseason expectation being met for the Tigers. Now they seem utterly lost.

Mets 6, Cardinals 1: Well, it took them 26 innings of a 27 inning series to actually score a run, but the Cards got on the board in this one at least. But, yeah, just a trainwreck of a weekend for St. Louis. Or, if you prefer, a buzzsaw of a weekend for Mets pitching. I mean, not often that the six innings of ten-strikeout, shutout ball that Jon Niese posted last night would be the third best pitching performance in a given series, but there you are.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1: Quick, what’s this?  Answer: a plot of where the pitches Daniel Bard threw in Toronto yesterday ended up.  The Jays had a 5-0 lead after two innings with Bard having given up only one hit. Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer and was walked to force in a run. But really, I think Bard walked almost everyone in Ontario yesterday, so it’s not like it was that big a deal.

Diamondbacks 6, Padres 0: Trevor Cahill added to the parade of excellent pitching performances yesterday, twirling a six-hit shutout. Paul Goldschmidt homered and ran his hitting streak to 12 games. Note: you can’t really “twirl” many other things than a shutout. And using “ran” as a verb like I did there, while not exclusive to sports streaks, has a very high correlation with them.

Giants 2, Cubs 0: Barry Zito: does he (all together now) finally have it together, or is he merely a barometer of how bad the Cubs are? (8 .1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER).

Braves 3, Nationals 2: Halley’s Comet. The McRib. A Braves victory over the Nationals.  You savor them when the come because they are just so damn rare.

Royals 2, Athletics 0: Oakland was shutout again, this time by former A Vin Mazzaro who, with all due respect, shouldn’t be shutting out anyone for that long.  Of course it was the third time in the past four games the A’s have been blanked, so your Aunt Tilly could probably pitch six innings of shutout ball against them. They’ve lost 10 of 11.

Marlins 5, Phillies 1: Carlos Zambrano gave up one run over seven and two thirds and hit a homer.  Even before the homer, on paper, I think Zambrano was a bigger threat than the Phillies cleanup hitter: Hector Luna.

White Sox 4, Mariners 2: Chris Sale went the distance, allowing two runs against what has, recently anyway, been a pretty potent Mariners attack. He leads the AL with a 2.29 ERA. From the AP gamer: “Kevin Millwood was beset by control problems.” This is not a repeat of, well, most games since 2006 or so.

Rangers 7, Angels 3: the Rangers snap their four-game skid behind a couple RBI a piece from Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus and a decent showing from Matt Harrison.

Pirates 6, Brewers 5: James McDonald continues his fine work, striking out eight in six innings while allowing a single earned run. Brooks Conrad played a little shortstop in this one for Milwaukee. Which is an interesting choice.

Twins 6, Indians 3: Break up the Twinkies! They’ve won five of six. Since their tone-setting sweep of the Tigers, Cleveland is 2-7. So, so much for tone-setting.

Astros 5, Reds 3: Houston wins for the first time in nine tries. Jordan Lyles gave up only two earned runs over seven innings.

Rockies 3, Dodgers 2: Alex White shuts out the Dodgers into the seventh inning before running out of gas, but it was enough to give L.A. its sixth loss in seven games.

Rays 8, Orioles 4: Productive weekend as the Rays put the Orioles in the rear-view mirror in the AL East. It’s been a nice run for the O’s, but it’s probably over.

Yankees in, Red Sox out on Edwin Encarnacion

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler AustinGreg Bird combo in 2017.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.

Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.

Report: The Nationals are still in on Chris Sale and Andrew McCutchen

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 05: Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning on September 5, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.

In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.

According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.

McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.

The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.