Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 6, Phillies 2: Pretty good day for me yesterday. I took Mookie and Carlo to an amusement park and the Braves swept the Phillies. All I needed as a nice steak or something to cap the day and it would have been perfection.  Only the Astros, Rockies and Cubs have a bigger division deficit than the Phillies do in all of baseball.

Dodgers 4, Giants 1: Clayton Kershaw tossed a five-hit shutout to help the Dodgers sweep the Giants and now the NL West essentially tied up.  The Dodgers outscored the Giants 19-3 in the series. I gotta tell ya, I was prepared to watch the Dodgers slowly slip away throughout the second half, but they ain’t doin’ it. Looks like we’ll have a nice little race out there.

Reds 7, Rockies 2: Ten in a row for the Reds. They gotta be hoping Joey Votto doesn’t come back at this point, right?  OK, maybe not. But you know some nudnik is gonna suggest that there’s a chemistry problem when he does come back and the Reds actually stop winning every single baseball game.

Mariners 7, Royals 6: Wait, another sweep? This is starting to look like last weekend. King Felix pitched well but got a no-decision because of his pen. Dude just doesn’t know how to win.

Twins 5, Indians 1: How about one more sweep?  Brian Duensing got the spot start to cover for the departed Francisco Liriano. He had no idea. Found out the news from his Twitter followers and then saw it on the team website. Worked out nice for him all the same (6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER)

Cubs 4, Cardinals 2: Anthony Rizzo with the walkoff homer in the tenth, finishing a 3 for 4 day. Walked once too. The dude is hope.

Mets 5, Diamondbacks 1: R.A. Dickey won his 14th game. The Mets split the series, somewhat arresting their precipitous post-break slide.

Rays 2, Angels 0: Zack Greinke made his Angels debut. And, aside from looking weird in that uniform, did OK, allowing two runs in seven innings while punching out eight. But he got no help from the offense while Jeremy Hellickson and three of his mates combined to shut out Anaheim.

Nationals 11, Brewers 10:  Michael Morse hit a game-tying, two-run homer in the ninth inning, then hit a two-run double in the 11th which provided the winning margin. Not bad. Oh, and this was ridiculous.

Orioles 6, Athletics 1Wei-Yin Chen struck out 12 and Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer to help the O’s avoid the sweep.

Astros 9, Pirates 5: Another avoided sweep, as the Astros finally snap their losing streak. Marwin Gonzalez had three hits and drove in three. He had been 0 for his previous 16. Fun Fact: Gonzalez has, at every level of baseball he’s played since he was a teenager, driven in three runs on July 29th. Actually that’s a lie, bus since only like three of you guys pull for the Astros and know who Marwin Gonzalez is I coulda just left that hangin’ out there and none of you would have been able to dispute it.

Tigers 4, Blue Jays 1: Jhonny Peralta homered twice and drove in all four of Detroit’s runs to help the Tigers, you guessed it, avoid a three game sweep.

Marlins 5, Padres 4: Justin Ruggiano hit the game winner in the tenth of what could be Josh Johnson’s last start as a Marlin. If so, somewhat dubious — six walks — but he was effective enough to keep his team in the game.

Red Sox 3, Yankees 2: It’s  Pedro Ciriaco’s world. He’s just letting us live in it for a little while.

Rangers 2, White Sox 0: Eight shutout innings from Scott Feldman. Now four games against the Angels.

Report: Cardinals are scouting Cuban outfielder Luis Robert

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 25: Baseballs sit in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout prior to a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 25, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by David Welker/Getty Images)
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According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.

There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.

Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.

Cubs extend Pedro Strop through 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Pedro Strop #46 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.

Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.

The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.

Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.