New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Just gonna warn you: this was written as cold medicine was taking effect, with wine — ill advised, I know — and while listening to the new xx album. Lots of heavy stuff here, not best for reason or, for that matter, the reading of box scores.  But we’ll soldier through because this is the Internet and the Internet is serious business, folks:

Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: I guess if everything else has gone wrong you can still make yourself feel better by playing spoiler. Jacoby Ellsbury with four hits including the walkoff single. On his birthday no less. David Robertson: seventh loss in relief this year. Remember back when we thought Mariano Rivera wasn’t actually missed all that much? Yeah, that was hilarious.

Orioles 9, Rays 2: J.J. Hardy homered twice — he had four hits in all — and the O’s are back tied for first place in the wild wild east. Unfortunately, they lost starter Jason Hammel to what appears to be a recurrence of the same knee injury that cost him July and August.

Nationals 5, Mets 3: Bryce Harper had four hits. This new xx album, though it sounds completely different, does put me in the same mood as the soundtrack to the Wim Wenders film “Until the End of the World,” which is one of my favorite albums of all time. Been listening to it since it came out. A year before Bryce Harper was born. Damn I feel old sometimes.

Reds 5, Pirates 3: Pittsburgh is now 72-69. Jeez. It was bad enough to see them slip out of playoff contention, but it would stink if they can’t even crack .500. Mike Leake did some serious own-cause-helping, with two hits and a run scored on a wild pitch.

Phillies 9, Marlins 7: Speaking of cause-helping, Roy Halladay — who didn’t pitch particularly well — had an RBI single. Jimmy Rollins hit a homer and drove in three. The Phillies are back to .500 for the first time since early June.

Brewers 5, Braves 0: Milwaukee continues to roll — they’re not at .500 for the first time since April — and the Braves continue to have a hell of a time scoring runs. Marco Estrada tied them up here, pitching shutout ball into the seventh.

Astros 1, Cubs 0: Just your everyday six pitcher, six-hit shutout. Unless I’m counting wrong, the Astros used 19 players in this game, thus explaining the three hour and eleven minute run time.

Royals 9, Twins 1: Seven shutout innings for Will Smith. And even with the cold medicine I am refraining from dropping references to the more famous Will Smith. By this, of course, I mean the English cricketer, the opening batsman and right arm off-spin bowler who currently plays for Durham.

Tigers 5, White Sox 3: Doug Fister allowed two runs over seven and the lack of Ryan Raburn correlates with the Tigers actually scoring runs. Hurm. The Tigers are back to within two.

Rangers 6, Indians 4: What a shocker: Adrian Beltre hit a home run. Matt Harrison won his sixteenth. Ubaldo Jimenez, in contrast, lost his 16th, which is the most in the bigs.

Mariners 4, Blue Jays 3: Kyle Seager went 3 for 5 and fell a triple short of the cycle — not that we should care — and Erasmo Ramirez got his first major league win. Franklin Gutierrez made his first error in 301 games. He regrets it, I’m sure, and can give you his complete assurance that his work will be back to normal. He’s still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And he wants to help you.

Padres 6, Cardinals 4: The Cardinals are rolling out the red carpet for the Dodgers and Pirates to waltz back into the second wild card slot, though those two don’t seem intent on walking it. Maybe Milwaukee and Philly will. In any event, the Cards have dropped 10 of 14.  A five run fourth for San Diego helped put the game away.

Diamondbacks 1, Dodgers 0: Ian Kennedy tossed seven and a third shutout innings. And Miguel Montero hit an RBI double. That, combined with this …

Giants 9, Rockies 8: … give the Giants a six game lead with 20 to play, so the NL West is over. This was the best cause-helping game of them all, with Madison Bumgarner hitting a three-run homer to tie it up at four in the fourth. He didn’t pitch worth a damn, but the other seven (seven!) Giants pitchers held the Rockies down long enough for San Francisco to eek it out.

Athletics 6, Angels 5: Anaheim had a comeback win in them, you could just tell. It was 6-3 in the ninth, the Angels plated two and then had runners on the corners with no one out. Out goes Grant Balfour, in comes Jerry Blevins and it’s strikeout, double play, over. All on eight pitches. Not bad.

Report: Rays having “advanced talks” with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.

Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.

Pirates sign left-hander Cory Luebke

Cory Luebke Getty
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.

It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.

White Sox reportedly considering Ian Desmond

Ian Desmond
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
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Many have speculated on a potential match between the White Sox and Ian Desmond this winter, but we haven’t heard much in the way of legitimate interest. That could be changing with spring training right around the corner, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Chicago is among the teams considering the free agent shortstop.

After turning the page on Alexei Ramirez this offseason, the White Sox currently have Tyler Saladino in line to serve as their starting shortstop in 2016. The 26-year-old is considered a strong defender, but he batted .225/.267/.335 with four homers over 254 plate appearances as a rookie in 2015. Desmond is coming off a nightmare of a walk year and has seen his strikeout rate climb by 8.5 percent since 2012, but he possesses more offensive upside and it’s not hard to imagine a bounceback campaign while calling U.S. Cellular Field home.

Similar to fellow free agents Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler, Desmond is attached to draft pick compensation after turning down a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals. It’s a big reason why a potential deal with the Rays is reported to be a “long shot.” Chicago’s No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft is protected, so they would give up their No. 28 overall pick if they sign a qualifying offer free agent like Desmond.

Pirates sign reliever Eric O’Flaherty

Eric O'Flaherty
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Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.

It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.