St Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1: A must-win for both teams if they wanted to stop the bleeding, but a muster-win for L.A. since they’re behind in the standings. Just didn’t happen, though. Lance Lynn, back in the rotation in a spot start, allowed one run in six innings and struck out seven to give the Cardinals a little breathing room in the wild card race. The Dodgers are now 6-12 since the Mega Hella Trade. Oh, and this happened.

Astros 6, Phillies 4: And the Cards got breathing room, not just over the Dodgers, but over the surging Phillies too, who saw their seven game winning streak come to an end. And this one hurt, as the worst team in the majors rallied for three runs in the eighth. Jed Lowrie hit a two run double to put Houston over.

Orioles 3, Rays 2: The Orioles charmed life continued as they win another one-run game. The Rays cursed life continues as they lose another one-run game. And don’t tell me the O’s are not charmed: Manny Machado’s game winning single came when he swung away on 3-0 at a guy who walked the previous hitter and couldn’t find the zone. Even when they do the wrong thing, good things happen.

Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: Worried about the pitching? Worried about the injured aging stars? No worries! Phil Hughes pitched shutout ball into the eighth and Derek Jeter drove in a run in the seventh. The east remains tied.

Angels 6, Athletics 0: The Angels avoid a sweep behind Jered Weaver, who was most excellent in his return from bicep tendinitis. He allowed just two hits over seven shutout innings while striking out nine. The Angels scored all of their runs in the seventh inning, when Torii Hunter started it with a home run and closed out the scoring with an RBI single.

Blue Jays 8, Mariners 3: The Jays pounded King Felix. Hernandez — in his third straight loss — gave up seven runs on ten hits in four innings. Edwin Encarnacion hit his 40th homer. Johan Santana and Phil Humber feel Felix’s post-no-no funk.

Indians 5, Rangers 4: Adrian Beltre was supposed to be hurt, but he went 2 for 3 and scored twice. ‘Twasn’t enough, however, as Joe Nathan imploded in the ninth, blowing a 4-2 lead by serving up taters to Ezequiel Carrera and Jason Kipnis.

Twins 4, Royals 3: Denard Span doubled in a run to win it in the tenth inning, sending tens of fans home happy. Sal Perez extends his hitting streak to 17 games.

Tigers vs. White Sox: POSTPONED:  The wind begun to rock the grass, With threatening tunes and low, – He flung a menace at the earth, A menace at the sky. The leaves unhooked themselves from trees And started all abroad; The dust did scoop itself like hands And throw away the road.

Angels ink Javy Guerra to minor league deal

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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have agreed to terms on a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Javy Guerra. The deal includes an invitation to major league spring training.

Guerra was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball last July after testing positive for a drug of abuse. That suspension is now over, though Guerra is probably ticketed for the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate to begin the 2016 season.

The 30-year-old made just three major league appearances in 2015 for the White Sox before getting outrighted off Chicago’s 40-man roster. He does own a 2.87 ERA in 150 1/3 career innings, but it has come with bouts of inconsistency and unreliability.

Maybe he can get everything going in the right direction with Anaheim.

Braves sign reliever Carlos Torres

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As first reported by Bill Shanks of Fox Sports 1670, the Braves have signed right-handed reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Torres was waived by the Mets in January, somewhat surprisingly, and elected to become a free agent. The 33-year-old ultimately chose Atlanta, where he should have a good shot at an Opening Day roster out of spring training with the rapidly-rebuilding Braves.

Torres posted an ugly 4.68 ERA in 57 2/3 innings last season for the Mets, but he registered a gorgeous 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts across 97 innings in 2014.

If he gets off to a good start in 2016, he could become valuable trade bait.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.