Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 4, Marlins 3: The Braves clinch a playoff berth on a Freddie Freeman walkoff jack. It only guarantees them a slot in the one-game gimmicky thing next Friday, but that beats the hell out of last September. The only thing that would have made this better is if Heath Bell, as the the Marlins walked to the clubhouse, went up to Ozzie Guillen and told him that he wouldn’t have blown the save if Ozzie wasn’t such a jerk and kept him from closing.

Tigers 3, Royals 0: Anibal Sanchez comes up big, tossing a three-hit, ten-strikeout shutout, and the Tigers take advantage of an earlier White Sox loss for the first time in what seems like forever. Things are all tied up in the AL Central.

Indians 4, White Sox 3: Tied up because the Sox’ 9th inning rally off Chris Perez, though quite promising for a while, fell short. Russ Canzler had a big day. Meaningless but fun: Canzler has played two games against Chicago this year and he is 4 for 8 with two homers and a double and three driven in.

Phillies 6, Nationals 3: A four game lead with eight to go is pretty safe, but really Washington, you don’t want to be doin’ this. Not that I’m gonna stop you from doin’ this, but dudes, seriously. Not the best night ever for Cole Hamels, but he won his 16th, which sets a new high for him.

Reds 4, Brewers 2: This series could be the Brewers’ Waterloo. And I’m not talking about the one on Highway 89 northeast of Madison.  The loss, combined with the Cardinals win drops them four and a half back in the wild card.

Cardinals 4, Astros 0: About that Cardinals win: Jaime Garcia tossed seven shutout innings. I haven’t checked it, but I bet — win or lose — the Astros have had the most impact on the NL playoff race this year. Be it knocking off the Phillies or laying down to the contenders, the Astros have paid a rich and meaningful role in the pennant race.

Blue Jays 4, Orioles 0: Another classic six-pitcher shutout. Viva September. Aaron Laffey led the way with five innings of goose eggs.

Twins 5, Yankees 4: I guess Denard Span wasn’t lying when he told Adam Jones he was trying to help the O’s the best he can. Span drove in two and the Yankees can’t put any more daylight between themselves and the Orioles. The gap remains one and a half.

Angels 5, Mariners 4: Angels pitchers strike out 20 M’s batters — Greinke fanned 13 in five innings himself — and hold on for a 5-4 victory. Justin Smoak had two bombs in a losing effort. Losing team effort, anyway. His effort was smashing, baby.

Rays 5, Red Sox 2: David Price continues to be a beast. He notches his 19th win while striking out 13 Red Sox. Jeff Keppinger’s second inning three-run shot was all the Rays needed.

Pirates 10, Mets 6: At least Pittsburgh managed to avoid being mathematically eliminated for an extra night. Which is something. Approximately 236 players were used in this game.

Rockies 10, Cubs 5:  DJ LeMahieu singled, doubled and tripled but had his shot at the cycle cut short due to rain, as this one was called after six and a half innings. Stinks for him, but ending a late-season Cubs-Rockies game early is a positive in humanitarian terms. Indeed, I view the rain as evidence that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Diamondbacks 7, Giants 2: Paul Goldschmidt homered and drove in five. Tim Lincecum had been on track but then pinches off a Seven run on five hit four inning performance heading into the playoffs. Troublesome.

Padres 2, Giants 1: Edinson Volquez had seven shutout innings as the Dodgers continue to sink.

Athletics 3, Rangers 2: George Kottaras hit a leadoff homer in the 10th inning. He hit it off Mark Lowe who, for reasons which are clear only to Ron Washington, was pitching in a tied game in the 10th inning. This is the sort of magic that folks point to when they say that Washington, however good a manager he is over the long haul, costs his team individual games.

Jacob deGrom open to extension with Mets

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom talks during media day for the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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The Mets are currently enjoying the spoils of the best young rotation in the game, but the big question is whether this is just a brief window or the start of sustained success. Given the huge prices on the free agent market, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep the band together, but at least one member of the rotation is open to sticking around for the long-term.

While there haven’t been any talks yet, All-Star right-hander Jacob deGrom told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he could see himself discussing an extension with the Mets.

“I’m a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that,’’ deGrom told The Post at Mets pre-camp. “You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It’s something I’d have to look into and make sure I agree with it.’’

It makes sense from deGrom’s perspective. He broke into the majors later than most prospects, so he’ll be 28 this June. Depending on whether he qualifies as a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after either 2016 or 2017. Either way, he’s under team control through 2020, which means that he’s currently on track to hit free agency after his age-32 season. The market might not be kind to him even if he manages to stay healthy, so it could behoove him to get as much guaranteed money as possible right now. The Mets could always decide to play things year-to-year, but perhaps deGrom would be willing to settle for a discount in order to get them to buy out a free agent year or two. It’s a really interesting situation to think about, but odds are the two sides will wait on contract talks until he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time.

DeGrom owns a 2.61 ERA in 52 starts over his first two seasons in the majors. Among starters, only Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw have a lower ERA since the start of 2014.

Royals, Mike Moustakas avoid arbitration with two-year deal

Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas celebrates after hitting an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Seriesagainst the Toronto Blue Jays  on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $14.3 million deal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The deal, which was initially discussed last month, buys out Moustakas’ final two years of arbitration. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports that it’s believed he’ll make $5.6 million in 2016 and $8.7 million in 2017.

The 27-year-old Moustakas posted an underwhelming .668 OPS over his first four seasons in the majors, but he enjoyed a big postseason in 2014 before breaking out last season by batting .284/.348/.470 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI.

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

Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Tommy Hunter throws to the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Miami, Friday, May 22, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
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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
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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.