New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey reacts to the crowd after getting his 20th win of the season after the Mets defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in their MLB National League baseball game at CitiField in New York

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 6, Pirates 5: R.A. Dickey wins his 20th, striking out 13 in the process. I don’t care if wins aren’t supposed to matter. It’s cool. He’s old and he struggled for years and he has no freaking ligament in his elbow and he seems like a pretty cool guy and all of that and I am happy as hell that he hit a milestone that, these days, is pretty rare.  Also: that Travis Snider catch in case you missed it. Dear God.

Tigers 5, Royals 4Because of events and things, I am officially no longer allowed to mention the Tigers’ starting pitcher’s name in print again. But suffice it to say, he did well.

Rays 3, White Sox 2: Rays playing spoiler? Bah, they could still make this dance. They have these games against the White Sox and then three against Baltimore. Meanwhile the Sox have lost three straight to fall two games behind the Tigers in the AL Central.  Gettin’ crazy.

Giants 7, Diamondbacks 3: Two run homers for both Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro and another solid start from Barry Zito. It’s the most wins Zito has had in a season since he signed his gigantic deal with the Giants. And the Giants have won ten straight of his starts.

Rockies 7, Cubs 5: Rockies sweep the Cubs behind a lot of hits and homers. I’m sorry, it’s September 28 and it’s really hard to get it up to say anything even quasi-insightful about a Cubs-Rockies series.

Mariners 9, Angels 4: John Jaso hit a two-run homer and an RBI double and the Angels lost a game they needed to win. Which is basically all of them now, of course, but still. Oakland lost and all, and it was a chance to gain some ground.

Rangers 9, Athletics 7: Despite Mike Adams’ best efforts — he gave up three homers in two-thirds of an inning — the Rangers prevail, splitting the series with the A’s. Jumping out to an early 5-0 lead helps matters.

Reds 2, Brewers 1: John Axford couldn’t hold a 1-0 lead in the ninth despite getting the first two outs. That’s not some colossal failure or anything, but dudes, if the bullpen held half of the number of leads a typical bullpen holds throughout the season the Brewers would be playoff bound.

Nationals 7, Phillies 3: Gio gets his 21st win. Two homers for Michael Morse. One for Bryce Harper.

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 0: More like Ivan NoGOOD, am I right? Anyone? Eh, ok. Maybe not (4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER). Brandon Morrow, in contrast, tossed seven shutout innings. Three runs driven in for Edwin Encarnacion. The Yankees lead is back down to 1.

Braves 6, Marlins 2: Miami continues to sleepwalk to the end of the season. Dan Uggla drove in three.

Dodgers 8, Padres 4: L.A. is now three games back of the Cardinals, but as is the case with everyone else in that boat, you basically gotta win every game left and hope the other guys lose every game and that’s just not happening.

Padres played the Dodgers late. I suppose I’ll update this when I wake up, but the world is ceasing to care at this point.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.

The Rays are considering reliever Tyler Clippard

New York Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard throws during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.