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


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.

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.

A’s reacquire Jed Lowrie in trade with Astros

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.

Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.

He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.

In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.