And That Happened: Wednesday’s playoff highlights

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I turned on the Cardinals-Nats game just before 1PM. I had baseball on my television and did not leave the house — heck, didn’t leave my little den here — for the next 12 hours and change. Two walkoffs. It was absolutely glorious. I’m half-tempted to petition Major League Baseball to expand the playoffs even further so we can have even more games packing our October afternoons and evenings.

OK, maybe not. But as the man sang, it was a good day.

Yankees 3, Orioles 2: Raul. Ibanez. What else can you say? All you can do is to grab the New York papers and see which miserable misanthrope columnists decides to turn this into a story about A-Rod sucking instead of a story about a two improbable bombs from an improbable hero. That’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Athletics, Tigers 3: The Tigers took the 3-1 lead into the ninth and faced Jose Valverde. Who had absolutely nothing, and Coco Crisp hit the walkoff single. Mercy, mercy me. Detroit may be bumming at the moment, but they do have Justin Verlander, so it’s not time to jump out of a window yet, Tigers fans.

Cardinals 8, Nationals 0: Like I said yesterday, don’t blame the Strasburg shutdown. The Nats being down 2-1 has been a total team effort.

Giants 8, Reds 3: If I would have told you beforehand that Barry Zito was going to walk three dudes in the first inning and be pulled before the end of three, you would not have predicted a Giants victory. But as everything else that happened yesterday shows us, baseball is freakin’ ridiculous.  A deciding Game 5 today.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.