Luke Scott, Ryan Roberts

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 5, Blue Jays 4: A battle of reigning Cy Young winners decided by a bases loaded walk to an Obama birther. Good times. I watched most of this one. Price and Dickey were OK, but not great. It was, like, the third straight home Rays game I’ve watched where Dick Vitale was noted in the crowd and discussed by the announcers. Does that happen every time, Rays fans?

Indians 9, Athletics 2: Welcome back Scott Kazmir. This wasn’t his first outing, but he certainly announced his return with authority against Oakland, striking out out ten batters in six innings and showing a velocity we haven’t seen in years.

Yankees 3, Rockies 1: Over two hours worth of rain delays meant that CC Sabathia couldn’t get the win, but he was certainly pitching well enough for it when the game got delayed. Five relievers shut out the Rockies for the remaining five innings.

Nationals 5, Tigers 4: The Nats have won four in a row. Dan Haren dodged a lot of bullets with the Tigers hitting the ball hard early, but they just hit ’em at people. At least until Matt Tuiasosopo hit a pinch-hit three-run homer. After that the bullpen locked it down. Detroit swept Atlanta two weeks ago and now get beat in both games of a two-game series to Washington. I’m going to assume this means the Tigers have money the Nats to win the N.L. East.

Royals 6, Orioles 2: The Royals avoid the sweep behind Jeremy Guthrie. He’s 5-0 with a 2.28 ERA. The Orioles probably wondered if this was the same Guthrie they traded away before last season.

Mets 3, Pirates 2: All Mike Baxter does is win games with late pinch hits. Well, he probably does other stuff, but he’s won games with late pinch hits twice this week. On Tuesday in the 10th inning against the White Sox and again here with a walkoff RBI single. And check out this home run, or at the very least double-robbing catch from Juan Lagares in the ninth.

Twins 5, Red Sox 3: Minnesota takes three of four from the team that had the majors’ best record when the series began. John Lackey’s throwing error on what should have been an inning-ending double play led to four unearned runs by the Twins in the sixth. If I was Lackey after the game I would have said something like “well, my defense really let me down today. Those were unearned runs, man. Not MY fault.” Then sat back in my locker and waited for questions, arms-crossed.

Diamondbacks 2, Phillies 1: Patrick Corbin, best starter most people haven’t heard of yet. He’s 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA and outdueled Cole Hamles here. Four straight wins for Arizona.

Braves 6, Giants 3: A homer and two other hits and three driven in for Brian McCann. Craig Kimbrel with his 100th career save. He’s the second youngest to reach 100. K-Rod was the youngest. Here’s hoping that’s not some sort of omen for Kimbrel.

Angels 6, Astros 5: When a late game of lefty/righty matchups ensured, Bo Porter pulled one reliever for another without the first one ever facing a batter. Which is totally against the rules. Except the umpires didn’t realize it. Mike Scioscia tried his best to inform them of their and Porter’s error, but to no avail. He protested the game but the Angels won anyway. I sorta feel like the Astros should be allowed to do this given all the other problems they have but I suppose rules are rules.

The Orioles signed Rafael Palmeiro’s son

Rafael Palmeiro
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Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.

Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.

As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.

This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”

Diamondbacks, A.J. Pollock avoid arbitration with two-year contract

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock drives in two runs against the Cincinnati Reds during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
AP Photo/Gary Landers
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Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.

Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.

Report: Blue Jays and Josh Donaldson agree to two-year, $29 million extension

Toronto Blue Jays' Josh Donaldson celebrates his two run home run against the Kansas City Royals during the third inning in Game 3 of baseball's American League Championship Series on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015, in Toronto. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.

The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.

Giants and Brandon Belt have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Wednesday

San Francisco Giants'  Brandon Belt reacts after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Jim Joyce to end the top of the first inning against the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game Friday, Sept.. 4, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.

Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.