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.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.