And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 11, Reds 4: I’ll take “Improbable scores for an extra-inning game for $200, Alex.” It was already 7-4 in the top of the 10th when Matt Holliday came to the plate but he hit a grand slam off Curtis Partch to truly ice the game. J.J. Hoover was charged with six of the seven runs scored by St. Louis that inning. I wonder if anyone in Cincinnati can think of clever and/or crude ways to describe Hoover’s performance in this one that incorporate his name somehow.

Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4: The Rangers avoid a sweep and move back into first place by a half game. Homers from Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy.

Tigers 4, Indians 1: Jose Alvarez makes his MLB debut in a spot start, allows one run in six innings, gets the W and is sent back down. Such is life when you play for a veteran-laden, first place team. Don Kelly hit a three-run homer to break the 1-1 tie in the sixth.

Marlins 8, Mets 4: The Marlins have 18 wins. Eight of them have come against the Mets. The Mets made news after this one by sending down a few players and calling up a few in their place. Thing is, there are still a bunch of minor leaguers in talent and essence on this club.

Nationals 7, Twins 0; Nationals 5, Twins 4: Jordan Zimmermann tossed seven two-hit shutout innings in game one while Anthony Rendon doubled in two and singled in ones. In the nightcap it was the bullpen that did the heavy lifting as Nathan Karns didn’t have much but the pen held the Twins scoreless for the final six innings.

Red Sox 10, Angels 5: Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit two homers. David Ortiz hit a three-run job. The Sox took two of three, have won six of eight overall and are sitting on top of the AL East by a game and a half.

Brewers 9, Phillies 1: Kyle Lohse was strong and got his first win in eight starts and the Brewers take three of four. But Ryan Braun came out of the game as his thumb continues to bother him, and he’s probably gonna hit the DL soon.

Orioles 10, Rays 7:  Baltimore: unimpressed by Matt Moore. The racked up nine runs on 12 hits off him, with J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Alexi Casilla and Nick Markakis each driving in two. Oh, check out this play by Casilla. That’s some Neo-from-Matrix crap right there.

White Sox 4, Athletics 2: Alex Rios and Tyler Flowers homered as the Sox earn a split against one of the hottest teams around. Sure, it comes after a stretch that put them in last place and gave new meaning to the word “punchless” but it’s at least something.

Cubs 4, Pirates 1: Cody Ransom hit a three-run homer. Which I heard on the radio while riding in a cab in Chicago. Which was kind of cool. I had a pretty sweet weekend up there. I’ll offer a couple of mini ballpark reviews of both Wrigley and U.S. Cellular, each of which I hit on Friday, later today.

Braves 8, Dodgers 1: Two homers for Dan Uggla. Homers have basically been his whole season. He’s on pace for 33 this year. He’s on pace for butt in basically every other offensive category. Yasiel Puig went 3 for 5. He’s 13 for 28 to start his career.

Royals 2, Astros 0: Look at Kansas City, winners of five straight. Sure, those wins came against Houston and Minnesota, but they still count. Luis Mendoza and Lucas Harrell had quite the duel going here, each tossing seven shutout innings. Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer each singled in runs in the eighth.

Rockies 8, Padres 7: The Rockies were down 7-4 entering the bottom of the ninth before rallying off Luke Gregerson.  Dexter Fowler scored the tying run that frame and drove in the winning run in the tenth. Carlos Gonzalez was the man, though, making two fantastic catches and driving in two on a ninth inning double.

Yankees 2, Mariners 1: Story of Felix Hernandez’s life: one runner over seven innings but a no decision because his team’s bats couldn’t do anything. David Phelps held them at bay and then Chris Stewart drove in the go-ahead run on with a ninth inning single.

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 2: Chad Gaudin threw up during the third and sixth innings but only coughed up two runs in the fourth against the Dbacks. Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers probably yelled at their team for not being truly gritty compared to Gaudin after this one.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

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.