And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 3, Tigers 2: Jose Valverde was handed a 2-0 lead in the ninth with a runner on and promptly coughed it up by surrendering a homer to Lorenzo Cain. Phil Coke added his own brand of kerosene to the fire on the 10th as Eric Hosmer singled in the winning run. After the game he was, and I am not making this up, was given a celebratory BBQ sauce shower. Which, on the one hand is kind of fun. On the other hand it suggests that the Royals really don’t know how to handle the rituals of winning. Like, I guess they can ask Miguel Tejada or Jeff Francoeur what they’re supposed to do when they win, but they may not remember.

Angels 9, Orioles 5: Down 4-2 entering the seventh and the Angels put up a six-spot. The six spot was aided by an Erick Aybar bases-loaded triple and an Albert Pujols homer. Chris Davis homered again too, giving him 21 on the year.

Reds 2, Cubs 1: Mike Leake out-dueled Travis Wood. Would really like to see the phrase “out-dueled” expand in use a bit. We could apply it to two people who enter a nearly-full parking lot at the same time. I’m sure there are others. If you have some potential “out-dueled” applications please leave them in the comments.

Padres 5, Braves 3: And the sweep. Edinson Volquez struck out nine in seven innings and Chris Denorfia hit a two-run homer. The Padres have won six of eight. The Braves finish a dismal L.A.-San Diego road trip 2-5.

Pirates 12, Giants 8: Pirates surging, Giants, um, well, there isn’t a word that is both the opposite of and rhymes with surging. Barry Zito got tattooed for eight runs and saw his road ERA balloon to 11.28 (it’s 1.94 in San Francisco). Starling Marte had four hits and scored four runs.

Red Sox 2, Rays 1: We’ve secretly replaced Alfredo Aceves with a pitcher who doesn’t stink. Let’s see if anyone notices! The Red Sox’ complicated swingman allowed one run over six innings. A 2-1 game required 11 pitchers and went nearly three and a half hours. Viva AL East baseball.

Mets 5, Cardinals 1: Dillon Gee had his third straight start in which he only allowed one run. Shelby Miller had his worst start in his young career. Still struck out ten in that worst start. Homers for David Wright, Lucas Duda and Marlon Byrd.

Indians 5, Rangers 2: A home run and three hits overall for Jason Kipnis. Cleveland entered this series on a losing skid but took two of three from the Rangers, who have lost five of seven.

Brewers 10, Marlins 1: Three driven in for Carlos Gomez. Seven shutout innings for Alfredo Figaro. Kind of a quintessential 2013 game for the Marlins.

Twins 4, Phillies 3: You can’t stop Clete Thomas, you can only hope to contain him. The [insert intimidating nickname for Thomas here when we think of one] was 4 for 4 with a couple of RBI doubles as the Phillies dropped their fifth straight.

Nationals 5, Rockies 1: Ross Ohlendorf made his Nats debut and allowed one run over six innings. I got to see him pitch here in Columbus a couple of weeks ago and got a load of his new, old-timey, hands over his head windup. It’s a treat. Enjoy it Nats fans.

Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 2: The day after fisticuffsmanship, the Snakes rattle out 20 hits. They needed all 20, though, as this one went into the 12 inning. The Dbacks have done quite well in extras this year, however. And they’ve taken four straight series from the Dodgers.

Athletics 5, Yankees 2: Two homers for Brandon Moss. The A’s have won ten in a row at home.

Astros 6, Mariners 1: Houston scored all six runs in a ninth inning rally as eight shutout innings from Jeremy Bonderman — Jeremy Bonderman! — go to waste.

Blue Jays vs. White Sox: POSTPONED: I should have guessed that you’d stand me up. Why did I even go, now? And I guess it goes to show the snow may well thaw out, but it goes right down the drain. You left me, You left me, You left me, You left me, You left me standing in the rain.

Evan Longoria: ‘I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base’

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.