New York Mets v Atlanta Braves

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Mets 4, Braves 3: Good news: two solo homers for David Wright and five scoreless innings from the bullpen. Bad news: The reason the pen was needed for five innings is that Jon Neise had to leave the game with shoulder problems. Braves news: ugh, you guys have looked positively crappy of late.

Tigers 4, Red Sox 3: Down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Jhonny Peralta hit a walkoff homer. Tigers players were then dispatched to the Red Sox clubhouse to teach Boston players how to cope with their bullpen failing them, seeing as they have so much experience in that area. It’s kind of like an Alanon mentor thing.

Nationals 5, Rockies 1: Roy Oswalt returns. Roy Oswalt strikes out 11 batters in five innings. Roy Oswalt also gives up four runs on nine hits, including an Ian Desmond homer and a two-run triple to Adam LaRoche. Which I have to go and see video of now, because Adam LaRoche is the slowest dude in baseball. I’m assuming the center fielder was eaten by a lion or a bear or something as he was going to field the ball and the other two outfielders stopped to render assistance, followed by a mourning period. When that was over and they had distributed the center fielder’s belongings to his friends and family and had taken a long road trip to clear their own heads and reflect on the loss of their teammate, one of them probably picked up the ball and threw it to third where they still probably just missed nailing LaRoche.

Pirates 5, Reds 3: A homer, double and single for Pedro Alvarez, who drove in all five Pirates runs. And there was a HBP in this game — Andrew McCutchen hit by Homer Bailey. A batter has been plunked in each of the ten games Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have played.

Twins 8, White Sox 4: The sweep. John Danks gave up four homers as part of a 12-hit, six run outing. Sheesh.

Rangers 4, Athletics 3: The Rangers take three of four from the A’s and pull to within a game in the west. This one ended with Josh Donaldson getting nailed at the plate on what would have been the game-tying run.

Astros 7, Brewers 4: Carlos Pena has been veteran presence, a good mentor and, given his poor .223/.332/.383 line, not much else for the Astros. Last night he provided something else, however, smacking a three-run walkoff homer in the tenth.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 1: Lance Lynn wins his tenth game of the year, allowing one run over six innings. Matt Holliday homered and had an RBI single.

Rays 8, Yankees 3: Two homers for Evan Longoria and three driven in overall to put him above 500 RBI for his career. The Yankees have lost seven of nine.

Padres 6, Dodgers 3: Pedro Ciriaco homered, tripled and drove in three. Yasiel Puig homered again, but at this point I presume he’s always gonna get his and that was more or less the only bright spot for L.A.

Marlins 2, Giants 1: Marcell Ozuna came in as a pinch hitter and smacked a two-run single to bring the Fish back from behind. Tom Koehler got his first career win and was given a beer shower after the game. He said “I smell like a bar … Other than the day I met my wife, this is probably the happiest moment of my life.” So … wedding was third?

Angels 10, Mariners 9: The Mariners jumped out to a 7-0 lead and had Felix Hernandez on the hill. I guess Hernandez doesn’t know what to do with that kind of run support because he ended up surrendering seven runs of his own on 12 hits in five innings as the Angels bullpen allowed only two runs in seven innings of their own after Tommy Hanson got knocked out of the box. Three RBI for Mark Trumbo.

Gerrit Cole set to begin throwing program

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates sits in the dugout in the second inning during the game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on August 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.

The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.

The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.