San Diego Padres v Miami Marlins

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 6, Padres 2: An improbable walkoff grand slam from Jeff Mathis caps an improbable winning month from the Miami Marlins. 15-10 in June for the worst team in baseball. Not bad. Oh, and Mathis’ homer was the 3,000th in team history.

Pirates 2, Brewers 1: A 14th inning walkoff win for the hottest and — at least by record — best team in baseball. Nine in a row for the pirates who, at the season’s halfway point, are 51-30. Six Pirates relievers combined for 11 scoreless innings, including five from Vin Mazzaro. The Pirates bullpen calls itself “the Shark Tank,” by the way. Which in addition to violating the rules of nicknames — thou shalt not five thyself a nickname — is going to be really insufferable if and when Tim McCarver is talking about it in October. He’s gonna draw out his pronunciation of “Shaaark Tank,” an then hit the meaning of that moniker — dropping teeth and fin and “Jaws” and “smells blood in the water” references — like a boot stamping on a human face forever.

Indians 4, White Sox 0: Justin Masterson? More like Justin Masterful, amirite? Eh, sorry. (CG SHO 1 BB, 8K). The Indians sweep the Chisox and are now tied for first place in the AL Central because …

Rays 3, Tigers 1: … Jeremy Hellickson shuts down the Tigers for his fifth win in the month of June. Rick Porcello hit Ben Zobrist early, likely in retaliation for the inside pitch from Fernando Rodney to Miguel Cabrera the day before which the Tigers seemed unreasonably bent-out-of-shape about. After that, though, no fisticuffsmanship or anything like that.

Nationals 13, Mets 2: The Nationals were less than impressed with Zack Wheeler. Ian Desmond and Kurt Suzuki each drove in three while Gio Gonzalez tossed seven shutout innings.

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4: Josh Thole playing first base in the ninth inning of a tie game is what can be referred to as a sub-optimal situation. He muffed Shane Victorino’s grounder which allowed the winning run to score. They took three of four from Toronto, whose momentum from that winning streak which ended last week seems to have evaporated.

Braves 6, Diamondbacks 2: Atlanta sweeps Arizona, completing the season series between them and taking five of six from the GrittyBacks. Freddie Freeman, Dan Uggla and Brian McCann each homered.

Royals 9, Twins 8: David Lough homered and hit three doubles. The Royals have a losing record on the season, but are .500 after DFAing Jeff Francoeur. Coincidence?

Dodgers 6, Phillies 1: Yasiel Puig’s Ridiculousness Tour continues. He went 4 for 5, scored twice and is now hitting .436/.467/.713 in 101 at bats. Seven shutout innings for Stephen Fife. The Dodgers may be in last place but they’re only four back in an otherwise weak division following a 15-13 month of June.

Angels 3, Astros 1: The other presumably dead L.A. team is showing itself to only have been mostly dead as well. The Angels win their sixth straight behind a strong outing from C.J. Wilson. Josh Hamilton doubled in a run and scored on an error on the same play. Kind of like a little league home run, that, as he reached third on the throw home and then scored on a throwing error. The Angels are still nine back because their division is tougher than the Dodgers, but you can’t count them out yet.

Rangers 3, Reds 2: Yu Darvish struck out eight in six and two-thirds scoreless innings. The rare two-run squeeze bunt for the Rangers in this one.

Giants 5, Rockies 2: Michael Cuddyer extends his hitting streak to 27 games, but it wasn’t enough as Madison Bumgarner allowed just one run in seven innings. Homers from Buster Posey and Hunter Pence.

Athletics 7, Cardinals 5: Josh Donaldson homered and reached base four times. The A’s third baseman is hitting .316/.384/.525 on the year with 13 homers and 53 RBI and bet most fans couldn’t pick him out of a lineup.

Cubs 7, Mariners 6: The Cubs went up 7-1 by the fourth inning and then held on. After the game starting pitcher Edwin Jackson said “An ugly win is better than a pretty loss any day.” Given his style of pitching over the years he’d definitely be the expert there. Jeremy Bonderman’s little renaissance was interrupted with a six-run, three and a third inning outing.

Orioles 4, Yankees 2: Chris Davis homered — his 3rd of the series and 31st on the year — and Manny Machado added a dinger of his own as the O’s sweep the reeling Yankees. It was Baltimore’s first sweep of the Yankees in a three-game series in eight years.

Blue Jays will have a closer competition this spring

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Roberto Osuna became the youngest pitcher to ever play for the Blue Jays last season at age 20 and he rose to the challenge with a 2.58 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 75/16 K/BB ratio in 69 2/3 frames. Osuna eventually took over as Toronto’s closer, earning 20 regular-season saves and one in the American League Division Series — a five-out effort in Game 5 to close out the visiting Rangers.

But the Jays upgraded the back end of their bullpen this winter, acquiring Drew Storen from the Nationals in early January for speedy outfielder Ben Revere. Jesse Chavez was also brought to Toronto in a trade with the A’s.

Storen has more experience at closer than Osuna, and Storen struggled when the Nationals tried to put him in a setup role. Storen, in his final year of salary arbitration, also gets paid much more. He’s probably going to enter spring training as the favorite for the Jays’ ninth-inning gig, but there will be a competition …

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect the team to choose between Osuna or Storen until midway through spring training, if not later.

There’s been talk of making Osuna a starter, so add that wrinkle.

Storen, 28, boasts 95 career major league saves.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.