And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 2, Cardinals 1; Pirates 6, Cardinals 0: First. Place. Pirates. And the best record in baseball. A walkoff in the opener and a beatdown in the nightcap. Six straight losses by the reeling Cardinals, who lost Yadier Molina to the DL on top of it all. And maybe — just maybe — the end to the now-silly “are the Pirates for real?” talk.

Rangers 14, Angels 11: 1998 called and said it wants its final score back. Angels fans called and wants that last pitch from Daniel Stange back. The one he tossed to Leonys Martin, who hit the walkoff three-run homer.

Phillies 7, Giants 3: Philly finally wins a game, breaking their eight-game losing streak. Look for Ruben Amaro to give quotes today about how they are now competitive, followed by long-term contract extensions to Delmon and Michael Young and a trade for Vernon Wells.

Tigers 5, Nationals 1: Alex Avila hit a grand slam. But the biggest hit of the night came from Dave Dombrowski picking up Jose Iglesias as part of the Jake Peavy trade. He’s gonna look awfully good at short for the Tigers. Rick Porcello and Doug Fister may go and pick him up at the airport, actually.

Braves 11, Rockies 3: Two homers for Freddie Freeman as the Braves extend their division lead to a whopping ten games. Note: the Braves have not lost a game since they opened a Waffle House at Turner Field. This is a simple fact.

Dodgers 3, Yankees 2: Mark Ellis with the walkoff single. He’s hitting .415 with a homer and eight RBIs since the break. The Dodgers extended their NL West lead to three and a half games.

Orioles 4, Astros 3: Chris Davis hit his first homer since the All-Star break. If you believe some of my commenters and friends on Twitter, this is clear evidence that he stopped using steroids at the break and began again yesterday afternoon at, oh, 4pm. People are dumb.

Indians 7, White Sox 4: A four-run eighth inning keyed by a Ryan Raburn pinch hit RBI single. The Indians have won nine in a row at home.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 2: Brandon Workman gets his first win, striking out nine in six innings of work, on the night that the Sox pick up Jake Peavy.  Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run homer.

Mets 4, Marlins 2: Zack Wheeler took a no-hitter into the seventh but he allowed the Fish to tie it up that inning. The bullpen held after that, however, and John Buck hit an RBI single in the 10th to win it.

Rays 5, Diamondbacks 2: Fauxsto Caromona pitched a complete game and Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar each drove in a pair. Tampa Bay maintains its half-game lead in the AL East.

Brewers 6, Cubs 5Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Brewers sweep the twin-bill. Glad of that actually. Not for them, really, but that one of the teams won both games. As I’ve been saying for years, there is little more pointless in the world than a split doubleheader between non-contending teams. Inquiring about its significance is like a philosophical question from a depressed philosopher.

Royals 7, Twins 2: Two homers from Mike Moustakas and seven solid innings from the now apparently not-selling Kansas City Royals. Seven back in the Central and five back in the wild card race.

Blue Jays 5, Athletics 0: Mark Buehrle with seven shutout innings, extending his scoreless innings streak to 20.  Jose Bautista and Emilio Bonifacio each homered.

Padres 4, Reds 2: That’s five straight losses for the Reds, who need to get the heck back home. Nick Hundley’s two-run double in the eighth made the difference. Will Venable went 3 for 3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI.

It’s trade deadline day, babies. Keep it locked on HBT and you won’t miss a thing.

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.