Jonathan Papelbon

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 2, Phillies 1: A few days ago Jonathan Papelbon watched his team lose another game and said “I definitely didn’t come here for this.” Well, they didn’t show up at the ballpark yesterday expecting Papelbon to give up four singles and blow the lead. Again. Cole Hamels’ eight shutout innings were for naught and the Phillies continue to sink.

Rangers 7, Diamondbacks 1: Yu Darvish was not messing around. He struck out 14 in seven innings — and 10 of the first 13 batters he faced — while shutting out the snakes and allowing only five hits. He has 10 games of double digit strikeouts this season.

Cardinals 13, Pirates 0: Well, I suppose five-game sweeps are hard to come by. The Cardinals scored a baker’s dozen without the aid of a homer. Just a big conga line around the base paths, chasing Charlie Morton and pounding Jeanmar Gomez. Pittsburgh still has the division lead, but the Cards head on to Cincy with at least a bit of pride restored.

Orioles 6, Astros 3: Bud Norris just got traded away from Houston on Wednesday and here he is beating them on Thursday. What a fine how-do-you-do. Chris Davis homered again. “Glad to see he’s back on the ‘roids after a few days off,” said half of the Internet.

Marlins 3, Mets 0: Tom Koehler is not as famous as Matt Harvey but he was better than him on this day. Six shutout innings for the Marlins’ starter. All three of the Marlins runs came in the sixth off a clearly tiring Harvey. Miami has taken 10 of 15 from New York this season.

Indians 6, White Sox 1: Two homers for Ryan Raburn and a continuation of the Tribe’s surge. I called them as a surprise wild card contender before the season began. I had no idea that they’d hang this close to the Tigers into August. After the Marlins this weekend they get four against the Tigers at home. This is gonna be good.

Royals 7, Twins 2: The Royals are just as hot as the Indians, if not hotter. But they’re not gaining ground given how good both Cleveland and Detroit are doing. Still, this is giving hope to Royals fans. Royals fans have had hope before. For the past 25 years or so it’s always been dashed. But I suppose it’s better than nothing. Well, at least if you’re not a big Shawshank fan, then you may disagree.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 7: Whoa. Just your everyday six-run bottom of the ninth to give the home team the win when they started the frame down 7-2. Tom Wilhelmsen and Oliver Perez provided the kerosene and match, respectively. They had better sleep with one eye open for the next few nights as Felix Hernandez — whose one-run in seven innings performance was wasted — would probably like to kill everyone in Seattle’s bullpen these days.

Braves 11, Rockies 2: Well, Atlanta didn’t put up a six-spot in any inning for the first time this series, but they still beat the tar out of the Rockies. Really, this may have  been the biggest beatdown in any series by any team in the majors this year. Colorado was outscored 40-13 in the four-game set. Two homers for Justin Upton. Eleven strikeouts for Julio Teheran.

Dodgers 6, Cubs 4: Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo each homered twice for the Cubs, but they only had five hits in all and that’s just not enough. Yasiel Puig hit a two-run shot in the ninth. The Dodgers had to be tired as they didn’t get to their hotel in Chicago until 7:30 yesterday morning, but I guess beating the Cubs doesn’t require full energy these days.

Angels 8, Blue Jays 2: Bet a lot of people thought this would be an ALCS matchup. Oh well. The Angels had a four-run first inning, fueled by a Mark Trumbo homer. J.B. Shuck drove in three. On the bright side for Toronto, the loser of this series gets The 2013 Under Achiever Award, so they’re in the lead now. Wondering what that award looks like. Maybe a trophy with a little Christian Slater figurine on top?

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.