Alejandro De Aza,

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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All kinds of comebacks on Wednesday. Let’s call it “Comeback Wednesday!” — wait, what? Really? OK, sorry folks. The people in the marketing department said that’s impossibly lame. They’re working on something centering around the idea of “Extreme Comebacks” but they want to focus group it first. We’ll let you know.

White Sox 6, Yankees 5: Alejandro De Aza smacked a game-winning triple in the 12th. Mariano Rivera blew the save in the ninth, the Yankees blew another lead in the 12th and with it they were swept by a White Sox team that came into the series on a ten-game losing jag. This pretty much has to be what rock bottom looks like, right? Oh well, on the bright side Rivera’s blown save was significant: with it he tied Trevor Hoffman on the all-time blown saves list. When you think about it, you gotta be pretty good to blow a lot of saves.

Mets 5, Rockies 0: Matt Harvey shut ’em out on just four hits and 106 pitches, striking out six and walking no one. On the year he’s 9-3 with a 2.09 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 178/29 K/BB ratio in 159 2/3 innings. Tough stuff.

Orioles 10, Padres 3: Chris Davis absolutely crushed a baseball — sending it 453 feet — for his 41st homer during Baltimore’s four-run eighth inning. They tacked on three in the ninth. After the game Bud Black said “[w]e had a little bit of a breakdown in our bullpen.” Gee, ya think?

Reds 6, Athletics 5: Bartolo Colon got roughed up pretty good, surrendering five runs and failing to escape the third inning. After the game he said he had some stomach trouble. That’s no small concern when Colon is involved. A homer and three RBI for Jay Bruce.

Mariners 9, Blue Jays 7: A couple of comebacks. The M’s were down 7-2 when they came to bat in the fourth and were up 9-7 after five. That made for a rough return to action for J.A. Happ who had been out since being struck by a batted ball and suffering a fractured skull back in May. Better a bad comeback from that than no comeback at all.

Tigers 6, Indians 5: It took them 14 innings, but the Tigers continued their mastery of the Tribe and collected their 11th straight win. Eleven of twelve over Cleveland. Miguel Cabrera with a big two-run homer in the eighth and Prince Fielder with the ultimately game-winning two-run double in the 14th.

Braves 6, Nationals 3: That’s thirteen straight wins for Atlanta, as they complete the sweep of the Nats. Justin Upton doubled and homered. After the game Fredi Gonzalez revealed that for every win he has been given some protein drink by Braves players and superstition obligates him to continue drinking it. What is it? He doesn’t know. “They may be giving me poop. I don’t even know what it is,” he said. It’s poop, isn’t it? Tell me it’s poop.

Cubs 5, Phillies 2: Hero of the game, Donnie Murphy, who hit a three-run homer in the ninth to go with an earlier solo shot. He had one the day before too. What the heck, man?

Royals 5, Twins 2: Danny Duffy couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning, but he and five relievers combine for 16 strikeouts of Twins hitters.

Pirates 4, Marlins 2: Charlie Morton started rough but settled down and ended up throwing seven strong innings. He also Helped His Own Cause with an RBI single. The Pirates continue to maintain the best record in baseball.

Red Sox 7, Astros 5: Stephen Drew hit a three-run homer in the ninth to bring the Sox back from behind. A five-run comeback on Tuesday night, a three-run comeback last night. Indeed, it was the sixth time in its last seven wins in which Boston has come from behind.

Rangers 10, Angels 3: And with that, the Rangers are back atop the AL West. Well, tied. One behind in the loss column, but they do have a share of the lead for the first time since July 1. A homer and three RBI for Adrian Beltre.

Dodgers 13, Cardinals 4: All kinds of bad for the Cards as they get their clock cleaned and they lose Shelby Miller after just two pitches. Good news: he says he feels OK and should make his next start. As for the Dodgers, Andre Ethier and Skip Schumaker each had three hits and four RBIs while Carl Crawford had four hits and a walk.

Diamondbacks 9, Rays 8: A double comeback as the snakes found themselves down 3-0 and then 8-7 late. Martin Prado won it, though, with a two run double in the ninth. On the day he was 4 for 4 with a homer and four driven in.

Brewers 6, Giants 1: Marco Estrada was excellent in a spot start, shutting out the Giants for five innings on one hit. This one was 0-0 into the seventh inning before the Giants scored to make it 1-0, so I guess we can say there was a comeback here as well.

Still waiting to hear from the focus group, but I’m really liking the branding opportunities from last night.

Shohei Otani may come to the United States after 2017

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Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?

Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.

It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.

Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.