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And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 9, Red Sox 6: All of the fireworks. All of the intrigue. All of the A-Rod. But this game really came down to the bullpens. The Yankees’ was fresh and effective, the Red Sox’ wasn’t. Our more thorough write-up can be read here. For now the Red Sox probably need to think less about which rats they want to punish and more about how to get guys out and how to protect a division lead which has been cut in half since Tuesday.

Marlins 6, Giants 5: Hero of the game, Jeff Mathis. He homered and hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth that just eluded Andres Torres’ dive. Worst part: The home run sculpture in the outfield in Miami got jammed and did not go off after Mathis’ home run. Which, jeez, if I had to play for that owner and that team the least I’d want is that sculpture to spin around and fart all over itself.

Tigers 6, Royals 3: Chalk up another win for Max Scherzer — his 18th — and another homer for Miguel Cabrera, his 40th. I’d be rather shocked if this wasn’t your Cy Young -MVP combo in the American League this year. The Tigers won three of five in this rare five-game series and I feel like that’s enough to put any hope of anyone in the AL Central challenging them to rest.

Phillies 3, Dodgers 2: That’s the end of the Dodgers’ ten-game winning streak thanks to not one but two ninth-inning errors from Hanley Ramirez. For the Phillies it was the first win — and first runs scored — of the Ryne Sandberg Administration.

Orioles 7, Rockies 2: Chris Davis went 4 for 5 with a double, a homer and a couple driven in. The homer was his 45th. Adam Jones had three hits including a two-run homer. So weird that last year they needed all the runs but had an awesome bullpen, this year they have been scoring just fine but have needed better relief. Baseball, man. Baseball.

Braves 2, Nationals 1: Julio Teheran tossed six scoreless. The Braves won two of three and now have a 15.5 game lead. All of this stupid beanball crap has reflected poorly on the Braves in my view — and Braves fans booing Harper like they did here is dumb — but it’s not going to amount to the stuff of rivalry until next year, it seems.

Rays 2, Blue Jays 1: Jose Lobaton hit a walk-off home run in the 10th. This goes with his walkoff triple on Friday. Now all he needs is the single and double for the walkoff cycle. That’s a thing, right?

Diamondbacks 4, Pirates 2: Sixteen innings. The Dbacks held the Pirates scoreless in the last 13 of those. Adam Eaton had four hits including the go-ahead double in that final frame. The Pirates dropped two of three — Saturday’s game in ugly fashion allowing 15 runs on 20 hits, this one with no punch at all — and have lost three straight series. Their division lead is down to one game. They need to find a way to stop the bleeding.

White Sox 5, Twins 2: Alexei Ramirez homered and had three RBI. Hector Santiago pitched in and out of trouble but got the win. After the game his manager, Robin Ventura, said it was like a root canal watching him pitch. He really did. Which, well, thanks, skip.

Reds 9, Brewers 1: Homer Bailey allowed one run in eight innings. Not that he needed to be so good, as Wily Peralta fooled no Reds batters and coughed up seven runs on eight hits in four and a third. Ryan Hanigan drove in three.

Mariners 4, Rangers 3: Kyle Seager with a go-ahead double in the ninth on a pitch from Joe Nathan at which he probably had no business swinging. The M’s take two of three from Texas.

Cardinals 6, Cubs 1: Adam Wainwright struck out 11 in seven innings to snag his 14th win. Jon Jay drove in four with a homer and a double. After a rough stretch St. Louis has now won five of seven and are only a game behind the Pirates. Now they get the pleasure of facing the punchless Brewers for three games. After that, though, 17 straight against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.

Astros 7, Angels 5: Matt Dominguez hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Astros take two of three. They took two of three from the A’s before that, so that’s a pretty nice stretch for them. Mike Trout left the game with some hamstring tightness, but he doesn’t think it’s serious.

Padres 4, Mets 3: A walkoff homer for Will Venable to lead off the ninth. He also drove in a run in the fifth. He now has a 15-game hitting streak.

Athletics 7, Indians 3: Chris Young and Alberto Callaspo homered in the fifth inning. Josh Donaldson drove in three. Lots of good defense from the A’s too.  Oakland is now only a half game behind Texas. Cleveland has lost six of its last seven in the Coliseum.

Tim Lincecum is working out in an “secret location”

Tim Lincecum
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A free agent pitcher on the decline coming off of major surgery and still looking for work on February 12 isn’t exactly the definition of Big News. But as newspaper men have known for ages, if you make a bit of information sound cool enough, it becomes news.

Or, in some cases, you can make a lack of information sound cool. If you hear about a trade rumor but aren’t able to actually find out the identity of one of the teams, call it a “mystery team.” Oooh, isn’t that dramatic? Aren’t you privy to all kinds of intrigue! Or, how about this: that free agent on the decline is doing what scores of other ballplayers looking for work are doing and is working out in the Phoenix area, trying to catch on someplace. That’s kind of boring. And you don’t even know who he’s auditioning for or where to boot. Man, that’s not the sort of information that’s gonna be fun or interesting to report.

Wait!

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There. “Secret location.” THAT sounds exciting. THAT separates this bit of news from the dog-bites-man “baseball player playing baseball” non-story. *reporter cracks knuckles* “Now to sit back and wait for the plaudits for my amazing reporting skills to come rolling in.”

CC Sabathia: getting in shape and ready for baseball

sabathia getty
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CC Sabatha made headlines in October when he abruptly left the Yankees to go into alcohol rehab. After a month there he came back and gave interviews about his decision and his battle with the bottle and then disappeared into the offseason the way most players do.

He emerged the other day and spoke with the New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand and says that he’s ready for baseball once again. Indeed, in some ways he’s more ready now than he usually is by mid February. He’s been throwing bullpen sessions for the past three weeks — he normally waits until he gets to Tamps — and he says his troublesome knee is feeling good.

 

Sabathia will turn 36 during the season. In 2015 he was 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 29 starts and posted his lowest strikeout rate in a decade. Late in the season, however, with the help of a knee brace, he was at his most effective in some time. He won’t need to return to 2008 form in order to help the Yankees this season, but he will need to look more like he did in September if he is to help the Yankees to the playoffs.

Jacob deGrom open to extension with Mets

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom talks during media day for the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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The Mets are currently enjoying the spoils of the best young rotation in the game, but the big question is whether this is just a brief window or the start of sustained success. Given the huge prices on the free agent market, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep the band together, but at least one member of the rotation is open to sticking around for the long-term.

While there haven’t been any talks yet, All-Star right-hander Jacob deGrom told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he could see himself discussing an extension with the Mets.

“I’m a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that,’’ deGrom told The Post at Mets pre-camp. “You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It’s something I’d have to look into and make sure I agree with it.’’

It makes sense from deGrom’s perspective. He broke into the majors later than most prospects, so he’ll be 28 this June. Depending on whether he qualifies as a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after either 2016 or 2017. Either way, he’s under team control through 2020, which means that he’s currently on track to hit free agency after his age-32 season. The market might not be kind to him even if he manages to stay healthy, so it could behoove him to get as much guaranteed money as possible right now. The Mets could always decide to play things year-to-year, but perhaps deGrom would be willing to settle for a discount in order to get them to buy out a free agent year or two. It’s a really interesting situation to think about, but odds are the two sides will wait on contract talks until he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time.

DeGrom owns a 2.61 ERA in 52 starts over his first two seasons in the majors. Among starters, only Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw have a lower ERA since the start of 2014.

Royals, Mike Moustakas avoid arbitration with two-year deal

Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas celebrates after hitting an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Seriesagainst the Toronto Blue Jays  on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $14.3 million deal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The deal, which was initially discussed last month, buys out Moustakas’ final two years of arbitration. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports that it’s believed he’ll make $5.6 million in 2016 and $8.7 million in 2017.

The 27-year-old Moustakas posted an underwhelming .668 OPS over his first four seasons in the majors, but he enjoyed a big postseason in 2014 before breaking out last season by batting .284/.348/.470 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI.