Chicago White Sox v Baltimore Orioles

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 3, White Sox 1: The Orioles win and, frankly, I’m going to credit playing at home. Yep, nothing like a home game. Makes all the difference.

And if you think for a minute I’m irrationally beating this into the ground, go take a gander at the NFL Industrial Complex’s collective and concerted moaning and complaining about last night’s Ravens game going down in Denver. Both official NFL PR people (more than one) and multiple NFL reporters and sycophants parroted talking points about the Orioles and Major League Baseball being intransigent or “making a stink” when it was, in fact, the NFL which made the stink and when, in fact, the Orioles game was scheduled first. All while conveniently ignoring that the NFL has never been willing to budge an inch for baseball when the situation was reversed. Also note that the AP photographers at the Orioles game last night took multiple pictures of empty seats at Camden Yards and the empty Ravens stadium next door. If you think for a second that word didn’t come down from NFL to their obedient scribes to play up “Orioles Mean!” talk in response to fan inquiries about why the Ravens weren’t opening at home, and if you didn’t think that the didn’t all obey, you’re nuts.

Red Sox 9, Yankees 8: It’s like Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS as seen through blurry glasses and with bad fundamental play around the edges. The Red Sox found themselves down to their last out with Mariano Rivera on the hill. Then a single, a pinch runner stealing a base and cruising to third when the catcher’s throw went skipping into the outfield followed by a Stephen Drew and things were all tied up. The tenth inning was spiked with a probably bad check-swing call from none other than Joe West — question: will check swings be reviewable next year? — and with new life Shane Victorino knocked in Jacoby Ellsbury.

Reds 6, Cardinals 2: Two homers for Todd Frazier as the Reds take three of four from St. Louis. It was the first series win for the Reds over the Cards in eight tries. The Reds are now a game and a half behind St. Louis for second place, three behind the Pirates.

Royals 7, Mariners 6: Big sloppy game won in large thanks to a big game from big Billy Butler, who went 5 for 5. Mike Moustakas had the 13th inning walkoff homer, however. The Royals had their chance to win it in the ninth as they led 6-5 with two outs before Raul Ibanez homered off Greg Holland to tie it. Holland had been pretty automatic before that, but Ibanez has those Lazarus Pits in his basement and stuff, so you know.

Diamondbacks 4, Giants 2: Interesting mostly because, with this loss, the Giants could be eliminated from NL West contention tonight. All that need happen is for the Dodgers to win in Cincinnati and the Giants to lose against the Dbacks. That’s technical elimination. The Giants have been effectively eliminated for months now.

Astros 3, Athletics 2: Brad Peacock took a shutout into the eighth inning, the A’s mounted a rally, but it fell short and they fell out of first place in the West. Speaking of Peacock, you should totally go read this story about the making of and history of the movie “Clue.” Which is an all-time guilty pleasure of mine. When people say they don’t like it it-it- the f – it -flam – flames. Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths. Heaving breaths… Heathing…

Angels 6, Rays 2: The Angels knocked 11 hits off of David Price and the Rays lost for the ninth time in their last 12 games. They maintain their 2.5 game lead over the Yankees for the wild card but, boy howdy, are they skidding.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.