Cleveland Indians v Chicago White Sox

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 14, White Sox 3: Ryan Raburn went 3 for 3 with a homer and five RBI. The Tribe put up a seven spot in the fifth inning in which the first nine batters who came to the plate reached. They keep pace with the Rays, who also won, and remain one and a half games back.

Rays 4, Red Sox 3: See, told you the Rays won. They avoid the sweep with the help of Wil Myers, who hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth. The Rays continue to lead the Yankees, who also won, by a single game.

Yankees 6, Orioles 5: See, told you the Yankees won, though it wasn’t a laugher. They blew a 5-1 lead in the seventh and then came back and won on a wild pitch. They also lost Brett Gardner to a strained oblique. Still, they’re 12 games over .500 for the first time since May. Interesting: for the second time in a couple of weeks an essentially split Phil Hughes/David Huff “start” worked out. Perhaps the Yankees should continue having Huff caddy for Hughes. Or maybe they can get some mad scientist to forge a HughesHuff Golem/Cyborg or something and let them both pitch at once. Could be cool?

Braves 6, Marlins 1: Freddy Garcia made a spot start and pitched a wonderful game. Or, as Freddie Freeman put it afterwards, “Freddy wore the MVP pants today.” I wish I had some MVP pants. All I have are a pair of Detroit Tigers Zubaz. I call those my MVP pants. The girlfriend and kids call them my “don’t you dare put those on pants.” Philistines.

Athletics 8, Twins 2: Josh Reddick homered and had three RBI and A.J. Griffin was solid. Now: a three-game series against the Rangers. If the A’s take care of business in this one, they could, practically speaking, lock up the West.

Nationals 7, Mets 2: No one showed up for Aaron Harang’s Mets debut. No crowd, no offense, no nothing. He did strike out ten, though. Not that it mattered as Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos all homered and Tanner Roark and the Nats pen was stingy.

Angels 4, Blue Jays 3: Now the Angels are playing well. Better late then never, I suppose. The Blue Jays have the never, with the exception of that one blip in mid-season where, for about two weeks, they got all frisky. Anyway, arguably the most disappointing team in 2013 swept the other most disappointing team in 2013.

Pirates 3, Cubs 1: They needed that from Jeff Locke. He’s looked like garbage so often lately, but yesterday gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. The Pirates move into a tie for first place because …

Brewers 5, Cardinals 3: … The Cardinals’ five-game winning streak came to an end. Tyler Thronburg was solid for six innings. Sean Halton homered. I suppose some people in Milwaukee and their moms know who they are.

Phillies 10, Padres 5: Roy Halladay was not good at all, walking five and giving up five runs (four earned) in four and a third innings, but his lineup had no problems with the Padres. Carlos Ruiz drove in three.

Dodgers 3, Giants 2: Adrian Gonzalez with the game winning single in the 10th. The Dodgers could clinch the division against the Giants this weekend if everything breaks just right.

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.