Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 5, White Sox 4: Unbelievable. Chris Perez blows a save in the top of the ninth and the ancient Jason Giambi picks him and the Indians up in the bottom, smacking a two-run walkoff homer. Still life in that old bat. Still life in the Indians, who remain in wild card position.

Rangers 3, Astros 2: Texas keeps pace. Helps that they’re playing a corpse of an Astros team which has lost 11 in a row. Given what everyone else in the AL is doing right now, the Rangers are the only remaining threat to Tampa Bay and Cleveland.

Cardinals 2, Nationals 0: Close but no cigar for Michael Wacha, who loses a no-hitter with two out in the ninth on a Ryan Zimmerman infield single that went a freaking inch over Wacha’s head and just couldn’t be put away by Pete Kozma and Matt Adams. A near no-no now, but it’s not even certain he’ll be in the playoffs rotation for St. Louis.

Pirates 8, Cubs 2: Gerrit Cole pitched six strong and hit an RBI single. Pedro Alvarez drove in three. Pittsburgh keeps pace with St. Louis and remains a game up on Cincy.

Mets 4, Reds 2: Mike Leake had been dominant of late but he came up empty against the Mets, not even making it out of the second inning. He gave up gave up four runs and eight hits in that short time, including a three-run homer to Daniel Murphy. Cincinnati is now three back of the Cardinals and one back of the Pirates.

Braves 3, Brewers 2:  An Andrelton Simmons walkoff single helps Atlanta remain two up on the Dodgers and a half game up on the Cardinals for the best record in the NL and a chance to face the wild card victor. There isn’t a team in the playoff picture who has a more pronounced home/road split than the Braves, so they need to keep their foot on the gas.

Blue Jays 3, Orioles 2: And with that the Orioles are eliminated. Mark DeRosa of all people helped twist the knife, hitting the game-tying RBI single in the eighth and the go-ahead RBI in extras.

Phillies 2, Marlins 1: The 100th loss of the year for Miami. Didn’t take much in the way of fireworks for the Phillies to hand it to them, either. Their runs came on a bases loaded walk and a groundout single.

Rays 7, Yankees 0: It’s almost over for the Yankees. Matt Moore shut them out for five innings and the Rays pen took care of the rest. Hiroki Kuroda’s second half continues to be decidedly “meh” as he allowed five runs in five and two-thirds.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: The Tigers clinch the playoffs and the magic number for the division title is now one. Doug Fister and Austin Jackson lead the charge.

Rockies 8, Red Sox 3: Charlie Blackmon, Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson went deep off John Lackey. Tyler Chatwood allowed only one run — unearned — in seven.

Angels 3, Athletics 0: The Angels late surge continues, as Jason Vargas tosses a four-hit shutout, ending this one in a crisp two hours and seventeen minutes. Watch the Angels, who are set up to spoil the Rangers season in their final series this weekend.

Diamondbacks 2, Padres 1: Didi Gregorius tripled in what would prove to be the winning run in the 12th.  Paul Goldschmidt hit his 36th homer. The Padres’ only run came on a passed ball. West Coast Baseball.

Mariners 4, Royals 0: That’s almost it for the Royals, who are now four back with five to play. James Paxton tossed seven shutout innings and struck out ten. Justin Smoak with a big three-run homer.

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: Hyun-Jin Ryu combined with two relievers for a five-hitter. Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig went deep.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

Brandon Belt
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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.