A's celebration

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Athletics 3, Mariners 2: Coco Crisp with a leadoff, walkoff homer in the 12th. He did it by doing the one thing they tell you not to do as a hitter:

“I was just going up there to swing as hard as I could. Probably nine times out of 10, I ended up with a strikeout with that approach. Tonight was that one time that it ended up working out. I’m not going to have that as my everyday approach but I’m just grateful that it worked out tonight.”

You know, driving home, he thought “well, maybe I can try that a little bit more and it won’t hurt any. I can keep it under control.” It’s what all hardcore home run junkies say to themselves when they start dancing with Mr. Longball. Let’s just home Crisp has a good support structure to keep him on the straight and narrow.

Red Sox 4, Orioles 3: Boston racked up 14 hits. Xander Bogaerts has reached base in eight of his 12 plate appearance via five hits and three walks. This kid is gonna be amazing and you can all say you saw it when it started. Assuming you were paying attention late last season.

Giants 8, Diamondbacks 5: Five runs in the eighth capped by an Angel Pagan three-run homer. Also: the Diamondbacks, obviously in an effort to delay the inevitable, released the hounds and the bees, and the hounds with bees in their mouths so every time they barked they shot bees at you.

Twins 10, White Sox 9: The Twins trailed 9-8 entering the ninth but came from behind via a Trevor Plouffe RBI single and an Oswaldo Arcia triple. Also: Chris Colabello drove in six. This guy spent forever putting dents in outfield walls in independent ball and then raked like nobody’s business once he finally got to the affiliated minors. Glad to see him getting it done in the majors.

Nationals 8, Mets 2: The sweep. Four hits for Ryan Zimmerman. Three RBI for Adam LaRoche, including one on a bases loaded walk. Also: thats 39 strikeouts for the Mets in three games, by the way. Maybe take a pitch, dudes?

Marlins 8, Rockies 5: That’s three of four for the Marlins from the Rockies. Casey McGeehee played the hero here, driving in three in the seventh and eighth. I think the Marlins are better than they were last year, but let’s be clear about something: they’re playing the Rockies here.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Cubs 3, Pirates 2: Jason Hammell pitched two-hit ball into the seventh. Emilio Bonifacio went 2 for 4 and scored twice. He’s now 11 for 16, but before you get too excited about that, know that he’s done this kind of thing before only to finish seasons with pretty pedestrian numbers.

Cardinals 7, Reds 6:  Three hour, forty-two minute rain delay. Three hour, forty-one minute game. Todd Frazier hit two homers, but that wasn’t enough. In other news, there was some fun fan interaction between Matt Adams and a Reds fan:

Rays 7, Blue Jays 2: Nice night for the Rays’ doorbuster bargains: Chris Archer signed a $25.5 million deal on Wednesday and allowed two runs, four hits, two walks and had seven strikeouts in six innings last night. Evan Longoria is one of baseball’s least expensive superstars and he hit a three-run homer.

Yankees 4, Astros 2: Oh well. There go the Astros’ dreams of a 162-0 season. Yangervis Solarte had three hits and an RBI, which is rather annoying because now we all have to look up Yangervis Solarte to see just who the heck he is. Dexter Fowler had his third straight multi-hit game for the Astros.

Royals vs. Tigers: POSTPONED: April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.