Michael Pineda

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 4, Red Sox 1: Michael Pineda was the whole story. Both for pitching a shutout into the seventh and for having some gunk on his hands that sorta looked like pine tar but which, because no one complained about it or brought it to the umps’ attention, couldn’t be examined or dealt with in any way. It was gone by the fifth, so let’s just put this one in the file along with Clay Buchholz’s Bullfrog sunscreen and pretend it never happened. Haha, kidding. We’ll be talking about it all day because that’s what we do. Here, let me start things off: “Heh, more like Michael Pine-tar-eda, amirite?” Eh, sorry. We’ll work on that.

White Sox 7, Indians 3: If I told you Danny Salazar struck out ten of the first 11 batters he faced, you’d think he had a good night. Welp, no. He had a crappy night, those strikeouts notwithstanding (3.2. IP, 6 H, 5ER, 2 BB, 2 HR). Jose Abreu, however, had a fantastic night, homering once off Salazar and once off the inappropriately named Josh Outman. Abreu is hitting .300/.383/.725 on the young season.

Diamondbacks 6, Giants 5:  Tony Campana and Cliff Pennington don’t start much, but the former had four hits and the latter three Pennington. And the former drove the latter in for the go-ahead run in the 10th. The Dbacks took two of three.

Mets 6, Braves 4: Eric Young got three hits, stole three bases and scored four times. He stole five bases in the three-game series. Any team not running wild on the Braves isn’t doing it right, by the way, as Evan Gattis and Ryan Doumit have shown that they really aren’t a threat to base runners with even a modicum of speed. Justin Upton hit two homers.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday evening MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Brewers 6, Phillies 2: The Brewers have won six straight, all on the road. In Philly, the scored 25 runs and notched 38 hits in a three-game sweep. Ryan Braun was 6 for 12 with 10 RBI in the series, giving him 24 RBI in 21 career games in Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies should totally trade for him. He’d look great there. Plus: they’d cheer for him like crazy, current claims by Phillies fans to their superior ethics and morals notwithstanding.

Astros 6, Blue Jays 4: Former big league knuckleballer Steve Sparks is a radio broadcaster for the Astros. Yesterday, as he did once last year, Sparks tossed knuckleballs in BP to Astros hitters to prepare them to face R.A. Dickey. Then, as last year, they weren’t too fazed with R.A. Dickey, notching five runs on six hits in seven innings. Dallas Keuchel allowed one run over seven while striking out six.

Nationals 7, Marlins 1: Stephen Strasburg was on point, striking out 12 over six and two-thirds. His only mistake was a solo home run surrendered to Marcell Ozuna to make it 2-1 Nats, but a five-spot by Washington in the eighth — including an Ian Desmond grand slam — secured things after Strasburg departed.

Pirates 5, Cubs 4: Down 4-0 in the seventh, the Pirates rallied for five, via a three-run shot from Pedro Alvarez and a two-run pinch hit homer from Travis Snider. That blew a nice pitching performance from Travis Wood (6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER 9K).

Athletics 6, Twins 1: Dan Straily pitched three-hit ball for seven innings even though he had nothing approaching his best stuff. You can do that when you’re facing the Twins, of course.

Cubs extend Pedro Strop through 2018

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25:  Pedro Strop #46 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game One of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on October 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.

Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.

The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.

Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.

Video: John Axford discusses 2017 Oscar picks

MILWAUKEE, WI - JUNE 08:  John Axford #61 of the Oakland Athletics throws a pitch during the seventh inning of a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on June 8, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Sure, it may feel gimmicky to go around asking players to make predictions for the Academy Awards, but when it comes to the Athletics’ John Axford, he knows what he’s talking about. The right-hander has a proven track record of making near-perfect ballot predictions, getting 14 of 15 winners correct in 2013, 18 of 18 in 2014, 17 of 24 in 2015 and 17 of 24 again in 2016.

With a range of award-worthy films to choose from this year, Axford selected the crowd-pleasing (and record-breaking seven Golden Globe winner) La La Land for Best Picture, Manchester By the Sea‘s Casey Affleck for Best Actor and “the sweetheart of Hollywood,” Emma Stone, for Best Actress.

His full ballot was released to Twitter on Saturday, locking in La La Land for eight total Oscars. Going a perfect 24-for-24 might be a near-impossible feat, but if anyone can pull it off, Axford’s the one to do it.