And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 3, Dodgers 1: I tend to go to bed after the east coast games end so it’s not often I get to watch Dodgers games, but I stay up once in a while to do so. Lately, though, I’ve had a bad habit of getting a Josh Beckett start every time I do. It’s like turning on The Three Stooges a couple of times a month and getting a Shemp. Heck, even Shemp is better than watching Beckett. It’s like getting a Curly Joe. This is the case even where, as here, Beckett actually pitches relatively well. He’s just slow and inefficient and hard to watch. Anyway, Ryan Vogelsong pitched well too, and after the game he offered rare, revealing insight by saying he was “just trying to make pitches. Really makes you think, man.

Blue Jays 12, Phillies 6: Two homers for Edwin Encarnacon and five in all for the Jays, who have just dismantled Philly this series. Toronto outscored Philadelphia 31-11 in their four game set. Philly has started out 15-18 for three straight years. Viva progress.

Astros 6, Tigers 2: Dallas Keuchel allowed two runs and six hits in seven and two-thirds. This breaks the Astros’ five game losing streak and the Tigers’ eight-game winning streak.

Indians 9, Twins 4: Four hits — a homer, two doubles and a single — and three RBI for Asdrubal Cabrera. After a game in which shortstop Eduardo Escobar struggled to play left field, Ron Gardenhire decided putting him in center. He screwed up again here, allowing a run to score when he misjudged a liner that ended up going to the wall. Meanwhile, the Twins used a couple of relievers who hadn’t had work in a week and only had one position player on the bench. Thank goodness the Twins have all of those relievers.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Marlins 3, Padres 1: All pitching until Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer in the eleventh to give the Marlins their fifth straight win. That’s 11 homers and 40 RBI for Stanton on the year. He’s pretty good.

Orioles 3, Rays 1: Steve Pearce — the guy the Orioles released on April 27, only to re-sign him two days later — hit a two-run homer and made a key defensive play, stretching big for a double play ball at first base in the fifth that got Ubaldo Jimenez out of a jam. Maybe releasing Pearce was just some grand motivational tool. The Orioles should release everyone. Maybe they’d win the division?

Rangers 5, Rockies 0: Matt Harrison tossed five and a third shutout innings to get his first win since 2012 and combined with four relievers to shut out the Rockies. Much needed after getting pummeled by them for three straight games.

Cubs 12, White Sox 5: Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Mike Olt all went deep to help the Cubs avoid the sweep. Olt’s was a grand slam in the eighth. Rizzo had three hits and Olt, Ryan Kalish, Nate Schierholtz and Junior Lake each had two. Fifteen hits total for the Cubs after managing just 12 in the first three games of this series combined.

Mariners 1, Royals 0: Hisashi Iwakuma was dealing, tossing eight shutout innings while striking out seven and issuing no walks. Corey Hart’s RBI single in the third was all he needed.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Brewers 9, Reds 4: Milwaukee beats the Reds for the sixth time in seven tries this year. Orlando Arcia homered and drove in three. Jett Bandy had three hits and two RBI. The Brewers had 14 hits in all. Some bad news: Eric Thames left the game with a tight hamstring. He says he’ll be OK, however. And get manager Craig Counsell’s explanation of the injury is quite the humble brag:

“It just kind of tightened up over the day,” Counsell said. “It is really the on-base stuff. He’s just been on-base a whole bunch, running the bases, scoring from first, so just a whole bunch of baserunning.”

“He’s just been so awesome that all of his awesome beat-the-Reds muscles are tired. Maybe he’ll be better when he’s done beating the hell out of the Reds.

White Sox 5, Royals 2: It was tied at two until Avisail Garcia’s two-run home run in the sixth. Jose Quintana struck out ten in only six innings of work, allowing only an earned run. Rick Renteria said he was going to let Quintana pitch the seventh if the game was tied, but took him out once Garcia hit that bomb. At only 99 pitches I’m sure a veteran like Quintana would’ve been OK for another inning, but I always do scratch my head when the W is what determines when a starter is taken out.

Indians 7, Astros 6: Michael Brantley had an RBI double in the first inning and added a two-run single in the fifth. He’s hitting .318/.384/.561 with four homers and 15 driven in in 17 games. They should probably just award the Comeback Player of the Year Award now.

Yankees 3, Red Sox 1: It was Aaron Judge‘s birthday. In celebration he hit a two-run homer and made this spectacular catch, diving into the stands at Fenway:

The ump initially said it was no catch, but it was overturned on replay. The Yankees have won 11 of 14.

Orioles 5, Rays 4: Not a great night for the Rays. First, they gave up two runs on this little league homer of a disaster of a play:

 

Then, with a 4-3 lead in the 11th inning, they let the O’s come back and win it like this:

single
single
walk (bases now loaded)
sac fly (run scores)
walk (bases now loaded again)
walk

Alex Colome did everything until the second-to-last walk, then Danny Farquhar came in and walked in the winning run on four friggin’ pitches. I’m guessing Kevin Cash put his foot through a soda machine or something. At least I would’ve.

Phillies 7, Marlins 4: Maikel Franco hit a grand slam and the Phillies won their fifth game in a row. Franco had three hits in all. Sellout crowd too. No, not because the Marlins were in town. But because it was $1 hot dog night.

Pirates 6, Cubs 5: Pittsburgh needed six pitchers to get through this one, but they got through. Jon Lester allowed five runs on six hits and still hasn’t won a game this year. I suspect we’ll soon be hearing a lot about how it’s all attributable to David Ross being gone, whether there’s any truth to that or not. The game was most notable for Pirates second baseman Gift Ngoepe becoming the first player from Africa to play in the majors. He singled in his first at bat, too. The South African said this after the game:

“To accomplish this only for me but for my country and my continent is something so special. There are 1.62 billion people on our continent. To be the first person out of 1.62 billion to do this is amazing.”

Pretty cool.

Mariners 8, Tigers 0: James Paxton has been one of the few bright spots for the M’s in the early going. Here he tossed seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. Two driven in a piece for Jean SeguraGuillermo Heredia and Nelson Cruz.

Braves 8, Mets 2: Julio Teheran allowed only two runs while pitching into the seventh while Mets starter Robert Gsellman didn’t fool anyone, allowing five runs in the first inning. In all he allowed six runs — five earned — on ten hits without making it out of the fifth. The Braves end a six-game skid.

Rangers 14, Twins 3: The Rangers avoid a sweep. It was relatively close until late in the game when Ryan Rua hit his first career grand slam and Shin-Soo Choo hit a three-run homer in Texas’ eight-run eighth inning. The Rangers also had a four-run sixth inning in which they only recorded two hits. A hit-by-pitch, a wild pitch and a passed ball helped things along.

Nationals 11, Rockies 4: On Tuesday night Trea Turner hit for the cycle. Last night he fell a triple short of doing it again. Bryce Harper had four hits as he continues his early season tear. The top of the Nats’ order is brutal for opposing pitchers. Adam Eaton, Turner, Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy combined to go 13-for-24 with three homers and all 11 RBI on the night. It’s not surprising the Nats have the best record in baseball right now.

Padres 8, Diamondbacks 5: Down 5-3 in the ninth, San Diego put up a five-spot to come from behind. Ryan Schimpf did most of the damage, hitting a go-ahead, three-run homer off of Fernando Rodney. You’ll be shocked at his strategy in that situation:

“Just try not to do too much, really. Just trying to get ready for something to hit, trying to square something up.”

No word on whether he’s happy to help the ball club.

Angels 8, Athletics 5: Matt Shoemaker picks up his first win since being cracked in the skull with a comebacker last season. He tossed five innings, allowing two runs while scattering seven hits. Cameron Maybin helped his cause by going 3-for-4 with three driven in.

Giants 4, Dodgers 3: L.A. had a three-run lead heading into the bottom of the seventh but the Giants came back. Michael Morse, back with the Giants for the first time since 2014, hit a tying, pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning. Then in the 10th, Hunter Pence hit a game-winning sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.

Blue Jays vs. Cardinals — POSTPONED:

I can’t sleep tonight
Everybody’s saying everything is alright
Still I can’t close my eyes
I’m seeing a tunnel at the end of all of these lights
Sunny days, where have you gone?
I get the strangest feeling you belong
Why does it always rain on me?
Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?
Why does it always rain on me?
Even when the sun is shinning I can’t avoid the lightning

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.