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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.

Mets’ Neil Walker expected to undergo season-ending back surgery

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.

If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.

Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.

Video: Stephen Cardullo celebrates his birthday by hitting a grand slam

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 31:  Stephen Cardullo #65 of the Colorado Rockies watches his first career Major League home run during the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on August 31, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.

In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.

Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.