Al Alburquerque

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 11, Tigers 10: You may call it sloppy, but say that a walkoff balk is the perfect way to end a long, sloppy, horribly pitched baseball game.Al Alburquerque did the balking, but let’s not hang it on him. It was Phil Coke who started the fire, allowed the first run and put the eventual runner who scored on base. The Indians sweep the Tigers, two via walkoffs. Curse of the Zubaz streak stands at three.

Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 4: Edwin Encarnacion homered twice for the second day in a row and the Jays beat the Sox again. Time is a flat circle.

Yankees 4, Cubs 2: Once again Jeff Samardzija pitches a gem — seven shutout innings here — once again he has nothing to show for it. The Cubs could only score one run off something called Chase Whitley and a second run off of Adam Warren. Meanwhile, the Yankees rallies for two off Hector Rondon and the Cubs’ porous defense in the ninth and then plated two more in the 13th thanks to a wild pitch and an RBI single. Samardzija is now 0-4 despite a 1.46 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.

Reds 2, Nationals 1: Manager Bryan Price held a team meeting. Not before the game but in the dugout right before the fourth inning, which Zack Cozart called a “kick in the butt.” The Reds scored both of their runs in that fourth innings, so let’s all go along with the idea that the pep talk worked.

Rangers 4, Mariners 3: Shin-Soo Choo hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the fifth to break a 3-3 tie and Nick Tepesch won for the first time in ten months.

Dodgers 4, Mets 3: Adrian Gonzalez homered for the third straight game and Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back homers of their own. More significantly: Hyun-Jin Ryu came off the DL and provided six quality innings.

Pirates 9, Orioles 8: Andrew McCutchen went 3 for 4 with an RBI Starling Marte and Ike Davis had three hits and two RBI each. The Pirates win for the third time in nine games.

Athletics 3, Rays 2: You know you’re living right when you only get one hit in a game and still win. That one hit was a Brandon Moss solo shot. Otherwise, the A’s scored twice via non-conventional means. An error-walk-walk-fielder’s choice-error combo in the second inning.

Brewers 6, Braves 1: Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam in the first inning and Kyle Lohse had absolutely no problem with the Braves’ bats.Manager Ron Roenicke credited skipping batting practice before the game for the Brewers’ bounceback after a Tuesday night shutout and says there will be no batting practice again today. Eventually that’ll stop working and they’ll talk about needing to get back in the cage. I know a lot of scientists who love baseball, but I sometimes wonder if baseball drives scientists crazy.

Royals 3, White Sox 1: Jeremy Guthrie, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined on a four-hitter and the Royals got just enough offense.

Marlins 14, Phillies 5: Fourteen runs on fourteen hits including a Marcell Ozuna grand slam. And a sick, sick Giancarlo Stanton catch in the fifth inning.

Angels 2, Astros 1: A two-hit, one-run complete game for Jered Weaver. Albert Pujols hit his 13th homer of the year.

Cardinals 3, Diamondbacks 2: Allen Craig hit a bases bases-loaded grounder with no one out in the 12th, but Chris Ownings’ wild throw home, allowed Matt Holliday to score the winning run.

Giants 5, Rockies 1: Three solo homers from the Giants who are — get this — third in team home runs in all of Major League Baseball. Not the sort of thing you’d expect. They were 29th last year. 30th the year before.

Twins 2, Padres 0: Phil Hughes with seven shutout innings. He’s now 5-1 with a 3.15 ERA. Those numbers would probably be impossible if he was still pitching in Yankee Stadium, but it’s still gotta be a bit baffling to Yankees fans to see Phil Hughes, you know, not stink.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.