Mike Moustakas

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 11, Tigers 4: Two games, two Tigers Cy Young Award winners shelled. And with that, the Kansas City Royals are in sole possession of first place in the AL Central. This is the latest they’ve been in first place since that crazy, flukey year they had back in 2003, when they finally fell out of first place in August.

Angels 9, Indians 3: Mike Trout had two homers. He had a three-run homer in the fifth that broke a tie and a leadoff homer in the seventh for extra measure. A few weeks ago people were talking about Trout’s “down year.” Even if it was down, he was still having a great season by most people’s standards. Now, after a Trout is batting .410 over his last 22 games he has raised his average from .264 to .311 and sits at .311/.397/.610, which is a great season even by his own.

Brewers 7, Diamondbacks 5: Jonathan Lucroy hit two homers including a grand slam. Which was set up by a bunch of idiocy on the part of the Dbacks. But hey, at least no one can accuse of Kirk Gibson and his players of not Playing The Game The Right Way. That is, assuming trying to win baseball games isn’t part of Playing The Game The Right Way.

Nationals 6, Astros 5: Washington took a 6-1 lead into the top of the eighth and then weathered a four-run Houston rally to hold on. Anthony Rendon doubled twice and drove in three runs and the Nats broke their four-game losing streak.

Mariners 6, Padres 1: Homers for Robinson Cano and Jesus Montero. Montero also played first base, which is a new thing for him in the bigs. Not a bad couple of first steps back for a dude who got (a) underachieved tremendously; (b) got a drug suspension; and (c) showed up to camp after all of that in bad shape.

Reds 6, Pirates 5: Todd Frazier with a homer in the ninth to break a 5-5 tie. It was his 16th homer of the year and, at the moment anyway, he is the best offensive third baseman in the NL. He and Milwaukee’s Lucroy are the two dudes who, on first-half merit anyway, deserve to start the All-Star Game but aren’t currently leading at their positions. Maybe their big nights last night will goose the voters into giving them more love.

Phillies 5, Braves 2: The Phillies have won six of eight. They got a nice performance from Kyle Kendrick and Ryan Howard homered. Atlanta has lost seven of 11 and 13 of 21 and it’s only by the grace of God and the Nationals’ inconsistency that they aren’t buried right now.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 1: You can’t count on much in this crazy world, but if you can count on anything you can count on Tanaka. The Yankees’ ace wins his 11th game after striking out ten in six innings. The only blemish was a homer to Jose Reyes on the first pitch of the game. After that: the Blue Jays couldn’t do a thing.

Marlins 6, Cubs 5: Garrett Jones hit a three-run homer. In other news, I had completely forgotten that Garrett Jones plays for the Marlins. Because, really, who watches a ton of Marlins games?

Cardinals 5, Mets 2: That’s eight of nine for the Cardinals, as Michael Wacha got some key strikeouts to get out of jams. The Mets have lost 11 of 14.

Red Sox 2, Twins 1: Phil Hughes was impressive, allowing two runs over eight, but Jon Lester allowed only one while pitching into the seventh and got some nice support from his bullpen. Also: some nice defensive support from a corner infielder playing center field.

Orioles 7, Rays 5: Chris Davis hit a grand slam that was originally called a double, but viva replay. Part of Buck Showalter’s rationale for challenging the call — which was a close one and hard for Davis himself to determine if it was gone or not — was that he heard it clang off the foul pole. Which is something that can probably only happen in the mostly empty and echoey Tropicana Field.

Dodgers 4, Rockies 2: Matt Kemp went deep and Hanley Ramirez hit a two-run shot. Ramirez also left the game in the seventh with a bruised ring finger on his right hand. X-Rays were negative. Which is positive.

White Sox 8, Giants 2: My kids wanted to watch baseball last night. By the time they were showered and in their jammies the Braves were losing 4-0 and our secondary viewing habit — the Tigers — were in an even deeper hole. So I turned on this one because my daughter asked me to watch “the best team playing a game right now.” Right after we turned it on Gordon Beckham hit a homer and the Giants started throwing the ball all around the infield. Then Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow started doing Hawk Harrelson impressions on the air which was both funny and painful. The upshot: not a great night for watching games with the kids. Probably should’ve watched the Tanaka game.

Athletics 10, Rangers 6: Derek Norris did a nice Vinnie Johnson impression last night:five RBI coming off the bench. Stephen Vogt went 3 for 3 with two RBI. Yu Darvish has lost eight straight to the A’s.

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.