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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights


Blue Jays 7, Brewers 4: A three-run walkoff homer for Edwin Encarnacion to give one surprise first place team the win over another surprise first place team. This is what Encarnacion actually, truly said about the hit after the game: “He hanged it, I banged it.” I don’t feel like that’ll turn into the hot new t-shirt of the summer, but then again, I did not expect “Turn down for what” to turn into some thing Tigers players put on their t-shirts either.

Cubs 16, Red Sox 9: A three game sweep for the Cubbies punctuated by a four-homer, sixteen run thrashing. Justin Ruggiano drove in five and had a two-run homer. Mike Olt, Nate Schierholtz and Wellington Castillo added homers of their own. Mookie Betts had his first big league bomb, but the Sox lost their ninth of 13.

Marlins 5, Phillies 0: Tom Koehler tossed six shutout innings and then got the hell out of the park because his wife is about to give birth. This is very similar to what I did the night before my son was born: I went to go see “Batman Begins” by myself. Both of us picked up the win.

Royals 4 ,Twins 0: Jason Vargas threw seven scoreless innings and Raul Ibanez homered for the first time since his return to the Royals. The last time he homered as a Royal was September 22, 2003. Wanna put that date in perspective? It was so long ago that, on that very same date, David Hempleman-Adams became the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open-air, wicker-basket hot air balloon! Wait, that doesn’t put it in perspective for you? What the hell do you want from me? There wasn’t much that was both historic and perspective-inducing happening on that day, OK? Ibanez being in his 30s is about as crazy-old as it gets.

Padres 3, Reds 0: My phone rings in the middle of the afternoon yesterday. It’s my brother.

Curt: Dude! Are you watching any baseball right now?

Me: I have a game on, sure [I was half watching the Dodgers-Indians]

Curt: Is it the Padres game?

Me: No. Why would I be watching the Padres game? They’re boring.

Curt: Because I’m THERE dude! I’m sitting in left field, wearing a Social Distortion shirt! Turn it on!

Me: I’m probably not going to see you.

My Daughter, who is watching the Dodgers game with me and has caught enough of the conversation to know what’s going on, grabs the remote and switches it to the Padres game. Then yells so my brother can hear it: “I’m looking for you Uncle Curt! Wave!”

Curt: [yelling in an effort to get my daughter to hear him] “HI ANNA!!”

Sometimes I feel like the only adult for miles and miles. Sometimes I also feel like the only one not having any fun. Then again, no one hit a homer to left field — indeed, the only runs scored on a crazy-rare three-run single from Rene Rivera — so I ended up being right. And still boring.

Mariners 5, Astros 2: Chris Young struck out eight and the M’s bullpen once again put up zeroes. That’s four straight wins for the M’s and as I’ll note below, three straight losses for Oakland. The A’s are still in first and the M’s are still in third, but Seattle is now only four and a half back. They were 7.5 back when we woke up on Monday morning.

Braves 3, Mets 1: The sweep gives the Braves their seventh straight win. Julio Teheran gave up a run on four hits and pitched around three walks while getting what was, for him anyway, copious run support.

Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 1: Gregory Polanco hit a two-run homer and reached base three times. The Pirates have won nine of 11.

Tigers 9, Athletics 3: The Tigers finished off a sweep of the A’s behind a better-than-he-has-been-but-not-as-good-as-he-can-be Justin Verlander. Verlander scattered nine hits (if there were ten, those hits would have been “weathered”) as the Tigers put up a six spot in the sixth with three RBI singles and an RBI double. The A’s may be the best team in baseball so far this year, but the Tigers seem to have their number. They probably shouldn’t panic, though. Maybe it’s just one of those Michael-Jordan-can’t-get-passed-the-Pistons situations that will eventually resolve itself.

Not gonna go back and count, but I bet I used more hyphens in that recap than I ever have in the six-year history of “And That Happened.”

Nationals 4, Rockies 3: Ian Desmond hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh. At least it ended up being a called a homer after a four-minute video review. So that was dramatic. The Nats have picked a great time to win five in a row, thereby blunting the Braves’ own winning streak.

Rays 6, Yankees 3: I was on the phone waiting to do a radio spot yesterday and the producer guy was talking to me, telling me that the Rays were going to win the AL East this year. He even said “You can mark it down!” So here I am marking it down. I didn’t have much of a response to that but, if I had been thinking more quickly I probably would’ve told him that sweeping this version of the New York Yankees is probably not a good basis for making any sort of predictions.

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

Indians 5, Dodgers 4: A three-run rally against Brian Wilson in the eighth sealed it. Wilson retired only one of the six batters he faced, giving up a tying single to David Murphy and a two-run RBI to Mike Aviles.

White Sox 3, Angels 2: Leury Garcia with a pinch-hit walkoff single. It was the first White Sox win over the Angels in seven tries. Also: it just occurred to me, a decade later, that you’ll probably be able to stump more people with questions about who won the World Series in 2002 and 2005 than you will with almost any other World Series in recent history.

Orioles 6, Rangers 4: Adam Jones and Ryan Flaherty hit solo homers. The Rangers have lost eight straight road games.

Cardinals 2, Giants 0: Adam Wainwright pitched shutout ball into the eighth. Matts Carpenter and Holliday had RBI singles.

Erik Johnson likely to open 2016 in the White Sox rotation

DENVER, CO - APRIL 09:  Starting pitcher Erik Johnson #45 of the Chicago White Sox delivers against the Colorado Rockies during Interleague play at Coors Field on April 9, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the White Sox 10-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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With the White Sox losing Jeff Samardzija to free agency, Erik Johnson will likely get a shot to contribute out of the rotation to open up the 2016 season, GM Rick Hahn said in a conference call on Wednesday, per a report from’s Scott Merkin.

“As we sit here today, I think it will be an opportunity for Erik Johnson to convert on sort of the return to form he showed back in 2015 when he was International League pitcher of the year for [Triple-A] Charlotte,” Hahn said. “Obviously, he got some starts in September and continued to show the progress in Chicago he had shown in the Minor Leagues over the course of the last season.

“So if Opening Day were today, then I think Johnson is penciled in to that spot in the rotation right now. In all probability, once we get closer to spring, there will be some competition for him to earn that spot. But if we were strictly looking at today, then I would think Johnson has the inside track on filling Samardzija’s innings.”

Johnson was called up from Triple-A Charlotte in September and made six starts, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 32 hits and 17 walks with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings. That followed up an impressive five months in the minors where he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 136/41 K/BB ratio across 132 2/3 innings.

Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and each included Johnson on their top-100 prospect lists, ranking him 63rd, 67th, and 70th, respectively. The right-hander was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Major League Baseball will investigate Yasiel Puig for his role in Miami nightclub brawl

Yasiel Puig
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

It was reported on Friday afternoon that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was involved in a brawl at a Miami nightclub. Details were scant at the time, but he reportedly left with a bruise on his face.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Major League Baseball plans to investigate Puig under the league’s new domestic violence policy for his role in the brawl. Citing a report from TMZ, Hernandez notes that Puig shoved his sister, “brutally sucker-punched” the manager of the bar, and instigated the brawl.

The Dodgers and Puig’s agent have thus far refused to comment on the situation.

Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was the first player to be investigated under the league’s new domestic violence policy earlier this month, as he allegedly assaulted his wife. Reyes has pleaded not guilty after he was charged with domestic abuse in Hawaii.

As our own Craig Calcaterra pointed out, commissioner Rob Manfred does not need to wait for Puig to plead guilty or to be found guilty to levy a punishment.

Dayan Viciedo close to signing with Japan’s Chunichi Dragons

Dayan Viciedo
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Patrick Newman is reporting that the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and outfielder Dayan Viciedo are close to an agreement on a contract. Newman notes that the Dragons are close to signing pitcher Jordan Norberto as well.

Viciedo, 26, has struggled since making his major league debut in 2010 with the White Sox, batting an aggregate .254/.298/.424 with 66 home runs and 211 RBI in 1,798 plate appearances. He spent the 2015 season with Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox) and Nashville (Athletics), hitting a composite .287/.348/.450. While Viciedo can hit the occasional home run, he hasn’t shown the ability to do much else at the big league level. Given his age, he could prove himself in Japan and parlay that into a renewed shot in the majors in the future.

The White Sox signed Viciedo out of Cuba in December 2008, agreeing to a four-year, $10 million deal. The club re-signed him to one-year deals in 2013 and ’14 for $2.8 million each and $4.4 million ahead of the 2015 season.

Blue Jays sign J.A. Happ to a three-year, $36 million contract

J.A. Happ
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Update (8:45 PM EST): Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Happ will get $10 million in 2016 and $13 million each in 2017 and ’18.

*’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays have signed lefty J.A. Happ to a three-year deal worth $36 million.

Happ, 33, had a rebirth as a member of the Pirates last season after starting the season with 20 subpar starts with the Mariners. He made 11 starts for the Buccos, boasting a 1.85 ERA with a 69/13 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported this past August that Happ’s newfound success had to do with a delivery tweak suggested by Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. The Blue Jays are certainly hoping that adjustment is the full explanation for his success.

The Jays’ signing of Happ most likely signifies they won’t be pursuing free agent lefty David Price.

This will be Happ’s second stint with the Blue Jays. The Astros dealt him to Toronto in a July 2012 trade. He posted a 4.39 ERA with a 256/113 K/BB ratio in 291 innings with the Jays, then went to the Mariners in a trade this past December that brought outfielder Michael Saunders to the Jays.