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And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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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.

Rangers avoid arbitration with Mitch Moreland

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First baseman/outfielder Mitch Moreland and the Rangers have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.7 million deal.

Moreland requested $6 million and the Rangers countered at $4.675 million, so the two sides settled on the player-friendly side of the midpoint.

Moreland bounced back from an injury wrecked 2014 season to have a career-year in 2015, hitting .278 with 23 homers and an .812 OPS in 132 games. Arbitration eligible for the final time at age 30, he’s set to be a free agent next offseason.

Tiger Stadium redevelopment group loses $50K because of its preference for artificial turf

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Craig Calcaterra
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We’ve posted frequently on the topic of the old Tiger Stadium site. If you’ve kept up with it you know that the site, nearly overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash before being rescued by a group of volunteers called the Navin Field Grounds Crew, is now being slated for redevelopment by the Detroit Police Athletic League.

The PAL is committed to keeping a baseball field as part of the development, but they are also, quite unfortunately, committed to putting artificial turf down over the bit of Earth where baseball legends once walked and ran.

Backlash to the plan has begun, however. Not just from people like me or the Navin Field Grounds Crew, who are opposed to fake grass, but to an actual donor to the Detroit Police Athletic League:

With an annual contribution of $50,000 to Detroit PAL’s programs, the Lear Corporation has been a major benefactor of the nonprofit for years. But in light of PAL’s controversial plan to redevelop the Tiger Stadium site with artificial turf, Lear’s CEO is speaking out.

Matthew Simoncini says that Lear is withdrawing its financial support of PAL for its mishandling of this delicate issue.

“I believe the [PAL] plan is severely flawed [and] a terrible use of resources,” says Simoncini. “[It] does not preserve this site and provides [an] unsafe playing surface for the children,”

I’m guessing $50,000 is not the sort of money that will seriously hinder a real estate redevelopment plan, but it’s good to hear someone with a stake in all of this voting with their wallet. Here’s hoping more do and that, eventually, PAL understands that there are some things more important than saving some money at the front end of a project.

Evan Gattis undergoes surgery for hernia; recovery is 4-6 weeks

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news

One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.

Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It sounds like the big slugger might have gone a bit overboard with those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.

Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.

Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.

Seung-Hwan Oh finally receives his work visa, will be on time for Cardinals camp

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At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

But that is now officially a non-story.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.

Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”

Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.