Masahiro Tanaka

And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 7, Twins 4: Tanaka and Beltran help the Yankees snap their losing skid. Tanaka with seven OK inning, even though he wasn’t at his best. Beltran with a big three run homer in the fifth. New York scored seven runs off Phil Hughes, which had to feel good.

Cardinals 7, Giants 2: The Giants are in freefall. Their 17th loss in their last 22, this time by giving up seven runs to a Cardinals team which has had a whale of a time scoring of late. Jhonny Peralta had a first inning homer to kick things off. Matt Carpenter continued to [punches hole in cliche rewards card] be a Giant killer, going 2 for 4. He is hitting .519 against the Giants in 54 career at bats.

Orioles 5, Rangers 2: Steve Pearce just keeps on keeping on. He had four hits and drove in a couple of runs. Wei-Yin Chen allowed two runs over six. He is 4-0 in four starts against Texas with a 1.67 ERA. I’d call him a “Ranger killer,” but that’s not a cliche like “Giant killer.” Also: totally against the law to kill a real Texas Ranger. Really, they’d execute for that. You can kill giants, though. But only if they’re trying to enter your property via a beanstalk or something.

Tigers 8, Rays 1: Erik Bedard got rocked with three homers and five runs in the first and after that it was all Max Scherzer. The reigning Cy Young Award winner allowed one run over eight innings, striking out seven.

Diamondbacks 10, Pirates 2: David Peralta had three hits, including a two-run homer and drove in four. Kirk Gibson after the game:

“We came back with a good effort today, played a good, clean game, got good pitching, some clutch hits then were able to have some fun in that last inning.”

Fun? Clean? Forget it Kirk. You’ve spent way too much time with the humorless and gritty thing now to try and pass of this team as fun and clean. Own your record, pal.

Phillies 5, Marlins 4: Philly rallied for two runs in the ninth when Steve Cishek couldn’t hold the lead. Thanks in part, also, to a bobbled ball at second which should have been an inning-ending double play.

Dodgers 3, Rockies 2: Zack Greinke gave up one earned run and two total while scattering nine hits over eight innings. Juan Uribe had three of the Dodgers’ six hits including the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth. Eighth inning fun: with the game tied at two, one out and a runner on third, Greinke and Don Mattingly decided to pitch to Troy Tulowitzki. They retired him. Then they  intentionally walked Corey Dickerson. Got away with that. How often do teams pitch to Tulo only then to give Dickerson and intentional pass?

Angels 5 Astros 2: That’s the seventh straight home win for Anaheim. They were aided in the effort by David Freese, who hit a two run double. Freese hasn’t aided many efforts this year.

Athletics 4, Blue Jays 1: Sonny Gray pitched well. And could’ve even had a shutout but for a really weird replay in the second. The bases were loaded and the Jays hit a groundball which was fielded by the A’s first baseman. He tried to tag the runner going from first to second but the ump said he missed. He gathered himself and fired the ball home to get the force out at the plate of the runner coming from third. OK as far as that goes. The weird part: Jays manager John Gibbons comes out and challenges the safe call on the tag of the runner coming from first to second. Again: a manager is asking for a review in order to have his own baserunner called out instead of safe. For good reason, of course, because if he was out there was no force play at home and the A’s failure to tag the runner coming home means he scored.

Which was dumb, of course, because the A’s had no reason to even try to tag the runner given that as it was called on the field it was a force. The umps nonetheless let the run score and Bob Melvin played the game under protest. Good thing it didn’t end up mattering to anything but Gray’s ERA, but still, we have found a weird replay loophole.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.