And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 2, Indians 1: Corey Kluber deserved a better fate than a no-decision after he went nine innings, allowing only two hits and one unearned run and striking out 10 (and Oh My God that unearned run …) But heck, I guess it’s better than the loss he was poised to take before the Tribe managed to scratch out a run in the ninth against Greg Holland. Eventually it went 14 innings and ended with a Nori Aoki walkoff single. The affair lasted four hours, 23 minutes. In all, 397 pitches were thrown.

Phillies 2, Giants 1: Cole Hamels was dominant, striking out 10 and allowing only one run over eight innings. In other news, Ryan Howard sat against a righty he’s totally owned during his career (.328/.425/.687). I mean, I get platooning or even benching Howard, but if you’re not going to start him against Tim Hudson of all people, who do you start him against?

Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 0: Marcus Stroman took a no-no into the seventh. And, while he couldn’t finish that off, he was still outstanding, with the hit he allowed to Shane Victorino being the only one he allowed. Meanwhile, Jays bats were not at all baffled by Rubby De La Rosa, touching him for seven runs on nine hits in four. Juan Francisco drove in four.

Marlins 3, Braves 2: A joint Craig Kimbrel/Evan Gattis, well, not a meltdown, but a failure in the ninth. Kimbrel struck out one guy and had the second guy struck out but Gattis couldn’t handle strike three, allowing the batter to reach first. Then he went to second on a wild pitch. Then he scored on an RBI single. If Kimbrel and Gattis clean it up the game probably goes to extras. As it was, the Marlins took three of four in Turner Field. Which doesn’t happen too darn often.

Yankees 4, Rangers 2: Brandon McCarthy had his third straight solid outing since joining the Yankees, allowing one run over six innings. The Rangers are now 3-17 in the month of July.

Padres 13, Cubs 3: Tyson Ross struck out 11 and the Padres lineup — which looked like a list of guys in witness protection — exploded for 13. Nine runs coming in the sixth inning. Rene Rivera had three hits, including a homer while driving in three. Will Venable, Alexi Amarista and Chris Nelson each drove in two. Easily the best night at the plate of the season for the friars.

Athletics 13, Astros 1: The A’s, on the other hand, are used to blowing teams out. Brandon Moss hit a grand slam. Jeff Samardzija allowed one run on five his over eight. He’d go a month without this kind of run support when he was in Chicago.

Brewers 9, Mets 1: Yet another blowout on Thursday. Matt Garza, who was shelled and sent to the showers early in his previous start, allowed only one run over eight innings. Homers for Jonathan Lucroy, Khris Davis and Ryan Braun.

White Sox 5, Twins 2: Lots of blowouts yesterday but lots of nice pitching performances too. Another one came from Hector Noesi, who allowed allowed two runs on three hits over seven and two-thirds. He was backed up by Adam Eaton who was 3 for 5 with two RBI and a double.

Tigers 6, Angels 4: Max Scherzer won his fourth straight decision, besting Garrett Richards. Nick Castellanos drove in the tying and go-ahead run in the sixth. Scherzer is now tied for the league lead in wins and is 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA in his last six starts.

Orioles 4, Mariners 0: And another nice start: Wie-Yen Chen shut out the M’s for eight innings, allowing only five hits. He was backed by a Delmon Young three-run homer.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves