And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 2, Braves 1: Ho-hum, complete game with nine strikeouts for Clayton Kershaw, who s now 13-2 with a 1.71 ERA. He needed to be sharp yesterday, though, as Julio Teheran allowed only two runs over eight. Yasiel Puig’s homer in the third proved to be the go-ahead run.

Diamondbacks 7, Pirates 4: Andy Marte — who I was surprised to see is still alive and walking the Earth and playing baseball and stuff — was called up from Reno yesterday and then broke a tie with a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the sixth. Also: the dude is only 30. I have no idea how he is both living and not 48-years-old. I feel like someone ought to investigate this for identity theft or something. I am pretty sure that he was a Braves prospect back when they played in Boston, in fact.

Blue Jays 6, Astros 5: Nolan Reimold hit two home runs, including a tiebreaking solo shot in the ninth. Jose Bautista and Dioner Navarro hit bombs of their own.

Reds 3, Marlins 1: The Reds scored the tying run in the eighth inning on a sac fly thanks to a controversial plate-blocking call. Watch it here. I realize you can’t block the plate without the ball, but Jeff Mathis got the ball while Zack Cozart was, as far as I can tell, still back in biology class in middle school or something. It — along with Johnny Cueto striking out nine and allowing one run in seven innings — decided the game. More on this later this morning at HBT.

Phillies 10, Nationals 4: The Phillies had 17 his and put up a ten-spot, led by Grady Sizemore’s three his and three RBI. But there was bad news for the Phillies too, as Cliff Lee had to leave the game with an elbow injury. He hasn’t been good since he’s been back and now one has to wonders whether he’ll be back at all. On the bright side, this led to one of the more fun pitcher wins ever: Antonio Bastardo came in to relieve Lee in the third. He threw two pitches and was out of the inning. Then he got the W since he was the pitcher of record when the Phillies scored five in the top of the following inning.

Mariners 6, Indians 5: Mike Zunino’s two-run homer in the eighth inning gave ’em the win. Adding Austin Jackson and Chris Denorfia gave ’em hope. Good day for Seattle yesterday.

Angels 1 Orioles 0: Tyler Skaggs and six relievers combined on a five-hitter over thirteen innings. Unfortunately for Skaggs, the reason they needed six relievers is that he had to leave the game with forearm tightness in the fifth inning. Had a no-hitter going at the time too. Albert Pujols knocked in the game’s only run in the top of the 13th.

Cardinals 6, Padres 2: Not to be outdone by the Angels, Shelby Miller and three relievers combined on a three-hitter and Miller didn’t have to leave the game with an injury. Oscar Taveras hit a two-run homer.

Royals 6, Twins 3: Yet another game in which the win was overshadowed by an injury. This time Eric Hosmer who fractured his finger. Meanwhile, Alcides Escobar hit a two-run triple and Yordano Ventura allowed only one earned run over seven innings while striking out seven.

Cubs 3, Rockies 1: The Cubs take three of four in the battle of the basement-dwellers. Jake Arrieta struck out seven while allowing one run on three hits.

White Sox 7, Tigers 4: For Detroit the highlight of this game was Austin Jackson having to come out of the game in the middle of an at bat in the seventh inning after being traded to the Mariners in the David Price deal. Nice standing ovation from the crowd as he goes too. Meanwhile, the Tigers lost for the fifth time in six games so, um, yeah, get here soon, Mr. Price.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.