And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 5, Pirates 2: Max Scherzer got his 14th win and struck out 14 men in eight shutout innings. J.D. Martinez helped account for the Tigers’ first three runs with a homer, a bases-loaded walk and an infield single which forced in a run on a Pirates error.

Brewers 6, Cubs 2: Mike Fiers became only the seventh pitcher in the last 100 years to strike out as many as 14 batters in six or fewer innings. This after his first start of the season last weekend saw him outduel Zack Greinke. Khris Davis and Mark Reynolds homered.

Dodgers 6, Braves 4: Dee Gordon three hits and scored four runs. Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez each had three hits as well. The Braves have lost 12 of 14. After the game Freddie Freeman said “We can still make something of this if we keep grinding.” Maybe start grinding first?

Royals 7, Athletics 3: A five-run seventh for the Royals who took five of seven from the A’s in the season series. The A’s may still be the best team in baseball, but the Royals — who have won 18 of 22 — are certainly baseball’s hottest team.

Nationals 4, Mets 1: Two-run homers from Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche and a nice start from Stephen Strasburg gave the Nats their 11th straight win against the Mets on the road. Someone on the Nats is gonna take Chipper Jones’ example and name their kid “Citi.”

Red Sox 9, Astros 4: A seven-run sixth inning for the Sox put this one away. The other day I said something like “teams which score seven runs tend to win games.” Brandon Isleib had my back:

So post-those seven-run innings, take the other eight innings off, win a lot of games and conserve your energy, guys.

Marlins 5, Diamondbacks 4: Marcell Ozuna doubled home Garrett Jones with the winning run in the 10th. Mike Dunn got his 10th win as a reliever. That’s a very 1970s-80s kind of thing. I like it.

Rays 6, Rangers 3: Evan Longoria homered and drove in three. Logan Forsythe had three hits and a two-run homer of his own. After the game Joe Maddon said this of pitcher Jake Odorizzi:

“He’s swaggering out to the mound, and swaggering back in. The whole group is confident.”

This must be Odorizzi’s sweet ride.

Cardinals 4, Padres 3: A disputed call at the plate when Alex Amarista came home with what would have been the tying run. He was called out on a play at the plate. After a lengthy review, the replay officials upheld the out call, but they really appeared to have missed this one. A.J. Pierzynski’s swipe tag looks to have missed, and both he and Amarista acted as if he missed, with Amarista going back to touch the plate and Pierzynski trying desperately to tag him again. Neither guy acts like that if a tag is applied. And, given that there wasn’t a fantastic camera angle on this, my guess is that the replay guys felt like they couldn’t overturn Bob Davison’s initial bad call. Which he made rather tentatively.

Rockies 7, Reds 3: Charlie Culberson hit a three-run homer and Jorge De La Rosa allowed three runs over seven. Culberson is Troy Tulowitzki’s replacement. Before the game the Rockies announced Carlos Gonzalez was done for the year. Just not how anyone drew this up.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.