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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 10, Nationals 4: Adam Frazier had a heck of a game out of the leadoff spot for the Buccos, going 3-for-5 with four RBI. Tanner Roark started for the Nationals but gave up seven runs in five-plus frames. Roark finished 10th in NL Cy Young Voting last year with a 2.83 ERA, but he’s now sporting a 4.73 ERA this season over nine starts.

Rockies 5, Twins 1 (Game 1): Nolan Arenado hit a solo home run in the first inning to put the Rockies up early and they never looked back. Arenado also made a sweet backhand play in the bottom half of the first. While he hasn’t had an explosive month and a half the way Bryce Harper has, it still would not be surprising if he once again winds up in the NL MVP race.

Twins 2, Rockies 0 (Game 2): Jose Berrios pitched one of the best games of the year, blanking the Rockies on two hits and a walk with 11 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Berrios looked lost last year, when he put up an 8.02 ERA in 14 starts, but he’s been much better so far this season. He held the Indians to one run in 7 2/3 innings last Saturday. The Twins now have a slight first-place lead in the AL Central now. Who’dathunkit.

Cubs 9, Reds 5: Six losses in a row for the Reds now. Javier Baez gave the Cubs a large early cushion, crushing a grand slam in the first inning off of Amir Garrett. Kris Bryant also crushed a solo home run to center field in the fourth. Ian Happ collected two more hits to raise his average to .353 and his OPS to 1.324 since being called up.

Tigers 6, Orioles 5: J.D. Martinez stays red-hot as he blasted another homer, a three-run shot. He also drew three walks. In six games since making his season debut, Martinez has five homers and 11 RBI in 25 PA. Three Orioles homered: Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and Seth Smith. But the Tigers’ bullpen, surprisingly, was able to hold onto a narrow lead — something that has been a rarity this season.

Rangers 8, Phillies 4: Nine wins in a row for the Rangers now. To be fair, they’ve beaten up on the lowly Padres, Athletics, and Phillies, but still. Ryan Rua struck the big blow in this one, as his fifth-inning three-run home run capped off a five run inning. Martin Perez pitched well, holding the Phillies to two runs on five hits and no walks with eight strikeouts over seven innings.

Brewers 4, Padres 2: The first-place Brewers added to their lead in the NL Central as the Cardinals had the night off. Leadoff man Eric Sogard collected four hits and three RBI. Eric Thames finally made an appearance, but as a pinch-hitter and he made an out, stranding two runners. Zach Davies put up a quality start, yielding two runs in six innings. For the Padres, Hunter Renfroe went yard again, giving him three in his last five ballgames.

Blue Jays 9, Braves 0: After Wednesday’s fracas, the storyline going into Thursday’s game was centered around Jose Bautista, who flipped his bat after hitting a home run last night. Sure enough, Julio Teheran threw an inside fastball and hit Bautista on the thigh. Both benches were warned and nothing else happened. Thankfully, a better narrative emerged as catcher Luke Maile and starter Marcus Stroman hit back-to-back home runs, becoming the first American League battery to go back-to-back since May 9, 1970, per Sportsnet. That’s before the DH era began. As for the pitching, Stroman was solid but inefficient, lasting only 5 2/3 innings after throwing 103 pitches.

Royals 5, Yankees 1: Danny Duffy’s excellence continued, as he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts. Mike Moustakas gave the Royals plenty of breathing room with a three-run home run in the fifth.

Athletics 8, Red Sox 3: Red Sox starter Hector Velasquez got knocked around for six runs in five frames in his major league debut. The A’s hit three homers, including Khris Davis who now has 12 on the year. Trevor Plouffe collected three hits. Every regular in the Athletics’ lineup had a hit except Stephen Vogt.

Dodgers 7, Marlins 2: Hyun-Jin Ryu held the Marlins to two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Yasiel Puig crushed a two-run home run halfway up the bleachers in left field off of Edinson Volquez in the second inning. Statcast measured that one at 442 feet. Kenley Jansen turned in an immaculate inning in the ninth to close out the game. There were a total of three immaculate innings in 2015 and ’16 combined, but we’ve already had four this season: Drew Storen, Craig Kimbrel, Max Scherzer, and Jansen.

Mariners 5, White Sox 4: The Mariners picked up their fifth walk-off win of the season as Guillermo Heredia singled to bring in Jarrod Dyson in the bottom of the ninth inning. Jean Segura hit a three-run home run to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. He now has a .359 average and a .915 OPS.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rockies 10, Cubs 4; Cubs 8, Rockies 1: Let’s play two! Let’s split two! Let’s realize that we’ve made no real forward progress as a result of these two games and that we’re, essentially, in the same place we were when the day began! Let’s contemplate our mortality and the notion that, ultimately, our time on Earth is inconsequential except for the way in which we touch the lives of others! Let’s remember that those others die eventually too and, absent some rare, transcendent accomplishment, the universe will go on, ignorant and uncaring of our very existence! Mark Reynolds homered in his fourth straight game in the first one. John Lackey struck out ten in seven shutout innings in the second.

Rangers 11, Padres 0: Your eyes go to the 11 runs, but they should go further down to the pitching lines, which reveal that A.J. Griffin tossed a complete game shutout, allowing only four hits. Griffin grew up in nearby El Cajon and went to the University of San Diego, so it was a nice dang homecoming. If he ate at Pokez it’d be even better. Always eat at Pokez. Joey GalloRyan Rua and Robinson Chirinos all homered.

Orioles 5, Nationals 4: Max Scherzer was cruising until the eighth, up 4-1 with six outs to go. Then Adam Jones homered to bring the O’s within two. Enter Enny Romero, who walked a guy, balked and then gave up a run-scoring double to Jonathan Schoop and a subsequent RBI single to J.J. Hardy, sending things to extras. In the 12th, Jacob Turner gave up two singles, loaded the bases with an intentional walk and then gave up a walkoff single to Mark Trumbo. Mark Trumbo hits singles? Who knew?

Mariners 10, Phillies 9: Philly had leads of 4-0 and 9-5. The M’s chipped away, however, and Taylor Motter hit a go-ahead-for-good double in the ninth inning. Ben Gamel went 4-for-5 with a three-run home run, two singles, a double and three runs scored. He keeps this up and, maybe, one day, I’ll stop writing “Mat Gamel” each time he does something.

Haha, just kidding. I’ll be writing Mat Gamel for him until the day I die. Just like I keep writing Carlos Quintana every time Jose comes up and Marcus Thames whenever I go to write about Eric. My brain just calcified sometime in the past six months. Sorry every other baseball player who starts his career going forward!

Indians 6, Blue Jays 0: Carlos Carrasco and two relievers combined on a four-hit shutout. Carrasco went seven, allowing only three hits and not walking a soul. Yan Gomes hit a three-run homer.

Reds 5, Yankees 3: Two early homers didn’t stand up for the Yankees, who saw the Reds rally for all five of their runs in the second inning. Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto each singled in two and Adam Duvall knocked in another one. CC Sabathia allowed three total earned runs in his first three starts this season. In his lat four he’s allowed 22 in 20 and two-thirds innings. Ouch.

Mets 6, Giants 1: Zack Wheeler allowed one run over six innings, with a Buster Posey homer being one of only two hits the Giants managed in the entire game. The Mets, despite all of their recent injuries and controversies, have won 8 of 11. Remember, narrative writers, if they keep this up, late April and early May will be “when the team came together to overcome adversity.” If they do not, that time will be when the season became “troubled” and “embroiled in turmoil.” Thankfully, no one will make you decide which one of those things this all is until much later, and no one will look back on what you’re saying about it now to see if you changed your story.

Cardinals 6, Marlins 5: Yet another comeback on a night filled with ’em. The Fish led 5-1 heading into the eighth. That’s when pinch-hitter Matt Adams hi5 an RBI single, Randal Grichuk hit a sac fly and Jedd Gyorko hit a two-run single to tie the game.    Pinch hitter Dexter Fowler singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth. The Cards have won five in a row and seven of ten and sit in first place in the Central.

Royals 7, Rays 6: Another team blows a decent lead. This one the Rays, who led 4-0 after two innings and 5-1 as late as the sixth. That didn’t hold up, as Sal Perez hit a two-run homer that inning to bring Kansas City closer and Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer had seventh inning RBIs to make it a one-run game. Alex Gordon sent it to extras by driving in Perez in the eighth. Moustakas played the hero in the top of the 12th by smacking a solo shot off of Diego Moreno and Kelvin Herrera shut things down in the bottom half. “Well, tough loss,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said after the game. Given that he was ejected way back in the third inning, he thankfully didn’t have to see it.

Brewers 11, Red Sox 7: Baseball game: pitchers need not inquire. The clubs combined for 18 runs on 25 hits and neither starter made it out of the fifth inning. Eric Thames hit his 13th homer and Keon Broxton drove in four for Milwaukee. Mookie Betts was 4-for-4 with four RBI on two doubles and a homer. Here’s a photo of him in action.

Twins 7, White Sox 2: Hector Santiago allowed two runs, over six and two-thirds. A 2006 White Sox draftee who played in Chicago for three seasons, Santiago is 5-1 with a 1.59 ERA against the White Sox. I’d say he “beat his old mates,” but outside of Jose Quintana there’s no one of note from the last Chisox team he played for on the current roster. I’m sure Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn would feel weird about it all if they weren’t busy playing parcheesi in the common room at whatever Old Ballplayers Home they’re living in these days.

Astros 8, Braves 3: Five runs in the first inning for Houston thanks to homers from Carloses Correa and Beltran. They came off of Bartolo Colon. Colon was playing at Burlington in the Appalachian League the year Correa was born. He and Beltran are a combined 83 years old. In any event, the Braves couldn’t come back from an early 5-0 deficit against their own mother on the comebackingest day of their lives if they had an electrified comeback machine.

Tigers 7, Diamondbacks 3Justin Upton and James McCann homered and Mikie Mahtook singled in two runs. Justin Verlander, pitching on a couple of days extra rest due to some high pitch counts in recent games, allowed three runs and struck out seven over six. Afterward he said he had too much rest and his arm was too fresh, messing with the rhythm of his curveball. Pitchers are like Italian sports cars.

Angels 7, Athletics 3: Yunel Escobar hit a three-run homer and drove in four. Albert Pujols and Ben Revere hit solo shots. The A’s had won three straight games via walkoffs, but to have done it here would’ve taken a five-run homer. Those are pretty rare.

Dodgers 4, Pirates 3: The Dodgers, however, would walk off. That thanks to pinch hitter Austin Barnes doubling in pinch runner Ross Stipling in the bottom of the 10th. Julio Urias took a no-hitter into the seventh, where it was broken up by an Andrew McCutchen leadoff double. Probably for the best as the hit came on Urias’ 95th pitch and he doesn’t do the high pitch count thing. The Dodgers have won four in a row and are creeping up on the Rockies. Who, as we noted at the outset this morning, are battling universal entropy, as are we all.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.