And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Mets 7, Phillies 3:
Two dingers for Carlos Beltran. It’s almost like he’s a really damn
good baseball player or something rather than some schmuck Mets fans
want to trade for random mediocre players every other day. Cole Hamels
was smacked around for five runs on nine hits in four innings. He’s
worried! You cut him! You hurt him! You see? You see? He’s not a
machine, he’s a man!

Yankees 4, Red Sox 3:
After getting shut down by Dice-K all night, Alex Rodriguez hit a
two-run jack to put the Yankees ahead 2-1 in the seventh. Mariano Rivera
then blew the save (and it was an odd one: he and battery mate Jorge
Posada allowed four stolen bases). Then in the bottom of the ninth
Jonathan Papelbon blew save as well. New York won it on a Juan
Miradna walkoff walk in the tenth.  The win salvages a game of the
series for the Yankees and all but eliminates the Red Sox.

Giants 4, Rockies 2:  Matt Cain had a no-hitter through seven and a third but lost it on an infield
hit by Jay Payton. Which I guess was a single. Uribe couldn’t get to it quickly and couldn’t unload it and I bet a lot of shortstops could, but that play is called a hit just as often as it’s called an error, so it’s not like cosmic injustice happened. And while, yeah, Cain gave up a homer to Melvin Mora right after that, it’s probably worth reminding the portion of the country that goes to bed before most Giants games end that the Phillies aren’t the only playoff team (or, in the case of the Giants, possible playoff team) with good pitching.

Reds 12, Padres 2: The Reds blow the Padres out of the water, causing the lead to change hands in the NL West for the seventh time in ten days. Padres pitchers issued nine walks.

Nationals 4, Braves 2: The Braves aren’t choking. That would imply that they’re good but that they’re freezing up and failing to play to their ability. That’s not what’s happening though — they just suck. They walked everyone. They left runners on. They’ve left their fate to guys like Brandon Beachy, Rick Ankliel, Melky Cabrera and Kyle Farnsworth. They’re not choking. They’re just being the rookies and mediocre talents they are.

Brewers 7, Marlins 1: The last Brewers home game of 2010 could have been Prince Fielder’s last home game in Milwaukee as well. If so, it was nice of him to leave the hometown fans with a dinger. Ryan Braun left them with two dingers, however, which may remind people that the offense can survive is Fielder is flipped for pitching. And the team may be better off for it.

Pirates 9, Astros 3: Pittsburgh finishes the home portion of their season 40-41, which is fairly astounding for a team as awful as they are. Are they that energized by home cookin’, does the opposition get that discombobulated when they come to town, or are the Pirates’ suitcases lined with kryptonite? I dunno. I’ve never really understood extreme home-road splits in baseball.

Mariners 6, Rays 2: Anyone else in Rays Nation worried about James Shields heading into the postseason? I would be. Giving up five runs on eight hits to the 2010 M’s is the equivalent to giving up, like 11 to the real baseball team (note: that calculation may be slightly off: as I wrote this last night I was under the influence of certain products from Kentucky that inhibit one’s ability to do math).

Blue Jays 5, Orioles 2: The O’s plunked Jose Bautista twice, leading to Buck Showalter getting ejected. The fierce and acrimonious battle for fourth place in the AL East in 2011 has begun!

Tigers 5, Twins 1: The Tigers are another awesome home team that just never figured it out on the road this year. They swept the Twins. Miguel Cabrera hit a homer and got the “MVP!” chants again. The crowd may be right.

Indians 5, Royals 3: Robinson Tejada surrendered five runs on six hits in one inning to waste a great start from Bruce Chen. By the way, I just did a search, and “great start from Bruce Chen” is the second to the last most common thing written anywhere on the Internet. Only “awesome British restaurant” comes in behind it.

Cardinals 8, Cubs 7: St. Louis jumped out to an 8-0 lead by the fifth inning and then held on as the Cubs rallied. A three-run homer for Pujols. It was his 42nd on the year. It’s a shame is elbow hurts and everything. I’d really like to see what the kid can do at full strength.

White Sox 4, Angels 3: The Angels got all three of their runs in the first and then got rocked to sleep by Tony Pena, Scott Linebrink and Matt Thornton. The Sox swept the Angels.

Rangers 16, Athletics 9: Seven runs on 12 hits in four innings off Trevor Cahill? With the post-clinch hangover lineup on the field? Mercy. Jeff Francoeur went 4 for 6 with four RBI. Mitch Moreland was 3 for 5 with two homers and five RBI.

Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 4: The bullpen blows a great Chad Billingsley start (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 13K). Tony Abreu and Chris Young each hit two-run bombs in the eighth, one off George Sherrill one off Jonathan Broxton. absolutely everything that was supposed to be a strength for the Dodgers this year — the pen, the outfield, etc. — has wound up being a weakness.

Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year old was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings – 51 of them in relief – since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Springs gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The `25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in `23 and ’24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth in the voting and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

Tampa Bay’s option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets and the maximum if he meetings the innings targets and wins two Cy Youngs.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays remain with the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.

Tampa Bay also agreed minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.