And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 6, Mets 5: And now St. Louis is a mere one and a half back. With games against the Mets, Cubs and Astros left. And when guys like David Freese drive in five runs, you’re entering team of destiny territory.

Marlins 4, Braves 0: Javy Vazquez is going to retire, he implies. If so, he’s going out in style. Stifling the Braves and helping them on their way to a near-historic collapse. That’s one he’ll always remember. Two hits for Atlanta. Two. Old Gator sent me an email late last night with pictures of anti-nausea medication and Advil. Please, Gator, next time just send some cyanide.

Orioles 6, Red Sox 4: Just another stunning loss for the Red Sox. Terry Francona after the game: ” “I’m not in a very good mood right now.”  Well, he shouldn’t be.  But at least this will cheer him up …

Yankees 4, Rays 2; Yankees 4, Rays 2: A game so nice they played it twice. Except the second game was way different, with Jorge Posada playing hero with a two-run tie-breaking single in the eighth. The first game clinched a playoff spot for New York, the second the AL East title. The Red Sox catch the hell for their collapse, but the Rays have simply failed to capitalize on it as best they can. As a result, there is now another team who might …

Angels 7, Blue Jays 2: Look who is also two and a half games back of Boston. Peter Bourjos had three hits including a homer and a triple. Vernon Wells hit a homer. Dan Haren had to leave when he was hit by a comebacker, but it was off his non-pitching hand and he should be good to go.

Diamondbacks 8, Pirates 5: Win number 90 for Arizona as they creep one more game closer to the NL West title. Miguel Montero was 3 for 4.

Giants 8, Dodgers 5: Not that the Giants are making it too easy. They aren’t going to catch Arizona, but they keep winning anyway. They’re 3. 5 back of Atlanta.

Cubs 7, Brewers 1: Matt Garza pitched a complete game, struck out 10 and didn’t allow any earned runs. It’s taking the Brewers longer than they thought to clinch this thing, but given that the magic number is at three, I don’t think there’s any reason to sweat here.

Nationals 7, Phillies 5: Five straight losses for the Phillies. Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos each hit two-run home runs. The Nats could theoretically still finish at .500. Much easier when you figure that they have three games against the Braves coming up.

Padres 4, Rockies 0: Colorado is limping to the finish line, losers of seven straight at home. Remember last spring when everyone thought that they were an attractive choice to win the west? Yeah, that was a long time ago.

Reds 2, Astros 0: Bronson Arroyo was one of the worst regular starters in all of baseball this season, but he looked pretty spiffy here. A six-hit shutout in which he only needed 91 pitches. Way to make him work, Astros.

Rangers 3, Athletics 2: Fun with round numbers: Ian Kinsler is the first second baseman in AL history to have 30 home runs, 30 doubles, 100 runs scored and 80 walks in the same season. Lou Whitaker probably would have done it once, but The Man wouldn’t let him. Texas’ magic number is three.

Mariners 5, Twins 4: Eleven straight losses for the Twins. For reasons that aren’t clear to me, I’m going to Cleveland tomorrow evening to watch them play the Indians. They may be the worst team I’ve intentionally watched live ever.

Tigers 6, Royals 3: Max Scherzer and Doug Fister each pitched so that Jim Leyland could arrange his rotation for the playoffs. I remember when my team thought about stuff like the playoffs. Sigh.

White Sox 8, Indians 4: Career win number 160 for Mark Buehrle. The White Sox draw dangerously close to passing Cleveland for second place! Which one day will sound way more impressive than it actually is.

Report: Padres interested in Maikel Franco

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The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.

Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.

Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.