And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 14, Marlins 7: There have been times over the past couple of years when the Giants wouldn’t score 14 in a week. And when he played in New York and Atlanta, there were weeks when Melky Cabrera wouldn’t drive in four, but here we are. Angel Pagan did the same. The Marlins bullpen gave up nine runs in less than four innings.

Phillies 10, Cardinals 9: Given that the Cardinals lost, I assume that Rally Naked Guy (warning: man-butt) isn’t going to take off like the Rally Squirrel, but I like his pluck and moxie. Three RBI a piece for Shane Victorino and Freddy Galvis.

Padres 11, Mets 5: What’s gotten into these low-powered west coast teams? San Diego broke out the whuppin’ sticks too, rapping out 18 hits. Eric Stults (hmm?) gave up one run over five.

Reds 6, Braves 3: The Reds swept the Braves in a four game series and have won six in a row overall.  Devin Mesoraco hit a grand slam. There were approximately 467 home runs — give or take — in this series. All of the Braves’ pitchers are likely suffering from Great American Ballpark PTSD.

White Sox 11, Twins 8: Speaking of home runs, the White Sox had five of them. One of them was by Alejandro De Aza in the sixth inning. He had what was initially called a home run in the fifth as well, but it was overturned on replay.

Indians 2, Tigers 1: Justin Verlander was near perfect in his previous start. He would have had to be again to win this one. Despite giving up only two runs — one a tape measure shot in the first from Shin-Soo Choo — he and the Tigers lost because Justin Masterson gave up only a run in seven innings despite walking five dudes. The sweep for the Indians, who would like you all to know that, yes, they are for real.

Angels 3, Mariners 0: Albert Pujols was 3 for 3 with a homer.  Folks, El Hombre is back. Deal with it.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.