And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Just gonna warn you: this was written as cold medicine was taking effect, with wine — ill advised, I know — and while listening to the new xx album. Lots of heavy stuff here, not best for reason or, for that matter, the reading of box scores.  But we’ll soldier through because this is the Internet and the Internet is serious business, folks:

Red Sox 4, Yankees 3: I guess if everything else has gone wrong you can still make yourself feel better by playing spoiler. Jacoby Ellsbury with four hits including the walkoff single. On his birthday no less. David Robertson: seventh loss in relief this year. Remember back when we thought Mariano Rivera wasn’t actually missed all that much? Yeah, that was hilarious.

Orioles 9, Rays 2: J.J. Hardy homered twice — he had four hits in all — and the O’s are back tied for first place in the wild wild east. Unfortunately, they lost starter Jason Hammel to what appears to be a recurrence of the same knee injury that cost him July and August.

Nationals 5, Mets 3: Bryce Harper had four hits. This new xx album, though it sounds completely different, does put me in the same mood as the soundtrack to the Wim Wenders film “Until the End of the World,” which is one of my favorite albums of all time. Been listening to it since it came out. A year before Bryce Harper was born. Damn I feel old sometimes.

Reds 5, Pirates 3: Pittsburgh is now 72-69. Jeez. It was bad enough to see them slip out of playoff contention, but it would stink if they can’t even crack .500. Mike Leake did some serious own-cause-helping, with two hits and a run scored on a wild pitch.

Phillies 9, Marlins 7: Speaking of cause-helping, Roy Halladay — who didn’t pitch particularly well — had an RBI single. Jimmy Rollins hit a homer and drove in three. The Phillies are back to .500 for the first time since early June.

Brewers 5, Braves 0: Milwaukee continues to roll — they’re not at .500 for the first time since April — and the Braves continue to have a hell of a time scoring runs. Marco Estrada tied them up here, pitching shutout ball into the seventh.

Astros 1, Cubs 0: Just your everyday six pitcher, six-hit shutout. Unless I’m counting wrong, the Astros used 19 players in this game, thus explaining the three hour and eleven minute run time.

Royals 9, Twins 1: Seven shutout innings for Will Smith. And even with the cold medicine I am refraining from dropping references to the more famous Will Smith. By this, of course, I mean the English cricketer, the opening batsman and right arm off-spin bowler who currently plays for Durham.

Tigers 5, White Sox 3: Doug Fister allowed two runs over seven and the lack of Ryan Raburn correlates with the Tigers actually scoring runs. Hurm. The Tigers are back to within two.

Rangers 6, Indians 4: What a shocker: Adrian Beltre hit a home run. Matt Harrison won his sixteenth. Ubaldo Jimenez, in contrast, lost his 16th, which is the most in the bigs.

Mariners 4, Blue Jays 3: Kyle Seager went 3 for 5 and fell a triple short of the cycle — not that we should care — and Erasmo Ramirez got his first major league win. Franklin Gutierrez made his first error in 301 games. He regrets it, I’m sure, and can give you his complete assurance that his work will be back to normal. He’s still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And he wants to help you.

Padres 6, Cardinals 4: The Cardinals are rolling out the red carpet for the Dodgers and Pirates to waltz back into the second wild card slot, though those two don’t seem intent on walking it. Maybe Milwaukee and Philly will. In any event, the Cards have dropped 10 of 14.  A five run fourth for San Diego helped put the game away.

Diamondbacks 1, Dodgers 0: Ian Kennedy tossed seven and a third shutout innings. And Miguel Montero hit an RBI double. That, combined with this …

Giants 9, Rockies 8: … give the Giants a six game lead with 20 to play, so the NL West is over. This was the best cause-helping game of them all, with Madison Bumgarner hitting a three-run homer to tie it up at four in the fourth. He didn’t pitch worth a damn, but the other seven (seven!) Giants pitchers held the Rockies down long enough for San Francisco to eek it out.

Athletics 6, Angels 5: Anaheim had a comeback win in them, you could just tell. It was 6-3 in the ninth, the Angels plated two and then had runners on the corners with no one out. Out goes Grant Balfour, in comes Jerry Blevins and it’s strikeout, double play, over. All on eight pitches. Not bad.

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.