And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 2, Dodgers 1: A must-win for both teams if they wanted to stop the bleeding, but a muster-win for L.A. since they’re behind in the standings. Just didn’t happen, though. Lance Lynn, back in the rotation in a spot start, allowed one run in six innings and struck out seven to give the Cardinals a little breathing room in the wild card race. The Dodgers are now 6-12 since the Mega Hella Trade. Oh, and this happened.

Astros 6, Phillies 4: And the Cards got breathing room, not just over the Dodgers, but over the surging Phillies too, who saw their seven game winning streak come to an end. And this one hurt, as the worst team in the majors rallied for three runs in the eighth. Jed Lowrie hit a two run double to put Houston over.

Orioles 3, Rays 2: The Orioles charmed life continued as they win another one-run game. The Rays cursed life continues as they lose another one-run game. And don’t tell me the O’s are not charmed: Manny Machado’s game winning single came when he swung away on 3-0 at a guy who walked the previous hitter and couldn’t find the zone. Even when they do the wrong thing, good things happen.

Yankees 2, Red Sox 0: Worried about the pitching? Worried about the injured aging stars? No worries! Phil Hughes pitched shutout ball into the eighth and Derek Jeter drove in a run in the seventh. The east remains tied.

Angels 6, Athletics 0: The Angels avoid a sweep behind Jered Weaver, who was most excellent in his return from bicep tendinitis. He allowed just two hits over seven shutout innings while striking out nine. The Angels scored all of their runs in the seventh inning, when Torii Hunter started it with a home run and closed out the scoring with an RBI single.

Blue Jays 8, Mariners 3: The Jays pounded King Felix. Hernandez — in his third straight loss — gave up seven runs on ten hits in four innings. Edwin Encarnacion hit his 40th homer. Johan Santana and Phil Humber feel Felix’s post-no-no funk.

Indians 5, Rangers 4: Adrian Beltre was supposed to be hurt, but he went 2 for 3 and scored twice. ‘Twasn’t enough, however, as Joe Nathan imploded in the ninth, blowing a 4-2 lead by serving up taters to Ezequiel Carrera and Jason Kipnis.

Twins 4, Royals 3: Denard Span doubled in a run to win it in the tenth inning, sending tens of fans home happy. Sal Perez extends his hitting streak to 17 games.

Tigers vs. White Sox: POSTPONED:  The wind begun to rock the grass, With threatening tunes and low, – He flung a menace at the earth, A menace at the sky. The leaves unhooked themselves from trees And started all abroad; The dust did scoop itself like hands And throw away the road.

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.