Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

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There was significant movement Saturday in Major League Baseball’s divisional and Wild Card races.

The Yankees failed to capitalize on several scoring chances, falling 3-2 to the Blue Jays. The Orioles, meanwhile, bested the Red Sox by a score 4-3. There’s now a tie atop the American League East.

The Tigers rode another fine outing by Justin Verlander to a 6-4 win over the Twins and the White Sox lost 10-4 to Tampa Bay. Detroit has a two-game lead in the American League Central standings with four games to play.

In the National League, the Cardinals lost 6-4 in extra innings to the Nationals and the Dodgers blanked the Rockies 3-0. Los Angeles is suddenly just two games back for that second Wild Card spot.

It’s all setting up for a dramatic finish. Wednesday marks the end of the regular season.

Your Saturday box scores and recaps:

Yankees 2, Blue Jays 3

Rays 10, White Sox 4

Tigers 6, Twins 4

Mariners 4, Athletics 7 (10 innings)

Angels, Rangers (Postponed)

Red Sox 3, Orioles 4

Reds 1, Pirates 2

Astros 5, Brewers 9

Mets 0, Braves 2

Royals 7, Indians 6 (14 innings)

Phillies 9, Marlins 5

Nationals 6, Cardinals 4 (10 innings)

Cubs 2, Diamondbacks 8

Giants 3, Padres 7

Rockies 0, Dodgers 3

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.