And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 9, Pirates 7: This could have been an awful, awful defeat, what with the Nats bullpen once again pooping all over itself. At least I’m assuming it would have been a defeat. The game was tied entering the bottom of the ninth. Thanks to Bryce Harper’s walkoff homer, however, we don’t know how extras would’ve gone had they been required. Though I’m guessing after the stretch the Nats have been on, Nats fans have a gut feeling.

Yankees 2, Rangers 0: Hiroki Kuroda does his part to blow some fresh air into the A-Rod-funkified Yankees Universe. Wait, the universe is mostly the vacuum of space, so there can be no air, clean or otherwise. Hurm. Anyway, Kuroda, Robertson and Rivera combine for a shutout.

Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 1: A homer and a double for Aaron Hill, who had been mired in a slump. He may still be mired in a slump, with this being but one brief shining moment amidst a long stretch of doom and despair. Wait: I think I just realized why baseball writers use selective end points so often. To not do so is rather depressing.

Mets 7, Braves 4: Zack Wheeler worked around trouble and John Buck drove in three for the series split. I did not realize this until I just read it: the Mets are 20-13 since they called up Wheeler.

White Sox 7, Tigers 4: Jake Peavy gutted out seven innings while Justin Verlander continued to look quite mortal, allowing 11 hits and striking out only four in six innings of work. This could’ve been Peavy’s last start with the White Sox as he is being heavily scouted and is subject to all kinds of trade rumors.

Padres 10, Brewers 8: Will Venable hit a couple of doubles and made a sweet catch in center. Yovani Gallardo didn’t do much to help the Brewers peddle him to a contender: six runs on eight hits while walking three in three and two thirds.

Blue Jays 4, Astros 0: Mark Buehrle with the two-hit shutout, snapping the Jays’ seven-game losing streak. He worked quickly, as usual, and was happy about that. Why? He said after the game that he had tickets to see Tim McGraw last night and really didn’t want to be late. Well then.

Marlins 5, Rockies 3: A four-run ninth for the Marlins. A three-run ninth for the Rockies. Advantage: Marlins because, well, that’s how math works.

Cardinals 3, Phillies 1: The Cardinals win their seventh of nine, thanks to Lance Lynn’s strong outing.

Royals 7, Orioles 1: This win closes out a 5-2 stretch against the Tigers and O’s. Not too shabby. They play their next 12 against sub-.500 clubs. They’re only seven back. I guess crazier things have happened. Can’t think of any at the moment, but still.

Angels 8, Athletics 3: Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo each drove in two runs. The Angels had 12 hits. Eleven of them were singles.

Reds 5, Dodgers 2: Mat Latos — owner of cat Cat Latos — ends the Dodgers winning streak.  Jay Bruce and Xavier Paul homered off Zack Greinke. The Reds won, but Shin-Soo Choo had two awful plays. He got deked by the shortstop on a hit-and-run and tried to retreat back to first only to get tagged out. He also fielded a single by Yasiel Puig, thought he’d try to peg him at first base when Puig made a big turn and threw the ball away for a two-base error. Well, oops.

Mariners 8, Twins 2: A six-run second inning for the M’s was pretty much all she wrote. Who’s “she,” anyway? She writes a lot. Maybe I should meet her. I’d like to know what makes her so prolific.

Rays vs. Red Sox: POSTPONED:  “And you’ll always love me won’t you? Yes. And the rain won’t make any difference? No.”

Michael Pineda throws off mound for first time since Tommy John surgery

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According to MLB.com associate reporter Jarrid Denney, right-hander Michael Pineda threw off a mound Wednesday morning at Target Field for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Pineda was signed to a two-year, $10 million free agent contract this winter by the Twins, who are probably more focused on what he might be able to do in 2019 rather than 2018.

He had the reconstructive elbow surgery last July 18, so he won’t be an option for the Minnesota rotation until probably late August or September of this year. Still, that deal seems like a nice gamble given the price point and the possibility that he will regain his form as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. That he’s making steady progress in his rehab makes the situation all the more encouraging.

Pineda, 29, holds a 4.05 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 687 strikeouts in 680 career major league innings.