And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 2, Phillies 1: A few days ago Jonathan Papelbon watched his team lose another game and said “I definitely didn’t come here for this.” Well, they didn’t show up at the ballpark yesterday expecting Papelbon to give up four singles and blow the lead. Again. Cole Hamels’ eight shutout innings were for naught and the Phillies continue to sink.

Rangers 7, Diamondbacks 1: Yu Darvish was not messing around. He struck out 14 in seven innings — and 10 of the first 13 batters he faced — while shutting out the snakes and allowing only five hits. He has 10 games of double digit strikeouts this season.

Cardinals 13, Pirates 0: Well, I suppose five-game sweeps are hard to come by. The Cardinals scored a baker’s dozen without the aid of a homer. Just a big conga line around the base paths, chasing Charlie Morton and pounding Jeanmar Gomez. Pittsburgh still has the division lead, but the Cards head on to Cincy with at least a bit of pride restored.

Orioles 6, Astros 3: Bud Norris just got traded away from Houston on Wednesday and here he is beating them on Thursday. What a fine how-do-you-do. Chris Davis homered again. “Glad to see he’s back on the ‘roids after a few days off,” said half of the Internet.

Marlins 3, Mets 0: Tom Koehler is not as famous as Matt Harvey but he was better than him on this day. Six shutout innings for the Marlins’ starter. All three of the Marlins runs came in the sixth off a clearly tiring Harvey. Miami has taken 10 of 15 from New York this season.

Indians 6, White Sox 1: Two homers for Ryan Raburn and a continuation of the Tribe’s surge. I called them as a surprise wild card contender before the season began. I had no idea that they’d hang this close to the Tigers into August. After the Marlins this weekend they get four against the Tigers at home. This is gonna be good.

Royals 7, Twins 2: The Royals are just as hot as the Indians, if not hotter. But they’re not gaining ground given how good both Cleveland and Detroit are doing. Still, this is giving hope to Royals fans. Royals fans have had hope before. For the past 25 years or so it’s always been dashed. But I suppose it’s better than nothing. Well, at least if you’re not a big Shawshank fan, then you may disagree.

Red Sox 8, Mariners 7: Whoa. Just your everyday six-run bottom of the ninth to give the home team the win when they started the frame down 7-2. Tom Wilhelmsen and Oliver Perez provided the kerosene and match, respectively. They had better sleep with one eye open for the next few nights as Felix Hernandez — whose one-run in seven innings performance was wasted — would probably like to kill everyone in Seattle’s bullpen these days.

Braves 11, Rockies 2: Well, Atlanta didn’t put up a six-spot in any inning for the first time this series, but they still beat the tar out of the Rockies. Really, this may have  been the biggest beatdown in any series by any team in the majors this year. Colorado was outscored 40-13 in the four-game set. Two homers for Justin Upton. Eleven strikeouts for Julio Teheran.

Dodgers 6, Cubs 4: Junior Lake and Anthony Rizzo each homered twice for the Cubs, but they only had five hits in all and that’s just not enough. Yasiel Puig hit a two-run shot in the ninth. The Dodgers had to be tired as they didn’t get to their hotel in Chicago until 7:30 yesterday morning, but I guess beating the Cubs doesn’t require full energy these days.

Angels 8, Blue Jays 2: Bet a lot of people thought this would be an ALCS matchup. Oh well. The Angels had a four-run first inning, fueled by a Mark Trumbo homer. J.B. Shuck drove in three. On the bright side for Toronto, the loser of this series gets The 2013 Under Achiever Award, so they’re in the lead now. Wondering what that award looks like. Maybe a trophy with a little Christian Slater figurine on top?

Report: Pirates to convert JB Shuck into two-way player

JB Shuck
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Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.

Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.

Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.