And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 8, Nationals 0: Adam Wainwright was outstanding, tossing a two-hitter. What worked for him? Everything, as after the game he said “my sinker was sinking, my four-seamer was four-seaming, my curveball was curving.” He also had two hits to (altogether now) help his own cause. Of course, he could have been merely competent and won this one, as the Nats looked feckless at the plate, were far worse on defense and couldn’t get Cardinals batters out to save their lives.

Phillies 1, Braves 0: I called the 1-0 Braves win on Wednesday night perfect baseball, so I’d be remiss in not saying that this was something close to it too, even if I didn’t care for the ultimate result. A.J. Burnett wasn’t as dominant as Cliff Lee, Alex Wood seemed more mortal than Julio Teheran and there wasn’t that sense that the Braves, unlike the Phillies on Wednesday, were one hit away from tying it, but 1-0 is still pretty bitchin’.

Tigers 7, Indians 5: Ian Kinsler drove in four. So far that trade is looking pretty good for Detroit. Danny Salazar, who looked so dominant at times last year, has a 7.71 ERA in three starts and has given up 19 hits in 14 innings.

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: Hyun-Jin Ryu tossed seven shutout innings. He had some help in the field from Yasiel Puig as well. Well, help of a sort. I mean, it was interesting at least.

Twins 7, Blue Jays 0; Twins 9, Blues Jays 5: Not a great day for the Jays, eh? R.A. Dickey was knocked around in the first game and the Blue Jays bullpen was knocked around in the second. Well, not really knocked around as much as melted down. And I’m not talking a Three Mile Island meltdown. I’m talking Chernobyl. There are a couple of long-time, inner circle Hall of Fame Blue Jays fan commenters at HBT. Please, comment early fellas. I’m worried about you after this one. Let us know you’re still breathing.

Rockies 3, Padres 1: Ian Kennedy had a one-hit shutout through six but then the Rockies clawed back. Franklin Morales got a second chance at starting following some injuries to Colorado pitchers and he made the most of it, allowing one run and four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and a walk.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $60,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday evening MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $8,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Rangers 8, Mariners 6: Homers from Choo and Cano got them off the schneid, but ultimately the game was won thanks to Kevin Kouzmanoff, who I still believe died in an industrial accident in 2011 or something and is actually a zombie. Kevin “Walking Dead” Kouzmanoff hit two doubles and scored twice. He’s hitting .414 since being called up to fill in for Adrian Beltre.

Yankees 10, Rays 2: A triple play and a nice offensive outburst are what people may talk about today, but the most significant thing for the Yankees here was CC Sabathia turning in a strong outing, allowing only one earned run on seven hits in seven innings. With so many injuries to position players and with Tanaka and Pineda looking so strong, an effective Sabathia could be the difference between a pitching-first Yankees team challenging for a playoff spot all a year and them finishing in the middle of the pack.

Pirates 11, Brewers 2: Homers from Andrew McCutchenPedro Alvarez and Josh Harrison put the surprisingly powerful Pirates over. They led the NL in bombs so far this year, which is not something I personally would have bet on.

Red Sox 3, White Sox 1: Jon Lester and Chris Sale each carried no-hitters into the sixth. David Ross had a tiebreaking RBI double in the ninth.

Royals 5, Astros 1: James Shields struck out 12 in eight innings. At one point he struck out seven Astros hitters in a row. Some of them were even major league hitters.

Noah Syndergaard on Mets extending Jacob deGrom: ‘Pay the man already.’

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March has marked contract extension season across Major League Baseball. Just in the last week, we have seen Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Brandon Lowe, Alex Bregman, Ryan Pressly, Mike Trout, Eloy Jiménez, Blake Snell, and Paul Goldschmidt sign extensions. Nolan Arenado, Luis Severino, and Aaron Nola also notably signed extensions during the offseason.

One name strikingly absent from that list: Mets ace Jacob deGrom. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is coming off of a season in which he posted a 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks across 217 innings. It’s the lowest ERA by a qualified starter since Zack Greinke‘s 1.66 in 2015. Prior to Greinke, no pitcher had posted an ERA of 1.70 or lower since Greg Maddux in 1994-95 (1.56, 1.63).

deGrom is earning $17 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration eligibility going into the 2020 season. He will turn 31 years old in June, but is an obvious extension candidate for the Mets, who have built arguably their most competitive team since 2015, when the club lost the World Series in five games to the Royals. Thus far, though, the Mets and deGrom haven’t been able to get anywhere in extension talks.

deGrom’s rotation mate Noah Syndergaard is watching. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Syndergaard said, “I think Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth. I want them to keep him happy so when it does come time for him to reach free agency, he stays on our side pitching for the Mets. I just think they should quit all the fuss and pay the man already.”

Syndergaard added that the recent extension trend around baseball — and deGrom’s lack of an extension to date — sends a message. He said, “I think so, yes, because of what you see in what’s going on in baseball right now. If there wasn’t a trend of other guys getting contract extensions, then I don’t know what the circumstance would be. But you see Chris Sale, Verlander getting extensions. I think it’s time Jacob gets one too.”

Part of the equation behind the recent rash of extensions is the stagnation of free agency. Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel — two of baseball’s better pitchers — have gone through almost an entire spring training without being signed. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado didn’t find new homes until late February. Free agents in their 30’s are largely being underpaid or otherwise forgotten about. Extensions represent financial security for young and old players alike. Syndergaard himself can become a free agent after the 2021 season, so if deGrom’s prospects improve, then so too will his, at least without knowing the details of the next collective bargaining agreement which will be put into place ahead of the 2022 season.