And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Giants 3, Dodgers 1: I tend to go to bed after the east coast games end so it’s not often I get to watch Dodgers games, but I stay up once in a while to do so. Lately, though, I’ve had a bad habit of getting a Josh Beckett start every time I do. It’s like turning on The Three Stooges a couple of times a month and getting a Shemp. Heck, even Shemp is better than watching Beckett. It’s like getting a Curly Joe. This is the case even where, as here, Beckett actually pitches relatively well. He’s just slow and inefficient and hard to watch. Anyway, Ryan Vogelsong pitched well too, and after the game he offered rare, revealing insight by saying he was “just trying to make pitches. Really makes you think, man.

Blue Jays 12, Phillies 6: Two homers for Edwin Encarnacon and five in all for the Jays, who have just dismantled Philly this series. Toronto outscored Philadelphia 31-11 in their four game set. Philly has started out 15-18 for three straight years. Viva progress.

Astros 6, Tigers 2: Dallas Keuchel allowed two runs and six hits in seven and two-thirds. This breaks the Astros’ five game losing streak and the Tigers’ eight-game winning streak.

Indians 9, Twins 4: Four hits — a homer, two doubles and a single — and three RBI for Asdrubal Cabrera. After a game in which shortstop Eduardo Escobar struggled to play left field, Ron Gardenhire decided putting him in center. He screwed up again here, allowing a run to score when he misjudged a liner that ended up going to the wall. Meanwhile, the Twins used a couple of relievers who hadn’t had work in a week and only had one position player on the bench. Thank goodness the Twins have all of those relievers.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk‘s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $45,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $7,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on FridayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Marlins 3, Padres 1: All pitching until Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer in the eleventh to give the Marlins their fifth straight win. That’s 11 homers and 40 RBI for Stanton on the year. He’s pretty good.

Orioles 3, Rays 1: Steve Pearce — the guy the Orioles released on April 27, only to re-sign him two days later — hit a two-run homer and made a key defensive play, stretching big for a double play ball at first base in the fifth that got Ubaldo Jimenez out of a jam. Maybe releasing Pearce was just some grand motivational tool. The Orioles should release everyone. Maybe they’d win the division?

Rangers 5, Rockies 0: Matt Harrison tossed five and a third shutout innings to get his first win since 2012 and combined with four relievers to shut out the Rockies. Much needed after getting pummeled by them for three straight games.

Cubs 12, White Sox 5: Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Mike Olt all went deep to help the Cubs avoid the sweep. Olt’s was a grand slam in the eighth. Rizzo had three hits and Olt, Ryan Kalish, Nate Schierholtz and Junior Lake each had two. Fifteen hits total for the Cubs after managing just 12 in the first three games of this series combined.

Mariners 1, Royals 0: Hisashi Iwakuma was dealing, tossing eight shutout innings while striking out seven and issuing no walks. Corey Hart’s RBI single in the third was all he needed.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.