And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Rays 3, Cardinals 0: Alex Cobb tossed seven shutout innings and ten strikeouts. He also drove in a run with his first major league hit — a double. That makes it seven in a row for the Rays who just keep on keeping on. They’re now seven back in the East and four and a half back in the wild card.

Braves 6, Marlins 1: It was 5-0 after two innings and not much was left to be decided. Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer. This after going an (estimated) 0 for 4,408 against the Marlins this season.

Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 4: The Red Sox went up 3-0 right out of the gate but Jose Bautista and Josh Thole hit RBI doubles in the bottom of the inning to tie it up. Bautista later smacked a leadoff homer in the seventh. R.A. Dickey limited the damage after the first, allowing four runs and nine hits in six.

Pirates 6, Dodgers 1: Pittsburgh batted around in the first inning, plating four against Dan Haren and were never threatened after that as Francisco Lirano posted his best start of the season. The Pirates have won five of six.

Tigers 11, Diamondbacks 5: The Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead, the Diamondbacks made it 7-5 but Detroit pulled away. Austin Jackson hit a three-run double fourth inning and Cabrera hit a three-run homer in the eighth. Alex Avila added three RBI.

Mets 3, Mariners 2: Bartolo Colon had a perfect game going into the seventh and ended up allowing two runs on three hits in seven and a third. Colon is now 13-1 all time in Safeco Field.

Rockies 6, Nationals 4: Colorado snaps a seven game losing streak and the Nats fall back to one game ahead of the Braves. Jorge De La Rosa struck out 11. All of the Rockies — including manager Walt Weiss — decided to wear high socks for this one. Which was clearly the difference-maker.

Royals 2, White Sox 1: Mike Moustakas was dead to rights when he tried to score from second on a single in the ninth inning. Adam Eaton’s throw had him beat. But even though everyone obeyed the home plate collision rules — Moustakas slid and catcher Tyler Flowers attempted to apply a tag — the ball still popped loose to give the Royals what proved to be the winning run.

Brewers 5, Reds 1: Someone throw the Reds a parachute. Mark Reynolds homered twice and Milwaukee handed Cincinnati their sixth straight loss. The Reds were one and a half games behind Milwaukee at the break. Now they’re five and a half back and have scored just 12 runs in those six losses.

Twins 3, Indians 1: Anthony Swarzak and five relief pitchers shut down the Indians. Swarzak is actually a relief pitcher these days too, actually, so let’s call this a bullpen game.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Thursday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:10pm ET on ThursdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Padres 8, Cubs 3: Ian Kennedy walked five guys in six innings but got out of jams — the pros call it “making pitches” — and survived for the win. The biggest jam he escaped came in the fifth when the Cubs loaded the bases. Kennedy bore down, however, striking out Anthony Rizzo and getting Starlin Castro to ground out to end the threat.

Athletics 9, Astros 7: Two homers and five RBI for Yoenis Cespedes, but it wasn’t all good news: Cespedes sprained his thumb on an awkward swing in the fifth inning. Also bad: Jim Johnson melted down in the eighth, allowing four runs on four hits without retiring a batter. The A’s would like to deal him. His pitching suggests that he is just happy as can be to stay in Oakland. Or, perhaps, wherever it is he makes his home when he’s not playing.

Angels 3, Orioles 2: Baltimore had a 2-1 lead entering the eighth, but an Erik Aybar double tied it up and a two-out bases-loaded walk to Kole Calhoun put the Angels ahead to stay. One of the runners on base when it happened was put there intentionally, so let’s call it an E-Manager.

Yankees 2, Rangers 1: The Yankees have won five of six. This was a weird one. Shortened due to rain, but more so due to the wet field after the rain delay was over. The reason the field was so wet: the Yankees grounds crew couldn’t get the tarp on the field in a timely fashion when the rain first started, turning the infield into mud. If the Boss Were Still Alive he would have … wait, that gave the Yankees the win, so I guess he would’ve been OK with it.

Giants 3, Phillies 1: It was 0-0 entering the ninth but then Hunter Pence cleared the bases with a double to give the Giants all of their runs. Madison Bumgarner threw eight shutout innings. The Giants have now won six of seven and have a two-game lead on the Dodgers.

 

Report: Gerrit Cole has seven-year, $245 million offer from Yankees

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Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.

While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.

Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.

Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.

For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.