And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Tigers 5, Pirates 2: Max Scherzer got his 14th win and struck out 14 men in eight shutout innings. J.D. Martinez helped account for the Tigers’ first three runs with a homer, a bases-loaded walk and an infield single which forced in a run on a Pirates error.

Brewers 6, Cubs 2: Mike Fiers became only the seventh pitcher in the last 100 years to strike out as many as 14 batters in six or fewer innings. This after his first start of the season last weekend saw him outduel Zack Greinke. Khris Davis and Mark Reynolds homered.

Dodgers 6, Braves 4: Dee Gordon three hits and scored four runs. Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez each had three hits as well. The Braves have lost 12 of 14. After the game Freddie Freeman said “We can still make something of this if we keep grinding.” Maybe start grinding first?

Royals 7, Athletics 3: A five-run seventh for the Royals who took five of seven from the A’s in the season series. The A’s may still be the best team in baseball, but the Royals — who have won 18 of 22 — are certainly baseball’s hottest team.

Nationals 4, Mets 1: Two-run homers from Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche and a nice start from Stephen Strasburg gave the Nats their 11th straight win against the Mets on the road. Someone on the Nats is gonna take Chipper Jones’ example and name their kid “Citi.”

Red Sox 9, Astros 4: A seven-run sixth inning for the Sox put this one away. The other day I said something like “teams which score seven runs tend to win games.” Brandon Isleib had my back:

So post-those seven-run innings, take the other eight innings off, win a lot of games and conserve your energy, guys.

Marlins 5, Diamondbacks 4: Marcell Ozuna doubled home Garrett Jones with the winning run in the 10th. Mike Dunn got his 10th win as a reliever. That’s a very 1970s-80s kind of thing. I like it.

Rays 6, Rangers 3: Evan Longoria homered and drove in three. Logan Forsythe had three hits and a two-run homer of his own. After the game Joe Maddon said this of pitcher Jake Odorizzi:

“He’s swaggering out to the mound, and swaggering back in. The whole group is confident.”

This must be Odorizzi’s sweet ride.

Cardinals 4, Padres 3: A disputed call at the plate when Alex Amarista came home with what would have been the tying run. He was called out on a play at the plate. After a lengthy review, the replay officials upheld the out call, but they really appeared to have missed this one. A.J. Pierzynski’s swipe tag looks to have missed, and both he and Amarista acted as if he missed, with Amarista going back to touch the plate and Pierzynski trying desperately to tag him again. Neither guy acts like that if a tag is applied. And, given that there wasn’t a fantastic camera angle on this, my guess is that the replay guys felt like they couldn’t overturn Bob Davison’s initial bad call. Which he made rather tentatively.

Rockies 7, Reds 3: Charlie Culberson hit a three-run homer and Jorge De La Rosa allowed three runs over seven. Culberson is Troy Tulowitzki’s replacement. Before the game the Rockies announced Carlos Gonzalez was done for the year. Just not how anyone drew this up.

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.