And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Cardinals 4, Brewers 0: John Lackey was fantastic, tossing seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and striking out eight. He’s also making $500K this year because of that farkakte contract he signed with the Red Sox way back when. St. Louis’ gain, I suppose. And if Lackey keeps pitching like this, his gain this coming offseason when he signs a new deal.

Twins 8, Royals 5: Kennys Vargas was better than Jason Vargas on this day. They’re not related but I sort of wish they were so that we could invent some crazy family backstory here, but alas. Anyway, Kennys and Kurt Suzuki each hit two-run homers as the Twins win again.

Nationals 5, Phillies 2: The Phillies can shuffle their lineup all they want — Howard batting seventh, Frenchy cleaning up — and it’s not going to matter much given that they don’t have any hitters who can do a dang thing against decent pitching this year. And here Doug Fister was more than decent, allowing two runs — only one of them earned — while pitching into the seventh. Cole Hamels have up five runs in six innings, but really, he and all other Phillies pitchers are going to have to be close to perfect this year.

Rays 4, Blue Jays 2: Chris Archer struck out 11 and allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings. Steven Souza did not hit a monstrous, 450-foot or so home run last night. I wonder what’s wrong with him?

Mets 7, Marlins 5: New York spotted the Marlins three runs — one of them on Giancarlo Stanton’s first dinger of the year —  but no worries. Lucas Duda had three hits. Wilmer Flores had a three-run shot. There was a replay challenge that lasted six minutes, so that was fun, but after the game Travis d’Arnaud admitted that the replay officials got it right.

Diamondbacks 7,  Giants 6: Aaron Hill hit a two-run double with two outs in the 12th to put the Snakes ahead. The Giants have lost seven straight.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.