And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Four games? The calendar turns to September, a hint of crispness fills the air and the playoffs suddenly seem near and tangible and all we get are four games? Gee whiz, MLB, clean it up!

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Braves 9, Padres 6: Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer and walked with the bases loaded for a third RBI. Freeman, if you haven’t noticed, is having a fantastic season. He’s hitting .289/.389/.553 and, though he toils in relative anonymity on one of baseball’s worst teams, he’s one of the best players in the NL this season.

Marlins 6, Mets 4: The Marlins’ five-game skid comes to an end thanks in part to Christian Yelich‘s four RBI night. He also stole two bases and he made a run-saving diving catch with the bases loaded and two outs to save some runs. The Marlins are three back in the Wild Card after a crappy August. I don’t watch too many Marlins games if I can help it, so wake me up when September ends to see if they’re back in the race.

Cubs 5, Giants 4: Addison Russell hit a two-run single with the bases loaded in the seventh inning to bring the Cubs back from behind and to start their September right where their 22-6 August left off. Jeff Samardzija returned to Wrigley Field and only made it through four innings, needing 87 pitches to do even that. Cubs starter Mike Montgomery only went four innings himself, but Chicago got five scoreless frames from its bullpen.

Twins 8, White Sox 5: The 13-game losing streak is no more! Byron Buxton returned to the bigs with a three-run homer. Trevor Plouffe added a two-run bomb of his own. Jose Quintana, who led the AL in ERA coming into the game, was rocked for seven runs on seven hits in five innings and saw his ERA rise from 2.77 to 3.05. He’s now fourth behind Aaron Sanchez, Cole Hamels and Danny Duffy. What a night.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.