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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Phillies 9, Reds 4: Philly hit seven home runs. Rhys HoskinsMaikel Franco, and Nick Williams each homered twice and Carlos Santana homered once. In so doing, the Phillies tied a franchise record from September 8, 1998. That also happened against the Reds. There it was Rico Brogna, Kevin Sefcik, and Bobby Estalella each homering twice and Marlon Anderson homering once. My God, remember Rico Brogna?

Twins 2, Red Sox 1: Kyle Gibson gave up only one run on four hits in eight innings and Mitch Garver‘s eighth inning double broke a 1-1 tie that give Minnesota the win. Boston could’ve used those runs that got washed away in the postponement in Baltimore on Wednesday night. Fernando Rodney made it interesting in the ninth, giving up a single and then back-to-back walks to load the bases in the ninth, but he wriggled out of it.

Mets 12, Pirates 6: Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores hit two-run homers and Cabrera drove in four in all, Flores three.  David Freese and Josh Harrison also hit two-run homers but the Pirates lost for the second straight time on the heels of their 11-game winning streak. Steven Matz had trouble early but then settled down. The explanation from the AP gamer:

Matz called himself effectively wild and admitted he started to feel a bit better over his last two innings when his arm tired a bit. All nine of his strikeouts came in the first four innings. He pitched to contact over the last two innings, but only one ball left the infield.

“It’s almost like I got a little tired and was able to stay smooth instead of muscle up a little bit and I think it helped me out,” Matz said.

There’s some wisdom in there, I suspect, that a lot of pitchers could benefit from but who won’t as long as teams place such a premium on the radar gun and strikeout totals. I mean, yes, there are a lot of dudes with easy gas and they should rely on it. I bet there are also a lot of dudes, however, who, if they had come up in 30 years ago, would be throwing way softer and pitching to contact more but that’s not what gets you to the big leagues these days. I think about this every time I see a guy who, even if he throws hard and strikes a lot of people out, looks as if he’s taking an exhausting dump every single pitch, sweats like a horse and is totally spent by the fourth inning. Where have you gone crafty soft-tossers, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Yankees 7, Royals 2: Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer and Sonny Gray tossed five shutout innings as the Yankees built up 7-0 lead by the fifth and cruised from there. Well, they did on the field at least. Internally they and their fans were all freaking out because Aaron Judge was hit on the wrist by a pitch in the first inning, sustaining what’s being called “a chip fracture.” For your purposes and theirs, know that that means Judge will not swing a bat until mid-August and is likely to miss at least three weeks total. Definitely NOT what they need as they try to chase the Red Sox and, for that matter, hold back the other Wild Card contenders who are closer to them than a lot of people may realize.

Rays 4, Orioles 3: The Rays defeat former teammate Alex Cobb. Of course, given how many dudes they’ve traded lately, I suppose almost every game gives them a chance to defeat a former teammate. Adeiny Hechavarria hit a tiebreaking RBI single and the O’s helped pad the lead by throwing the ball around. So, a normal day at the ballpark.

Angels 12, White Sox 8: Francisco Arcia spent 12 years in the minors and was making his MLB debut yesterday. All he did was hit a three-run homer and drive in four. He wasn’t the only Angel who had fun yesterday.  Ian Kinsler and Kole Calhoun homered, Justin Upton had four hits and Albert Pujols singled for his 3,060th hit, tying Craig Biggio for 24th place on the All-Time list.

Cubs 7, Diamondbacks 6: The Cubs were down 6-1 in the mid-innings but chipped back thanks to stuff like errors and a wild pitch. Then in the ninth David Bote hit a tying, two-run homer and Anthony Rizzo followed him with a walkoff blast. Nick Ahmed hit a grand slam in a losing effort.

Brewers 7, Giants 5Christian Yelich hit a tying homer in the sixth, singled to lead off the eighth and was driven in by a Ryan Braun hit a pinch-hit single to give the Brewers the lead and then Travis Shaw hit a two-run homer in the ninth as the Brewers rallied late. The late runs gave the win to reliever Josh Hader, who was making his first appearance on the road since his old tweets were uncovered last week. You will not surprised to learn he was booed.

Athletics 7, Rangers 6: The good news: the Rangers did NOT blow another lead to the A’s. The bad news: they never had a lead in this one to blow as the Athletics completed a four-game sweep and notched their sixth win in a row. Matt Chapman homered, tripled twice and scored three times. Dustin Fowler and Nick Martini hit consecutive RBI triples at one point too. We had mid-game hugs as well, thanks to Cole Hamels being traded to the Cubs in the middle of the proceedings, saying goodbye to his mates before leaving the park. Mid-game hugs are one of the more underrated parts of the trade deadline.

Dodgers 8, Braves 2: Manny Machado homered for the first time since becoming a Dodger and Rich Hill shut out Atlanta over seven dominant innings. Hill had an RBI too. The Braves fall 2.5 games back of the Phillies in the East. The Dodgers move to 1.5 games ahead of the Dbacks in the West.

Nationals 10, Marlins 3: Trea Turner homered, tripled and singled in the course of his three-RBI day. Juan Soto also homered, Matt Wieters hit a two-run double and the Nats came back from a 3-0 deficit to score ten unanswered runs. And here I thought they were dead and lifeless.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.