Quick Hits: Ruiz, Mariners, Vargas, Gathright

The Orioles' record-setting success in one-run games continued on Tuesday as they eked out a 1-0 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field.  Both teams combined for just four hits in the game, with Chris Davis' solo homer accounting for the only run.  James Shields was the tough-luck loser as he threw a complete game two-hitter while striking out 15 O's batters.  The Yankees' 12-inning victory over the Red Sox tonight means that New York still holds a one-game lead over Baltimore for first place in the AL East.

Here's the latest from around the majors as we head towards the last day of the regular season…

  • Picking up Carlos Ruiz's club option for 2013 is "a formality," said Phillies GM Ruben Amaro tells CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury, though the club will still wait until after the World Series to make it official.  The 33-year-old Ruiz delivered a career-best .327/.397/.542 line in 416 plate appearances, making his $5MM option a foregone conclusion to be exercised.
  • Mariners players are happy that Safeco Field's fences will be moved in next season, reports MLB.com's Greg Johns, both for their own sakes and to help the team in acquiring free agent hitters.  "Every time a guy gets on first base, that's all they talk about, how terrible this place is to hit," said Justin Smoak. "Everybody hates hitting here…I'm sure there are a lot of guys out there that have declined coming here because of that reason. This should definitely change some things. Everybody is excited about it."
  • Safeco Field's adjustments will also impact Mariners pitchers, to the point that Fangraphs' Dave Cameron wonders if the M's could non-tender Jason VargasMLBTR's Matt Swartz projects that Vargas will earn $8.1MM in his third trip through the arbitration process, a high price for a pitcher who has had severe home/road splits in three of his four seasons in Seattle.  This season, Vargas has a 2.74 ERA in 14 starts at Safeco and a 4.78 ERA in 19 road starts. 
  • Joey Gathright has tested positive for amphetamines and will face a 50-game suspension when he signs his next contract, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link).  Gathright last played in the Reds organization before being released by their Triple-A team in July.
  • Gordon Blakeley, a long-time scout and special assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman, is reportedly interested in leaving New York for a position with the Red Sox, reports ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes.
  • The Rays and Angels fell short of the postseason due to injuries and unexpected rises from the Orioles and Athletics, but MLB.com's Matthew Leach also points the finger at both teams' failed low-cost signings.  Luke Scott and Carlos Pena provided little offense for Tampa Bay, while LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen didn't help stabilize the Halos' bullpen.

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