And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Marlins 5, Astros 4: Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez hit home runs, finally putting that crazy home run sculpture into action. Somehow we all survived, though I’m not ruling out the possibility that we all got thrown into an alternate timeline or something and won’t truly realize it until all the crazy occult stuff starts happening. Kind of like when Ash heard that tape of the professor reciting passages from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. If Logan Morrison starts calling his bat his “boomstick” and decapitates a possessed Giancarlo Stanton, we’ll know that there is some serious stuff going down.

Dodgers 5, Padres 4: L.A. sports the best record in baseball at 9-1 following a walkoff RBI single by Dee Gordon. Weird triple play in this one. Runners on first and second and Jesus Guzman squared to bunt. He thought it was foul as did the runners, none of whom moved. Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis fired to third, it went around the horn to second and first and everyone was out. Kind of b.s if you ask me, as the home plate umpire held his arms up as though it were a dead ball at first.

Cardinals 10, Cubs 3: Matt Carpenter only has playing time because everyone on the planet is injured, but he’s making the most of it. He’s hitting .409 with 10 RBIs in 22 at-bats on the young season. Yesterday he hit a homer, a triple and drove in five. Jake Westbrook allowed only four hits in seven innings.

Braves 7, Brewers 4: Atlanta lost its first four games but has won its last five. Chipper Jones hasn’t played much, but he’s contributed each time he has played, hitting a three-run homer in this one. Brandon Beachy gave up only three hits and an unearned run in seven innings.

Blue Jays 9, Orioles 2: The Jays put up a seven spot in the sixth inning to turn this one into a laugher and averted a sweep by the Orioles. Kyle Drabek had his second strong start in a row.

Reds 8, Nationals 5: Joey Votto doubled in two in the 11th to help the Reds avoid a sweep in Washington. Grand slam for Ryan Ludwick.

Red Sox 6, Rays 4: Nothing like winning three straight over a division rival while scoring 31 runs to make everyone feel better about everything. Patriots Day game early today during which the Sox will go for the sweep. In other news, Ralph Branca threw out the first pitch. The ghost of Bobby Thomson stole the sign that was relayed to him and smacked it over the left field wall. Don DeLillo is writing all about it as we speak.

Phillies 8, Mets 2: Cole Hamels strikes out ten in seven innings, helping the Phillies avoid the sweep. Ty Wigginton drove in four, three of which came on a bases-clearing double that broke the game open in the eighth. The Phillies now start a ten game west coast swing.

Tigers 5, White Sox 2: Rick Porcello gave up one run in seven and two-thirds and Gerald Laird went 3 for 4 with a homer. Believe it or not, Porcello’s win was the first W notched by a Tigers starter this season.

Indians 13, Royals 7: The Indians scored 32 runs in a three-game sweep of the Royals, reminding everyone who thought the Royals were a sexy pick this season that they really don’t have the pitching to do it. Unless you count Mitch Maier, who now leads the team in ERA. Travis Hafner murdered a baseball in this one, sending it some 456 feet, which was one of the longest homers in the history of Kaufman Stadium.

Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 2: Yet another game yesterday in which the winner avoided a three-game sweep. Trevor Cahill allowed only four hits, all of them singles, and only one run in seven and a third. Chris Young homered and drove in three.

Rangers 4, Twins 3: Texas scored three in the eighth, capped by a Josh Hamilton two-run bomb. Hamilton has four homers on the season and his 16 for 41. The Rangers lead the AL with an 8-2 record.

Pirates 4, Giants 1: Pittsburgh snaps a five game losing streak. Garrett Jones homered, described in the AP game story as “Jones pulled a solo home run over the right-field arcade.” When it landed it hit a guy who was pounding the l-r buttons on Track and Field so hard  he couldn’t hear the crowd noise, then it bounced over to the other side of the arcade and rolled under the Dragon’s Lair machine. Which no one ever really plays because we all feel like it’s rigged.

Yankees 11, Angels 5:  Jerome Williams got shelled out of the gate, the bullpen didn’t help and the Angels slow start continues. Raul Ibanez absolutely destroyed a baseball in the bottom of the seventh, putting it up in the upper deck on one of the longest homers ever hit in new Yankee Stadium.

Mariners 5, Athletics 3: Remember back when the Mariners and A’s used to play teams besides each other? I don’t. Brendan Ryan hit a homer. I don’t remember that happening too often either.

Scott Boras: Astros players don’t need to apologize

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Ken Rosenthal spoke to Scott Boras about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Boras’ take: the Astros need not apologize for what they did. They were mere babes in the woods who were ignorant of everything. I wish I was making this up. Scotty Baby:

“I’m doing what my organization is telling me to do,” Boras said on Wednesday, describing the hypothetical mindset of a player. “You installed this. You put this in front of us. Coaches and managers encourage you to use the information. It is not coming from the player individually. It is coming from the team. In my stadium. Installed. With authority.”

The analogy Boras used was the speed limit.

A man driving 55 mph in a 35-mph zone only believes he is speeding if the limit is clearly posted. Likewise, Boras said Astros’ players who committed infractions only should apologize if they were properly informed of their boundaries.

It’s worth noting two things at this juncture: (1) Scott Boras represents José Altuve and Lance McCullers; and (2) He’s 100% full of crap here. Indeed, the contortions Astros players and their surrogates are putting themselves through to avoid accountability is embarrassing.

The players knew what they were doing.  Please do not insult me by saying they didn’t. Boras is doing what he thinks he needs to do to protect his guys. I get it, that’s his job. His client Altuve in particular stepped on it last weekend when he and other Astros players tried to play the “we’re going to overcome this adversity/no one believed in us” card which played terribly, and the super agent is trying to clean up the mess as best he can. Hat tip to him for his hustle, which he has never not shown. Guy’s a pro.

But he can only do so much because this all remains on the Astros’ players. Yes, the formal punishment is on the manager, the general manager and the club, and I agree that it had to be given all of the complications of the situation, but now that that’s over, it’s time for some honest accountability. And we’re getting zero of it.

Which is insane because the players were given immunity. They’re 100% in the clear. That they cheated has angered a lot of people, but it does not make them irredeemable. As I have noted here many times, lots of others did too. But their lack of accountability over the past couple of weeks speaks very, very poorly of them.

“We crossed a line. No question. We’re sorry. We don’t think it caused us to win anything we didn’t earn, but we see how we created that perception ourselves through our own actions. We shouldn’t have done that. Going forward we’re going to be better. Again, we’re sorry.”

That’s about all it’d take and it’d be done. It’d be pretty easy to say, if for no other reason than because that’s probably what’s gone through their minds anyway. They’re not bad people.

But they’re also observers of America in 2020 and, I suspect, everything they’ve seen, consciously or unconsciously, has counseled against them saying those very simple words or something like them.

Everything that’s going on in America right now — politics especially — tells people that the path to success is to cheat, steal and lie in order to benefit themselves and themselves only. It’s also telling them that, if they get caught, they should lie and deny too. It works. The media, for the most part, will not call anyone of status out on a lie, even if the lie is ridiculous. At most it will repeat the denial like a stenographer reading back from a transcript fearing that to do any more would be to — gasp! — reveal an opinion. “Shlabotnik says that he was cloned by Tralfamadorians and it was his clone, not him, who stole the signs.” Heaven forbid someone add the word “falsely” in there. They won’t because if they do they’re going to be accused of being “biased” or “political” or whatever.

If you see that — and we all see it — why wouldn’t you be predisposed to avoid apologizing for anything? Why wouldn’t you try to offer some canned, facially neutral talking points and hope that everyone is satisfied that you’ve spoken? Why wouldn’t you, having done that for a few weeks, begin to believe that, actually, you’re right not do say anything more. And  that, maybe, you were never in the wrong at all? That’s were we are as a country now, that’s for sure. And given that sports reflects society, it should not be at all surprising that that attitude has infected sports as well.

Astros owner Jim Crane tells Rosenthal that there could be an apology in spring training. “Quite frankly, we’ll apologize for what happened, ask forgiveness and move forward,” Crane said.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that when someone says “quite frankly,” what follows is going to be insincere most of the time. Another thing I’ve learned is that, in comments such as Crane’s, the emphasis is strongly on the “move forward” part of things. He wants an apology to put an end to a bad news cycle. When it comes, it will be P.R.-vetted and couched in the most sterile and corporate language imaginable. It will be anything but sincere.

In the meantime, the rest of the Astros don’t seem to want to offer an apology at all. Why should they? What’s making them?