And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Braves 2, Mets 1: A three-hour and fifty-two minute rain delay? Really? Despite that, Dillon Gee shut the Braves out through eight and a third and drove in the Mets’ only run. And despite that he gave up a walkoff two-run homer to Freddie Freeman just before 1:30 AM. Now they play a day-night doubleheader. Expect many yawns.

Tigers 5, Orioles 1: Max Scherzer is now 10-0 as he struck out ten Orioles in six innings of work. The biggest coming against Chris Davis with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth and home plate umpire Tim Timmons apparently trying to make a point about the randomness of nature and strike zones. Blew a couple of 96-97 m.p.h. fastballs by the AL home run leader.

Blue Jays 2, Rockies 0: Josh Johnson tossed seven and a third five-hit shutout innings fanning 10 and the Jays won their sixth straight. A week ago Monday they were at their nadir, 12 games back in the AL East. They’re not close now — 8.5 back — but that’s a decent gain in a short amount of time. Worth watching.

Cardinals 5, Cubs 4: Yadier Molina had two hits including a two-run double to raise his average to .355, which is nutso. Shelby Miller threw five shutout innings and then left with leg cramps. Bananas, Shelby. Eat more bananas. Trust me on this one.

Royals 2, Indians 1: The Royals get to .500 and move into second place, taking their 11th win in 13 games. Victory here came when the go-ahead run scored from third base on a wild pitch by reliever Matt Albers in the ninth.

Phillies 5, Nationals 4: Jonathan Papelbon vultures a win, blowing his first save of the season but giving up a two-out, two-strike homer to Chad Tracy, then but notching the win when Domonic Brown hit a two-out walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth. Off Fernando Abad, because one cannot use a closer in a tie game on the road, even if one is Davey Johnson, apparently.

Reds 4, Pirates 1: Homers from Zach Cozart, Todd Frazier, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce. Bruce has three homers in his last five games. The Reds stay a game and a half ahead of Pittsburgh for second place. They are off to their best start in 18 years.

Rangers 8, Athletics 7: Texas breaks its six-game hitting streak behind two Nelson Cruz homers and five and a third one-run innings from the bullpen following Nick Tepesch’s poor start. The AP gamer frames this as the Rangers responding to Ron Washington’s pep talk during a closed-door meeting on Sunday. If closed-door meetings worked that way managers would have them every day, yes?

Marlins 3, Diamondbacks 2: Giancarlo Stanton vs. Paul Goldschmidt. Each accounted for all of his team’s runs. Goldschmidt’s came on a solo homer and an RBI singleStanton’s, however, game on two homers which drove in three. Stanton’s second homer was the 100th of his career. The Marlins had three hits total.

White Sox 4, Astros 2: Chicago avoids a sweep in this wraparound series. All the Sox’ runs came in the sixth, topped with a Dayan Viciedo bases-loaded triple.

Angels 11, Mariners 3: Albert Pujols and Alberto Callaspo each had four hits and Josh Hamilton had a two-run homer. They rattled off 21 hits in all, their most in four years. Just like they drew it up, huh?

Padres 5, Giants 3: Seven wins in a row for the Pads, this one coming in 13 innings, with the tie-breaking run coming on an Andrew Cashner pinch-hit bunt. The Giants thought they had this one won in the 12th when Juan Perez drove one to the warning track but Will Venable made a fantastic diving catch.

Astros take their third bite at the apple in response to Assistant GM Brandon Taubman’s comments

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Last night Sports Illustrated reported that, following the Houston Astros’ Game 6 victory over the Yankees on Saturday night, Astros Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman shouted at a group of three female reporters, “Thank god we got [Roberto] Osuna! I’m so [expletive] glad we got Osuna!” Taubman reportedly repeated the phrase half a dozen times. The Sports Illustrated report was later corroborated by no less than four reporters apart from the Sports Illustrated reporter who were in the clubhouse and witnessed the incident.

The comments and their context strongly suggested that Taubman was, at best, making light of the criticism the Astros received for trading for Osuna following his domestic violence suspension resulting from very serious domestic violence charges lodged against him in 2018. To some it smacked of Taubman taking something of a victory lap over the Astros’ controversial — and poorly handled — acquisition of Osuna and came off as extraordinarily insensitive and abjectly tone deaf.

The Astros originally declined comment before the report was published. Late last night, after the story went live and once it became apparent that it cast Taubman in a bad light, they issued an angry and defensive statement, calling the Sports Illustrated article “misleading and completely irresponsible.” Again, despite the fact that the report was corroborated by multiple eyewitnesses. The team’s statement was itself then subjected to intense criticism today.

The Astros are now taking their third bite at the apple, releasing the following statements:

It’s worth noting that nowhere here do the Astros apologize or even reference last night’s statement which, in essence, called Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein a liar. A statement which they no doubt would’ve let be the last word if it hadn’t been met with such pushback. Which suggests that the above statements — of the “I’m sorry if anyone was offended” non-apology apology variety — are more about damage control than sincerity.

It’s also worth noting that Taubman’s comment takes the oh-so-common tack of referencing the fact that he is a “husband and a father,” which is irrelevant given that at issue were his acts and words, not his identity. We are not what we believe ourselves to be in our heart of hearts. We are what we do. We are how we treat one another. That’s all that matters. Attempts to deflect from that basic fact of humanity are, just that, deflections. And patronizing ones at that. Taubman’s statement would’ve been way better if it had stopped after the second sentence.

As for owner Jim Crane’s statement, it continues the Astros’ tack of wanting to have it both ways. There is no rule that says they could not have traded for Roberto Osuna. What made the whole episode unseemly, however, is how they claimed to have a “zero tolerance” policy against domestic violence and claimed not to be breaking it when they clearly did so because, hey, Osuna was cheaply had. Which means that they actually have a “some tolerance” policy — as do a lot of teams — but they wanted to act like they were better than that and deflect criticism from those who took issue. Here again, Crane wants it both ways by using what should be a straight apology for one of his top employees’ boorish behavior as an opportunity to once again claim that they are better than they truly are when it comes to domestic violence.

If you don’t have to care about an issue and you, in fact, don’t care, well, fine. You may catch hell from people for that stance, but you can do what you want. If, however, you want credit for being on top of an issue, do the work to earn it. If you fall short of your or society’s expectations, apologize and try to do better. What you cannot do is fail and then try to use your failure as a means of turning the tables on those who criticize you while claiming that, actually, you’re really really good on the topic.

Major League Baseball has also weighed in:

“Domestic violence is extraordinarily serious and everyone in baseball must use care to not engage in any behavior — whether intentional or not — that could be construed as minimizing the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence.  We became aware of this incident through the Sports Illustrated article.  The Astros have disputed Sports Illustrated’s characterization of the incident.  MLB will interview those involved before commenting further.”

The comment came out at almost the exact same time the Astros’ comments were released, which suggests to me that they were coordinated. Which, hey, they’re all trying to end the conversation about this before the first pitch of tonight’s Game 1. I will not hold my breath for anything to come of MLB’s “interviews” of those involved.

As for the Astros, here is some free advice: “I. Am. Sorry. I. Was. Wrong. I. Should. Not. Have. Done/Said. That.”

Apologies are easy. We’re taught how to do them when we’re two years-old. Only when we start thinking we’re better than everyone do we start qualifying them to the skies to the point where they lose all meaning