The Diamondbacks beat the Mets in a wild one

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If you have been out of the loop for the past few hours on this Fourth of July, you missed a wild one at Citi Field. Fending off a pair of dramatic comebacks, the Diamondbacks defeated the Mets 5-4 in 15 innings. It took five hours and 46 minutes to get a winner.

The game was tied 2-2 through nine innings behind solid performances by Ian Kennedy and Dillon Gee, but the Diamondbacks eventually took the lead in the 13th inning when David Aardsma walked Cody Ross with the bases loaded. Heath Bell then came on for the save chance, but after getting the first two outs, he gave up a game-tying solo home run to Anthony Recker. The Diamondbacks responded in the 14th inning with an RBI single by Martin Prado, but the Mets came back to tie it again on another solo home run, this time by Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Yes, back-to-back innings with game-tying homers. Wild stuff.

The Diamondbacks moved ahead for good in the top of the 15th inning when Cliff Pennington singled off Scott Rice to bring home Gerardo Parra. The Mets had runners at second and third against Brad Ziegler in the bottom of the frame when Nieuwenhuis came up to the plate with two outs, but he didn’t have any heroics in store this time, as he grounded out harmlessly to first base to end it. It had to end sometime.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, the last team to have two game-tying home runs in extra innings was the 1998 Cardinals. That’s not the only oddity about today’s game, as Adam Rubin of ESPN New York notes that it helped secure the longest four-game series in MLB — in terms of time played — since the Dodgers and Astros in 1989.

Keuchel apologizes for 2017 Astros’ sign-stealing scandal

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CHICAGO — Dallas Keuchel has become the first member of the 2017 Houston Astros to offer a public apology for the team’s sign-stealing scheme during their run to the World Series championship.

Speaking Friday at the fan convention for the Chicago White Sox, who signed the left-hander to a $55.5 million, three-year contract in December, Keuchel said he felt what happened was blown out of proportion, but he was sorry.

“I’m not going to go into specific detail, but during the course of the playoffs in `17, everybody was using multiple signs,” Keuchel said, “I mean, for factual purposes, when there’s nobody on base, when in the history of major league baseball has there been multiple signs?

“It’s just what the state of baseball was at that point and time,” the former AL Cy Young Award winner said. “Was it against the rules? Yes it was, and I personally am sorry for what’s come about, the whole situation.”

An investigation by Major League Baseball found the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.

The process started in 2017, according to baseball’s investigation, and continued through the 2018 season. Houston won the franchise’s first championship three years ago, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series, and made it to the AL Championship Series in 2018.

“To the extent of the whole situation back then, I can tell you that not every game there was signs being stolen,” Keuchel said. “Some guys did a really good job, and sometimes we did as a group have signs but we still couldn’t hit the pitcher. So it wasn’t like every game we had everything going on.

“So at that point that’s when the whole system, it really works, a little bit, but at the same time, there was a human element where some guys were better than our hitters.”

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were suspended and then fired in the aftermath of MLB’s investigation, and the fallout likely will continue into the season. Managers Alex Cora of the Red Sox and Carlos Beltran of the Mets also lost their jobs over their role in the scheme, and Astros stars Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve faced heavy criticism for their first public comments after the investigation.

Oakland right-hander Mike Fiers also could be headed for an icy reception in some corners of the sport. MLB began its probe after Fiers, who played for the Astros in 2017, told The Athletic about the team’s scheme to steal signs.

Asked about Fiers, Keuchel called it a “tough subject” because of baseball’s tight-knit community in the locker room.

“It sucks to the extent of the clubhouse rule was broken and that’s where I’ll go with that,” Keuchel said. “I don’t really have much else to say about Mike.”