And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 8, Orioles 2: Adrian Beltre hit two homers on a 4 for 4, 5 RBI night. He has an 11 game hitting streak and is 21 for his last 43. Wrecking crew. — He’s not a member of the All-Star team despite a line of .319/.362/.551. Thank you, Jim Leyland, though, for giving us five middle relievers to choose from in that Final Vote thing. THIS TIME IT COUNTS.

Royals 3, Yankees 1: Third loss in a row for the Yankees. This time they were tied up by James Shields for seven innings. CC Sabathia went the distance but gave up homers to Butler and Lough.

Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Cole Hamels allowed one run and six hits in eight innings, winning his second straight. The Phillies are now 6-2 in July, having taken series from the Pirates and Braves and now having beaten the Nationals twice in a row.

Rays 4, Twins 1: That’s six straight for the Rays. Granted, they’ve come against the Twins, White Sox and Astros, but wins against bad teams count just as much in the standings as wins against good ones.

Athletics 2, Pirates 1: Dan Straily allowed one run in six and a third and was then optioned to Sacramento because that’s how life works when you’re a fifth starter around the All-Star break. Oakland maintains its half-game lead over the Rangers.

Braves 6, Marlins 4: Justin Upton had been doing a pretty good B.J. Upton imitation for the past couple of months, but last night he doubled twice, homered and drove in two.

Cubs 7, Angels 2: Two homers for Alfonso Soriano. Five in all for the Cubbies. Four straight wins for the Cubs.

Indians 3, Blue Jays 0: Ubaldo Jimenez and three relievers combine for the shutout. Took only two hours and sixteen minutes to get this one in the can.

Brewers 2, Reds 0: Wily Peralta with a three-hit shutout overshadowed Tony Cingrani’s ten-strikeout performance. Peralta’s complete game was the Brewers first in 407 starts, which is pretty amazing.

While Sox 11, Tigers 4: A 6 for 6 night for Alex Rios. Adam Dunn after the game: “That takes people like me two, maybe three weeks to get six.” Dunn did, however, hit a two-run homer off Justin Verlander in the eighth to put the Sox ahead for good as Chicago scored ten runs in the final two frames. Twenty-three hits in all for the Chisox.

Cardinals 9, Astros 5: Seven scoreless innings gives Adam Wainwright his 12th win, tying him for the NL lead. He’s now 13-1 in 15 career starts against Houston with a 1.56 ERA.

Red Sox 11, Mariners 8: Jackie Bradley Jr. flew into Seattle after being called up and hit the tie-breaking homer. Five homers in all for the Sox. David Ortiz stole a base. Weird things happen after I go to sleep.

Dodgers 6, Diamondbacks 1: Ricky Nolasco made his Dodgers debut and allowed only one run in seven. The Dodgers have played eight straight against NL West opponents and have won six of them. They’re still not back to .500, but they’re only 2.5 out of the division lead.

Padres 2, Rockies 1: The Padres finally win a friggin’ ballgame. A complete game for Eric Stults. Bud Black visited the mound to take him out in the ninth but left him in, saying afterward that he remembered what it was like to be in that position when he pitched. Which reminded me that Bud Black was once a starting pitcher. I had somehow forgotten that, having his identity morph in my head into a manager only at some point. That has happened with Mike Scioscia at times too. Not Kirk Gibson yet. Some ex-players always feel like ex-players to me. Some make that jump. I dunno.

Mets 10, Giants 6: A Marlon Byrd grand slam gave the Mets breathing room as they put up five runs in the eighth. The Giants, by the way, have a worse record than the Cubs.

Astros owner Jim Crane says MLB ‘explicitly exonerated’ him

Jim Crane
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Even during a pandemic, the Astros can’t seem to avoid putting their foot in their mouth. Per The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan, Astros owner Jim Crane claimed in a legal filing on Monday that Major League Baseball “explicitly exonerated” him in the club’s 2017 sign-stealing scandal that resulted in a now-tainted championship.

Crane is named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by former pitcher Mike Bolsinger, whose last appearance in the majors was on August 4, 2017 against the Astros. He faced eight batters, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks in one-third of an inning. Bolsinger accused the Astros of unfair business practices, negligence, and intentional interference with contractual and economic relations arising out of the sign-stealing scandal. Bolsinger is seeking damages for himself as well as for the Astros to forfeit the nearly $31 million in bonuses earned from winning the championship in 2017, asking for the money to be reallocated to children’s charities and retired players in need of financial assistance.

Commissioner Rob Manfred did not use the word “exonerated” in his report on the league’s investigation into the Astros’ cheating scheme. Manfred did, however, write, “At the outset, I also can say our investigation revealed absolutely no evidence that Jim Crane, the owner of the Astros, was aware of any of the conduct described in this report. Crane is extraordinarily troubled and upset by the conduct of members of his organization, fully supported my investigation, and provided unfettered access to any and all information requested.”

Saying that the league found “no evidence” that Crane was involved and patting Crane on the back for not obstructing the investigation is not the same was “explicitly exonerating” him. The Athletic asked MLB if it agreed with Crane’s characterization of the report. Rather than agreeing with Crane, the league simply said, “All of our comments about the investigation are included in the report.”

This isn’t the first legal filing in which the Astros made a questionable claim. Recently, Astros lawyers claimed the organization expressed “sincere apologies and remorse for the events described in the report by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.”

In Monday’s filing, Astros lawyers swung at Bolsinger, citing his poor pitching performance overall in 2017. They wrote, “Plaintiff wants to have a California judge and jury literally call ball and strikes, and award him money damages based on rank conjecture about what might have happened to him in Houston on August 4, 2017 due to alleged rules violations he speculates may have occurred that day.”

Astros lawyers also questioned the frequency of the club’s cheating and its impact, writing, “Major League Baseball (‘MLB’) investigated alleged rule violations by the Astros related to sign-stealing, resulting in a January 13, 2020 report in which the Commissioner of Baseball expressly found that ‘it is impossible to determine whether the (Astros’) conduct actually impacted the results on the field. The MLB did not conclude that sign-stealing violations occurred in every game or even most at-bats in the 2017 season.”

Astros fan Tony Adams, who analyzed every home game during the 2017 regular season and posted the results on SignStealingScandal.com, found that there were 54 “bangs” on August 4 when Bolsinger pitched against the Astros. That was the highest total among all Astros home games that season. Bolsinger entered in the middle of the fourth inning, first facing Yuli Gurriel. Adams found three bangs — all on curve balls — in a plate appearance that ended in a walk. Adams found four more bangs — all on breaking balls — in a Brian McCann at-bat later that inning that also ended in a walk. Bolsinger then gave up a single to Tyler White, with trash can banging on a cut fastball and a curve. The next batter, Jake Marisnick, singled as well, hearing bangs on a cutter and a curve. Bolsinger finally got out of the inning when Bregman swung at a first-pitch curve (yes, there was a trash can bang for that) and flied out.

Importantly, Bolsinger’s lawyer notes that Crane’s motion makes MLB eligible for discovery. It is already eligible for discovery in New York federal court where the league is a defendant in a lawsuit brought by daily fantasy sports contestants. Bolsinger’s lawsuit is brought out of California state court. The Astros want Bolsinger’s lawsuit dismissed or at least moved to Texas.

Because the Astros can’t seem to stop making headlines for all the wrong reasons, this whole situation figures to get even more wild as time goes on. Due to discovery, we may end up learning even more about the Astros’ cheating ways than the league may have let on in their report on their investigation.