And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Pirates 9, Cardinals 2: In what is the most meaningful baseball played in Pittsburgh in over 20 years, Francisco Liriano was dominant and Pedro Alvarez hit his NL-leading 27th homer and the Pirates pull to within a half game of first place.

Rays 2, Red Sox 1: Gotta love that a blown call impacted a game in which a division lead changed hands. That’s just fantastic. Hey Bud: now that you’re showing how tough and powerful you’re getting with a union that once gave you fits with the drug stuff, how about doing the same with the umpires and unilaterally instituting replay?

Braves 9, Rockies 8: Four wins in a row for the Braves. The winning pitcher: Scott Downs, who didn’t show up to the park until ten minutes before first pitch and literally had to introduce himself to his infielders when he came into the game in the 10th. Lost in this win: Brandon Beachy’s return: pretty disastrous (3.2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER).

Rangers 4, Angels 3: Ninth inning home runs from catchers is the new inefficiency. First A.J. Pierzynski homered then Geovany Soto, giving the Rangers a come-from-behind win.

Mets 6, Marlins 5: Mets blew a 3-0 lead and found themselves down 5-3 but Ike Davis hit an RBI double in a three-run seventh.

Indians 3, White Sox 2: The fifth straight win for the Indians, this on a Jason Giambi walkoff homer. He’s the oldest player to ever hit a walkoff player. The previous record holder was Hank Aaron, who did it in 1976. Except then they didn’t call them walkoffs. Indeed, I believe someone woulda looked at you funny if you called it a walkoff in 1976.

Brewers 5, Cubs 0: Scoreless until the ninth then the Brewers put up a five-spot. If you squinted you could see Carlos Marmol out there on the mound for Chicago. Then you realize it wasn’t him and you shed a single tear.

Athletics 9, Blue Jays 4: Yoenis Cespedes continues to climb out of his post All-Star Game funk. He homered and hit an RBI triple as the A’s scored four in the first and then cruised.

Padres 2, Reds 1: Chris Denorfia sat fastball on Aroldis Chapman and then drove a two-run homer over the wall in the bottom of the ninth. In other news, it feels like the Reds have been on this west coast swing for a month.

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.”