Braun not likely to answer media questions in his “coming clean” session. It hardly matters.

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There was a report over the weekend that Ryan Bruan would soon be “coming clean” about his PED use, lies and all the rest. Tom Haudricourt reports, however, that he may not be answering any questions:

Word has circulated that Braun was preparing to make a public apology and admission of guilt in using PEDs any day now. But the indication was that it might be in the form of a prepared statement instead of a media session.

This will be way less satisfying for many than seeing Braun get grilled in a Q&A session, but I think we also need to ask ourselves whether anything would satisfy people at this point.  Mark McGwire sat for a Q&A and people talked about all of the things left unsaid and unanswered. In any situation involving a figure in a scandal you can be 100% positive that people will say they dodged hard questions or showed no remorse. I defy anyone to find a press conference or interview involving an infamous person where, after it was over, people said “Well, good. He finally talked. We’re all satisfied and should now move on.”  It never, ever happens.

Right or wrong, Braun can’t rehabilitate himself in any way no matter what he says.  The small number of people who still support him always will.  Everyone who thinks poorly of him will always think poorly about him. People who truly hate him and who demand answers from him have already decided that no answers he gives will ever be enough.  They will complain loudly that Braun is ducking questions but the questions and his answers wouldn’t matter to them. That is the nature of these things.

In other news: Yahoo! reports that a couple of the players who it reported Braun spoke to and to whom he smeared sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. — Joey Votto and Troy Tulowitzki — denied that he ever spoke to them.  Yahoo! and ESPN both stand by their overall report — that Braun did smear Laurenzi — but the breadth of the smear job may be smaller than first suggested.

Athletics tie for first place in AL West

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The Athletics are tied for first place in the AL West for the first time since Opening Day. They took the first of a three-game series against the Astros on Friday with a wild (and controversial) overturned replay call in the ninth and Matt Olson‘s decisive walk-off home run in the 10th — the first of his career to date — then returned on Saturday and bested the Astros 7-1 to take first place.

Saturday’s win was less of a nail-biter than Friday’s had been, but its rewards were just as sweet. Trevor Cahill led the A’s through the first seven innings of one-hit, seven-strikeout ball, backed by seven runs on five RBI doubles from Khris Davis, Matt Olson, Stephen Piscotty and Josh Phegley. All told, the four players struck eight doubles to tie the franchise single-game record.

The Astros, meanwhile, were stymied by both Cahill and the A’s bullpen through the first eight innings of the game. Following Cahill’s seven shutout innings, Jeurys Familia took the ball in the eighth and blanked the Astros to preserve the seven-run lead. Yusmeiro Petit wasn’t quite so lucky: with one out in the top of the ninth, he pitched to a full count against Tony Kemp, then saw his 90.1-MPH fastball returned to right field for a home run. That was the first and last time the Astros crossed home plate, however, as Kyle Tucker popped out to third base and Alex Bregman cemented the loss with a fly ball to right.

Entering Saturday’s game, the Astros had not been out of first place since June 13, when they played second fiddle to the now third-place Mariners. They’ll share first-place honors with the Athletics until Sunday’s finale; it’ll take a series sweep for Oakland to take the lead in the division, but they’ve already delivered incredible results over the last two weeks (and it’s worth noting, as MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart pointed out, that Houston has now lost seven of their last eight games). The A’s climbed out of the no. 3 spot at the start of August and have steadily progressed toward first place ever since, driven by two separate four-win streaks and their two decisive wins this weekend. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle also notes that the club has not been in first place in a non-April month since August 25, 2014 — the last year they qualified for the playoffs.