And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 7, Twins 4: Tanaka and Beltran help the Yankees snap their losing skid. Tanaka with seven OK inning, even though he wasn’t at his best. Beltran with a big three run homer in the fifth. New York scored seven runs off Phil Hughes, which had to feel good.

Cardinals 7, Giants 2: The Giants are in freefall. Their 17th loss in their last 22, this time by giving up seven runs to a Cardinals team which has had a whale of a time scoring of late. Jhonny Peralta had a first inning homer to kick things off. Matt Carpenter continued to [punches hole in cliche rewards card] be a Giant killer, going 2 for 4. He is hitting .519 against the Giants in 54 career at bats.

Orioles 5, Rangers 2: Steve Pearce just keeps on keeping on. He had four hits and drove in a couple of runs. Wei-Yin Chen allowed two runs over six. He is 4-0 in four starts against Texas with a 1.67 ERA. I’d call him a “Ranger killer,” but that’s not a cliche like “Giant killer.” Also: totally against the law to kill a real Texas Ranger. Really, they’d execute for that. You can kill giants, though. But only if they’re trying to enter your property via a beanstalk or something.

Tigers 8, Rays 1: Erik Bedard got rocked with three homers and five runs in the first and after that it was all Max Scherzer. The reigning Cy Young Award winner allowed one run over eight innings, striking out seven.

Diamondbacks 10, Pirates 2: David Peralta had three hits, including a two-run homer and drove in four. Kirk Gibson after the game:

“We came back with a good effort today, played a good, clean game, got good pitching, some clutch hits then were able to have some fun in that last inning.”

Fun? Clean? Forget it Kirk. You’ve spent way too much time with the humorless and gritty thing now to try and pass of this team as fun and clean. Own your record, pal.

Phillies 5, Marlins 4: Philly rallied for two runs in the ninth when Steve Cishek couldn’t hold the lead. Thanks in part, also, to a bobbled ball at second which should have been an inning-ending double play.

Dodgers 3, Rockies 2: Zack Greinke gave up one earned run and two total while scattering nine hits over eight innings. Juan Uribe had three of the Dodgers’ six hits including the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth. Eighth inning fun: with the game tied at two, one out and a runner on third, Greinke and Don Mattingly decided to pitch to Troy Tulowitzki. They retired him. Then they  intentionally walked Corey Dickerson. Got away with that. How often do teams pitch to Tulo only then to give Dickerson and intentional pass?

Angels 5 Astros 2: That’s the seventh straight home win for Anaheim. They were aided in the effort by David Freese, who hit a two run double. Freese hasn’t aided many efforts this year.

Athletics 4, Blue Jays 1: Sonny Gray pitched well. And could’ve even had a shutout but for a really weird replay in the second. The bases were loaded and the Jays hit a groundball which was fielded by the A’s first baseman. He tried to tag the runner going from first to second but the ump said he missed. He gathered himself and fired the ball home to get the force out at the plate of the runner coming from third. OK as far as that goes. The weird part: Jays manager John Gibbons comes out and challenges the safe call on the tag of the runner coming from first to second. Again: a manager is asking for a review in order to have his own baserunner called out instead of safe. For good reason, of course, because if he was out there was no force play at home and the A’s failure to tag the runner coming home means he scored.

Which was dumb, of course, because the A’s had no reason to even try to tag the runner given that as it was called on the field it was a force. The umps nonetheless let the run score and Bob Melvin played the game under protest. Good thing it didn’t end up mattering to anything but Gray’s ERA, but still, we have found a weird replay loophole.

Astros owner Crane expects to hire new manager by Feb. 3

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane expects to hire a new manager by Feb. 3.

The Astros need a new manager and general manager after AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday, hours after both were suspended by Major League Baseball for a year for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

Crane said Friday that he’s interviewed a number of candidates this week and has some more to talk to in the coming days.

Crane refused to answer directly when asked if former Astros player and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was a possibility for the job. But he did say that he had spoken to Biggio, fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and former Astros star Lance Berkman in the days since the firings.

“We’ve talked to all of our Killer B’s,” Crane said referring to the nickname the three shared while playing for the Astros. “They’ve contacted me and they’ve all expressed that they would like to help. Berkman, Bagwell, Biggio have all called and said: ‘hey, if there’s anything I can do, I’m here for you.’”

“So we’ll continue to visit with those guys and see if there’s something there.”

Crane says his list is still rather extensive and that he hopes to have it narrowed down by the end of next week. He added that he expects most of Hinch’s staff to stay in place regardless of who is hired.

Crane has enlisted the help of three or four employees to help him with the interview process, including some in Houston’s baseball operations department.

“We compare notes,” he said. “I’ve learned a long time ago that you learn a lot if four or five people talk to a key candidate and you get a lot more information. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Crane’ top priority is finding a manager with spring training less than a month away, but he said he would start focusing on the search for a general manager after he hires a manager. He expects to hire a GM before the end of spring training.

“We should have another good season with the team pretty much intact … so I don’t know why a manager wouldn’t want to come in and manage these guys,” he said. “They’re set to win again.”

The penalties announced by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday came after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs in Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. The Astros were also fined $5 million, which is the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and must forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found that 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.

With much still in flux, Crane was asked what qualities are most important to him in his next manager.

“Someone mature that can handle the group,” he said. “Someone that’s had a little bit of experience in some areas. We’ve just got to find a leader that can handle some pressure and there’s going to be a little bit of pressure from where this team has been in the last few months.”

Despite his comment about experience, Crane said having been a major league manager before is not mandatory to him.

“We made some mistakes,” he said. “We made a decision to let that get behind us. We think the future is bright. We’ll make the adjustments … people think we’re in crisis. I certainly don’t believe that.”