And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Orioles 8, Nationals 2: A tight game until the 11th inning when the Orioles erupted for six runs on the back of three homers and a double. Ohio’s own Craig Stammen surrendered five of those runs, including homers to Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy. Manny Machado added one of his own. Seriously: as far as Ohio Craigs go, I had the way better night. And all I did was sit on my couch drinking whiskey and watching a supremely messed up movie that, for some reason, I had no idea existed until yesterday.

White Sox 4, Red Sox 0: Sox win. Scott Carroll one-hit the Red Sox into the seventh inning and Boston was shut out for the ninth time this year. It was one of five shutouts around the bigs last night. I have no idea how long this pitcher-friendly era will last. Some say it’ll go on for years. Others are likely trying to develop some sort of Hari Seldon-esque psychohistory for baseball in which an alternatively shorter intermittent period between high-offense eras persists.

Yankees 5, Indians 3: Shane Greene was called up to take the departed Vidal Nuno’s start and he did pretty well, allowing two runs in six innings and picking up his first major league win. And while I say Nuno is “departed,” I don’t mean dead. I mean that he was abducted by some gray aliens as he drove on a country road and, best case, will be deposited someplace, naked and scared but his memory wiped, after they’re through experimenting on him. OK, I just keep sugarcoating this. It’s way worse than being dead or abducted by aliens. Nuno was traded to Arizona.

Phillies 3, Brewers 2: When Cole Hamels allows one run into the seventh and Chase Utley has a big RBI it, a little over five years later, is like going up on a steep hill and looking East, giving you the right kind of eyes to almost see the high-water mark—that place where the Phillies’ wave finally broke and rolled back.

Reds 9, Cubs 3: Billy Hamilton drove in four thanks to a bases-loaded triple and an RBI single. Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer after getting his first ever professional start at first base. He also allowed a run in on an error, but I guess it was a net positive thanks to the dinger.

Mets 4, Braves 3: The Braves had a 3-2 lead in the eighth but Curtis Granderson tied it up with a homer. Then, of all people, Ruben Tejada singled home the winner in the 11th. But it’s OK Braves fans: the team may have lost, but at least the Braves didn’t use their best reliever to get them out of  that 11th inning jam in a tie-game on the road. That would’ve been horrifying.

Royals 6, Rays 0: James Shields has been up and down this year. This was up: ten strikeouts as he three-hit the Rays over seven innings in his return to Tropicana Field. It was a tight game until he left, though, but his mates plated four in the eighth and ninth innings.

Astros 12, Rangers 7: Jon Singleton homered, had two more hits and drove in four to help the Astros snap a seven-game losing streak. He had been 0 for his previous ten. Houston was 2-17 against Texas last year. They are 4-3 against them this year.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 0: Knotted at zero into the ninth but then Matt Adams hit a two-run bomb to walk off against Pittsburgh in the ninth. It came off a lefty too. Of course, even guys who struggle against lefties can deposit a hanging breaking ball into the seats. The Pirates had their chances against a less-than-at-his-best Adam Wainwright but couldn’t convert.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on TuesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Angels 5, Blue Jays 2: Jered Weaver had to leave in the second with back stiffness, but five Angels relievers combined to allow only two runs over seven innings. Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar each had RBI hits in the fifth with Josh Hamilton adding a sac fly.

Padres 6, Rockies 1: Six runs for the Padres in 2014 is like, what, 15 runs for any other team? Not that they needed all that offense when they had Ian Kennedy allowing only one run over seven. Chase Headley was 4 for 5.

Athletics 5, Giants 0: Jesse Chavez struck out nine in six shutout innings. It was a sellout in Oakland, but a whole heck of a lot of those buying tickets were Giants fans who left early and disappointed.

Diamondbacks 9, Marlins 1: David Peralta drove in three runs and extended his hitting streak to eight games. Peralta was called up on June 1. He’s hitting .331/.357/.471 since then. He’s a nearly 27-year-old rookie who spent time in independent ball after being released as a pitcher when he was in the low levels of the Cardinals organization. I’d assume this guy has a lot of interesting stories to tell.

Mariners 2, Twins 0: Hisashi Iwakuma was not healthy and was not effective in June, but July has been good to him. He struck out ten in seven innings here and extended his scoreless innings streak against the Twins to 33 and 1/3 innings. Forty five would be a singular accomplishment. Seventy eight would crazy, as no one has put together a record like that for years.

An Astros executive asked scouts to use cameras, binoculars to steal signs in 2017

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The Athletic reports that an Astros executive asked scouts to spy on opponents’ dugouts in August of 2017, suggesting in an email that they use cameras or binoculars to do so.

The email, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports, came from Kevin Goldstein, who is currently a special assistant for player personnel but who at the time was the director of pro scouting. In it he wrote:

“One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout. What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can (or can’t) do and report back your findings.”

The email came during the same month that the Red Sox were found to have illegally used an Apple Watch to steal signs from the Yankees. The Red Sox were fined as a result, and it led to a clarification from Major League Baseball that sign stealing via electronic or technological means was prohibited. Early in 2019 Major League Baseball further emphasized this rule and stated that teams would receive heavy penalties, including loss of draft picks and/or bonus pool money if they were found to be in violation.

It’s an interesting question whether Goldstein’s request to scouts would fall under the same category as the Apple Watch stuff or other technology-based sign-stealing schemes. On the one hand, the email certainly asked scouts to use cameras and binoculars to get a look at opposing signs. On the other hand, it does not appear that it was part of a sign-relaying scheme or that it was to be used in real time. Rather, it seems aimed at information gathering for later use. The Athletic suggests that using eyes or binoculars would be considered acceptable in 2017 but that cameras would not be. The Athletic spoke to scouts and other front office people who all think that asking scouts to use a camera would “be over the line” or would constitute “cheating.”

Of course, given how vague, until very recently Major League Baseball’s rules have been about this — it’s long been governed by the so-called “unwritten rules” and convention, only recently becoming a matter of official sanction — it’s not at all clear how the league might consider it. It’s certainly part and parcel of an overarching sign-stealing culture in baseball which we are learning has moved far, far past players simply looking on from second base to try to steal signs, which has always been considered a simple matter of gamesmanship. Now, it appears, it is organizationally-driven, with baseball operations, scouting and audio-visual people being involved. The view on all of this has changed given how sophisticated and wide-ranging an operation modern sign-stealing appears to be. Major League Baseball was particularly concerned, at the time the Red Sox were punished for the Apple Watch stuff, that it involved management and front office personnel.

Regardless of how that all fits together, Goldstein’s email generated considerable angst among Astros scouts, many of whom, The Athletic and ESPN report, commented in real time via email and the Astros scout’s Slack channel, that they considered it to be an unreasonable request that would risk their reputations as scouts. Some voiced concern to management. Today that email has new life, emerging as it does in the wake of last week’s revelations about the Astros’ sign-stealing schemes.

This is quickly becoming the biggest story of the offseason.