And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 4, Rangers 3: Excitement in Cleveland. David Murphy’s two-run homer with one out in the ninth tied it up and sent it to extras. Michael Brantley’s leadoff homer in the 12th ended it. That’s a three-game sweep for the Indians. Murphy, who played for the Rangers until this year, went 12 for 25 with seven RBIs in seven games against the Rangers this season. That’s gotta feel good.

Giants 9, Mets 0: As has often been the case in this pitching-dominant year, there were several great pitching performances yesterday. A lot of seven shutout innings kinds of things. Madison Bumgarner was not content with seven. He went the distance, striking out ten and allowing only two hits. Meanwhile, Hunter Pence smacked two homers. His first was a two-run shot which scored the first two and only two runs the Giants would need all game.

Diamondbacks 3, Pirates 2: The game ended as Dbacks baserunner Nick Ahmed slid into second base — or the general vicinity of it anyway — with his arms raised, deflecting the throw to first that may have completed the double play, only to deflect the ball thereby allowing the winning run to score. Was he trying to interfere with the ball? Yeah, probably. But when you’re the Dbacks you care way more about the unwritten rules, not the rules that are actually written down.

Royals 4, Athletics 2: James Shields was on cruise control, retiring the first 15 batters he faced. He ended up allowing two runs over eight. The Royals have won nine of 11 and are only a game and a half out of a wild card slot.

Padres 4, Braves 3: Everth Cabrera singled in the winning run in the 10th for the Padres’ second straight walkoff win in extras. Meanwhile, the Braves have lost six and row and now find themselves three and a half back of Washington and two out of a wild card slot. It’s fun just watching their season just slip away like this.

Astros 6, Blue Jays 1: Scott Feldman tossed a complete game, scattering eight hits and run. Chris Carter and Matt Dominguez each drove in two. Melky Cabrera had his hitting streak snapped at 10.

Cubs 7, Dodgers 3: Josh Beckett continues to struggle, tossing 94 pitches in four innings. Well, he did pitch into the fifth, but gave up a double to the opposing pitcher and then a homer to Chris Coghlan which put the Cubs ahead to stay. One single later and he was lifted. When Beckett is good he’s good. When he’s bad he is stomach-turning.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $10,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Monday night’s MLB games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on MondayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Twins 16, White Sox 3: Danny Santana had five hits and four RBI in what, eventually anyway, became a laugher. Minnesota sent 14 batters to the plate in the eighth. Then in the ninth Chris Parmelee, Oswaldo Arcia and Eric Fryer hit back-to-back-to-back homers. Party time.

Cardinals 3, Brewers 2: John Lackey wins his Cardinals debut after allowing two runs in seven innings. When he left the game, however, he stood to be the loser, but the Cards rallied for three in the seventh. Biggest reason they were able to rally? Matt Garza leaving the game after six with an oblique injury. Until then he had allowed only one hit and had needed only 71 pitches through those six.

Angels 7, Rays 5: There was a delay in this one after a lightning strike led to a partial power outage. No word on whether the Tampa station that is fascinated with urban infrastructure had anything to say about this. For what it’s worth, I spent the weekend in downtown Detroit and I had a lovely time. Mike Trout was 3 for 4 and drove in a couple. Jered Weaver picked up his 12th win.

Nationals 4 Phillies 0: Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 over seven shutout innings as Washington and Philly split four games. Of course when your competition in the division is stinking on ice like the Braves are, you can split series forever and still build your lead.

Orioles 1, Mariners 0: Chris Tillman tossed seven shutout innings himself and the pen gave the O’s two more. Nick Markakis’ first inning homer was the only scoring in the game. Tough luck loss for Hisashi Iwakuma.

Reds 7, Marlins 3: A fifteen-hit attack for the Reds. Fourteen of them were singles. Four of them came from Todd Frazier. Billy Hamilton scored thrice.

Tigers 4, Rockies 0: The sweep, as Anibal Sanchez strikes out 12 in seven innings and Victor Martinez hit a three-run homer. He homered the night before too. I was at that game on Saturday night. It was Fiesta Tigres at Comerica Park, when baseball’s Latino culture is celebrated. I had three darn good tacos and purchased a V-Mart shirsey with “Tigres” in script on the front instead of the English D. I sorta love it.

Red Sox 8, Yankees 7: When I went to bed it was 7-7 in the fifth and it felt like the game would never end. When I woke up I discovered that Brett Gardner hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth. He had three hits overall. He has five homers in his past six games.

The Astros continue to refuse to take responsibility for the Taubman Affair

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I’m calling it the “Taubman Affair” because writing “the incident in which a top front office executive — Astros Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman — taunted a reporter for her past opposition to the team acquiring a domestic abuser, after which the team lied, aggressively about it, accusing another reporter of fabricating a story, then admitted that they lied but made no apology for smearing the reporter” is too unwieldy for a headline.

If you need catching up on it, though, you can read this, this or this.

The latest on it all: yesterday, after walking back their angry denial that the incident ever occurred and admitting that, yes, Taubman did in fact gleefully and profanely target a reporter for taunting, the team basically went silent and let Game 1 unfold.

Today General Manager Jeff Luhnow went on a team-friendly radio station (i.e. the station that broadcasts Astros games). In the entire segment he was asked only one question about it: “Your thoughts on the SI article, Jeff.” Luhnow said that he would withhold comment, but apologized to “everybody involved,” including the fans and the players, saying “this situation should have never happened.” You can listen to the entire segment here.

He did not, however, make any specific mention of what “this situation” was. Nor did he acknowledge that, actually, it’s at least two “situations:” (1) the initial behavior of Taubman; and (2) Monday night’s team-sanctioned attack of Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein, who reported it. Indeed, at no time in the team’s now multiple comments has anyone acknowledged that, as an organization, the Houston Astros’s first impulse in all of this was to attempt to bully and discredit a reporter for what has now been established as a truthful report to which the Astros have admitted. And they certainly have not voiced any specific regret or offered any form of accountability for it.

Major League Baseball is apparently investigating Taubman’s conduct. But it is not, presumably, investigating the Astros’ disingenuous smear of Apstein. A smear that the Astros likely undertook because they figured they could intimidate Apstein and, what may even be worse, because they assumed that the rest of the press — many of whom were witnesses to Taubman’s act — would go along or remain silent. If they did not think that, of course, releasing the statement they did would’ve been nonsensical. It speaks of an organization that believes it can either bully or manipulate the media into doing its bidding or covering for the teams’ transgressions. That part of this has gone wholly uncommented on by the Astros and apparently will for the foreseeable future. No matter how this shakes out for Taubman, if the Astros do not talk about how and why they decided to baselessly attack Apstein on Monday night, nothing they ever say should be trusted again.

More broadly, everything the Astros are doing now is the same as when they traded for Roberto Osuna in the first place.

In 2018 they wanted to do an unpopular thing — arbitrage a player’s domestic violence suspension into the acquisition of cheap relief help — while wanting to appear as though they were good actors who had a “zero tolerance for domestic violence” policy. To solve that problem they shoveled a lot of malarkey about how “zero tolerance” actually includes a fair amount of tolerance and hoped that everyone would go along. When not everyone did — when fans brought signs of protest to the ballpark or expressed their displeasure with Osuna’s presence on the roster — they confiscated them then hoped it’d all blow over and, eventually, via Taubman’s rant on Saturday night, lashed out at their critics.

Here, again, they want to do something unpopular: retain a boorish and insensitive executive in Taubman without him or the team suffering any consequences for it, be they actual consequences or mere P.R. fallout. Again, it’s kind of hard to pull that off, so to do so they falsely accused a reporter of lying and then circled the wagons when they caught heat for it.

I have no idea how long they plan to keep this up. Maybe they are calculating that people will forget and that forgetting is the same as forgiveness. Maybe they simply don’t care. All I do know is that folks will be teaching the Astros’ response to all of this as a counterexample in crisis management courses for years.