Report: Whoever hacked into Astros’ database tried to cover their tracks and failed

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Some new details here from Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times on the F.B.I.’s investigation into the hacking of the Astros’ database.

The focus of the investigation is a small group of Cardinals employees who worked in the areas of statistical analysis and computer programming. The breaches were tracked to a computer near the team’s complex in Jupiter, Florida during spring training in 2014. How did they discover this? Well, the Cardinals’ hackers weren’t very good at the whole hacking thing:

Whoever gained access to the Astros’ network tried to take some measures used by experienced hackers to disguise their location. But, law enforcement officials said, the intruders were not adept.

“They tried to mask themselves like an experienced hacker and failed,” said a person briefed on the investigation. “It’s clear they weren’t very good at what they were trying to do.”

It’s believed that whoever hacked into the Astros’ database did so using the password of general manager Jeff Luhnow or director of decision sciences Sig Mejdal, who both worked for the Cardinals at one point. While the hackers’ incompetence led investigators to a single computer, pinning down exactly who accessed the Astros’ database has proven “very difficult,” as multiple people could have used the computer at different times. However, Schmidt hears that at least four members of the Cardinals’ baseball operations staff have hired criminal defense lawyers.

Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports that Luhnow was back with the Astros today for the first time since the story broke last week, but he refused to comment on situation. That’s to be expected, as the federal investigation is ongoing.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).