Associated Press

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights


Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 16, Astros 6: If Martians came down to Earth, threatening war, but we somehow managed to enter into delicate peace talks with them which, the president decided, would be capped off with a ceremony in which we showed them our national pastime featuring our most famous baseball team, and if this was the game to which we took them, the treaty would be torn up and the world would be annihilated by angry Martians. Seventeen runs were scored in the first three innings which took approximately 83 hours to play. Amazingly these teams managed to bring the whole game in under four hours, but that either had to do with everyone freezing their butts off late and mailing the last few innings in or else a Martian time warp kinda deal is happening, prelude to the full invasion.

Tigers 7, Marlins 3: Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in four, including a homer off of Jose Fernandez. Fernandez had a crazy line. Five runs on five hits suggests a guy who didn’t have anything. Thirteen strikeouts in fewer than six innings (and only one walk), well, that suggests a guy who had some great stuff. I dunno. Weird things happen sometimes. Like Saltalamacchia being the hero against the club that’s paying most of his salary this year.

Indians 7, Red Sox 6: Speaking of old friends, Mike Napoli broke a 6-all tie in the seventh with his solo shot against the Sox, which ended up being the game-winner. Clay Buchholz started the game by allowing four runs in the first. While Boston tied it up eventually, you really don’t put your team in a good position to win when you do that. Boston has a lot of people who are high on them. For those expectations to be met, they need someone besides David Price to be a solid, reliable starter. Buchholz is the most obvious candidate. Maybe he will be, but like he did in this game, he has started off poorly.

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3: Trevor Story, like Robinson Cano (see below) has four homers in his first three games. Since he’s a rookie that’s a little more notable and record breaking. It also leads to a lot of fun. The AP headline I saw for this game was “Amazing Story.” If he keeps this up we’ll see a “Neverending Story” or something eventually. Really, the guy’s name, if nothing else, is a gift to headline writers everywhere. If he kills the Phillies in a road game it’ll be “Philadelphia Story.” If he goes on a terrible skid it’ll be “American Horror Story.” He’s already something of a “Cinderella Story,” but if he does this for 18 years he’ll be “The Greatest Story Ever Told.” For right now, to Colorado fans, he’s a “Love Story.”

Rays 5, Blue Jays 3: Steven Souza homered twice. Josh Donaldson homered once. Souza didn’t leave the game with a strained right calf the way Donaldson did, though, so he comes out even farther ahead. Looked like a tough break for the MVP, but he said after the game he won’t miss time. Worth watching.

Brewers 4, Giants 3Jeff Samardzija scares some people because they think that he got that $90 million deal based on his name and rep and not where he is as a pitcher anymore. They worry that the bad 2015 they saw from him was not a blip but the beginnings of a decline. One start will not determine that, obviously, and he battled through trouble pretty well yesterday, but his first start of 2016 —  three runs on eight hits in five and a third — probably made some people make the weird signing noise Tina makes on “Bob’s Burgers.” Chris Carter hit a homer for Milwaukee. That’s what he does.

Mariners 9, Rangers 5: Robinson Cano homered for the third and fourth time in his first three games. The guy is on fire. I was pessimistic about Seattle’s chances this year but those who were less pessimistic based it on their belief that Cano had a superstar comeback season in him. Given that he really bounced back fantastically in the second half last year it’s not a crazy thing to believe. If he does look like the elite Robinson Cano we’ve seen in the past, it would go a long way toward changing the shape of the Mariners’ season from that which the more pessimistic observers expect.

Reds 4, Phillies 2: The Phillies’ bullpen fails to come through again, this time with a two-run ninth capped off by a Scott Schebler bases-loaded double off of Dalier Hinojosa, who allowed three singles before that. Tough stuff. Oh well, Phillies fans, I have this for you. Feel free to use it whenever you need to. I feel like you’re going to need it all season long.

Orioles 4, Twins 2: Chris Davis homered in the third to put the O’s up 2-1. They’d never trail thanks to a solid outing by Yovani Gallardo. Davis has two hits and two walks in two games. Which isn’t Cano-Story sexy or anything, but the Orioles have to be happy.

Pirates 5, Cardinals 1: And with that we have the first three-game sweep of the year. Juan Nicasio pitched allowed one run over six innings and Francisco Cevelli hit a two-run double. It doesn’t matter yet obviously, and this is just a case of fun dumb numbers in the first week of the season, but the 2015 Cardinals were never farther than 2.5 games out of first place last year. They’re three out now. TIME TO PANIC?! WHO CAN SAY?!

Dodgers 7, Padres 0: And with that we have the second three-game sweep of the year. This one a lot more decisive, as the Dodgers outscored San Diego 25-0 in the first three games of the year. Only silver lining is that the Padres now get to travel to Colorado. Which means the pitchers will still be scared but it basically guarantees that the offense will come out of its coma. Oh, fun stuff here: Kenta Maeda made his big league debut. In addition to getting the win with six scoreless, he hit a homer. It was the Dodgers’ first homer of the year.

Nationals 3, Braves 1: Down 1-0 in the seventh, the Nationals rallied, with the rally capped off by a Matt den Dekker two-run double. “Matt den Dekker” is probably the most fun name to say in major league baseball right now.

Athletics 2, White Sox 1: Better late than never. Sonny Gray, sidelined with either food poisoning or a stomach bug or whatever, was supposed to go on Monday. Two days of recouperation did the trick, however, and he went seven innings allowing only one run. He got the lead thanks to a Mark Canha homer in the second and never looked back.

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


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.”