Associated Press

And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights


I hope you had a good weekend. I had a wonderful weekend. When your team is hot garbage like mine is you don’t mind totally ignoring them for a couple of days and doing a two-hour long gab-fest on a college radio station called “The Doobie,” going on hikes in pretty state parks and going out for beers and things. Then you look up and see that your team’s shortstops are literally the worst hitters in all of baseball. Even worse than pitchers and, well, you realize that you spent your weekend doing the right things.

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Blue Jays 6, Athletics 3: After the game Drew Hutchinson said that he didn’t have his best stuff but that he “made big pitches” when he had to. I’ve been taken with the phrase “make pitches” or “execute” pitches lately. I wonder if guys said “make pitches” or “execute pitches” back when the pace of games was quicker. I don’t feel like they did. And I feel like it’s not just a verbal thing as opposed an actual mindset thing in which every pitch is very deeply considered and contemplated before being thrown whereas, 30 years ago, guys were just getting the ball and throwing it. I won’t take objective issue with the “make pitches” mindset, as it obviously works as evidenced by today’s pitching-dominant environment. But aesthetically it bugs me a bit. We talk about games dragging due to batters stepping out, but a pitcher concentrating to the nth degree on “executing” every pitch — especially max effort late inning relievers — does become an aesthetic drag at times. Not that Hutchinson did that here so much — the game was under three hours — but his comments do make me wonder if pitchers are not only simply more talented and harder-throwing now but if their entire process on every pitch is fundamentally different than it was a couple of decades back.

Cardinals 8, Padres 5: Padres fans booed former Padre Jedd Gyorko who was making his return to San Diego with the Cards. Imagine caring that much about Jedd Gyorko. Of course, he went 6-for-11 with two homers, a triple, four RBI and three runs scored in the three-game series, so I guess their anger was justified. After the game Gyorko said he hoped his home team Cardinals fans boo him too because it seemed to help. They’d never do that. You know why.

Royals 6, Orioles 1Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon homered. Hosmer has reached base for 26 straight games. Yordano Ventura allowed one run over seven innings, outdueling Mike Wright. Imagine if pitchers really dueled. With, like, pistols or fancy swords. That’d get kids watching baseball again. Take that suggestion on the house, Rob Manfred. I don’t need any credit for it. It’s a gift.

Mariners 9, Angels 4Kyle Seager, Leonys Martin and Seth Smith hit home runs for the Mariners. Albert Pujols went deep for the Angels, snapping an 0-for-26 skid and tying Reggie Jackson on the all-time list at 563. Afterwards Pujols said nice things about how Reggie has been “an ambassador for this game.” Hurm. I know people forget what old guys were like when they were young, but I’m old enough to remember Reggie Jackson’s career. And I can tell ya, if Jackson was a real ambassador we’d have been in a new diplomatic crisis on the regular.

Dodgers 12, Rockies 10: A four hour game at Coors Field in which 22 runs were scored? That’s a VH-1 “I love the 90s” special all by itself. The Dodgers gave up five runs in the eighth to blow a lead but then scored five in the ninth to take it right back and win. This kind of baseball should go on trial at The Hague.

Indians 6, Tigers 3: A victory and a sweep but a costly one as the Tribe is going to be without Carlos Carrasco for a while following a hamstring injury he sustained covering first base. Trevor Bauer relieved Carrasco and gave up two runs in three and a third innings. Bauer is likely to be the Indians’ first choice to join the rotation in Carrasco’s absence, so he needs to step it up. Detroit has lost four in a row and Seven of Nine.

Mets 3, Braves 2: Jacob deGrom made his return from paternity leave and allowed one run and eight hits in five and a third. The Mets sweep the Braves. They went 7-2 on the their road trip, which means that they have won Seven of Nine.

Rays 8, Yankees 1: Steven Souza homered twice and the Rays hit five homers in all to salvage the three-gamer against the Yankees. A five-run first inning gave Drew Smyly some rare recent run support. It was the Yankees’ eighth loss in their last 11 games.

Cubs 9, Reds 0: Two homers for Anthony Rizzo. After the game he said “It’s just baseball. I opened my stance a little bit but nothing major. You stay with the process. The formula is there. Things will take care of themselves.” That’s refreshing. I wonder if hitters will eventually say they “executed swings.” The Cubs are 14-5 and already lead their division by three and a half games.

Nationals 6, Twins 5: This one went 16 innings and took 5 hours, 56 minutes. That probably annoyed some people and messed with their plans. And for that we can thank Bryce Harper, really, whose ninth inning, pinch-hit homer sent the game into extras. More like “Make Baseball QUICK Again,” amirite? Chris Heisey won it in the bottom of the 16th with a walk-off solo home run

White Sox 4, Rangers 1: Mat Latos allowed one run and scattered seven hits in six innings, winning his fourth game. He signed a one-year, $3 million deal for this season. Bargain of the year? Sweep for the Sox.

Brewers 8, Phillies 5: A six-run sixth doomed the Phillies. Scooter Gennett and Alex Presley homered that inning Milwaukee hit four doubles in the same frame. Jerad Eickhoff retired 10 of the first 11 hitters he faced before Ryan Braun hit a solo shot in the fourth, serving as a harbinger for that sixth. Braun, by the way, is hitting .364/.432/.636 with five homers.

Marlins 5, Giants 4: The Marlins avoid a sweep. Giancarlo Stanton homered and reached base four times. The Giants had a chance. Trailing by one in the eighth they loaded the bases with no one out. Then they hit into a double play back to the pitcher, nailing a would-be run and then Joe Panik struck out. Tough break, guys.

Pirates 12, Diamondbacks 10: A thirteen inning game in which the Diamondbacks used four starting pitchers, one of whom — Shelby Millerplayed left field. And the Pirates’ Sean Rodriguez lined a double over his head to drive in the go-ahead run in extra innings. I feel like, in an age of 13-man pitching staffs, we’re gonna see some new roster rules made in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Red Sox 7, Astros 5: Houston rallied off of Craig Kimbrel in the ninth courtesy of a Colby Rasmus two-run homer. In the 12th Jackie Bradley, Jr. broke the tie with a two-run single with the bases loaded. Five hours and three minutes to finish this one. For a Sunday night game. The Sox then got on a late plane to Atlanta and will play a game tonight. It’s only the Braves, though, so it’s probably OK if they didn’t get enough sleep. Really, they should let half the team just stay back at the hotel, go for a hike or have some beers. Missing the Braves really does nothing to detract from your life lately.

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.”