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And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

White Sox 3, Nationals 1: Lede from the AP game story:

Todd Frazier wondered if going to church more would help the White Sox break out of their funk. Then the Chicago third baseman suggested a scuffle with teammate Adam Eaton.

Church or war as an answer to all of our problems? Ladies and gentleman, I give you Todd Frazier, the next nominee for President of the United States for the Republican Party!

Yeah, I know. “Stick to baseball.” Fine: Melky Cabrera doubled twice and drove in two runs. Miguel Gonzalez allowed one run on three hits over six. I’ll hit the Democrats back the next time a ballplayer claims that his kind, culturally aware statements which signal solidarity of identity excuse him from actually having to do things which help people of that identity in a practical way.

Mets 5, Brewers 2: Bartolo Colon allowed one run over seven innings while scattering eight hits. The only run scored when a ball was smashed into the chest of second baseman Neil Walker off the bat of Hernan Perez. Terry Collins: “He said it hit him right in the heart and that he couldn’t catch his breath.” I’ve never see Hernan Perez before, but I’m assuming this is him.

Does an Ox Baker reference make up for that political jab? It really should, you know. Ain’t no other baseball writer dropping Ox Baker bombs at 8am. Florida belongs to Ox Baker. Don’t you forget that, Ronnie Garvin.

Marlins 10, Twins 3Marcell Ozuna had four hits and three RBI. Christian Yelich had two hits and an RBI. Chris Johnson hit a pinch-hit, two-run homer. The Twins losing probably made them sad which, based on what I heard in response to this yesterday, likely makes a certain segment of Twins fans happy. They really want the Twins to be sad and to feel bad.

Rangers 5, Astros 3: Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland each had nice days at the plate and the Rangers could use that from those two. Fielder’s solo homer in the bottom of the fourth was smashing. Rougned Odor homered too. Bad news for Houston, apart from losing to the Rangers yet again: Carlos Correa left the game with a sprained left ankle. He’ll miss a game or two most likely.

Rockies 11, Pirates 5: Jorge De La Rosa has lost his spot in the Rockies rotation, but he came in and pitched four excellent innings in relief. Walt Weiss said after the game that his demotion “was a tough pill to swallow for a guy who’s been the best pitcher in franchise history” and I still can’t get my head around the fact that De La Rosa is the best pitcher on Rockies history. DJ LeMahieu homered, doubled and drove in three runs. Ryan RaburnCharlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado each drove in two.

Yankees 6, Angels 3: Carlos Beltran hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the Yankees’ five-run fifth, Ivan Nova was solid and the Betances, Miller, Chapman bullpen did what it was supposed to do to give the Yankees the win. New York is back at .500. But some bad news too as Chris Parmelee, a day removed from a two-homer game and a Daily News headline extolling his heroism, pulled his hamstring. Being the Yankees first baseman is like being the drummer for Spinal Tap.

Orioles 6, Blue Jays 5: Chris Davis homered and hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the ninth inning on a 2-for-3 night. That’s five wins in a row for the O’s and eight of their last nine since the calendar turned to June. Baltimore is kicking off a four-game road series against Toronto and Boston, by the way, so these are some big game for all three of what seem to be the most serious contenders for the division crown.

Cardinals 3, Reds 2: Adam Wainwright was solid after a shaky start and Yadier Molina hit a tie-breaking RBI single in the eighth. He doubled and scored a run in the second inning as well. The Cardinals have taken 18 of the past 22 series from the Reds.

Indians 5, Mariners 3Tyler Naquin hit a two-run home run off Joaquin Benoit in the eighth inning to give the Indians what ended up being their winning margin. Mariners pitchers issued eight walks. You’re not gonna win often when you do that.

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.