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And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Dodgers 9, Phillies 3:  Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner homered. In other news, Clayton Kershaw last pitched for the Dodgers on June 26. They were eight games back of first place on that date. The Dodgers are 23-13 since then, which is the best record in baseball over that stretch. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ What I do know, though, is that this win, combined with the Giants loss, puts the Dodgers in first place in the NL West. It’s their first time in first place since May 14.

Rangers 7, Rockies 5: Colorado had a 5-1 lead heading into the seventh and then the Rangers scored six runs in the final three innings, capped by an Elvis Andrus go-ahead RBI single in the eighth. Texas scored three times in the ninth to beat the Rockies 4-3 on Monday night too, so I’m guessing the Rockies’ bullpen is happy to see the Rangers leave town.

Indians 3, Nationals 1: There was a lot going on here. First Terry Francona had chest pains before the game and had to sit this one out as a precautionary measure, then Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh. For his part, Trevor Bauer took a shutout into the seventh before handing it over to Andrew Miller and the Tribe pen. Miller, coming in in the seventh, was arguably being used as an old-style relief ace, appearing at a high leverage moment instead of just in the eighth or ninth inning. He gave up a homer here but it’d be neat to see what happens if the Tribe truly deploys him Rich Gossage-style.

Pirates 6, Padres 4: Gregory Polanco hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in a four-run fifth and rookie Chad Kuhl allowed two runs and five hits while striking out four and walking four. Polanco was batting cleanup, which is not usual for him. Clint Hurdle was asked about it and cited Polanco’s RBI Percentage which, yes, is a thing, but which I can’t remember hearing a manager mentioning before.

Rays 9, Blue Jays 2Evan Longoria reached base four times, scored twice and drove in three. Logan Forsythe had three hits and drove in two. The Rays scored six runs off the Jays’ pen.

Red Sox 5, Yankees 3: The Red Sox crowd chanted “WE WANT A-ROD!” but — hear me out for a second — I feel like they just wanted him to come out so they could boo him. Sorry I’m so cynical. A-Rod did not play, of course, and Joe Girardi got a lot of questions about that and A-Rod himself was kind of cranky about that but if we just close our eyes and forget about it for a while it’ll all be over soon. In the part of the game that actually mattered, Dustin Pedroia tied the game with an RBI double in the third and gave the Sox breathing room with an RBI double in the fifth. That scored Andrew Benintendi, who had just put the Sox ahead on his 3-for-3 night. He’s 8-for-16 in his first six games as a big leaguer, by the way.

Diamondbacks 5, Mets 3: Zack Greinke came off the disabled list and pitched for the first time in six weeks, allowing three runs over six innings and striking out six. He’s 11-3 now, having won his eighth straight. Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Drury homered for the Snakes.

Marlins 2, Giants 0: Tom Koehler shut the Giants out for seven innings and the pen handled the final two. The Giants are 14-18 since the beginning of July and 7-16 since the break. They’re now in a first place tie with L.A. They haven’t been out of first place, tied or alone, since May 10.

Cubs 5, Angels 1: The Cubs are making it look easy. They take their eighth straight, enjoying eight one run innings from John Lackey, at least insofar as anyone truly “enjoys” anything associated with John Lackey. Buster Olney gives us some fun factoids about the State of the Cubs:

Braves 2, Brewers 1: Tyrell Jenkins allowed one run over six and for the second night in a row Atlanta’s bullpen looked sharp and shut Milwaukee out over the final frames. The Braves still have the worst record in baseball, but they are 6-2 in August and 12-12 since the break. That’s some serious progress for these guys. They’re not going to contend next year, but this little run is at least giving me hope that they’ll be watchable. That’s some serious progress too.

Astros 7, Twins 5: Jose Altuve went 4-for-4 and scored twice. He’s hitting .361 and has a .998 OPS. Carlos Correa drove in four runs. It was the Astros’ first homer in eight games.

White Sox 7, Royals 5: The Royals tied things up with a rally in the bottom of the ninth, but Todd Frazier hit a three-run homer in the 10th to moot that. Justin Morneau went 4-for-5. Frazier is hitting only .213 but is tied for the major league lead with 31 homers. That’s 20-teens baseball in a nutshell. It’d probably give guys from the 1950s an aneurysm.

Reds 7, Cardinals 4: Tyler Holt doubled off Matt Bowman to break a 4-4 tie in the eighth as the Reds rallied. Billy Hamilton was a disruptive force once again, as his speed on an infield hit caused Matt Carpenter to bobble a barehanded attempt to field it, allowing Holt to score from second right after his double. Hamilton had two hits and two walks, scored three times and stole three bases. After Monday’s game Mike Matheny blamed himself for the team being unable to contain Hamilton. I’m guessing he’ll be going back to the drawing board once again. Highly touted pitching prospect Alex Reyes made his big league debut for the Cards, hitting 101 on the gun on two pitches.

Athletics 2, Orioles 1Danny Valencia and Khris Davis each drove in a run in the A’s two-run third, and it held up. The Athletics won consecutive games for the first time since July 26-27. Wade Miley has allowed six runs on 14 hits in 11 innings since joining the Orioles.

Mariners 6, Tigers 5: Detroit had a 4-1 lead in the eighth before Kyle Seager hit a three-run homer off of Justin Wilson which led to six bonus frames in this nearly five hour game. Victor Martinez homered in the top of the 15th but that didn’t hold up as Seattle rallied for two runs on two hits (and a walk) off of the struggling Francisco Rodriguez. The walkoff came via a Mike Zunino sac fly. Seattle is seven back in the west but only 2.5 back in the Wild Card. Detroit has lost three in a row and is no longer in Wild Card position, sitting a game back of the Red Sox, mostly because of their pen. What else is new?

Scott Boras: Astros players don’t need to apologize

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Ken Rosenthal spoke to Scott Boras about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Boras’ take: the Astros need not apologize for what they did. They were mere babes in the woods who were ignorant of everything. I wish I was making this up. Scotty Baby:

“I’m doing what my organization is telling me to do,” Boras said on Wednesday, describing the hypothetical mindset of a player. “You installed this. You put this in front of us. Coaches and managers encourage you to use the information. It is not coming from the player individually. It is coming from the team. In my stadium. Installed. With authority.”

The analogy Boras used was the speed limit.

A man driving 55 mph in a 35-mph zone only believes he is speeding if the limit is clearly posted. Likewise, Boras said Astros’ players who committed infractions only should apologize if they were properly informed of their boundaries.

It’s worth noting two things at this juncture: (1) Scott Boras represents José Altuve and Lance McCullers; and (2) He’s 100% full of crap here. Indeed, the contortions Astros players and their surrogates are putting themselves through to avoid accountability is embarrassing.

The players knew what they were doing.  Please do not insult me by saying they didn’t. Boras is doing what he thinks he needs to do to protect his guys. I get it, that’s his job. His client Altuve in particular stepped on it last weekend when he and other Astros players tried to play the “we’re going to overcome this adversity/no one believed in us” card which played terribly, and the super agent is trying to clean up the mess as best he can. Hat tip to him for his hustle, which he has never not shown. Guy’s a pro.

But he can only do so much because this all remains on the Astros’ players. Yes, the formal punishment is on the manager, the general manager and the club, and I agree that it had to be given all of the complications of the situation, but now that that’s over, it’s time for some honest accountability. And we’re getting zero of it.

Which is insane because the players were given immunity. They’re 100% in the clear. That they cheated has angered a lot of people, but it does not make them irredeemable. As I have noted here many times, lots of others did too. But their lack of accountability over the past couple of weeks speaks very, very poorly of them.

“We crossed a line. No question. We’re sorry. We don’t think it caused us to win anything we didn’t earn, but we see how we created that perception ourselves through our own actions. We shouldn’t have done that. Going forward we’re going to be better. Again, we’re sorry.”

That’s about all it’d take and it’d be done. It’d be pretty easy to say, if for no other reason than because that’s probably what’s gone through their minds anyway. They’re not bad people.

But they’re also observers of America in 2020 and, I suspect, everything they’ve seen, consciously or unconsciously, has counseled against them saying those very simple words or something like them.

Everything that’s going on in America right now — politics especially — tells people that the path to success is to cheat, steal and lie in order to benefit themselves and themselves only. It’s also telling them that, if they get caught, they should lie and deny too. It works. The media, for the most part, will not call anyone of status out on a lie, even if the lie is ridiculous. At most it will repeat the denial like a stenographer reading back from a transcript fearing that to do any more would be to — gasp! — reveal an opinion. “Shlabotnik says that he was cloned by Tralfamadorians and it was his clone, not him, who stole the signs.” Heaven forbid someone add the word “falsely” in there. They won’t because if they do they’re going to be accused of being “biased” or “political” or whatever.

If you see that — and we all see it — why wouldn’t you be predisposed to avoid apologizing for anything? Why wouldn’t you try to offer some canned, facially neutral talking points and hope that everyone is satisfied that you’ve spoken? Why wouldn’t you, having done that for a few weeks, begin to believe that, actually, you’re right not do say anything more. And  that, maybe, you were never in the wrong at all? That’s were we are as a country now, that’s for sure. And given that sports reflects society, it should not be at all surprising that that attitude has infected sports as well.

Astros owner Jim Crane tells Rosenthal that there could be an apology in spring training. “Quite frankly, we’ll apologize for what happened, ask forgiveness and move forward,” Crane said.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that when someone says “quite frankly,” what follows is going to be insincere most of the time. Another thing I’ve learned is that, in comments such as Crane’s, the emphasis is strongly on the “move forward” part of things. He wants an apology to put an end to a bad news cycle. When it comes, it will be P.R.-vetted and couched in the most sterile and corporate language imaginable. It will be anything but sincere.

In the meantime, the rest of the Astros don’t seem to want to offer an apology at all. Why should they? What’s making them?