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And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Because I had to renew my Gen-X card, I watched “High Fidelity” last night. It was either that, “Singles,” or “Reality Bites.” The Gen-X Commission also allows you to complete a musical equivalent for license renewal if you want, but there’s some Red Hot Chili Peppers on that test and, frankly, no one needs that.

Anyway, I’ve seen “High Fidelity” a zillion times, but not for many, many years. I’ll observe that the soundtrack, one of the best ever, continues to hold up in amazing fashion. I’ll also allow that, overall, it remains a good movie. It’s a different kind of good movie now, though, because once you reach a certain age and place in life — an age and place I’ve apparently reached since the last time I saw it — you realize how much of a miserable jackass Rob is. I mean, he always was a bit of one. His self-loathing is earned and acknowledged. But at some point the balance shifted and I watched the movie wondering why on Earth Laura would go back to him, and even hoping there was some alternate cut in which she wouldn’t, even if Ian is the absolute worst. Rob has a lot of problems that weren’t gonna be fixed by him giving some “I’m tired of trying to find the perfect woman but I don’ t get tired of you so I guess I’ll settle for you” speech and then going back to DJing. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Anyway, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 5, Rays 4: Tyler Austin hit a walkoff homer and Brian McCann homered twice and the Yankees win their fifth in a row as they make an improbable playoff push. The nickname the Yankees have been given — the Baby Boomers, Bombers as a nod to their young, power-hitting players — is pretty good I suppose. Related: Baby Boomers have to watch “The Big Chill” to get their license renewed. Which reminds me: “High Fidelity” has a line in it about how the Stones song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is disqualified from one of their lists “because of its involvement with “The Big Chill.” Which is hilarious given that “High Fidelity” itself has become a pretty cliche generational signifier. Do Millennials disqualify “Cold Blooded Old Times” by Smog from their lists the same reasons? God, I hope not. That’s a jam. And what movies will Millennials have to watch in order to get their generational licenses renewed someday?

Brewers 12, Cardinals 5: Milwaukee has won seven of eight. Hernan Perez had four hits and three RBI. Domingo Santana and Arcia hit back-to-back homers in the second inning and the Brew Crew put up a six-run sixth inning. Arcia on his homer:

“I just went out there looking for a pitch I could hit hard, looking for my pitch. I was able to get one and hit it hard and get it out.”

The homer came off of Jaime Garcia who, I presume, was “just trying to make some pitches.” All of this really makes me wonder: Do I listen to these ballplayer cliches because I am miserable? Or am I miserable because I listen to ballplayer cliches?

Indians 10, Astros 7: The big story from this game was Jim Joyce and the umpiring crew somehow turning a foul ball into a two-run wild pitch. I’m not sure why a ball hitting a bat or not isn’t a reviewable play — it’s about as objective as you can get — but it isn’t. Beyond that, Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer, Francisco Lindor had three RBI and Abraham Almonte hit a two-run triple.

Phillies 4, Nationals 1: Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer, Peter Bourjos hit a solo shot and Alec Asher, returning to the bigs after missing most of the season due to a drug suspension, pitched six innings of two-hit ball. Asher after the game:

“Everything’s in the past now. It’s unfortunate what happened. There’s nothing I can do but come up here and pitch now. Happy to be back and looking to stay.”

You’re allowed to put your PED problems in the past in Major League Baseball. As long as people didn’t hate you before your drug problems. Then you’ll constantly be reminded of it for the rest of your days.

Pirates 4, Reds 1: Ivan Nova pitched a complete game, allowing one run on six hits. He’s 5-0 with a 2.53 ERA in seven starts since coming over to Pittsburgh from New York. He’s gonna make bank on the very thin free agent market this winter. He’s the guy who will sign a big deal which will make your friends who only vaguely follow baseball ask you “who in the HELL is Ivan Nova? Man, baseball is broken if some NOBODY can make that kind of money!” Don’t hang out with people like that by the way. They’re miserable.

Mariners 6, Rangers 3Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer late to turn a one-run game into a three-run game. Dae-Ho Lee added a solo shot. Taijuan Walker wasn’t horrible. That was enough.

Padres 14, Rockies 1: San Diego put up a seven-run third inning and it was off to the races after that. Ryan Schimpf drove in four via a two-run homer and a two-run double.

If you need me, I’ll be off making top-5 lists and hoping some woman settles for me because she’s too tired to find someone else and then being considered a romantic hero for that. Man.

Astros, Red Sox look ahead in wake of sign-stealing scandal

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Players from two teams at the center of baseball’s sign-stealing scandal faced their fans on Saturday for the first time since the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox ousted their managers amid the fallout from the investigation into Houston’s elaborate scheme.

The Astros and Red Sox held their annual fan fests on Saturday, and instead of discussing preparations for the season, players from both teams were left to answer questions about the cheating that resulted in both teams’ managers being fired.

“It’s a tough situation and as a team we have to stay together and go through this as a team like we’ve been doing, always,” Houston star second baseman José Altuve said. “We have to talk about it at spring training and try not to let things in the past distract us for for next year.”

Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for a year by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs during the Astros’ run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. Team owner Jim Crane then fired both Hinch and Luhnow. Manager Alex Cora left the Red Sox on Tuesday after Manfred’s report identified him as the ringleader of the sign-stealing scheme when he was the bench coach for the Astros in 2017.

Many Red Sox players talked Saturday about how much they liked and valued Cora and hated to see him go.

“I’m heartbroken about it,” Boston designated hitter J.D. Martinez said. “I understood his side of it. He definitely didn’t want to be a distraction. He was one of my favorite, if not my favorite, managers I’ve had.”

The Astros were 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 chances of getting a hit.

MLB is also looking into whether Cora installed a similar system in Boston after arriving the following year, when the Red Sox won the World Series. No conclusions have been reached and there is no timetable; the Astros investigation took two months.

Martinez hopes MLB wraps up the investigation into the Red Sox soon so they can put this behind them.

“I’m excited for the investigation to get over with, so they can see there’s nothing going on here,” he said.

While the Astros were meeting with fans in Houston, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Randal Grichuk called for MLB take away their World Series championship, now that it’s been proven that they cheated.

“I mean, I would like to see that obviously. I bet the Dodgers would like to see that,” Grichuk said. “I’ve got a few friends on the Dodgers that are very disappointed that possibly two years in a row they lost due to a team going against the rules.”

Many Boston players are trying not to focus on the investigation or what could be coming for the team, but instead simply trying to prepare like it’s any other season.

“MLB’s going to do what they have to do to look into it,” pitcher Nathan Eovaldi said. “I’m just trying to focus on baseball. I feel like it’s going to pass, and everything’s going to be fine.”

While Altuve didn’t have a problem answering numerous questions about the scandal, Houston third baseman Alex Bregman refused repeated attempts by reporters to get him to address what happened and kept repeating variations of the same phrase.

“The commissioner made his report, made his decision and the Astros made their decision and I have no further comment on it,” Bregman said in some variation again and again.

After being pressed on if he plans to discuss the sign-stealing in the future, Bregman finally gave an answer that didn’t seem as rehearsed.

“I think in the 2020 year our actions will speak louder than our words,” he said.

Altuve and Bregman were the only two stars at Saturday’s fan fest in Houston who were part of the 2017 championship team. Many of the other big names who helped the Astros win their first title, including World Series MVP George Springer, ace Justin Verlander and shortstop Carlos Correa, did not attend the daylong event where fans can interact with players.

Altuve was the AL MVP in 2017, and since the sign-stealing scandal broke, some have questioned whether he deserved the award. In recent days he’s also been accused of wearing an electronic device under his jersey to tip pitches, which he vehemently denies. He was asked how it feels for people to call him a cheater.

“You don’t want anybody to call you that,” he said. “But … I have two options. One is cry and one is go down and play the game and (perform) and help my team. And you know what one I am going to do.”

MLB’s investigation of Houston began after former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers, who played for Oakland last season, told The Athletic about the team’s scheme to steal signs. Martinez said he has spoken to Fiers and gets why he came forward.

“I understand his side of it, being in that division, going against those guys. It’s an uncomfortable position for him, but I understand why he did what he did,” Martinez told reporters in Springfield, Massachusetts. “He obviously felt like he needed to and I understand it.”

In Houston, as the Astros try to put the scandal behind them and focus on the future, Altuve, who has often been described as the heart and soul of the team, is confident it won’t derail the Astros from another successful season.

“Everything will be fine,” he said. “We’re going to be in the World Series again. People don’t believe it. But we will.”