Getty Images

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

27 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rangers 3, Astros 2: Texas did it again to the Astros, who are probably gonna spend the entire winter having nightmares about the Rangers. Down 2-1 in the ninth, the wheels fell off again. Ken Giles retired the first batter he faced and struck out the second in Rougned Odor but . . . wild pitch, Odor on first. That led to Odor stealing second, Elvis Andrus tripling him home and Jurickson Profar plating Andrus with a single. The Astros are now 3-15 against the Rangers, four and a half back in the Wild Card with five teams ahead of them. Their October free time is going to be pretty much the direct result of their inability to beat the Rangers.

Padres 6, Giants 4: The Giants’ second half nightmare continues. This particular monster came in the form of a blown 4-1 lead in the ninth inning, thanks to a five-run Padres rally. Hunter Strickland poured the kerosene, allowing two runs via three singles and a bases-loaded walk. Then Steven Okert lit the match by giving up a three-run homer to Ryan Schimpf with two outs. Brutal.

Yankees 3, Dodgers 0: Jacoby Ellsbury and Didi Gregorius didn’t start but they came off the bench to give the Yankees their first runs in the seventh via the longball. Gary Sanchez went deep himself in the eighth. CC Sabathia pitched shutout ball into the seventh. Julio Urias pitched shutout ball too, but only into the fourth, and when you’re 20 and throw 80 pitches in that short a time you’re not gonna have a long night.

Mets 4, Nationals 3: T.J. Rivera gave the Mets their first run with an RBI single, their third run with a sac fly in the fifth and their last run with a homer in the 10th. Noah Syndergaard struck out 10 over seven innings. The game went 10, though, because Jeurys Familia coughed up a two-run lead in the ninth. Everyone gets to have an off day from time to time I suppose.

Pirates 5, Phillies 3: Down 3-2 in the ninth, The Pirates’ Sean Rodriguez hit a pinch-hit three-run homer. Yesterday I mentioned the Phillies’ Roman Quinn as being one of those guys whose future is unpredictable. Well, he had two more hits last night, so maybe he won’t be an accountant in 2022 or whatever it was I said.

Rays 6, Blue Jays 2: Alexi Ramirez and Steven Souza Jr. hit home runs. The last homer Ramirez hit was when he played for the Padres. He hit off of Drew Smyly, who got the win in this one. And, even more amazing, Smyly’s secretary is named Ramirez and Ramirez’s secretary’s name is Smyly!

Orioles 6, Red Sox 3: Most games last night seemed to be defined by a couple of homers from the winning team and a solid but not spectacular start from the pitcher. This, in the morning recap business, is what you call “boring.” It’s way more fun to write up a 16-6 game or a 1-0 pitcher’s duel. These “J.J. Hardy hit a three-run homer and Nolan Reimold hit a two-run shot while Dylan Bundy gave them five serviceable innings” things are the ham sandwich with mayo of recaps.

Twins 8, Tigers 1: OK, this is a little more like it. A bad team rolling up eight on a contender while the normally pedestrian starter like Kyle Gibson was stingy for eight innings and the unheralded shortstop like Jorge Polanco drove in four sings a bit more.

Marlins 7, Braves 5: Ichiro went 2-for-4, scored two and drove in a run. Freddie Freeman and Matt Kemp homered for the Braves. They’re sort of like the camp counselors at the end of the summer on this club. The Marlins are technically still alive for the Wild Card, but the odds are pretty long.

Reds 6, Brewers 4: Break up the Reds! They’ve won five in a row. Dan Straily went eight innings, allowing two runs and striking out eight. Four of the Reds’ six runs were unearned thanks to two errors by the Brewers to start off the bottom half of the third inning.

Athletics 5, Royals 4: Oakland mounted a four-run rally in the eighth, courtesy of Joakim Soria, who ain’t exactly a 2014-15 vintage Wade Davis or Kelvin Herrera, to push the dagger a little deeper into the Royals’ gut. They’re now five games out of the wild card with 18 to play. Yonder Alonso‘s two-run pinch hit double put the A’s ahead for good.

White Sox 8, Indians 1: It was a 1-1 game heading into the bottom of the sixth when the wheels fell off for Trevor Bauer. The Chisox rallied that frame with three RBI singles, a triple and a ground rule double. Meanwhile Jose Quintana did Jose Quintana things, allowing one run over eight innings and wondering how nice life would be if he always got run support.

Cardinals 4, Cubs 2: The Cubs are going to win the NL Central, but they won’t get to have their champagne celebration at Busch Stadium. Not after the Cardinals bullpen tossed seven and a third scoreless innings against them and Aledmys Diaz and Brandon Moss hit a pair of two-run homers. Those bullpen innings, by the way, were necessitated by Jaime Garcia‘s ineffectiveness, which has become something of a problem lately, at least in home starts.

Diamondbacks 11, Rockies 4: These two sure are playing some ugly games of late. Jean Segura homered twice and Brandon Drury hit a homer for the second game in a row. Drury’s went into that pool in right field. Paul Goldschmidt had three hits, scored three runs and stole a base.

Mariners 8, Angels 0: Taijuan took a no-hitter into the seventh and ended up with a three-hit shutout, striking out 11. He had three homers and a sac fly from his mates in support. The M’s have won seven in a row and eight of nine to pull to within two and a half of the second Wild Card.

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

10 Comments

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.”