And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Rays 5, Orioles 1: Even Longoria hit a two-run homer to give the Rays a 2-1 lead in the sixth and Steven Souza homered in the seventh to extend things. Alex Cobb allowed one run over seven.

Yankees 9, Reds 5: Luis Severino continues to be the Yankees’ ace, allowing two runs, both unearned, in seven innings of work, striking out nine. Meanwhile Homer Bailey‘s nightmare year continues, as the Yankees beat him up for seven runs — five earned — on ten hits in six innings. Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier homered. The Yankees have won five of six.

Red Sox 4, Mariners 0: Chris Sale continues to be the American League’s best starter, tossing seven shutout innings and striking out 11. Rafael Devers, playing in his second game, notched his first major league hit with a solo home run to straightaway center field. He’s going to try to convince the Red Sox that he deserves to stay up despite their pickup of Eduardo Nunez. I don’t think he will, ultimately, stay up, but he’ll try.

Diamondbacks 10, Braves 3: The Dbacks are one of six teams that scored ten runs yesterday. Helping them to that total was J.D. Martinez who hit two homers and drove in four.  Ketel Marte hit an inside-the-park homer. Daniel Descalso tripled in two runs. Braves starter Aaron Blair had just been called up from Triple-A to make the start, walked five dudes in three innings and, well, it was just that sort of day for Atlanta.

Giants 2, Pirates 1Jeff Samardzija outdueled Trevor Williams in one of the few games yesterday that didn’t feature an offensive outburst. Brandon Belt‘s RBI double in the seventh broke a 1-1 tie that had held since the second.

Nationals 8, Brewers 5: This one looked like a pitchers duel through seven, as the Brewers held a 2-1 lead. Then in the bottom of the eighth the Nats jumped all over the Brewers’ pen with six hits, four of which were doubles. Starter Jimmy Nelson began the inning with a leadoff walk and was lifted. Relievers Jacob Barnes gave up two runs on two hits and Jared Hughes allowed four runs on four and the game was effectively over. Somewhere in the middle of all of that Bryce Harper struck out, slammed his bat to the ground and was ejected, leading to a face-to-face yelling match with the home plate ump. Brewers’ prospect Lewis Brinson played his first game after being recalled from Triple-A. He homered.

Phillies 9, Astros 0: Houston shut out Philly on Tuesday night so yesterday the Phillies returned the favor. Aaron Nola struck out ten in six innings of work and three relievers completed the task. Cameron Rupp homered twice and drove in four. He also flipped his bat a day after criticizing teammate Odubel Herrera for doing stuff like that.

Blue Jays 3, Athletics 2: A’s starter Paul Blackburn and reliever Blake Treinen shut the Jays out for eight innings, bringing in closer Santiago Casilla. He did not live up to his title on this day, walking Josh Donaldson to lead the inning off and then giving up back-to-back homers to Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales, as Toronto gets the walkoff win. Needed only 11 pitches to do it, too. Efficient!

Indians 10, Angels 4: Another game that was close . . . until it wasn’t. Here the Indians separated themselves from the Angels with a seven run eighth inning. It came via five RBI singles and an RBI double. For all of that carnage it was Bradley Zimmer‘s RBI double the previous inning which put the Indians up for good in this one. Earlier he had homered.

Royals 16, Tigers 2: Another game, another late inning battering. This time it was a nine-run seventh inning for the Royals. Eric Hosmer‘s grand slam put a cherry on top of it. Hosmer had five hits in all, driving in six on the day. Ian Kennedy allowed one run over six, so he didn’t need all that run support, but I’m sure he was happy to have it. That’s eight wins in a row for the Royals. Five of the wins in that streak have come against the Tigers. They’re gonna miss those guys.

Cubs 8, White Sox 3: Chicago wins! Jake Arrieta pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning, allowing two runs, backed by Anthony Rizzo‘s 3-for-4, 4 RBI day. The Cubs are now six games over .500 and have taken a half-game lead on Milwaukee.

Marlins 22, Rangers 10: This was a mess. The Rangers are trying to trade Yu Darvish. I doubt him giving up 10 runs on nine hits in less than four innings will truly harm the market for him — he has a bit of a reputation as a good pitcher already — but it isn’t what they wanted. Just one of those nights, I guess, as his fellow Rangers pitchers allowed 12 more. Marcell Ozuna drove in five. Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto and Giancarlo Stanton all homered. Adrian Beltre got three hits closer to 3,000. He also got ejected by a grumpy-as-hell umpire for moving the on-deck circle.

Cardinals 10, Rockies 5: Another hit parade, with even the Cards’ starting pitcher, Carlos Martinez, getting into the act. His fourth inning RBI single tied it and from there on the Cards didn’t have much trouble. Paul DeJong homered. Randal Grichuk managed to go 4-for-5 without driving in a run. RBIs are dumb.

Dodgers 6, Twins 5: The Twins took a 5-0 lead in the fourth, but you can’t kill this Dodgers team so easily. They chipped away at the lead with Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig homers and an RBI double from Chase Utley. Then, via a Justin Turner walkoff single, notched their fifth straight win and their 36th in their last 42 games. End points can be random, though. Why don’t we just call it their 71st win in their last 102 games? That’s just as impressive. Maybe more so.

Padres 6, Mets 3:  Luis Torrens had three RBI and Manuel Margot homered, but Padres shortstop Allen Cordoba was a hero too, making this sweet play that helped the Padres preserve their lead and the game:

 

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

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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.”