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And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the rest of Saturday’s scores and highlights:

Yankees 5, Rays 4: Lucas Duda went deep for the second time in a Rays’ uniform, but the team failed to capitalize on his momentum and dropped their second straight game following Brett Gardner‘s walk-off single in the ninth.

Angels 6, Blue Jays 5: With the trade deadline fast approaching, every at-bat and inning pitched becomes a prime marketing opportunity for those on the chopping block. Francisco Liriano, whose pre-deadline 5.99 ERA has yet to scare off suitors like the Astros, Cubs and Royals, delivered six quality innings of three-run, four-strikeout ball in the Blue Jays’ losing effort on Saturday. It’s the best start he’s put together in weeks after a pair of injury-shortened performances on the road, and may very well be his last in a Blue Jays uniform.

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: The Dodgers didn’t need to rally for their 73rd win of the season, taking an early two-run lead on a pair of Cody Bellinger RBI hits to stay ahead of the Giants. Hunter Pence responded with a solo shot in the fourth, his seventh of the year, but failed to inspire a bigger rally for the Giants as they wasted a gem from Ty Blach and dropped to 33.5 games back in the NL West.

Mariners 3, Mets 2: Be it the catalyst for a game-winning home run, a rally-killing strikeout or career-changing hit by pitch, one pitch is more than capable of redeeming — or spoiling — an entire game. On Saturday, that pitch was a 95 MPH fastball from Jacob deGrom, which landed near Mitch Haniger‘s nose and mouth in the second inning of the Mets’ loss to the Mariners. Haniger was alert as he was helped off the field, but is expected to require plastic surgery to repair a severe laceration of his upper lip.

Tigers 5, Astros 3: The Tigers snapped a four-game skid on Saturday, banking on 7 1/3 strong innings from Matthew Boyd and a three-run rally in the seventh to edge past the Astros. Ian Kinsler knocked in the go-ahead run on an RBI single, scoring Jose Iglesias and keeping the club just eight games back of a wild card slot.

Phillies 4, Braves 3 (11 innings): Down 2-1 in the ninth inning with the bases empty and one out, the Phillies turned to Odubel Herrera. The center fielder sized up Jim Johnson‘s first-pitch fastball and postmarked it to right field for a game-tying home run, his 10th of the season.

Two innings later, still locked into a 3-3 tie, Ty Kelly stepped up with another clutch moment. He worked an 0-1 count against Rex Brothers before lofting an RBI single to left field for his first career walk-off hit.

Rockies 4, Nationals 2: German Marquez carried a perfect game through 5 1/3 innings on Saturday, fanning a career-best 10 batters and allowing three hits in what was undoubtedly the highlight of his 2017 season. The Nationals were too good to be held at bay for long, however, and broke through with Matt Wieters’ one-out single in the sixth. A Howie Kendrick double and Wilmer Difo RBI base hit plated the Nats’ first and only runs of the day, but the team fell just shy of the win after Gerardo Parra and Mark Reynolds padded Marquez’s performance with a pair of doubles in the fifth.

Marlins 7, Reds 3: It’s been 12 days since the Marlins recalled Adam Conley from Triple-A, and he hasn’t given them a reason to doubt him since. The southpaw turned in his third consecutive quality start against the Reds, improving to 4-3 on the year with 7 2/3 innings of two-run, seven-strikeout ball. His only mistakes? Two solo shots by Joey Votto and Adam Duvall, which did little to help close a four-run gap in the Marlins’ win.

Indians 5, White Sox 4: The Indians improved to a three-game lead in the AL Central on Saturday, extending their win streak to nine games with a 12-strikeout appearance by Corey Kluber and a pair of shutdown innings from Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. In the end, however, the winning run had little to do with the Indians’ talents:

Diamondbacks 7, Cardinals 1: The Diamondbacks won’t clinch a division title anytime soon, but they maintained their third-best record in the National League with another decisive win over the Cardinals this weekend. Zack Greinke turned in his 13th win of the year, firing nine strikeouts and allowing one run over seven innings, while the D-backs wielded three home runs from Paul Goldschmidt, J.D. Martinez and Ketel Marte in their seven-run effort.

Cubs 2, Brewers 1 (11 innings): The NL Central division rivals went toe-to-toe on Saturday night, matching each other every step of the way in a superb defensive showcase. Kyle Hendricks struck out three over five innings; Junior Guerra whiffed four through three scoreless frames. Jacob Barnes retired Wilson Contreras with a runner in scoring position, escaping a jam in the seventh to prevent the Cubs from taking the lead; Pedro Strop slipped out of a tight spot in the eighth with runners on first and second and one out.

After 11 innings, the difference-maker was Jason Heyward, who needed exactly three pitches to unload a go-ahead home run and seal first place in the division with a 1.5-game lead.

Orioles 4, Rangers 0: Adrian Beltre didn’t collect his 3,000th career hit on Saturday, but he did record a single for his 2,999th hit, which means we’ll all be on pins and needles during the Rangers’ series finale on Sunday afternoon. The rest of the Rangers struggled valiantly to plate a run, falling several inches short of a run on Joey Gallo‘s near-homer in the third:

Adam Jones: Not having it.

Athletics 5, Twins 4: After losing five straight, the A’s took home a much-needed win on Saturday. Chris Smith handed the Twins an early lead, but was bailed out by the A’s offense after Rajai Davis lifted a two-run homer to walk off in the ninth.

While the win did little to move the needle in the AL West standings — or, for that matter, the wild card rankings — the A’s handed manager Bob Melvin his 1,000th career win.

Padres 4, Pirates 2: It may be too late to start angling for a postseason spot, but the Padres have definitely found their groove. They exited Saturday’s win with a four-game win streak, backing Dinelson Lamet’s quality start with a Jose Pirela pants-ripping RBI triple, RBI doubles from Hector Sanchez and Hunter Renfroe, and Manuel Margot‘s eighth blast of the season.

Justin Verlander laughed at after saying Astros were “technologically and analytically advanced”

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Justin Verlander was at the annual Baseball Writers Association of America banquet last night, on hand to accept the 2019 Cy Young Award. Normally such things are pretty routine events, but nothing is routine with the Houston Astros these days.

During his acceptance speech, Verlander made some comments about the Astros’ “technological and analytical advancements.” The comments were greeted by some laughter in the room as well as some groans. At least one person on hand claimed that other players present were visibly angry.

It’s hard to tell the context of it all without a full video — maybe Verlander meant it as a joke, maybe the reactions were more varied than is being described — but here’s how reporters on hand for it last night are describing it:

If it was a joke it was ill-timed, as not many around the game think the sign-stealing stuff is funny at the moment. Especially in light of the fact that, despite having several opportunities to do so, Astros players have failed to show any accountability for their cheating.

And yes, that includes former Astros Dallas Keuchel, who was praised for “apologizing” at a White Sox fan event on Friday, but whose “apology” was couched in a lot of deflection and excuse-making about how it was just something that was done at the time and about how technology was to blame. Keuchel also tried to minimize it, saying that the Astros didn’t do it all the time. Which is rich given that the most prominent video evidence of their trash can-banging scheme came from a blowout Astros win in a meaningless August game against a losing team. If they were doing it in that situation, please, do not tell me they weren’t doing it when games really mattered.

Anyway, I’d like to think Verlander was just trying to take a stab at a joke here, because Verlander is the wrong guy to be sending to be sending any kind of messages diminishing the cheating given that he has a pretty solid track record of holding other players’ feet to the fire when they get busted.

For example, here he was in 2018 after Robinson Canó got busted for PEDs:

Of course, consistency can be a problem for Verlander when his teammates are on the ones who are on the hook. Here was his response to Tigers infielder Jhonny Peralta being suspended in the wake of the Biogenesis scandal:

“Everybody makes mistakes. He’s my brother. We fight and bleed and sweat together on the baseball field. If my brother makes a mistake, especially if he owns up to it and serves his time, I don’t see how you can hold a grudge or anything like that. “It’s one thing to step up and be a man and own up to his mistake.”

Verlander, it should also be noted, was very outspoken about teams engaging in advanced sign-stealing schemes once upon a time. here he was in 2017, while still with the Tigers, talking about such things in a June 2017 interview with MLive.com.

“We don’t have somebody, but I’m sure teams have a person that can break down signals and codes and they’ll have the signs before you even get out there on the mound.  It’s not about gamesmanship anymore. It used to be, ‘Hey, if you can get my signs, good for you.’ In the past, if a guy on second (base) was able to decipher it on a few pitches, I guess that was kind of part of the game. I think it’s a different level now. It’s not good.”

Which makes me wonder how he felt when he landed on the Astros two months later and realized they had a sophisticated cheating operation underway. If the feelings were mixed, he was able to bury the part of them which had a problem with it, because he’s said jack about it since this all blew up in November. And, of course, has happily accepted the accolades and the hardware he he has received since joining Houston, some of which was no doubt acquired by virtue of a little extra, ill-gotten run support.

Anyway, wake me up when someone — anyone — associated with the Astros shows some genuine accountability about this.