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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 7, Red Sox 3: The Indians jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Rafael Devers homered twice, making it three homers in his last two games, and tying the score up at three. Then it was Edwin Encarnacion‘s turn to homer twice. He hit a two-run shot in the fifth to break that tie and added another two-run shot in the seventh to put Cleveland comfortably ahead. Trevor Bauer struck out 11 in six and two-thirds, allowing those Devers dingers and one to Andrew Benintendi, all solo shots. Cleveland has won four in a row.

Yankees 4, Mets 2: The Yankees bats have struggled in the second half, but last night Aarons Judge and Hicks and Gary Sanchez went deep. It was the 40th career homer for both Judge and Sanchez. Judge reached the mark in his 140th game and Sanchez in his 139th. Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes homered in a losing cause for the Mets.

Blue Jays 2, Rays 1: There aren’t a lot of games where all the scoring is confined to the first inning or two, but it seems like an inordinate number of them involve the Rays. Here Josh Donaldson hit a two-run shot for Toronto in the first, Wilson Ramos hit a solo shot for Tampa Bay in the second and the rest of the game was quiet, scoring wise. Nick Tepesch’s only flaw in six innings was that Ramos dinger and his counterpart Jake Odorizzi also went six, with Donaldson’s homer the only damage.

Marlins 8, Giants 3: Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer in the first and later drove in a run with a single. That was his 43rd bomb, breaking Gary Sheffield’s franchise record for homers in a season and putting him on a 60-homer pace. That’s five straight games with a homer for Stanton. Since July 17, Stanton has 17 home runs. Since July 17 the Giants, as an entire teams, have 17 homers.

Rangers 6, Tigers 2Rougned Odor had three hits and scored three times, with the go-ahead run in the game coming on a safety squeeze:

Joey Gallo had another homer, his 33rd.

Cubs 15, Reds 5: Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo hit homers, Rizzo drove in five, and Jon Jay had a single, double and a triple as the Cubs romped. My favorite play of the game, however, came from Joey Votto. With Chicago up 7-2 in the fifth inning, Joe Maddon tried something different, in an effort to stop the Reds’ big bat from getting extra bases: he played four outfielders, shifting Kris Bryant from third to join Kyle Schwarber, Jon Jay and Jason Heyward. How did that go? Poorly, as Votto to proceed to double down the first base line:

With most hitters you’d say they got lucky, but Votto is the sort of player, in both skill and strategic thinking, that you figure made a point to try to specifically do that. And had the best shot of actually doing it.

Chad Bettis 1, Cancer 0: The Rockies also happened to beat the Braves 3-0, but the important thing in this game is that Chad Bettis came back from fighting cancer and, in his first start of the year, held the Braves them scoreless over seven innings. He didn’t get the W in the box score because his counterpart, Julio Teheran held Colorado scoreless while Bettis was still the pitcher of record, but the win he got was a lot more important.

Diamondbacks 2, Astros 0: Zack Greinke shut Houston out for six and two-thirds, striking out nine on five hits. He was backed by Ketel Marte doubling a run in the second and J.D. Martinez doubling in a run in the sixth. The Dbacks had eight hits in the game. Five of them were doubles.

Royals 6, Athletics 2: Kansas City held a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Cam Gallagher stepped up to the plate and socked a grand slam. It was his first career homer, so it’s all downhill from here I guess. Gallagher has spent a load of time in the minors, blocked by Sal Perez, so he’s played a lot with Jake Junis, the Royals starter who has also played a lot down on the farm. His bush league compadre allowed two runs and four hits in six innings with two strikeouts and no walks.

Orioles 11, Mariners 3: The O’s jumped on the M’s for a 7-1 lead by the top of the second inning and that was pretty much that. Tim Beckham hit the first pitch of the game out for a homer and Manny Machado hit a grand slam in the second. Machado in August: .355/.349/.694 five homers and 20 RBI.

Padres 7, Phillies 4Cory Spangenberg homered and had three hits in all, scoring three times. Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins hit two home runs, the first two of his career, in a losing cause. In other news, Spangenberg & Rhys would be a pretty good law firm name. It’s all in the rhythm with those things, really.

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.”