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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights


Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:


Pirates 1, Dodgers 0: I wrote up the story of Rich Hill‘s near no-hitter here, so go there for the full picture. Now I’d like to tell you about how I followed it.

For dumb, historical reasons involving the Pirates former owner living in Columbus, Ohio, my town is considered part of Pirates territory and is thus blacked out from Pirates games. No, I’ve never met a Pirates fan here and no Pirates games have never been broadcast here locally, so it’s one of baseball’s dumber blackouts. Anyway, I had to listen to it on the radio feed. Rick Monday was doing play-by-play for the Dodgers.

Monday’s call of the no-hitter-busting, walkoff homer by Josh Harrison may have been the worst call of a major moment I’ve ever heard. For starters, he said it was Starling Marte up to bat. I knew it was Harrison because I was following along with the box score online too, but I’m sure some listeners were confused. The call itself was a dead calm “fly ball to left, Granderson goes back and … [five second of silence then super calmly, as if he was ordering tea] . . . he caught it? No, it’s out.” It wasn’t a calculated, understated counterpoint to highlight a moment of tension. It wasn’t understandable disappointment by a partisan announcer. It sounded like disinterest. It was the exact opposite of what a radio listener wants and needs in order to follow the action. I was sitting there slack jawed, in disbelief, not at the way Hill lost the no-hitter and the game but at how horribly that moment was conveyed.

Anyway: blackouts are dumb and Rick Monday really needs to not call games.

Orioles 8, Athletics 7: Zach Britton blew a two-run lead and failed to get out of the ninth inning, blowing his 60-straight save streak as well, but Manny Machado saved everyone’s bacon with a leadoff walkoff homer in the 12th. After the game, Buck Showalter said “he does hold the record in my mind, OK?” This, I presume, is a reference to the real record holder, Eric Gagne, who saved 84 straight games while juiced to the gills on dinosaur steroids or whatever it was he was taking. No word on how many of Showalter’s own 1,490 wins as a manager he does not recognize due to their being obtained by lineups including PED users like Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Andy Pettitte and others of whom we are not aware.

Royals 6, Rockies 4: Colorado took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth and called on the Royals old friend, Greg Holland, to close it out. Eric Hosmer wasn’t having it. After Alex Gordon walked and Melky Cabrera singled, Hosmer launched a 400 foot homer to right field to bring the Royals back, even and over with one swing of the bat. It’s just the latest disappointment for Holland the Rockies, who have lost four straight and 11 of 15. Holland is 0-4 with one save in four chances in his past six games, allowing 10 hits, three home runs and 12 runs over five innings.

Giants 4, Brewers 2Jarrett Parker hit a go-ahead two-run double in the seventh on a check swing. There’s nothing more satisfying than coming through in a moment when you really did not mean to do whatever it was you did but it all worked out anyway.

Phillies 8, Marlins 0Mark Leiter Jr. allowed one hit over seven shutout innings and Rhys Hoskins continued to crush it, homering and driving in five runs. In other news, the fact that Mark Leiter’s kid is pitching in the majors makes me feel super dang old all of a sudden.

Red Sox 6, Indians 1: Corey Kluber struck out 12 over seven and two-thirds, but the Sox got to him in the eighth, when Mitch Moreland homered and Mookie Betts singled home a run. That was enough for Boston as Drew Pomeranz and Joe Kelly held Cleveland scoreless for seven and — after Edwin Encarnacion homered in the eighth — Craig Kimbrel closed it out in the ninth, striking out the side.

Yankees 10, Tigers 2: Gary Sanchez homered and drove in three runs. He has ten bombs in August. Last August, when he was a rookie sensation, he hit 11. You don’t want to be a ballplayer with the nickname “Mr. August,” but I suppose someone has to claim that title. Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley also homered. Luis Severino allowed one run over six and two-thirds. The Yankees have outscored the Tigers 23-6 in the first two games of this series.

Cubs 9, Reds 3: Kyle Schwarber and Tommy La Stella each homered and drove in three. The Cubs have won eight of ten and have their biggest lead in the division all year, at three and a half games.

Mets 4, Diamondbacks 2Chris Flexen allowed two runs over six innings and Dominic Smith homered to help the Mets end a three-game skid. “Flexen! Smith! Be there!” was not exactly the Mets marketing angle heading into 2017, but even disaster seasons have their high points in baseball, usually as a result of seeing unknown dudes do good things.

Blue Jays 7, Rays 6: The Jays hit six homers, with Kevin Pillar‘s solo shot in the eighth breaking a 6-6 tie and giving Toronto the win. The other guys who went deep: Josh Donaldson, Ryan Goins, Raffy Lopez, Steve Pearce and Justin Smoak. All were solo shots except for Donaldson’s. Kevin Kiermaier hit two homers, both solo shots.

Mariners 9, Braves 6: Robinson Cano left the game with a bum hamstring and Taylor Motter replaced him. Later, in the eighth, Motter singled home the tying and go-ahead runs and then came around to score on Kyle Seager‘s three-run blast. Motter also doubled. After the game Scott Servais said that Cano’s initial prognosis seemed OK, but we’ll know more today. The Mariners also lost center fielder Guillermo Heredia, who left in the eighth after being hit on his right forearm by a pitch. Servais said he seems OK too.

White Sox 4, Twins 3: Tim Anderson singled homer with winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth to walk things off for Chicago. It was Anderson’s first walkoff of his young career. Minnesota starter Ervin Santana allowed two runs — only one earned — on three hits in seven innings before the Chisox rallied. Jorge Polanco homered for the fourth straight game.

Astros 6, Nationals 1Alex Bregman hit a three-run homer and Jake Marisnick and Max Stassi added solo shots to help Houston snap a nine-game losing streak to the Nats. Mike Fiers allowed on run on four hits in seven to notch his first win in over a month.

Cardinals 6, Padres 2: Rookie starter Luke Weaver struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings. His counterpart, Jhoulys Chacin hit more batters (4) than he struck out (3). He also walked three and allowed five runs in four and two-thirds innings. The Cards snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the third time in nine games.

Rangers 7, Angels 5: Adrian Beltre hit two solo homers and he and his teammates rallied for three runs in the tenth to give Texas the win. Luis Valbuena homered and drove in four runs for the Angels.

The Astros continue to refuse to take responsibility for the Taubman Affair

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I’m calling it the “Taubman Affair” because writing “the incident in which a top front office executive — Astros Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman — taunted a reporter for her past opposition to the team acquiring a domestic abuser, after which the team lied, aggressively about it, accusing another reporter of fabricating a story, then admitted that they lied but made no apology for smearing the reporter” is too unwieldy for a headline.

If you need catching up on it, though, you can read this, this or this.

The latest on it all: yesterday, after walking back their angry denial that the incident ever occurred and admitting that, yes, Taubman did in fact gleefully and profanely target a reporter for taunting, the team basically went silent and let Game 1 unfold.

Today General Manager Jeff Luhnow went on a team-friendly radio station (i.e. the station that broadcasts Astros games). In the entire segment he was asked only one question about it: “Your thoughts on the SI article, Jeff.” Luhnow said that he would withhold comment, but apologized to “everybody involved,” including the fans and the players, saying “this situation should have never happened.” You can listen to the entire segment here.

He did not, however, make any specific mention of what “this situation” was. Nor did he acknowledge that, actually, it’s at least two “situations:” (1) the initial behavior of Taubman; and (2) Monday night’s team-sanctioned attack of Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein, who reported it. Indeed, at no time in the team’s now multiple comments has anyone acknowledged that, as an organization, the Houston Astros’s first impulse in all of this was to attempt to bully and discredit a reporter for what has now been established as a truthful report to which the Astros have admitted. And they certainly have not voiced any specific regret or offered any form of accountability for it.

Major League Baseball is apparently investigating Taubman’s conduct. But it is not, presumably, investigating the Astros’ disingenuous smear of Apstein. A smear that the Astros likely undertook because they figured they could intimidate Apstein and, what may even be worse, because they assumed that the rest of the press — many of whom were witnesses to Taubman’s act — would go along or remain silent. If they did not think that, of course, releasing the statement they did would’ve been nonsensical. It speaks of an organization that believes it can either bully or manipulate the media into doing its bidding or covering for the teams’ transgressions. That part of this has gone wholly uncommented on by the Astros and apparently will for the foreseeable future. No matter how this shakes out for Taubman, if the Astros do not talk about how and why they decided to baselessly attack Apstein on Monday night, nothing they ever say should be trusted again.

More broadly, everything the Astros are doing now is the same as when they traded for Roberto Osuna in the first place.

In 2018 they wanted to do an unpopular thing — arbitrage a player’s domestic violence suspension into the acquisition of cheap relief help — while wanting to appear as though they were good actors who had a “zero tolerance for domestic violence” policy. To solve that problem they shoveled a lot of malarkey about how “zero tolerance” actually includes a fair amount of tolerance and hoped that everyone would go along. When not everyone did — when fans brought signs of protest to the ballpark or expressed their displeasure with Osuna’s presence on the roster — they confiscated them then hoped it’d all blow over and, eventually, via Taubman’s rant on Saturday night, lashed out at their critics.

Here, again, they want to do something unpopular: retain a boorish and insensitive executive in Taubman without him or the team suffering any consequences for it, be they actual consequences or mere P.R. fallout. Again, it’s kind of hard to pull that off, so to do so they falsely accused a reporter of lying and then circled the wagons when they caught heat for it.

I have no idea how long they plan to keep this up. Maybe they are calculating that people will forget and that forgetting is the same as forgiveness. Maybe they simply don’t care. All I do know is that folks will be teaching the Astros’ response to all of this as a counterexample in crisis management courses for years.