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And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Yankees 6, Rays 1: Aaron Hicks was activated from the disabled list yesterday and in the first dang inning the ball found him. Luckily for him and the Yankees, het got that ball, robbing Wilson Ramos of a grand slam with a fantastic catch. A run scored on the pay as a sacrifice fly, but after that disaster was averted, Jordan Montgomery allowed only one run over six innings for the win. Starlin Castro homered and Rays starter Blake Snell walked in two runs with the bases loaded at one point. The Rays were officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Yankees clinched home field for the Wild Card game.

Phillies 4, Nationals 1: Bryce Harper came back and was 0-for-2 with a walk, but no one else did much for the Nats either. Jake Thompson allowed one run over five innings and the Philly pen shut the Nats out over four innings. Cameron Rupp doubled in a couple of runs. The win guarantees that the Phillies will not lose 100 games, so that’s something.

Pirates 10, Orioles 1: Andrew McCutchen hit a grand slam, a three-run homer and an RBI double to give him eight driven in on the night. It was, amazingly, McCutchen’s first ever grand slam. It was the most RBI in a game for a Pirate since Jason Bay knocked in eight back in 2004. Remember Jason Bay?

Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 4: Josh Donaldson hit two homers — it was the sixth time he’s done that this year — and the Jays hit five in all, four of which came off of Chris Sale of all people. Teoscar Hernandez also hit two and Kendrys Morales added one of his own. J.A. Happ allowed one run over seven. Chris Sale has not looked sharp of late and this was probably his last start before the playoffs, where Boston will face Houston on the road. Interesting.

Twins 8, Indians 6: Minnesota was trailing 6-4 in the eighth when Brian Dozier hit a three-run homer off of Bryan Shaw. Byron Buxton added an insurance run the following frame. Buxton also did this:

Thank goodness all of that StatCast noise is all over the view or else you’d never have any IDEA that that was a good catch. That aside, the Twins are now one win from clinching the second Wild Card.

Mets 4, Braves 3: The Mets were down 3-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh. They scored two there via a Kevin Plawecki two-run homer and tied it up with an Asdrubal Cabrera sac fly in the bottom of the eighth. Then Travis Taijeron singled home the winning run with one out in the bottom of the ninth for the walkoff win.

Brewers 7, Reds 6Domingo Santana hit a three-run homer early and the Brewers never trailed, but the Reds scratched and clawed all game to make Milwaukee earn their win. Zach Davies only lasted four innings due to an illness so Josh Hader picked up the win by striking out six over two and two-thirds innings of relief, bending, but not breaking. As it was, Cincinnati went to its seventh straight loss and the Brewers kept pace with the Rockies, who won and remain one and a half up on Milwaukee for the second Wild Card.

Cardinals 8, Cubs 7: Technically the Brewers could still force a tie in the Central. All it would take is them winning out and the Cubs losing out, leading to a tie-breaker. That’s not likely, but the Cubs did their part last night, falling to the Cards in St. Louis. Tommy Pham and Randal Grichuk homered and drove in two runs each. These two have two more games in Busch Stadium against each other. I’m guessing Chicago would like to clinch there. I’m guessing the Cardinals don’t want ’em to.

Astros 14, Rangers 3Carlos Correa, Brian McCann and Cameron Maybin had three RBIs each and Dallas Keuchel allowed one earned run and five hits in six innings as the Astros win in a romp. The Astros clinched home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs and with Cleveland’s loss are now one game behind the Indians for best record in the AL, which will determine who gets to face the Wild Card winner and who, alternatively, faces the Red Sox.

Angels 9, White Sox 3Mike Trout hit his 31st homer and he, Brandon Phillips and Luis Valbuena all homered in the Angels’ six-run second inning. Albert Pujols was 2-for-4 and drove in two. In the process he joined Alex Rodriguez as the only other player to knock in 100 runs in 14 seasons. The Angels are five games back of Minnesota for the second Wild Card with five games to play. Parker Bridwell:

“We’re not out yet. We’ve still got a chance. We’ve got to be optimistic. I’m excited to see where it goes. Things have to fall in place for us, but you never know.”

via GIPHY

Royals 2, Tigers 1: Jason Vargas won his 18th game of the year with a one-run, six inning performance against the Tigers. Eric Hosmer doubled in a run. Whit Merrifield hit a sac fly. Ian Kinsler‘s 2018 option vested. I’m sure he’s super happy about that given where Detroit is headed in 2018 but I guess it’s better than a kick to the can.

Rockies 6, Marlins 0: Tyler Anderson tossed shutout ball for seven innings and Trevor Story hit a three-run homer in the Rockies’ four-run first inning in a game Colorado needed badly. Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer. The Rockies remain one and a half up on the Brewers for the second Wild Card. Only one game in the loss column.

Diamondbacks 11, Giants 4J.D. Martinez hit a grand slam and drove in six. He’s been stupidly good since coming to Arizona in a trade on July 18, hitting 28 home, 30 in the second half, 15 in the month of September and 44 on the season. His OPS since coming over from Detroit: 1.133.

Mariners 6, Athletics 3Danny Valencia hit a three-run homer and Yonder Alonso added a two-run shot. For those of you who don’t pay super close attention to west coast baseball, they did it for Seattle, not for Oakland, where each of them used to play. That had to make the A’s feel good.

Dodgers 9, Padres 2: Adrian Gonzalez homered. Yasmani Grandal and Corey Seager each had a three-run homer and Alex Wood was solid. The Dodgers have won three and a row and five of six, suggesting that their late swoon is finally past them. With the win the Dodgers clinch home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs. They still have a line on that for the World Series if they make it that far too.

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.