And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 4: Mookie Betts came up to the plate with the Sox trailing 2-1 in the fourth, two outs and the bases loaded at which point he and J.A. Happ commenced to dueling. The duel was undecided after 12 pitches. It could’ve been over, though, as Justin Smoak couldn’t catch a pop foul at one point which would’ve ended the inning, but the battle wore on. Happ by this point was up to 97 pitches. On pitch 13, Betts deposited one over the Green Monster:

In addition to being just another chapter in the Big Book of Awesome Crap Mookie Betts Has Done, you have to figure this has ended any possibility of the Yankees being in on the trade market for Happ. Not only did they ring him up for six runs in his last start, but here he got bought, bagged, taken home and owned by the best player on their bitter rival. You think the Yankees want him on the mound for them if they’re in a key series against the Red Sox this September? Not by damn sight.

Pirates 6, Brewers 3: Every time I see Jameson Taillon‘s name I wonder if his parents named him after Jameson Whiskey. And if so, was it because, well, you know, they, um, enjoyed a few drams of it on a February evening in 1991. I’d never ask him, though, because it would be rude and would say more about me and my bad taste and judgment than anything else. Also, it may open me up to questions about what I was doing in February 1991 and that’s probably best left unsaid. It might also inspire someone to ask what my parents were up to in late 1972, and that’s just the sort of thing that I, Cutty S. “Craig” Calcaterra never, ever want to know.

Anyway, Taillon struck out ten while allowing one run in six innings of work and Jordy Mercer knocked in four, all on singles.

Yankees 7, Indians 4: Brett Gardner homered twice Didi Gregorius went deep and Greg Bird knocked in a couple to bail out Luis Severino on a night that he didn’t have his best stuff. They did it against Corey Kluber, who also did not have his best stuff, allowing six runs on eight hits. Kluber probably shouldn’t have even been in the game in the eighth inning, when the Yankees took the lead for good, but the Indians bullpen has been bad lately and Terry Francona doesn’t have any confidence in it. Imagine, after the past couple of years of it being one of the best pens in the business, it now being the team’s chief liability. Bullpens will do that to ya, though. Wouldn’t trust one as far as I could throw one.

Dodgers 3, Padres 2: Newest N.L. All-star Ross Stripling tossed six shutout innings and was still the pitcher of record for Los Angeles when they scored three runs in the top of the seventh via RBI singles from Andrew Toles, Matt Kemp and Joc Pederson. With the win the Dodgers take sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time this season. Who woulda thunk it back in late April and early May?

Athletics 6, Astros 4: The A’s fell behind early but clawed back and then had a big three-run eighth inning capped by a Mark Canha two-run single to take the game and the series. The A’s took three out of four against the Astros.

Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 1: The Rockies one again, even if they didn’t score more than a dozen and a half runs again. Kyle Freeland pitched six-hit ball into the sixth inning, Trevor Story homered, DJ LeMahieu had two hits and drove in a run and Gerardo Parra and Raimel Tapia had pinch-hit RBI singles in a three-run sixth inning. The Rockies took two of three in the series.

Phillies 5, Orioles 4: Philly took a 5-0 lead via 12 hits off of Kevin Gausman. He was gone by the sixth and thus ended the scoring for the visitors, but they held on anyway and with the win took back over sole possession of first place in the NL East. Jorge Alfaro homered and knocked in three. This was a makeup game of a May rainout. The Phillies were supposed to have an offday in Miami, but instead they got a flight that didn’t get them into Baltimore until 3AM, this game and another flight out of town. The life of a major leaguer can be a pain sometimes but the money’s good.

Nationals 5, Mets 4Anthony Rendon hit two homers, Bryce Harper hit one and Max Scherzer struck out five over seven innings for his 12th win on the season. Scherzer will be on full rest for Tuesday if Dave Roberts feels like starting him on his home mound for the N.L. All-Stars, by the way. With the win the Nats are back over .500.

Twins 5, Rays 1: Kyle Gibson allowed one run over eight innings and struck out nine. Blake Snell, everyone’s favorite All-Star snub, had his shortest outing of the season, lasting only three innings and throwing just 43 of 75 pitches for strikes. The Rays’ five-game win streak comes to an end.

Angels 11, Mariners 2: Albert Pujols hit two homers, and in so doing he ties Ken Griffey Jr. on the all time dingers list at 630. His teammate, David Fletcher, hit his first career home run, tying a whole lot of guys on the career list. After the game, Pujols said “Griffey was everybody’s hero growing up.” Which is sort of weird hearing from Pujols given that Griffey still played for like a decade after Pujols came into the league, but I suppose it’s all relative.

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.”