And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Athletics 6, Rangers 5: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Rangers had a big lead and the A’s came back late to win it. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Khris Davis was the hero, hitting two late homers — a three-run shot in the seventh and a two-run shot in the ninth — to bring the A’s back from a 5-1 deficit. Davis now has 27 homers on the year. According to the AP gamer, he has more homers than anyone in baseball since the start of the 2016 season — 112 to Giancarlo Stanton‘s 109. Bet you didn’t know that. Oakland has won 26 of 33 and, having taken three of the first four in this series, have now won 10 of their last 11 series, with the other being a split. They’re only one and a half games behind Seattle for the second Wild Card and six and a half behind the Astros, with a record of 60-43.

Rockies 3, Astros 2: Charlie Blackmon hit a walkoff homer to give the Rockies the win. Carlos Gonzalez hit an earlier homer and Jon Gray was sharp, allowing only one hit over seven innings, yet someone allowing two runs too. It was a weird game, as the Rockies scored their tying run on a pop foul and, Some controversy here, though, as Alex Bregman thought he hit a triple to lead off the sixth, but on replay it was ruled that a fan — wearing Astros gear, if you’re curious — reached out and touched the ball, altering its trajectory. That’s fan interference and rather than have a potential insurance run on third base with no one out, Bregman was called out. He didn’t like the call at all. You decided for yourself:

My guess is that Parra does not make that catch but, yeah, the fan did touch the ball.

Mets 6, Padres 4: Clayton Richard retired his first 12 batters on 36 pitches and enjoyed a 2-0 lead into the fifth, as the Mets appeared as though they’d just roll over in the series finale. Then they decided to wake up, however, as Kevin Plawecki, Phillip Evans, and Amed Rosario all hit RBI singles to give the Mets the lead. Jose Bautista then hit a two-run homer in the sixth and, I’ll be damned, the Mets won a series for the first time since late May.

Rays 3, Yankees 2:  Scheduled starter Nathan Eovaldi was traded before the game so the Rays did what they do a lot of the time: threw out a bunch of bullpen arms, did some unconventional stuff, and got pretty good results, holding the Yankees to seven hits and, for the third straight game, no homers. Come October a lot of people are gonna beef about a presumably 100-win Yankees team having to play in a Wild Card game and just how unfair that is, but the Yankees are 6-6 against the Rays this year and 5-5 against the Orioles. If you can’t take care of your business in the division, well, though crap, enjoy your Wild Card game.

Reds 7, Cardinals 3: Eugenio Suarez homered for the third straight game — a first inning two-run shot — and Tucker Barnhart and Adam Duvall hit homers of their own. Sal Romano allowed two runs on seven hits over six innings and then got his bing break directing the commercial for the new weight loss cola, Patio. Sadly, however, the client did not like the “Bye-Bye Birdie” concept, so it was back to the drawing board, literally, for poor Sal. The Cardinals left 11 men on base.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 3: Everyone was tired after the previous night’s 16-inning marathon, but Scott Kingery Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana were less tired, with the former two homering and the latter hitting a three-run triple to lead the Phillies. Jake Arrieta (allowed two earned runs on five hits in six innings. Barring these teams meeting in the postseason — and assuming then that he would be on the Dodgers’ postseason roster — it was Chase Utley‘s final bow in Philadelphia. He went 0-for-3 but everyone will remember the standing ovations more.

Indians 4, Pirates 0: Trevor Bauer tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits, and striking out ten. Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run single and Yonder Alonso hit a two-run blast.

Nationals 7, Brewers 3: Tanner Roark pitched eight scoreless innings, striking out 11, and Bryce Harper hit a three-run homer that tied him Jesus Aguilar, Nolan Arenado and Matt Carpenter for the NL home run lead at 25. Juan Soto went deep too.

Tigers 8, Royals 4Jose Iglesias hit a three-run homer, Victor Martinez had three hits, driving in a couple and Matt Boyd allowed two runs over six innings. Mike Moustakas had two hits, including an RBI double, in what might have been his final home game for the Royals given that he’s on the trading block. Danny Duffy may or may not be traded himself, but he didn’t shine like his teammate did, allowing seven runs on nine hits in five and two-thirds.

Cubs 2, Diamondbacks 1: Jon Lester allowed one run over six innings, striking out seven. He didn’t outduel his opponent, Robbie Ray, who likewise allowed only one run and went an inning longer, but the Snakes fell anyway thanks to a couple of throwing errors in the eighth inning which allowed the Cubs to score the go-ahead run.

Twins 12, Blue Jays 6: Minnesota blew a three-run lead in the eighth inning that ended up sending it to extras but they made up for it with a six-run eleventh inning. Max Kepler drove in the tie-breaking run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and after that the conga line kept moving. Mitch Garver went 4-for-6 with a homer and five RBI and Joe Mauer had three hits and three RBI. Ervin Santana made his season debut — he had surgery on his finger back in February — allowing three runs and seven hits in five innings.

Mariners 3, Giants 2:  Ryon Healy hit his 21st home run of the year and Jean Segura hit an early sac fly and a late chop single to put the M’s ahead. Mike Leake and Derek Holland were each effective, allowing a couple of runs over six and six and a third, respectively.

Angels 11, White Sox 3Mike TroutAlbert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani all homered — Trout homered twice, actually and Pujols’ was a milestone dinger — as the Angels cruised thanks to nine runs in the middle innings. Tyler Skaggs had nine strikeouts in six innings. His first five Ks came against the first five batters he faced. Pujols even stole a base in this one. Third base, in fact. Did it standing up too, as the Sox’ pitcher was clearly paying zero attention to him whatsoever:

Red Sox vs. Orioles — POSTPONED:

Rain down, rain down
Come on rain down on me
From a great height
From a great height, height
Rain down, rain down
Come on, rain down on me
From a great height
From a great height
Rain down, rain down (that’s it, sir, you’re leaving, the crackle of pigskin)
Come on rain down on me (the dust and the screaming, the yuppies networking)
From a great height (the panic, the vomit, the panic, the vomit)
God loves his childrean
God loves his children, yeah

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.