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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights


Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Nationals 5, Mets 3: Jose Reyes hit two homers a day after giving up two homers, but the Mets are still the Mets and they still lost thanks to Tommy Milone allowing one run over seven and striking out nine. Anthony Rendon homered and Bryce Harper drove in a run early as the Nats beat Noah Syndergaard and climbed above .500. No word if they released or traded any relievers as punitive measures, but you never know with this team.

Orioles 7, Yankees 5: Sonny Gray coughed up seven runs on eight hits in two and two-thirds and the Yankees continued their inexplicable struggles against the Orioles in 2018. Trey Mancini and Renato Nunez each drove in a couple and Alex Cobb, who entered the game leading the league in losses, allowed only one run over six. Because it’s after the trade deadline and because the Yankees are supposed to be good and the Orioles are terrible, however, every single gamer I’ve read about this one focuses on the Yankees messing up, Gray grinning at getting booed and the team getting yelled at by third base coach Phil Nevin and all of that but maybe, somewhere, someone has written about how the Orioles actually won the game as opposed to the Yankees losing it.

Tigers 7, Reds 4: Mike Fiers left early after getting hit in the shin with a comebacker, but Drew VerHagen and five other relievers handled things over the final six innings. Jose Iglesias hit a two-run double in the second, and Jim Adduci had a solo homer in the fourth. Afterward Adduci filmed a commercial for some regional beer company that doesn’t exist anymore — I dunno, let’s call it Olde Windsor Beer — that has a jaunty jingle and a forgettable tagline, but the print ads for it in Look Magazine will look great cut out and framed in a sports bar sometime in the 1970s. Adduci will be off today (flulike symptoms) and Chuck Dressen gave him permission to take the train on ahead to the series against the Senators.

Indians 2, Twins 0: Carlos Carrasco pitched shutout ball into the eighth, striking out 10, and Brad Hand completed the deal. Rajai Davis scored on a  double steal. I’ve never understood why catchers throw to second base in a double steal situation, especially with a fast guy on third, but they still do it. Yan Gomes drove in an insurance run in the ninth.

Athletics 8, Blue Jays 3: Jonathan Lucroy had three hits and drove in four runs and Franklin Barreto homered and had three RBI of his own. The A’s and Jays were scheduled to play each other seven times this season. The A’s won all seven of those games. In winning this one they moved into a tie with the Mariners for second place in the AL West and at the top of the Wild Card standings.

Astros 8, Mariners 3: Dallas Keuchel allowed three over seven and the Astros beat up on Wade LeBlanc for seven runs in the first five innings, with Marwin Gonzalez homering twice, Jake Marisnick going deep and Max Stassi [insert home run slang here; it’s August and I’m running out of creative ways to say “four-bagger” or whatever]. The M’s once had an 11 game lead over the A’s but thanks to their middling-at-best play of late and Oakland’s surge, they’re all tied up. The Astros have a five-game lead over both of ’em.

Rays 7, Angels 2: Willy Adames homered and drove in two in his first game after being named the Official Starting Shortstop of the Tampa Bay Rays following Adeiny Hechavarria‘s DFA. Jake Bauers added a two-run homer in the ninth. New acquisition Tyler Glasnow pitched three innings of one run ball, striking out five to begin the game. I’d say the Rays are trying to stretch out Glasnow by starting him here despite his having been a reliever all year, but he’s 6’8″ tall so I’d say he’s already stretched out enough, thank you very much. Heh, bet you thought I was gonna make a “the Rays don’t have starters” joke. Nope. Too obvious. You think I’m gonna zig but I zag. That’s why I’ve had this gig for ten years. Well, that and the fact that literally no one else wants to wake up early to do this for what they pay me, but I’d like to think my inventiveness plays into it too.

Dodgers 6, Brewers 4: Mike Moustakas and Manny Pina each drove in a run in the eighth to tie this one at four and send it to extras, but Yasmani Grandal put on his hero cape and hit a two-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the tenth to send everyone home smiling. Well, not everyone. And not “home” really. The Brewers themselves were probably pissed off and the went to a hotel somewhere in Los Angeles.

Cardinals 6, Rockies 3:  Luke Weaver struggled early and left early, but the Cards bullpen put together a nice scoreless stretch for most of the rest of the game. Tyler O’Neill hit a tiebreaking pinch single in the sixth inning and Yadi Molina and Marcell Ozuna added RBIs in the eighth to give the Cards a nice late cushion.

Royals 10, White Sox 5: Alex Gordon hit a two-run homer and a two-run double. He also walked and scored. Big night for Gordon, but he played it off afterwards saying, “I’m old. I don’t have power anymore.” I hear ya, Alex. I hear ya. The White Sox have lost six of seven.

Cubs 9, Pirates 2: Cole Hamels allowed one run, unearned, in five innings in his Cubs debut. Chicago built up a 6-1 lead in the first two innings despite getting only one RBI hit in that time. It was an infield single by Kyle Schwarber. The other runs scored via a groundout, two errors and two bases-loaded walks. They’d score one more run on a groundout later before Willson Contreras restored some semblance of offensive order with a two-run homer. Gonna guess that the Pirates weren’t too happy with the effort and execution in this one.

Marlins vs. Braves — POSTPONED:

I’ve been loving you a long time
Down all the years, down all the days
And I’ve cried for all your troubles
Smiled at your funny little ways
We watched our friends grow up together
And we saw them as they fell
Some of them fell into Heaven
Some of them fell into Hell
I took shelter from a shower
And I stepped into your arms
On a rainy night in Soho
The wind was whistling all its charms

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.