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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Astros 11, Athletics 4: The Astros were wearing t-shirts yesterday that said “dream-crushers” on them, and while Astros players are saying the shirt is about them chasing their own dreams of glory — um, that’s not what “crush” means, but whatever — it’s pretty clear they’re meant as a message to the A’s. That message: do not get too invested in a would-be dream season in which they chase down the Astros in the AL West after being down double digits in July. If that is what the shirts mean — and if they truly are taking motivation from a Gildan or a Fruit of the Loom — so far so good, because Alex Bregman and Tyler White homered and drove in four runs each, helping Houston come back from an early 4-0 deficit and win their sixth straight game. George Springer and Jose Altuve each drove in a run as well in the Astros’ five-run third, that ended Brett Anderson‘s scoreless innings streak pretty definitively. The Astros knocked the A’s down to two and a half back.

Cubs 7, Mets 4: The Cubs won their sixth straight game as well. Jon Lester allowed three runs over six innings, drove in two runs with an RBI single off of Noah Syndergaard and even made a couple of slick defensive plays. He didn’t get the win thanks to the Mets tying things up late with a Kevin Plawecki homer, but Ben Zobrist‘s seventh inning go-ahead RBI, a fielder’s choice and an eighth inning Anthony Rizzo bomb powered Chicago to victory.

Angels 10, Rockies 7: The Angels beat the Rockies in a game, the box score of which anyway, that looked like it took place in Coors Field even if it didn’t. The Angels blew a three-run lead at one point thanks to DJ LeMahieu‘s grand slam and the Rockies blew two two-run leads. Eric Young Jr. drove in a pair as the Angels took the lead last thanks to a five-run eighth inning. Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani each homered — Ohtani’s was a two-run shot — and the duo drove in two and three runs, respectively. Not the sort of game the Rockies want to lose, but ar least they did not lose any ground on the Dbacks in the west because . . .

Giants 2, Diamondbacks 0: . . . Chris Stratton shut out Arizona for eight innings, giving up only five hits and striking out six. Steven Duggar drove in two runs — these via a second inning two-run homer — for the second game in a row to account for all of the Giants scoring.

White Sox 6, Yankees 2: Masahiro Tanaka had a two-run cushion and was shutting out one of baseball’s worst teams until the sixth inning when he surrendered three to the Chisox, thanks in large part to a couple of drips and drabs that just landed in the wrong spots of the infield to put runners on. Tanaka was allowed to stay in the game after losing the lead and gave up one more in the seventh. His counterpoint, Carlos Rodon, had no such trouble. He pitched two-hit ball over seven innings, although one of those hits was a two-run homer surrendered to Gleyber Torres. Otherwise, though, it was all Chicago, with Yoan Moncada doubling in two, Nicky Delmonico popping up a sac fly, Matt Anderson doubling in a run and a couple of runs scoring on an error and a wild pitch, respectively. The Yankees only managed three hits all night. The White Sox have won four in a row.

Orioles 7, Blue Jays 0: Baltimore finally wins a game, breaking an eight-game losing streak. Trey Mancini did the bulk of the damage, driving in five via a three-run homer and a two-run double. He’d also score a run when Tim Beckham drove him in after reaching in the seventh. David Hess pitched shutout ball for six innings and three relievers each tossed a scoreless frame to complete the blanking.

Nationals 5, Phillies 3: The last we saw Stephen Strasburg he was getting his butt handed to him by the Phillies in his first game back from the disabled list. He was much better last night against the same men, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out five over six innings. Matt Wieters homered. The Phillies threw the ball around a bit too much and fell three and a half games behind the first-place Braves.

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

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We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.