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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.

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.”