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And That Happened: Sundays scores and highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Cardinals 5, Dodgers 0: Adam Wainwright is not a name we’ve heard too much of this year. He’s only pitched in six games, three of which came before Memorial Day. He was on point last night, though, shutting out the Dodgers for six innings and striking out nine. Marcell Ozuna homered and Yadier Molina drove in a couple. It was a HUGE win for St. Louis, which had dropped the previous three against L.A. and saw its lead in the Wild Card standings disappear. With this win St. Louis pulls back even with the Dodgers for that second slot. Two weeks of baseball left, and the Cards, Dodgers and Rockies are basically playing musical chairs for the final two NL playoff slots.

Red Sox 4, Mets 3: Jacob deGrom vs. Chris Sale did not turn out to be quite as amazing a matchup as it was cracked up to be. Sale only pitched three innings because he’s still ramping back up and deGrom gave up what, for him, was billion runs (note: it was three). deGrom did strike out 12, though, and fans were treated to the first matchup of starters with sub-2.00 ERAs (min: 100 IP) in over 30 years. That was John Tudor vs. Dwight Gooden back in 1985. That fun aside, Brock Holt hit a two-run homer and the Sox got a couple of sac flies. Mookie Betts left the game with an injury to his side, but it’s apparently not very serious. Boston can clinch the AL East this week.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2: New York clung to a one-run lead until the eighth inning but then Rowdy Tellez (checks: yeah, “Rowdy Tellez” it is!) hit a pinch-hit RBI single followed by Randal Grichuk doubling in a run to beat Dellin Betances and the Yankees. New York dropped two of three to the Blue Jays and is just sort of existing right now. Not a great time to simply be existing, ya know?

Tigers 6, Indians 4: After clinching the AL Central via an utter shellacking of Detroit on Saturday, Cleveland trotted out its post-clinch/hangover lineup on Sunday afternoon, as one does. The Tigers, not surprisingly, won against the Indians’ quad-A lineup, with Jim Adduci homering and driving in four. After the game he drove, I dunno, his 1963 Rambler Ambassador to Sammy Sofferin’s Wonder Bar & Indian Room down on Washington Blvd and tied a few on to try to forget this lost season. And yes, I know the game was in Cleveland. He took the Northwest Orient charter back to Willow Run then he drove downtown. Don’t worry, though: he left the Rambler parked on Clifford and took the streetcar home.

Orioles 8, White Sox 4: When these two teams get together you can throw out the records. Really, please, throw out the records. No one wants to watch mid-September baseball between a couple of clubs with nearly 200 combined losses. Jonathan Villar and Adam Jones homered and  Cedric Mullins had four hits as the O’s put up a five-run first inning.

Rays 5, Athletics 4: C.J. Cron and Willy Adames homered early and Tampa Bay built up a 5-0 lead before Oakland rallied for four in the ninth on a Khris Davis grand slam to make it interesting. Oakland dropping two of three to Tampa Bay didn’t help them gain any ground on the Yankees for home field advantage in the Wild Card game. Which now and for a few weeks now has been the only remaining race in the American League.

Nationals 6, Braves 4Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon each hit two-run homers and Juan Soto hit an RBI single in the ninth for an insurance run as Washington takes two of three from Atlanta. The Braves maintained a six and a half game lead in the East, however, because . . .

Marlins 6, Phillies 4: . . . Philly lost to the Fish. Peter O’Brien homered and drove in three as Miami stopped a five-game skid. Jose Urena allowed one run and three hits in five innings, winning his third straight start.

Pirates 3, Brewers 2: The Buccos carried a 3-0 lead into the ninth thanks to Trevor Williams tossing six scoreless. They got a scare when Jesus Aguilar and Domingo Santana hit back-to-back home runs to start the final frame, but that’s all Milwaukee would get as Pittsburgh held on. The Brewers remain two and a half behind he Cubs.

Astros 5, Diamondbacks 4: Yet another late rally that fell just short. Man there were a mess of these yesterday. Here Arizona put up three runs in the ninth to pull within one but no dice. Justin Verlander struck out 11 and allowed only one run in seven innings of work. Josh Reddick homered.

Twins 9, Royals 6: Tyler AustinMax Kepler, Johnny Field and Jorge Polanco all hit homers for the Twins, but only Austin did this:

Which is good, because if enough guys do that eventually one of ’em is gonna crack his head open or something.

Reds 2, Cubs 1: Luis Castillo allowed one run while pitching into the seventh and the Reds bullpen finished things off. Scott Schebler and Phillip Ervin went deep to account for the Reds’ runs. The Cubs scored only five runs in the three-game series, but they took two of three because the Reds scored only four. What an exciting weekend in Cincinnati!

Rockies 3, Giants 2: Antonio Senzatela pitched shutout ball into the sixth and hit a two-run single to [all together now] help his own cause Colorado salvages the final game of the three-game series. Thanks to the Dodgers’ loss, Colorado moves back into first place in the NL West by the slimmest of margins. Now they have three in Los Angeles starting tonight. I’d say that the series promises to be a definitive one, but we’ve gone six months without any team really acting like it wants to win the NL West, so why should that stop now?

Angels 4, Mariners 3: Kole Calhoun and Justin Upton homered. Calhoun’s broke an 0-for-25 streak and Upton’s was his fourth dinger in his past three games. The Angels do all kinds of fun things. Rarely do those fun things amount to, you know, sustained, competitive baseball over a relevant time period, but they do do interesting things.

Padres 7, Rangers 3: Freddy Galvis hit a game-tying RBI double and then Francisco Mejia hit a walk-off grand slam to cap a five-run bottom of the ninth and give the Padres the win. In 10 games since his call-up Mejia has three homers, eight RBI, five runs scored and is slugging .630. Not too shabby.

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.