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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 9, Athletics 4: Oakland jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two but Boston jumped on ’em for six in the third. It was sort of like the Hulk-Thanos fight in “Infinity War” in which you thought, “uh oh, he’s in trouble now” as Hulk got a couple of punches in but, um, nah. I’d really like to start making references to “Endgame” in this space but I feel like I can’t do that until after the second weekend.

Anyway, Xander Bogaerts‘ two-run double in the third tied it and Michael Chavis‘ two-run single put Boston ahead. Chavis would add another RBI in the fifth. The Sox scored all of their runs without the benefit of the homer. Oakland did too for that matter.

Cardinals 6, Nationals 3: Like Boston, the Cards put up a six-spot in a single inning. Like Boston they also needed to do so to come from behind. Here a returning-for-the-disabled list Michael Wacha was shaky early, walking in a run with the bases loaded and giving up a two-run single right after that, but those three runs would be all he’d allow in five. The Redbirds’ comeback came courtesy of a Harrison Bader homer, Matt Carpenter scoring on a wild pitch, Marcel Ozuna singling in two runs, an RBI double from José Martínez and a Yadi Molina single. All of that damage was done against Patrick Corbin who, before this game, was one of the best pitchers in the National League so far this year. Life comes at you fast. St. Louis has won three straight and eight of nine.

Reds 5, Mets 4: I guess big innings were the order of the day, because the Reds scored four in the second with a couple of doubles, a single and a sac fly, staking them to an early 4-0 lead. They’d lose that lead by the fourth, when the Mets tied it scoring both their third and their fourth runs via bases-loaded walks from Tanner Roark. Jesse Winker broke that tie with a two-out, ninth inning homer off of Mets closer Edwin Díaz. Winker had seven home runs in each of the last two seasons. He has eight so far in 2019.

Brewers 5, Rockies 1: And another four-run inning, this one in the Milwaukee first which ended this one before it began. At least in hindsight. Jesús Aguilar hit the big blow, a three-run homer off of Kyle Freeland, and he’d add a second dinger off of Freeland, a solo shot, in the third. Aguilar hit 35 homers in 2018. These were his first two of 2019. After the game he said “This is going to be the first night where I’m going to sleep good.” I wonder what that’s like.

Braves 3, Padres 1: Mike Soroka have Atlanta yet another strong start, allowing only one run in six innings while striking out eight. He also played a part in the scoring, helping Atlanta score a run via a fielder’s choice, advancing to third when the Padres committed not one but two errors on the play, and scoring on an Ozzie Albies single right after that to give himself and his team a 2-1 lead. Albies would add an insurance run with a homer. It was his third in the last two games. Maybe the biggest news here was that the Braves got three scoreless innings from their bullpen. Since when does that happen?

Twins 1, Astros 0: When you score only one run off of Justin Verlander you aren’t likely to win, but Minnesota beat the odds by making a third inning solo homer from third baseman Ehire Adrianza hold up as the only run in the game. They did it mostly thanks to Jake Odorizzi, who tossed seven shutout innings, walking one and striking out seven. It was the Twins’ eighth win in ten games. Only the Rays have a better record than the Twins in all of baseball.

White Sox 5, Orioles 3: Manny Bañuelos — who before this year had not seen big league action since 2015 because, I’m assuming anyway, he got snapped by Thanos and just reappeared, um . . . somehow . . . pitched five-hit ball into the sixth inning in his first start in a dog’s age. Tim Anderson and Yonder Alonso each hit a two-run homer and James McCann had three hits as the Chisox won their third in a row. In other news, every year there’s some non-divisional matchup which seems like it has lasted 50 games even though you know it’s only like six. That’s Chicago and Baltimore for me so far this year. I know, intellectually, they’ve played only four times but it sure seems like it’s been 12.

Rays 8, Royals 5: Tommy Pham, Yandy Díaz and Ji-Man Choi each drove in two as the Rays won for the fifth time in six games. They’re such a balanced team this year. Every night someone else is contributing to a win. I know it’s still April, but it sure feels like something special is going on here.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2: The Dodgers had a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh and Ross Stripling came in to keep the shutout going. He didn’t. Joe Panik singled, Yangervis Solarte doubled him over to third and Brandon Belt walked, chasing Stripling and bringing in Dylan Floro. He struck out Buster Posey for the second out of the inning but then surrendered a bases-clearing double to Evan Longoria to give the Giants a 3-2 lead that proved to be the final score. The Dodgers’ four-game winning streak, and the Giants’ three-game losing streak, were . . . snapped.

Like I said: I would REALLY like to start talking about “Endgame” soon, you guys.

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.”