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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Braves 5, Padres 1: Max Fried continues to impress, striking out seven and scattering four hits over seven one-run innings. He was backed by a three-run jack from Dansby Swanson. He was also backed by some adrenaline, saying after the game that he was extra-pumped to face the Padres, who drafted him before shipping him to Atlanta for Justin Upton a few years ago. Cal Quantrill made his big league debut for the Padres, pitching into the sixth and allowing two. He’ll take it even if it gave him a loss in his first outing. Or maybe he won’t. I don’t know what his standards are. I’d take it. I’m fairly easy to please and often consider simply not embarrassing myself a victory of sorts.

Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 2: Ketel Marte hit a monster, 450-foot+ homer and six Snakes pitchers combined to hold the Yankees to two runs on seven hits. A headline I saw coming out of this made a big deal about how the Yankees have dropped all five of their games against teams with winning records, but I wouldn’t read too much into that. Every good team piles up wins against bad teams and struggles with other good teams. I think a bigger takeaway than “0-5 against teams over .500” is “a seriously-depleted Yankees team ended a west coast road trip that could’ve just buried them with a 6-3 record and that’s not bad at all.”

Giants 2, Dodgers 1: We’ll get to the game in a second but can we talk for a minute about this super unlucky Dodgers fan who caught two foul balls? Sure, catching two foul balls might be cast as “lucky” by some, but given that he lost his very expensive ballpark food BOTH TIMES the ball came his way, I’d say he came out behind:

As for the game, Hyun-Jin Ryu tossed eight innings of one-run ball, more than matching Madison Bumgarner‘s six innings of one-run ball. The problem is that Julio Urías went out for the ninth and allowed two singles. Pedro Báez then came in and promptly gave up a walkoff single to Buster Posey for the Giants win. Well, not “promptly” as Báez doesn’t do anything promptly, but you get the idea. In other news, managers continue to abide by the age-old — and dumb as hell — rule about not using your best relievers on the road in a tie game.

Red Sox 7, Athletics 3: Mitch Moreland and Christian Vázquez homered as the Red Sox complete the three game sweep and win their eighth in 12 games. Oakland has lost six in a row.

This was fun: the ballpark itself played a hand in a couple of plays, with the second base bag depriving the A’s of what would’ve probably been a double play and the backstop depriving the Red Sox of what would’ve probably been a run:

Royals 3, Rays 2; Royals 8, Rays 2: Sometimes the opener doesn’t always work. In the first game the Rays went with opener extraordinaire Ryne Stanek, but Adalberto Mondesi hit a two-run homer as Kansas City put up a three-run first inning. Stanek had made seven appearances as the opener this year before that game and hadn’t allowed a run. Even great weapons sometimes misfire. The Royals scored three runs in the first inning of the second game too thanks to a two-run homer from Kelvin Gutiérrez off of Blake Snell. Snell was shelled beyond that too, allowing seven runs in three innings of work. His counterpart, Glenn Sparkman, fared much better, allowing only three hits in seven shutout innings as Kansas City sweeps the twin bill.

Pirates 7, Rangers 5: Bryan Reynolds homered in the 11th inning on Tuesday. Here he hit a three-run double in the fourth to give Pittsburgh an early lead which they’d never surrender. Reynolds has played in nine games as a big leaguer. He’s gotten hits in all nine of them. Someone tell him that it won’t keep up like this.

Orioles 5, White Sox 4; White Sox 7, Orioles 6: A split doubleheader between two teams going nowhere is a pretty good working definition of the term “meaninglessness” but even bad teams have to play each other or else there wouldn’t be numbers on the backs of the baseball cards. The first game stopped a four-game Orioles losing streak and ended a White Sox three-game winning streak. The second game stared them both anew. “It was a chilly day and a long doubleheader,” said Steve Wilkerson of the Orioles. Sounds delightful.

Cubs 11, Mariners 0: Jon Lester tossed seven innings of one-hit, shutout ball, but he could’ve been terrible and still would’ve gotten the win. Javier Báez homered and doubled during Chicago’s six-run second inning and Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras both homered. Marco Gonzalez took the L for Seattle, failing to become the bigs’ first six game winner. He did it in style too, walking the bases loaded twice.

Reds 1, Mets 0: For the second time in three games Edwin Díaz gave up a ninth inning homer which gave the Reds a one-run win. On Monday it was Jesse Winker. Last night it was José Iglesias. Jacob deGrom tosses seven shutout innings and got no run support, so it’s just like 2018 all over again.

Cardinals 5, Nationals 1: The Cards jumped out to a three-run lead on Max Scherzer in the first thanks to RBI hits from Marcell Ozuna and Jose Martínez. Miles Mikolas was not so vulnerable, allowing only one run in six. Ozuna had three hits on the night. The Nats have lost six of seven.

Phillies 7, Tigers 3: Maikel Franco hit a bases-clearing double, Rhys Hoskins homered, and Aaron Nola pitched one-run ball into the sixth as Philly quiets the boo-birds for the night.

Marlins 4, Indians 2: Marlins starter Caleb Smith was sharp, allowing one run over seven, and Rosell Herrera was 2-for-4 with three driven in on a very, very bad night for Cleveland. Bad because of the loss, sure, but worse because of a comebacker which tagged starter Corey Kluber in the fifth, breaking his arm.

Rockies 11, Brewers 4: Nolan Arenado began the game with a three-run homer in the 1st, then went deep in the 9th for a two-homer, four-RBI night. In between all of that the Rockies blew an early 3-0 lead, regained the lead and then put their pedal to the floor in a rout. Trevor Story also homered and Tony Wolters added two RBI. A big problem for the Brewers was losing starter Chase Anderson to a torn blister just before game time, forcing them to press Jacob Barnes, who had just gotten to the park 90 minutes before game time into service. Stuff happens, Barnes lasted only an inning and allowed five base runners. Not that this was his fault given what happened later.

Twins 6, Astros 2: Twins starter Martín Pérez was brilliant, shutting out Houston for eight innings, Jonathan Schoop homered and Nelson Cruz knocked in a couple.

Angels 6, Blue Jays 3: Mike Trout hit a three-run double in the fourth, Tommy LaStella walked with the bases loaded, Albert Pujols hit a sac fly and Kole Calhoun hit a double which scored a run but which did not produce an RBI because it came with Pujols on first base, and the scorer determined that he wouldn’t have come home absent the error committed by the right fielder. Which is kind of a statement about where Albert Pujols is as a useful player circa 2019, but the Angels have won five of six so let’s not dwell on it, shall we?

Oh, let’s dwell a minute. Here’s Pujols running on that play:

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You can almost hear the creaking and see the steam shoot out of his ears.

Astros block Detroit Free Press from clubhouse at Justin Verlander’s request

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Last night a BBWAA-credentialed reporter from the Detroit Free Press was barred from the Houston Astros’ clubhouse by team security following the Tigers win over the Astros. The reporter — who was almost certainly Anthony Fenech, who covers the Tigers — was kept out at the request of Astros starter Justin Verlander. Here’s the scene as described by the Free Press. The article contains a photo, taken by Fenech, of the three Astros officials who blocked the door to prevent him access:

At 9:35 p.m., the Astros opened their clubhouse to credentialed media in coordination with MLB rules. As other media members entered the clubhouse, the Free Press reporter with a valid BBWAA-issued credential was blocked from entering by three Astros security officials . . . The reporter contacted Mike Teevan, MLB vice president of communications, who said he would immediately reach out to Dias regarding the issue. Dias eventually gave the reporter access to the clubhouse at 9:41 p.m., after Verlander’s media session had ended . . . Once inside, the reporter approached Verlander, who said: “I’m not answering your questions.” When asked to comment on Wednesday’s loss, Verlander walked away.

That after-the-fact access for the reporter came only after he called Major League Baseball who, in turn, called Astros officials, presumably, to tell them that they cannot bar credentialed media.

It’s unclear at the moment what the beef is between Verlander and either the Free Press or the reporter. For what it’s worth, I follow Fenech and, while he’s a bit more witty and, occasionally, cutting than your average beat reporter, he’s self-effacing and doesn’t do cheap shots. Though he talks often about former Tigers and has made a point to highlight Verlander’s post-Tigers career whenever relevant, to my knowledge he hasn’t said or done anything specific to tweak Verlander in the past.

I will note, though, that last night, about eight minutes before Fenech was barred access, the Free Press Twitter account sent this tongue-in-cheek tweet out. It’s unclear if he or someone else at the paper wrote it:

Maybe that pissed off Verlander, who is known to be active on social media and is usually pretty aware of what’s being said about him. Hard to say.

What’s easy to say, though, is that no matter what has hurt Verlander’s fragile ego, the Astros barring the reporter from the clubhouse is in blatant violation of the agreement between Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers Association of America, which ensures access for credentialed reporters. Verlander doesn’t have to talk to the guy — he doesn’t have to talk to anyone he doesn’t want to talk to — but the team honoring Verlander’s wishes to bar access is totally unacceptable and, frankly, about as low-rent as it gets from a media relations perspective.

We’ll probably hear more about this later today.