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And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 5, Athletics 3: Starling Marte hit a three-run walkoff homer — which came with his team down by a run — in the bottom of the 13th! That’s as dramatic as it gets I’d say . . .

Padres 8, Dodgers 5. . . Hunter Renfroe says “hold my beer.” All he did was hit a two-out, pinch-hit walk off grand slam, turning a 5-4 deficit into an 8-5 win. It may not have come in extra innings like Marte’s, but it did come against Kenley Jansen, which is no easy trick. Well, perhaps a bit easier yesterday as Jansen didn’t seem to have his best stuff, but that’s a big dang hit right there. It also got his teammates off the hook, as they blew a 4-0 lead earlier in the game.

Tigers 5, Royals 2: Over the weekend Miguel Cabrera blamed his lack of power this year on not having any good hitters behind him. That’s a pretty spurious claim as it is, but even if lineup protection was a thing it doesn’t explain Brandon Dixon hitting a walkoff three-run homer in the bottom of the tenth. He didn’t have Prince Fielder or Victor Martinez hitting behind him either and he managed to get a hold of one. Weird.

Mariners 10, Indians 0: Jay Bruce hit a first inning grand slam to start the rout and end the Mariners’ six-game losing streak. Rookie starter Eric Swanson was fantastic for Seattle as well, getting his first career win while taking a no-hitter into the sixth. This, from the AP report of the game, is how the M’s celebrated his win:

Seattle’s rookie right-hander was grabbed by teammates, thrown into a laundry cart and pushed into the showers . . . they targeted Swanson, who was doused with numerous substances. “A little greasy, but it was cool,” Swanson said of the postgame party. “I had to pick ketchup out of my ears.”?

That sort of makes winning your first big league game sound like something you don’t want to do, does’t it? I dunno. Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, the Indians managed just two hits all day. Their team batting average fell to an AL-low .215. That whole “let’s defend the division by not having an offense” plan that, based on their offseason moves, they apparently had seems not to be working out as they had hoped.

Braves 3, Marlins 1: Starters Julio Teherán and Pablo López were aces, each tossing six innings of shutout ball and the sides managed just a run each in regulation. In the tenth the Braves scored twice, one on an Ender Inciarte double and another on a Charlie Culberson foul out on which Inciarte tagged up an scored. The double scored Max Fried, who is a pitcher who was pinch running, all the way from first base. Check out his mad dash:

He said afterward that that was less of a head-first slide than it was him stumbling forward and falling. Hey, whatever works, man. Just don’t pull your hammies. The win was nice but the Braves need your arm more than your legs. Atlanta sweeps the Fish.

Phillies 7, Nationals 1: Zach Eflin has been pitching really well lately and he kept it up yesterday, allowing only one run on four hits with five strikeouts in seven innings to help Philly take two of three from the Nats. Washington, who was short-handed due to a rash of position player injuries, has lost eight of 11.

Red Sox 9, White Sox 2: Sox win! Boston takes three of four from the Chisox thanks to a seven-run eighth inning. Xander Bogaerts‘ grand slam was the big blow. The Red Sox scored nine runs in an inning the night before, so I’d say either that offense is starting to click or else the White Sox need to get better pitchers. Wait, those are not mutually-exclusive, so forget the “either/or” construction. Boston has won six of seven. And seven of ten. Pick whatever endpoints you’d like. They’re playing well.

Brewers 3, Mets 2: Christian Yelich had missed five games with a sore back and then only pinch hit in Saturday’s marathon before smacking a 440-foot two-run homer in this game to help Milwaukee sweep the three game set. That’s nice, but even nicer was the pick-me-up they got from starter Zach Davies. When you’re coming off an 18-inning game that turned your bullpen into a smoking crater, you need a big game from your starter, and Davies gave them that: he went seven and two-thirds, allowing only two runs on six hits. Can’t ask for anything more.

Rangers 10, Blue Jays 2:  Rougned Odor and Asdrúbal Cabrera each homered and combined to drive in seven runs as Texas wins in a laugher. Odor was 0-for-his-previous-21 when he went yard in the second. Texas takes two of three and are sitting at .500, which is not too bad given this team’s expectations. The Jays dropped five of six on their road trip.

Rockies 8, Diamondbacks 7: Colorado was down 7-3 entering the bottom of the eighth when they put up a five-spot via a bases-loaded walk, a bases-clearing triple and an RBI single. The triple came from Raimel Tapia, tying the game. The damage was all charged to Archie Bradley who had been cruising of late. Guess we all have bad days sometime.

Astros 10, Angels 4: There were a bunch of grand slams and three run shots yesterday. Alex Bregman hit a salami himself in this one, a day after hitting two homers on Saturday night. Guess it’s fair to say that he likes hitting down at at Estadio de Beisbol de Monterrey, where this two-game set was played. Or maybe he just likes hitting against the Angels. All the Astros seemed to here. In addition to Bregman’s damage, Carlos Correa hit a two-run homer in the second inning and Michael Brantley hit a two-run shot in the ninth. Houston outscored the Halos 24-6 in the two-game set.

Yankees 4, Twins 1: An eight-inning game due to rain but I imagine everyone had seen enough by then. Domingo Germán picked up his sixth win on the season. Mike Tauchman hit a two-run homer. The Twins came into this series with the best record in baseball and ended up dropping two of three. Death, taxes, and the Yankees owning Minnesota.

Giants 6, Reds 5: The Reds hit back-to-back-to-back homers on three consecutive pitches from Jeff Samardzija in the first inning and when a game starts like that you probably assume the homer-hitting team is gonna beat the homer-surrendering team. Nah. Not here. Not with a Reds team that, in addition to simply not playing well at times this year, has had horrendous luck too and look like they can’t even buy a win sometimes. The homers here actually led to four runs — the first one, from Eugenio Suárez was a two-run homer, while Jesse Winker and Derek Dietrich hit solo shots — but the Reds bats went quiet afte that Giants came back. They scored one in the fifth and then Buster Posey hit a three-run shot in the sixth to tie things up. Brandon Crawford‘s two-run homer in the ninth put the Giants up for the first time and for good.

Cubs 13, Cardinals 5: Another game another grand slam, this one from Kris Bryant in the course of the Cubs’ six-run eighth inning. Not that it was close at the time, as Chicago entered the frame with a 7-2 lead. Willson Contreras, Anthony Rizzo and David Bote each drove in two runs. With that the Cubs have win their seventh in a row, they sweep the Cards in the three-game set and hand St. Louis their fourth straight loss. Meanwhile, after a 3-8 start to the season the Cubs have won 16 of 20 and have now passed the Cards and sit atop the N.L. Central all by themselves.

Rays vs. Orioles — POSTPONED:

This circus is falling down on its knees
The big top is crumbling down
It’s raining in Baltimore, fifteen miles east
Where you should be, no one’s around

I need a phone call, I need a raincoat
I need a big love, I need a phone call

These train conversations are passing me by
And I don’t have nothing to say
You get what you pay for
But I just had no intention of living this way

I need a phone call, I need a plane ride
I need a sunburn, I need a raincoat

Justin Verlander laughed at after saying Astros were “technologically and analytically advanced”

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Justin Verlander was at the annual Baseball Writers Association of America banquet last night, on hand to accept the 2019 Cy Young Award. Normally such things are pretty routine events, but nothing is routine with the Houston Astros these days.

During his acceptance speech, Verlander made some comments about the Astros’ “technological and analytical advancements.” The comments were greeted by some laughter in the room as well as some groans. At least one person on hand claimed that other players present were visibly angry.

It’s hard to tell the context of it all without a full video — maybe Verlander meant it as a joke, maybe the reactions were more varied than is being described — but here’s how reporters on hand for it last night are describing it:

If it was a joke it was ill-timed, as not many around the game think the sign-stealing stuff is funny at the moment. Especially in light of the fact that, despite having several opportunities to do so, Astros players have failed to show any accountability for their cheating.

And yes, that includes former Astros Dallas Keuchel, who was praised for “apologizing” at a White Sox fan event on Friday, but whose “apology” was couched in a lot of deflection and excuse-making about how it was just something that was done at the time and about how technology was to blame. Keuchel also tried to minimize it, saying that the Astros didn’t do it all the time. Which is rich given that the most prominent video evidence of their trash can-banging scheme came from a blowout Astros win in a meaningless August game against a losing team. If they were doing it in that situation, please, do not tell me they weren’t doing it when games really mattered.

Anyway, I’d like to think Verlander was just trying to take a stab at a joke here, because Verlander is the wrong guy to be sending to be sending any kind of messages diminishing the cheating given that he has a pretty solid track record of holding other players’ feet to the fire when they get busted.

For example, here he was in 2018 after Robinson Canó got busted for PEDs:

Of course, consistency can be a problem for Verlander when his teammates are on the ones who are on the hook. Here was his response to Tigers infielder Jhonny Peralta being suspended in the wake of the Biogenesis scandal:

“Everybody makes mistakes. He’s my brother. We fight and bleed and sweat together on the baseball field. If my brother makes a mistake, especially if he owns up to it and serves his time, I don’t see how you can hold a grudge or anything like that. “It’s one thing to step up and be a man and own up to his mistake.”

Verlander, it should also be noted, was very outspoken about teams engaging in advanced sign-stealing schemes once upon a time. here he was in 2017, while still with the Tigers, talking about such things in a June 2017 interview with MLive.com.

“We don’t have somebody, but I’m sure teams have a person that can break down signals and codes and they’ll have the signs before you even get out there on the mound.  It’s not about gamesmanship anymore. It used to be, ‘Hey, if you can get my signs, good for you.’ In the past, if a guy on second (base) was able to decipher it on a few pitches, I guess that was kind of part of the game. I think it’s a different level now. It’s not good.”

Which makes me wonder how he felt when he landed on the Astros two months later and realized they had a sophisticated cheating operation underway. If the feelings were mixed, he was able to bury the part of them which had a problem with it, because he’s said jack about it since this all blew up in November. And, of course, has happily accepted the accolades and the hardware he he has received since joining Houston, some of which was no doubt acquired by virtue of a little extra, ill-gotten run support.

Anyway, wake me up when someone — anyone — associated with the Astros shows some genuine accountability about this.