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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Angels 13, Tigers 0: This game featured Albert Pujols’ 2,000th RBI and four RBI — and two homers — from Tommy La Stella. Pujols is a Hall of Famer and we knew he was gonna get to 2,000 eventually. La Stella, meanwhile has nine homers in 32 games. Before this season he had ten homers, total, in 396 career games. The Angels used an opener here and after he left Felix Pena threw seven scoreless innings, giving up just three hits and striking out seven.

Indians 5, White Sox 0: This game went the bare minimum — five innings — due to rain. I feel like the White Sox had enough, though. They got bupkis from Carlos Carrasco, who gave up only two hits in five shutout innings, striking out six. Jordan Luplow homered twice for Cleveland, both solo shots.

It was good that they called the game for rain, though. The outfield was getting so slippery that it was affecting not only the outfielders’ footing, but it was also affecting the official scorer’s brain:

Cubs 4, Marlins 1: A Yu Darvish special. One hit! One run! But only four innings because he walked six and struck out seven and needed 97 pitches to get even that far. The guy has talent and when he was younger he was electric to watch but my God is he . . . an experience these days. Mike Montgomery relieved him and went five innings, shutting out the Fish the rest of the way on only three hits. he needed only 71 pitches to get that far. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo went deep for the Cubbies.

Rockies 12, Giants 11: It was 39 degrees at first pitch and there was a snowpocalypse in Denver, but that didn’t stop everyone from hitting:

It certainly didn’t stop Nolan Arenado, who went deep, had three hits and reached base five times. Ian Desmond and Mark Reynolds also homered. Colorado built an early 7-0 lead but the game was tied at eight by the sixth because, well, that’s what happens in Denver. Chris Iannetta hit a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth, though, to keep the Rockies from totally choking away the game. Giants first baseman Tyler Austin had two home runs and six RBI in a losing cause. The game lasted almost four hours and the temp barely got into the 40s. Sounds absolutely lovely.

Reds 3, Athletics 0: Tanner Roark and three relievers combined to toss as six-hit shutout, backed by homers from Derek Dietrich and Eugenio Suárez to avoid being swept in Oakland. It was Dietrich’s fifth dinger in six games. Suárez also doubled twice and flashed some leather. If you get through the offensive highlights here you can watch a pretty fantastic pick and jump throw from foul territory and a super nice stab for a hot liner after which he quickly doubled off the runner at first:

Yankees 3, Mariners 1: J.A. Happ and four Yankees relievers combined to two-hit the M’s, with their only run coming on a ninth inning homer by Domingo Santana off of Aroldis Chapman. There was some controversy here too as Happ plunked Dee Gordon on the wrist, when his wrist happened to be up near his head. Gordon was salty about it after the game because he didn’t like Happ coming up and in at him, but there’s really no reason to believe this was intentional. I get mad when I hit my thumb with a hammer too. Doesn’t mean I meant to do it. The M’s have lost nine of 11.

Cardinals 17, Pirates 4: St. Louis scored these 17 runs all without the benefit of a homer and they sent nine batters to the plate in three times in the first six innings. Marcell Ozuna drove in four of them, three on a double, one on a fielder’s choice. Paul Goldschmidt reached base four times and had three hits and two RBI. Dexter Fowler drove in three. Fowler credits the outburst to him and his wife taking several other players and their wives out for karaoke after Wednesday’s bad game. No word on what they sang, but for the record, my go-to is always “Laid” by James. And yes, I can hit those high notes.

Astros 4, Rangers 2: Josh Reddick hit the tiebreaking RBI single in the sixth and made a game-saving, home-run robbing catch off the bat of Hunter Pence with two men on base:

Wade Miley outpitched Mike Minor, allowing two runs on only two hits and striking out seven over six.

Diamondbacks 3, Braves 2: It was 1-1 in the ninth when Josh Donaldson and David Peralta traded solo homers to send it to extras. The Dbacks rallied in their half of the tenth with a walk and consecutive singles off of Braves reliever A.J. Minter, the second single was a walkoff RBI from Ketel Marte. Ballgame. Good job, Braves bullpen. Capital effort. There was a home run robbery in this one too, with Adam Jones stealing a dinger from Ronald Acuña Jr.:

My favorite thing about that is when Jones slaps his glove to his thigh, which is the gesture outfielders make to signal “I got this one.” I get that on a regular fly ball, but it’s pretty sweet to see a guy so experienced and confident that he knows he’s got one that would’ve otherwise gone over the fence.

Nationals 6, Dodgers 0: The Nats have been on the skids lately but Patrick Corbin played stopped, tossing seven innings of shutout ball. The Nats got three off of Rich Hill in the first thanks to a Howie Kendrick homer. Kendrick is one of those guys you have to remind yourself is still in the league and then you look up and see that he’s hitting .325/.383/.588 with six homers on the year.

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.”