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And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mets 7, Giants 0: There is improbable, there is highly unlikely, there is damn nigh inconceivable and then there is Jason Vargas tossing a complete game shutout in the Year of Our Lord 2019. You ask for miracles, Theo, I give you the San Francisco Giants lineup getting blanked by a guy who rarely hits 85 on the gun. Amed Rosario hit a three-run homer and Michael Conforto and Adeiny Hechavarria each hit solo homers.

Red Sox 8, Royals 0: See, now Chris Sale tossing a complete game shutout, THAT I can feature. He allowed only three hits and struck out 12, three of which came on nine straight pitches in the bottom of the eighth.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a three-run double and Rafael Devers homered and drove in three.

Rays 4, Tigers 0: Charlie Morton tossed seven shutout innings, striking out eight and needing only 83 pitches to do it. He’s now gone 20 straight starts without a loss. He was the stopper here, snapping the Rays’ four-game losing streak. The Rays scored first when Austin Meadows tripled and then ran home on a throwing error by the Tigers’ second baseman, made worse by the fact that the Tigers’ pitcher was not backing up third base on the throw. Ron Gardenhire:

“We have to catch the ball and we have to throw the ball. Just make the simple plays and get the outs”

He then threw all the team’s bats at the assembled Tigers players who he had herded into the shower, said “our record is 23-35,” asked “how did we ever win 23” while his pitching coach, who used to sell Lady Kenmores, said “it’s a miracle!”

Nationals 6, White Sox 4: Tired: the Nationals bullpen blows another lead late in the game. Wired: the Nationals’ batters suck it up and come back with Trea Turner hitting a two-run walkoff homer. The win was Washington’s fourth in a row. They have also won four series in a row. If this is truly a ship-righting situation, the question is whether it’s coming too late or not. I’d say no — they’re only 6.5 back as neither Philly nor Atlanta has pulled away when given the chance — but then again, I’m not sure this is truly ship-righting. Guess we’ll see.

Diamondbacks 3, Dodgers 2: The Dodgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead but Jarrod Dyson‘s RBI double in the eighth forced extras. On to the 11th where the Snakes rallied against reliever Scott Alexander with an Eduardo Escobar leadoff triple after which David Peralta knocked him in for the walkoff win. That snaps the Dodgers’ seven-game winning streak. And caused some folks in my mentions to ask why they couldn’t shell out more than the Cubs did for Craig Kimbrel. I’m pretty sure L.A. will be fine in the West, but then again, just winning the west is not the true challenge that faces them.

Phillies 7, Padres 5: Just-called-up rookie Adam Haseley drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning with his first big league hit. What a way to make a first impression. Well, second, as this was his second game, but you know what I mean. The Padres blew a 4-1 lead here thanks in part to yet another Jay Bruce homer and a three-run seventh inning that tied it to set up Haseley’s big hit.

Pirates 7, Braves 4: Pittsburgh wasn’t impressed with Kevin Gausman, beating him up for seven runs on 12 hits in five innings. Meanwhile, Joe Musgrove pitched into the ninth yielding only three runs and retiring 14 straight Braves batters at one point. Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco each had three hits for the Pirates.

Blue Jays 11, Yankees 7:  New York led 7-4 heading into the seventh inning. Toronto picked up two that frame to make it close and then exploded for five runs in the eighth thanks to homers from Randal Grichuk, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Brandon Drury. Grichuk had two on the day, actually. Vlad’s was a three-run shot. The Yankees bullpen gave up seven runs. New York has lost three straight.

Indians 9, Twins 7: Cleveland wins again, this time overcoming an early 5-1 deficit. Jordan Luplow hit a two-run homer to tie it in the seventh and then Roberto Pérez’ homered to put the Tribe ahead for good. Francsico Lindor added his third homer in the past two games for icing on the cake. Cleveland now trails the Twins by 9.5  games in the Central after taking the first two in this series.

Marlins 8, Brewers 3: It was 1-1 in the third when the Marlins loaded the bases against Jimmy Nelson, who was making his first start in pushing two years. Brian Anderson completed the rude welcome back on the Marlins part by hitting a grand slam. That, as they say, was basically that. Starlin Castro and Bryan Holaday each drove in two runs and Curtis Granderson had two hits. The Marlins have won four in a row.

Rangers 2, Orioles 1: Pretty shocking that an O’s-Rangers game could be tied 1-1 after 11 innings but here we were. Delino DeShields had four hits on the night with his last — a walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the 12th — being the biggest. This would’ve been a 1-0 win in regulation for Texas but rookie Richie Martin hit a solo homer to tie things up for Baltimore in the top of the ninth.

Cubs 9, Rockies 8: David Bote drove in seven of the Cubs’ nine runs on the night. He had four hits, including a three-run homer and bases-clearing double. Bote is hitting .451 with three homers and 13 RBI in his last 12 games. A win, and they signed Craig Kimbrel. Not a bad evening for the Cubs.

Angels 10, Athletics 9: Another walkoff as the Angels and A’s were knotted and nine in the ninth when Brian Goodwin singled, stole second base and then scored the winning run when Dustin Garneau hit a ground rule double. Earlier the Angels had been trailing by six runs, took a lead and then lost it to set this up.

Mariners 14, Astros 1: Not another shutout but it was a complete game for Mike Leake, who held the Astros to one run on six hits. Meanwhile his mates feasted on the Houston bullpen for 12 runs in the final three innings, seven in the sixth, five in the eighth. Edwin Encarnacion, Domingo Santana, Tom Murphy, Mac Williamson and Kyle Seager all homered. Houston’s five-game winning streak comes to an end thanks to their biggest blowout loss in six years.

Reds vs. Cardinals — POSTPONED:

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

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.