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And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Braves 7, Pirates 5: Mike Foltynewicz wasn’t sharp but Josh Donaldson, Nick Markakis, Brian McCann and Ozzie Albies all hit homers in the second inning. The Pirates would tie it at four but McCann hit his second homer of the game — a three-run shot — in the sixth to break the deadlock. Later the rains came, ending this one in the eighth. Fun Elias Sports Bureau facts: The last time the Braves homered four times in an inning was May 28, 2003, when Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa, Gary Sheffield and Javy Lopez went deep. I was watching that game. The last time the Pirates allowed four homers in an inning was July 8, 1956, against the New York Giants in the Polo Grounds when Willie Mays, Hank Thompson, Daryl Spencer and Wes Westrum went deep. I was not watching that game. In any event, the Braves have won five straight and are tied for first place in the NL East.

Royals 3, Tigers 2: Detroit had a late 2-0 lead but this is 2019, not 1919, and 2-0 leads aren’t likely to hold very often. Ryan O'Hearn hit a solo shot in the seventh, Jorge Soler knocked in a run in the eighth to tie it and Chelsor Cuthbert gave Kansas City the lead and, ultimately, the win, with an RBI single of his own. Soler’s double came after a hustle double from Adalberto Mondesí. It was his third hit of the game. Terence Gore pinch ran for Soler, stole third and scored on Cuthbert’s RBI single. The Royals kinda stink this year but their speed is pretty fun.

Rockies 10, Cubs 3: Rookie Peter Lambert allowed one run and three hits in his home debut. He has pitched two big league games. Both have been against the Cubs. Both wins. That should earn him some sort of nickname like “Papa Bear” or something. Someone get on that, will ya? Daniel Murphy had three hits, including a two-run double. Charlie Blackmon hit a three-run homer as part of a five-run Rockies sixth. Colorado has won ten straight at home.

Yankees 12, Mets 5; Mets 10, Yankees 4: A split twin bill that I’ll give to the Yankees on goal differential. Gio Urshela hit a two-run homer and had four RBI and Gary Sánchez and Luke Voit went deep in the first game as well. Peter Alonso hit a three-run shot and J.D. Davis and Carlos Gómez each went deep for the Mets in the nightcap. This split plus the Rays’ loss puts the Yankees back into a tie with Tampa Bay atop the AL East.

Indians 2, Reds 1: Trevor Bauer and Luis Castillo each allowed only one run and the pens allowed nothing else in regulation to send this one to extras tied at 1. In the 10th the Indians strung together a walk, a single and an intentional walk to load the bases and Oscar Mercado walked it off with an RBI single.

Phillies 7, Diamondbacks 4: A four-run second inning, powered by a three-run blast from Scott Kingery and an RBI double from Bryce Harper gave Philly a lead it’d never relinquish. Arizona’s five-game winning streak ends. Only two homers between the teams here, a day after they combined for 13.

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 2: John Means and four O’s relievers combined to allow only two runs on five hits while striking out 13 Jays hitters. Anthony Santander had three hits and an RBI-double. The Jays have lost five in a row and 11 of 13.

Athletics 4, Rays 3: Matt Olson hit a two-run shot and Khris Davis immediately followed him with a solo shot in the A’s three-run sixth to back Mike Fiers‘ two-run performance over six. He and three Oakland relievers combined to allow only four hits and strike out ten. Oakland got out to a rocky start this year but they’re back in the second Wild Card conversation. Well, six teams in the AL are in the second Wild Card conversation, but Oakland looks pretty good at the moment.

Rangers 9, Red Sox 5: Part of the reason six teams are in the second Wild Card conversation is because the Red Sox, who seem like the most talented team in that conversation, can’t seem to break orbit.  Andrew Benintendi got ejected which forced the Sox to move the outfield around, putting Brock Holt in right. In the sixth Hunter Pence hit one right behind Pesky’s Pole in right, Holt went up on the wall to try to catch it, missed, it kicked away about a mile and ended up as the easiest inside-the-park homer you’ll ever see:

The Rangers led 7-3 when that happened so it probably didn’t matter, but it probably tells you what’s going on with Boston right now. They’ve lost three in a row and five of six. Texas has won four of five.

Cardinals 7, Marlins 1: Dakota Hudson allowed one run over seven, giving up only four hits. Yadier Molina came back and had two hits. Kolten Wong reached base four times, Marcell Ozuna homered against his old team. Harrison Bader drove in two runs with a triple and a bases-loaded walk. Dexter Fowler had an RBI single and Jose Martinez had a pinch-hit two-run single.

Astros 10, Brewers 8: Yordan Álvarez played in his second career game and, in his second career game, he homered again. I think he has the hang of this whole hitting thing. Yuli Gurriel, Tyler White, and Robinson Chiniros all homered too. Houston led 10-4 late and the Brewers rallied for four in the ninth, but they’d only get close. Christian Yelich hit his MLB-leading 25th home run and finished a triple shy of the cycle as the Brewers’ four-game winning streak came to an end.

White Sox 7, Nationals 5: Welington Castillo hit a grand slam and Eloy Jiménez hit another long homer — 462 feet — went 2-for-3 and drove in three. Anthony Rendon homered twice in a losing cause. Patrick Corbin got rocked for seven runs in five innings. Since a May 25 shutout against the Marlins he’s allowed 16 runs in twelve and two-thirds innings over three starts. That sucks, but at least Victor Robles made a fun catch:

Twins 6, Mariners 5: The Twins were down 5-3 in the eighth but rallied for three. Jorge Polanco was a big part of that rally. He hit a hustle double to knock in one, took third on a sac fly and then scored on a wild pitch. A Marwin Gonzalez RBI single completed the rally. Polanco reached base four times. He’s now leading the AL in batting at .341.

Giants 6, Padres 5: The Giants won and all of that but the most fun thing in this game was the Padres scoring two runs on a ball that wasn’t hit past the mound. Watch:

Angels 5, Dodgers 3: The Angels put up a five-spot in the first thanks to a Shohei Ohtani solo homer and a three-run shot from Justin Bour. Max Muncy tried to bring the Dodgers back on his own, hitting two homers, but those and a late David Freese blast were just solo shots. The Angels sweep the short, two-game series. Worst part for the Dodgers: Corey Seager strained his hamstring late in this one. We’ll hear more today, but it looked pretty bad. He’ll likely miss some considerable time.

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.