Rich Schultz/Getty Images

And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

23 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights.

Phillies 4, Nationals 3: Frustration was mounting as the Phillies opened up the second half with two depressing losses against the Nationals. They were shut out 4-0 on Friday, then lost Saturday’s game 4-3 when Juan Soto hit a go-ahead two-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning. Sunday’s game appeared to be heading that way as well, as a 3-1 lead disappeared when the Nationals scored twice in the seventh inning. Maikel Franco salvaged the series, however, belting a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the ninth off of Matt Grace. It was the 100th homer of his career, and he knew it was gone as soon as he hit it.

Rays 4, Orioles 1: Ryne Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough flirted with perfection, bringing a perfect game into the ninth inning in Baltimore. The lowly Orioles staved off further embarrassment as Hanser Alberto led off the final frame with a single. He would come around to score on a two-out Anthony Santander single but the Rays comfortably won 4-1. Austin Meadows homered, going deep for the first time since May 28. Michael Brosseau also homered.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 2: Masahiro Tanaka was solid, limiting the Jays to a pair of solo homers — hit by Randal Grichuk and Eric Sogard — over six innings. Trade candidate Marcus Stroman served up three runs to the Yankees, striking out seven over six frames. He’s carrying a 3.25 ERA despite a 5-10 record. Mike Tauchman homered for the Yankees while Gio Urshela had a pair of hits and ribbies.

Mets 6, Marlins 2: Jeff McNeil led off the game with a homer and things never got better for the Marlins. Robinson Canó had four hits, including a double and a solo homer. He also homered on Saturday, perhaps a harbinger of things to come. He’s been mired in a season-long slump, entering Sunday’s action with a .654 OPS. Shortstop Amed Rosario didn’t start because he didn’t hustle on Saturday, but entered the game late and doubled. Jacob deGrom turned in five solid innings, holding the Marlins to a lone run on six hits and three walks with six strikeouts over five innings. The Marlins at least made him work as he threw 94 pitches. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner’s ERA is down to 3.21. The Marlins didn’t have much to write home about, but Curtis Granderson did rob Pete Alonso of a homer.

Indians 4, Twins 3: After the Twins scored three runs in the seventh inning to erase the Indians’ 3-0 lead, Carlos Santana saved the day, swatting a go-ahead solo homer in the bottom half of the seventh off of Trevor May. It proved to be the deciding run. That’s No. 21 for the All-Star Santana. The starting pitching match-up also featured All-Stars in Shane Bieber and José Berríos. Both yielded three runs. Berríos went five frames while Bieber lasted 6 1/3. The Indians are 6.5 games back of the Twins in the AL Central after salvaging the final game of the series. Their upcoming schedule is pretty easy as they’ll play the Tigers, Royals, Blue Jays, and the Royals again.

Giants 8, Brewers 3: The Giants batted around in the seventh, plating six runs all without the aid of a homer. They hit four singles, a pair of doubles, and drew two walks. The offensive outburst put Tyler Beede in line for the win. He held the Brewers to three runs on seven hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Christian Yelich hit his 32nd homer of the year to retake the MLB lead. The Giants have won eight of their last 10 games.

Cardinals 5, Diamondbacks 2: Paul Goldschmidt homered against his former team. Adam Wainwright completely outdueled Zack Greinke, tossing seven shutout frames on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Greinke was on the hook for five runs on eight hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Before allowing a first-inning run on Sunday, Greinke hadn’t allowed a run since June 24 in the seventh inning against the Dodgers. It will be interesting to see how both teams fare leading into the end of the month. The D-Backs are at .500 while the Cardinals went a game above .500 with the win.

Athletics 3, White Sox 2: This one ended anticlimactically, with Chad Pinder scoring the walk-off run after José Rondón made an errant throw towards second base on a ground ball hit in the ninth inning. Pinder was on first base after leading off the inning with a single.

Reynaldo López and Brett Anderson both pitched well. López allowed an unearned run while striking out seven over six innings. Anderson gave up a pair of runs across 6 2/3. The A’s are 17-5 since June 17.

Tigers 12, Royals 8: The Tigers fended off the Royals to halt their five-game losing streak. Seven of their 12 runs scored in the third inning. Harold Castro and Niko Goodrum each finished the game with four hits. Castro, Goodrum, Brandon Dixon, Jeimer Candelario, and Gordon Beckham each had multiple RBI. Jordan Zimmerman got the start for the Tigers, serving up seven runs across four innings, ballooning his ERA up to 7.01.

Cubs 8, Pirates 3: Trevor Williams has had better days. The Cubs took him to the cleaners, victimizing him for eight runs across 5 1/3 innings. They chased him from the game in the sixth when Albert Almora and Kyle Schwarber hit back-to-back no-doubt solo homers. Jason Heyward also homered as he continues to have his best offensive season since 2015. José Quintana got a quality start, allowing three runs in six innings. The Cubs’ bullpen tossed three scoreless innings behind him to polish off the sweep.

Angels 6, Mariners 3: Matt Thaiss broke a 3-3 tie with two outs in the bottom of the eighth with a three-run dinger, the first of his career. Kole Calhoun also homered for the Halos in the finale, giving them the sweep over the Mariners. Austin Nola and Domingo Santana homered in the losing effort.

Astros 12, Rangers 4: Three more hits for José Altuve, who is cooking. He had four hits on July 2 and another four hits yesterday. One of his hits on Sunday was a grand slam in the seventh inning, part of a seven-run outburst. Altuve’s average and OPS are up to .274 and .816 after being as low as .235 and .769 on June 20. Yuli Gurriel also had three RBI and three hits, including a homer. Justin Verlander turned in six solid frames, holding the Rangers to a pair of runs. His ERA remains at 2.98.

Rockies 10, Reds 9: The Rockies’ offense was contained to four runs in the first inning and six runs in the fifth, but it was enough to eke past the Reds. Ryan McMahon doubled, tripled, and knocked in three runs. Tony Wolters and Daniel Murphy drove in a pair of runs each as well. The Reds won Saturday’s contest 17-9, so the final two games of the series saw 45 combined runs scored. Coors, man.

Braves 4, Padres 1: It was a textbook pitchers’ duel between Cal Quantrill and Mike Soroka. Quantrill tossed six scoreless innings while Soroka went seven scoreless. Freddie Freeman broke through against the Padres’ bullpen in the eighth, belting a three-run homer off of Trey Wingenter. The Braves polished off the series sweep and have now won seven of their last eight.

Dodgers 7, Red Sox 4 (12 innings): It figures that the only night game went extra innings. The game was 4-4 after nine. A.J. Pollock hit a three-run homer in the first and knocked in another run with a double in the fifth. Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed two runs in seven innings, which actually increased his major league-leading ERA to 1.78. With the score 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez hit back-to-back solo homers off of Pedro Báez. The game remained 4-4 into the 12th inning, when the Dodgers loaded the bases. Max Muncy drew a bases-loaded walk to plate the go-ahead run. Then Alex Verdugo and Russell Martin followed with RBIs of their own to give the Dodgers a 3-run cushion at 7-4 with Boston unable to claw their way back.

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

Getty Images
19 Comments

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.