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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 9, Rays 4: The Red Sox batted around in the third inning, scoring seven runs. Three came in on a J.D. Martinez homer off of Jalen Beeks. Andrew Benintendi and Sam Travis would tack on solo homers off of Beeks as well. Xander Bogaerts doubled twice and walked twice. Eduardo Rodríguez turned in seven scoreless innings on two hits and four walks with six strikeouts. The Rays gave up even after scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth, trotting out Michael Brousseau to pitch the top of the ninth. He allowed back-to-back doubles to Bogaerts and Martinez but managed to get through the inning without too much damage. It’s not often you see a team put in a position player to pitch down only five runs.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 5 (10 innings): Paul Goldschmidt, who owned a .639 OPS dating back to July 7, smacked a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the 10th off of Clay Holmes to break a 2-2 tie. The Pirates battled back for three runs in the bottom of the 10th, but it just barely wasn’t enough. Josh Bell brought home a run with a double and Jung Ho Kang hit a two-run homer.

Indians 7, Blue Jays 3: The Indians continue to win, now having emerged victorious in 13 of 16 games this month. Mike Clevenger turned in a solid effort, holding the Jays to three runs across seven innings with seven strikeouts. Center fielder Oscar Mercado tripled and homered. Jason Kipnis reached base four times.

Astros 11, Athletics 1: Gerrit Cole dominated, punching out 11 A’s batters while holding them to a run on two hits and a walk. His ERA is down to 3.03. Only Charlie Morton, Mike Minor, José Berríos, and Justin Verlander have better ERAs. Yuli Gurriel had a three-hit, three-RBI night including a homer. Yordan Alvarez homered again, bringing his OPS to 1.130.Aledmys Díaz also knocked in three runs. The Astros have won six games in a row.

Twins 8, Yankees 6: The Twins clubbed five homers, getting one each from Jorge Polanco, Nelson Cruz, and Max Kepler along with two from Mitch Garver. The Yankees got homers from Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, and DJ LeMahieu. Both starters lasted just four innings.

White Sox 9, Marlins 1: Another L for the Fish, who have dropped four in a row now. The White Sox were all over Trevor Richards, who coughed up seven runs in five innings. José Abreu and Yoán Moncada did most of the damage. Abreu hit an RBI double in the first and a two-run homer in the third. Moncada had an RBI single and a three-run homer. Iván Nova went all nine innings, limiting the Marlins to a lone run on four hits with no walks and five strikeouts. It’s the 26th complete game pitched this season. Lucas Giolito has two of them and now Nova has one.

Diamondbacks 6, Orioles 3: Robbie Ray relented a couple of solo homers in the fifth inning but was otherwise quite solid for the D-Backs. He went six frames in total, allowing three runs while fanning 10. Adam Jones picked up three hits. The D-Backs are 51-50 but GM Mike Hazen sounded realistic about his team’s chances. Per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Hazen said, “The belief that a .500 team is going to win the World Series, get through the wild-card format that we have and win the World Series is – I don’t think, objectively, that’s a position we should be staking ourselves to.” The D-Backs play the Marlins for four games after this series with the Orioles. Things could get interesting leading up to the trade deadline.

Giants 5, Cubs 4: The Giants rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth to overtake the Cubs. They banged out three doubles and a single against Pedro Strop, leading them to their 15th victory in 18 July games. They now have the same record as the D-Backs, sitting two games out of the second NL Wild Card slot. Once thought to be ready to ship off Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith, the Giants may now fancy themselves Wild Card contenders.

Reds 6, Brewers 5: Hope looked lost for the Reds after Tyler Saladino hit a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning (his second grand slam in as many days), but Eugenio Suárez had other ideas. He hit his second homer of the night, a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the ninth. Sonny Gray continues to pitch well, tossing six innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts. He boasts a 3.29 ERA. Not bad for a guy who put up a 4.90 ERA for the Yankees last year.

Mariners 7, Rangers 3: Austin Nola hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the second, giving the Mariners a lead they would never relinquish. Marco Gonzales won his 11th game of the year, holding the Rangers to two runs on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts across seven innings. Not much to write home about for the Rangers, who are now on an eight-game losing streak. Rougned Odor had three hits, including a homer.

Rockies @ Nationals: Postponed

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

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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.