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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Twins 10, White Sox 3: For the first time in his career, Nelson Cruz had a three-homer game. All three came off of Lucas Giolito. The first was a solo shot in the first, followed by a two-run blast in the third and another two-run round-tripper in the fifth. That gives Cruz 25 for the season, putting him on pace for 40. He has also homered in four consecutive games. Giolito gave up seven runs in total over five innings. José Berríos was solid, giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk with eight strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 2.94 in the process.

Mets 4, Padres 0: Jacob deGrom continues to pitch well. On Thursday afternoon, he blanked the Padres for seven innings, yielding only four hits and a walk while striking out nine. deGrom, now with a 2.86 ERA, hasn’t allowed a run in his last 17 innings of work. All four of the Mets’ runs came in the first inning against Eric Lauer, including two on a Todd Frazier double. Frazier took to Twitter after the game to snipe at MLB.com beat writer Anthony DiComo, who posted some Frazier-centric stats. Noah Syndergaard sniped at DiComo last week as well. And, of course, there was that whole thing last month involving Mickey Callaway, Jason Vargas, and Newsday’s Tim Healey. It must be fun to cover the Mets.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 3: Paul Goldschmidt homered again, giving him dingers in four consecutive games. Kolten Wong and Dexter Fowler also went yard, all off of Joe Musgrove, who was on the hook for six runs over five innings. Miles Mikolas got the old quality start, yielding three runs in six frames. The Cardinals, winners of eight of their last 10 contests including five straight, find themselves tied with the Cubs for first place in the NL Central. The Pirates, meanwhile, have lost eight of their last 10 and find themselves in last place.

Indians 5, Royals 4 (14 innings): José Ramírez broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the 14th with a solo home run, but thankfully the Indians added an insurance run on a Jake Bauers RBI single later in the inning. The Royals loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 14th but could only bring one run home. Ramírez had a pair of doubles along with the homer, raising his OPS to .718. He began the month of July at .634. This month, he has hit 9 doubles, six homers, and knocked in 18 runs in 19 games.

Rockies 8, Nationals 7: The Rockies rallied late to win this back-and-forth slugfest in D.C. Tasked with protecting a one-run lead in the ninth inning, Fernando Rodney promptly served up a game-tying solo home run to Ian Desmond. He would later give up a go-ahead run on a Daniel Murphy ground out. Anthony Rendon and Matt Adams hit homers in a losing effort for the Nationals, while Desmond, Murphy, Garrett Hampson, and Ryan McMahon each went deep for the Rockies.

Red Sox 19, Yankees 3: The most forgettable of nights for the Yankees, especially for starter Masahiro Tanaka. The Red Sox ambushed him for seven runs in the first inning. They would bash him again in the fourth, scoring five runs in the frame. He left with one out in the fourth and was ultimately responsible for allowing 12 runs on 12 hits and three walks with four strikeouts. The last time a Yankees starter gave up 12 or more runs in a start was Red Ruffing in 1939. If we’re talking earned runs, then it’s Carl Mays in 1923. The bleeding didn’t stop once Tanaka was out of the game, as Stephen Tarpley gave up four runs and position player Austin Romine yielded three runs. Xander Bogaerts was the star of the game for the Red Sox, racking up four hits, four RBI, and four runs scored. He homered twice. Eight players had multiple hits and eight had multiple RBI. The Yankees just escaped a slugfest in Minnesota. Over their last four games, the Yankees’ pitching staff has forfeited 46 runs.

Orioles 10, Angels 8 (16 innings): The last game of the night was, of course, the one that happened to go 16 innings. Kole Calhoun gave the Angels a 4-2 lead when he hit a three-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning, but the lead was short-lived. The Orioles rallied for two runs in the top of the eighth. Trey Mancini broke the 4-4 tie in the top of the ninth with an opposite-field solo home run off of Hansel Robles. Brian Goodwin, however, still wanted to play baseball, so he hit a game-tying solo home run off of Mychal Givens in the bottom of the ninth and the game went into extra innings. The score would remain 5-5 until the top of the 15th when Jace Peterson came through with a two-run single. Hanser Alberto tacked on an RBI single to make it 8-5. Tanner Scott battled with control issues in the bottom of the 15th, allowing a leadoff single followed by three consecutive one-out walks to force in a run. Mike Trout tied the game and very nearly walked it off, but David Fletcher was thrown out at home plate. The play was reviewed but the ruling on the field was upheld, even though it looked like he actually got his hand on home plate just ahead of the tag. Jonathan Villar put the O’s back on top with a two-run homer in the top of the 16th. Stevie Wilkerson, an outfielder, took the mound for the bottom of the 16th, making his third pitching appearance of the season. As everyone expected, Wilkerson and his 55 MPH fastballs worked a 1-2-3 inning for the save. He’s the first position player ever to record a save.

Rangers 11, Athletics 3: Danny Santana continues to raise his trade stock. He finished the night with three hits and six RBI, hitting a two-run double in the fifth inning and adding a grand slam in the sixth. The veteran Santana, who has racked up at least 100 defensive innings at six positions in his career, could be dealt in the coming days with the trade deadline approaching and hte Rangers hovering around .500. Elsewhere, Ariel Jurado turned in solid start, limiting the Athletics to three runs on three hits and two walks with six strikeouts across seven innings.

Mariners 10, Tigers 2: Tim Beckham hit a grand slam in the third inning, giving the Mariners a lead they would never relinquish. It’s only Beckham’s fourth homer since the start of June after hitting 11 in the first two months of the season. Daniel Vogelbach also picked up three RBI in this one. Erik Swanson opened for the first two innings of the game before handing the ball to Wade LeBlanc, who held the Tigers to two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts.

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.