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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Marlins 13, Dodgers 7: L.A. had outscored Miami 33-2 in the previous two games so, if you believe that the law of averages or regression to the mean works with a short turnaround, this outcome was for you. Lewis Brinson, Brian Anderson, Starlin Castro and Jorge Alfaro each had three RBI for the Marlins, who knocked Walker Buehler around for five runs and didn’t let him escape the fifth inning. The pen didn’t fare much better, with Pedro Báez and JT Chargois each coughing up three. All blowouts in this series as the Marlins avoid a three-game sweep.

Indians 19, Yankees 5: Speaking of blowouts . . . José Ramírez and Carlos Santana each hit two homers — Ramírez hit a first inning grand slam — and Jason Kipnis, Roberto Pérez and Greg Allen all went deep too. Every starter for Cleveland had at least two hits, and the team had 24 in all. That was the most they’ve had in a game in a decade. The last time they did it: against the Yankees on April 18, 2009. A game I remember for some reason even though I can’t remember stuff that happened yesterday. Mike Ford, the Yankees DH last night, pitched the final two innings he had a 1-2-3 ninth, which was pretty spiffy, but gave up five runs in the eighth. He was the Ivy League Pitcher of the Year one year at Princeton. But, just as most of us learn when trying to do what we used to do back in college, those days were a long time ago.

Phillies 7, Cubs 5: A huge ninth inning comeback — down 5-1 to start the final frame — capped off by Bryce Harper hitting a walkoff grand slam. The swing absolutely murders the ball thrown by Derek Holland, but John Kruk saying “OH MY GOD” slays me:

Brad Miller and Roman Quinn hit RBI singles before that to set it up. All of it wasted an excellent performance by Yu Darvish, who tossed seven shutout innings and struck out 10. Big night in Philly for much maligned free agent signings.

Reds 2, Cardinals 1: Yankees fans you know might be cranky about the blowout this morning. If you really wanna set ’em off, tell them that it’s too bad they still don’t have Sonny Gray, who tossed five, one-hit, shutout innings while striking out ten yesterday. All the Reds’ offense could muster was a run-scoring fielder’s choice and an RBI single in the fifth but, thanks to Gray and an effective pen, that’s all they needed.

Mets 10, Braves 8: Pete Alonso homered — his 39th on the year, tying the NL rookie record set by Cody Bellinger in 2017 — and drove in six runs on five hits as the Mets leapt out to a big early lead and then hung on to weather a late Braves rally. Amed Rosario had five hits including two doubles, two singles and a triple. Wilson Ramos had four hits. The Braves hit six homers in this one: two each for Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson and one each for Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Joyce. It’s not often you hit six homers and lose. The Mets snap a three-game losing streak.

Twins 13, Rangers 6: Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sanó and  Luis Arráez homered for the homer-happy Twins, who pound the Rangers and maintain their half game lead over Cleveland. Those homers bring the Twins up to 236 on the season. That’s a team record and it’s 31 short of the major league record set by the 2018 New York Yankees. Minnesota has 41 games left. They average 1.9 homers a game. Barring a slump or unseasonably cold September weather I feel like they got this.

Giants 7, Diamondbacks 0: Dereck Rodríguez has been up and down between Sacramento and San Francisco this year but yesterday he looked like an ace, shutting out the Dbacks for seven. Evan Longoria homered and knocked in two with a single to give him a four-RBI day. Austin Slater had three hits, scored twice, drove in a run and reached base all five trips to the plate. The Giants have won four of five.

Angels 8, White Sox 7: Mike Trout had four hits including his 40th homer of the season and scored four times. Justin Upton hit a three-run shot. Andrew Heaney pitched seven innings of four-hit ball, though he allowed three runs. José Abreu hit two homers for Chicago, but that and a late rally by the Sox proved too little too late.

Athletics 7, Astros 6: Matt Chapman hit two home runs for the second game in a row, and one of them was a tie-breaking shot in the eighth inning. Matt Olson, Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa all hit two homers too. It’s only the fifth time four guys have hit two homers in a single game, though it’s the second time this season. Ten homers were hit here in all. Baseball is nothing but homers anymore, I guess.

Mariners 7, Tigers 2: Kyle Seager drove in two runs in a three-run third inning and knocked in three in all. He hit three homers in Tuesday’s win and drove in six runs in that game, so give him big credit for the M’s taking two of three from Detroit. .

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.