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And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Red Sox 5, Royals 4: As I wrote yesterday, this was a continuation of a suspended game from earlier this month. As I also wrote, it lasted 12 minutes, kids got in free, concessions were cheap and everyone left happy despite the complete lack of fireworks on the field. Which is to say, it’s exactly like the way old people claim baseball used to be all the time.

Cubs 1, Giants 0: Kyle Hendricks pitched seven shutout innings and Chicago won despite only getting two hits on the day. Both were singles, both in the fourth inning, with Jason Heyward reaching on one, advancing to third on an error and a double play and then getting knocked home when Anthony Rizzo singled to center. Two hours and twenty-nine minutes to give you the same about of offensive action the Red Sox and Royals gave people in 12 minutes, but baseball has never been about efficiency.

Rays 5, Orioles 2: Austin Meadows hit a homer early. It was the 259th homer allowed by the O’s this year, which gives them the all-time record for homers allowed in a season. Willy Adames later hit number 260. Later than that, after an over two-hour rain delay that left about 200 people in the park when play resumed, Adames knocked two more runs to give the Rays a lead they’d hold on to.  A fun time was had by literally tens of people:

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Nationals 7, Pirates 1: Max Scherzer finally made his return from the injured list. They’re easing him back into things so he only went four innings, tossing 71 pitches and giving up one run, but some Max is better than no Max. Howie Kendrick and Anthony Rendon homered for the Nats. Kendrick definitely seemed to enjoy his homer more:

Washington won for the ninth time in 11 games. The Pirates are 8-30 since the break.

Mets 2, Indians 0: Noah Syndergaard was perfect into the sixth and ended up with six shutout innings. It would’ve been more if not for a rain delay. Wilson Ramos doubled in two runs in the fourth for all of the game’s scoring. They ended this one after eight thanks to a second rain delay. The Mets complete the three-game sweep of Cleveland and have won five in a row overall. The Indians, however, have lost seven of nine.

Braves 3, Marlins 2: Freddie Freeman tied the game with a solo homer in the 8th and then Ronald Acuña Jr. delivered a walk-off single in the ninth as the Braves beat the Marlins for the 15th time this year. Shocked the Marlins didn’t just plunk him, frankly, as that’s their usual approach. He knows he’s living rent-free in the Marlins’ heads too, saying after the game, “I would have much rather hit a home run against them.” This kid is going to be burying that team for the next decade and it’s gonna be a treat to watch.

Cardinals 6, Rockies 5: Colorado led 2-0 after two, but a Marcell Ozuna two-run homer tied it in the fourth. Nolan Arenado answered with a three-run homer in the next inning but the Cards answered back with a Paul DeJong two-run shot in the sixth to make it 5-4, followed in the seventh by a two-run shot from Dexter Fowler to give the Cards the 6-5 lead that’d prove to be the final score. More homers, more runs, more wins.

Astros 6, Tigers 3: Gerrit Cole struck out 12 in seven shutout innings with the Tigers managing only two hits off of him. Alex Bregman hit a two-run shot in the fourth to open the scoring and later Michael Brantley had a two-run single which extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel each knocked one in as well. The Astros’ streak of not wrongly denying reporters access to the clubhouse after the game was extended to one.

White Sox 6, Rangers 1: Ross Detwiler allowed one run over six, but I was much more taken with the performance of his counterpart, Ariel Jurado, who tossed your standard-issue, six-run, ten-hit complete game. Not the sort of thing you see every day, but even in a loss it was useful for the Rangers as their bullpen was taxed and everyone was tired after a late night flight in from Arlington the night before. Actually, that morning. On offense, Yoan Moncada made his return from the injured list and hit a two-run homer and doubled, James McCann hit a solo shot and doubled, and José Abreu, Tim Anderson and Matt Skole each plated a run.

Athletics 5, Yankees 3: Masahiro Tanaka wasn’t fooling anyone, giving up five runs in six innings. Actually five runs in three innings, even though he worked three more after that. Tanner Roark, meanwhile, gave up only two while pitching into the seventh. What does it say about the Yankees staff right now that, if they could do it, they’d happily take Roark and, like, Homer Bailey off the A’s hands to improve their rotation?

Dodgers 3, Blue Jays 2: More ninth inning magic in Chavez Ravine. Down 2-0, Corey Seager tied the game with a two-run double and then Enrique Hernandez walked it off with an RBI single to lead the Dodgers to yet another last at-bat victory:

How you feelin’ about that Kiké?

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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.