Cody Ross pushes Giants ahead of Braves in seventh inning

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Some more to-and-fro in this one.

Derek Lowe got Freddy Sanchez to ground out to begin the top of the seventh inning, but was pulled in favor of Peter Moylan after loading the bases. Juan Uribe followed with a groundball to Alex Gonzalez, who pulled Omar Infante off the second base bag with the throw (though replays were inconclusive), forcing in the tying run. Gonzalez, one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, has two errors so far tonight.

Braves manager Bobby Cox then brought in left-hander Johnny Venters, who struck out Aaron Rowand for the second out, but allowed a single to Cody Ross to give the Giants a 3-2 lead. It could have been a lot worse for the Braves, as Brian McCann was able to hang on to the relay throw from Matt Diaz to snuff out Pat Burrell at home plate and end the inning.

Frankly, I was a little surprised to see Cody Ross facing Venters in that situation. Ross has earned a reputation as a lefty-killer in his career. Granted, McCann prevented an even bigger inning with a fantastic block of home plate, but Cox may regret using a left-hander there.

It’s currently 3-2 as the game moves to the top of the eighth inning.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.