Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Cubs 5, Pirates 3: Impressive debut for Derrek Lee: two homers. Alas, that was all the offense the Buccos could really muster as Carlos Zambrano scattered seven hits over six innings. By the way, the last player who hit a home run in his Pirates debut was pitcher Matt Morris back in 2007. I was at that game. It was more notable for my surprisingly crabby first impression of PNC Park and some surprisingly shabby treatment of a Negro Leaguer. Good times!

Nationals 5, Braves 3: I’m struggling to think of a baseball player I hate more than Livan Hernandez. Dude has haunted my dreams for 14 years. I fully expect that, decades from now, he’ll be in a motorized reclining hospital bed, unable to feed himself, and then someone will prop his 75-year-old ass up to pitch six innings against the Braves and he’ll still only give up a couple of runs. Oh, and Fredi Gonzalez hit the pitcher eighth … and he bunted into a double play. Two homers for Dan Uggla.

Indians 9, Red Sox 6: I guess it was two-homer Monday, because Asdrubal Cabrera joined Lee and Uggla in the dual home run club (UPDATE: I was so angry at Livan Hernandez that I failed to realize that Rick Ankiel had two homers too). Daniel Bard entered a tie game in the eighth, poured kerosene all over the joint and dropped a lit Winston.

Marlins 7, Mets 3: Dramatics galore. Lucas Duda was poised to be the hero — or at least a co-hero — after tying it up with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but then Mike Stanton hit a grand slam of Jason Isringhausen in the top of the tenth.

Diamondbacks 5, Giants 2: Ian Kennedy recovered from a leadoff homer to shut the Giants down and collect his 13th win. Arizona is now a game back of the skidding Giants.

Dodgers 6, Padres 2: A complete game for Clayton Kershaw. Three of the Dodgers six runs scored on sacrifices. Take that, Rob Neyer!

Phillies 4, Rockies 3: Trailing 3-1 heading into the ninth, the Phillies got a two-run homer from Mayberry to tie it and then a solo shot from Shane Victorino in the 10th. Everything bounces Philly’s way. They now have a seven game lead.

Brewers 6, Cardinals 2: Seven wins in a row for Milwaukee, although this is the first in that stretch over a real team (sorry Cubs and Astros). A five-run fifth inning did the trick here. I’m sure Chris Carpenter took that beating with quiet dignity and a placid equanimity befitting his zen-like character.  Or he beat the crap out of stuff in the clubhouse afterward.

Astros 4, Reds 3: Cincy continues to confuse. Sweep the Giants, lose to the AAA-Astros.  Jose Altuve knocked in the game-winning run on a fielder’s choice in the 10th.

Mariners 8, Athletics 4: A five-run second inning for the Mariners. They scored a combined four runs in the series against the Rays over the weekend.

Yankees 3, White Sox 2: CC Sabathia wins his 16th even though he allowed loads of base runners. Just battled, baby.

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.