Don’t count the Giants out just yet.
Carlos Beltran went 4-for-4 with a two-run homer and Matt Cain allowed two runs over eight innings as the Giants beat the first-place Diamondbacks 6-2 last night. The win snapped the Diamondbacks season-high nine-game winning streak and brought the Giants back to within five games in the National League West.
Beltran finished the night a double short of the cycle. He tripled in the first inning, hit a go-ahead two home run in the third, plated an RBI single in the fifth and added another single in the seventh. It was his 20th career four-hit game and his first since June 20, 2007 as a member of the Mets.
The Giants will try to keep the pressure on when they send Tim Lincecum to the hill tonight to face Ian Kennedy, who is currently tied with Clayton Kershaw for the NL lead with 17 wins. Lincecum is just 5-4 in nine starts since the All-Star break, despite a 1.61 ERA and 61/29 K/BB ratio over 61 2/3 innings.
Your Friday box scores:
Diamondbacks 2, Giants 6
Pirates 3, Cubs 1
Blue Jays 2, Yankees 3
Mets 7, Nationals 3
White Sox 1, Tigers 8
Rangers 10, Red Sox 0
Phillies 5, Marlins 3
Dodgers 8, Braves 6
Orioles 3, Rays 2
Brewers 8, Astros 2
Indians 5, Royals 4
Reds 11, Cardinals 8
Twins 13, Angels 5
Rockies 3, Padres 0
Mariners 2, Athletics 9
This was inevitable: The Republican National Committee published a ridiculously detailed and self-serious opposition-research report accusing Hillary Clinton of being a “bandwagon” Cubs fan.
If you’re of a certain age you’ll recall that Clinton, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, spoke about being a Cubs fan as a kid. You’ll also recall that when she was running for her senate seat in New York, she gave shoutouts to a heretofore unheard of Yankees fandom. A lot of people have had fun with this at various times — we’ve mentioned it here on multiple occasiosn — but I wasn’t aware that anyone considered it an actually substantive political issue as opposed to an amusing “politicians, man” kind of thing.
The Republicans think it’s serious, though. Indeed, there’s more detail to this oppo-hit than there is any of the party’s candidate’s position papers. And while someone could, theoretically, have a lot of fun with this kind of material, the opposition report is not even remotely tongue-in-cheek. It reads like a poisition paper on nuclear proliferation. If the GOP had been this serious about vetting its own candidate, I suspect they wouldn’t be in the position they’re in today.
As for the substance: eh, who cares? Sports is entertainment and cultural glue. As a kid in Chicago, being a Cubs fan is both fun and makes some sense. As a senator from New York in the early 2000s, you’re gonna get to go to some Yankees games and sit in some good seats and that’s fun too. And, of course, politicians are going to say opportunistic things in order to attempt to connect with their constituents. Think of that what you will, but if you think of that as something which reveals something deep and dark within their soul about what kind of person they are, you probably need to step away from the cable news for a while and get some fresh air. Or you probably need to admit that you already believed the worse about her and that this is just an exercise in confirmation bias.
Heck, at this point I almost hope she finds a third or fourth team to rot for. Indeed, I hope she makes a comic heel turn, puts on a Chief Wahoo hat for tonight’s game and claims that, deep, deep down, she had always rooted for the Indians. Then even I could get on her case about it. And we could all talk about how, in her own way, Hillary was really bringing the nation together.
Back in July, then-Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy vetoed a trade that would have sent him to the Indians, helping the club make a significant upgrade behind the plate after losing Yan Gomes to an injury. At the time, Roberto Perez had only played in 11 games, batting .043. Gomes had hit .165 before his injury, and Chris Gimenez batted .202 over 42 games. It was not much of a logical leap to think the Indians would eventually falter due to a lack of production at the catching position.
But here the Indians are in the World Series facing the Cubs. In Game 1 on Tuesday night, Perez — who finished the season with a .183 average and three home runs in 184 plate appearances — drilled a pair of home runs, accounting for four of the six runs the Indians would score in a shutout win over the Cubs.
Perez’s first blast was a solo that that just cleared the left field fence at Progressive Field, coming on an 0-1 fastball from starter Jon Lester. That padded the Indians’ lead to 3-0.
The second homer put the game away, as he punished reliever Hector Rondon for hanging a 2-2 slider with two runners on base, slugging this one enough to clear the left field fence by plenty. That doubled the Indians’ lead to 6-0, the score by which they would eventually win.
Perez is the first catcher to homer twice in a World Series game since Gary Carter did it for the Mets against the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. Perez is the first Indian to homer twice in the same playoff game since Jim Thome in the 1999 ALDS against the Red Sox.