New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles - Game One

An escape, a Russell Martin bomb and some insurance has the Yankees up 7-2 in the ninth

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UPDATE: Turn out the lights, folks. Jim Johnson had nothing, and now the Yankees sport a 7-2 lead.

11:56 PM: So many chances for both teams had gone by the wayside by the ninth inning rolled around, the last of which came in the bottom of the eighth. There the Orioles got a leadoff double from J.J. Hardy, only to have him stranded when CC Sabathia bore down and retired the heart of the O’s order — Adam Jones, Matt Weiters and Mark Reynolds — to escape the jam.

Then, to lead off the ninth, Russell Martin hit a homer off Orioles closer Jim Johnson. It’s now 4-2 in the ninth, and the Yankees aren’t done yet. Two men on and no one out.

10:19 PM: It’s now the bottom of the fifth, tied at two. The Yankees scored their second run on when Mark Teixeira singled in Alex Rodriguez in the fourth. Teixeira was thrown out trying to stretch it to two, however, shortening the inning. Two base running mistakes so far for the Bombers. You wonder if they’re gonna wish they didn’t give away those outs.

9:44 PM: The game finally got underway after a nearly two and a half hour rain delay, but the long delay worked out as we didn’t run into some awful replay of the CC Sabathia-Justin Verlander aborted start from last year.  We’re three innings and change in now, and the Orioles lead the Yankees 2-1.

The Yankees drew first blood in the first inning, with Derek Jeter singling and Ichiro doubling him in. Then Ichiro was promptly gunned down trying to steal third because someone though that was a good idea.

The Orioles came back in the third with Chris Davis and Lew Ford singling, each being advanced a base on a Robert Andino bunt and then both scoring when Nate McLouth singled them in.

After a few bumps in the first inning, Jason Hammel seems to have settled down and seems to be in something of a groove. CC Sabathia is CC Sabathia. Looks like a good one so far.

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.