And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Mets 4, Giants 3: Umpire Phil Cuzzi didn’t hand a win to the Mets, but he sure as hell took one away from the Giants.  Travis Ishikawa was safe on this play — even Henry Blanco said so after the game — but Cuzzi called him out. It was clearly the wrong call and it cost the Giants the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Earlier Cuzzi was in a screaming match with Francisco Rodriguez, which was also out of line. If for no other reason that it should have been Johan Santana yelling at Rodriguez for blowing a 3-1 lead in the ninth, thereby costing Santana a W. Oh, and check out K-Rod’s game-ending strikeout celebration. Dude: you get to pump your fist like that if you save it, not if you vulture a win.

Cardinals 5, Dodgers 4: The Cardinals’ five runs come in the eighth and ninth and they win it on a walkoff RBI single from Matt Holliday. The Dodgers wasted six shutout innings by Padilla during which he only allowed one hit.  Only 80 pitches too, so you wonder why he wasn’t allowed to go another inning or two. Anyway, the Cards sweep the Dodgers and take over first place in the NL Central.

Padres 6, Diamondbacks 4: Chris Denorfia smacks two homers as Edwin Jackson turns in his third straight blah start after his no-hitter. Fun little mix-up between Everth Cabrera and Mark Reynolds down at third base when Cabrera was picked off. Cabrera got ejected, but I’m not sure it wasn’t the case that both he and Reynolds were equally aggressive here. Cabrera’s foot in Reynolds’ face was a bit much, but so too was Reynolds rolling over Cabrera and planting an elbow in his back beforehand, not to mention the fact that Reynolds was the one who came up swinging. Seems like you either eject both of them or neither of them. Could be worse, though. If Phil Cuzzi was working this game he probably would have ejected Steve Garvey and then barked at you if you told him he was wrong.

Mariners 2, Angels 1: It’s really not possible to watch highlights from a Mariners-Angels matchup without thinking of the Enrico Pallazo game. And while we’re on the subject, does it bother anyone that the the Enrico Pallazo game was quite obviously played in Dodger Stadium?

Twins 7, White Sox 6: Bobby Jenks joins K-Rod and Jonathan Broxton on the big-name-closers-who-got-shelled-yesterday list after allowing four runs without getting a single man out. The Twins almost didn’t survive yet another poopy performance by Nick Blackburn, after which he sounded like he knows he’s about to lose his job: “I don’t know how much longer they’re going to keep putting up with this
stuff.”  That aside, it was a nice weekend for Minnesota, taking three of four from the Chisox when it looked like they were about ready to keel over and die.

Pirates 9, Astros 0: Paul Maholm tossed a three-hitter, helped out by a Houston lineup that probably wouldn’t qualify as formidable in a Texas League game. It probably didn’t make any difference, though, because the flood gates opened for the Pirates when Roy Oswalt had to leave after taking a comebacker off his ankle.

Athletics 9, Royals 6: So much for all of those “hey, those Royals are looking frisky” articles we’ve been reading lately, as they drop their sixth straight. Oakland, on the other hand, has won five in a row and 12 of 18 and they’re now back to .500 for the first time in over a month. Nice game for Vin Mazzaro, who gave up one run in seven and two-thirds. It then took four pitchers for the A’s bullpen to get the final four outs.

Braves 11, Brewers 6: Brian McCann just loves having the sacks jacked. He had that bases-loaded RBI double in the All-Star Game, and in this one he had a grand slam and was later walked with three men aboard. This is strange: on Saturday the Braves’ Jonny Venters went after Prince Fielder, throwing near his head and then plunking him. Both he and Bobby Cox were ejected. Fine. Then yesterday, Manny Parra hits Jason Heyward. Warning issued: still fine. Sure, Parra could have been immediately ejected if the ump thought it was retaliation, but the warning is how it’s usually handled. Two batters later David Riske hits Troy Glaus but isn’t ejected. Why not? What was the point of the warning?

Rangers 4, Red Sox 2: Losing three out of four is not the way the Sox wanted to come out of the All-Star break. Well, at least not unless they’re running some weird rope-a-dope gambit to which we’re all simply not hip. Ten strikeouts for C.J. Wilson who I never would have guessed would be having such a nice year as a starter before the season began.

Marlins 1, Nationals 0: The Marlins shut out the Nats for the second straight day (and after they themselves were shut out on Friday). This was a committee job, with Alex Sanabia starting and going five and a third and four relievers finishing it out. Indeed, Florida needed three relievers to finish up the shutout on Saturday too. A pretty bullpen-taxing couple of days for having given up zero runs.

Blue Jays 10, Orioles 1: Yunel Escobar hit a grand slam and drove in five. He’s six for his first 13 with a walk since coming over from Atlanta, but at least four of those hits were really annoying and displayed a bad attitude.

Rockies 1, Reds 0: How does a 1-0 game last more than three hours? When nine pitchers are used between the two teams, I guess. Aaron Cook three seven of those shutout innings. For the Reds, Travis Wood pitches on the wrong end of a 1-0 loss for the second time in a row.

Yankees 9, Rays 5: A win is nice when you beat David Price but you really regret it when you lose Andy Pettitte. OK, that was terrible and I’m going to go kill myself now. But not for the bad rhyme. I’m going to kill kill myself because I spent ten minutes trying to think of something good to rhyme with “groin” before I ended up going with what I wrote.

Indians 7, Tigers 2: Jhonny Peralta’s inside-the-parker was helped by Ryan Rayburn missing the leaping catch, pulling a Bump Bailey and going through the bullpen door. Well, he didn’t really pull a Bump Bailey in that he didn’t die or anything, but it was still kind of neat. And you know what? After watching the replay a few times, I’m pretty sure that’s an inside-the-parker even if the bullpen door doesn’t open. But if I admitted that beforehand I probably wouldn’t have gone with the Bump Bailey reference.

Cubs 11, Phillies 6: Either Roy Halladay’s radar was off last night, or else he consulted Joey Votto when putting together his strategy for getting Marlon Byrd out, because Doc plunked him twice. And each time he did he gave up a two-run home run shortly thereafter.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.