And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Cardinals 8, Phillies 4: Sometimes there are these pitches that seem simply unhittable. That scrape the corners, that paint the blacks, that fall right off the table and leave everyone in the house guessing except for the catcher who called for it and the pitcher who threw it. Kyle Kendrick does not possess any of those pitches (5 IP, 7, H, 7 ER, 3 HR). And Charlie Manuel would have yanked him before he gave up his third home run in the fifth inning, but he was gettin’ some shut-eye, see, and told no one to wake him unless there was an e-mergency, get me?

Marlins 9, Rockies 8: A wild one. The Rockies took leads in the third, the sixth and the eighth, but gave the leads back in the third, the sixth and the ninth. I was gonna look and see if the someone was messing with the humidor, but then I saw that they were playing in Florida, and that’s all humidor, all the time. Oh, and Ubaldo Jimenez got beat up. I imagine we’re one or two mortal performances like this one before we return to not paying much more attention to Ubaldo Jimenez starts than we do anyone else’s.

Rays 8, Orioles 1: Wade Davis gives up one run over eight innings. Davis feasts on the Orioles — he’s 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA in three starts — but then again, who doesn’t feast on the Orioles?

Reds 7, Nationals 2: Nothing better for a team having hard time scoring runs like a visit from the Nats. The damage was done by Miguel Cairo, Jonny Gomes, Drew Stubbs and Johnny Cueto, which is totally how the Reds drew it up.

Brewers 3, Pirates 1: Chris Capuano got his first win since May 13, 2007. That was about a month after I started blogging. Just two days before that win I put up a post about how Major League Baseball was struggling to figure out how to properly commemorate Barry Bonds imminent breaking of Hank Aaron’s home run record because — as some people were vaguely aware at the time — Selig had some shadowy committee headed up by George Mitchell investigating steroids. So much uncertainty! How much time has passed.

Astros 11, Cubs 5: Remember back when we were all marveling at Carlos Silva’s fast start. Yeah, that’s over (1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER).

Royals 5, Blue Jays 4: Kevin Gregg came out for the bottom of the 10th with a one run lead. A triple and a sac fly tied the score, then Gregg got a grounder for out number two. Can Gregg do it! Nope: Single, walk, single ballgame. Second clunker in a row for Gregg, but at least he didn’t lose that last three-walk game in Baltimore.

Giants 5, Dodgers 2: The Dodgers’ tailspin continues and the Giants continue to surge. Into second place as we wake up this morning. Buster Posey has a 13 game hitting streak. If he keeps that up I may soon stop picturing Tony Hale every time I hear his name.

Diamondbacks 13, Mets 2: Mike Pelfrey gets destroyed in what was probably the worst outing of his career. He’s 1-4 with a 9.11 ERA in his last six starts. After the game Jerry Manuel went off about how Pelfrey needs to quit throwing junk and get back to his fastball-sinker routine. For his part Pelfrey agrees and says he feels fine physically and that it’s all a mental thing. At this point I can’t decide if it would be worse for the Mets if there was a physical problem or a mental problem, but it needs to get fixed fast because an effective Pelfrey is absolutely essential to the Mets’ chanced.

White Sox 6, Mariners 1: After a bad weekend, Chicago wins while both Detroit and Minnesota lose. Ozzie Guillen: “One day at a time. That’s our philosophy. No matter
what happens yesterday, today is a new one.”  Anyone else get a little weirded out by Ozzie being philosophical?

Red Sox 2, Athletics 1: Dice-K throws an efficient six and two-thirds innings and the game ended in two hours and forty minutes. Kevin Cash after the game: “That’s Dice’s whole M.O. Getting ahead and throwing strikes.”  Well, it’s totally not his M.O., but it’s nice to see him do it for once.

Indians 10, Twins 4: I’m torn. On the one hand I like to see the Indians playing well like they have lately because, while I don’t root for them, I get more Indians games on my big HD TV than anyone else’s and I’d rather watch a good product than a bad product. On the other hand, if they put together a nice second half with the young talent playing well, they’re going to trick me into thinking they’re a contender again next spring, and I’m pretty tired of being tricked into thinking the Indians are going to do well only to have them face-plant out of the gate.

Rangers 8, Tigers 6: A fourteen inning affair ends after Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer. Well, it didn’t end directly after that because the Tigers still got to bat in the bottom of the inning, but you know what I mean. Rangers’ pitcher Dustin Nippert was hit in the head with a comebacker earlier in the game. Scary, but he appears to be OK.  Oh, and the Tigers should have won this one in the 11th but Cruz deked Johnny Damon — who was on second base — on a single hit to right-center. Damon should have scored, but Cruz played like he was going to catch it, causing Damon to hesitate and subsequently get stranded at third.

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.