And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Rangers 4, Angels 3: Watching the Angels get beat by the Rangers puts me in mind of some sci-fi movie where a group is under attack from an invading army. Mike Scioscia is the defending general in a command center somewhere and keeps getting reports that the defenses are crumbling. He steels himself and says “send out Santana,” who in the movie is thought of as some last resort defense, only to see him overrun. Then, tonight, he orders the “Weaver maneuver” — a really, really, last defense; like a ship captain ordering his helmsman to ram the intruder — to be deployed. If the usual narrative holds, Weaver gets annihilated and Scioscia orders a full retreat and the second half of the movie results in a change of tactics, guerrilla warfare or some sort of doomed resistance movement.  I’m having trouble putting my finger of what movie this is but I’m sure someone knows the general arc I’m talking about. Maybe it’s partly the end of “The Best of Both Worlds” when Riker orders Crusher to ram the Borg cube combined with a little bit of “Red Dawn.” What? No, I really have been with a woman before. Why do you ask?

Giants 7, Braves 5: On a day when yet another Giant — closer Brian Wilson — is unavailable due to owies, Matt Cain plays stopper, allowing only one run — unearned — in eight innings. Of course, without Wilson the bullpen kind of melted down in the ninth, but San Francisco’s 7-1 lead entering the bottom of the inning provided enough of a cushion.

Rays 4, Red Sox 0: Hit this one up yesterday. The best offense in baseball is suddenly not at its best.

Astros 4, Cubs 3: That man, Brian Bogusevic, comes through again with an RBI double and the Astros have themselves a nice little two-game winning streak. They should probably do champagne showers and everything for this.

Athletics 6, Orioles 5: Kurt Suzuki had two homers and held on to the ball on a wacko play to end it.  All kinds of ugly outfield defense in this one.

Cardinals 7, Pirates 2: Allen Craig hit two homers. Whenever he makes SportsCenter, my brother calls me and says “hey, your name is Craig Allen, and there’s a baseball player named Allen Craig! Did you know that?”  Yes, Curt, I knew that.

Reds 2, Nationals 1: Johnny Cueto allows one run in eight innings and drops that ERA down to 1.89.

Phillies 9, Diamondbacks 2: An effective Cliff Lee keeps the Dbacks’ bats quiet and Hunter Pence reaches base four times, scoring three times. I credit the fiery bacon.

Mets 7, Padres 3: David Wright pwned Cameron Maybin. Total pwnage.

Rockies 12, Marlins 5: Ricky Nolasco had beaten the Rockies five straight times. This time, not so much. Four RBI a piece for Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Iannetta.

Blue Jays 6, Mariners 1: Brandon Morrow struck out 12 Mariners in six innings. When do the Orioles play the M’s? I wanna see Adam Jones hit for the cycle.

Brewers 3, Dodgers 1: Betting on baseball is idiotic because anything can happen in one game. But if I had to bet on one game yesterday, it would have been Greinke and the Brewers beating L.A. That’s six straight for Milwaukee

Royals 5, Yankees 4: Yankees lose by one on a night with a controversial home run call? Yeah, we’re gonna have more about that later.

Indians 4, White Sox 1: Nothing like a fierce battle for second place in baseball’s worst division. But this year, it’s pretty much all we have.

Twins 6, Tigers 5: And of course, the division’s best team loses a series like this.

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.