And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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I spent the evening seeing a preview showing of the Jackie Robinson movie, “42,” — review coming later today — so I didn’t get to watch really any baseball. Kinda glad I didn’t too. After seeing and thinking about Robinson I would have probably just thrown something at my TV if I had to watch someone not totally kicking butt and putting the fear of God into opposing pitchers when on base.

But the games, as they always do, still went on.

Diamondbacks 10, Pirates 2: Have yourself a day, A.J. Pollock. He homered twice, doubled and drove in four. He also made a diving catch in center field. And you were proud of yourself for only hitting the snooze button once.

Nationals 5, White Sox 2: This game was delayed 15 minutes because the umpires were stuck in traffic. Really. This a day after Denard Span tweeted about being stuck in traffic on the way to Nationals Park. Perhaps the Nationals ought to invest in some dorms near the park or something. Keep people from having to fight D.C. traffic. Or perhaps everyone involved needs to realize that this isn’t 2009 anymore and people actually go to Nationals games.

Cardinals 10, Reds 0: Jake Westbrook tosses a shutout. Not that he needed to. He lost that first game of the season 1-0, but he still hasn’t allowed an earned run in 2013. Four homers for Cardinals hitters. Including one from Matt Adams, who is 9 for 14 with four extra base hits on the year.

Giants 10, Rockies 0: Barry Zito: superstar. Seven shutout innings plus he went 2 for 3 with an RBI. It’s gonna be awesome when, in the event he falls short of 200 innings and his 2014 option does not vest, the Giants pick it up anyway because, at long last, he has actually earned part of the contract everyone says is the worst ever. It’s wrong to talk about someone who “persevered” while being massively overpaid for so long, but give Zito credit for not quitting and phoning it in when a lot of others would have. Unless this is just a mirage and he returns to 2011 form soon, in which case let’s just forget we had this conversation.

Phillies 7, Mets 3: Domonic Brown and Chase Utley homered in a five-run first inning that put this one away early. Good to see a prospect some didn’t think would ever get a chance and a veteran some thought was washed up coming through in the early going.

Blue Jays 8, Tigers 6: The Tigers led this one 6-1 in the fifth inning. Viva la Bullpen. Well, that and Viva La One Inning Too Many for Rick Porcello. Which, when your bullpen stinks, stretching your starters is something that may be understandable for a manager. When is Jose Valverde getting here again? Big hits for Edwin Encarnacion — check this one out, by the way, as it was awesome — Mark De Rosa and J.P. Arencibia.

Rays 2, Rangers 0: It was 39 degrees at game time. In Texas. It hit 80 up here in Ohio. Go home weather. You are drunk. Matt Moore and four relievers combine on the shutout.

Orioles 8, Red Sox 5: A five-run rally capped by a three-run Manny Machado home run ruined this one for the few Red Sox fans who stuck around for the ninth inning. Let’s see if, after a week of talking about how fun and likable this Red Sox team is, Boston writers and radio yakkers decide that Sox closer Joel Hanrahan is a villain or something.

Braves 8, Marlins 0: Atlanta with its second straight sweep. The sweep-ees were the odds-on favorite to be the worst two teams in the National League, but wins are wins. The Marlins have scored 16 runs in nine games.

Royals 3, Twins 0: And … the sweep. Billy Butler and Jeff Francoeur homered. I feel like today is going to be “how ’bout them Royals!” day among national columnists looking for something to write about.

Athletics 11, Angels 5: Brandon Moss drove in five and homered for the second night in a row. That’s seven straight wins for the A’s who are showing that last year’s formula — lots of homers and lots of people wondering why the A’s are so good — is still intact.

Astros 8, Mariners 3: Chris Carter and Rick Ankiel each hit two-run homers. It’s gonna be funny if Safeco Field, long one of the best pitchers’ parks in the game, suddenly becomes Coors Northwest. The Astros scored 24 runs on 37 hits in the past two games.

Dodgers 4, Padres 3: Homer for Carl Crawford. Who is hitting .464./.531/.714 in 32 plate appearances. Crawford returning to form or, at the very least, respectability, was one of the many not-at-all-certain-to-be-filled prerequisites for the Dodgers to go from being a great team on paper to a great team, so that’s good.

Yankees vs. Indians: POSTPONED: The rain falls hard on a humdrum town, this town has dragged you down. Oh, the rain falls hard on a humdrum town, this town has dragged you down.

Brewers vs. Cubs: POSTPONED: Bottle eyes, glassy blue, I watch the rain come out of you. Sky is white with the flu, I’m terrified of losing you. If I go to the sea, I’ll bring you down, down with me. If I go to the rain, you’ll never see me again. You’ve got cold girl fever.

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.