And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

55 Comments

Braves 7, Reds 4: The Braves weren’t going to be able to maintain any sort of momentum if the offense was all Justin Upton — who can’t do it alone — and Evan Gattis — who is, after all, a rookie. Last night they had help from Andrelton Simmons who hit two bombs and drove in four.

White Sox 2, Royals 1: James Shields was brilliant for eight innings. Ned Yost didn’t let him come out for the ninth, though, going with his closer with a 1-0 lead. His closer blew it and eventually the Royals lost the game. Yost’s explanation for why he didn’t send Shields out to finish his shutout:

“Everybody has their job to do and Shields had done his,” Yost said. “He threw eight shutout innings. It was a one-run game. The runs make all the difference. If it was a two-run or a three-run lead, yeah. But in a one-run game, (if) you send him out he’s either going to win it or lose it. You let the closer go out and try to do his job.”

It’d be one thing to simply sit back and second guess Yost. If it had worked, great. But that explanation would be brain dead even if Greg Holland had struck out the side and gotten the save. Yost is clearly saying here that he’s letting bullpen roles dictate his moves. He has a closer, dadgummit, and he’s going to let him close. It’d be one thing if Shields was tired. Or if the guys coming up had historic success against Shields and he didn’t want to press his luck. But no, Yost’s thinking is “you use this guy in the ninth inning and it is the ninth inning, so …” Which is just enraging.

Cubs 9, Rangers 2: Scott Feldman threw seven scoreless against his old teammates. He came out though due to a cramp in his hand. Not because Ned Yost called Dale Sveum and told him he should go with this eighth inning guy.

Indians 7, Athletics 3: Man, Mark Reynolds hit that one a long, long way. It was his 10th homer. He’s now hitting .296/.363/.622.

Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 2: I wonder if, on a mutual off day, Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia go boat shopping together. Trevor Cahill allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. Also had a two-run triple.

Red Sox 6, Twins 5: Minnesota had a 3-0 lead at one point but the Sox chipped away, scoring one run in every inning between the fourth and the eighth. Then Stephen Drew, who had four hits on the night, hit a walkoff double with two outs in the 11th. Clay Buchholz gave up four runs on seven hits in four innings and his forearm wasn’t glistening nearly as much in this game. Hurm.

Padres 5, Marlins 0: I guess the 14 runs the Marlins scored on Sunday were meant to last them for the week. Andrew Cashner shut ’em out into the eighth inning for his longest start of his career.

Blue Jays 8, Rays 7: Toronto was down 7-0 after three and had pulled to within two by the ninth. Then came a two-run, two-out homer from J.P. Arencibia off Fernando Rodney, who was trying for a five-out save. Maybe someone should have called Ned Yost and talked about what the closer’s job description was. Colby Rasmus and Mark DeRosa also hit two-run homers.

Phillies 6, Giants 2: Cliff Lee was solid for eight innings, Michael Young had three hits and drove in two and this, dadgummit, is how it was supposed to look for Philly. The Giants’ win streak ends at six.

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

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

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.