And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 5, White Sox 4: Unbelievable. Chris Perez blows a save in the top of the ninth and the ancient Jason Giambi picks him and the Indians up in the bottom, smacking a two-run walkoff homer. Still life in that old bat. Still life in the Indians, who remain in wild card position.

Rangers 3, Astros 2: Texas keeps pace. Helps that they’re playing a corpse of an Astros team which has lost 11 in a row. Given what everyone else in the AL is doing right now, the Rangers are the only remaining threat to Tampa Bay and Cleveland.

Cardinals 2, Nationals 0: Close but no cigar for Michael Wacha, who loses a no-hitter with two out in the ninth on a Ryan Zimmerman infield single that went a freaking inch over Wacha’s head and just couldn’t be put away by Pete Kozma and Matt Adams. A near no-no now, but it’s not even certain he’ll be in the playoffs rotation for St. Louis.

Pirates 8, Cubs 2: Gerrit Cole pitched six strong and hit an RBI single. Pedro Alvarez drove in three. Pittsburgh keeps pace with St. Louis and remains a game up on Cincy.

Mets 4, Reds 2: Mike Leake had been dominant of late but he came up empty against the Mets, not even making it out of the second inning. He gave up gave up four runs and eight hits in that short time, including a three-run homer to Daniel Murphy. Cincinnati is now three back of the Cardinals and one back of the Pirates.

Braves 3, Brewers 2:  An Andrelton Simmons walkoff single helps Atlanta remain two up on the Dodgers and a half game up on the Cardinals for the best record in the NL and a chance to face the wild card victor. There isn’t a team in the playoff picture who has a more pronounced home/road split than the Braves, so they need to keep their foot on the gas.

Blue Jays 3, Orioles 2: And with that the Orioles are eliminated. Mark DeRosa of all people helped twist the knife, hitting the game-tying RBI single in the eighth and the go-ahead RBI in extras.

Phillies 2, Marlins 1: The 100th loss of the year for Miami. Didn’t take much in the way of fireworks for the Phillies to hand it to them, either. Their runs came on a bases loaded walk and a groundout single.

Rays 7, Yankees 0: It’s almost over for the Yankees. Matt Moore shut them out for five innings and the Rays pen took care of the rest. Hiroki Kuroda’s second half continues to be decidedly “meh” as he allowed five runs in five and two-thirds.

Tigers 4, Twins 2: The Tigers clinch the playoffs and the magic number for the division title is now one. Doug Fister and Austin Jackson lead the charge.

Rockies 8, Red Sox 3: Charlie Blackmon, Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson went deep off John Lackey. Tyler Chatwood allowed only one run — unearned — in seven.

Angels 3, Athletics 0: The Angels late surge continues, as Jason Vargas tosses a four-hit shutout, ending this one in a crisp two hours and seventeen minutes. Watch the Angels, who are set up to spoil the Rangers season in their final series this weekend.

Diamondbacks 2, Padres 1: Didi Gregorius tripled in what would prove to be the winning run in the 12th.  Paul Goldschmidt hit his 36th homer. The Padres’ only run came on a passed ball. West Coast Baseball.

Mariners 4, Royals 0: That’s almost it for the Royals, who are now four back with five to play. James Paxton tossed seven shutout innings and struck out ten. Justin Smoak with a big three-run homer.

Dodgers 2, Giants 1: Hyun-Jin Ryu combined with two relievers for a five-hitter. Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig went deep.

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.