And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1: Eight innings, ten strikeouts no earned runs for Clayton Kershaw. Ho-hum. It’s his third straight start with double digits in strikeouts. Ho-Hum. He’s 16-3 with a 1.73 ERA. Ho-hum. The guy leads MLB in wins despite spending five weeks on the disabled list. Ho-effeing-Hum.

Pirates 3, Cardinals 1: Ike Davis with a long two-run shot in the second ended up being all the scoring the Pirates would need as Jeff Locke allowed only one run over seven, outdueling Adam Wainwright. After the game Wainwright said he had a dead arm. Which is way better than an undead arm. Although there are fixes for that too.

Rangers 12, Mariners 4: Rougned Odor hit a grand slam, Tomas Tellis drove in three and everyone on the Rangers was detained by the Seattle police for suspected fraud and identity theft because there is no way those are real people’s names.

Phillies 8, Nationals 4: The Phillies sweep the Nats, with Grady Sizemore’s two-run pinch hit homer in the sixth putting them ahead. If the Phillies keep winning like this Ruben Amaro is going to go into next season thinking that this group is totally dandy, isn’t he?

Yankees 8, Tigers 4: The Yankees banged out nine straight hits off David Price in their eight-run third inning. Meanwhile, every baseball analyst, present company included, is spending their morning deleting old posts and columns in which we claimed that the Tigers picking up Price ensured them a playoff spot and made them World Series favorites.

Rays 3, Orioles 1: Meanwhile, the other part of the David Price trade — Drew Smyly — was just dandy, allowing one run on two hits over seven innings. We pundits will not be deleting anything we said about Smyly. At least those of us who said that he was a really solid young pitcher who the Rays will be happy to have. He’s certainly been showing that so far.

Reds 7, Cubs 5: Jorge Soler was called up yesterday and made his big league debut. Not a bad one — 2 for 4 with a homer and an RBI single — but it wasn’t enough. Mat Latos stuck out ten and the Reds bats chased Jacob Turner in the fourth. Not that it was all his fault: the Cubs committed three errors. They threatened in the ninth too, but it came up short.

Braves 3, Mets 2: The Braves snap their losing streak thanks in part to a lead-saving, mind-blowing freakout of a play by Andrelton Simmons. I saw people comparing his range-right, jump-throw to first play to Derek Jeter. And I suppose it was in form. But I’d love to see a video overlay of Simmons’ play with any of Jeter’s from the past, oh, 15 years. I’d bet the farm there was none in which Jeter was a deep in the hole as Simmons was here.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2: Danny Valencia had a pinch-hit, go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh. In a bleak season, Boston’s bullpen had actually been pretty OK until recently. Now even it is disappointing.

Padres 3, Brewers 2: Rene Rivera took care of everything here, tying the game with a home run in the ninth inning, and winning it with an RBI single in the 10th. He also allowed a run to score on a passed ball, so he really did dominate this game in every way.

White Sox 3, Indians 2: The Sox end a seven game losing streak that had them actually tied with the Cubs for the worst record in Chicago (which is a thing I just made up). Jose Abreu hit a pair of RBI singles. Corey Kluber lost his second straight start after not taking a loss since June before that.

Royals 6, Twins 1: Phil Hughes shut Kansas City down until the eighth inning, then they broke through for four runs against him and two more off the pen. Sal Perez and Billy Butler had the big hits. The Royals gain another game in the standings and they now lead Detroit by two and a half.

Giants 4, Rockies 2: Buster Posey had two homers on Tuesday and then broke a 2-2 tie — and ended the game — with a walkoff two-run homer. Tim Hudson, who pitched excellently despite the no-decision,  notched his 2,000th career strikeout. Bruce Bochy got his 1,600th career win.

Athletics 5, Astros 4: Sam Fuld broke a tie with a two-run homer in the ninth. Man, there were a lot of tie-breaking homers last night. The A’s have won 12 games this year when trailing after the seventh inning. That’s the most in baseball. Now they face the Angels in a [pick your adjective which generally means important] four-game series.

Angels 6, Marlins 1: Mike Trout notches his 30th homer of the year. Trout leads the majors with 71 extra-base hits and 283 total bases. I look forward to someone trying to construct an argument about how he’s not the American League MVP.

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.