And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

Associated Press
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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 6, Yankees 2: Jose Ramirez homered twice and Carlos Santana and Austin Jackson each went deep as well, backing Corey Kluber‘s eight innings of two-run ball. His counterpart, Luis Severino, only gave up four hits but three of them were homers which, well, yeah.

Orioles 7, Mariners 6: Adam Jones hit a home run in the fifth inning gave him 25 on the year. That makes it the seventh consecutive season of at least 25 homers for him, passing Cal Ripken, Jr. for the new Orioles record. He did it against the team that traded him away when he was 22 years-old. Bill Bavasi — the GM who traded him, Chris Tillman, Geroge Sherrill and two prospects for an Erik Bedard who would almost immediately fall off a cliff and who has now been retired for nearly three years — was fired four months later and has never been a GM again. He is now the director of the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, where he manages dozens of scouts who likely could’ve told him that it was a bad move to trade Jones if they had been asked. I wonder if they still mention it to him. I would, but then again I’ve always been kind of a pain to my bosses. Anyway, that’s five wins in a row for the Orioles, who pass the Mariners and pull a game and a half behind the Twins for the final AL wild-card spot.

Nationals 11, Marlins 2: Max Scherzer came back off the disabled list and allowed only one run on five hits and struck out ten over seven innings. Two of those Ks were of Giancarlo Stanton, who went 0-for-3. Guessing Scherzer feels OK.

Phillies 6, Braves 1: Rhys Hoskins didn’t homer — is he OK? Can someone check on him? — but he did go 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Cameron Rupp hit a solo homer and drew a bases-loaded walk. The Phillies beat the Braves again. They have beaten the Braves in 12 of 14 games this year including all eight played in Philly.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5: Christian Vazquez had four hits, including a two-run home run, Eduardo Nunez added a solo shot and the Red Sox broke their four-game losing streak. But I don’t wanna talk about that. I wanna talk about how Kevin Pillar is just a stupidly, ridiculously good center fielder:

Straight line path to that ball, full spring plus the extension. Just preposterous.

Cubs 6, Pirates 1: Mike Montgomery shut the Pirates out through seven innings, allowing his only run of the game via a solo homer to the first man he faced in the eighth. The Cubs were already up 5-0 by the time that happened, however, thanks in part to Montgomery, who reached on an infield single and later scored. Montgomery has allowed one run over 13 innings in his last two starts. He’ll probably be sent back to the pen when Jon Lester gets healthy, but the Cubs do have an option if they don’t like the look of their rotation heading down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Rays 12, Royals 0: The Royals have now been shut out for four straight games and for 43 straight innings, stretching back to the second inning of their game against the Rockies last Thursday. If Alex Cobb can shut them out for the first five innings tonight Kansas City will break a record currently held by the 1968 Chicago Cubs and the 1906 Philadelphia Athletics. As for this one, it was Austin Pruitt, who shut them out one one hit for six innings, and Matt Andriese who shut them out for three innings on a single hit as well. Offensively, the Rays were led by Logan Morrison who hit a three-run homer and doubled in a fourth. Lucas Duda hit a three-run shot. The Greater Kansas City Area hasn’t seen an annihilation like this since November 20, 1983.

Tigers 4, Rockies 3Nicholas Castellanos hit a two-run triple and an RBI single on his 3-for-4 night and Brad Ausmus deployed six pitchers to win a close game. Miguel Cabrera left the game in the fifth with a bad back. He’s had a bad back all year, really, and I suspect it’s that, as opposed to natural decline, that has led to his disappointing season. Of course bad backs are probably a pretty big part of a lot of players’ natural decline, so perhaps the distinction is without difference.

Angels 3, Athletics 1Andrew Heaney allowed one run on only two hits while striking out ten over six and the Angels mustered just enough offense on a night where the slumping Mike Trout — who is 0-for-his-last-17 — was scratched with a stiff neck.

Giants 3, Padres 0Jeff Samardzija tossed a three-hit shutout, striking out five. All three hits were infield singles. Brandon Crawford hit a solo homer. Joe Panik hit a two-run homer, scoring Crawford. So, like, three dudes beat the Padres.

By the way, the Associated Press game story refers to Samardzija as “the former Notre Dame wide receiver.” Which, yes, is true, but I question whether now, as he is close to completing his tenth big league season, is really necessary anymore. Unless, of course, “odd thing a person did in college” is now a necessary identifier. It’d be kind of cool if it was. That way people could refer to me as “Craig Calcaterra, the former Ohio State University Bookstore employee, who sold Apple Newtons to people at the electronics counter, claiming that they were AMAZING, when they were really overpriced trash . . . ”

Actually, yes, please refer to me that way going forward. It’s probably my greatest professional accomplishment. Imagine: convincing someone to buy an Apple Newton!

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.