And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Brewers 7, Rockies 3:  Making your major league debut in Coors Field is probably a bit anxiety-inducing, but Brewers pitcher Freddy Peralta didn’t have any trouble with it. He took a no-hitter into the sixth and left later that inning having given up just the one hit and two walks with 13 strikeouts. Better than any first day at work I’ve ever had. Including this job. When I started here in 2009 I was still moonlighting at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. I posted like three baseball stories, lost track of time and almost missed a meeting. Thankfully it was state government so it, like most other things, didn’t start on time.

Orioles 17, Rays 1: The rout is notable, but the O’s winning five of six and taking their second series in a row is probably better news for the O’s. Better news than that: Dylan Bundy tossing seven two-hit shutout innings. The only bad news: Buck Showalter didn’t have some rando throw the last three innings in order to get a save in a 16-run game. Loooove those kinds of saves. As for the offense, Joey Rickard homered twice and drove in five, Danny Valencia homered and went 4-for-5 and drove in four, Manny Machado had three hits and Trey Mancini went deep too.

Tigers 5, Mariners 4: Coming off a no-hitter and facing a Tigers team without Miguel Cabrera or Nicholas Castellanos, James Paxton was probably better-positioned to pull a Johnny Vander Meer than most guys. It was not to be, however, as he gave up three runs on six hits in six innings. Jose Iglesias hit the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the ninth for the walkoff win and, far worse for Seattle, Robinson Cano fractured his hand after being hit by a pitch.

Back to the thwarted second no-hitter: If I’m remembering my sports history correctly, whenever a second no-hitter is ended, Vander Meer cracks open a special bottle of champagne, content that his accomplishment remains unique. Yes, Vander Meer has been dead for nearly 21 years, but it’s still more plausible than that story about the 1972 Dolphins doing it. Mercury Morris or someone claimed they did that in some interview once and everyone believed it for 40 years. People say the media landscape is a mess now given how many outlets are out there pumping out so much garbage content, but in the 70s and 80s, when there were only three channels and no Internet, a lie could live on for years without being refuted or even questioned because people believed whatever was on TV. Dark times.

Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 3: J.D. Martinez homered and had three RBI. Mookie Betts had two hits and did this:

The Sox finish up a tough 10-game road trip 6-4 and keep pace with the Yankees at the top of the AL East and, thus, at the top of baseball.

Braves 4, Marlins 3: Ronald Acuña and the Braves offense has gotten all of the press in their early season success, but let’s give it up for Sean Newcomb. The Braves second year starter now has 20 consecutive scoreless innings under his belt after his six innings of one-hit shutout ball yesterday. He pitched around four walks to do it, but the bottom line was pretty spiffy. Ender Inciarte homered. Freddie Freeman scored from first base on what should’ve been a pop-out to shortstop. Yadiel Rivera dropped it, though, and Freeman — who took off on the crack of the bat, just like his Little League coach taught him — never stopped running. I didn’t watch the game but I’m guessing Joe Simpson — who loves hustle and heads-up play about 10,000 times more than he loves raw talent — probably stroked out with joy talking about it.

Indians 11, Royals 2: Corey Kluber allowed two unearned runs in seven innings to become the big leagues’ first six game winner. His mates had a 9-0 lead by the end of the fourth inning, so the stress was off.  Yan Gomes, and Jose Ramirez had three-run homers for Cleveland and Michael Brantley had a two-run shot of his own. Fifteen hits on the day for the Tribe. You’ll usually win if you have 15 hits.

Phillies 4, Mets 2: By one measure, Jacob deGrom‘s return from the disabled list went great. He didn’t allow any hits or runs! By another measure — innings — it wasn’t so hot. As in, it went one inning. He walked three guys and tossed 45 pitches and, between having command of absolutely nothing and a rain delayed start to the game, Mickey Callaway figured he didn’t need to pitch two. Aaron Nola allowed one more run than deGrom, but he did it over six innings, and sometimes length matters. Nick Williams and Carlos Santana went deep for Philly.

Giants 5, Pirates 0: Nick Hundley hit a three-run homer, Gorkys Hernandez went deep and Derek Holland tossed shutout ball into the seventh to help the Giants snap a six-game losing streak. Kinda surprising it was a shutout given that Holland walked five, but it was muggy in this part of the country yesterday and no one really had a lot of follow-through. Andrew McCutchen went 4-for-14 in his weekend return to Pittsburgh. He had more standing ovations than hits.

Astros 6, Rangers 1: Dallas Keuchel allowed three hits in seven shutout innings and lowered his ERA to 3.10 and his WHIP to 1.10. He’s the fourth-best pitcher on the team this year. Evan Gattis and Carlos Correa homered for the second straight game. Houston has won five of six. Adrian Beltre left in the seventh after re-aggravating a left hamstring injury. He had just gotten off the DL for that hamstring five days earlier. What a drag it is gettin’ old. I can feel your pain, though, Adrian. My hamstrings are fine, but yesterday one high school friend posted on Facebook about going to her daughter’s college graduation and another posted about her grandson. Yeah, I’m from West Virginia so that’s not necessarily a crazy set of circumstances, but it’s still rather sobering.

White Sox 5, Cubs 3: Big day for pitchers walking a crap-ton of batters but generally getting away with it. They labored, really, which is sort of appropriate on Mother’s Day I suppose, not that your mom would consider walking a bunch of dudes to be equivalent to literally giving birth to you. Anyway, Lucas Giolito was one of the many laborers yesterday, walking seven and striking out only three but getting the win all the same. He tossed three wild pitches too, so maybe the Cubs just were afraid to dig in. The White Sox snapped a seven game losing streak and finally won their 10th game of the season. Matt Davidson homered for the 11th time this year. He’s on a 48-dinger pace. There’s a grand history of Chicago hitters smacking somewhere around 50 homers for last place teams, so if Davidson does it he’ll fit right in.

Yankees 6, Athletics 2: Corey Kluber was the first pitcher to six wins this year. Luis Severino was the second. And, shocker, Giancarlo Stanton is recovering from his early season struggles, going 4-for-4 in this one with a homer and three RBI. Stanton, Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez give the Yankees four players with at least 10 home runs 40 games into the season. The last time a team did that was the ‘roided-up Rangers back in 2003.

Angels 2, Twins 1: Shohei Ohtani allowed one run and three hits into the seventh and struck out 11 dudes, but left with a no-decision because Fernando Romero was dealing too. Zack Cozart walked the Angels off, though, with an RBI single in the ninth. The Twins totally had their chances, putting four straight batters on base in the ninth inning, but they couldn’t score off of it due to a runner getting gunned down at home.

Reds 5, Dodgers 3: The Reds entered this series in Los Angeles as one of the worst teams in baseball. All they did was sweep the Dodgers to win their sixth straight game overall. Eugenio Suarez and Joey Votto homered. It was the Reds’ first four-game sweep of Dodgers since 1976. And that’s saying a lot given that those clubs shared the NL West for nearly 20 years after that. The 2018 Reds aren’t going to win the World Series like the 1976 Reds did, but it does underscore how much of a train wreck the Dodgers are right now.

Padres 5, Cardinals 3: Clayton Richard struck out ten guys in eight innings of five-hit, two-run ball. Adam Wainwright couldn’t get out of the third, throwing nearly 80 pitches and walking six guys. Did I say that a lot of guys labored yesterday? Because, yeah, a lot of guys labored yesterday.

Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 4: Mark Reynolds had not played a big league game all season before last night but then he went 3-for-4 with two homers. The Diamondbacks had not lost a series all season before the Nationals came to town and then they lost four straight to Washington. Reynolds homered the sixth inning and then broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run shot off Archie Bradley in the eighth.

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.