Nicklas Backstrom celebrates Bryce Harper homer with Stanley Cup


The Nats are playing the Giants in Washington today. As so often happens in a Nationals game, Bryce Harper hit a homer. A solo shot in the bottom of the fourth which extended the Nationals lead to two runs. It was quite a blast, too:

In attendance at the game: Nicklas Backstrom, centre and alternate captain of the NHL champion Washington Capitals. Backstrom happened to bring a friend with him to the ballgame: the Stanley Cup. When Harper hit the homer, Backstrom celebrated:


One wonders how Harper will feel about it when he sees video of it later given Harper’s particular rooting interests in the Stanley Cup Finals:


Yes, the Las Vegas native Harper is a big, big Las Vegas Golden Knights fan. A fan who made a point to wear his Knights gear to some Cup Final games in DC, much to the chagrin of certain Washington sports fans who thought, for some strange reason, that Harper was obligated to root for the Capitals just because he happens to work in Washington.

I’m guessing that some of the same sort of folks who got mad at Harper for rooting for the Golden Knights might assume that Backstrom holding up the Cup was a troll move, rubbing Harper’s nose in it or something. I doubt that’s what it was. It was probably based solely on his joy that the hometown Nats got a run. If you’re the type who gets angry at a baseball player’s hockey rooting interests, though, you may believe all manner of silly things.

Anyway, this is a reminder that hockey players spending the offseason doing whatever the hell they want with the Stanley Cup is one of sports greatest traditions and it’s a shame that baseball players don’t do it too. Even if the little flags on top of the World Series trophy would probably put someone’s eye out.

Giants beat Mariners again in road game playing at home

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SAN FRANCISCO — The nomadic Mariners are taking their bats from the Bay Area to Southern California for three more “home games” on the road.

Wilmer Flores hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh inning of the Giants’ 6-4 win Thursday that sent Seattle to a second home defeat played in San Francisco’s ballpark because of dangerous air quality in Western Washington.

The series was moved because of smoke from all the West Coast wildfires. Now, the Mariners are altering their air travel reservations once more and headed to San Diego for a weekend series at Petco Park.

“It’s disappointing, but its the world we’re living in in 2020,” Mariners starter Nick Margevicius said. “There’s a lot of things we can’t control, a lot of things in the season, a lot of things in the world right now.”

Darin Ruf homered in the second inning to back Giants starter Tyler Anderson, who hurt his own cause when he was ejected in the bottom of the third by plate umpire Edwin Moscoso for emphatically expressing his displeasure with a walk to Kyle Lewis.

“Tyler knows that that just can’t happen,” mangaer Gabe Kapler said. “It puts us in a really tough spot.”

Wandy Peralta followed Anderson and threw 49 pitches over a career-high three innings, and Rico Garcia (1-1) worked one inning for his first major league win. Sam Selman finished for his first career save, stranding two runners when Lewis lined out and Kyle Seager flied out.

“Peralta came up huge for us,” Kapler said. “As tough as that was it was equally rewarding and in some ways inspiring to see him come out and give us the length that he did and battle. It gave us a chance to climb back into the game. I thought our guys continued to be resilient.”

JP Crawford hit a two-run single in the second following RBI singles by Tim Lopes and Phillip Ervin, but Seattle’s bullpen couldn’t hold a three-run lead.

Margevicius was staked to an early lead but Kendall Graveman (0-3) couldn’t hold it. The Mariners capitalized in the second after Anderson hit Seager in the backside.

Seattle has fared better against San Diego this season after losing all four to San Francisco. Manager Scott Servais had prepared himself for the possibility his club might have to stay on the road a little longer.

“I think with our players and everybody else it was going to be a two-day trip. That’s what we were led to believe that everything was going to clear up in Seattle,” Servais said. “We can’t control the weather it’s bigger than all of us and with what’s going on there with the smoke. Certainly understand why we have to go but I don’t think anybody was really prepared for it.”

Brandon Crawford contributed a sacrifice fly and Evan Longoria and Alex Dickerson RBI singles for the Giants.

Austin Slater returned at designated hitter for San Francisco and went 0 for 2 with a walk as he works back from a painful right elbow. Luis Basabe singled in the sixth for his first career hit and also stole his first base.

“I didn’t think about it,” said Basabe, who will gift the special souvenir ball to his mother. “I was just happy to get the opportunity.”

Justin Smoak made his Giants home debut as a pinch hitter in the sixth facing his former club after he signed a minor league deal earlier this month following his release by the Brewers.

Anderson, who was trying to win consecutive starts for the first time this season, received his second career ejection. The other was Aug. 13, 2016, while with Colorado.