And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Indians 9, Royals 3: Francisco Lindor hit two homers — one of which was a grand slam — and drove in seven runs as the Indians won in a laugher. This a day after he hit two doubles and hit a homer in Oakland.

In other Indians news, my colleague Charean Williams over at ProFootballTalk posted a story yesterday quoting tweets from a bunch of Browns players in which they said that, with LeBron James leaving town, the Browns are now poised to take over the Cleveland sports scene. Third baseman Jose Ramirez scratched his head at that a bit:

The Browns are 1-31 over the past two seasons. The Indians won their division the past two seasons, are going to win it again this season and won the AL Pennant in 2016. I’ll grant that even a terrible Browns team will always, always get more press in Cleveland than the Indians will under almost any circumstance, but jeez, guys, maybe at least acknowledge that the Tribe leads their division by almost ten games before the All-Star break? Maybe at least acknowledge that they exist? Of course, given what I read this morning, everyone has totally lost perspective when it comes to anything related to the LeBron James business, so perhaps I’m asking too much.

Dodgers 17, Pirates 1: Well that was a good old fashioned butt whuppin’. Matt Kemp went 5-for-5 with a three-run homer. It was the second straight game in which he’s driven in four and has hits in eight straight at bats. He also scored four times. Yasiel Puig drove in four as well, doing so with one run driven in in four separate plate appearances. Cody Bellingers, Joc Pederson, Max Muncy added homers too. The Dodgers rattled off 21 hits and batted around in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Maybe the best part of it, though, was that Caleb Ferguson picked up a save in a 16-run game. It was a gift save, obviously, but it happened to be Ferguson’s birthday yesterday, so I suppose he was entitled to the gift.

Braves 5, Yankees 3: Ronald Acuna gave the Braves a one-run lead in the fourth inning with an RBI double, the Yankees tied it an inning later and it remained that way until the top of the 11th. Then Acuna came up again with a runner on and hit a go-ahead two-run shot off of David Roberton to give the Braves the game. After the game Robertson said that it really bugs him to give up homers to the short right field porch in Yankee Stadium:

“That short porch gets you in right field . . . I mean, it’s just, I don’t know. There’s no other word for it. It just sucks when that happens.”

Acuna’s homer went 361 feet. Robertson, notably, did not have an opinion about teammate Aaron Judge‘s homer to right which went only 340 feet. Funny that.

Tigers 3, Blue Jays 2: The Jays tied things up at two to force extras with a ninth-inning bases loaded walk but the Tigers took the lead and won the game in the 10th when Jose Iglesias hit a sac fly to bring in Niko Goodrum, who had tripled with one out just prior. Mike Fiers pitched eight innings of one-run ball for Detroit.

Red Sox 4, Nationals 3: Rick Porcello did it all. Well, almost all. He drove in three of the Sox’ four runs with a bases-loaded double off of Max Scherzer in the second and tossed six innings of two-run ball to get his 10th win on the year. Mookie Betts‘ seventh inning homer was insurance which, thanks to homers from Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper, was constituted a necessary policy. The Nationals have played 24 one-run games. They have lost 16 of them.

Reds 5, White Sox 3: The Reds were down 3-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth but they mounted a four-run rally via an Adam Duvall fielder’s choice, a Billy Hamilton sac fly and a two-run pinch-hit double from Alex Blandino. The rally — or at least most of it — was made possible by White Sox first baseman Matt Davidson fielding a one-out, bases-loaded grounder and then getting flummoxed between stepping on the bag for one out and throwing home for another or throwing home for a force first. He who hesitates is lost, Davidson hesitated and the White Sox lost.

Marlins 3, Rays 2: 6,000 souls were on hand at Marlins Park, thousands of would-be fans missed the home town boys win via a 10th inning walkoff infield single by Yadiel Rivera. All the folks who didn’t show up likewise missed J.T. Realmuto hitting a homer and singling in the 10th to move the eventual winning run to third base, setting up Rivera’s heroics. They’ve also missed Realmuto hitting .311/.366/.552 on the season. One suspects that, pretty soon, if they bother to show up, they’ll be missing Realmuto himself.

Brewers 6, Twins 5: The Brewers won thanks to a bases-loaded walk by Brad Miller — yes, a walkoff walk — in the bottom of the 10th. Four of the Brewers’ six runs scored on plays without hits. That walkoff walk, a sac fly, a fielder’s choice groundout and an error. Even that 10th inning rally was kicked off via a non-hit when the inning’s leadoff batter was hit by a pitch. Major League Baseball: feel the action.

Rockies 5, Giants 2: Kyle Freeland allowed two runs over seven and five Rockies runs in the seventh and eighth helped him to beat Madison Bumgarner and the Giants. A key, and rare, throwing error by shortstop Brandon Crawford is what put the Rockies ahead, but Bumgarner running out of gas and the Giants pen not bailing him out were bigger problems in the grand perspective.

Cardinals 6, Diamondbacks 3: Yadier Molina hit a two-run single in the Cards’ four-run first and later added a solo homer. Jedd Gyorko also had an RBI single in the first and later hit a homer. Meanwhile, Carlos Martinez allowed two over six and struck out seven. Paul Goldschmidt had four hits in the Dbacks’ loss.

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.