And That Happened: Sunday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights.

Red Sox 5, Yankees 4: The Red Sox dominated the Yankees in earlier games in this series so here, for a change of pace, they decided to just rip their hearts out. Down 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth and facing Aroldis Chapman, J.D. Martinez hit a two-run single and then Boston tied it up thanks to a run-scoring Miguel Andujar throwing error. In the bottom of the tenth the Sox rallied with two out thanks to a Sandy Leon single, a wild pitch which advanced him to second and then a walkoff RBI single from Andrew Benintendi, plating Leon’s pinch runner, Tony Renda. Ballgame.

I know crazier things have happened and I know all the Yankees fans will say “hey, remember 1978!” but it sure looks like the Red Sox clinched the AL East this weekend with this emphatic statement of a four-game sweep. Boston now has a commanding 9.5 game lead over New York in the standings. The Yankees, in fact, only have a 2.5 game lead over the A’s in the top Wild Card position. Meanwhile, the Red Sox would finish with 100 wins if they went 21-28 in their final 49 games.

Athletics 6, Tigers 0: Trevor Cahill tossed six shutout innings while striking out ten and three relievers each tossed a scoreless frame to complete the blanking of the Tigers. Khris Davis and Matts Chapman and Olson homered for Oakland. That’s six straight wins for the A’s who are only four games behind the Astros now in the AL West and are two and a half ahead of Seattle for the second Wild Card.

Mariners 6, Blue Jays 3: The M’s kept pace at least as Kyle Seager hit two home runs and Nelson Cruz added another and drove in four overall to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Jays and to snap a five-game losing streak.

Dodgers 3, Astros 2: The Astros did not keep pace, as L.A. bounces back from a total butt-kicking at the hands, er, well, the feet of the Astros on Saturday night to win here and to avoid the three-game sweep. Brian Dozier hit an early two-run double and Manny Machado had three hits and scored twice. Walker Buehler gave up two runs and four hits over five and a third, striking out eight. With the win the Dodgers move back into a tie with Arizona at the top of the NL West because . . .

Giants 3, Diamondbacks 2: . . . they lost to the Giants, duh. A tight one all afternoon long, Evan Longoria‘s eighth inning homer put the Giants up for good.

Braves 5, Mets 4: The Mets led 3-0 after four innings against Julio Teheran, who typically gives them fits. He did so again, but this time with his bat, hitting a homer in the fifth inning to begin the Braves’ comeback. Ender Inciarte hit a two-run shot in the seventh to tie things up and the teams traded runs in the ninth to force extra innings. Nick Markakis‘ tenth inning homer ended the scoring and, three Mets outs later, the game. The Braves take three of four from the Mets and have won six of seven overall.

Nationals 2, Reds 1: Tanner Roark allowed only one run and scattered seven hits in seven innings, backed by a homer from Matt Wieters and an RBI double from Bryce Harper. The Nationals took three of four from the Reds and have won eight of 11 overall. Now Atlanta comes to town for a four-game series, giving the Nats a chance to gain some ground on a team they’re pursuing.

Phillies 5, Marlins 3: They haven’t been gaining ground on first place Philly, that’s for sure. Yesterday Asdrubal Cabrera hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning to help Philly complete a four-game sweep of the Marlins and their fifth straight win overall.

Indians 4, Angels 3: Jose Ramirez’s three-run homer in the first almost held up, but Jason Kipnis‘ RBI double in the 6th provided a necessary insurance run. Melky Cabrera saved Indians starter Shane Bieber‘s bacon three times with nice defensive plays:

White Sox 8, Rays 7: Daniel Palka struck out in his first four at bats of the game but he did not go down swinging a fifth time. Rather, Palka hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the White Sox the sweep and their fourth straight win overall. It’s the first three-game sweep the White Sox have had in a year. It was their first three-game sweep on the road in over two years.

Cardinals 2, Pirates 1: Jack Flaherty tossed six shutout innings and the two runs the Cards scored in the fifth — a Matt Carpenter homer and a Jedd Gyorko RBI single — was all he needed to get the W. The Cards take two of three from the Buccos and pass them to take sole possession of third place in the NL Central.

Rockies 5, Brewers 4: The homer from Carpenter put him in the lead in the NL with 29. The homer Nolan Arenado hit in the 11th inning of this game tied the two of them up AND gave the Rockies the win over one of the teams the Cardinals are pursuing, so it’s, like, symbiosis or cooperation or something. That homer also saved the Rockies from going home in a super sour mood by virtue of blowing a three-run lead in the ninth which forced extras. They’ve still lost five of seven so they can’t be super stoked, but recency bias can be a good thing for one’s mood when the recent event is a good one.

Twins 6, Royals 5: Jake Cave hit a grand slam in the second inning to bring the Twins back from an early deficit and Minnesota built that lead to 6-2 before the Royals began to claw back. They had pulled to within one by the seventh and threatened in the ninth but Fernando Rodney held on to the lead despite his best efforts to blow it. The Twins sweep the three game series.

Padres 10, Cubs 6: The Padres had a 4-0 lead after two, blew it by the seventh, but then scored five runs between the eighth and ninth. Cory Spangenberg had the tiebreaking RBI with an eighth inning double, Hunter Renfroe hit a two-run homer in the ninth and Travis Jankowski added a two-run single in the ninth himself. Renfroe drove in three on the afternoon. Jon Lester continues to be a liability of late for the Cubs. Here he was touched for five runs and eight hits in five innings. He has a 6.81 ERA in his last seven starts, dating back to before the All-Star break.

Orioles 9, Rangers 6: Mark Trumbo homered twice and drove in five to help the O’s avoid a four-game sweep. Austin Wynns and Jonathan Villar also homered for Baltimore. The Rangers scored five runs off of Orioles starter Yefry Ramirez in the first inning and two-thirds, but Baltimore’s bullpen allowed only one run and one hit in the final seven and a third.

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.