And That Happened: Sundays scores and highlights

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

Cardinals 5, Dodgers 0: Adam Wainwright is not a name we’ve heard too much of this year. He’s only pitched in six games, three of which came before Memorial Day. He was on point last night, though, shutting out the Dodgers for six innings and striking out nine. Marcell Ozuna homered and Yadier Molina drove in a couple. It was a HUGE win for St. Louis, which had dropped the previous three against L.A. and saw its lead in the Wild Card standings disappear. With this win St. Louis pulls back even with the Dodgers for that second slot. Two weeks of baseball left, and the Cards, Dodgers and Rockies are basically playing musical chairs for the final two NL playoff slots.

Red Sox 4, Mets 3: Jacob deGrom vs. Chris Sale did not turn out to be quite as amazing a matchup as it was cracked up to be. Sale only pitched three innings because he’s still ramping back up and deGrom gave up what, for him, was billion runs (note: it was three). deGrom did strike out 12, though, and fans were treated to the first matchup of starters with sub-2.00 ERAs (min: 100 IP) in over 30 years. That was John Tudor vs. Dwight Gooden back in 1985. That fun aside, Brock Holt hit a two-run homer and the Sox got a couple of sac flies. Mookie Betts left the game with an injury to his side, but it’s apparently not very serious. Boston can clinch the AL East this week.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 2: New York clung to a one-run lead until the eighth inning but then Rowdy Tellez (checks: yeah, “Rowdy Tellez” it is!) hit a pinch-hit RBI single followed by Randal Grichuk doubling in a run to beat Dellin Betances and the Yankees. New York dropped two of three to the Blue Jays and is just sort of existing right now. Not a great time to simply be existing, ya know?

Tigers 6, Indians 4: After clinching the AL Central via an utter shellacking of Detroit on Saturday, Cleveland trotted out its post-clinch/hangover lineup on Sunday afternoon, as one does. The Tigers, not surprisingly, won against the Indians’ quad-A lineup, with Jim Adduci homering and driving in four. After the game he drove, I dunno, his 1963 Rambler Ambassador to Sammy Sofferin’s Wonder Bar & Indian Room down on Washington Blvd and tied a few on to try to forget this lost season. And yes, I know the game was in Cleveland. He took the Northwest Orient charter back to Willow Run then he drove downtown. Don’t worry, though: he left the Rambler parked on Clifford and took the streetcar home.

Orioles 8, White Sox 4: When these two teams get together you can throw out the records. Really, please, throw out the records. No one wants to watch mid-September baseball between a couple of clubs with nearly 200 combined losses. Jonathan Villar and Adam Jones homered and  Cedric Mullins had four hits as the O’s put up a five-run first inning.

Rays 5, Athletics 4: C.J. Cron and Willy Adames homered early and Tampa Bay built up a 5-0 lead before Oakland rallied for four in the ninth on a Khris Davis grand slam to make it interesting. Oakland dropping two of three to Tampa Bay didn’t help them gain any ground on the Yankees for home field advantage in the Wild Card game. Which now and for a few weeks now has been the only remaining race in the American League.

Nationals 6, Braves 4Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon each hit two-run homers and Juan Soto hit an RBI single in the ninth for an insurance run as Washington takes two of three from Atlanta. The Braves maintained a six and a half game lead in the East, however, because . . .

Marlins 6, Phillies 4: . . . Philly lost to the Fish. Peter O’Brien homered and drove in three as Miami stopped a five-game skid. Jose Urena allowed one run and three hits in five innings, winning his third straight start.

Pirates 3, Brewers 2: The Buccos carried a 3-0 lead into the ninth thanks to Trevor Williams tossing six scoreless. They got a scare when Jesus Aguilar and Domingo Santana hit back-to-back home runs to start the final frame, but that’s all Milwaukee would get as Pittsburgh held on. The Brewers remain two and a half behind he Cubs.

Astros 5, Diamondbacks 4: Yet another late rally that fell just short. Man there were a mess of these yesterday. Here Arizona put up three runs in the ninth to pull within one but no dice. Justin Verlander struck out 11 and allowed only one run in seven innings of work. Josh Reddick homered.

Twins 9, Royals 6: Tyler AustinMax Kepler, Johnny Field and Jorge Polanco all hit homers for the Twins, but only Austin did this:

Which is good, because if enough guys do that eventually one of ’em is gonna crack his head open or something.

Reds 2, Cubs 1: Luis Castillo allowed one run while pitching into the seventh and the Reds bullpen finished things off. Scott Schebler and Phillip Ervin went deep to account for the Reds’ runs. The Cubs scored only five runs in the three-game series, but they took two of three because the Reds scored only four. What an exciting weekend in Cincinnati!

Rockies 3, Giants 2: Antonio Senzatela pitched shutout ball into the sixth and hit a two-run single to [all together now] help his own cause Colorado salvages the final game of the three-game series. Thanks to the Dodgers’ loss, Colorado moves back into first place in the NL West by the slimmest of margins. Now they have three in Los Angeles starting tonight. I’d say that the series promises to be a definitive one, but we’ve gone six months without any team really acting like it wants to win the NL West, so why should that stop now?

Angels 4, Mariners 3: Kole Calhoun and Justin Upton homered. Calhoun’s broke an 0-for-25 streak and Upton’s was his fourth dinger in his past three games. The Angels do all kinds of fun things. Rarely do those fun things amount to, you know, sustained, competitive baseball over a relevant time period, but they do do interesting things.

Padres 7, Rangers 3: Freddy Galvis hit a game-tying RBI double and then Francisco Mejia hit a walk-off grand slam to cap a five-run bottom of the ninth and give the Padres the win. In 10 games since his call-up Mejia has three homers, eight RBI, five runs scored and is slugging .630. Not too shabby.

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.