Brewers take a 3-1 lead over Cubs in eighth

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There was nothing doing in between Anthony Rizzo‘s fifth inning home run and the top of the eight, but Milwaukee has broken through in the top of the eighth.

The inning began with Justin Wilson on the hill for the Cubs, who surrendered a single to Orlando Arcia. Domingo Santana then doubled Arcia to third to put two men in scoring position with no one out. Joe Maddon had seen enough of Wilson at that point so he went to the pen and brought in Steve Cishek to face Lorenzo Cain.

Welp, that didn’t work. Cain singled to center, scoring Arcia and moving Santana to third, giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead.

That caused Maddon to go to the pen once again and brought up Christian Yelich, who was 3-for-3 on the day, with runners on the corners and no one out. A home run in that situation would’ve not only broken the game wide open but would’ve put Yelich in a tie for the league lead in homers and in the outright lead for RBI. He already leads in batting, so with one swing he could not only win the division for Milwaukee, but he could win the Triple Crown.

Nah, didn’t happen. New Cubs reliever Randy Rosario bore down and struck Yelich out.

Brandon Kintzler came on to face Ryan Braun and Braun, with the count 2-2, served one into right center to score Santana and send Cain to third base:

Kintzelr stayed on to face Jesus Aguilar, again with runners on the corners. Braun attempted to steal second but he guessed poorly, Kintzler pitched out and Willson Contreras had no problem throwing Braun out at second. A good play by Javier Baez too, fielding the throw, making the tag, all while looking Cain back over to third base to head off a delayed double steal. Baez is something special, folks. After the throwout, Aguilar flied out to left for out number three.

Nonetheless, the Brewers have a 3-1 lead. The Cubs are down to their final six outs. It’s tight, but the Brewers are close to breaking through to the NL Central title.

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.