Harvey, Orioles beat Boston 4-2 for seconnd straight win

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — Maikel Franco drove in two runs after another Boston error, Pedro Severino had his second two-hit game in a row and Matt Harvey made his Orioles debut on Saturday in Baltimore’s 4-2 victory over the Red Sox.

Franco’s single came after Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers made a diving stop on Austin Hays‘ grounder but sailed the throw to second. The Orioles also took advantage of a Boston error for a two-run inning in Friday’s opener, a 3-0 win.

Harvey missed his chance at the win when he was pulled with two outs in the fifth after giving up two singles and a walk in the inning. A 2013 All-Star, the former New York Met bounced from the Reds to the Angels and Royals without much success before signing a minor league deal with Baltimore this winter.

In all, he was charged with two runs, six hits and a walk while striking out four.

“I would have loved to get him through five,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I was so impressed with Matt. I thought he had really good stuff. He showed the competitor that he is. Throwing strikes, worked ahead in the count, kept guys off balance, a really good first start for him.”

Harvey, who is from Connecticut, rattled off more than a dozen friends and relatives who were at the game to see him pitch at Fenway Park for the first time in his career, including his parents.

“I came to a lot of games when I was younger. It was a special place. It being my first and being part of a win is more special,” he said. “Kicking myself to not get out of that fifth and deeper in the game. But overall it was a solid first start and I’ll try to build off that.”

Adam Plutko (1-0) relieved him and went 2 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and striking out two. Cesar Valdez pitched the ninth, hitting the first batter and walking the second before getting the next three out for his second straight save.

Red Sox rookie Tanner Houck (0-1) struck out eight in five innings, allowing three runs – two earned – on six hits and a walk. J.D. Martinez had three hits, including a double in the first inning when Hays lost his fly ball in the sun and an RBI single that bounced off Harvey’s thigh.

It was scoreless in the fourth when Rio Ruiz drew a two-out walk, then Hays hit a sharp grounder that Devers gloved with a diving stop. But he threw the ball into right field; a passed ball moved Hays to second, then Franco singled them both home.

“Defensively, the two games we haven’t been sharp. We made some bad decisions, we haven’t been making plays,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “For us, it is very important to play good defense. The teams that play good defense win games. We haven’t done that.”

The Orioles added one on Anthony Santander‘s RBI single in the fifth and another in the seventh on Trey Mancini‘s sacrifice fly. Cedric Mullins also has four hits in two games for Baltimore.

After being shutout in the opener for the first time since 1976, the Red Sox managed to score – on Marwin Gonzalez‘s sacrifice fly in the fourth and Martinez’s single in the fifth.

TRAINERS ROOM

Orioles: Hyde says outfielder DJ Stewart (hamstring) is improving and could be activated from the injured list soon.

Red Sox: Cora said LHP Eduardo Rodriguez “felt good” after a simulated game on Friday and a decision on whether to return him to the rotation could come on Sunday.

UP NEXT

The Orioles send left-hander Bruce Zimmerman (0-0, 7.71 ERA last year) to the mound for Sunday’s series finale against Boston’s Garrett Richards (2-2, 4.03).

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.