Bauer wins LA debut, cat on field at Coors

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DENVER – Trevor Bauer made his Dodgers debut on the same night a gray cat got comfy in the Coors Field outfield.

It was all just purr-fect for the defending World Series champions.

Bauer took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning before allowing a pair of two-run homers, and Los Angeles held on after building a big lead to beat the Colorado Rockies 11-6 on Friday.

The game had a little bit of everything, from seven of the Dodgers’ 16 hits going for extra bases – no homers, though – to the cat making a surprise entrance onto the field in the eighth. The furry feline hung out in center with Cody Bellinger for a moment before being picked up and ushered out by stadium personnel.

“They’ve been different,” Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said of two wild games at Coors Field to start the season. “That’s this ballpark.”

Bauer (1-0) was purring along through six innings as the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner baffled the Rockies with a dancing slider and nasty cutter.

Then, the seventh rolled around.

Trevor Story broke up Bauer’s no-hitter with a single and Charlie Blackmon ended the shutout with a two-run homer. Ryan McMahon later followed with another two-run homer. David Price eventually replaced Bauer and proceeded to give up back-to-back homers to Dom Nunez and Sam Hilliard, suddenly turning a 10-0 rout into a 10-6 game.

“We showed a lot of life there in the seventh,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “Overall, we can take a little something from that big inning.”

It was only the second time in Rockies history they homered four times in an inning. The other time was June, 6, 1999.

Wearing his pants pulled up high to reveal those Dodger blue socks, Bauer went 6 1/3 innings and allowed four runs while striking out 10.

And no, he wasn’t thinking of a no-hitter.

“As far as a no-hitter, I don’t really care,” Bauer said. “If it happens, it happens. It’s not something in the pitcher’s control, unless you strike out 27 guys. There’s going to be balls put in play and that’s luck. I very easily could’ve given up hits before the seventh.”

He’s not really sure why things unraveled in the seventh. He ran the bases in the top of the frame, but didn’t feel that was a factor.

“Maybe I fell into some patterns?” Bauer offered. “I haven’t had time to go back and break down the video since we’re not really allowed to watch video in game anymore – new Astros rules or something like that. I’ll have to go back and look at it.”

The 30-year-old righty signed a $102 million, three-year deal as a free agent in February after going 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA last season for Cincinnati.

Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela (0-1) uncharacteristically scuffled at home, lasting 3 1/3 innings and allowing seven runs. He entered the game with six wins over his last eight home starts.

The Dodgers improved to 23-8 against Colorado over the last three seasons. They lost the season opener 8-5 on Thursday when Clayton Kershaw struggled and Bellinger had a homer turned into an RBI single and an out for passing Justin Turner on the bases.

“Feels good to get the first win out of the way,” Turner said.

COORS ALL-STAR GAME?

Major League Baseball reversed its decision to have Atlanta host this summer’s All-Star Game. The move came in response to a sweeping new voting law in Georgia that critics say will negatively affect communities of color.

Asked if Coors Field should be the replacement site, pitcher Jon Gray responded: “The Home Run Derby would be legendary.”

BAUER’S CAUSE

Bauer’s 10 strikeouts raised $10, 000 as part of a new initiative he launched earlier in the day called “Ks for a Cause.” Each month a new nonprofit group focused on STEM or youth programming in the Los Angeles area will be designated and receive $1,000 per strikeout.

“Something I’m passionate about,” Bauer said.

DEBUTS

Rockies relievers Ben Bowden and Jordan Sheffield both made their major league debut.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: C Austin Barnes (hand) had a scheduled day off, but manager Dave Roberts expected him to be in the lineup Saturday.

Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (strained shoulder) is going through strengthening exercises in Arizona. “He’s feeling better each and every day,” Black said.

UP NEXT

Dodgers righty Walker Buehler takes the mound Saturday, while the Rockies counter with Gray. The right-handed Gray made eight starts last season before going on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.

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.