Orioles’ sweep sends Red Sox to 2nd 0-3 start ever in Fenway

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — The Red Sox fell to their first 0-3 start at Fenway Park since 1948 and their second ever as Trey Mancini and Austin Hays hit two-run doubles during a seven-run third inning that carried the Baltimore Orioles over Boston 11-3 Sunday.

Cedric Mullins went 5 for 5 with three doubles and walk for the Orioles, collecting four of hits in the initial four innings. Maikel Franco added a first-inning, two-run double, helping Baltimore to its first three-game sweep at Fenway since Aug. 25-27, 2017.

Boston is coming off a 24-36 record that was its worst winning percentage since 1965.

The Red Sox lost their first four home games in 1948, rebounded to tie Cleveland at 96-58 after the scheduled 154-game regular season and lost a tiebreaker playoff 8-3 at Fenway.

Making just his third major league appearance, Baltimore left-hander Bruce Zimmerman (1-0) gave up three runs and four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and one walk for his first MLB victory.

J.D. Martinez had a solo homer and RBI double for the Red Sox.

Boston starter Garrett Richards (0-1) was chased with no outs and after loading the bases in the third. He was charged with six runs and seven hits.

Richards loaded the bases with two walks and a single before Josh Taylor relieved. Freddy Galvis drew a four-pitch walk, and Hays doubled to left.

Three batters later, Mancini doubled to center. Taylor threw a run-scoring wild pitch and gave up Ryan Mountcastle‘s RBI single.

TERRIBLE LINE

Taylor faced eight batters, getting two outs – both strikeouts – and gave up five hits and four runs.

NICE BEGINNING

Boston right-hander Garrett Whitlock pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in his major league debut, striking out five.

NICE THOUGHT

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said before the game that Mancini should be the Comeback Player of the Year.

“He should be the Comeback Player of the Year, regardless,” Cora said. “He could hit .330 or .180, and he’s the Comeback Player of the Year already. I know there are other guys coming back from injury, but to comeback from that is amazing.”

Mancini missed the 2020 season due to Stage 3 colon cancer, completed six months of chemotherapy and returned in spring training.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: Hays left the game after sliding into second base with right hamstring discomfort. . Manager Brandon Hyde said RHP Shawn Armstrong could be activated from the paternity list on Monday. The pitcher’s wife, Sarah, gave birth to a baby boy Wednesday.

Red Sox: Cora said before the game that “everything is trending that he’ll be with us” about lefty starter Eduardo Rodriguez, who started the season on the injured list with left elbow inflammation. Rodriguez pitched a simulated game Friday at the club’s new Triple-A facility in Worcester, Mass.

UP NEXT

Orioles: RHP Jorge Lopez is scheduled to make his first start of the season Monday at Yankee Stadium. LHP Jordan Montgomery is in line to pitch for New York.

Red Sox: RHP Nick Pivetta is slated to make his season debut against Tampa Bay Monday at Fenway. Michael Wacha is set to make his first start with the Rays after signing a $3 million, one-year contract in December.

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.