Indians beat Tigers 9-3, overcome Baddoo 1st-pitch home run

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DETROIT – Jordan Luplow hit a two-run homer to cap a four-run seventh inning, and the Cleveland Indians overcame a home run by Akil Baddoo on the first pitch of his first major league at-bat to beat the Detroit Tigers 9-3 on Sunday.

Cleveland avoided a season-opening sweep in Detroit after falling behind 3-1 in the third inning. Yu Chang put the Indians up 4-3 with a two-run single off Daniel Norris (0-1) in the seventh, and Luplow added his home run one out later.

“There was some enthusiasm, and there was something to yell about. We hadn’t had a whole lot to yell about,” said Cleveland manager Terry Francona, whose team lost the first two games of the season. “Guys were into it. It was fun.”

Franmil Reyes and Austin Hedges also homered for Cleveland.

Baddoo was taken by the Tigers with the third pick of the 2020 winter meeting draft of unprotected players. The 22-year-old, who had never played above Class A before, gave his bat a little flip after hitting an opposite-field drive to left in the third off Aaron Civale (1-0), then completed an excited tour of the bases to give Detroit a 3-1 lead.

“Got a good pitch to hit, and I was able to hit it in front of my family and everyone,” Baddoo said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the win, but looking forward to tomorrow.”

Tarik Skubal was solid on the mound for the Tigers before the bullpen let the lead get away. Nomar Mazara hit a two-run homer in the first for Detroit.

Civale gave up three runs and two hits in seven innings. He did not allow a hit other than the two home runs. Civale improved to 7-0 in his career when receiving at least three runs of support.

Skubal allowed two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. Eddie Rosario drove in the first two Cleveland runs with an RBI single in the first and a run-scoring groundout in the sixth.

Skubal left with men on second and third in the sixth. Norris got Rosario to hit a grounder that made it 3-2, then he struck out Reyes for the third out.

But the Indians broke through against Norris the following inning and kept pouring it on against the Detroit bullpen. Reyes made it 8-3 with a two-run homer in the eighth, and Hedges added a solo shot in the ninth.

“It was nice to pick up Civale,” Luplow said. “We just wanted to get some runs for him so he could pitch his game.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: Miguel Cabrera had the day off. Manager A.J. Hinch said he had some soreness coming off of Saturday’s game, but Hinch wasn’t too concerned about it.

UP NEXT

LHP Logan Allen starts Cleveland’s home opener Monday against Kansas City LHP Danny Duffy.

Detroit begins a home series against Minnesota, sending RHP Jose Urena to the mound against RHP Matt Shoemaker.

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.