Avisail García homers again, Brewers beat Cardinals 9-3

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. LOUIS — Avisail Garcia homered for the second day in a row, Travis Shaw and Manny Pina also connected and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-3 on Sunday.

Garcia, who homered and drove in five runs in a 9-5 win Saturday, and Shaw hit early drives that helped the Brewers build a 7-0 lead in the second inning.

“Any time you score that many in the top of the first, it kind of settles everybody into the game,” Shaw said. “We poured some more on in the second. The pitching held on, so it was a good day.”

Brett Anderson (1-1) tossed five effective innings for Milwaukee, which has won four of five.

Austin Dean had a two-run double for the Cardinals, who have lost two in a row after a four-game winning streak.

The Brewers scored four times in the first off Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-1) in batting around for the first time this season. Lorenzo Cain began the game with a first-pitch double, Daniel Vogelbach followed with an RBI single and Garcia homered.

The outburst helped Anderson relax on the mound. He drew a bases-loaded walk in the opening frame to give him an RBI before he ever took the mound.

“You don’t anticipate that, but it’s a good problem to have,” Anderson said. “It was good to see the offense clicking on all cylinders. A little tough to get into a rhythm. not the greatest outing by any stretch. But I was able to grind through five.”

Garcia hit homers in back-to-back games for the first time since May 22-23, 2019, when he was with Tampa Bay.

Shaw hit a three-run homer off Ponce de Leon in the second. Shaw left the game as a precautionary measure after fouling a ball off his shin in a fourth-inning plate appearance.

“It’s a little sore, but should be good to go tomorrow,” Shaw said. “Overall, not terrible.”

Shaw went 5 for 10 in the series with four RBIs.

The Brewers won two out of three games against NL Central rivals Chicago and St. Louis. Their starting pitching shined in both series.

“It’s a strength of the team,” manager Craig Counsell said. “And they’ve delivered thus far this season. They’ve all done their job and each time out given us a chance to win.”

Anderson allowed one run on four hits. He struck out one and walked two.

“You get on a roll and you try and pass the baton on to the next guy,” Anderson said.

Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich left the game in the second inning with back soreness. He is considered day-to-day, according to Counsell.

Pina added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Ponce de Leon lasted just 1 1-3 innings and gave up six hits and seven runs.

“I could not get going,” he said. “I did my usual warmup, felt pretty good getting out there. I got on the mound and there was just nothing there.”

St. Louis newcomer Nolan Arenado extended his hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning single.

NEW TERRITORY

St. Louis C Yadier Molina batted in the cleanup spot on Sunday for the first time since June 2, 2017, when he went 0-for-3 in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Molina went 1 for 3 on Sunday and his hitting .367.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: Milwaukee INF Jace Peterson started at second base with Kolten Wong on the 10-day injury list with an oblique issue. Peterson underwent cryotherapy on a sore thumb after spring training was completed. “It seems to be working,” he said.

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill was placed on the 10-day injury list with a right groin strain suffered during his first plate appearance on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RHP Freddy Peralta (1-0, 0.00) will take on Chicago Cubs RHP Adbert Alzolay (0-1, 7.20) in the first of a three-game series on Monday in Milwaukee. Peralta is 3-1 with a 3.78 ERA in seven lifetime appearances against Chicago.

Cardinals: RHP John Gant (0-0, 0.00) will face Washington RHP Erick Fedde (0-1, 27.00) in the opening game of a three-game series on Monday in St. Louis. Gant has not allowed a home run in his last 39 1-3 innings, the longest current streak in the NL.

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.