Nathan Eovaldi, Red Sox beat Twins 3-2, run winning streak to 8

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

MINNEAPOLIS — Nathan Eovaldi pitched five effective innings and the Boston Red Sox extended their winning streak to eight games, beating the Minnesota Twins 3-2 to open Wednesday’s doubleheader.

Christian Arroyo, Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts each had two hits for Boston, which is on its longest win streak since 2018. The Red Sox, who finished last in the AL East in 2020, are the first team since the 1991 Seattle Mariners to lose at least three games to start the season and follow that by winning at least seven straight, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“For me, it’s the pitching,” Eovaldi said. “I like our team a lot. I like where we’re at. I feel like at any point in the ballgame, we’re going to be able to take the lead, put up runs and keep us there.”

Eovaldi (2-1) gave up two runs on five hits. He has allowed four runs over 17 1/3 innings in three starts this season.

Matt Barnes finished with his second save after allowing a leadoff walk to Jake Cave. Cave stole second base and Barnes stranded him when Verdugo caught Luis Arraez‘s sinking liner in left field.

Kenta Maeda (1-1) was undone by Minnesota’s defense in the second inning, including his own throwing error that allowed a run to score. He pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up three runs – two earned – on seven hits and two walks. He struck out five.

“It was mainly my delivery,” Maeda said. “I haven’t had too many opportunities to pitch in the cold weather. But that’s something I’ve got to get used to, being a Twin, being in Minnesota, things like that. And then last year, we started here in June with the summer camp, so this is the first time I’m experiencing the cold here.”

The first-pitch temperature was 38 degrees. The Twins have lost four straight.

Arroyo capped off Boston’s three-run second with an RBI single, but the Red Sox stranded a pair of runners against Maeda. Boston left 12 runners on base in the seven-inning game and was 3 for 18 with runners in scoring position.

“It wasn’t a perfect game for us,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We’re good, but we have to keep playing the game. We had a lot of runners on base we couldn’t cash in and it came down to a great play by Alex. We’ll take it, of course. But we need to keep working and keep getting better.”

The doubleheader was scheduled after Monday’s game was postponed following the fatal police shooting of a Black man in a nearby suburb.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: RHP Bryan Mata, one of the team’s top pitching prospects, underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Tuesday. The procedure was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in California.

Twins: SS Andrelton Simmons tested positive for the coronavirus and was placed on the COVID-19 injured list prior to the game. Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said Simmons was experiencing “very mild” symptoms and resting at home. The team selected the contract of JT Riddle from its alternate training site. . Manager Rocco Baldelli said he expected 3B Josh Donaldson, out since the season’s first game with a right hamstring strain, to be activated and play in the second game of the doubleheader. . DH Nelson Cruz returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday’s game with a non-COVID-19-related illness.

UP NEXT

RHP Jose Berrios (2-0, 1.54 ERA) will start the second game. Boston will counter with LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-0, 5.40).

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
2 Comments

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.