Rodriguez beats O’s again; Boston wins 6-2 to finish sweep

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — Eduardo Rodriguez was sharp against Baltimore again, J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer and the Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep with a 6-2 victory Sunday, sending the Orioles to their 11th straight loss.

Boston has won four of five games after losing 10 of 12 and falling out of first place in the AL East.

The Orioles have been outscored 104-34 during their second-longest skid this season. They had a 14-game losing streak in May.

Baltimore’s Cedric Mullins went 0 for 5, halting his 20-game hitting streak. It was the longest by an Oriole since Adam Jones had a 20-game streak in 2012.

Rodriguez (9-6) allowed a first-inning unearned run and three singles, striking out six and walking three in six innings. In his last 12 appearances against Baltimore, he’s 9-0 with a 1.81 ERA. The 28-year-old lefty was originally signed by the Orioles in 2010 before being dealt to Boston four years later.

Rodriguez didn’t want to come out after six innings.

“I learned that from my teammates I’ve played with,” he said, referring to Chris Sale and David Price. “Those guys have taught me: ‘You’ve got to go out there no matter what.’ That’s the way I want to be.”

Manager Alex Cora told him some in the bullpen needed work.

“Where we were bullpen-wise, knowing what’s coming, we needed some guys to go out there and touch the rubber,” Cora said.

Red Sox right-hander Adam Ottavino had to leave with a left shoulder contusion after getting hit by Jorge Mateo‘s hard liner for an RBI single in the seventh.

“He’s OK,” Cora said. “A little bit sore, nothing structural.”

Martinez homered off a billboard above the Green Monster in the first against Keegan Akin (0-7) after his throw in the top of the inning bounced away from the cutoff man for an error, allowing Austin Hays to score.

Akin went four innings and gave up three runs, all in the first. He allowed six hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

“I’ve still got to get a little better, go deeper in the game,” he said.

Kyle Schwarber was back in the lineup for Boston after having Saturday off. He went 2 for 4 with two doubles, his first hits with the Red Sox. The 28-year-old slugger, sidelined since July 2 with a strained right hamstring, made his debut on Friday after being acquired from Washington at the trade deadline.

“It’s nice to get the first one out of the way,” he said. “Now I can relax and play ball.”

Kike Hernandez had an RBI single off the right foot of third-base umpire Will Little, who tried to jump over the grounder down the line during a three-run sixth.

DAY AFTER

Cora said Sale, who made his first big league appearance in just over two years Saturday, felt fine and is in line to make his next scheduled start Friday at Fenway Park against Texas.

The 32-year-old Sale had Tommy John surgery on his 31st birthday – March 30, 2020. He gave up two runs – on solo homers – with eight strikeouts and no walks over five innings during an 89-pitch outing.

ROSTER MOVES

Boston claimed INF Travis Shaw off waivers from Milwaukee. He played with the Red Sox in 2015 and 2016.

Shaw hadn’t played with the Brewers since June 9 due to a dislocated shoulder. He hit .191 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 56 games, playing 1B and 3B.

“Finally, I feel old,” Cora said. “I played with his dad. I saw Travis running around the clubhouse in L.A.”

The Orioles selected the contracts of LHP Fernando Abad and RHP Konner Wade from Triple-A Norfolk. To make room, they optioned RHP Dusten Knight to Norfolk and designated RHP Adam Plutko for assignment.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: Manager Brandon Hyde said LHP Bruce Zimmermann (biceps) has a chance to pitch before the season ends, but he had a setback recently when he sprained his ankle doing exercises.

Red Sox: Placed LHP Josh Taylor on the COVID-19 injured list and recalled C Connor Wong from Triple-A Worcester. Cora said bench coach Will Venable, who tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend in Toronto, and first-base coach Tom Goodwin, deemed a close contact, could be allowed to leave Canada soon and join the team in New York for Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Yankees.

UP NEXT

Orioles: RHP Matt Harvey (6-11, 6.10 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday when they open a four-game series on the road against the AL East-leading Rays.

Red Sox: Off Monday before a day/night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

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.