Barrero hits first 2 HRs, Reds drop Brewers into 2nd place

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — Jose Barrero hit his first two major league home runs and the Cincinnati Reds beat Milwaukee 7-5 on Saturday night, dropping the Brewers into second place in the NL Central.

Joey Votto and Donovan Solano each had a solo homer for the Reds, who hadn’t scored more than three runs since an 8-2 win July 30 over Baltimore.

Milwaukee fell a game behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who blanked the New York Yankees 1-0 for their sixth consecutive victory.

With the Reds leading 2-0 in the fourth inning, Barrero launched a two-run homer into the Brewers’ bullpen off starter Aaron Ashby (2-10).

The third-year shortstop added a solo shot into the same bullpen in the sixth off reliever Hoby Milner, extending Cincinnati’s lead to 5-3.

“When you’re right and you feel comfortable, it really doesn’t matter who the pitcher is sometimes, and I felt like he was that locked in tonight,” Reds manager David Bell said.

The homers came in the 125th and 126th at-bats of Barrero’s career. They were the first two hits this season for Barrero, who was recalled from Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday.

“It’s incredible. To have this come up today just feels amazing,” Barrero said through a translator.

Barrero, a Havana native, said he dedicated the home runs to his late mother, Tonia Barrero, who died in Cuba from symptoms related to COVID-19. He changed his name last year from Jose Garcia to honor her.

Milwaukee scored twice off reliever Hunter Strickland in the ninth to make it 7-5, but squandered two good chances when the game was closer.

Trailing 4-3 in the fifth, the Brewers loaded the bases with one out against rookie starter Nick Lodolo. The left-hander struck out Mike Brosseau before righty Buck Farmer (1-1) retired Hunter Renfroe to end the inning.

Down 5-3 in the sixth, Milwaukee had two runners on with two outs when right fielder Aristides Aquino threw out Victor Caratini at the plate on Christian Yelich‘s single.

Andrew McCutchen hit a solo homer and Keston Hiura had a two-run shot for Milwaukee in the fourth.

McCutchen also had a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: Rookie RHP Hunter Greene (right shoulder strain) had an MRI but won’t need surgery, Bell said.

Brewers: RHP Adrian Houser (right flexor strain), on the 15-day injured list since July 1, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville.

BREWERS HONOREES

Prince Fielder joined the Brewers Walk of Fame, and Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy joined the club’s Wall of Honor.

Bell played for the Brewers late in 2006, his final season in the majors and Fielder’s second.

“He was like a leader of the team already. He just had that personality,” Bell said. “He had like all the wisdom and experience, everything that you would expect in a much older player.”

Bell’s father, Buddy, managed Fielder’s father, Cecil, on the 1996 Tigers.

HEY, ROOKS

Barrero became the second batter in Reds history to hit his first two major league home runs in the same game. The first was Harry Steinfeldt on July 31, 1900, at Boston, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … Fourteen rookies, including nine pitchers, have appeared in at least one game for the Reds this season. Six times, most recently July 31 to Aug. 2, the Reds started rookie pitchers in three straight games.

UP NEXT

Rookie RHP Graham Ashcraft (5-2, 4.12 ERA) faces Brewers RHP Corbin Burnes (8-5, 2.49) on Sunday to complete the three-game series. Ashcraft did not permit an earned run over 8 1/3 innings in his last start, a win at Miami. Burnes, an All-Star and the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, gave up four runs and walked five over 5 1/3 innings in his last start, a loss at Pittsburgh.

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.