Mariners hand Tigers 18th shutout loss, complete sweep

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
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DETROIT – Julio Rodriguez and Ty France hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning and the Seattle Mariners completed a three-game series sweep by defeating the Detroit Tigers 7-0 on Thursday.

France and Curt Casali drove in two runs apiece as the Mariners won for the sixth time in seven games. The Tigers were shut out for the 18th time this season.

“We’re getting better at the right time,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “I don’t think we’ve reached our ceiling yet and it’s a really high one.”

Logan Gilbert (11-5), who had gone winless in his previous nine starts, held Detroit to two hits and a walk while striking out nine in six innings. Gilbert’s last victory came on July 5.

“Logan has had a tremendous season,” Servais said. “He had a couple of starts against the Yankees that didn’t go so well. If you take those couple starts out, his numbers are awesome. He’s had a really good year for us, but it was nice to get him a win today.”

Gilbert established his fastball early, then frustrated the Tigers with his slider. His strikeout total tied a season high. He only notched a combined 15 strikeouts in his previous five starts.

“August wasn’t my best. I feel pretty good,” Gilbert said. “I didn’t feel like I was that far off. Hopefully, this is a good sign to keep rolling from here.”

Tigers starter Eduardo Rodriguez (3-4) surrendered six runs, five earned, and six hits in four innings.

Detroit rookie Riley Greene had two singles, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.

Seattle scored an unearned run in the first on Eugenio Suarez’s RBI single. Rodriguez blasted his 22nd homer on Eduardo Rodriguez’s first pitch of the third inning. France followed with his 17th homer.

The Mariners increased their lead to 6-0 in the fourth on Casali’s two-run double and France’s run-scoring single.

Outside of Greene, the Tigers only had two hits, none for extra bases. They also struck out 11 times.

“They clearly outplayed us,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said. “Offensively, we had a really tough time handling Gilbert’s fastball. The discouraging part is when there’s little to no offense.”

ROSTER MOVES

Mariners: LHP Matt Boyd was reinstated from the 60-day Injured List and OF Taylor Trammell was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma as major league rosters expanded to 28 players. Boyd, who made 143 starts for Detroit from 2015-21, was acquired from San Francisco. Trammell has appeared in 32 games with the Mariners this season, batting .235 with three home runs.

Boyd, who underwent flexor tendon surgery last year, recorded three groundouts during the eighth inning in his Seattle and season debut. Trammell batted ninth and went 0-for-3 with a walk.

Tigers: 1B Spencer Torkelson and INF Ryan Kreidler were called up from Triple A Toledo and RHP Michael Pineda (right triceps strain) was reinstated from the 15-day injured list. Pineda will start against Kansas City on Saturday. INF Zack Short was optioned to Toledo and RHP Rony Garcia (right shoulder soreness) was transferred to the 60-day IL.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Luis Castillo (5-5, 2.85 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game series in Cleveland on Friday. Castillo held the Guardians to one run while striking out 10 in six innings on Saturday but wound up with a no-decision.

Tigers: RHP Drew Hutchison (2-7, 4.01 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game home series against Kansas City on Friday. Hutchison has only allowed 10 earned runs in his last six starts.

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.