About Last Night: Pittsburgh Gets Penned In

In case you were out looking for a shooting star to wish on, but finding only derelict satellites, here’s what you missed in sports on Wednesday:

  • It took two overtimes and 53 saves from Tuukka Rask, but the Boston Bruins took a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden. Rask was jubilant after the win, saying, “Rask! Rask! Rask!” while pounding his stick on the ground. When asked what had inspired him to produce such a stellar showing, Rask added, “Rask! Rask! Rask!” before again pounding his stick on the ground. When asked whether Boston’s poor showing after taking big leads in previous rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs had him at all nervous going into Game 4, Rask slashed the reporter in the knee with his stick, severing the bottom portion of his leg from the rest of his body, before adding, “Rask! Rask! Rask!”
  • After 13 scoreless innings, the White Sox and Mariners engaged in a seesaw battle at Safeco Field, including a game-tying Kyle Seager grand slam, before Chicago finally put away Seattle, 7-5, in the 16th inning. White Sox pitcher Addison Reed, who pitched three innings in relief, wound up getting the win despite allowing all five Mariners runs. Adjusting for park and opponent, Reed’s win is … hold on a second, let me just carry the three … yes, yes, yes, eureka! It is the proof I’ve been looking for! Wins are the most useless statistic in sports! I win! Now if anyone has seen where I’ve put my ironic victory trombone, I have some Sousa marches to play whilst stomping around my living room in my boxer shorts.
  • Novak Djokovic won in straight sets over 35-year-old Tommy Haas, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 7-5, at Roland Garros, setting up a titanic French Open semifinal against Rafael Nadal. Haas, the French Open’s oldest quarterfinalist since 1971, said after the match, “Yeah, Novak was good, but kids these days, they have no respect for how hard it used to be to play this game. Back in my day, ball was outside the line, you had to curse the chair official until they changed their call. Now they have hawkeyes and hawkphones and hawkpads. It’s ridiculous. What’s a hawk going to do with a touchy computer? It’s a damn hawk.” Haas then applied some Gold Bond medicated powder to his underarms and walked out of the locker room with a VHS copy of Space Cowboys sticking out of his tennis bag.
  • Rex Ryan reportedly has yet to decide the winner of the New York Jets’ quarterback battle, suggesting that the competition will continue well into training camp. Current speculation puts “Why the fuck didn’t they just fire me?” narrowly edging out “Another Jack Daniels, neat, fuck it, make it a double” for the coveted job. That said, look for rookie contender “Sobbing uncontrollably into a pillow” to make a Russell Wilson–esque move up the depth chart while “Mark Sanchez” sits in fourth position.
  • President Barack Obama welcomed the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens to the White House, before allowing himself some good-natured zingers at the expense of quarterback Joe Flacco’s new contract. Flacco then sulked and threatened to leave the photo op for another one with House Speaker John Boehner. “Guy gets you on the ropes,” Obama said afterward. “He knew we weren’t going to have the event without him. You can’t just replace the Super Bowl–winning quarterback with some dude off the street, even if you end up forced to go a little outside of your comfort zone to keep him happy.” Obama reportedly guaranteed Flacco a cushy Caribbean ambassadorship and a couple years outside the scrutiny of the IRS in exchange for his continued presence at the White House, which makes Flacco the most kowtowed-to quarterback in the history of Super Bowl winners visiting the White House.
  • In a hard-fought battle of division leaders, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus powered the Texas Rangers past the Boston Red Sox, 3-2, at Fenway Park. “It was a good day for me, home run, win over my former team, no one touched my head,” Beltre said after the game in an eerily quiet locker room. Beltre then paused, soaking in the silence, before saying, “They’re plotting to touch my head, aren’t they? Well, joke’s on them, because I rubbed poison on my scalp. Poison so dangerous, one touch of it can ruin your language and motor faculties for days. We’ll see how they snappy the frog frog, boom drool drool walka cop grrrr.” Beltre then collapsed to the ground, where Andrus and Ian Kinsler both touched his head while he was powerless to defend himself.
  • Julio Teheran threw eight innings of one-hit ball as the Atlanta Braves beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-0, at Turner Field. The Pirates were poor in all phases of the game, committing as many errors as they had base runners (three), while starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez was forced out of the game with forearm tightness after retiring only one batter. “Usually I’d ream the guys after a game like that, but wow,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after the game. “I haven’t seen a Pirates team put up an effort that poor since 2012. Well, and 2011, and oh yeah 2010 and 2009. Plus, you can’t forget 2008, and 2007 wasn’t good either, and same with 2006, 2005, and 2004. And, sure, you don’t want to forget about 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1995, 1994, or 1993. But this was really, well, now that I think about it, quite average on a historical scale.”
  • Clayton Kershaw was outdueled by Jason Marquis as the Los Angeles Dodgers fell to the San Diego Padres, 6-2, at Dodger Stadium. Marquis, 34, who has been in the big leagues since the turn of the century, was his typical crotchety old self after the game, saying, “Kids these days, think they’re so great. I’ll tell you though, they aren’t. Coming into the league with their smartphones and their tweeters. Who needs a phone that’s smart? And why do I need to see pictures of what some ne’er-do-well is eating for breakfast on that phone? That’s not smart, that’s ignorant. In my day, you’d eat your food, and get the hell out of the kitchen before you were attacked by a bear.” Marquis then applied some Gold Bond powder to his underarms and walked out of the locker room humming the theme to Gran Torino.

Filed Under: About Last Night, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Ravens, Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, French Open, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Jets, Novak Djokovic, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Rex Ryan, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Super Bowl, Texas Rangers

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Spike Friedman is a contributing writer for Grantland and makes theater with the Satori Group in Seattle, Washington.

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