Dodgers celebrate World Series title at White House, then extend winning streak

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It took 32 years filled with disappointing summers and October heartbreak, but the Dodgers returned to the White House as World Series champions Friday before they beat the Washington Nationals 10-5 for their seventh straight win.

They were the first team President Biden honored during his administration and the first honored at all since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States last March.

Approximately 50 members of the organization, including 20 players, populated the East Room. Most of the party stood behind Biden in three rows. The World Series trophy was set on a table next to the president’s podium.

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Principal owner Mark Walter stood in the middle of the front row next to Clayton Kershaw, first-time champion after a decade of heartbreak. Mayor Eric Garcetti and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy observed from the small, seated audience. Near the end, Garcetti, who wore a World Series ring, was invited up to pose with the group for photos.

Biden poked fun at Vice President Kamala Harris’ allegiances — she’s a die-hard fan of the San Francisco Giants — and told a story about Satchel Paige. He described the Dodgers organization as “a pillar of American culture and American progress.” He joked about his age and said he had a feeling that the Dodgers, one of the top teams in the majors again this season, could be back soon after going 32 years between championships.

“America’s back,” Biden said, “and the Dodgers are back.”

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Kershaw was the only player to speak. He said he wrote out his speech and got pointers. Still, he said, it was “nerve-wracking.”

Clayton Kershaw, left, laughs as President Biden holds up a jersey gifted to him during an event to honor the 2020 World Series champion Dodgers at the White House on Friday.

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(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

“I’ll probably never get to do that again unless we go back next year,” said Kershaw, who is in the final year of his contract. “That was not a bucket-list thing because I never expected to do it. But that was pretty cool.”

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Not all the uniformed personnel still with the Dodgers from the championship club made the visit to the White House. Reliever Blake Treinen was the only player on the Dodgers’ active roster who played in the World Series not present. Dodgers co-hitting coach Brant Brown also wasn’t in attendance.

Pitchers Dustin May and Scott Alexander, both on the injured list, didn’t join the team for the event. May is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Alexander is on rehab assignment with triple-A Oklahoma City.

Corner infielder Edwin Ríos and reliever Brusdar Graterol, however, traveled to Washington for the occasion. Ríos had season-ending shoulder surgery in May. Graterol was pitching for Oklahoma City. He ended up staying with the team Friday when he was recalled to the Dodgers’ roster to replace Trevor Bauer, who was placed on paid administrative leave after a woman accused him of sexual assault and obtained a temporary restraining order against him Tuesday.

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Dodgers players and staff look on during the team's visit to the White House on Friday.

Dodgers players and staff look on during the team’s visit to the White House on Friday.

(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

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President Joe Biden, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Vice President Kamala Harris pose with Dodgers players and staff.

President Joe Biden, bottom left, and Mayor Eric Garcetti, bottom right, pose with Vice President Kamala Harris, center, and Dodgers players and staff during the team’s White House visit Friday.

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(Julio Cortez / Associated Press)

Reliever Joe Kelly and Robert Van Scoyoc, the team’s other hitting coach, were the only members of the party to wear masks during the event, suggesting that they have not been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Kelly also wore a mariachi jacket he acquired for one of his jerseys in a trade with a trumpeter in a mariachi group that performed at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.

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“Unexpected but not surprised by the outfit,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Mookie Betts wore a brown hat and green suit over a white T-shirt. He’s a two-time World Series champion, but Friday was his first visit commemorating a title. The former most valuable player decided not to go to the White House with President Trump in office after leading the Boston Red Sox to the 2018 title.

Hours later, he delivered a go-ahead two-run single in the middle of the Dodgers’ nine-run seventh inning at Nationals Park. Albert Pujols drove the inning’s first run with an infield single. AJ Pollock completed the outburst with a two-run home run – his second homer in two nights.

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Highlights from the Dodgers’ 10-5 road victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday.

The explosion materialized against the Nationals’ bullpen after Max Scherzer exited. The three-time Cy Young Award winner held the Dodgers (51-31) to one run across six innings but needed 100 pitches, forcing the Nationals (40-40) to give the ball to Sam Clay.

The left-hander was charged with three runs in one-third of an inning as the Dodgers extended a trend: they have scored at least eight runs in an inning five times this season. No other team has recorded more than two of those innings.

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It arrived just in time to give Julio Urías his 10th win of the season. He departed after giving up three runs – one earned – over six innings.

In November, weeks after closing out the World Series, Urías met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. On Friday, another world leader congratulated him. Urías, speaking in Spanish after the game, called the day special, one that would never have happened if it wasn’t for winning the championship.

“I think we all had high expectations of what to expect,” Roberts said, “and it certainly exceeded all of them.”

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