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The Monday Takeaway

“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”Yogi Berra

Chad Bettis’ return to baseball from cancer treatment is one of the best stories in a season full of great stories and storylines. Just being able to return to the game after enduring chemotherapy is an accomplishment in itself, but it’s 2017 and this isn’t your run-of-the-mill baseball season, so of course Bettis did more than just return to the game.

The 28-year-old Rockies right-hander was ready to make his return earlier this year, but a regular screening revealed that the cancer, which doctors thought was removed through surgery in November, had to spread to his lymph nodes. So instead of starting the season with his teammates, Bettis was undergoing chemotherapy treatments. At the time, he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to play baseball this season. He was hopeful but still cautious.

After his treatments ended, Bettis returned to his team in early June, with a lot less hair yet still hopeful. His goal then was to be on a major-league mound by mid-July. He wanted to be pitching by the All-Star break. He only missed his goal by a month. Bettis made six minor-league appearances before being called up on Monday, and before he took the mound the Yankees, Rangers, Adam Jones, and fellow testicular cancer survivor Jameson Taillon all tweeted messages of support.

Bettis, of course, received a rousing ovation from the home crowd when he headed out to the mound.

Things didn’t start off so great for Bettis, who surrendered a leadoff triple to Ender Inciarte, but Inciarte got a little greedy and tried to stretch it into an inside-the-park home run.

Left fielder Gerardo Parra, who missed the ball initially, chased it down, threw it to Trevor Story, who threw it to Jonathan Lucroy, who nailed Inciarte at the plate for the first out. After that, Bettis had a pretty easy time against the Braves’ lineup. He scattered five more hits over seven scoreless innings of work, struck out two, didn’t walk a batter, and left the game to another rousing ovation. The Rockies didn’t score until after Bettis left the game, so he didn’t pick up the win, but that doesn’t matter.

It’s moments like this that matter:

What matters the most is that Chad Bettis is healthy. Baseball is our escape when we need to hide from the ugliness in the world. It’s our therapy when we need to heal from the rough stuff in our lives. It’s our friend when we’re lonely. We can share our love for it with friends and family, and we can pass our love for it down to our children. And it’s stories like Chad Bettis’ return that make baseball so great.

Quick Hits

In Boston, the Indians won their makeup game against the Red Sox, 7-3. Edwin Encarnacion went deep twice for Cleveland, his 25th and 26th on the year. Both home runs went over the Green Monster.

Not to be outdone, Boston rookie Rafael Devers also went deep twice, his fifth and sixth shots.

The loss by Boston made way for New York to move up a game in the AL East standings.

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It’s time for another Subway Series in New York and the first game in the Bronx featured starters Rafael Montero and Luis Cessa. Exciting! (It wasn’t.) What was exciting, at least for the home fans at Yankee Stadium, was that the Bronx Bombers finally made their return, but not before some fireworks from the Mets.

The Mets struck first when Curtis Granderson and Yoenis Cespedes went back-to-back off Cessa in the third inning to give the team from Flushing a quick 2-0 lead.

Gary Sanchez got the Yankees on the board with a sac fly in the fourth inning that scored Aaron Hicks. And the game stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth. Then Aaron Judge hit his 36th home run of the year to break the tie.

In the bottom of the eighth, as the visiting crowd was chanting “Let’s Go Mets!,” Hick untied the game with a long home run into the right field bleachers.

And finally, Sanchez took Erik Goeddel deep for his 20th home run of the season, which gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead.

In a fun twist, Sanchez and the two Aarons each hit their 40th career homers on Monday night. Sanchez did it in 139 games, while Judge is right behind him at 140 games. It took Hicks 435 games.

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Giancarlo Stanton broke the Marlins' single-season record for homers on Monday night against the Giants. He hit no. 43 on the season, passing Gary Sheffield and helping Miami to an 8-3 win over San Francisco.

Stanton now has 10 homers in his last 11 games and 22 in his last 34 games. To say that he’s on a roll would be an understatement. You can’t throw him anything because every ball probably looks like a beach ball right now. The pitch Tyler Blach threw wasn’t a bad pitch at all. Stanton was able to turn on an inside pitch and hit it out. In that case, you just shake your head and tip your cap.

Not to be outdone, Marcell Ozuna hit a 457-foot blast for his 27th home run of the season.

Just like everyone predicted.

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The Cubs beat up on the Reds a bit, and because of the score being so lopsided, one of the best things to happen in baseball occurred at Wrigley Field on Monday night: a position player pitching. This time it was second baseman Scooter Gennett, who threw sidearm. Unfortunately for Gennett, it wasn’t a clean inning. He gave up two runs on two hits, including a home run to Javy Baez. He also walked a batter, but was allowed to pitch the whole inning.

Oh, and Joey Votto beat a four-man outfield shift to hit a double.

He also threw a ball out of Wrigley instead of throwing it into the crowd.

Again, isn’t baseball great?

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The Orioles beat up on the Mariners in Seattle. Manny Machado hit another grand slam. No. 5 in the past two seasons. It was also his 23rd homer of the year.

Hey, did you know that Trey Mancini has hit 21 home runs?

The Orioles left the yard four times in this game. Tim Beckham and Seth Smith also went yard for Baltimore in an 11-3 win.

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Defensive Play of the Day

This went from scary to cool in about a second. Thyago Vieira threw the first pitch of his major-league career and Chris Davis nearly took his head off. Instead, Vieira thankfully got his glove up in the nick of time and made a great catch saving his face, his glasses, and making the out.

Phew!

What To Watch On Tuesday

The Astros are 10-15 since Carlos Correa was injured on July 17. They still have an 11.5-game lead in the AL West, so they’re safe. On Tuesday afternoon, Brad Peacock (10-1) will be looking to right the ship against the Diamondbacks and Anthony Banda (1-2). (3:40 pm ET)

In Game 2 of the Subway Series, Sonny Gray (0-2) will be making his first home start as a Yankee and it won’t be an easy one, facing off against Jacob deGrom (13-5). Gray is not only looking for his first win in Pinstripes, but he’d like some support. The Yankees have yet to score in 12 innings of work by Gray.