MLB

A's rally to trump World Series champs Dodgers for first win of season, Cain makes history

By Sports Desk April 08, 2021

The Oakland Athletics ended their run of six consecutive losses to start the season by rallying past MLB champions the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 in extra innings.

Mitch Moreland hit an RBI single in the 10th inning on Wednesday as the Athletics won for the first time in 2021.

The A's were in danger of falling to 0-7 for the first time in their history before Matt Chapman scored on a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.

Moreland completed the confidence-boosting comeback in the 10th – a line-drive single scoring Mark Canha from third in Oakland midweek.

"It's definitely not the start we wanted," Moreland said. "We know we're a lot better team than that. We played great in spring and kind of had a little bit of lag. It didn't go our way out of the gate. That's a good win for us."

Trevor Bauer impressed for World Series champions the Dodgers, despite the defeat.

The reigning National League (NL) Cy Young winner allowed three hits and two runs, recording 10 strikeouts for the second consecutive start.

 

Cain makes history

Lorenzo Cain became the first player in Milwaukee Brewers history to hit two go-ahead home runs in the eighth inning or later in the same game, per Stats Perform. The Brewers overcame the Chicago Cubs 4-2.

Justin Dunn impressed for the Seattle Mariners, who defeated the Chicago White Sox 8-4. He became the first pitcher since Pete Harnisch in 1991 to walk eight-plus batters and allow one hit or fewer in his season debut, via Stats Perform. The only other Mariners pitcher to do so in any regular-season game was Randy Johnson in 1991.

Connor Brogdon became the first Philadelphia Phillies player to have three wins in the team's first six games of a season in the modern era. The Phillies accounted for the New York Mets 8-2.

The Cleveland Indians were 4-2 winners against the Kansas City Royals thanks to Shane Bieber, who became the first MLB pitcher to start multiple seasons with back-to-back 12-plus strike-out games.

 

Marlins mauled

The Miami Marlins were blanked 7-0 by the St Louis Cardinals, who claimed a series sweep. Zach Pop struggled after giving up four runs and a homer in less than an inning.

 

Waffles over bat flips for Pederson

Joc Pederson hit his first home run for the Cubs – a game-tying homer in the eighth inning against the Brewers. A World Series winner with the Dodgers last season, the 2015 All-Star celebrated with a waffle maker.

"I hope we're making a lot of waffles," Pederson said after the game. "I don't know. It's [Ian] Happer's. I think I just rented it for a minute, but we'll see. Hopefully we're passing out waffles soon to all of us."

 

 

Wednesday's results

Atlanta Braves 7-6 Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves 2-0 Washington Nationals
Cincinnati Reds 11-4 Pittsburgh Pirates
Cleveland Indians 4-2 Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins 3-2 Detroit Tigers
Boston Red Sox 9-2 Tampa Bay Rays
Texas Rangers 2-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Chicago Cubs
Oakland Athletics 4-3 Los Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia Phillies 8-2 New York Mets
Seattle Mariners 8-4 Chicago White Sox
San Francisco Giants 3-2 San Diego Padres
St Louis Cardinals 7-0 Miami Marlins
Baltimore Orioles 4-3 New York Yankees
Colorado Rockies 8-0 Arizona Diamondbacks

 

Angels at Blue Jays

The Blue Jays (3-3) will stage their first home series – at their spring base in Dunedin as the coronavirus pandemic prevents them from returning to play in Toronto – starting Thursday. The Los Angeles Angels (4-2) are their opponents.

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  • From Rule 5 pick to MLB sensation: Rapid rise of history-making Tigers rookie Akil Baddoo From Rule 5 pick to MLB sensation: Rapid rise of history-making Tigers rookie Akil Baddoo

    Akil Baddoo is the name on everyone's lips.

    Baddoo has shattered records from his very first pitch in MLB this month amid an incredible rise from unheralded Rule 5 pick to the biggest sensation in baseball.

    The 22-year-old Detroit Tigers outfielder is already the first player in modern MLB history (dating back to 1901) to hit a grand slam, another home run and a walk-off hit in his first three career games.

    But Baddoo's story is one of perseverance. Let's rewind back to May 2019. He was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery.

    If sitting out the 2019 campaign was not bad enough, he missed last season when the minor leagues were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    During the winter's Rule five draft in December, Baddoo was taken by the Tigers, having initially been drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 2016.

    The Rule 5 draft aims at preventing franchises from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other clubs would be prepared to play them in the major leagues. If chosen, a player must be kept on the selecting team's major league active roster for the entire season.

    "If you think about it, he's gone through so much," Baddoo's mother Akilah said. "And then this opportunity came, and it was like, 'This can't be a joke. There's a plan for you. You got to know that'."

    In the least likely of places, the Tigers appear to have landed a gem, and Baddoo is making the most of his opportunity, immediately becoming a cult hero in Detroit.

    Baddoo had 233 career minor leagues games to his name, but none above Class A as he earned a place on the Opening Day roster after hitting .325 in Spring Training with five home runs. However, the Maryland native looked like a man for the big stage.

    In his opening at-bat on April 4, Baddoo homered in a memorable maiden outing for the Tigers, driving to left field in the bottom of the third inning against the Cleveland Indians.

    "I'm just living in the moment," Baddoo said post-game after becoming the ninth player in Tigers franchise history to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat and only the second to do so on the first pitch, following George Vico in 1948. "I got a good pitch to hit, and I was able to hit it in front of my family and everyone."

    If that was not enough, Baddoo continued the fairy-tale week by hitting his first career grand slam against the Twins the following day. He became the first Tiger to homer in each of his first two MLB games and the first player in major league history to homer out of the ninth spot of the batting order in his first two career games. Baddoo was also the first player in franchise history to hit a slam within his opening two games.

    Baddoo has continually showed maturity beyond his years as the rookie adds to his growing legend. Taking over Motor City, he then delivered a walk-off shot to sink his old team the Twins 24 hours later.

    His game-winning hit saw him become the first Detroit player with a walk-off shot within his first three MLB games since 1998.

    Baddoo is yet to drop off, his history-making season continuing with a homer against the Houston Astros on Tuesday. Through eight games, he took his tally to four home runs, a double and a triple. According to Stats Perform, his slugging percentage at the time – 1.043 – was the highest in American League (AL) history after eight games.

    After his RBI double against the Astros on Wednesday, Baddoo has now driven in at least one run in seven of his first nine career games, the second Tiger in franchise history to do so, following Dale Alexander in 1929.

    Since 1920, only George Shuba (eight) managed more RBIs in his first nine career games across MLB, according to Stats Perform.

    As it stands, Baddoo's slugging percentage stands at .963 (which ranks eighth all-time through first nine career games since 1901) with 11 RBI. If you combine his RBI and SLG percentage, he is one of four players to have 11-plus RBI and a 900-plus SLG over his first nine career games, after Trevor Story (13/.974 – 38/39 in 2016), Taylor Teagarden (12/1.000 – 29/29 in 2008) and Dave Kingman (11/1.105 – 21/19 in 1971).

    Baddoo was rated as Detroit's fifth outfielder before the start of the season, so how does he compare to his team-mates?

    Counting only plate appearances while playing outfielder, Baddoo's .370 average, .379 on-base percentage, .963 SLG, 1.342 OPS, four homers and 11 RBI are more than the team's other outfielders combined –.190 AVG, .277 OBP, .330 SLG, .607 OPS, three home runs and nine RBI.

    As for the team who left their prospect unprotected, Minnesota's outfielders have tallied a .263 AVG, .331 OBS and .474 SLG so far this season – numbers surpassed by Baddoo.

    Baddoo is flying the flag for Rule 5 picks – Roberto Clemente is the only player out of that unheralded draft to earn Hall of Fame honours.

    Following an 18-season career, Clemente – who died in a plane crash at the age of 38 in 1972 – was a 15-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion, 1966 National League (NL) MVP, World Series MVP and 12-time Gold Glove winner.

    Is Baddoo destined for a Hall of Fame career?

    At the same stage of their careers, Baddoo trumps Clemente in all categories: AVG (.370 to .316), OBP (.379 to .325), SLG (.963 to .500), OPS (1.342 to .825), home runs (four to one), RBI (11 to six) and runs (five to three).

    "Obviously he has the talent to do a lot of different things, I knew he'd give me everything he's got," Tigers manager AJ Hinch has said previously. "That was evident from the beginning."

  • Red Sox make MLB history, White Sox's Rodon tosses second no-hitter of 2021 season Red Sox make MLB history, White Sox's Rodon tosses second no-hitter of 2021 season

    The red-hot Boston Red Sox made history in MLB after extending their winning streak to nine games on Wednesday.

    In a midweek doubleheader, the Red Sox swept the Minnesota Twins 3-2 and 7-1 as they became the first team in history to start a season with a three-game losing streak and then immediately win nine in succession.

    After tallying two hits in game one and making a diving catch to thwart the Twins, Boston outfielder Alex Verdugo fuelled the Red Sox with three hits – including a solo homer in the seventh inning – in the second encounter.

    The Red Sox (9-3) are the only team in the American League (AL) East to own a winning record this season.

    "We did a good job," said manager Alex Cora, who returned to Boston this season after leaving the Red Sox amid the sign-stealing scandal, having guided the franchise to World Series glory in 2018. "Overall, a great day for the Red Sox. That’s a good baseball team and to win both games, win the series, it makes it special.

    "We know we have a good baseball team and we have to keep working on it, and we have to keep getting better. But days like today, they’re very gratifying."

     

    Rodon has game to remember

    Carlos Rodon threw a no-hitter for the Chicago White Sox, just missing out on a rare perfect game in an 8-0 rout of the Cleveland Indians. Rodon retired the first 25 batters he faced, leaving him two outs away from what would have been the 24th perfect game in MLB history. But Rodon lost out on joining that exclusive group when a two-strike pitch hit Roberto Perez in the foot. Rodon, though, still managed to secure the 20th no-hitter in White Sox history and the second in MLB this season. According to Stats Perform, Rodon (two wins and two hits allowed) is the first pitcher in AL history to win his first two starts of a season while allowing no more than two hits.

    Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers became the first pitcher since 1906 to have 30 strikeouts and 0 walks in his first three starts of a season. He struck out 10 in six dominant innings as the Brewers shut out the Chicago Cubs 7-0.

    The Toronto Blue Jays edged the New York Yankees 5-4 thanks to Bo Bichette and his walk-off homer. Bichette finished with two home runs as the Blue Jays clinched their series with the Yankees. The 23-year-old tied Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio for the most multi-extra-base hit games (14) in his first 87 MLB appearances. Bichette's single in the opening inning also extended his hitting streak to 11 games, matching a career high.

     

    Cubs crumble in toothless display

    After being blanked by the Brewers, the Cubs are now hitting .163 for the season. Per Stats Perform, it is the second-lowest average by any team through 12 games in the modern era, behind only the 2003 Tigers (.159)

     

    Mercedes' monster moon shot

    White Sox rookie designated hitter Yermin Mercedes delivered a 431-foot bomb against Cleveland. He launched a three-run homer off Zach Plesac during a six-run opening inning.

     

    Wednesday's results

    Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 New York Yankees
    Washington Nationals 6-0 St Louis Cardinals
    Milwaukee Brewers 7-0 Chicago Cubs
    Kansas City Royals 6-1 Los Angeles Angels
    Boston Red Sox 3-2 Minnesota Twins
    Boston Red Sox 7-1 Minnesota Twins
    San Francisco Giants 3-0 Cincinnati Reds
    Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1 San Diego Padres
    Detroit Tigers 6-4 Houston Astros
    New York Mets 5-1 Philadelphia Phillies
    Texas Rangers 5-1 Tampa Bay Rays
    Miami Marlins 6-5 Atlanta Braves
    Chicago White Sox 8-0 Cleveland Indians
    Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 Colorado Rockies
    Seattle Mariners-Baltimore Orioles (postponed)

     

    Blue Jays at Royals

    The Blue Jays (6-6) will hit the road on Thursday for the opening game of their series against AL Central leaders the Royals (6-4).

  • Blue Jays star Bichette 'starting to heat up' after matching DiMaggio in walk-off display Blue Jays star Bichette 'starting to heat up' after matching DiMaggio in walk-off display

    Bo Bichette said he is just "starting to heat up" after his walk-off home run lifted the Toronto Blue Jays past American League (AL) East rivals the New York Yankees.

    Bichette hit two homers, including the game-winning shot at the bottom of the ninth inning, in Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Yankees as the Blue Jays clinched the series in Dunedin.

    The 23-year-old tied Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio for the most multi-extra-base hit games (14) in his first 87 MLB appearances.

    Bichette's single in the opening inning also extended his hitting streak to 11 games, matching a career high.

    "I'm just starting to heat up," Bichette said. "I was grinding for a while and staying alive. I think that's part of baseball.

    "You fight until you start feeling good. I feel good. I know I have all the time in the world.

    "I'm not worried about fastballs getting by me, so that’s a good feeling to have."

    "Sometimes when you're in the box, you feel like you've got to swing right when the guy lets go of the ball," Bichette said.

    "For me, it's just about reminding myself how much time we have. We always have more time than we think."

    Entering the 2021 campaign, Bichette was the first shortstop in MLB history to have a .300-plus batting average and a .500-plus slugging percentage in each of his first two seasons (minimum 125 plate appearances in both seasons).

    "That's why the sky is the limit with this kid," added Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo.

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