MLB

Trout continues bright start for Angels, Mets walk-off controversy

By Sports Desk April 09, 2021

Mike Trout continued his prolific start to the new Major League Baseball season with a homer in a third straight game as the Los Angeles Angels won 7-5 against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

With the game tied at 3-3 at the top of the fifth, Trout creamed Blue Jays right-hander Ross Stripling a projected 444 feet for a solo home run.

"That one definitely had some flight attendants working on it," Angels manager Joe Maddon joked.

In the first of their four-game series in Dunedin, Florida, Trout starred with 3-for-5 but fell a triple short of the cycle in the victory.

On Trout's form, Maddon added: "There's no surprise element to any of this. He's not doing anything new, it's actually a lot of old stuff."

Yermin Mercedes endeared himself to the Chicago White Sox fans in their home opener with a monster 485-foot home run.

The home run in their 6-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals was Mercedes' second of the season and goes down as the third-longest hit by a White Sox player in Guaranteed Rate Field history.

 

Mets walk-off controversy, Jose lift off for Astros

The New York Mets' 3-2 walk-off victory over the Miami Marlins ended in controversy and the winners admitted they got lucky.

After Jeff McNeil tied the game at 2-2 in the ninth with a home run, the Mets had bases loaded as Michael Conforto stepped up.

After two strikes, a pitch grazed Conforto's elbow pad and home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa initially appeared set to call a third strike before changing mid-motion to say the pitch hit the batter, earning the Mets the run they needed.

"Not the way I wanted to win the ballgame," Conforto said post-game. "I wanted to go up there and drive the ball somewhere.

"From my point of view, it was a slider. I felt it was coming back toward me and I turned. There may have been a little lift of my elbow just out of habit, out of reaction, and it barely skimmed the edge of my elbow guard."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly was left frustrated that they could not review the call.

"You'd think with all the replay we do that you could say, 'That ball's a strike'," he said.

The Houston Astros improved to a 6-1 record with a 6-2 triumph over the struggling Oakland Athletics, with Jose Altuve delivering a home run in their home opener after a long wait.

The Minnesota Twins won 10-2 against the Seattle Mariners, while the Boston Red Sox won 7-3 on the road to the Baltimore Orioles.

Fails for the A's

The A's slumped to a 1-7 record with their loss to the Astros, where it took them until the ninth inning to get on the board.

Grichuk grasps Trout hit

Trout's day may have been a little bit better for the Angels if not for Randal Grichuk's sensational diving catch in center in the ninth.

Thursday's results

New York Mets 3-2 Miami Marlins
Chicago Cubs 4-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Boston Red Sox 7-3 Baltimore Orioles
Colorado Rockies 7-3 Arizona Diamondbacks
Chicago White Sox 6-0 Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins 10-2 Seattle Mariners
St Louis Cardinals 3-1 Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Angels 7-5 Toronto Blue Jays
Houston Astros 6-2 Oakland Athletics

Rays against Yankees

Last year's American League champions the Tampa Bay Rays have had a slow start at 2-4 and they take on the New York Yankees (3-3).

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    Jose Altuve celebrated his birthday with a home run as the Houston Astros silenced the boo boys in a 7-4 win at the New York Yankees.

    The Astros have been booed relentlessly in their first visit to New York since the sign-stealing scandal.

    Houston were found to have stolen signs of opposition teams on the way to winning the championship in 2017, as well as for part of 2018 following an investigation last year.

    Yankees fans have made their feelings known throughout the MLB series, but Altuve answered the boos by hitting a go-ahead, three-run homer in the eighth inning on his 31st birthday.

    The Astros avoided a series sweep against the Yankees, who had their five-game winning streak snapped on Thursday.

     

    Braves end seven-year wait

    For the first time since 2014, the Atlanta Braves swept the Washington Nationals thanks to a 3-2 victory. It was a bittersweet outing for Dave Martinez, who oversaw his 411th career game as Nationals manager – a franchise record. Washington's Jon Lester also became the 17th left-handed pitcher in MLB history to record 2,400 career strikeouts.

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    Randal Grichuk had a memorable game after homering, doubling and driving in five runs as the Toronto Blue Jays rallied past the Oakland Athletics 10-4. Marcus Semien homered among his four hits for the Blue Jays, who split the series in Oakland.

    The Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox combined to score 21 runs without hitting a homer – the latter were 12-9 victors. It is the first time that many runs were scored without a homer at Fenway Park in a nine-inning game since 1961.

     

    Twins and their extra-inning woes continue

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    Ohtani homers… again

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    Thursday's results

    Houston Astros 7-4 New York Yankees
    Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 Milwaukee Brewers
    Boston Red Sox 12-9 Detroit Tigers
    Texas Rangers 4-3 Minnesota Twins
    New York Mets 4-1 St Louis Cardinals
    Cleveland Indians 4-0 Kansas City Royals
    Toronto Blue Jays 10-4 Oakland Athletics
    Atlanta Braves 3-2 Washington Nationals
    Miami Marlins 3-1 Arizona Diamondbacks
    Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 Los Angeles Angels

     

    Dodgers at Angels

    It will be an all-Los Angeles affair as city rivals the Dodgers (17-15) and Angels (13-17) meet on Friday. Slumping World Series champions the Dodgers have lost three straight games and eight of their last 10. The Dodgers will send Julio Urias to the mound, while Griffin Canning starts for the Angels.

  • Pujols' future in limbo as Angels insist 'never a right time' to part with future Hall of Famer Pujols' future in limbo as Angels insist 'never a right time' to part with future Hall of Famer

    Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian insisted there is "never a right time for something like this" after the MLB franchise designated future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols for assignment.

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    The oldest active player in the majors, the 41-year-old Pujols popped out to first in his final at-bat with the Angels in Tuesday's ninth inning before sitting out Wednesday in the team's fourth straight loss. 

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    Pujols enjoyed great success with the St Louis Cardinals, where he led the franchise to two World Series championships, one other National League (NL) pennant and six division crowns.

    A unanimous NL Rookie of the Year Award winner in 2001 when he hit .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs, Pujols made his first of nine All-Star selections with the Cardinals.

    In his 11 seasons in St Louis, Pujols won three NL MVP Awards and finished in the top five in voting seven other times. 

    He left St Louis after helping the Cardinals win the 2011 World Series to sign a mega deal with the Angels.

    After slugging 445 home runs with 455 doubles while slashing .328/.420/.617 for a 1.037 OPS in 1,705 games over 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Pujols never lived up to expectations over 10 seasons with the Angels, hitting 222 homers with 214 doubles with a .256/.311/.447 slash line for a .758 OPS in 1,181 games.

    His production dropped off significantly in the past four seasons, with 53 homers and a .239/.290/.414 slash line for a .704 OPS in 311 games.

    He only earned one trip to the All-Star game since joining the Angels and the franchise made just one postseason appearance, getting swept by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 American League Division Series (ALDS).

    "He's as professional as any player I've ever dealt with," Minasian said. "There was no fight, there was no argument; this was a conversation that went back and forth.

    "He expressed his feelings, we expressed ours; he understood where we stood on the whole situation. Things did not end bad. I gave him a big hug."

    "He's as motivated as he's ever been," Minasian added. "If the situation was different and there were at-bats for him to play here, it'd be different. But let me put it this way -- if he does go somewhere else, and pursue playing somewhere else, I would not bet against him."

    Angels manager Joe Maddon said: "Everybody will tell you the same thing; if you watch Albert work, it's pretty impressive. He's been around for a bit, he's been playing for a while, but he came to the ballpark with the same zeal on a daily basis. That's what I saw.

    "The guy wanted to play, he wants to be on the field; he does not want to be a bench player of any kind. This guy has got a lot of pride, and that's a big reason why he's going to be a first-ballot unanimous Hall of Famer."

  • Blue Jays expect Springer to miss more than 10-day IL minimum Blue Jays expect Springer to miss more than 10-day IL minimum

    The Toronto Blue Jays are expecting to wait a while before they get top offseason recruit George Springer back from the injured list. 

    Toronto placed Springer on the 10-day injured list with a right quad strain on Wednesday, with the move retroactive to May 3. 

    Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins believes star Springer will need more than the minimum length of time to return to the MLB line-up. 

    "I would expect it would take more than just the IL stint," Atkins told reporters on Thursday.

    "There's a chance I'm wrong, but based on the information that I have right now, I would expect that it would take longer than that IL stint."

    Springer had been serving as a designated hitter following his long-awaited Blue Jays debut on April 28.

    The 31-year-old has appeared in four games, hitting two home runs against the Atlanta Braves last week but going one for 10 with four strikeouts in his other appearances.

    Springer left Sunday's game after three at-bats, complaining of what manager Charlie Montoyo called only "fatigue".  

    The World Series champion and MVP joined Toronto on a six-year, $150million contract from the Houston Astros via free agency ahead of the 2021 season, the largest deal in Blue Jays history.

    His setback is just one of a number of injury issues for the Blue Jays, who put pitcher David Phelps on the IL on Thursday with a right lat strain as infielder Joe Panik had an MRI after feeling calf pain while running on Wednesday. 

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