MLB

Feisty Nationals prevail against Phillies, top MLB prospect Franco impresses in debut as Rays fall

By Sports Desk June 23, 2021

Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals prevailed 3-2 in a contentious matchup with the rival Phillies that saw Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi ejected from the game after a dispute with the Washington pitcher. 

Girardi took advantage of the MLB's new provision cracking down on pitchers for use unlawful substances that help improve grip and spin on the ball, requesting that the three-time Cy Young Award winner be checked by the umpires during the fourth inning after he already had been examined and cleared after the first and third innings. 

The final check infuriated Scherzer, who threw his hat and glove to the ground and began to unbuckle his belt before being declared clean again.

"I'll take off all my clothes if you want to see me," Scherzer told reporters afterward. "I've got nothing on me."

After striking out J.T. Realmuto to end the fifth inning, Scherzer stared into the Phillies' dugout as he walked off the field and Girardi emerged from the dugout to shout at the veteran pitcher, leading to his immediate ejection. 

That was also the end of the night for Scherzer thanks to his high pitch count (106), but he looked strong in his first appearance since leaving a June 11 start early with a groin injury.

Scherzer allowed just two hits, one of them a long solo home run by Bryce Harper that accounted for Philadelphia's only scoring against the Nationals ace. 

 

Red Sox top Franco, Rays

The Boston Red Sox spoiled the MLB debut of top prospect Wander Franco and handed the Tampa Bay Rays their seventh straight loss in a 9-5 victory at Tropicana Field. The 20-year-old Franco was impressive, tying the game at 5-5 in the fifth inning with a three-run homer for his first major league hit, but the Rays surrendered four runs in the 11th to lose at home to their rivals. According to Stats Perform, Franco is the second player in history to hit a game-tying three-run homer or grand slam in his MLB debut, after Kosuke Fukudome of the Chicago Cubs did it in 2008.

The San Diego Padres got home runs from Jake Cronenworth and pinch-hitter Kim Ha-seong to beat Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 for their sixth consecutive win. 

Zack Greinke led the Houston Astros to their ninth straight win, 3-1 over the Baltimore Orioles, to maintain a one-game division lead over the Oakland Athletics. 

 

Mets lose Stroman, game

The New York Mets managed only two hits while striking out 12 times in a 3-0 loss to Charlie Morton and the Atlanta Braves and saw starting pitcher Marcus Stroman depart at the start of the second inning with hip soreness. 

A day after breaking their 17-game losing streak, the Arizona Diamondbacks reverted to form, collecting just two hits in a 5-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

 

HR champ Voit is back

Luke Voit returned from the injured list with a bang, as the 2020 MLB home run leader hit a monster 423-foot blast on the first pitch he saw since May 25 after being sidelined with an oblique injury in a 6-5 New York Yankees loss to the Kansas City Royals. 

 

Tuesday's results

Atlanta Braves 3-0 New York Mets
Houston Astros 3-1 Baltimore Orioles
Chicago Cubs 7-1 Cleveland Indians 
Oakland Athletics 13-6 Texas Rangers
Milwaukee Brewers 5-0 Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres 3-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
Cincinnati Reds 10-7 Minnesota Twins
Seattle Mariners 2-1 Colorado Rockies
Detroit Tigers 8-2 St Louis Cardinals
Washington Nationals 3-2 Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals 6-5 New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox 9-5 Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Miami Marlins
San Francisco Giants 5-0 Los Angeles Angels

 

Giants at Angels

Shohei Ohtani will face MLB's best team as he takes the mound for the Los Angeles Angels against Kevin Gausman and the San Francisco Giants.

Related items

  • Norrie wins Los Cabos Open for maiden ATP Tour title Norrie wins Los Cabos Open for maiden ATP Tour title

    World number 30 Cameron Norrie has claimed his maiden ATP title after defeating Brandon Nakashima in straight sets in the final of the Los Cabos Open on Saturday.

    British top seed Norrie triumphed 6-2 6-2 in one hour and 23 minutes as he marks another milestone in his career-best season.

    Norrie, 25, now has the most wins on the ATP tour this year, going past world number one Novak Djokovic with 35.

    The 19-year-old American could not handle Norrie's first serve, while the Briton converted five of his eight break points.

    Norrie served for the match with Nakashima pressing him in a tight final game but the top seed rounded out a breakthrough win.

    Norrie won 21 of 29 points on his first serve, going at 72 per cent, with Nakashima breaking him once.

  • Pooran and Holder guide West Indies to series-levelling ODI victory over Australia Pooran and Holder guide West Indies to series-levelling ODI victory over Australia

    Nicholas Pooran has guided West Indies to a series-levelling One Day International victory despite a scare in the run chase against Australia in Bridgetown on Saturday.

    Akeal Hosein (30-3) and Alzarri Joseph (39-3) were exceptional in reducing Australia to 45-6 before the tourists rallied to 187.

    But the West Indies stumbled in their chase, slumping to 72-5 before Pooran (59* from 75) combined with Jason Holder (52) for a decisive 93-run sixth-wicket stand.

    Player of the Match Pooran was crucially dropped by Moises Henriques off Adam Zampa on 26, before making his eighth ODI half-century.

    Mitchell Starc, who finished with 26-3 from 10 overs, had dismissed Evin Lewis (1) and Darren Bravo (duck), before trapping Holder LBW but Pooran guided the hosts home.

    Earlier, Australia struggled with the bat, with Hosein dismissing Henriques, stand-in captain Alex Carey and Ashton Turner in an excellent spell.

    Matthew Wade (36) and Adam Zampa (36) rallied for Australia, before an excellent late cameo from second-gamer Wes Agar (41 from 36).

    POLLARD HAILS 'SCRATCHY' POORAN

    West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said allowing Australia to reach 187 was disappointing but hailed Pooran's determination after a "scratchy" knock.

    "What was good this time around was the fight by the guys, Nicholas Pooran getting that half-century and Jason Holder as well," Pollard said.

    "Pooran has been looking like his old self again. He was a bit scratchy tonight but sometimes that's what you need in a game like this. You want someone to scrap and I think they both scrapped well for us to come through for a victory."

    The West Indies avoided suffering back-to-back home defeats for the first time since August 2019.

    Pooran's innings also took him past 1,000 ODI runs, becoming the 39th West Indian player to achieve the feat and the joint-third fastest for the side (Viv Richards – 21, Gordon Greenidge – 23, Ramnaresh Sarwan – 27).

    AUSSIES STILL BULLISH AHEAD OF DECIDER

    Australia are unbeaten in their past six ODI bilateral series (W4, D2) against West Indies and missed out on the opportunity to seal another victory but Carey remained bullish ahead of Monday's decider.

    "Bring on game three," Carey said. "The batting group has a bit to prove to get a good score on the board for our quicks but our quicks and spinners are doing a great job."

    The stand-in skipper bemoaned Australia's top-order batting, with none of the top six scoring more than 16.

    "Obviously it doesn't help when you're five for not-a-lot," he said. "Wade and the bowlers did a great job to get us to a total and we were back in the game.

    "We took some early wickets again and the belief was there. We created opportunities and we were in the game in the back end. Unfortunately we couldn't quite close it out and it proved we were 20 or 30 short."

  • Solskjaer's new contract: Ole stays at the wheel, but can he drive Man Utd to success? Solskjaer's new contract: Ole stays at the wheel, but can he drive Man Utd to success?

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's working relationship with the club he loves is set to carry on until at least 2024 after he signed an extension with Manchester United.

    The deal, a pre-season boost as United prepare for a new campaign, came with a glowing endorsement from outgoing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who talked up the "foundations in place for long-term success on the pitch" in the official statement released by the club.

    There are obvious reasons to be so optimistic, too, considering the Red Devils finished runners-up to Manchester City in the Premier League and also reached the Europa League final.

    However, as has become a worrying trend of late, they still came up short in the quest for silverware. Solskjaer's new deal, plus the signing of Jadon Sancho, shows a high degree of faith in the current regime, but also shortens the list of excuses if the near-misses continue.

    Partnerships in football can sour swiftly if things do not pan out as hoped – the previous manager to occupy the home dugout at Old Trafford knows that only too well...

    A sign of better times after life under Mourinho

    Solskjaer has a win rate of 52.6 per cent in the Premier League since taking charge. His average of 1.86 points per game sits him third on the United list since the competition's inception, behind an undoubted club legend and a former boss who knows an extension is not always a guarantee of sticking around.

    Jose Mourinho triumphed in exactly 50 of his 93 league games in charge. In contrast to the man who replaced him, the Portuguese had early success with United as well, winning the EFL Cup and the Europa League in his first season.

    Those seemingly solid foundations subsided quickly, though. He was handed an extension in January 2018 yet was gone inside a year, dismissed amid dissatisfaction with not just results on the pitch but also the style of play. A defeat to Liverpool at Anfield proved to be the final straw.

    Mourinho fell seven games short of his Premier League century with the Red Devils, caught out by his entrenched views on how the team should be set up as he seemingly failed to grasp the club's traditions.

    Solskjaer now has his hundred within sight, a number that seemed highly improbable when he flew in from Molde to answer United's SOS (Save Our Season) call. The trip to Wolves on August 29, United's third outing in 2021-22, following on from games against Leeds United and Southampton, will see him reach three figures in the Premier League. 

    In doing so, he will become the first manager to make it to the milestone with United since Alex Ferguson. Matching his league success rate of 65.2 per cent may appear a tall order, but the team have been trending in the right direction after mixed times under the stewardship of more illustrious names.

    United's 73 league goals they scored last term were the highest tallied in the post-Ferguson era, while 12 away wins in the top flight were also the most since the Scot stepped aside. All they need to do now is work out a way to get over the hump, whether that be at home or abroad.

    Finding the balance in the quest for success

    Upon his arrival in December 2018, Solskjaer cited the "very talented squad" at his disposal. That group which struggled for points in the dying embers of Mourinho's reign went unbeaten in his first 12 league games, a run that helped the caretaker stick around in the job for a while longer.

    A Champions League away win over Paris Saint-Germain provided further ammunition to suggest the Norwegian should be retained on a permanent basis (he would receive a three-year deal). Marcus Rashford scored the winner from the penalty spot on that famous night in the French capital, one of his 52 goals under Solskjaer.

    No player has managed more than the England international, who also tops the list for appearances (128). Mason Greenwood – another product of the academy system that remains so highly valued by both club officials and supporters – has 29 goals in 105 appearances.

    There have been hugely successful signings, too, with Bruno Fernandes (40 goals in just 80 games) the pick of the bunch. Edinson Cavani, who scored 17 times in the 2020-21 season, proved an astute bit of business as well, a free transfer that paid off spectacularly as a much-needed focal point in the forward line.

    Rashford, Greenwood, Fernandes and Cavani demonstrate the "good balance" within the squad that Solskjaer mentioned in the announcement of his new contract. Sancho joining from Borussia Dortmund only adds even greater depth to the attacking options, having returned to Manchester – albeit the other side of the divide – after dazzling during his time in the Bundesliga.

    A centre-back, quite possibly Raphael Varane, would help bolster the back-line that gave up 44 league goals in the previous season, but Solskjaer has plenty to work with already.

    He spoke both prior to the end of the league season and also in the aftermath of losing on penalties to Villarreal in the Europa League showpiece about the need to strengthen the squad, calling for two or three high-profile signings.

    Sancho is certainly one of those, while Varane would tick that box as well, so it seems the much-maligned owners board are set to grant him his wish.

    United have shown faith in Solskjaer throughout and now he needs to repay them in the only way possible – by winning trophies.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.