MLB

Cubs make MLB history with no-hitter against Dodgers, Vladdy reclaims homer lead as Jays stay hot

By Sports Desk June 25, 2021

Zach Davies, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel combined for a no-hitter as the Chicago Cubs blanked World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0.

The Cubs threw the seventh no-hitter of the 2021 season – tying a modern era record for most in a campaign – while making history of their own against the Dodgers on Thursday.

It was the Cubs' first combined no-hitter in franchise history after Kimbrel completed the job away to the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Cubs starter Davies went six innings without allowing a hit, striking out four batters.

The Cubs also became the first team in MLB history to throw a no-hitter (solo or combined) against a franchise with three former MVP winners in the starting line-up – Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Albert Pujols, according to Stats Perform.

 

Vladdy hits the front in homer race, Astros win again

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reclaimed the lead for the most home runs this season after helping the Toronto Blue Jays crush the Baltimore Orioles 9-0. Guerrero homered for the 24th time in 2021 – a 438-foot moonshot guiding the Blue Jays to a fifth consecutive win after Lourdes Gurriel Jr's first career grand slam.

The Houston Astros extended their winning streak to 11 games after easing past the Detroit Tigers 12-3. During their winning streak, Houston have scored 93 runs and allowed just 24. According to Stats Perform, they are the first MLB team to score 90-plus runs while allowing less than 25 over an 11-game span since the Pirates in 1911.

Kyle Schwarber fuelled the Washington Nationals' 7-3 victory against the Miami Marlins. Schwarber homered twice for the Nationals. It is the fourth time in his last 11 games that Schwarber had at least two home runs and four RBI. According to Stats Perform, he is the first MLB player to achieve the feat four times in an 11-game span since RBI became an official stat in 1920.

 

Kremer crushed in Buffalo

Dean Kremer had a game to forget against the Blue Jays. The Orioles pitcher gave up six runs, two hits and a career-high five walks in the opening inning as Baltimore suffered their 20th straight road loss.

 

Rays in wild walk-off win

The Tampa Bay Rays reclaimed the lead in the American League (AL) East thanks to a dramatic finish in their 1-0 walk-off victory against the Boston Red Sox. With two outs in the ninth inning, the Rays prevailed after Manuel Margot scored from third base on a wild pitch by Red Sox closer Matt Barnes.

 

Thursday's results

New York Yankees 8-1 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 5-1 Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays 9-0 Baltimore Orioles
Cincinnati Reds 5-3 Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Boston Red Sox
Houston Astros 12-3 Detroit Tigers
Washington Nationals 7-3 Miami Marlins
Cleveland Indians 4-1 Minnesota Twins
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-2 St Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs 4-0 Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Yankees at Red Sox

The blockbuster rivalry resumes as the New York Yankees (40-34) visit the Red Sox (44-31) for the series opener on Friday. Martin Perez starts for the Red Sox as the Yankees counter with Domingo German.

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    Kolkata Knight Riders recorded only their second win in the past 14 Indian Premier League meetings with Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

    Eoin Morgan's side swept to an impressive seven-wicket victory after Mumbai had made a strong start through Rohit Sharma (33) and Quinton de Kock (55), having been put in to bat.

    The Knight Riders made the challenge of chasing 156 look all too easy, Rahul Tripathi (74) leading the way as they reached 159-3 with 29 balls to spare.

    An opening stand of 78 was finally broken when Sunil Narine (1-20) accounted for Rohit before Suryakumar Yadav went for the loss of just five runs.

    De Kock's solid 55 ended when he mishit the ball straight to Narine as Prasidh Krishna got his second wicket.

    Kieron Pollard (21) and Krunal Pandya (12) helped to stretch the Indians' score to 155-6, and Kolkata's chase looked in a little danger after Shubman Gill was skittled for 13 by Jasprit Bumrah (2-35).

    It proved a mere blip during an impeccable innings, though, as Venkatesh Iyer and Tripathi each reached stunning half-centuries while Morgan managed seven off eight balls before being caught by Trent Boult at the ropes.

    A commanding victory was secured in style, Nitish Rana reverse sweeping for four as the Knight Riders reached their target with almost five full overs left.

    TRIPATHI LEADS MASTERCLASS

    It would be easy to blame the Mumbai attack for the ease with which their score was hunted down, Kolkata managing 22 boundaries including eight maximums from only 15.1 overs.

    However, praise has to go to the batsmen – and Tripathi in particular – for some immaculate strokes as they finished with a run rate of 10.48.

    KNIGHT RIDERS GALLOPING TO PLAY-OFFS

    Kolkata are into fourth in the table after managing just a seventh win over the Indians in 29 IPL matches.

    With three victories from four, they look to be finding form at a critical moment in the competition.

  • I'm so nervous I can barely sleep! – Verstappen's sarcastic response to Hamilton's 'pressure' claim I'm so nervous I can barely sleep! – Verstappen's sarcastic response to Hamilton's 'pressure' claim

    Max Verstappen joked he "can barely sleep" after Lewis Hamilton suggested his title rival might be feeling the pressure as he fights for a maiden world championship crown.

    Red Bull driver Verstappen leads Hamilton by five points ahead of this weekend's Russian Grand Prix, where he will serve a three-place grid penalty after colliding with the Mercedes man at Monza two weeks ago.

    This is the closest the top two have been after 14 races since the 2016 battle between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg (two points).

    While Verstappen is seeking his first title in what is his seventh season in Formula One, Hamilton has finished top on seven occasions, the first of those triumphs coming in 2008.

    The Briton was involved in a tense battle while with McLaren the previous year and, reflecting on that experience, believes he knows exactly what Verstappen is feeling right now.

    "Obviously he won't admit to it, and I'm not going to make an assumption, but I'm just saying I remember what it was like battling for my first championship," he said on Thursday.

    "The pressure definitely mounted up. It was difficult. It was intense. I was going through a lot of different emotions and I didn't always handle it the best and that's to be expected.

    "I know the pressure that comes with it and the experiences, so I can empathise with that.

    "I do believe that he will continue to get stronger, and I'm hopeful we won't have any more incidences like last time through the rest of the year.

    "I never expect a driver to back down. What's important is that we just continue to race hard and fair, and I have no doubts that we will both be professional and learn from the past."

    However, when those comments were relayed back to championship leader Verstappen, the Dutchman offered a sarcastic response.

    "I'm so nervous I can barely sleep. It's so horrible to fight for a title. I really hate it," he said.

    "Those comments just show that he really doesn't know me. Which is fine. I also don't need to know him.

    "I just focus on myself and I really enjoy it out there at the front, and hopefully we can do that for a very long time.

    "I am very chilled. It is the best feeling ever to have a car, a great car, where you can go into every weekend and you can fight for a win."

    Mercedes have triumphed at Monza every year since 2014 – no team has won more races at a single grand prix without failing – and Hamilton has the chance to reclaim the title lead should that be the case again this weekend.

    "It's very, very important, as important as it can be," Hamilton said. 

  • Barcelona president Laporta warns Koeman: If decisions have to be taken, we'll take them Barcelona president Laporta warns Koeman: If decisions have to be taken, we'll take them

    Ronald Koeman's job as Barcelona head coach does not depend on the outcome of Thursday's meeting with Cadiz, but president Joan Laporta has warned that "if decisions have to be taken, we will take them".

    The Dutchman is under growing pressure following a slow start to the campaign that has seen Barca drop points to Athletic Bilbao and Granada in their opening four LaLiga games, while also losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

    Amid reports Barca are lining up replacements for Koeman, with Belgium boss Roberto Martinez supposedly among the candidates, Koeman refused to answer any questions from reporters at Wednesday's news conference previewing the trip to Cadiz.

    Koeman instead chose to read a prepared statement in which he urged Barca fans to have patience with the process while claiming the club's hierarchy – including Laporta – was fully behind him.

    There have even been suggestions in the Spanish press that Thursday's clash at Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla could be the 58-year-old's last in charge should Barca fail to pick up all three points.

    While Laporta insisted that is not the case, the Barca chief fell short of guaranteeing that the former Netherlands boss will remain in charge further down the line if results do not pick up.

    "Koeman's future doesn't depend on the result tonight," he told El Chiringuito outside the Barcelona team hotel on Thursday. "We are with the coach. He's Barca's first team coach and what we want is for things to go well.

    "All coaches, not just Koeman, depend on results, and in Barca's case on their style of play. Koeman is our coach and we're with him today."

    Barcelona have failed to win five of their last eight LaLiga games stretching back into last season, as many as in their previous 24 matches in the competition, and are eighth in the table ahead of their game in hand.

    Koeman this week spoke out in the Dutch media about the wider issues at Camp Nou and how Lionel Messi, who departed for Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last month, papered over the cracks with his individual brilliance.

    But Laporta does not want to use Messi's shock departure, plus the subsequent exit of Antoine Griezmann, as an excuse for Barca's disappointing run of results.

    "We see that the team isn't working as we all were hoping," Laporta said. "In that sense, we'll act thinking always of Barcelona... If decisions have to be taken, we'll take them.

    "What I don't like is a conformist attitude, a certain defeatism, that can't be allowed at Barcelona. We have the team we have, but we can aspire to win LaLiga and the players say to me that we have to be optimistic.

    "We have to work, we have to fight every day, because I believe you achieve success with daily work. Less talking and more doing, more working."

    Barcelona have failed to win their last two LaLiga games against Cadiz (D1 L1). If they fail to win Thursday's match, it will be their longest winless run against the Andalusian side in the competition.

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