Burns holds lead at AT&T Byron Nelson as local favourite Spieth lurks

By Sports Desk May 15, 2021

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  • Pujols hits 702nd career home run in final regular season home game, Trout goes deep in Angels win Pujols hits 702nd career home run in final regular season home game, Trout goes deep in Angels win

    Albert Pujols hit a home run in his final regular season home game as a trio of St Louis Cardinals legends were honoured in a 7-5 loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

    Pujols, 42, drove in the first runs of the game with a two-run double in the first inning, and with his next at-bat, he connected on the 702nd home run of his career to score another two runs. Only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) have ever hit more homers in their career, and with his three RBIs, he joined Ruth with the second-most ever (2214), trailing only Aaron (2297).

    Starting on the mound for the Cardinals was another future Hall-of-Famer, 41-year-old Adam Wainwright, who was being caught behind the plate by 40-year-old Yadier Molina as the two added one more to their record number of starts together.

    Unfortunately for Wainwright his final regular season start at Busch Stadium was less of a fairytale ending than Pujols', giving up six runs in four-and-two-thirds innings before all three Cardinals icons were pulled from the game together for a standing ovation.

    Bryan Reynolds finished two-for-five at the plate for the Pirates, and the center-fielder hit his 27nd home run of the season to add some breathing room in the seventh inning, after Ben Gamel's three-run blast in the second frame.

    Trout hits homer in Angels win

    Three-time American League MVP Mike Trout moved up to fourth in this season's home run standings as he knocked his 39th in the Los Angeles Angels' 8-3 home win against the Texas Rangers.

    Trout's 409-foot blast came in the fourth inning after the Angels piled on six runs in the opening frame, and with three games left he only needs one more home run to reach 40 for the third time in his 12 seasons.

    Nobody in the top-20 for home runs this season has played fewer than Trout's 116 games, with the rest of the top-five all totaling at least 153 appearances.

    Langelliers, Kaprielian carry the A's

    Rookie Shea Langelliers and starting pitcher James Kaprielian were both excellent in the Oakland Athletics' 10-3 win against the Seattle Mariners.

    Facing reigning Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray on the mound, the Athletics figured him out in the fourth inning, with Langelliers bombing a big 423-foot home run to left-field. It was one of two homers on the day for the 24-year-old catcher in his first season, also hitting one in the ninth inning for his first ever multi-homer day.

    On the mound, Kaprielian was just as good, giving up only one hit and two walks in six scoreless innings, striking out seven batters.

  • Hughes beats Straka in a playoff to secure Sanderson Farms Championship title Hughes beats Straka in a playoff to secure Sanderson Farms Championship title

    Mackenzie Hughes held his nerve in a playoff against Sepp Straka to secure the Sanderson Farms Championship with a score of 17 under.

    It is the second PGA Tour win of the 31-year-old Canadian's career, with nearly six years passed since his first win back at the RSM Classic in 2016.

    This win was all the more unlikely after shooting a 71 on Thursday, but he followed it with a 63 on Friday for the lowest round of the week, before finishing with 68 and 69 on the weekend.

    He had to fend off the challenge of Straka to get it done, who was the only player this week to shoot all four rounds in the 60s.

    Straka rose to a share of the lead after four birdies over the space of five holes on his front-nine, and another pair of back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th to tie things up for the last few holes.

    Hughes had a makeable birdie putt on the 17th to take the lead, but he narrowly missed it, before hooking his drive on the 18th into a position where salvaging a par was the best-case scenario.

    From deep in the rough, he sent his second shot on the par-four over the back of the green, requiring an up-and-down to force a playoff. His long putt from off the green was excellent, leaving him a four-footer for par and he made no mistake.

    Hughes again failed to make the green in regulation as they replayed the 18th, but he again saved par as Straka missed a 10-footer for birdie. On the second playoff hole, replaying the 18th one more time, Hughes figured it out, landing his approach within 10 feet and converting the birdie for the win.

    Speaking to NBC in the moments after his win, he called being greeted by his wife and young son to celebrate a victory "something I've dreamed about since I had my first boy".

    "I kept telling myself the whole week that I was going to do it, and that was the only thing I saw in my mind," he said. "Those par-saves down the stretch… I'd say that kind of describes my game a bit, that grit and perseverance."

    There was strong South African representation at the top of the leaderboard, with Garrick Higgo alone in third at 16 under while Dean Burmester took sole possession of fourth at 15 under.

    Argentina's Emiliano Grillo was joined by Americans Nick Hardy, Keegan Bradley and Mark Hubbard in a tie for fifth at 13 under, and defending champion Sam Burns finished nine shots off the pace at eight under in a tie for 30th.

  • Vikings need to focus on Jefferson before they rue missed opportunities Vikings need to focus on Jefferson before they rue missed opportunities

    Victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could not have come in a more dramatic style for the Minnesota Vikings, who took the lead with 24 seconds remaining on Sunday and saw the New Orleans Saints endure a double doink with the last kick of the game.

    The 28-25 result takes the Vikings to 3-1 for the season, with the last two wins coming by less than a single score, needing two fourth-quarter touchdowns against the Detroit Lions in Week 3.

    In the opening weeks, Justin Jefferson's impact on the offense was limited. Two touchdowns and 184 receiving yards against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 did not go unnoticed, with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions often putting an extra man on him to quell his impact.

    Those two games combined for just 62 receiving yards and only 50 per cent completion when Jefferson was the targeted receiver. Against the Saints, and Marshon Lattimore, the pendulum swung in the opposing direction again.

    Lattimore, one of the league's premier cornerbacks, is not a player who needs an additional defender alongside him, but he lost the matchup in London against Jefferson despite numerous opportunities to stand out – Kirk Cousins targeting his receiver on 13 occasions, more than any other game this season.

    Ten of those were successful, with Jefferson notching up 147 receiving yards, including a stunning 41-yard reception that teased the sort of partnership he can have with his quarterback, and punching in a touchdown run for three yards.

    That was not just a targeted opportunity, though, with head coach Kevin O'Connell detailing after the game how the plan was to always get Jefferson involved as much as possible after a frustrating few weeks.

    "No matter what we had to do today, within reason, within our normal offense, we were going to get him going," O'Connell said.

    "We knew he was going to be matched up against a premier player at his position in Marshon Lattimore. I have a ton of respect for him, how he plays and competes. But we wanted to give Justin some more one-on-one opps when we saw them. Obviously, it allowed him to help the other guys as well on some of those early downs."

    One on one, Jefferson is a player who can win his battles with the best, as shown with his matchup against Lattimore, but he needs to be brought into the game more by Cousins. While the receptions and the yards were there against the Saints, it could, and should, have been a more comfortable match.

    Cousins knows as much, saying after the game: "Twice I think Justin was open for touchdowns and we didn't connect. The plays are there to make, and we didn't connect. That's disappointing."

    Jefferson, for his part, needs to demand the ball and the big plays more. Now in his third year with the Vikings offense, he has taken leadership responsibilities this season and it has shown, not letting the frustrations in the past two weeks knock him out of his stride and responding in style against the Saints.

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