MLB

Tucker sets up Astros win over Mets, Sears keeps up hot start

By Sports Desk June 29, 2022

Kyle Tucker led the way to set up strong performances from Yordan Alvarez and Framber Valdez for the Houston Astros, who secured a 9-1 win over the New York Mets on Tuesday.

Tucker crushed a three-run home run off Carlos Carrasco at the top of the first inning, with the Astros taking the eventual 4-0 lead.

Leading the team for batting average (.321) and OBP (.415), and the major leagues for OPS (1.082), Alvarez reached base five times in claiming three hits and two RBIs.

In contrast to Carrasco for the Mets, Valdez was solid on the mound, striking out five and giving up six hits to pitch eight scoreless innings, with Enoli Paredes cleaning up in the last.

The Astros claimed the third of five games in this six-game New York stand with the win, before heading back to Houston to play the American League-leading Yankees.

Sears scorches A's in Yankees win

The Yankees maintained their lead in the American League (AL) and extended their record for the season to 55-20, defeating the Oakland Athletics 2-1.

J.P. Sears was in impressive form in only his second major league start, limiting the A's to three hits, while striking out and walking one each over 78 pitches, before he was pulled during the sixth inning.

Jose Trevino provided early support with an RBI single in the first off Frankie Montas, before Marwin Gonzalez homered in the second.

Polanco returns as Twins, Guardians split double-header

Jorge Polanco drove in three runs in his first game back from injury, as the Minnesota Twins claimed a 6-0 win in Tuesday's second game against the Cleveland Guardians.

Having lost 3-2 in the early game, the Twins restored their lead over the Guardians in the AL Central to three games, with Polanco scoring a two-run home run off rookie Konnor Pilkington in the second inning.

Byron Buxton claimed his 20th home run for the season, going long off Anthony Castro in the ninth inning. Jose Miranda also connected in the sixth inning for the Twins.

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  • 'It's out of my price range' – Aaron Judge rules out $3million-plus auction bid for 62nd home run ball 'It's out of my price range' – Aaron Judge rules out $3million-plus auction bid for 62nd home run ball

    Aaron Judge is resigned to being an intrigued observer when the ball he struck for a record-breaking 62nd home run goes up for auction – declaring he cannot afford to join the bidding race.

    The 30-year-old set a single-season Yankees and AL home-run record by reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961.

    Judge became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season, and his feat belongs in baseball legend, making the ball that saw him set the record on October 4 especially valuable.

    It occurred at the home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, with the spectator at Globe Life Field that caught the ball striking lucky by guaranteeing himself an apparent fortune.

    According to ESPN, that man, Cory Youmans, decided to put the ball in the hands of Goldin Auctions "after weeks of a lot of deep conversations" with his wife and lawyer.

    Youmans said: "It seems fair in the sense it gives anyone that is interested and has the means the opportunity to own it. As a fan, I'm curious to see what it's worth, who buys it and what they do with it."

    Youmans is said to have already turned down $3million for the ball, with his lawyer, Dave Baron, suspecting the final selling price could be "significantly higher based on New York, the New York fan base and how crazy it could get at an auction".

    That rules Judge out of contention, as he said the ball is "out of my price range right now".

    The ball is listed with a starting bid of $1million, with the auction due to get under way on November 30.

    Judge said of the seller's choice: "He caught the ball, he's the one that made the play out there in left field, so it's his right to do what he wants with it. Hopefully he's making the right decision for him and his family.''

    The ball's value will not have been harmed by Judge winning the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award ahead of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.

  • History-making Judge and Goldschmidt crowned MVPs for the first time History-making Judge and Goldschmidt crowned MVPs for the first time

    Aaron Judge has capped his historic season after being crowned the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) ahead of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.

    St Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt was also voted the NL MVP, beating out Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres and teammate Nolan Arenado for the award.

    Judge's MVP, the first in his career, came after he broke the single-season Yankees and AL home-run record, reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961. He became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season.

    The Yankees outfielder led the AL in home runs (62), RBIs (131), slugging percentage (.686), on-base percentage (.425), OPS (1.111) and total bases (391), while he chased an AL Triple Crown down the stretch, but ultimately fell short as Minnesota Twins' utility Luis Arraez (.316) won the batting title.

    Judge received 28 first-place votes for 410 points, ahead of Ohtani (280) and Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez (232).

    The 30-year-old already had two top-five MVP finishes on his resume, in 2017 and 2021, winning Silver Slugger awards in both years.

    Yankees manager Aaron Boone said: "I’m grateful that I got to witness it first-hand and share in his magical year, especially given how much respect I have for him as a player and as a person."

    Goldschmidt looked like the NL MVP since the All-Star break, batting .317 while leading the NL in OPS (.982) and slugging percentage (.578).

    The Cardinals first baseman's 35 home runs finished one off his career-high, set in 2013 and equalled in 2017, giving him his seventh season with at least 30 dingers.

    Goldschmidt won the MVP with 380 voting points, ahead of Machado (291) and Arenado (232). It is the sixth time in 35-year-old Goldschmidt's career that he has finished in the top-six for the award.

    "I think definitely as you age, you have to adapt, and that's some of what I've tried to do. I've tried to get ahead of it," Goldschmidt told MLB Network. "I think it was my best season."

  • Harper to have elbow surgery, timeline for 2023 return uncertain Harper to have elbow surgery, timeline for 2023 return uncertain

    Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper will have surgery on his right elbow next week although the exact operation and recovery timeline is still uncertain.

    Harper will have surgery on November 23 to address the tear in the ulnar collateral ligament he suffered back in April.

    Phillies president Dave Dombrowski said on Wednesday the surgeons won’t know until surgery begins if they’ll be performing Tommy John surgery or a less intensive repair of the existing UCL.

    ''We have no prognosis, really, until he goes into the elbow and takes a look at it,'' Dombrowski said of the surgeon. '

    'We'll have something at that time with the surgery and the anticipation something will happen. I would think it will slow him down for the season. We'll know more next week.''

    If he does have Tommy John surgery, recovery could force him to miss the first few months of the 2023 season. If it’s just a repair, he may only miss the season’s first week or two.

    After injuring his elbow in April, Harper switched from right field to designated hitter to avoid the wear and tear of throwing.

    He received a platelet-rich plasma injection shot in his elbow in May in an effort to repair it. But on Monday, Harper met with renowned orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who determined surgery was necessary because the tear did not heal on its own.

    ''We always knew that was a possibility,'' Dombrowski said. ''We've known that for months.''

    Despite playing in pain and missing two months with a broken thumb sustained when he was hit by a pitch, Harper still excelled in helping the Phillies reach the World Series, where they lost to the Astros.

    In 99 games, the two-time NL MVP slashed .286/.364/.514 with 18 home runs, 28 doubles, 65 RBIs and 63 runs. He hit six more homers in 17 playoff games, and was named the NLCS MVP after hitting a dramatic game-winning homer in the series-clinching victory over the Padres.

    ''You don't ever want to lose Bryce, you really don't,'' Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. ''He's one of the best hitters in baseball, if not the best.

    "We spent a lot of time last year without him. Guys responded. It gave opportunities to other people to step up and they did. While we will be missing him, and looking forward to getting him back, it'll give somebody else an opportunity.''

    The Phillies open the season March 30 at Texas.

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