MLB

Rays stay hot in MLB as Giants best Kershaw

By Sports Desk May 30, 2021

The American League (AL) East-leading Tampa Bay Rays extended their winning streak after topping the Philadelphia Phillies 6-2.

Mike Zunino and Brett Phillips homered for the Rays, who won for the 15th time in 16 games after recording their fourth successive victory on Sunday.

Zunino hit his 12th home run in the second inning, while birthday boy Phillips homered in a two-run fifth at home to the Phillies in St Petersburg, Florida.

"There's a lot of things going our way," Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. "We'd like to think we're creating some of those things.

"Guys are taking advantage of opportunities whether it's at the plate, off the mound or defensively. Anytime you go on a run like this team has been on, you've got to do a lot of things right."

The Rays (34-20) are a game ahead of the idle Boston Red Sox (32-20) in the AL East.

 

Giolito fuels White Sox

Lucas Giolito struck out 12 batters as the high-flying Chicago White Sox beat the lowly Baltimore Orioles 2-1. Giolito allowed a run, three hits and three walks in seven innings for the AL Central-leading White Sox, who have won six of seven games.

The Milwaukee Brewers blanked the Washington Nationals 3-0 after Brandon Woodruff outpitched Max Scherzer. The Brewers celebrated a fourth consecutive win behind Woodruff's 10 strikeouts and two hits across seven innings as he finished with a 1.27 ERA. Nationals ace Scherzer struck out 10 and gave up two hits in six innings.

 

Giants jump on Kershaw

It was a tough outing for Clayton Kershaw, whose Los Angeles Dodgers lost 5-4 to rivals the San Francisco Giants. The Giants got on top of Dodgers ace Kershaw after scoring three runs in the first inning thanks to Mauricio Dubon's home run. Kershaw conceded another home run in the third inning. The World Series champion allowed seven hits, five runs, three walks and two homers across six innings.

The Orioles – who have been swept in four successive series – are in a hole after matching their worst skid since 2009 following a 13th consecutive defeat. Baltimore's longest losing streak stands at 21 in 1988.

 

Pujols doing his thing

Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols hit his third home run since joining the Dodgers and 670th of his illustrious career. Pujols went deep in the ninth.

 

Sunday's results

Colorado Rockies 4-3 Pittsburgh Pirates
Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 Washington Nationals
Detroit Tigers 6-2 New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 Philadelphia Phillies
Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians 6-5 Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox 3-1 Baltimore Orioles
Kansas City Royals 6-3 Minnesota Twins
Houston Astros 7-4 San Diego Padres
Cincinnati Reds 5-1 Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles Angels 4-2 Oakland Athletics
San Francisco Giants 5-4 Los Angeles Dodgers
Arizona Diamondbacks 9-2 St Louis Cardinals
Seattle Mariners 4-2 Texas Rangers
Boston Red Sox-Miami Marlins (postponed)
Atlanta Braves-New York Mets (postponed)

 

Mets at Diamondbacks

The New York Mets (25-20) will visit the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks (19-35) on Monday. Mets ace Jacob deGrom will take to the mound against a Diamondbacks team who have lost 13 consecutive games. Merrill Kelly starts for Arizona.

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    The San Francisco 49ers prevailed in the Wild Card round as they renewed a storied rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys. Now, they will be underdogs again as they lock horns with a postseason foe more familiar to them in recent years.

    While the Niners' 23-17 upset win over the Cowboys was the first postseason meeting between the two teams since the 1994 campaign, playoff clashes between San Francisco and the Green Bay Packers have been more habitual of late.

    Green Bay and the 49ers have faced off in the postseason in every decade since their first playoff meeting in the 1995 campaign, last doing so on January 19, 2020 when San Francisco won a 37-20 rout in the NFC Championship Game.

    That scoreline carried on a trend in this matchup. The 49ers and Packers have split their eight all-time meetings in the postseason, but the Niners have won each of the last three. In those three games, they have outscored Green Bay by an average of 11.3 points (35.0-23.7). 

    Saturday's game at Lambeau Field is expected to be much closer, with most backing the top-seeded Packers to turn the tide.

    Green Bay won the Week 3 matchup at Levi's Stadium, though the Packers needed a last-gasp field goal from Mason Crosby, following some vintage Aaron Rodgers heroics, to avoid defeat.

    Rodgers is the favourite to retain the NFL's MVP award and enters this game in blistering form. 

    He has thrown for multiple touchdowns and no interceptions in each of his last seven games, the second-longest such streak in NFL history (Tom Brady, nine straight in 2010).

    The three-time MVP threw 37 touchdowns and just four picks this season, the most passing touchdowns with four interceptions or fewer in a single season all-time. 

    Yet Rodgers is going against a Niners defense playing its best football of the season. San Francisco held the Cowboys' number one-ranked offense (407 yards per game) to 307 total yards, with Dak Prescott completing only 53.5 per cent of his passes as he was pressured more than any other quarterback in the Wild Card round, coming under duress 25 times.

    San Francisco's deep defensive front would appear to have the edge this weekend, too. The 49ers' finished the regular season ranked first in Stats Perform's pass rush win rate metric - boasting a win rate of 32.6 per cent - while the Packers were 23rd with a pass protection win rate of 72.6 per cent.

    The Packers will hope the potential return of left tackle David Bakhtiari can redress the balance but if it does not then the contest could tilt in the favour of San Francisco. When under pressure this season, Rodgers completed 49.6 per cent of his passes. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts under duress, the only two to fare worse were rookies Zach Wilson (41.7 per cent) and Trevor Lawrence (45.7 per cent).

    If the Niners pressure Rodgers and get the Packers behind the chains and playing catchup on the scoreboard, then they will look to control the clock by keeping the ball on the ground with All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel and rookie running back Elijah Mitchell.

    Samuel scored the first rushing touchdown by a 49ers receiver in postseason history to put San Francisco 23-7 ahead against the Cowboys, while his 72 yards on the ground were the most in the playoffs by any wideout in the Super Bowl era.

    Mitchell rushed for 96 yards last weekend, a 49ers rookie playoff record. The Niners are 7-1 when Mitchell rushes for at least 75 yards this season and 1-3 when he plays and does not.

    A long night may be in store for the 49ers and their secondary should Rodgers stay on schedule, and that could mean history for his favourite target, Davante Adams.

    Adams has had exactly nine receptions in each of his last three playoff games. That is tied for the longest streak of postseason games with nine-plus catches in NFL history (Julian Edelman, 2015-2016).

    With at least nine catches in four of his five games against San Francisco (regular and postseason), he is a strong bet to break that record. Adams failing to do so would be a major indicator of Green Bay suffering another nightmare against a team that has continually haunted them in the playoffs.

  • Man Utd 'destroyed' by Brentford in first half and only deserved a draw - Frank Man Utd 'destroyed' by Brentford in first half and only deserved a draw - Frank

    Manchester United were "destroyed" in the first half of their 3-1 win over Brentford, with Thomas Frank claiming they only deserved a draw at most. 

    United failed to register a single shot on target in the opening period in west London on Wednesday, while David de Gea was forced into three saves from Mathias Jensen and Ethan Pinnock. 

    After Cristiano Ronaldo sent a header against the crossbar at the start of the second half, Anthony Elanga put the Red Devils ahead with their first shot on target. 

    Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford put United out of sight and secured a 300th Premier League away victory for the club, with Ivan Toney netting a late consolation for Brentford. 

    "Unbelievably proud of my team. I think we are the smallest club in the Premier League, Manchester United are probably the biggest. The way we played in the first half, I think we destroyed them," Frank told BT Sport. 

    "We should have been up at least 2-0, they didn't have a sniff, nothing. We created five, six chances and three huge chances. Man United deserved a maximum of a draw. I think they are unbelievably lucky. 

    "Of course you need to take your chances, I know all that c**p. But the performance, I'm proud of that. They changed the system against little Brentford. I'm so, so proud of my team. 

    "[It was] one of those nights, it's football. Fair play to De Gea, a very good performance. If we get those chances again one will go in the back of the net. 

    "Our intensity killed them, we showed that in the first half. We pressed them, when we had to we defended low, we won the second balls, we played behind and ran behind them. We played the Brentford way in the first half. 

    "The game opened up. They hadn't had a chance before their goal. Of course, I know that's why they pay 72 million [pounds] for [Jadon] Sancho, who's not even included in the team. That's why, that little bit of brilliance created the first goal. 

    "Of the three goals, the second is most disappointing and difficult to come back from. There were huge positives. I think the way we smashed them in the first half was fantastic, so proud of my team." 

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    Simone Inzaghi expressed his delight with Inter's reaction as his side came from behind to beat Empoli in the Coppa Italia last 16.

    Empoli stunned the Serie A leaders in the second half as substitute Nedim Bajrami cancelled out Alexis Sanchez's opener before the visitors fortuitously took the lead at San Siro when Ionut Radu deflected into his own net.

    Andrea Ranocchia levelled things up with a stunning, acrobatic stoppage-time equaliser to send Inter into extra-time in the last 16 of the competition for the fourth time in their last eight outings.

    Substitute Stefano Sensi stepped up to deliver the decisive strike after 104 minutes, Inzaghi's side now boasting 20 different scorers this season – more than any other team in Europe's top-five leagues in all competitions.

    Despite squandering an initial one-goal lead, Inzaghi was pleased with what he saw from his side as they made the quarter-finals for the 18th time in their last 19 seasons.

    "I think we had an excellent first half, where we found the goalkeeper who should be congratulated for two, or three, difficult saves," Inzaghi told Inter TV post-match. 

    "In my opinion, we deserved a few more goals, then in the second half we lost clarity, we stretched out. In the spaces, they showed the qualities they have. 

    "We went down, we changed players, we changed formation, but the boys gave everything on the pitch, they didn't give up and we go to the quarters with a lot of confidence.

    "We suffered, we went under, but I take the big reaction."

    Inter return to Serie A action on Saturday when they host Venezia.

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