MLB

Bellinger's grand slam ignites Dodgers as World Series champs pummel Cards

By Sports Desk June 03, 2021

Cody Bellinger had a game to remember as the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers used a devastating first inning to crush the St Louis Cardinals 14-3.

Dodgers star Bellinger hit a grand slam and finished with six RBIs for the MLB World Series champions, who routed the Cardinals thanks to 11 runs in the opening inning on Wednesday.

The 11-run first inning marked the Dodgers' highest-scoring inning in regular-season play since the franchise relocated to Los Angeles in 1958.

Bellinger fuelled the Dodgers, firstly by scoring a two-run single to give the team a 3-1 lead before hitting his sixth career grand slam.

He became the first Dodgers player to drive in six-plus runs in one inning since the team's move to LA.

 

Cubs conquer Padres

Javier Baez's two-run homer guided the Chicago Cubs to a comprehensive 6-1 victory over the San Diego Padres for a three-game series sweep.

Yan Gomes hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning as the Washington Nationals overcame the Atlanta Braves 5-3. Juan Soto's two-run homer in the fifth gave the Nationals a 3-1 advantage. Since 2018, Soto has the most home runs (12) of 430-plus feet by a Nationals player.

 

Flexen endures difficult outing

Chris Flexen struggled as the Seattle Mariners were blanked 6-0 by the Oakland Athletics. Seattle starter Flexen conceded a two-run double and finished with seven hits, five runs and a homer against his name through six innings.

As the Dodgers celebrated a monster inning, Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez could not leave the field soon enough. He went two-thirds of an inning, facing 12 batters as he allowed 10 runs on six hits with four walks and a strikeout.

 

Blue Jays complete comeback in walk-off fashion

The Toronto Blue Jays rallied with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to top the Miami Marlins 6-5. Joe Panik's sacrifice fly allowed Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to score the winning run after Bo Bichette had levelled proceedings with a two-run triple.

 

Wednesday's results

Chicago Cubs 6-1 San Diego Padres
New York Mets 7-6 Arizona Diamondbacks
Baltimore Orioles 6-3 Minnesota Twins
New York Yankees 4-3 Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 Miami Marlins
Washington Nationals 5-3 Atlanta Braves
Houston Astros 2-1 Boston Red Sox
Colorado Rockies 6-3 Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Dodgers 14-3 St Louis Cardinals
Oakland Athletics 6-0 Seattle Mariners
Philadelphia Phillies-Cincinnati Reds (postponed)
Chicago White Sox-Cleveland Indians (postponed)

 

Tigers at White Sox

The lowly Detroit Tigers (23-32) will visit the high-flying White Sox (33-22) on Thursday. In an all-American League (AL) Central showdown, leaders the White Sox will look to snap a two-game skid with Dallas Keuchel on the mound. Casey Mize starts for the Tigers.

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  • MLB: Nationals rookie Herz strikes out 13 in 6 innings MLB: Nationals rookie Herz strikes out 13 in 6 innings

    DJ Herz was masterful in his third career start, striking out 13 and allowing one hit over six stellar innings to lead the Washington Nationals to a 4-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Saturday.

    Herz, a 23-year-old left-hander who made his major league debut on June 4, struck out eight of the first 10 batters and his total was the second-highest by a rookie for the Nationals since the team moved to Washington for 2005, surpassed only by Stephen Strasburg’s 14 in his debut on June 8, 2010.

    Herz did not make it out of the fifth inning in his first two starts but didn’t allow a runner in this one until Jake Burger’s leadoff single in the fifth. He struck out the side in the third and sixth innings and was lifted after throwing 84 pitches.

    He joins Strasburg as the only pitchers in major league history to strike out at least 13 without a walk in one of their first three career outings.

    Herz also is just the third pitcher since 1988 to fan at least 13 on fewer than 85 pitches. The others are Clayton Kerhsaw (2022) and Greg Maddux (2000).

    Dylan Floro, Hunter Harvey and Kyle Finnegan finished the four-hitter to seal Washington’s seventh win in eight games.

    The Marlins lost their fourth straight and dropped to 2-10 in June.

     

    Yamamoto leaves early in Dodgers’ loss

    Seth Lugo became the second 10-game winner in the majors and MJ Melendez hit a grand slam after Yoshinobu Yamamoto exited early in the Kansas City Royals’ 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Yamamoto left after two innings due to triceps tendinitis following two scoreless innings. This is Yamamoto’s first year in the majors after he signed a record $325 million, 12-year contract in December.

    He had thrown over 100 pitches in four consecutive starts entering Saturday and his scheduled start on Thursday against Texas was pushed back for extra rest.

    Lugo limited the Dodgers to two runs and six hits in six innings to join Philadelphia’s Ranger Suarez as the only 10-game winners in the majors.

    The Royals got all the offence they needed in the sixth to erase a 2-1 deficit. Vinnie Pasquantino, Nelson Velazquez and Freddy Fermin all drew one-out walks off Blake Treinen, who struck out pinch-hitter Adam Frazier before Melendez connected on the 12th pitch of his at-bat for his first career grand slam.

     

    Santander powers Orioles past Phillies

    Anthony Santander hit a pair of home runs and drove in four to back Grayson Rodriguez’s strong start as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-2 in a matchup of two of baseball’s top teams.

    Santander hit a tying solo homer in the fourth inning and his two-run blast in the eighth extended the lead to 5-2. He also added a sixth-inning sacrifice fly.

    Santander leads the majors with eight home runs in June.

    Rodriguez allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings with one walk and six strikeouts to win his third straight start.

    Edmundo Sosa hit a solo homer for the NL-best Phillies, who have lost three of four.

  • Euro 2024 data dive: Goals galore on historic day at European Championships Euro 2024 data dive: Goals galore on historic day at European Championships

    After Germany's 5-1 win over Scotland in the Euro 2024 opener, the goals continued to fly in on a busy day of action on Saturday.

    Records were broken as Spain beat Croatia 3-0 and reigning champions Italy came from behind to beat Albania 2-1.

    Switzerland also dispatched Hungary 3-1 in the other Group A meeting to ensure things are finely poised going into the second round of matches.

    The 16 goals scored through the opening four matches of Euro 2024 so far are the most netted at this point of a European Championships or World Cup since Euro '76 (19).

    Using Opta data, we take a look at some of the other standout statistics from Saturday's action in Germany.

    Hungary 1-3 Switzerland: Swiss start in style

    Switzerland have only lost one of their last 15 games across all competitions (W7 D7), a 1-0 defeat to Romania in November 2023, after opening their Group A campaign with a 3-1 victory over Hungary.

    It was a tale of two emphatic maiden performances for the Swiss as Kwadwo Duah and Michel Aebischer became only the third and fourth players to score on their European Championship debut for Switzerland.

    That first-half dominance saw both players score their first-ever senior international goal, too, in what was Duah's second appearance and Aebischer's 21st for Switzerland.

    Aebischer also teed up Duah's well-taken opener in Cologne as the full-back became the first Switzerland player ever to both score and assist a goal in the same match at the Euros.

    Barnabas Varga – who became the fifth Hungarian to score on his European Championship debut – pulled one back with his seventh goal in his last 10 international appearances, with assisted help from Hungary's ever-reliant Dominik Szoboszlai.

    Since the start of 2023, Liverpool midfielder Szoboszlai has had a hand in 10 goals across 15 international appearances (six goals, four assists), though the Hungary captain could not stop a familiar European fate for Marco Rossi's men.

    Breel Embolo's cool, late lob sealed victory to leave Hungary with just two wins from their 12 matches at the European Championships (D4 L6), a win rate of 17 per cent. Among nations with five-plus games at the finals, only Romania (six per cent) and Poland (14 per cent) have a lower success ratio.

    This win also marked a special moment for Ricardo Rodriguez, who appeared for a 22nd game at a major international tournament (Euros/World Cup) – the outright most of any player for the nation.

     

    Spain 3-0 Croatia: Young guns steal spotlight

    Spain got a statement win against Croatia in their Euro 2024 opener, beginning a European Championship tournament with a victory by 3+ goals for just the second time, after their 4-1 win against Russia on MD1 of Euro 2008.

    The spotlight was shining on Lamine Yamal, who became the youngest-ever player to feature at the Euros, capping his historic appearance for La Roja with an assist for Dani Carvajal, who became Spain's oldest-ever goalscorer in the competition at 32 years and 156 days, on the stroke of half-time.

    In Yamal (16y 338d) and Pedri (21y 203d), Spain are the first side to have at least two players aged 21 or under create at least three chances for a side in a game at the Euros since Germany against Czechia in June 2004 (Phillip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski).

    Fifteen years Yamal's senior, Morata became Spain's outright second-highest goalscorer at major international tournaments with 10, and needs only three more to equal David Villa's record of 13.

    It was not the dominant performance people have come to expect from Spain though, as they had less possession than their opponents (47 per cent) for the first time in a competitive match since the Euro 2008 final, which they won against Germany (46 per cent), ending a run of 136 such matches where they had the majority of the ball.

    On the opposite side of the field, Luka Modric became the oldest player since Lothar Matthaus to appear in the European Championships at 38y 280d, but his experience could not prevent Croatia from suffering their joint-heaviest ever defeat at a major international tournament following 3-0 defeats to Portugal at Euro 1996 and Argentina at the 2022 World Cup.

    The Croatia captain also became just the third European player to appear in as many as nine separate editions of major international tournaments, after Matthaus (nine) and Cristiano Ronaldo (10, before Euro 2024).

    Italy 2-1 Albania: Azzurri nightmare soon turns into dream start

    As the reigning champions, Italy would have been fearing the worst after conceding the fastest goal in Euros history – Nedim Bajrami scored after just 23 seconds when Federico Dimarco gifted him a throw-in.

    However, Alessandro Bastoni's 11th-minute equaliser soon settled the nerves, with this the third-earliest time a game at the European Championships has seen both teams score, after Iceland v England in 2016 (sixth minute) and Russia v Spain in 1964 (eighth minute).

    The turnaround was complete with Nicolo Barella's 10th strike for the national side, and his goal-scoring touch proved golden once more – Italy have won all 10 games in which he has found the back of the net.

    Despite not getting on the scoresheet for the Azzurri, Federico Chiesa also impressed as he became the first player at the Euros to record at least three shots, three successful dribbles (four) and win possession in the final third at least three times since Denmark's Mikkel Damsgaard against Belgium in June 2021.

    Albania's goal came from their only shot on target in the match, though it means they have now scored in back-to-back games in the competition for the first time. Now, they need to find just their second-ever win at this tournament against Croatia on Wednesday.

    The Eagles will be glad to see the back of Italy having lost all five of their previous meetings with them in all competitions. However, only three teams have ever beaten them more times, with Spain, who they face in their final group game, topping that list (eight).

  • Spalletti laments Italy attacking bravery despite Euro 2024 opening win Spalletti laments Italy attacking bravery despite Euro 2024 opening win

    Luciano Spalletti warned Italy must show more intent to attack despite their 2-1 comeback victory over Albania in Saturday's Euro 2024 victory.

    Italy won their opening match at the European Championships for a third straight time (also in 2016 and 2020 editions), after doing so only twice in their first eight such appearances (D5 L1).

    The Azzurri needed a fightback performance, however, after falling behind Nedim Bajrami's thumping strike after 23 seconds for Albania against Italy, the fastest goal ever scored in Euros history.

    Alessandro Bastoni headed level soon after, though, before Nicolo Barella's 10th international goal proved the difference to send Italy level on points with Spain at the top of Group B.

    Yet Spalletti was far from impressed with parts of Italy's game despite the Azzurri becoming just the third side to score in 10 successive Euros outings, after England in 2012 (11) and Portugal in 2004 (10).

    "We saw many good things, but they need to actually take us somewhere, otherwise they are pointless," the Italy head coach told RAI Sport.

    "There was the possibility to hurt them several times and we didn't go for it.

    "We prepared the move well, then passed it backwards. We changed our minds too quickly."

    Barella was a doubt after missing both warm-up friendlies but returned with vengeance to guide his side to victory.

    Spalletti grew frustrated when asked if Italy are reliant on midfield maestro Barella, however.

    "A national team must be able to do without anyone, because there are 26 strong players," Spalletti responded to questioning over the Inter star's influence.

    "I don't like this idea that the team depends on an individual."

    Barella, meanwhile, was delighted with Italy's response to Albania's record-breaking opener.

    "It was a bit of a strange start, an opening goal after 23 seconds could really hurt the players psychologically," Barella told Sky Sport Italia.

    "However, we wanted this victory, we should've scored more goals and fell away a bit at the end, but we started on the right foot with this win."

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