MLB

Diamondbacks snap 17-game skid, Darvish sets record as Padres down Dodgers

By Sports Desk June 22, 2021

The Arizona Diamondbacks ended a 17-game losing streak after upstaging the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 in MLB on Monday.

After almost a month, the Diamondbacks returned to winning ways behind Merrill Kelly's solid pitching display at home to the Brewers.

Kelly only gave up one run, five hits and a walk with five strikeouts as the Diamondbacks celebrated a victory for the first time since June 1.

"It's definitely more fun winning than losing," Kelly said afterwards in Phoenix, with the Diamondbacks bottom of the National League (NL) West standings with the MLB's worst record (21-53).

 

Padres' Darvish makes history

Yu Darvish became the fastest pitcher to 1,500 strikeouts in fewer than 200 games. Darvish reached the milestone in the sixth inning of his 197th MLB game, surpassing Randy Johnson – who needed 206 appearances. Darvish allowed one run and two hits as the San Diego Padres trumped NL rivals and World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2.

Jacob deGrom produced a trademark performance as the New York Mets topped the Atlanta Braves 4-2 in their opening game. DeGrom retired the first eight batters he faced – the Mets ace finishing with five shut-out innings. The two-time Cy Young award winner extended his scoreless streak to 30 innings, while lowering his MLB-leading ERA to 0.50.

 

Akin struggles against Astros

The Baltimore Orioles were routed 10-2 by the high-flying Houston Astros, who got on top of Keegan Akin. The Orioles pitcher was tagged with the loss after giving up six hits, five runs – all earned, four walks and a homer in just four innings.

 

Braves star Acuna at it again for

Ronald Acuna became the second player in MLB history to homer for the only run in a 1-0 victory on back-to-back days, according to Stats Perform. His lead-off shot in the fifth inning secured a 1-0 win over the Mets in the second game of a doubleheader.

 

Monday's results

New York Mets 4-2 Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves 1-0 New York Mets
Houston Astros 10-2 Baltimore Orioles
Cleveland Indians 4-0 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 8-3 Oakland Athletics
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 Milwaukee Brewers
San Diego Padres 6-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
Minnesota Twins 7-5 Cincinnati Reds

 

Red Sox at Rays

It will be a clash of the best two teams in the American League (AL) East when the Boston Red Sox (43-29) open their series at the Tampa Bay Rays (43-30). Boston lead the AL East by a half-game. Andrew Kittredge starts for the Rays, while the Red Sox send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound.

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    La Russa, 78, has been out since late August due to a heart ailment, which had initially forced him to step away from his role indefinitely.

    The White Sox manager has been advised by doctors not to manage again this year, after undergoing additional testing and medical procedures over the past week. It remains to be seen if he returns in 2023.

    Bench coach Miguel Cairo will continue as acting manager for the White Sox, who have under-achieved this season with a 76-75 record to be second in the American League Central.

    La Russa had returned to lead the White Sox in 2021, his second stint in charge after leading the side from 1979 to 1986, before lengthy stints with the Oakland Athletics (1986-1995) and the St Louis Cardinals (1996-2011).

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  • South Africa believed but 'came up short' as Nienaber sees Rugby Championship hopes slip away South Africa believed but 'came up short' as Nienaber sees Rugby Championship hopes slip away

    South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber accepts his team have plenty of room for improvement with just under a year to go until their Rugby World Cup defence gets under way.

    The Springboks could only beat Argentina 38-21 in the final match of the Rugby Championship on Saturday, and that meant New Zealand took the trophy.

    South Africa required a try-scoring bonus point plus a winning margin of at least 39 points at Kings Park in Durban, but the Pumas would not be rolled over in such a manner.

    The daunting title target for the Boks had been set when the All Blacks posted a crushing 40-14 victory against Australia earlier in the day.

    Before their 2019 World Cup win, the Boks won a three-match Rugby Championship. The 2020 championship was cancelled due to the pandemic, but the All Blacks have now carried off the title in 2021 and 2022, this time around serving to ease some of the pressure on coach Ian Foster.

    It was tight this year, with New Zealand and South Africa both winning four of six games, but the All Blacks managed one more bonus point and a superior points difference.

    Nienaber is already looking forward to November away games against Ireland, France, Italy and England, as South Africa look to gather themselves for a big push into next year. The World Cup begins in September 2023 in France.

    "We are not there yet, we need to find consistency," Nienaber said. "In that regard, we will get a good idea where we are on the end-of-year tour.

    "We play the number one [Ireland] and number two [France] in the world in the first two games of the tour. So it will be a challenging tour for us."

    South Africa had not scored 39 points in a match, let alone won by that margin, since a 40-9 defeat of Georgia in July 2021.

    They last beat Argentina by such a hefty points margin in 2013, when posting a 73-13 landslide win, but the Pumas are far more competitive nowadays, as wins over Australia and New Zealand in this championship showed.

    Nienaber said his players still felt they could pull off the improbable against Argentina when they took to the field.

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    As Portugal cruised to a comfortable 4-0 win over Czech Republic, Luis Enrique's side failed to make the most of their superiority in Zaragoza and slumped to a first defeat since the 2021 Nations League final loss to France.

    Spain had great difficulty converting possession into a goal threat, at no point in the first half looking likely to cancel out Manuel Akanji's opener.

    Marco Asensio did inspire Jordi Alba's equaliser early in the second half, but an Eric Garcia own goal almost instantly had them playing catch up again and a second equaliser never materialised.

    Despite their dominance of the ball, Spain struggled to carve out chances and were behind in the 21st minute as Akanji met Ruben Vargas' corner with a header that found the top-right corner.

    The only other first-half shot on target for either team arrived just before the break, Unai Simon forced to keep Xherdan Shaqiri's effort out at his near post after the winger's incisive run.

    It took 55 minutes for Spain to muster an accurate attempt and it brought the equaliser, with Alba hammering home after Asensio released him at the end of a brilliant solo run.

    But the visitors quickly restored their lead – Garcia ultimately knocking into his own net following Akanji's flick-on from another Vargas corner.

    La Roja played most of the final 30 minutes camped in Switzerland's half, but their only clear opportunity saw Yann Sommer get down to thwart Carlos Soler and seal victory in stoppage time.

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