MLB

Fried does it all for Braves, White Sox dominate Astros

By Sports Desk July 18, 2021

Max Fried did it all for the Atlanta Braves, pitching seven scoreless innings and collecting three hits in a 9-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. 

Proving Shohei Ohtani is not the only multi-talented pitcher in the majors, Fried allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out seven on the mound and going 3-for-3 with a two-run double at the plate

Fried, who had a pinch-hit, walk-off single on July 4, boosted his batting average to .333 with his offensive effort Saturday. 

In addition to their pitcher's heroics, the Braves also got home runs from new addition Joc Pederson and reigning National League MVP Freddie Freeman as they pulled to within a win of .500 at 45-46. 

 

Giolito, White Sox dominate Astros

Chicago starter Lucas Giolito held the Houston Astros to just three hits and the White Sox pounded five home runs in a 10-1 victory over the Houston Astros. 

Sixth-inning homers by Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres were the difference for the New York Yankees in a rain-shortened 3-1 win over the Boston Red Sox. 

The Milwaukee Brewers scored three times in the 11th inning against Sean Doolittle to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 7-4 and extend their division lead to six games. 

Robbie Grossman had a leadoff home run in Game 1 and Miguel Cabrera a walk-off bloop single in Game 2 as the Detroit Tigers swept a doubleheader from the Minnesota Twins 1-0 and 5-4. 

 

Ohtani runs out of gas

After a busy week as the center of attention at the All-Star Game, Ohtani turned in his worst batting performance of the year, going 0-for-5 with a season-high four strikeouts in the Los Angeles Angels' 9-4 win over the Seattle Mariners. It was only the second time in 340 MLB games Ohtani has struck out four times at the plate. The other, on Aug. 30, 2019 against the Boston Red Sox, was a 15-inning game in which he made eight plate appearances. 

 

Pirates slam Mets 

Trailing 6-0 to the New York Mets, the Pittsburgh Pirates scored five runs in the eighth inning before Jacob Stallings' walk-off grand slam in the ninth gave them a 9-7 victory.

 

Saturday's results

Detroit Tigers 1-0 Minnesota Twins
Detroit Tigers 5-4 Minnesota Twins
New York Yankees 3-1 Boston Red Sox
Pittsburgh Pirates 9-7 New York Mets
Milwaukee Brewers 7-4 Cincinnati Reds
Atlanta Braves 9-0 Tampa Bay Rays
Chicago White Sox 10-1 Houston Astros
Baltimore Orioles 8-4 Kansas City Royals
St Louis Cardinals 3-1 San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers 9-2 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Angels 9-4 Seattle Mariners
Chicago Cubs 4-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Cleveland Indians 3-2 Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres 8-4 Washington Nationals (suspended)
Philadelphia Phillies 2-2 Miami Marlins (suspended)
Toronto Blue Jays-Texas Rangers (postponed)


Astros at White Sox

After splitting their first two games, division leaders the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox will square off again in Chicago with the series on the line. 

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    Jurgen Klopp does not understand why anybody would focus only on Trent Alexander-Arnold's defending when he has "world-class talent" on the ball.

    Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold has been the subject of much debate this week after being left out of England's matchday squad to face Germany on Monday.

    Reece James started the match and Kyle Walker came off the bench, while Kieran Trippier was among the substitutes.

    James appears to be Gareth Southgate's preferred option in that position, but Walker has made 50 appearances under the Three Lions manager. Trippier has turned out 37 times for Southgate, starting in both the 2018 World Cup semi-final and Euro 2020 final.

    That leaves Alexander-Arnold – often outstanding for Liverpool – as fourth-choice and looking highly unlikely to feature at the World Cup, even if selected in the 26-man squad.

    Southgate handed Alexander-Arnold his international debut in 2018, but he has since earned just 17 caps for his country.

    While the 23-year-old's creative abilities are unquestioned – he leads the England quartet in chances created (2.4) and expected assists (0.32) per 90 minutes in the Premier League in 2022 – there are doubts around his defending.

    Klopp has accepted Alexander-Arnold has room for improvement, but ahead of Saturday's game against Brighton and Hove Albion, he also suggested "nobody mentions" when the Liverpool man defends well.

    "It's like you have a list, bad defending and good defending, and bad defending [is] massive, and the good defending [list] is like you can't even see," he said.

    "That's what I see, because I'm not dumb."

    Klopp was also keen to point out some of Alexander-Arnold's shortcomings are due to Liverpool's approach, as they are "extremely brave" in their pressing and "the pitch is too big to be everywhere".

    Yet even when Alexander-Arnold is directly at fault, his club manager believes there is too much focus on those shortcomings.

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    Cal Raleigh made MLB history to end the Seattle Mariners' 21-year playoff drought in fitting fashion – circumstances scarcely believable to manager Scott Servais.

    The Mariners entered Friday knowing either defeat for the Baltimore Orioles or a victory of their own at home to the Oakland Athletics would clinch a Wild Card place.

    Seattle were enduring the longest active postseason absence in any of the four major American sports.

    And a surprise win for the Orioles at the New York Yankees kept Mariners fans waiting just a little longer, with their team very rarely doing things the easy way even in this hugely successful season.

    But Raleigh, pinch-hitting for Luis Torrens, homered on a 3-2 pitch from Domingo Acevedo at the bottom of the ninth to clinch a sensational 2-1 walk-off win and a playoff series next weekend.

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    "We have a lot of baseball yet ahead of us. We did end the drought tonight, which is a very special feeling.

    "There's so many kids that grew up in the Pacific Northwest that don't know anything about the Mariners being in the playoffs, and now we get to show them."

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    "It wasn’t fluid. It wasn't a linear road for us," he said. "We stumbled, and we fell, and I think that made us stronger.

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    So desperate had this sequence of failure been, all but one of Seattle's MLB rivals – the Cincinnati Reds – had also won a playoff series since the Mariners' 2001 run.

    It would have been difficult to imagine at the end of that 2001 season the Mariners would not be back in the postseason until 2022; Seattle finished with a 116-46 record, setting a new American League benchmark for wins in a single season and matching the all-time MLB high.

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    They remain the only team in the major leagues never to have been to a World Series, with this their 45th season, while the Houston Astros' dominance in the AL West means Seattle's wait for a first division title since 2001 will go on.

    That is the worst run in the AL, but three NL teams – the Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates – will this year see their division droughts reach 29 years.

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