MLB

Birthday boy Buehler boosts Dodgers, Judge lifts Yankees past Rays

By Sports Desk July 29, 2021

Walker Buehler celebrated his 27th birthday with a dominant performance as the Los Angeles Dodgers routed the San Francisco Giants 8-0 in MLB action Wednesday. 

Buehler improved to 11-1 as he allowed only three hits and two walks in seven shutout innings while striking out eight. 

In the meantime, the Dodgers knocked San Francisco starter Anthony DeSclafani out of the game in the third inning, scoring four times in that frame on RBI singles by Justin Turner and AJ Pollock and a two-run triple by Will Smith. 

Cody Bellinger capped off the rout for LA with a solo homer in the eighth one night after his throwing error cost the Dodgers the game. He had been one-for-35 agains the Giants this season before that hit.

Making matters worst for the first-place Giants, catcher Buster Posey left the game following the third inning after taking a foul ball of his mask. 

Manager Gabe Kapler told reporters after the game that Posey had some dizziness but was not immediately diagnosed with a concussion. 

The rivals wrap up their three-game series Thursday in their seventh meeting in a 10-day span.

 

Judge, Yankees down Rays in 10th

Aaron Judge's 10th-inning single drove in the go-ahead run as the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1. Yankees pitchers held the Rays hitless for the final six innings after Tampa Bay scored their only run on a Brandon Lowe double in the fourth. 

The Atlanta Braves could not back up a solid seven-inning start from Max Fried, falling 2-1 to the New York Mets on Brandon Drury's solo home run in the seventh after Austin Riley had tied the game with a solo shot of his own in the sixth.

Shohei Ohtani homered for the third time in four games, with his 37th of the season keying a five-run fourth inning as the Los Angeles Angels took an early lead and held on to beat the Colorado Rockies 8-7. 

Not to be outdone, Joey Votto hit a pair of home runs for the second consecutive game as the Cincinnati Reds topped the Chicago Cubs 8-2. 

 

Tigers allow seven homers, still beat Twins

Detroit pitchers allowed seven home runs while Tigers batters hit none of their own, but the visitors still managed to beat the Minnesota Twins in an NFL-worthy final score of 17-14. Every player in the Detroit lineup scored and drove in at least one run as the Tigers became the first team in MLB history to win despite being out-homered by seven or more. According to Stats Perform, teams on the wrong side of that equation had been 0-41 before Wednesday's game. 

 

Perez stuns White Sox

Salvador Perez hit a monster 438-foot home run off All-Star Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks to tie the game in the ninth inning and the Kansas City Royals would go on to defeat the division-leading Sox 3-2 on Michael A. Taylor's run-scoring single in the 10th. 

 

Wednesday's results

Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox 4-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Milwaukee Brewers 7-3 Pittsburgh Pirates
Baltimore Orioles 8-7 Miami Marlins
New York Mets 2-1 Atlanta Braves
New York Yankees 3-1 Tampa Bay Rays
Cleveland Indians 7-2 St Louis Cardinals
Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 Texas Rangers
Cincinnati Reds 8-2 Chicago Cubs
Kansas City Royals 3-2 Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers 17-14 Minnesota Twins
Los Angeles Angels 8-7 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers 8-0 San Francisco Giants
Oakland Athletics 10-4 San Diego Padres
Houston Astros 11-4 Seattle Mariners
Washington Nationals-Philadelphia Phillies (postponed)

 

Braves at Mets

The Atlanta Braves (50-52) send Drew Smyly to the mound as they wrap up a rare five-game series with the New York Mets (54-46), who will start Taijuan Walker in the game at Citi Field. 

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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.

    "There are other situations where he was not aware of the situation, where they pass the ball through him, where it was a challenge he should've won – true," Klopp said. "Every player in the league has these challenges.

    "With him, you pick it out, analyse so easy. All the experts sitting there, 'in this situation, you see it's a weakness'.

    "Honestly, I just don't get it, I just don't get that part of it – that we just accept that a world-class talent gets judged by the one thing he's not as world-class as in other things."

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  • Walk-off win to end drought 'better than you can even dream', say Mariners Walk-off win to end drought 'better than you can even dream', say Mariners

    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.

    Raleigh became the first player in MLB history to secure a postseason berth with a pinch-hit, walk-off home run.

    After only two as a rookie in 2021, this was also Raleigh's 26th homer of the year – a new single-season record for Mariners catchers.

    That it happened at T-Mobile Park put the icing on the cake for Servais, who had already been talking up his team's World Series chances after beating the Texas Rangers the previous night. 

    "The fact that we're in our ballpark and there's 40,000 people here tonight, it's better than maybe what you can even dream it could be," Servais said.

    "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."

    Servais is not alone in outlining title ambitions in Seattle, where the Mariners remain the only MLB team never to have been to a World Series, let alone won one.

    But president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto believes the adversity has only made the franchise stronger.

    "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.

    "And along the way, we found stars, we found leaders, and we found we found a team that came together.

    "I think what you see out there right now is a group of guys who believe that they can beat anybody."

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    The wait is finally over: the Seattle Mariners are returning to the MLB playoffs after 21 years in the wilderness.

    The Mariners had been enduring the worst active postseason drought not just in baseball, but in any of the four major sports in the United States.

    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.

    But now, after a late-season wobble prompted fears of a repeat of last year's agony when the M's finished two games back in the Wild Card race, the drought is over.

    Seattle had lost eight of their previous 11 games before beating the Texas Rangers on both Wednesday and Thursday – results that, combined with back-to-back defeats for the Baltimore Orioles, left the Mariners only one game away heading into Friday.

    Either defeat for the Orioles at the New York Yankees or victory for the Mariners over the Oakland Athletics would do, and after the Orioles briefly kept their season alive, the Mariners got the job done in the most storybook fashion imaginable.

    With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Cal Raleigh hit a walk-off home run to win 2-1 and send the Seattle fans into raptures as a 21-year weight was lifted off their shoulders.

    Seattle happily fell well short of the all-time record for most consecutive seasons missing the playoffs, held by the St Louis Browns between 1903 and 1943 – but there are still several miserable streaks for the Mariners to snap.

    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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