MLB

Streaking Braves sweep Orioles, Reds move into wild card position

By Sports Desk August 22, 2021

The suddenly unstoppable Atlanta Braves won their ninth successive game, defeating the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Sunday to complete another sweep away from home. 

It was a staggering 18th straight loss for the Orioles, who previously endured a 14-game skid in May and are an MLB-worst 38-85 this season. 

Baltimore had their best pitcher on the mound to try and end the slump, but John Means surrendered a solo home run to Jorge Soler and a two-run double to Adam Duvall in the fourth inning for all the runs Atlanta needed. 

Touki Toussaint allowed the Orioles' only run in the bottom of the inning on a Ramon Urias double, and five relief pitchers kept Baltimore off the scoreboard after he departed. 

After going unbeaten in successive series at the Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins and Orioles, the Braves have won 13 in a row on the road. 

That road streak is the longest in franchise history and tied for the second-longest by a National League team since divisional play began in 1969, with only the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers (15) exceeding their run. 

Atlanta have not lost away from Truist Park since July 28, when they dropped a 2-1 decision at the New York Mets.  

 

Reds move into wild card position with sweep

The Cincinnati Reds hit three solo home runs, two of them by Tyler Naquin, while Vladimir Gutierrez and two relievers held the Miami Marlins in check on the way to a 3-1 victory and a four-game sweep. The win coupled with the San Diego Padres' 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies put the Reds alone in the second National League wild card slot. 

Pinch-hitter Donovan Solano's two-run homer in the eighth was the difference as the San Francisco Giants edged the Oakland Athletics 2-1 for their 80th win of the season. They have done so in just 124 games, their best pace since their remarkable 1993 campaign that saw them miss the postseason despite a 103-59 record in the pre-wild card era.

The Los Angeles Dodgers saw their nine-game winning streak come to an end in a 7-2 home defeat to the New York Mets, as the World Series champions managed just five hits off Marcus Stroman and three relievers and J.D. Davis drove in four runs for New York. 

Ty France homered to tie the game in the ninth, then gave the Seattle Mariners the lead in the 11th before Kyle Seager's three-run homer blew the game open as the Mariners defeated the Houston Astros 6-3. 

Adam Wainwright allowed just two hits and struck out nine with no walks in eight innings as the St Louis Cardinals blanked the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0. 

 

Royals light up woeful Cubs

The Kansas City Royals pounded out 16 hits in a 9-1 rout of the Chicago Cubs to complete a three-game series sweep. The Cubs have now lost 15 of their last 17 games and 21 of their last 25.

 

Miggy hits 500th

Detroit Tigers star Miguel Cabrera became the 28th player in MLB history to reach 500 home runs with his opposite-field shot in the sixth inning of a 5-3 win at the Toronto Blue Jays. 

 

Sunday's results 

Tampa Bay Rays 9-0 Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals 9-1 Chicago Cubs
Detroit Tigers 5-3 Toronto Blue Jays
Milwaukee Brewers 7-3 Washington Nationals
New York Mets 7-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants 2-1 Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners 6-3 Houston Astros
Cincinnati Reds 3-1 Miami Marlins
Atlanta Braves 3-1 Baltimore Orioles
St Louis Cardinals 3-0 Pittsburgh Pirates
Arizona Diamondbacks 8-4 Colorado Rockies
Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 San Diego Padres
Cleveland Indians 3-0 Los Angeles Angels
New York Yankees-Minnesota Twins (postponed)
Texas Rangers-Boston Red Sox (postponed)

 

Yankees at Braves

The two hottest teams in baseball collide as the New York Yankees (72-52) visit the Atlanta Braves (68-56) to open a brief two-game series with both clubs riding nine-game winning streaks. 

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    Nick Kyrgios acknowledged having his "own tactics" after overcoming Stefanos Tsitsipas in a dramatic, ill-tempered affair to reach Wimbledon's last 16.

    Kyrgios produced an outstanding display to rally after losing the first set on No. 1 Court, eventually prevailing 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (9-7) in an incident-filled match.

    The enigmatic star set the tone with an incredible outburst after a frustrated Tsitsipas struck a ball into the crowd at the end of the second set, narrowly missing a spectator.

    The Australian immediately called for his opponent to be defaulted, recalling Novak Djokovic's contentious exit from the 2020 US Open after he had accidentally hit a line judge in frustration after dropping a game.

    Kyrgios could be heard calling the umpire a "disgrace", and then, after Tsitsipas had been let off with a warning, the unseeded talent asked: "Are you dumb?"

    He then hit out at the umpire, yelling: "What are you talking about? Novak hit someone, it is the same, it happened right there. 

    "Bring out more supervisors, I'm not done. You can bring them all out, I don't care. I'm not playing until we get to the bottom of it. 

    "What happened to Novak when he hit the ball into a girl? She was injured. You can't hit a ball into the crowd and hit someone and not get defaulted."

    But the drama was far from done as Tsitsipas flew into a rage of his own early in the third, having been hit with a point deduction for wildly firing another ball towards the crowd – but hitting the scoreboard instead – after Kyrgios produced a mischievous underarm serve when holding to love.

    The fourth seed's frustration was evident as he then appeared to hit a couple of shots right at Kyrgios to boos from spectators, who vociferously cheered every point for the Australian.

    But after producing some outstanding tennis to end the aggravated Tsitsipas' hopes of winning a first grand slam title, Kyrgios said he had no problems with the Greek, whom he played doubles with at Wimbledon in 2019.

    "Honestly, it was a hell of an atmosphere, an amazing match, I honestly felt like the favourite coming in; I played him a couple of weeks ago, but I knew it was going to be a tough match," he said.

    "He's a hell of a player, I had my own tactics out there – he knows how to play me, he's beaten me once, and obviously I've had success, so it was a hell of a match.

    "I'm just super happy to be through, he was getting frustrated at times and it's a frustrating sport, that's for sure. I know you all think you can play, but it's very frustrating, whatever happens on the court, I love him."

    Kyrgios now holds a 4-1 head-to-head lead over Tsitsipas, having also got the better of the world number five on the grass at the Halle Open earlier this month.

    The 27-year-old also previously courted controversy during his run to the fourth round when he spat in the direction of a "disrespectful" fan during his first-round win over Paul Jubb.

    But Kyrgios claimed his antics serve to drive interest in the sport, adding: "It's amazing, everywhere I go I seem to have full stadiums.

    "The media loves to write that I'm bad for the sport, but clearly not."

  • Nationals pick up options on GM Rizzo, manager Martinez Nationals pick up options on GM Rizzo, manager Martinez

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    The Nationals opt for continuity despite being mired in a 29-50 season, likely their third straight losing campaign since winning the World Series. 

    "Mike and Davey have been leading the Washington Nationals for several years and it is only right to continue with them at the forefront," Nationals owner Mark D. Lerner said in a statement.

    "Mike has led us through many different phases of our organisation, and we believe his work during this current phase will pay off in the end."

    Rizzo, 61, is in his 14th year heading baseball operations for Washington, leading the organisation to four NL East titles and overseeing the acquisition of stars like Max Scherzer, Juan Soto, Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon. 

    He was named baseball's Executive of the Year in 2019. 

    Since the franchise moved from Montreal to Washington in 2005, no one has managed more games for the Nationals than Martinez, who has a 295-330 record (.472 winning percentage).

    "Davey has done a tremendous job in the clubhouse and in the dugout for five seasons," Lerner's statement said.

    "His continued determination and unwavering support of his players makes us proud. We are lucky to have Mike and Davey leading the way."

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    Rafael Nadal enjoyed serene progress into round four at Wimbledon with a stylish 6-1 6-2 6-4 defeat of Lorenzo Sonego on Saturday.

    For the first time at SW19 this week, there was little evidence of Nadal's recent fitness problems as he completely outclassed his Italian opponent.

    And on this form, the calendar Grand Slam appears a genuine possibility for the Australian Open and French Open champion.

    Indeed, it was hard not to feel sorry for Sonego – and he did appear to have the sympathy of the Centre Court crowd – as Nadal's strokes painted pretty patterns around him.

    The Spaniard remarkably dropped only two points on his own serve in the first set – both to double-faults. It was a similar story in Sonego's service games, too, as he held at the first attempt but then lost the next nine in succession.

    Such was Nadal's superiority a relieved Sonego lifted his arms to salute the crowd as he finally held serve in the fifth game of the second and was given a generous cheer.

    That small victory scarcely slowed Nadal, who wrapped up the second on his own serve and then blasted Sonego away in the opening game of the third to break once again.

    Sonego soon found a more effective way to hold up his opponent, however, appealing at length for the Centre Court roof to be closed and eventually succeeding after a brave hold and a handful of points on Nadal's serve informed officials he was capable of dragging the contest out under fading light.

    So it briefly proved, as Nadal – perhaps irked by the delay – lost his composure and was broken to love after Sonego made a noise as he approached the ball; Nadal deemed the umpire an unnecessary middle man and called Sonego over for a word, clearly upsetting the Italian.

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    Data Slam: Rafa ramping up

    This was Sonego's first meeting with Nadal, and he might have picked a better time to face this fiercely focused great. The 22-time major champion has now won 10 third-round Wimbledon matches in a row, including the past four without dropping a set. Sonego had a hard enough time merely winning a game for much of the match.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Nadal – 24/17
    Sonego – 19/17

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Nadal – 2/4
    Sonego – 2/2

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Nadal – 6/8
    Sonego – 1/1

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