MLB

Sale ties record with immaculate inning as Yankees stay hot and Scherzer leads Dodgers

By Sports Desk August 27, 2021

Chris Sale joined Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax as the only pitchers in MLB history with three immaculate innings after helping the Boston Red Sox past the Minnesota Twins 12-2.

Red Sox ace Sale pitched 5.2 innings, striking out eight batters while allowing two runs on two hits in Boston on Thursday.

Sale stole the headlines with his nine-pitch third inning after striking out Twins trio Nick Gordon, Andrelton Simmons and Rob Refsnyder on three pitches each.

"Today was probably the best my mechanics have been start-to-finish. I really felt like I was staying on top of the baseball. I really kind of found it out in the bullpen before the game," Sale said.

Boston team-mate Bobby Dalbec homered twice for the Red Sox, driving in seven runs.

 

Judge lifts Yankees to 12th straight win

The New York Yankees extended their winning streak thanks to Aaron Judge's tie-breaking single with two outs in the ninth inning as they edged the Oakland Athletics 7-6. The Yankees have won 12 games in a row – their best run since 1961.

Another day and another win for World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers, who beat the San Diego Padres 4-0 for a three-game sweep behind Max Scherzer. Dodgers star Scherzer gave up just two hits and one walk while striking out 10. The Dodgers have now gone 11 consecutive seasons without a losing record – their longest streak since the team moved to Los Angeles.

Salvador Perez became the first American League (AL) catcher with 35-plus homers in a season since 1999. Perez's grand slam run helped the Kansas City Royals to a 6-4 victory at the Seattle Mariners.

The Washington Nationals lost 7-5 to the Miami Marlins but Juan Soto joined an exclusive club. The Nationals star recorded his second season of 100-plus walks – becoming only the third player to do so through their age-22 season along with Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Mel Ott.

 

Angels grounded again

Despite Shohei Ohtani's lead-off homer, the Los Angeles Angels were humbled 13-1 by the resurgent Baltimore Orioles, who snapped a 19-game losing streak 24 hours earlier. Elvis Peguero was charged with five of the six runs the Angels allowed in the fifth inning.  

 

Grand slam!

Struggling for form before Wednesday, the Orioles celebrated back-to-back wins on Thursday. Pedro Severino fuelled Baltimore with a grand slam and six RBIs.

 

Thursday's results 

Baltimore Orioles 13-1 Los Angeles Angels
Cincinnati Reds 5-1 Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago White Sox 10-7 Toronto Blue Jays
Arizona Diamondbacks 8-7 Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates 11-7 St Louis Cardinals
Boston Red Sox 12-2 Minnesota Twins
San Francisco Giants 3-2 New York Mets
Cleveland Indians 10-6 Texas Rangers
Miami Marlins 7-5 Washington Nationals
Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 San Diego Padres
New York Yankees 7-6 Oakland Athletics
Kansas City Royals 6-4 Seattle Mariners

 

Cubs at White Sox

Bragging rights will be on the line when the White Sox (74-55) host city rivals the Cubs (56-73) on Friday. Dallas Keuchel will toe the mound for the White Sox as the Cubs counter with Keegan Thompson.

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  • MLB: Webb pitches gem in Giants' shutout of Diamondbacks MLB: Webb pitches gem in Giants' shutout of Diamondbacks

    Logan Webb pitched two-hit ball over seven innings and pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores had a two-run double as the San Francisco Giants opened a 10-game homestand with a 5-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

    Webb walked one and struck out five and retired 19 straight batters at one point. He lasted seven innings for the third straight start.

    Tyler Rogers worked one inning and Ryan Walker struck out the side in the ninth.

    The Giants, who won consecutive games for the second time this season, have three games left against Arizona before three each with the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates.  

    LaMonte Wade Jr.’s sacrifice fly in the third inning remained the game’s only run before the Giants broke it open with a four-run eighth.

    Nick Ahmed led off with a double and moved up on an error by second baseman Ketel Marte. After Wade walked and Jorge Soler hit into a fielder’s choice, Flores doubled to left to make it 3-0. Matt Chapman was then walked intentionally and Mike Yastrzemski singled home two more runs one out later.

    Diamondbacks starter Ryne Nelson was forced to leave following two scoreless innings with a bruised pitching elbow sustained when he was hit by a line drive off Yastrzemski’s bat.

     

    Rangers win after Leiter’s poor debut

    Al Leiter Jr. struggled in his major league debut, but Leody Taveras scored the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice in the eighth inning and added an RBI single in the ninth to lift the Texas Rangers to a 9-7 win over the Detroit Tigers.

    With the teams tied at 7, Taveras doubled with one out and moved to third on Marcus Semien’s fielder’s choice and an error by third baseman Gio Urshela before scoring on Corey Seager’s failed fielder’s choice.

    Leiter Jr., the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft, allowed seven runs on eight hits over 3 2/3 innings with three walks and three strikeouts.

    Marcus Semien, Adolis Garcia and Jonah Heim homered to help the Rangers win three of four in the series.

    Kerry Carpenter drove in two runs and Javier Baez had a pair of doubles for Detroit, which is 5-9 since opening the season 5-0.  

     

    Carrasco, Gimenez lift Guardians

    Carlos Carrasco earned his first win with Cleveland since 2020 and Andres Gimenez knocked in two runs as the Cleveland Guardians edged the Boston Red Sox, 5-4.

    Ramon Laureano, Josh Naylor and Jose Ramirez each drove in a run as the Guardians improved the AL Central’s best record to 13-6 and moved to 10-3 on the road.

    Carrasco gave up two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings for his first win with Cleveland since Sept. 20, 2020. He pitched for Cleveland from 2009-2020 and spent the past three seasons with the New York Mets.

    Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his fifth save as the Guardians won three games in a series in Boston for the first time since 2000.

  • MLB: Judge's 2-run hit caps 4-run 9th as Yankees rally past Blue Jays MLB: Judge's 2-run hit caps 4-run 9th as Yankees rally past Blue Jays

    Aaron Judge capped a four-run ninth with a two-run single to rally the New York Yankees to a 6-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep.

    The Blue Jays took a 4-2 lead into the ninth with Erik Swanson making his season debut after opening the season on the injured list.

    Giancarlo Stanton led off with a home run to make it a one-run game and Gleyber Torres singled before Alex Verdugo doubled. After Oswaldo Cabrera grounded out, pinch-hitter Jose Trevino singled into right-center off Tim Mayza to tie it.

    Anthony Volpe fouled out for the second out, but Juan Soto walked and Judge drilled a 3-2 pitch down the left-field line for a 6-4 lead.

    Soto’s home run in the eighth drew the Yankees within 4-2. He had three hits, two RBIs and reached base five times.

    Daulton Varsho hit a pair of home runs for Toronto, which had won four straight.

     

    Padres’ King takes no-hitter into 7th in tough luck loss

    Michael King pitched no-hit ball for 6 2/3 innings, but Blake Perkins singled home the game’s only run as the San Diego Padres topped the Milwaukee Brewers, 1-0.

    King went a career-high 7 2/3 innings and threw 109 pitches, striking out 10 and walking two. He didn’t allow a runner past first base until the eighth inning, when Bryce Turang singled with one out, stole second and scored on Perkins’ hit to left.

    Milwaukee snapped a three-game losing streak and ended Pittsburgh’s three-game winning streak.

    Abner Uribe earned the win with a scoreless eighth, giving up a leadoff triple to Matthew Batten before he retired the next three hitters.

     

    Homer-happy Orioles sweep Twins

    Cedric Mullins belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Baltimore Orioles to a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins and a three-game sweep.

    Gunnar Henderson and Anthony Santander also went deep as the Orioles homered at least three times for the fifth consecutive game. Baltimore had a streak that long only twice before in franchise history, in 1987 and 1996.

    Albert Suarez pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his first major league appearance in seven years for the Orioles. The 34-year-old right-hander was called up from Triple-A Norfolk to take the place of Tyler Wells, who went on the injured list on Tuesday.

    Minnesota has been outscored 26-12 during a four-game losing streak.

  • Haaland, Palmer, Watkins? Assessing the Premier League's Golden Boot candidates Haaland, Palmer, Watkins? Assessing the Premier League's Golden Boot candidates

    There is a thrilling three-horse race for the Premier League title as we approach the run-in, but there is also another tussle on the cards.

    The Golden Boot is up for grabs, with Erling Haaland having not quite hit the same heights as he did last season, when he broke the Premier League record for goals, with 36.

    Manchester City star Haaland is, as it stands, level with his former club-mate Cole Palmer at the top of the competition’s scoring charts, with 20 goals apiece.

    Palmer, who will go up against his old club in the FA Cup semi-finals this weekend, moved way up in the charts after he netted four times in Chelsea’s 6-0 rout of Everton on Monday.

    But with Palmer and Haaland in FA Cup action, there are plenty of other Golden Boot candidates looking to take advantage and nudge themselves to the front of the pack.

    Using Opta data, we assess the numbers behind the players vying for this individual accolade.

    Erling Haaland (20)

    Sure, Haaland might not quite have scaled the same heights as last season, but he has still scored 20 goals in 26 league games, scoring a goal every 109 minutes on average.

    However, the Norwegian has actually underperformed his expected goals (xG) of 23.7 – that 3.7 differential is actually the biggest xG underperformance of any player on this list.

    What about Haaland’s expected goals on target (xGOT)? That metric can be used to measure the quality of a player’s finishing, and Haaland’s xGOT of 20.3 suggests the 23-year-old is about on track based on where he has been placing his shots.

    Haaland has also chipped in with five assists, giving him an overall goal contributions tally of 25. He has created 28 goalscoring chances for team-mates across the campaign.

    Of course, Haaland is a penalty box poacher – 16 of his goals have come from inside the area, while 14 of them have come with his stronger left foot.

     

    Cole Palmer (20)

    Palmer has stolen the show this season for Chelsea, and is arguably the Blues’ driving force behind their push for European football.

    Having signed from City last summer, Palmer has made an instant impact despite only playing 27 times – he averages a goal every 103 minutes, which is better than any of the other candidates featured here.

    He scored a perfect hat-trick in the first half of the demolition of Everton, before adding a fourth from the penalty spot after the break – that was Palmer’s ninth successfully converted spot-kick in the league this term.

    Unlike Haaland, Palmer has overperformed his xG (15), with his non-penalty xG coming in at 7.9, while also proving his creative talents with nine assists from 53 chances created, which ranks behind only Mohamed Salah (60) of players featured here.

    Those 29 goal contributions are matched by only one other Premier League player…

    Ollie Watkins (19)

    One goal behind Palmer and Haaland, and someone who will be looking to get ahead when Aston Villa face Bournemouth on Sunday, is England international Watkins.

    A deft chip in Villa’s brilliant 2-0 win over Arsenal last time out brought up Watkins’ 19th top-flight goal of the campaign – he is now the club’s joint-leading scorer in a single season in the Premier League, matching Christian Benteke (2012-13).

     

    What separates Watkins from Palmer and Haaland is his minutes per goal ratio – Watkins has netted every 147 minutes on average, which is 44 minutes worse off than Palmer and 38 than Haaland.

    However, with 10 assists, the former Brentford forward leads the goal contributions charts along with Palmer. Interestingly, however, Watkins’ assists have come from an expected assists (xA) of just 3.6, suggesting he has been the benefactor of some particularly excellent finishing from his Villa team-mates.

    A goal against Bournemouth on Sunday would see Watkins become just the third English player to score 20+ goals and assist 10+ goals in a 38-game season, along with Frank Lampard in 2009-10 (22 goals, 14 assists) and Harry Kane in 2020-21 (23 goals, 14 assists)

    Watkins has proved to be a deadly finisher under Unai Emery, though the trick for opposing defences could be to prevent him getting space in the area to begin with, given that all 19 of his goals have come from inside the box. Obviously, that is easier said than done.

    Mohamed Salah (17)

    Liverpool will be hoping to bounce back from their damaging defeat to Crystal Palace last week when they take on Fulham on Sunday, and key to the Reds’ clinching success in Jurgen Klopp’s farewell tour will surely be the form of Salah.

    Since sustaining an injury at the Africa Cup of Nations, Salah has not quite hit top form, but he has still netted 17 goals across 26 league appearances this term, though five of those have been penalties.

     

    With an xGOT of 18.4, Salah can point to some above average goalkeeping as a reason for a small underperformance.

    Creatively, Salah has been excellent, providing nine assists and crafting 60 opportunities, but the Reds will need him at his very best in the run-in.

    Alexander Isak (17)

    Isak was at the double in Newcastle United’s 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham last time out. He has now scored 12 goals in as many Premier League appearances at St James’ Park this season.

    His opener against Spurs saw him become the fourth player to score in six consecutive Premier League home matches for Newcastle, with only Andrew Cole (eight) and Alan Shearer (15) having longer such runs, with Isak now level with Les Ferdinand’s best such run. The only other Swede to have netted as many Premier League goals in a single campaign as Isak has this term is the great Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored 17 times for Manchester United in 2016-17.

    Only Palmer has a better minutes per goal ratio than Isak (104) of the players on this list, while he has overperformed his xG by 1.1.

    Isak has not provided quite as much creatively as others on this list, providing just one assist, but his 28.3 per cent shot conversion rate tops this list by some distance, with Palmer (24.4) next best.

    Dominic Solanke (17)

    Another player on 17 goals, and the final selection here, is Bournemouth talisman Solanke.

    His 18.1 per cent shot conversion rate may short fall of the other stars on this list, but Solanke is having a fantastic season, having become Bournemouth’s top Premier League goalscorer in a single campaign, surpassing Joshua King’s tally of 16 from the 2016-17 season.

    Only one of Solanke’s strikes has come from the spot, with the 26-year-old outperforming his 15.7 non-penalty xG, though his minutes per goal ratio of 167 is quite a stark drop-off from most of his Golden Boot rivals.

    The Chasing Pack

    Former Golden Boot winner Son Heung-min (15), Jarrod Bowen (15), Bukayo Saka (14) and Phil Foden (14) are all well in the hunt.

    The fact that 10 players are within six goals of each other shows just how tight this Golden Boot race is shaping up to be, though the chasing pack are running out of time if they are to make a late push for the award.

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