MLB

Yankees flip Wild Card race with Red Sox sweep, Brewers clinch second title in four years

By Sports Desk September 27, 2021

The New York Yankees are in pole position in the American League (AL) Wild Card race thanks to a sweep of rivals the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

An eighth-inning rally fuelled the Yankees to a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox and a sixth consecutive win in MLB.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer, while Aaron Judge doubled home two runs as the Yankees seized control from the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card chase.

Stanton became the first Yankees player with 10-plus RBI in a three-game series at Fenway Park, according to Stats Perform. The previous record for a Yankee was held by Joe DiMaggio and Hideki Matsui (nine).

With the three-game sweep, the Yankees (89-67) now lead the Red Sox (88-68) by one game for the top AL Wild Card berth with six games remaining, while the Toronto Blue Jays (87-69) are two games adrift following their 5-2 success against the Minnesota Twins.

 

Brewers crowned NL Central champs

The Milwaukee Brewers secured their second National League (NL) Central title in four years following an 8-4 win at home to the New York Mets. Willy Adames led the way with a two-run homer and three RBI.

Shohei Ohtani boosted his MVP credentials with a dominant display, despite the Los Angeles Angels losing 5-1 to the Seattle Mariners. After two triples on Saturday, two-way star Ohtani struck out 10 batters, while giving up just one run and five hits in seven innings without a walk. He is the first player to combine for multiple triples and 10-plus strikeouts in back-to-back team games since Chief Bender in 1905, per Stats Perform.

The St Louis Cardinals celebrated their 16th straight win by topping the Chicago Cubs 4-2. St Louis' franchise-record streak is the longest in MLB since the Cleveland Indians won 22 games in a row in 2017. The Cardinals are the first NL team to win 16 successive games since the New York Giants in 1951.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers have won 100 games in a season for the eighth time in franchise history. The Dodgers blanked the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-0.

 

Phillies' streak ends

The Philadelphia Phillies had their five-game winning streak snapped in a 6-0 shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In a blow to their playoff hopes, Phillies starter Hans Crouse gave up a home run on his first major league pitch. The 23-year-old allowed two hits and walked four batters in three innings.

 

A's walk it off

Mark Canha's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning saw the Oakland Athletics edge the AL West-leading Houston Astros 4-3 in a walk-off success.

 

Sunday's results

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

 

Athletics at Mariners

Monday is a battle between two teams still chasing a Wild Card spot in the AL. The Mariners (86-70) are two games behind the Red Sox, who occupy the second and final berth, while the Athletics (85-71) are three games off the pace. Chris Flexen will toe the mound for the Mariners, with A's pitcher Cole Irvin set to start.

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    Charlie Blackmon's three-run homer capped a big fourth inning that propelled the Colorado Rockies to an 8-6 victory over Cleveland on Monday, ending the Guardians' season-high nine-game winning streak.

    The Rockies scored six times in the fourth to erase an early 4-1 deficit and end the American League Central-leading Guardians' longest sequence of consecutive wins since an AL-record 22-game run in 2017.

    Blackmon added a run-scoring double and finished 3 for 4 to lead the Rockies to their fourth win in six games. Elehuris Montero had a two-run single during the fourth-inning outburst, while Sean Bouchard also drove in two runs and scored twice for Colorado.

    Josh Rogers earned the win after allowing two runs over five innings in relief of Anthony Molina, who was pulled after permitting three runs and walking three over the first 1 2/3 innings.

    Colorado loaded the bases with one out in the fourth on a pair of walks issued by Cleveland starter Xzavion Curry and a single by Brendan Rodgers. After a fielding error by Guardians' second baseman Andres Gimenez let in a run, Montero laced a single to center to tie the game at 4-4 before Blackmon drove Curry's pitch over the right field wall to put the Rockies ahead.

    Curry lasted just 3 1/3 innings and surrendered seven runs - six earned - on six hits.

    Blackmon increased the lead to 8-4 with a sixth-inning double that plated Bouchard, who had reached on a walk.

    The Guardians inched closer when Bo Naylor singled in the seventh and scored on Jose Ramirez's two-out double, then further closed the gap against Colorado closer Jalen Beeks in the ninth.

    Tyler Freeman doubled with one out and Gimenez followed with a run-scoring single to cut the lead to 8-6. Beeks settled down and struck out Ramirez, however, before retiring Josh Naylor on a pop-up to notch his fifth save.

    Freeman went 3 for 5 and opened the game with a double before later crossing the plate on a Ramirez groundout for Cleveland's first run. The center fielder put the Guardians up 3-0 with an RBI single in the second, after Cleveland had pushed home a run earlier in the inning without a hit due to two walks issued by Molina and a hit batter.

    Bouchard delivered a run-scoring double in the bottom of the second to get the Rockies on the board, though Cleveland answered in the third when Ramirez doubled and came home on David Fry's single for a 4-1 advantage.

     

    Brewers down Cubs in ex-manager Counsell's return to Milwaukee

    The Milwaukee Brewers scored five times in the eighth inning, highlighted by a three-run homer by Willy Adames, to hand former manager Craig Counsell a loss in his return to American Family Field with Monday's 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs. 

    Jackson Chourio added two hits, including a run-scoring double, to help the Brewers take the opener of this high-profile three-game series between National League Central foes, a rivalry made more intense by Counsell resigning as Milwaukee's manager in the offseason to take the same position with the Cubs.

    Counsell is the Brewers' all-time leader in wins by a manager with 707 and guided the club to five play-off appearances in nine seasons. The Wisconsin native was greeted by a chorus of boos from the Milwaukee crowd during a video montage put together by the Brewers to honour their ex-skipper before the game.

    Neither team scored over the first seven innings while receiving standout performances from their starting pitchers, but the Brewers broke out against the Chicago bullpen after Counsell removed Justin Steele before the start of the bottom of the eighth.

    Sal Frelick greeted reliever Mark Leiter with a single and Brice Turang drew a walk before Chicago third baseman Nick Madrigal mishandled a ground ball to allow Frelick to score the go-ahead run.

    Adames then walloped Hayden Wesneski's 3-0 pitch over the center field wall to stake the Brewers to a 4-0 lead. Joey Ortiz walked two batters later and Chourio drove him home with a double to increase the margin.

    The Cubs ended the shutout bid in the ninth when Seiya Suzuki walked, advanced to third on a Cody Bellinger single and scored on Patrick Wisdom's sacrifice fly. 

    Steele struck out eight while yielding just three hits over seven innings, while Robert Gasser held the Cubs to three hits and struck out seven through six scoreless innings. 

     

    Lodolo returns to lead Reds to a fourth straight win

    Nick Lodolo threw 5 1/3 effective innings in his return from the injured list as the Cincinnati Reds extended their winning streak to a season-high four games with a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Lodolo (4-2) gave up a solo homer to Paul Golschmidt in the first inning but was nearly spotless thereafter in his first start since missing just over two weeks with a groin strain. The left-hander permitted just four other hits and walked none while recording three strikeouts.

    Jeimer Candelario answered Goldschmidt's third homer in two games with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the first inning before the Reds moved ahead with two unearned runs off Lance Lynn in the second. 

    Nick Martini opened Cincinnati's half of the inning by reaching on an error by St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado. Jonathan India then singled, and Will Benson followed with a base hit of his own to plate Martini for a 2-1 lead.

    Another St. Louis error, a misplay by Goldschmidt on a grounder off the bat of Jacob Hurtubise, allowed India to score the Reds' third run.

    The Cardinals didn't manage another hit after Lodolo exited, as Fernando Cruz and Sam Moll combined for 2 2/3 scoreless innings before Lucas Sims retired the side in order in the ninth for his first save of the season.

    St. Louis had a season-high run of five consecutive wins halted, though shortstop Masyn WInn extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a third-innng single.

    Lynn (2-3) worked six innings and allowed all three Cincinnati runs, though just one was earned due to the Cardinals' two errors in the second. 

     

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    The world number five raced out the blocks on Court Simonne-Mathieu and eventually triumphed 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-3 in Paris.

    Medvedev, a five-time major runner-up and 2021 US Open champion, broke Koepfer's first service game in the French capital with that a seeming sign of things to come.

    Though the 28-year-old dropped his serve in the first set, Medvedev had little trouble in responding with the score finely poised at 3-2 to claim first blood at Roland-Garros.

    The fifth seed has only ever gone as far as the quarter-finals, three years ago, at the French Open but showed his clinical best to snatch the second set after holding all six service games for a narrow triumph.

    World number 65 Koepfer battled back in the third but the resilient Medvedev responded by breaking his German opponent early in the fourth set, finally securing victory in just over three hours.

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    Medvedev has won all four of his meetings with Koepfer, with his most recent such victory seeing him reach the second round at Roland-Garros for the third time in eight attempts.

    Since the start of the 2021 season, Medvedev is 27-1 against players ranked outside the top 50 at major events, with his only loss in that run coming against Seyboth Wild in the French Open first round last year.

    Koepfer, meanwhile, extends to 1-17 against top-10 players in his career, earning his only such victory against over Gael Monfils – then ranked ninth in the world – at the 2020 ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo claimed a piece of Saudi Pro League history after scoring twice in Al-Nassr's 4-2 final-day victory over 10-man Al-Ittihad on Monday.

    The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was on target in either half at Al Awal Park, moving to 35 goals across the 2023-24 league campaign in Saudi Arabia.

    Ronaldo opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time after receiving a long ball from Mohammed Al-Fatil, before doubling his tally – and Al-Nassr's lead – with a header from Marcelo Brozovic's corner.

    That second finish after Suwailem Al Manhali was dismissed for the visitors saw Ronaldo eclipse Abderrazak Hamdallah's 34-goal tally – in the 2018-19 season – for the most strikes in a single campaign.

    Abdulrahman Ghareeb then added another from the penalty spot before Meshari Al Nemer made sure of three points after late goals from Farhah Al Shamrani and Fabinho had pulled Al-Ittihad back into contention.

    Having already been unable to stop Al-Hilal secure the title, Al-Nassr finish second in the table – ending on 82 points after 26 wins from the 34-match campaign.

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    Much will be made of the record-breaking Ronaldo, who has scored 50 goals in as many games across all competitions this season.

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