MLB

Taylor's walk-off homer sends Dodgers through to NLDS against rivals Giants

By Sports Desk October 06, 2021

The Los Angeles Dodgers and their pursuit of back-to-back World Series championships remains alive after conquering the St Louis Cardinals via a 3-1 walk-off victory in the National League (NL) Wild Card showdown.

With a date against the San Francisco Giants in the NL Division Series on the line, Chris Taylor hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to take down the Cardinals in walk-off fashion and progress to the MLB playoffs on Wednesday.

One out away from extra innings in Los Angeles, Taylor went deep off Alex Reyes to spark wild celebrations at Dodger Stadium midweek.

According to Stats Perform, Taylor became the second player in MLB history to hit a walk-off home run in a winner-takes-all playoff game despite not starting. The other was Aaron Boone in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series (ALCS).

The Cardinals got on the board early, Tommy Edman scoring on Max Scherzer's wild pitch in the opening inning. Dodgers ace Scherzer gave up three hits, one run while striking out four in 4.1 innings.

Edman became the first player in MLB history to have three-plus hits and two or more stolen bases in a winner-takes-all playoff game, according to Stats Perform.

The Dodgers levelled things up in the fourth inning – Justin Turner's 401-foot homer sailing into the crowd off Adam Wainwright, who struck out five batters as he allowed one run on four hits in 5.1 innings.

There was nothing between the two franchises until Taylor stepped up to the mound and produced the game-winning homer at the death.

The Dodgers will now resume hostilities with NL West champions the Giants, who ended their streak of eight consecutive division crowns, starting in San Francisco on Friday.

 

Red Sox at Rays

The AL Division Series will get underway as the Tampa Bay Rays host the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 in the best-of-five matchup on Thursday. Elsewhere, the Chicago White Sox will also visit the Houston Astros in the American League.

Related items

  • MLB: D'Arnaud hits 3 home runs, including grand slam, to lift surging Braves MLB: D'Arnaud hits 3 home runs, including grand slam, to lift surging Braves

    Travis d’Arnaud hit a grand slam for his third home run of the game and drove in six runs to lead the Atlanta Braves to their fifth straight win, 8-3 over the Texas Rangers on Friday.

    D’Arnaud, who entered with no homers this season, hit solo shots off Andrew Heaney in the second and fifth innings before connecting for his slam off reliever Jacob Latz in the sixth to put the Braves ahead 7-3.

    It was his third career grand slam and second three-homer game.

    D’Arnaud grounded out in the eighth with a chance for his fourth home run.

    Marcell Ozuna had a run-scoring single in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games, the longest active run in the majors.

    Chris Sale allowed three runs on five hits over seven innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.

    Astros’ Verlander wins season debut

    Justin Verlander pitched six strong innings to win his season debut and the Houston Astros stole five bases in a 5-3 win over the Washington Nationals.

    The 41-year-old Verlander, who began the season on the injured list due to right shoulder inflammation, struck out four and walked none, throwing 50 of 78 pitches for strikes in his 258th win.

    He retired the side in order four times and improved to 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five regular-season starts against the Nationals.

    Jeremy Pena and Mauricio Dubon had three hits apiece for the Astros and Kyle Tucker doubled, singled, walked twice and stole two bases as the Astros snapped a three-game skid.

    Phillies’ Turnbull flirts with history

    Spencer Turnbull took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Alec Bohm belted a pair of three-run homers to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 7-0 win over the lowly Chicago White Sox.

    Turnbull kept the White Sox hitless until Gavin Sheets singled with one out in the seventh. He struck out six and walked two, pitching seven innings for the first time since his no-hitter for Detroit against Seattle on May 18, 2021.

    Matt Strahm and Orion Kerkering each pitched an inning to finish up a two-hitter and the Phillies’ fourth straight win.

    Bohm matched a career high with six RBIs and had his fourth career two-homer game.

    The White Sox fell to a major league-worst 3-16.

     

  • Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta Wolves v Arsenal: ‘What we still have to play for is beautiful’ – Arteta

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta set out to remind his team that they still have something “beautiful” to play for despite their Champions League exit.

    The Gunners slipped out of UEFA’s flagship club competition in midweek when they went down 1-0 to Bayern Munich, losing 3-2 on aggregate.

    That defeat followed on from a 2-0 loss to Aston Villa last Sunday – a reverse that significantly dented Arsenal’s title hopes, with the Gunners now two points behind Manchester City who, after this weekend, will have a game in hand.

    Arsenal face Wolves on Saturday and, with City in FA Cup action, a win would see them move back to the top of the table, at least temporarily, so Arteta offered a reminder that all is not lost.

    “I can guarantee you we are fully focused on Wolves and everybody's lifted,” he said following the loss in Munich.

    “What we still have to play is beautiful and I said before, it's time to be next to our players and in this moment, not when you win 10 in a row and a draw, that's easy to prize our players and to be behind them and to say really nice things. The moment is now to be next to them.”

    On Friday, in his pre-match press conference, Arteta added: “As an experience, [the Champions League was] the best one.

    “I am now fully focused on the times ahead of us. We are now behind Manchester City and will give it a good go. The context is clear. If we win we are top of the league.”

    Wolves sit 11th, though they could do with snapping a four-game winless streak in order to get their European hopes back on track.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Wolves – Matheus Cunha

    Cunha has been involved in nine goals in his last nine Premier League games, scoring six and assisting three. His 11 goals overall this season is the fourth most by a Wolves player in a single Premier League campaign after Raul Jimenez (17 in 2019-20, 13 in 2018-19) and Steven Fletcher (12 in 2011-12).

    Arsenal – Bukayo Saka

    Saka has been involved in eight goals in his last seven Premier League away games, scoring seven and assisting one. His 13 away goal involvements overall this term (eight goals, five assists) is the most by an Arsenal player in a single Premier League campaign since Alexis Sanchez’s 20 in 2016-17.

    MATCH PREDICTION: ARSENAL WIN

    Arsenal lost a Premier League game for the first time in 2024 against Villa last time out. Since the start of last season, only twice have the Gunners suffered consecutive league defeats, doing so in May 2023 (v Brighton and Nottingham Forest) and December this season (v West Ham and Fulham).

    Wolves are winless in their last four Premier League games (D2 L2), though they have won their last two at Molineux against sides starting the day in the top two of the table, beating Man City 2-1 in September and Spurs by the same score in November.

    Arsenal have scored in their last 32 meetings with Wolves in all competitions.

    Wolves have now lost each of their last five against the Gunners, failing to score in both home defeats in that run.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Wolves – 21.5%

    Arsenal – 51.2%

    Draw – 27.3%

  • Fulham v Liverpool: Klopp unconcerned by Salah's scoring form Fulham v Liverpool: Klopp unconcerned by Salah's scoring form

    Jurgen Klopp is not overly worried by Mohamed Salah’s slight dip in form, as the Liverpool manager turned full focus to the Reds’ Premier League title challenge.

    A bad week for Liverpool was capped off on Thursday when, despite a 1-0 win over Atalanta, they slumped out of the Europa League 3-1 on aggregate following a heavy defeat at Anfield in the first leg.

    That loss on April 11 came three days before a 1-0 home reverse to Crystal Palace, which saw Liverpool’s league title hopes take a dent – they are now two points behind Manchester City with six games remaining.

    What has not helped their course is that talisman Salah – who netted an early penalty against Atalanta but squandered a big chance later in the match – has scored just three times in the league since returning from a hamstring injury he sustained while playing for Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

    Klopp, though, is confident Salah will soon be back at his best.

    “I am not particularly concerned,” he said ahead of facing Fulham.

    “That’s what strikers do, that’s what happens to strikers, that’s how it is. We have to go through this, he has to go through that. He is one of the most experienced players we have in the squad.

    “We will go through that but that’s pretty much all. It’s not that Mo didn’t miss chances before in his life, that’s a part of the game. I am not particularly concerned.”

    Reflecting on the task at hand now for his side, Klopp added: “Disappointed that we did not go through [in Europe] but not frustrated or angry.

    “Now we can focus on the league and that’s what we will do. We have a few days to recover, we will do that, and then will travel the day after tomorrow to London and will play Fulham, which will be tricky but we will give our absolute all.

    “That’s our competition now. I saw a good reaction from my side, we had not a great week last week obviously. This, if we want, was the start for the rest of the season with a good result and a good performance and that’s how we see it.”

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Fulham – Andreas Pereira

    Pereira has been involved in four goals in his last four Premier League appearances (two goals, two assists), with his brace against West Ham more than he had netted in his previous 34 games combined (one).

    Indeed, Pereira has more goal involvements than any other Fulham player since the start of last season (seven goals, 13 assists).

    Liverpool – Mohamed Salah

    Salah may not be firing on all cylinders from a goalscoring perspective, but he is proving to be Liverpool’s creative hub.

    Only Martin Odegaard (68) and Bruno Fernandes (59) have created more chances from open play in the Premier League this season than Salah (58). He has created at least four open-play chances in five different games this season, with Roberto Firmino the last Liverpool player to do so more times in one season (10 in 2016-17).

    MATCH PREDICTION: LIVERPOOL WIN

    The Reds might have had a bad week, but Opta’s model still fancies their chances of returning to winning ways.

    Liverpool have scored in each of their last 19 away Premier League matches, the longest current run of any side. That being said, since losing 3-0 to Brentford in their first home Premier League game this season, Fulham have conceded just 13 goals in their last 15 games at Craven Cottage (0.9 per game). With six clean sheets at home so far, the Cottagers last had more in a Premier League campaign in 2010-11 (nine).

    Marco Silva’s team have scored 49 Premier League goals this season, having netted 55 last season. The last time the Cottagers scored 50+ goals in consecutive Premier League seasons was in 2003-04 (52) and 2004-05 (52).

    However, Fulham have won just one of their last 11 Premier League meetings with Liverpool (D2 L8), winning 1-0 at Anfield in March 2021.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Fulham – 20.85%

    Liverpool – 53.1%

    Draw – 26.1%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.