Patrick Bailey hit a go-ahead grand slam and third baseman Matt Chapman made a game-saving defensive gem as the San Francisco Giants overcame another big deficit to beat the reeling New York Mets, 8-7 on Friday.

The Giants rallied from a 6-2 hole in the eighth to join the 1932 St. Louis Cardinals as the only teams since 1900 to win three straight road games in which they trailed by at least four runs.

Just two other teams have accomplished the feat at home: the 1999 Florida Marlins and the 1961 Boston Red Sox.

Jorge Soler and Mike Yastrzemski also homered for the Giants, who have won seven of eight to reach .500 for the first time since they were 2-2 on March 31.

Thairo Estrada’s RBI double with two outs in the eighth drew San Francisco within 6-3 and Chapman walked to load the bases before Bailey took Reed Garrett deep for his first career grand slam.

The Mets rallied in the bottom of the ninth trailing 8-6 and got an RBI single from Francisco Lindor before loading the bases with one out. But J.D. Martinez struck out and Chapman fielded Mark Vientos’ grounder barehanded on a do-or-die play and fired off balance to first, where LaMonte Wade Jr. made a difficult pick of an in-between hop for the final out.

The Mets have lost 11 of 14 to drop to 21-29, their worst 50-game start since 2013.

Lugo wins again as Royals stay hot

Seth Lugo became the American League’s first eight-game winner and Bobby Witt Jr. and Michael Massey homered to lead the Kansas City Royals to their seventh straight win, 8-1 over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Lugo limited the Rays to one run on four hits to lower his AL-best ERA from 1.79 to 1.74. Philadelphia’s Ranger Suarez leads the majors with nine victories.

The Royals (33-19) moved a season-best 14 games over .500. They were 15-37 after 52 games last season and didn’t reach 33 wins until Aug. 1.

Tampa Bay has scored 10 runs during a season-high five-game losing streak.

Massey’s three-run shot off Tyler Alexander in the fifth gave Kansas City a 5-1 lead, but he left an inning later with lower back tightness.

Streaking Guardians hit 3 straight home runs

Jose Ramirez went deep twice and started a run of three consecutive homers in the fourth inning as the Cleveland Guardians pushed their winning streak to seven with a 10-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Ramirez belted two-run shots in the third and fourth innings for his 24th multihomer game and first since July 30 against the White Sox. Ramirez’s four RBIs gave him a major league-leading 49.

Josh Naylor and David Fry also went deep in the fourth as the Guardians became the first team this season to go back-to-back-to-back.

Luis Rengifo, Jo Adell and Logan O’Hoppe homered for the Angels, who dropped to 6-17 at home.

Edmundo Sosa hit a three-run homer and Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto had solo shots as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Texas Rangers 11-4 for the best 50-game start in franchise history on Wednesday.

Realmuto finished with three RBIs and Alec Bohm had a two-run double to extend the lead to 10-3 in the sixth inning. He is tied for the National League lead with 46 RBIs.

The major league-leading Phillies (36-14) are just the 26th team in NL history to win at least 36 of their first 50 games played. The 1988 Atlanta Braves were the last team to get off to such a start. Only 17 teams in AL history have reached that mark. The last was the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who went on to 116 wins.

Philadelphia has won five straight and 17 of its last 20 games overall and 17 of 19 at home.

Realmuto’s home run in the third snapped a 2-2 tie and his two-run single in the sixth made it 8-3.

Corey Seager and Leody Taveras homered for the defending World Series champion Rangers, who have lost four straight and nine of 11 to drop two games under .500.

Streaking Indians beat Mets

Johnathan Rodriguez drove in the go-ahead run with his first major league hit and the Cleveland Guardians rallied for their sixth consecutive win, 6-3 over the New York Mets.

Rodriguez, playing in his second game since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus two days earlier, snapped a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning with a grounder through the right side of the infield.

Cleveland, which trailed 3-0 heading into the sixth, moved into a tie for the second-best record in the majors at 33-17.

Jose Ramirez and Kyle Manzardo had RBI doubles in the eighth after Andres Gimenez hit a tying, three-run homer in the sixth off starter Jose Quintana.

The Mets got home runs from Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Harrison Bader but have lost eight of 10 to fall to a season-high seven games under .500 (21-28).

Royals’ Ragans dominates Tigers

Cole Ragans pitched one-hit ball over six innings and struck out a career-high 12 to lead the Kansas City Royals to their sixth straight win, 8-3 over the Detroit Tigers.

Ragans walked three but held the Tigers hitless until Riley Greene’s two-out single in the sixth to win for the fourth time in five decisions.

Freddy Fermin drove in three runs, Bobby Witt Jr. added two hits and two RBIs and Nelson Velazquez homered as the Royals won their first series against the Tigers since September 2002. It was Kansas City’s first sweep of Detroit since July 2021.

Tarik Skubal allowed four runs on six hits over five innings to end his 14-game unbeaten streak dating to Aug. 29.

Detroit has lost four straight to fall a season-worst three games under .500.

Ranger Suarez struck out 10 to become the majors’ first nine-game winner and the red-hot Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Tuesday.

Suarez allowed one run on five hits over seven innings with two walks. Since a no-decision in his first start of the season, the left-hander is 9-0 with a 1.36 ERA in his last nine starts.

Suarez is the first pitcher to go undefeated with a sub-1.50 ERA and at least 65 strikeouts over his first 10 appearances of a season.

Jeff Hoffman gave up Corey Seager’s home run in the eighth but Matt Strahm retired Nathaniel Lowe on a sharp line drive to left with two runners on to end the inning and preserve Philadelphia’s 3-2 lead.

Jose Alvarado pitched the ninth for his ninth save.

Bryce Harper hit his 11th home run and Alec Bohm drove in a pair of runs – his NL-best 44th - as the Phillies won for the ninth time in 11 games to improve the best record in the majors to 35-14.

The Rangers have lost eight of 10 to drop under .500 (24-25) for the first time this season.

Witt leads streaking Royals

Bobby Witt Jr. hit a pair of home runs and drove in six runs as the Kansas City Royals extended their winning streak to five with a 10-3 rout of the Detroit Tigers.

Witt hit a 468-foot, three-run homer in the second inning off Casey Mize and added a solo shot leading off the sixth. He also had an RBI single in the first and a sacrifice fly in the third.

Kansas City had six extra-base hits and has at least one in all 50 games this season, one game shy of the franchise record set in 1978.

Maikel Garcia tied a career high with four hits and scored three runs. He extended his hitting streak to nine games.

Guardians edge Mets to stay hot

Jose Ramirez homered and drove in three runs and the Cleveland Guardians held on for their fifth straight victory, 7-6 over the New York Mets.

David Fry added his first career pinch-hit home run as the Guardians won their sixth in a row at home and improved the majors’ fourth-best record to 32-17.

Ramirez has driven in 34 runs in his last 34 games to take over the American League lead with 44.

Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte hit two-run homers and Mark Vientos had a solo blast for the Mets, who have lost the first two games of the series to drop to 3-9 since May 10.

Nick Sandlin got two outs in the fifth in relief of starter Xzavion Curry for the win and Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his MLB-best 15th save in 18 chances.

Rafael Devers set a Red Sox record by homering in his sixth consecutive game, and Tanner Houck threw seven dominant innings as Boston cruised to a 5-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Monday's opener of a three-game series between American League East rivals.

Devers cracked a two-run shot off Taj Bradley in the fourth inning to become the first player in franchise history to put together six straight games with at least one home run. The star third baseman had shared the record with six other players, including Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx. 

Houck (4-5) lowered his season ERA to 1.94 by limiting the Rays to two hits and a walk. The right-hander halted a personal three-start losing streak in which he received a combined three runs of support.

He got more help in this one as the Red Sox broke out for three runs in the fourth, which Jarren Duran opened with a triple in front of Wilyer Abreu's double that staked Boston to a 1-0 lead.

Two batters later, Devers launched an 0-1 pitch into the seats in left field for his historic homer.

Boston extended the margin on Ceddanne Rafaela's two-run homer in the fifth.

Bradley (1-2) fanned eight of the first nine Red Sox hitters and finished with 10 strikeouts in seven innings, but allowed all five runs to take the loss.

The Rays mustered just three hits for the game and were dealt a second straight loss following a four-game winning streak.

Mariners score four in ninth inning to end Yankees' streak

Ty France knocked in the go-ahead run with a single as the Seattle Mariners scored four times in the ninth inning to halt the New York Yankees' seven-game winning streak with a stunning 5-4 win.

Seattle's offence managed just three hits through eight innings before coming to life against New York closer Clay Holmes while down 4-1 in the ninth. 

Julio Rodriguez began the rally with a one-out single and Cal Raleigh drew a walk before Luke Raley reached on an infield hit, in which Yankees' second baseman Gleyber Torres threw wildly to first to allow Rodriguez to score on the error.

After Mitch Haniger followed with a single that plated Raleigh, Raley crossed the plate on Dominic Canzone's sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4-4. France then shot a single to right that brought home Haniger to put Seattle ahead.

Andres Munoz then struck out two in the bottom of the ninth to earn his ninth save as the Mariners took the opener of this four-game series.

Holmes' struggles ruined a terrific outing from New York starter Marcus Stroman, who yielded just one run on three hits while striking out six over 7 1/3 innings.

Alex Verdugo went 3 for 5 for the Yankees and had three RBIs, two of which came on a first-inning double that opened the scoring. New York had put two aboard on a hit batter and Aaron Judge's one-out double. 

Verdugo struck again in the fifth by following back-to-back singles from Juan Soto and Judge with a base hit of his own that increased the lead to 3-0. 

Stroman took a shutout into the eighth that was broken up by Canzone's solo homer with one out. The Yankees countered in their half of the inning, however, when Torres drew a walk and later scored on Jon Berti's single.

Seattle starter Logan Gilbert worked six innings and allowed three runs on eight hits.

Guardians down Mets in Lindor's return to Cleveland

Ben Lively allowed one run over 5 2/3 sharp innings as the Cleveland Guardians remained hot with a 3-1 win over the New York Mets in Francisco Lindor's return to Progressive Field.

Lindor was playing in Cleveland for the first time since the Guardians traded the four-time All-Star shortstop to New York in January 2021. Lindor spent his first six MLB seasons with the Guardians and was an integral part of four play-off teams during his tenure.

The former fan favourite went 0 for 4 in his return as the Mets got little going against Lively (3-2), who struck out seven and scattered six hits to help the AL Central leaders win for the seventh time in eight games. 

Lively got all the support he would need via David Fry's two-run single in the first inning off Tylor Megill. The hit brought in Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor, both of whom singled and advanced a base on a fielding error by New York left fielder Brandon Nimmo.

Tomas Nido brought the Mets within 2-1 with a solo homer off Lively in the third inning, though Cleveland restored its two-run advantage in the fourth when Fry drew a walk and later scored on Kyle Manzardo's double.

Lively and the Cleveland bullpen successfully protected the lead as four relievers combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Emmanuel Clase retired the side in order in the ninth to register his 14th save, tied with St. Louis' Ryan Helsley for the major league lead.

Megill (0-2), activated from the injured list prior to the game, struck out seven over five innings while giving up three runs, two of which were earned. 

Pete Alonso had two of the Mets' six hits as New York lost for the eighth time in 11 games. 

 

 

New York Yankees lead-off hitter Anthony Volpe started off Thursday's game against the Minnesota Twins with a home run.

That was all the run support Clarke Schmidt would need.

Schmidt pitched a career-high eight innings and the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Twins with a 5-0 win.

Schmidt permitted three hits without a walk while striking out eight as New York won for the 10th time in 12 games to become the first AL club to 30 wins.

The Yankees (30-15) posted back-to-back shutouts at Minnesota and extended their scoreless streak to 26 innings dating to the first inning of Tuesday's series opener.

Volpe's homer sparked a three-run first inning for New York, which outscored Minnesota 14-1 in the three games.

Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres each hit two doubles, while Anthony Rizzo, Austin Wells and Alex Verdugo all drove in one run.

The Twins (24-19) entered this series with only three losses in their previous 20 games before promptly being swept for the first time since April 15-17, at Baltimore.

Mets score two in 11th to edge Phillies

J.D. Martinez hit a go-ahead single in the 11th and later scored on a wild pitch to provide the final margin as the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies to avoid a four-game sweep in the home-and-home series.

The Phillies sent the game into extras after Bryson Stott tied the game with a single off Mets closer Edwin Díaz in the 9th.

It marked the second straight blown save for Díaz and his third in four opportunities since May 5.

Pete Alonso opened the scoring with a first-inning homer for the Mets (20-23), who had lost to the Phillies at home on Monday and Tuesday and then lost the opener of the two-game series in Phildelphia on Wednesday.

In a scheduling quirk, these teams played four consecutive games split between New York and Philadelphia, as part of the arrangement with the teams playing a two-game set in London on June 8-9.

Kyle Schwarber and Alec Bohm each had run-scoring doubles for the NL East-leading Phillies (31-14), who lost for only the fourth time in 20 games.

De La Cruz runs wild as Reds blank Dodgers

Elly De La Cruz had four hits, three runs and four stolen bases as the visiting Cincinnati Reds beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-2 in their series opener.

De La Cruz now has a major league-leading 30 steals - 13 more than the next-closest player (Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Jose Caballero).

Playing in Cincinnati's 44th game, he is the fastest player to 30 steals since 1996, when Kenny Lofton reached 30 steals in Cleveland's 41st game.

De La Cruz had has many hits as the Dodgers (29-17), who have now totalled one run in their last two games to lose consecutive games for the first time since April 19-20.

The Reds (19-25), who ended up using seven pitchers during a bullpen day, won for the second time in three games after going just 1-11 in their previous 12.

Zack Short broke a scoreless tie with a run-scoring double in the sixth inning, and Reynaldo Lopez and three Atlanta relievers combined on a five-hitter as the Braves opened a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs with Monday's 2-0 win.

Ronald Acuna Jr. plated Short with a single as the Braves scored both of the game's lone runs against reliever Hayden Wesneski, who replaced Shota Imanaga after the Japanese lefty tossed five scoreless innings to deliver another effective start in his debut MLB season.

Imanaga scattered seven hits and struck out eight to lower his MLB-leading ERA to 0.96. The offseason addition extended his team record with an eighth consecutive start of allowing two earned runs or fewer to begin his major league career.

Lopez was just as good while also not factoring in the decision, as the right-hander yielded just two hits and a pair of walks over five innings. Ray Kerr (2-0) received the win with two scoreless innings in relief of Lopez.

Wesneski (2-2) took over in the sixth and struck out the first two Atlanta batters before giving up a double to Travis d'Arnaud. Short, starting at third base with Austin Riley dealing with left-side tightness, then laced a double into the right field corner to put the Braves ahead.

Acuna followed with a single to left to extend the lead to 2-0.

The Cubs threatened in the ninth by putting their first two runners on, but A.J. Minter worked out of the jam to notch his first save of the season and close out the Braves' fifth win in six games.

Stott the hero as Phillies rally past Mets in 10 innings

Bryson Stott ignited a ninth-inning rally with a solo homer, then drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th as the Philadelphia Phillies rallied for a 5-4 win over the rival New York Mets.

The Phillies trailed 4-2 entering the ninth before scoring twice off Mets closer Edwin Diaz, who forced in the tying run by hitting Alec Bohm with a pitch with the bases loaded.

Stott started the comeback with a lead-off homer and pinch-hitter Kody Clemens followed with a single before Diaz issued a pair of walks to load the bases with two out. The two-time All-Star then hit Bohm in the forearm on an 0-2 count to bring in Clemens and force extra innings.

In the 10th, designated runner Bryce Harper advanced from second to third on a wild pitch from Sean Reid-Foley before crossing the plate on Stott's sacrifice fly.

Jose Alvarado then kept the Mets scoreless in the bottom of the 10th to record his eighth save and give the National League-leading Phillies a victory to start this four-game, home-and-home series.

Stott scored the game's first run after reaching on a single in the top of the second inning and later coming home on Garrett Stubbs' infield hit.

The Mets answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning, as Pete Alonso and J.D. Martinez had back-to-back doubles off Philadelphia starter Cristopher Sanchez to tie the game before Tomas Nido brought in Martinez with a single.

Starling Marte doubled off Sanchez in the third and later scored on a bases-loaded walk to Martinez to increase the Mets' lead to 3-1. It remained that way until the top of the seventh, when the Phillies put two aboard on singles by Edmundo Sosa and Brandon Marsh in front of Johan Rojas' run-producing groundout.

New York restored a two-run advantage in its half of the seventh when Alonso scored on Bohm's error on a grounder hit to third off the bat of Tyrone Taylor.

Martinez finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs in the Mets' sixth loss in nine games. Philadelphia has now won 10 of its last 12.

Ramirez's four RBIs helps Guardians extend Rangers' skid

Jose Ramirez went 2 for 3 and drove in four runs as the Cleveland Guardians extended the Texas Rangers' losing streak to a season-high four games with Monday's 7-0 victory.

Ramirez knocked in two of Cleveland's four runs in the eighth inning that broke a scoreless tie as the American League Central leaders took the opener of this three-game series.

The game featured a pitching duel between Cleveland's Tanner Bibee and Texas' Michael Lorenzen, who held the Guardians to one hit through seven innings before the visitors broke through against the Rangers' bullpen in the eighth.

Jose Leclerc (3-3) relieved Lorenzen and was greeted by a double from Estevan Florial, who scored on Brayan Rocchio's single two batters later for a 1-0 Cleveland lead.

The Guardians then loaded the bases on a walk and a single before Ramirez drove in two with a base hit to extend the margin. Texas reliever Jacob Latz later forced in another run with a wild pitch that allowed Andres Gimenez to score from third.

Cleveland tacked on three more runs in the ninth on Gimenez's RBI double and another two-run single from Ramirez.

Bibee allowed just three hits and two walks before being removed with one out in the sixth. 

 

 

 

Christopher Morel hit a go-ahead home run off Edwin Diaz with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Chicago Cubs rallied to a 3-1 win over the New York Mets on Monday.

Morel’s heroics came an inning after Michael Busch scored the tying run on a fielder’s choice.

Mets starter Luis Severino carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning, when Dansby Swanson singled to left center with no outs.

Making his sixth start for the Mets, Severino threw eight innings and allowed one run with five strikeouts.

Jameson Taillon was nearly as good for the Cubs. After giving up a lead-off home run to Brandon Nimmo to open the game, Taillon allowed four hits in 7 1/3 innings.

Cubs closer Hector Neris walked two batters in the bottom of the ninth but finished the game with back-to-back strikeouts for his fourth save of the year.

Twins extend winning streak to 8 games

Max Kepler hit an RBI single in the ninth inning, lifting the Minnesota Twins to a 3-2 win over the White Sox as their winning streak reached eight games.

After the White Sox scored two runs in the first inning, Minnesota’s Carlos Santana tied the game with a home run in the second off of Chicago starter Garrett Crochet.

The teams played six scoreless innings before Byron Buxton scored from second on Kepler’s single off John Brebbia.

The White Sox got the tying run to third base in the bottom of the ninth, but Caleb Thielbar punched out Korey Lee to seal the Minnesota win.

After a rough start to the season, the Twins’ current win streak has them at 15-13, one game back of the surprising Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers.

Garver’s walk-off lifts M’s over Braves

Mitch Garver hit a two-run, walk-off home run in the ninth inning to lift the Seattle Mariners over the Atlanta Braves 2-1.

The Mariners had only four hits in a game dominated by excellent pitching, but two of those hits came in the ninth against A.J. Minter, including Garver’s game-winning blast.

The Braves carried a combined no-hitter into the eighth inning that was broken up by a Josh Rojas single. Atlanta starter Max Fried went six innings, walking two and striking out seven.

Seattle starter Bryce Miller pitched seven strong innings, allowing two hits and one run with 10 strikeouts.

Pete Alonso belted a tying homer in the ninth inning and Tyrone Taylor delivered a game-winning single to lift the New York Mets to their first win of the season, 2-1 over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday for a doubleheader split.

After blowing a 3-0 lead in a 6-3, 11-inning loss in the opening game, the Mets were held hitless in the second game until Harrison Bader led off the eighth with a single against reliever Tyler Holton.

Alonso’s tying home run – and his 500th career RBI - came off Alex Faedo and Brett Baty walked before Starling Marte sacrificed. Taylor then lined a single to left for his first career walk-off hit.

The win was the first for Mets manager Carlos Mendoza as New York avoided opening 0-6 for the first time since its second season in 1963.

Detroit improved to 5-0 with the Game 1 win, as Colt Keith stroked a tiebreaking double in the 11th before Gio Urshela’s bloop scored a pair.

Matt Manning pitched 5 2/3 hitless innings in the opener with four walks and three strikeouts.

Cardinals rally past winless Marlins

Nolan Gorman highlighted a five-run seventh inning with a two-run double and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied for an 8-5 victory in their home opener to keep the Miami Marlins winless.

The Marlins took a 5-3 lead into the seventh, but the Cardinals scored five times on Ivan Herrera’s RBI single, Gorman’s big hit, Alec Burleson’s two-out, run-scoring single and Masyn Winn’s RBI triple.

Herrera also hit his first major league home run leading off the second inning.

Jake Burger hit a pair of home runs for the Marlins, who dropped to 0-8 for the worst start in the 33-year history of the franchise. Their start is the worst in the majors since Atlanta and Minnesota each opened 0-9 in 2016.

Bibee, bullpen power Guardians

Tanner Bibbee allowed one run over 5 1/3 innings and Steven Kwan had three hits as the Cleveland Guardians spoiled the Minnesota Twins’ home opener with a 4-2 win.

Bibee struck out nine and four relievers followed, with Emmanuel Clase pitching a perfect ninth for his third save. Cleveland's pitchers totalled 15 strikeouts.

Cleveland reached Pablo Lopez for three runs in the sixth. Jose Ramirez singled home Kwan and Tyler Freeman had an RBI single before Will Brennan lofted a sacrifice fly.

Carlos Correa had three hits and Edouard Julien homered for the Twins, who stranded nine runners and were 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position.

Former World Series champion Chase Utley has promised a “fantastic experience” when Major League Baseball returns to London this summer.

The 2024 MLB season officially gets under way on Wednesday with a two-game series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres in Seoul before the regular season begins on March 28.

This summer, on the weekend of June 8-9, the latest MLB London series will take place when the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies go head-to-head in England’s capital.

London Stadium will host two matches between the sides in what will be the third time the sport has been taken to Britain after previous series in 2019 and last year.

Utley, who helped Philadelphia claim 2008 World Series success, said: “You’ll have the Phillies and Mets, two fantastic teams, two rivals in the same division.

“They’ve been rivals for around like 70 years and you’ll see some of the best players in the world.

“You’ll see fireworks, activities on the field in between innings, live music, you’ll have American-standard baseball food, which consists of hotdogs, nachos and burgers!

“Overall, it’s just a fantastic experience.”

Utley was in Brent Cross last week at The 108, a state-of-the-art dedicated indoor baseball facility, and put England white-ball captain Jos Buttler through his paces before he learned some of the key principles of cricket.

 

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The sporting crossover occurred due to cricket heading across the pond this summer when the T20 World Cup is hosted in America and West Indies during the same time of the latest MLB London series.

Former second baseman Utley retired in 2018 and splits his time between the United States and his new London home as part of his ambassador role for MLB Europe.

The 45-year-old feels cricket is slowly starting to break through in the USA, adding: “It’s probably as much as baseball penetrates here in the UK, so a bit, yes.

“Here, obviously football, from what I’ve seen in a short amount of time, is the sport that for sure everyone watches and then cricket is second place to that.

“In America, you have American Football and then you have basketball or you have baseball that are kind of bounced back and forth.

“It’s exciting to see that cricket is going to the United States to play because I’ve seen some amateurs playing in the park. You’re starting to see it more and more over the last few years that I was there.”

The next goal for Utley is to actually watch a cricket match live after brushing up his knowledge with Buttler last Wednesday when the meaning of ‘Bazball’ alongside the difference between Test and white-ball cricket was discussed.

“I’ve watched a fair share but I still haven’t seen it in person,” Utley said.

“At some point I need to see it in person. I’ve watched it on TV and it took me a little while, but I imagine it’s the same for watching baseball.

“It takes you a while to understand the nuances, the terminology and actually what is going on in the moment, but once you can wrap your head around it and make some sense, it’s very entertaining.”

New York Mets will play Philadelphia Phillies in the MLB World Tour: London Series 2024 on June 8-9 at London Stadium. Tickets are on sale now at ticketmaster.co.uk/MLB

New York Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo remains optimistic free agent Shohei Ohtani, widely regarded as the world’s best baseball player, could be part of his team set to play in London next summer.

Generational Japanese two-way talent Ohtani was two weeks ago named American League MVP for the second time in three years and draws frequent comparisons to Babe Ruth, still probably the most recognisable baseball name in Britain and beyond despite the former Boston Red Sox and New York Yankee slugger having been dead for 75 years.

Ohtani, reportedly within days of deciding on his next destination and poised to fetch an MLB-record free-agent fee, is historically peerless in his dual-role as a starting pitcher and batter, so much so that a new MLB rule introduced in 2022 – effectively designed to address his singular abilities – is commonly referred to as ‘the Ohtani rule’.

Nimmo, whose Mets are set to play the Philadelphia Phillies at the London Stadium next June, said: “(Ohtani) really is everything that everyone says he is. He’s unbelievable. He hits the ball harder than everyone, he throws the ball harder than everyone, he runs faster than everyone.

“He really is the special talent that everyone has hyped him up to be. He’s one of those special, once-in-a-generation players.

“I know that our front office and our owner and our president were very excited about the prospect of getting him. I know we’re going to be in on (him), I just don’t know where it is going to lead to.”

In baseball, unlike cricket, players are pitchers or combine a fielding position and batting, save for the “designated hitter” (DH), a batting-only position which typically replaces pitchers in the order. But under ‘the Ohtani rule’, he can still serve as a DH even after being pulled as a pitcher.

The DH has featured since 1973 in the American League and National League in 2022, but, even before its universal adoption, no pitchers came anywhere close to Ohtani’s prowess at the plate. He has won MLB’s best DH award for three consecutive seasons.

In 2023, he hit the fourth most home runs in MLB, all while striking out 167 batters and finishing with a 3.14 earned run average.

While the Mets have been linked to Ohtani, who is rumoured to be considering deals worth between USD 500m-600m (£396,205,000-£475,446,000), the latest reports suggest they may be out of the picture, with the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves and former club the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim among those considered front-runners for his services.

Whoever ultimately signs Ohtani will likely have to wait a full season until he is fit enough to pitch following surgery to his elbow in September, though he should be available to hit come opening day 2024.

Next summer’s London Series marks the third time MLB has made the trip to Britain, in an ongoing attempt to grow the global reach of a game that has variously been accused of being too American to find a footing in the UK, too similar to cricket to take off, and conversely too confusing for the uninitiated to understand.

Nimmo, however, will happily evangelise for the game’s global potential, and agrees that fact that it is a Japanese talent quickly becoming MLB’s most recognisable face – even cracking highlight reels in the United Kingdom – is important as the sport tries to conquer new territory.

He added: “One of the areas where we’ve struggled in MLB is making the players world recognised, and now Shohei has that star quality that can bridge that gap. He’s an integral piece to us growing the game worldwide.

“We need to market him. We need to get him out there. I think a great opening and a great door is to be like, check out this guy.

“He’s not from the States, he’s larger than life, he’s doing something that hasn’t been done before, since one of the great baseball legends like Babe Ruth. Those guys are mythical.”

:: New York Mets will play Philadelphia Phillies in the MLB World Tour: London Series 2024 on June 8–9 at London Stadium

Buck Showalter will not return as the New York Mets' manager in 2024, an expected outcome after the team that began this season with the highest payroll in Major League Baseball history failed to reach the playoffs.

Showalter told reporters of the team's decision prior to Sunday's season finale, a 9-1 home loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets released a statement following Showalter's announcement confirming their plans.

“We are heading in a new direction, with a new President of Baseball Operations and we let Buck know we’ll be parting ways. We will begin the search for a new manager immediately,” Mets owner Steve Cohen said in the statement. 

The move was widely expected after the Mets fell out of playoff contention before the All-Star break and finished with a 74-87 record, a steep decline from the 101 wins the team achieved in Showalter's first season in 2022.

New York entered this season among the National League favourites after Cohen increased the payroll to a record $355 million as the Mets brought in three-time American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and star Japanese picher Kodai Senga, as well as re-signing center fielder Brandon Nimmo and closer Edwin Diaz to big contracts.

The Mets hovered around .500 for the first two months, however, before losing 19 of 26 games in June to drop further in the standings. That led to management's decision to become sellers at the Aug. 1 trade deadline and jettison off several prominent players, most notably Verlander and fellow ace Max Scherzer.

Showalter's fate was further sealed when the Mets hired former Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns as vice president of baseball operations in September.

“I was honored to get a chance to manage a second New York team," said Showalter, whose 22-year tenure as a major league manager began with the crosstown rival Yankees in 1992. "I’m proud of what the Mets did. We won close to 180 games in two years. Especially last year, as much fun as I’ve ever had in the game. It reminded me why I’ve always loved this kind of work."

Cohen also praised Showalter's work in the statement announcing the change.

“Buck is a generational manager, and we value what he has done for our team, including leading us to a 101 win season and postseason berth last year." he said.  "The commitment and heart that Buck brings to the game will be felt by our organization for years to come. We wish Buck all the best in the next chapter of his career.”

The Mets were the fifth team the 67-year-old Showalter managed during his lengthy career, which also included stops with the Yankees (1992-95), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2000), Texas Rangers (2003-06) and Baltimore Orioles (2010-18).

Four of those teams reached the playoffs, though Showalter never guided one to a World Series despite making six total trips to the postseason and winning four Manager of the Year awards. 

Showalter's overall managerial record stands at 1,726-1,665, ranking him 19th in MLB history in wins. 

Shohei Ohtani was listed second on the Los Angeles Angels’ lineup card and slotted as the designated hitter Friday against the New York Mets despite his serious elbow injury.

Ohtani was removed from the mound in Wednesday’s start against the Cincinnati Reds after 26 pitches, and the Angels announced after the game that he will not pitch again this season due to a torn ligament in his right elbow.

Ohtani previously had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow after the 2018 season. The two-way superstar will seek a second medical opinion before making a decision regarding another potential surgery that would surely affect his upcoming free agency this offseason.

Until Ohtani’s recovery plan is set, the major-league home run leader plans to continue playing as a designated hitter.

“He’s going to play. So, as far as a second opinion goes, they’re still working on that,” general manager Perry Minasian told reporters. “Him and his representation are going to come up with a plan but as we sit here today, he’s going to play until he tells us he’s not.”

Ohtani finishes the year as a pitcher with a 10-5 record and an ERA of 3.14 with 167 strikeouts in 132 innings.

Ohtani is batting .304 with a 1.069 OPS, and his 44 home runs are two shy of his career high.

Star teammate Mike Trout returned to the injured list Friday as he continues to recover from a fractured bone in his left wrist.

Trout returned from a 38-game absence to go 1 for 4 on Tuesday but has not played since due to lingering soreness.

Justin Verlander helped the Houston Astros capture a pair of World Series titles, and the club is hoping he can lead them to another championship.

Verlander was traded to the Astros from the New York Mets in a blockbuster deal hours before MLB’s deadline on Tuesday.

The Mets received two minor league outfielders - 22-year-old Drew Gilbert, Houston’s No. 1-ranked prospect, and 20-year-old Ryan Clifford, who was the Astros’ No. 4 prospect.

Verlander signed a two-year, $86.7million contract with the Mets last December, shortly after earning his second World Series title with Houston and third Cy Young Award.

The 40-year-old has been pitching well lately, going 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA in six July starts, but the Mets have been a major disappointment and are tearing down the most expensive roster in major league history.

Fellow three-time Cy Young Award-winner Max Scherzer, who signed a three-year, $130million deal after the 2021 season, was traded to the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

Hours after that deal was officially announced, Verlander became the 49th pitcher in MLB history to 250 victories.

Of those wins, 61 came while pitching for the Astros – tied with Jim Deshaies for the 15th most in club history.

Verlander was first acquired by Houston during the 2017 season from the Detroit Tigers and helped the Astros to the franchise’s first World Series title later that fall.

During his time with Houston, Verlander made 102 starts and posted a 2.26 ERA – the lowest in franchise history among the 46 players with a minimum of 500 innings pitched for the club.

The Astros have won five of the last six AL West crowns and have reached the AL championship series in each of the last four seasons, but enter August one-half game behind the first-place Texas Rangers.

 

Blue Jays acquire DeJong after Bichette injures knee

The Toronto Blue Jays moved quickly in finding a replacement for Bo Bichette in the event the All-Star shortstop would’ve been sidelined for a while, trading for the St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul DeJong.

Bichette, the AL leader in batting average (.321) and hits (144), exited Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles with a right knee injury.

The extent of Bichette’s injury was uncertain early Tuesday, but after trading for DeJong, it was reported that an MRI on the knee revealed no significant structural damage, and he’s considered day to day.

DeJong was considered the top shortstop on the trade market.

An All-Star in 2019, the 29-year-old is batting .233 with 13 home runs, 11 doubles and 32 RBIs in 81 games.

He is also one of the better fielders at his position, registering a .990 fielding percentage – second only to the Minnesota Twins’ Carlos Correa for the best among all qualifying shortstops.

To complete the trade, the Cardinals are getting 24-year-old pitching prospect Matt Svanson from the Blue Jays.

 

Phillies get All-Star Lorenzen from Tigers

The Philadelphia Phillies have bolstered their rotation, acquiring right-hander Michael Lorenzen from the Detroit Tigers for 20-year-old infielder Hao-Yu Lee.

Lorenzen, who will become a free agent after this season, was named to his first All-Star team this year, going 5-7 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 18 starts. He has struck out 83 and walked 27 over 105 2/3 innings.

The 31-year-old began his career as a starter for the Cincinnati Reds in 2015 before spending the next six seasons working out of their bullpen.

He signed with the Los Angeles Angels prior to last season and moved back into the starting rotation, going 8-6 with a 4.24 ERA in 18 outings.

He now joins a Phillies team that reached last year’s World Series and is in possession of the NL’s second wild card.

 

Marlins bolster lineup with sluggers Burger, Bell

The Miami Marlins added two key bats to their lineup at the deadline, acquiring infielder Jake Burger from the Chicago White Sox and first baseman Josh Bell from the Cleveland Guardians.

The Marlins (57-51) find themselves in rare playoff contention but are hoping to improve their 27th-ranked offence that scores 4.09 runs per game.

Burger, 27, is tied for eighth in MLB with 25 home runs this season but is batting just .214 in 88 games. Of Burger’s 63 hits this season, 41 have gone for extra bases.

Bell, who will turn 31 later this month, was a 2019 All-Star but will be playing on his fifth team since 2020.

In the deals, the Marlins sent pitching prospect Jake Eder to Chicago, while Cleveland added infield prospect Khalil Watson. The Guardians also acquired Jean Segura in the deal but are expected to release the veteran infielder.

 

AL East-leading Orioles add RHP Flaherty

Enjoying their best season in a decade, the Baltimore Orioles fortified their rotation by acquiring right-hander Jack Flaherty from the St. Louis Cardinals for three prospects.

Leading the AL East with a 65-41 record and with a stacked farm system, the Orioles had the chance to be among the most aggressive teams at the deadline but held on to all eight of their prospects ranked by MLB Pipeline in baseball’s top 100.

Flaherty struggled earlier this season but was 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA in five July starts.

Flaherty put together his best season in 2019, when he was 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA and threw nearly 200 innings.

Injuries have derailed Flaherty’s previous three seasons, but he has made 20 starts this year with a 4.43 ERA and 7-6 record.  

 

Padres are buyers; adding Hill, Choi in trade with Pirates

The San Diego Padres are five games out of a playoff spot but are making moves to get back to the postseason.

The Padres acquired veteran left-hander Rich Hill and first baseman Ji Man Choi from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

This will be the 13th major league team for the 43-year-old Hill, who is 7-10 with a 4.76 ERA in 22 starts in his 19th MLB season.

Choi, 32, is batting .268 with four home runs and nine RBIs in 14 games since coming off the injured list after missing more than two months due to a left Achilles strain.

San Diego, which reached last season’s NL championship series but must pass five teams in the NL wild-card race, sent Pittsburgh three prospects - headlined by lefty Jackson Wolf.

Justin Verlander pitched the Mets to a 5-2 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday for his 250th career victory in what could be his final start for New York.

Verlander permitted one run and five hits while striking out five over 5 1/3 innings to become the 49th pitcher in MLB history to reach 250 wins.

Signed through next season, the three-time Cy Young Award winner improved to 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA in six starts this month but could become expendable with the underachieving Mets sitting 6 1/2 games out of playoff spot.

New York traded fellow three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to the AL West-leading Texas Rangers in deal officially completed earlier Sunday, but Mets general manager Billy Eppler insists the team is not holding a "fire sale."

The Mets have won eight of 13 but still must pass five teams in the NL wild-card race.

New York took three of four from last-place Washington, as Francisco Lindor hit his 21st homer and reached base four times, while Pete Alonso drove in two runs to give him 75 RBIs on the season.

 

 

Seven-run first inning propels Orioles in win over Yankees

The Orioles got off to a sizzling start against the New York Yankees, plating seven runs in the first inning en route to a 9-3 win in the final meeting of the season between these AL East rivals.

Adam Frazier's three-run homer gave Baltimore a 6-0 lead before New York starter Luis Severino had even recorded an out, and Adley Rutschman had a pair of singles in the first inning - his second driving in Jordan Westburg to put the Orioles up by seven.

With the win, the Orioles remained 1 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Tampa Bay Rays atop the AL East.

The Yankees, who went 6-7 against the Orioles to lose the season series for the first time since 2016, are 3 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.

New York had its chances in the series finale, rapping out nine hits, but the team went just 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and struck out 18 times - its most in game since also whiffing 18 times in a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers on April 3, 2019.

Anthony Rizzo struck out in all five of his plate appearances.

 

 

Reds rout Dodgers to take over NL Central lead

Elly De La Cruz and Joey Votto each homered in the Cincinnati Reds' 9-0 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers to take over sole possession of first place in the NL Central.

The 21-year-old De La Cruz went 4 for 5 for his first multihit game since July 8, the 39-year-old Votto had a pair of hits and drove in three runs and Graham Ashcraft kept the Dodgers off balance, allowing five hits over six innings to improve to 3-1 with a 1.75 ERA over his last six outings.

The Reds outhit the Dodgers 14-6 to take two of three in the series and move one-half game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers, who were swept by the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves over the weekend.

 

The Texas Rangers made a major move in their push for the playoffs Saturday, agreeing to a trade with the New York Mets for ace Max Scherzer.

The deal is still pending Scherzer’s approval and there are still financial issues that need to be worked out for the deal to be completed.

The 39-year-old Scherzer is 9-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 19 starts this season for the disappointing Mets. He has 121 strikeouts in 107 2/3 innings and has allowed an NL-high 23 home runs.

The Rangers, who lead the AL West, have been hit hard by the season-ending injury to former Met Jacob deGrom, their marquee offseason addition. Scherzer would join a rotation led by All-Star Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney, Jon Gray, Martin Perez and Dane Dunning.

Scherzer said Friday that he expected to have discussions with Mets owner Steve Cohen and the team’s front office before Tuesday’s deadline.

Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young Award winner in the second year of a three-year, $130 million contract he signed with the Mets in November 2021. The contract includes an opt-out after the current season. If he declines to opt out, then he’ll be under contract for 2024 at a salary of $43.3 million.

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