MLB

Verdugo leads Red Sox rally over Yankees, Rodon pitches complete game for Giants

By Sports Desk July 10, 2022

Alex Verdugo led the way for the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, as they dramatically came from behind to defeat the New York Yankees in extra innings.

Verdugo claimed three hits from five at-bats and sparked his side's fightback, scoring the game-tying single in the eighth inning.

Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead with RBI doubles in the 10th inning, both scoring off Jake Diekman.

However, the Red Sox left-fielder responded, scoring a two-run single in the bottom of the extra inning to cap off a three-run frame and hand his side the win over their old rival.

Boston moved to second in the American League East at 46-39, but the Yankees still hold a 15-game lead with the MLB's best record at 61-24.

Rodon rolls for Giants

Carlos Rodon was in spectacular form to inspire the San Francisco Giants to a 3-1 win over the San Diego Padres in divisional ball.

The Giants had lost eight of their past 10 games and Rodon's last start capped off a five-game losing streak. The 29-year-old pitched a complete game, allowing his only run in the second inning.

The left-hander retired 22 of the Padres' final 23 batters while allowing only three hits for only the third complete game of his career.

Mets make it count in extra innings

The New York Mets overcame injuries to Starling Marte and James McCann to maintain their lead in the National League, defeating the Miami Marlins 5-4 in extra innings.

Tomas Nido hit the game-tying double with two outs in the 10th inning, before scoring the winning run on a throwing error by Marlins reliever Tanner Scott.

After retiring the number 17 to honour Keith Hernandez, the Mets secured their fourth walk-off win of the season and improved to 7-0 in extra innings, while moving their record to 53-32.

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    The Red Sox will also send cash to the Braves to cover a portion of the $27.5 million salary Sale is owed in 2024, the final guaranteed season of a $160 million, six-year contract.

    Sale is a seven-time All-Star but has battled injuries since he was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in December 2016. He made nine trips to the disabled and injured lists with the Red Sox, mostly due to shoulder and elbow ailments.

    Sale helped Boston to a World Series title in 2018 but has made only 56 starts in the last four years, going 17-18 with a 4.86 ERA. He was 6-5 with a 4.30 ERA in 20 starts and 102 2/3 innings last season.

    He joins a Braves rotation that projects to include Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton and Max Fried.

    The 22-year-old Grissom batted .287 with five home runs and 27 RBIs over 64 games during the past two seasons for Atlanta. He made 41 starts and second base and 19 at shortstop.

  • Yankees acquire slugger Juan Soto from Padres Yankees acquire slugger Juan Soto from Padres

    The first blockbuster trade of the offseason arrived Wednesday night, with the New York Yankees acquiring slugger Juan Soto from the cost-cutting San Diego Padres.

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    New York was in desperate need of offense after finishing 82-80 last season, the franchise’s worst record since 1992. The offense ranked 25th in the majors with 4.15 runs per game, 29th in batting average (.227) and 24th in OPS (.701).

    Soto provides plenty from the plate with a .421 on-base percentage, the highest among active players. He is a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner and batted .275 with 35 home runs, 109 RBIs and .a 930 Ops in his only full season with the Padres in 2023.

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  • Brandon Nimmo hopeful ‘exceptional’ Shohei Ohtani could play for Mets in London Brandon Nimmo hopeful ‘exceptional’ Shohei Ohtani could play for Mets in London

    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

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