Astros inch closer to AL-leading Yankees with double-header sweep

By Sports Desk July 22, 2022

The Houston Astros started their second half of the MLB season in positive fashion, claiming a double-header sweep over the New York Yankees on Thursday.

The two best records in the American League (AL) faced off and the Astros bested the Yankees once again, moving to a 5-2 head-to-head record for the season with respective 3-2 and 7-5 wins at Minute Maid Park.

After splitting a four-game series in the Bronx in June, Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman both homered and combined for five RBIs to hand the Astros the third win at home this season over the AL leaders.

In the earlier game, Bregman, Korey Lee and rookie JJ Matijevic combined for RBIs while Cristian Javier struck out three but only gave up two hits over 99 pitches in five innings.

With the sweep coming out of the All-Star Game, the Astros suddenly moved to within three games of the AL-leading Yankees, who have now lost seven of their past 10 games.

Gray gets Rangers rolling

Jon Gray led the way for the Texas Rangers as they commenced an 11-game road trip, shutting the Miami Marlins out for an 8-0 win.

Gray struck out five and conceded only four hits over 94 pitches in six innings, while Adolis Garcia homered and drove in three runs.

The Marlins slipped further away from the National League's wild card race with the defeat, now six games back with a fourth consecutive defeat and extending their scoreless streak to 34 innings.

Betts denies Giants comeback

Mookie Betts saved the day for the Los Angeles Dodgers after they almost squandered a big lead, eventually claiming a 9-6 win over their rivals in the San Francisco Giants.

Things were looking good early for the Dodgers, taking a 5-0 lead after the opening three innings off star Giants pitcher Carlos Rodon, with Freddie Freeman scoring a solo home run in the first inning with two out.

The Giants fought back in the seventh through Evan Longoria and Darin Ruf, though, with the two scoring home runs to set up a five-run inning.

A Trayce Thompson triple drove Gavin Lux home to tie after Thair Estrada was walked in the eighth, before a three-run shot from Betts off Jarlin Garcia gave the Dodgers the eventual win.

Betts confirmed the win with a great defensive play in the following inning, making a spectacular sliding catch deep in right-field to retire Joc Pederson.

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    AL manager Bruce Bochy revealed Burnes will get the start when he announced the lineup Monday for the Mid-Summer Classic.

    Burnes is 9-4 with a 2.43 ERA and 110 strikeouts over 118 2/3 innings in 19 starts in his first season with the Orioles. His ERA is the third lowest in baseball.

    Acquired by Baltimore from the Milwaukee Brewers just before spring training, the 29-year-old right-hander is an All-Star for a fourth straight season.

    Burnes, who won the 2021 NL Cy Young Award, becomes the fifth Orioles pitcher to start an All-Star Game, and first since Steve Stone in 1980.

     

    Burnes will be opposed by Pittsburgh Pirates rookie star Paul Skenes, who was named the starter for the National League team last week by manager Torey Lovullo.

    Skenes, who is 6-0 with a 1.90 ERA in 11 starts, made his major league debut on May 11, and becomes the fifth rookie to start the All-Star Game, and first since Hideo Nomo in 1995.

    Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte will leadoff for the NL team, followed by Dodgers designated hitter Shohei Ohtani, Phillies shortstop Trea Turner and first baseman Bryce Harper, Brewers catcher William Contreras and right fielder Christian Yelich, Philadelphia third baseman Alex Bohm, Dodgers center fielder Teoscar Hernández and Padres left fielder Jurickson Profar.

    Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan, who leads all of baseball with .352 batting average, will bat first for the AL, followed by Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson, Yankees right fielder Juan Soto and center fielder Aaron Judge, Astros designed hitter Yordan Alvarez, Guardians shortstop José Ramírez, Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Baltimore catcher Adley Rutschman and Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien.

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    After rookie Ben Rice's three-run homer in the top of the ninth gave the Yankees a 5-3 lead, the Orioles capitalised on two New York miscues in their half of the final inning to score three times and avoid being swept in the key three-game series.

    Mullins' game-winning hit, a line drive that sailed over the head of New York's Alex Verdugo after the left fielder initially ran in on the ball, also snapped the Orioles' five-game losing streak and put Baltimore a game ahead of the second-place Yankees in the division race.

    All three Baltimore runs in the ninth came with two outs, with Adley Rutschman extending the game by drawing a walk against New York closer Clay Holmes that loaded the bases. Ryan Mountcastle followed with an infield grounder that Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe bobbled for an error that let in a run and cut the lead to 5-4.

    Mullins then drove a pitch over Verdugo's head to bring home Ryan O'Hearn and Rutschman with the tying and winning runs.

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    All-Star Anthony Santander went 2 for 4 and gave Baltimore a 3-2 edge with a solo homer off Tommy Kahnle in the bottom of the fifth. The Yankees had tied the game in the top of the inning on Trent Grisham's solo homer off Orioles' starter Dean Kremer.

    Grisham finished 3 for 3 and also drove in the Yankees' first run with a second-inning single that plated Volpe, who had reached on a two-out double.

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    D'Arnaud's two homers help Braves' Sale earn 13th win

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    Sale yielded just one run and four hits over five innings to improve to 13-3 and send Atlanta into the All-Star break by taking two of three meetings from San Diego in the weekend series.

    The All-Star hurler overcame some early trouble, as the Padres pushed home a run in the first inning on consecutive singles by Donovan Solano, Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts. Sale then proceeded to retire 13 of the final 16 batters he faced as the Braves eventually forged ahead.

    Atlanta drew even in the fourth as Ozzie Albies singled off San Diego starter Randy Vasquez, stole second and scored on Matt Olson's single. The Braves went ahead an inning later when d'Arnaud walked, stole second and crossed the plate on an Adam Duvall single.

    D'Arnaud extended the margin in the sixth with his first homer of the day, which came after Austin Riley and Marcell Ozuna reached via singles, with the three-run blast off Stephen Kolek increasing the lead to 5-1.

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    Brent Rooker and Seth Brown each went deep twice as the Athletics tied a franchise record for homers in a single game, a mark set in an 18-2 win over the then-California Angels on June 27, 1996.

    Butler drove in a total of six runs for Oakland, which also got a grand slam from Zach Gelof in the ninth inning with the Phillies using catcher Garrett Stubbs as a pitcher. Rooker knocked in five runs, Brown had three hits and three RBIs and JJ Bleday went 3 for 4 with four runs scored.

    Philadelphia was dealt a second loss of the three-game series despite leading 1-0 after three innings, courtesy of All-Star Trea Turner's solo home run off Joey Estes in the first.

    Estes (4-4) was solid the rest of the way as he allowed three runs - two earned - over six innings while well-supported by his team's power barrage.

    Rooker followed a Bleday double with a homer off Michael Mercado (1-2) in the fourth to put the A's ahead, and Butler's two-run blast in the fifth extended the margin to 4-1.

    Rooker had another two-run homer in the sixth, with Brown adding a solo shot during the inning to stake Oakland to a 7-1 advantage.

    The Phillies put together a mild threat in their half of the sixth when a double by All-Star Alec Bohm put runners on second and third with one out. Bryson Stott followed with a sacrifice fly in which two runs scored on the play, as Bohm came in from second on a throwing error by Oakland left fielder Miguel Andujar.

    It was all A's from that point on, though. Butler's two-run homer in the seventh increased the lead to 9-3, and Bleday tripled later in the inning and scored on Rooker's sac fly.

    Brown delivered his second solo homer of the day in the eighth, and Butler had another two-run shot later in the frame to put Oakland up 13-3.

    The A's scored five more times off Stubbs in the ninth on Brown's run-scoring single and Gelof's slam.

     

     

     

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    The Tigers trailed 9-4 entering the bottom of the ninth but scored five runs to force extra innings.

    Wenceel Perez and Justyn-Henry Malloy opened the inning with singles, and both scored on Matt Vierling’s double. Evan Phillips relieved and got the next two outs, but Carson Kelly hit an RBI single, and Colt Keith tied it with a two-run homer.

    After Will Vest got Freddie Freeman to hit into a bases-loaded double play to end the top of the 10th, Perez bunted automatic runner Ryan Vilade to third to start the bottom half before Urshela homered off Yohan Ramirez.

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    Reds rookie Hinds hits two more homers

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    Since making his major league debut on Monday, the 23-year-old Hinds is 11 for 22 with five homers and nine extra-base hits in six games.

    Only one of his home runs was short of 400 feet – a 397-foot grand slam on Friday night.

    He blasted a 430-foot solo shot into the upper deck in left field leading off the third inning, and then with the Reds holding a 7-6 lead in the sixth, he blasted a 454-foot shot to make it 9-6.

    Elly De La Cruz and Jeimer Candelario hit back-to-back homers in the third, and Spencer Steer and Santiago Espinal also went deep for the Reds, who have won five of six against the two worst teams in the NL.

    Jake Burger had four hits, including a homer, and four RBIs for Miami, which has lost five straight and 10 of 12.

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