Pujols blasts career-first pinch-hit grand slam in Cards win, Bregman leads Astros barrage

By Sports Desk August 19, 2022

Albert Pujols produced a career-first as he blasted his 690th home run with a pinch-hit grand slam in the St Louis Cardinals' 13-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

The 42-year-old slugger, who will retire at the end of this season, came off the bench to deliver the slam at the bottom of the third inning to extend the Cards lead to 10-0.

The 374-foot blast was Pujols' 11th home run of the season and his 16th career grand slam, tying him with Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Dave Kingman at 10th overall, but it was his first ever as a pinch-hitter.

Pujols drove in five for the game, with two hits from three at-bats, as the Cards flexed their muscle with their fourth win in a row and 12th from their past 13 games.

The victory improved the Cards' record to 66-51, to lead the Milwaukee Brewers (63-54) by three games in the National League Central division.

Right-hander Adam Wainwright helped shut out the Rockies on the mound with seven strikeouts across seven innings, allowing only three hits.

Bregman career-high in Astros barrage

Alex Bregman led the way as the Houston Astros made an emphatic statement with a 21-5 barrage over the Chicago White Sox.

Bregman had a 12-total base day, going four-for-six at-bats with two home runs and two doubles, with a career-high six RBIs.

Houston scored in seven of the nine innings and tied a franchise record with 25 hits, while the 21 runs was joint second-most in Astros history.

Springer and Vlad lead Jays past Yankees

George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr starred to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 9-2 win over the slumping New York Yankees in a key victory for their American League Wild Card hopes.

Springer went five-for-five with two runs and one RBI, while Guerrero blasted a three-run homer in a five-run second inning as the Jays improved to 63-54.

Jose Berrios impressed on the mound with nine strikeouts across six-and-two-third innings, allowing two runs as the Yankees lost for the 13th time in their past 17 games.

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    Alex Cora will be staying with the Boston Red Sox for next season and beyond, as MLB Network reported Wednesday that the veteran manager has agreed to a three-year contract extension that will make him among the highest-paid skippers in baseball.

    Cora's new deal will run through the 2027 season and will be worth more than $7 million annually, according to MLB Network. ESPN reported earlier Wednesday that the 48-year-old was nearing an agreement on a three-year, $21.75 million extension.

    The agreement also ends speculation on Cora's future in Boston with his current contract due to expire at the end of this season. The 2018 World Series champion will become the second-highest paid manager in the majors behind Craig Counsell, who left the Milwaukee Brewers for the Chicago Cubs in the offseason on a deal that pays him $8 million annually.

    Cora is in his fourth consecutive season as the Red Sox's manager and sixth overall with the club. He was dismissed following the 2019 season as he served a one-year suspension in 2020 as part of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal of 2017, then rehired by Boston after being reinstated by Major League Baseball.

    The Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 regular-season games and captured their most recent World Series title in Cora's first season in 2018. Boston also reached the post-season during Cora's return to the team in 2021, though the Red Sox have missed the playoffs in each of the past two years.

    Cora has the Red Sox back in the mix for a playoff spot this season, however. Boston enters Wednesday's play one game behind the Kansas City Royals for the American League's final wild card berth with a 54-46 record. 

    The Puerto Rico native has compiled a 494-416 regular-season record during his time in Boston.

    Prior to his initial stint with the Red Sox, Cora spent the 2017 season as the Astros' bench coach and was part of Houston's controversial run to that year's World Series title. Major League Baseball later conducted a thorough investigation of an alleged sign-stealing scheme the Astros had put in place that season, which led to Commissioner Rob Manfred suspending Cora for the entire 2020 campaign for his role.


  • MLB: Skenes suffers first loss as Cardinals edge Pirates MLB: Skenes suffers first loss as Cardinals edge Pirates

    Pirates All-Star rookie Paul Skenes lost for the first time in 12 career major league starts as Alec Burleson stroked a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning to give the St. Louis Cardinals a 2-1 win on Tuesday night.

    Skenes threw 91 pitches through eight innings and was allowed to start the ninth for the first time.

    Michael Siani opened the inning with a double down the left-field line and took third on Masyn Winn’s groundout. He scored when Burleson lined an 0-2 fastball into right on Skenes’ 104th and final pitch.

    He gave up two runs and four hits in 8 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts and no walks as his ERA rose from 1.90 to 1.93. Skenes had at least seven strikeouts for his ninth consecutive start, extending a team record.

    Ryan Fernandez earned the win, getting an inning-ending double play in the eighth from Ke’Bryan Hayes, his only batter.

    Ryan Helsley struck out three straight batters on 13 pitches for his major league-leading 33rd save in 35 chances.

    Jack Suwinski had two hits for the Pirates, who had won seven of their previous eight games.


    Dodgers beat Giants for 5th straight win

    Shohei Ohtani drove in three runs and the Los Angeles Dodgers extended their winning streak to five games with a 5-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

    Shortstop Tyler Fitzgerald became the first Giants rookie to homer in five consecutive games with a solo shot off Landon Knack in the second inning. He is the first Giants player to go deep in at least five straight since Barry Bonds had a seven-game streak in 2004.

    That was the only run and one of two hits Knack allowed over five innings in his first win since April 24.

    Brent Honeywell Jr. worked two scoreless innings, Blake Treinen pitched the eighth and Alex Vesia gave up a run in the 9th before Evan Phillips retired LaMonte Wade Jr. with the bases loaded for his 15th save.

    After Freddie Freeman and Teoscar Hernandez drew two-out walks in the first against Jordan Hicks, Gavin Lux’s double staked the Dodgers to a 2-0 lead.

    Ohtani followed Jason Heyward’s hit by pitch and Cavan Biggio’s single in the fourth with a double off the right-field fence to make it 4-1.

    The Japanese sensation added an RBI single in the eighth.


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    Jose Quintana and five relievers combined on a five-hitter as the Mets (52-48) matched their season high of four games over .500. They improved to 3-0 against their crosstown rivals.

    With closer Edwin Diaz unavailable, Diekman pitched a hitless ninth for his fourth save. After walking Juan Soto with one out, the veteran lefty froze Judge for a called third strike, then retired rookie Ben Rice on a game-ending grounder.

    The Mets walked Judge his first four times, once intentionally, but the Yankees were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

    McNeil’s homer in the sixth off Michael Tonkin snapped a 1-1 tie and was his fourth in five games since the All-Star break.

    Gleyber Torres homered and Alex Verdugo doubled home a run for the Yankees, who dropped to 9-19 in their last 28 games.

  • MLB: Pirates, Royals earn key wins MLB: Pirates, Royals earn key wins

    Nick Gonzales' single in the eighth inning drove in the go-ahead run as the Pittsburgh Pirates continued their mid-season surge with Monday's 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Gonzales hit that scored All-Star Bryan Reynolds snapped a 1-1 tie and helped give Pittsburgh its seventh win in eight games as it pushes for a play-off spot in the National League. The Pirates, who last reached the post-season in 2015, sit a half-game behind the New York Mets for the NL's final wild card spot.

    Pittsburgh also moved within a game of St. Louis for the second wild card. 

    Reynolds led off the bottom of the eighth with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch by St. Louis reliever John King. Two batters later, Gonzales hit a slow grounder that got through the infield to score Reynolds for a 2-1 Pittsburgh lead.

    David Bednar then held the Cardinals scoreless in the ninth to earn his 18th save of the season. Aroldis Chapman received the win with one scoreless inning in relief of Mitch Keller, who allowed just one run on six hits in a seven-inning no-decision.

    The Cardinals also got a solid outing from their starter, as Andre Pallante yielded just one run and three hits through six innings.

    Nolan Gorman accounted for St. Louis' lone run by hitting a solo homer off Keller in the fifth inning that tied the score at 1-1. The Pirates had gone ahead in the third when Andrew McCutchen doubled and later scored on Oneil Cruz's single. 

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    Witt tripled in the first inning, doubled in the third and delivered a three-run homer in the fourth that gave the Royals an 8-3 lead. The All-Star shortstop was hit by a pitch and flied out in his final two at-bats, though, to narrowly miss becoming the first Kansas City player to record a cycle since Hall of Famer George Brett in 1990.

    Salvador Perez had a go-ahead two-run homer in the third inning and Hunter Renfroe later added a solo shot as part of the Royals' 15-hit attack. Vinnie Pasquantino and Kyle Isbel each collected three hits, with Isbel driving in two runs and Perez three.

    Arizona had taken a 3-1 lead when Ketel Marte followed Alek Thomas' RBI double in the top of the third with a two-run homer off Cole Ragans. The Royals countered with three runs in their half of the inning, however, to quickly move back ahead.

    Witt started the rally with a lead-off double and scored on Pasquantino's single before Perez launched Arizona starter Yilber Diaz's pitch over the center field wall for a 4-3 Kansas City edge.

    The Royals then extended the margin with four runs in the fourth.

    Isbel doubled in Maikel Garcia and Adam Frazier followed with an infield single to chase Diaz. Witt then greeted Miguel Castro with a home run on the reliever's first pitch to put Arizona at a five-run deficit.

    Renfroe's solo homer in the fifth increased the lead to 9-3.  Perez drove in Witt with the Royals' final run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

    Ragans (7-6) shook off his early troubles to work six innings while allowing three runs on five hits and striking out six.

    Diaz (1-1), making his third MLB start, was tagged for seven runs in three-plus innings.

    Isbel previously knocked in Kansas City's first run with a second-inning single. The Diamondbacks managed a late run in the eighth when Christian Walker doubled and later scored on Eugenio Suarez's sac fly.

    Ober pitches Twins past struggling Phillies

    Bailey Ober bounced back strongly after allowing an early home run to Bryce Harper to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 7-2 win over the struggling Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of a three-game series.

    After giving up hits to three of the game's first four batters, including Harper's two-run homer, Ober (9-5) yielded just one more hit over the remainder of his seven-inning stint to improve to 4-1 over his last six starts. The right-hander retired 17 of the final 18 batters he faced.

    Manuel Margot led Minnesota offensively with two hits, including a two-run single that gave the Twins a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning. Willi Castro also knocked in two runs to help Minnesota snap a three-game losing streak, while Carlos Santana and Max Kepler each had two hits and an RBI.

    The Phillies still own the majors' best record at 63-37 but have now lost four of their last five games.

    After Castro's third-inning single plated Diego Castillo to trim Philadelphia's lead to 2-1, the Twins struck twice more in the fifth to forge ahead.

    Kepler led off the bottom of the fifth with a single and Castillo followed with a ground-rule double to put two on for Margot, who sent both runners home with a go-ahead single to right off Philadelphia All-Star Ranger Suarez.

    Suarez (10-5) lost his third straight start after surrendering three runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings.

    The Twins extended their lead in the seventh when Ryan Jeffers doubled and later crossed the plate on a Santana double, then put the game out of reach with three runs in the eighth.

    Kepler followed a Trevor Larnach double with a run-scoring single to put Minnesota up 5-2, and the Twins later loaded the bases before scoring twice more on a walk to Castro and a wild pitch from reliever Yunior Marte.

    Cole Sands worked the final two innings for Minnesota to notch his third save of the season.



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