MLB

MLB: Rangers' Scherzer wins in return

By Sports Desk June 23, 2024

Max Scherzer allowed one hit over five scoreless innings in a triumphant return to the mound as the Texas Rangers earned a 4-0 win over the sputtering Kansas City Royals on Sunday to complete a three-game series sweep.

Scherzer retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced in a dominant delayed season debut. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was making his first appearance in a major league game since last year's World Series after recovering from back surgery and a nerve issue in his right arm.

The 39-year-old set down the first 13 Kansas City hitters before surrendering a ground-rule double to MJ Melendez with one out in the fifth inning.

Leody Taveras led Texas offensively by going 2 for 4 and delivering a two-run single as the Rangers scored three times in the fourth inning to break a 0-0 deadlock.

Adolis Garcia led off the inning by drawing a walk against Alec Marsh and Nathaniel Lowe followed with an infield single to put two on for Wyatt Langford, who drilled a double to center to plate Garcia with the game's first run.

Marsh got the next two hitters out but couldn't retire Taveras, who blooped a ball into left field that fell in to extend Texas' lead to 3-0.

The Royals managed just two hits on the day and lost for the 11th time in 14 games. Jose Urena relieved Scherzer and gave up one hit over the final four innings to record his first save of the season and close out the Rangers' fourth straight win.

Josh Smith accounted for Texas' final run with a solo homer in the seventh inning.

Marsh (5-5) worked 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits.

 

Lopez fans 14 in eight scoreless innings in Twins' win

Pablo Lopez also came through with a masterful pitching performance Sunday, as the Minnesota ace struck out 14 Oakland Athletics hitters over eight shutout innings in the Twins' 3-0 win.

Lopez (7-6) retired the first 17 Oakland hitters before Lawrence Butler broke up the perfect-game bid with a clean single with two out in the sixth inning. The 2023 All-Star yielded just one other hit and a walk while matching a career high for strikeouts.

Byron Buxton supplied the offence for Minnesota, which took two of three games in the series, by going 2 for 3 with a homer and two runs batted in.

Buxton's solo homer off Hogan Harris in the second inning staked the Twins to a 1-0 lead. Harris held Minnesota scoreless over the next four innings, but ran into trouble in the seventh.

Carlos Santana and Willi Castro began the inning with back-to-back singles before Buxton chased Harris with a run-scoring double. Castro then scored the Twins' final run on a fielder's choice off the bat of Kyle Farmer.

Harris (1-1) was charged with all three Minnesota runs while giving up five hits in six-plus innings.

Griffin Jax relieved Lopez to start the ninth and struck out two more A's hitters to wrap up Minnesota's eighth win in 11 games. 

 

Valdez's gem gives Astros sweep of Orioles

Framber Valdez shut down the Baltimore Orioles' potent lineup over seven strong innings to lead the surging Houston Astros to an 8-1 win and a three-game series sweep of one of the American League's top teams.

Valdez (6-5) scattered six hits and struck out seven while permitting one run to help Houston to a fifth consecutive win. The defending AL West champions are now two games under .500 (38-40) for the first time since losing their first two contests of the season.

The Astros also received plenty of offence to become just the second team to sweep a three-game series from Baltimore this season. Yainer Diaz and Jeremy Pena each had three hits and three RBIs, Alex Bregman went 4 for 4 with two runs scored and Jose Altuve homered among his two hits.

Houston wasted no time getting on the board, as Altuve launched Orioles' starter Albert Suarez's first pitch of the game over the left field wall to ignite a four-run opening inning.

Bregman followed with a double and scored on Diaz's one-out single before Pena stroked a run-scoring double to quickly put Houston up 3-0. Mauricio Dubon then plated Pena with a single to cap the big inning.

The Astros tacked on another run off Suarez in the fourth when Cesar Salazar singled, took third on another Bregman double and scored on Diaz's sacrifice fly.

Suarez (3-2) was tagged for five runs and 10 hits in five innings of work. 

Jordan Westburg homered off Valdez in the top of the sixth for Baltimore's only run, but the Astros would score twice more in the bottom of the inning to pad the margin.

Bregman and Diaz each reached on singles before Pena drove in both with a double that increased the lead to 7-1. 

Altuve singled in the eighth and later scored Houston's final run on Diaz's second sac fly of the game.

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