MLB

Greinke pitches complete game as Astros crush Jays, Angels star Ohtani ties season high

By Sports Desk June 05, 2021

Zack Greinke produced a complete game to inspire the Houston Astros' 13-1 demolition of the Toronto Blue Jays in MLB action on Friday.

Astros ace Greinke threw his first complete game since 2017 and the 17th of his career to lead the Astros to a crushing victory over the Blue Jays.

Greinke – a six-time All-Star, six-time Gold Glove winner and two-time Silver Slugger – turned back the clock, the 37-year-old pitcher giving up six hits and one walk while striking out three batters.

"This was one of the first times where I felt really strong at the end," the 2009 American League (AL) Cy Young Award winner said.

"Most games I feel a little tired later on. Today it felt just as good, if not better, in the last inning, as it did in the first inning."

Astros team-mate Carlos Correa also homered twice in Buffalo, where Martin Maldonado hit a grand slam as Houston won for the fifth time in six games.

 

Ohtani show continues, Snell flirts with no-no

Shohei Ohtani tied a season high with 10 strikeouts as the Los Angeles Angels edged the Seattle Mariners 3-2. The two-way star did not walk a batter for the first time in his 20 career starts. He allowed two runs on four hits across six innings. Since 1900, Ohtani is the only player with 15-plus home runs in a season and at least one 10-strikeout game that year, having also achieved the feat in 2018.

The San Diego Padres blanked the New York Mets 2-0 behind ace Blake Snell, who was scoreless across seven innings. He allowed just one hit while striking out 10.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers became the first MLB team to have an 11-run inning in one game and then an eight-run inning in their next outing since the Astros in 1969, according to Stats Perform. The Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 9-5 thanks to an eight-run fifth inning.

Per Stats Perform, Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals became the first player to have two hits, a homer and a stolen base in the opening inning of a game since Oakland's Rickey Henderson in 1980. The Royals blitzed the Minnesota Twins 14-5.

 

Ryu fades

Toronto ace Ryu Hyun-jin had a game to forget after a promising start. Usually the Blue Jays' most reliable pitcher, Ryu allowed seven runs on seven hits, two homers and three walks in 5.2 innings, having retired his first seven batters.

 

That walk-off feeling

Yermin Mercedes hit a game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 9-8 walk-off victory over the Detroit Tigers. Mercedes snapped a 0-for-22 skid entering the game.

 

 

Friday's results

Boston Red Sox 5-2 New York Yankees
Baltimore Orioles 3-1 Cleveland Indians
Pittsburgh Pirates 9-2 Miami Marlins
Washington Nationals 2-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Houston Astros 13-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Dodgers 9-5 Atlanta Braves
Texas Rangers 5-4 Tampa Bay Rays
Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 Arizona Diamondbacks
Chicago White Sox 9-8 Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals 14-5 Minnesota Twins
Cincinnati Reds 6-4 St Louis Cardinals
Oakland Athletics 9-5 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Seattle Mariners
San Francisco Giants 8-5 Chicago Cubs
San Diego Padres 2-0 New York Mets

 

Mets at Padres

Star pitcher Jacob deGrom will take to the mound as the Mets look to bounce back from back-to-back defeats to the Padres in the third meeting of a four-game series on Friday. Joe Musgrove starts for the Padres.

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    Jurgen Klopp does not understand why anybody would focus only on Trent Alexander-Arnold's defending when he has "world-class talent" on the ball.

    Liverpool right-back Alexander-Arnold has been the subject of much debate this week after being left out of England's matchday squad to face Germany on Monday.

    Reece James started the match and Kyle Walker came off the bench, while Kieran Trippier was among the substitutes.

    James appears to be Gareth Southgate's preferred option in that position, but Walker has made 50 appearances under the Three Lions manager. Trippier has turned out 37 times for Southgate, starting in both the 2018 World Cup semi-final and Euro 2020 final.

    That leaves Alexander-Arnold – often outstanding for Liverpool – as fourth-choice and looking highly unlikely to feature at the World Cup, even if selected in the 26-man squad.

    Southgate handed Alexander-Arnold his international debut in 2018, but he has since earned just 17 caps for his country.

    While the 23-year-old's creative abilities are unquestioned – he leads the England quartet in chances created (2.4) and expected assists (0.32) per 90 minutes in the Premier League in 2022 – there are doubts around his defending.

    Klopp has accepted Alexander-Arnold has room for improvement, but ahead of Saturday's game against Brighton and Hove Albion, he also suggested "nobody mentions" when the Liverpool man defends well.

    "It's like you have a list, bad defending and good defending, and bad defending [is] massive, and the good defending [list] is like you can't even see," he said.

    "That's what I see, because I'm not dumb."

    Klopp was also keen to point out some of Alexander-Arnold's shortcomings are due to Liverpool's approach, as they are "extremely brave" in their pressing and "the pitch is too big to be everywhere".

    Yet even when Alexander-Arnold is directly at fault, his club manager believes there is too much focus on those shortcomings.

    "There are other situations where he was not aware of the situation, where they pass the ball through him, where it was a challenge he should've won – true," Klopp said. "Every player in the league has these challenges.

    "With him, you pick it out, analyse so easy. All the experts sitting there, 'in this situation, you see it's a weakness'.

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  • Walk-off win to end drought 'better than you can even dream', say Mariners Walk-off win to end drought 'better than you can even dream', say Mariners

    Cal Raleigh made MLB history to end the Seattle Mariners' 21-year playoff drought in fitting fashion – circumstances scarcely believable to manager Scott Servais.

    The Mariners entered Friday knowing either defeat for the Baltimore Orioles or a victory of their own at home to the Oakland Athletics would clinch a Wild Card place.

    Seattle were enduring the longest active postseason absence in any of the four major American sports.

    And a surprise win for the Orioles at the New York Yankees kept Mariners fans waiting just a little longer, with their team very rarely doing things the easy way even in this hugely successful season.

    But Raleigh, pinch-hitting for Luis Torrens, homered on a 3-2 pitch from Domingo Acevedo at the bottom of the ninth to clinch a sensational 2-1 walk-off win and a playoff series next weekend.

    Raleigh became the first player in MLB history to secure a postseason berth with a pinch-hit, walk-off home run.

    After only two as a rookie in 2021, this was also Raleigh's 26th homer of the year – a new single-season record for Mariners catchers.

    That it happened at T-Mobile Park put the icing on the cake for Servais, who had already been talking up his team's World Series chances after beating the Texas Rangers the previous night. 

    "The fact that we're in our ballpark and there's 40,000 people here tonight, it's better than maybe what you can even dream it could be," Servais said.

    "We have a lot of baseball yet ahead of us. We did end the drought tonight, which is a very special feeling.

    "There's so many kids that grew up in the Pacific Northwest that don't know anything about the Mariners being in the playoffs, and now we get to show them."

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    "It wasn’t fluid. It wasn't a linear road for us," he said. "We stumbled, and we fell, and I think that made us stronger.

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    It would have been difficult to imagine at the end of that 2001 season the Mariners would not be back in the postseason until 2022; Seattle finished with a 116-46 record, setting a new American League benchmark for wins in a single season and matching the all-time MLB high.

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    Seattle had lost eight of their previous 11 games before beating the Texas Rangers on both Wednesday and Thursday – results that, combined with back-to-back defeats for the Baltimore Orioles, left the Mariners only one game away heading into Friday.

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    With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Cal Raleigh hit a walk-off home run to win 2-1 and send the Seattle fans into raptures as a 21-year weight was lifted off their shoulders.

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    They remain the only team in the major leagues never to have been to a World Series, with this their 45th season, while the Houston Astros' dominance in the AL West means Seattle's wait for a first division title since 2001 will go on.

    That is the worst run in the AL, but three NL teams – the Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates – will this year see their division droughts reach 29 years.

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