MLB

Cronenworth hits second cycle of season, Guerrero reaches 30 homers

By Sports Desk July 17, 2021

Jake Cronenworth recorded the second cycle of the 2021 MLB season as the San Diego Padres won 24-8 over the Washington Nationals on Friday.

Cronenworth hit a double in the second inning, a triple in the third, a home run in the fifth and a single in the sixth to record the third cycle in Padres' history.

In a high-scoring game, the Padres raced to a 10-3 lead after two innings, before Cronenworth hit a line ball to drive in Fernando Tatis Jr.

In the fifth inning, Cronenworth hit a fly-ball home run, before racing to first after hitting a soft ground ball to short stop.

Meanwhile, Tatis produced some spectacular fielding, throwing to first base from center at the bottom of the first inning.

Wil Meyers also got the 'Slam Diego' moniker going, with a grand slam in the second inning opening up the 10-3 lead, his 11th home run of the season.

As the runs piled on, the Padres claimed a record with the most runs scored in team history, with Meyers getting a second homer with seven RBI.

Indeed, since RBI became an official stat in 1920, no team had scored 24 runs in a game, had a player hit for the cycle (Cronenworth), had a player with seven RBI in a game (Myers) and had a player with five runs in a game (Tommy Pham) all in the same season, let alone on the same night.

 

Lowrie walkoff, Yaz double

Jed Lowrie hit a home run to clinch a thrilling 5-4 walk-off win for the Oakland Athletics over the Cleveland Indians.

Mike Yastrzemski hit two home runs as the high-flying San Francisco Giants won 7-2 on the road at the St Louis Cardinals.

Eduardo Rodriguez starred on the mound with eight strikeouts as the Boston Red Sox knocked off the depleted New York Yankees 4-0 in a delayed start to their series.

And the Los Angeles Dodgers piled on five runs in the first inning, including a Chris Taylor home run, as they won 10-4 against the Colorado Rockies.

 

Diamondbacks downed again

The NBA's Phoenix Suns are garnering a lot of love in Arizona but across town the Diamondbacks are having a tough time right now, going down 5-1 at home to the Chicago Cubs. The Diamondbacks (26-67) have lost their past three games, giving up 34 runs in the process.

 

Guerrero reaches 30 home runs

Vladimir Guerrero Jr continued his All-Star MVP form with two home runs as the Toronto Blue Jays won 10-2 against the Texas Rangers. Guerrero, who now has 30 homers this season, also had four RBI. He is second for homers this season behind only Shohei Ohtani (33).

 

Friday's results

Philadelphia Phillies 5-2 Miami Marlins
San Diego Padres 24-8 Washington Nationals
Boston Red Sox 4-0 New York Yankees
Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 New York Mets
Toronto Blue Jays 10-2 Texas Rangers
Milwaukee Brewers 11-6 Cincinnati Reds
Tampa Bay Rays 7-6 Atlanta Braves
Miami Marlins 7-0 Philadelphia Phillies 
Houston Astros 7-1 Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals 9-2 Baltimore Orioles
San Francisco Giants 7-2 St Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 Colorado Rockies
Seattle Mariners 6-5 Los Angeles Angels
Chicago Cubs 5-1 Arizona Diamondbacks
Oakland Athletics 5-4 Cleveland Indians


Astros at White Sox

Two of the top sides do battle for the second time in their series as the Chicago White Sox host the Houston Astros on Saturday.

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  • MLB: Yankees beat Orioles as benches clear in 9th inning MLB: Yankees beat Orioles as benches clear in 9th inning

    Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 33rd home run and the New York Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 in a game marred by a late benches-clearing incident on Friday night.

    Benches cleared in the bottom of the ninth after Baltimore’s Heston Kjerstad was hit in the helmet by a pitch from closer Clay Holmes. There was some pushing and shoving, but no punches were thrown.

    Orioles manager Brandon Hyde walked toward the New York dugout and pointed at someone, at which point Yankees catcher Austin Wells tried to restrain Hyde.

    The teams met for the first time since the Orioles took two of three in New York last month. Since then, the Yankees are 6-13 and Baltimore is 8-12.

    Gerrit Cole rebounded from a poor start in his last outing by allowing one run and five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.

    Tommy Kahnle and Luke Weaver each worked one inning and Holmes pitched the ninth for his 21st save.

    The Orioles had their lead in the East trimmed to one game over the Yankees as they lost their fourth straight. They have scored three runs during that skid and are 1 for 26 with runners in scoring position.

    New York scored twice against rookie Cade Povich in the second.

    Anthony Volpe singled and moved to third on an error by right fielder Anthony Santander. He scored on Jose Trevino’s double and Jahmai Jones singled home another run.

    Judge led off the third by sending an 0-2 pitch from Povich over the wall in left field for his first RBI in nine games. Judge walked in his other four plate appearances.

    Surging Mets hold off Rockies

    Jose Iglesias and Harrison Bader each homered twice and the New York Mets fended off the last-place Colorado Rockies, 7-6.

    Mark Vientos also went deep and had an RBI double for the Mets, who are 4-0 on a six-game homestand against the struggling Nationals and Rockies heading into the All-Star break. New York has won six of seven overall and is 24-10 since it was 11 games under .500 on June 2.

    Sean Manaea pitched seven effective innings, throwing a season-high 107 pitches. He allowed three runs and five hits while walking one and striking out nine.

    He left with a 7-3 lead, but Charlie Blackmon homered to open the eighth and Brenton Doyle’s two-run shot later in the inning made it a one-run game.

    Edwin Diaz worked around consecutive two-out walks in a hitless ninth for his 10th save.

    Vientos and Iglesias hit back-to-back home runs in the second and Bader’s blast one batter later gave the Mets three homers in an inning for the first time since July 1, 2023, against San Francisco.

    Hendricks pitches Cubs to 5th straight win

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    Chicago was coming off consecutive shutouts in Baltimore and had a scoreless streak of 32 2/3 innings snapped in the ninth on Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI single.

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  • Rookie Skenes to start MLB All-Star Game Rookie Skenes to start MLB All-Star Game

    Pittsburgh Pirates phenom Paul Skenes has been chosen as the National League's starting pitcher for Major League Baseball's upcoming All-Star game, the first rookie in nearly 30 years to receive the honour.

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    Skenes' most impressive peformance occurred Thursday, when he did not allow a hit over seven innings and struck out 11 Milwaukee Brewers to lead the Pirates to a 1-0 victory over the NL Central leaders.

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    Skenes will be only the fifth rookie pitcher to start an All-Star Game and first since the Los Angeles Dodgers' Hideo Nomo in 1995. Dave Stenhouse (1962), Mark Fidrych (1976) and Fernando Valenzuela (1981) have also accomplished the feat as rookies.

    The former Louisiana State University star's 11 career MLB appearances will be the fewest for a starting pitcher in All-Star Game history, breaking the record of 13 set by Fidrych and Nomo.

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  • The Numbers Game: Messi set for triumphant Argentina send-off in Miami? The Numbers Game: Messi set for triumphant Argentina send-off in Miami?

    The stage is set for what could be Lionel Messi's international swansong, as Argentina face Colombia in Sunday's Copa America final in the forward's new home of Miami.

    The Hard Rock Stadium is the venue as Messi and La Albiceleste go in search of a record-breaking 16th Copa America crown, currently level with Uruguay on 15. It would also be a second in a row after they overcame old rivals Brazil in the 2021 final.

    Standing in their way, however, are arguably the most impressive team at the tournament in Colombia.

    Unbeaten in 28 games – a new national record – and led by a rejuvenated James Rodriguez, who is surely the favourite for Player of the Tournament honours, Los Cafeteros downed a much-fancied Uruguay side with 10 men in the last four and are sure to present a stern test.

    Ahead of the showpiece game, we dive into the best Opta data surrounding the two finalists. 

    What's expected?

    Argentina began the tournament as favourites, being given a 30.8% chance of securing back-to-back titles for the first time since 1993 by the Opta supercomputer.

    The supercomputer is still on their side ahead of the final, giving them a 50.9% chance of winning the match in 90 minutes.

    Colombia are assigned a 25.4% chance of victory and a 23.6% chance of taking the game to extra time (which will take place if required after being scrapped for all other knockout matches) and potentially penalties.  

    Argentina have won their last two Copa America shoot-outs, against Ecuador in this year's quarter-finals and Colombia in 2021, though they have lost three of their last four finals at the competition on spot-kicks, versus Brazil in 2004 and Chile in both 2015 and 2016.

    Overall, Lionel Scaloni's team are given a 63% chance of lifting the trophy to Colombia's 37%. 

     

    Colombia will be featuring in just their third Copa America final (also 1975 and 2001), becoming the fourth team to reach multiple finals at the competition this century, after Argentina (six), Brazil (four) and Chile (two).

    Argentina have now reached the final at six of their last eight major tournaments (World Cups and Copa America). The only exceptions were at the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Copa, losing to the eventual champions (France and Brazil) in both instances.

    Colombia have only won one of their last 12 meetings with Argentina (five draws, six defeats) – a 2-0 group-stage win at the 2019 Copa America. The teams' last draw led to Colombia losing on penalties in the 2021 Copa quarter-finals, with Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Edwin Cardona all unsuccessful from 12 yards.

    The teams have met on 15 previous occasions in the Copa America, with Argentina recording seven wins to Colombia's three and the remaining five being drawn.

    Fitting farewell for the GOAT?

    Sunday's final could very well be the end of an era, with arguably the greatest footballer of all time contemplating international retirement after the match.

    While there are plenty stateside who are desperate to see Messi continue his glittering Argentina career until the 2026 World Cup, the eight-time Ballon d'Or winner said this week he is fighting his "last battles" on the international stage.

    Having led Argentina to glory at the 2021 Copa and the Qatar World Cup, Messi could go out on a high by inspiring his country to three straight major tournament successes, a feat they only previously achieved by winning three consecutive Copas in 1945, 1946 and 1947, with the World Cup not held during that time.

    It took him a while, but Messi finally got up and running at this year's Copa with a goal in Tuesday's 2-0 semi-final victory over Canada, converting his 12th shot of the tournament.

     

    He has now scored at six different editions of the Copa America, matching the record set by Zizinho all the way back in 1957. Messi has netted at the 2007, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2021 and 2024 editions, only failing to get on the scoresheet in 2011.

    His semi-final strike came 17 years and one day after his first Copa America goal, versus Peru in 2007. That gap is the longest between goals for a single player in the tournament's history, breaking another record previously held by Zizinho (15 years and 52 days between 1942 and 1957).

    Another trophy on Sunday would enable him to end what had previously been a disappointing Argentina career with a perfect run of three tournament triumphs.

    There is also the small matter of another international trophy pulling him clear of his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who led Portugal to glory at Euro 2016 and in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League but now looks unlikely to add to that collection. 

    Cafeteros the Copa's best?

    Argentina may have star quality unmatched by any of their South American rivals, but they were made to work for knockout successes against Ecuador and Canada. Many would argue they have not been the tournament's outstanding team.

    That honour may go to Colombia, who topped Group D ahead of Brazil before dumping out Uruguay – considered second-favourites for the trophy by some – in the semi-finals.

    Nestor Lorenzo's team did not even require a full complement to overcome La Celeste, standing firm after Daniel Munoz's first-half red card as Jefferson Lerma's earlier header proved decisive. 

    Lerma's goal was Colombia's fifth to come via a header at this tournament, the most by a team at a single edition since Argentina netted six times via that route in 1991, when they lifted the trophy.

    Colombia's aerial prowess has been another string to their bow at a tournament where they have been extremely efficient in attack, scoring a competition-high 12 goals from 8.49 expected goals (xG), a tally that puts them second to Argentina (11.1). Colombia rank just sixth for touches in the penalty area (104) but third for shots from inside the box (59).

    Only conceding twice, Lorenzo's side have also been solid at the back – a recipe for tournament success. 

     

    Per game, they have averaged a tournament-low 0.51 expected goals against (xGA), as well as 9.6 shots faced (the third-best figure) and 2.2 shots on target faced (second-best). 

    That solid backline has given James and Luis Diaz the platform from which to make things happen, with the duo ranking third and fourth, respectively, for expected assists (xA) among all players at the competition. 

    Miserly at the back and with two of the competition's most creative players in attack, Colombia will back themselves to spoil Messi's Miami party.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Argentina – Angel Di Maria

    Di Maria made his 27th Copa America appearance in the last four, becoming Argentina's second-most capped player in the competition, behind Messi (38 matches).

    The former Real Madrid wideman will play his final international match on Sunday, and he could go out with a bang, having earned a reputation as a big-game player.

    Di Maria, who has 31 goals in 144 games for La Albiceleste overall, scored the winner in the 2021 Copa America final versus Brazil and also got on the scoresheet in the 2022 World Cup showpiece game against France.

    Only James (17), Nicolas de la Cruz (14) and Messi (13) have bettered his nine chances created at this tournament, while he also ranks sixth for xA (1.01) and only Messi has matched his tally of four chance-creating carries. 

     

    Colombia – James Rodriguez

    Colombia captain James has looked a player reborn at this tournament, recording six assists, with the most recent teeing up Lerma's semi-final winner versus Uruguay.

    That meant he surpassed Messi (five in 2021) for the most assists at a single edition of the Copa America since this data began being recorded by Opta in 2011.

    A remarkable 12 of his 17 chances created at this tournament have come from set-pieces, and with a cagey affair potentially in store, his dead-ball prowess could prove decisive.

    Five of Colombia's 12 goals have come from corners or indirect free-kicks, with James' deliveries helping them surpass their previous best goalscoring return at a Copa America (11 in both 1975 and 2001).

     

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