MLB

Flores lifts Giants past Dodgers, Yankees secure seventh walk-off win

By Sports Desk July 22, 2021

Wilmer Flores hit a dramatic go-ahead two-run home run to help the San Francisco Giants overcome the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 in MLB on Wednesday.

Trailing 2-1 at the top of the ninth inning, Flores came up with a high and deep homer over left-field to lift the Giants to victory.

The tight comeback win keeps the Giants in sole possession of top spot in the National League West.

Earlier, Mike Yastrzemski and Chris Taylor traded home runs in the first inning.

Cody Bellinger put the Dodgers ahead in the fourth inning from AJ Pollock's drive down the line.

That set the scene for Flores, whose home run was the 100th of his career and crucial in the context of the Giants' season.

 

Another Yankees walk-off win

The New York Yankees enjoyed their seventh walk-off win of the season, getting past the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 with Ryan LaMarre delivering in extras.

Jean Segura had homered for the Phillies with the first pitch of the game, while Gleyber Torres kept up his hot form with his third home run in his past four games for the Yankees.

Giancarlo Stanton rediscovered some of his own form with a key RBI, before Rougned Odor's seventh inning home run, only for the Phillies to send it to extras with three runs in the eighth.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr homered again, his 32nd of the season, but the Toronto Blue Jays lost 7-4 to division leaders the Boston Red Sox in the final game at Buffalo.

Boston's Rafael Devers homered for the 24th time this year, before JD Martinez delivered his 20th to seal the win for the Red Sox.

Randy Arozarena hit two home runs before Austin Meadows drove in the winning runs as the Tampa Bay Rays claimed a 5-4 walk-off win over the Baltimore Orioles.

 

Milwaukee's home woes

The Milwaukee Brewers suffered their fifth consecutive loss at home, going down 6-3 to the Kansas City Royals. While Milwaukee celebrates the Bucks, the National League Central leaders have seen their record slip to 56-41.

 

Dom's Mets grand slam

Dom Smith delivered a grand slam as the New York Mets won 7-0 over the Cincinnati Reds. With bases loaded in the third inning, Smith hit a 369-foot home run for his second career slam. On the mound, Marcus Stroman starred too, with eight shutout innings with seven strikeouts, allowing only one hit.

 

Wednesday's results

Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 Baltimore Orioles
San Diego Padres 3-2 Atlanta Braves
New York Mets 7-0 Cincinnati Reds
Kansas City Royals 6-3 Milwaukee Brewers
Colorado Rockies 6-3 Seattle Mariners
Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4 Pittsburgh Pirates
Miami Marlins 3-1 Washington Nationals
New York Yankees 6-5 Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox 7-4 Toronto Blue Jays
Detroit Tigers 4-2 Texas Rangers
Cleveland Indians 5-4 Houston Astros
Minnesota Twins 7-2 Chicago White Sox
St Louis Cardinals 3-2 Chicago Cubs
San Francisco Giants 4-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves (suspended)

 

Yankees at Red Sox

Thursday sees American League leaders Boston Red Sox (58-38) host the New York Yankees (50-44) who are also in the tight AL East division.

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    Saturday's Champions League final may have a sense of familiarity to it, but for Liverpool and Real Madrid the desire to continue winning trophies is as strong as ever.

    These sides have been involved in five of the past seven finals between them, while Paris is hosting the showpiece event for a sixth time – only London (seven) has done so more.

    The French city hosted the first European Cup final back in 1956, with Madrid winning their first of a record 13 trophies after seeing off Reims at the Parc des Princes.

    Indeed, come kick-off, no two teams will have faced off more times in a European Cup or Champions League final than Liverpool and Madrid (three).

    And yet while it may all feel similar – Liverpool making it to a third Champions League final since 2018, Carlo Ancelotti back on the brink of European glory – it is difficult to remember a similar type of hype surrounding a major club showpiece in recent years.

    That has been clear in Paris in the build-up to the match, with the Eiffel Tower and surrounding fan parks a sea of white and red, colours synonymous with this great competition.

    France certainly knows how to host a major event, explaining why UEFA switched this year's final to the Stade de France with just three months' notice.

    The final had been scheduled for Saint Petersburg, but was shifted to Paris – or Saint-Dennis, more specifically – after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which of course hosted the most recent meeting between these sides; the 2018 final, settled in Madrid's favour by Gareth Bale's heroics and Loris Karius' errors.

    Yet the organisers can only do so much. The onus is now on Liverpool and Madrid to put on a show for the 80,000 inside the ground and the millions watching around the world.

    For Liverpool, there's a shot at a cup treble after winning the EFL Cup and FA Cup with penalty shoot-out victories over Chelsea (both times) at Wembley.

    For Madrid, an opportunity to add their favourite trophy to a LaLiga title sealed with four games to go in a rather serene stroll in Spain's top flight.

    Whereas Los Blancos have been given the opportunity to rotate in the weeks leading up to this match, since their incredible comeback against Manchester City, Liverpool have had to play to their maximum right to the final day.

    This will be game 63 of a gruelling campaign for the Reds – not since Manchester United in 2016-17 has a side from Europe's top five leagues played more in a season (64).

    As Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold were eager to point out in Friday's pre-match news conference, though, fatigue will not play a part against Madrid.

    Nor will the disappointment of missing out on a quadruple last weekend, with City pipping them to the Premier League title by a point.

    "They've obviously had a bit more relaxed preparation and wrapped up their league two or three weeks ago," Robertson said.

    "They've maybe not played as many games and at a high tempo. We knew how hard our run was going to be on our bodies, but we're in the best possible shape.

    "We've come through a lot and yes we've had injuries and problems, but the lads are fully fit. It's important we take the competitive nature of a tough season into the last game."

    Intentional or otherwise, however, the tempo of Liverpool's final training run-out at the Stade de France on the eve of the match was far lower than that of Madrid.

    Jurgen Klopp was happy for his players to pass the ball around on the sun-soaked surface, which has been freshly laid for this game – a big topic ahead of the contest.

    Madrid's players were equally as relaxed – understandable given the experience in their ranks – as they split into two full-size teams for a mini-match.

    As they made their way down the tunnel area, there was still a chance for the likes of Marcelo and Toni Kroos to glance around at the vast venue. Maybe even two of the most decorated players in the modern game can still be awestruck every now and then, and it goes to show that, while we are now used to seeing these same players battle it out at the top, the experience is different each time.

    The pain of losing hurts no less; the joy of winning all the sweeter as a player or a coach enhances their legacy.

    Klopp, for example, is aiming for his second major European title in what is his fourth appearance in a final. Ancelotti, on the other hand, is hunting a record-breaking fourth Champions League crown.

    As for the supporters who could be heard chanting late into the night on Friday, an "I was there" moment awaits as two behemoths go at it again.

    Familiar it may be, but enjoy it while it lasts. 

  • Giants manager Kapler refuses to stand for US national anthem after Uvalde school shooting Giants manager Kapler refuses to stand for US national anthem after Uvalde school shooting

    San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler has explained that he will not stand for the United States national anthem due to concerns over the "direction of our country".

    On Tuesday, 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

    The MLB paid tribute by holding a moment of silence before games, prior to playing the national anthem.

    Kapler on Friday published an essay on his website detailing how on "the day 19 children and two teachers were murdered, we held a moment of silence at sporting events around the country, then we played the national anthem, and we went on with our lives."

    He then explained that he will not be coming out to stand for the anthem, and that he wanted to take a knee during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner on Wednesday.

    "Every time I place my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I'm participating in a self-congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings take place," he wrote.

    "On Wednesday, I walked out onto the field, I listened to the announcement as we honoured the victims in Uvalde. I bowed my head. I stood for the national anthem. Metallica riffed on guitars.

    "My brain said drop to a knee; my body didn't listen. I wanted to walk back inside; instead I froze. I felt like a coward. I didn't want to call attention to myself. I didn't want to take away from the victims or their families.

    "There was a baseball game, a rock band, the lights, the pageantry. I knew that thousands of people were using this game to escape the horrors of the world for just a little bit. I knew that thousands more wouldn't understand the gesture and would take it as an offense to the military, to veterans, to themselves.

    "But I am not okay with the state of this country. I wish I hadn't let my discomfort compromise my integrity. I wish that I could have demonstrated what I learned from my dad, that when you're dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest. The home of the brave should encourage this."

    Kapler told reporters on Friday: "I don't expect it to move the needle necessarily, but it's something I feel strongly enough about to take that step."

    His decision follows on from an impassioned plea from Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who used a pre-game news conference earlier this week to express his dismay over another school shooting and demand changes to gun laws.

  • Red Sox blow six-run lead against the Orioles, Taillon delivers on the mound for the Yankees Red Sox blow six-run lead against the Orioles, Taillon delivers on the mound for the Yankees

    The Boston Red Sox could not finish the job with a six-run lead against the Baltimore Orioles, going down 12-8 after leading 8-2 through the sixth inning.

    It was a red-hot start for the surging Red Sox, who had won seven of their past eight games leading into Friday's contest, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning thanks in large part to a three-run homer from Xander Bogaerts.

    Boston's lead was extended to 6-0 in the second inning through a bases-loaded automatic double from Alex Verdugo, before the Orioles finally got on the board through a two-run home run from Anthony Santander in the fourth inning.

    Those would be the only runs given up by Red Sox starter Garrett Whitlock, who pitched six full innings for two earned runs from five hits and one walk, striking out four; but when he was withdrawn, everything fell apart for the home side.

    The Orioles would score 10 runs in the final three frames, as a three-run blast from Jorge Mateo in the seventh and a two-run homer in the eighth from Austin Hays quickly helped make it 8-8 heading into the final inning.

    Baltimore racked up another five hits in the ninth as the Boston bullpen simply could not close the show, before Orioles closer Jorge Lopez showed them how it was done, retiring the last three Red Sox batters in order.

    Taillon pitches a gem for Yankees

    The New York Yankees have extended their league-best record to 33-13 after a 2-0 shutout win away at the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.

    It was all about Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, who proved nearly unhittable, pitching eight complete innings for just two hits and no walks, striking out five in the process.

    The Yankees were kept scoreless in eight of their innings as well, but had a pair of game-winning swings of the bat in the fourth frame, with solo home runs to Gleyber Torres and Matt Carpenter.

    Carpenter has only been with the Yankees for less than a week, being picked up in the midst of an injury crisis after he was released by the Texas Rangers.

    Polar Bear delivers for Mets

    New York Mets first-baseman Pete Alonso – nicknamed the 'Polar Bear' – was terrific in his side's 8-6 win against the Philadelphia Phillies, finishing with a game-high four RBIs.

    Alonso drove in his first run in the first inning through a sacrifice-fly, before doing it in a more emphatic fashion in the third frame, hitting a 400-foot, two-run home run to left-field.

    His fourth RBI came from another hard-hit ball, this time a double to deep right-field, opening up a 7-0 lead in the process.

    The Phillies would threaten a comeback, cutting the margin back to 7-6, but the Mets' bullpen was able to shut things down in the final three innings.

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