MLB

Rays sweep Red Sox, Bryant homers in Giants debut

By Sports Desk August 01, 2021

Though there is plenty of baseball still to be played before October, the Tampa Bay Rays made a statement over the weekend with their three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox. 

The Rays held on for a 3-2 victory Sunday to increase their lead in the American League (AL) East division to a game and a half after entering the series trailing Boston by the same margin. 

Brandon Lowe started the Rays off in the third inning with a two-run homer but former Ray Hunter Renfroe answered for Boston with a solo shot in the fourth. 

Manuel Margot singled in what proved to be the winning run in the fifth and Boston could get no closer than the seventh-inning wild pitch by Drew Rasmussen that allowed Alex Verdugo to score. 

The Rays had some nervous moments late as the Red Sox put two batters on with two out in the ninth but Randy Wisler got J.D. Martinez to fly out to end the game. 

 

Bryant, Giants down Astros

Kris Bryant hit a home run in his first game since joining San Francisco and Darin Ruf drove in three runs as the Giants defeated Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 to win the series between teams with the two best records in MLB. Bryant joined his former Chicago Cubs team-mates Anthony Rizzo (Yankees) and Javy Baez (Mets) in hitting a homer in their first games with their new teams after being traded this week. According to Stats Perform, they are the first trio in the modern era to homer in their debuts after playing for the same team earlier in the season. 

Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts returned from the injured list to start at second base for only the second time since 2014 before capping the scoring with a ninth-inning home run in a 13-0 rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Chicago White Sox bounced back from an agonising loss to the Cleveland Indians with a 2-1 victory on Brian Goodwin's ninth-inning home run punctuated by an epic bat flip. 

Kyle Gibson got plenty of run support in his Philadelphia Phillies debut after coming over from the Texas Rangers in a trade, picking up the win with 6.2 solid innings in a 15-4 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

The Milwaukee Brewers managed only three hits off Charlie Morton and the Atlanta Braves' bullpen but held on for a 2-1 road victory. 

 

Cubs waste Ortega's big day

A day after Chicago White Sox catcher Seby Zavala hit the first three home runs of his career only to see his team lose, Chicago Cubs outfielder Rafael Ortega hit three in a 6-5 loss to the Washington Nationals. The 30-year-old journeyman, who made his MLB debut in 2012, had six homers in 192 career games entering Sunday. He drove in all of Chicago's runs with a solo homer in the first inning and two-run shots in the sixth and eighth, but it was not enough as Yadiel Hernandez led off the ninth with a homer to give Washington the walk-off win. 

 

Heim the homer hero again

Jonah Heim hit a walk-off home run to beat the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, and he enjoyed it so much he did it again Sunday in a 4-3 Texas Rangers win. Heim became the first Rangers player ever to hit walk-off homers in consecutive games and the first player for any MLB team to do so since Albert Pujols of the St Louis Cardinals did it in June 2011. 

 

Sunday's results 

Philadelphia Phillies 15-4 Pittsburgh Pirates
Washington Nationals 6-5 Chicago Cubs
Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 Kansas City Royals
Cincinnati Reds 7-1 New York Mets
New York Yankees 3-1 Miami Marlins
Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 Boston Red Sox
Detroit Tigers 6-2 Baltimore Orioles
Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 Atlanta Braves
Texas Rangers 4-3 Seattle Mariners
Chicago White Sox 2-1 Cleveland Indians
St Louis Cardinals 7-3 Minnesota Twins
Oakland Athletics 8-3 Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers 13-0 Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants 5-3 Houston Astros
San Diego Padres 8-1 Colorado Rockies

 

Indians at Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays (54-48) are riding a four-game winning streak as the Cleveland Indians (51-51) cross the border to visit Rogers Centre. 

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    Bradley Carnell's men have not triumphed in MLS action since a 3-1 win over Chicago Fire in the middle of May, and were defeated 2-0 by FC Dallas last time out.

    St. Louis coach Carnell referenced injury struggles, however, as his side continue to battle through a troubling period.

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    That ended a four-game winless streak for Colorado, who secured a much-needed victory after a rocketed finish from Cole Bassett before Rafael Navarro netted his 10th goal of the season.

    The next challenge for the Rapids is to secure back-to-back victories for the first time since April, though they have lost three straight on the road.

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    St. Louis City – Jared Stroud

    Jared Stroud was involved in a goal in both matches (one goal, one assist) against the Rapids last season.

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    St. Louis are winless in six straight matches (D2 L4) for the first time in club history. They have just three wins so far, tied for the fewest in MLS this season, though all three have come at home.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in the European Championship's 64-year history to appear in six editions, but his landmark moment was overshadowed by a glimpse into Portugal's future.

    Conceicao was introduced after 90 minutes and scored just two minutes later, capitalising on a loose ball to send Portugal level on points with leaders Turkiye, who beat Georgia 3-1 earlier on Tuesday in Group F.

    Robin Hranac's unavoidable own-goal had earlier cancelled out Lukas Provod's rocketed second-half opener before Conceicao announced himself on the international stage at the Leipzig Stadium.

    Roberto Martinez's team were the only side to win every qualifying game for this tournament, with a perfect 10 wins from as many matches, and dominated the first half of their opener without reward.

    Ronaldo almost marked his landmark appearance with a goal just eight minutes in but rushed an unmarked header in uncharacteristic fashion from Rafael Leao's whipped cross.

    Bruno Fernandes angled a deflected long-range effort narrowly over as the one-way traffic persisted, before the Manchester United midfielder's teasing ball just evaded the lunging Leao.

    Fernandes was again the architect when his delicate throughball found Ronaldo, who was denied by Jindrich Stanek's fantastic stop from point-blank range.

    The Czechia goalkeeper was on hand once more before the interval, parrying away another fizzing Ronaldo strike as these two sides were the first to be goalless at half-time at Euro 2024.

    Portugal completed 368 passes in that first-half onslaught, their most on record in a single half at the European Championships since records began in 1980, and little changed after the break.

    Ronaldo tested the hands of Stanek with a dipping free-kick just before the hour, though Portugal were stunned soon after when Provod cannoned into the top-left corner from the perimeter of Diogo Costa's area.

    Yet a response swiftly followed as Stanek parried Leao's downwards back-post header against Hranac, who could only deflect into his own net to level proceedings.

    Diogo Jota had a late finish ruled out by VAR after Ronaldo was adjudged offside before his rebounded strike, though Conceicao pounced from Pedro Neto's half-cleared left-wing cross to snatch all three points.

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    Ronaldo already holds the record for the most appearances in European Championship history (26), though this outing marked another historic moment for the 39-year-old.

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    The former Manchester United attacker could not add to his tally here, and it was a familiar tale at the Euros for Ronaldo, who missed the 2016 final victory over France after his gut-wrenching injury.

    Eder stepped up as the extra-time hero on that occasion, and he was the last Portugal substitute to score at the Euros before Conceicao did so here.

    Conceicao's goal came just 111 seconds after being introduced and marks the fastest such goal since Ferran Torres for Spain against Slovakia in June 2021 (41 seconds) – what an introduction for the Porto man.

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    Considering his record at the Euros and the 2023-24 trophy-winning campaign, Czechia may want more from their star striker – who was withdrawn on the hour after being cautioned and failing to manage a single shot.

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    Francisco Conceicao proved the hero on his first competitive start for Portugal after his stoppage-time winner snatched a 2-1 victory over Czechia in their Euro 2024 opener.

    Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in the European Championship's 64-year history to appear in six editions, but his landmark moment was overshadowed by a glimpse into Portugal's future.

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    Robin Hranac's unavoidable own-goal had earlier cancelled out Lukas Provod's rocketed second-half opener before Conceicao announced himself on the international stage at the Leipzig Stadium.

    Roberto Martinez's team were the only side to win every qualifying game for this tournament, with a perfect 10 wins from as many matches, and dominated the first half of their opener without reward.

    Ronaldo almost marked his landmark appearance with a goal just eight minutes in but rushed an unmarked header in uncharacteristic fashion from Rafael Leao's whipped cross.

    Bruno Fernandes angled a deflected long-range effort narrowly over as the one-way traffic persisted, before the Manchester United midfielder's teasing ball just evaded the lunging Leao.

    Fernandes was again the architect when his delicate throughball found Ronaldo, who was denied by Jindrich Stanek's fantastic stop from point-blank range.

    The Czechia goalkeeper was on hand once more before the interval, parrying away another fizzing Ronaldo strike as these two sides were the first to be goalless at half-time at Euro 2024.

    Portugal completed 368 passes in that first-half onslaught, their most on record in a single half at the European Championships since records began in 1980, and little changed after the break.

    Ronaldo tested the hands of Stanek with a dipping free-kick just before the hour, though Portugal were stunned soon after when Provod cannoned into the top-left corner from the perimeter of Diogo Costa's area.

    Yet a response swiftly followed as Stanek parried Leao's downwards back-post header against Hranac, who could only deflect into his own net to level proceedings.

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    Substitute heroics save Ronaldo's landmark appearance

    Ronaldo already holds the record for the most appearances in European Championship history (26), though this outing marked another historic moment for the 39-year-old.

    Having featured at every Euros since his 2004 debut, Ronaldo is the first to go to six editions of the tournament, where his 14 goals make him the leading scorer in history.

    The former Manchester United attacker could not add to his tally here, and it was a familiar tale at the Euros for Ronaldo, who missed the 2016 final victory over France after his gut-wrenching injury.

    Eder stepped up as the extra-time hero on that occasion, and he was the last Portugal substitute to score at the Euros before Conceicao did so here.

    Conceicao's goal came just 111 seconds after being introduced and marks the fastest such goal since Ferran Torres for Spain against Slovakia in June 2021 (41 seconds) – what an introduction for the Porto man.

    Czech need more from Schick

    Patrik Schick scored five of Czechia's six goals at Euro 2020, becoming only the second Czech player to be the sole or joint-top scorer at a European Championship tournament – after Milan Baros at the 2004 edition (five goals).

    The forward has since lifted the Bundesliga title with Bayer Leverkusen last term, helping Xabi Alonso's side to an unbeaten league season with seven top-flight goals.

    Considering his record at the Euros and the 2023-24 trophy-winning campaign, Czechia may want more from their star striker – who was withdrawn on the hour after being cautioned and failing to manage a single shot.

    Yet with or without Schick, Czechia could have never prepared for Conceicao's late intervention. Ivan Hasek's side have now lost five straight games against Portugal and must bounce back when they face Georgia on Saturday.

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