MLB

Cabrera edges closer to 500th career home run, Mookie takes special catch

By Sports Desk August 04, 2021

Miguel Cabrera moved closer to his 500th career home run with number 498 in the Detroit Tigers' 4-2 win against the Boston Red Sox.

The 38-year-old designated hitter sent Garrett Richards over the fence at right-field with the Tigers trailing 2-0 in the second inning.

The home run takes two-time American League MVP and 11-time All-Star Cabrera's 2021 majors tally to 11 homers, and 498 for his career.

Akil Baddoo drove in Derek Hill's to make it 3-2 to the Tigers in the fifth inning, before Robbie Grossman brought Jonathan Schoop home for an RBI single and insurance run.

 

Polanco's game to remember

Gregory Polanco robbed Eduardo Escobar of a walk-off homer in the ninth inning before the Pittsburgh Pirates on 8-5 over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The catch capped a spectacular game for Polanco who brought up a no-hitter in the seventh inning by grounding a single, before the Pirates late rally.

After a long lay-off, Hyun-Jin Ryu returned to the mound at home and tossed down eight strikeouts across seven innings as the Toronto Blue Jays won 7-2 over the Cleveland Indians.

Bryce Harper homered in the eighth inning against his former club as the Philadelphia Phillies edged the Washington Nationals 5-4.

Tommy Pham hit a lead-off home run, the fourth of the day, as the San Diego Padres won 8-1 at the Oakland Athletics.

 

Five straight defeats for Red Sox

The Red Sox' 4-2 loss to the Tigers means they have lost five games in a row, including three against the Tampa Bay Rays, one against the Toronto Blue Jays (13-1) as well as Detroit. Boston are 63-45 and drop to second behind the Rays in the American League East.

 

Another Mookie Betts special

Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts pulled off a spectacular diving catch on the grass just outside the diamond to rob Michael Brantley of a hit. Only two days ago Betts pulled off another special grab against the Arizona Diamondbacks. For the record, the Dodgers lost 3-0 to the Houston Astros who improve to 64-42.

 

Tuesday's results 

Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 Washington Nationals
New York Yankees 13-1 Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays 7-2 Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers 4-2 Boston Red Sox
Minnesota Twins 7-5 Cincinnati Reds
Miami Marlins 5-4 New York Mets
Seattle Mariners 4-2 Tampa Bay Rays 
Los Angeles Angels 11-3 Texas Rangers
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-5 Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago White Sox 7-1 Kansas City Royals
Atlanta Braves 6-1 St Louis Cardinals
Colorado Rockies 13-6 Chicago Cubs
Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres 8-1 Oakland Athletics
Houston Astros 3-0 Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Padres at Athletics

The San Diego Padres (62-47) continue their series against the Oakland Athletics (60-48).

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    Pep Guardiola praised Jack Grealish for "starting perfectly" at Manchester City but is unsure if the playmaker will be fit to feature against former club Aston Villa on Wednesday,

    Grealish has featured in 15 of City's 21 matches since joining the club from Villa in a £100m British record transfer from Aston Villa in August, starting 13 of those.

    The 26-year-old was an unused substitute for the derby win over Manchester United on November 6 and has not played since due to a knock sustained on England duty.

    He returned to training on Monday and will be monitored ahead of Wednesday's clash at Villa Park, where he spent 20 years – seven as a first-team regular – prior to joining City.

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    "He has started perfectly," Guardiola said of Grealish at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. 

    "It's easy because of our English players and the other guys here are nice people. He's played good but needs more time to settle." 

    Grealish has scored two goals and assisted three more this term, while his tally of seven big chances created is the joint-most of any City player alongside Joao Cancelo.

    However, the 3.15 chances Grealish has created per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season is down on the 3.34 managed in his final campaign with Villa.

    He is also attempting fewer dribbles (3.39 compared to 4.53) for City and is being fouled less frequently (down from 4.53 to 2.66), a sign that he is getting at opponents less.

    Guardiola puts down that down to the contrasting styles of City and next opponents Villa.

    "If you analyse games, he hasn't played badly. The way we play and our expectations are different to Villa," Guardiola said.

    "He did incredibly well at Villa. His commitment to the club to stay and get promoted was amazing. 

    "Now he has come back from the international break injured. Hopefully he comes back and step by step finds his form. 

    "We have six, seven months ahead of us. I don't think we will have to wait until next season to see the best Jack Grealish – I'm thinking this season."

    Providing an update on City's other recent absentees, Guardiola confirmed Kevin De Bruyne has returned a negative coronavirus test but has yet to train.

    Phil Foden remains doubtful having trained only once, while Ferran Torres is a long-term absentee and Aymeric Laporte is suspended.

    "All the people who have had coronavirus say it drains them and Kevin needs time to show his form," Guardiola said. 

    "Phil and Jack are still in the same situation. Maybe tomorrow they can play but not a lot of minutes – we're going to see after they train today.

    "The rest, we have just 14 or 15 players. But I trust this squad a lot. If one is out, another comes in.

    "December is the toughest month of the year for us and we are in trouble because we have so few players available."

    Wednesday's match at Villa Park will be the first managerial encounter between Guardiola and new Villa boss Steven Gerrard.

    Guardiola has lost just three of his 64 Premier League games against English managers, coming against Roy Hodgson (December 2018), Frank Lampard (June 2020) and Graham Potter (May 2021).

    Gerrard has won his first two Villa games since arriving from Rangers – no manager in the club's history has won their first three matches – and Guardiola is expecting a tough test in the Midlands.

    "He's managing in the Premier League, so he is already a good manager," Guardiola said. "I don't believe there's a manager in the Premier League, even the Championship, who isn't good. 

    "They can train good players in good clubs to punch for the titles. There are incredible managers in all aspects and maybe they win titles because they are lucky to train a good team.

    "I can imagine with a new manager everybody steps forward for training sessions and methodology to convince the manager. 

    "They have had two good results against tough teams like Brighton and Crystal Palace. It will be the toughest game possible tomorrow."

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    The 34-year-old's performances for Argentina at the Copa America, helping his country to a first major trophy in 28 years, were likely what gave him the edge over Robert Lewandowski.

    Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski, who Messi claimed should have been awarded the cancelled 2020 Ballon d'Or, was once again in the running after breaking Gerd Muller's long-standing record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season.

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    "To have players with six and seven Ballon d'Or is something extraordinary and we are delighted to have him here every day. 

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    Ahead of Wednesday's clash with Nice, PSG lead Ligue 1 by 12 points after winning 13 of their opening 15 games, a total surpassed only once at this stage in the competition by PSG themselves in 2018-19 (14/15).

    The league leaders may be without Messi for the clash at Parc des Princes, though, after the former Barcelona forward, along with Leandro Paredes, did not train on Tuesday due to a stomach bug.

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    The 33-year-old has scored 34 goals for Madrid this calendar year and was recalled to the France squad in May after a six-year exile.

    Benzema's combined 46 goals and assists in 2021 has been bettered only by Erling Haaland (48), Kylian Mbappe (51) and Robert Lewandowski (59) from Europe's top five leagues when taking all club competitions into account.

    The Madrid striker finished behind Euro 2020 winner Jorginho, Lewandowski and record seven-time winner Lionel Messi at Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony, with N'Golo Kante completing the top five.

    Benzema's Madrid team-mate Toni Kroos has argued the Frenchman did more than Paris Saint-Germain star Messi this year to win the award.

    But Ancelotti accepts the decision, determined by journalists from across the world, and insists Benzema will not be fazed by finishing outside the top three.

    "We have to give fair value to the classification," he said at a news conference previewing Wednesday's LaLiga contest with Athletic Bilbao.

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    "Benzema has had a great season and finished fourth. He will continue to be motivated to try to be first next time.

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    Madrid-linked forward Kylian Mbappe finished ninth, but Ancelotti does not believe leaving Paris Saint-Germain will necessarily enhance his chances of winning the coveted crown.

    "Playing for a great club can help you, but it is still an individual prize," Ancelotti said when asked specifically about Mbappe.

    "These players will not cry because they have not won the award. The likes of Benzema and Courtois will accept it without a problem."

    Benzema and Vinicius are in contention to start Wednesday's clash with Athletic as Madrid aim to make it five league wins in a row and maintain a four-point lead at the top.

    Madrid are unbeaten in their last 12 LaLiga games against Athletic (W8 D4), one short of their best unbeaten run against the Basque club in the top flight.

    Ancelotti, who has lost only one of his four LaLiga games against Athletic, is prepared to make changes to Madrid's line-up three days on from their 2-1 win against Sevilla.

    "It's an evaluation I make every day," he said. "The dynamics of the team right now are very good. I won't rotate for the sake of it, but if we have any risks then of course we will do it.

    "We are facing a well organised team at the back. Marcelino trains all his teams very well, especially in a defensive sense.

    "This game will demand a lot from us and we need some offensive clarity. They are also a team that attacks vertically, so we must show good balance."

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    "You have the summer to improve the squad," he said. "I don't like using January to adjust as that means something must have gone wrong in the summer.

    "If players are not happy then we'll think about it, but we are not looking to sign. The squad is fine and will compete until the end."

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