MLB

Orioles snap 19-game skid in MLB with history-making victory, Ray sets Jays record

By Sports Desk August 26, 2021

The Baltimore Orioles returned to winning ways, ending a 19-game losing streak by upstaging the Los Angeles Angels 10-6.

Baltimore celebrated an overdue victory after rallying past Shohei Ohtani and the Angels in MLB action on Wednesday, a five-run seventh inning fuelling the hosts.

Trailing 6-2 in the fourth inning and 6-4 in the sixth, the Orioles – who were two losses short of the American League (AL) record for the longest skid, an unwanted record set themselves following a 0-12 start in 1988 – came from behind.

DJ Stewart, Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander homered for the Orioles, whose losing streak became the longest in MLB history to end with the team scoring 10-plus runs, according to Stats Perform.

Two-way Angels star lasted 5.0 innings, allowing five hits, four runs and three homers in Baltimore.

 

Ray keys Jays victory

The playoff-chasing Toronto Blue Jays needed a win and they got it thanks to Robbie Ray, who inspired their 3-1 victory at home to the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox. Blue Jays starter Ray matched his career high by striking out 14 batters over seven innings. Ray allowed five hits and just one run as he became the first ever Toronto left-handed pitcher to record 14 strikeouts in a game.

Francisco Mejia's three-run homer in the ninth inning lifted the Tampa Bay Rays past the Philadelphia Phillies 7-4. The Phillies lost but it was still a memorable day for Zack Wheeler, who became the first Philadelphia pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in 26 games or fewer.

Brandon Woodruff dominated, striking out 10 in six shut-out innings in the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-1 win against the Cincinnati Reds.

 

Rockies mask Marquez's struggles

The Colorado Rockies split a doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs after winning 13-10 in 10 innings after dropping the opener 5-2. However, Rockies starter German Marquez failed to impress, giving up five runs on seven hits in three innings. He has 10.13 ERA over 13.2 innings in his last three starts.

 

Sano's moonshot!

The Minnesota Twins topped the Boston Red Sox 9-6 with help from Miguel Sano, who delivered a 495-foot homer in the third inning – the longest in MLB this season.

 

Wednesday's results 

St Louis Cardinals 3-2 Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros 6-5 Kansas City Royals
Chicago Cubs 5-2 Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies 13-10 Chicago Cubs
Baltimore Orioles 10-6 Los Angeles Angels
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Tampa Bay Rays 7-4 Philadelphia Phillies
Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins 9-6 Boston Red Sox
San Francisco Giants 3-2 New York Mets
Cleveland Indians 7-2 Texas Rangers
Miami Marlins 3-2 Washington Nationals
Milwaukee Brewers 4-1 Cincinnati Reds
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 San Diego Padres

 

Yankees at Athletics

The red-hot New York Yankees (74-52) will put their 11-game winning streak on the line when they visit the Oakland Athletics (70-57) on Thursday. Jameson Taillon is set to start for the Yankees as the A's counter with James Kaprielian.

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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.

    "And along the way, we found stars, we found leaders, and we found we found a team that came together.

    "I think what you see out there right now is a group of guys who believe that they can beat anybody."

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    The wait is finally over: the Seattle Mariners are returning to the MLB playoffs after 21 years in the wilderness.

    The Mariners had been enduring the worst active postseason drought not just in baseball, but in any of the four major sports in the United States.

    So desperate had this sequence of failure been, all but one of Seattle's MLB rivals – the Cincinnati Reds – had also won a playoff series since the Mariners' 2001 run.

    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.

    But now, after a late-season wobble prompted fears of a repeat of last year's agony when the M's finished two games back in the Wild Card race, the drought is over.

    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.

    Either defeat for the Orioles at the New York Yankees or victory for the Mariners over the Oakland Athletics would do, and after the Orioles briefly kept their season alive, the Mariners got the job done in the most storybook fashion imaginable.

    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.

    Seattle happily fell well short of the all-time record for most consecutive seasons missing the playoffs, held by the St Louis Browns between 1903 and 1943 – but there are still several miserable streaks for the Mariners to snap.

    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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