MLB

Yankees beaten again and Royals' Perez stays hot as Baez ignites controversy amid boo boys

By Sports Desk August 29, 2021

After winning 13 consecutive games, the New York Yankees suffered back-to-back MLB losses following Tony Kemp's late home run as the Oakland Athletics triumphed 3-1.

With the next pitch after Mark Canha's double, Kemp produced the decisive hit in the eighth – his tie-breaking two-run homer lifting the A's on Sunday.

In 16 at-bats against the Yankees this season, Kemp slugged 1.124 and did not strike out once. According to Stats Perform, no other player in history has had a 1.100-plus slugging percentage with zero strikeouts against the Yankees in a season with at least as many at-bats.

Paul Blackburn had earlier tossed down five shut-out innings for the Athletics, before Andrew Chafin closed out the win.

Yan Gomes' fourth-inning run had put the A's ahead before Gary Sanchez scored following fielding errors from Gomes and Mark Chapman on Anthony Rizzo's nine-pitch at-bat.

The result – which completes a split of the four-game series – helped the A's (72-59) move closer in the American League (AL) Wild Card standings, two and a half games adrift as the Yankees (76-54) lead the race.

 

Franco joins exclusive group as Rays crush Orioles

The Tampa Bay Rays topped the Baltimore Orioles 12-8 to become only the third team in MLB's divisional era to win 18 games against one opponent in a single season. Joey Wendle delivered a two-homer and six-RBI performance, including a seventh-inning grand slam. Rays rookie Wander Franco, meanwhile, extended his on-base streak to 29 games with a sixth-inning single. Franco's run is the longest active streak in the majors, the sixth longest in American League/National League history and second longest in AL history. It is the longest streak by any player under the age of 21 since Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (43) in 1956.

Javier Baez hammered a two-run home run into the second deck before igniting controversy with a thumbs down gesture to his own fans after receiving boos earlier in the game as the New York Mets won 9-4 against the Washington Nationals.

The Chicago White Sox belted five home runs in their 13-1 win over the Chicago Cubs, including a pair from Luis Robert. Jose Abreu joined Paul Konerko (six) and Frank Thomas (10) as the only White Sox players with six-plus 100-RBI seasons. He became the first White Sox to reach 100 RBI in 125 games or fewer since Jermaine Dye in 2006.

Austin Riley drilled a two-run homer to help the Atlanta Braves to a commanding 9-0 shut-out victory over the high-flying San Francisco Giants.

Yoshi Tsutsugo crushed a walk-off three-run homer to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates past the St Louis Cardinals 4-3.

 

Abreu and Astros suffer blowout

Houston Astros reliever Bryan Abreu had a nightmare as the Texas Rangers powered an eight-run fifth inning in their 13-2 win. Astros pitcher Zack Greinke allowed six runs with nine hits, before Abreu stepped up in the fifth, only to allow seven runs from five hits including an Adolis Garcia grand slam, the Rangers' first since 2019. It was a blowout for the AL West-leading Astros against the Rangers, who are last in the AL West.

 

Salvy hits hot streak

Kansas City Royals star Salvador Perez homered for the fifth consecutive game in his side's 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners, tying Mike Sweeney's franchise record from 2002. Perez has also moved into second for home runs in the majors this season, behind only two-way Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani (42) and he has scored eight home runs and 15 RBIs on the Royals' current 10-game trip.

 

Sunday's results 

Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 Arizona Diamondbacks
Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 St Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays 12-8 Baltimore Orioles
Miami Marlins 2-1 Cincinnati Reds
New York Mets 9-4 Washington Nationals
Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Indians 7-5 Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves 9-0 San Francisco Giants
Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox 13-1 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 13-2 Houston Astros
Colorado Rockies 5-0 Los Angeles Dodgers
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 3-1 New York Yankees

 

Red Sox at Rays

The Red Sox (75-57) make the trip to Tampa to take on leaders the Rays (82-48) in a crucial clash in the AL East on Monday. Nick Pivetta starts for Boston as Tampa Bay counter with Luis Patino.

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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.

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    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.

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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.

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    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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