MLB

Guerrero and Bichette star as streaking Blue Jays sweep Yankees, Braves edge Nats in walk-off slugfest

By Sports Desk September 10, 2021

The Toronto Blue Jays continued their red-hot form with an eighth consecutive win after taking down the slumping New York Yankees 6-4 in MLB.

The Blue Jays (77-62) boosted their Wild Card chances with another victory, sweeping American League (AL) East rivals the Yankees (78-62) on Thursday.

Toronto are now within a half-game of the Yankees – who have lost six straight games – for the final AL Wild Card spot.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. landed a solo home run in the ninth inning, bringing up his 100th RBI for the season.

The Blue Jays All-Star finished the four-game series with three homers, marking the eighth time this year he has hit three or more homers in a series. According to Stats Perform, it is the most by any player in a season in AL history and second most in MLB history, behind Giancarlo Stanton (nine times in 2017).

Guerrero Jr.'s run of homers has seen him close within one of two-way Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani, who tops the list for most home runs this season.

Toronto's Bo Bichette starred with three hits including two RBI, while he homered from the ninth pitch of the game when leading off.

Blue Jays ace Jose Berrios had eight strikeouts, with his game only blemished by Anthony Rizzo's moon shot.

 

Pederson walks it off for Braves

Joc Pederson's single completed a 7-6 walk-off win for the Atlanta Braves over the Washington Nationals. With bases loaded, Pederson hit a single to left field to get Ozzie Albies home in a game where five homers were scored.

Nicky Lopez starred for the Kansas City Royals as they won 6-0 against the Baltimore Orioles, hitting an early home run and driving in Hunter Dozier in the eighth, going three-for-five.

The St Louis Cardinals made up ground in the Wild Card race with a 2-1 win over World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers, where Tyler O'Neill hit a tie-breaking home run.

 

Phillies let it slip late

The Philadelphia Phillies led 2-1 heading into the ninth inning but allowed three Colorado Rockies runs to lose 4-3, denting their Wild Card aspirations. With two out, closer Ian Kennedy's breaking ball was clubbed for a two-run homer by Ryan McMahon. Sam Hilliard backed that up with a towering moon shot off Kennedy and the Phillies could not reel that in.

 

Manaea fans nine for A's

Oakland Athletics left-handed Sean Manaea struck out nine over seven innings of one-run ball as the A's beat the Chicago White Sox 3-1. Manaea may be deputy to Frankie Montas but he looms as a capable co-anchor. The A's are now 76-64 and second in the AL West.

 

Thursday's results 

St Louis Cardinals 2-1 Los Angeles Dodgers
Oakland Athletics 3-1 Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians 4-1 Minnesota Twins
Miami Marlins 3-2 New York Mets
Colorado Rockies 4-3 Philadelphia Phillies
Kansas City Royals 6-0 Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 New York Yankees
Atlanta Braves 7-6 Washington Nationals

 

Yankees at Mets

A crucial Subway Series between the Yankees and New York Mets (70-71) gets underway on Friday. Jordan Montgomery starts for the Yankees, while city rivals the Mets send Tylor Megill to the mound.

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    Albert Pujols said reaching 700 home runs will be something he looks back on with pride at the end of his career after becoming the fourth man to reach the landmark against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

    The St. Louis Cardinals great announced in March the 2022 season would be his last in baseball, but he appears set to go out with a bang after enjoying an incredible second half of the season.

    Pujols entered Friday's game against the Dodgers, his former team, with 698 career homers to his name and brought up number 699 with a crashing 434-foot blast in the third inning. 

    The 42-year-old soon had his milestone, picking out a similar spot in left-field to put the Cardinals 5-0 up.

    Speaking after a big 11-0 win, Pujols said: "It's pretty special. When it's really going to hit me is when I'm done, at the end of the season, when I'm retired, and probably a moment or two after that I can look at the numbers.

    "Look, don't get me wrong, I know what my place is in this game. But since day one, when I made my debut, it was never about numbers, it was never about chasing numbers.

    "It was always about winning championships and trying to get better in this game. And I had so many people that taught me the right way early in my career, and that's how I've carried myself for 22 years that I've been in the big leagues. 

    "That's why I really don't focus on the numbers. I will, one day, but not right now."

    Only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) have now hit more MLB homers than Pujols, who felt no desire to try to reclaim the historic ball from the lucky fan who caught it. 

    "Souvenirs are for the fans," Pujols said. "If they want to keep it, they can. At the end of the day, I don't focus on material stuff. I think I have the bat, the uniform, helmet, things that are special to me. 

    "At the end of the day, I think that's why the fans come here – to have a special moment of history. So, if they want to keep that baseball I don't have any problem with that."

  • Orioles starter Dean Kremer pitches a shutout against the Astros, Yankees beat the Red Sox Orioles starter Dean Kremer pitches a shutout against the Astros, Yankees beat the Red Sox

    The Baltimore Orioles gave their fans a glimpse into an exciting future as starting pitcher Dean Kremer and rookie catcher Adley Rutschman delivered in a 6-0 win against the Houston Astros.

    Houston entered the contest with a seven-game lead atop the American League standings, but they were no match for Kremer in what ended up being the first complete game shutout of his career.

    Kremer, 26, is in the midst of a breakout season, with nine scoreless innings against the Astros bringing his ERA to 3.07 from 114 innings this year – a sharp improvement from his 7.55 ERA in 53 innings a season ago.

    Overall, Kremer allowed four hits and two walks in the complete game, and he received some solid run support from another young star on his team.

    Rutschman, 24, would be considered a strong chance for Rookie of the Year if Seattle Mariners phenom Julio Rodriguez had not already locked up the award, and the young catcher finished three-for-three at the plate on Friday.

    He singled in his first at-bat, followed by a solo home run in the fourth inning, and a double in the seventh.

    With the win, the Orioles are now three games behind the Mariners in the race for the last AL Wildcard spot.

    The wrong Aaron homers for the Yankees

    Aaron Judge remains one home run away from the American League and New York Yankees' single-season record, but his side emerged 5-4 victors against the Boston Red Sox with the help of his namesake.

    It was Aaron Hicks doing the damage for the Yankees, hitting a solo home run in the third inning and an RBI single in the fifth to score the first two runs, before Gleyber Torres' two-run single doubled their advantage to 4-1.

    A three-run homer to Boston's Alex Verdugo tied things at 4-4 in the sixth inning, but All-Star catcher Jose Trevino tacked on the winner for the Yankees with a single in the eighth inning.

    Judge finished one-for-four with a single and two strikeouts.

    Nola, Hoskins dominate the reigning champions

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    Already leading 2-0 in the second inning, Hoskins stepped up to the plate and added two more runs with a double, and he chipped in another two with a homer in the fourth inning on his way to final figures of three-for-four with four RBIs.

    On the mound, Nola was terrific, striking out eight batters in six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and three walks.

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    St Louis Cardinals legend Albert Pujols had a night he will never forget during Friday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming the fourth player to ever hit 700 home runs in their career.

    Pujols, 42, came into the contest with 698 homers to his name after an incredible second half of the season, with eight home runs in August and now six more in September after totalling seven combined from the first four months.

    He hit number 699 in the third inning from his second at-bat of the contest, crushing a two-run shot 434 feet over the left-field wall – longer than any home run he hit at this year's Home Run Derby.

    There was no lengthy wait for 700, as it came in the very next inning. After Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney was pulled from the game, relief pitcher Phil Bickford got the dubious honour of pitching the memorable homer.

    On a 1-1 count, after taking two sliders, the third pitch was another slider that Pujols did not miss, this time with a 389-foot shot to a similar spot in left-field to make the score 5-0. 

    But the score was not relevant for his rival fans in Dodger Stadium, who rose in unison with baseball fans everywhere to celebrate the historic moment.

    It was a fitting moment for Pujols, who played for the Dodgers last season when it appeared his best days were well and truly behind him, before deciding to go around one more time with the Cardinals, who he spent his first 11 seasons with.

    In his past three injury-riddled seasons, Pujols hit 23 total home runs in 148 games. He now has 21 this season from 101 games.

    Pujols' 700th home run now leaves him trailing only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) for the most all-time, putting an emphatic exclamation point on one of the best careers in the history of baseball.

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