MLB

Cardinals extend streak, benches clear but Rays clinch playoff berth

By Sports Desk September 23, 2021

The streaking St Louis Cardinals won their 11th consecutive game after easing past the Milwaukee Brewers 10-2 in MLB action.

Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O'Neill homered as the Cardinals extended their lead for the second National League (NL) wild-card spot by downing the division-leading Brewers on Wednesday.

The Cardinals – enjoying a four-and-a-half-game lead over the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies for the final NL wild-card berth – are in the midst of their best winning streak since an 11-game run in 2001.

"We grow from the previous days. We grew from today, we'll get after it tomorrow," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "One of the biggest things this team does is just stay present, so it's just about staying present, keep playing, getting after it."

 

Rays clinch in fierce battle with Blue Jays

The benches cleared between the American League (AL) East-leading Tampa Bay Rays and playoff-chasing Toronto Blue Jays, but the former went on to seal a postseason spot for the third campaign in a row with a 7-1 rout. Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier was hit in the back with a pitch from Blue Jays reliever Ryan Borucki in the eighth inning.

"Oh yeah, it was intentional. I thought it was a weak move, to be quite honest," said Kiermaier. "It's over. It didn't hurt by any means, so I don't care. Whatever. We move on. We got a series win, and I hope we play those guys, I really do."

Kyle Schwarber led the way as the Boston Red Sox crushed the New York Mets 12-5. Schwarber homered twice and scored four runs. According to Stats Perform, the Red Sox star is the second player in MLB history to homer in both the first and second innings of a game three different times in the same season, after Mookie Betts in 2016. He is also the first player in MLB history to hit nine-plus home runs in a five-game span against a single opponent.

Juan Soto claimed the NL batting lead behind three hits and three RBIs in the Washington Nationals' 7-5 win over the Miami Marlins. Soto's 27th homer helped raise his average to .321.

 

Rockies get on top of Buehler

Walker Buehler had a rough outing as World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 10-5 at the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers starter gave up five runs on seven hits over 3.2 innings, including a homer.

 

Tatis hits homer number 40

The San Diego Padres went down to the high-flying San Francisco Giants 8-6 but star Fernando Tatis Jr. hit his 40th home run of the season. He joined Johnny Bench as the only players aged 22 or younger to hit 40 homers in their first 119 games of a season.

 

Wednesday's results

Atlanta Braves 9-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Seattle Mariners 4-1 Oakland Athletics
San Francisco Giants 8-6 San Diego Padres
Tampa Bay Rays 7-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals 7-5 Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees 7-3 Texas Rangers
Boston Red Sox 12-5 New York Mets
Minnesota Twins 5-4 Chicago Cubs
St Louis Cardinals 10-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Colorado Rockies 10-5 Los Angeles Dodgers
Houston Astros 9-5 Los Angeles Angels
Pittsburgh Pirates-Cincinnati Reds (postponed)
Chicago White Sox-Detroit Tigers (postponed)
Kansas City Royals-Cleveland Indians (postponed)

 

Dodgers at Rockies

The Dodgers (97-55) face the Rockies (71-80) on Thursday, with their three-game series on the line. Dodgers ace Max Scherzer is set to start, while the Rockies are poised to send Kyle Freeland to the mound.

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    LeBron James cannot discount another player going on to reach 40,000 NBA points, as he celebrated reaching the milestone despite a Los Angeles Lakers loss.

    The Lakers lost 124-114 to the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, though with a haul of 26 points, James reached 40,017 points.

    When James reached nine points, he was presented with the game ball and received an ovation from the crowd at the Crypto.com arena.

    Coincidentally, James surpassed the 40,000 mark on the 62nd anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks.

    While teammate Anthony Davis believes no other player will come close to matching James' points haul, James himself warned records are there to be broken, even though no other active player has yet reached 30,000 career points.

    "Obviously we have a lot of great guys in our league that can score the ball, and if they were to stay healthy and they would play a long time, then they can eclipse it," James said.

    "And then, records are always meant to be broken. You can never say never for any record. At one point we said that Big O's [Oscar Robertson's] triple-double record would never be broken and Russ [Westbrook] did it, and now looks like Joker [Nikola Jokic] and Luka [Doncic], they're doing it every night.

    "I feel like I'm still that threat out on the floor and I am still able to do the things that I was doing 10 years ago. And some things I was doing 20 years ago, which is weird to say."

    Davis did joke, though, that James' record-setting games usually come in defeats for the Lakers.

    "I was just telling him in the locker room he might have to stop breaking records because we always lose any time he breaks a record," Davis said. "And he said the same thing."

    Indeed, that streak is quite something. James was on the losing side when he reached his 30,000th and 35,000th career points. When he became the all-time leading NBA points scorer last year, the Lakers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    "For me, the main thing is always the main thing, and that's the win," James said.

    "I hated that it had to happen in the defeat, especially versus the team that plays extremely well. We played some good basketball tonight, but weren't able to close it out. So, bittersweet but enjoyed every moment tonight on the floor."

  • Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls Giannis becomes Milwaukee's winningest player as Bucks cruise past Bulls

    Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 46 points as he became the player with the most wins in the Milwaukee Bucks' history on Friday, with the Chicago Bulls beaten 113-97 at United Center.

    For Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, however, the focus is squarely on preparing for the postseason as the Bucks eye their third NBA Championship.

    Antetokounmpo surpassed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season, also adding 16 rebounds and six assists, as the Bucks recorded their fifth straight victory.

    The win was the 489th of Antetokounmpo's Bucks career including both regular-season and playoff games, taking the two-time NBA MVP clear of Sidney Moncrief as the winningest player in franchise history.

    "Everybody has to be on the same page, and I feel like the last couple of games, we're doing that and that's why our defense has taken a step," Antetokounmpo said after the win. 

    "Hopefully, we can keep it up. Right now, it's just about trust. We've just got to trust one another. That's it, win or lose, we have to have the same trust."

    For coach Rivers, who has led the team to an 8-7 run since replacing Adrian Griffin in January, all that matters is ensuring Milwaukee are ready for the postseason.

    "We're winning games, but for us, it's not about that right now," Rivers said. "Our whole key is getting ready. That's the first thing I told the players. 

    "We still have work to do, we're still pushing, we've got to get better. It's nicer to get wins than to lose, but we're not where we want to be yet."

    Milwaukee, who sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 40-21 record, are back in action against the 38-20 Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. 

    They then embark on a four-game California road stretch on Wednesday, when they face the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. 

  • 'I feel 40' – Birthday boy Doncic dispatches Raptors 'I feel 40' – Birthday boy Doncic dispatches Raptors

    Luka Doncic quipped he feels like he is 40 years old after he celebrated his 25th birthday in style.

    Doncic became the first player in NBA history to finish with a triple-double on their birthday as he led the Dallas Mavericks to a 136-125 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

    He finished with 30 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds for his 11th triple-double of the season.

    Doncic has now had 39 30-point triple-doubles, which sees him surpass LeBron James in the all-time list for that feat.

    When asked if he considered his 25th birthday as a milestone, Doncic joked: "I feel like [I'm] 40, so no."

    Doncic was 11 for 23 from the field and missed 7 of 8 from 3-point range in his 67th career triple-double.

    "Just a normal game, triple-double," Jason Kidd said.

    "He was really good. I guess 25 means he's still going to be really good as he gets older here."

    Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and P.J. Washington Jr. added 23 points for Dallas, as they bounced back from back-to-back defeats.

    "Kyrie and Luka, they had such a poise in important moments to make the right plays," said Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic after his team saw a three-game winning streak snapped.

    Doncic added: "We just played aggressive on defense, got out on transition, that's it. 

    "My team knows when I'm engaged. Everybody helps everyone to be engaged.

    "I'm having so much fun. Back-to-back is always tough, a great win today, I've got to get some rest now."

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