MLB

La Russa on 'Fantasy Island' after returning to lead White Sox to AL Central title

By Sports Desk September 23, 2021

The Chicago White Sox clinched their sixth division title with victory over nearest American League Central challengers the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.

In the first game of a double-header at Progressive Field, the White Sox prevailed 7-2 to become the first team in MLB to clinch a division this season.

It is the fourth time they have won the AL Central – but first since 2008 – to go with two prior AL West triumphs.

In-form shortstop Tim Anderson was hugely influential in the decisive win, with three hits, two runs and four RBIs. It was his seventh straight game with a hit since returning from a hamstring injury.

But manager Tony La Russa was the centre of attention, having only returned to the major leagues with the White Sox this season after 10 years away.

Having served as White Sox manager between 1979 and 1986, earning their first division championship in 1983, La Russa went on to win the World Series with both the Oakland Athletics (in 1989) and the St Louis Cardinals (in 2006 and 2011).

The 76-year-old retired as a champion with the Cardinals but was brought back to Chicago to have an immediate impact, even if he credits the team.

"The whole thing for me is Fantasy Island," he said. "Coming back like this.

"We all know the truth. The first three jobs, the clubs were struggling when I took over. Managers don't walk into a situation like this, with a team so ready to win.

"So, I'm very, very fortunate."

The White Sox had a .383 win percentage as recently as 2018 but had improved rapidly prior to La Russa's arrival. The .136 increase between 2019 and 2020 was the ninth-largest year-to-year improvement in team history.

But La Russa's players have certainly noted his impact, as Anderson said: "He came in and allowed us to be ourselves.

"He always says players first. He allowed us to play the game the way we would want to and allowed us to have some fun."

Related items

  • MLB: Yankees' Verdugo homers, drives in 4 against former team MLB: Yankees' Verdugo homers, drives in 4 against former team

    Luis Gil won his ninth straight decision and Alex Verdugo homered and drove in four runs against his former team as the New York Yankees became the first team to 50 wins with an 8-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.

    Gil allowed one run and four hits over five innings with four walks and six strikeouts in a season-high 104-pitch outing. The rookie is 9-0 with a 1.64 ERA in 11 starts since a loss at Toronto on April 15.

    New York’s bullpen pitched one-hit ball with eight strikeouts over the final four innings.

    Verdugo, who spent the previous four seasons with Boston before he was traded to the Yankees in December, hit the first pitch he saw from Brayan Bello for a two-run homer in the first inning, doubled home a run in the fifth and added an RBI single in the ninth.

    Verdugo matched a career high with four RBIs, done twice earlier this season and three times with the Red Sox.

    Bello was tagged for five runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.

    Jose Trevino also homered for the major league-best Yankees (50-22), who won for the 13th time in 16 games. 

     

    Bohm lifts Phillies over Orioles in 11th

    Alec Bohm ripped a two-run double in the top of the 11th inning shortly after a 71-minute rain delay, and the Philadelphia Phillies topped the Baltimore Orioles, 5-3.

    After the Orioles intentionally walked Bryce Harper to put runners at first and second with one out, Bohm followed with a drive to left-center that eluded Austin Hays that scored both runners.

    Kyle Schwarber led off the game with a home run and Rafael Marchan hit his first of the season for the NL East-leading Phillies, who bounced back from consecutive losses at Boston to take the opener of a three-game series between two of baseball's top teams.

    Anthony Santander hit a tying home run in the eighth, but the Orioles went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position in their second straight loss following a six-game winning streak.

    Baltimore’s Kyle Bradish allowed two runs in five innings before exiting due to elbow pain. He missed the first month of the season with a sprained UCL and will have further tests.

     

    Garver, Castillo keep Mariners surging

    Mitch Garver hit a two-run homer to back a strong start by Luis Castillo and the Seattle Mariners extended their AL West lead with a 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers.

    Castillo gave up two runs – both in the first inning - on four hits in six innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. He improved to 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his last five home starts.

    Mike Baumann and Andres Munoz each pitched a hitless inning before Ryne Stanek worked around a hit in the ninth for his sixth save.

    Seattle took the lead for good in the third when J.P. Crawford scored on a fielder’s choice. Julio Rodriguez hit a grounder to third with runners at the corners and Crawford trotted home to make it 3-2.

    The Mariners have won five of six and 14 of 19 to open a 6 ½-game lead over Texas in the West.

  • Afghanistan advance to Super 8s and seal New Zealand elimination Afghanistan advance to Super 8s and seal New Zealand elimination

    Afghanistan booked their place in the T20 World Cup Super 8s with a seven-wicket victory over Papua New Guinea, while eliminating New Zealand from the competition.

    Rashid Khan's side claimed a third successive win to maintain their perfect start in Group C, which they top ahead of co-hosts West Indies with a superior net run-rate.

    Afghanistan chose to bowl and made a fast start in San Fernando, dismissing captain Assad Vala, Lega Siaka and Sese Bau within four balls to leave the Barramundis at 12-3 early in the third over.

    Wicketkeeper Kiplin Doriga top-scored with 27, before they were bowled out for 95.

    Their opponents were also steady out of the blocks, having been reduced to 22-2 inside the third over.

    However, Gulbadin Naib's unbeaten 49 from 36 balls - featuring four fours and two sixes - steadied the ship, while his unbroken stand of 46 with Mohammed Nabi helped get Afghanistan comfortably over the line.

    Data Debrief: Farooqi leads the charge to condemn Black Caps to early exit

    Fazalhaq Farooqi (3-16) led from Afghanistan's field again, with the tournament's leading wicket taker increasing his tally to 12 from three innings.

    The side note to their victory was the sealing of New Zealand's fate with a match to spare.

    Runners-up in 2021 and semi-finalists in the last three tournaments, it is the first time the Black Caps have failed to advance beyond the first group stage at the T20 World Cup.

  • MLB: Garcia's double gives Royals walk-off win over Yankees MLB: Garcia's double gives Royals walk-off win over Yankees

    Maikel Garcia delivered a walk-off two-run double off New York Yankees closer Clay Holmes and the Kansas City Royals rallied to avoid a four-game sweep with a 4-3 victory on Thursday.

    Holmes retired Freddy Fermin to open the ninth before Drew Waters reached on an infield hit after Holmes and first baseman Anthony Rizzo were confused about who would field the ball. After a fielder’s choice for the second out, Kyle Isbel singled to put runners on the corners and Garcia hit a liner down the left-field line to score both runners.

    Alex Marsh took a no-hitter into the seventh against the major league-best Yankees (49-22), who outscored the Royals 25-8 in the first three games of the series. Juan Soto’s leadoff single in the seventh ended his no-hit bid and Marsh retired the next three batters to conclude his 96-pitch outing.

    Rizzo homered in the eighth to get New York within 2-1 and an error by second baseman Garrett Hampson set up Anthony Volpe’s RBI grounder. Soto’s RBI single gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

    The Royals snapped a four-game skid and the Yankees lost for only the third time in 15 games.

     White Sox overcome blown save, top Mariners

    Garrett Crochet struck out a career-high 13 over seven innings and Andrew Vaughn homered and drove in the winning run in the 10th inning to lift the Chicago White Sox to a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

    Crochet continued his breakout season by allowing one run and two hits with two walks in a 102-pitch outing. He fanned double digits for the third time in his last four starts and held an opponent to one earned run or less for the seventh time in his last eight games.

    His one big mistake came in the fifth when rookie Tyler Locklear golfed a changeup out to left field for his first career home run.

    Crochet was denied the win when Michael Kopech served up Julio Rodriguez’s solo home run with one out in the ninth inning.

    Nicky Lopez’s single moved automatic runner Korey Lee to third with one out in the 10th, and he scored on Vaughn’s grounder to third.

    Tanner Banks struck out two in a perfect 10th for his second save.

    Luis Robert Jr. and Vaughn hit back-to-back home runs in the third off Emerson Hancock to give Chicago a 2-0 lead.

     

    Braves cool Orioles, end skid

    Reynaldo Lopez pitched two-hit ball over six scoreless innings and Ozzie Albies had four hits as the Atlanta Braves snapped a five-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

    Lopez allowed only two singles and retired 14 consecutive batters at one point to lower his ERA to 1.69. He walked one and matched a season high with eight strikeouts.

    Joe Jimenez worked the eighth and Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth for his 17th save.

    Marcell Ozuna had a two-run double in the first inning and the Braves’ 12 hits were their most since June 1.

    Kyle Stowers hit a three-run homer for the Orioles, who had won a season-best six in a row.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.