Category Archives: MLB

Cole strikes out 12 in eight innings, Yankees beat Rays 1-0

Gerrit Cole struck out 12 over eight stellar innings, Aaron Hicks had a sacrifice fly and the New York Yankees defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Wednesday night amid a coronavirus outbreak that sidelined shortstop Gleyber Torres.

Cole (5-1) scattered four hits and has five starts this season of at least 10 strikeouts and no walks to break Mike Mussina’s single-season team record set in 2001. He struck out all three batters in his final inning, including Brett Phillips on a 98 mph fastball to end the inning.

Aroldis Chapman completed the four-hitter to get his ninth save as New York won consecutive matches, including postseason, versus the Rays for the first time since July 16-18, 2019.

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COVID-19 protocols impacted the Yankees for the second straight day.

Torres was kept out of the starting lineup as a precaution as the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 tests among the team’s coach and support staff reached seven.

New York manager Aaron Boone said there were a number of test results pending. Pitching coach Matt Blake joined third base coach Phil Nevin and first base coach Reggie Willits as members of the coaching staff testing positive.

Six of the seven are asymptomatic. All are fully vaccinated, which Boone said was blunting the effects of the virus.

Cole has not given up a walk and gone at least six innings in each of his last five starts, which ties Fritz Peterson (1971) for the second-longest such stretch in Yankees history. Only David Wells’ six-game streak from Sept. 6, 2002 to Apr. 10, 2003 is longer.

The right-hander, who has walked just three batters this year, has permitted two or fewer earned runs in 12 straight starts, the longest stretch by a Yankees starter excluding openers since Whitey Ford’s 12-game run in 1963.

Jeffrey Springs replaced Ryan Thompson (2-2) with runners on second and third with one out in the seventh and gave up Hicks’ sacrifice fly.

Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier was ejected by plate umpire Bill Miller in the fifth for arguing after taking a called third strike.

Aaron Judge had three of New York’s six hits.

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Montgomery goes 6 strong innings, Yankees beat Rays 3-1

Jordan Montgomery pitched six strong innings, Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez homered, and the New York Yankees defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Tuesday night.

About two hours before the start, it was revealed that Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin is away from the team after a positive COVID-19 test.

The Yankees beat Tampa Bay for just the second time in seven matches this season. The AL champion Rays had won 18 of the last 23 meetings, including a five-game victory in last year’s Division Series.

New York slugger Luke Voit went 0 for 3 in his first game this campaign.

The major league home run leader last year with 22, he was reinstated from the 10-day injured list after having knee surgery on March 29.

Voit was hit by a pitch around the right wrist in the fourth inning and had a flyout to the right-field wall in the seventh.

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Montgomery (2-1) gave up one run, two hits, walked one and tied a career high with nine strikeouts. After Jonathan Loaisiga worked two innings, Aroldis Chapman got three outs to get his eighth save and complete a three-hitter.

Chapman had an eventful ninth, including a visit by a trainer. 

Austin Meadows reached on shortstop Gleyber Torres’ error, but Sánchez later threw out the Rays DH attempting to advance to second. The lefty also walked one and struck out one.

Judge started in right field after being rested Sunday and hit a first-pitch, first-inning solo homer off Luis Patiño (1-1). Judge, who entered with two hits in his previous 24 at-bats, has been dealing with what manager Aaron Boone is calling “lower leg stuff.”

Sánchez made it 3-1 with his shot in the seventh off Josh Fleming. It was his second homer in three matches after a career-high tying 18-game homerless streak.

Mike Zunino connected on a 472-foot solo drive in the third for the Rays. It was the fourth longest homer in MLB this season, behind Yermin Mercedes (485 feet), Ronald Acuña Jr. (481 feet) and Marcell Ozuna (479 feet). Patiño allowed two runs and three hits in four innings.

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New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom headed to IL with tightness in right side

Jacob deGrom will be placed on the injured list by the New York Mets with tightness in his right side, a move that will keep the ace from taking the mound until May 20 at the earliest.

The Mets stated an MRI on Sunday night was “clean of any issues.” The team said it will place deGrom on the injured list before Tuesday’s series opener versus Baltimore, a move that will be retroactive to Monday.

A 32-year-old right-hander, deGrom is 3-2 with a major-league-best 0.68 ERA and 65 strikeouts, two K’s behind Trevor Bauer of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL lead. DeGrom has seven walks in 40 innings over six starts.

He pulled himself from Sunday’s outing versus Arizona, his first appearance after skipping a start due to discomfort in his right latissimus dorsi, a back muscle that connects the upper arm to the spine and the hip.

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The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 68 pitches over five innings against Arizona, premitting one run, but he called for trainer Brian Chicklo when he felt tightness trying to get loose before the sixth. He left with Chicklo and went straight to the clubhouse.

DeGrom struck out six and allowed one hit.

He was perfect through four innings before struggling in the fifth, when he allowed a run and walked three in an inning for just the second time in his big league career, the first having been May 13, 2018, at Philadelphia. He left after one inning in that game, his return from the injured list.

DeGrom is baseball’s hardest-throwing starting pitcher, with 79 pitches of 100 mph or higher since the start of the 2020 season, according to MLB Statcast data. Miami’s Sixto Sanchez is second with 13.

Of those, deGrom reached 100 mph 42 times in the first inning alone. Sanchez is second with eight. New York said it will reveal a corresponding roster move Tuesday.

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Baltimore Orioles’ John Means pitches no-hitter vs. Seattle Mariners, misses perfect game with wild pitch on strikeout

John Means was almost perfect for the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday, but he will happily settle for a no-hitter and one of the greatest pitching performances in team history.

Means retired all 27 batters he faced in a 6-0 triumph over the Mariners at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, but he did allow a baserunner when Sam Haggerty reached on a third-strike wild pitch in the third inning. The Orioles then caught Haggerty attempting to steal second base, but the wild pitch nullifies the perfect game bid.

Means is believed to be the first pitcher in major league history to lose a perfect game on a third-strike wild pitch. According to Elias Sports Bureau research, he is the first pitcher to throw a non-perfect no-hitter with no walks, no hit batters and no errors. Instead, Means pitched the first individual no-hitter for the Orioles since Jim Palmer in 1969 — the longest stretch for any team in the majors without an individual no-hitter (the Orioles had a four-pitcher combined no-hitter in 1991).

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Means had never pitched more than seven innings in a match, but he had the Mariners confused all day with his arsenal of a low-90s mph sinker, a curveball and a terrific changeup.

He struck out 12 and induced 26 swings and misses. He threw first-pitch strikes to a remarkable 26 of the 27 batters he faced — the highest percentage of first-pitch strikes in a complete game in the pitch-tracking era (since 1988).

Means stated his biggest pitch on Wednesday was his inside fastball.

“I have to be able to do that to get the changeup working. Sevvy (catcher Pedro Severino) called a great game. Those fastballs saved me,” he said.

The closest ball to a hit was J.P. Crawford’s flare to center field with two outs in the sixth inning, but Cedric Mullins made a sliding grab. That blooper had a chance to drop with a .480 expected batting average via Statcast measurements, but Mullins got a good jump and handled it easily.

Means ended with a game score of 99, the highest in Orioles history for a nine-inning game. Erik Bedard and Mike Mussina shared the record at 98, both in 15-strikeout shutouts.

Means improved to 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 2021. It’s the first time since 1969 there have been three complete game no-hitters this early in the season.

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George Springer debuts for Toronto Blue Jays, goes 0-for-4 in loss to Washington Nationals

Erick Fedde went six strong innings, Josh Harrison hit a three-run homer and the Washington Nationals defeated Toronto 8-2 in George Springer’s Blue Jays debut Wednesday night.

Fedde (2-2) permitted one run and two hits, including a fifth-inning solo homer by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The right-hander struck out seven and walked three.

“With cutter, sinker, the combination is really good because he works both sides of the plate,” Washington manager Dave Martinez stated. “Today he threw a lot of curveballs, and it was effective for him as well. When you get can all those pitches in the strike zone as you can see he’s real tough to hit.”

Harrison got his third homer in 16 at-bats against Steven Matz (4-1), a three-run shot in the fourth that made it 6-0. Springer, who signed a team-record $150 million US, six-year deal this off-season, went 0 for 4.

The World Series MVP when Houston won its first title in 2017 missed time in spring training and the start of the season because of a strained oblique and later due to a right quadriceps strain.

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“He ran fine, saw a lot of pitches, which is good,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Trea Turner had four hits and Josh Bell also homered for the Nationals.

Toronto got an eighth-inning solo homer from Bo Bichette.

Matz, obtained from the New York Mets in January after going 0-5 with a 9.68 ERA last season, had won his first four starts for Toronto. He gave up six runs and eight hits over 3 2/3 innings.

The lefty is 1-8 against Washington. Since the start of last season, Matz has permitted 22 earned runs and eight homers over 14 innings in four games versus the Nationals.

“He just wasn’t as sharp today,” Montoyo said. “He still has the stuff but didn’t locate as well.”

Ryan Zimmerman drove in two with a single during a three-run third. Bell hit a two-run homer in the fifth.

Toronto loaded the bases with two outs in the third but failed to score when Turner, at short, fielded Randal Grichuk’s slow grounder barehanded and threw him out at first.

“I remember that ball just trickled by me … you’ve got to be kidding me,” Fedde said. “I think my initial reaction was `Oh no, it’s bare hand.’ Then an unbelievable play.”

Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen went 0 for 3 with a walk. He is hitless in a career-long 34 at-bats.

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Ohtani wins for Angels in 2-way start like none since Ruth

Shohei Ohtani struck out nine after a shaky first inning on the mound, and also scored three runs and drove in two in a start like none since Babe Ruth 100 years earlier, as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Texas Rangers 9-4 on Monday night.

A day after hitting his seventh homer to tie for the MLB lead, Ohtani (1-0) became the first home run leader to be the starting pitcher for a game since Ruth for the New York Yankees versus Detroit on June 13, 1921. It was the second time this season Ohtani pitched and batted second.

The Japanese right-hander gave up four runs in the first inning before retiring 14 of the last 15 batters he faced, with all of his strikeouts in that span.

After drawing a one-out walk and scoring on Jared Walsh’s single in the Angels first for a 1-0 lead, Ohtani threw 28 pitches in the bottom of that inning, included four walks, a hit batsman and a wild pitch. But the game was tied at 4 in the second after Ohtani hit a two-run double and scored on a single by Mike Trout.

Justin Upton and Albert Pujols put the Angels ahead to stay with back-to-back homers to start the third off Texas starter Jordan Lyles (1-2), who allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings. José Iglesias later went deep off Hyeon-Jong Yang, the lefty from South Korea making his big league debut.

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Trout also had an RBI double among his four hits in his return to the lineup to raise his average to .426.

He had missed three games over the weekend in Houston because of a bruised left elbow after getting hit by a pitch in the series opener versus the Astros on Thursday.

Texas went ahead on Nate Lowe’s sixth homer, a three-run shot that gave him an MLB best-matching 21 RBI. David Dahl’s sacrifice fly made it 4-1, the first of the final 15 batters Ohtani faced in his five innings.

In his previous start on the mound, last Tuesday at home versus the Rangers, Ohtani became the first starting pitcher since at least 1901 with four scoreless innings with at least six walks and seven strikeouts. He allowed only one hit in the Angels’ 6-2 victory.

That was his first time on the mound since April 4 after dealing with a blister issue on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

In that first start, Ohtani both smashed a 451-foot homer and pitched two-hit ball into the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox.

Only seven of his first 23 pitches in Texas were strikes before Ohtani settled in, needing only 47 pitches to get through the his final four innings. He got one last at-bat in the sixth, with a bunt single away from the shift before scoring on a double by Walsh. 

Aaron Slegers then took over on the mound and in the batting order, though he didn’t get an at-bat.

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Slumping Yankees rally from early hole to down Indians 6-3

Rougned Odor’s two-out, two-run single broke a seventh-inning tie — and maybe jarred New York from its hitting funk — and sent the Yankees to a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.

Odor was batting just .107 and in a 3-for-28 slide when he came up versus Nick Wittgren (0-1). He slapped his single through the middle to score Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres to break a 3-3 tie as the Yankees got just their second win in eight matches.

Kyle Higashioka homered in the eighth for New York, which entered with its worst record to open a season since 1991, when Stump Merrill managed and Don Mattingly manned first base.

Domingo Germán (1-2) returned from a demotion to the alternate training site and shook off falling behind 3-0 in the first. He lasted six innings and won the first time since serving a suspension under baseball’s domestic violence policy that started in September 2019 and ended his season with an 18-4 record.

Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green combined for two innings of relief, and Aroldis Chapman struck out the side around a walk in the ninth for his third save.

The Yankees came in batting an AL-worst .205, embarrassing for a team loaded with talent and boasting a $200 million payroll.

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Boone tweaked his lineup — and rested struggling sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sánchez — in hopes of sparking his team.

“I remain really confident that our group is going to turn this around offensively and I look forward to the fun that comes along with that,” Boone said before the game. “We’re not doing what I know we will do.”

The Indians, who lost to New York in last season’s wild-card round, have dropped four of five and soured manager Terry Francona’s 62nd birthday.

Germán didn’t look as if he’d be around for long after giving up three runs in the first. But the right-hander, who was recalled from the alternate site before the game, settled in and held the Indians scoreless on two hits over the next five innings.

The Indians scored three times in the first off Germán, who committed an error on a comebacker that could have been an inning-ending double play but he dropped. Left fielder Brett Gardner also failed to hold onto a sinking liner that started things.

Eddie Rosario, Josh Naylor and Franmil Reyes drove in runs as the Indians gave Aaron Civale an early 3-0 cushion. The Yankees, though, responded in the third on RBI singles by DJ LeMahieu and Torres, whose shot toward the gap was mishandled by right fielder Josh Naylor, permitting a second run to score.

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Anderson, Braves slip by slumping Yanks with 4 hits, win 4-1

Ian Anderson took a shutout into the seventh inning, Austin Riley homered and the Atlanta Braves scraped by with just four hits to beat punchless New York Yankees 4-1 Wednesday night.

Corey Kluber (0-2) kept New York in it with his best start yet in pinstripes, but the Yankees lost for the sixth time in seven matches due to a star-studded lineup that has almost entirely spaced out.

Anderson (1-0) limited the Yankees to four hits and four walks in 6 2/3 innings, striking out four versus the club he also beat in his major league debut last season. The 22-year-old right-hander threw 97 pitches as temperatures dipped into the low 40s in the late innings.

New York loaded the bases against Anderson with two outs in the seventh, but reliever A.J. Minter got DJ LeMahieu to hit an inning-ending grounder to third. Will Smith allowed a run in the ninth but closed out the five-hitter.

The suddenly listless Bronx Bombers are hitting .163 in their past seven matches, averaging 2.57 runs, with nearly half the lineup stuck in a serious slump.

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At 6-11, the Yankees are off to their worst start since 1991. Their 58 runs are fewest in the AL and their slugging percentage is the lowest in the major leagues.

Giancarlo Stanton had a 117.3 mph lineout but went hitless, dropping to 3 for his last 34. Gleyber Torres had a hit but is just 4 for his last 32 with 1 RBI this season. Aaron Hicks is in a 1-for-17 rut, although he walked twice. Clint Frazier blooped a ninth-inning single to break a 1-for-27 slide, picking up his first RBI of the season in his 45th plate appearance.

Gio Urshela — among the few Yankees swinging the bat well — was lifted in the top of the eighth with lower back tightness. He ran gingerly to first on an inning-ending double play in the sixth. Manager Aaron Boone said the injury does not appear to be serious and no tests are planned.

The Yankees’ pitching has been better, and Kluber (0-2) had his best start since signing an $11 million, one-year free agent deal. He was charged with two runs, two hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings, throwing 91 pitches.

The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner was sharp until the fifth, when he permitted a single, three walks and Ehire Adrianza’s sacrifice fly before leaving with two outs, the bases loaded and Atlanta up 1-0. 

Nick Nelson relieved and walked Marcell Ozuna on four pitches to make it 2-0 before striking out Travis d’Arnaud.

New York’s defense faltered in the seventh, letting Atlanta go ahead 3-0.

First baseman Mike Ford misjudged Riley’s popup leading off, resulting in a single, and Riley advanced when second baseman LeMahieu was charged with an error for bobbling Guillermo Heredia’s grounder.

After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk to Freddie Freeman, Riley scored when Ozuna beat out a potential double-play despite having his bat splintered by reliever Luis Cessa.

Ozuna was 0 for 4 but had two RBI. Riley was the only player in the game with two hits — including a leadoff homer against Brooks Kriske in the ninth — and also walked twice.

Riley was also hit by a ball in the mouth in the third inning but stayed in the game. Frazier made a diving catch to rob Adrianza of a hit then tried to double Riley off at first, and his throw hit Riley in the lips. Riley was visited by a trainer but stayed in the game.

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Historic start for Shane Bieber as Cleveland Indians ace strikes out 13 in win over Cincinnati Reds

Shane Bieber kept up his record strikeout run, fanning 13 and pitching the Cleveland Indians past the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 on Sunday.

Bieber (2-1) became the first pitcher in big league history to start the season with four consecutive starts with at least 10 strikeouts since the mound was moved to its current distance back in 1893.

“That’s why you call guys aces. And he certainly has lived up to that,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s really accountable for what he needs to do.”

The 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner has 48 strikeouts this year, matching Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan for the most through the first four starts of a season. Bieber has fanned at least eight in 16 straight starts, one short of Randy Johnson’s major league mark.

“He’s the complete package as a pitcher,” Reds manager David Bell said. “He has it all. He deserves all the credit today. We got a few runs off him, but not enough.”

Bieber went eight innings, permitting three runs and six hits with two walks. “I felt a little slow, a little sluggish at the beginning of the game but was able to get through it and kind of get on a roll there at the end,” Bieber said.

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Emmanuel Clase struck out the side in the ninth, again hitting 100 mph with his heater.

The Indians hit three home runs, all with two outs, to salvage a win in the all-Ohio series.

Roberto Perez hit a three-run homer off Wade Miley (2-1) over the center-field wall with two on in the fourth inning for a 4-0 lead.

Jose Ramirez launched a solo drive into the upper deck in the first. Jordan Luplow had a two-run homer in the seventh.

Miley took the loss for the Reds, lasting five innings and striking out five.

Joey Votto had three hits, including a two-run double in the Reds’ fifth. Tyler Naquin homered off Bieber in the eighth.

“We had some good at bats against [Bieber], but he got out of trouble by making really good pitches,” Reds left fielder Jesse Winker said. “My last at-bat against him [in the seventh inning], he made some unbelievable pitches.

“He’s a Cy Young winner, for sure.”

Reds third baseman Mike Moustakas missed his third consecutive game with a non-COVID-19 illness. Kyle Farmer started in his place. OF Shogo Akiyama (hamstring) is back with the team, but he is not expected to play until at least May.

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Rays finish Bronx sweep, last-place Yanks lose 5th straight

The last-place New York Yankees lost their fifth consecutive game as Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a tiebreaking double off Gerrit Cole in the seventh inning that lifted the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-2 victory Sunday and a three-game sweep.

Four pitchers combined on the Rays’ second three-hitter of a series in which New York managed 11 hits in all.

Cole (2-1) was hurt by slipshod defense that made three mistakes in the third inning alone, two by center fielder Aaron Hicks and one by left fielder Clint Frazier.

One of the three runs off Cole was unearned, giving the Yankees a major league-high 10.

Joey Wendle added a ninth-inning home run off Darren O’Day, prompting more boos from the crowd of 10,606, who saved their loudest jeers for the final out.

Tampa Bay has won 16 of its last 21 versus the Yankees, including in last year’s Division Series. New York has lost five straight for the first time since Sept. 4-8, getting outscored 30-14. The Yankees have started 5-10 for the first time since 1997, when they finished second to Baltimore at 99-66.

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Aaron Judge struck out three times and is 4 for his last 28, Hicks has 1 hit in his last 15 at-bats, Gleyber Torres 3 in his last 24 and Giancarlo Stanton, despite a second-inning home run, is 3 for his last 26.

Clint Frazier is 1 for his last 24 and does not have an RBI in 40 plate appearances this season.

The Rays swept a series for the second time in their last three visits to Yankee Stadium after sweeping just two of their previous 51 series of three games or more in the Bronx.

Ryan Yarbrough (2-1) followed opener Andrew Kittredge and permitted one run and two hits in five innings. Diego Castillo got four outs, and Jeffrey Springs pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first big league save.

Cole struck out 10 in 6 1/3 innings and with 39 strikeouts set a Yankees mark for most in his first four starts, with three more than Masahiro Tanaka in 2014.

Cole retired 13 in a row before Wendle singled with one out in the seventh. Tsutsugo followed by driving a changeup, Cole’s 108th and final pitch, to right-center, where the ball bounced to the wall for an RBI double and a 3-2 lead. Tsutsugo was batting .146 at the time and was benched in the first two games of the series.

New York had been outscored 25-12 since Cole’s previous start and had not led since the second inning Wednesday versus Toronto.

Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 in the third after Mike Zunino singled leading off. Hicks got a late break on Kevin Kiermaier’s bloop to short center, then bobbled the ball and lost an opportunity for a forceout at second.

Yandy Díaz followed with an RBI single to center, and Hicks allowed the ball to kick off his glove for an error that let Kiermaier take third, sparking another round of boos from the crowd.

Manuel Margot followed by a sacrifice fly that put the Rays ahead 2-1, and Frazier heaved the ball past second as Díaz advanced.

Judge likely saved a run with a tumbling catch on Tsutsugo in right that ended the second with a man on. New York tied it 2-2 in the fifth. Gio Urshela fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches and poked a changeup to the opposite field and into the right-field corner, No. 9 hitter Kyle Higashioka walked and DJ LeMahieu looped an RBI single into right.

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