Tagged in: all-star

Cardinals beat Diamondbacks 6-4 for seventh straight win

Nolan Arenado quickly fell behind versus a hard-throwing pitcher with a knack for painting corners.

Instead of tensing up, the seven-time All-Star shortened up, found a pitch he could hit and shot the ball through the right side of the infield.

Arenado hit a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning and finished with three RBI, helping the St. Louis Cardinals stretch their winning streak to seven matches with a 6-4 triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

“He knows when to take the shots and when to just take whatever is given to him,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “That’s a perfect example of taking what he’s given.” Trailing 4-3, the Cardinals loaded the bases in the seventh after pinch-hitter Albert Pujols singled off Joe Mantiply (1-4) and Kevin Ginkel hit Paul Goldschmidt with a pitch.

Arenado, who had a run-scoring single in the first inning, fell behind 1-2 against Ginkel, but lined a single to right-center to put St. Louis up 5-4.

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Jake Woodford (2-0) allowed a hit in 1 1/3 innings and Giovanny Gallegos worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save to complete the NL Central-leading Cardinals’ seventh sweep this season.

Lars Nootbaar hit his first career leadoff homer and Tommy Edman added a run-scoring single in the eighth inning for St. Louis’ 16th win in 19 games.

“The guys are just continuing to compete regardless of situation, regardless of score, and that’s what you want at this time of the year,” Marmol said.

Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly had been sharp for nearly two months, allowing two runs or less in eight of nine starts.

The veteran right-hander was in trouble almost from the first pitch against St. Louis, giving up Nootbaar’s leadoff homer and Arenado’s run-scoring single. Another run came in when Nolan Gorman hit into a double play, matching the runs Kelly allowed his previous two starts combined.

“Kelly did a nice job,” Marmol said. “Their starter was good and for us to come out the way we did, put together at-bats with the homer and then the singles. That was that was a really good first inning.”

Kelly got a boost from an inning-ending double play in the second and fell into a rhythm after that. He worked around two baserunners twice, permitting three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

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Guardians score 6 runs in 8th, rally past Tigers 8-4

All-Star José Ramírez blooped a go-ahead, two-run double as the Cleveland Guardians scored six runs with two outs in the eighth inning, rallying for a 8-4 triumph over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.

Rookies Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez had RBI doubles, and Amed Rosario and Owen Miller added run-scoring singles in the eighth for the AL Central-leading Guardians. Cleveland trailed 4-1 in the sixth and 4-2 entering the eighth.

“It’s the belief we have in each other,” Kwan said. “Guys were just grinding at-bats out, and it’s the luck of baseball, as well.”

Andrew Chafin (0-3) struck out the first three batters in the inning, but tossed a wild pitch that permitted Luke Maile to reach and extend the frame. Cleveland then rattled off five straight hits and had seven consecutive men reach base.

“I went from, ‘Yeah, all right,’ to ‘Well, crap,’ pretty quickly,” Chafin said. “It’s not a nice game and it’s going to get you like that sometimes. That’s baseball for you.” Rosario greeted Alex Lange with a game-tying infield single that scored Myles Straw, and Ramírez followed with a soft fly that landed in front of left fielder Akil Baddoo. Kwan and Rosario scored to put the Guardians up 6-4.

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Cleveland remained one game ahead of Minnesota in the division. Bryan Shaw (6-2) retired one batter for the win.

The Guardians became the first major league team to strikeout three times before scoring six runs in any inning since at least 1961, according to Elias.

“How many times do you hear me say, ‘Keep playing, keep playing,’” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “That was kind of the ultimate example. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to win, but it’s always better than losing.”

Willi Castro hit a solo homer and Victor Reyes and Eric Haase had RBI singles for Detroit, which has lost nine of its last 11 matches and fired general manager Al Avila last week. Rookie Kerry Carpenter had a sacrifice fly for his fourth RBI in the four-game series.

“It happened fast against a contact team, but obviously we should have been out of that inning,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.

Castro’s homer in the sixth extended Detroit’s lead to 4-1. All-Star Andrés Giménez scored on a passed ball in the bottom half to pull Cleveland within two.

Gonzalez had two hits and two RBI, and Kwan and Andrés Giménez had two hits apiece.

Left-hander Daniel Norris, who was released by the Cubs on July 22, gave up four hits, walked two, hit three batters and struck out five in his second outing since rejoining the Tigers.

Detroit went in front 2-1 in the fourth, plating two runs to end Cal Quantrill’s 18-inning scoreless streak. Carpenter drove in the first for his fourth RBI in the four-game series and Haase singled home Javier Báez.

Quantrill permitted four runs in six innings, but remained 11-0 in 28 career games in the ballpark.

The Guardians won 10 of 19 games versus Detroit this season, evening their all-time series at 1,144-1,144.

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Mike Trout dealing with ‘pretty rare’ back condition, but Los Angeles Angels star says it’s manageable, plans to return this season

Mike Trout stated he appreciated all the support he received Wednesday after the Los Angeles Angels’ head athletic trainer revealed the three-time American League MVP had a “rare” spinal condition that could affect him for the rest of his career.

Even if Trout thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion.

“I think he meant that I have to stay on top of the routine I do on a daily basis to keep it from coming back,” Trout said after watching his Angels beat the Kansas City Royals 4-0 to clinch their first series victory in nearly a month.

“I’m appreciative of all the prayer requests, but my career is not over.”

The 10-time All-Star left a game versus Houston on July 12 with what was first called back spasms, then went on the injured list a week later with what was called rib cage inflammation.

On Wednesday, Angels athletic trainer Mike Forstad revealed it to be a rare spinal condition.

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“This is a pretty rare condition that he has right now in his back,” Frostad said. “The doctor (Robert Watkins III), who is one of the most well-known spine surgeons in the country — if not the world — doesn’t see a lot of these.

“And for it to happen in a baseball player — we just have to take into consideration what he puts himself through with hitting, swinging on a daily basis just to get prepared, and then also playing in the outfield, diving for balls, jumping into the wall — things like that. There’s so many things that can aggravate it. But this doctor hasn’t seen a lot of it.”

Trout smiled when thinking about the absurdity of the overreactions he’d been seeing online after Frostad’s comments.

“I got back and my phone was blowing up: ‘My career is over,'” he said. “It’s just rare for a baseball player. I just have to stay on top of it.”

Trout received a cortisone injection last week that has already begun to produce results. He has a follow-up visit next week and “we’ll go from there,” he said, though he has every intention of being back this year.

“Of course,” he said. “That’s my goal.”

The Angels have had no discussions about shutting him down.

“I don’t think we’re at a point where we’re going to make that decision,” Frostad said. “He’s going to have a follow-up here once we get back and we’ll just kind of see what the doctor thinks at that point.”

Trout, the second-highest-paid player in the game at $37.1 million, had been enjoying a nice bounce-back season after a calf injury limited him to just 36 matches last season.

He was hitting .270 with 24 homers and 51 RBIs through 79 games, a rare bright spot in what has been a dismal season for the Angels. “He’s been a great teammate,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said.

“He’s been [in] the dugout, helping out his teammate — he’s obviously a good sounding board for a lot of young players. For them to have him here and know that he’s supporting them is huge, I’m sure, for some younger guys.”

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Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout placed on 10-day IL with left rib cage inflammation

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout was placed on the 10-day injured list Monday with left rib cage inflammation, the team stated.

Scratched from the Angels’ lineup moments before the start of Saturday night’s 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, their final game before the All-Star break, Trout has missed the last four games with back spasms, and on Sunday, he elected not to participate in Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

“It’s just one of the things that’s got to get right before I start swinging,” Trout said. “It is frustrating for sure. I can’t really pinpoint what caused it. It just started to bother me.”

Trout was in the Angels’ posted pregame lineup as the center fielder but was removed about three minutes before the first pitch.

Trout said afterward that his back felt wrong while swinging in the cage before the match.

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Originally scheduled to start in the outfield Tuesday for the American League, Trout is batting .270 with 24 homers and 51 RBIs in 79 games this season, although he has just one multihit game and six total RBIs in the past three weeks.

His transaction was one of several roster moves from the Angels, who claimed infielder Phil Gosselin off waivers from the Atlanta Braves and outrighted outfielder Monte Harrison to Triple-A Salt Lake after he cleared waivers.

Later in the day, the Angels announced on social media that Trout was named captain for Team USA in next year’s World Baseball Classic.

“It means a lot. I missed an opportunity the first time and I knew this was one I couldn’t miss,” Trout said. “I’ll be able to ramp it up a little bit quicker. I’m looking forward to playing for our country.”

The Angels, who return to action on Friday versus the Braves, entered the break at 39-53, 20 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.

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Utah Jazz now willing to listen to Donovan Mitchell trade scenarios

After Utah earlier shut down inquiries about All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, rival teams say the Jazz are now showing a willingness to listen on possible trade scenarios, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.

The asking price appears to be steep, but in the wake of Utah’s recent Rudy Gobert blockbuster deal to Minnesota, the Jazz are no longer simply dismissing calls on Mitchell, sources said.

Jazz general manager Justin Zanik alluded to the possibility during a news conference Saturday when asked whether Mitchell was considered untouchable in trade discussions.

“Change is inevitable in the NBA,” Zanik said. “I’m not trying to be cryptic or anything else, but Donovan is on our roster and he’s a very, very important part of what we’re trying to do. Things evolve in the NBA, so I couldn’t sit here and say anybody is [untouchable]. We’re trying to build a championship team, but there’s no intent [to trade Mitchell], at all.”

The Jazz are open to trades across the entire roster, but Mitchell is indeed the organization’s most valuable and coveted player.

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Mitchell, 25, has averaged 23.9 points and 4.5 assists per game during his five-year career with the Jazz, and he has been an All-Star each of the past three seasons. He has four years and $134.9 million remaining on the maximum extension he signed during the 2020 offseason, but the final season is a player option for $37.1 million.

Utah has made the playoffs the past six campaigns, the longest current streak in the Western Conference, but the Jazz have not advanced past the second round during that span.

The organization has undergone major changes in the wake of this year’s first-round exit versus the Dallas Mavericks, including the resignation of coach Quin Snyder, the hiring of Will Hardy to replace him and trades of Gobert and starting forward Royce O’Neale.

“This season wasn’t very much fun this year,” Jazz CEO Danny Ainge said Saturday. “This draft wasn’t fun. Free agency wasn’t very much fun. You’re over the tax, no draft picks, and our team loses in the first round. It wasn’t fun for us. We want it to be fun for our fans and our players, but we just haven’t had much flexibility to do anything over the last little while.”

Ainge and Zanik agreed with Gobert’s assessment after he was traded to Minnesota that the win-now window in Utah had closed. The Jazz’s haul in that deal was headlined by four future first-round picks, as well as recent No. 22 overall pick Walker Kessler.

They received a 2023 first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets in the O’Neale deal. “We fell short, so we need to recalibrate and try to go and open up the next window,” Zanik said. “Hopefully, it’s a long one. We’ve got work to do to start that.”

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Atlanta Hawks acquire guard Dejounte Murray from San Antonio Spurs for three first-round picks, Danilo Gallinari

The Atlanta Hawks are trading forward Danilo Gallinari and three first-round picks to the San Antonio Spurs for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray.

The Hawks are sending a 2023 first-round pick via the Charlotte Hornets plus their own 2025 and 2027 first-round picks to the Spurs in the deal, sources told Wojnarowski. The deal also includes a pick swap in 2026, the sources said.

The 2025 and 2027 first-round picks are unprotected, a league source told ESPN’s Zach Lowe.

The trade gives the Hawks a formidable backcourt with Murray joining All-NBA guard Trae Young. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Murray and Young will be the first pair of teammates in NBA history who each averaged 20 points and 8 assists per match in the previous season.

Murray took to Twitter later Wednesday to express his gratitude to the Spurs. Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler said in May that the team wouldn’t repeat the “mistake” of complacency that he believes set the stage for this season’s disappointing first-round exit from the playoffs.

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The Hawks returned a young core from the team that was eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals two seasons ago.

Ressler stated he believed the team would improve just based on experience.

“We thought we’d be better this season,” Ressler said. “We plan to get better this offseason.”

Instead, the Hawks escaped the play-in tournament with the No. 8 seed before losing to the Miami Heat in five games in the opening round of the playoffs.

Murray, 25, averaged a career-best 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals last season, earning All-Star honors for the first time in his career. He had 13 triple-doubles, setting the single-season franchise record for the Spurs.

He is scheduled to make $16.6 million next season and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

Gallinari, 33, averaged 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 66 matches last season, his second with the Hawks.

His $21.5 million salary for the 2022-23 season is partially guaranteed.

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Celtics torch Heat early, even series with 102-82 blowout

The Miami Heat left Jayson Tatum lying on the court with a pain in his neck in the closing minutes of Game 3.

The Celtics All-Star did his part to make sure the Heat were hurting after Game 4.

Tatum scored 31 points and Boston took its turn pounding Miami early, jumping out to a 26-4 lead and cruising to a 102-82 victory that evened the Eastern Conference finals at two games apiece.

“Obviously, we knew how important this game was,” Tatum said. “Everybody just had to come up with a different sense of urgency.”

Miami missed 15 of its first 16 shots as this bizarre series produced another game that was all but over after 12 minutes. The Heat led 39-18 after the first quarter of Game 3.

Boston improved to 5-0 this postseason following a loss. Coach Ime Udoka stated the challenge is finding more consistency.

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“Just got to muster that same energy when we came off a win as well as a loss,” Udoka said. “This is a three-game series now. Can’t always just flip the mindset when we come off a loss and get a little desperate.”

Game 5 is Wednesday in Miami.

Payton Pritchard had 14 points for the Celtics. Derrick White added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Robert Williams concluded with 12 points and nine rebounds.

“We just wanted to up the effort all-around,” Williams said.

The Celtics led by 27 points in the second quarter and stretched their advantage to 32 in the third. Each game in this series has featured a lead of at least 20 points, and none has been close down the stretch.

Victor Oladipo led the Heat with 23 points. Miami’s starting five of All-Star Jimmy Butler (six points), Kyle Lowry (three points), P.J. Tucker (no points), Max Strus (no points) and Bam Adebayo (nine points) were a combined 7 of 36 shooting. They all sat out the fourth quarter.

“They came out and jumped us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’re not making any excuses. They outplayed us tonight for sure. We never could get any kind of grip on the game.”

And the Celtics stymied the Heat without Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, who sat with a sprained right ankle he suffered in the second half of Game 3.

The Heat were without Tyler Herro, who suffered a groin injury late in Game 3.

Butler was in the starting lineup after missing the second half of Game 3 with swelling in his right knee. Lowry (strained left hamstring), Strus (strained hamstring) and Tucker (left knee irritation) all tested their injuries pregame before being cleared to go.

“It’s a part of playoffs. You learn to adapt,” Adebayo said. “Guys being out, guys playing half, guys playing 20 minutes in the game, just depends. You’ve just got to find a way to win.”

Boston’s Williams returned after missing a game with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.

Even with their banged-up roster, the Celtics enjoyed their fastest start of the series. Starting in place of Smart, White scored the game’s first seven points as Boston took an 8-0 lead.

It quickly grew to 18-1, with Miami misfiring on its first 14 shots. The Heat didn’t get their first points until Adebayo’s free throw at the 7:56 mark. Miami made its first field goal at 3:22, a 3-pointer by Oladipo, and ended the quarter 3 for 20.

The Celtics took a 29-11 lead into the second quarter and led 57-33 at the half.

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Los Angeles Dodgers add reliever Dellin Betances on minor league deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers, looking to deepen their pitching staff with low-risk, high-reward signings, have agreed to a minor league contract with four-time All-Star Dellin Betances, a source confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

Betances, 34, can earn a prorated portion of a $2.75 million base salary if he reaches the major leagues, with an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses, according to the New York Post.

Betances was one of the sport’s most dominant relievers while with the New York Yankees from 2014 to 2018, posting a 2.22 ERA with 607 strikeouts in 373⅓ innings. But the 6-foot-8, 265-pound right-hander has made only 17 appearances over the past three years, and there’s no set timetable for his return to the major leagues.

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Betances has been off a mound this offseason, but the Dodgers need a longer look to determine how far he is from tapping back into some of his prime form.

Betances spent the first 5½ months of the 2019 campaign rehabbing a right shoulder impingement and a strained lat, then returned on Sept. 15 and tore his left Achilles tendon on his eighth pitch, ending his season for good.

He then struggled through a 7.71 ERA in 11⅔ innings with the New York Mets during the COVID-shortened 2020 season and made only one major league appearance in 2021, opting for season-ending shoulder surgery at the end of June.

Betances joins a handful of rehabbing pitchers who might evolve into major contributors in the Dodgers’ bullpen later this season, involving Danny Duffy and Dustin May, traditional starting pitchers who probably won’t be stretched out enough to reenter the rotation in 2022.

The Dodgers also employ Tommy Kahnle, who is nearing his return from Tommy John surgery, and have re-signed Jimmy Nelson, who will spend most of this campaign recovering from Tommy John surgery but could factor into the mix in 2023.

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DeRozan scores 50, Bulls rally past Clippers 135-130 in OT

DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 50 points and the Chicago Bulls rallied to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 135-130 in overtime Thursday night.

DeRozan finished two points shy of his career high. The five-time All-Star scored 17 in the fourth quarter, though he missed the go-ahead free throw in the closing seconds of regulation after making the first two attempts to tie it.

He then scored 10 in overtime, helping the Bulls come away with a win they sorely needed after falling behind by 16 in the third period.

Chicago, which led the Eastern Conference for a large portion of the season, moved a half-game ahead of sixth-place Toronto with five left. The Bulls are trying to stay in the top six in order to avoid the play-in round in the postseason.

Nikola Vucevic added 22 points and 14 rebounds. Zach LaVine scored 21 as the Bulls won for the third time in four matches.

Reggie Jackson led Los Angeles with 34 points.

Paul George scored 22 in his second game back after missing three months because of a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

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Marcus Morris Sr. added 20 points and Nicolas Batum scored 17. But the Clippers — eighth in the West — lost for the sixth time in seven matches.

Chicago led by four in overtime when Luke Kennard hit a 3 for Los Angeles with 1:12 left. 

Patrick Williams answered with one of his own to make it 129-125 with just under a minute remaining.

Jackson then hit two foul shots for the Clippers before DeRozan converted two to make it 131-127.

Williams rebounded a missed drive by Jackson, leading to two more free throws by DeRozan that made it a six-point game. Jackson nailed a 3 to cut it to 133-130 with five seconds left.

DeRozan caught the inbounds pass following a timeout by the Bulls and drove for a dunk, sealing a wild victory for Chicago.

The Clippers saw their lead shrink to four early in the fourth and got it back up to 11 with about five minutes remaining before the Bulls made another push.

Los Angeles was leading 118-115 with seven seconds left in regulation when Terance Mann got called for a foul away from the ball on an inbounds play following a timeout.

That led to a free throw for DeRozan that cut it to two and possession for Chicago. DeRozan then got fouled by George on a 3-point attempt with 3.5 seconds left. He hit the first two foul shots to tie it at 118 and missed the third, sending the game to overtime.

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LA Clippers’ Paul George practices with team for first time since December

Paul George participated in his first LA Clippers practice in more than three months Thursday as he tries to return prior to the start of the postseason.

The Clippers said George, who has not played since Dec. 22, is in the next phase of his rehab program as he recovers from a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He remains out for Friday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

George was cleared for practice after participating in a 4-on-4 drill with minimal contact against Clippers coaches on Sunday.

“He is doing good,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said prior to Thursday’s practice. “He hasn’t felt any pain so that is a positive thing. Just working on his conditioning and just making sure he can continue to go through the minimal contact without having any issue. So as of right now, it hasn’t been a problem.”

Around the All-Star break, George was seen shooting with his left hand from short range on the team’s practice court. Earlier this month, George was seen shooting with his right hand.

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The Clippers, who are in eighth place in the Western Conference standings, could get some much-needed reinforcements for the play-in tournament.

Norman Powell, who has been limited to three games after being acquired before the trading deadline, has begun shooting on the court with the team this week. Powell, who had a fracture in a bone in his left foot, has yet to be cleared for contact practice, Lue said.

With eight games remaining in the regular season, the Clippers (36-38) hope to reduce the minutes for veterans Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris and Nic Batum before the play-in tournament

Lue said his preference is to see any of his injured players return for at least one regular season game before the postseason begins. The coach also said Monday that if any of the injured Clippers are medically cleared to play in the postseason, they’ll play.

So while the Clippers have not provided an update on Kawhi Leonard, who continues to work his way back from a torn right ACL injury suffered last June, Lue is keeping the door open for Leonard, George and Powell even if they don’t return by the end of the regular season.

“Hell yeah, I keep it open,” Lue said Monday. “… To hit the playoffs going at 100, from zero to 100, that is pretty tough. But if the medical guys say they are cleared and they are able to do that, that is totally up to them.”

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