Tagged in: sweep

Perez breaks Bench’s home run record; Royals sweep Indians

Salvador Perez hit his 46th home run, breaking Johnny Bench’s record for most by a catcher in a campaign to highlight the opener, then the Kansas City Royals completed a doubleheader sweep by defeating the Cleveland Indians 4-2 Monday night.

Perez hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning of a 7-2 victory, topping Bench’s total from 1970 for the highest total by a player who spent at least 75% of his team’s games at catcher.

Perez also moved into a tie for the major league lead in homers with Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Perez leads the majors with 115 RBI.

“I had never hit 30 in my career,” he said. “So I was looking for 30 homers and 100 RBI. This is a dream come true.” Perez’s career high in home runs was 27, which came in both the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

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Being in the same company with Bench is something else special for the 31-year-old Perez who has been a mainstay for the Royals since reaching the majors in 2011.

“When you see a Hall of Fame catcher, you try to be just like him,” Perez said. “I’m going to try my best to be one of those guys.”

Royals manager Mike Matheny considered it an honor to witness the moment.

“It’s just hard to get your head around, to be honest,” Matheny said. “The long history in this game and how many great players have come through. For him to do something that nobody’s done, it’s amazing.”

In the second game, Perez hit an early double before striking out against Anthony Gose, a former outfielder who returned to the majors after a five-year absence as a hard-throwing reliever.

Gose pitched 1 2/3 innings, permitting one run and one hit with one walk and one strikeout. Of his 39 pitches, seven reached 100 mph.

The 31-year-old Gose last played in the majors in 2016 with Detroit. He spent parts of five years with the Tigers and Toronto before becoming a pitcher.

“It meant a lot to get the opportunity to go out there again. It’s been a while. I’m excited to be able to have the opportunity,” Gose said.

Joel Payamps, Domingo Tapia, Jake Brentz. Josh Statamount and Scott Barlow combined on a four-hitter in the second game. Tapia (3-0) struck out four in 1 2/3 innings and Barlow pitched the ninth for his 14th save.

The Royals scored twice off Nick Wittgren (2-8) in the first when Carlos Santana drew a bases-loaded walk and Hunter Dozier added a sacrifice fly.

Kansas City scored in the fourth off Gose on a double by Hanser Alberto and an RBI groundout by Sebastian Rivero.

Alberto added an RBI single in the sixth off Bryan Shaw.

Andrés Giménez and Bobby Bradley homered for Cleveland. The Indians were held to four runs in the two seven-inning games after scoring 11 runs on both Saturday and Sunday in victories over the New York Yankees.

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Phillies extend winning streak to 4 with 9-5 win over Nats

Rhys Hoskins homered and drove in three runs, Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies extended their winning streak to four matches with a 9-5 triumph over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia is 55-53 and two games over .500 for the first time since July 18, when it was 47-45. The Phillies started the day 1½ games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets.

The Phillies erased an early 3-0 deficit and set up a chance for a four-game sweep on Thursday afternoon. Nationals reliever Jefry Rodriguez hit Hoskins with an up-and-in pitch in the top of the seventh. Hoskins motioned to the Phillies’ dugout, then looked at Rodriguez before going to first base.

Gregorius hit a 412-foot home run on the next pitch. Hoskins started yelling at Rodriguez before the ball cleared the fence, prompting Rodriguez to yell back.

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Philadelphia used four doubles to build a four-run fourth inning and take a 4-3 lead. 

Andrew Knapp, Travis Jankowski, Jean Segura, and Hoskins all doubled in the inning. Bryce Harper drove in a run with a single.

Hoskins hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his 24th of the season.

Luis García and Carter Kieboom hit back-to-back homers against Philadelphia starter Chase Anderson in the second, giving Washington an early three-run lead.

Victor Robles’ first career leadoff homer came on Anderson’s first pitch Wednesday night. The homer was just the second of the season for Robles, a one-time top prospect who struggled in 2020 and is doing so again this season.

The Nationals are using the rest of the season to assess prospects, and also giving the 24-year-old Robles an opportunity to bat leadoff after mostly hitting ninth in his short career.

Anderson pitched three innings, permitted three earned runs on three hits (all homers), walked one, and struck out one.

García also homered in the seventh for his first career multi-homer game.

Matt Moore (1-3) picked up the win in relief. Washington starter Paolo Espino (3-3) allowed six earned in his five innings.

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Barbora Krejcikova wins women’s doubles with Katerina Siniakova to complete Paris title sweep

French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova completed a rare title sweep at Roland Garros as she acquired a third women’s doubles major trophy with fellow Czech teammate Katerina Siniakova on Sunday.

Less than 24 hours after she claimed her first singles Grand Slam title, Krejcikova became the first woman since Mary Pierce in 2000 to lift both trophies at the clay-court major. Only seven women have completed the title sweep at Roland Garros.

“Right now after all of this happened, this last two weeks, last two days, I feel really relieved and relaxed,” Krejcikova said.

“I just know from now on I can really enjoy because I have pretty much achieved everything I really wanted. Now I can just improve. That’s the only thing I can do, just improving.”

In addition to her pair of trophies, Krejcikova will reclaim the No. 1 spot in the doubles rankings next week.

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“We will have a little bit glass of champagne,” Krejcikova said. “I already said I don’t really drink, but I think it’s a time to actually celebrate it. I think we going to really enjoy.”

Krejcikova, 25, who overpowered Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the women’s singles title Saturday, also became the first player to sweep both titles at any Grand Slam tournament since Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2016.

Krejcikova and Siniakova are both 25 but have extensive experience playing together, having started their partnership in the juniors in 2013.

It clearly showed in their 6-4, 6-2 victory over Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Swiatek in Sunday’s final as they converted five of their seven break points.

After racing to a 4-0 lead in the opening set, they resisted a late comeback with an efficient display at the net. Krejcikova served out the set at love as Mattek-Sands missed a tough backhand volley.

The Czech pair won the final four games and sealed the game with Siniakova’s final backhand winner.

Siniakova and Krejcikova had already won in Paris in 2018 and claimed the Wimbledon trophy the same year.

“I’m just really happy that we have another title, and looking forward we going to continue with our cooperation in Wimbledon and also for the Olympics,” Krejcikova said.

“I hope there’s going to be a bright future for us.” Swiatek was the defending singles champion in Paris but bowed out in the quarterfinals this year.

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Bucks put Heat on brink, win 113-84 for 3-0 series lead

The Milwaukee Bucks have a chance to sweep the Miami Heat out of the playoffs, and they’re making the task of dispatching the reigning Eastern Conference champions look very simple.

Khris Middleton scored 22 points, Jrue Holiday added 19 points and 12 assists and the Bucks took a 3-0 lead in their East first-round series with a 113-84 triumph in Miami on Thursday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds for Milwaukee, which can end the sweep and move into the East semifinals with a victory Saturday afternoon.

“The last two games haven’t been easy,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, we were up 30, but it’s not easy. … I’ll say this: I’ll say by us doing our job, I’m not surprised that we’re able to win a game because once we focus on ourselves, play together, have fun and be tough, good things are going to happen. And in these three games, good things have happened for us.”

Miami has lost three games by 29 points or more this campaign — all versus Milwaukee, two of them in the last two games of this series. The Bucks held leads of 51 and 36 points against Miami in games earlier this season; the margin got to 32 on Thursday night.

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And as if Milwaukee needed another edge, there’s this: No team in NBA history has ever squandered a 3-0 series lead.

“We’re not worried about that. We control what we can control, and that’s how we play, that’s how we prepare, how we compete,” Miami forward Jimmy Butler said. “Not too worried about what history says and all of that good stuff, but we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Butler scored 19 points and Bam Adebayo had 17 for Miami. Nemanja Bjelica — little-used by Miami this season, then called upon Thursday out of desperation for any sort of outside shooting — scored 14 points.

Milwaukee outrebounded Miami 56-41, held the Heat to 38% shooting and became the first team to top Miami by at least 29 points twice in the same playoff series. And that’s after the Bucks beat Miami by 47, in Miami, back in December.

“We’ve got to continue to work,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “They have so many weapons on the other side. They do a lot of things that are hard to guard. Defensively, our focus, our attention to detail has got to stay high.”

The biggest Miami crowd of the season, by far — 17,000 in a building that in pre-pandemic times called 19,600 a sellout — showed up, most of them in their seats by tip-off, hoping that they would see the start of a turnaround.

Instead, in the biggest game of the season, they saw Miami’s slowest start of the season.

The Heat managed only eight points in the game’s first nine minutes, the fewest they managed in such a game-opening span since last August and the fewest to open a game on their home floor since Nov. 14, 2018.

It was 26-14 Milwaukee after one quarter, then the lead swelled to as much as 19 — 44-25 late in the second before got to 49-36 at the half. That matched the fewest points permitted by the Bucks in a first half in more than three years.

The margin swelled to 27 in the third quarter. More than a few of those 17,000 fans didn’t stick around too much longer.

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Tatis homers, 4 for 4 in return, Padres beat Rockies 3-0

Fernando Tatis Jr.’s return from the COVID-19 injury list was nothing short of extraordinary.

Cleared to play by Major League Baseball late Wednesday morning, the star shortstop got to the ballpark about an hour before first pitch, took a few swings in the batting cage and then played for the first time in 10 days.

“Go to that jungle, boy, survive,” he said. Did he ever.

Tatis hit a remarkable home run, went 4 for 4, finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle and even did the splits after stealing second base, leading the Padres over the Colorado Rockies 3-0 for a three-game sweep.

Tatis missed eight matches. Forced to isolate at home, he said he was able to take just a few dry swings and went jogging one day. Otherwise, he said he did his best to stay mentally sharp.

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“It’s crazy. It’s crazy,” the 22-year-old Tatis said. “I was even feeling like kind of weird at shortstop, like, ‘Damn, is something looking different or is it just me?’ It’s a thing when you’re far from the game, but here we are, healthy, thank God.”

Tatis, who had been out since May 11, helped the Padres win their sixth consecutive game and for the ninth time in 10 games.

Jake Cronenworth had an inside-the-park home run and Joe Musgrove struck out 11 in seven innings. Craig Stammen struck out the side in the eighth, and Mark Melancon finished the two-hitter with a perfect ninth for his major league-leading 15th save in as many chances.

Manager Jayce Tingler said what Tatis did Wednesday “is incredibly unique. I don’t know how to explain it. There’s not many that can kind of roll out and be able to do that.”

Tatis came up in the eighth needing a triple for the cycle and got his third extra-base hit of the game, an RBI double. He did a little dance after reaching the bag.

“It would have been great if we would have checked the cycle out of my things to do list but we were a little short and it’s definitely something I’m looking to the future for,” Tatis said.

The Padres were 7-1 without Tatis, who was placed on the injured list before a match at Colorado on May 11. Right fielder Wil Myers and first baseman Eric Hosmer were pulled from that game, Myers after he returned a positive test and Hosmer due to contact tracing.

Tatis and Hosmer were activated before Wednesday’s match and Myers is expected back this weekend. Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo, also placed in the contact tracing protocol on May 11, returned Monday night.

Tatis drove the first pitch he saw from Chi Chi González to right-center field with two outs in the fourth for his 10th homer. Tatis, batting cleanup for the first time in his three-year big league career, singled leading off the second and then stole second, doing the splits after sliding feet-first.

The Padres have encouraged Tatis to cut back on head-first slides after he experienced left shoulder discomfort during spring training and then suffered a partially dislocated left shoulder on a hard swing on April 5 that landed him on the 10-day injured list.

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Bulls complete sweep of Hornets in LaVine’s return, 120-99

For one night, the Chicago Bulls looked like a playoff-worthy team.

The return of Zach LaVine to the floor certainly had something to do with the Bulls’ inspired effort, which ended a four-game skid.

Nikola Vucevic had 29 points and 14 rebounds, LaVine had 13 points after missing 11 matches due to the league’s health and safety protocols, and the Bulls swept the season series from the Charlotte Hornets with a 120-99 victory on Thursday night.

“It definitely opened up some things for us,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said of LaVine’s return.

Said Vucevic: “We’re happy to have him back. We played a great game and that helped motivating us and getting us ready to play knowing he was back. So hopefully we will continue to play that way.”

Chicago is a long shot to make the postseason, still 3 1/2 games behind Washington for the final spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.

The Bulls have six games left; the Wizards have five. LaVine said he felt “really tired” after the long layoff and wanted to make sure he didn’t try to do too much.

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“I told (my teammates), don’t expect me to try to go get 40 (points) the first night,” LaVine said.

LaVine averaged more than 30 points in his five previous games before being sidelined, but mostly deferred to his teammates in the first three quarters, attempting six shots. But he started to show his scoring ability with back-to-back jump shots to start the fourth quarter before Donovan took him out after 27 minutes of action.

“I thought there was a lot more opportunities for him to shoot the ball, and to try to go score and attack,” Donovan said.

“But with him being out three weeks and the respect he has for his teammates, and I think he just tried to fit in and take the shots that were there and not try to force things.”

P.J. Washington, who missed Charlotte’s last game for the birth of his child, had 24 points on six 3-pointers. 

Malik Monk added 20 points off the bench for the Hornets, who played without Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges and Devonte Graham.

Charlotte could have clinched a spot in the play-in tournament had it won.

But Vucevic would have none of it. He returned after missing two games with right adductor tightness and dominated. Looking fresh, he made 12 of 24 shots from the field and was 5 of 7 from 3-point range, helping opening things up for his teammates.

“I think they just played harder than us every time we played them,” Washington said. “For us, it’s just about defense at the end of the day. We have to stop teams from getting offensive rebounds and easy second-chance points.”

The Bulls, who beat the Hornets by 13 and 17 points in the two previous meetings, jumped out to a 48-33 lead this time.

It appeared Charlotte might make a game of it after hitting 8 of 13 3-point attempts in the second quarter to cut the lead to five, but the Bulls extended their lead to 22 entering the fourth quarter.

“We’ve struggled with Chicago all year,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “Give them credit. For whatever reason, the matchup does not fit our group.”

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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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Bucks avoid sweep despite losing Giannis to sprained ankle

The Milwaukee Bucks staved off elimination on Sunday, defeating the Miami Heat 118-115 in overtime despite losing superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo to a right ankle sprain in the second quarter.

After being fouled by Heat forward Andre Iguodala on a drive into the paint at the 10:18 mark of the second quarter of Game 4 of this Eastern Conference semifinal series, Antetokounmpo went down in a heap, yelling out in pain and clutching at his right ankle. He had to be helped off the court but later walked back on to split a pair of free throws.

Antetokounmpo then instantly checked out of the game and walked under his own power to Milwaukee’s locker room. He wouldn’t be seen again, as the Bucks ruled out their superstar forward at halftime, when they were clinging to a 50-48 lead.

“He’ll get treatment through the night, and we’ll just see how he does in the next 24 (to) 48 hours,” stated Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer after the game.

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In an inspired effort led by Khris Middleton, the Bucks managed to hold on after losing the reigning MVP to avoid a 4-0 sweep.

Middleton’s 21 points in the third quarter were the most by a Bucks player in any quarter of a playoff game since Tim Thomas’ 19 in 1996-97.

He ended with 36 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds in 48 minutes — including a clutch 3-pointer with 6.9 seconds left in overtime against a Miami double-team.

As Bucks players entered the locker room, Antetokounmpo was there to congratulate them on the latest triumph, but it’s still uncertain if he’ll be able to return for Game 5 on Tuesday.

The Bucks are the first team to win in overtime when facing elimination since the Heat in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals versus the San Antonio Spurs.

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