MLB

Bellinger's grand slam ignites Dodgers as World Series champs pummel Cards

By Sports Desk June 03, 2021

Cody Bellinger had a game to remember as the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers used a devastating first inning to crush the St Louis Cardinals 14-3.

Dodgers star Bellinger hit a grand slam and finished with six RBIs for the MLB World Series champions, who routed the Cardinals thanks to 11 runs in the opening inning on Wednesday.

The 11-run first inning marked the Dodgers' highest-scoring inning in regular-season play since the franchise relocated to Los Angeles in 1958.

Bellinger fuelled the Dodgers, firstly by scoring a two-run single to give the team a 3-1 lead before hitting his sixth career grand slam.

He became the first Dodgers player to drive in six-plus runs in one inning since the team's move to LA.

 

Cubs conquer Padres

Javier Baez's two-run homer guided the Chicago Cubs to a comprehensive 6-1 victory over the San Diego Padres for a three-game series sweep.

Yan Gomes hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning as the Washington Nationals overcame the Atlanta Braves 5-3. Juan Soto's two-run homer in the fifth gave the Nationals a 3-1 advantage. Since 2018, Soto has the most home runs (12) of 430-plus feet by a Nationals player.

 

Flexen endures difficult outing

Chris Flexen struggled as the Seattle Mariners were blanked 6-0 by the Oakland Athletics. Seattle starter Flexen conceded a two-run double and finished with seven hits, five runs and a homer against his name through six innings.

As the Dodgers celebrated a monster inning, Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez could not leave the field soon enough. He went two-thirds of an inning, facing 12 batters as he allowed 10 runs on six hits with four walks and a strikeout.

 

Blue Jays complete comeback in walk-off fashion

The Toronto Blue Jays rallied with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to top the Miami Marlins 6-5. Joe Panik's sacrifice fly allowed Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to score the winning run after Bo Bichette had levelled proceedings with a two-run triple.

 

Wednesday's results

Chicago Cubs 6-1 San Diego Padres
New York Mets 7-6 Arizona Diamondbacks
Baltimore Orioles 6-3 Minnesota Twins
New York Yankees 4-3 Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 Miami Marlins
Washington Nationals 5-3 Atlanta Braves
Houston Astros 2-1 Boston Red Sox
Colorado Rockies 6-3 Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Dodgers 14-3 St Louis Cardinals
Oakland Athletics 6-0 Seattle Mariners
Philadelphia Phillies-Cincinnati Reds (postponed)
Chicago White Sox-Cleveland Indians (postponed)

 

Tigers at White Sox

The lowly Detroit Tigers (23-32) will visit the high-flying White Sox (33-22) on Thursday. In an all-American League (AL) Central showdown, leaders the White Sox will look to snap a two-game skid with Dallas Keuchel on the mound. Casey Mize starts for the Tigers.

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    England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan has created a "white-ball dynasty" but has chosen the right time to retire from international cricket.

    That is the message from former England captain Michael Atherton, who was speaking after news circulated that Morgan is expected to announce his retirement on Tuesday.

    Morgan has endured a tough spell with the bat in recent times, managing to pass 50 just once in his past eight ODI innings and failing to score in his last two outings against the Netherlands.

    England have still won eight consecutive ODIs, their longest such winning streak since a sequence of the same length in 2017, but Morgan promised to step down when he was no longer contributing as a batter.

    Vice-captain Jos Buttler appears poised to take the captaincy from Morgan, who has rejuvenated the white-ball fortunes of England since being appointed as skipper in 2014.

    England won the Cricket World Cup in the 50-over format with a dramatic victory over New Zealand at Lord's in 2019, three years after reaching the World Twenty20 final.

    Morgan's side also reached the T20 World Cup semi-finals in 2021, and Atherton believes the 35-year-old is making the right choice to step down with his legacy still intact.

    "He created a one-day dynasty. Having taken over at a low point – the 2015 World Cup, which went badly – he decided it was time to change England's approach," Atherton told Sky Sports.

    "For seven years, England have been as good at white-ball cricket as anybody. And that's the first time really you can say that about our one-day side.

    "He will go down as one of England's most significant captains, but I think he has picked exactly the right time to go.

    "He said the other day, 'I'm feeling old', and he told Middlesex he couldn't play two T20 games in succession. If you can't do that, how are you then going to captain in a World Cup when they come thick and fast?"

    Morgan is set to retire as the all-time leading run-scorer for England in ODI and T20I cricket, with 6,957 and 2,458 runs respectively.

    Having also played 23 ODIs for Ireland, his 225 ODIs and 115 T20s are England records for appearances, and Nasser Hussain says Matthew Mott's side will lose their greatest ever leader and a brilliant batter.

    "I had an interview with Rob Key when Rob Key got the job, and I asked him about Eoin Morgan and the white-ball side," former England captain Hussain added.

    "He said that one thing about Eoin Morgan is that he will always do what is best for the team. If he's not contributing to the team and if he feels him being out of the team is better for that team, then he will go. That will be the decision that Morgan is making.

    "He has been short of form, short of fitness and there are other people now – there are so many white-ball batters who could be playing. 

    "It's not the 10 players he is taking on the field with him, it's in the one he's leaving behind because he's in that spot, and Morgan will always think of that one.

    "One thing for certain is that he has been our greatest ever white-ball captain. He's a World Cup-winning captain, and he is a superb player.

    "He was the one that was reverse-sweeping, reverse-scooping and playing all of these funky shots. He was way ahead of his time both as a player and as a captain."

  • Scudetto must be a starting point for Milan, says Pioli Scudetto must be a starting point for Milan, says Pioli

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    Pioli's side dethroned city rivals Inter by beating Sassuolo on the final day of the 2021-22 campaign, securing their first trophy since lifting the Italian Super Cup in 2016.

    The Rossoneri won their final five matches and went 15 without defeat, with their final tally of 88 points their second best in the three-points-per-win era.

    Inter will be hungry to reclaim the Serie A title in the 2022-23 campaign, with Simone Inzaghi looking set to bring in Romelu Lukaku on loan and Paulo Dybala on a free transfer.

    Pioli, speaking after receiving honorary citizenship at Noceto on Monday, expressed his delight over Milan's success but acknowledged the champions will face stern competition in defending their title.

    "I am very happy and proud to be here this morning. I am very attached to this city, I know the place well," Pioli said, as quoted by TuttoMercatoWeb. 

    "The compliments make me happy, they are deserved for a club, a team, which has always believed and has always given our best.

    "We have been able to hold on in difficult moments and that has produced great satisfaction.

    "We know we have done something special, but it must be a starting point. We know the difficulties given the competitiveness that will be in Italy and in Europe.

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    England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan is set to retire from international cricket.

    Morgan is expected to announce his retirement during a press conference at Lord's on Tuesday, with vice-captain Jos Buttler poised to replace him.

    The 35-year-old batter has transformed the white-ball fortunes of England since his appointment in 2014, leading his side to World Cup glory with a dramatic win over New Zealand at Lord's in 2019.

    Morgan also guided England to the T20 World Cup final in 2016, before reaching the semi-finals of the same competition five years later.

    While England have become a huge force in limited-overs cricket during Morgan's tenure, the left-hander has struggled with the bat in recent times.

    England completed an ODI series sweep over Netherlands last week – extending their winning run to eight matches in the 50-over format – but Morgan failed to score in two matches before missing the final clash due to injury.

    The Dublin-born Morgan has passed 50 just once in his past eight ODI innings since scoring 106 against Ireland in February 2020, and had vowed to step down when he felt he could no longer contribute.

    England face India in a three-match T20I series starting on July 7 and are set to do so without their all-time leading run scorer in T20I and ODI cricket.

    Morgan has scored 7,701 ODI runs and 2,458 runs in the shortest format at international level. His 248 ODIs and 115 T20s are also England records for appearances.

    A brilliant leader and destructive batter, Morgan made his international debut for Ireland back in 2006 before committing to play for England. He played 16 Tests between 2010 and 2012.

    Matthew Mott will expect England to continue playing the aggressive brand of cricket that Morgan instilled as his side go in search of T20 World Cup glory in Australia later this year.

    They will then head to India next year attempting to defend their world title in the 50-over format.

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