MLB

Phillies move past Mets into first place, Brewers edge Giants

By Sports Desk August 07, 2021

The Philadelphia Phillies surged into first place with their sixth consecutive win, beating the New York Mets 4-2 on Friday.

Bryce Harper's two-run homer in the eighth inning provided what proved to be the winning margin as the Phillies took over sole possession of the top spot in the National League (NL) East for the first time since May 7.

That was also the last day the Mets spent outside first place, as they have seen a lead that once stood at five games evaporate in dropping four of their last five games.

Trade-deadline acquisition Kyle Gibson allowed one run in his six innings and added an RBI single for the Phillies, who also got a home run from Didi Gregorius as they handed Marcus Stroman the loss.

 

Brewers walk it off against Giants

Rowdy Tellez's 10th-inning single gave the Milwaukee Brewers a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants in a matchup ot the teams with the two best records in the National League. Milwauke's Avisail Garcia and San Francisco's Brandon Belt had traded solo homers for the only other runs of the game.

The Chicago White Sox did not get what they expected out of their lockdown bullpen but still managed to pull out an 8-6 win over the rival Cubs in 10 innings. Newly acquired reliever Craig Kimbrel allowed a three-run homer to Andrew Romine in the eighth to tie the game at 4-4, but the White Sox put four on the board in the top of the 10th on a homer from Brian Goodwin and RBI singles by Gavin Sheets and Tim Anderson.

Brett Gardner gave the New York Yankees a 3-2 walk-off win over the Seattle Mariners with an 11th-inning single in a game that saw the Yankees use nine pitchers, none working more than 1.2 innings.

 

Dodgers' extra-inning woes continue

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost 4-3 to the Los Angeles Angels in 10 innings, their 11th straight defeat in extra-inning games. That was not even the worst news of the day for the defending World Series champions, though, as Mookie Betts left the game after six innings with right hip discomfort.

Boston Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi cruised through four scoreless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays before everything came apart on him in the fifth. Toronto scored nine times in the frame, with seven of the runs charged to Eovaldi, as they rolled to a 12-4 victory at Rogers Centre.

 

Marte makes it count this time

Starling Marte's first home run after joining the Oakland Athletics was meaningless, a solo shot in an 8-1 loss earlier this week. His second made a bit more noise, a three-run bomb in the 11th inning to give the A's a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers.

 

Friday's results 

Tampa Bay Rays 10-6 Baltimore Orioles
Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 San Francisco Giants
Cincinnati Reds 10-0 Pittsburgh Pirates
Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 New York Mets
New York Yankees 3-2 Seattle Mariners
Toronto Blue Jays 12-4 Boston Red Sox
Colorado Rockies 14-2 Miami Marlins
Oakland Athletics 4-1 Texas Rangers
St Louis Cardinals 4-2 Kansas City Royals
Atlanta Braves 8-4 Washington Nationals
Cleveland Indians 6-1 Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox 8-6 Chicago Cubs
Arizona Diamondbacks 8-5 San Diego Padres
Minnesota Twins 5-4 Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels 4-3 Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Red Sox at Blue Jays

The Boston Red Sox (64-47) have lost seven of their last eight games to fall out of first place, but they have a chance to recover with a doubleheader at the Toronto Blue Jays (58-49). 

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  • Australian Open: Barty unsure of Federer backhand comparison: 'We aren't even on the same page' Australian Open: Barty unsure of Federer backhand comparison: 'We aren't even on the same page'

    Ash Barty was told how her backhand slice has been compared to that of Roger Federer, but the women's top seed at the Australian Open is not convinced.

    Barty produced a stellar display as she saw off Jessica Pegula in Tuesday's quarter-final, losing just two games over the entire duel as the American proved no match.

    Her victory sets up a semi-final clash with another American, Madison Keys, with Barty aiming to reach the final of her home grand slam for the first time.

    Barty was ruthless against Pegula, firing 17 winners to her opponent's seven, while she won five of the nine break points available to her.

    But it was her backhand slice – one of the most recognisable shots in the women's game today – that was particularly notable to four-time grand slam winner Jim Courier in commentary, who compared Barty in this respect to Federer.

    Not that Barty was having any of it.

    "That's very kind from Jim," Barty told reporters afterwards. "I think everyone's shots are unique.

    "I think obviously Roger has one of the most exceptional slice backhands in the game. Mine's a long way off that. Absolutely, no stretch of the imagination we are even on the same page at all.

    "But I love to use my slice, I love to get creative with it, to use it offensively and defensively. Over my career I've learnt it is a weapon for me.

    "I try and use it when I have to. Sometimes I try and use it when it's my choice and I can be really, really aggressive with it.

    "But being able to use it with variety and have different options has been a massive part of my game through this last couple of years of my career."

    When Barty faces Keys in the semi-final, she will have already matched her personal best at the Australian Open – she also reached the last four in 2020.

    But the combination of being world number one for over two years and having two grand slams under her belt is helping her maintain focus this time around.

    "[It's] a bit of both. I think the process hasn't changed, but obviously the familiarity of knowing what to expect or expect how my body feels and almost be able to deal with those emotions a little bit better has probably changed and grown as I've become more experienced," she continued.

    "But the processes for us haven't changed regardless of whether it's a first round of the tournament, latter stage of a grand slam, it doesn't actually matter the process before we walk out on court.

    "But it's exciting, and I think also being able to embrace the excitement of being in with a chance to play deep in your home slam, it's pretty cool. I think going out there and enjoying that and really embracing that experience helps for sure."

  • Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Oblak tests positive for coronavirus Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Oblak tests positive for coronavirus

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  • Australian Open: Barty dominates Pegula to book semi-final berth Australian Open: Barty dominates Pegula to book semi-final berth

    Ash Barty was in clinical form to swat aside Jessica Pegula 6-2 6-0 in just 63 minutes and book her spot in the Australian Open semi-finals.

    The world number one is still to drop a set at her home slam in Melbourne and made easy work of her opponent as Barty continued her bid to become the first female Australian singles champion since Chris O'Neil in 1978.

    Barty won nine games in a row from 3-2 up in the first set to take complete command and she can now prepare for a semi-final showdown with another American in the form of Madison Keys.

    A nervy-looking Pegula was rushing her shots in the early exchanges and Barty broke in the first game when a forehand cross set up a break point chance that her opponent put into the net.

    Barty had chalked up 12 unforced errors by game four, but it was her aggressive tactics that had Pegula completely on the ropes and when a thumping forehand set up another break point in game seven, it was little surprise when it was converted.

    By this point Barty was in complete command and Pegula had no answer to the variety of shots her opponent rained down on her.

    The second set raced by in just 28 minutes, with Barty putting the finishing touch on a mightily impressive performance when Pegula put a return long on the second match point.

    "Jess is an incredible person and a brilliant girl. I love to test myself against her. She's had sensational couple of years, she's definitely a top-20 player, there's plenty more to come for sure," Barty said after the match.

    On reaching the semis in Melbourne for the second time after doing so in 2020, she added: "I've grown as a person, as a player, I'm a more complete tennis player.

    "Credit to my team, they do so much work behind the scenes to make me the best version of myself, I love playing out here. Hopefully I've got a little bit more left."

    DATA SLAM: Barty serves up a treat again

    Barty defeated both Pegula and Keys en route to winning her maiden slam title at the 2019 French Open and history could be repeating itself here with the world number one playing arguably the best tennis of her career.

    Behind her dominance is phenomenal success on serve. Barty is still yet to drop a set in Melbourne, and went 63 games without being broken before Amanda Anisimova did so in the previous round. Here, she lost just five points on first serve (22 of 27, 81 per cent) and gave up just a solitary break-point opportunity in the match.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Barty – 17/22
    Pegula – 7/26

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Barty – 6/2
    Pegula – 1/3

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Barty – 5/9
    Pegula – 0/1

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