MLB

Bryant's homers lift Giants past Mets, Cole a winner as he rejoins Yankees

By Sports Desk August 17, 2021

Kris Bryant hit two home runs and Brandon Crawford was perfect at the plate as the San Francisco Giants defeated the New York Mets 7-5 in MLB action Monday. 

Bryant's two-run drive in the fifth inning gave the Mets a 4-3 lead and he helped expand it in the seventh, following Brandon Belt's solo shot by homering on the next pitch. 

Crawford drove in the final San Francisco run with a triple later than inning, capping a four-for-four night. 

Whle the Giants improved to an MLB-best 77-42, the Mets (59-59) dropped the fourth in a row after being swept in Los Angeles by the Dodgers over the weekend. 

 

Cole beats Angels in return

A pair of first-inning home runs accounted for all the scoring as the New York Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Angels 2-1, with Joey Gallo's two-run shot trumping Justin Upton's solo homer. The latter was the only blemish for Yankees ace Gerrit Cole as made his first start in more than weeks thanks to a stint on the COVID-19 injured list. Cole allowed just one other hit and struck out nine in 5.2 innings. 

After Trent Grisham's three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning tied the game for the San Diego Padres, the Colorado Rockies walked off 6-5 winners on a homer in the bottom of the inning from C.J. Cron.

The Chicago White Sox expanded their division lead to an MLB-high 11 games with a 5-2 home win against the Oakland Athletics as Luis Robert homered and Seby Zavala drove in a pair of runs. 

After a two-homer game Sunday, Max Muncy's eighth-inning solo shot gave the Los Angeles Dodgers their winning margin in a 2-1 triumph over the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Freddie Freeman and Adam Duvall homered while Ozzie Albies drove in three more runs as the Atlanta Braves routed the Miami Marlins 12-2 to extend their lead in the National League East to 1.5 games.

Jorge Polanco had his second walk-off hit in as many games for Minnesota, with his 10th-inning RBI double giving the Twins a 5-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians a day after his sacrifice fly in the ninth beat the Tampa Bay Rays. The last Twins player to produce walk-off wins in successive games was Jacque Jones in July 2005.

 

Sparse crowd in St. Pete

The Rays (72-47) have the best record in the American League, but the official attendance at Tropicana Field for Monday's 9-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles was the lowest in franchise history for a game not affected by coronavirus-related capacity restrictions. The loss was the 12th in a row for the Orioles, who have the worst record in the AL at 38-79.

 

Votto collects 2,000th hit

At age 37, Joey Votto's impressive 2021 season produced another milestone as he collected his 2,000th career hit in Cincinnati's 14-5 demoltion of the Chicago Cubs. He is the 35th player in MLB history to reach 2,000 hits and 300 home runs with one franchise, and the second Reds player to do it, joining Hall of Famer Johnny Bench.

 

Monday's results 

New York Yankees 2-1 Los Angeles Angels
Cincinnati Reds 14-5 Chicago Cubs
Tampa Bay Rays 9-2 Baltimore Orioles
Atlanta Braves 12-2 Miami Marlins
Kansas City Royals 7-6 Houston Astros
Minnesota Twins 5-4 Cleveland Indians
Chicago White Sox 6-2 Oakland Athletics
Colorado Rockies 6-5 San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants 7-5 New York Mets
Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Red Sox at Yankees

Eternal rivals the Boston Red Sox (69-51) and New York Yankees (66-52) will play a doubleheader in the Bronx as both teams chase Tampa Bay in the American League East. 

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  • Ancelotti not taking credit for Vinicius improvement as he urges Hazard to regain 'star status' Ancelotti not taking credit for Vinicius improvement as he urges Hazard to regain 'star status'

    Carlo Ancelotti does not believe he deserves credit for Vinicius Junior's improvement, while the Real Madrid coach is backing Eden Hazard to find his best level again this season.

    Karim Benzema has undoubtedly been Madrid's standout player this season, with the Frenchman's 19 goal involvements across all competitions bettered by only Mohamed Salah (20) in Europe's top five leagues, but Vinicius' form has also provided a real positive.

    In each of his previous three seasons at Madrid, Vinicius had underperformed in relation to his expected goals (xG) value, backing up the idea he was wasteful and lacked the ability to be decisive.

    This season, however, Vinicius has seven goals across all competitions from an xG value of 5.2, suggesting he is proving more reliable when presented with chances and also sniffing out greater opportunities in the first place.

    With 10 goal involvements, Vinicius has already reached his total from last season and is just two behind his personal best of 12 for an entire campaign (2018-19).

    Many have praised Ancelotti's influence for this, but the Italian insists he has not done "anything special".

    "What I like the most is that he tries," Ancelotti told reporters ahead of Wednesday's clash with Osasuna. "He tries, whenever he can, and he does it with intensity.

    "Regardless of quality, he works a lot. He has to improve without the ball, but he's humble, and he likes to work.

    "What I do is work on motivation and less on the offensive aspect of his game, where I leave a lot to creativity. What stands out is his creativity with the ball.

    "He is focused as a player. He's young, and at times he loses concentration with the fans – I tell him that he has to focus on the game and not on the surroundings.

    "It is not a father-son relationship, I already have two children! It is the relationship you want to have with all the players. I try to keep him motivated, focused, but I don't do anything special."

     

    On the other hand, one Madrid wide player who is not thriving currently is Eden Hazard.

    The Belgium forward's Madrid career has been devastated by injuries so far and, although he has mostly stayed fit this season, he has a lot of work on his hands to convince Ancelotti.

    Hazard has made four LaLiga starts this term, but none of those have come in the past month, and he was an unused substitute for the weekend's Clasico win over Barcelona.

    Ancelotti insists the former Chelsea star can get back to his best, however.

    Asked if Hazard still had "star status", the coach replied: "He does not have this status because he has had many injuries. Little by little, he will have his best version.

    "I am sure that this season we will see his best version and that he will play more than he is doing now. Hazard has it, everything: quality, motivation... He just has to wait. What happens is that sometimes the coach prefers other players.

    "He can play 4-3-3 on the left, or 4-4-2 he can play wide, or behind the striker. He is ready to play, but the problem is that there is a coach who is betting on other players."

    Gareth Bale will increase the competition for Hazard when he returns, though the Wales winger is still a couple of weeks away from making his comeback, as Ancelotti has earmarked the visit of Rayo Vallecano on November 6.

    "Gareth Bale was discharged yesterday and I think that in a week he will be able to train with the team," Ancelotti said. "Maybe he can be involved against Rayo Vallecano."

  • Ancelotti hits out Barca fans who showed Koeman 'a lack of respect' Ancelotti hits out Barca fans who showed Koeman 'a lack of respect'

    Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has criticised a group of Barcelona supporters who mobbed Ronald Koeman's car after Sunday's Clasico.

    Ancelotti claimed his first managerial victory at Camp Nou on Sunday, as goals from David Alaba and Lucas Vazquez secured a 2-1 victory. 

    Struggling Barca boss Koeman was then subjected to unsavoury scenes as he left the ground, with the Dutchman's vehicle surrounded by fans as he attempted to depart.

    Barca released a statement to condemn those actions and in his news conference on Tuesday, Koeman suggested the incident reflected wider problems in society.

    Ancelotti, who Koeman also revealed offered his support, echoed his counterpart's sentiment.

    "It is a lack of respect for the person, not for the coach. Koeman is not a coach, he is a person who works as a coach," Ancelotti told the media ahead of Madrid's LaLiga meeting with Osasuna on Wednesday.

    "It is not a problem of football, but of society, of rudeness.

    "A friend who is also a coach told me that the best life for a coach is when there are no games. It is a beautiful life, we like to train. Criticism is normal, but disrespect is annoying on a personal level.

    "When you are a child they teach you, at least to me, if you want to be respected you have to [show] respect."

     

    Despite the victory, some sections of Madrid's support were seemingly unhappy with how Los Blancos played at Camp Nou.

    Barca shaded the possession (51.6 per cent) and had more shots (12) than Madrid's 10, though the hosts only managed to get two on target - one of those being Sergio Aguero's last-gasp consolation - and were constantly exposed on the counter-attack.

    "I understand the criticism because everyone can have an opinion," reflected Ancelotti.

    "I said that we had not played perfectly, but that we played a smart game, which was what we had asked for."

    Ancelotti has not lost as Madrid coach against Osasuna in all competitions (W3 D1), though Wednesday's match will not be simple, with Jagoba Arrasate's side sitting in sixth, just two points back from Los Blancos.

    "Osasuna are a good team that play intense football, that defend well," Ancelotti said. "They are dangerous and their [league position] speaks clearly. It will be a difficult game."

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