MLB

Cardinals extend streak, benches clear but Rays clinch playoff berth

By Sports Desk September 23, 2021

The streaking St Louis Cardinals won their 11th consecutive game after easing past the Milwaukee Brewers 10-2 in MLB action.

Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O'Neill homered as the Cardinals extended their lead for the second National League (NL) wild-card spot by downing the division-leading Brewers on Wednesday.

The Cardinals – enjoying a four-and-a-half-game lead over the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies for the final NL wild-card berth – are in the midst of their best winning streak since an 11-game run in 2001.

"We grow from the previous days. We grew from today, we'll get after it tomorrow," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "One of the biggest things this team does is just stay present, so it's just about staying present, keep playing, getting after it."

 

Rays clinch in fierce battle with Blue Jays

The benches cleared between the American League (AL) East-leading Tampa Bay Rays and playoff-chasing Toronto Blue Jays, but the former went on to seal a postseason spot for the third campaign in a row with a 7-1 rout. Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier was hit in the back with a pitch from Blue Jays reliever Ryan Borucki in the eighth inning.

"Oh yeah, it was intentional. I thought it was a weak move, to be quite honest," said Kiermaier. "It's over. It didn't hurt by any means, so I don't care. Whatever. We move on. We got a series win, and I hope we play those guys, I really do."

Kyle Schwarber led the way as the Boston Red Sox crushed the New York Mets 12-5. Schwarber homered twice and scored four runs. According to Stats Perform, the Red Sox star is the second player in MLB history to homer in both the first and second innings of a game three different times in the same season, after Mookie Betts in 2016. He is also the first player in MLB history to hit nine-plus home runs in a five-game span against a single opponent.

Juan Soto claimed the NL batting lead behind three hits and three RBIs in the Washington Nationals' 7-5 win over the Miami Marlins. Soto's 27th homer helped raise his average to .321.

 

Rockies get on top of Buehler

Walker Buehler had a rough outing as World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 10-5 at the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers starter gave up five runs on seven hits over 3.2 innings, including a homer.

 

Tatis hits homer number 40

The San Diego Padres went down to the high-flying San Francisco Giants 8-6 but star Fernando Tatis Jr. hit his 40th home run of the season. He joined Johnny Bench as the only players aged 22 or younger to hit 40 homers in their first 119 games of a season.

 

Wednesday's results

Atlanta Braves 9-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Seattle Mariners 4-1 Oakland Athletics
San Francisco Giants 8-6 San Diego Padres
Tampa Bay Rays 7-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals 7-5 Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees 7-3 Texas Rangers
Boston Red Sox 12-5 New York Mets
Minnesota Twins 5-4 Chicago Cubs
St Louis Cardinals 10-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Colorado Rockies 10-5 Los Angeles Dodgers
Houston Astros 9-5 Los Angeles Angels
Pittsburgh Pirates-Cincinnati Reds (postponed)
Chicago White Sox-Detroit Tigers (postponed)
Kansas City Royals-Cleveland Indians (postponed)

 

Dodgers at Rockies

The Dodgers (97-55) face the Rockies (71-80) on Thursday, with their three-game series on the line. Dodgers ace Max Scherzer is set to start, while the Rockies are poised to send Kyle Freeland to the mound.

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  • Atalanta snap up Boga from Sassuolo Atalanta snap up Boga from Sassuolo

    Jeremie Boga has left Sassuolo for Atalanta in a deal reported to be worth €18million. 

    Former Chelsea winger Boga will be on loan at Atalanta for the remainder at the season, though the move will be made permanent in the close season. 

    The Ivory Coast international scored 18 goals and supplied seven assists in 98 Serie A games after joining Sassuolo from Chelsea in 2018. 

    Boga has attempted (152) and completed (80) more dribbles than any other player in Serie A since the start of 2021.

    His 90 carries with a take on in the same timeframe is also the most of any player in the Italian top-flight, with only Adama Traore (145), Allan Saint-Maximin (122), Kylian Mbappe (113), Vinicius Junior (104), Neymar (102) and Yannick Carrasco (94) boasting more across Europe's top five leagues. 

    "I'm really happy right now and so is my family as we've wanted to come here for a long time. Now we're happy that the deal is done," Boga told the club's official media. 

    "I think Atalanta are a great team, they are very strong and have proved to be an important team in Serie A over the past five or six years. 

    "I think it perfectly matches my style of play. I believe it's the right team for me to take another step and try to win something important. 

    "I know everybody expects something more from me and, at the same time, I expect myself to do better. I'm happy to be here. 

    "I know it's a solid team where everyone runs for the other, where each player works, and I think it's perfect, as you can see it's a real team." 

  • Ranieri sacked by Watford following Norwich loss Ranieri sacked by Watford following Norwich loss

    Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Watford after their loss to relegation rivals Norwich City left them in the Premier League's drop zone. 

    Watford went down 3-0 at home to Norwich on Friday, extending their winless run in all competitions to nine games – their worst such stretch since December 2013. 

    It proved to be the final straw, with Ranieri having only claimed seven points from a possible 39 since taking over from Xisco Munoz in October. 

    He became Watford's 15th manager since Giampaolo Pozzo bought the club in June 2012 and leaves without having much of an impact.

    The club released a statement confirming the news on Monday.

    Watford praised the "integrity" of the 70-year-old, but explained they felt a change was required to give Ranieri's replacement enough time in their fight against relegation.

    "Watford Football Club confirms the departure of head coach Claudio Ranieri," it read.

    "The Hornets' board recognises Claudio as a man of great integrity and honour, who will always be respected here at Vicarage Road for his efforts in leading the team with dignity.

    "However the board feels that, with nearly half of the Premier League campaign remaining, a change in the head coach position now will give a new appointment sufficient time to work with a talented squad to achieve the immediate goal of retaining Premier League status.

    "No further club comment will be made until this new appointment is confirmed in due course."

    Watford will hope to end a run of 30 Premier League games without a clean sheet when they travel to Burnley on February 5. 

  • AFCON matchday preview: Cape Verde plotting Senegal derby upset, Morocco face Malawi AFCON matchday preview: Cape Verde plotting Senegal derby upset, Morocco face Malawi

    Cape Verde are plotting an Africa Cup of Nations upset when they do battle with Senegal in a round-of-16 derby and Morocco are strong favourites to beat Malawi on Tuesday.

    Senegal won Group B despite scoring only one goal in three games, while Cape Verde qualified after finishing third in Group A.

    Morocco topped Group C and will be expected to advance to the quarter-finals at the expense of a Malawi side that were third in Group B and will be playing their first AFCON knockout match.


    Senegal v Cape Verde (16:00 GMT)

    This will be the first Africa Cup of Nations clash between the two nations and Cape Verde will be playing only their second ever knockout match in the tournament.

    The Blue Sharks were beaten 2-0 by Ghana at the quarter-final stage in 2013 and they will have to defy the odds at Kouekong Stadium to reach last eight once again.

    Cape Verde coach Pedro Brito believes his players can spring a big surprise in Bafoussam.

    He said: "We have worked hard in our training and facing a team like Senegal is an added motivation, because the match is like a derby.

    "They have to respect us as a team the same way we respect them.

    "The competition has seen a lot of surprises, and we hope to be the other team that will cause an upset as our mission is to win the game and move to the next round."

    The Lions of Teranga have not been firing on all cylinders, but they are the only side in the tournament not to have conceded a goal.

    The three sides to have faced Senegal have only been able to muster three shots on target between them, so Cape Verde must grasp any chances they are able to create.
     

    One to watch: Idrissa Gueye (Senegal)

    Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Gueye is a key man for Senegal, getting through so much work in the middle of the park.

    Gueye has played a big part in his side being so solid and the industrious former Everton man can boss the midfield battle.

     


    Morocco v Malawi (19:00 GMT)

    Malawi and Morocco will also lock horns for the first time in the AFCON at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo.

    Underdogs Malawi will be playing only their 10th game in this competition and they have only won two Africa Cup of Nations matches.

    They are unbeaten in two games, though, having remained in the tournament courtesy of a 2-1 win over Zimbabwe and a battling goalless draw against Senegal.

    Morocco beat Ghana and Comoros en route to last 16 before a 2-2 draw with Gabon. 

    Vahid Halilhodzic's side will under pressure to progress in Yaounde by dispatching a Malawi side that had an average of just 31.5 per cent of possession in the group stage, the lowest of any team.


    One to watch: Sofiane Boufal (Morocco)

    Boufal is Morocco's leading scorer in the tournament with two and he also created 10 chances 

    Only Algeria’s Youcef Belaïli created more opportunities in the group stage with 12 and Morocco will expect the winger to step up again.

     

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