MLB

Cardinals break record amid 15-game winning run, Rays clinch back-to-back AL East titles

By Sports Desk September 26, 2021

The streaking St Louis Cardinals made history with their 15th successive victory, an 8-5 win against the Chicago Cubs in MLB action on Saturday.

St Louis set a franchise record by extending their winning run to 15 games behind a rallying effort, eclipsing the 14-game streak in 1935.

Harrison Bader, Tyler O'Neill and Paul DeJong homered for the in-form Cardinals, who hold the second National League (NL) Wild Card spot.

The Cubs led 4-2 after four innings before a three-run seventh ignited the Cardinals away at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

"It's an incredible feeling. It's a complete elation of knowing every time we come to the field that we're going to win," said Cardinals centerfielder T.J. McFarland said.

"It's that confidence – I don't want to say arrogance – but it's almost that motivation every time we come to the field, we're expecting to win, and we're rising to the occasion when we need to."

 

Rays crowned AL East's best again

For the second straight season, the Tampa Bay Rays clinched the American League (AL) East crown. The high-flying Rays made sure of the title via a 7-3 victory at home to the Miami Marlins.

Shohei Ohtani became just the second player in history with at least 45 homers, 20 stolen bases and six triples in a season, after Willie Mays in 1955. Ohtani hit consecutive triples to inspire the Los Angeles Angels to a 14-1 demolition of the Seattle Mariners, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

Brandon Belt homered twice as the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants set a franchise record for home runs in a season during their 7-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. The Giants have homered 236 times in 2021, surpassing the 235 hit in 2001. San Francisco hold a two-game lead over World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were upstaged by the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-2.

The Toronto Blue Jays – two games adrift in the AL Wild Card chase – beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1 behind Marcus Semien. The Blue Jays star tallied his 43rd home run of the season – tying the record for most single-season homers by a second baseman in MLB history, alongside Davey Johnson (1973).

 

Padres eliminated from playoff contention

Fernando Tatis Jr. and the San Diego Padres will not feature in the postseason following a 10-8 loss to the Atlanta Braves after 10 innings. Jorge Soler's go-ahead double eliminated the Padres from playoff contention. San Diego held a one-game lead for the second NL Wild Card berth on September 9 before spiralling out of form and out of the playoff mix.

 

Stanton slam boosts Yankees in Wild Card race

The New York Yankees moved into a tie with the Boston Red Sox for the AL Wild Card lead after Giancarlo Stanton's grand slam fuelled a 5-3 victory.

 

Saturday's results

St Louis Cardinals 8-5 Chicago Cubs
Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 Pittsburgh Pirates
Oakland Athletics 2-1 Houston Astros
New York Yankees 5-3 Boston Red Sox
Detroit Tigers 5-1 Kansas City Royals
Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 Miami Marlins
Baltimore Orioles 3-2 Texas Rangers
Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 New York Mets
Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 Minnesota Twins
Cincinnati Reds 7-6 Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves 10-8 San Diego Padres
Cleveland Indians 6-0 Chicago White Sox
Arizona Diamondbacks 7-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants 7-2 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Angels 14-1 Seattle Mariners

 

Blue Jays at Twins

The Blue Jays (86-69) will continue their Wild Card quest away to the Twins (69-86) on Sunday. Toronto ace Alek Manoah is set to start, with Minnesota's Jax Griffin to toe the mound.

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    Chris Greaves produced an instrumental performance to help Scotland deal an early dent to Bangladesh's hopes of progressing to the T20 World Cup Super 12 with a shock win.

    A Scotland victory appeared extremely unlikely when they were reduced to 53-6 having been put into bat in Muscat.

    However, Greaves' 28-ball 45 helped Scotland rebuild their innings, as they reached 140-9, in an innings that saw Shakib Al Hasan become the leading wicket-taker in T20 internationals, with two dismissals taking him to 108.

    And Greaves was similarly key with ball in hand, his 2-19 comprising the key wickets of Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim.

    Greaves broke up that duo's 47-run third-wicket partnership by removing Shakib for 20 and then benefited as Mushfiqur misjudged a scoop on 38 and lost his leg stump.

    Brad Wheal (3-24) took a starring role from there, dismissing Nural Hasan (2) and Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah (23) in the space of four 19th-over deliveries.

    Bangladesh were left needing 24 off the last over and that proved too steep a challenge as Scotland prevailed by six runs.

    The day's earlier Group B game saw Oman cruise to a 10-wicket win over Papua New Guinea thanks in part to Jatinder Singh's 73.

  • Newcastle United 2-3 Tottenham: Kane off the mark as Spurs spoil the party at St James' Park Newcastle United 2-3 Tottenham: Kane off the mark as Spurs spoil the party at St James' Park

    Newcastle United's new era started with a familiar feeling of disappointment as Tottenham ran out 3-2 winners at St James' Park, with Sunday's match marred by a medical emergency in the stands.

    With the pre-match build up dominated by Newcastle's off-field changes, the club's new PIF owners were served up a stark reminder of the issues on the pitch as Steve Bruce's 1000th game as a manager ended in defeat.

    Callum Wilson's second-minute header buoyed an already rampant home crowd, but Tottenham hit back through Tanguy Ndombele before Harry Kane scored his first Premier League goal of the season.

    A fan was taken to hospital after an incident late in the first half, which led to a defibrillator being called for and the suspension of play. When it restarted, Kane turned provider for Son Heung-min.

    Jonjo Shelvey's red card seemed to erase any Newcastle hopes, only for Eric Dier's late own goal to worry Spurs, but it was ultimately not enough to inspire a comeback.

    Newcastle's pre-match elation swiftly carried onto the pitch. Only one minute and 47 seconds had passed when Wilson got ahead of his marker to head in Javier Manquillo's cross.

    Yet a blistering following 10 minutes failed to produce another Newcastle goal and, after Lucas Moura fired a warning shot, Spurs drew level through Ndombele's superb, curling strike into the right-hand side of the goal.

    Spurs' turnaround was complete five minutes later as Kane darted onto Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's lofted pass and finished deftly over Darlow. The goal was initially disallowed for offside, but VAR spotted Manquillo's failure to step up in time.

    Lucas rattled the woodwork as Spurs searched for a third, though play was then suspended due to a medical emergency in the crowd.

    Spurs picked up where they left off following a long delay – Kane squaring for Son to make it 3-1.

    Devoid of ideas going forward, Newcastle's day turned from bad to worse in the 83rd minute.

    Shelvey, brought on as a 60th-minute substitute, brought down Sergio Reguilon, duly receiving his second yellow card.

    Newcastle were handed hope by Dier bundling into his own net, though Spurs held firm to condemn their hosts to another damaging defeat.


    What does it mean? Champions League? It’s the Championship that Newcastle need to worry about

    There has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the Saudi Arabian-backed takeover, but many fans have been left dreaming of what their club can achieve with such wealth at their disposal.

    However, talk of mega-money deals for global superstars must now make way for the bleak reality Newcastle face. They sit 19th, without a win to their name and only a point above Norwich City. It may be early in the campaign, but the focus come January has to be retaining the club's Premier League status. 

    Harry gets off the mark at his happy hunting ground

    Kane's misfortunes have become a major talking point in recent weeks, with last season's golden boot winner far from his best since his failed move to Manchester City.

    But he finally opened his league account for the campaign on Sunday, before then combining with his partner in crime Son. Six of Kane's seven top-flight goals for Spurs against Newcastle have come at St James' Park. He has only scored more away goals against Leicester City and Everton.

    Time up for Bruce?

    Bruce hit out at the media in his pre-match news conference, after numerous stories of his impending dismissal proved to be untrue. Yet on his milestone game as a manager, Bruce's deficiencies were there for all to see. Newcastle started brilliantly, but in the final 10 minutes, a chorus of "sacked in the morning" echoed around the stadium. It was not exactly clear which sets of supporters were responsible.

    His record stands at W376, D254, L370, while Bruce has won just four of his 27 encounters with Spurs in all competitions, and the speculation over his future seems set to continue as Newcastle's new owners assess the state of play.

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    Newcastle face another London team in the form of an away game at Crystal Palace next Saturday, while Spurs travel to the Netherlands to play Vitesse in the Europa Conference League on Thursday.

  • Nagelsmann feels Bayern deserved even more goals in thumping Leverkusen win Nagelsmann feels Bayern deserved even more goals in thumping Leverkusen win

    Julian Nagelsmann was pleased with Bayern Munich's display in their 5-1 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen but felt his side should have added even more goals to their tally.

    The reigning champions responded to their first defeat of Nagelsmann's tenure two weeks ago against Eintracht Frankfurt with a superb attacking display at BayArena on Sunday.

    Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry each scored a first-half double and Thomas Muller was also on target in between those braces, all in the space of 37 minutes.

    It marked the first time Bayern have scored five goals away from home in the first half of a Bundesliga match as they reclaimed top spot from Borussia Dortmund.

    Bayern also hit the post through Leroy Sane, whose eight shots was the most of any player in a game this campaign in the German top flight.

    And with Patrik Schick getting a consolation for Leverkusen in the second half, Nagelsmann does not believe the scoreline was a true reflection come full-time.

    "We had an incredible number of closing situations and an outstanding structure," he told DAZN. 

    "It sounds strange at 5-0, but we also had a chance of scoring sixth, seventh and eighth goals in the first half. We could have scored more.

    "The second half was more calm and that's completely normal from both teams' point of view. 

    "A lot of things we didn't do well against Frankfurt worked out today. In the end we are very happy to win the game."

    Only twice before in Bundesliga history has an away side scored five goals in a quicker time from kick-off – Dortmund against Schalke (23 minutes) and Karlsruhe versus Frankfurt (30 minutes), both in 1964.

    There have been 10 occasions when teams have scored five or more goals in the first half of a Bundesliga game this century, with Bayern responsible for six of those 45-minute thrashings, including when they put five past Dortmund before the break in March 2018 on the way to a 6-0 win.

    Leverkusen are no strangers to one-sided first halves, meanwhile, as they are the only team to have scored six goals in the opening 45 minutes of a match in the division since the turn of the millennium, doing so in their 6-1 win over Frankfurt in 2018-19.

    "It was a terrible beginning," Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky added. "We have to ask ourselves whether we gave it our all. There was something missing from everyone today."

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    His run of scoring in 15 successive league games was ended prior to the international break when failing to net against Greuther Furth and then Frankfurt, before also going scoreless in Poland's double-header of October fixtures.

    The 33-year-old has now scored two or more goals in 73 different Bundesliga games – a tally bettered only by late Bayern great Gerd Muller (87) – and was happy to joke about his short-lived scoreless run after getting back on the scoresheet.

    "Four games without a goal... which four games? Do you mean training? I scored in the Champions League game before the Frankfurt match," Lewandowski pointed out.

    "Personally, I'm happy when people ask when I'll score my next goal. That shows what expectations they have of me.

    "Sometimes there are phases when the ball doesn't fall to you, you have to be patient. Today it worked out twice.

    "We scored five goals in 45 minutes. At the break it was clear we would take all three points with us to Munich. We can be satisfied with the performance."

    The 29 goals scored by Bayern in their opening eight Bundesliga matches equals their previous highest tally at this stage in a campaign from the 1976-77 season.

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