MLB

Yankees flip Wild Card race with Red Sox sweep, Brewers clinch second title in four years

By Sports Desk September 27, 2021

The New York Yankees are in pole position in the American League (AL) Wild Card race thanks to a sweep of rivals the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

An eighth-inning rally fuelled the Yankees to a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox and a sixth consecutive win in MLB.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer, while Aaron Judge doubled home two runs as the Yankees seized control from the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card chase.

Stanton became the first Yankees player with 10-plus RBI in a three-game series at Fenway Park, according to Stats Perform. The previous record for a Yankee was held by Joe DiMaggio and Hideki Matsui (nine).

With the three-game sweep, the Yankees (89-67) now lead the Red Sox (88-68) by one game for the top AL Wild Card berth with six games remaining, while the Toronto Blue Jays (87-69) are two games adrift following their 5-2 success against the Minnesota Twins.

 

Brewers crowned NL Central champs

The Milwaukee Brewers secured their second National League (NL) Central title in four years following an 8-4 win at home to the New York Mets. Willy Adames led the way with a two-run homer and three RBI.

Shohei Ohtani boosted his MVP credentials with a dominant display, despite the Los Angeles Angels losing 5-1 to the Seattle Mariners. After two triples on Saturday, two-way star Ohtani struck out 10 batters, while giving up just one run and five hits in seven innings without a walk. He is the first player to combine for multiple triples and 10-plus strikeouts in back-to-back team games since Chief Bender in 1905, per Stats Perform.

The St Louis Cardinals celebrated their 16th straight win by topping the Chicago Cubs 4-2. St Louis' franchise-record streak is the longest in MLB since the Cleveland Indians won 22 games in a row in 2017. The Cardinals are the first NL team to win 16 successive games since the New York Giants in 1951.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers have won 100 games in a season for the eighth time in franchise history. The Dodgers blanked the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-0.

 

Phillies' streak ends

The Philadelphia Phillies had their five-game winning streak snapped in a 6-0 shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In a blow to their playoff hopes, Phillies starter Hans Crouse gave up a home run on his first major league pitch. The 23-year-old allowed two hits and walked four batters in three innings.

 

A's walk it off

Mark Canha's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning saw the Oakland Athletics edge the AL West-leading Houston Astros 4-3 in a walk-off success.

 

Sunday's results

Kansas City Royals 2-1 Detroit Tigers
Pittsburgh Pirates 6-0 Philadelphia Phillies
Texas Rangers 7-4 Baltimore Orioles
Chicago White Sox 5-2 Cleveland Indians
Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 Miami Marlins
Cincinnati Reds 9-2 Washington Nationals
Milwaukee Brewers 8-4 New York Mets
Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 Minnesota Twins
St Louis Cardinals 4-2 Chicago Cubs
San Francisco Giants 6-2 Colorado Rockies
Oakland Athletics 4-3 Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners 5-1 Los Angeles Angels
Atlanta Braves 4-3 San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 Arizona Diamondbacks
New York Yankees 6-3 Boston Red Sox

 

Athletics at Mariners

Monday is a battle between two teams still chasing a Wild Card spot in the AL. The Mariners (86-70) are two games behind the Red Sox, who occupy the second and final berth, while the Athletics (85-71) are three games off the pace. Chris Flexen will toe the mound for the Mariners, with A's pitcher Cole Irvin set to start.

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    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.

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  • 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.

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    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. 

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    One to watch: Sofiane Boufal (Morocco)

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    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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