MLB

Athletics closing in on Rays in wild-card race

By Sports Desk July 04, 2019

The Oakland Athletics sealed a series win over the Minnesota Twins in MLB on Thursday.

Oakland defeated the Twins 7-2 to take two out of three games in the series from the American League (AL) Central leaders and move to 48-40 this season.

Marcus Semien hit a grand slam to lead the Athletics to the win and Oakland, all of a sudden, are just two games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the first wild-card spot in the AL.

Tampa Bay lost to the New York Yankees 8-4 on Thursday and have now taken losses in 10 of their past 17 games.

Meanwhile, the Athletics have won five of their past six.

After starting the year 15-21, Oakland are on the precipice of getting home-field advantage in the wild-card game.

Ramirez homers twice

Jose Ramirez went two for five with two home runs in the Cleveland Indians' 8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Matthew Boyd gave up nine hits and four runs, but he recorded 16 outs, 13 of which came via the strikeout in the Detroit Tigers' 11-5 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Kris Bryant went four for five, finishing a triple shy of the cycle in the Chicago Cubs' 11-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

 

Grandal goes hitless

Yasmani Grandal went 0 for four with two strikeouts in the Milwaukee Brewers' 1-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

 

Gurriel brilliance

Lourdes Gurriel made a spectacular diving play on Mookie Betts.

Thursday's results

Washington Nationals 5-2 Miami Marlins
Cleveland Indians 8-4 Kansas City Royals
Detroit Tigers 11-5 Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds 1-0 Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs 11-3 Pittsburgh Pirates
Oakland Athletics 7-2 Minnesota Twins
St Louis Cardinals 5-4 Seattle Mariners
New York Yankees 8-4 Tampa Bay Rays
Boston Red Sox 8-7 Toronto Blue Jays
Atlanta Braves 12-6 Philadelphia Phillies
Texas Rangers 9-3 Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 San Diego Padres

 

Rockies at Diamondbacks

Both of these teams are in the National League (NL) wild-card race and this series, which is the last before the All-Star break, could go a long way in determining whether one, or both of these teams, are buyers or sellers at the trade deadline.

Related items

  • Red Sox explain Mookie Betts trade: One of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make Red Sox explain Mookie Betts trade: One of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make

    Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry insists the team did not want to trade star player Mookie Betts but feared the cost of his potential departure in free agency.

    In the biggest trade of the MLB offseason, the Red Sox sent four-time All-Star Betts, David Price and cash considerations to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong and Jeter Downs.

    Betts was the American League MVP in 2018 as Boston won the World Series, and his exit this month sparked outrage among fans.

    But the 27-year-old is due to be an unrestricted free agent next year, and Henry says the Red Sox could not have run the risk of losing the player without getting his trade value.

    The founder of Fenway Sports Group, which also owns Champions League winners Liverpool, compared the trade to that of Nomar Garciaparra in 2004 just months before Boston ended the Curse of the Bambino and won the World Series for the first time since 1918.

    However, Henry also conceded he could understand fans being "disbelieving or angry or sad" as he would have felt similarly had the St Louis Cardinals - the team he supported as a child - traded Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

    Starting a long message to fans, Henry wrote: "I would like to begin by addressing Red Sox fans directly about this offseason. We are used to challenging offseasons, but this one has been particularly challenging.

    "So let me begin by saying that while they've been presented with extraordinary challenges this offseason, those of us sitting here today know that our baseball operations department under Chaim [Bloom] and Brian [O'Halloran]'s leadership has handled these challenges extremely well.

    "We are confident and optimistic while at the same time cognisant of how all these challenges affect you, Red Sox fans."

    He added of the Garciaparra trade: "All of us in the organisation hoped we could avoid ever having to go through something like that again. But most clubs face similar dilemmas from time to time.

    "I understand there is probably little I can say today that will change how you feel about this, but it is my responsibility to try.

    "The baseball organisations we compete against have become much more strategic and thoughtful about how and where they spend their resources in their quest for titles.

    "We cannot shy away from tough decisions required to aggressively compete for World Series. This is what led to this trade."

    Henry's statement concluded: "In today's game, there is a cost to losing a great player to free agency - one that cannot nearly be made up by the draft pick given. We have seen examples of this recently.

    "We at the Red Sox will remember this as one of the toughest, one of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make. We too love the young man, the great, great smile, the huge heart and the seemingly boundless talent he displayed here.

    "We felt we could not sit on our hands and lose him next offseason without getting value in return to help us on our path forward.

    "We carefully considered the alternative over the last year and made a decision when this opportunity presented itself to acquire substantial, young talent for the years ahead."

    A tumultuous offseason is ending with Ron Roenicke as Boston's interim manager after title-winning manager Alex Cora left the team following the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.

  • Houston Astros owner on sign stealing: Our opinion is this didn't impact the game Houston Astros owner on sign stealing: Our opinion is this didn't impact the game

    The Houston Astros' sign stealing did not impact the outcome of the 2017 World Series, according to team owner Jim Crane.

    A league investigation found the Astros had stolen signs during their 2017 championship, and general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended and then fired by Houston in a story that has dominated the MLB offseason.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers were beaten by the Astros in the seventh and deciding game of the World Series, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suggested the team will not be stripped of their title.

    Speaking to the media at spring training on Thursday, Crane said: "Our opinion is this didn't impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series and we'll leave it at that."

    With Luhnow and Hinch already dismissed, and Alex Cora - formerly the Astros' bench coach - having left his role as manager of the Boston Red Sox, Crane added: "I don't think I should be held accountable."

    Second baseman and 2017 American League MVP Jose Altuve was more apologetic, saying: "The whole Astros organisation and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017.

    "The team is determined to move forward, to play with intensity and to bring back a championship to Houston in 2020."

    And eight-time All-Star Justin Verlander later spoke to reporters, revealing his regret at the team's actions.

    "Once I spent some time and understood what was happening, I wish I had said more," said Verlander, who joined the team during the 2017 campaign and was named AL Championship Series MVP.

    "Looking back, I can't go back, I can't reverse my decision. Like I said, I wish I had said more. I didn't and, for that, I'm sorry."

  • 'It's going to be pretty special' – Dodgers recruit Mookie Betts 'It's going to be pretty special' – Dodgers recruit Mookie Betts

    Los Angeles Dodgers recruit Mookie Betts said "it's going to be pretty special" playing for the star-studded MLB powerhouse after arriving from the Boston Red Sox.

    Betts – the 2018 American League MVP – was involved in a blockbuster trade on Monday, dealt to the Dodgers along with starting pitcher David Price.

    An All-Star in each of the past four seasons, Betts and fellow recruit Price were officially introduced as Dodgers players on Wednesday.

    Betts will team up with current National League MVP Cody Bellinger in the Dodgers' outfield, while 2012 AL Cy Young winner Price joins three-time NL Cy Young recipient Clayton Kershaw in the starting rotation.

    "We've kind of talked through passing at the All-Star Game and as we played here," Betts said of his relationship with Bellinger midweek.

    "It's going to be pretty special. He won the MVP last year, so he's definitely going to put on a show, and I'll do my best to keep up with him."

    Betts helped the Red Sox to World Series glory in 2018 but Boston opted to trade the four-time Gold Glove Award winner after failing to agree a long-term deal.

    The 27-year-old outfielder and Price, plus cash considerations, were sent to the Dodgers in exchange for Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs and Connor Wong.

    Betts is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2020 season and he was asked whether he would consider pledging his long-term future to the Dodgers.

    "Right now, I just got here -- still trying to find a house and those kinds of things," Betts said. "I'm not even really thinking about that. I'm just focused on staying with 2020 and going from there."

    The Dodgers clinched their seventh straight NL West title last season, finishing with a franchise-best 106-56 record before falling to eventual World Series champions the Washington Nationals in the Division Series.

    Price added: "To be able to jump onto a team like the Dodgers, a team that has had the amount of success they've had the last couple years, and then add a player like Mookie Betts and to then be able to add myself to that mix as well, that's something special to be a part of, and we're both very excited about it."

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