It’s a historic weekend for the Yankees and Red Sox, who became the first teams to stage any kind of official MLB contest on European soil when they kicked off the first game of their London Series at London Stadium on Saturday.
Neither team disappointed in the first inning; on the contrary, they combined for a staggering 12 runs, earning their place as the first clubs to score 6+ runs apiece in the first inning since the Blue Jays and Athletics faced off in 1989 (h/t Elias Sports).
DJ LeMahieu was the first to strike. He pounced on an 0-1 fastball from Rick Porcello at the top of the first inning, returning it to right field for a leadoff single and inking his name in the history books as the first MLB player to record a hit of any variety in Europe. The Yankees continued to build on that early momentum with three back-to-back-to-back doubles from Luke Voit, Didi Gregorius, and Edwin Encarnación. Aaron Hicks capped the six-run spread with a two-RBI, 385-foot home run, also the first of its kind by any MLB player in Europe.
The Red Sox did their best to catch up in the bottom of the inning, banking on a Rafael Devers RBI double, Christian Vázquez sac fly, Brock Holt RBI single, and Michael Chavis three-run homer to tie their division rivals’ impressive mark. It wasn’t quite enough to take the lead, however, and with another two-run shot from Brett Gardner — this one off of a Steven Wright curveball — the Yankees managed to reclaim their advantage in the third inning.
They currently lead the Red Sox 8-6 in the fourth.
The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.
There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.
Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.
In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.