Upton, Angels get lucky bounce, top hot Mercedes, White Sox

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
0 Comments

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Justin Upton‘s tiebreaking homer capped a three-run rally in the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Angels, helped by a flyball that bounced off the head of Chicago center fielder Luis Robert, beat hot-hitting Yermin Mercedes and the White Sox 5-3 on Saturday night.

Mercedes homered, doubled and singled to become the first player since at least 1900 to begin a season with eight straight hits. The 28-year-old rookie flied out in his final at-bat, ending the streak.

“I never imagined that. It is great for me,” Mercedes said. “Now, it’s a new day for me. I want to keep doing well and work with my approach. I want to play every day and I’m excited for that.”

The Angels trailed 3-2 going into the eighth. Anthony Rendon singled with one out and scored the tying run on Jared Walsh‘s triple. Upton then supplied the game-winning shot, sending a changeup from Evan Marshall (0-1) over the wall in left.

“I was trying to stay to the big part of the field. The ball kind of ran in on me so I pulled it,” Upton said.

Marshall said he thought he threw a good pitch, but Upton guessed correctly.

“I couldn’t have tossed it in there any better and he beat it to the spot,” Marshall said.

Walsh had two hits and two RBIs, while David Fletcher also had two hits for Los Angeles. Junior Guerra (1-0) got the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Angels got a gift in the third.

Rendon’s routine high fly appeared to be the final out of the inning, but the ball caromed off Robert’s head after he charged in and called off shortstop Tim Anderson.

Right fielder Adam Eaton retrieved the ball after the crazy bounce and tried to throw out Fletcher at the plate. But Eaton’s throw bounced off the mound and then carried all the way to the backstop, allowing Rendon to advance to second. Walsh then hit an RBI single for a 2-1 lead.

“Move the ball, make the defense execute so that they may execute themselves,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “The baserunner scoring on that (from first base) was big, too. When David came in, I told him not everyone scores on that.”

Mercedes was supposed to have the night off, but manager Tony La Russa said he earned his way into the lineup with Friday night’s performance, when he became the second player in the modern era to have five hits in his first career start, and the first to go 5 for 5.

Mercedes, who was the designated hitter for the second straight night, hit a solo homer off Alex Cobb in the second.

“I’m just trying to wait for my pitch and not do too much. Just stay right there and swing hard,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it is two strikes or no strikes, I just want to see the ball.”

Mercedes followed that with a single to center in the fourth inning and an RBI double to left-center in the sixth to put the White Sox up 3-2.

MORE FIELDING WOES

La Russa said before the game he wasn’t worried about the White Sox making three errors in their first two games, but he might start to reconsider that after two more errors, which came on the Roberts play. Seven of the Angels’ 17 runs in this series have been unearned.

“We didn’t have a clean game or hit well. There are a lot of places where we could have done more,” La Russa said.

Robert and Eaton made up for their mistakes some at the plate. Robert had an RBI single in the fourth to tie it at 2, while Eaton had two hits.

FOR STARTERS

Cobb and Lance Lynn took no-decisions in the first start for their new clubs.

Lynn, who came to the White Sox in an offseason trade from Texas, saw his streak of throwing 100-plus pitches end at 37 straight starts. He allowed two runs (none earned) in 4 2/3 innings and was pulled at 99 pitches.

“There were some deep counts and extra pitches, but I was able to make pitches and everything felt good,” said Lynn, who struck out six.

Cobb, acquired from Baltimore in February, allowed three runs in six innings while striking out seven. Maddon said Cobb had good command of his fastball but struggled at times with the curve.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: RHP Felix Pena (right hamstring strain) has started running and could throw his first bullpen early next week.

UP NEXT

Shohei Ohtani is back on the mound for the first time since Aug. 2 of last season for the series finale. The right-hander allowed seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings in a pair of starts last year.

The White Sox counter with right-hander Dylan Cease (5-4, 4.01 ERA last season), who is 0-1 in two starts against the Angels.

Yankees’ Judge heads on road still at 61 homers; 4 games left

Getty Images
0 Comments

NEW YORK – Aaron Judge won’t break the American League home run record at Yankee Stadium, remaining at 61 as New York headed on the road for its final four regular-season games after a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

Judge struck out three times and walked once, disappointing a crowd of 44,332 that watched the Yankees regular-season home finale in rain for much of a chilly, blustery afternoon. New York finishes the regular season with four games at Texas, starting Monday night.

Judge took a called third strike from rookie Kyle Bradish leading off the first inning, then couldn’t check his swing and stranded the bases loaded when he struck out on a curveball in the second. He walked in the fifth and fanned against Bryan Baker in the seventh, dropping to 1 for 7 with six strikeouts, five walks and a hit batter since hitting No. 61 at Toronto on Wednesday night.

Trying to become the first Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012, Judge tops the AL with 130 RBIs. His batting average fell to .311, four points behind league leader Luis Arraez of Minnesota.

Baltimore (82-77) guaranteed its first winning season since 2016. The Orioles went 52-110 last year and became the first team since at least 1900 to have a winning record one season after losing 110 or more.

AL East champion New York (97-61) took another hit to an injury-ravaged bullpen when Ron Marinaccio left while pitching to Jorge Mateo in the eighth. The Yankees will be without Clay Holmes until the playoffs because of rotator cuff inflammation, and Aroldis Chapman (3-4) was once again wild, walking three, including rookie Gunnar Henderson with the bases loaded, as Baltimore surged ahead in the seventh.

Chi Chi Gonzalez, a 30-year-old right-hander, made his Yankees debut after pitching for Minnesota and Milwaukee in the majors earlier this season. He threw to Jose Trevino, his batterymate at Oral Roberts in 2012 and ’13.

Gonzalez allowed one run, four hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.

Bradish gave up one run – unearned – three hits and five walks in five-plus innings.

Logan Gillaspie (1-0) pitched a scoreless sixth in his first big league decision, Baker struck out five while getting six straight outs, and Dillon Tate got three outs for his fifth save.

Ryan Mountcastle had an RBI double in the first. Aaron Hicks scored from second base in the fifth when Bradish bounced a wild pitch and catcher Adley Rutschman threw the ball into center for an error.

Cedric Mullins reached on an infield hit starting the seventh against Chapman, has walked 28 in 35 1/3 innings. After Chapman walked three of four batters, Austin Hays followed with a sacrifice fly off Marinaccio.

WEB GEMS

Yankees 3B Josh Donaldson made a backhand grab on Jorge Mateo’s bases-loaded grounder in the sixth and from foul territory made a strong throw for the inning-ending out. … Hicks saved two runs with a sprinting catch on Terrin Vavra‘s slicing liner near the left-field line in the seventh.

FOR THE BOOKS

New York went 57-24 at home, matching most wins at new Yankee Stadium. Baltimore was 38-43 on the road, up from 20-61.

IN THE SEATS

The Yankees drew 3,136,207 for 78 home dates, down from 3,304,404 in 2019, the last season before two years of COVID restrictions. They had 16 sellouts, up from 12 in 2019.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Felix Bautista may not pitch for the rest of the season because of the sore left knee he injured Friday.

Yankees: Matt Carpenter (broken left foot on Aug 8) will not work out initially in the outfield at the Somerset, New Jersey, training camp this week. He was moved to the 60-day IL on Sunday, ruling him out of the Texas series. … RHP Miguel Castro (strained shoulder) could be activated Monday. … LHP Wandy Peralta, sidelined since Sept. 18 with back tightness, threw a bullpen session and will face hitters at Somerset on Tuesday or Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Orioles: RHP Dean Kremer (6-8, 3.17) starts Monday’s opener of a season-ending series against visiting Toronto and Jose Berrios (11-7, 5.37)

Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (6-3, 3.41) starts Monday in the opener of a four-game series at Texas and LHP Martin Perez (12-7, 2.93). After Wednesday, the Yankees have five off days before their Division Series opener at home on Oct. 11.