Spotlight turns to baseball and Padres' weighty expectations
Just hours after confetti fell on the NFL champion Kansas City Chiefs in Glendale, Arizona, the sports spotlight shifted to baseball as pitchers and catchers who will play in the World Baseball Classic began reporting to spring training complexes throughout the Phoenix area and in Florida.
Judge's single sends Yankees past A's for 12th straight win
Aaron Judge hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the ninth inning, Giancarlo Stanton homered for the third consecutive game and the New York Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics 7-6 for their 12th straight victory and longest winning streak in nearly 60 years.
Luzardo follows Manaea's stellar start, A's beat Twins twice
Matt Olson hit a grand slam, Mitch Moreland homered twice to back Sean Manaea’s shutout, then Jesús Luzardo followed with his own Game 2 gem as the Oakland Athletics swept a doubleheader against the depleted Minnesota Twins, 7-0 and 1-0 to run their winning streak to 10 games.
Fungo golf for Giants pitchers; fans for MLB spring games
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)Right-hander Kevin Gausman’s impressive day at spring training had nothing to do with any of the usual statistics, like strikeouts or innings pitched. Batting practice for San Francisco's pitchers took on a non-traditional look Thursday at Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona. But the stands won't be empty — or full — when the Giants host their spring training opener Sunday. Scottsdale Stadium will have the lowest capacity at 9%, which is about 1,000 fans for Giants home games. Spectators at Scottsdale Stadium may get to see Gausman throw his lively fastball, but not a look at his Fungo golf skills.
Spring training '21: New year, but COVID-19 protocols remain
FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2014, file photo, Atlanta Braves batting helmets sits on the field under a shining sun during a spring training baseball workout in Kissimmee, Fla. Major League Baseball revamped its spring training exhibition schedule because of the pandemic, cutting travel for Florida-based teams in an effort to avoid the novel coronavirus, the league announced Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)NEW YORK – Completing the 2020 season required MLB to rewrite its rule book. The Grapefruit League schedule was reworked to limit travel, and clubs won’t play exhibitions against local colleges — usually a spring staple. MLB has claimed billions in losses after playing the 2020 season almost entirely without fans, and free agents were met by a sluggish market this winter. AdSeveral notable players remain available.
Bad-boy Astros, fun-loving Rays set to face off in ALCS
The Astros are in the ALCS for the fourth straight year, looking for a third trip to the World Series in that span. The Rays are trying to get to their second World Series after losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. You start fresh and go from there,” said George Springer, MVP of the 2017 World Series. Baker’s San Francisco Giants lost to the Angels in seven games in the 2002 World Series. The former big league catcher played parts of eight seasons with five teams, including 20 games with the Astros in 2010.
Pinder's HR helps rally A's past Astros 9-7, trail ALDS 2-1
Oakland Athletics' Chad Pinder, right, celebrates with manager Bob Melvin after the Athletics defeated the Houston Astros in Game 3 of a baseball American League Division Series in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. And just in case Laureano's words did not get the message across, he ripped a double as the A's got a pair of sacrifice flies in the eighth to rally past the Houston Astros 9-7 on Wednesday and avoid elimination in their AL Division Series. “It was awesome.”Houston leads the best-of-five series 2-1 and can advance to its fourth straight AL Championship Series with a victory in Game 4 on Thursday. Pinder hit a first-pitch slider to the opposite field for Oakland's fifth homer, a drive chased by right fielder Kyle Tucker until he ran out of room at the short wall. Houston took a 7-4 lead with five runs in the fifth, when the Astros sent 10 batters to the plate.
Astros out to 'silence the haters' in ALDS against Athletics
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2017, file photo, the Houston Astros celebrate after Game 7 of baseball's World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles. On Monday, Oct. 5, the Astros and the Oakland Athletics will open their ALDS matchup at Dodger Stadium. The coronavirus pandemic largely has protected the Astros from having public scorn heaped on them this season. He hasn't been particularly effective this season, and didn't start against them when the A's took seven of 10 games from the Astros this season. “We never did anything in our rotation to make him miss the Astros,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
Pinder delivers timely hit, A's advance in playoffs at last
Oakland stopped a nine-game losing streak in winner-take-all postseason games, a major league record that dated to the 1973 World Series. “I woke up this morning feeling like this was going to be a hard game and it was a hard game,” Melvin said. The low-budget A's had not captured a winner-take-all postseason game since beating Hall of Famer Willie Mays and the New York Mets. That prompted White Sox star Tim Anderson to say, “I guess they haven’t done their homework.”“It’s a tough one to swallow but we've got to keep going,” Anderson said. HURLING ITThe 17 pitchers, nine by Chicago, were the most in a nine-inning postseason game.
LEADING OFF: Marlins' Marte hopes to play with broken hand
The Marlins are hoping center fielder Starling Marte can play through a broken bone in his left hand as they try to eliminate the Cubs at Wrigley Field. To do it, the Braves might need to make a whole lot more contact at the plate than they did Wednesday while beating the Reds 1-0 in 13 innings — the first postseason game to be scoreless after 11. They’ll be up against Luis Castillo (4-6, 3.21), who makes his first career playoff start for the Reds. He was out for a second straight playoff game because of a sprained right foot that kept him out of the final three games of the regular season. Wainwright closed out the Padres at Petco Park in their previous postseason appearance in 2006.
A's hold off Abreu, White Sox 5-3, force series to Game 3
The White Sox went 14-0 in the regular season against left-handed starters during the regular season and beat southpaw Jesús Luzardo in the opener. The right-hander, drafted by the White Sox before being traded to Oakland in December 2014, came in on a nice roll having won his last three regular-season decisions. The White Sox haven't won back-to-back road playoff games since getting six straight in 2005. BACK ON TRACKThe A's had dropped five straight postseason games when facing elimination. He went just 3 for 18 against the White Sox last season.