Archives for June 19, 2017
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
KANSAS CITY – The Kansas City Royals steadily are climbing back into the race in the American League Central and look to continue their surge when they open a six-game homestand Monday against the Boston Red Sox. The Royals have won seven of their last eight contests, closing within 3 ½ games of first-place Cleveland, and belted 18 homers on their 7-2 road trip that ended with Sunday’s 7-3 win at the Los Angeles Angels.
Salvador Perez belted a three-run homer Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 10 games (17-for-40) while Lorenzo Cain has hit safely in six straight (11-for-24) for Kansas City, which meets Boston for the first time this season after taking four of six in 2016. Jason Hammel tries to keep the Royals on the rise with a third straight win as he faces 28-year-old rookie Hector Velasquez of the Red Sox, who are 3-2 on their eight-game road trip. Boston took two of three at major league-best Houston over the weekend, including a 6-5 victory on Sunday in which Xander Bogaerts snapped out of a mini-slump by going 3-for-4 with four RBIs. The Red Sox, who have won seven of their last 10 games, moved into a virtual tie with the rival New York Yankees for first place in the AL East after Sunday’s victory.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, NESN (Boston), FSN Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Hector Velazquez (1-1, 6.48 ERA) vs. Royals RH Jason Hammel (3-6, 5.05)
Velazquez makes his second major-league start after holding Philadelphia scoreless on one hit and one walk over 3 1/3 innings on Wednesday to record the victory in relief. The Mexican gave up six runs and nine hits – including three homers – over five frames against Oakland on May 18 in his first career start. Velazquez, who had his contract purchased from a Mexican League team in February, has gone 4-1 with a 1.29 ERA in nine turns with Triple-A Pawtucket this season.
Hammel is starting to put things together with three consecutive quality starts to open the month, recording a pair of wins and a 2.21 ERA in that stretch. The 34-year-old native of South Carolina has struck out 15 and walked just one in 20 1/3 innings during June after issuing a season high-tying four free passes in his last start of May against Detroit. Hanley Ramirez is 6-for-13 with a homer versus Hammel, who is 1-3 with a 4.61 ERA in 13 career appearances (six starts) versus the Red Sox.
1. Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia is tied with Wade Boggs (687) for 17th on the franchise’s all-time RBI list and three behind Nomar Garciaparra for 16th.
2. Kansas City 3B Mike Moustakas, who registered a three-run double on Sunday, is one shy of 100 homers for his career.
3. Red Sox RF Mookie Betts has gone 8-for-20 during his five-game hitting streak and CF Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit safely in nine of his last 10 (13-for-37).
The latest edition of a global series that has raised more than $63 million for charitable causes will be played on the Edinburgh Course, a layout designed by the 81-year-old Player.
Ghim became the 19th player to win all four of his matches in the event.
Nick Hardy of Illinois finished at 2-1-1 by beating Harry Ellis of England and Florida State, 3 and 2, and Norman Xiong of Oregon posted the same record by routing Harry Hall of England and UNLV, 8 and 7.
McNealy and David Wicks of Europe and Jacksonville University earned the Michael Carter Award, given to the player on each team who best represent the ideals of sportsmanship, integrity and upholding the game.
Mickelson kept his name in the field until the last minute in the hope of a weather delay at Erin Hills, but skies were clear at the start of the opening round.
During the second round, a 94-year-old man from Wauwatosa was reported to be non-breathing and without a pulse in a grandstand on the sixth hole at about 1:30 p.m., according to the Washington County sheriff’s office.
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
HOUSTON — Red Sox manager John Farrell cut to the chase in acknowledging both the role shortstop Xander Bogaerts played offensively and how a pair of defensive plays proved equally decisive in preserving what Bogaerts provided.
Bogaerts produced his first career multi-homer game while left fielder Andrew Benintendi and catcher Christian Vazquez showcased the value of accurate throwing arms as the Boston Red Sox won the rubber match of their three-game set with the Houston Astros 6-5 on Sunday night at Minute Maid Park.
Bogaerts finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs, doubling his season total for home runs to four by clubbing both blasts off Astros right-hander Joe Musgrove (4-6).
His two-run shot in the sixth inning sparked a four-run frame, and he added an RBI single in the seventh that scored Mookie Betts with what proved to be the decisive run. That tally stood thanks to Benintendi and Vazquez, with Benintendi erasing Jose Altuve at the plate to preserve a one-run lead in the eighth before Vazquez threw out Derek Fisher to end the game as he tried to steal second.
“Bogey offensively is the difference in this one but our ability to throw the baseball on the defensive side is what preserved this win tonight,” Farrell said.
While Boston (39-30) pulled into a tie atop the American League East with the New York Yankees, Houston dropped all three series on its nine-game homestand.
The Astros (46-24) clubbed three home runs, including back-to-back blasts in the sixth inning off Boston starter David Price (2-1) and reliever Heath Hembree.
While Carlos Correa, who hit his 13th homer, Jake Marisnick (eighth) and George Springer (19th) all went deep, Houston couldn’t quite get over the hump, stranding 13 baserunners and finishing 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
“You look up and down the order, we had tremendous amount of good at-bats,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “Maybe not at the right time when we needed it the most, but even some of those we didn’t come through with runners in scoring position were pretty good at-bats. In small-margin games, this is going to be key.”
Trailing 6-4 with Correa and Altuve on third and second, Carlos Beltran drove home Correa with a single to left-center. With Altuve darting home, Benintendi delivered a perfect toss to Vazquez, whose swipe tag nipped Altuve on the back.
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel recorded his 20th save, aided by Vazquez nabbing the speedy Fisher as he attempted to get into scoring position for Springer.
Price allowed three runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. But his ability to hunker down with traffic on the bases proved key to his earning the victory.
The Astros managed three baserunners in the second inning and two more in the third but failed to score each time. It wasn’t until Correa led off the fifth with his homer that Houston again capitalized on an opportunity.
“The amount of runners I had in scoring position, on second and third base there in the first inning, first and third with one out to be able to get out of that with just one run (helped),” Price said. “And whatever other innings I had with runners in scoring position with two outs or less than two, to be able to limit those innings and not allow that big inning to happen was big.”
Musgrove surrendered a jarring blast to Bogaerts to straightaway center in the first and three additional hits before he found a rhythm with nine consecutive batters retired. But Bogaerts struck again in the sixth, his shot to left representing the beginning of the end for Musgrove, who allowed six runs over 5 2/3 innings.
“They’re good hitters,” Musgrove said. “If I execute pitches better, the results going to be different I think. Kind of expect that with any team, if you give them cookies they’re going to take advantage of it.”
NOTES: Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel will begin a throwing program on Monday in Oakland by playing catch for the first time since landing on the 10-day disabled list on June 5 with neck discomfort. This is the second DL stint for Keuchel related to his neck. He will not pitch on the upcoming seven-game road trip through Oakland and Seattle. … Red Sox LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, on the 10-day disabled list since June 2 with a right knee subluxation, completed a bullpen session without issue and will ramp up defensive work to continue re-establishing mobility. … Astros RHP Collin McHugh will travel to Florida and begin extended spring training on Monday. McHugh has yet to pitch this season after arriving in West Palm Beach with right shoulder tendinitis and later developing a right elbow impingement in a subsequent rehab start.
ERIN (Wisconsin) — As Brooks Koepka made the walk up the 18th fairway to a standing ovation early Sunday evening, he was aware that his first major championship was well within his grasp. The 27-year-old American didn’t realize, however, just how close he was to making history.
Koepka strung together three consecutive late birdies and shot a 5-under-par 67 in the final round of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. Koepka entered Sunday in a three-way tie and a shot behind 54-hole leader Brian Harman. He used the pivotal stretch to pull away and finish the championships at 16-under 272. His finish equaled the scoring record for score in relation to par that Rory McIlroy established in 2011 at Congressional Country Club.
“That’s awesome,” Koepka said. “I think it’s really cool. It hasn’t sunk in, obviously, and (it) probably won’t for a few days.”
Koepka was four strokes better than Harman, who shot even par on Sunday, and Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, who shot 6 under Sunday to finish the championships at 12 under along with Harman.
Tommy Fleetwood of England finished fourth at 277.
After hitting a short par putt on 18, Koepka — playing a group ahead of Harman — pumped his fist twice in celebration.
Koepka moved to 14-under with a birdie at the par-5 14th hole. After his second shot found the bunker, Koepka made an impressive shot to set up a short birdie putt to provide him with a two-stroke lead.
He followed with birdies at 15 and 16 to suddenly widen his gap to four shots and close in on the Open championship.
Koepka carried a one-stroke lead into the back nine after a birdie at No. 8, but quickly fell back into a tie with Harman. Koepka bogeyed the par-4 10th hole, marking the first time he registered a bogey on the back nine during the tournament.
Like Koepka, Harman hadn’t bogeyed a hole on the back nine until Sunday.
Tied with Koepka at 13 under, Harman missed his par putt at the par-4 12th to fall a shot off the lead. Harman bogeyed his second straight hole at 13 to fall two shots behind Koepka.
Harman finished with a bogey on 18.
“I was pretty content making pars on the front nine because I knew the kind of day it was,” Harman said. “But you’ve got to tip your cap to him. He went and won the golf tournament on the back nine. I’ve done it before, but he did it today.
“I had an opportunity today and didn’t get it done. At the same time, I don’t feel as if I lost the golf tournament. I just think Brooks went out and won the tournament.”
After his birdie at 14, Koepka wasn’t aware of Harman’s bogey back at 13.
Nonetheless, the birdie that started the string of three straight did wonders for Koepka’s confidence. But a par at 13, Koepka admitted afterward, meant even more.
“That was kind of the changing point of the round for me,” he said.
As Koepka picked up momentum, Harman began to lose steam. And once Koepka made his third straight birdie at 16, Harman knew his championship chase was over.
“After that, it was kind of lights out,” Harman said.
Justin Thomas, who shot a 9-under 63 on Saturday — a record in relation to par — to reach Sunday’s final pairing while in a second-place tie with Koepka and Fleetwood, struggled in the final round with a 3-over 75 and tied for ninth at 280.
Like Harman, Thomas couldn’t match Koepka’s final-round mastery, which came on Father’s Day. It was an accomplishment that wasn’t lost on golf’s newest major champion, even if his father and other family members weren’t in attendance at Erin Hills on Sunday and missed one of Koepka’s appearances at a major for the first time.
“That’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced and to do it on Father’s Day, it’s pretty neat,” Koepka said. “I didn’t exactly get my dad a card, so this works.”
NOTES: Scottie Scheffler, who plays collegiately for the University of Texas, was the top amateur finisher at 287 for the tournament with a Sunday round of 73. Scheffler finished ahead of Texas A&M’s Cameron Champ, who entered Sunday’s final round with a two-shot lead over Scheffler, shot a 4-over 76 to finish at 288. … The 54-hole leader, Brian Harman, entered Sunday’s final round attempting to become the first left-handed player to win the U.S. Open. Only four left-handers — Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Mike Weir and Bob Charles — have won major championships. … Jordan Spieth, who shot his lowest round (69) of the championships on the tournament’s windiest day, said he wouldn’t mind seeing the event return to Erin Hills. “I think it’s an awesome golf course. I think that’s been the consensus from everyone,” Spieth said Sunday. “There are so many (courses) to choose from, (but) I’m sure at some point, it will come back here.