Mitch's Sports Report: With Double Header Split, Price Does For Bosox What Aces Must Do
The Boston Red Sox split a double header with the Kansas City Royals yesterday, getting two excellent pitching performances in both games despite the loss in game one. That 3-2 defeat was no fault of Steven Wright, who went the full nine innings but got little run support, which has been the case in many of his starts this season, despite the otherwise powerful offensive numbers the Sox have put up this year.
Wright allowed just five hits and didn't walk anyone, meaning his fluttering knuckler was dancing in the strike zone, but a triple by Jarrod Dyson in the sixth fostered a run that proved to break a two-all tie. Even with the loss, though, the Royals couldn't put the skids on Jackie Bradley Jr.'s hitting streak. JBJ was hitless until the ninth when he came up against Royals closer Wade Davis, one of the best in the game, and ripped a single to right to keep the streak going at twenty-three games, and Bradley would push that streak to twenty-four in the nightcap, which the Sox won 5-2.
Bradley made it twenty-four in a row--the longest hit streak in the majors this year--with a solo home run in the second inning, and Mookie Betts followed with a solo shot of his own in the third. The best thing about the salvaging game two win, though, was that it was anchored by David Price, the high-priced lefty power pitcher brought in to do exactly what he did in that second game: be the ace stopper of the staff. The Sox had lost two in a row and Price made sure that mini-losing streak would end right there, giving up just two runs over seven and a third innings to improve to 6-1 on the year. Christian Vazquez hit a single up the middle with the bases loaded to drive in two runs and give Price some breathing room. One sour note, however: reliever Carson Smith might return to the disabled list after feeling more pain in his forearm. Smith had been used sparingly since coming off the DL May third.
The NY Yankees had a stopper of their own come up big as they avoided a sweep against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 4-2 win yesterday. Nathan Eovaldi gave up a double to start the game, but after that set down eighteen straight batters and his velocity was impressive, hitting one hundred miles an hour on the radar gun at one point. He's also won four of his last five starts and may be the new ace of the Yankees staff. Brett Gardner had a two-run homer to power the Yankees offense. The Yanks move on the Oakland to open a four-game set against the A's tonight.
Yesterday I mentioned that Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby had broken an eight game playoff scoreless drought with his first-ever career overtime playoff goal in Game two of the NHL eastern conference finals, and that it could be a bad omen for the Tampa Bay Lightning. If game three is any indication, I just might be right, proving there's a first time for anything.
Crosby tallied again last night in Pittsburgh's 4-2 win over the Lightning, but the biggest goal may have been the one that broke a scoreless tie with just ten seconds to go in the second period. Tampa had been outplayed badly to that point but could have gone into the second intermission deadlocked, but talented young winger Jonathan Drouin skated into the Pittsburgh zone and pulled up on the half wall, looking to make a pass. That hesitation cost him as the puck was knocked off his stick and sent to Phil Kessel, who's got some of the fastest legs in the game and swept down the lane on the right side putting a shot on goal that rebounded to Carl Hagelin, who's got some wheels of his own and was following the play, and he put biscuit in the basket for a 1-0 Penguins lead. The Pens added three more in the third and outshot Tampa 48-28 overall to take a two games to one lead in the series.
In the NBA playoffs the Golden State Warriors may well have looked at their stunning upset loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game one of the western conference finals as a "Fool me once, shame on you", scenario. In any event, Steph Curry and company quickly put any thoughts of a second straight win by the Thunder to bed, dispatching OKC with a 118-91 in in Oakland last night. Curry skipped the collective hearts of the hometown crowd when he dove into the stands to try and save a ball going out of bounds and emerged clutching his elbow, but the league's unanimous MVP assuaged all anxiety by then scoring fifteen points over a two-minute stretch, finishing with twenty-eight points on the night to help tie the series at a game apiece.
Locally, in the first round of the NCAA college baseball tournament the Castleton Spartans fell behind early and couldn't recover in a 14-4 loss to the Cortland Red Dragons in Auburn, New York yesterday.