The Cleveland Indians’ Shane Bieber tied the MLB record for strikeouts in a pitcher’s first two starts of the season, punching out 13 Minnesota Twins over eight innings in the Indians’ 2-0 victory on Thursday.
Bieber (2-0) fanned 14 over six scoreless innings on Friday last week against the Kansas City Royals. His 27 strikeouts in the two games matched the record set by Karl Spooner of the Brooklyn Dodgers in September 1954 during the first two starts of his short career.
Facing a Twins team who came in with the second-best run differential in the MLB this season, Bieber allowed three singles in his eight innings.
Francisco Lindor supplied all the offense Cleveland needed with a two-run homer in the third inning off Jose Berrios (0-1). After Jose Ramirez singled with two outs, Berrios left an 0-2 pitch up over the plate and Lindor drove it over the fence for his second homer of the season.
DIAMONDBACKS 3, DODGERS 6
In Phoenix, Arizona, the Dodgers beat the the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field fresh off an emotional two-game sweep over the sign-stealing Houston Astros.
Three homers and another solid Ross Stripling start later, Los Angeles kept right on rolling in the desert.
A.J. Pollock hit a two-run homer, while Corey Seager and Max Muncy added solo shots as the Dodgers rolled to their third straight win.
Even without the added motivation of facing the Astros — who beat Los Angeles in the 2017 World Series before the sign-stealing scandal was revealed — the Dodgers were impressively efficient.
“We prepare every night to win a game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The preparation never wavers.”
Los Angeles took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, largely thanks to a two-run homer by Pollock that landed deep in the left-field seats. They probably would have had an even bigger lead if not for Kole Calhoun’s spectacular diving catch in right field that robbed Justin Turner of an extra-base hit.
“All the stuff I had to go through to be able to play, now that we’re playing, I’m having fun being here,” said Pollock, who played for the D-backs earlier in his career.
Los Angeles stretched their lead to 4-0 after Seager’s homer to right field. Ketel Marte pulled the D-backs within a 4-1 margin in the third with his first homer of the season, but the Dodgers responded with runs in the fifth and sixth inning to build a comfortable lead.
Stripling (2-0) won his second game in two starts, pitching 5-1/3 innings while giving up three runs. Pedro Baez earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
“I don’t feel like I hit that lull today,” said Stripling, who has bounced between the rotation and bullpen during his five years with the Dodgers. “I was able to keep my energy and strength throughout the outing.”
YANKEES 8, ORIOLES 6
In Baltimore, Maryland, Aaron Judge hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning after New York blew an early five-run lead as the Yankees swept an impromptu two-game series.
Luke Voit hit his first career grand slam for the Yankees, who stretched their winning streak against Baltimore to 18 games and notched their 17th consecutive victory at Camden Yards.
New York have swept six straight series from the Orioles dating to early last year.
In other games on Thursday, it was:
‧ Red Sox 4, Mets 2
‧ Royals 5, Tigers 3
‧ Braves 2, Rays 1
‧ Nationals 6, Blue Jays 4
‧ Mariners 8, Angels 5
‧ Padres 12, Giants 7, 10i
‧ Reds-Cubs postponed
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Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given