italian open 2018

Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov’s breakout season on clay is about to face the ultimate test.

Shapovalov reached the third round of the Italian Open on Wednesday with a 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5), 6-3 win over Dutch veteran Robin Haase. Next up for the 19-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., is top seed Rafael Nadal, a master of the clay court.

Shapovalov posted his biggest win to date when he beat Nadal in three sets in the round of 16 at last year’s Canadian Open in Montreal. But that was on a hardcourt surface, not Nadal’s preferred clay.

Nadal improved to 15-1 this season — and 404-36 in his career — on clay with a 6-1, 6-0 rout of 31st-ranked Damir Dzumhur on Wednesday. His only defeat on the surface in 2018 was against Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals of last week’s Madrid Open.

Shapovalov is 7-4 on clay this year, including a run to the semifinals at Madrid. His only ATP-level experience on clay prior to this season was a first-round qualifying loss at the French Open.

He had to recover against Haase in the first set of Wednesday’s match after giving up a 5-2 lead. Shapovalov reasserted himself late and dictating the pace of the tiebreak.

After dropping a tightly contested second set, Shapovalov took control in the third. Haase didn’t help his cause with three double-faults in the final set.

Shapovalov, who will facew Nadal on Thursday, finished with seven aces and converted three of 11 break point opportunities in a match that lasted two hours 26 minutes.

Earlier, Fabio Fognini got the Italian Open crowd fired up with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 win over sixth-seeded Thiem.

Italy’s top player came out wearing a black shirt with a red lightning bolt design down his chest and he was energized from the start, grazing the flower beds lining the court to return Thiem’s high-bouncing topspin serves and frustrating the Austrian with well-placed lobs and touch volleys.

“I played very well today,” said Thiem. “It was just him, he was very pumped playing at home.”

Four-time champion Novak Djokovic also advanced, beating Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2.

Djokovic will play Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who rallied past eighth-seeded John Isner 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5).

Defending champion Alexander Zverev beat Italian wild-card entry Matteo Berrettini 7-5, 6-2.

Also on the red clay of the Foro Italico, Kei Nishikori rallied to beat third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4, and Juan Martin del Potro eliminated Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-3.

While Fognini drop-kicked his racket onto the court after a miss early in the third set, it was Thiem who ultimately lost his cool. In the final game, Thiem smashed his racket into a mangled wreck and handed it to a befuddled fan in the front row.

When Thiem netted a service return two points later to end it, the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army was blasted over the stadium sound system and the crowd began singing along in an atmosphere that more closely resembled a soccer game than a tennis match.

“We’re finally connecting and I think that’s the most beautiful thing,” Fognini said of the crowd, which whistled him off the court following an erratic performance a few years ago. “They finally understand me.

“I beat a top clay-courter,” Fognini added. “I think I deserved it at the end. … I ruined a few flowers but I think the federation can afford to buy some new ones.”

Thiem was already looking ahead to the French Open, which starts on May 27.

“It’s a loss which is not too painful, which is just motivating me for the next weeks,” the Austrian said.

In women’s action, Simona Halep routed Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-0 for the first of two wins she needs this week to keep Caroline Wozniacki from taking her No. 1 ranking.

Last year in Rome, Halep rolled her ankle in the final and lost a lead and the championship to Elina Svitolina.

Wozniacki eliminated Belgian qualifier Alison van Uytvanck 6-1, 6-4, and three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova came back to beat Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Maria Sakkari of Greece rallied past sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.

At 5-5 in the third, Pliskova got engaged in a lengthy argument after she had an overhead smash called out. The chair umpire acknowledged that she “lost” the ball mark and therefore said the point should be awarded to Sakkari. On the next point, Sakkari converted a break then served it out.

After the match, Pliskova didn’t shake hands with the chair umpire and struck the chair several times with her racket.

Also, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens held off a comeback from Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi in a 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 victory, and seventh-seeded Caroline Garcia defeated Timea Babos 6-3, 6-4.

Former No. 1 Angelique Kerber rallied past Irina-Camelia Begu 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, and 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina eliminated American qualifier Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-3.

Angels vs Astros

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HOUSTON — Yuli Gurriel fue eliminado en tercera base por el catcher Martín Maldonado luego de una revisión de la jugada que puso fin al juego, y los Angelinos de Los Ángeles derrotaron el lunes por 2-0 a los Astros de Houston cortando su seguidilla de seis triunfos.

Gurriel pegó un sencillo ante Keynan Middleton para abrir el noveno. Alex Bregman recibió un boleto y, tras un par de ponches, Middleton lanzó un slider en la tierra para Max Stassi que rebotó en la pierna de Maldonado hacia la tercera base. El catcher puertorriqueño atrapó la bola y la lanzó a tercera, donde el venezolano Luis Valbuena eliminó a Gurriel, que se había lanzado de cabeza. El Umpire Cory Blaser dio por buena la llegada del pelotero cubano, pero tras la repetición de la jugada en las pantallas del estadio, los aficionados empezaron marcharse incluso antes de la rectificación unos 90 segundos después. Middleton sacó su sexto salvamento.

Tyler Skaggs (3-1) se hizo con el triunfo tras conceder cuatro hits en siete episodios. Houston tuvo problemas para conectar sus rápidos lanzamientos. Los Astros habían superado a los Medias Blancas 27-2 para completar un barrida de tres juegos durante el fin de semana.

Gerrit Cole (2-1) cargó con la derrota luego de permitir cuatro hits y dos carreras en una labor de siete entradas en las que ponchó a ocho y dio dos pases por bolas.

Los Ángeles habían perdido cinco de sus seis últimos partidos tras una racha de siete triunfos y aunque tienen una foja de 10-1 a domicilio, en su estadio están 5-7.

Por los Angelinos, el dominicano Albert Pujols de 3-0. El venezolano Valbuena de 4-1, con una anotada. El puertorriqueño Maldonado de 3-0.

Por los Astros, los venezolanos José Altuve de 4-2; Marwin González de 4-2. El puertorriqueño Carlos Correa de 4-1. El cubano Gurriel de 3-1

Mets vs Cardinals

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The MLB welcome wagon, aka the Cincinnati Reds, has left town.Now the St. Louis Cardinals can validate their recent streak of wins against MLB’s worst team by continuing to win games against better ones such as the New York Mets, who arrive Tuesday night at Busch Stadium to start a three-game series.By beating Cincinnati seven straight times to highlight a stretch of eight wins in nine games, St. Louis (13-8) jumped into first place in the National League Central by 10 percentage points over Milwaukee. Nine of the Cardinals’ next 11 games are against teams with winning records.

That includes New York (14-6), which comes into town with a half-game edge over Philadelphia in the NL East. While the Mets have hit their first rough patch under first-year manager Mickey Callaway with four losses in six games, they have still been a pleasant surprise in the early going.

New York started its season by taking two of three from St. Louis, overpowering the Cardinals with Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom in the first two games before Luke Weaver worked a 5-1 win in the series finale.

Weaver (2-1, 4.22 ERA) experienced his first poor start of the year Thursday, getting lit up for nine hits and six runs in four innings of an 8-5 loss at the Chicago Cubs. Otherwise, Weaver has been sharp, getting ahead with his fastball and finishing hitters with his plus changeup.Weaver was scheduled to start Wednesday night, but St. Louis manager Mike Matheny opted to move him up a day and use him on normal rest when Adam Wainwright hit the 10-day disabled list Sunday with right elbow inflammation. The club won’t need a fifth starter again until Saturday night in Pittsburgh.The Mets’ pitching plans were also affected by the events of Sunday, although weather was the protagonist in their case. A rainout in Atlanta led Callaway to move Zack Wheeler (1-1, 2.77) back to Tuesday night.

“Wheeler’s throwing the ball really well,” Callaway told mlb.com. “I think he deserves to stay in the rotation at this point. That’s fairly obvious to me. That’s why we made the decision we did.”

The decision of which Callaway spoke was to send former NL All-Star starter Matt Harvey to the bullpen, a choice that didn’t sit well with Harvey. But it’s not like Harvey (0-2, 6.00) has pitched well in four starts, and with Jason Vargas scheduled to come off the DL to start Saturday in San Diego, Harvey became the odd man out of a rotation that has pulled its weight so far.

Wheeler has lost both career starts against the Cardinals with a 4.76 ERA, including a 4-1 setback last July 8, when Paul DeJong touched him for a homer and a double.

The streaky DeJong, who has already fanned 31 times in 77 at-bats, is doing plenty of damage when he hits the ball. His seventh homer, a three-run shot Sunday, turned a 3-2 game into a 6-2 breather in the seventh inning as St. Louis went on to hammer the hapless Reds 9-2.This is the way things go when you sport the worst record in the majors.The Cincinnati Reds‘ bullpen entered Saturday’s game in St. Louis with a scoreless streak of 18 1/3 innings. So, naturally, after being given a tie to protect when the offense rallied for three runs in the seventh, Jared Hughes ended that streak when he gave up the tiebreaking homer to Yadier Molina in the bottom of the inning. The St. Louis Cardinals won 4-3.

But that’s unlikely to shake interim manager Jim Riggleman’s faith in the bullpen for Sunday’s series finale in Busch Stadium.

“They’ve been good,” Riggleman said Friday night after the bullpen put up five scoreless innings in a 4-2 loss. “They all gave us a chance.”

Getting a chance is one thing. Cashing in on that chance is another. Cincinnati (3-17) has taken advantage of fewer chances than any team in baseball, saddled with the major leagues’ worst record and worst run differential (minus-49) thanks to dropping four straight and 12 of 13.

Saturday’s loss might have been more galling than most. The Reds overcame a 3-0 deficit against St. Louis after the departure of Carlos Martinez after six scoreless innings. They also got a reasonably good start from Homer Bailey, who entered the game with a 6.00 ERA in 10 career starts at Busch.

However, none of those things mattered in the end as the Cardinals (12-8) won for the seventh time in eight games and jumped over the Pittsburgh Pirates to take over first place in the National League Central. Six of the seven wins have come against Cincinnati, which they have beaten 10 straight times since September.

Results aside, St. Louis manager Mike Matheny knows his lineup is capable of more. Saturday’s lineup shuffle put Matt Carpenter back in his preferred leadoff spot, moved Molina to a rare start at the No. 2 spot and placed Dexter Fowler in the five hole.

Tommy Pham, who normally hits second, missed his second game in three days with a right groin strain and lingering flu symptoms.

St. Louis will march Miles Mikolas (2-0, 4.26) to the mound in search of its second straight weekend sweep of the Reds. Mikolas’ last outing came April 14 in Cincinnati, when he checked the Reds on one run in seven innings for a 6-1 win in his first career game against the Reds.

Luis Castillo (1-2, 6.75) gets the call for Cincinnati. The young, hard-throwing right-hander picked up his first win Monday night in Milwaukee, fanning eight in 6 2/3 innings while allowing five hits and four runs in a 10-4 decision. Castillo’s changeup was particularly effective.

It will be his second career start against the Cardinals. He faced them in August in Cincinnati, and although he gave up only three hits in 6 1/3 innings, he also yielded five walks and four runs in absorbing a 4-1 setback.The New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals square off in game one of their three game MLB set from Busch Stadium on Tuesday night.

The New York Mets come into this one rested after having their series finale against the Braves postponed due to rain, not giving the Mets the chance to salvage a series split after losing 2 of the first 3 games of the set.

The Mets lost game three on Saturday by a final score of 4-3, as Asdrubal Cabrera went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and Jay Bruce went 1 for 4 with an RBI of his own. Jose Reyes went 3 for 4 at the dish while Michael Conforto added a base hit of his own to finish off the offense for New York in the loss. Jacob DeGrom threw seven innings of four hit shutout baseball, striking out ten and not factoring in the decision. Jeurys Familia notched his 2nd blown save and first loss of the season, giving up the tying and walk-off hit. Zack Wheeler will start game one and is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA and 9 strikeouts this season. In his career, Wheeler is 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA and 10 strikeouts against St. Louis.

Athletics vs Rangers

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Hottest Hitter(s):
Elvis Andrus tore the cover off of the ball all spring long, hitting six of sixteen spring knocks for extra bases, good enough for a 1.166 OPS in the baseball friendlies. Other young studs on the Texas roster, such as Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo, flexed some serious muscle as well. In order for Texas to have any sort of shot at competing this year, it is these players who have to take significant steps forward on offense, with the veterans scattered across the roster slowly and surely declining (with the exception of the ageless Adrian Beltre). Elvis Andrus, in particular, has continued his hot hitting into the regular season.

Coldest Hitter(s):
Longtime Texas prospect Jurickson Profar still has yet to put it together at the dish, and now seems destined to be a light-hitting utility player for his career unless something suddenly clicks for him. Catcher and A’s-killer Robinson Chirinos has also struggled to do much at the plate this year, though his backup Juan Centano has been one of the team’s better hitters.

The newest addition to the Rangers’ squad is Bartolo Colon and has made the team against all odds. Colon was better at preventing runs in spring training than any other starter currently on the team. Also, one of the first players to get the call from Triple-A, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, has looked very strong as well.

Though it no longer really comes as a surprise, lefty Matt Moore continues to look like he is incapable of controlling his offerings and is still getting killed by walks. Closer Matt Bush also struggled with walks in spring training.

Delino DeShields just went down for 4-6 weeks with a fractured bone in his hand. The team did not really have a backup plan in the event of a DeShields injury, and so the loss of the centerfielder is a rather mighty blow to the squadron.

The A’s ultimately dropped three of four in their first series, but the team played well against a much-improved Angels club, and with better defense in the outfield corners, a problem that is designed to fix itself in due time, the A’s could have easily won three of the four games. How the defense and offense recover against a new opponent is key: if the A’s can put their mistakes behind them and start fresh, this team will be able to find success all season. If players continue to press, success will be much harder to come by.

For the Rangers, a promising young batch of position players is the sole reason the team hasn’t torn everything down and started over with rebuild. This team can hit, with strong veteran leadership able to guide and teach its new generation of stars, Texas won’t have to worry about its offense for a decade. However, the offense will have to work hard to support the pitching staff, which, after the anchor of Cole Hamels, is cobbled together with aging and breaking down pitchers, all of whom have major questions surrounding their abilities to stay both healthy over a long campaign as well as merely staying effecti

Andrew Triggs vs Bartolo Colon
The A’s faithful still loves Bartolo Colon, and even if he’s in a Texas uniform, it will be nice to see Big Sexy return to the Coliseum. For a while, it appeared as though Colon would be without a job this year, but with Texas’ rotation in the state that it is, Colon became a perfect fit for the team. Andrew Triggs makes his first start of the year, and it will be interesting to see how his arm holds up over a full season, or whether he will be forced to be relegated to the bullpen later on

Kendall Graveman vs Cole Hamels
Both starters are seeking to recover from opening day struggles, as Graveman fell victim to the long ball repeatedly and Hamels was dealt a loss after failing to finish the sixth inning against the Astros. Both teams’ slim playoff hopes hinge on their top starters performing to the best of their abilities

Sean Manaea vs Doug Fister
Doug Fister has long had success versus the A’s, and he’s off on the right foot this season after paving the way for the Rangers’ sole win of the season in his start. After nearly falling out of baseball entirely, Fister has made the unlikely comeback to baseball relevance. Sean Manaea was the hard-luck loser in his first start, showing control over his offerings that he never showed last season, and pitched like the ace he was long scouted to be. Even if his velocity still isn’t as advertised, Manaea proved he can be as good as anyone in the game on the mound.

any Mengden vs Martin Perez the getaway day game, Mengden will hope that his defense actually supports him after he was let down in his first start. He will be opposed by Martin Perez, who will make his first start on the year after a long recovery from an elbow fracture in his pitching arm.

Padres vs Rockies

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DENVER (AP) The last time the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres met, tempers flared and punches were thrown. This time, the Padres let their bats do all the damage.Carlos Asuaje homered and had a career-high four RBIs, Franchy Cordero went deep during a nine-run seventh inning and San Diego romped past the Rockies 13-5 on Monday night.Asuaje hit a three-run shot in a four-run first and Cordero added a two-run drive during a 45-minute seventh for San Diego. Wil Myers had four hits and two RBIs, and Eric Hosmer drew a career-high four walks to go with his two hits.

The Padres won for just the second time in seven games.”It was a fun night for the guys,” manager Andy Green said. ”This is one of those days you get to smile and laugh and take aggressive at-bats. You want to see that kind of carry over to the next day.”It was the eighth meeting of the year between the teams and their first since a bench-clearing brawl on April 11. The scuffle ensued after Padres starter Luis Perdomo threw a 96 mph fastball behind Rockies star Nolan Arenado, who charged the mound and threw punches at Perdomo.

Suspensions were handed out to Arenado, Perdomo and Colorado outfielder Gerardo Parra for their roles in the fight.There were no further altercations Monday.”It’s over,” Colorado manager Bud Black said before the game.Arenado and Trevor Story homered for the Rockies, who dropped to 3-7 at home. Colorado starter Chad Bettis, who had allowed two runs or fewer in his first four starts of the year, dug himself a 4-0 hole in the first but left after five innings with a 5-4 lead.In the seventh, Jake McGee (0-1) got just one out and gave up four runs. Scott Oberg came in and yielded another five runs while getting only one out. Antonio Senzatela finally closed the door in the inning after allowing three hits and no runs.

”It’s definitely something for the moment to wash (away),” Oberg said. ”But moving forward, learn from the mistakes and try to do our best not to repeat them.”

In all, San Diego sent 15 batters to the plate in the inning. The Padres had eight hits and four walks. Pinch-hitter Matt Szczur, Cordero and Myers each got two hits.

The nine runs were the most for the Padres in an inning since they also scored nine against the Chicago Cubs on July 24, 2014.

”I was definitely enjoying that inning,” Cordero said through a translator. ”That’s what we’re playing for.”

Robbie Erlin (1-2) won in relief of starter Bryan Mitchell.As you probably remember, the last time the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres faced each other, the series finale was not pretty as there were numerous ejections in the game, including Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra. For the Rockies, both Arenado and Parra were suspended for their actions (and Parra is serving his suspension during this current series).

Our own Jake Shapiro spoke with the Rockies after the brawl and reported on some of the things that were said after the game in this article. One of the most ominous quotes was from Nolan Arenado himself. When asked whether or not the ordeal between the Rockies and Padres would be over and done with heading into this series, Arenado said, “[w]e’ll see.”

He was obviously still angry about the situation but, as he said, we’ll have to see if it arises again.Chad Bettis is starting Monday’s game and he has been stellar to start the season (3-0, 1.44 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) so he has not been an issue.

However, the two starters slated for Tuesday and Wednesday have been issues. Kyle Freeland is 0-3 with a 5.85 ERA. He has been prone to the long ball as he has allowed five homers in only 20 innings of work. In addition, his FIP is 6.05, his WHIP is 1.55, and he is averaging more than four walks per nine innings. In his last start, he had a lot of pitches that were located high in the zone, as you can see below, courtesy of BrooksBaseball.netThe Padres did not have the best offense last season. They had the second worse offense in all of baseball last season with an OPS+ of 83 (only the Giants were worst at 82). They had an offensive slashline of .234/.299/.393, which was 30th, 30th, and 28th in all of baseball.

They have improved but obviously, there really wasn’t more that they could go down. Entering Monday, they are between 24th and 26th in baseball in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS+.

They have been particularly bad in their last two series. They have not been shutout at all but they have only between two and four runs in each of those games (six games). In those six games, they have averaged an even 3 runs per game. In that same span, they are hitting .176 with an on-base percentage of .189.

The man main to watch out for is third baseman Christian Villanueva. He is the only active Padre to have a batting average north of .250. He enters Monday with a slashline of .355/.444/.775 with seven home runs and 16 RBI. On Sunday, against the Diamondbacks, he plated both runs that they scored and he had two of their three total hits so he was, in essence, their entire offense (as he has been most of the season).

In the five games that he has played against the Rockies this season, he has three home runs, five RBI, and a .286/.333/.929 slash line (no, slugging percentage of .929 is not a typo). All of the homers were on April 3 at Coors Field in the Rockies 8-4 loss to the Padres. Two of those homers were off Kyle Freeland and the final homer was off Antonio Senzatela.

Red Sox vs Blue Jays

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After getting off to a hot start by sweeping the Angels, the Boston Red Sox (17-4) surprisingly dropped two out of three in Oakland against the A’s (9-10 entering the series).

But the Red Sox have little time to lick their wounds. They head north of the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays (13-8), who are looking for revenge against the AL East after getting slapped around by the Yankees in three out of four in New York.

The Red Sox will have their hands full with the Blue Jays who rank second in runs and seventh in home runs in the majors. The Jays’ offense has been lead by veteran second baseman Yangervis Solarte who is batting .250 with five home runs, and power-hitting third baseman Josh Donaldson who is still searching for consistency in 2018.

Speaking of offense, the Red Sox took the weekend off from hitting. After being embarrassingly no-hit on Saturday by Sean Manaea, the Red Sox managed one run the following game against Daniel Mengden who had a 4.50 ERA heading into the game. An ugly showing in Oakland must be forgotten and Alex Cora must rally his troops to refocus against Toronto. The worst thing the Red Sox could do is allow the failures against the A’s to linger against the Jays.

However, the Red Sox may be getting an old friend back to boost the offense. As reported, Xander Bogaerts is expected to make a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday and Wednesday. The 25-year-old shortstop will be activated from the 10-day disabled list on Friday as long as things go smoothly.

This could be exactly the shot in the arm the Red Sox need to help them rekindle their previously red-hot bats.The Boston Red Sox hope to rediscover the offensive touch that has powered their climb to the top of Major League Baseball’s standings when they open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday as -120 favorites on the MLB odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Red Sox opened the season on a tear at the plate, averaging 6.48 runs per game en route to a 17-2 record. But the club struggled in Oakland over the weekend, tallying just one total run while losing consecutive games for the first time this season ahead of Tuesday night’s Red Sox vs. Blue Jays betting matchup at Rogers Centre. Boston fell victim to the first no-hitter thrown this season as the club fell 3-0 to the A’s as -166 chalk on Saturday, before eking out just six hits in a 4-1 loss as a -125 bet on Sunday. Boston’s power outage comes in stark contrast to their prolific plate performance in their previous 15 contests. Boston scored seven or more runs on 11 occasions during that stretch, generating an 11-3-1 run for the OVER in totals betting. Red Sox hitters have also averaged seven runs per game during a seven-game win streak at Rogers Centre. The club’s pitching was equally stingy during that stretch, holding Toronto to one or fewer runs in five of those seven wins. That is bad news for the Blue Jays, who return home as +110 underdogs after getting outgunned by a 14-2 margin while dropping the final two dates in a four-game weekend series at Yankee Stadium. Toronto’s struggles against the New York Yankees brought a close to a 13-4 run during which the club avoided consecutive losses. But Blue Jays bats have been popping in recent dates on home turf, where the club has scored 11 or more runs in three of their past five, and currently enjoy a 7-1 run. However, with both clubs sending red-hot arms to the mound, Tuesday’s series opener has the makings of a possible pitchers’ duel. Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello is a perfect 4-0 on the season and has not allowed an earned run in his past 13 innings of work going into his scheduled start Tuesday, but has allowed 12 total earned runs in his past two starts against Toronto. Lefty J.A. Happ has struck out 26 total batters while winning in three straight starts for Toronto, and is 4-0 in his past eight starts against the Red Sox, including a nine-strikeout performance in a 9-4 win in Boston as a +203 wager on Sept. 26.
The Boston Red Sox have had a sensational start to the season and the Toronto Blue Jays, slow starters in recent seasons, have had a better than expected beginning.

When the two American League East leaders open a three-game series Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre, however, both teams will be coming off their first series losses of the season after dropping their past two games.

The Red Sox (17-4) lost twice in a row to the Athletics in Oakland, including a no-hitter on Saturday, and a 4-1 decision Sunday. They had been averaging 6.5 runs in their first 19 games.

“You never want long losing streaks,” Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland said. “This team is capable of anything. We had two games where we had good pitching against us. That’s going to happen.

“But we have a great offense and great pitching. This is a very good team, so I think we’re going to be able to limit that long-term damage where you lose a lot of games.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “We think we have a great offensive club, but this is going to happen. We’re not going to score seven, eight runs a night.”

The Blue Jays (13-8) lost the final two games of a four-game series against the Yankees on Saturday and Sunday in New York to go 1-3 in the set.

The Blue Jays lost 5-1 Sunday, held to three hits in seven innings by Yankees starter Luis Severino.

“We did have some opportunities, not so much (Sunday), but the first three games,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

“You know, we’ve been (playing) really well, really well lately,” said Toronto left-hander Jaime Garcia, who took the loss Sunday. “The guys are swinging really amazing, the bullpen has been unbelievable and we as starting pitchers, we feel like we’re going to take off.

“We believe in ourselves. We just got stay focused on the process, continue to compete, continue to give us a chance to win and in the long term, things will go that way.”

Right-hander Rick Porcello (4-0, 1.40 ERA) will start Tuesday for Boston. Left-hander J.A. Happ (3-1, 4.50 ERA) will go for Toronto.

Porcello has pitched a total of 13 innings without giving up a run in his past two starts and has won all four of his outings this season.

In 21 career outings (20 starts) against the Blue Jays, he is 9-9 with a 4.98 ERA. He has two or fewer earned runs in each of his past three starts at the Rogers Centre. In 11 career games (10 starts) at Rogers Centre, he is 4-6 with a 4.99 ERA.

Brewers vs Royals

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lorenzo Cain, one of the Kansas City Royals‘ stars from the 2014-15 World Series clubs, will be back at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night, but not wearing Royal blue.He will be patrolling center field for the Milwaukee Brewers, who signed him to a five-year, $80 million contract on Jan. 26. The Royals and Brewers open a two-game mini-interleague series.Cain broke into the majors with the Brewers, but the Royals acquired him in the blockbuster Zack Greinke trade after the 2010 season.

Cain, who hit .300 in his final Royals season, is doing well with the Brewers. He is batting .303 with 13 walks for a .400 on-base percentage. He had a .461 slugging percentage, which includes six doubles and two home runs in 76 at-bats spanning 22 games. He has batted leadoff in 16 games and leads the team with five stolen bases in six attempts and has scored 14 runs.

And while the Royals are struggling, ending a nine-game losing streak on Friday and winning only five of their first 20 games, the Brewers are hot. They beat the Miami Marlins on Sunday to conclude a homestand and extend their winning streak to six games. The last time they won six in a row was Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, 2015.

This is the opener of a nine-game, three-city trip for the Brewers. The Royals will play their next seven and 11 of their next 14 at home.The Royals used an Abraham Almonte grand slam and a Mike Moustakas three-run shot to win Sunday at Detroit.Both the Royals and Brewers were off Monday.The Royals could be getting some reinforcements soon. All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, who went on the disabled list just before the March 29 opener with a knee injury suffered carrying a suitcase up some stairs at his home, and Alex Gordon, who has missed 12 games with a left hip labral tear, have been rehabbing with Triple-A Omaha.

“They’re close,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of coming back.

Don’t be surprised if the Royals activate Perez on Tuesday. He has played seven games in the minors on a rehab assignment with Omaha and Double-A Northwest Arkansas.“It could be any day, and it could very well be the next series,” Yost said. “But we just got to wait and see how things go.”The Royals have left-handed power in Moustakas, who has a 14-game hitting streak, and Lucas Duda, but they have missed Perez’s right-handed bat in the middle of the order.Perez had a two-run double Sunday and scored on a Gordon double in the Storm Chasers’ victory over Nashville.

Right-hander Ian Kennedy will start Tuesday for the Royals. He is 3-4 with a .366 ERA in 10 starts against Milwaukee. He is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in seven interleague starts.

Kennedy has lost his last two starts. In a 15-5 loss at Toronto, Kennedy gave up six runs (two unearned) and eight hits, including two home runs, and three walks in five innings while striking out six. He is 1-2 with a 2.35 ERA for the season.

The Brewers will counter with right-hander Zach Davies, who will be making his fifth start. He is 1-2 with a 4.84 ERA. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings in beating the Cincinnati Reds in his last start on Wednesday, giving up three hits, walking two (one intentionally) and hitting a batter.

Davies has never faced the Royals. Kansas City outfielder Jon Jay has a .357 average against Davies in 14 at-bats when he was in the National League.The Milwaukee Brewers will head to Kansas City to battle the Royals in the first game of a mini two game interleague series Tuesday night from Kauffman Stadium. The Brewers will hand the ball to 25-year old right-hander Zach Davies, and the Royals will give the nod to 33-year old right-hander Ian Kennedy. This marks the first meeting between these two teams since 2015.

Davies Records First Win in Best Start of Season
Zach Davies will toe the rubber for the fifth time of the year, targeting his second straight win. Davies came through with his best start of the season last time out, firing 6.1 shutout innings against the Reds for his first win. The fourth-year right-hander has been hit-hard in two of his four starts, and he stands at 1-2 with a 4.84 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP in 22.1 innings logged on the season. Davies has allowed four home runs, and he has struck out 20 batters through four starts. This will mark his first career start against the Royals.

Ryan Braun is heating up at the plate, belting two home runs along with six RBI’s in his last four games. The career .301 hitter has been inconsistent early this season, and he is now hitting .221 with five homers and 14 RBI’s on the season. Braun owns a .250 average with seven RBI’s in 10 career games against the Royals. The Brewers are starting to heat up at the plate, and they are now averaging 4.09 runs per game, ranking them 20th overall. The Milwaukee pitching has been solid, registering a 3.38 team ERA, placing them ninth in the Major Leagues.

Kennedy Roughed Up in Loss to Blue JaysIan Kennedy will make his fifth start of the season, attempting to rebound from a rough outing. Kennedy conceded six runs (four earned) including two homers in five innings to the Blue Jays last time out, and he was tagged with the loss. The veteran right-hander was terrific in his first three starts, and he features a stellar 2.35 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP to go with a 1-2 record in 23 innings pitched on the season. He has fared well against the Brewers in his career, posting a 3.66 ERA with a 3-4 record in 10 starts. Ryan Braun is 4 for 17 with two RBI’s against Kennedy, while Travis Shaw is 1 for 6, and Christian Yelich is 5 for 12 with two homers.

Jorge Soler has been one of the few Royals regularly reaching base as of late, notching nine hits in his last seven games and he owns a .415 on base percentage on the season. The 26-year old right fielder is currently hitting a solid .288 with one homer and two RBI’s. Soler has fared well in his career against the Brewers, posting a .274 average with 20 RBI’s in 33 games. The Royals are only averaging 3.40 runs per game, ranking them 26th in the Majors. Their bullpen has been awful, and they own a poor 5.25 team ERA, positioning them 27th in the Major Leagues.

Tigers vs Pirates

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The Tigers are in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, starting a three game series against the reeling Pirates. Pittsburgh was in Philadelphia over the weekend and the Phillies treated them roughly, winning all four games. They completed the sweep with a 3-2 extra innings win on Sunday, finishing the game off in the 11th. The Pirates had gotten off to a great start this year, but are now 12-10 and have dropped to third place in the NL Central.

The Tigers are playing a little better than people expected and come into Tuesday’s contest at 9-11 and in third place in the AL Central, trailing the Indians by 2.5 games. A lot of people expected them to finish last in the division, but the White Sox look like they will be holding that down with a terrible start of their own. The Royals have been terrible as well.

Tigers roll with Zimmerman
Jordan Zimmerman gets the call for the Tigers on Tuesday, as the 31 year old tries to keep his perfect record going. That last sentence is almost laughable, because Zimmerman has not been good at all, but it’s true as he is 1-0 on the season. He has pitched poorly in all three starts, however, along with one shutout inning in relief. He’s given up at least four earned runs in all three starts, but the Tigers offense has bailed him out.

He gave up six hits and four earned runs in his first start, but took a no decision. He came back in his second and allowed nine hits and six earned runs over 4.1 innings and took another no decision. In his third start, he got the win while allowing seven hits and four earned runs in 4.1 innings. The Tigers have scored an amazing 32 earned runs in his three starts.Three weeks after the Pittsburgh Pirates opened the season with a three-game sweep of the Tigers in the bitter cold in Detroit, the teams are set to meet for another three-game set beginning Tuesday at PNC Park.

Both clubs, who had a day off Monday, have had some twists and turns in the three weeks since that earlier series.

Pittsburgh used the three wins to launch into an 11-4 start that had the Pirates sitting atop the National League Central. Then came a 1-6 swoon, including getting swept in a four-game series at Philadelphia over the weekend.The Pirates (12-10) have fallen to third in the National League Central.

“We had a rough week. We need to take a day off and figure it out, and show up ready to play at home,” said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle, whose team was held to five runs in the four-game sweep and has scored two runs or fewer in eight of its past 10 games.

“We haven’t performed well — I think it’s the last 10 games — for a while now. Two games we’ve performed well offensively; the other eight have been a challenge.”

Pittsburgh piled up 22 runs in the season-opening series against the Tigers, a series that had two postponements because of poor weather and a subsequent doubleheader.

Detroit, meanwhile, continued to struggle after that opening series en route to a 4-9 start. Since then, though, the Tigers have gathered some steam.

They just concluded a 5-3 homestand, its first winning record for a stretch of eight or more home games since last June into July.

“(We’d) like to be 8-0. Everybody would,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said. “But our guys are playing.”

The Tigers (9-11), like Pittsburgh, are third in their division, the American League Central.

In the series opener Tuesday, Detroit right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 7.71 ERA) gets another shot at the Pirates after getting a no-decision on Opening Day. He will face Pittsburgh right-hander Chad Kuhl (2-1, 4.57 ERA).

In his earlier start against the Pirates, Zimmermann gave up four runs and six hits in six innings, with one walk and eight strikeouts.

He got his first win Thursday during the Tigers’ recent surge, allowing four runs and seven hits — three of them homers — with two walks and seven strikeouts, in 5 1/3 innings in a 13-8 win against Baltimore.

In five career appearances against Pittsburgh, Zimmermann is 1-3 with a 4.35 ERA. In three career starts at PNC Park, he is 1-2 with a 3.32 ERA.

Kuhl will be making his fifth start of the season. He picked up one of the few recent Pirates wins when he allowed one run in six innings in a 10-2 win Wednesday against Colorado.

“Just to go out there, execute my pitches and have everything working, it just feels great,” Kuhl said after what was his longest start and first quality start of the season.

Kuhl is 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two career starts against Detroit, including a win in the season-opening series, when he gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings in an 8-6 win.

Marlins vs Dodgers

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Tonight was all about pitching as the Marlins took on the Dodgers in an exciting game. The numbers above do not lie, Jarlin García was tremendous tonight. Continuing his streak of fantastic starts, García from the get go had his stuff working. After giving up a walk to Chris Taylor to begin the game, he would then get the next three batters to fly out.

García would then strike out the side in the third inning. His one hiccup in the game came in the fourth inning when facing Enrique Hernandez. After a nice battle between the two, Hernandez would take an inside fast ball deep, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Hernandez, a former Marlin had three of the Dodgers six hits.

The only other time García would get into a jam was in the sixth inning. He would end up getting out of it by getting Cody Bellinger and Yasmani Grandal to fly out. The key for García tonight was how often he switched up his pitches and kept hitters guessing. The control was great and it was nice to see a Marlin look so comfortable on the mound. García continues to show why he is currently the best player on the Marlins.Walker Buehler would hold his own against García. The first inning was the time for the Fish to strike. The Marlins had the bases loaded with two outs when J.B. Shuck came to the plate. Buehler delivered a tailing 99 mph fastball to the outside of the plate, which Shuck foul tipped to end the inning.

Buehler would limit Miami to two more hits after that. The heat was there for Buehler tonight and the Fish just could not keep up. Eight of his pitches were 99 mph or faster, incredible.

Miami would tie the game in the top of the eighth inning. Sadly in the bottom of the eighth the Marlins would give that run right back. Kyle Barraclough who had been on a nice run recently gave the run up. A double by Taylor, a bunt single by Hernandez and a sac fly by Bellinger would ruin Barraclough’s night.

The Marlins used their two best relievers in the game hoping to keep it close. While Barraclough struggled, Tayron Guerrero shined. Guerrero pitched one inning giving up one walk and striking out three. Throughout the inning Guerrero would throw heat. His fast balls were coming in at 98mph and above. It was nice to see Guerrero over power hitters and come into his own.

The Marlins tried to rally in the ninth but failed. Miguel Rojas would come up with two outs and single into left field. Realmuto, Miami’s best hitter would then come up and swing at the first pitch he saw. This resulted in a pop fly to center field, thus ending a really good game. The pitching was there but the hitting was missing for the most part.

The Marlins look to continue the fight tomorrow night when Dillon Peters takes on Kenta Maeda.LOS ANGELES — A pair of pitchers intent on a rebound will meet head-to-head on Tuesday when the Los Angeles Dodgers play host to the Miami Marlins.

Marlins left-hander Dillon Peters will take the mound after not getting out of the fifth inning on Thursday at Milwaukee. He gave up four runs on three hits, but his five walks were the most troubling of all. It was the first of four consecutive defeats for the Marlins against the Brewers.Also looking for a little traction will be Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda, who gave up four runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings at San Diego last week, although he did have 10 strikeouts as the Dodgers offense keyed the victory.In his last two starts, Maeda has given up a combined nine runs, although three of them were unearned. Maeda has also walked four and hit a batter over his last two outings.

Not a whole lot has gone right lately for the Marlins, who were outscored 30-10 in the four-game series this past weekend against the Brewers. They delivered a well-played game against the Dodgers in the series opener on Monday, but the same fate met them in a 2-1 defeat.

Miami has now lost eight of its last nine games and 11 of 13, while anxiously awaiting the return of injured players like third baseman Martin Prado (knee), infielder JT Riddle (shoulder) and right-hander Dan Straily (forearm). Those players will all participate in minor league rehab games this week.

“We have some good things happening,” Mattingly said before Monday’s series opener in Los Angeles. “Some of it is behind the scenes, some of it is subtle, but there are definitely good things happening.”The Dodgers appear to be getting on track after their usual slow start under manager Dave Roberts. The club was hovering around .500 at the start of May in each of the last two seasons under Roberts, and at 11-10 after Monday’s victory, this season looks no different.

The Dodgers are now above .500 for the first time this season, getting there by winning seven of their last eight. There was a sweep of the Padres in that run, as well as a series victory over the Washington Nationals. Before the Dodgers got back on track, they were just 4-9 to open the season.Yasmani Grandal’s 11-game hitting streak for the Dodgers came to an end on Monday, but Enrique Hernandez had three hits, including a home run, making a case for more playing time.

Jarlin Garcia pitched well for the Marlins on Monday, giving up a run on four hits over six innings, while giving a fellow lefty in Peters a blueprint on how to handle the Dodgers.J.T. Realmuto had two hits Monday for the Marlins and is now 24-for-60 (.400) in his career against the Dodgers, with nine runs, two doubles, two home runs and five RBIs. He has three multi-hit games in just five contests this season.

Santos vs Estudiantesdelaplata

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Watch Santos vs Estudiantesdelaplata Live Soccer Game online, Liverpool welcome Roma to Anfield on Tuesday for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final.

The Reds will be favourites to progress after seeing off Premier League champions Manchester City in the last round, and they will hope an electric atmosphere at Anfield can inspire the team to a first-leg win.

However, they face a team that knocked out the mighty Barcelona in the quarter-finals despite losing the first leg 4-1 at the Camp Nou.

Here’s a look at how you can watch the game, followed by a preview.

Date: Tuesday, April 24

Time: 7:45 p.m. GMT/2:45 p.m. ET

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Venue: Anfield, Liverpool

TV Info: BT Sports 2 (UK), Fox Sports 1 (U.S.)

Live Stream: BT Sport app, Fox Soccer Matchpass

Mohamed Salah has enjoyed a stunning first season at Liverpool since joining from Roma in summer 2017 and will be out to torment his former side.

The Egyptian has scored in his last six games in a row, with his goal against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday equalling a Premier League record:

Salah also has eight goals in 10 Champions League appearances, so Liverpool will look to use his pace and ability on the ball to hurt Roma.

Defender Kostas Manolas has said his team have no tactics to deal with Salah specifically, but they are confident they can handle him “because we stopped Barcelona and Leo Messi with teamwork,” per Joe Rimmer at the Liverpool Echo.

Salah and Roma have already revealed the respect they have for each other on Twitter: