Julio Urías Makes MLB History as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Game 7 Closer Against the Atlanta Braves

Julio Urías has etched his name into the annals of Major League Baseball history…

On Sunday night, the 24-year-old Mexican professional baseball player, a former child prodigy, pitched the Los Angeles Dodgers into the 2020 World Series.

Julio Urías

“It was his moment,” manager Dave Roberts said.

Urías entered the seventh inning of a tied game and retired the next nine Atlanta Braves batters in order, requiring only 39 pitches to do so. He blanked the over the final three innings of a 4-3 victory in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series in Arlington, Texas.

With that, the left-hander became only the second reliever to close out a winner-take-all game with at least three no-hit innings. The other: Pedro Martinez in his famous six-inning performance in Game 5 of the 1999 American League Division Series for the Boston Red Sox against the Cleveland Indians.

It was Urias’ second win of the series, the first coming only four days earlier, when he threw 101 pitches in a Game 3 start.

His fastball touching 96 mph, he recorded his first three outs on only 10 pitches.

The quick seventh inning positioned Urías to earn the victory when Cody Bellinger launched a 94-mph sinker by Chris Martin into the right-field stands in the bottom of the inning.

Urías responded by navigating through the middle of the Braves’ order in the eighth inning. Their best hitter, Freddie Freeman, worked a nine-pitch at-bat, but Urías ultimately made him line out weakly to center field.

In Roberts’ mind, there was little question about who would pitch the ninth inning.

Kenley Jansen had pitched in each of the two previous games. This was Urías’ game to finish.

“I trust him,” Roberts said.

Urías forced Ozzie Albies to ground out. He made Dansby Swanson do the same. And when his changeup was lazily golfed to center field by Austin Riley, Urías raised his arms skyward.

Bellinger caught the fly ball, prompting Will Smith to approach the mound in celebration. Urías slapped Smith’s chest protector and embraced the catcher.

In the immediate aftermath of the victory, NLCS most valuable player Corey Seager marveled at Urías’ composure.

“That was his moment right there,” Seager said. “That was his game to win, and he went out and did it.”

Ortiz Hits Two Home Runs to Blast into the MLB History Books

David Ortiz has officially earned his place in the annals of Major League Baseball history.

The Dominican professional baseball player, nicknamed “Big Papi,” has become the 27th player in MLB history to reach the 500-home run threshold.

David Ortiz

Ortiz, a designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox, vaulted into the 500 club after hitting two home runs Saturday night in the team’s 10-4 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Ortiz is also the fourth player in the team’s history, and the fourth Dominican Republic native to surpass the 500 mark in his career.

Ortiz hit No. 499, a three-run home run, in the first inning off Rays left-hander Matt Moore, driving a 1-2 fastball over the right-field fence.

After popping out to short center field on a 3-0 pitch in the third inning, Ortiz led off the fifth inning against Moore, greeted by chants of “Let’s go, Papi,” and drove a 2-2 pitch into the seats.

Ortiz’s teammates poured out of the dugout and the relief pitchers ran in from the bullpen to greet him after he jogged slowly around the bases, stepped on home plate, brought his fingers to his lips, and then pointed to the sky.

Ortiz, just 10 weeks shy of his 40th birthday, achieved the milestone with a three-month power surge that has been matched only twice by a player of his age or older, Barry Bonds and Henry Aaron, over a full season.

On June 10, Ortiz had just six home runs and was batting .219, a performance that invited wide speculation that his celebrated career was winding down. Among qualified designated hitters in the American League, Ortiz ranked last in most major categories.

Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry acknowledged the skeptics.

“The guy, he’s the best hitter I’ve seen for the Red Sox for a long time,” Henry said at the time. “He’s not in his prime. He’s not going to hit 50 home runs. But is he going to hit 30? It doesn’t look like it this year. Is he getting older? Yes. But I don’t think any of us know [if the end is nearing].”

Even Ortiz revealed a sliver of doubt.

“Everybody’s time is up at some point,” he said. “I don’t think that’s my problem, though. I’ll keep on trying like I normally do.”

With 28 home runs in the span of just 273 at-bats, Ortiz erased all doubts that he’ll return in 2016 for his 20th season in the big leagues, the past 13 with the Red Sox.

He joins Manny Ramirez, Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams as Red Sox players who have hit 500 home runs, and Sammy Sosa, Ramirez and Albert Pujols as fellow Dominicans who have reached that threshold.

Ortiz also solidified his case for induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame, a place which only this past year opened its doors to a second Dominican player, Ortiz’s former Boston teammate Pedro Martinez, and has historically resisted the inclusion of designated hitters.

Martinez Opts for Boston Red Sox Logo on His Hall of Fame Plaque

Pedro Martinez will be seeing red when he received his Hall of Fame plaque…

The 43-year-old Dominican-American baseball pitcher, who played for five teams during his18 seasons in Major League Baseball, has opted to have the logo of the Boston Red Sox prominently displayed.

Pedro Martinez

“I cannot be any prouder to take Red Sox Nation to the Hall of Fame with the logo on my plaque,” said Martinez, an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, and 2004 World Series champion. “I am extremely proud to represent Boston and all of New England with my Hall of Fame career. I’m grateful to all of the teams for which I played, and especially fans, for making this amazing honor come true.”

Martinez, who was a first-ballot induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, was 219-100, struck out 3,154, led the major leagues in ERA five times, and in 2004 helped the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years.

“The Museum staff works with each inductee by suggesting an appropriate logo option, or no logo at all,” Hall president Jeff Idelson said in a statement. “For those whose most compelling contributions clearly took place with one team, a logo makes sense. For those whose careers were built significantly among multiple teams, not having a team logo is equally acceptable.”

The Class of 2015 will be formally inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 26 in Cooperstown, New York.

Colón Wins 200th Game as Mets Defeat the Phillies

Bartolo Colón has joined an elite Major League Baseball club…

The 41-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the New York Mets pitched eight innings for his 200th career victory, as the teamheld on for a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Bartolo Colón

Colon joined Pedro Martinez and Juan Marichal as the only Dominican-born pitchers to reach 200 victories.

“I’m really happy to be in that category,” Colon said through an interpreter. “I’m expecting a call from those guys.”

He gave up one run and six hits, struck out six and walked none.

“It’s amazing that he’s still able to perform like he does,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Two hundred wins, that’s a lot of wins.”

Colon (11-9) didn’t allow a batter to reach second base except for Byrd, who led off the seventh with a drive over the wall in left for his 22nd homer. Colon departed after throwing 107 pitches.

“He throws a lot of fastballs but he changes speeds with them making it difficult to gauge the velocity,” said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg.

Philadelphia’s A.J. Burnett (6-12) surrendered 11 hits, tying a season high, resulting in five runs in his third consecutive loss. The right-hander struck out eight and walked two while falling to 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA in his last five starts.

The Mets nearly blew it in the ninth, when Philadelphia scored three runs on three hits.

Chase Utley doubled and Ryan Howard walked against left-hander Dana Eveland. Closer Jenrry Mejia relieved Eveland and Byrd singled to load the bases. Sizemore then lined a two-run double off the wall in right that trimmed New York’s lead to 5-3.

“I was praying for the ball to stay in the ballpark,” Colon said. “Thanks to Mejia for doing his job and holding his composure on the mound.”

After Cody Asche had a run-scoring groundout, Mejia struck out pinch-hitter Reid Brignac for his 17th save in 19 opportunities.

Rivera Named All-Star Game MVP

He’s considered the greatest closer of all time in Major League Baseball… And, now Mariano Rivera is also an All-Star MVP.

The 43-year-old Panamanian baseball star, who has played 19 seasons for the New York Yankees, was named the Most Valuable Player at the 84th All-Star Game on Tuesday night, as the American League blanked the National League 3-0.

Mariano Rivera

When Rivera came out of the bullpen to pitch the eighth inning of the game, his AL teammates stayed next to the dugout, leaving Rivera – who will be retiring after this season – on the field alone to soak up the applause from the crowd.

“I was standing right there watching,” said Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “It was pretty cool. I had goosebumps the whole time. I’m sure a lot of people did.”

Rivera tipped his cap to all sides of Citi Field, then started his warmup throws.

He went on to pitch a perfect inning, throwing 16 cutters. Catcher Salvador Perez threw an arm across Rivera’s shoulders as they walked off the field.

The historic moment was part of a nearly flawless performance by 10 American League pitchers in their victory over the National League, which was was held to three hits and a walk.

Rivera won the Ted Williams Award as the game’s most valuable player, the first pitcher to be so honored since Pedro Martinez in 1999. He’s also is the oldest player to win.

“I wanted to come to the game and since this will be my last one, I wanted to enjoy and be able to pitch for the last time in the All-Star Game,” Rivera said. “The rest was indescribable.”

The AL snapped a three-game losing streak in the game. The NL leads the series, 43-39-2.

Martinez Returning to Boston Red Sox in Special Role

Former Boston Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez is heading back to Beantown…

The 41-year-old Dominican born baseball star, an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2004 World Series champion, is returning to the organization as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.

Pedro Martinez

Martinez, who joins former catcher Jason Varitek in that capacity, said he plans to dedicate his time to developing players and collaborating with team brass.

“I’ve been away long enough now,” said Martinez. “I spent time with my family, and now the situation is right. I think they need people like me that could probably relate to the players, relate to the front office, have the good communication and the interest that they need right now. I think the players still see me as a player and they can naturally communicate with me. I’m also a veteran, a real old veteran and I think I can offer some advice how to handle different situations.”

In particular, Martinez will spend time mentoring the team’s young pitchers.

“I love to teach. I love to deal with the players,” he said. “I have a very good relationship with the players and I’m also fun. I like to have and I think they need a little bit of that in the clubhouse.”

Though he said a comeback was out of the question — “Don’t even think about me coming back,” he said — he’s looking forward to getting his “nose dirty.”

“I miss the field,” said Martinez. “Once I get on the field, I’m going to get involved and get going. I like the field. I like the feel of the sun, sweating on the field and hopefully some of the knowledge I have I’ll be able to communicate to someone and have someone take advantage of it.”

Martinez spent seven seasons in Boston (1998-2004), winning two of his three Cy Young Awards and a World Series ring during his time with the Red Sox. He went 117-37 (a franchise-best .760 winning percentage) with a 2.52 ERA in his seven seasons with the Red Sox, leading the league in ERA four times in that span.

Martinez left the Red Sox after the 2004 season to sign with the Mets, for whom he pitched four more seasons. His final season in the majors was 2009 with the Phillies.

“I am thrilled to be returning to this organization and to the city I love,” Martinez said in a statement. “Ben Cherington’s meetings this week have been outstanding. It is an honor to be back with the Red Sox and help in any way I can. I am grateful to our leaders; I believe in them, and I thank them for allowing me to return to the field and help us win again. My heart will always live in Boston.”