Thursday was the kind of night at the ballpark that prompted psychological talk of all kinds. The Angels relished in the discomfort they created for their opponents, the New York Yankees. They cherished their own fortitude to recover from a four-run deficit and win 10-5 at Yankee Stadium. And they considered the implications of their recent play without their star.

How else to explain Cameron Maybin’s baserunning exploits beyond the nervousness his presence engenders? How to explain 26 comebacks among 38 victories? And, above all, how to explain that they have played as well without Mike Trout for nearly four weeks as they did over two months with him?

The Angels thought it would be best to consider matters of the mind — even the “subconscious.” Utilityman Cliff Pennington, who did not make an out in four trips to the plate Thursday, said Trout’s absence had induced better performances from the Angels’ lesser players, knowingly or not.

“It’s never on purpose, but sometimes when you have the best player on the planet, guys kind of look to see: ‘Is he gonna win this for us?’ ” Pennington said. “Now that we don’t have him, the other guys step up. And we needed it. Because, without it, we would have been in trouble.”

The Angels are 38-38. Playoff prognostications still list their odds as long. But, in need of treatment or not, they remain more alive than they have been since September 2015.

They have achieved their status without much effective starting pitching and without Trout, but with a suddenly swelling, balanced offense.

Beginning Thursday’s thorough effort, Maybin homered on the game’s second pitch. But the Angels soon fell behind. Their starter, Jesse Chavez, issued two walks and gave up a run-scoring single in the first inning, and more hits in the second. First, with one out, was a Chris Carter double. Then a Ronald Torreyes soft single off of Chavez’s right hip, and a run-scoring groundout by Brett Gardner. Next, Aaron Hicks rapped a single to right, and runners were on the corners for Aaron Judge.

On a 3-and-2 count, Chavez left a cutter over the middle of the plate. Judge deposited it into Monument Park, 425 feet from the plate, and pushed the Yankees ahead 5-1.

“It was supposed to be a cutter in,” Chavez said. “Well, it cut over.”

The Angels made it two in the third, when Pennington singled, Maybin walked, Albert Pujols blooped a run-scoring single into right field, and Yunel Escobar lined a single to the same location.

Chavez kept it at that margin for two more innings, then gave way to four relievers, who went on to retire 15 of 16 Yankees.

Chavez, the owner of a 3.86 earned-run average at Angel Stadium but a 6.31 mark everywhere else, incurred his own scorn.

“I just have to figure out these road woes,” he said. “They’re killing me. They’re bothering me so much.”

In the sixth, the Angels again halved the Yankees lead. Escobar doubled and Luis Valbuena singled him in. The runs continued in the seventh, aided by a Starlin Castro error on a Maybin grounder that could have been a double play. Maybin soon swiped second base, took third on an errant throw and scored when Pujols singled past a drawn-in infield.

A walk, a wild pitch and an Andrelton Simmons double later, the Angels led by three. They led by five after the eighth, when a wild pickoff attempt on Maybin allowed the Angels to take three extra bases and cued cerebral thoughts.

“I love creating chaos, making those guys frantic, and you could see it tonight,” Maybin said. “When I get on base, guys get worried, get nervous. Guys behind me get good pitches. They make mistakes on the mound, throwing balls away.”

Manager Mike Scioscia was asked how he thought his players had endured. He declined to scrutinize their mentality, instead forcing his focus to Friday’s series opener in Boston.

“I’m not real big on doing introspectives of the team,” Scioscia said.

“The schedule keeps coming. You just keep playing.”

Twitter: @pedromoura

Source link

Sean Wymer struck out national player of the year Brendan McKay in two key situations while pitching 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief, and TCU was on the right side of two close plays in a 4-3 win over Louisville in a College World Series elimination game Thursday night.

The Horned Frogs (49-17) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, with one of their runs coming on a play at the plate that withstood a video review. Wymer (6-4) limited the Cardinals (53-12) to two hits after they had pulled within a run on McKay’s 18th homer of the year and Logan Taylor’s first homer in 123 games.

McKay came up two more times with chances to tie the game or give Louisville the lead, but Wymer struck him out to end the fifth and eighth innings. Louisville coach Dan McDonnell was ejected in the eighth for arguing a call at second base.

TCU, which took a 4-0 lead in the second inning against Nick Bennett (5-1), advances to the Bracket 2 final needing to beat Florida on Friday night and again Saturday to reach the best-of-three championship series for the first time.

Source link

The Angels scored nine unanswered runs and raced past the New York Yankees, 10-5, on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. In a thorough offensive performance, they reached base 15 times and converted more than half of their opportunities with runners in scoring position to come back to .500, 38-38.

Dynamo leadoff hitter Cameron Maybin homered on the game’s second pitch, but the Angels soon fell behind. Angels starter Jesse Chavez induced weak contact for the first two outs of the game, then issued walks to Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday. When he threw two balls to Starlin Castro, catcher Martin Maldonado and pitching coach Charles Nagy visited the mound.

Chavez pumped a 92-mph fastball, fouled off. Castro then looped the 2-and-2 pitch into right field, scoring Judge. Next, Gary Sanchez hit a ball deep into the shortstop hole, where Andrelton Simmons quickly fielded it and threw to third, where Yunel Escobar tagged out Holliday.

Chavez recorded the first out of the second on a lineout, then allowed a double to Chris Carter, and a single to Ronald Torreyes, a light liner which bounced off of his right hip. After examination by a team trainer, Chavez stayed in the game. Brett Gardner grounded out, which brought in a run. Aaron Hicks singled to right, which put runners on the corners. And Judge deposited a 425-foot homer beyond the center-field wall, which put the Yankees ahead by four, 5-1.

The Angels made it two in the third, when Cliff Pennington singled, Maybin walked, Albert Pujols blooped a run-scoring single into right field, and Escobar lined a single to the same location.

Chavez kept it at the margin for two more innings before he gave way to Yusmeiro Petit in the fifth. Petit was effective, striking out three in two innings. In fact, four Angels relievers combined to offer hitless relief until there were two outs in the ninth.

In the sixth, the Angels again halved the Yankees’ lead. Escobar doubled and Valbuena singled him in. An inning later they threatened to move ahead. Pennington singled into right, and Maybin tapped a ready-made double-play ball to second base. But Starlin Castro let the ball evade him, and the Angels had runners on the corners without an out as the bullpen door opened for left-hander Chasen Shreve.

Kole Calhoun tied the score with a sacrifice fly, and Dellin Betances replaced Shreve. Maybin soon swiped second base, took third on an errant throw, and scored when Pujols singled past a drawn-in infield. A walk to Escobar and a wild pitch moved both men into scoring position. They both scored when Simmons drilled a double into left.

The Angels needed nothing more, but they produced more in the eighth, when Pennington doubled, Maybin walked, and a wild pickoff attempt allowed Pennington to score and Maybin to take third. Calhoun produced another sacrifice fly to cap the scoring.

Twitter: @pedromoura

Source link

Charles Manson follower Patricia Krenwinkel will once again seek freedom on Thursday at a parole hearing in Chino.

Krenwinkel has repeatedly sought parole and has always been rejected. But late last year, her attorney asserted new claims that Krenwinkel suffered abuse at Manson’s hands before the murders.

Here’s a breakdown of the case:

Patricia Krenwinkel at a parole hearing in 2011. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)


A murderous rampage

On Aug. 9, 1969, Krenwinkel joined the band of Manson acolytes who stormed the Benedict Canyon home shared by pregnant actress Sharon Tate, 26, and her movie director husband, Roman Polanski. Tate and four others were stabbed and shot. Krenwinkel testified to chasing coffee heiress Abigail Folger with a knife and stabbing her 28 times.

The next night, Krenwinkel and others killed Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, at their Los Feliz home. Krenwinkel and fellow family member Leslie Van Houten held down Rosemary LaBianca as Charles “Tex” Watson stabbed Leno LaBianca.

Both homes had walls smeared with blood, and Krenwinkel used blood to scrawl the words “Death to Pigs.” She later testified at trial that her hand throbbed from stabbing one of the victims so many times.

Patricia Krenwinkel
Patricia Krenwinkel (File)


‘The public is in fear’

Krenwinkel was sent to death row in 1971 after a Los Angeles jury convicted her of killing Tate and six others in the two-day rampage.

After the state’s highest court in 1972 ruled the death penalty unconstitutional, Krenwinkel’s sentence — along with those of other Manson family members — was commuted to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Krenwinkel has sought parole more than a dozen times.

At a 2011 hearing, the panel recognized Krenwinkel’s efforts, commending her for a clean disciplinary record, having earned a bachelor’s degree, and her work training service dogs and counseling fellow inmates.

But Commissioner Susan Melanson said the barbarity of the crimes — coupled with Krenwinkel’s failure to fully grasp the global effects of the Manson killings — warranted more time behind bars.

“This crime remains relevant,” Melanson said. “The public is in fear. And that just is a fact of the crime and the consequences of the crime.”

Charles Manson
Charles Manson (California State Prisons)


Did Manson abuse Krenwinkel?

Last year, Krenwinkel’s attorney made new claims that she had been abused by Manson or another person.

At a hearing in December before the parole board, a source said Krenwinkel’s attorney, Keith Wattley, raised the notion in his closing statement that his client was a victim of “intimate partner battery.”

The claim, the source said, was akin to battered spouse syndrome, a psychological condition experienced by people who have suffered prolonged physical or emotional abuse by a partner. The syndrome has been used as a legal defense by women charged with killing their husbands.

In an email to The Times, Wattley wrote in December, “I pointed out that there are some things that haven’t fully been investigated (believe it or not). Can’t really elaborate at this time.”

Leslie Van Houten would pose "an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison," Gov. Jerry Brown has said.
Leslie Van Houten would pose “an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison,” Gov. Jerry Brown has said. (Nick Ut / Associated Press)


California’s longest-serving female prisoner

Prosecutors are opposed to Krenwinkel’s freedom.

By law, decisions by the Board of Parole Hearings must be approved by the governor, and Gov. Jerry Brown has already rejected the idea of setting another Manson follower free.

In April, a state review board recommended parole for Leslie Van Houten, who had been convicted of murder.

Brown reversed that decision and a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge later upheld the governor’s reversal, saying there was “some evidence” that Van Houten still presented an unreasonable threat.

Susan Atkins, a former topless dancer who became one of Manson’s closest disciples, died in prison in 2009 at age 61.

After Atkins’ death, Krenwinkel became California’s longest-serving female inmate.

“What a coward that I found myself to be when I look at the situation,” Krenwinkel said in a 2014 interview with the New York Times. “The thing I try to remember sometimes is that what I am today is not what I was at 19.”

Source link

Halfway between first and second base, moments after his three-run, fourth-inning homer rattled into the left-field bleachers, Yasiel Puig slowed his already unhurried trot to a crawl.

His ears caught the voice of New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores. Puig spun his head toward Flores and spat a four-letter expletive, a fittingly contemptuous gesture for this series, in which the Dodgers have trounced their guests, the latest an 8-2 dismissal Wednesday.

The anger from Flores stemmed from Puig’s leisurely pace as he rounded the bases. Eleven seconds passed between the collision of Puig’s bat with a doomed sinker from rookie Tyler Pill and Puig touching first base. Puig flexed upon impact. He did not drop his bat until the ball landed. It was an admirable blast, his 13th of the season, and Puig gazed upon it lovingly.

“He’s not the only player in baseball who takes a little longer in admiring home runs,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He got a good piece of it. I know that he did not mean any disrespect.”

The Mets disagreed — but then, the Dodgers have not been kind to them this week. The offense piled up 10 runs Monday and hung a dozen Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Pill managed to keep the Dodgers from reaching double digits. The offense still charged him with six runs in six innings and steamed toward a sixth consecutive victory. Yasmani Grandal chipped in two solo home runs after Puig’s shot.

The tiff extended an eventful fortnight for Puig. He flipped off two spectators in Cleveland last week and received a one-game suspension and is playing while his appeal winds through the system. He homered twice in one game over the weekend in Cincinnati. And he has upped his on-base-plus-slugging percentage from .711 on June 11 to .773 by Wednesday.

Later in the night, Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes advised Puig to speed up in the future. After the game, Flores remained upset.

“I don’t think he knows what having respect for the game is,” Flores said.

Puig offered a measured response to both. He suggested his emotion stemmed from an intentional walk in front of him, and said he understood why Flores might be mad.

“We’ve been hitting well and we’ve been hitting a lot of home runs, and if that’s the way he feels, it might be a result of them not playing so well,” Puig said. “After I talked to Cespedes, he told me to try to run a little bit faster — I don’t look at it that way.”

With the lineup rolling, Rich Hill (4-3) authored a quiet but encouraging outing. He remained unable to reach the sixth inning, exiting after five frames and 98 pitches. But he recovered from a first-inning stumble to strike out eight batters and hold the Mets to one run.

He unveiled a cut fastball to bolster his arsenal. He slipped from a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning by striking out three batters in a row. His performance hinted at the heights he touched in 2016, when he inspired the Dodgers to sign him to a three-year, $48-million contract in the offseason.

The opening was not encouraging. On the second pitch of the game, outfielder Curtis Granderson whacked an 89-mph fastball over the center-field fence. On the next pitch, Flores doubled into left field on another fastball.

Hill managed to regroup. The Dodgers tied the score in the third inning. They did so without a hit. Joc Pederson led off with a walk. Third baseman T.J. Rivera threw away a grounder by Puig. With runners at the corners, Hill lifted a 2-and-2 fastball into center field for a sacrifice fly. Hill drove in a run for the first time since June 19, 2009.

The fourth inning tested Hill’s resolve. He started the trouble with a leadoff walk to outfielder Jay Bruce. A single by d’Arnaud rolled past Chase Utley at second base. Utley cost Hill in the next at-bat, dropping a popup to load the bases with none out.

Hill used the cutter to wriggle free. He had consulted with Clayton Kershaw about the grip of the pitch, and he showed confidence with it Wednesday. He spun the pitch past shortstop Jose Reyes for one strikeout. He pumped it for two strikes to second baseman Gavin Cecchini before finishing the at-bat with an 89-mph four-seamer. Hill fooled Pill with curveballs to strand all three runners.

“It goes back to making one pitch at a time,” Hill said.

The offense rewarded Hill for maintaining the tie. Cody Bellinger sparked a rally by smashing a double through the right side of the infield.

Bellinger barreled into second base, which forced a wild throw by Bruce. Bellinger took third base on the error. He scored on a double by Logan Forsythe.

After intentionally walking Pederson, Puig came to the plate. Pill missed inside with two fastballs. Puig swung through a changeup but took another. Down in the count, Pill hummed a fastball that bisected the plate.

Puig did not miss.

No one would miss what happened next.

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes

Source link

At the conclusion of Parker Bridwell’s postgame media session Tuesday night, reporters scattered around Yankee Stadium’s spacious visiting clubhouse, targeting the night’s stars. Unfamiliar with his major league surroundings, Bridwell lingered for several seconds before approaching a reporter.

“Am I good to leave now?” he said.

A year ago this month, the Angels arrived in New York requiring a spot starter for the series opener. They turned to left-hander David Huff, who couldn’t finish four innings, lost, and signed to pitch in South Korea the next month.

This time, they offered Bridwell, by no means an established pitcher. That has been the theme of the club’s campaign, one week short of the halfway mark. Stricken with similar injuries as in 2016, they have resorted to better replacements. To date, those stand-ins are saving the Angels season.

Upon trouncing the Yankees 8-3, the Angels ascended back to .500, only one game out of a wild-card slot. They crushed seven extra-base hits in a sturdy, balanced offensive performance that began at once.

Cameron Maybin knocked starter Michael Pineda’s second pitch into the right-field corner for a double. After Kole Calhoun walked, Albert Pujols ripped the first pitch he saw into left field and Maybin galloped home.

In the second inning, Eric Young Jr.’s tapper slithered through the legs of first baseman Chris Carter. With one out, Danny Espinosa stroked a double to center field, driving in Young. Espinosa scored when Calhoun slapped a single to left-center field. At that, the Angels went quiet.

Making the second start of his career, Bridwell walked four men in the first three innings. Still, he held the Yankees hitless until the fourth inning, when Starlin Castro rapped a single to right field. Bridwell walked Gary Sanchez before inducing three consecutive flyouts, the second of which brought in a run.

He began the fifth amassing two more outs through the air before Aaron Judge smashed an elevated fastball for a home run. Bridwell retired one more batter and exited holding a one-run lead, which Blake Parker quickly surrendered on a Sanchez solo shot to right field in the sixth inning.

It had been 10 months since Parker gave up a home run. He was a Yankees middle reliever then. Now handling high-leverage situations, he has been another worthy replacement, a man claimed off the waiver wire who probably would not have made the opening-day roster if Huston Street had been healthy. Instead, he has a 2.16 earned-run average in 331/3 innings.

After Parker’s rare mishap, the Angels immediately pushed back ahead. Maybin started the seventh inning with a home run to left field, and Calhoun followed with a double to right. Next, Pujols nearly sent a baseball beyond the wall, but settled for an out that moved Calhoun to third base. Yunel Escobar drove in Calhoun when he hit a ball off the top of the left-field wall, and he, too, scored when Luis Valbuena singled.

Martin Maldonado doubled and scored in the eighth inning, and Valbuena hit a home run to center field in the ninth.

Six Angels registered two or more hits, including the first five hitters. Maybin, the leadoff man, led with three, much to the delight of Escobar, who vacated the spot when he strained a hamstring last month.

“Even when I was leading off,” Escobar said through an interpreter, “I was always telling Maybin that was his spot.”

And so the Angels have weathered the majority of the time they will be without center fielder Mike Trout, thanks to Maybin, Escobar, and unexpected performances from the likes of Bridwell, Parker and Young.

“I know we don’t have Mike, but I think tonight’s indicative,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We did a lot of good things without our best player. Guys are starting to do some of the things that we projected.”

The victory boosted everyone’s mood and made postgame humor atypically accessible. Additionally, it extended the club’s record on Tuesday in 2017 to 12-0, four short of the all-time record to begin a season, held by the 98-win 1997 Baltimore Orioles.

“What’s tomorrow?” Scioscia said. “Tuesday?”

Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter @pedromoura

Source link

As the Dodgers have crossed these United States this month, from Missouri to Wisconsin, to California and then through Ohio, Cody Bellinger hears the same question.

Home run derby, yay or nay?

There is a third option, one so audacious that few would dare attempt it. See, Bellinger doesn’t need a batting-practice pitcher to go deep just about every night. He is turning the Dodgers schedule into his own home run derby.

He does not need to go to the actual derby to make people take notice of his slugging prowess. He makes folks go back, back, back into the record books every time he circles the bases.

Bellinger hit two more home runs Monday at Dodger Stadium, driving in four runs and powering the Dodgers to a 10-6 victory over the New York Mets. Justin Turner had four hits, including a home run, drove in four runs and lifted his batting average to .399.

For the second straight day — this one in a game started by Clayton Kershaw, no less — the Dodgers opened up a seven-run lead but could not complete the game without closer Kenley Jansen getting loose.

Chris Hatcher walked the bases loaded in the eighth inning, bringing Jose Reyes to the plate, representing the tying run. Reyes had homered twice against Kershaw; Hatcher struck him out.

Bellinger said he would love to participate in the home run derby if asked. He would get his father to pitch to him.

“It’d be cool,” he said. “I think it would be pretty special.”

He spotted the rest of the National League three weeks and leads the league in home runs.

“That’s a pretty good indicator they should invite him,” Kershaw said.

Bellinger has 21 home runs, the first major league player to hit so many in the first 51 games of his career. If he keeps his current pace, he would finish with 58, but manager Dave Roberts said it would be “absurd” for Bellinger to keep up that pace.

The franchise record is 49, by Shawn Green in 2001.

The franchise player on display Monday was Kershaw, the three-time Cy Young Award winner. For the first time in his career, Kershaw gave up four home runs. He has given up 17 home runs, a career high in a season not quite to the halfway point.

He started the seventh inning at 100 pitches. He did not finish the inning, yanked after Reyes took him deep for the second time in the game.

Kershaw walked off the field, stomped around the dugout, then kicked the bench with his right foot. He gave up six earned runs, the first time he had done so in more than three years. He said he had two options to rebound, the first of which involved extensive analysis to replay and rethink every pitch.

“Or you can say screw it and come back tomorrow,” he said. “I’m going to go with the latter.”

He also walked one batter and struck out 10, meaning the stuff was fine but the location was not. Besides the home runs, the Mets went two for 20 against Kershaw, with no extra-base hits.

Bellinger brought a buzz to the evening. He homered in his first two at-bats and, if Scooter Gennett could hit four in a game, why not Bellinger?

In the third at-bat, Bellinger struck out, twice swinging from his heels.

“I don’t blame him,” Roberts said. “I told him anybody can hit two home runs. I wanted to see him hit three myself.”

Before Bellinger’s fourth at-bat, Dodgers co-owner and Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson tweeted his congratulations to the rookie.

Two home runs, the major league record for fastest to 21, and the NL lead in home runs? As Johnson is well aware, the two words that might best describe Bellinger at this point are these:

Big baller.

Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin

Source link

Kyle Larson took control on a restart with five laps remaining and raced to his second NASCAR Cup Series victory of the season, holding off Chase Elliott on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

It was the third Cup win of Larson’s career — and second in a row at Michigan. Larson and Elliott also finished 1-2 at MIS in August. Elliott was second in both Michigan races last year, and again this time.

Joey Logano finished third.

Martin Truex Jr. won the first two stages of the race, but finished sixth, ceding the points lead to Larson. Truex has 10 stage victories this year.

Larson also was first in qualifying in his No. 42 Chevrolet.

Truex and Larson were 1-2 in the points standings coming into the race, and Truex was second to Larson in qualifying. Their dominance carried over to the race Sunday, at least at the start. They were the only drivers to lead during the first half of the 200-lap, 400-mile race.

There were three cautions toward the end. The first was for debris, and Larson beat Kyle Busch on the inside for the lead on the restart with 15 laps to go.

Then Clint Bowyer went into the wall, bringing out another caution flag. Larson was first off that restart too, only to be slowed by another caution after a multicar incident on the backstretch that included Danica Patrick being knocked off the track and into the wall.

Finally, with five laps remaining, the race restarted, and Larson took the lead on the outside. He won by 0.993 seconds.

Elliott finished second to Logano last June at Michigan and second to Larson in August. Those three were at the top Sunday.

Denny Hamlin, who won Saturday’s Xfinity race, was fourth, followed by Jamie McMurray and Truex. Busch ended up seventh, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jimmie Johnson, who started at the back after going to his backup car, finished 10th.

Source link

Veteran German driver Timo Bernhard led Porsche to a dramatic third straight win at the 24 Hours Le Mans race to prevent a huge upset win for the lesser category Oreca team on Sunday.

After a series of mishaps to pre-race favorites Porsche and Toyota, the LMP2 category Oreca suddenly found itself in the lead with 19-year-old Frenchman Thomas Laurent behind the wheel three hours from the end of the grueling endurance race.

But the 36-year-old Bernhard, racing in the faster and more powerful LMP1 category Porsche 919 Hybrid, overtook the Oreca with about 1 hour remaining.

As the Porsche No. 2 crossed the finish line, there were scenes of relief in the Porsche garage as team members danced around holding up T-shirts with “Hat trick 2015, 2016, 2017” written on them.

“Well done everybody,” an exhausted Bernhard said over team radio. “You’re the best.”

Teammate Brendon Hartley, who had done much of the hard work to drag Porsche back into the race, was in tears.

“It was unreal. This race is always a roller coaster,” said Hartley, who won it for the first time. “It was an incredible team effort. I’m going to remember this forever.”

Hartley and fellow New Zealander Earl Bamber rushed over to jump on the No. 2 car as the co-drivers celebrated wildly. Bamber also won in 2015 alongside F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg.

Bernhard finished about one minute ahead of the Jackie Chan DC Racing team car, owned by the famed action movie star.

Another Oreca LMP2 car — driven by Nelson Piquet Jr., the son of the famed Brazilian F1 driver, finished in third place for the Vaillante Rebellion team.

Bernhard also won the race in 2010 when driving for the dominant Audi team.

It was a fantastic comeback win considering that the Porsche No. 2 was held up for more than one hour due to technical problems earlier in the race and at one point was in 56th place.

“It was absolutely crazy. When I heard it (the engine) go `Bang’ I thought 100 percent our race was over,” Bamber said. “The guys turned it around. We thought we would finish in the top five. But this race really chooses you when it wants you to win.”

A year after American actor Brad Pitt got the race underway, Formula One chairman Chase Carey was the official starter for the 85th edition. While last year’s race provided a Hollywood finish, Carey enjoyed another intense race.

After losing to Porsche on the final lap last year, Toyota encountered further mishap at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Chasing a first victory, Toyota’s hopes were raised after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi broke the lap record in qualifying.

But deep into the night, Toyota’s woes began with Kobayashi cruising in the lead.

At around 1 a.m., Kobayashi seemed to have a gear box failure and was reduced to crawling around the track at 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles per hour). A short time later, he was forced to abandon the race, climbed out and waved good bye to the fans.

Just minutes later, Toyota could not believe its bad luck when car No. 9 driven by Nicolas Lapierre sustained a rear tire puncture. Then, his car stopped with flames shooting out of it.

That left just one Toyota — the No. 8 driven by former F1 driver Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland — which was way behind.

By 9 a.m. the Porsche No. 1 car was comfortably in the lead.

But then it was Porsche’s turn for a setback.

With about four hours to go, the Porsche No. 1 driven by German driver Andre Lotterer started losing oil pressure and limped back to the garage. Despite a complete electronic reset, No. 1 Porsche abandoned.

With three hours left, the LMP2 car Oreca driven by teenager Laurent suddenly found itself two laps ahead of Hartley’s Porsche — which was chasing at nearly 10 seconds per lap faster.

Bernhard replaced Hartley to set up a thrilling finish around the 13.629-kilometer (8.45-mile) track.

Laurent’s lead was less than two minutes with about 1 { hours to go, at which point he handed over to Chinese driver Tung Ho-Pin. There was little chance Tung could hold off Bernhard, but it was still a close call for Porsche to secure its 19th Le Mans trophy.

Source link

Alex Meyer’s season to date has offered a study in what a major league pitcher can achieve when he throws as hard as anyone and fires off curveballs as sharp as anyone, but lacks the ability to repeat his pitches on command.

On Saturday night at Angel Stadium, Meyer added an experimental group: What happens when he just throws the ball inside the strike zone as often as possible? He generally did so against Kansas City, struck out nine Royals, and carried the Angels to a 9-0 victory.

“This is one of the games that you hope for, where he bottled the stuff with command,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He was in the zone with terrific stuff all afternoon.”

Meyer missed the strike zone with his first three pitches of the game, all errant fastballs to Whit Merrifield. But balls were called on only 29 of his next 91 pitches. His 66% overall strike ratio was his best, by far, in 15 major league starts.

Through five innings, Meyer struck out eight without walking anyone. His defense failed him in the sixth. Yunel Escobar bobbled Drew Butera’s leadoff grounder. Andrelton Simmons quickly started a double play on Whit Merrifield’s subsequent grounder, but second baseman Danny Espinosa did not secure the ball before he tried to throw to first base, and he dropped it. Both Royals runners were safe.

The same two infielders collaborated to complete a successful double play when Jorge Bonifacio next grounded to short. After Meyer walked Lorenzo Cain, which he later lamented, right-hander Blake Parker began to warm in the Angels’ bullpen. But Meyer struck out Eric Hosmer on a hurtling curveball and bounded off the mound knowing the best start of his career was over.

Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter @pedromoura

Source link