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Cincinnati Reds’ Wade Miley confounds Cleveland Indians for 2021’s 4th no-hitter

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CLEVELAND — Wade Miley pitched baseball’s second no-hitter in three days — and fourth already this season — leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 3-0 win Friday night over the Cleveland Indians, who were no-hit for the second time in a month.

Miley (4-2) relied on breaking pitches and his experience of 11-plus major league seasons to baffle the Indians and throw Cincinnati’s first no-hitter since Homer Bailey in 2013.

“It feels surreal,” the 34-year-old said.

The left-hander shook off an 83-minute rain delay to start the game and followed Baltimore’s John Means, who no-hit Seattle on Wednesday, to continue an early run of pitching gems in 2021 — quickly becoming the Year of the No-No.

San Diego’s Joe Musgrove started the `21 no-hitter club by throwing the first in Padres’ history on April 9. Five days later, Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon blanked the Indians, just missing a perfect game when he hit a batter in the ninth inning.

Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against Atlanta on April 25, but that one isn’t recognized as official because it didn’t go nine innings.

This is the earliest in a calendar year there have been four no-hitters since 1917, when the fourth was thrown on May 5 and the fifth on May 6, and only the second season overall in MLB history to have four no-hitters before the end of May, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It’s no wonder, with hitters entering Friday batting a record-low .233 this season.

For their part, the Indians joined a dubious list by becoming the 16th team to be no-hit twice in the same season. It most recently happened to Seattle in 2019.

Miley walked one and struck out eight on 114 pitches.

“He put on a clinic,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.

While Miley was blanking the Indians, Zach Plesac did the same to the Reds for eight innings before Cincinnati pushed three runs across in the ninth, helped by closer Emmanuel Clase‘s throwing error and a balk.

In the ninth, Miley retired pinch-hitter Rene Rivera on a lazy fly to right, struck out Cesar Hernandez and then retired Jordan Luplow on a grounder to third before he was mobbed by the Reds, who encircled him and danced across the grass.

Miley came in just 1-4 in eight career starts against the Indians, who were batting only .213 as a team. But Cleveland has been as hot as any team, riding a five-game winning streak and winning nine of 11 to take over first in the AL Central.

Working quickly on a cool, damp night, Miley made quick work of the Indians.

He coasted through five inning and didn’t allow a baserunner until the sixth, when Cleveland’s Amed Rosario reached on second baseman Senzel’s fielding error and then went to second on his throwing error.

Miley also allowed a walk in the inning, but regrouped by getting Luplow on a liner to left.

Franmil Reyes came the closest to getting a hit for the Indians, but his hard smash in the fifth inning was right at shortstop Kyle Farmer, who knocked it down and had plenty of time to throw out the slow-footed slugger.

It was the Reds’ 17th no-hitter since 1892.

“For something like this to happen, I don’t have the words,” Miley said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani lands exclusive memorabilia deal with Fanatics

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Los Angeles Angels luminary Shohei Ohtani is so electric, he rakes on his days off, too.

Global merchandise and memorabilia brand Fanatics announced on Tuesday a multiyear partnership as the exclusive distributor of Ohtani autographs, collectables and memorabilia. Ohtani will sign bats, jerseys, photos and select game-used items in both English and Japanese. The partnership does not affect sports cards.

“This is something we’ve been working towards for a while,” Fanatics executive vice president Victor Shaffer said. “[This] will be the first time fans are going to be offered a full array of [Ohtani’s] memorabilia products. The strength of his celebrity and his collectability extends well beyond the United States.”

Ohtani accounted for 28 percent of all 2021 All-Star Game merchandise sales. Fanatics started selling Ohtani memorabilia last week; not only did the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year quickly become baseball’s No. 1 athlete on the site, but his sales outrank the No. 2 MLB player 10 times over.

Since July 1, in memorabilia and merchandise, Ohtani is the top-selling athlete on Fanatics across all sports, which includes hundreds of professional and collegiate teams.

Ohtani called it “an honor to join Fanatics as their latest exclusive athlete,” an addition to a roster that includes Aaron Judge, Pete Alonso, Tom Brady, Trevor Lawrence, Sabrina Ionescu, Joe Burrow and Zion Williamson.

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Texas Rangers shut out for third-straight game as losing skid continues

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The Texas Rangers were routed 14-0 by the Detroit Tigers on Monday night. They’ve now lost six straight, the last three by a combined score of 29-0.

The last major league team to allow that many runs while being shut out in three straight games was the 1906 Brooklyn Superbas, who were outscored 31-0 between July 6-9.

“If anyone on this team isn’t embarrassed right now, they shouldn’t be on the field and they shouldn’t be part of our organization right now,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “These guys all want to play in the major leagues, but you have to earn that.”

The Rangers have now been outscored 51-7 in their last six games, the worst run differential (-44) in any six-game span in franchise history and the worst by any team this season. They’re one shutout shy of tying the longest streak by any team since 1900.

The Associated Press and ESPN’s Stats and Information contributed to this report.

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San Francisco Giants All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford heads to injured list with oblique strain

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LOS ANGELES — San Francisco’s injury woes have now hit arguably its best player during the first half of the season.

The Giants placed All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford on the 10-day injured list Monday due to an oblique strain. The move came as they opened a pivotal four-game series against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manager Gabe Kapler said Crawford’s MRI revealed a mild strain, and he was hopeful it would be a short stint on the IL.

“We understand we have a big challenge ahead of us. Just knowing he is not going to be available is tough for him,” Kapler said. “If there is a silver lining, it does give him a break and allows us to build him up to full strength.”

Crawford is ninth in the NL in batting average (.286) and RBIs (58). He was also on a tear with five games of three hits or more in his last 10, along with going 20 for 39 over the last 11 games.

Crawford — who had started 73 of the Giants’ first 91 games at shortstop — said he noticed something wrong after his final swing during Sunday’s game at St. Louis. It is only the second time in 11 seasons he has gone on the IL, with the previous time coming in 2017 due to a groin strain.

“It’s frustrating from a lot of perspectives,” Crawford said before Monday’s game. “I felt so good, especially recently. There are also so many games against the Dodgers the next couple weeks that I won’t be a part of. The amount of guys on the IL right now also makes all of those things pretty frustrating.”

With Crawford’s injury, second baseman Donovan Solano is the only Giants regular infielder who is not on the IL. First baseman Brandon Belt has been out since June 24 due to right knee inflammation, and is likely to be sidelined for the next two weeks. Third baseman Evan Longoria is on the 60-day injured list and isn’t eligible to come off until Aug. 5.

The Giants went into Monday’s game with the best record in the majors at 58-34 but have a precarious one-game lead over the defending World Series champion Dodgers in the NL West. Seven of the Giants’ next 10 games are against Los Angeles.

Thairo Estrada is expected to get most of the playing time at shortstop in Crawford’s place. The Giants also called up infielder Jason Vosler from Triple-A Sacramento to take Crawford’s roster spot.

“It’s important to acknowledge it is a blow when you are going to miss our best bat all year long, but also focus on the opportunity Estrada gets so that we can evaluate him,” Kapler said.

San Francisco did get some good news on the injury front, though. Star catcher Buster Posey was activated after missing nine games due to a bruised left thumb, and pitcher Kevin Gausman was reinstated from the Family Medical Emergency List in time to start Monday.

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