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Mitch's Sports Report: First Place (For Now) Belongs To The Red Sox; UVM Mens' Soccer Makes Top 25

It's been a while since I've been able to report that the Boston Red Sox have first place in the American league east all to themselves, but that is the case today after a 7-2 win over the San Diego Padres last night.

Home runs by Travis Shaw, Brock Holt, and Hanley Ramirez backed another solid outing by David Price, who went seven innings, giving up six hits and two runs, and most encouraging is that these kinds of outings for Price are not coming here and there in between poor outings, as they were for most of the season. Price has now won his last six starts, a season high for consecutive wins, and with a tighter than a sardine tin of teams jockeying for the division title as the home stretch toward October beckons, it's the perfect time for Price to be consistently dominant.  So the Red Sox now own a one-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays for the division lead, and after a travel day today, guess who's up next? Yep, a huge series looms north of the border starting tomorrow night between the Red Sox and Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre, with Rick Porcello aiming for his twentieth win of the season when he takes the hill for Boston.

The NY Yankees are on quite a run, now just two and a half games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second available wild card playoff berth after beating the Blue Jays 2-0. They got home runs from Starlin Castro and Brian McCann last night to back up the first major league win for pitcher Bryan Mitchell, who combined with Luis Severino and Tyler Clippard to keep the high-powered Toronto offense off the board all night. The start by Mitchell was the first since being called up from Triple A and missing most of the season up til now with a nagging toe injury. And as  much as the Red Sox appreciate the Yankees beating Toronto to allow the Sox to vault into first place, the Yankees are a mere three and a half games behind Boston for that same division lead.

If you're a NY Mets fan, injuries be damned, your team is also very much in the mix for a playoff run. The Mets swept the hapless Cincinnati Reds with a 6-3 win yesterday, the tone set by a Jose Reyes lead off home run. Noah Syndegaard wasn't his usual Thor-like self, lasting just five innings, but he got the win because the 2016 Reds are not exactly the Big Red Machine of the 70's. Curtis Granderson and Wilmer Flores also went yard for the Mets, who are now percentage points ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second and final wild card playoff berth, and the Mets have won eight of their last ten.

In mens' college soccer the Middlebury Panthers opened their season with a victory, topping Norwich 4-1 on the strength of four unanswered goals after Jake Zimmerman scored for the Cadets in the twenty-third minute.

Once the Panthers got on the board in the fifty-seventh minute on a corner kick that was headed in by Kyle Moffat, the floodgates opened. Adam Glaser, Philip Skayne and Tom Dils completed the second half scoring for Middlebury. The Panthers have their first NESCAC match Saturday at Connecitcut College. The Cadets drop to 1-2 with the loss and face Emmanuel on Saturday.

The Middlebury women were winners as well, beating Colby-Sawyer also 4-1 for their first victory in their first game of the season. First half goals by Amanda Hotvedt and Emma Shumway set the tone. Abbie Sansoucy cut the lead to one with a second half strike for Colby-Sawyer, but the Panthers put the game away in the second half on goals by Katherine Hobbs and Adrianna Gildner.

In other college soccer news, in the same week that UVM's Brian Wright was named America East player of the week, the Catamount mens' team vaulted into the top 25 in the most recent poll from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The Catamounts are 4-0 to start the year and are now ranked number twenty three in the national poll.

In college field hockey St. Michael's got the only goal of the game off the stick of Sophomore Jannelle Robinson as the Purple Knights beat American International College 1-0.

At the U.S. Open tennis tournament Serene Williams is now into the semi-finals, needing three sets but still defeating Simona Halep yesterday. The next obstacle for Williams in her quest to match Steffi Graf for most all-time grand slam championships is a match tonight against Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who beat Serena's older sister Venus this week.

The big upset on the mens' side was number six seed Kei Nishikori of Japan defeating number two Andy Murray in five sets yesterday. Top seed Novak Djokavic is still alive in the tournament as is number three seed Stan Wawrinka.