The dominance of the Golden State Warriors blew through the drama of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers with ease in this year's NBA Finals, making it possibly the most non-competitive Finals in history. The Warriors completed the sweep on the road with ease on Friday night with a 108-85 rout of the Cavs for their second straight NBA Title, and third in the past four years. Steph Curry led the scoring with 37 points, while Kevin Durant had a triple-double of 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists, as the Warriors got to the basket with little or no defense against them all night. The debate within the Warriors team was "who was going to be named Finals MVP between Curry and Durant?" Despite Curry's dominant first two games and fourth game, Durant was named Finals MVP for a second straight year, as he overcame Game-1 struggles to roll in the final three games. Durant becomes the 11th player in NBA history to win multiple Finals MVP awards, helping his team complete the first sweep in the NBA Finals since 2007, when the San Antonio Spurs swept the LeBron James-led Cavaliers. James was in his eighth straight Finals this year, but it was one to forget, and it could very well be his final appearance with the Cavaliers. He led the team with 23 points in the Game-4 loss and was seen being very animated at a timeout during a rant to his team on the bench. It came out after Friday's loss that James had been playing with a series hand injury after he punched a white board in frustration following the tough Game-1 loss last week. "King James" can opt out of his contract this off-season, which many expect him to do, as the talks of where he will play next year have already begun. Meanwhile, the Warriors can relax and enjoy yet another title celebration, as the parade coming up this week is becoming an annual thing in Oakland, California.
Mariners Stay Hot With 16th Win in 20 Games
The Seattle Mariners' recent surge has them on top of the Houston Astros in the AL West, and now that winning must continue to stay right there. They did just that on Friday night, earning their 16th win in the past 20 games by slipping past the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3. It was their second straight one-run win in the series, as they now have 20 of those on the season. Marco Gonzales continued to have success on the mound, as he pitched in to the eighth inning in his fourth straight win. Gonzales allowed just two runs and struck out three without walking a batter. Mallex Smith's infield single ended the outing for Gonzales, who improved to 7-3 on the season. He is now 4-0 with a 0.81 ERA over his last five starts, as the entire Mariners pitching staff continue to shut down the opposing teams. Gonzales did give up a long ball to Christian Arroyo, as the Rays used the home run ball to keep things close. C.J. Cron went deep off of former teammate Alex Colome in the eighth to make it a one-run game. Edwin Diaz would then come in to get the final four outs and earn his 22nd save in 25 tries, sending the Rays to their eighth straight loss. Tampa Bay rookie Wilmer Font made his first career major league start and struck out five over 2.1 innings, but fell to 0-3 on the year. He became the 13th different pitcher to start a game for the Rays this season. For the M's, Mitch Haniger tied his career high with his 47th RBI by singling home a run in the fifth inning. They did have one down side when Kyle Seager committed an error at third base, which was the first error for the M's in 16 games. They will be back at Tropicana Field for the third game of the series on Saturday.
Verlander, Astros Keep Pace With Mariners
For the second straight night the Houston Astros relied on their ace-caliber pitcher to keep pace with the Mariners in the AL West. On Friday night, it was Justin Verlander who overcame a tough beginning to strike out nine over six innings in a 7-3 win over the Texas Rangers. The right-hander improved to 8-2 despite giving up a lead off home run to Shin-Soo Choo in the first inning and then a two-run double to Nomar Mazara in the third. He ended up throwing 110 pitches on the night as his ERA moved up, but remained stellar at 1.45. Verlander had given up just two runs in his first 40.2 innings on the road this season before Choo got things started with a first-pitch long ball on Friday. The Astros' bats had their pitcher's back, including Jose Altuve going deep for a two-run shot, as Houston remained a game behind the Mariners in the West. Alex Bregman also went deep for a second straight day off of Rangers starter Doug Fister, who left the game after one pitch in the sixth inning with right knee soreness. He did suffer his seventh loss before exiting after surrendering his team's early lead when the Astros put up four runs in the second inning. Fister remains winless in his past 10 starts, with his last victory coming on the second day of the season against the Astros. Houston's four-run second was led by RBIs from Marwin Gonzalez and Tony Kemp, before George Springer laced a two-run double in to left field. Choo's long ball was the only bright spot for the Rangers, as the outfielder extended his on-base streak to 24 games in a row. The series will continue on Saturday night, as Charlie Morton will look to move past his first loss of the season.