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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports) —- LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Children, innocently letting their emotions overwhelm them, ran around the lobby of the Swan and Dolphin Resort Sunday morning, eyeing the holiday decorations, gifts scattered around the enormous Christmas trees, hoping to catch an early glimpse of Santa Claus before the big day.
By the evening, the sugar high will wear off, and they’ll be exhausted, headed back to the airport with TSA officials returning them to reality.
Replacing them on this massive Walt Disney property are thousands of cantankerous adults, mostly grumpy men whose only objective these next five days is to return home with a baseball team that’s a lot better than it was when they arrived.
They’ve got no interest in the Sugar Plum Candy Stand, the nightly Campfire and S’mores, the tree lighting ceremony or even the Dancing Light Special.
They just want some damn ballplayers, and will gladly hibernate the rest of the holiday season with a World Series championship parade dancing in their heads.
It’s baseball’s annual winter meetings, a convention where 30 teams and their entire front offices and field managers storm the hotel, followed in close pursuit by hundreds of agents and reporters.
This is where the New York Yankees can formally announce the acquisition of National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, say how they still want to somehow squeeze under the $197 million luxury tax despite assuming $265 million of Stanton’s contract, while still somehow adding free-agent pitching.
This is where the Miami Marlins, a franchise $400 million in debt, can look in the cameras with a straight face and tell us they really liked the prospects they received in return for Stanton and Gordon, while skipping down the hallways, knowing they just saved $303 million without those two contracts.
This is where agent Scott Boras will be peddling the likes of offensive stars Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez and Mike Moustakas, starter Jake Arrieta and closer Greg Holland, too, telling teams they can’t possibly win without them.
This is where the Boston Red Sox, who won two consecutive division titles but fired their manager anyway, get cozy with Boras, desperately needing one of his sluggers, Hosmer or Martinez, with Boras trying to convince them they actually need two.
This is where the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, still seething at all the wasted hours pursuing Stanton only to be rebuffed by the player exercising his no-trade rights, return with a vengeance, letting everyone they’ve got pockets full of cash and are ready to spend it.
The Cardinals, who offered pitching prospects Sandy Alcantara and Jack Flaherty, and were willing to pay nearly $250 million of Stanton’s $295 million guarantee, will return to the bargaining table with the Marlins. This time, they’ll focus their talks strictly on outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who they wanted in the first place, after hitting .312 with 37 homers last year.
Oh, and while they’re at it, they’ll be sitting down with the other Florida team, too, the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays, who have seen the disparity grow even greater in the AL East with Stanton coming aboard, are listening to anyone and everyone.
The Cardinals are making no secret they’d love to land Rays closer Alex Colome, who led the American League with 47 saves, and will take Gold Glove third baseman Evan Longoria and the remaining $92 million of his contract, along with him.
Their nemesis, the Chicago Cubs, want in, as well. They already signed starter Tyler Chatwood, but would love to get an audience with Tampa Bay to bring ace Chris Archer back home, too, even if it means parting with beloved slugger Kyle Schwarber or Ian Happ. If not, they likely will dip back into the free-agent market for starter Alex Cobb, whose only pitching coach has been Jim Hickey, now reunited with manager Joe Maddon in Chicago.
The Giants, who offered pitching prospect Tyler Beede and catching prospect Aramis Garcia while taking on about $230 million of Stanton’s contract, now will be trying to buy their way back to respectability.
After hitting a major league low 128 home runs – a mere 113 shy of the Yankees – they’re frantically seeking a reincarnation of Barry Bonds, and if they can’t sign Martinez, who hit 45 home runs in just 119 games last season with the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks, they likely will turn to slugger Jay Bruce at a discount price.
There are so many teams who need impact bats right now that the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays realize they’d be foolish not to listen.
The Orioles insist they aren’t shopping All-Star third baseman Manny Machado, but revealed that they’re listening to offers. This is a guy who could get $400 million a year from now in free agency, but if you really want him, what better way to get acquainted than spending the 2018 season with him.
The Blue Jays find themselves in a similar predicament. Their passionate fan base is imploring them to win now, but privately, they’d instead love to rebuild the farm system. They will listen to offers for third baseman Josh Donaldson knowing that a year from now, he’ll be gone as a free agent, too.
The Chicago White Sox stole the show a year ago at these meetings by trading ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox, and while they’re about to begin Year 2 of their rebuilding project, are shopping Jose Abreu, who has driven in at least 100 runs in each of his first four seasons with 30 or more homers in three of the years. The Red Sox are listening, but the White Sox would have to be overwhelmed to move him.
The Detroit Tigers, who unloaded ace Justin Verlander last summer, now have second baseman Ian Kinsler on the block, with the Los Angeles Angels and New York Mets intrigued. They also have future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera available, but with $192 million over the next six years still on the books, are waiting for the phone to ring.
The Pittsburgh Pirates could also keep teams from entering the free agent market with ace Gerrit Cole and center fielder Andrew McCutchen available, saying they want to win a World Series again one day, but still can’t afford their stars.
We may not see any executives take advantage of the free swan paddle boat rides, or swimming at the Mermaid Academy, or even tucked in with the elves, but with a few adult beverages inside them, there is Karaoke at Kimonos, adults-only after 11 p.m.
So shoo the kids away, take a deep breath, and watch baseball executives turn this joint into their own winter playground, with a week of baseball activity that has all of the promise of that thrill ride brought to you by the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers two months ago in the World Series.
This week is threatening to get absolutely goofy.
There were 166 free agents that hit the market this winter.
Who signed, for how much, who left and where they went. This chart will be updated throughout the offseason. (Player in italics have agreed to a deal.)
BALTIMORE (10) — DH/1B Pedro Alvarez; C Wellington Castillo; 2B Ryan Flaherty; OF Craig Gentry; SS J.J. Hardy; RHP Jeremy Hellickson; RHP Ubaldo Jimenez; OF Seth Smith, LHP Wade Miley; RHP Chris Tillman.
BOSTON (8) — LHP Fernando Abad; RHP Blaine Boyer; OF Rajai Davis; RHP Doug Fister; 1B Mitch Moreland; INF Eduardo Nunez; RHP Addison Reed; OF Chris Young.
CHI. WHITE SOX (2) — RHP Mike Pelfrey; C Geovany Soto.
CLEVELAND (7) — LHP Craig Breslow; OF Jay Bruce; OF Austin Jackson; LHP Boone Logan, C Carlos Santana; RHP Bryan Shaw; RHP Joe Smith.
DETROIT (1) — RHP Anibal Sanchez.
HOUSTON (5) — DH Carlos Beltran; RHP Tyler Clippard; RHP Luke Gregerson; LHP Francisco Liriano; OF Cameron Maybin.
KANSAS CITY (9) — OF Melky Cabrera; RHP Trevor Cahill; OF Lorenzo Cain; SS Alcides Escobar; 1B Eric Hosmer; LHP Mike Minor; 3B Mike Moustakas; RHP Peter Moylan; LHP Jason Vargas.
L.A. ANGELS (11) — RHP Andrew Bailey; RHP Jesse Chavez; 3B Yunel Escobar; RHP Ricky Nolasco; RHP Bud Norris; INF Cliff Pennington; RHP Yusmeiro Petit; 2B Brandon Phillips; OF Ben Revere; RHP Fernando Salas; RHP Huston Street.
MINNESOTA (5) — RHP Matt Belisle; RHP Bartolo Colon; RHP Dillon Gee; LHP Glen Perkins; LHP Hector Santiago.
N.Y. YANKEES (5) — 3B Todd Frazier; LHP Jaime Garcia; DH Matt Holliday; RHP Michael Pineda; LHP CC Sabathia.
OAKLAND (0) — None.
SEATTLE (7) — 1B Yonder Alonso; INF Gordon Beckham; OF Jarrod Dyson; RHP Yovani Gallardo; RHP Hisashi Iwakuma; C Carlos Ruiz; 1B/3B Danny Valencia.
TAMPA BAY (9) — OF Peter Bourjos; RHP Steve Cishek; RHP Alex Cobb; 1B Lucas Duda; RHP Tommy Hunter; 1B Logan Morrison; 3B Trevor Plouffe; OF Colby Rasmus; RHP Sergio Romo.
TEXAS (6) —RHP Tony Barnette, RHP Andrew Cashner; OF Carlos Gomez; RHP Miguel Gonzalez; RHP Jason Grilli, 1B Mike Napoli.
TORONTO (5) — LHP Brett Anderson; 2B Darwin Barney, OF Jose Bautista; C Miguel Montero; OF Michael Saunders.
ARIZONA (7) — OF Gregor Blanco; LHP Jorge De La Rosa; RHP David Hernandez; C Chris Iannetta; OF J.D. Martinez; RHP Fernando Rodney; INF Adam Rosales.
ATLANTA (2) — RHP R.A. Dickey; RHP Jason Motte.
CHI. CUBS (8) — RHP Jake Arrieta; C Alex Avila; RHP Wade Davis; LHP Brian Duensing; OF Jon Jay; RHP John Lackey; C Rene Rivera; RHP Koji Uehara.
CINCINNATI (4) — RHP Bronson Arroyo; SS Zack Cozart; RHP Scott Feldman; RHP Drew Storen.
COLORADO (9) — OF Alexi Amarista; RHP Tyler Chatwood; OF Carlos Gonzalez; C Ryan Hanigan; RHP Greg Holland, C Jonathan Lucroy; LHP Jake McGee; RHP Pat Neshek; 1B Mark Reynolds.
L.A. DODGERS (7) — RHP Yu Darvish; OF Andre Ethier; OF Curtis Granderson; OF Franklin Gutierrez; RHP Brandon Morrow; 2B Chase Utley; LHP Tony Watson.
MIAMI (4) — INF Mike Aviles; C A.J. Ellis; RHP Dustin McGowan; OF Ichiro Suzuki.
MILWAUKEE (3) — RHP Matt Garza; RHP Anthony Swarzak; 2B Neil Walker.
N.Y. METS (1) — INF Jose Reyes.
PHILADELPHIA (4) — INF Andres Blanco; RHP Clay Buchholz; OF Hyun-Soo Kim; OF Daniel Nava.
PITTSBURGH (3) — RHP Joaquin Benoit; 1B John Jaso; C Chris Stewart.
ST. LOUIS (4) — LHP Zach Duke; RHP Lance Lynn; RHP Juan Nicasio; RHP Seung-Hwan Oh.
SAN DIEGO (4) — SS Erick Aybar; RHP Jhoulys Chacin; RHP Jordan Lyles; RHP Craig Stammen.
SAN FRANCISCO (4) — RHP Matt Cain (retired); C Nick Hundley; 1B/3B Jae-Gynn Hwang; OF Michael Morse.
WASHINGTON (12) — RHP Matt Albers; RHP Joe Blanton; OF Alejandro De Aza; 2B Stephen Drew; RHP Edwin Jackson,; OF/2B Howie Kendrick; RHP Brandon Kintzler; 1B Adam Lind; C Jose Lobaton; LHP Oliver Perez; OF Ryan Raburn; OF Jayson Werth.
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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports) —- If the Miami Marlins follow through on their apparent intentions to trade Giancarlo Stanton, they’ll have the rare distinction of dealing away a newly minted MVP.
Stanton earned the award in the National League on Thursday by only two points after a career season in which he belted 59 home runs, the highest total in the majors since 2001.
In the fourth-closest MVP race ever, Stanton received 10 of the 30 first-place votes and had 302 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He edged out Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who also received 10 first-place votes but 300 points.
Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt finished third with 239 points.
Finally free of the injuries that sidetracked him the last two years, Stanton put together the kind of monstrous season long envisioned of him. He batted .281 and set career highs in home runs and RBI, leading the majors with 132. Stanton also finished second in the league in on-base plus slugging percentage with a 1.007 mark and was a finalist for the Gold Glove in right field.
Mechanical adjustments that included closing his stance contributed to a staggering home run outburst for Stanton, whose blasts typically left little doubt they would leave the yard.
During a 48-game stretch from July 5-Aug. 29, Stanton banged out 30 homers to help the Marlins go 29-19 and briefly climb above .500. However, they went on a tailspin shortly after that and finished 77-85, well out of the playoff race.
A new ownership group headed by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter has since taken over and made it clear it plans to shed payroll, and Stanton’s contract – which calls for him to earn $295 million over the next 10 years – may be the starting point.
If so, the 28-year-old Stanton would join Alex Rodriguez as MVPs traded in the offseason when they won the award. The Texas Rangers sent Rodriguez and the remainder of his $252 million contract to the New York Yankees in February 2004, months after he claimed baseball’s top individual honor in the American League.
This year’s MVP race rekindled the longstanding debate over whether a player from a contending team is more worthy than an elite performer on an also-ran.
Goldschmidt, a runner-up for the third time in five years, was a major factor in the Diamondbacks improving by 24 wins and reaching the postseason for the first time since 2011. The five-time All-Star batted .297 with 36 homers, 120 RBI and a .966 OPS. In addition, Goldschmidt stole 18 bases and collected his third Gold Glove.
He looked like the favorite going into September, but batted just .171 in the final month – likely in part because of an elbow injury – while Stanton was following up his 18-homer August with another eight in September.
None of the top MVP candidates could claim more consistency than Votto, the OPS leader in the NL with a 1.032 mark. Previously dogged by charges that he was too picky at the plate and did not drive in enough runs, Votto led the league in walks for the fifth time but also hit 36 homers to go along with 100 RBI. He had an OPS above .875 in every month.
Like Stanton, though, Votto played for a losing team, as the Reds finished last in the NL Central at 68-94.
In Stanton’s case, the astonishing power display was enough to overcome the bias toward players on contending teams. Now he awaits to find out whether he’ll soon join one.
As a three-time batting champ and four-time American League hits leader, Jose Altuve long ago erased any concerns about his height. Now it’s his stature within the game that’s talked about.
On Thursday, the Houston Astros second baseman rose to baseball’s highest individual level when he was chosen as the AL MVP.
The 5-foot-6 Altuve was named on 27 of 30 first-place ballots to collect 405 points as he outdistanced New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, who received two first-place votes for 279 points. Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez was third with 237 points.
Altuve, 27, was the catalyst of baseball’s most prolific offense, hitting a majors-best .346 with 24 homers, 81 RBI, 32 steals and a .957 on-base plus slugging percentage.
He became the first AL player to win a World Series and MVP award in the same year since the Detroit Tigers’ Willie Hernandez in 1984.
A native of Venezuela, Altuve was one of four Houston players remaining from the 2013 team that lost 111 games. As such, he brought a desire for constant improvement to the Astros, who rampaged to the AL West crown, came from behind to beat the Yankees in the AL Championship Series and outlasted the Los Angeles Dodgers in a memorable World Series to claim the first championship in franchise history.
In a season when Judge put up spectacular power numbers but endured several peaks and valleys, Altuve remained a picture of consistency, batting .347 in the first half and .344 in the second. He hit at least .298 with an .850 OPS in every month and went on a stunning tear in July, batting .485 for the month.
Altuve paired up with emerging superstar Carlos Correa to become the only keystone combo in the big leagues featuring both players with an OPS above .900. In the 40 games Correa missed in the second half with a thumb injury, Altuve batted .384 with a 1.015 OPS.
“Everything Altuve is about makes an MVP,’’ Astros manager A.J. Hinch said late in the season. “His strength, his consistency, his dominance in a lot of aspects of the game. He really embodies what an MVP is.’’
Not that Judge, who stands 13 inches taller, didn’t have a strong case of his own.
The unanimous AL rookie of the year led the league with 52 home runs and finished second in RBI with 114 and OPS at 1.049, which was 92 points higher than Altuve’s third-place mark. Displaying the grace and poise of former Yankees icon Derek Jeter, Judge quickly won over fans not just in New York but nationwide as he pounded titanic home runs at record pace.
Judge had 30 by the All-Star break, won the Home Run Derby, then fell into a deep slump that saw him bat .179 over the next 44 games and served as a reminder he was still a rookie.
A big September that included 15 home runs and helped power the Yankees to a wild-card spot rekindled Judge’s MVP candidacy, but not enough to match Altuve’s all-around greatness.
In his first year as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Torey Lovullo lifted the franchise from a 69-win season in 2016 to 93, third most in the National League, and a postseason appearance in 2017.
For his accomplishments, Lovullo was named the NL’s Manager of the Year, the Baseball Writers’ Assn. of America announced on Tuesday.
In the American League, Paul Molitor, a finalist for the award for the second time in three years, led the Minnesota Twins to a surprise run to the AL Wild Card Game to win his first Manager of the Year award.
Molitor received 18 of 30 first-place votes and 111 total points. Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians received 11 first place votes and A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros received one to finish second and third, respectively.
Lovullo received 18 of 30 first-place votes and 111 total points. Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers received five first place votes and Bud Black of the Colorado Rockies received three to finish second and third, respectively.
Under Lovullo, the D’backs finished second in the NL West with a 93-69 record to earn a wild card berth. They beat the Rockies in the wild-card game and advanced to the NL Division Series, where they were swept by the eventual NL champion Dodgers.
The players credit Lovullo’s success by helping create a good clubhouse culture and the ability to communicate freely.
Lovullo, 52, became the third Diamondbacks manager to win the award, following Bob Melvin (2007) and Kirk Gibson (2011).
The Twins, with the ninth lowest payroll in the majors, turned a 103-loss season in 2016 to an 85-win year — an MLB-high 26-game improvement. In doing so, the Twins became the first club to go from losing 100 games to making the postseason the next year.
In a mid-season twist, the Twins became sellers at the July 31 trading deadline after going 50-53. But after winning 20 games in August, Molitor led the Twins to the second wild card berth.
Molitor, a Hall of Famer, and the Twins lost to the New York Yankees 8-4 in the wild card game.
(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.
Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.
Two aces, two different styles — and now another Cy Young Award for each.
The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Kluber’s win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.
Scherzer yelled “yes!” when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding — also with expletives — that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.
Just a little different than the pitcher they call “Klubot.” Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn’t react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.
Not that he wasn’t thrilled.
“Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one,” Kluber said.
Scherzer’s win moves him into rare company. He’s the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren’t in the Hall of Fame.
“That’s why I’m drinking a lot of champagne tonight,” Scherzer said.
Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.
“This one is special,” he said. “When you start talking about winning three times, I can’t even comprehend it at this point.”
Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington’s training staff was high on his thank-you list.
“Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field,” he said. “I’m very thankful for all their hard work.”
Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.
Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.
The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota’s Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games — nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.
Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.
Scherzer said he couldn’t even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.
“That will eat at me this whole offseason,” he said.
Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.
The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.
Aaron Judge began the year just hoping to have a locker in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse.
He ends it with his own rooting section in right field, a strong celebrity profile, a rookie-record 52 home runs – and the American League Rookie of the Year award.
Judge, the 6-foot-7, 25-year-old slugger whose “Judge’s Chambers” became a Bronx fixture as he kept pounding home runs, on Monday was named the first unanimous AL rookie winner since the Chicago White Sox’s Jose Abreu in 2014. He received all 15 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Assn. of America. Boston Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi received 23 of 30 second-place votes, while Baltimore Orioles slugger Trey Mancini finished third.
He also becomes the first Yankee to win the award since Derek Jeter in 1996. While Judge has a long way to go to match the Cooperstown-bound shortstop’s two decades of accomplishments, there were times in his rookie year that Judge proved able to handle the spotlight with Jeter’s aplomb.
Even for a guy rightfully concerned he wouldn’t make the club out of spring training.
“I’m still sitting back trying to think of what all happened this year,” Judge said in a conference call Monday evening. “From battling in spring training, to the highs and lows all year, to the playoffs and coming up short. It’s nothing I ever could have dreamed about. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
“The highs and lows mold you. It was an incredible year.”
At times, Judge made it look easy.
Judge hit the All-Star break with 30 home runs, and commanded significant attention at the Midsummer Classic. The buzz continued after Judge won the Home Run Derby at Marlins Park, but a cold streak dogged the strikeout-prone slugger – he fanned 208 times in 2017- through much of July and August. In one 20-game stretch, he struck out 37 times while batting just .171.
But Judge got hot again, hitting 15 homers in his final 27 games to zoom past Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49 homers set in 1987. The Yankees, meanwhile, won the wild card game against Minnesota and came within one win of their first World Series appearance since 2009.
They’ll try again next year – when Judge will have a solid idea that he’ll make the squad from the get-go.
For the first time since they captured five consecutive National League Rookie of the Year awards from 1992-96, the Los Angeles Dodgers have won the top rookie award back-to-back.
Monday, it was Cody Bellinger following in Corey Seager’s footsteps, a core that figures to position the Dodgers at the top of the NL for years to come.
Bellinger, like Seager, captured the award in unanimous fashion, after slugging an NL rookie record 39 home runs – a feat he pulled off despite not making his major league debut until April 25.
Now, he’s the 18th Dodger to earn top rookie honors – a group that began with Jackie Robinson, the man for whom the rookie award is now named.
“It’s a huge honor,” Bellinger said in a TV interview after earning the award. “Now that the season’s over, I’m really trying to reflect how crazy this season was. To top it off and be part of those big-name guys is really special.”
Bellinger received all 30 first-place votes – Kris Bryant and Seager make it three consecutive unanimous NL winners – to outpoint St. Louis shortstop Paul DeJong (56 total points) and Pittsburgh first baseman Josh Bell (32).
A fourth-round pick in 2013 and the son of former major league utilityman Clay Bellinger, the Dodgers first baseman reached 21 home runs in 51 games, faster than anyone to start a major league career. Bellinger reached the All-Star break with 25 home runs, and the Dodgers raced out to a 91-36 start.
Both player and team saw their rolls slowed in August, when Bellinger suffered an ankle injury and the Dodgers began a skid of 16 losses in 17 games.
Bellinger – and Seager, as well – returned from injury and the Dodgers steadied themselves, all the way to their first World Series since 1988.
That’s a feat never achieved by the Dodger quintet that owned the NL rookie award in the early ’90s – Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo and Todd Hollandsworth.
That core began dismantling in 1998, when Piazza was traded away. The Dodgers need not worry about their new core for a while: Bellinger and Seager will be around through at least 2021.
Bellinger says the Dodgers’ seven-game loss to the Houston Astros in the World Series was “pretty exhausting,” although he doesn’t anticipate a Dodgers hangover in 2018.
“The taste in everyone’s mouth after we lost was definitely sour,” Bellinger said on a conference call. “Obviously the young guys are hungry, and those (more experienced) guys are hungry. It’s going to be a fun year.”
(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports) — With the postseason completed, award season has officially began.
Let the debates begin.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the top three vote-getters for the MVP, Cy Young and rookie of the year awards on Monday.
The honors will be announced next week on MLB Network. Voting was completed by the end of the regular season.
With the postseason completed, award season has officially began.
Let the debates begin.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the top three vote-getters for the MVP, Cy Young and rookie of the year awards on Monday.
The honors will be announced next week on MLB Network. Voting was completed by the end of the regular season.
Award date and finalists (times ET):
AL rookie of the year (6:15 p.m.)
NL rookie of the year (6:43 p.m.)
NL manager of the year (6:15 p.m)
AL manager of the year (6:43 p.m.)
AL Cy Young Award (6:15 p.m.)
NL Cy Young Award (6:43 p.m.)
NL MVP (6:15 p.m.)
AL MVP (6:45 p.m.)
Award date and finalists (times ET):
AL rookie of the year (6:15 p.m.)
NL rookie of the year (6:43 p.m.)
NL manager of the year (6:15 p.m)
AL manager of the year (6:43 p.m.)
AL Cy Young Award (6:15 p.m.)
NL Cy Young Award (6:43 p.m.)
NL MVP (6:15 p.m.)
AL MVP (6:45 p.m.)
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Cardinals were eliminated from postseason contention when Leonys Martin leaped at the center-field fence to rob Paul DeJong of a tying home run with two outs in the 11th inning, preserving the Chicago Cubs’ 2-1 win over St. Louis on Thursday night.
St. Louis, which went 5-14 against its rival, missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2007 and 2008. At 82-77, the Cardinals are assured their fewest wins since going 78-84 in 2007.
A day after clinched their second straight NL Central title, the defending World Series champions started only two position players who had played in at least 100 games: outfielders Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber.
Schwarber singled off Matt Bowman (3-6) with one out in the 11th and Davis, who struck out in his first three at-bats, hit a run-scoring double down the left-field line.
Jen-Ho Tseng (1-0) pitched three hitless innings.
RAYS 9, YANKEES 6
NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge hit his 51st home run to give the Yankees a quick lead, but New York missed a big chance to tighten the AL East race when Sonny Gray and the bullpen fell apart in a loss to the Rays.
The Yankees stayed three games behind division-leading Boston, which fell to Houston 12-2. Each team has three games left and both are assured playoff spots — if they wind up even, the Yankees would host the Red Sox in a tiebreaker Monday.
Brett Gardner, Greg Bird and pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks also homered for New York, which had won three in a row. Wilson Ramos homered during a seven-run burst in the fifth inning for the Rays, who had lost three straight.
ASTROS 12, RED SOX 2
BOSTON (AP) — Major league batting leader Jose Altuve had three of Houston’s 17 hits, Carlos Correa had four and the Astros chased Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez in the second inning to win and keep Boston from clinching the first back-to-back AL East championships in franchise history.
Despite the loss, the Red Sox were guaranteed no worse than a tie for the division title when the Yankees lost 9-6 to Tampa Bay.
Boston needs one more win or Yankees loss to win the division; otherwise, the teams would meet in a one-game tie-breaker in New York on Monday to see who needs to play in the wild-card game and who advances to the AL Division Series — likely facing the Astros.
Altuve had two singles and his 39th double to raise his batting average to .350. Brad Peacock (13-2) allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, striking out two and walking one for the AL West champion Astros.
MARLINS 7, BRAVES 1
MIAMI (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton homered twice to become the first player to hit 59 in a season since 2001, and the Miami Marlins opened the last series of Jeffrey Loria’s tenure as owner by beating the Braves.
Stanton hit a solo home run in the fourth, then added a two-run drive in the eighth that would have gone 467 feet unimpeded, according to MLB’s Statcast.
He has 33 home runs since the All-Star break and 10 multihomer games this season. He became the sixth player to reach 59, joining Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth.
Ichiro Suzuki got his 27th pinch hit of the year, one shy of the record John Vander Wal set in 1995.
Dee Gordon got two hits for the Marlins, who despite a 75-84 record assured themselves of second place in the NL East, their highest finish since 2009.
INDIANS 5, TWINS 2
CLEVELAND (AP) — Carlos Carrasco struck out 14, Jason Kipnis and Roberto Perez hit two-run homers and the Indians notched their 100th win, 5-2 over the understandably sluggish Twins. Minnesota clinched a wild-card berth hours earlier.
Carrasco (18-6) dominated a Minnesota lineup loaded with reserves and September call-ups. He allowed six hits — all singles — in 8 1-3 innings and improved to 3-0 with a 0.92 ERA against the Twins. The right-hander also moved into a tie for the league lead in wins with teammate Corey Kluber and Kansas City’s Jason Vargas.
Kipnis, who has moved from second base to center field, connected for a two-run homer — his first since Aug. 18 — in the sixth inning off Trevor Hildenberger (3-3) as the Indians jumped to 31-4 since Aug. 24.
This is just the third time Cleveland has won 100 games in a season. The last team to do it was Cleveland’s powerful 1995 squad, which lost to Atlanta in the World Series.
ATHLETICS 4, RANGERS 1
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ryon Healy hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the sixth inning to help the Athletics beat the Rangers.
It was the fifth straight road win for the Athletics and seventh consecutive loss for the Rangers. It’s Texas’ longest skid since an eight-game slide in 2015.
Bruce Maxwell took to a knee in the Oakland bullpen during the national anthem. The catcher was warming up starter Sean Manaea, out of view from many fans and cameras. One fan near the Oakland dugout said “boo” in a normal voice, and a small number of fans booed when Maxwell batted in the second inning. Maxwell has been the only major league baseball player to take to a knee, mirroring protests by NFL players against racial injustice. This was Maxwell’s first road game since he began his protest last weekend.
Manaea (12-10) gave up three hits and no earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. Blake Treinen pitched a scoreless ninth for his 15th save in 20 opportunities.
Miguel Gonzalez (8-13) took the loss.
BREWERS 4, REDS 3
MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Brewers closed within two games of Colorado for the National League’s second wild card with three games left, rallying to beat the Reds as Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning.
Milwaukee (84-75) closes the regular season at St. Louis, and the Rockies host the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Brewers are assured of their best record since finishing 96-66 in 2011, when they lost to the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series, Milwaukee’s last playoff appearance.
After Cincinnati tied the score in the sixth on RBI singles by Scooter Gennett against Brent Suter and Jesse Winkler off Oliver Drake, Jared Hughes (5-3) entered with two on and the Reds loaded the bases when the reliever bobbled Jose Peraza’s bunt for an error.
Hughes struck out Adam Duvall and got Stuart Turner to ground into a double play.
NATIONALS 5, PIRATES 4
WASHINGTON (AP) — The NL East champion Nationals began their last — and meaningless — series of the regular season without a sore Bryce Harper and with a blown save by closer Sean Doolittle in what became a victory over the Pirates, whose starting pitcher, Ivan Nova, left after getting hit by a pitch on his throwing hand while batting.
Howie Kendrick, a possible starter instead of Jayson Werth in left field when Washington opens its NL Division Series against the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs on Oct. 6, was taken out in the third inning after diving to try to catch a sinking liner. The Nationals did not immediately announce whether Kendrick was injured.
WHITE SOX 5, ANGELS 4
CHICAGO (AP) — Rob Brantly hit the game-tying home run in the eighth inning and Tim Anderson hustled home for the go-ahead run as the White Sox rallied for a victory over the Angels.
Anderson scored from first base on a single by Rymer Liriano, as the throw from left fielder Ben Revere went to second base and Anderson alertly headed home, scoring easily on reliever Jesse Chavez (7-11).
Carlos Perez homered for the Angels, who used seven pitchers and sat stars Mike Trout and Justin Upton one night after being eliminated from playoff contention.
Gregory Infante (2-1) earned the win in relief, throwing a scoreless eighth inning. Juan Minaya earned his eighth save with a perfect ninth inning for the White Sox, who won for the 12th time in 19 games.
TIGERS 4, ROYALS 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Daniel Norris threw five scoreless innings to pick up his first victory in more than three months as the Tigers snapped a season-high nine-game losing streak by beating the Royals.
Norris (5-8) gave up two hits in five innings. He was 0-4 in four starts and four relief appearances since a June 16 triumph over Tampa Bay.
The Tigers had been outscored 68-39 in their losing streak, which was their longest since dropping nine straight Sept. 1-9, 2005.
Nicholas Castellanos’ fifth-inning double with the bases loaded scored Alex Presley, JaCoby Jones and Dixon Machado. Jones singled home Andrew Romine with the first run of the inning.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy (9-10) did not make it through the inning.
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Brian Dozier’s three-run homer in the eighth inning pushed Minnesota to the brink of a playoff berth as the Twins rallied for an 8-6 victory over Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians lost for just the third time in 32 games.
Dozier connected for his 33rd homer against Bryan Shaw (4-6) as the Twins lowered their magic number for clinching a playoff berth to one.
Edwin Encarnacion hit his 38th homer and drove in four runs for the Indians, whose 29-3 mark over 32 games is the best in the majors since the 1947 New York Yankees accomplished the feat.
Taylor Rogers (7-3), one of a club-record 10 pitchers used by Twins manager Paul Molitor, got two outs in the seventh and Matt Belisle worked the ninth for his eighth save.
YANKEES 6, RAYS 1
NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Hicks robbed Wilson Ramos of a first-inning grand slam in the outfielder’s return from the disabled list, and the Yankees clinched home-field advantage if they end up in the AL wild-card game next week.
Tampa Bay’s first three batters reached against rookie Jordan Montgomery (9-7), and Hicks leaped at the 385-foot sign in right-center to get his glove above the wall. He squeezed the webbing tight, preventing the ball from popping out and limiting Ramos to a sacrifice fly.
Assured no worse than a wild-card berth, the Yankees closed within three games of AL East-leading Boston with five remaining.
Tampa Bay (76-81) was eliminated from playoff contention and missed the postseason for the fourth straight year. Blake Snell (4-7) got the loss.
DODGERS 9, PADRES 2
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adrian Gonzalez hit his third home run of an injury-plagued season and Los Angeles beat San Diego to clinch home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs.
Yasmani Grandal and Corey Seager each had a three-run homer for the NL West champions, who improved to 101-57.
They’ll open a best-of-five Division Series at home Oct. 6 against the winner of the NL wild-card game, hosted by Arizona. The Diamondbacks’ opponent has not been determined yet.
Alex Wood (16-3) allowed two runs in six innings for Los Angeles. Dinelson Lamet (7-8) gave up four runs and walked six over five innings.
ROCKIES 6, MARLINS 0
DENVER (AP) — Trevor Story hit a three-run homer and Tyler Anderson pitched seven superb innings, helping Colorado maintain its slim lead for the second NL wild card.
The Rockies notched their first win over the Marlins in five tries this season and stayed 1 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee.
Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer in the fifth for Colorado. Anderson (6-6) allowed four hits and walked none.
Miami starter Jose Urena (14-7) yielded six runs over five innings. The right-hander allowed a total of six runs in four previous starts this month.
ANGELS 9, WHITE SOX 3
CHICAGO (AP) — Mike Trout hit his 31st homer, Albert Pujols joined Alex Rodriguez as the only players with 100 RBIs in 14 seasons, and the fading Angels won on the road.
Los Angeles remained five games behind Minnesota for the final AL wild card with five to play.
Trout, Brandon Phillips and Luis Valbuena homered off Chris Volstad (1-1) during a six-run second inning. Parker Bridwell (9-3) improved to 5-0 in nine road starts.
Jose Abreu had three hits for Chicago, including his 32nd and 33rd homers.
BLUE JAYS 9, RED SOX 4
BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox ace Chris Sale matched a career worst by giving up four home runs in a playoff tuneup, including a pair to Josh Donaldson.
Teoscar Hernandez hit one of his two homers off Sale, and Kendrys Morales had the other against the left-hander. Sale (17-8) allowed five runs in five innings and surrendered multiple homers for the third time in five starts.
J.A. Happ (10-11) struck out nine while pitching seven strong innings for the last-place Blue Jays. He was charged with one run and four hits.
PIRATES 10, ORIOLES 1
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Andrew McCutchen hit his first career grand slam and drove in eight runs, powering Pittsburgh to the victory.
McCutchen raised a fist in triumph as he rounded the bases after connecting against Kevin Gausman (11-11) in the second inning. He also hit an RBI double in the first, singled in the fifth and belted a three-run homer in the seventh.
McCutchen’s eight RBIs were one off the franchise record and the most by a Pirate since Jason Bay in 2004.
Trevor Williams (7-9) pitched six innings of one-run ball and rookie Steven Brault finished the five-hitter for his first career save.
ASTROS 14, RANGERS 3
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Carlos Correa, Brian McCann and Cameron Maybin each drove in three runs, and Houston clinched no worse than the second-best record in the American League.
Houston (97-60) trails Cleveland by one game with five to play in the race for the league’s best record. The Indians own the tiebreaker, having won the season series.
Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel (14-5) struck out eight while pitching six effective innings.
Rangers ace Cole Hamels (11-5) was charged with six runs in three-plus innings.
CARDINALS 8, CUBS 7
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Tommy Pham and Randal Grichuk homered, and the Cardinals denied the Cubs a chance at clinching the NL Central title.
Matt Carpenter and Jedd Gyorko also connected for St. Louis, which is 2 1/2 games back in the race for the second NL wild card. Zach Duke (1-1) got the win and Juan Nicasio earned his fifth save.
Jason Heyward hit a three-run homer for Chicago, and Ben Zobrist also went deep. Jake Arrieta (14-10) was charged with three earned runs in three innings.
The Cubs (88-69) still lead the division by five games over second-place Milwaukee.
BREWERS 7, REDS 6
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Domingo Santana hit a three-run homer in Milwaukee’s four-run first, and the Brewers held on for the win.
Milwaukee remained 1 1/2 games behind Colorado for the second NL wild card. Josh Hader (2-3) earned the win, and Corey Knebel worked the ninth for his 38th save.
Scott Schebler, Zack Cozart and Jesse Winker homered for last-place Cincinnati, which has dropped seven in a row. Rookie Deck McGuire (0-1) allowed four earned runs in three innings.
DIAMONDBACKS 11, GIANTS 4
PHOENIX (AP) — J.D. Martinez hit a grand slam and drove in six runs, leading Arizona and its lineup of regulars over San Francisco.
Martinez continued his torrid September in which he has 15 home runs, 35 RBIs and seven doubles with a .414 batting average. He has 28 homers since the Diamondbacks acquired him from Detroit, tied with Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton for most in the majors since July 19.
The six RBIs tied a career high, and Martinez’s total of 103 RBIs on the season is a career best.
Arizona starter Robbie Ray (15-5) had more than enough support, though he gave up Tim Federowicz’s two-run homer in the fifth.
Giants starter Matt Moore (6-15) couldn’t make it out of the second inning.
PHILLIES 4, NATIONALS 1
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jake Thompson pitched four-hit ball into the sixth inning, and Philadelphia spoiled Bryce Harper’s return from a knee injury.
With the loss, Washington locked itself into the second seed in the NL playoffs behind the Dodgers. The Nationals will host the NL Central champion in a Division Series beginning Oct. 6 at Nationals Park.
Thompson (3-2) was charged with a run in five-plus innings. Hector Neris struck out the side in the ninth for his 25th save.
Harper played for the first time since hyperextending and bruising his left knee on Aug. 12. He was 0 for 2 with a walk before being lifted in the fifth inning.
Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez (15-8) allowed three runs in five innings.
MARINERS 6, ATHLETICS 3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Danny Valencia hit a three-run homer against his former team and fellow ex-Oakland slugger Yonder Alonso added a two-run shot for Oakland.
Khris Davis matched his career high from last season with his 42nd homer, a two-run shot in the sixth to put Oakland ahead before Valencia’s 15th of the year in the seventh off Daniel Mengden (2-2).
Emilio Pagan (2-3) pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief of James Paxton for the win, then Edwin Diaz closed it out for his 33rd save.
METS 4, BRAVES 3
NEW YORK (AP) — Travis Taijeron hit a game-ending RBI single in the ninth, sending the Mets to the win.
New York was stymied by R.A. Dickey much of the night and trailed 3-0 in the seventh before Kevin Plawecki hit a two-run homer off the 42-year-old knuckleballer. Asdrubal Cabrera tied it with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Jeurys Familia (2-2) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
Dickey, who won the NL Cy Young Award with the Mets in 2012, allowed five hits in 6 2/3 innings. A.J. Minter (0-1) got the loss.
ROYALS 2, TIGERS 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Jason Vargas moved into a tie for the major league lead with his 18th victory, leading the Royals over the struggling Tigers.
Vargas (18-10) went six innings to match Cleveland’s Corey Kluber and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw for most wins in the majors. He gave up a run and five hits.
The Tigers have dropped eight straight to fall to 4-21 in September. Anibal Sanchez (3-6) took the loss, allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings.
Mike Minor worked the ninth for his third save in five chances.
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HOUSTON (AP) — Justin Verlander struck out 10 over seven innings in his first home start for Houston, Derek Fisher and Marwin Gonzalez homered in a big fifth inning and the Astros clinched the American League West with a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday for their first division title since 2001.
George Springer and Carlos Correa also homered for the Astros, who won their first division title since 2001 and seventh overall. The Astros become the first team in major league history to win titles in three divisions after previously winning the NL West and NL Central.
Verlander (13-8) retired his first seven batters before Ben Gamel homered into the right-center bullpen in the third. He allowed just two singles after that to improve to 3-0 since he was acquired from Detroit on Aug. 31.
Andrew Moore (1-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings.
TIGERS 12, WHITE SOX 0
DETROIT (AP) — Matthew Boyd’s no-hit bid ended when Tim Anderson doubled with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Detroit left-hander closed out a one-hitter for the first shutout of his professional career.
Boyd (6-10) allowed only two runners — a walk to Rob Brantly in the third and Anderson’s double to the gap in right-center field with two outs in the ninth. He struck out five and threw 121 pitches — his big league high.
Dylan Covey (0-6) allowed five runs, seven hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings.
Nick Castellanos, Mikie Mahtook and Jeimer Candelario homered.
NATIONALS 7, DODGERS 1
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Strasburg ended his club-record scoreless streak at 35 innings, but two home runs from Ryan Zimmerman helped the All-Star win his fourth consecutive start as Washington beat Los Angeles.
Strasburg (14-4) allowed a run in the second inning on Logan Forsythe’s double, the first against the right-hander since Aug. 19. He struck out eight and combined with three relievers to toss a five-hitter.
The Nationals avoided a three-game sweep against the NL frontrunners. Washington’s slumbering offense came alive on Zimmerman’s three-run shot in the sixth off reliever Ross Stripling (3-5). Zimmerman and pinch-hitter Adam Lind homered in the eighth.
Los Angeles lost 11 in a row and 16 of 17 before ripping off four consecutive wins, including the first two games this series. The Dodgers magic number to clinch the NL West dropped to four when second-place Arizona lost at San Francisco.
RAYS 3, RED SOX 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — David Price pitched two hitless innings in his first big league game since July 22 after being sidelined by left elbow inflammation. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner made his first relief appearance since 2010.
Jake Odorizzi (9-8) gave up one hit in six innings, a Jackie Bradley Jr. home run. Jesus Sucre hit a tiebreaking solo home run off Eduardo Rodriguez (5-6) in the sixth. Alex Colome pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 45th save. Tampa Bay remained 5½ games behind the Twins.
PADRES 4, ROCKIES 3
DENVER (AP) — Rockies closer Greg Holland dropped the ball trying to tag Matt Szczur at home on Austin Hedge’s squeeze bunt in the ninth inning, allowing San Diego to finish its rally and beat Colorado.
Hedges bunted back to Holland (3-6) with runners at the corners and one out, but after making a nice play to scoop up the ball, Holland lost control trying to tag a sliding Szczur.
Colorado’s bullpen blew its first save in three weeks and let the Rockies’ lead for the second NL wild card shrink to 2 1/2 games over Milwaukee. The Brewers beat Miami on Sunday, and St. Louis, which lost to the Chicago Cubs, stayed 4 1/2 back.
Kirby Yates (4-5) pitched the eighth, and Brad Hand got the last three outs for his 18th save.
ORIOLES 6, YANKEES 4
NEW YORK (AP) — Ubaldo Jimenez (6-1) struck out 10 in just five innings, and Tim Beckham hit a three-run homer off Sonny Gray (9-11), who allowed five runs in four innings during his shortest start this season.
Didi Gregorius homered for the third straight day as New York’s four-game winning streak ended. The Yankees remained three games behind AL East-leading Boston and four games ahead of Minnesota for the top AL wild card. Baltimore, which had lost nine of 10, is 5½ games behind the Twins.
With two outs and a runner on third in the ninth, Zach Britton intentionally walked Aaron Judge, then struck out Gary Sanchez for his 15th save.
TWINS 13, BLUE JAYS 7
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Eddie Rosario homered twice, Joe Mauer hit his first grand slam at home and Minnesota overcame a 5-0 deficit with seven runs in the second inning and six in the fifth.
Minnesota reopened a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL wild card.
Kyle Gibson (11-10) allowed five runs, three hits and five walks in six innings. Joe Biagini (3-11) gave up six runs — four earned — and five hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Josh Donaldson homered twice in the first two innings.
RANGERS 4, ANGELS 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Joey Gallo hit a home run off Garrett Richards (0-2) that landed near the top of the grass hill in center field in the second inning, a drive that would have traveled 490 feet unimpeded, according to MLB Statcast.
Adrian Beltre ht a two-run double to center field in the first.
Miguel Gonzalez (8-11) allowed one run and two hits in five innings, and Jake Diekman got five outs for his first save this season.
INDIANS 3, ROYALS 2
CLEVELAND (AP) — A day after Cleveland clinched the AL Central, Corey Kluber (17-4) allowed three singles in seven innings. He has not given up a run in 22 innings and has lost once since July 4.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Danny Duffy (8-9) as the Indians improved to 33-5 since Aug. 11 despite getting only three hits. Cody Allen worked out of a two-on jam in the ninth for his 28th save. Kansas City dropped five games behind the Twins.
CUBS 4, CARDINALS 3
CHICAGO (AP) — Jason Heyward hit a tiebreaking RBI single off Matt Bowman with two outs in the seventh as Chicago overcame a 3-0 deficit to win its sixth straight game. The Cubs remained four games ahead of second-place Milwaukee as Ben Zobrist drove in two runs and Kyle Schwarber hit his 27th homer.
Pedro Strop (5-4) worked a rocky seventh for the win and Wade Davis got three outs for his 31st save, retiring Dexter Fowler on a game-ending flyout to the warning track with a runner on first. Tyler Lyons (4-1) was the loser.
BREWERS 10, MARLINS 3
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Travis Shaw, Jesus Aguilar and Manny Pina each had two hits in an eight-run fourth inning. The Brewers won two of three in a series moved from Florida following Hurricane Irma.
Brandon Woodruff (2-2) allowed three runs and eight hits in seven innings. Dillon Peters (0-2) yielded eight runs, nine hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings.
REDS 5, PIRATES 2
CINCINNATI (AP) — Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett hit two-run homers in the sixth off Gerrit Cole (11-11) as Cincinnati completed its second three-game sweep of Pittsburgh this season.
Robert Stephenson (5-5) allowed one hit in six scoreless innings, and Michael Lorenzen pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.
ATHLETICS 6, PHILLIES 3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joey Wendle hit a go-ahead grand slam off Edubray Ramos after the first two batters in the sixth reached off Henderson Alvarez (0-1), who made his first start since May 22, 2015, with Miami.
Sean Manaea (11-10) gave up three runs in five innings, and five relievers combined for four hitless innings. Blake Treinen got three outs for his 11th save.
METS 5, BRAVES 1
ATLANTA (AP) — Robert Gsellman (7-7) allowed an unearned run and three hits in seven innings, pinch-hitter Asdrubal Cabrera had a two-run, pinch-hit homer.
Atlanta (67-81) was eliminated from postseason contention and must win its remaining 14 games to avoid a losing record in four straight seasons for the first time since seven in a row from 1984-90. Julio Teheran (11-12) gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in six innings.
GIANTS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 2
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pablo Sandoval homered and drove in three runs, rookie Chris Stratton (3-3) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. Arizona
had won 20 of 25 games and nine straight on the road.
Taijuan Walker (9-8) Walker gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton tied a major league record with his 18th home run in August, but Anthony Rendon had four RBIs and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 8-3 on Tuesday night.
Stanton hit a long homer in the first inning off Edwin Jackson (5-3), his 51st this season, to open the scoring following a 26-minute rain delay. His August output matched the mark set by Rudy York with the Detroit Tigers in 1937. Sammy Sosa set the record for homers in a month when he hit 20 in June 1998, and Stanton has two games left this month to catch the former Cubs slugger.
Stanton added an RBI with a deep sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.
Rendon’s three-run double in the seventh came after Washington’s bullpen thwarted a rally earlier in the inning. Daniel Murphy also had a two-run single.
The Nationals, 16-7 since Aug. 6, had five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings against Vance Worley (2-4).
RED SOX 3, BLUE JAYS 0
TORONTO (AP) — Chris Sale and two relievers combined on a four-hitter, Hanley Ramirez hit a solo home run and Boston beat Toronto.
Sale (15-6) fanned 11 in his major league-best 17th double-digit strikeout game, raising his league-leading total to 264. His 15 wins lead the AL.
Sale, who matched a season-worst by allowing seven runs in his previous outing, pitched seven innings. The left-hander has not allowed a run in 22 innings against the Blue Jays this season.
Craig Kimbrel finished for his 31st save in 35 chances.
Promoted from Triple-A Buffalo to make his first start for the Blue Jays, left-hander Brett Anderson (2-3) allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings.
ORIOLES 4, MARINERS 0
BALTIMORE (AP) — Dylan Bundy threw a one-hitter for his first career shutout, Manny Machado hit two of Baltimore’s four solo homers, and the Orioles extended their winning streak to six games.
Bundy (13-8) allowed just a bunt single to Kyle Seager in the fourth inning and set a career high with 12 strikeouts. The right-hander has a 2.00 ERA in August and has struck out 10 or more in three of his last four starts.
Jonathan Schoop and Welington Castillo also went deep for the Orioles, who moved two games over .500 for the first time since June 10.
Schoop collected his 29th homer of the season and 500th career hit with a solo shot in the first off Erasmo Ramirez (5-5).
ROYALS 6, RAYS 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Whit Merrifield, Jorge Bonifacio and Eric Hosmer homered as Kansas City snapped a 45-inning scoreless streak on the way to a victory over Tampa Bay.
Merrifield’s 16th home run with two outs in the third ended the Royals’ drought, three innings shy of the major league record. The 1906 Philadelphia Athletics and 1968 Chicago Cubs share the mark with 48 scoreless innings.
Bonifacio homered with two outs in the sixth off Alex Cobb (9-9).
Cobb gave up a run on three singles and three wild pitches in the fourth. Hosmer scored on Mike Moustakas’ single, but the Royals stranded runners at second and third.
Royals rookie Jake Junis (6-2) did not allow a hit until a one-out single in the fifth.
CUBS 4, PIRATES 1
CHICAGO (AP) — Jake Arrieta continued his dominant second half with six innings of two-hit ball, Ben Zobrist homered and Chicago beat Pittsburgh.
Anthony Rizzo went 3 for 4 with an RBI, Alex Avila had an RBI single and Jason Heyward added a sacrifice fly for NL Central-leading Chicago.
Arrieta (14-8) struck out four and retired the last seven batters he faced, leaving after 97 pitches with a 3-0 lead. He hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his nine starts since the All-Star break, going 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA during that span.
Wade Davis got the final three outs for his 27th save in 27 chances to establish a new Cubs record for consecutive saves opportunities converted.
Chad Kuhl (6-10) allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings.
CARDINALS 10, BREWERS 2
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Matt Carpenter hit a two-run homer and Luke Voit drove in four runs, backing Luke Weaver’s 10-strikeout night in a 10-2 win Tuesday over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Carpenter’s shot to right in the fifth had added importance for the third baseman after he had pledged $10,000 for every home run that he hit the rest of the season to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The Galveston, Texas native looked up and pointed two fingers toward the night sky as he touched the plate to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 9-1.
St. Louis chased Matt Garza (6-8) with one out in the fourth. The right-hander walked five and allowed six runs, though only three were earned after the Brewers committed two errors in the third.
The loss dropped the second-place Brewers to 3 1/2 games back of the NL Central-leading Cubs, who won on Tuesday.
RANGERS 12, ASTROS 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Shin-Soo Choo homered and drove in four runs, helping Texas rout Houston in the opener of a series relocated to Florida due to flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Adrian Beltre of the Rangers drove in three runs to pass Hall of Famer Ernie Banks for 28th on the career RBI list with 1,637, and Joey Gallo hit a two-run homer off Mike Fiers (8-9) before an announced crowd of 3,485 at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The three-game series that concludes Thursday was moved from Minute Maid Park because of flooding in the Houston area, with the Astros serving as the home team after the Rangers declined a proposal to play the games in Arlington, Texas.
It’s only the fourth time in major league history that games have been relocated to neutral sites because of weather.
Martin Perez (10-10) pitched seven strong innings for the Rangers.
TWINS 6, WHITE SOX 4
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jorge Polanco homered twice and Ervin Santana struck out seven while pitching into the seventh inning, leading Minnesota past Chicago.
Eduardo Escobar drove in two runs for the Twins, who started the day with a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the crowded race for the second AL wild card. Santana (14-7) matched his highest total for wins since he was a 17-game winner 2010 with the Angels.
Matt Belisle pitched the ninth for his fifth save. James Shields (2-5) has not won for the White Sox in 10 starts.
DIAMODNBACKS 7, DODGERS 6
PHOENIX (AP) — A.J. Pollock hit a two-run homer and Arizona roughed up Rich Hill in his follow-up to a near no-hitter.
Hill (9-6) pitched nine no-hit innings against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, losing the no-hitter and the game on Josh Harrison’s walk-off homer in the 10th.
The Diamondbacks scored 11 runs to complete a three-game sweep of San Francisco on Sunday and kept hitting after a day off, knocking around Hill in a five-run first inning.
Paul Goldschmidt homered and Fernando Rodney allowed a run-scoring single by Chris Taylor in the ninth before closing out his 33rd save. The wild card-leading Diamondbacks have won five straight.
Taylor hit a two-run homer and Yasiel Puig a solo shot off Zack Godley (6-7) for the NL West-leading Dodgers, who have lost three in a row for the first time since early June.
ROCKIES 7, TIGERS 3
DENVER (AP) — Nolan Arenado capped a four-run seventh inning with his 30th homer, and Colorado beat Detroit.
Arenado’s three-run shot broke open a close game and helped the Rockies win for the fourth time in six tries. Colorado increased its lead to four games over Milwaukee for the second NL wild card.
Colorado went ahead 4-3 on singles by Jonathan Lucroy and Trevor Story, and a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Carlos Gonzalez off starter Michael Fulmer (10-12).
Charlie Blackmon reached on a fielder’s choice. Warwick Saupold walked DJ LeMahieu, and Arenado followed with his three-run drive to reach 30 homers for the third straight season. He leads the majors with 111 RBIs.
Rockies starter German Marquez tied a career high with 10 strikeouts before leaving with one out in the seventh. Pat Neshek (2-1) got the last two outs of the inning.
ANGELS 8, ATHLETICS 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — C.J. Cron hit two homers, including a three-run drive in the first inning, and Los Angeles beat Oakland.
Ben Revere had two RBIs for the Angels, who have won three of four and are one game behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card.
Cron drove a three-run homer off Chris Smith (0-4) in the first inning and also had a solo shot in the eighth.
Jesse Chavez (7-10) threw four scoreless relief innings.
REDS 14, METS 4
CINCINNATI (AP) — Scott Schebler hit his first career grand slam, and Cincinnati ended its 14-game losing streak against New York.
The Reds hadn’t beaten the Mets since Sept. 6, 2014. They’d dropped their last eight to New York at Great American Ball Park, where the Mets are 30-16 all-time — the best winning percentage by any NL team.
Cincinnati put it away with a seven-run eighth inning that featured Adam Duvall’s three-run homer. Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki made his second appearance on the mound this season and induced a double-play grounder.
Reds rookie Sal Romano (4-5) made his third straight solid start, allowing three runs and six hits in six innings.
Schebler homered in the first off rookie Chris Flexen (3-3).
PADRES 6, GIANTS 3
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Manuel Margot and Jabari Blash homered to back Luis Perdomo’s six innings of solid pitching as San Diego beat San Francisco.
Perdomo (7-8) settled in after his pitch count climbed as he wiggled from jams in the first two innings. Brad Hand handled the ninth for his 13th save.
Matt Moore (4-13) was charged with five runs and eight hits, with a walk and a hit batter. He struck out two.
BOSTON (AP) — Kevin Gausman pitched four-hit ball into the eighth inning, Tim Beckham hit a three-run homer and the Baltimore Orioles routed the Boston Red Sox for the second straight day, 7-0 on Saturday.
It was the third straight win for the Orioles, who pounded Boston 16-3 a night earlier. Jonathan Schoop added a solo homer and posted his 95th RBI, a club record for second basemen, surpassing Roberto Alomar’s 94 in 1996.
The AL East-leading Red Sox dropped their third straight and saw their lead sliced to 3 1/2 games over the second-place New York Yankees.
Gausman (10-9) struck out five and walked three. He gave up four singles in 7 2/3 innings.
Eduardo Rodriguez (4-4) allowed five runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven.
YANKEES 6, MARINERS 3
NEW YORK (AP) — Greg Bird reached base three times in his long-awaited return to the Yankees’ lineup and Jacoby Ellsbury homered and drove in four runs, leading Sonny Gray and New York over Seattle.
Bird singled, walked twice and scored in his first game since May 1. He has been hobbled by ankle and foot problems.
Ellsbury hit a three-run homer and an RBI single. He connected off Yovani Gallardo (5-10) in a matchup of playoff contenders.
Gray (8-8) struck out nine in seven innings and allowed one run on three hits, including a homer by Carlos Ruiz. It was the 11th straight start Gray hasn’t permitted more than two earned runs, the best string by anyone in the majors this year. Five of those games have come since he was traded from Oakland to the Yankees on July 31.
Dellin Betances worked the ninth for his 10th save.
BLUE JAYS 10, TWINS 9
TORONTO (AP) — Josh Donaldson had three hits, including a two-run homer, Kendrys Morales added a solo shot and Toronto withstood a late rally by Minnesota.
Max Kepler hit a grand slam and Eduardo Escobar had a two-run drive for the Twins, who began the day with a slim lead in a crowded race for the second AL wild card.
Minnesota lost for the 11th time in 13 meetings with the Blue Jays.
Donaldson keyed a six-run fifth inning with his 23rd homer as the Blue Jays opened an 8-2 lead.
After Kepler cut it to 8-7 with his slam off Ryan Tepera in the eighth, Donaldson’s RBI double off John Curtiss in the bottom half gave Toronto a two-run cushion. Donaldson later scored on a wild pitch to make it 10-7.
The 2015 AL MVP, Donaldson owns a .376 (50 for 133) career batting average in 35 games against Minnesota, with 15 doubles and 14 home runs.
Marco Estrada (6-8) allowed three runs in six innings to win for the second time in 16 starts since May 27. Roberto Osuna earned his 34th save in 42 chances.
Dillon Gee (1-1) took the loss in his second start with the Twins.
NATIONALS 9, METS 4
WASHINGTON (AP) — Adrian Sanchez drove in three runs, including an RBI single moments after he took a pitch to the chest while trying to bunt, and made a diving play to help Washington beat New York.
With second baseman Daniel Murphy getting some rest before a pinch-hitting appearance, Sanchez filled in well with a two-run single during a big first inning and ranged to his left to help pick up Gio Gonzalez (13-5) in the seventh. More remarkably, after taking a 96 mph sinker in the chest from Mets reliever Jeurys Familia that was called a foul ball, the rookie from Venezuela laced an RBI single to give the Nationals a valuable insurance run.
Mets rookie Robert Gsellman (5-6) allowed six runs (two earned) and nine hits in four innings. He was sent to the minors after the game.
ATHLETICS 8, RANGERS 3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Chad Pinder homered twice to help Oakland top Texas, ending Cole Hamels’ five-game win streak.
Jed Lowrie drove in three runs for the A’s, who put back-to-back victories together for the first time since Aug. 5-6 at the Los Angeles Angels.
Adrian Beltre had three RBIs for the Rangers, who lost their second straight after winning 11 of 15.
Sean Manaea (9-8) won for the first time since July 16, ending his three-game slide. He gave up two runs in five innings.
Hamels (9-1) left a game trailing for the first time all season. He was nicked for six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, matching his shortest outing of the year.
PIRATES 1, REDS 0
CINCINNATI (AP) — Gerrit Cole ended his career-long futility against Cincinnati by hitting a solo homer and pitching seven innings for Pittsburgh.
Cole (11-8) was 0-6 against the Reds in nine starts, including a loss earlier this season. He broke through by holding down a lineup that had scored nine runs the previous night. Cole gave up five hits, didn’t walk a batter and fanned six.
He also connected for his first homer of the season and the third of his career off Luis Castillo (2-7) in the sixth, getting around on a 95 mph inside fastball. It was Cole’s first homer since May 26, 2016, against Arizona at PNC Park.
Cole is 8-0 in his last nine road starts. The last Pirates pitcher to win eight straight road decisions was Don Robinson in 1982.
Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero completed the five-hitter, with the left-hander getting his 15th save in 16 chances.
The Pirates won for only the third time in 13 games against their Ohio River rivals this season.
BREWERS 3, DODGERS 0
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Zach Davies pitched seven dominant innings for his second scoreless start against Los Angeles this season, and Orlando Arcia hit a two-run homer for Milwaukee.
Davies (15-7) also held the major league-leading Dodgers (91-37) without a run over six innings in a June 4 win at Milwaukee.
Los Angeles went with a bullpen game, using six relievers. All were effective but Josh Ravin (0-1), who gave up a leadoff single to Manny Pina in the fifth and then Arcia’s 13th home run.
Davies allowed only three hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven. Corey Knebel pitched the ninth for his 28th save.
DIAMONDBACKS 2, GIANTS 1
PHOENIX (AP) — A.J. Pollock and J.D. Martinez homered off San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner, and that was enough for Arizona.
Bumgarner (3-6) allowed five hits in seven innings against the Diamondbacks, who have won four of five and lead the NL wild-card standings.
Taijuan Walker (7-7) was just as good, yielding one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He retired his first 11 batters before Jarrett Parker homered in the fourth.
Three relievers combined to hold the Giants to one hit in 2 2/3 innings. Fernando Rodney worked a perfect ninth for his 32nd save in 37 opportunities.
CARDINALS 6, RAYS 4
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Tommy Pham hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning and St. Louis rallied to beat Tampa Bay.
It was Pham’s first career walk-off homer and the fourth this season for the Cardinals.
Matt Carpenter beat out an infield single before Pham hit a 2-2 pitch from Brad Boxberger (3-4) for his 17th homer of the season.
The Cardinals tied it at 4 in the eighth with two runs off the Rays’ bullpen. Yadier Molina’s two-out, run-scoring single off Tommy Hunter scored Pham, and singles by Jedd Gyorko and Stephen Piscotty loaded the bases. Boxberger gave up an RBI single to Kolten Wong.
Tyler Lyons (2-0) pitched the ninth to earn the win.
Lucas Duda, Corey Dickerson and Adeiny Hechavarria homered for Tampa Bay.
INDIANS 4, ROYALS 0
CLEVELAND (AP) — Mike Clevinger pitched six sharp innings and rookie Bradley Zimmer made a sensational catch in center field before ending Jason Hammel’s bid for a perfect game, leading Cleveland over Kansas City.
Roberto Perez hit a two-run homer off Hammel (6-10), and Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana also connected as the defending AL champions moved a season-high 16 games over .500 at 72-56.
The Royals fell eight games back in the AL Central and were shut out for the second straight night. They have not scored in 25 innings.
Clevinger (7-5) struck out a career-high nine and matched Hammel pitch for pitch before giving way to Cleveland’s bullpen.
Hammel was perfect for 5 1/3 innings before Zimmer singled.
CUBS 17, PHILLIES 2
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Anthony Rizzo and Tommy La Stella homered twice, Kyle Hendricks pitched seven strong innings and Chicago easily overcame another home run from Philadelphia rookie Rhys Hoskins.
Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist also went deep for the NL Central-leading Cubs, who tied their season high for homers and hits (17) while setting new marks for runs and margin of victory. Rizzo had five RBIs and La Stella added four.
Hendricks (5-4) earned his first victory since May 24, limiting the Phillies to two runs and six hits with eight strikeouts and no walks. He also had a single and a two-run double in Chicago’s seven-run seventh.
Hoskins has 10 home runs in his first 17 games, the fastest a player has reached double digits in major league history.
Ben Lively (1-5) gave up six runs and five hits, including four homers, with eight strikeouts in five innings.
ANGELS 7, ASTROS 6
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Andrelton Simmons hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning and Los Angeles rallied late from five runs down to beat Houston.
Kole Calhoun singled home Mike Trout with two outs in the eighth to make it 6-4. Simmons then slipped and finished his swing on one knee but still drove a slider from Tyler Clippard (2-8) over the left-field fence, sending Angel Stadium fans into a frenzy.
Los Angeles snapped a three-game skid. The Angels and Seattle Mariners are a half-game behind Minnesota in a packed race for the second AL wild card.
Blake Wood (2-4) worked a hitless inning and Blake Parker got three outs for his second save.
Jake Marisnick and George Springer homered to back Brad Peacock’s six strong innings as the AL West-leading Astros raced out to a 6-1 lead.
Calhoun hit a solo homer in the second. Los Angeles pushed across two runs in the seventh to make it 6-3.
MARLINS 2, PADRES 1, 11 INNINGS
MIAMI (AP) — Miguel Rojas hit a one-out sacrifice fly in the 11th inning, and Miami won for the 12th time in 15 games by beating San Diego.
The Padres kept Giancarlo Stanton stuck on 49 homers. He singled twice and struck out twice in four at-bats.
Derek Dietrich led off the 11th with a double against Jose Torres (7-4). Dietrich advanced on a sacrifice bunt, and with the Padres deploying five infielders, Rojas hit a drive that forced right fielder Jabari Blash to retreat to make the catch, allowing Dietrich to score easily.
Miami slugger Marcell Ozuna hit his 31st homer off the Marlins Park home run sculpture. Ichiro Suzuki singled for his 22nd pinch hit of the season, breaking the Marlins record set by Ross Gload in 2009.
Five Marlins pitchers combined to allow only six hits. Junichi Tazawa (3-3) pitched around a leadoff single in the 10th.
Cory Spangenberg stole home on the front end of a double steal for the Padres, who were mathematically eliminated from the race for the NL West title with 33 games left.
ROCKIES 7, BRAVES 6
ATLANTA (AP) — Charlie Blackmon hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the ninth inning off Arodys Vizcaino, and Colorado held on to beat Atlanta.
DJ LeMahieu added two solo homers and Trevor Story had a two-run double as the Rockies improved to 6-12 since Aug. 6. Colorado began the day with a 3 1/2-game lead for the second NL wild card, but had lost 24 of 31 on the road.
Vizcaino (3-3), who had a 1.42 ERA in his last 41 games, was not in a save situation, but the Atlanta closer allowed three runs and three hits without recording an out. He was pulled after LeMahieu’s sixth homer made it 7-4.
Pat Neshek (4-3) pitched a perfect eighth to get the win. Jake McGee got a game-ending double play for his second save.
TIGERS 6, WHITE SOX 3
CHICAGO (AP) — Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera hit back-to-back homers in Detroit’s three-run third inning, sparking the Tigers to a rainy win against Chicago.
Cabrera finished with three hits as Detroit won for just the fifth time in 20 games. Buck Farmer (3-1) pitched into the sixth inning after he was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for his first major league start since June 18.
Shane Greene got five outs for his fifth save.
With two outs and a runner on second, Upton connected against Carlos Rodon for his 28th homer. Cabrera followed with a drive to right that just cleared the glove of a leaping Avisail Garcia, giving the Tigers a 3-2 lead.
It was Cabrera’s first home run since July 28 against Houston and No. 14 on the year.
Yolmer Sanchez hit a two-run drive for the White Sox, who had won three straight and six of nine.
Rodon (2-5) was charged with five runs and seven hits in five innings, his worst start in a month.
(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports) —- Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline saw aces Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray join contenders, but other big names stayed put including Justin Verlander and Zach Britton.
As the dust settles, here’s a look at the teams who did the best and worst in the trade market:
Los Angeles Dodgers – With baseball’s best record, the Dodgers went all in on 2017 by trading for Yu Darvish. This was a radical move for Los Angeles, which has held its prospects at the deadline the past few seasons, rather than deal for top pitchers. Clayton Kershaw had to pitch four times in nine days last October, and the acquisition of Darvish should alleviate some of the pressure on the team’s ace.
New York Yankees – The AL East leaders have been dealing all month, but saved their biggest trade for Monday, acquiring Sonny Gray from the Athletics. The 27-year-old is under team control through 2019. Paired with the addition of lefty Jaime Garcia, the Yankees suddenly have a formidable rotation. The Yankees already had one of the best bullpens in baseball, but the trade for David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle earlier in the month made the late innings even more imposing for opponents.
Washington Nationals – The bullpen was a major concern heading into the season, but Washington has still managed to run away with the division. With the trade for Brandon Kintzler on Monday, the Nationals completed a total overhaul that began with the deal for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson earlier in July. This looks like a group capable of finishing games in October, which has been the team’s downfall in recent years. Adding Howie Kendrick was a great move, providing some more versatility for roster that has been hit hard by injuries to position players.
Houston Astros – They’re running away with the AL West, but failed to strengthen their rotation which has been riddled by injuries. Houston’s starters do have the best ERA in the American League, but Lance McCullers was placed on the disabled list Monday and Dallas Keuchel lasted just three innings in his first start in almost two months. The Astros’ only move was dealing for lefty Francisco Liriano, who is having a very rough year and will likely be used out of the bullpen.
Detroit Tigers – Opted not to trade Justin Verlander (or Justin Upton). With multiple contenders in need of a starting pitcher, it seemed like the time might be right to deal their longtime ace. But Verlander turns 35 in February, isn’t having a great season and is owed $56 million over 2018 and 2019 – hurdles the Tigers did not come close to clearing.
Baltimore Orioles – Jeremy Hellickson will provide the team with some innings this season, but is a free agent and does nothing to address the team’s long-standing pitching concerns. Baltimore also traded for shortstop Tim Beckham, which is a mild net positive considering the former No. 1 overall pick is having a better year than the oft-injured J.J. Hardy. Zach Britton’s inconsistency since returning from a forearm injury dimmed any chance the Orioles could net a fair return on their once-dominant reliever.
A flurry of last-minute deals spiced up what had been a fairly bland stretch before Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline, but it didn’t change the reality that about seven of the 10 playoff spots have essentially been claimed. For the most part, the top contenders got stronger and the marginal ones stayed on the fringes.
With that in mind, here’s a ranking of the top eight challengers for October glory after the dust of Monday’s activity settles down:
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
What they didn’t do: L.A. did not relinquish its top prospects among pitchers (Walker Buehler) or position players (Alex Verdugo), instead surrendering infielder Willie Calhoun as the main bait to nab Darvish.
Why they could win it all: The Dodgers have a combination of depth and star power in the lineup and pitching staff, and their 31 come-from-behind victories point to a team with plenty of grit as well.
Why they could fall short: If Clayton Kershaw can’t bounce back strong from his back injury or improve on his postseason track record, L.A.’s chances could be compromised.
Consensus: The acquisition of Darvish gives them extra wiggle room if Kershaw fails to perform like his regular-season self.
2. Washington Nationals
What they did: Two weeks after finally addressing the bullpen by trading for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, the Nationals doubled up with their acquisition of closer Brandon Kintzler from the Minnesota Twins.
What they didn’t do: Washington did not deal for a starter to fill the void left by injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Joe Ross, knowing Strasburg will be back this week and the club won’t need a reliable fifth starter.
Why they could win it all: A rotation headed by Max Scherzer, Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez should be sturdy enough for the playoffs, and it gets plenty of backing from the league’s most prolific offense.
Why they could fall short: Kintzler is a nice addition, having converted 45 of 52 save chances in the last two years, but he’s not the dominant closer teams prefer in the postseason.
Consensus: Provided Strasburg is in top shape for the playoffs, the Nationals should prove a formidable foe. Nobody can match their middle of the order.
3. Houston Astros
What they did: Traded for veteran Francisco Liriano, who could add a much-needed lefty to the bullpen or an experienced starter to the rotation.
What they didn’t do: Deal for Sonny Gray, Darvish or another top-shelf pitcher to boost a starting corps that may be lacking behind Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers, who went on the disabled list with a back injury Monday.
Why they could win it all: Houston’s dynamic offense and athleticism will present a problem for any postseason opponent.
Why they could fall short: Keuchel has been on the DL twice this season, and his absence would leave Houston without an ace. The failure to deal for Darvish or Gray could haunt them.
Consensus: The Astros have a decent chance to prove Sports Illustrated’s forecast of a 2017 championship accurate, but one more front-line starter would have significantly strengthened their case.
4. Chicago Cubs
What they did: Building on their second-half surge, the Cubs acquired lefty reliever Justin Wilson and Alex Avila late Sunday. Chicago had previously made a big splash by acquiring Jose Quintana to fortify a disappointing rotation.
What they didn’t do: The Cubs didn’t sacrifice any major league talent in upgrading.
Why they could win it all: Most of the key pieces of last year’s championship run are still in place, even if they haven’t performed at the same level. The Cubs’ 13-3 record since the All-Star break seems like a more accurate indication of their capability than their sub-.500 first half.
Why they could fall short: Every single starting pitcher has a worse ERA this year than in 2016, by plenty, and that includes Quintana.
Consensus: The Cubs are finally clicking, and it’s not hard to envision their talent and the experience gained from last year combining to make them an October force again.
5. Cleveland Indians
What they did: The Indians plugged in another weapon in a bullpen that leads the league with a 2.78 ERA by dealing for sidearmer Joe Smith, who’s especially tough on right-handed hitters.
What they didn’t do: Cleveland was one of the teams supposedly in Gray’s pursuit, but didn’t improve its rotation. The club also left intact the catching tandem of Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez (combined .639 OPS).
Why they could win it all: The Indians can overwhelm opponents with their bullpen, part of the formula they used to make it all the way to Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, and Smith makes the relief corps even better. Also, the emergence of Mike Clevinger has added depth to their rotation.
Why they could fall short: Top-line starters Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar spent around a month or more each on the disabled list. A recurrence of their injuries could seriously hamper the Indians’ chances.
Consensus: The Indians have awoken, on a 26-15 run and looking primed for another AL Central title and October run.
6. New York Yankees
What they did: Obtained the hottest starter on the market in Gray, who put up a 1.37 ERA while holding hitters to a .164 batting average in his last six starts. The Yankees had earlier solidified third base by acquiring Todd Frazier in the same deal that brought them relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. They also picked up veteran left-hander Jaime Garcia.
What they didn’t do: Bring in a big bopper to improve production at first base, which has been a wasteland. Yankees first basemen have produced a .706 OPS, third-lowest in the league.
Why they could win it all: A monster bullpen featuring Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Robertson and Kahnle can shorten games, and a rotation that now includes Gray, Luis Severino, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka suddenly looks postseason-capable. The Yankees also have plenty of pop, with rookie sensation Aaron Judge among six hitters who have belted 12 homers or more.
Why they could fall short: Tanaka is coming off one of his best starts of the season but yielded a 6.00 ERA in the previous three and remains vulnerable to the home run.
Consensus: In what figured to be a transition season, the Yankees have become legitimate contenders to win the division and make some noise in October. How far they go may depend on Tanaka and Gray.
7. Colorado Rockies
What they did: Added much-needed experience behind the plate by trading for catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who’s having a down year but still upgrades the position. Colorado also brought in a solid setup man in All-Star Pat Neshek.
What they didn’t do: Acquire a veteran starter to help settle down a rotation that includes up to four rookies in German Marquez, Kyle Freeland, Jeff Hoffman and, at times, Antonio Senzatela.
Why they could win it all: MVP candidate Nolan Arenado not only leads a potent offense, but also a stellar defensive team that’s tied for the league’s best fielding percentage. The Rockies don’t beat themselves.
Why they could fall short: The lack of experience in the rotation has shown as the innings have piled up, and the Rockies lack the pitching depth to make up for the rookies wearing down.
Consensus: The Rockies have served notice they’re for real, but this doesn’t figure to be their year just yet.
8. Arizona Diamondbacks
What they did: After obtaining J.D. Martinez and his powerful bat, the Diamondbacks made minor deals for utility infielder Adam Rosales – who bolsters a depleted infield – and veteran reliever David Hernandez.
What they didn’t do: Bring in a legitimate option to closer Fernando Rodney, or at least someone to share the load. Rodney has pitched better since his brutal start to the season, but he has blown five saves and, at 40, doesn’t inspire great confidence.
Why they could win it all: The Diamondbacks have the second-best ERA in the league, with Zack Greinke slowly nudging his way into Cy Young consideration and Zack Godley (3.06 ERA in 14 starts) providing an unexpected shot in the arm to the rotation.
Why they could fall short: Injuries are taking a toll, with shortstops Chris Owings and Nick Ahmed sidelined and left-hander Robbie Ray joining them on the DL after being hit in the head by a line drive.
Consensus: Arizona (7-9 since the break) may run out of gas, but a playoff spot after last year’s 93-loss season represents a remarkable turnaround
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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports) — Major League Baseball’s trade deadline strikes at 4 p.m. ET on Monday. While there have already been a number of moves, the action figures to hit another gear as the clock winds down.
The reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs continue to tinker, acquiring lefty reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila from the Detroit Tigers late Sunday night in a move that will surely be a precursor of many more to come around the league.
Where will Sonny Gray go, and does Yu Darvish follow him out of the division?
Gray has been widely connected to the New York Yankees, a team a half-game up in the AL East but one that’s also in building mode. Gray, 27, fits as a frontline pitcher under control until 2019. The Oakland A’s seemed destined to move Gray because they have once again hit the reset button. Gray has an injury history but is pitching well now — with a 3.43 ERA in 97 1/3 innings. There are several contenders — the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers — who could benefit from Gray, too.
Darvish, meanwhile, has ace ability, but he’s also just a rental. The Texas Rangers are not in the AL race, so it would seem like a prudent move for general manager John Daniels to get something for the right-hander. Darvish gave up 10 earned runs in his last start … this after giving up seven five starts ago. He has a 4.01 ERA but can be among the game’s best when he’s right. The Dodgers, with Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list, have been linked.
Which hitter gets moved — and fetches the biggest return?
The market for hitting, especially rentals, does not seem robust. J.D. Martinez, potentially the best right-handed bat available, only returned three prospects (none ranked among the Arizona Diamondbacks’ best) to the Tigers on July 18.
Other hitters in the rumor mill, to varying degrees: Yonder Alonso, Rajai Davis, Jed Lowrie (A’s); Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Asdrubal Cabrera (New York Mets); Zack Cozart (Cincinnati Reds, on DL); Carlos Gomez (Rangers); Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates); Jose Iglesias (Detroit Tigers).
Will Zach Britton get traded?
Britton pitched to a 0.54 ERA last season with 47 saves, but this year has been a different story. The left-handed closer missed time because of a forearm strain and has amassed a 3.32 ERA in 19 innings. Even so, Britton, who is controllable for one more season, would be a boon for any contender as he can close or pitch in high-leverage situations. But will the Baltimore Orioles move him? And will a team such as the Astros, Dodgers, or Washington Nationals pay the hefty price?
Which contender needs to make a trade the most?
Teams make moves now for the postseason. The Nationals still lead as one that could use another bullpen arm — and so could the Astros, Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Milwaukee Brewers. Teams in the market for a starter: Dodgers, Astros, Cleveland Indians. No contender seems desperate for a bat, though the Indians could make sense for an infielder and the Brewers could stand to add a veteran hitter. Milwaukee likely won’t veer off course in their building process and trade a top prospect.
Kershaw could return for the postseason and be just fine, but would the Dodgers, with a league-leading 74 wins, risk not having another dominant pitcher in the rotation? Do the Astros feel more urgent with Lance McCullers struggling and Dallas Keuchel still getting back up to speed? Are the Indians content with essentially the same core as last season?
Who are the prospects that headline the day?
Whether they are included in trades or promoted after the deadline, prospects will be a part of deadline day. The Mets could promote shortstop Amed Rosario and first baseman Dominic Smith, if they free up space in the infield. The Rays could turn to Brett Honeywell in the rotation or bullpen. The A’s could give a longer look to shortstop Franklin Barreto, while the Chicago White Sox could infuse more youth with pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer.
And that doesn’t even include the prospects who could get moved today.
OAKLAND — To get a sense for the distinct uncertainty many players experience at this time of year, just ask Jaime Garcia — if you can track him down.
The veteran left-handed pitcher made his first start for the Minnesota Twins in Oakland on Friday, four days after joining the club in a trade with the Atlanta Braves. Garcia was granted permission to travel back to Atlanta on Saturday to gather his belongings, then was supposed to rejoin the Twins in Minneapolis when they returned from their West Coast trip.
Except Garcia’s route took a detour when the Twins sent him to the New York Yankees for two minor league pitchers in a deal completed Saturday night.
So a player who spent his first 12 seasons as a pro with the same organization — the St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in 2005 — was a member of three clubs in the same week.
How’s that for career stability?
“Unless we bring him back, he’ll go down as one of the few undefeated pitchers in Twins history,” quipped manager Paul Molitor, who watched Garcia throw 6⅔ innings of three-run ball in Friday’s 6-3 win against the Oakland Athletics.
Had he hung around Oakland long enough, Garcia might have been able to share travel advice with Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray, one of the prize catches on the trade market along with Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish and a number of relievers headlined by left-handers Zach Britton, Brad Hand and Justin Wilson.
Gray, who had his scheduled start Sunday pushed back to Monday after the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline, is particularly coveted because he will be under team control through the 2019 season. A large number of the available players, such as Darvish, Cardinals starter Lance Lynn and New York Mets reliever Addison Reed, will become free agents after this season.
The Yankees are regarded as Gray’s strongest suitors, even after acquiring Garcia.
The trade rumors swirling around him have done little to hamper Gray’s performance, another appealing trait about the 27-year-old staff ace. After overcoming an early-season shoulder injury and inconsistency, Gray has recorded a 1.37 ERA while holding hitters to a .164 batting average over his last six starts.
“You’re not stupid. You kind of know what’s going on,” Gray told USA TODAY Sports about the trade talk. “I’ve been here since 2013. You get an understanding of the way this place works, but at the same time, I’ve seen it for so many guys. There’s nothing you can do except for going out there and pitching.”
Molitor is hoping his club takes a similar attitude after seemingly changing course in less than a week.
The Twins were widely considered to be rebuilding after losing a Minnesota-record 103 games last year. Instead, they sat atop the American League Central through mid-June and entered the All-Star break 2 1/2 games back, raising the prospect of becoming buyers instead of sellers at the deadline.
It’s a quandary several clubs have faced in recent days, with six teams in the AL and three in the National League entering the weekend no further than 4½ games behind the division or wild-card leaders.
Minnesota went for it, dealing for Garcia to fortify its rotation, but then flipped him after losing four of five to drop to seven games back in the Central as the division-leading Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals surged behind nine-game winning streaks.
“I’m sure there’s some disappointment when you make an addition that is as short term as Jaime’s stay was with us,” Molitor said. “The timing of these things, if you look externally and you want to point somewhere else, for me it was always a time if somebody’s making a move then I better look at myself. What did I do? What didn’t I do? What can I do better? If I want those things to work in our favor more frequently, look inward. Don’t look outward.”
Molitor held a meeting with the players before Sunday’s 6-5, 12-inning loss to the A’s, urging them to focus on what they could control and reminding them they were good enough to rule the division for six weeks.
Still, it would be hard for them not to notice the Royals, with a number of key pending free agents, signaled their intention to stay in the race by not only keeping them aboard but also pulling off a deal Sunday for Chicago White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera.
“I get the business side of it, but I also get the fact we are very close in the race. It’s kind of up for grabs,” Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. “So I don’t really believe in white flags or any of that stuff. We just have to go out and play better. There’s a lot of baseball left.”
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(PhatzRadio Sports / AP) — MIAMI – The highly anticipated matchup of the game’s two most fearsome power hitters never materialized, but Aaron Judge still ruled supreme at the All-Star Home Run Derby.
The major league home run leader at the All-Star break with 30 never got to face off against defending champion Giancarlo Stanton, who was eliminated in the opening round.
But Judge more than lived up to his end of the bargain, hitting a total of 47 homers in the competition – including four of them over 500 feet.
“It was a blast. I enjoyed every minute of it,” Judge said, “Watching all the other guys swing. Coming here early, talking to the media. Everything about today was fantastic.”
The New York Yankees rookie – who was booed in the pregame introductions by the pro-Marlins crowd – had the fans cheering for him by the end as he defeated Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins for the title.
“I was expecting it,” Judge said of the initial boos. “They’re cheering on their guy. They want their guys to win. It’s all part of the atmosphere. I enjoyed it all.”
Judge was severely tested in the opening round, but a late surge propelled him past hometown favorite Justin Bour in the most dramatic slugfest of the competition.
Bour set the bar extremely high, slugging 22 homers in the opening round, including six on consecutive swings. But Judge rallied with a string of late homers, including a 501-foot blast. He hit the eventual winner in the final seconds to advance to Round 2.
He originally thought he had won on his previous swing, but umpires nullified his apparent home run because it hit the roof.
“I thought that one got out, but I guess it didn’t,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to watch it, I was so locked in, I was just trying to hit it and keep going. I thought I had 23 already, but I guess I tied him.”
So Judge merely stepped back into the batter’s box for one final swing before time ran expired.
Of course, he hit it out.
The semifinal round pitted Judge against another rookie slugger, No. 3 seed Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bellinger, who earlier this season became the first player in baseball history to hit 27 home runs in his first 57 career games, was no match. The Yankees outfielder clinched his place in the final with an emphatic shot off the windowed back wall at Marlins Park, 507 feet away from home plate.
With a contingent of robed and white-wigged fans among the 37,027 cheering for him from the left field seats, Judge laid down the law after Sano could manage only 10 homers in the championship round.
Judge clinched it with No. 11, a blast to straightaway center field with just under two minutes still remaining on the clock.
“I had no pressure going into it,” he said. “I’m a rookie. This is my first time doing it. I’ve got no expectations. I’m just going in there and have some fun.”
The final matchup was a bit of a letdown with Stanton out of the competition. The Marlins outfielder lost to another rookie, Gary Sanchez of the Yankees, falling one homer short in bonus time – despite hitting 10 of his home runs over 440 feet and recording the five highest exit velocities of the round, all over 120 mph.
Judge hit the longest home run of the competition, one estimated at a total of 513 feet.
The Home Run Derby title capped an amazing first half for Judge, who struggled mightily in his first taste of the majors last season and wasn’t even a lock to make the Yankees roster out of spring training.
“I try not (to be) really worried about what happened last year,” he said. “I still remember it. I look at it every day what I hit — .179.
“For me, just trying to take it one day at a time really helped me out.”
(PhatzRadio Sports / AP / USA Today Sports) —- The All-Star break has finally arrived, putting a 2017 season that has been full of surprises on pause.
The Chicago Cubs are two games under .500, the Colorado Rockies have the second-best record in the National League, and the Houston Astros are just 26 wins shy of eclipsing their 2016 total.
Lest we forget the rookie pheonoms, New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge and Los Angeles Dodgers first basemen Cody Bellinger seem destined to compete for home run crowns for a long time.
Before they take aim at Marlins Park’s’ home run structure in Monday’s Home Run Derby, a look at some eye-opening numbers from the major leagues’ first half:
Dodger dominance: The Dodgers’ plus-163 run differential is the best in National League history for a team heading into the All-Star break. They have won 26 of their last 30 games. Twenty-six of 30.
The Judge: Judge’s 30 home runs are the most at the break since Chris Davis hit 37 in 2013.
With Judge on pace to finish with 57 home runs, Mark McGwire’s record for the most home runs by a rookie (49) could be in danger.
Blast off: The Astros trail only the Dodgers for the most wins at the half, and while the Dodgers may boast the best run differential entering the second half in the history of the NL, the Astros have made their own mark.
Houston’s 143 first-half home runs are the most since the Texas Rangers hit 147 in 2005. On top of that, their team slugging percentage (.500) is second all-time, trailing only the Seattle Mariners’ mark of .503 through the first half of the 1996 season.
And as if that weren’t enough, the pitching staff’s 895 total strikeouts are also a record — breaking the standard set by the Dodgers only one year ago when they struck out 866 batters before the All-Star break.
Defensive downturn: The Oakland Athletics have been doing their opponents a lot of favors, as their 77 errors lead the major leagues. So far this season, the Athletics have allowed 52 batters to reach base on an error — the most since the Padres allowed 61 in 2001.
Sale force: Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale’s 178 strikeouts at the break is the most since 2002, when Curt Schilling struck out 186 in 19 games.
For what it’s worth, Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer isn’t far behind Sale with 173.
Red legs: With 26 triples in the first half, the Reds posted the highest mark in the category since the Florida Marlins and Boston Red Sox had 31 and 30, respectively, in 2003.
A look at what’s happening all around the majors today:
Fresh off launching two more longballs in Miami’s final game before the break, Giancarlo Stanton returns to Marlins Park to defend his All-Star Home Run Derby crown. No doubt, many fans want to see Stanton swing away against Yankees rookie sensation Aaron Judge for the title. The first-round matchups: Stanton vs. Gary Sanchez, Judge vs. Justin Bour, Cody Bellinger vs. Charlie Blackmon, and Mike Moustakas vs. Miguel Sano.
Maybe someone will light up the kooky home run sculpture beyond the outfield wall in Miami. Josh Hamilton put on quite a show in the 2008 Derby at Yankee Stadium, homering on 13 straight swings. But not every slugger does damage — Mike Piazza, Jim Thome and defending champ Robinson Cano are among those who whiffed in shutout rounds.
The starting pitchers will be announced for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game: Chris Sale and Max Scherzer are the likely choices.
Scherzer, the defending NL Cy Young Award winner, leads the majors with a 2.10 ERA and is 10-5 with 173 strikeouts for Washington. Sale has fanned a major league-most 178 and is 11-4 with a 2.75 ERA in his first year with Boston.
Clayton Kershaw is 14-2 for the Dodgers, but he pitched Sunday and is therefore ineligible to play in the summer showcase.
The Mariners are looking to add a bullpen coach after former big league pitcher Mike Hampton resigned. He was in his second season when he left following Seattle’s last game before the All-Star break. The team says a new person will be in place before its resumes play Friday. The Mariners are 43-47 and rank near the bottom of the AL in team ERA.
NEW YORK (AP) — Defending champion Giancarlo Stanton will be the top seed in the Home Run Derby on Monday night at his home ballpark in Miami.
Stanton received the No. 1 seed after winning the event during All-Star week last year in San Diego. He will face New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, the No. 8 seed, in the opening round at Marlins Park.
Yankees rookie Aaron Judge, who leads the majors with 29 home runs, is the No. 2 seed and will square off against seventh-seeded Justin Bour of the hometown Marlins. Another rookie, No. 3 seed Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers, is paired with sixth-seeded Charlie Blackmon of Colorado. No. 4 seed Mike Moustakas from the Kansas City Royals is matched against Minnesota slugger Miguel Sano, the fifth seed.
Major League Baseball announced the bracket Wednesday night. After Stanton, players were seeded based on their home run totals through Tuesday’s games. In the case of a tie, the higher seed went to the player who reached his current total first.
Red Sox ace Chris Sale makes his final appearance before the All-Star Game, putting him in line to potentially start for the American League next Tuesday in Miami. Sale (11-3, 2.61 ERA) enters a game against Tampa Bay with double-digit strikeouts in three of his past four outings, including seven scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts against Toronto last Saturday.
Fan voting online for the final spot on each All-Star roster ends at 4 p.m. EDT, and the two winners will be announced a few hours later on MLB Network. As of Wednesday afternoon, Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas was leading the American League balloting over shortstops Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox), Didi Gregorius (Yankees) and Elvis Andrus (Rangers), and Rays first baseman Logan Morrison. Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was at the front of the National League field, followed by Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds and Marlins first baseman Justin Bour.
WHERE THERE’S SMOKE…
Justin Verlander’s once-secure future in Detroit has become increasingly uncertain. With the Tigers languishing below .500, the pressure may soon be on general manager Al Avila to trade some of his biggest stars, including the 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner who debuted with Detroit in 2005. “Obviously, where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” Verlander said of the trade speculation, adding that “it’s just the way sports are now.”
Indians manager Terry Francona will miss at least a few more games as doctors try to pinpoint his medical issues. Francona was still at the Cleveland Clinic on Wednesday getting tests to determine what has been causing light-headedness and an increased heart rate over the past month. The 58-year-old Francona was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday. Team president Chris Antonetti said Francona could be sidelined for the remainder of Cleveland’s homestand before next week’s All-Star break. Francona is supposed to manage the American League All-Star team next Tuesday in Miami.
NL WEST SHOWDOWN
The Dodgers and Diamondbacks conclude a three-game series with a battle of left-handers: Los Angeles’ Rich Hill (5-4, 4.00) against Arizona’s Robbie Ray (8-4, 3.06). Hill dominated San Diego in his previous start, a promising sign after a first half of the season plagued by blisters and inconsistent performance. Ray was named to his first All-Star team Sunday, although he’s 1-1 with a 5.09 ERA over his past three starts.
Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz makes his first start since taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Oakland. The hard-throwing 25-year-old was pulled after Matt Olson’s leadoff homer on his career-high 119th pitch, and he got an extra day of rest ahead of his scheduled start against Washington. Foltynewicz (6-5, 3.83) was 3-0 with a 2.97 ERA in six starts last month.
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CINCINNATI (AP) — Scooter Gennett hit four home runs, matching the major league record, and finished with 10 RBIs as the Cincinnati Reds routed the slumping St. Louis Cardinals 13-1 on Tuesday night.
Gennett became the 17th player to homer four times in one game — and perhaps the least likely. A scrappy second baseman who was claimed off waivers from Milwaukee in late March, he began the night with 38 career home runs in five seasons, including three this year.
Josh Hamilton was the previous player to hit four home runs in one game, for Texas against Baltimore in May 2012.
The 27-year-old Gennett singled his first time up and then homered in four straight at-bats, including a grand slam. His 10 RBIs tied Cincinnati’s club record.
Gennett snapped an 0-for-19 slump during the Reds’ 4-2 win over the Cardinals on Monday. He went 5 for 5 on Tuesday and raised his batting average 32 points to .302.
Since being picked up by the Reds late in spring training, Gennett has played a utility role for Cincinnati. He started in left field Tuesday night.
Gennett hit an RBI single and his second career slam off St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright (6-4)
Tim Adleman (4-2) gave up one run — on Stephen Piscotty’s homer — in seven innings.
ROYALS 9, ASTROS 7
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mike Moustakas hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning after Kansas City rallied from a six-run deficit to snap Houston’s 11-game winning streak.
Moustakas drove an 0-1 pitch from Ken Giles (1-2) out to right field with Salvador Perez aboard. Moustakas had four hits and three RBIs.
Alex Gordon also homered for the Royals, his first since Sept. 25 — a span of 192 at-bats.
Kansas City trailed 7-1 in the fourth but fought back with a four-run eighth. Whit Merrifield hit a three-run double with two outs to tie it at 7.
Merrifield has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games. Giles blew his second save in 18 opportunities.
The Astros’ winning streak was the longest in the majors this season. They dropped to a major league-best 42-17.
Mike Minor (3-1) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
Carlos Beltran hit his 429th home run for the Astros.
NATIONALS 2, DODGERS 1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Max Scherzer struck out a season-high 14, outpitching Brandon McCarthy and leading Washington over Los Angeles in a game that ended with a testy exchange.
With a runner on second base, Koda Glover fanned Yasiel Puig for his eighth save and shouted in the direction of home plate. Puig walked toward the mound and twice appeared to ask Glover what he said.
Glover took off his cap and tossed aside his glove as players from both teams quickly intervened to keep the two separated. Nothing escalated before the squads headed off the field.
Both starting pitchers went seven innings and allowed only three hits. The first 11 outs for Scherzer (7-3) came on strikeouts.
Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy each had a sacrifice fly for the Nationals, who have won the first two games of this series between NL pennant contenders.
McCarthy (5-3), who lasted only four innings in his previous start because of a blister, walked two and struck out four.
ROCKIES 11, INDIANS 3
DENVER (AP) — Rookie pitcher Antonio Senzatela hit a three-run double and Mark Reynolds homered twice to drive in five runs for Colorado.
Carlos Gonzalez also hit a home run for the Rockies, who can sweep the two-game interleague set on Wednesday.
Bouncing back from a loss in his previous outing, Senzatela (8-2) allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one in continuing to lead major league rookie pitchers in wins this season while also opening the scoring for Colorado.
Mike Clevinger (2-3) allowed five runs in four innings for Cleveland.
ORIOLES 6, PIRATES 5, 10 INNINGS
BALTIMORE (AP) — Jonathan Schoop tied it in the ninth inning with his second home run of the game and Mark Trumbo singled home a run in the 10th to rally Baltimore past Pittsburgh.
Baltimore trailed 4-1 after six innings and 5-3 in the ninth. Schoop’s two-run drive off closer Tony Watson knotted it at 5, setting the stage for Trumbo’s big hit.
Adam Jones singled with one out in the 10th against Wade LeBlanc (3-1) and took second when Manny Machado hit a fly ball to the warning track in left. Trumbo then lined a single to center, and Jones easily beat Andrew McCutchen’s throw to the plate.
Brad Brach (1-1) worked the 10th for the Orioles, who improved to 8-1 in extra innings.
RED SOX 5, YANKEES 4
NEW YORK (AP) — Mitch Moreland and Hanley Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs and Andrew Benintendi later connected off struggling Masahiro Tanaka, powering Boston over New York.
The Red Sox made their first visit of the season to Yankee Stadium, and the matchup between the longtime rivals and top teams in the AL East had the feel of October, mostly because of the raw weather — low 50s, windy and damp.
Overpowering closer Craig Kimbrel struck out five in 1 1/3 innings for his 17th save in 18 chances. He fanned one batter on a wild pitch, and struck out big-hitting rookie Aaron Judge on a 99 mph fastball to finish it.
Playing at the new Yankee Stadium for the first time without now-retired slugger David Ortiz on the roster, the Red Sox launched a trio of long balls and moved within a game of first-place New York.
Tanaka (5-6) lost his career-worst fifth straight start. He’s been tagged for 27 runs and 11 homers in 22 2/3 innings during that span.
Drew Pomeranz (6-3) labored through a career-high 123 pitches in five innings to win his third start in a row.
CUBS 10, MARLINS 2
CHICAGO (AP) — Jake Arrieta pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning, Anthony Rizzo drove in four runs and surging Chicago beat Miami for its season-high fifth straight win.
Arrieta (6-4) allowed two runs, struck out five and walked three in just his second win in the past month. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner retired 16 in a row over one stretch, showing signs of rounding into form after a bumpy start to the season.
Jason Heyward had three hits and two RBIs as the Cubs remained perfect since returning home after a winless six-game road trip. Kris Bryant reached four times, scored two runs and robbed Giancarlo Stanton of a hit with a diving stop on a grounder to third in the third.
Jeff Locke (0-1) cruised into fifth inning with a 1-0 lead and retired the first two batters before everything fell apart for the Marlins in a hurry.
WHITE SOX 4, RAYS 2
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Avisail Garcia, Volmer Sanchez and Todd Frazier homered to help Chicago stop a five-game losing streak with a victory over Tampa Bay.
Chris Beck (1-0) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning to win in relief of Jose Quintana, who avoided becoming the first pitcher in the major leagues to lose eight games this season.
Garcia led off the seventh with a homer, snapping a 1-all tie against Chris Archer (4-4), who also gave up a leadoff homer to Sanchez on the fourth pitch of the game.
Jose Abreu added an RBI single in the eighth before Frazier led off the ninth with a homer off Ryan Garton.
David Robertson earned his ninth save in 10 opportunities.
ANGELS 5, TIGERS 3
DETROIT (AP) — Kole Calhoun and C.J. Cron homered as Los Angeles beat Detroit.
Jesse Chavez (5-6) got the win, allowing two runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Bud Norris struck out Alex Avila for his 11th save.
Daniel Norris (3-3) gave up four runs — three earned — and five hits in six innings. He struck out seven, but allowed two homers.
The loss ended Detroit’s four-game winning streak. Avila homered for the Tigers.
RANGERS 10, METS 7
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Joey Gallo hit a towering two-run homer that put Texas ahead to stay, and the Rangers ended a four-game losing streak with a victory over New York.
Nomar Mazara had four hits and also homered for the Rangers. Gallo’s 17th homer put Texas up 5-4.
Mets starter Jacob deGrom (4-3) pitched only four innings for his second straight start. Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-0) got his first major league victory.
Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker went deep in the third for the Mets. In between those shots, Jay Bruce was robbed of a homer when Jared Hoying made a leaping catch just above the 8-foot wall in straightaway center.
BREWERS 5, GIANTS 2
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Chase Anderson pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings, drove in a run and won his third straight game for Milwaukee.
Anderson (5-1) extended his scoreless streak to 21 2/3 innings with the win. He walked one, struck out four and helped the Brewers beat the Giants for just the third time in the last 17 games against them.
Anderson collected his first RBI of the season and the fifth of his career in the third with a double off the wall in left.
Hernán Pérez added a homer for Milwaukee.
The Brewers roughed up Matt Cain (3-5) with four runs in the second.
PHILLIES 3, BRAVES 1
ATLANTA (AP) — Aaron Nola allowed a run over eight innings, Odubel Herrera doubled in the go-ahead run in the sixth and Philadelphia survived a ninth-inning scare to beat Atlanta.
Nola (3-3) earned his first win since April 20 and became the Phillies’ first starter to pitch past the seventh inning this season. Pat Neshek struck out Adonis Garcia and ended the game on Kurt Suzuki’s popup to catcher Cameron Rupp for his first save.
Jaime Garcia (2-4) allowed three runs in 7 2/3 innings.
ATHLETICS 4, BLUE JAYS 1
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Jesse Hahn allowed an unearned run over six innings in his return from the disabled list, pitching Oakland past Toronto.
Khris Davis drove in two runs and Adam Rosales hit a tiebreaking single with two outs in the fifth as the A’s overcame their major league-leading 59th error.
Activated before the game, Hahn (2-4) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. The right-hander also got plenty of help from Oakland’s shaky defense.
Santiago Casilla closed for his 10th save.
Marco Estrada (4-4) took the loss.
DIAMONDBACKS 10, PADRES 2
PHOENIX (AP) — Robbie Ray struck out 11 in 6 2/3 innings and Chris Owings hit a three-run homer to help Arizona cruise past San Diego.
Jake Lamb drove in four runs, Gregor Blanco doubled twice and scored three runs, and the Diamondbacks won their seventh straight home game to equal a season high.
Owings’ career-high seventh of the season gave the Diamondbacks a homer in 10 straight home games for the first time since 2011.
Ray (6-3) had his scoreless streak stopped at 27 2/3 innings. The first of Hunter Renfroe’s two homers was the only run he allowed.
Dinelson Lamet (2-1) lasted just three innings. He gave up seven earned runs and nine hits with five walks.
The Padres lost their third straight and managed only three hits off Ray.
MARINERS 12, TWINS 3
SEATTLE (AP) — Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager each hit a three-run homer, and James Paxton was effective enough for five innings to help Seattle defeat Minnesota.
Cano staked the Mariners to a 3-0 lead in the first and Seager’s shot capped a seven-run fourth that extended the lead to 12-2 as the Mariners won for the eighth time in nine games.
Paxton (5-0) missed most of May with a left forearm strain. He allowed three runs and five hits with three walks in his second start since coming off the disabled list.
Hector Santiago (4-6) lasted just 2 2/3 innings, yielding five runs and three hits with four walks, all of which came around to score. Twins catcher Chris Gimenez pitched the eighth, retiring all three batters he faced.
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — George Springer hit two of Houston’s four home runs and the Astros matched their state rival for the longest winning streak in the major leagues this season at 10 games, beating the Texas Rangers 7-2 on Sunday.
The Astros scored in all four innings pitched by Martin Perez (2-6) and tied a club record from 1989 with their 10th straight road win. Houston’s first sweep of Texas since July 2014 dropped the Rangers to 3-11 since their 10-game streak.
Defending AL West champion Texas (26-31) is 15 games behind the division-leading Astros, who have the major leagues’ best record at 41-16 — and six wins in seven games against the Rangers.
Brad Peacock (3-0) won a major league start for the first time since Sept. 2, 2014. He struck out nine in six innings, allowing two runs.
TIGERS 7, WHITE SOX 4
DETROIT (AP) — Justin Upton hit a game-ending, three-run homer, and the Detroit Tigers overcame Justin Verlander’s groin injury to beat the Chicago White Sox 7-4 on Sunday for a sweep of their weekend series.
Nicholas Castellanos was hit by a pitch from David Robertson (3-2), and second baseman Yolmer Sanchez then misplayed a potential double-play ball and was only able to get Miguel Cabrera at first. J.D. Martinez was intentionally walked, and Upton hit his 11th homer.
Martinez also connected for the Tigers, who have won four straight. Justin Wilson (3-1) pitched a scoreless inning.
Todd Frazier led off the third with his eighth homer, lifting the White Sox to a 2-0 lead, and Verlander left after a four-pitch walk.
CUBS 7, CARDINALS 6
CHICAGO (AP) — Ian Happ hit two homers, pinch hitter Jon Jay drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh with a single and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals to complete a three-game sweep.
Happ staked Chicago to a 6-4 lead with a solo homer in the third and a three-run drive in the fourth against Michael Wacha.
Jay, batting for reliever Pedro Strop (2-2), broke a 6-6 tie with his two-out single off Matt Bowman (1-2) in the seventh. Anthony Rizzo had three hits and scored the go-ahead run, and the Cubs (28-27) moved back over .500 with their 10th home win in 12 games. They also swept three from the Cardinals at Wrigley Field for the first time since 2006, and they did it after an 0-6 trip to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego.
Stephen Piscotty hit a three-run homer in the fourth off Kyle Hendricks. The Cardinals tied it with two in the sixth against Hector Rondon, only to lose for the eighth time in 11 games.
NATIONALS 11, ATHLETICS 10
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Ryan Zimmerman hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning, sending the Nationals to the victory.
Matt Wieters and Michael Taylor added back-to-back homers off Frankie Montas during Washington’s five-run ninth, helping the NL East leaders improve to 5-1 on their nine-game West Coast trip.
But the Nationals nearly blew an 11-4 lead in the ninth, highlighting their continued trouble with closing out games. Koda Glover allowed the first five batters to reach before he was replaced by Shawn Kelley, who surrendered a grand slam by Matt Joyce with one out. Kelley then retired the next two batters for his fourth save in six tries.
Khris Davis had three hits and two RBIs for Oakland, including his 17th homer. Ryan Madsen (1-4) got the loss.
Washington right-hander Tanner Roark (6-2) allowed four runs and five hits in 7 2/3 innings in his longest start of the year.
BLUE JAYS 3, YANKEES 2
TORONTO (AP) — Justin Smoak hit a tying two-run homer off Luis Severino in the sixth inning, Josh Donaldson homered against Tyler Clippard (0-3) in the eighth as Toronto gained a four-game split despite going 0 for 24 in the series with runners in scoring position
Matt Holliday hit an RBI double in the fourth off Marcus Stroman and a run-scoring double-play grounder in the sixth.
Joe Smith (2-0) struck out two in a perfect eighth, and Roberto Osuna pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 13th save.
MARLINS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 5
MIAMI (AP) — A.J. Ellis hit a tiebreaking single on the 14th pitch of an at-bat against Archie Bradley in the seventh.
Tyler Moore hit a three-run homer and Derek Dietrich had a pair of sacrifice flies for Miami, which finished an 8-2 homestand.
Nick Wittgren (1-0) got two outs around a walk in the seventh. A.J. Ramos pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to remain perfect in eight save chances.
ROCKIES 3, PADRES 1
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jeff Hoffman cruised through seven innings for Colorado, and Trevor Story had two hits and two RBIs.
Hoffman (3-0) struck out nine after being called up from Triple-A Albuquerque to fill in for Tyler Anderson, sidelined by a left knee injury. The rookie right-hander allowed a run and San Diego’s only three hits as Colorado took three of four in the series.
Greg Holland pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 21st save in 21 chances, extending his franchise record for consecutive conversions to start a season.
Hunter Renfroe hit his 11th homer for San Diego, and Jarred Cosart (0-2) allowed three runs and six hits in four-plus innings.
BRAVES 13, REDS 8
CINCINNATI (AP) — Ender Inciarte tied his career high with five hits and drove in a career-high five runs.
Atlanta set a season high for runs. Danny Santana had four hits and three RBIs, including his first home run since being acquired from Minnesota on May 8, and Matt Adams homered for the third time in two games.
Cincinnati lost for the fifth time in six games. Zack Cozart homered twice and drove in five runs, but Amir Garrett (3-4) gave up nine runs and seven hits over 2 2/3 innings in his first start since May 23 after being sidelined with right hip inflammation.
Julio Teheran (5-4) allowed seven runs and 11 hits in five innings.
PIRATES 11, METS 1
NEW YORK (AP) — David Freese drove in three runs, including an RBI single.
Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run homer, got three hits and scored three times to back rookie Trevor Williams (3-3), who gave up one run in a career-high seven innings. Freese and Francisco Cervelli each had three hits.
The Pirates turned four double plays and took two of three at Citi Field, their first road series win since late April in Miami.
Rookie Tyler Pill (0-2) allowed five runs in five innings. Two of the runs were unearned after left fielder Michael Conforto twice overthrew bases for errors.
RED SOX 7. ORIOLES 3
BALTIMORE (AP) — Chris Sale (7-2) struck out nine in six innings to win his sixth straight decision and Boston split the four-game series.
Andrew Benintendi had his first multihomer game. Boston broke a sixth-inning tie by scoring two unearned runs on a throwing error by catcher Francisco Pena, and Benintendi’s second homer made it 6-3 in the seventh.
Chris Tillman (1-3) gave up five runs — three earned — and six hits in six innings.
PHILLIES 9, GIANTS 7
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Maikel Franco hit a tiebreaking solo homer in the eighth off Derek Law (3-1) and Freddy Galvis homered from both sides of the plate. Odubel Herrera also went deep as Philadelphia earned its first series victory in six weeks.
Brandon Crawford homered and drove in four runs and Eduardo Nunez also connected for San Francisco, which has lost seven of 10.
Pat Neshek (1-1) tossed a scoreless inning, and Hector Neris got three outs for his fifth save.
BREWERS 3, DODGERS 0
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Zach Davies (6-3) pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning, Eric Thames hit his 15th homer and Milwaukee averted a three-game series sweep.
Corey Knebel struck out the side in the ninth around a walk for his fifth save.
Kenta Maeda (4-3) threw 92 pitches in working just four innings, allowing two runs and two hits.
INDIANS 8, ROYALS 0
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Roberto Perez and Daniel Robertson hit two-run doubles off Eric Skoglund (0-1) in the second inning before a 1-hour, 50-minute rain delay in the bottom half.
Dan Otero (1-0) replaced Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer after the delay and allowed one hit over 2 1/3 innings to earn his first win since Sept. 22, when he also got the decision in relief against Kansas City.
Jason Kipnis homered and drove in two for the Indians. Robertson finished with three RBIs.
TWINS 3, ANGELS 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A video review overturned Ben Revere’s stolen base and changed the call to a caught stealing for the final out. with the replay determining he overslid second as shortstop Ehire Adrianza tagged him on his left foot.
Miguel Sano hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth Ricky Nolasco (2-6), who lost his fourth straight start.
Revere’s RBI single in the fourth off Jose Berrios (4-1) had given the Angels a 2-1 lead. Brandon Kintzler pitched the ninth for his 15th save
MARINERS 7, RAYS 1
SEATTLE (AP) — Ariel Miranda (6-2) pitched a four-hitter, struck out a career-high nine and walked one in his first big league complete game as Seattle finished a series sweep.
Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer and Mike Zunino picked up two more RBIs in Seattle’s seventh win in eight games. Jarrod Dyson also drove in two runs.
Erasmo Ramirez (3-1) pitched 4 2/3 innings against his first major league team, allowing four runs and seven hits.
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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Albert Pujols hit a grand slam for his 600th homer, becoming the ninth member of the club during the fourth inning of the Los Angeles Angels’ 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.
Pujols reached the milestone in theatrical style, putting a low pitch from Ervin Santana (7-3) into Angel Stadium’s short left-field porch for his 14th grand slam. He became the fourth-youngest player to reach the 600-homer club — and the first to join it with a slam. The Anaheim crowd roared while fireworks soared overhead for the 37-year-old’s ninth homer of the season and his 155th for the Angels.
The Dominican veteran is the first player to hit his 600th homer since Jim Thome in August 2011. With his ninth homer this season, Pujols has joined the club with Bonds (762), Aaron (755), Ruth (714), Rodriguez (696), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey Jr. (630), Thome (612) and Sammy Sosa (609).
Andrelton Simmons and Kole Calhoun hit back-to-back homers in the third inning for the Angels. Matt Shoemaker (5-3) pitched five-hit ball into the seventh inning for his fourth victory in his last five starts.
Max Kepler homered for Minnesota.
MARLINS 3, DIAMONDBACKS 0
MIAMI (AP) — Edinson Volquez threw the sixth no-hitter in Marlins history, facing the minimum 27 batters and beating the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Volquez (2-7) struck out 10, and the two baserunners who reached on walks were erased by double plays. He needed 98 pitches, the last of those striking out Chris Owings to complete the masterpiece. It was the Marlins’ first no-hitter since Henderson Alvarez pitched one against Detroit on the final day of the 2013 regular season.
It’s the first no-hitter in the majors this season, and the first time Arizona was no-hit since the Marlins’ Anibal Sanchez threw one on Sept. 6, 2006. Volquez was nearly knocked out of the game after only three pitches, when he collided with Diamondbacks leadoff man Rey Fuentes as he covered first and rolled his ankle. But the 33-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic stayed in.
Randall Delgado (1-1) gave up six hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings for Arizona.
ASTROS 6, RANGERS 5
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Carlos Beltran had three hits and drove in three runs as the Houston Astros extended their major league-best winning streak to nine in a row. Jose Altuve also had three hits for Houston, including a key solo homer to lead off the ninth.
At 40-16, the Astros have the best record in the majors and their best start in franchise history. They are 14 games ahead in the AL West over two-time defending division champion Texas, which is 3-10 since a 10-game winning streak that is still the longest in the majors this season.
Chris Devenski (4-3) worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings after taking over for Lance McCullers in the fifth. Ken Giles worked the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances even while allowing an RBI single by Adrian Beltre.
Andrew Cashner (2-5) took the loss.
RED SOX 5, ORIOLES 2
BALTIMORE (AP) — David Price took a three-hitter into the eighth inning to earn his first win of the season, Hanley Ramirez homered and drove in three runs for the Boston Red Sox.
Price (1-0) allowed one run over seven-plus innings in his second start since coming off the disabled list with a strained left elbow. After belatedly launching his 2017 season with an uneven outing against the White Sox on Monday, Price looked every bit like a five-time All-Star against Baltimore. The left-hander gave up three hits, struck out seven and did not allow a runner past first base until Manny Machado led off the seventh with a home run.
Craig Kimbrel gave up a ninth-inning run, but picked up his 16th save.
Dylan Bundy (6-4) took the loss.
YANKEES 7, BLUE JAYS 0
TORONTO (AP) — Brett Gardner, Matt Holliday, Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius all hit solo home runs in the eighth inning, leading Jordan Montgomery and the New York Yankees over the Blue Jays.
The Yankees tied the franchise record with four homers in an inning. Gardner led it off with a home run and then with two outs, Holliday, Castro and Gregorius connected in succession. Jason Grilli became the first reliever in Blue Jays history to allow four homers in a single inning.
This was the fourth time the Yankees have hit four homers in an inning — they last did it Oct. 1, 2012, against Boston. They first did it in 1977 at Toronto, with Cliff Johnson connecting twice and Lou Piniella and Thurman Munson once each.
Montgomery (3-4) gave up three singles in six innings for his first win since May 6 against the Cubs. Joe Biagini (1-4) allowed three runs in a career-high seven innings.
CUBS 5, CARDINALS 3
CHICAGO (AP) — Slumping Kyle Schwarber hit his first career grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally the Cubs to a victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Schwarber, who entered batting .163 and was dropped to the ninth spot in the lineup, hit the first pitch of the at-bat from St. Louis starter Mike Leake (5-4) deep into the bleachers in left-center. Javier Baez also homered for Chicago, which has won two straight following a six-game losing streak.
Hector Rondon (1-1) pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the win. Wade Davis got the final three outs for his 12th save.
Yadier Molina homered and Jose Martinez had two RBIs for the Cardinals.
BRAVES 6, REDS 5, 12 INNINGS
CINCINNATI (AP) — Matt Adams hit his first career grand slam and connected again for a solo shot in the 12th inning, powering the Atlanta Braves to a victory over the Cincinnati Reds that ended their three-game losing streak.
Adams’ one-out homer off Blake Wood (0-4) saved the Braves after they blew a lead for the second day in a row. It was Adams’ fourth career multi-homer game, his first since 2014.
Jim Johnson (3-1) escaped a threat in the 11th and finished it off for the win, a day after he blew a lead in the ninth. The Reds rallied for a 3-2 lead in 10 innings on Friday night. The Braves won for only the second time in seven extra-inning games this season.
ATHLETICS 10, NATIONALS 4
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Ryon Healy had two doubles and two homers, Jed Lowrie doubled twice and homered, and the Athletics beat the Washington Nationals.
A day after being outscored by 10 runs, the A’s got off to a fast start as Healy and Lowrie each hit two-run homers in the bottom of the first inning off starter Joe Ross (2-2). Healy also hit a long solo shot in a three-run seventh inning in which the A’s broke open a 7-4 game. It was Healy’s first career multi-home run game and the four extra-base hits tied a franchise record accomplished by 16 others since 1913.
Yonder Alonso hit a two-run homer — his 16th — earlier in the seventh. Adam Lind homered for the Nationals.
Liam Hendriks (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief to pick up the win.
ROYALS 12, INDIANS 5
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Lorenzo Cain capped a six-run fifth inning with a two-run homer, Jason Hammel settled down after a shaky start and the Royals routed the Cleveland Indians.
Whit Merrifield and Mike Moustakas had two-run doubles off Carlos Carrasco (5-3) during the Royals’ big inning, helping them overcome a 3-0 hole and ensure a series win over their division rival.
Hammel (2-6) gave up homers to Carlos Santana and Bradley Zimmer in the third, but he retired 15 of his next 17 batters before giving way to Mike Minor with two outs in the seventh. Hammel struck out seven without a walk for his first win since beating Cleveland on May 5.
PHILLIES 5, GIANTS 3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ben Lively pitched seven strong innings in his major league debut, Odubel Herrera drove in three runs in Philadelphia’s four-run seventh and the Phillies held on against the San Francisco Giants.
Tommy Joseph homered for the Phillies, who snapped a five-game losing streak while winning for just the seventh time in their last 33 games. Philadelphia avoided losing its 11th straight series, which hasn’t happened since the 1941 club did it.
Lively (1-0) became the first Phillies starter to earn a victory since Jeremy Hellickson on April 27 by allowing one run and four hits with three walks and no strikeouts.
Johnny Cueto (5-5) took the loss, allowing three runs in six innings.
METS 4, PIRATES 2
NEW YORK (AP) — Neil Walker hit a two-run homer against his former team and the New York Mets also got long balls from Jay Bruce and Wilmer Flores in beating the Pittsburgh Pirates to stop a three-game slide.
Robert Gsellman (4-3) won his second consecutive start — likely his last before a move to the bullpen. The rookie right-hander tossed 5 1/3 effective innings before Fernando Salas escaped a first-and-third jam, and New York’s shaky relief corps nailed one down for a change. Jerry Blevins worked around an error in a scoreless seventh, and manager Terry Collins called on Addison Reed to get the final six outs. The substitute closer, filling in for injured Jeurys Familia, pitched out of trouble for his eighth save in 10 chances.
Pittsburgh rookie Josh Bell homered for the second straight game, and streaking Jordy Mercer doubled twice among his three hits. But the Pirates stranded 12 runners, and rookie starter Tyler Glasnow (2-5) lost to the Mets for the second time in seven days
TIGERS 10, WHITE SOX 1
DETROIT (AP) — Jordan Zimmermann tossed six solid innings and the Tigers used four home runs to power past the Chicago White Sox.
Nicholas Castellanos and Alex Presley hit back-to-back homers in the second inning, and Alex Avila and Justin Upton also homered for the Tigers, who have outscored Chicago 25-6 in the first two games of the weekend series.
Zimmermann (5-4) won for the second time in six starts, allowing one run and seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Detroit has won four of five.
Miguel Gonzalez (4-6) lost his fifth straight road start, giving up six runs and 10 hits in six innings, including three of Detroit’s homers. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was ejected in the bottom of the first inning after he wasn’t allowed to challenge a play at first base.
ROCKIES 10, PADRES 1
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Nolan Arenado hit his 14th homer, Ian Desmond added a grand slam and the Colorado Rockies stopped the Padres’ season-high, five-game winning streak.
Tyler Chatwood (5-7) rebounded from his worst start of the season, allowing four hits over eight innings with eight strikeouts and one walk. Chatwood also had a pair of hits as the Rockies won for just the second time in six games. Jordan Lyles pitched a perfect the ninth. In his previous outing, Chatwood gave up six runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to Seattle.
Former Rockies righty Jhoulys Chacin (4-5) allowed four runs — three earned — and six hits in five innings, losing for the first time this year in five starts at home. The Padres had been on their longest winning streak since August 2015; they have not won six straight since June 2013.
DODGERS 10, BREWERS 8
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Chris Taylor hit a go-ahead grand slam off Carlos Torres in a five-run ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied late for the second straight day to beat the Brewers.
Los Angeles led 4-3 in the seventh when Chris Hatcher walked the bases loaded and Josh Fields relieved. Travis Shaw drove Fields’ third pitch over the fence in left-center, and Hernan Perez homered two pitches later for an 8-4 lead.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out in the ninth against Torres (2-4). Corey Seager walked, and Yasmani Grandal hit a grounder to first baseman Jesus Aguilar, who threw to second trying for a forceout and hit Seager on the back for an error. Pinch-hitter Austin Barnes walked, Cody Bellinger walked to force in a run and Taylor homered off the batters’ eye behind the center-field fence.
MARINERS 9, RAYS 2
SEATTLE (AP) — Mike Zunino hit his first grand slam and drove in a career-high seven runs to power the Mariners past the Tampa Bay Rays.
Zunino, sent down to Triple-A Tacoma for two weeks in May after struggling offensively, had a two-run double in the second, an RBI single in the fourth, and capped a five-run fifth with his slam that put the Mariners up 9-1.
Rookie right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-1) allowed one run — a homer by Corey Dickerson to lead off the game — and four hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked none in his fourth start since being called up May 10.
Alex Cobb (4-5) was rocked for nine runs and 14 hits in five innings.
Nelson Cruz had three hits, including a solo homer, and Danny Valencia had four singles and scored three times for the Mariners, who won for the sixth time in seven games.
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Adam Wainwright hit a two-run homer off Brandon McCarthy and pitched six innings of four-hit ball, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 on Thursday for a four-game split.
Wainwright (6-3) struck out six and walked two, pitching out of two-on, one-out jams in the fourth and fifth, and extending his scoreless streak to 16 1/3 innings. Matt Bowman, Trevor Rosenthal and Seung Hwan Oh pitched an inning each to complete a five-hitter. Oh threw a one-hit ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances.
Wainwright followed Paul Dejong’s second-inning single with a drive over the left-field bullpen for his 10th career homer. Wainwright has six hits and seven RBIs this season.
McCarthy (5-2) gave up seven hits in four innings, struck out six and walked one.
DIAMONDBACKS 3, MARLINS 2
MIAMI (AP) — Zack Greinke allowed one earned run in seven innings to earn his seventh victory, and Arizona rallied to snap Miami’s four-game winning streak.
Nick Ahmed had three of Arizona’s six hits, including a two-run single in the eighth to put the Diamondbacks ahead. They won for the 13th time in the past 17 games.
Greinke (7-3), who moved into a tie for the NL lead in wins, struck out eight and allowed four hits. He also singled and scored the Diamondbacks’ first run as he improved to 5-0 in nine games against the Marlins.
Archie Bradley struck out Marcell Ozuna with two on to end the eighth. Fernando Rodney, who blew a save in Wednesday’s extra-inning win at Pittsburgh, completed a five-hitter by pitching a perfect ninth for his 14th save.
Jeff Locke allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings in his season debut for Miami, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. With the Marlins ahead 2-1, Kyle Barraclough (1-1) walked the first two batters in the eighth. The right-hander has given up 21 walks in 22 1/3 innings this season.
ORIOLES 7, RED SOX 5
BALTIMORE (AP) — Wade Miley allowed one run in seven innings, Mark Trumbo hit the first of Baltimore’s four home runs off Eduardo Rodriguez and the Orioles beat Boston.
Chris Davis and Adam Jones went deep for a second straight night and Jonathan Schoop capped the outburst with a three-run drive in the sixth that made it 7-1.
Miley (2-3) gave up five hits and a walk against the team he pitched for in 2015. Seeking his first win since April 14, the lefty did not allow a runner past first base after the second inning.
Rodriguez (4-2) allowed seven runs in 5 2/3 innings, and the four homers tied a career high. The former Orioles farmhand came in with a four-game winning streak and a 1.34 ERA in six starts at Camden Yards.
YANKEES 12, BLUE JAYS 2
TORONTO (AP) — CC Sabathia won his fourth consecutive start, Aaron Hicks had a career-high six RBIs and Gary Sanchez homered twice to lead New York over Toronto.
Sabathia (6-2) allowed one run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings, struck out seven and walked none. He has won four straight starts for the first time since April and May 2012.
Hicks hit a three-run double in the first, singled in the third, had an RBI double in the seventh and a two-run double in the ninth.
Sanchez homered in consecutive at-bats against Marco Estrada (4-3), a solo drive in the second and a two-run shot in the fourth.
Brett Gardner his 999th and 1,000th hits for the Yankees, who reopened a three-game lead in the AL East.
Estrada allowed a season-high seven runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings.
ROCKIES 6, MARINERS 3
SEATTLE (AP) — Mark Reynolds and Nolan Arenado homered to back Kyle Freeland, and Colorado stopped a three-game losing streak with a win over Seattle.
Colorado closed out four straight games against the Mariners in interleague play by jumping on Yovani Gallardo (2-6) with four runs in the second inning. Reynolds provided the big blow with a two-run homer to deep left-center field, his 14th this season. Arenado led off the third inning with his 13th home run, and the Rockies stopped Seattle’s four-game winning streak.
Freeland (6-3) won for the third time in four starts despite hitting three batters. The only runs Freeland allowed came on Guillermo Heredia’s solo home run and the sacrifice fly where shortstop Jean Segura was hurt in the fourth inning.
Greg Holland pitched the ninth for his 20th save.
INDIANS 8, ATHLETICS 0
CLEVELAND (AP) — Corey Kluber pitched six shutout innings and struck out 10 in his first start since May 2, and Cleveland scored four runs during a strange sixth inning to beat Oakland.
Kluber (4-2) had been sidelined with a strained lower back, an injury that kept Cleveland’s ace sidelined for a month. Despite the long layoff, however, Kluber looked like his dominant self, allowing just two hits and recording his 26th career double-digit strikeout game.
The Indians scored four runs — three unearned — off Jharel Cotton (3-6) in the wild sixth. The game was momentarily delayed when sprinklers in left field went on automatically.
Jharel Cotton (3-6) allowed five runs, one earned, and four hits in 5 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out four.
BREWERS 2, METS 1
NEW YORK (AP) — Chase Anderson pitched seven shutout innings and the Brewers benefited — temporarily, anyway — when a Milwaukee bat boy bumped into Mets infielder Wilmer Flores on a foul popup in a victory over New York.
NL Central-leading Milwaukee won the last two at Citi Field to salvage a four-game split.
Anderson (4-1) gave up three hits, walked one and struck out seven. In his previous start, he took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning to beat Arizona.
Corey Knebel pitched the ninth for his fourth save. Flores homered in the eighth on reliever Jacob Barnes’ first pitch.
Zack Wheeler (3-3) allowed two runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out six.
TWINS 4, ANGELS 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Minnesota Twins turned their first triple play in 11 years and then rallied in the ninth inning on Jason Castro’s two-run single.
The Twins overcame two solo home runs from the Angels’ Kole Calhoun, while keeping Albert Pujols stuck at career home-run No.599. Pujols had one single in four at-bats.
Miguel Sano homered in the second inning for Minnesota.
Calhoun’s second homer of the game, off reliever Taylor Rogers (3-1), put the Angels up 2-1.
The Twins went ahead in the ninth against reliever Jose Alvarez (0-2). Jorge Polanco reached on an error, Eddie Rosario followed with a double, and Castro singled them both in. Bud Norris walked in a final run.
Brandon Kintzler got the last three outs for his 14th save.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
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A look at what’s happening all around the majors today:
The Red Sox visit Baltimore for a four-game series that runs through Sunday. The contentious rivalry between AL East foes ramped up this season when Manny Machado’s aggressive slide into Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia in late April led to dangerous inside pitches, harsh words and a warning from MLB officials to stop the feuding. At the center of the storm was Machado, currently in a terrible slump.
PRIMED FOR POWER
Angels slugger Albert Pujols gets his next shot at home run No. 600 when the Twins arrive in Anaheim. Pujols had a single in four at-bats Wednesday night against Atlanta, remaining at 599 homers. Rookie left-hander Adalberto Mejia (1-1, 4.64 ERA) makes his sixth major league start for a struggling Minnesota pitching staff that just gave up 40 runs in a three-game sweep by Houston. The Twins, who have lost four straight, served up six homers Wednesday to the streaking Astros.
SIGHT FOR SORE EYES
Cleveland ace Corey Kluber comes off the disabled list to make his first start since May 2 when the Indians host Oakland. Kluber, who has been sidelined with a strained lower back, is 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA. His return will be a welcome addition for a rotation that entered Wednesday with the highest ERA in the American League. He replaces right-hander Danny Salazar, sent to the bullpen with a 3-5 record and 5.50 ERA. Kluber was 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA last season and went 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in six postseason starts. He won the AL Cy Young Award in 2014 and finished third in the voting last season.
After winning eight of their final nine games in May, the Blue Jays welcome the AL East-leading Yankees for the opener of a four-game set. “It would be nice to continue playing well right now,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “The timing would be perfect.” Toronto was 8-17 in April, but bounced back to finish May at 26-27 thanks to a barrage of home runs, 49 in all. “In the American League, especially in our division, you’ve got to hit home runs,” Gibbons said. “That’s the key.” Marco Estrada (4-2, 3.15 ERA) starts the first game against CC Sabathia (5-2, 4.42 ERA), seeking his 16th career win versus Toronto.
Miami has won four straight, its longest winning streak since last July, heading into a four-game series against visiting Arizona. Left-hander Jeff Locke makes his season debut in the opener vs. Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke (6-3, 3.24 ERA). Locke has been on the DL with left biceps tendinitis. After a difficult stretch when they went 4-19, the Marlins are winning with offense, scoring 73 runs in the past 10 games. Their latest victory Wednesday over Philadelphia came without slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who rested while recovering from hamstring cramps. He’s expected to return to the lineup against Arizona. “We’re playing better,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said. “Hopefully our best baseball is ahead of us.” Justin Bour hit 11 home runs for the Marlins in May.
ON A ROLL
Cardinals veteran Adam Wainwright (5-3, 4.20 ERA) pitches against Brandon McCarthy (5-1, 3.28) and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Wainwright is 5-0 with a 3.21 ERA since his last loss on April 16.
COMING OFF A GEM
Chase Anderson (3-1) starts for the NL Central-leading Brewers in the finale of a four-game series at the New York Mets. Anderson had a no-hit bid going last Saturday until Nick Ahmed’s leadoff single in the eighth at Arizona. He set career highs with 11 strikeouts and 114 pitches in seven-plus innings during a 6-1 win. Zack Wheeler (3-2) goes for the Mets.
Mike Trout, who is on the disabled list rehabbing a thumb injury, is the leading All-Star vote-getter in the American League.
Despite the honor, the Los Angeles Angels center fielder might not be able to participate in the All-Star Game as he will be recovering from surgery on his torn ligament in his left thumb. Trout, who won his second MVP award in 2016, was well on his way to a shot at a third, as he leads the AL in on-base percentage (.461) and slugging (.742) and is tied for second in home runs (16).
Trout, who received 776,937 votes, was followed by New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (730,438) and Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor (602,238) for the most in the first ballot release.
In the closest race, New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro (516,268) leads Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve (515,732) by a mere 536 votes.
Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts (337,473) is the third outfielder, followed closely behind by Indians’ Michael Brantley (333,703) and Red Sox teammate Andrew Benintendi (327,047).
The remaining AL leaders include: first baseman Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers (326,952); third baseman Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles (369,069); catcher Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals (420,268); and designated hitter Nelson Cruz of the Seattle Mariners (457,050).
Bryce Harper, who likely faces a suspension from Major League Baseball for his involvement in Monday’s brawl against the San Francisco Giants, is the leading All-Star vote-getting in the National League.
Harper, who received 900,079 votes, beat out Washington Nationals teammate and second baseman Daniel Murphy (669,643) for the most in the first ballot release.
The right fielder is batting .331 with 41 RBI and leads the NL with 44 runs scored and is tied for the league lead with 15 home runs. He is aiming for his fifth career All-Star selection and fourth fan-elected start. This would be the second time Harper led the NL in fan balloting (2015).
Joining him in the outfield is Colorado Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon (520,479) and Chicago Cubs’ Jason Heyward (344,166).
Filling out the infield — First baseman Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs (452,620); third baseman Kris Bryant of the Cubs (632,900); shortstop Corey Seager of the Los Angeles Dodgers (379,640) and catcher Buster Posey of the Giants (559,428).
The first American League update will be announced on Wednesday.
Brendan McKay is not yet ready to give up on his dream, even if baseball wisdom suggests it ends in the next month.
He’ll still envision himself peppering the short porch at Yankee Stadium with home runs one day, and beguiling hitters with a curveball he discovered almost by accident the next. He believes he can climb the ladders of professional baseball aided both by a left arm that dominates opposing hitters, and a gorgeous swing that has McKay, at 21, only now realizing his power potential.
Yet McKay knows his dual existence as a power-hitting first baseman and dominant left-handed starter may only last as long as he and the Louisville Cardinals can stay alive in the NCAA baseball regionals.
The Minnesota Twins are strongly considering selecting McKay with the first overall pick in the June 12 Major League Baseball draft, a slot with a maximum value of $7.7 million. And the Twins, McKay tells USA TODAY Sports, told him they like him more as a pitcher.
While the Twins’ plans remain fluid – regarding both McKay’s future and whether to draft him at all – McKay knows that once a big league team starts signing paychecks, the player’s wishes are secondary.
And so as Louisville opens NCAA play at home Friday against Radford, McKay will revel in his preference – both of the above – for at least one more weekend.
“The satisfaction of having a great day at the plate or on the mound – it’s tough to choose one or the other,” says McKay. “Doing both is the same fun to have.”
McKay’s situation – we won’t call it a plight, as he’s an impending multi-millionaire – along with that of California high schooler Hunter Greene has seized the draft spotlight this year, as an age-old scenario plays out, with millions of dollars at stake.
Or – against all odds – do both?
Greene, a power-hitting infielder who also has a 100-mph fastball, has a UCLA scholarship to fall back on, but is expected to be selected among the top five picks and begin his pro career on the mound. That means leaving behind a power bat that has been ranked near the top of the scouting scale, paired with an ability to play defensively in the middle of the diamond.
Regardless of how they fare professionally, McKay and Greene will have sizable signing bonuses in hand.
And that will provide some measure of comfort that they chose the right path – because there are times the scouting community can get it wrong, too.
“Sometimes, it might be fairly apparent which one of the two you’re better at, even if both are really good,” says Baltimore Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo. “And sometimes it’s really difficult. And the team makes that decision for you.”
Trumbo knows how it goes: As a high school senior he was ranked 31st on Baseball America’s 2004 prospect list – as a pitcher. At 6-5, Trumbo had raw power as a hitter, but his 97-mph fastball attracted pro scouts and a scholarship offer from USC, which he expected to accept. Then, the Los Angeles Angels took an 18th-round flyer on him and bought him out of college with a $1.4 million signing bonus.
One problem: His physical exam revealed “wear and tear in the elbow more typical of someone considerably older than me,” Trumbo recalls. An audible was called: Trumbo would shelve pitching, and hit, instead.
Talk about your good breaks: Thirteen years later, Trumbo is a two-time All-Star, with 185 career home runs, and is slated to gross nearly $60 million in major league salary.
“You have to trust there’s a lot of people in the game who’ve seen and done things you haven’t, and are qualified to make that decision,” says Trumbo. “At the same time, there’s no science to it.”
Trumbo need only look across the Orioles clubhouse to see that.
As a high school senior in 2009, Mychal Givens had a 97-mph fastball and struck out 113 batters in 78 innings for Plant High School in Tampa. The Orioles saw his hitting ability and athleticism and thought, “Shortstop.” They drafted Givens in the second round, gave him an $800,000 bonus, and then watched him struggle to hit his weight in the low minors.
By 2012, Orioles player development director Brian Graham approached Givens with a shorter, alternate path to the majors – back on the mound. Givens, 27, is now in his third season as a major league reliever – with a 15-2 record – and pitched for Team USA’s championship squad in the World Baseball Classic.
“If you’re athletic, and you know your athletic ability, go out there and do both,” says Givens, who has struck out 11 batters per nine innings in his major league career. “Don’t let a team make it one-sided. Let them make the decision, but go work hard at both and whatever path it takes you, go ahead and pursue it.”
That’s McKay’s plan.
His baseball skill set is a testament to both natural ability and some fate. At 6-2 and 220 pounds, he’s solidly built for his positions, albeit lacking the length of lefty aces like Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner and David Price.
Scouts have raved about his hand-eye coordination, which he says he partially honed when his grandfather would babysit at his home in suburban Pittsburgh. Grandpa would pitch pingpong balls at McKay, who’d try to hit it armed with only a mini wooden bat.
His finest pro tool might be his curveball, which has helped him strike out 124 batters in 91 innings this season, and hold opposing hitters to a .181 average. The pitch is not a God-given gift, but rather courtesy a kid named David Lyons, who taught McKay the grip while both were 13-year-olds playing travel ball for the Beaver Valley (Pa.) Baseball Club.
Lyons went on to become a pretty good high school wrestler. McKay? He produced a 72-inning scoreless streak in high school on his way to Louisville.
His collegiate resume is bordering on historic. McKay is a shoo-in to become just the third three-time Baseball America All-American, the first since Greg Swindell and Robin Ventura some 30 years ago. He has a career 30-10 record, with 369 strikeouts in 297 1/3 innings.
McKay took the biggest stride forward with the bat this season, upping his home runs from six to 17, while batting .363 and posting a 1.186 on base plus slugging.
What does that mean come June 12? Well, with the scouting community lacking a consensus, McKay has heard no shortage of scenarios floated by potential employers.
And yes, some teams do entertain the concept of McKay on the mound and batter’s box after he signs, even if only in short-season rookie ball as his future comes into focus.
“It could be just for that initial summer,” says McKay, “but it’d be fun to be able to do both and see where it takes you.”
Either way, it will be a whirlwind for McKay, who figures to get the ball in one of the first two games of Louisville’s regional. The Cardinals (47-10) open Friday against Radford.
Greene saw his high school season end last week. Yet for both, draft day – and a fascinating future – will come quickly.
“It can be overwhelming at times, to the point you might be overthinking it,” says Twins outfielder Byron Buxton, the second overall pick in the 2012 draft who also shelved a 99-mph fastball after high school. “You just have to relax and enjoy the moment – because it comes very fast.”
And when your tools are as diverse as McKay’s and Greene’s, it affords the luxury of a backup plan.
“I was 100% certain that if I needed to pitch, I absolutely could,” says Trumbo. “It was always that bullet in my pocket, so to speak.”
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — George Springer reached base in all six plate appearances and hit two of Houston’s season-high six home runs to lead the Astros to their seventh straight victory, 17-6 over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday.
Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez also went deep for the Astros, who scored 40 runs in the three games to set a franchise record for runs in a series of any length. They had 19 hits on Wednesday and 37 in the series.
Brian Dozier, Eddie Rosario and Jason Castro homered for the Twins, who have lost four straight. Hector Santiago (4-5) gave up six runs and eight hits and walked three in six innings, three days after he was an emergency fill-in during the 15th inning of a loss to Tampa Bay.
Springer’s two homers traveled an estimated 900 combined feet, including a moon shot off of Ryan Pressly in the six-run seventh inning that landed just short of the third deck in left-center field. That was measured at 473 feet, the second-longest homer in the majors this season behind a 481-footer by Arizona’s Jake Lamb on April 29.
Michael Feliz (2-0) got the win and left-hander Reymin Guduan also made his big league debut, allowing one run on two hits in two innings.
PADRES 2, CUBS 1
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rookie Franchy Cordero tripled in the eighth and scored on Yangervis Solarte’s fielder’s choice and San Diego handed Chicago its season-high sixth straight loss.
Luis Perdomo and two relievers combined to hold the struggling Cubs to three hits. The rebuilding Padres won their season-high fourth straight game and swept the Cubs for the first time since Aug. 6-8, 2012.
The defending World Series champion Cubs, who were swept at the Dodgers during the weekend, finished their first winless trip of at least six games since Aug. 3-8, 2012, when they also lost three at Los Angeles and three at San Diego.
Overall the Cubs have lost seven in a row on the road.
Cordero, who made his big league debut on Saturday, tripled to right-center off Koji Uehara (1-3) leading off the eighth. Solarte hit a grounder to second baseman Ian Happ, whose throw home wasn’t in time to get Cordero.
Brad Hand (1-3) pitched a perfect eighth for the win and Brandon Maurer pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
ORIOLES 10, YANKEES 4
BALTIMORE (AP) — Adam Jones homered and drove in five runs, Chris Davis added a two-run shot and Baltimore beat Masahiro Tanaka and New York.
Baltimore took two of three from the AL East leaders after coming in with a seven-game losing streak. The Yankees have lost 11 straight series in Baltimore — the second-longest road skid in franchise history behind a 12-series drought at Oakland from 1985-91.
Back in the lineup after missing four straight games with a sore hip, Jones contributed an RBI double to a four-run third inning, hit a three-run homer in the fourth and drove in a run with an infield hit in the eighth.
Tanaka (5-5) lost his fourth straight start, extending the longest streak of his career. The right-hander gave up seven runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The Yankees had 11 hits but stranded 11 and went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
Kevin Gausman (3-4) allowed two earned runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings, walking five and striking out four. He twice escaped bases-loaded, two-out jams to earn his second win since April 13 and provide hope for a starting rotation that was 1-9 since May 8.
CARDINALS 2, DODGERS 1
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Dexter Fowler hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning to back Carlos Martinez and give St. Louis a victory over Los Angeles.
Martinez (4-4) allowed one run and four hits while striking out nine as he pitched eight innings to help St. Louis snap a three-game losing streak.
Ross Stripling (0-3) lost for the first time since April 26 as he allowed Fowler’s seventh home run of the season, a 429-foot shot to right-center field. The Dodgers had their six-game winning streak end.
Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save in 14 chances.
DIAMONDBACKS 6, PIRATES 5, 14 INNINGS
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chris Owings singled home the go-ahead run in the 14th inning and Arizona outlasted Pittsburgh in a game that took more than 4½ hours to play — plus a 93-minute rain delay.
Paul Goldschmidt and Nick Ahmed homered for the Diamondbacks, who led in the ninth and 11th before finally putting away the Pirates. T.J. McFarland (3-0) pitched three hitless innings for the win.
Ahmed hit a solo shot in the 11th but Jordy Mercer tied the score in the bottom half with a home run of his own as steady showers began to fall. The game was delayed by rain after the 11th inning for 1 hour, 33 minutes.
David Peralta singled off Jhan Marinez (0-3) to start the 14th and advanced to second on Goldschmidt’s groundout. Jake Lamb was intentionally walked, and Peralta scored when Owings singled to right field.
Marinez, the last man in the Pirates’ bullpen, worked three innings in a game that lasted 4 hours, 40 minutes.
BLUE JAYS 5, REDS 4
TORONTO (AP) — Devon Travis hit a tiebreaking two-run home run in the seventh inning, Luke Maile also hit a two-run home run, and Toronto beat Cincinnati to complete a three-game sweep.
Jason Grilli (2-4) pitched one inning for the victory as the Blue Jays won for the eighth time in nine games and finished May at 18-10. Toronto hit 49 home runs in May, going deep in 18 of its final 20 games.
Joe Smith worked the eighth and Roberto Osuna survived a shaky ninth for his 11th save. Scott Schebler homered on Osuna’s first pitch, his NL-leading 16th. A single, Ryan Goins’ fielding error, and a stolen base gave the Reds runners at second and third with one out, but Osuna preserved the win by striking out Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart.
Travis, whose 13-game hitting streak ended Tuesday, snapped an 0-for-6 slump by connecting off Wandy Peralta (2-1).
BREWERS 7, METS 1
NEW YORK (AP) — Eric Thames hit his first home run in three weeks, Keon Broxton also went deep against an ineffective Jacob deGrom, and Milwaukee beat New York for just its third win in 10 games.
Released by the Mets following a 50-game minor league drug suspension in 2009, Junior Guerra (1-0) defeated New York for the first time. He allowed four hits in six scoreless innings, struck out four and walked three, baffling batters with his splitter.
In his previous outing, deGrom (4-2) threw 118 pitches and became the first Mets starter this year to reach the ninth inning. Against the Brewers, he allowed seven runs, eight hits and five walks in four innings, raising his ERA from 3.23 to 3.97. The right-hander has given up multiple homers in four starts, double his 2016 total.
ATHLETICS 3, INDIANS 1
CLEVELAND (AP) — Sean Manaea allowed three hits in seven innings, Chad Pinder homered twice and drove in all three Oakland runs, and the Athletics defeated Cleveland.
Manaea (4-3) retired the first 10 hitters before Francisco Lindor homered with one out in the fourth. He gave up singles to Daniel Robertson and Edwin Encarnacion, along with a walk to Jose Ramirez.
Pinder, the Athletics’ No. 9 hitter, hit a solo homer in the third and broke a 1-all tie with a two-run shot in the fifth.
Mike Clevinger (2-2) gave up both home runs.
Trevor Plouffe drew a leadoff walk in the fifth before Pinder hit a 2-2 pitch into the bleachers in left field to cap the first multi-homer game of his career.
Santiago Casilla worked the ninth for his eighth save.
MARLINS 10, PHILLIES 2
MIAMI (AP) — Justin Bour hit two home runs, increasing his season total to 15, and Miami completed its first series sweep of the season by beating Philadelphia before a sparse crowd.
Marcell Ozuna hit his 14th homer for the Marlins, who have won four games in a row, their longest winning streak since last July.
Dan Straily (4-3) struck out 10, allowed one earned run in 6 2/3 innings, and benefited from the offensive support to win his third start in a row.
The Phillies (17-34), off to their worst start since 1961, went 6-22 in May. That’s their fewest wins in a month since June 1997. Aaron Nola (2-3) lost his third start in a row. He gave up four runs and needed 73 pitches to get through three innings — his shortest outing of the year.
The Marlins were contending for the worst record in the majors before their recent turnaround, and plenty of room remains on the bandwagon. Announced attendance was 15,197, lowest of the season in Miami, and a head count put the actual crowd at 1,590, perhaps the smallest in the five-year history of Marlins Park.
NATIONALS 3, GIANTS 1
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Max Scherzer struck out 11 in a five-hitter and Washington beat San Francisco to complete a three-game sweep.
Ryan Zimmerman hit his 15th homer, a three-run shot off Matt Cain (3-4) in the first inning that stood up as Scherzer (6-3) went the distance for the first time this season.
The Nationals played without slugger Bryce Harper, who began serving a three-game suspension for his role in Monday’s bench-clearing brawl between the teams. Harper initially was suspended four games but had the penalty reduced and agreed to drop his appeal.
Scherzer retired 10 straight to begin the game. He didn’t walk a batter for the second time this season on the way to his seventh career complete game.
Cain lost his third straight.
RED SOX 4, WHITE SOX 1
CHICAGO (AP) — Pablo Sandoval hit a tiebreaking single in Boston’s four-run sixth inning and Drew Pomeranz struck out eight in his second straight win, helping the Red Sox beat Chicago.
Sandoval went 3 for 4 in his first game since he was activated from the disabled list Tuesday after being sidelined by a sprained right knee. It was an encouraging sign for the Red Sox, in need of some help at the plate with Dustin Pedroia on the DL due to a sprained left wrist.
Chicago wasted five scoreless innings from Mike Pelfrey in its second consecutive loss after winning four of five.
Anthony Swarzak (2-1) replaced Pelfrey, and the Red Sox jumped all over him. Christian Vazquez hit a two-run double to make it 4-1.
Pomeranz (5-3) allowed one run and seven hits in a season-high seven innings. Craig Kimbrel struck out the side for his 15th save in 16 chances, finishing Boston’s eighth win in 10 games.
RAYS 7, RANGERS 5, 10 INNINGS
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Logan Morrison and Derek Norris homered in a three-run 10th inning to cap a late Tampa Bay comeback against Texas.
Kevin Kiermaier tied the score with two outs in the ninth with a first-pitch homer off closer Matt Bush. The 10th-inning drives came off Sam Dyson (1-6), who began the season as the Rangers’ closer.
Stephen Souza Jr. hit a two-run homer in the second, his fifth in eight games. It came off Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who made his first major league start at age 32 following 12 seasons in the minors.
Austin Pruitt (4-1), just recalled from Triple-A Durham, earned the win with two hitless innings. Alex Colome gave up a run but got his 15th save.
Elvis Andrus had three hits and two RBIs for Texas.
TIGERS 6, ROYALS 5
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton each hit a two-run double with two outs in the third inning, and Detroit held off Kansas City.
Royals starter Ian Kennedy (0-5) walked the bases loaded before giving up the doubles on consecutive pitches.
Victor Martinez and Alex Avila homered for the Tigers, who completed a 4-7 road trip.
Kennedy was pulled after allowing five runs in three innings. He is 0-7 in 13 starts since he last won on Sept. 11.
Warwick Saupold (1-0) tossed three scoreless innings in relief, and Justin Wilson closed for his fifth save.
ANGELS 2, BRAVES 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Eric Young Jr. made his first home run of the season a timely one, hitting a solo shot in the eighth inning to lift Los Angeles over Atlanta.
Angels slugger Albert Pujols remained at 599 home runs. He had one single in four at-bats.
Matt Kemp hit his 250th career homer for the Braves.
Young, called up Monday to replace injured star Mike Trout, connected off reliever Arodys Vizcaino (1-1), who had made 12 consecutive scoreless appearances.
Blake Parker (1-2) worked a hitless inning in relief, and Bud Norris got two outs for his 10th save.
MARINERS 5, ROCKIES 0
SEATTLE (AP) — James Paxton and three relievers combined on a four-hitter as Seattle blanked Colorado.
Paxton (4-0), activated from the disabled list before the game, retired 16 of his first 17 batters, allowing only a two-out infield single in the third inning. Making his first start since May 2, the left-hander struck out Pat Valaika to open the sixth, then gave up consecutive singles, ending his 74-pitch outing.
Paxton had been sidelined with a strained forearm. He struck out six and walked one.
Steve Cishek retired all five batters he faced and James Pazos worked the eighth. Nick Vincent finished up.
Rockies rookie Antonio Senzatela (7-2) permitted four runs in five innings while striking out seven. He lost for just the second time in 11 starts.
Danny Valencia had a two-run double.
This version has been corrected to delete reference to Angels sweeping Braves.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
CHICAGO (AP) — This wasn’t the way Chris Sale pictured his return to Chicago. With the way the Red Sox swung the bats, it didn’t make much of a difference.
Sale had a shaky first start back in his former home, but Deven Marrero hit two of Boston’s season-high six home runs in a 13-7 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night.
Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland also went deep. The Red Sox won for the seventh time in nine games after an anticipated duel between aces never materialized.
Sale (6-2) got a warm reception from the crowd and a rude welcome from his old team. The five-time All-Star gave up six runs and 10 hits — both season highs — over five innings in his first appearance against the White Sox.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve given up six runs and still been in a pretty good mood after the game,” Sale said. “That says a lot about my guys behind me.”
Marrero drove in five runs and doubled his career home run total. After hitting two in his first 59 major league games, he went back-to-back with Betts in a four-run second inning and chased Jose Quintana (2-7) with a three-run drive in the third that made it 7-3.
Bradley bumped the lead to 10-6 in the fifth with a three-run drive off Dan Jennings after Chicago cut it to one.
Bogaerts added a solo homer in the eighth and finished with four of Boston’s 16 hits. Moreland knocked a two-run homer off Juan Minaya in the ninth to make it 13-7.
Craig Kimbrel worked the final 1 1/3 innings for his 14th save in 15 chances, and the Red Sox picked up the win after dropping two in a row.
Todd Frazier and Tim Anderson homered for Chicago, but the White Sox took the loss after winning four of five.
Dealt to Boston last winter for a package of prospects that included highly regarded slugger Yoan Moncada, Sale was looking forward to pitching against his old friends. He got a standing ovation when he trotted to the mound in the first inning.
But it was a rough night overall for the lanky left-hander. He threw 111 pitches and was consistently behind in the count, though he finished with nine strikeouts and two walks.
Manager John Farrell said the ballpark “played extremely small.” But Sale blamed his rough outing on a lack of command, not the conditions.
Quintana got pounded for seven runs and 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings. It was his shortest outing since he lasted one inning against the New York Yankees on Sept. 2, 2013.
“We’re just going to have to keep grinding it out,” manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s not the stuff. The stuff’s the same. It’s the command and the execution. If we can get that back on track, I think Q’s going to be who he is, which is a very effective major league pitcher.”
The 2016 All-Star has allowed 15 runs, 18 hits and four homers in his past two starts. And his ERA has jumped from 3.92 to 5.60.
“We were both off,” Sale said. “I think people were expecting something a little different. But they came to a 7 o’clock batting practice session.”
ANGELS 9, BRAVES 3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Albert Pujols hit his 599th career homer during the Angels’ nine-run third inning.
Pujols moved to the brink of his latest milestone with a three-run shot off Bartolo Colon (2-6) early in Los Angeles’ biggest inning of the season.
The 37-year-old slugger has homered in back-to-back games for the first time this year. He can become the ninth player in baseball history, and fourth-youngest, to reach 600 homers with his next shot.
Parker Bridwell (1-0) earned his first major league win, pitching six-hit ball into the seventh inning.
Matt Kemp and Tyler Flowers homered for Atlanta.
DODGERS 9, CARDINALS 4
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chase Utley, Logan Forsythe and Chris Taylor combined to reach base 11 times and totaled six runs, helping the Dodgers rally for their sixth straight win.
Utley finished a homer shy of the cycle. Forsythe reached five times, including three walks, and Taylor reached three times.
Adrian Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly and Utley’s RBI double started the Dodgers comeback in the third. Enrique Hernandez tied it at 3 with a single, and Paul DeJong’s throwing error on the same play scored Utley to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead.
Brandon Morrow (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.
Michael Wacha (2-3) needed 77 pitches to get through three innings, the shortest outing for a St. Louis starter this season. The Cardinals have dropped 10 of 13.
NATIONALS 6, GIANTS 3
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Gio Gonzalez pitched into the seventh inning to win for the first time since April 27 as Washington beat San Francisco.
Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner had three hits apiece for the NL East leaders, who won their fourth in five games. Jayson Werth added two hits and a bases-loaded walk, and Michael A. Taylor had two RBIs.
One night after a bench-clearing brawl that resulted in suspensions for Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (four games) and Giants reliever Hunter Strickland (six games), the teams played without incident. Each player appealed his penalty.
The only reminder of the fight came when Harper was booed by the AT&T Park crowd every at-bat. The slugger went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts and twice left the bases loaded. He was the only Washington starter without a hit.
Gonzalez (4-1) allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He also singled home a run.
Koda Glover earned his seventh save in eight chances.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija (1-7) gave up three runs and nine hits over four innings.
ASTROS 7, TWINS 2
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jose Altuve had four hits and two RBIs, Mike Fiers struck out eight over six innings in his bid to retain a spot in Houston’s banged-up rotation, and the major league-leading Astros earned their sixth straight victory.
Alex Bregman homered and drove in two runs, providing further support for Fiers (2-2) in his best of 10 starts this season.
Fiers fell behind 2-0 in the first when Eddie Rosario drew a bases-loaded walk and Byron Buxton followed with an infield single, but Astros hacked their way back against Jose Berrios (3-1).
Buxton had two hits and drove in a run. Berrios gave up five hits and four walks in five innings, the shortest of his four starts this year.
PADRES 6, CUBS 2
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Austin Hedges homered and drove in four runs, and the Padres handed the Cubs their fifth straight loss.
Hedges hit a two-run homer and a two-run double as the Padres clinched the three-game series against the struggling Cubs. Rookie Dinelson Lamet (2-0), one of San Diego’s top prospects, struck out eight while pitching five innings of two-run ball.
Kyle Schwarber homered for Chicago, and Eddie Butler (2-1) allowed six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
INDIANS 9, ATHLETICS 4
CLEVELAND (AP) — Trevor Bauer struck out an AL-best 14 in seven innings, leading Cleveland to the win.
Bauer’s career-best strikeout total was one shy of this season’s major league-high of 15 by Washington’s Stephen Strasburg against San Diego on Saturday.
Bauer (5-4) allowed three runs and seven hits with one walk. Four Cleveland pitchers combined to strike out 19, tying a franchise record for a nine-inning game.
Rookie Bradley Zimmer had a career-high four RBIs for the Indians, hitting a two-run double in the fourth and a two-run homer in the eighth.
Sonny Gray (2-2) allowed seven runs in 4 2/3 innings for Oakland, which dropped a season-high seven games below .500.
YANKEES 8, ORIOLES 3
BALTIMORE (AP) — Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday each homered twice, Aaron Judge drove in two runs and the Yankees received a solid pitching performance from Luis Severino.
Gardner set the tone for the AL East leaders by connecting on the third pitch from Chris Tillman (1-2), who had not allowed a home run in his previous four starts this season.
Holliday went deep in the first inning and again in the third for his 22nd career multihomer game. Gardner’s second solo shot sparked a three-run fourth that made it 8-0.
Severino (4-2) gave up one run and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Trey Mancini had three hits and an RBI for the Orioles, who have lost eight of nine and 14 of 18.
METS 5, BREWERS 4, 12 INNINGS
NEW YORK (AP) — Jay Bruce lined a game-ending single in the 12th inning and the Mets rebounded to beat the Brewers 5-4 after shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera allowed the tying runs to score in the seventh when he flubbed a bases-loaded popup with two outs.
Wily Peralta (5-4) pitched a perfect 11th in his fourth relief outing since he was dropped from Milwaukee’s rotation in mid-May, but then allowed a single to pinch hitter T.J. Rivera leading off the 12th. Michael Conforto walked and Jose Reyes grounded into a forceout that left runners at the corners.
With the infield at double-play depth, Bruce singled up the middle to end a game that lasted 4 hours, 24 minutes.
Josh Smoker (1-2) pitched three scoreless innings in New York’s third straight win.
The NL Central-leading Brewers lost for the seventh time in nine games.
MARLINS 7, PHILLIES 2
MIAMI (AP) — Giancarlo Stanton hit his third homer since moving into the No. 2 spot in the batting order, a change that has revived Miami, which won its third game in a row.
Marcell Ozuna also homered for the Marlins, whose modest winning streak is their longest since mid-April.
Stanton hit a two-run homer, his 14th, in a five-run third. Since he moved up to the No. 2 spot, Stanton is 12 for 29 (.414) with three homers and seven RBIs in seven games, and the Marlins are 5-2 while outscoring opponents 48-22.
Both starting pitchers departed with injuries. Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez (2-5) left in the second inning because of a right elbow flexor strain, and Marlins left-hander Justin Nicolino exited after three scoreless innings due to a bruised left index finger.
Dustin McGowan (2-0) replaced Nicolino and allowed one run in three innings.
DIAMONDBACKS 3, PIRATES 0
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray pitched a four-hitter in his first career complete game.
Ray (5-3) struck out 10, walked none and threw 115 pitches. The left-hander set a career high by winning his third straight start and has pitched 23 2/3 scoreless innings during that run, all on the road, while also beating the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers.
Chris Owings snapped a scoreless tie with a double in the sixth inning, and the Diamondbacks ended a three-game losing streak.
Ivan Nova (5-4) allowed three runs in seven innings, losing for the just the second time in nine starts.
ROYALS 1, TIGERS 0
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Eric Skoglund pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-hit ball in his major league debut, helping the Royals beat Justin Verlander and the Tigers.
Skoglund, a 2014 third-round draft pick out of Central Florida, struck out five and walked one. The left-hander was promoted from Triple-A Omaha when the Royals placed Danny Duffy on the disabled list Monday with an oblique strain.
Verlander (4-4) left after seven innings, allowing one run and six hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Eric Hosmer hit a two-out RBI single in the sixth for Kansas City, and Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 14 opportunities.
MARINERS 10, ROCKIES 4
DENVER (AP) — Kyle Seager homered and drove in four runs for Seattle, and Robinson Cano also connected.
Jean Segura had four hits and Ariel Miranda (5-2) pitched five solid innings to help the Mariners sweep two games in Denver. It was just the Rockies’ third loss in 17 series and first since April 24-27 against Washington. They also fell out of first place in the NL West, dropping a half-game behind the streaking Dodgers.
Ben Gamel, who replaced slugger Nelson Cruz in the second inning, and Guillermo Heredia each had three of Seattle’s season-high 19 hits.
The Mariners jumped on Rockies lefty Tyler Anderson (3-5). Seager hit a two-run homer in a three-run second, and his two-run double in the third helped the Mariners go up 6-0.
RANGERS 9, RAYS 5
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Elvis Andrus had a career-high five RBIs for Texas, including a tying three-run homer in the seventh inning.
Andrus’ two-out drive deep into the visiting bullpen ended a stretch of five scoreless innings from the Tampa Bay bullpen after Matt Andriese left in the second with a mild groin strain.
Jared Hoying’s liner off the top of the wall in right came with the bases loaded and one out in a four-run eighth against Chase Whitley (1-1), breaking a 5-5 tie. After a sacrifice fly from Shin-Soo Choo, Andrus’ single to left scored two more.
Keone Kela (2-1) pitched a scoreless eighth, and closer Matt Bush had a perfect ninth in a non-save situation.
BLUE JAYS 6, REDS 4
TORONTO (AP) — Kendrys Morales hit a tiebreaking homer in the eighth inning for Toronto, and Josh Donaldson belted an upper-deck drive.
All six Toronto runs came on homers. Jose Bautista and Russell Martin also connected for the Blue Jays, who have hit 47 homers in May.
Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart hit two solo home runs and Joey Votto had a third.
Morales broke a 4-all tie with a two-run blast off Blake Wood (0-3), his 10th.
Joe Smith (1-0) worked one inning for the win and Roberto Osuna finished for his 10th save. Toronto has won seven of eight.
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(PhatzRadio Sports / USA Today Sports) —- This could be the trade deadline everyone has dreamed of, flooded with sexy names, All-Star starting pitchers, and a surplus to overhaul the playoff landscape.
Sure, at the moment the two-team wild card format has plenty of dreamers hanging around the fringes of contention – in the American League, no team is further than 4 1/2 games out of a playoff slot entering Monday.
The Chicago White Sox still are the only team who have publicly declared that they’re selling off their best pieces, with an operator standing by ready to take your offer. Yet, several races – notably the AL West and NL East – have the potential to turn into runaways. Certainly, so much can change in the next two months.
As we take Turn 1 at the Major League Baseball Speedway, here are the top 25 trade candidates based on the player’s probability of being traded, and value:
1. Closer David Robertson, Chicago White Sox: Remember when the White Sox were trying to almost give away Robertson all winter, and nearly traded him to the Washington Nationals for 19-year-old left-hander Jesus Luzardo and minor-league infielder Drew Ward, while willing to eat nearly half of his contract? Well, Robertson has since yielded just 11 hits and struck out 28 in 19 2/3 innings. Considering the Nats still need a closer, and the New York Mets are desperate for one, the price tag continues to climb, particularly knowing that Robertson is under control through 2018. He’ll definitely be gone by July 31.
2. Starter Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics: The A’s finally have a healthy stud on their hands, and whoever lands him will have him under control through 2019. Anyone who saw his increased velocity and 11 strikeouts in just seven innings against the Miami Marlins are salivating. The Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros were paying attention. The A’s can act coy, but they want to move him while they have great value on their hands.
3. Starter Jose Quintana, White Sox: OK, he’s certainly not pitching like an ace these days (2-6, 4.82 ERA), but he’s still a guy who has pitched 200 innings four consecutive years and has a career 3.49 ERA. And he’s anything but a rental, owed a team-friendly $33 million through 2020.
4. Right fielder J.D. Martinez, Detroit Tigers: There will be no position player on the market with more value than Martinez, who’s tearing it up since opening the year on the DL, hitting .288 with eight homers, 17 RBI and a 1.202 on-base plus slugging percentage in his first 17 games. The Tigers have yet to determine whether they’ll trade him, but considering they want to go younger and cheaper, he’s the ideal player to start their transition phase should they continue to struggle.
5. Center fielder Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals: The Royals will be shopping all of their potential free agents, and no one has more value than Cain, a premier defensive center fielder getting on base at a .355 clip. The only downside is he’s a free agent after the season.
6. Starter Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins: Let’s face it, the Twins’ success is throwing a wrench into their rebuilding project. They would love to trade Santana (7-2, 1.75 ERA), knowing his value will never be higher, but this darn winning is getting in the way. Still, as long as the front office has the stomach for it, they’ll move Santana, knowing it’s the right move for organization’s future.
7. Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins: The Marlins wouldn’t be stupid enough to trade Ozuna, 26, who’s having another outstanding year (.306, 12 homers, 34 RBI) and is under control for two more years, would they? Sure, it’s the Marlins. Ownership was infuriated at former manager Dan Jennings for even playing him two years ago, not wanting to start his arbitration clock. He would bring in a nice haul ransom for an organization that needs to hit the re-set button.
8. First baseman Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals: The Royals don’t want to take the chance of him walking away and getting nothing in return, so will trade him, and hope to re-sign him in the off-season. A three-time Gold Glover, Hosmer has just five homers but is batting .300.
9. Starter Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays: History stands rudely in the way of Cobb finishing the year with the Rays with free agency just five months away. Melvin Upton is the only player to ever finish out his entire rookie contract with the Rays without being extended or traded. Considering the Rays have no intention of extending Cobb, he will be dealt. He’s having a solid year, 4-4, 3.67 ERA, but most important, he is healthy again.
10. Shortstop Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds: He’s the best offensive shortstop in baseball these days with a ridiculous slash line of .344/.422/.569, and still is an elite defender. He’s a free agent at the season’s conclusion, and the ideal trade chip for the Reds.
11. Closer Tony Watson, Pittsburgh Pirates: He may not be the ideal closer for contenders, but this lefty can fit into the back end of anyone’s bullpen. The Pirates have a history of trading away closers before hitting free agency, and Watson will be no different.
12. Reliever Brad Hand, San Diego Padres: Scouts are enamored with the lefty’s stuff, striking out 38 batters in 29 2/3 innings. The beauty of Hand also is that he’s earning just $1.375 million and is under control through 2019.
13. Starter Chris Archer, Rays: The Rays aren’t necessarily motivated to move him, but they will certainly listen, and see if anyone meets their steep asking price. The Chicago Cubs – who traded Archer to Tampa Bay in 2011 – are enamored with him, and who doesn’t love that he’s under control through 2021 at $30.25 million after this year.
14. Second baseman Jed Lowrie, Athletics: He may be 33, but he’s ranked among the top five of all second basemen with his .293 batting average and .837 OPS. He also comes with a friendly $6 million team option.
15. Reliever Kelvin Herrera, Royals: Just the latest closer to come through Kansas City that’s appetizing to every contender. The two-time All-Star is having a mediocre start, yielding 22 hits in 21 innings, but striking out 22. The Royals don’t have to trade him, since he’s under control through 2018, but it certainly increases his value.
16. First baseman Yonder Alonso, Athletics: He’s having a breakout year, as he has emerged as a completely different hitter with more home runs (14) in 148 plate appearances than he did in 934 plate appearances in 2015 and 2016. For someone looking for power, and believing his rejuvenation is real, he may be an ideal fit.
17. Third baseman Mike Moustakas, Royals: Is there a more ideal fit than Moustakas being traded to the New York Mets? Moustakas, who’s a free agent at the season’s conclusion, has 13 homers and 26 RBI. The Mets badly need the help. The question is whether they believe they can be in the race to make it worthwhile.
18. Reliever Pat Neshek, Philadelphia Phillies: Neshek, 36, is pitching as well as he ever has in his career, yielding a 0.98 ERA, allowing just 13 hits and three walks in 18 1/3 innings. The way relief pitching is coveted these days, who wouldn’t want him?
19. Starter Jason Vargas, Royals: Vargas has never had more value since joining the Royals, going 6-3 with a 2.39 ERA. Who knows how long it will last, but the Royals would be foolish to find out. This is the final year of the left-hander’s four-year, $32 million deal and he could provide nice depth for a contender such as the Yankees.
20. Third baseman Todd Frazier, White Sox: The White Sox don’t want him to be part of their future, have no need for him, but sure could use him performing better. He hit 40 homers with 98 RBI last year, but this year is batting just .181 with six homers and 21 RBI. He could be a cheap fit for the Mets too, if the White Sox pay a portion of his $12 million contract.
21. Closer A.J. Ramos, Marlins: He has a 4.67 ERA, and he’s walking too many hitters, but still this is a guy who saved 72 games in 2015-2016. He also is under control through the 2018 season.
22. Outfielder Matt Kemp, Atlanta Braves: The Braves got him in a straight salary dump with the San Diego Padres when they moved Hector Olivera, but the Braves are the ones reaping the dividends. He is hitting .305 with 20 homers and 66 RBI in 95 games since the trade, and batting .337 with eight homers and 27 RBI this year. He still is owed $21.5 million a year through 2019, but if the Braves swallow a significant part of the contract, they could find some takers, particularly in the AL.
23. Second baseman Yangervis Solarte, Padres: Who can’t use an impact infielder who’s not making much money? Solartes’ value has dropped after his career year of a year ago, hitting just .245 with a .671 OPS, but makes just $2.5 million this year, $4 million in 2018 with a $5.5 million club option in 2019.
24. Reliever Ryan Madson, Oakland A’s: He’s had a nice bounce-back season, with a 0.96 ERA, yielding 16 hits in 19 innings, but still is overpaid at $7.5 million a season through 2018. If the A’s eat some of the money, he’ll be a nice addition to anyone’s bullpen.
25. Starter Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates: If the Pirates are serious about moving him, Cole would jump to the head of the class. He not only is a bona fide ace, but under control through 2019. It will take a ransom to acquire him.
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals’ 3-0 win over the Giants.
Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland’s first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn’t hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.
No one got in Harper’s way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet — it sailed wide of Strickland, it might’ve slipped — and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.
Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them — in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases.
Tanner Roark (5-2) struck out six and allowed six hits in seven innings. The NL East leaders opened a nine-game West Coast trip with their sixth win in eight games.
Koda Glover pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his sixth save in seven tries.
Ryan Zimmerman hit his 14th homer, off Matt Moore (2-6) in the second.
ASTROS 16, TWINS 8
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Carlos Beltran homered and singled during an 11-run burst in the eighth inning against Minnesota’s beleaguered bullpen, and Houston overwhelmed the Twins in a matchup of AL division leaders.
The Astros combined for eight hits, two walks, a hitter batter and a balk in the eighth to rally from an 8-2 deficit. The Twins tried three pitchers in the inning, a day after they used eight relievers in a 15-inning loss to Tampa Bay.
Beltran finished with four hits and Carlos Correa had three, including a home run. Alex Bregman also homered for Houston, which had a season-high 18 hits, 13 of them in the last two innings.
Jordan Jankowski (1-0) got his first major league win with 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Brad Peacock. He allowed four earned runs and gave up home runs to Miguel Sano and Robbie Grossman but he benefited from the Houston hit parade.
Craig Breslow (1-1) took the loss.
PIRATES 4, DIAMONDBACKS 3
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Andrew McCutchen hit a leadoff homer in the ninth inning, lifting Pittsburgh over Arizona in a wild ending.
McCutchen sent a 1-1 pitch from Archie Bradley (1-1) over the right field wall to cap off a back-and-forth ninth. It was the eighth homer this season for McCutchen, who was recently dropped to sixth in the batting order for the first time in his career.
Diamondbacks pinch hitter Chris Iannetta tied the game moments earlier with a two-run homer to left field off closer Tony Watson. Watson (4-1) was credited with the win after blowing his third save in 13 opportunities.
It was a costly victory for the Pirates, as starting right fielder Gregory Polanco left the game with an injury. Polanco got his right ankle caught awkwardly in the railing separating the stands from the playing field while chasing down a foul ball in the sixth inning.
INDIANS 5, ATHLETICS 3
CLEVELAND (AP) — Carlos Carrasco won his third straight decision and Edwin Encarnacion hit one of Cleveland’s three solo home runs.
Carrasco (5-2) pitched six shutout innings before allowing back-to-back homers to Yonder Alonso and Ryon Healy in the seventh. The right-hander, who hasn’t lost since April 28, allowed four hits and struck out seven.
Andrew Miller struck out the side in the eighth. Cody Allen gave up Khris Davis’ solo homer and two singles in the ninth, but struck out Trevor Plouffe and recorded his 14th save.
Daniel Mengden (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Nashville to make his first start of the season, allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings.
WHITE SOX 5, RED SOX 4
CHICAGO (AP) — Boston lefty David Price had an uneven season debut while Melky Cabrera homered and drove in four runs, helping Chicago rally.
Price, who missed the first part of the year with a left elbow strain, threw 88 pitches in five innings. The former AL Cy Young Award winner gave up two hits, including Cabrera’s three-run homer, walked two and hit two batters. He also struck out four.
Price was in line for the win before Kevan Smith hit an RBI double off Matt Barnes (3-2) in the seventh, tying it at 4. Cabrera had an RBI single with two outs.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia injured his wrist in the first inning and exited in the second. He was hurt trying to beat out a hit when first baseman Jose Abreu slid into the bag and Pedroia fell over him.
Juan Minaya (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning and David Robertson closed for his eighth save in nine chances.
ORIOLES 3, YANKEES 2
BALTIMORE (AP) — Dylan Bundy allowed two runs over seven innings in another strong start at Camden Yards, and Baltimore beat New York to snap a seven-game losing streak.
Jonathan Schoop had two RBIs to help the Orioles end their longest skid since a nine-game drought in 2011.
Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 17th home run for the first-place Yankees in this AL East matchup.
Bundy (6-3) gave up seven hits, struck out three and walked one. Brad Brach got three straight outs for his 10th save in 13 tries.
Yankees rookie Jordan Montgomery (2-4) allowed three runs, one earned, in 4 1/3 innings.
DODGERS 5, CARDINALS 1
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chase Utley, Cody Bellinger and Logan Forsythe hit solo home runs, leading Rich Hill and Los Angeles over St. Louis for its fifth straight victory.
Hill (2-2) recovered from a bout of wildness in his last start to pitch five innings, giving up one run and two hits. In his previous outing, also against the Cardinals, he permitted five runs on four hits and seven walks in four innings.
Mike Leake (5-3) entered the game leading the majors with a 1.91 ERA, but allowed a season-high four runs in 6 2/3 innings.
PADRES 5, CUBS 2
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rookie Hunter Renfroe hit a grand slam off Kyle Hendricks and San Diego handed Chicago its fourth straight loss.
The defending World Series champion Cubs have lost six straight road games. They were coming off a three-game sweep at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cubs had only three hits. They drew 10 walks and two batters were hit by pitches.
Hendricks (4-3) retired his first 10 batters before allowing seven of his final 11 to reach.
Jose Torres (3-2) pitched two scoreless, hitless innings for the win. He walked two and struck out one. Brandon Maurer pitched the ninth for his seventh save.
MARINERS 6, ROCKIES 5
DENVER (AP) — Sam Gaviglio pitched into the sixth inning to get his first career victory, and Seattle used six relievers to beat Colorado.
Danny Valencia had three hits and Kyle Seager had a key double to help Gaviglio (1-1) get the milestone in his fourth appearance and third start.
The Mariners had given Gaviglio a 6-2 lead with three runs in the third on just one hit, and three more in the fifth on three walks, three singles and a two-run double by Seager off starter Tyler Chatwood (4-7).
Edwin Diaz worked the ninth for his ninth save.
METS 4, BREWERS 2
NEW YORK (AP) — Hours after the Mets ticketed him for the bullpen, rookie Robert Gsellman pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and had two RBIs to lead New York past Milwaukee.
Rene Rivera and Michael Conforto each hit an RBI double during a three-run fifth against starter Matt Garza (2-2). Sandwiched in between, Gsellman drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.
Before the game, general manager Sandy Alderson said Gsellman (3-3) probably is headed back into a struggling bullpen when injured starters Steven Matz and Seth Lugo come off the disabled list. Addison Reed got three outs for his seventh save.
RAYS 10, RANGERS 8
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tim Beckham hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh as Tampa Bay scored five runs in a span of three pitches to end Texas’ eight-game home winning streak.
Steven Souza Jr. had four hits with four runs scored for Tampa Bay, while Evan Longoria’s four RBIs included a two-run homer.
Pinch-hitter Colby Rasmus hit a two-run double on the first pitch thrown by reliever Tony Barnette (1-1), tying the game at 7-all before a no-pitch intentional walk to Kevin Kiermaier, who had already struck out three times. Beckham then hit a 1-0 pitch over the 14-foot wall in left-center field.
Jose De Leon (1-0) allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings and still won his Rays debut. Alex Colome struck out the side in a perfect ninth for his 14th save in 16 chances.
TIGERS 10, ROYALS 7
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez each drove in three runs as Detroit came from behind to beat Kansas City.
Joakim Soria (2-2), who is 0 for 3 in save situations, retired none of the five batters he faced in the eighth and four scored. He allowed three singles, walked two and allowed a run on a wild pitch.
Whit Merrifield homered, tripled and doubled in his first three at-bats, but flied out to end the seventh. No Royal has hit for the cycle since Hall of Famer George Brett in 1990.
Francisco Rodriguez (2-5) was credited with the victory.
BLUE JAYS 17, REDS 2
TORONTO (AP) — Troy Tulowitzki hit his fourth career grand slam and Marcus Stroman won his fifth straight decision to help Toronto rout Cincinnati.
Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer and Russell Martin added a two-run shot for the Blue Jays, who have 43 home runs in May.
Stroman (6-2) allowed two runs in six innings, improving to 5-0 with a 2.96 ERA in his past eight starts.
Reds right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla (0-3) took the loss.
BRAVES 6, ANGELS 3
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Matt Adams and Danny Santana had two-run doubles during a six-run third inning to help Atlanta overcome Albert Pujols’ 598th career homer and beat Los Angeles.
The Angels placed two-time AL MVP Mike Trout on the disabled list for the first time in his career before the game, and the center fielder will need surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. He’s expected to miss six to eight weeks.
Julio Teheran (4-4) won his second game since April by holding the Angels to six hits.
The Braves chased starter Ricky Nolasco (2-5) in the third. Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 11th save.
MARLINS 4, PHILLIES 1
MIAMI (AP) — Edinson Volquez pitched six innings to earn his first win of the year after seven losses, and Miami forged its first two-game winning streak since April 23.
Volquez (1-7), who leads the majors in defeats, allowed one run and three hits to earn his first victory since Aug. 25 with the Royals — when he beat the Marlins. The former All-Star went 0-8 in his next 16 starts before his breakthrough.
Marlins nemesis Jeremy Hellickson (5-3) allowed four runs in six innings. The Phillies (17-32), who have the worst record in the majors, lost for the 23rd time in the past 29 games, and fell to 7-19 on the road.
A.J. Ramos completed a four-hitter, striking out the side after a leadoff walk in the ninth for his sixth save.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Strasburg struck out a career-high 15 while allowing three hits over seven innings to lead the Washington Nationals over the Padres 3-0 on Saturday.
Strasburg (6-1) singled and scored Washington’s first run on Bryce Harper’s third-inning grounder, and Michael A. Taylor hit a two-run homer for the second consecutive game. Matt Albers and Koda Glover provided hitless relief, with Glover getting his fifth save.
Clayton Richard (3-6) gave up three runs and 10 hits in six innings.
ANGELS 5, MARLINS 2
MIAMI (AP) — Mike Trout hit his major league-leading 16th homer, a first-inning drive into the left field beer garden estimated at 443 feet.
J.C. Ramirez (5-3) limited Miami to an unearned run in seven innings.
Cameron Maybin put Los Angeles ahead to stay in the third when he tripled and scored on Andrelton Simmons’ groundout. Maybin also singled, stole two bases and scored three times.
Vance Worley (0-2) allowed two runs and two hits in five innings.
RED SOX 6, MARINERS 0
BOSTON (AP) — Brian Johnson (2-0) pitched a five-hitter, struck out eight and walked none in his first big league appearance at Fenway Park, and Boston stretched its winning streak to a season-high six games. He became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998.
Xander Bogaerts’ RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth
Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in debut for Seattle, which has lost seven of eight.
YANKEES 3, ATHLETICS 2
NEW YORK (AP) — Rookie Jharel Cotton (3-5), brought up before the game, held the Yankees hitless until Matt Holliday’s tiebreaking, two-run homer with two outs in the sixth. New York won with only two hits — the first time the Yankees have done that with so few at home since 1988.
Sabathia (5-2) gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings, struck out nine and walked three. He has won three straight starts for the first time since 2013.
Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge was in the right spot for a pair of key catches to boost the AL East leaders, who won with just two hits.
Dellin Betances escaped a second-and-third, one-out jam in the eighth, an inning that included the ejections of A’s hitter Jed Lowrie and manager Bob Melvin for arguing strike three calls, and closed for his fifth save.
BLUE JAYS 3, RANGERS 1
TORONTO (AP) — Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Yu Darvish (5-3) and Toronto matched its longest winning streak this season at five.
Shin-soo Choo homered on the first pitch of the game from Marco Estrada (4-2), who allowed four hits in six innings. Roberto Osuna threw a perfect ninth for his ninth save, completing a six-hitter.
WHITE SOX 3, TIGERS 0
TIGERS 4, WHITE SOX 3
CHICAGO (AP) — Buck Farmer (1-0) struck out a career-high 11 and allowed three hits in 6 1/3 innings of a doubleheader nightcap, getting his first big league win after going 0-6 with a 6.84 ERA in 32 games since his debut in 2014.
Yolmer Sanchez hit a two-run triple with one out in the ninth off Justin Wilson, who struck out Todd Frazier and rookie Adam Engel.
John Hicks and Victor Martinez homered for Detroit. Derek Holland (4-4) allowed seven hits and four walks in six innings.
Tyler Danish (1-0) worked around six walks in the opener while allowing three hits over five innings for his first major league win, and David Robertson finished the four-hitter for his sixth save in seven chances. Michael Fulmer (5-3) allowed nine hits in his first complete game this season.
Tim Anderson scored on a double play in the fifth, and Leury Garcia hit an RBI triple in the eighth and scored on Jose Abreu’s single.
TWINS 5, RAYS 3
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Brian Dozier hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Tommy Hunter with two outs in the eighth, an inning that began when Danny Farquhar (2-2) walked Chris Gimenez.
Taylor Rogers (2-1) followed with a perfect bottom half, and Brandon Kintzler got his 13th save, despite a two-out home run by Colby Rasmus.
PHILLIES 4, REDS 3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tommy Joseph hit a solo homer in the fourth inning and a game-ending single in the ninth off Michael Lorenzen (3-1) as Philadelphia won for the third time in 13 games. Cesar Hernandez and Michael Saunders also homered for the Phillies.
Hector Neris (2-2) pitched the ninth, combining with Edubray Ramos, Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit for 3 2/3 shutout innings.
BREWERS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 1
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Chase Anderson (3-1) didn’t allow a hit until Nick Ahmed singled up the middle off the glove of second baseman Eric Sogard leading off the eighth. On Aug. 16, 2015, Ahmed blooped a single to right-center leading off the eighth inning for the Diamondbacks’ first hit against Atlanta’s Shelby Miller.
Anderson (3-1), who then left, struck out a career-high 11 and walked three, throwing a career-high 114 pitches.
Jett Bandy hit a three-run double off Zack Greinke (6-3) in the fourth, and Jesus Aguilar homered. Arizona had won its previous five games.
ROYALS 5, INDIANS 2
CLEVELAND (AP) — Alex Gordon hit a tying single off Boone Logan in the sixth inning and scored on Alcides Escobar’ two-run double against Nick Goody. Danny Salazar (3-5) walked Whit Merrifield starting the inning.
Jason Vargas (6-3) allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings. Kelvin Herrera worked the ninth for his second save in two days and No. 11 on the season.
DODGERS 5, CUBS 0
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chase Utley drove in three runs with a pair of two-out singles, Chris Taylor hit a two-run homer in a four-run fifth inning and Brandon McCarthy (5-1) and Ross Stripling combined on a three-hitter as Los Angeles won for the eighth time in 10 games.
McCarthy (5-1) allowed two hits in six innings, and Stripling for nine outs for his first big league save.
Chicago has been shut out in three consecutive road games. John Lackey (4-5) gave up five runs, six hits and four walks in six innings.
ASTROS 5, ORIOLES 2
HOUSTON (AP) — Dallas Keuchel (8-0) returned from a disabled list stint caused by a pinched nerve in his neck and became the major leagues’ first eight-game winner, allowing one run and four hits in six innings with eight strikeouts. Will Harris struck out two in a perfect ninth for his second save.
George Springer hit a two-run homer for a 4-1 lead in the fourth against Wade Miley (1-3), who gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings.
PIRATES 5, METS 4
PITTSBURGH (AP) — John Jaso singled home the tying run against Addison Reed in the ninth inning and the winning run off Josh Edgin with two outs in the 10th.
Tony Watson (3-1) struck out Travis d’Arnaud to strand two runners in the 10th, and the Pirates loaded the bases in the bottom half against Tyler Pill (0-1), who made his big league debut.
On manager Terry Collins’ 68th birthday, the Mets blew a save for the fifth time in their last seven chances.
CARDINALS 3, ROCKIES 0
DENVER (AP) — Adam Wainwright kept up his mastery of the Rockies by scattering three hits over seven innings, Tommy Pham hit a two-run homer and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Colorado. Wainwright (5-3) struck out six and retired the last 10 batters he faced as he moved to 10-1 with a 1.56 ERA over his career against Colorado.
Yadier Molina extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a run-scoring single in the third. Pham had the big blow in the fifth, when he lined a slider Kyle Freeland (5-3) into the left-center seats.
The Cardinals withstood a scare in the eighth, with Trevor Rosenthal working his way out of a bases loaded jam by getting Carlos Gonzalez to ground out. Seung Hwan Oh pitched the ninth for his 11th save.
GIANTS 6, BRAVES 3
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ty Blach (3-2) pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning and gave San Francisco’s struggling offense a boost with an RBI single during a three-run fourth that helped the Giants snap a four-game losing streak.
Nick Hundley homered and drove in three runs and Brandon Belt added a solo shot against Mike Foltynewicz (3-5) as the Giants’ bats broke out after being held to six runs during the four-game skid.
Derek Law got the final out in the eighth and Mark Melancon got two outs for his 10th save in 12 chances.
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Robbie Ray pitched seven innings of two-hit ball to lower the NL’s second-best road ERA to 0.57, Gregor Blanco and Chris Owings homered, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-0 Thursday night for their ninth win in 10 games.
Ray (4-3), coming off a dominating performance against San Diego in his last start, did not allow a run for the second straight outing. He struck out nine and walked none to send the Brewers to their season-worst fourth straight loss.
Arizona is 11 games above .500 for the first time since 2011.
Blanco, who went 3 for 4, hit the second pitch of the game off Milwaukee starter Zach Davies (5-3) for his fourth career leadoff home run. Owings tied his career high with his sixth of the season leading off the second. David Peralta had an RBI double in the third and Paul Goldschmidt scored on a wild pitch in the eighth.
CUBS 5, GIANTS 1
CHICAGO (AP) — Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist hit solo homers, and Chicago won its third straight.
Spot starter Eddie Butler (2-0) allowed one run and four hits in five innings, and Mike Montgomery pitched one-hit ball over four innings for his first professional save.
Jeff Samardzija (1-6) gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts. He also gave up three home runs against Arizona in his first start of the season on April 6.
MARINERS 4, NATIONALS 2
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nelson Cruz greeted reliever Jacob Turner (2-3) a three-run homer in the sixth inning that overturned a 2-0 deficit, and Seattle stopped a five-game losing streak.
Ariel Miranda (4-2) allowed two runs, three hits and three walks in five innings. Edwin Diaz, Seattle’s sixth pitcher, threw a one-hit ninth that completed a six-hitter. Diaz got his first save since May 9 and has eight in 10 chances overall.
PIRATES 9, BRAVES 4
ATLANTA (AP) — Ivan Nova (5-3) allowed four runs and 10 hits in 8 1/3 innings, and Adam Frazier hit a three-run homer.
Pittsburgh pounded Bartolo Colon (2-5), who a day after his 44th birthday allowed seven runs and 10 hits in five innings. His ERA rose to 6.96.
PHILLIES 2, ROCKIES 1
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tommy Joseph hit a tying home run in the seventh inning and a winning single against Scott Oberg (0-1) in the 11th after Michael Saunders’ one-out double, stopping Colorado from a four-game sweep.
Jeanmar Gomez (3-1) pitched a hitless 11th is his return from a disabled list stint caused by an elbow injury. Philadelphia ended a five-game losing streak, winning for the fifth time in 25 games. Colorado, which has the NL’s best record, had won four in a row.
RAYS 4, ANGELS 0
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Matt Andriese (5-1) allowed six hits over eight innings, Colby Rasmus drove in four runs and Tampa Bay salvaged a four-game split.
Tommy Hunter got three outs to complete a six-hitter.
Daniel Wright (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill in for the injured Alex Meyer, allowed four runs — two earned — and six hits in 4 1/3 innings.
PADRES 4, METS 3
NEW YORK (AP) — Dinelson Lamet overpowered the Mets in his major league debut, New York’s Rafael Montero labored on short notice and San Diego won on a rainy night.
Scattered showers soaked Queens all day, and thunderstorms were forecast for midgame, although heavy rain never came. Mets manager Terry Collins pushed back scheduled starter Jacob deGrom to try avoiding an abbreviated outing, instead telling Montero around 3:45 p.m. that he’d start the 7:10 p.m. contest.
Montero (0-4) allowed two runs during a 45-pitch first inning, including a bases-loaded walk to Matt Szczur. Montero threw 87 pitches over three innings, giving up three runs, five hits and three walks. His ERA rose to 8.24.
Lamet (1-0) cruised through five innings of one-run ball. The 24-year-old right-hander punched out eight and surrendered just three hits, including Lucas Duda’s solo homer in the second. Brad Hand allowed a run but escaped a jam in the ninth for the second straight night, geting his second career save and second in two nights.
RED SOX 6, RANGERS 2
BOSTON (AP) — Drew Pomeranz pitched six strong innings and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts to lift Boston past Texas.
Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win.
Pomeranz (4-3) made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.
Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five.
Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Nick Martinez (1-3) early.
ASTROS 7, TIGERS 6
HOUSTON (AP) — Jake Marisnick hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning for Houston’s fourth homer of the game, lifting the Astros to a 7-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night.
The Tigers tied it 6-6 in the top of the eighth when Jose Iglesias doubled off reliever Luke Gregerson (2-1) to drive in Andrew Romine.
Marisnick’s homer to deep center off Detroit reliever Alex Wilson (1-2) gave Houston the lead back. Ken Giles got the last three outs for his 13th save as the Astros won three of four from the Tigers.
Carlos Correa, Marwin Gonzalez and Juan Centeno all homered off Justin Verlander in Houston’s five-run fourth that gave the Astros a 5-3 lead.
DODGERS 7, CARDINALS 3
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kenta Maeda fell into a 3-0 hole in the first inning of his first start for the Dodgers in two weeks coming off the disabled list. Then, the Japanese right-hander rallied Los Angeles to the win.
Maeda (4-2) drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a two-out single in the fourth off Michael Wacha and turned an inning-ending double play in the fifth to help the Dodgers take two of three from the Cardinals.
Maeda allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings, struck out four and walked two.
Wacha (2-2) gave up six runs and seven hits in four-plus innings.