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  1. ST. PETERSBURG Jim Thome Jersey , Fla. (AP) — a new pitching formula.Ryan Yarbrough got his rookie-leading 16th win and the Rays turned another bullpen game into their 90th victory, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 9-4 on Sunday.The Rays (90-72) went to the unconventional plan of using relievers to open games in addition to traditional starters in mid-May because of injuries.The results were about equal, as Tampa Bay went 46-38 with regular starters and 44-34 when utilizing the bullpen, and the trend began to take hold around the majors. But no team did it as often as the Rays.“I don’t think you can really argue with the results we’ve had with it, and not just with me but with other guys too,” Yarbrough said. “For it to work that well was a big blessing, and you never know, if it didn’t work that well, we’d never know where we could be right now.”Ryne Stanek was Tampa Bay’s “opener” for the 29th time and went two scoreless innings. Yarbrough (16-6) followed and gave up two runs and four hits over three innings to get his 14th relief win.Austin Pruitt went the final 3 1/3 innings to pick up his fourth save. He’s gone three or more innings in four of his five career saves.The Rays went 87-60 after losing 12 of their first 15 games.“Hopefully the groundwork has been laid ,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The core group that has gotten some opportunities, played at a really high level, learned how to win together.”Outgoing Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to have some fun in the finale and let 35-year-old catcher Russell Martin manage the game.Martin said he “thought about it for a couple seconds” before deciding to keep himself on the bench, declining the opportunity to serve as a player-manager.“It was fun,” Martin said. “Didn’t realize how much went into it. A cool experience. It’s tougher than it looks.”Toronto announced Wednesday that Gibbons will not be back as manager next season.“He’s one of my favorites,” Martin said. “I’m going to miss him. He’s a special guy. He’s kind of like having a second dad.”Over two stints totaling 11 seasons, Gibbons went 793-789 with the Blue Jays.Toronto finished 73-89, a three-game drop from 2017.Tampa Bay improved 10 games from last year and joined the 2012 Rays (90) and 2013 Texas Rangers (91) as the only 90-win teams since the second wild card was introduced in 2012 to miss the postseason.Joey Wendle and Jake Bauers both had two RBIs for the Rays, who went 13-6 against Toronto. Tampa Bay has dominated the series at home Odubel Herrera Jersey , going 111-74.Sam Gaviglio (3-10) allowed five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.SEATS AVAILABLEDespite the strong on-field showing, the Rays’ announced home attendance of 1,154,973 was their lowest since 2005 (1,141,699). Tampa Bay drew 1,253,619 last season. Sunday’s crowd was 13,313. Only Miami (811 ,104) drew fewer fans.STAYING THE COURSEThe Rays are happy with the progress of two-way player Brendan McKay at Single-A Charlotte this season and plan to continue the experiment. “Where this ends up going I think we don’t know exactly still, but we’re really encouraged,” Tampa Bay senior vice president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom said.Bloom said McKay, whose season ended prematurely because of an oblique injury, has been working in the instructional league and has gotten back “to where he’s a healthy player.”RAYS’ HOT STREAKSTommy Pham walked in the third to extend his on-base streak to 32 games, the longest active streak in the majors. Johnny Damon holds the team record with 39. … Wendle set a club rookie record by hitting .300. … Mallex Smith stole 40 bases.UP NEXTBlue Jays: Open the 2019 season at home against Detroit on March 28.Rays: Host AL West champion Houston on opening day of 2019. New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez will reportedly be placed on the disabled list after suffering a groin injury during Monday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.Olney reported a Tuesday MRI confirmed Sanchez's injury. Per Jon Heyman of Fancred, it is believed the catcher reaggravated the injury on a first-inning passed ball, which allowed a run to score from second:Sanchez later received criticism for not running out a grounder that ended the game Josh Bell Jersey , keeping the tying run from scoring in a 7-6 loss:As it turns out, he was hurt.Sanchez has been one of the most productive catchers in MLB since breaking out with 20 home runs in 53 appearances for the Yanks in 2016. While his batting average is below the Mendoza Line, his power numbers (14 HR, 42 RBI) have remained valuable.The 25-year-old Dominican Republic native suffered the first significant injury of his Yankees career in late June when he was placed on the disabled list with a right groin strain.After Sanchez's latest setback, Austin Romine should see a lion's share of the starts behind the plate for New York.Although the Yanks should have enough offensive depth to survive a short-term absence from Sanchez, any type of extended DL stay would limit the team's upside. He's a key piece of the puzzle, especially at a position where most teams don't receive high-end hitting numbers.
  2. ATLANTA — Nellie Fox Jersey , but at least the Atlanta Braves still have a chance in their National League Division Series.After the Milwaukee Brewers swept the Colorado Rockies to advance to the NL Championship Series earlier Sunday, the Dodgers had a chance to do the same at SunTrust Park.The Braves, though, bounced back from two shutouts in Los Angeles to edge the Dodgers 6-5 and force a Game 4 in Atlanta on Monday. If needed, Game 5 would be Wednesday at Los Angeles.Article continues below ...Freddie Freeman hit a tie-breaking homer in the sixth inning after the Braves had let a five-run lead slip away and closer Arodys Vizcaino pulled off an escape act in the ninth inning with three strikeouts to spoil the Dodgers’ sweep hopes.Only 10 of the previous 80 teams that lost the first two games of a division series have come back to win. The Braves are trying to beat the long odds as the 11th.“I like our chances,” Freeman said. “Nobody picked us to be here, so why not prove people wrong again. We can do it.”Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who lost the series opener in Los Angeles on Thursday, will get the Game 4 start for the Braves, while the Dodgers will call on left-hander Rich Hill.Hill, who hasn’t worked since pitching seven scoreless innings at San Francisco last Sunday, won his last five regular-season starts to finish 11-5 and is 5-0 with 1.74 ERA in nine games against the Braves.Foltynewicz was 13-10 with a 2.85 ERA in the regular-season but lasted just two innings in Game 1 while giving up a lead-off homer by Joc Pederson and a three-run blast by Max Muncy an inning later.“Fifty pitches. He’s good. That’s just a workout ,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Quite honestly, I’d rather start him than have him coming in behind somebody. He’s raring to go and itching to get the ball. It’s still elimination, so we’re going to try and go with the best we got.”The Dodgers overcame a five-run Braves second inning highlighted by rookie Ronald Acuna Jr.’s grand slam but couldn’t cash in on their chances after Freeman put the Braves back ahead.The Dodgers have seven homers in the NLDS, but just 10 other hits. Los Angeles, which received nine walks, left nine runners on base, including four in the final two innings.“The seventh, eighth and ninth, we had our chances,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We couldn’t get that one extra hit.”Acuna, at age 20, is the youngest major leaguer to hit a bases-loaded homer in the postseason. Mickey Mantle did it at 21 for the New York Yankees in the 1953 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.Acuna Luke Appling Jersey , who hit 26 homers in the regular season, had a double and single in Game 2 and followed that up impressively on Sunday. He is batting .273 (3-for-11) while Atlanta is hitting .144 in the series.“He continues to amaze,” Freeman said. ‘He’s been doing it all year and he continued it in the playoffs. He’s pretty incredible, and everybody is starting to get to see it.” CINCINNATI (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers had a surplus of outfielders. With one attention-getting deal, they reshaped their roster in hopes of another pennant run.The reigning NL champions shook up their lineup on Friday, trading Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and left-hander Alex Wood along with cash to the Cincinnati Reds for a pair of prospects as part of a seven-player deal.The Reds included starter Homer Bailey in the swap, a way of freeing them from the $28 million owed him in the final year of his contract. Bailey didn’t fit into the Reds’ pitching plans, so they wanted to include him in a deal if possible. The Dodgers plan to release him.“It was to grant him his release, more of fitting into the overall construct of the deal,” said Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations.The Dodgers get minor leaguer infielder Jeter Downs and right-hander Josiah Gray. The Reds got catcher Kyle Farmer for depth at the position.“I think if you look back over last few years , a hallmark of our teams has been depth on our roster,” Friedman said. “This put us in position with a surplus in the outfield and pitching. A big focus was to figure out moves on those fronts that made sense.”For the Reds, it’s another move toward becoming competitive after four straight 90-loss seasons. Cincinnati has been rebuilding since 2015, and decided it’s time to spend some money and make some deals to complement its core of young players.“We still have (financial) resources to make this team better — we’re not done yet,” said Dick Williams, the Reds’ president of baseball operations. “We did trade some good prospects here, but we acquired four major league players that address needs for us and I think we’re better in the short-term.”Last week, the Reds traded pitching prospect Tanner Rainey to the Nationals for 32-year-old starter Tanner Roark, who led the National League in losses last season while going 9-15 with a 4.34 ERA.Cincinnati didn’t know what to do with Bailey, who went 1-14 last season with a 6.09 ERA and resisted a move to the bullpen. He threw a pair of no-hitters before his career was sidetracked by three arm operations. He was entering the final year on a six-year, $105 million deal.The rotation has been the Reds’ biggest problem, with prospects failing to produce consistently , and Wood provides another upgrade. He was an All-Star for the Dodgers in 2017, going 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA. He was 9-7 last season with a 3.68 ERA in 27 starts and six relief appearances.“We think he’s a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy who’s going to fit in really well,” Williams said.The Reds’ outfield was in flux when they chose not to tender a contact to Billy Hamilton, making him a free agent. Puig is expected to play right field. He’s in the final year of a seven-year, $42 million deal.Kemp, 34, batted .290 with 25 doubles, 21 homers and 85 RBIs last season, when he was an All-Star for the third time.The Dodgers felt good about the chance to deal from their glut of outfielders and pitchers.“If you look at our rotation and outfield four hours ago, it was not a functional roster,” Friedman said. “It’s a deal that makes sense.”
  3. — The Houston Astros aren’t putting up big numbers with their injury-depleted lineup. But the World Series champions are making up for that with a couple of timely home runs.Tyler White hit a two-run drive in the eighth inning and the Astros pulled off a late rally for the second straight game Luis Valbuena Jersey , beating the San Francisco Giants 2-1 on Tuesday.The win followed the Astros’ 3-1 victory Monday night in which Marwin Gonzalez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth.This time, the AL West leaders again trailed 1-0 when Gonzalez doubled and White hit a high, arching shot to left field off Ray Black (1-1).“It’s not easy to win games in the eighth and ninth,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We kind of make a habit of it every now and then, but different guy every day.”Houston has hit 13 home runs in its last eight games. The Astros have won six of seven and the Giants have lost four of five.“I was trying to put a good swing and then I saw it went up in the air to left field,” White said. “It was a good moment.”And it followed an anxious moment.On an 0-2 pitch, White was brushed back by a high 96 mph fastball from Black, who topped 100 earlier in the at-bat.“That’s always scary,” White said. “He let one get away a little bit, you just have to calm yourself down because it’s little bit scary. You just have to look for a good pitch to hit on the next pitch, and that’s what I was doing.”Joe Smith (4-1) struck out the only two batters he faced in the seventh for the win. Hector Rondon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 13th save in 16 tries.Astros starter Dallas Keuchel gave up one run and three hits in six innings , striking out five and walking two.Giants starter Madison Bumgarner pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out seven. He is 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in six career starts against Houston.“It’s hard to take when you get that kind of pitching,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.“Give them credit; they beat two of our hottest relievers. Lightning hit us twice. Black has been lights out. That was the first hit he allowed since his debut. He had a 1-2 count and made a mistake. He missed his spot. It looked like it was right down the middle.”D’ARNAUD’S DAYGiants INF Chase d’Arnaud left the game with a bruised left knee after fouling a ball of himself in the fourth. He hit an RBI single in the second.“He’s day-to-day,” Bochy said. “I’m guessing he’ll be fine with the day off (Wednesday).”TRAINER’S ROOMGiants: 1B Brandon Belt, on the DL with a hyperextended right knee since July 26, is ramping up baseball activities and could be activated for next week’s series opener against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Monday, Bochy said.UP NEXTAstros: After a day off, the Astros and RHP Justin Verlander (11-6, 2.19 ERA) will open a series at home against Seattle. He has won just two of his last eight starts, posting a 3.54 ERA over that stretch.Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (4-7, 4.60) with make his 20th career start Thursday in a series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at home. The Houston Astros traded for ace relief pitcher Roberto Osuna when he was in the middle of a 75-game suspension related to a domestic assault charge. There was bound to come a moment when that decision looked as bad on the field as it did in the department of basic decency.This moment arrived Tuesday Cam Bedrosian Jersey , October 16. Specifically, in the eighth inning of Houston's 8-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.It was a one-run game when Osuna entered in the top of the eighth at Minute Maid Park. He initially looked like the same pitcher who was an All-Star with the Toronto Blue Jays and put up a 1.99 ERA in 23 regular-season appearances with the Astros. Two of the first three batters he faced made outs.But then Osuna hit Brock Holt with a pitch to load the bases. Then he hit Mitch Moreland. Like that, Houston's deficit was doubled.After that came Jackie Bradley Jr. with the gamebreaker off Osuna: a grand slam into the right field seats that pushed the Red Sox's lead to six runs and, ultimately, clinched a 2-1 series lead.Boston Red Sox RedSoxThe Grand Slam Train continues in the #postseason! 馃殏#DoDamage nwSAOJ8PErAll told, Osuna was charged with five runs on three hits in two-thirds of an inning. It is the worst performance of his four-year major league career.In the words of Astros manager A.J. Hinch, per's Mark Feinsand: "It's a 3-2 ballgame until all hell broke loose there."It's tempting to view Osuna's collapse as karma for what got him suspended by Major League Baseball in the first place. But that's equal parts tricky and foolish.The details of what led to his May arrest and subsequent suspension have been kept under wraps, and revelations aren't coming any time soon. The charge against the 23-year-old was dropped when he agreed to a peace bond. The accuser鈥攁 woman who has a young child with him鈥攈ad declined to travel from Mexico to Toronto to testify.Whatever Osuna may have done to deserve his punishment, karma isn't going for him when he's on the mound anyway. Scales such as these can't be balanced by a couple of bad pitches in a silly game for kids.For the Astros, on the other hand, what happened in the eighth inning Tuesday is absolutely karmic retribution.Bob Levey/Getty ImagesThough the Astros didn't break any rules when they traded for Osuna ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline , the very act of doing so made them guilty of extreme cynicism.The Astros didn't look at Osuna and see a toxic asset. They looked and saw a marked-down item. All they needed to give up to get him was a few spare parts (fallen closer Ken Giles and fellow right-handers David Paulino and Hector Perez) and perhaps a little dignity.The Astros may have underestimated how much dignity the deal would cost them, however.The backlash was immediate and fierce. General manager Jeff Luhnow didn't help matters by insulting everyone's intelligence in a statement meant to reassure everyone that Osuna would "fully comply with our zero tolerance policy related to abuse of any kind." When you claim zero tolerance for abusers while bringing in a guy accused of abuse, then you don't actually have a zero tolerance policy.As far as the Astros were clearly concerned, however, what mattered was the long game. Unlike the joint drug agreement, MLB's domestic violence policy doesn't include postseason bans for suspended players. The more Osuna did to help deliver their second straight World Series championship, the more the controversy of his acquisition figured to blow over.Well, go figure that his biggest game as an Astro to date resulted in a critical ALCS loss. As's Brian McTaggart noted, history is now firmly on the Red Sox's side after Osuna's meltdown:Brian McTaggart brianmctaggartRed Sox beat the Astros, 8-2, to take a 2-1 series lead. In the history of best-of-seven series with the 2-3-2 format Zack Greinke Jersey , teams that win Game 3 on the road to grab a 2-1 advantage have gone on to take the series 27 of 36 times (75 percent).After opening with a 7-2 thud at Fenway Park in Game 1, the Red Sox have certainly looked more like a 108-game winner in claiming Games 2 and 3.Their hitters have worked tough at-bats against Gerrit Cole, Dallas Keuchel and an array of Houston relievers. Chris Sale, David Price and Nathan Eovaldi bent but didn't break at the start of games. And after a rough showing in Game 1, Boston's bullpen has allowed one run on three hits in 7.1 innings over the last two.Of course, it would be foolish to write the Astros off entirely. They were 103-game winners in their own right in the regular season, and one can still look at them and see a team that matches up well with Boston. The Astros can come back on the Red Sox by outpitching, outhitting or outfielding them. Osuna putting Game 3 behind him and getting back to his dominant ways could indeed be part of the equation.For now, though, they're reeling from an ugly loss that's the fault of a player whose very presence on the team is outrageous to many. Darn it if something about that doesn't feel right.Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.
  4. Altuve appears to be having difficulty getting over the knee injury that has had him on the disabled list since July 29.Per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle Rob Refsnyder Jersey , the reigning American League MVP flew back to Houston on Sunday to have his knee re-evaluated.Astros manager A.J. Hinch added that Altuve wouldn't be activated for the team's two-game series against the San Francisco Giants starting Monday."I think it feels like (a setback) only because we've eliminated San Francisco as a possibility," Hinch said. "I don't know that we can consider it a setback other than we can consider that he needs more time to heal."Injuries had never been much of a problem for the second baseman in his career, averaging 154.2 games played in his six full seasons in the majors. He only missed 22 total games in the past four seasons, earning four All-Star selections and an MVP award in this span.Unfortunately, he hasn't been as lucky in 2018, as a knee injury forced him to go on the disabled list for the first time in his career.The latest injury also adds to what has been somewhat of a disappointing year for the 28-year-old.While he is still playing at an All-Star level with a .329 average , his nine home runs and 14 stolen bases are a bit of a step back from what we have seen in the past. For instance, he hit 24 homers in each of the previous two seasons and stole 32 bases in 2017.Houston has enough depth and offensive firepower to survive a short stretch without Altuve, but it would be difficult for the team to defend its World Series title without its most consistent player.Utility player Marwin Gonzalez should be able to handle second base duties until the superstar is back on the field. CHICAGO — Throughout a season in which the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers spent the year as neighbors, both geographically and in the National League Central standings, it will come down to one final meeting.After finishing the 162-game schedule with matching records (95-67) and in a first-place tie atop the Central, the division title and the ability to avoid playing in a one-game wild-card playoff game will be determined by a Monday meeting at Wrigley Field.By beating the St. Louis Cardinals 10-5 on Sunday Joey Wendle Jersey , the Cubs will host the Brewers, who remained in the hunt for the Central title with an 11-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers. The winner will boast the National League’s record and host the NL Division Series on Thursday. The loser will play in a wild-card game on Tuesday.Article continues below ...The Cubs own a 11-8 advantage in the season series with the Brewers.“We’re going to have to come out and play our game,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said in a postgame televised interview on NBC Sports Chicago. “I think we lay it on the line tomorrow.”Jose Quintana (13-11, 4.09 ERA) will start for the Cubs on Monday. He has been solid in September and has allowed two or fewer earned runs in four of his five starts this month. Quintana is coming off a no-decision against the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he surrendered two runs and four hits in five innings. He is 6-2 with a 1.60 ERA in 10 career starts against the Brewers.As familiar as the Cubs and Brewers are with one another, Monday’s game will hold extra significance. Although it’s not a win or go home scenario for either team, the winner will have home-field advantage in the divisional series and the loser will have to turn around and play Tuesday in the wild-card matchup.“They’re a great team , they’re well-coached, we’re a great team, we’re well-coached,” Rizzo said. “They want it, we want it. We’ve been battling back and forth for the last few years now. Wrigley Field, noon game , right? The fans will be behind us all day. I couldn’t think of a better place to be playing and how lucky we are to be playing (Monday).”The Brewers, who trailed the Cubs by five games earlier this month and by a full game before winning Saturday, will arrive at Wrigley Field full of confidence having won seven straight games and nine out of their last 10.Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell has not yet settled on a starting pitcher for Monday’s game but has the luxury of not having to use any of his top-end relievers in Sunday’s lopsided victory over the Tigers.Regardless of who takes the mound for the Brewers, Milwaukee knows if it can extend its win streak, the extra two days of rest and not having to play in a must-win situation on Tuesday will be well worth the effort.“We’re going in there with the mindset that it’s a must win,” Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich said after Sunday’s victory. “Obviously , we are still alive if we don’t win. … The mindset is that we’ve given ourselves two chances to get in. We need to be ready to go.“They are a great team. We’ve played each other tough all year. It’s only fitting that we have to do one more.”
  5. in the wild card game Wednesday night.But they won even before the game started when Didi Gregorius , feared lost for the season with torn wrist cartilage, was given the OK to resume baseball activities. He is looking to return sometime during the weekend series in Boston.“Everybody plays through everything,” Gregorius said. “That’s why you want to keep going and be out there for the team. As soon as they let me play, I’m going to be in there.”Article continues below ...While nothing is certain, the hope is the shortstop can play before the end of the regular season.“That would be ideal,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ll see how he responds and what the doctors are telling us, and then we’ll go from there. Hopefully that means getting him in there this weekend, but we’ll just have to wait and see how it all unfolds and how he’s able to bounce back from the workload.”As far as the game, Neil Walker hit a three-run homer in the first inning but that was it for the Yankee offense until a four-run ninth inning fell a run short in an 8-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees magic number for clinching home field for the wild card game remained at two after Oakland defeated Seattle 9-3 later Thursday.CC Sabathia (8-7, 3.77 ERA), who has not had tremendous career success against the Rays, nor in this September Domingo Santana Jersey , will face Tampa “opener” Jamie Schultz (2-1, 4.55) in the series finale Thursday afternoon.Sabathia, who picked up his 245th career win in his last start and then announced he plans to play next season, is 16-16 with a 3.73 ERA in 47 lifetime starts against the Rays — 7-9, 3.70 in 23 games at Tropicana Field. He lost back-to-back starts to Tampa Bay in June despite allowing four earned runs in 13 innings.His win against the Red Sox ended a five-game winless streak and he is 1-2 with a 7.02 ERA in September.Sabathia needs to work seven innings Thursday to get to 155 and receive a $500,000 bonus.While the news was good on Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, who sat out Tuesday with groin soreness, didn’t start but played Wednesday, while Aaron Hicks (hamstring) remained out. Walker left the game after getting hit on the shin with a pitch. X-rays were negative and he’s expected to be fine for Thursday.The news wasn’t as good for the Rays, with Kevin Kiermaier, who has had a nightmarish season thanks to injuries Eric Sogard Jersey , suffered a hairline fracture of his right foot when hit by a Masahiro Tanaka pitch. Matt Duffy also left the game, with a tight quad.Said Kiermaier: “It’s just an unfortunate way for me to end the season but that’s kind of my 2018 in a nutshell. I feel like everything that could’ve went wrong for me did.”Ji-Man Choi, injured in a home plate collision Tuesday, felt much better but was rested — and will be available Thursday.Tommy Pham’s home run to centerfield broke a 3-3 tie, continuing his torrid hitting pace — he has reached base in 28 straight games and has a 10-game hitting streak (.444), after a 17-gamer was snapped.“Offensively, I’m still trying to figure out some things, and I think when I do figure it out, whether it be this year or the offseason — because it will be figured out before next season — I think I could truly be the player I think I’m capable of being,” Pham said. “I just haven’t figured out how to fix myself just yet.”Duffy is 5-for-9 lifetime against Sabathia, while Carlos Gomez is 9-for-21 with a homer.Tampa Bay’s Austin Pruitt is in line to get the bulk of the relief work in Thursday’s game, which will decide a season series tied at 9-9. CHICAGO — With the Chicago Cubs just starting a busy stretch during which they will play 23 games in 23 days Keon Broxton Jersey , finding a way to remain fresh may seem tougher than normal.How well Chicago’s starting pitching holds up over the remainder of the regular season may play a major role in determining whether the Cubs can capture their third straight National League Central Division title.With Yu Darvish out for the season and Mike Montgomery sidelined with a shoulder injury, the last thing the Cubs needed was for their starting rotation to take another hit. But the injury bug continued to bite the Cubs on Thursday when Tyler Chatwood, who had been relegated to the bullpen after spending most of the season as a starter, was placed on the disabled list with hip tightness. The Cubs recalled right-hander Dillon Maples from Triple-A Iowa.Article continues below ...The starter shortfall also forced the Cubs to call up Alec Mills, who will make his first major league start on Friday at Wrigley Field against the Cincinnati Reds. Mills (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is 5-12 with a 4.84 ERA in 23 starts this season at Triple-A Iowa.Mills made an appearance for the Cubs earlier this season when he pitched two scoreless innings of relief and struck out two July 27 against the St. Louis Cardinals.While the Cubs’ pitching has stood up well during Chicago’s recent offensive struggles, manager Joe Maddon continued to keep newly acquired Daniel Murphy at the top of his lineup. First baseman Anthony Rizzo, who had thrived in the lead-off spot, has settled back into his normal No. 3 spot and homered for a third straight game and drove in three runs as the Cubs knocked off the Reds 7-1 in Thursday night’s series opener behind a complete-game effort from Cole Hamels.The addition of Murphy, who went 2-for-5 and scored a run in Thursday’s win, could be big for the Cubs down the stretch. Murphy is a career .413 hitter in 109 at-bats at Wrigley Field, where he played his first game as a member of the Cubs on Wednesday. With shortstop Addison Russell sidelined with an injury , Murphy’s addition bolsters a lineup that general manager Jed Hoyer believes is built to win.“We’ve tried to augment that group as much as we can during the course of the season,” Hoyer told reporters, according to the Chicago Tribune. “But this group is very capable of winning. We need to start playing better, more consistent baseball.”The Reds will head into Friday’s game expecting to send Matt Harvey to the mound despite reports that the veteran right-hander had been claimed off waivers by an unknown team Wednesday. A team has 48 hours to either trade him or pull him off of waivers from the time he is chosen. The Reds’ official website said that would force team officials to decide what to do with Harvey before Friday’s matinee.Harvey is 6-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 17 starts with the Reds this season after he was acquired from the New York Mets. Harvey is 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs, and is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two starts against Chicago this season. Whether he makes another start against Chicago — at least as a member of the Reds — remains up in the air.“Obviously, if a trade is worked out, he won’t (pitch),” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman told reporters Thursday. “But we’re planning on having him start.”
  6. makes it a little more interesting.On SundayRicky Vaughn Jersey afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla., Gibbons’ second stay as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays comes to an end with the final game of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays, and Gibby is going out in style.He’s having veteran catcher Russell Martin manage the team.Article continues below ...“I’m having a little fun with it,” Gibbons said Saturday. “Let him see how tough it is.”Technically, Martin will be a player/manager, but he hasn’t played since Sept 3 as the Jays have been looking at younger players.While the game will be an emotional one for Gibbons and the Jays, it really has some importance to the home team.Blake Snell didn’t win his 22nd of the season Saturday night, but the Rays won the game 4-3 for their 89th victory of the season — thus giving them a shot at 90 in a year most people thought would be a washout.They could reach 90 wins for the first time in five years.On Saturday night, Tampa Bay notched its 50th home win.Marco Estrada, slated to close the season and the Gibbons Era, was scratched with the sore back that has bothered him through much of the season. Sam Gaviglio will start against another Rays “opener,” likely Ryne Stanek, with several relievers following.“The good thing is it’s nothing major,” said Estrada, a free agent at the end of the season. “It’s something the doctor feels it should be just fine. If we hit the right spot, this should be cleared away for a while. Pretty excited about it. He said, ‘Keep doing your core program, all the stretching you can, and it should help.’ I’ve stayed on it all year. Just sometimes it froze up.”As far as his future, the 35-year-old Estrada said: “Obviously, there’s always a chance of me coming back. I’m not sure in which direction they’re going, (or) if they want to go younger. It seems to be going that way. But I’m never right about these things. So I don’t really know. But I definitely would love to hear from them again. I’m comfortable here. I do love this team.”Snell pitched five innings and struck out 10 in a no-decision Saturday night, finishing his season at 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA — and apparently headed for the second Cy Young Award in franchise history.He came up short Saturday in his bid to become the first pitcher since Justin Verlander in 2011 to win 10 straight starts.“There’s not really much debate in my opinion,” said his manager, Kevin Cash.Said Snell: “I have a good case.”The Rays’ official Twitter account posted: Congrats to @snellzilla4 on an outstanding season. We’re rooting for you.”Toronto hitters struck out 18 times Saturday night.Gaviglio is 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA this season and 0-3 in his last five starts. He is 0-2 with a 5.27 ERA in three starts versus the Rays this season, dropping him to 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA in four career starts against Tampa Bay.Cash said before Saturday’s game that Matt Duffy and Ji-Man Choi likely would not play because of injuries.Also before the game, Rays right-hander Andrew Kittredge learned he had been suspended for three games and fined for throwing behind Austin Romine on Thursday. That led to CC Sabathia plunking Jesus Sucre with Sabathia suspended for five games.Kittredge said he might appeal, but both sentences would be served next season.“I understand, I do Michael Brantley Jersey , I get it,” Cash said. “I had some really good conversations with MLB, (chief baseball officer) Joe Torre and (senior vice president, baseball operations) Peter Woodfork. And you know what? Kitt, from my understanding, will go through the appeals process and kind of let it be heard, his viewpoint. And then go from there.” TORONTO (AP) — The Houston Astros clinched another AL West title and reached 100 wins for the second straight season, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 Tuesday night behind Alex Bregman’s two-run homer.Houston improved to 100-57 and was assured of first place hours later when second-place Oakland (95-63) lost at Seattle. The Astros will open the Division Series at home against Cleveland on Oct. 5.The Astros need three wins in their final five games to break the franchise record for victories in a season, set in 1998.Houston is 18-4 in September and 54-22 on the road, both best in the major leagues.Roberto Osuna needed just six pitches in the ninth for his 20th save in 21 chances. Earlier Tuesday, assault charges against Osuna were dropped because the complainant, who lives in Mexico, made clear she would not travel to Toronto to testify.Josh James (2-0) allowed one run and four hits in five innings in his third big league start.Bregman went 2 for 5 and extended his club-record streak of reaching base safely on the road to 53 games.Bregman hit his 31st homer, a two-run drive in the first off Sam Gaviglio. Billy McKinney’s sixth homer cut the gap in half in the third, but Houston widened its lead in the sixth when Tyler White chased Gaviglio with an RBI single and pinch-hitter Evan Gattis had a sacrifice fly off Danny Barnes.Gaviglio (3-9) allowed four runs — three earned — and six hits in five-plus innings, his fifth straight winless outing.MARINERS 10, ATHLETICS 8, 11 INNINGSSEATTLE (AP) — Pinch-hitter Chris Herrmann’s two-run homer in the 11th inning gave Seattle a 10-8 win over Oakland and clinched the AL West for Houston, leaving the Athletics with a wild-card matchup against the New York Yankees.Seattle overcame an 8-5 eighth-inning deficit and dropped the A’s 2½ games behind the Yankees for home-field advantage in the Oct. 3 winner-take-all matchup. Oakland had been 68-0 when leading after seven innings.Denard Span hit a two-run double off Fernando Rodney in the eighth.Blake Treinen was one strike from closing out his 38th save in the ninth, but Nelson Cruz punched a two-out single, Ryon Healy reached when third baseman Matt Chapman bobbled his grounder for an error and Kyle Seager hit an RBI single. Treinen had allowed just one hit in his previous 13 appearances.Ben Gamel walked with one out in the 11th against Emilio Pagan (3-1), and Herrmann batted for Andrew Romine and sent an 0-1 fastball out to deep right-center field.Alex Colome (7-5) pitched the 11th for the victory.ROCKIES 10, PHILLIES 3DENVER (AP) — David Dahl homered for a second straight night, a three-run shot in the third, and the Colorado Rockies vaulted into the final NL wild-card spot by beating the Philadelphia Phillies 10-3 on Tuesday night.The Rockies’ fifth straight win moved them a half-game in front of St. Louis for the second wild-card after the Cardinals lost 12-4 to Milwaukee. Colorado trailed the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers by 1½ games entering the night and still has a chance to win its first division title. The Rockies have five games remaining.The game-changing hit was delivered by Dahl, who lined a fastball from Vince Velasquez (9-12) to left for his 12th homer — nearly to the same spot where Dahl hit a two-run homer the previous night. Dahl also added a run-scoring single as part of a 3-for-5, 4-RBI evening.The Rockies used seven relievers, with DJ Johnson (1-0) getting one out in the third to earn his first big league win.BREWERS 12, CARDINALS 4ST. LOUIS (AP) — Christian Yelich homered and drove in six runs, and surging Milwaukee hurt St. Louis’ playoff chances.Ryan Braun went deep twice and Jesus Aguilar also connected as Milwaukee won for the fifth time in six games and moved within one-half game of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs. Manny Pina had two hits and drove in a run , and pitcher Gio Gonzalez contributed an RBI single for just his fourth hit of the season.The Cardinals (87-71) fell one-half game behind the Colorado Rockies (87-70), who beat Philadelphia 10-3, for the second NL wild card. Milwaukee (91-67) leads Colorado by 3½ games for the top wild card.Milwaukee scored each of its first six runs with two outs. Aguilar and Braun hit back-to-back homers in the first off rookie Austin Gomber (6-2), and Gonzalez chased the left-hander with his hit in the fourth.Gonzalez lasted four innings. Taylor Williams (1-3), the third of seven Milwaukee pitchers, got three outs for the win.PIRATES 6, CUBS 0CHICAGO (AP) — Slugger Kris Bryant exited with a bruised left wrist, Mike Montgomery got hit hard over four-plus innings and the Chicago Cubs stumbled again in their playoff run by losing to Pittsburgh.The Cubs missed a chance to clinch a franchise-record fourth straight trip to the postseason for the second time in as many nights. And their lead in the NL Central over Milwaukee shrunk to a half game, with the Brewers beating St. Louis 12-4.Chicago needed a win plus a loss by Colorado to Philadelphia to secure a playoff spot and extend a run that includes a drought-ending World Series championship in 2016. But the Cubs lost for the fourth time in sixth games while the Rockies won 10-3.Bryant got struck by a pitch from Chris Archer (3-3) in the fourth inning and was replaced at third base in the sixth by Ian Happ, who had pinch hit in the fifth.Montgomery (5-6) gave up five runs and seven hits, and the Cubs got shut out for the 11th time this season.NATIONALS 9, MARLINS 4WASHINGTON (AP) — Max Scherzer became the 17th pitcher since 1900 to strike out 300 batters in a season, reaching that milestone by fanning 10 in seven innings during Washington’s otherwise meaningless win over Miami.Scherzer (18-7) lowered his ERA to 2.53 by allowing one run in seven innings as he bids for a third consecutive NL Cy Young Award; he also won the 2013 honor in the AL for Detroit.The righty reached the 300-strikeout mark by getting Austin Dean to whiff on an 85-mph slider at the end of a 10-pitch at-bat for the second out of the seventh.Washington’s Anthony Rendon hit a three-run shot in the first inning off Jeff Brigham (0-4), increasing his season totals to 24 homers and 90 RBIs and extending his streak of reaching base to 33 straight games.YANKEES 9, RAYS 2ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Struggling Gary Sanchez drove in four runs for the first time since early April, Luis Severino won his 19th game and New York beat Tampa Bay to keep up its push for home-field advantage in the AL wild-card game.Sanchez had been 10 for 66 (.152) since returning Sept. 1 from a groin strain and 1 for his last 28, dropping his average to .180. He hit a three-run homer off Jalen Beeks in a seven-run third inning, his first long ball since Sept. 10, and added an RBI single in the fifth.Severino (19-8) is competing for Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ to start in the Oct. 3 winner-take-all game against Oakland. The Yankees opened a 2½-game lead over the Athletics for home-field advantage.Adeiny Hechavarria homered against Jake Faria (4-4) leading off the third. Luke Voit had an RBI double, Beeks walked Neil Walker with the bases loaded, Miguel Andujar hit a sacrifice fly and Sanchez followed with his 17th homer.INDIANS 5, WHITE SOX 4CHICAGO (AP) — Trevor Bauer took a step toward returning to Cleveland’s rotation for the postseason by tossing four effective innings, but Chicago overcame a two-run, ninth-inning deficit and beat Cleveland.Carlos Carrasco (16-10) followed Bauer with his second relief appearance this season. Carrasco tossed one-hit, shutout ball through four innings and entered the ninth with a 4-2 lead before the White Sox scored three times and snapped a three-game losing streak.The White Sox need to win one of their last five games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1970, when they went 56-106.White Sox starter James Shields allowed four runs on six hits and four walks in six innings. Reliever Ian Hamilton (1-2) got one out in the ninth to earn the win.BRAVES 7, METS 3NEW YORK (AP) — Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a go-ahead single in the seventh inning, Ozzie Albies homered in the eighth and NL East champion Atlanta rallied past New York for its sixth straight victory.Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson exited early with a sore left hand, and the Braves were held scoreless by Noah Syndergaard for six innings. But they jumped all over the Mets‘ bullpen for seven runs in the next two innings to match their longest winning streak of the season.Mets captain David Wright was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list before the game but did not play even though he was available off the bench.Kurt Suzuki drove in two runs for the Braves Kenny Lofton Jersey , who trailed 3-0 before rallying against Robert Gsellman (6-3) in the seventh. Acuna’s two-run single off Drew Smith gave Atlanta a 4-3 lead.Dan Winkler (4-0) allowed a run in one inning for the win.TIGERS 4, TWINS 2MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Harold Castro’s first career hit started an eighth-inning rally that led Detroit past Minnesota.Joe Mauer set the Twins‘ record for reaching base. He singled in the first inning, reaching base for the 3,073 time in his career and surpassing Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew.Victor Alcantara (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless inning in relief of starter Spencer Turnbull, who allowed one run in six innings in his second major league start. Shane Greene earned his 32nd save.Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger (4-6) surrendered four runs and retired one batter while giving up three hits and a walk.ROYALS 4, REDS 3CINCINNATI (AP) — Hunter Dozier led off the ninth inning with a tie-breaking home run, lifting Kansas City over Cincinnati.Dozier’s 11th homer of the season, off Raisel Iglesias (2-5), left Kansas City needing two wins in its last five games to avoid tying the franchise record of 106 losses in a season, set in 2005.Kevin McCarthy (5-4) worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the eighth and earned the win. The Reds loaded the bases again in the ninth with two outs against Wily Peralta. But Joey Votto grounded out and Peralta earned his 14th save.DIAMONDBACKS 4, DODGERS 3PHOENIX (AP) — Eduardo Escobar homered off Kenta Maeda leading off the ninth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks tightened the NL West race.Los Angeles (88-70) had won 10 of its previous 12 games to surge into the NL West lead, but Colorado (87-70) pulled within a half-game of the NL champions by beating Philadelphia 10-3.Chris Taylor hit a tying double off Brad Boxberger (3-7) in the top of the ninth. Escobar sent a full-count fastball from Maeda (8-10) into the right-field seats, stopping Arizona’s four-game losing streak.David Peralta had a two-run double and pinch-hitter Ildemaro Vargas lined a run-scoring single in the seventh inning for Arizona (80-78), which needs two wins to ensure consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2007-08.Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run for the Dodgers.ANGELS 4, RANGERS 1ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani, Justin Upton and Kaleb Cowart drove in runs and the Los Angeles Angels rallied with four runs in the sixth inning to beat Texas.Noe Ramirez (7-5) earned the victory in relief.The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the third when Joey Gallo hit his 40th homer of the season to deep center. Gallo has three more homers than singles (37) this season.Gallo became the fourth Rangers player to have back-to-back 40-homer seasons.GIANTS 5, PADRES 4, 12 INNINGSSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pitcher Madison Bumgarner had the first game-ending hit of his career, a pinch-hit single in the 12th inning that drove in Gorkys Hernandez, and lifted San Francisco.Hunter Pence homered and scored three times in what was likely one of his final games with San Francisco. Gregor Blanco had a two-run single and Evan Longoria added an RBI double.The Giants recorded their 10th walk-off win of the season, and won for just the fifth time in 22 games.Freddy Galvis had four hits and a walk, continuing his offensive surge for San Diego. Eric Hosmer added a two-run single.At 63-95, the Padres are assured of their worst record since 2008, when they finished 63-99.After Hernandez tripled off Rowan Wick (0-1), and without a position player left on his bench, Giants manager Bruce Bochy turned to his best hitting pitcher.Bumgarner took a called strike and then lined a sharp single past third baseman Myers to drive in the winning run.
  7. LOS ANGELES — John Kruk Jersey , they have also used an old reliable to get them in position to grab their sixth consecutive National League West title.Before the current series against the San Diego Padres began, Dodgers starters had a 3.06 ERA since the All-Star break, the best mark in the major leagues. That number had come in 57 starts and 332 innings.Then came a stumble Friday from right-hander Ross Stripling and the Dodgers fell 5-3 to the last-place Padres. Los Angeles’ lead in the National League West fell to 1 1/2 games with just over a week remaining in the season. Stripling lasted just 3 1/3 innings.Article continues below ...Carrying those Dodgers pitching expectations into Saturday’s game against the Padres is left-hander Rich Hill (9-5, 4.02 ERA), who has done his part during the team’s second-half pitching success. Hill is 7-1 since the All-Star break, posting a 3.55 ERA. In his 11 second-half starts, the Dodgers have gone 8-3.The Dodgers have not always had all aspects of their game firing at once until the last two weeks. The starting pitchers, though, had long since set an example for the rest of the team.The intensity has ramped up further as a Dodgers team that has played three National League Championship Series and one World Series over the last five years has that October look once again.“These are playoff games,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I think you can see the intent on every single pitch. We smell the finish line of the regular season. There’s a lot of sacrifice going on. The preparation hasn’t wavered. The bottom line is we have very good players.”That sounds good, but the Dodgers are actually 1-3 in their last four games against last-place teams. They lost two of three to the Cincinnati Reds on their most recent road trip.The Padres would like to see rookie right-hander Jacob Nix (2-3 , 5.75) rise to the occasion amid all that Dodger Stadium energy Saturday, and against an opposing veteran starter who has been a key member in the Dodgers’ last three playoff runs.Complicating matters for Nix is a sore hip that might need surgery in the offseason, although the right-hander is doing everything he can to avoid going down that route. He will not only be focused on the Dodgers on Saturday, but will have to be in lock step with his mechanics as well.“I don’t want to be compensating for something down the chain,” Nix said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.Nix has just seven career starts, all since Aug. 10. His best outing came Aug. 28 against the Seattle Mariners, when he gave up just one run over 8 1/3 innings, but he has given up 14 earned runs in the three starts since then (6.19 ERA).Nix has never faced the Dodgers. Hill has two starts against the Padres this year, going 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA over 13 innings. He is 5-4 lifetime against San Diego with a 3.09 ERA over 10 starts. CLEVELAND (AP) — Trevor Bauer reached a milestone Monday night.Cleveland’s right-hander struck out 11 in six innings — giving him 206 for the season — and the Indians routed the Minnesota Twins 10-0.Bauer (11-6) is one strikeout behind Boston’s Chris Sale for the AL lead. After striking out 196 last season — then a career high — reaching the 200-mark was a goal going into 2018.“That’s something I wanted to accomplish,” he said. “Next up is 300. Maybe not this year Mike Schmidt Jersey , but hopefully next year.”Bauer, who held Minnesota to three hits, was given a standing ovation when he recorded he reached the 200-mark against Bobby Wilson in the third. He has 10 double-figure strikeout games, tying him with Sale for the league lead.The Indians hit four home runs, led by Edwin Encarnacion, who had four RBIs, including a three-run homer in the seventh. Yonder Alonso, Brandon Guyer and Jason Kipnis also homered for Cleveland, which leads Minnesota by 10 games in the AL Central.Bauer struck out every batter in the starting lineup and ended his night with a flourish in the sixth. Jorge Polanco doubled with one out and was at third when Miguel Sano drew a two-out walk but Bauer struck out Max Kepler on his 112th pitch.“That’s probably my last hitter, given that I had ran my pitch count up,” Bauer said. “I definitely wanted to finish my own inning. If I can’t finish the game I like to finish my inning. I threw a good pitch. I was excited about both of those things.”Manager Terry Francona knew Bauer Mitch Williams Jersey , who leads the AL with 159 2/3 innings pitched, had a lot left but went to the bullpen. Adam Cimber, Oliver Perez and Dan Otero each pitched an inning to close Cleveland’s AL-leading 12th shutout.“He could have kept pitching and he wanted to,” Francona said. “That’s enough. On a night like tonight that was plenty.”Bauer hasn’t lost since June 29 and is 4-0 in his last seven starts.Alonso’s home run started Cleveland’s four-run fourth while Guyer added a two-run shot, both coming off Kyle Gibson (5-9). Matt Belisle gave up Kipnis’ leadoff homer in the sixth and Encarnacion’s blast.Gibson allowed six runs — four earned — in five innings. Belisle gave up four runs in two innings. Catcher Mitch Garver worked the eighth, allowing only Francisco Lindor’s one-out single.The Indians scored two unearned runs in the first because Polanco didn’t catch a pickoff throw for an error. Jose Ramirez’s sacrifice fly that was caught in foul territory by second baseman Logan Forsythe to put Cleveland ahead.“We’ve had a lot of better days,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It was not pleasant to endure that beatdown. That first inning was disastrous.”Garver’s first appearance on the mound in a major league game provided some levity for the Twins. He retired Guyer and Erik Gonzalez on groundouts and Rajai Davis on a fly ball to deep center.“I wanted to strike out Lindor, so I turned the gas up,” Garver said, laughing. “He lined one right back at me and I had to get out of the way pretty fast.”GOOD STARTKipnis took a hit away from Joe Mauer to begin the game. Kipnis went several steps to his left, dove on the outfield grass and made the throw to first. Mauer came into the game batting .302 (13 for 43) against Bauer , but was hitless with a strikeout in three at-bats.ROSTER MOVEMinnesota placed outfielder Robbie Grossman (strained right hamstring) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled outfielder Johnny Field from Triple-A Rochester. Grossman was injured running out a double Sunday. The Twins claimed Field last week after he was designated for assignment by the Indians.DAY OFFOF Melky Cabrera, who is 3 for 31 lifetime against Gibson, wasn’t in the lineup. Cabrera had a big day in the field Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels, making two diving catches and crashing into the wall to grab Shohei Ohtani’s drive.Cabrera’s day off gave Guyer a rare start against a right-hander and he responded with a home run off Gibson.TRAINER’S ROOMTwins: RHP Michael Pineda pitched two scoreless innings in his first outing for the Gulf Coast Twins on Monday. He had Tommy John surgery in July of last year.Indians: C Yan Gomes (right hamstring tendinitis) might return Tuesday. He’s missed the last four games.UP NEXTTwins LHP Adalberto Mejia (1-0, 2.60 ERA) takes on Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco (13-5, 3.66 ERA) in the second game of the series. Carrasco is 5-0 with a 1.99 ERA over his last six outings, pitching 7 1/3 scoreless innings against Minnesota on Aug. 1.
  8. SEATTLE (AP) — , then beat the Seattle Mariners 7-3 Monday night behind Khris Davis‘ major league-leading 46th home run.Jonathan Lucroy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Chapman also homered for the A’s, assured no worse than an AL wild card.Oakland was one out into the game when Tampa Bay was eliminated with a 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees. The A’s went on to win after Chapman broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run drive in the seventh off Shawn Armstrong (0-1).Coming off three straight last-place finishes in the AL West, the A’s (95-62) are 4½ games behind AL West-leading Houston. They trail the Yankees by 1½ games for home-field advantage should they meet in a wild-card matchup.Robinson Cano and Dee Gordon homered for the Mariners.The Athletics will be making their fourth playoff appearance in the last seven seasons, all under manager Bob Melvin, and their 27th overall. The A’s lost at Kansas City 9-8 in 12 innings in the 2014 wild-card game, the last time Oakland reached the postseason.YANKEES 4, RAYS 1ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Hicks injured his left hamstring running up the first-base line in the Yankees’ win, another concern for New York heading into next week’s AL wild-card game.Hicks’ 11th-inning double on Saturday drove in Didi Gregorius with the run that clinched a postseason berth, and on Sunday the Yankees learned Gregorius tore cartilage in his right wrist during his headfirst slide across the plate.Hicks, who had fouled a pitch off his left ankle just before the double, left Monday’s game with left hamstring tightness.New York’s win eliminated the Rays and ensured a postseason berth for Oakland, which is likely to be the wild-card opponent but also is still alive in the AL West race. At 96-60, New York is assured of its best record since going 97-65 in 2011.Brett Gardner had a go-ahead single off Ryan Yarbrough (15-6) in a two-run fifth inning.New York used eight pitchers and gave its starters extra rest ahead of the postseason, and the Rays managed just two hits — both off Sonny Gray (11-9).RED SOX 6, ORIOLES 2BOSTON (AP) — Boston broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Baltimore batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now Rollie Fingers Jersey , they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and most likely Oakland.The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.The Orioles (45-111), who matched a franchise record for losses set by the 1939 St. Louis Browns, became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60½ games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It’s the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.ASTROS 5, BLUE JAYS 3TORONTO (AP) — Brian McCann and Josh Reddick hit back-to-back home runs, and Houston beat Toronto to move one step closer to its second straight AL West title.The defending World Series champions reduced their magic number to two over Oakland to clinch the division — which would set up a best-of-five postseason matchup against AL Central champion Cleveland. The Astros can secure the AL West crown Tuesday with a win and an Oakland loss.Dallas Keuchel (12-11) allowed three runs in five innings for his first win since Sept. 3.Five relievers followed before former Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna came on to a chorus of boos in the ninth, his first appearance in Toronto since being arrested for assault in May. Osuna, who earned his 19th save in 20 opportunities, was traded to the Astros on July 30. Many in the crowd of 23,463 jeered each of Osuna’s pitches.In the first big league meeting between brothers Yuli Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Houston’s Yuli opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first. Younger brother Lourdes grounded into a double play in the bottom of the inning, then exited the game because of a sore left hamstring.Marco Estrada (7-14) lost his fifth straight decision.DODGERS 7, DIAMONDBACKS 4PHOENIX (AP) — David Freese homered and had three hits to back Clayton Kershaw as Los Angeles maintained its lead in the NL West.Manny Machado had two RBIs for the Dodgers, including a groundout deep into the shortstop hole with the bases loaded in the seventh inning that brought in Yasiel Puig with the go-ahead run. Los Angeles added three ninth-inning runs to stay 1½ games ahead of Colorado.The defending NL champions have won six of seven.Freese finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs. Kershaw (9-5) pitched six innings, allowing three runs and six hits. He struck out six and walked one.Ketel Marte homered and drove in three runs, all off Kershaw , and A.J. Pollock went deep against closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth. The Diamondbacks, already eliminated from playoff contention, have lost four straight and eight of nine.Andrew Chafin (1-6) took the loss.ROCKIES 10, PHILLIES 1DENVER (AP) — Jon Gray pitched seven crisp innings and drew a bases-loaded walk as part of a five-run third to lead Colorado over Philadelphia.The Rockies won their fourth straight game since being swept at Dodger Stadium. They closed within a half-game of St. Louis for the second wild card after the Cardinals lost to Milwaukee.Gray (12-8) got the start when Tyler Anderson was scratched due to shoulder tightness. The right-hander’s one costly mistake was an elevated fastball that Rhys Hoskins hit for a homer in the seventh when the game was out of reach.David Dahl lined a two-run homer in the fourth, Tony Wolters drew four walks and Charlie Blackmon had a single to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games for Colorado. Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra delivered run-scoring singles off Zach Eflin (11-8).All-Star shortstop Trevor Story returned to the starting lineup after missing a week with inflammation in his right elbow and made an immediate impact. He had two hard-hit doubles to center.Phillies left fielder Aaron Altherr ran into the fence while trying to catch Dahl’s homer. The side of Altherr’s face slammed into the padded fence, his hat flying off. Altherr eventually limped to a cart and was taken away. He sprained his right big toe and bruised a knee.BREWERS 6, CARDINALS 4ST. LOUIS (AP) — Eric Thames scored on reliever Bud Norris’ throwing error in the eighth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers improved their playoff positioning by topping St. Louis.Ryan Braun homered and Christian Yelich drove in two runs as Milwaukee won for the fourth time in five games. The Brewers (90-67) opened a three-game lead over St. Louis for the top spot in the wild-card standings and pulled within 1 1/2 games of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs, who lost to Pittsburgh.Corbin Burnes (7-0), the seventh of nine Milwaukee pitchers, got two outs for the win, and Corey Knebel worked the ninth for his 16th save.PIRATES 5, CUBS 1CHICAGO (AP) — Jameson Taillon outpitched Cole Hamels, Francisco Cervelli hit a two-run homer and Pittsburgh made Chicago wait at least another day to clinch a playoff spot.The Cubs needed a win plus a loss by Colorado to assure a franchise-record fourth straight trip to the playoffs, a run that includes a drought-busting World Series championship in 2016.Taillon (14-9) gave up one run and five hits in seven innings, improving to 5-0 in his past seven starts.Hamels (4-2) hit his second career homer but he lost his second straight start after going 4-0 in his first nine following a trade from Texas.INDIANS 4, WHITE SOX 0CHICAGO (AP) — Corey Kluber struck out 11 in seven scoreless innings and won his 20th game, and Brandon Guyer hit a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh as AL Central champion Cleveland beat Chicago.Kluber (20-7) reached 20 victories for the first time after recording 19 wins last season and 18 victories the two previous seasons and in 2014. The reigning AL CY Young Award winner is the first 20-game winner for the Central Division champions since Cliff Lee went 22-3 in 2008.Cleveland is also the first team to have four pitchers with 200 strikeouts in a season. Kluber ran his total to 216, while Carlos Carrasco has 217, Trevor Bauer 215 and Mike Clevinger 202.The Indians tied the Chicago Cubs for the major league lead with 17 shutouts.Adam Rosales gave the Indians an insurance run with a home run off reliever Nate Jones to left for his first of the season in the ninth inning. Brandon Barnes and Edwin Encarnacion then added RBI singles. It was Rosales’ first home run since Sept. 4 Dave Henderson Jersey , 2017, when he was with Arizona.Indians relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen pitched a perfect eighth and ninth, respectively, and combined with Kluber to retire the final 17 batters.Dylan Covey didn’t allow a run over six innings. Ian Hamilton (0-2) gave up Guyer’s homer on his third pitch.NATIONALS 7, MARLINS 3WASHINGTON (AP) — Anthony Rendon homered and drove four runs, Bryce Harper reached 100 RBIs in a season for the first time and Washington beat Miami.Juan Soto and Matt Wieters also homered for Washington, which broke it open with four runs on three pitches in the fourth inning.Harper started the big inning, driving in his 100th run with a sacrifice fly that scored Adam Eaton and put Washington ahead 3-1. Harper, a pending free agent who may be playing his final home series at Nationals Park, got a standing ovation from the sparse, rain-soaked crowd. His previous high was 99 RBIs in 2015, when he won the NL MVP award.Rendon and Soto then homered back-to-back on the next two pitches from Sandy Alcantara (2-2).Justin Miller (7-1) allowed one unearned run in the fifth in relief of Stephen Strasburg, who was pulled after throwing 100 pitches over four innings.PADRES 5, GIANTS 0SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bryan Mitchell struck out seven in 8 2/3 strong innings, and Jose Pirela had a homer among his three hits to lead San Diego.The Giants lost their fifth straight game hours after the team announced the dismissal of general manager Bobby Evans. The move comes amid a Giants team freefall.Mitchell (2-4) walked just three in what was by far his best start of an uneven season.Pirela homered off Giants starter Derek Holland (7-9) to lead off the fourth. His fourth homer gave the Padres a 3-0 lead.Franmil Reyes had two hits and two RBI, and Wil Myers had two hits and two runs scored.ANGELS 5, RANGERS 4, 11 INNINGSANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jose Briceno delivered a pinch-hit homer leading off the 11th inning , and Los Angeles snapped its five-game skid.After Taylor Cole (3-2) retired the Rangers in the 11th, the Angels‘ rookie catcher walked off with his fifth career homer to center off Matt Moore (3-8).Shohei Ohtani hit his 21st homer in the first inning and Michael Hermosillo added his first career homer as the Angels opened the final homestand of their fourth consecutive season out of the playoffs.After Ronald Guzman doubled with two outs in the ninth, pinch-runner Delino DeShields scored the tying run on pinch-hitter Elvis Andrus‘ single to left for the Rangers. Guzman and Jurickson Profar homered for the Rangers, who opened their season-ending road trip with their sixth loss in eight games.Mike Trout went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts, but drew his 116th and 117th walks of the season to set a franchise record, surpassing his mark in 2016. A look at what’s happening around the majors today:BRONX BOMBERSThe New York Yankees take aim at baseball’s single-season home run record, a day after tying the mark of 264 set by the 1997 Seattle Mariners. The Yankees connected four times Friday night in Boston, with Aaron Judge hitting the homer that matched a Mariners club that included Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, Jay Buhner and Edgar Martinez.The Yankees are the only franchise with more than 15,000 home runs, nearly 1,400 more than the second-place Giants, according to They can add to their total and set the record at Fenway Park when they face ex-Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi.OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAINDavid Wright will start at third base for the New York Mets against Miami in his farewell game before a sellout crowd at Citi Field. “It’s going to be a sleepless night, I know that,” Wright said Friday. “I’m just trying to enjoy it, but tomorrow is going to be surreal for me.” Longtime teammate and friend Jose Reyes, perhaps also nearing the end of his career Santiago Casilla Jersey , will play shortstop alongside Wright. “I think he’s hitting leadoff and I’m hitting third. It’s like Old-Timers’ day around here, so it’ll be nice,” Wright said. “It’s going to bring back obviously a lot of memories.”The Mets captain finally made it back into a major league game Friday night, grounding out in his first plate appearance in nearly 2½ years as New York lost 8-1 to the Marlins. Unable to overcome all the injuries, the 35-year-old Wright said he expects this weekend to mark his final appearance in the big leagues.GETTING CLOSEKris Bryant and the Cubs can clinch their third consecutive NL Central crown — and home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs — with a win over St. Louis and a Milwaukee loss to Detroit. Chicago, with a one-game lead in the division, sends left-hander Cole Hamels to the mound at Wrigley Field. Miles Mikolas (17-4, 2.94 ERA) looks to win his fifth straight start for the Cardinals, clinging to fading wild-card hopes following four losses in a row. “Clearly the back is completely against the wall,” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said.Up in Milwaukee, left-hander Wade Miley (5-2) tries to pitch the Brewers to their sixth consecutive victory. Both the Cubs and Brewers are assured at least a wild card.MOUNTAIN WESTThe Rockies try to move closer to clinching their first NL West championship when they host Washington. Colorado locked up at least a wild card Friday night by beating the Nationals at Coors Field for their eighth straight win. They hold a one-game edge over the Dodgers for the division lead — Los Angeles is two games ahead of St. Louis for the second NL wild card with two to play. David Dahl homered for the fifth game in a row to extend the Rockies’ winning streak. Next, Jon Gray (12-8, 4.91 ERA) starts for Colorado vs. Stephen Strasburg (9-7, 3.77).
  9. The Cleveland Indians Jesus Sucre Jersey , will try to regroup Saturday night in the second game of a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.The AL Central-leading Indians have lost three in a row, the last of which was a crushing 5-4 defeat on Friday night, when Allen had the worst night of the worst season of his career.Allen came in to start the ninth inning, and in the span of four pitches gave up two home runs to turn a 4-3 Indians lead into a 5-4 Indians defeat.Article continues below ...Allen has saved 30 or more games in each of the last three years, and he is the Indians’ all-time leader with 147 saves, but this season has been a struggle. His blown save Friday was his fourth of the season, and he has given up a career-high 11 home runs.Cleveland manager Terry Francona said the Indians have not lost confidence in Allen.“I’ll sit down and talk to him,” Francona said. “We need him really bad to win. We can’t run away from him.”Allen’s 4.50 ERA is a career high, and a far cry from his 2.86 career mark.“It’s disappointing. But we’ll go look at it more to see if there’s anything,” Francona said. “It begins with his breaking ball, when he commands that everything falls into place. Right now , he feels like some nights he doesn’t have it.”Saturday night the Indians will send two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber to the mound. Kluber (16-6, 2.74) will be making his 27th start of the season, and he is coming off a winning performance against the Red Sox in his last start, on Monday, in Boston. Kluber pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs and nine hits with six strikeouts and one walk in a game the Indians won 5-4.In his last five starts Kluber is 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA. His last start against Kansas City came on July 2, a 9-3 victory in which he pitched six innings, allowing three runs and seven hits, with five strikeouts and no walks.In two starts against the Royals this year, Kluber is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA. He has made 22 career starts against Kansas City and is 11-6 with a 2.90 ERA in those games.The Royals on Saturday will counter with right-hander Heath Fillmyer (1-1, 4.57). Fillmyer has split his season between Kansas City and Triple-A Omaha. In 13 starts with Omaha he was 4-5, with a 5.75 ERA.With Kansas City Fillmyer has been used as both a starter and a reliever. In seven starts he is 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA. In four relief appearances he has a 2.38 ERA and no record.He got his first major-league win on Aug. 8, when he pitched seven shutout innings against the Cubs in a 9-0 victory. Fillmyer struck out three and walked two in that game.“I didn’t have many strikeouts today Matt Moore Jersey ,” Fillmyer said of the victory, according to “I didn’t want to walk them. I ended up having two unfortunate ones that didn’t end up costing us. That being said, I just let them work ahead and try to get them to get themselves out.”Saturday will be Fillmyer’s second career appearance against Cleveland. His other appearance came as a reliever, on July 4, when he pitched three scoreless and hitless innings, with two strikeouts and one walk.One of the Cleveland hitters Fillmyer will have to pay particular attention to is Indians rookie center fielder Greg Allen, who has been one of the Indians’ hottest hitters of late.From July 15 through Aug. 21, Allen had a 14-game hitting streak, the longest by a major league rookie this season. In his last 16 games Allen is hitting .383, raising his batting average from .204 to .259.“He’s using the whole field, keeping the ball out of the air to left field, staying on the ball, and hitting line drives ,” said Francona. CHICAGO (AP) — The San Diego Padres promoted right-hander Trey Wingenter from Triple-A El Paso on Sunday after losing right-handers Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles on waiver claims.Manager Andy Green also announced right-hander Brett Kennedy will come up from the minors to start Wednesday at Milwaukee in his major league debut. The 24-year-old Kennedy is 10-0 with a 2.72 ERA in 16 starts for El Paso.Ross was claimed by the St. Louis Cardinals and Lyles was picked up by the Brewers.“When you’ve invested into guys, you believe in guys,” Green said before San Diego’s 10-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs. “It’s tough watching them walking out that door and go to other places. But both of them are going to good opportunities.”The 24-year-old Wingenter went 3-3 with a 3.45 ERA in 40 games with El Paso. He is looking for his major league debut.Wingenter, who was selected by San Diego in the 17th round of the 2015 draft, said he arrived in Chicago around 2 a.m., and his parents also made the trip from Huntsville, Alabama.“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “Still trying to take it all in and, you know, a little overwhelmed. But that’s to be expected.”
  10. DENVER (AP) — in Daniel Murphy to boost an offense big on pop but lackluster in batting average.The veteran infielder has agreed to a $24 million David Peralta Jersey , two-year contract with the Rockies, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Thursday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to a successful physical.The Rockies hit .256 last season, their lowest mark in team history. The team had 210 homers, the fifth-most in franchise history and the most since 2001.Murphy figures to raise that batting average. He is a .330 hitter in 26 games at Coors Field.The 33-year-old Murphy spent last season with the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs, where he hit a combined .299 with 12 homers. The three-time All-Star missed the start of the year after undergoing right knee surgery.Murphy could play second base for the Rockies if DJ LeMahieu departs in free agency. The Rockies also may be looking at Murphy to take over at first base should Ian Desmond move to the outfield. The team figures to lose outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra in free agency.The Rockies are coming off a season in which they made the postseason for a second straight season , marking the first time they’ve made back-to-back playoff appearances. They were eliminated by the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL divisional round after knocking off the Cubs in the wild-card game.Colorado is still searching for its first NL West title in franchise history. The team took the Los Angeles Dodgers to game No. 163 last season before losing the division title. ATLANTA (AP) The Atlanta Braves acquired outfielder Adam Duvall from the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night to bolster their lineup, especially against left-handers, for a postseason push.Duvall was targeted for a platoon role, starting against left-handers. The move will cut into Ender Inciarte’s playing time.For the Reds, the trade opens the way for full-time roles for corner outfielders Jesse Winker and Scott Schebler while adding three young players.The Braves sent right-handers Lucas Sims and Matt Wisler and outfielder Preston Tucker to Cincinnati. All three spent time in Atlanta this season but were with Triple-A Gwinnett at the time of the trade.The trade was announced following the Braves’ 5-3 win over Miami on Monday night.Duvall Clay Buchholz Jersey , 29, has hit 15 home runs with 61 RBIs but is hitting only .205 this season.Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said the Braves plan to start Duvall in left field against left-handers, with rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. moving to center and Inciarte, a Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder, moving to the bench.”We’ve been a good team against left-handers but we can get better and this is a guy who’s under control going forward Andrew Chafin Jersey ,” Anthopoulos said.Anthopoulos said Duvall and Inciarte have been told of the outfield plan.”I talked to Ender tonight and he was great,” Anthopoulos said. ”His response was `I just want to get to the playoffs.’ He’s awesome.”Duvall hit 64 homers over the previous two seasons, including 31 in 2017. He was an NL All-Star in 2016.Duvall was also a finalist for the Gold Glove Award in each of the last two seasons.The Braves are only a half-game behind Philadelphia in the race for the NL East. The Reds are last in the NL Central despite a recent surge.”We’re pleased with the performance we’ve seen in the middle of the summer,” said Reds president of baseball operations Dick Williams. ”We’ve been trying to keep an eye on next year but this year is also important. … I think when we looked at next year we saw Winker and Schebler really emerging as corner outfielders that are going to have a lot of success in the big leagues.”Wisler, 25 Darryl Strawberry Jersey , had a 5.40 ERA in seven games, including three starts, with Atlanta this season. Sims, 24, had a 7.84 ERA in six relief appearances. Tucker , 28, hit .256 with four homers and 22 RBI in 62 games. Tucker was optioned to Gwinnett on Saturday.—
  11. September with another dominating outing Sunday.Verlander struck out 11 in seven solid innings and the Houston Astros extended their AL West edge Tyler Glasnow Jersey , topping the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4.“Certainly, in the last couple of months this is his best start,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. “He’s had some pretty good ones as an Astro. When he comes out and sets that kind of tone and gets those swings and misses and the strikeouts it’s a pretty special day for us.”The Astros lead Oakland by 4½ games in the division race. Arizona is 4½ games behind in the NL West and four back for the second NL wild card.Verlander (16-9) allowed one run on three hits.“I just felt good,” Verlander said. “I had good control of the fastball. Mechanics felt in line; timing felt good. I was able to execute pretty well today.”He matched his career high for strikeouts in a season with 269 — he passed teammate Gerrit Cole, who has 260, for most in the AL. Verlander also surpassed 200 innings for the 11th time in his career.Verlander hasn’t given up more than two runs in any of his three September starts.Hinch said it all started with Verlander’s fastball Sunday.“His fastball starts everything off because then they have to really cheat to get to his fastball , and when they do that it opens up all sorts of opportunities for the secondary pitches,” Hinch said. “But it all starts off his fastball. He has good hand speed, he has good direction. He finishes that fastball and then all of a sudden, the breaking ball comes along with it. He had a lot of weapons to go to.”Zack Greinke (14-10) allowed four runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Greinke has permitted at least three runs in four straight outings.“Really good for the most part,” Greinke said. “The last inning wasn’t that great. Just trouble getting them to strikeout. Just a lot of balls in play and that put a lot of pressure on the defense. Wasn’t perfect but felt really good. They battled like a really good team would do.”Tyler White hit a two-out, RBI double in the sixth to give the Astros a 2-1 lead.Josh Reddick led off the seventh with a home run and Jose Altuve hit an RBI single later in the inning. Martin Maldonado’s single in the eighth extended the lead to 5-1.“The thing that makes him so good is that he nibbles Chad Kuhl Jersey ,” Reddick said of Greinke. “He doesn’t really leave too many pitches over the middle of the plate, so when he does, you can’t miss them. We did a great job of that early on, not letting him get too far ahead of us. I think we came out and ambushed his fastball before he got to his offspeed stuff. I think that set the tone really well for us, but after that, we waited for him to go over the plate.”The Diamondbacks scored three times in the ninth after Collin McHugh walked David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt singled with one out. Eduardo Escobar had a sacrifice fly and Daniel Descalso hit a two-run homer off Roberto Osuna.Osuna struck out Ketel Marte to end it for his 18th save.“I was really proud of these guys for fighting through what were some difficult circumstances there in the ninth inning ,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Their closer comes in, he’s got a really nice track record, but we didn’t shut down. There was a lot of good talk in the dugout about grinding away and fighting. You could see what happens when a couple of runners get on base, we just fell a little short.”Peralta homered in the Arizona sixth.ASTROS MOVEHouston recalled OF Kyle Tucker from Triple-A Fresno. He hit .154 with three RBIs over two previous stints with the Astros this season.TRAINER’S ROOMDiamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller (right elbow inflammation) threw a 27-pitch bullpen Saturday and “felt good”, Lovullo said. … LHP TJ McFarland (left elbow inflammation) will throw a bullpen either Sunday or Monday, Lovullo said.UP NEXTDiamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (11-5 , 3.05 ERA) will make his 31st start of the season Monday in the opener of a three-game home series against the Cubs. Corbin allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings in his last outing Wednesday against the Rockies.Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (3-1, 2.66) will make his fifth start of the season Monday in the first game of a three-game set against Seattle. Valdez will be looking to rebound after having his shortest start in his young career Tuesday against the Tigers where he allowed four runs in four innings. New York Yankees pitcher Sonny Gray is the latest MLB player to have old tweets surface that featured offensive language.Following his start against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday, Gray appeared to delete at least one tweet from 2012 with racist wording, per (warning: contains sensitive language):THE Curmudgeon NYer BabyBiirdI guess somebody told Sonny Gray that some old racist tweets have been unearthed so naturally he deleted his twitter account...LOL #Yankees rrx5RL1hWQThis makes Gray the fourth current MLB player to have old tweets containing offensive language surface. Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader was ordered to attend sensitivity training and participate in diversity and inclusion initiatives after racist and homophobic tweets he posted surfaced during the 2018 All-Star Game.Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner issued an apology Tuesday when tweets from 2011-12 that contained racist and homophobic phrases came to light. Atlanta Braves pitcher Sean Newcomb wrote multiple tweets in high school containing similar language that emerged Sunday when he started against the Los Angeles Dodgers.Gray's Twitter profile shows he hasn't made any posts since January 2013. The tweet in question was posted in September 2012 when he was pitching in the Oakland Athletics' minor league system.
  12. Mark Brown/Getty Images Bryce Harper gained steam on the eve of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline Andrew Heaney Jersey , but theWashington Nationalsmade it clear his immediate future was in the nation's capital.Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo made it clear Tuesday morning that the team did not plan on trading its star outfielder, perChelsea Janes of the Washington Post:"Bryce is not going anywhere. I believe in this team."Those comments shouldn't come as much of a surprise, given that Rizzo recently told106.7 The Fan (h/t The Athletic'sKen Rosenthal) that Harper is "near and dear to my heart personally."A Nationals official also recently toldRosenthalthat the team would not improve by trading the face of the franchise."I'm glad to still be in this clubhouse," Harper told reporters after the deadline, adding that Rizzo personally assured him he wasn't being moved.Rumors have popped up as the team is in the midst of a disappointing season. After winning 95-plus games and making the playoffs in each of the past two campaigns, the team sits at 52-53 and in third place in the National League East. It is 5.5 games back both in the division and in the wild-card race.There wasspeculationthat the Nationals' series against the Miami Marlins this past weekend was going to determine whether they would be buyers or sellers at the deadline. After splitting the four-game series, their status remained unclear.Until Tuesday, that is.Harper has long been expected to command one of the largest contracts in baseball history when he hits free agency this winter. However, like his team, he has struggled in 2018. He is hitting just .220, although he still has 25 home runs and 62 RBI.Of course, his top moment of the season came when he put on a show for the hometown crowd at the 2018 Home Run Derby:That may have given him a boost heading into the second half, as he has hit .286 with two home runs Huston Street Jersey , one double and eight RBI in nine games since the All-Star break.Trading Harper wouldn't necessarily preclude Washington from re-signing the 2015 NL MVP this offseason. It's hard to see, though, how it would help its cause, other than the fact that it could bring back players who could help it win in the future.Teams may have been intrigued by the possibility of acquiring Harper at the deadline, but it appears as though the league will have to wait until the winter to make a run at the six-time All-Star. DENVER — The Colorado Rockies will try to sweep the San Francisco Giants and add to their misery at Coors Field when the clubs finish a three-game series Wedneday. The Rockies beat the Giants again 6-2 on Tuesday, giving them 17 wins in their past 19 games with the Giants at Coors Field, including seven of eight this season.Antonio Senzatela (4-5, 4.88 ERA) will start for the Rockies on Wednesday against rookie left-hander Andrew Suarez (6-9, 4.19).Article continues below ...Suarez is working on a scoreless streak of 14 consecutive innings, having thrown seven shutout innings in each of his past two starts. Both were at home — against the Texas Rangers on Aug. 25 and the New York Mets on Friday. Against the Mets, Suarez allowed two hits and no walks with five strikeouts in seven innings.Suarez, the winning pitcher in each outing, gave up five hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts in the starts. They marked the first time he pitched seven innings since July 4 at Coors Field , when he held the Rockies to one run and five hits in seven innings and endured a 1-0 loss. In two starts against the Rockies, Suarez is 0-1, 3.00.“He has good stuff,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s a four-pitch guy that will throw any pitch anytime. And I think his confidence has grown. It’s part of maturing as a pitcher to have the confidence to throw any pitch anytime for a strike. He’s been able to do that. Has got good movement on his pitches.”The Giants drafted Suarez in the second round in 2015 out of the University of Miami. He made it to Double-A Richmond for 19 starts in 2016 and went back there the following season before finishig the year at Triple-A Sacramento. Suarez, who turns 26 on Tuesday, has given the Giants a huge lift this season after starters Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija were lost to injuries. Cueto and Samardzia are out for the season.“He’s a guy that we thought a lot of the last couple years, even going back to Richmond when he pitched there,” Bochy said. “He’s not really surprising us. Obviously a nice shot in the arm with what he’s been doing. He’s had a couple hiccups. That’s where he’s getting better, I think, with his pitching — just figuring out ways to limit the damage and stay out there.”Senzatela, who is 2-4, 4.37 in eight starts this season , pitched well in his last outing Friday at San Diego, giving up one run and four hits in six innings before the Rockies’ bullpen stumbled in what became a 7-0 loss to the Padres.He is 4-0, 3.26 in six games (four starts) against the Giants, including a win this year July 3 at Coors Field when he held them to three hits in seven shutout innings in Colorado’s 8-1 win.Catcher Chris Iannetta, who was behind the plate for Senzatela’s last start at San Diego, said: “It’s just all command. His ability to command as many pitches as possible in the strike zone is his key to success. When he does that, when he executes his pitches, it’s a tough at-bat for the opposing hitters. When he falls behind and he has to throw the fastball over the middle of the plate, it swings in the hitter’s favor a little bit, so it’s harder.”Iannetta said Senzatela’s changeup “definitely is his second-best pitch.” And against the Padres, Iannetta said Senzatela “had the slider going, had the changeup going and the fastball to both sides (of the plate).”
  13. CHICAGO (AP) — Nick Williams Jersey , connecting in the 10th inning for another game-ending home run that sent the Chicago Cubs over the Cincinnati Reds 3-2 on Friday for their third straight victory.Bote got behind 0-2 before driving Raisel Iglesias‘ next pitch deep to left field with one out. The infielder hit a bottom-of-the-ninth, two-out grand slam that beat Washington 4-3 on Aug. 12.Iglesias (2-2) had made seven straight scoreless appearances. Jesse Chavez (4-2), the sixth Cubs reliever, pitched a scoreless inning.Daniel Murphy hit his first homer since being traded Tuesday from Washington to the NL Central-leading Cubs. Alec Mills pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his first major league start.Cincinnati wasted a terrific start by Matt Harvey in its fourth loss in five games. Harvey struck out six in 5 1/3 innings after reportedly being claimed off waivers by Milwaukee. He stayed with the Reds when they couldn’t work out a deal.BREWERS 7, PIRATES 6, 15 inningsMILWAUKEE (AP) — Orlando Arcia’s RBI single with two outs in the 15th inning lifted Milwaukee past Pittsburgh.Arcia was mobbed on the field by his teammates after he put an end to the 5-hour, 36-minute contest.Erik Kratz tied the game with a two-run single off Clay Holmes (1-3) after the Pirates had taken a 6-4 lead in the top of the 15th.In the Brewers‘ half of the inning, Jesus Aguilar drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Hernan Perez walked, Ryan Braun struck out. Pitcher Jordan Lyles drew a walk to load the bases, bringing Kratz to the plate.Lyles (3-4), the ninth Milwaukee pitcher, got the win.Francisco Cervelli’s bloop single with two outs drove in the go-ahead run in the top of 15th. A second run scored after Brewers second baseman Jonathan Schoop booted the ball as Cervelli’s hit fell softly into short right field.RANGERS 7, GIANTS 6, 10 inningsSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Rougned Odor hit a tying two-run homer in the ninth inning, Robinson Chirinos drew a bases-loaded walk in the 10th and Texas rallied from six runs down.The Rangers trailed 6-4 and were down to their last strike when Shin-Soo Choo reached on second baseman Joe Panik’s fielding error. Odor homered off closer Will Smith in the next at-bat, sending a shot over the right field wall and into McCovey Cove.Texas scored the go-ahead run off former Rangers reliever Sam Dyson (3-3). Chirinos drew a four-pitch walk that scored Jurickson Profar, who started the rally with a one-out single.Former Giants reliever Corey Gearrin (1-0) pitched two innings of scoreless relief.RAYS 10, RED SOX 3ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Rookie Jalen Beeks beat his former team for the second time in six days as Tampa Bay topped Boston for its sixth straight win.Beeks (3-1) was the minor league pitcher of the year for the Red Sox last season, and was traded to the Rays for Nathan Eovaldi on July 25. Beeks gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings against the club with the best record in the majors.Willy Adames homered and Michael Perez drove in four runs. The Rays had six consecutive singles in the third against Hector Velazquez (7-2).MARLINS 1, BRAVES 0MIAMI (AP) — Dan Straily combined with three relievers on a three-hitter and Miami snapped a seven-game losing streak against NL East-leading Atlanta.Straily (5-6) allowed three hits in six innings. Dayron Guerrero and Drew Steckenrider worked the seventh and eighth, and Adam Conley pitched a perfect ninth for his first save in his second opportunity.Mike Foltynewicz (10-8) retired the first 11 Marlins hitters until Brian Anderson’s double to left-center in the fourth. Derek Dietrich followed with an RBI single.ROYALS 5, INDIANS 4KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ryan O’Hearn and Hunter Dozier hit back-to-back home runs leading off the ninth inning against Cleveland closer Cody Allen to lift Kansas City.After a broken water pipe near the outfield fountains led to a half-hour delay in the fourth, the Royals and Indians put on a splashy finish.Cleveland’s Yonder Alonso hit his second homer of the game in the eighth, a two-run shot for a 4-3 lead. Alonso also had a solo shot in the fourth Tommy Joseph Jersey , moments before the right field warning track flooded.O’Hearn and Dozier then rescued Kansas City from a sixth straight loss with their homers off Allen (4-5).Allen has blown four saves this season and let his ERA rise to 4.50. Wily Peralta (1-0) got the victory for Kansas City, which had just been swept over four games by Tampa Bay.YANKEES 7, ORIOLES 5, 10 INNINGSBALTIMORE (AP) — Luke Voit connected in the 10th inning for his second home run of the game, and Zach Britton marked his return to Camden Yards by working the bottom half to preserve the New York Yankees‘ victory over Baltimore.The Yankees made up two-run deficits in the fourth and eighth innings before Neil Walker homered off rookie Cody Carroll (0-2) in the 10th to give New York its first lead. Voit, acquired from St. Louis on July 28, added a two-run shot, capping his first career multihomer game.Britton was traded by rebuilding Orioles on July 24. Working as the closer for the injured Aroldis Chapman, the left-hander gave up a home run to longtime teammate Chris Davis before securing his first save with New York.Chad Green (7-2) pitched the ninth to help New York win for the 12th time in 17 games.ATHLETICS 7, TWINS 1MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Matt Chapman hit a three-run homer, Sean Manaea pitched efficiently into the sixth inning and Oakland beat Minnesota.Stephen Piscotty and Ramon Laureano each added a ninth-inning homer as the A’s snapped a two-game skid, maintaining their hold on the AL’s second wild card.Manaea (12-9) recovered nicely from a rough outing against Houston last weekend. He yielded an unearned run, five hits and a walk with one strikeout.Minnesota starter Jake Odorizzi (5-8) pitched seven innings for the first time this season after opening the year with 26 consecutive starts without an out in the seventh — the longest such streak in major league history. The Twins right-hander allowed one earned run, five hits and a walk.CARDINALS 7, ROCKIES 5DENVER (AP) — Miles Mikolas and Tyler O’Neill each homered to help St. Louis to an early lead that held up against Colorado.O’Neill also had an RBI double and Kolten Wong added three hits and a sacrifice fly for the Cardinals in a game between teams in the thick of their respective division races and running 1-2 in the NL wild-card race.The Rockies pulled within two runs with a five-run fifth that featured a two-run drive by Charlie Blackmon and a solo shot by Nolan Arenado, both off Mikolas, who helped St. Louis take a 7-0 lead by hitting a two-run homer as part of a four-run second.Carlos Martinez (7-6) picked up the victory with 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief.Bud Norris gave up a two-out double to Ryan McMahon and walked pinch-hitter Chris Iannetta before retiring D.J. LeMahieu on a fielder’s choice for his 27th save in 31 opportunities.Leading off the second, O’Neill drove a 1-2 offering from Antonio Senzatela (4-4) deep into the left-field bleachers for his fifth home run of the season, marking the 16th straight game in which the Cardinals homered. The streak is the longest since St. Louis connected in a club-record 25 straight games in 2016.MARINERS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 3PHOENIX (AP) — Mitch Haniger hit his 21st homer and had three hits, Mike Zunino added a solo shot, and Seattle beat Arizona.Edwin Diaz pitched a scoreless ninth for his major league-leading 49th save, helping Seattle keep pace in the AL West and wild-card races. Diaz set a club record for saves in a season, passing Fernando Rodney’s 48 in 2014.Haniger, an All-Star who made his major league debut with the Diamondbacks in 2016 before being traded to Seattle, added two singles and scored twice.Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez (1-2) turned in his longest outing of the season , allowing one earned run and six hits with six strikeouts and a walk. Ramirez dropped his ERA from 5.49 to 4.56.Zack Godley (13-7) allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings.DODGERS 11, PADRES 1LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rich Hill allowed two hits over six innings, Chris Taylor, Justin Turner and Max Muncy homered, and Los Angeles routed San Diego to snap a three-game skid.Hill (6-4) retired his first 12 batters, seven of them on strikeouts, before Hunter Renfroe doubled leading off the fifth.Hill added another strikeout and had one walk on 90 pitches in his first win since Aug. 7 at Oakland. The only other hit the veteran left-hander gave up was a triple to Freddy Galvis in the sixth.The Dodgers pounded out 13 hits and scored in each of the first five innings.Taylor homered on his first pitch from Clayton Richard (7-11) in the third. Turner added a two-run shot on Richard’s first pitch to him in the fourth, extending the lead to 7-0.ASTROS 9, ANGELS 3ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Marwin Gonzalez hit a grand slam and Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa also homered to lead Houston past Los Angeles.Gonzalez hit his second career slam to help keep Houston keep its slim lead in the AL West. The homer to left field off Andrew Heaney in the fifth inning gave the Astros a 5-0 lead. Altuve hit his 10th home run and Correa his 14th. Both were solo shots.Mike Trout returned to the lineup and tripled on the first pitch in his first at-bat of his first game back following the death of his brother-in-law, Aaron Cox.Dallas Keuchel (10-10) made a quality start, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings.Heaney (7-8) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings.BLUE JAYS 4, PHILLIES 2TORONTO (AP) — Kendrys Morales homered for the fifth straight game, Billy McKinney hit a two-run shot and Toronto sent Philadelphia to its fifth loss in six games.Ryan Borucki (3-3) allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings as Toronto won its fourth straight.Former Phillies closer Ken Giles finished for his 17th save in 17 opportunities, striking out Rhys Hoskins looking to strand runners at first and second.Morales connected off Jake Arrieta (9-9) in the second, matching Jose Bautista (2014) for the Blue Jays‘ second-longest streak of games with a home run. Jose Cruz Jr. connected in a team-record six straight in 2001.METS 3, NATIONALS 0NEW YORK (AP) — Jay Bruce hit a two-run homer in his return from a long stint on the disabled list, Jason Vargas tossed six stellar innings and the New York Mets handed Washington its second consecutive shutout.Wilmer Flores had an early RBI single and the Mets got spotless relief work from Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman to finish the four-hitter.Bruce was activated after missing more than two months with a sore right hip. He connected in the eighth.Featuring a deceptive change-up, Vargas (4-8) permitted three hits and struck out a season-high eight without issuing a walk.Gio Gonzalez (7-11) has lost nine of his last 10 decisions. The left-hander allowed only one run in seven innings but dropped to 11-2 with a 1.75 ERA at Citi Field and 15-6 against the Mets in his career.WHITE SOX 6, TIGERS 3DETROIT (AP) — Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson each hit a two-run double in the eighth, and the Chicago White Sox scored six runs in the inning to rally in manager Rick Renteria’s return to the dugout.Renteria had missed four games after experiencing lightheadedness Monday in Minnesota.Thyago Vieira (1-0) got one out for his first career victory. Detroit relievers Joe Jimenez (4-3) and closer Shane Greene got tagged. BALTIMORE — The New York Yankees can complete a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in a prime-time series finale on Sunday at Camden Yards.Entering the series, the Yankees and Orioles had split their 12 meetings this season. However, New York won three straight against Baltimore this weekend, including both games of a Saturday doubleheader. The Yankees (82-47) are a season-high 35 games above .500. Meanwhile, Baltimore (37-93) is jockeying with Kansas City for the top pick in the MLB Draft. Article continues below ...“We’re just trying to do what we do best and score runs,” Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks said.The Yankees are also getting a spark from rookie Miguel Andujar Aaron Altherr Jersey , who homered and had four RBIs in the first game Saturday. He is batting .300 and making a strong case for Rookie of the Year, not that he is thinking about personal accolades.“There are more important things right now,” Andujar said through an interpreter. “It’s very important to win games and we have a bigger goal in mind. That’s the focus right now. At the end of it all, if it happens, it happens. We are trying accomplish something bigger here than individual awards.” The Orioles, who have lost seven straight games, have traded key veterans as they begin a complete rebuild of their franchise. They’re already experiencing growing pains and have endured seven losing streaks of six games or more this season. Right-hander Luis Severino (16-6, 3.28 ERA) will start Sunday for the Yankees. After a dominant first half of the season, he is 2-4 in his last six starts, allowing seven home runs during that stretch.Severino was much better in his last outing against the Blue Jays when he allowed two runs and six hits with eight strikeouts in five innings. “I feel pretty good. Most of the game I was dominating,” Severino said after the game. “I feel good, my body is strong and my confidence is way up.”Severino is 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts) against Baltimore. New York is going to need him to maintain his former solid form during the stretch run.The Yankees still trail the Red Sox in the American League East but are in the driver’s seat for one of the two wild-card berths. “We have to find the right adjustments in there to get him back on track,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Severino’s recent struggles. Dylan Bundy (7-12, 5.31) is having similar struggles for Baltimore. He has allowed 29 hits and six homers for 22 runs (21 earned) in 14 1/3 innings in his last three starts.Bundy has also struggled to keep the ball in the park, giving up 15 homers in his last eight starts, registering a whopping 9.08 ERA during that stretch. Bundy allowed seven runs and seven hits in just four innings of his last start against the Blue Jays, losing his third straight decision.“It’s tough, but we’re all going to have these stretches,” Bundy said after the game. “You just try to limit them. Right now, this one is going on for quite some time. Hopefully, in the future I can figure this out quicker and get better faster.”Bundy is 2-4 with a 6.03 ERA in eight appearances, including six starts, against the Yankees. He took a loss to New York on July 11. Showalter is also trying to find ways to get him back on track. “We’ve given him extra days quite a few times,” Showalter said. “We’ve attacked that and we’ll continue to look at if we need to do it again.”
  14. CHICAGO (AP) — they still have plenty left to make another deep run in the postseason.What they don’t have is room for error.The Cubs will host the Colorado Rockies in the wild-card game on Tuesday after both teams lost tiebreaker games for their division championships.“We’re not dead in the water Roger Maris Jersey ,” Maddon said.The Cubs will send ace Jon Lester (18-6, 3.32 ERA) to the mound, hoping to keep their season going after a 3-1 loss to Milwaukee for the NL Central championship at Wrigley Field on Monday.They’ll be back at the old ballpark again, trying to eliminate Colorado after the Rockies dropped a tiebreaker for the NL West to the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2. Kyle Freeland (17-7, 2.85) starts for the Rockies, and the winner gets Milwaukee in the best-of-five Division Series starting Thursday at Miller Park.Colorado and the Cubs split six games this year, each scoring 33 runs. They haven’t faced each other since early May.NL home run champion Nolan Arenado and the Rockies (91-72) had won nine of 10 before getting shut down by rookie Walker Buehler in a 5-2 loss on Monday. Colorado has never won its division.“Excited about it,” manager Bud Black said. “It’s going to be a great environment tomorrow at Wrigley. Their manager and I go way back. This team enjoys playing on the big stage.”Charlie Blackmon, who had two of Colorado’s four hits Monday, called it “an amazing opportunity.”“The fact of the matter is we have a chance to win the World Series,” he added.The Cubs (95-68) reached the playoffs for a franchise-record fourth straight year and had a third consecutive division championship in sight, only to be pushed aside by the surging Brewers.But the Cubs are also a tough team to keep down.They have three straight appearances in the NL Championship Series and a World Series championship in 2016 that ended a 108-year drought. They’re no strangers to tight spots and they find themselves in another one, after Milwaukee caught them down the regular-season stretch.The Brewers won four of six against Chicago in September to help forge the tiebreaker game after the Cubs went from trailing them by 4 1/2 games in the division to leading by five. Milwaukee pulled even on the final weekend.The Cubs then managed just three hits Monday against Jhoulys Chacin and four relievers. They were also held to one run or less for the 39th time even though they ranked fourth in the National League in scoring.“We have another opportunity,” Maddon said. “I’ve been involved with wild card teams that have gone all the way. It happens.”Maddon was the Los Angeles Angels’ bench coach in 2002 when they won the World Series as a wild card. And the Cubs have certainly won their share of elimination games the past four seasons.They beat Pittsburgh in the wild card-game in 2015 after finishing third in the division behind St. Louis and the Pirates. In 2016 Phil Rizzuto Jersey , they rallied from 3-1 down in the World Series and won Game 7 at Cleveland to bring home the first championship in 108 years. And they beat Washington in a grueling Division Series last year, winning Game 5 on the road.“This is nothing new to us,” outfielder Jason Heyward said.They feel confident with Lester, who will become the first pitcher to start two wild-card games. He gave up six runs to the Royals in 2014 while with Oakland in a 9-8, 12-inning loss.Lester was 6-1 with a 1.71 ERA in his final eight starts. He has been particularly stingy in the postseason throughout his career, going 9-7 with a 2.55 ERA in 25 games and 21 starts.The Cubs endured a long list of injuries and players not performing the way they anticipated, whether it was Yu Darvish making just eight starts after signing a $126 million contract or Kris Bryant making two trips to the disabled list because of inflammation in his left shoulder.Anthony Rizzo got off to a slow start before going on a tear. Willson Contreras slumped after the All-Star break.Nothing has come easily. There were difficulties along the way. And there’s some disappointment surrounding them even though they’re once again in the postseason.“It’s definitely a little different,” Rizzo said. “But that whole narrative switches (Tuesday) if we win the ballgame.” MIAMI (AP) — Matt Carpenter leaped into a high-five with Yadier Molina at home plate, trotted down the dugout steps and skipped from one end of the bench to the other, slapping hands with teammates lined up on both sides of him.It was a routine polished by practice.The NL home run leader hit a tiebreaking homer for the second consecutive night Wednesday, and the St. Louis Cardinals won their fourth series in a row by beating Miami 7-1.Carpenter put St. Louis ahead with a home run leading off the sixth inning, his 31st. His eighth-inning homer Tuesday helped beat Miami 3-2, and he has homered in five of the past six games, to the delight of his teammates.“Obviously they’re fired up and love it Brett Gardner Jersey , and we’re winning,” Carpenter said. “We’ve played really well the last few series, so there’s a lot of excitement and energy in the clubhouse every day.”Said shortstop Paul DeJong: “If Carp doesn’t hit a home run, I don’t know if we could win.”Carpenter, who has raised his average from .140 on May 15 to .281, has resisted analyzing the remarkable turnaround.“There’s really not a lot of thought,” he said. “That’s kind of the beauty of this stretch I’m in. It has been a learning experience for me, because when you’re struggling there’s so much thought. I just go up there, I’m looking for a pitch to hit, and I hit it and jog around the bases.”John Gant (4-4) pitched six innings and allowed one run, which scored in part because of a defensive lapse. He and three relievers combined to retire 21 batters in a row.Molina hit his 15th homer in the first and doubled home two runs in the ninth . The double came after Carpenter was intentionally walked for the 11th time this year.“It’s an option for them,” Cardinals interim manager Mike Shildt said. “We like Matt hitting, and we have no problem with Yadi hitting.”Marcell Ozuna doubled home a run in the sixth and went 6 for 11 in the series against his former team. The Cardinals improved to 13-9 under Shildt.Trevor Richards (3-7) allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings for the last-place Marlins, who have lost eight of their past nine games.“We know where we are in the standings ,” shortstop Miguel Rojas said. “We need to identify who we want to be, and I think that starts with playing better baseball and trying to finish hard.”WORTHY OF A REPLAYDeJong hit a two-run double and made a leaping catch to rob Magneuris Sierra of a hit.“Honestly it might be one of the best plays I’ve ever made,” DeJong said. “I was pretty excited about that one.”TRAINER’S ROOMCardinals: Pinch runner Harrison Bader was shaken up on a headfirst slide in the eighth inning, but stayed in the game and scored. Afterward he said he was fine.Marlins: Rookie CF Lewis Brinson (right hip) is expected to begin taking live batting practice next week, and the Marlins hope he can return for another 100 at-bats or so before the end of the season, manager Don Mattingly said.UP NEXTCardinals: Following a day off, the Cardinals open a three-game series at Kansas City, with LHP Austin Gomber (1-0, 4.10 ERA) scheduled to pitch Friday.Marlins: Miami opens a three-game series at home Friday against the Mets, with RHP Jose Urena (3-11, 4.66) scheduled to start the series opener.
  15. in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox after batting third in the team’s first six playoff games.Houston manager AJ Hinch made the change after the Red Sox walked Bregman seven times combined in the first three games of this series. Hinch made the change with the Astros trailing 2-1 going into Wednesday’s matchup.“I’ve never seen someone pitch any of our players the way that they’re pitching Bregman. And that’s a credit to their game plan but also they’ll have a whole lineup behind him to deal with now ,” Hinch said.Bregman hit leadoff 12 times in the regular season but mostly batted second with 96 games in that spot. The change leaves former leadoff hitter George Springer in the second spot in the order, Jose Altuve hitting third and Marwin Gonzalez batting cleanup.Hinch says he likes the idea of speedy No. 9 hitter Tony Kemp batting before Bregman later in the game.Hinch says: “We’ll give it a different look and see if that changes their approach. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t but we’re going to give Bregman the most at-bats today.”Houston’s All-Star second baseman Altuve is the team’s designated hitter for the second straight game as he continues to struggle with a bruised knee.Hinch says he thinks Altuve not playing defense in Game 3 took a “little stress” off his knee and that he’ll return to the field for Game 5 on Thursday night.With the Red Sox facing right-hander Charlie Morton Mike Marjama Jersey , left-handed hitter Brock Holt is in the starting lineup at second base over Ian Kinsler. Rafael Devers, also a lefty hitter, starts at third base instead of Eduardo Nunez. LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lance McCullers Jr. will head back to Houston to have his right elbow examined after leaving his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers because of discomfort Saturday night.The right-hander gave up two hits in four innings , struck out five and walked two before departing with a 1-0 lead. Houston won the game 14-0.“He came to me after his last inning and said he felt a little something,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We really didn’t like the look in his warm-up pitches so I took him out of the game.”McCullers will fly out Sunday before the series finale against the Dodgers. The Astros conclude their eight-game trip with a visit to San Francisco.“I felt some abnormal soreness and stiffness that I wouldn’t feel during the game,” McCullers said. “I couldn’t have felt any better to start the game Edwin Diaz Jersey , which is the most frustrating part.”McCullers was back on the mound at Dodger Stadium for the first time since starting Game 7 of last year’s World Series, when the Astros beat Los Angeles.He has lost three of his last four starts and is 11-7 with a 4.06 ERA.
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