Today is Friday, July 21, 2017.
|Friday, July 21, 2017|
|Major League Baseball|
Trade deadline could impact Tigers-Twins series
Friday, July 21 at 2:53 AM (EDT)
MINNEAPOLIS -- As the winds of change blow through major league baseball before the upcoming trade deadline, the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins are becoming very active participants.
The two teams who start a weekend series in Minnesota on Friday might look different before the end of the weekend.
Detroit and Minnesota are very familiar with each other, but the Tigers made themselves known as sellers this week when they traded slugging outfielder J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"We're still in conversation with other clubs on several players," Detroit general manager Al Avila told MLB.com this week. "So we'll just have to take it a day at a time."
The Twins, just a half-game behind Cleveland in the American League Central, are buyers and appeared to have purchased a new starting pitcher. Multiple reports said Minnesota traded for Atlanta Braves left-hander Jamie Garcia a day before facing the Tigers.
Garcia is just 3-7 with a 4.33 ERA, but the 31-year-old owns a 3.65 career ERA.
The Twins have used 11 starting pitchers this year and have sought any kind of help behind Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios and the emerging Adalberto Mejia. Minnesota had 44-year-old Bartolo Colon start a game this week.
There will be no worries about the starting pitcher on Friday against Detroit. Santana (11-6, 2.99 ERA) will be making his second start since pitching in the All-Star Game. He is 9-4 with a 3.08 ERA in his career against the Tigers.
In his last outing, Santana earned a win against the Houston Astros by allowing two runs in six innings, even as he struggled with fastball command.
"It was tough, especially when you don't have command of the fastball," Santana told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "You come in with sliders, but you also have to come in with the changeup. You don't want to be throwing changeup all night, so I just tried to mix it up. I just tried to make an adjustment every time."
Minnesota is coming off a series win at home against the New York Yankees for the first time since 2008. The Twins are 8-5 in their last 13 games at home after starting the season with the worst home record in the AL.
"We bunched them together," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said of the team's offense in the series-clinching win Wednesday. "We've had a little trouble getting some clutch hits here since we've come out of the break, and we put three together in a row."
This time around, Minnesota won't be facing Martinez, a big blow to Detroit's potent lineup.
"Now, you can get a left-handed bat in the lineup," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told MLB.com. "But let's be honest: J.D.'s right-handed bat against a righty is better than most left-handed bats against a righty. In that sense, you're not going to replace the offense. We'll probably cover a little bit more ground in right field, but the offense won't be replaced."
Detroit has lost two games in a row after a 16-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday. The Tigers' defense committed three errors in a four-run first inning for Kansas City.
"It was an ugly inning, maybe the ugliest inning we've had defensively since I've been here," Ausmus told MLB.com.
Ausmus will look for improved defense behind Friday's starter, Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 6.08), who will be making his sixth start of the season after moving into the rotation on June 19. He has a 3.99 ERA as a starter this season but gave up five runs in six innings to the Toronto Blue Jays in his last start.
Sanchez has faced the Twins three times this season as a reliever, yielding eight runs in three innings. In his career, Sanchez is 5-4 with a 3.65 ERA against Minnesota.
Kennedy to feel heat as Royals host White Sox
Friday, July 21 at 2:48 AM (EDT)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Ian Kennedy knows it is going to be extremely hot Friday when he starts for the Kansas City Royals in the series opener against the Chicago White Sox.
It is forecast to reach triple digits in Kansas City.
"I don't know if there is anybody that even likes playing in the heat when it's this hot," Kennedy said. "It's pretty hot right now. We try to stay cool as much as we can. Just be thankful it's not a day game."
How does Kennedy prepare his body for throwing possibly 100 pitches in this weather?
"The day before you're doing a lot more things, a little bit more fluids, drinking more drinks designed for that, drinking a lot more water and drinks with potassium," he said. "It's more of a day-before type thing. The day of (the start), you drink a little bit more."
Kennedy said he may change jerseys after a couple innings. Plus, he likely will be reaching for the resin bag for a more secure grip on the baseball.
"That's why they have resin out there, to help your hands dry out a little bit; because, with sweat and resin, it gets a little tacky. That's why it's out there. You see a lot of guys use it."
Kennedy (3-6, 4.32 ERA) is unbeaten in his last seven starts, with the Royals going 6-1. He is 3-0 with a 3.14 ERA in the seven starts, going at least six innings in six of those games.
"I feel like I'm pitching like I should be pitching," Kennedy said. "It's nice to be healthy like I was in the beginning of the year and I was throwing pretty well. The injury puts a little damper on some things, but I feel like I've been pitching like I should."
Kennedy went on the disabled list after straining his right hamstring in the fifth inning of a May 4 start against the White Sox. He is 2-2 with a 3.93 ERA in six career starts against the White Sox.
Chicago will counter with ex-Royal James Shields (2-2, 5.10 ERA). He is 7-2 with a 3.54 ERA in 11 career starts against the Royals, holding them to a .237 batting average.
The buzz around the White Sox is second baseman Yoan Moncada, the No. 1 prospect in baseball. The White Sox acquired Moncada, a 22-year-old from Cuba, as the centerpiece in a Dec. 6 trade that sent Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox. Moncada made his White Sox debut Wednesday.
"The fan base is very, very excited just about what the organization is doing in general," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "I think for them being able to see one of the young men they ended up getting in a trade, having him now here with us, (and) with a lot of the moves that we made, they're very excited to get a little taste of what the future's going to look like.
"He had very nice at-bats, turned a nice double play, looked very comfortable out there. I think those are things that I hope they'll be able to take with them as we continue to formulate who we're going to be as a ballclub."
The White Sox completed a seven-player blockbuster deal Tuesday with the New York Yankees. While the White Sox got three prospects back, they also acquired veteran right-hander Tyler Clippard, who will be their closer as the season winds down.
"Young, loose," Clippard described his new teammates. "That's definitely my vibe. I really enjoy that kind of energy. That really coincides with my personality a lot, so I look forward to it."
While the Royals trail the Indians by 1 1/2 games in the AL Central, the White Sox have lost six straight and are 1-9 in their past 10 games. They are 38-54, the worst record in the American League.
Surging Pirates start extended trip in Colorado
Friday, July 21 at 12:53 AM (EDT)
The surging Pirates and the rejuvenated Rockies will begin a three-game series Friday that will wind up Colorado's homestand and launch Pittsburgh's long road trip.
Jeff Hoffman (6-1, 4.33 ERA) will start for the Rockies and be opposed by Trevor Williams (3-4, 4.69).
The Pirates, coming off a four-game sweep of Milwaukee, have won a season-high five straight games, eight of their past nine and 11 of their past 13. Since the All-Star break, the Pirates have won three games in the ninth inning or later. During their winning streak, the Pirates have scored four runs four times and three runs once, winning three games by one run and one game by two.
Pittsburgh's four-game sweep of the Brewers was its first four-game sweep from any team at PNC Park since July 29-31, 2013, against St. Louis. The Pirates' 34-26 record since May 13 is the best among National League Central teams.
A 4-2 win over the Brewers on Thursday enabled the Pirates (49-49) to get back to .500 for the first time since April 16 (6-6).
"I think it's another mile marker on the way," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "You've got to play better than .500. Nobody's won a division playing under .500. There will be no catching our breath or, 'Ah, we've made it.' We haven't made it. We're heading in the right direction. We're hunting the good stuff. We're playing better baseball."
The Pirates on Friday will try go above .500 for the first time since they were 3-2 on April 9. They have won five of their past six games on the road and are 4-1-3 in their last eight series away from home since being swept in Los Angeles, May 8-10, by the Dodgers. The Pirates, who are 21-25 on the road, are beginning a nine-game, 10-day trip that will also take them to San Francisco and San Diego.
Williams, who has never faced the Rockies, gave up 10 hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings against St. Louis on Sunday as the Pirates won 4-3. The Pirates are 6-7 in games started by Williams, who went into the rotation May 8 and gave up eight runs (six earned) in three innings at the Dodgers. In 12 starts since that game, Williams is 2-2 with a 3.95 ERA.
Hoffman won his last start Sunday at the New York Mets, allowing four runs in six innings in the Rockies' 13-4 romp. The Rockies are 7-3 in games started by Hoffman, who has pitched seven innings in his past two starts at Coors Field, going 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA.
The Pirates series will conclude the Rockies' six-game homestand that began with a three-game sweep of San Diego, improving Colorado's home record to 29-18.
The Rockies had lost 15 of 20 games after stumbling out of the All-Star break and losing 14-2 and 9-3 to the Mets before winning Sunday. During their four-game winning streak, the Rockies have outscored opponents 49-21.
On Thursday, the Rockies scored 18 runs, their most since scoring 18 on April 27, 2012, against the Mets. They pounded 21 hits, their most since they had 21 on Sept. 17, 2014, against the Dodgers.
"The last game in New York, I thought was a really good game as far as the at-bats," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We got beat pretty soundly those first two games, didn't pitch well. Our guys came out Sunday morning on a mission. I think that's just been carrying over; I really do."
Revamped Nats, D-backs open series in Arizona
Friday, July 21 at 3:23 PM (EDT)
PHOENIX -- Two and one-half months after the Washington Nationals won two of three games against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the slightly remade versions of the two postseason contenders meet again.
Arizona acquired corner outfielder J.D. Martinez in a trade with the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, a move that added a right-handed power bat to a lineup that, even with All-Star Paul Goldschmidt, has had trouble against left-handed starters. The Diamondbacks are 10-12 against lefties this season.
Washington acquired relievers Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the Oakland A's on Sunday in an attempt to strengthen a bullpen that has been the worst in the majors much of the year. Nationals relievers have 14 blown saves and a major-league-worst 5.32 ERA.
Doolittle converted his first save opportunity in a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, the latest in a handful of players who have been tried in the closer role. Shawn Kelley, Enny Romero, Matt Albers, Blake Treinen, Matt Grace and Koda Glover also have spent time in that role.
Washington (57-37) has a very comfortable 11-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. The Nationals will start ace Max Scherzer in the first game of a three-game series at Chase Field that begins Friday.
Zach Godley will start for Arizona, which announced its starting pitcher Friday afternoon after Patrick Corbin was moved up to fill in on Thursday when scheduled starter Taijuan Walker left the team to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.
Godley is 3-4 with a 3.09 ERA this season. He is 0-3 with a 4.82 ERA in his last three starts since June 22.
Godley last pitched Sunday when he allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned runs) and eight hits in six innings during a 7-1 loss at Atlanta.
The Nationals have won six of seven, with their six-game winning streak ending when they got only one hit against Alex Meyer and two relievers in a 7-0 loss at Anaheim on Wednesday. MVP candidate Bryce Harper had the day off.
"We didn't have much of a chance," Washington manager Dusty Baker said.
That has not happened often. The Nationals have won 10 out of 13, and only the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (66) and American League Central-leading Houston (63) have more victories.
Arizona and Colorado (56-41) are 5 1/2 games ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the race for the two NL wild-card berths. The D-backs have lost eight games in the NL West standings to the Dodgers since July 1.
The D-backs had lost eight of nine games before winning two out of three at Cincinnati this week, outscoring the Reds 26-8. Jake Lamb had two of Arizona's four homers Thursday in a 12-2 victory, and the D-backs hit seven in the series.
"It's been a little rough lately," said Lamb, who hit three-run homers in the first and ninth innings and has 22 homers this season. "It's huge to get this series and head back home with a good feeling. It started to click today."
Martinez has played only four innings since reporting to the team Wednesday, sustaining a left hand contusion when he was struck by a pitch while his hand was on the bat in his debut. X-rays were negative, and he is considered day-to-day. He had 18 hits (and six homers) in 45 plate appearances against lefties this season, although he has been relatively split-neutral the rest of his career.
"Any time that you have the ability to acquire a bat that fits in the middle of your lineup, you want to take that opportunity, given where we are and how the season has gone to date," D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said.
Scherzer, who started the All-Star Game, is 11-5 with a 2.01 ERA. He leads the majors in ERA and the NL in strikeouts (183) after leading the majors with strikeouts with 284 last season.
Scherzer pitched six scoreless innings in his most recent start, a 10-7 victory at Cincinnati on Saturday, and he threw seven scoreless innings in a 7-2 victory at St. Louis on July 2. In between, he gave up four runs in a no-decision against Atlanta, only the second time he has given up more than three earned runs in a game this season. Scherzer has allowed as many as three earned runs in only five of his 19 starts.
The Diamondbacks' first-round draft pick in 2006, Scherzer is a perfect 5-0 with a 2.41 ERA against Arizona in six career starts. He gave up one run and two hits while striking out 11 in a 4-2 victory at Nationals Park on May 4.
Angels brace for Sale, Red Sox in series opener
Friday, July 21 at 1:56 AM (EDT)
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels were fortunate to miss National League All-Star starter Max Scherzer when the Washington Nationals came to town for a two-game series.
But they won't avoid American League All-Star starter Chris Sale.
Sale (11-4, 2.59 ERA) will start for the Boston Red Sox in the opening contest of a three-game series in Anaheim against the Angels on Friday, and that isn't good news for the home team.
Sale has never faced the Angels in a Red Sox uniform. But, during his seven seasons with the Chicago White Sox, he dominated them, going 5-0 with a 1.39 ERA in eight career games (six starts). That includes one of his two career shutouts.
One Angels hitter, though, has somehow found a way to handle Sale relatively well. Not surprisingly, it's Mike Trout. Trout has five hits in 16 career at-bats against Sale, including a double and a grand slam.
Trout, though, won't say he has Sale figured out.
"You get one pitch to hit," Trout told the L.A. Times last year. "You miss it, he'll put you in a hole."
Two other Angels one would not expect to have good numbers against Sale are not regular starters, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia might be wise to put them in the lineup Friday.
Infielder Cliff Pennington, who is in a platoon situation at second base with Nick Franklin, is 3-for-7 with a double against Sale, and reserve outfielder Shane Robinson, called up from Triple-A Salt Lake earlier this week, is 4-for-11.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia comes into the series as hot as anyone in the league in the last couple weeks. He has a nine-game hitting streak and has hits in 11 of 12. In those 12 games, he's hitting .385 with four homers and 15 RBIs.
Like Trout, Pedroia approaches his at-bats understanding he likely will get no more than one good pitch to hit.
"Just try to get a good pitch to hit and don't miss it," Pedroia told MLB.com. "There's no secrets. All the pitchers we face now, they've all got good stuff. You're only going to get one pitch to hit, so you better make sure you square it up."
The pitcher Pedroia and his Red Sox teammates will face Friday is Angels right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who has been unpredictable this season, to say the least.
He's 4-10 with a 4.82 ERA in 19 starts. But, in his last start, July 14 against Tampa Bay, he allowed one run and two hits in seven innings. And July 1 against Seattle, he threw a three-hit shutout.
But those two starts are sandwiched around a rough outing against Texas on July 7, when he gave up eight runs and lasted 1 2/3 innings.
Nolasco is 3-2 with a 5.68 ERA and one complete game in seven career starts vs. Boston.
The Red Sox got Xander Bogaerts back in the starting lineup on Thursday. He had been out the past two games, bothered by a muscle contusion and a sprained right hand after being hit by a pitch. He went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
Braves aim for second straight win over Dodgers
Friday, July 21 at 3:02 AM (EDT)
LOS ANGELES -- Residing in a golden state, the Los Angeles Dodgers will try to rekindle that glow against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
The Dodgers lost the series opener Thursday, but that was hardly cause for alarm. They won each of their previous 11 games, and they have won 31 of their past 36 games. They are doing it in such an entertaining and dominating fashion, they remind some of the NBA's Golden State Warriors.
"When you're talking about the Warriors, I'm a fan of the way they play," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "They are champions, and any time you can get compared to them, that's a good thing."
The Braves will try to win their second straight against the Dodgers and be more than a speed bump as Los Angeles cruises to the NL West title. Atlanta just isn't certain who will be its starting pitcher.
The listed starter for the Braves is Jaime Garcia (3-7, 4.33 ERA), but he has been mentioned in trade talks with various clubs. Multiple media reports had the Minnesota Twins zeroing in on the left-hander as of late Thursday night.
"I don't think anything has happened officially, so I have nothing right now," Braves manager Brian Snitker said after Atlanta's 6-3 win over Los Angeles.
Garcia has split four lifetime decisions against the Dodgers.
"He's done a great job; he's had a really good run," Snitker said. "With his stuff and what it does ... he had a really good outing Sunday. I just kind of expect that all the time with his movement. He has been a very successful major league pitcher.
"He's done exactly what we went out and got him for -- to cover innings -- and he's been really good."
The Dodgers are a notch or two above good. That especially goes for Alex Wood (11-0, 1.56 ERA), their Friday starter. In his past 12 starts, Wood has 10 wins while allowing a total of 10 earned runs in 73 innings.
However, Wood lost the lone time he faced Los Angeles in his career, giving up six runs (three earned) in four innings on April 19, 2016.
Thanks in part to a pitching staff fronted by Clayton Kershaw and Wood, Roberts believes the Dodgers are the best team in baseball.
"I said it this year, but I didn't say it last year," Roberts said. "Knowing the core group of players we had in the clubhouse, what it was going to take to win a championship and understand the depth that is needed. It's more of a declaration of what I feel, understanding we still have to go out there and play baseball.
"Last year I said this, too: The Cubs were the best team. I thought they were the best team last year, and they did it from the onset of the season. We learned a lot from last year."
So, if the Dodgers are wearing a bull's-eye because of their confidence and swagger, Roberts still isn't backing down.
"We have no problem having that target, and our record speaks for itself," Roberts said. "Teams come out and play their best against you, and you have to be ready for it."
The Braves understand the challenge.
"It's about as big as it gets," Snitker said. "They are the best team out there, and what they are doing is phenomenal. But it's fun because that is what you want to do -- to play the best and go after them. But it will be a challenge because they've got a good, young club."
Mariners, Yanks continue series with better bullpens
Friday, July 21 at 3:10 AM (EDT)
SEATTLE -- Let the arms race begin.
At least, the race for relievers.
The New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners, who are in the midst of a four-game series at Safeco Field, have taken the first shots.
The Yankees acquired right-handed relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle, as well as two-time All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier, on Tuesday night from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for reliever Tyler Clippard and three prospects.
The Mariners, who are chasing the Yankees for an American League wild-card berth, countered Thursday by getting reliever David Phelps from the Miami Marlins for four prospects: outfielder Brayan Hernandez and right-handed pitchers Pablo Lopez, Brandon Miller and Lukas Schiraldi.
"David's really been tested in the bullpen and as a reliever," Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "He's been under-the-radar good."
Phelps, a 30-year-old right-hander, is scheduled to join the Mariners for the Friday game. He was 2-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 44 appearances for Miami, with 51 strikeouts in 47 innings. His 18 holds were tied for second in the National League.
Phelps, who made his major league debut with the Yankees in 2012, is in his first full season as a reliever after bouncing between the rotation and a long-relief role for most of his first five seasons.
"It's nice to have another arm on the way," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He can pitch anywhere from the sixth, seventh or eighth inning."
The Yankees and Mariners are still in the market for starting pitching.
Seattle expected left-hander Drew Smyly would return by the All-Star break, but he is going to miss the remainder of the season and perhaps most of 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma has been on the disabled list since May 10 with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, and it is unclear when, or whether, he will return after setbacks in his rehabilitation.
The Yankees recently lost right-hander Michael Pineda, a former Mariner who has a partial ligament tear in his pitching elbow and might undergo surgery.
"We wanted to be careful buyers and we wanted to improve areas on the club," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told NJ.com. "The biggest areas would be with the Michael Pineda injury if we can find a spot in the rotation as well as improve the bullpen. We do believe clearly that this (trade) adds some significant weapons to the high-caliber pieces that we already possess in the bullpen, and hopefully it plays out that way as we move forward."
Dipoto said he has talked with "every team in the league" about acquiring a starter.
"The demand exceeds the supply," Dipoto said. "The market for (starting) pitching is high. We've got to be realistic about what we can offer."
With that in mind, the Mariners announced Thursday that veteran right-hander Yovani Gallardo would return to the rotation and start the series finale Sunday. Gallardo was 3-7 with a 6.30 ERA in 14 starts before being banished to the bullpen a month ago.
Dipoto was asked whether the Mariners would consider a "rental" player who is signed only through this season.
"I would if the rental costs much less," he said. "In theory, it should be toward the end of the month (at the trading deadline)."
But Dipoto admitted that theory might be skewed this season, with nearly every AL club still in the wild-card race.
"You're still going to pay a premium for a short-term buy," he said.
The Mariners are scheduled to send rookie right-hander Andrew Moore (1-1, 5.25 ERA) to the mound Friday to make his first appearance against the Yankees.
New York plans to pitch veteran left-hander CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.54), who is 13-6 with a 2.64 ERA in 26 career starts against the Mariners.
Giants look to end recent struggles vs. Padres
Friday, July 21 at 3:24 AM (EDT)
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Diego Padres will seek to continue their recent mastery of the San Francisco Giants when the clubs meet for a second time in their four-game series Friday night.
After taking two of three from the Giants in San Diego last week, the Padres also prevailed in the first game of the rematch series in San Francisco behind the power hitting of Hunter Renfroe and Cory Spangenberg on Thursday night.
In doing so, they spoiled the AT&T Park return of Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who hadn't pitched at home since separating his left shoulder in a dirt-bike accident in April.
Right-hander Trevor Cahill (4-3, 3.14 ERA) will try to follow in the footsteps of Jhoulys Chacin, who limited the Giants to two runs and four hits in six innings on Thursday.
Cahill had a similar outing -- one run in 6 2/3 innings -- in a 7-1 Padres win over the Giants on Sunday in San Diego.
The Padres have now beaten the Giants in 15 of their last 20 meetings.
San Diego manager Andy Green was happy his club was able to win the series opener in San Francisco while also getting the Giants ace out of the way at the same time.
"Nothing he does really shocks me or anybody in baseball," Green said of Bumgarner. "Even if it's not in midseason form, he's still not an easy draw."
Cahill has been a tough draw on the Giants. He is 7-5 with a 3.63 ERA in 17 games, including 14 starts, against the Giants in his career.
Denard Span and Eduardo Nunez combined for eight hits last weekend in the three-game series at San Diego, and they each had two hits in the Thursday loss.
"They've been doing a real good job of getting on base at the top of the lineup," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We need to do a better job getting better balance throughout the lineup."
The Giants will counter in Game 2 of the series with right-hander Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 4.86), who was on the losing end of the matchup with Cahill on Sunday. He allowed seven runs on nine hits in six innings.
Samardzija gave up home runs to Hector Sanchez and Cory Spangenberg in the defeat, which pushed him into a tie with Colorado's Tyler Chatwood for the most losses in the National League.
He has given up 10 homers in his past seven starts.
Spangenberg also connected Thursday against Bumgarner, a tiebreaking, two-run shot in the seventh inning to the farthest part of the ballpark. The ball cleared the wall just to the left of the 421-foot sign.
"I'm really impressed," Padres manager Andy Green, a former major league infielder, said of Spangenberg's homer. "That's a long way out there. It'd take me two times hitting it to get it out that far."
Samardzija is 7-3 with a 3.68 ERA in 14 games, including 12 starts, against the Padres in his career. Sanchez, a former Giants catcher, is 4-for-9 with five RBIs lifetime against Samardzija.
Nine-run 8th powers Cardinals past Cubs
Friday, July 21 at 7:23 PM (EDT)
CHICAGO -- Once the St. Louis Cardinals got rolling on Friday, they just didn't seem to want to stop.
Paul DeJong's bases-loaded, two-base hit delivered the go-ahead runs while nine straight batters scored in a decisive eighth inning in the Cardinals' 11-4 come-from-behind victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
"I've never been a part of something like that -- to score nine runs with no outs," said DeJong, who slugged a ground-rule double into the center-field ivy. "I think that really made a statement for us in game one and we've got two more games left that we've got to get."
The victory snapped the Cardinals' two-game losing streak and also ended a six-game winning run by the Cubs.
DeJong (1-for-5) doubled off Cubs reliever Hector Rondon to score Tommy Pham and Dexter Fowler for a 5-3 lead with none out.
Rondon then gave up an RBI single to Randal Grichuk to make it 6-3. Carl Edwards Jr. (3-2), who started the inning and loaded the bases, took the loss.
Reliever Justin Grimm entered and gave up the rest of the scoring, including a two-run double to Carson Kelly, a one-run single to Matt Carpenter and a two-run base hit to Pham.
"We had a bad inning pitching," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That's the third time in a week here at this ballpark if you go prior before the break. A seven, a nine and a 10 in one inning. I've not seen that since rookie ball, that's crazy stuff."
Right-hander Matt Bowman (2-3) worked one-third of an inning in the seventh for the win for the Cardinals (47-49). St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez allowed three runs (two earned) on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings.
"My sinker was really working today, I was finally -- in comparison to last game -- I really had control of it," Martinez said through a translator. "So it was really working well for me. I was also throwing really hard, which also helped."
The Cubs (49-46) opened a five-game homestand as Ben Zobrist had three hits, Kyle Schwarber had two hits and Willson Contreras homered.
Fowler went 3-for-4 to lead the Cardinals while Carpenter, Pham and Grichuk each had two hits.
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta scattered two runs on five hits but received a no-decision. He held an opponent to six or fewer hits for the 12th straight start.
"We swung the bats well against Martinez, took what he was giving us and had some great at-bats and I kept us in the game," Arrieta said. "That was it until the eighth when it got out of hand."
The Cubs led 2-0 in the first as Contreras clubbed his 14th home run, scoring Zobrist in the process.
Grichuk marked his return from the 10-day disabled list with a two-out, solo homer in the second inning that trimmed the Cubs lead to 2-1.
St. Louis forced a 2-2 tie in the third when Fowler doubled home Pham with two out.
Anthony Rizzo's one-out single down the first base line brought home Jason Heyward from second for a 3-2 Cubs lead.
Arrieta, pulled for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning, struck out six and walked none while throwing 97 pitches on a hot, humid afternoon.
Martinez left for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh and was replaced by left-hander Zach Duke, making his season debut after being called up from the 60-day disabled list on the heels of Tommy John surgery following the 2016 season.
Duke faced two batters and threw six pitches, including a line drive from Rizzo for an out.
After Edwards loaded the bases, Rondon entered and walked Jedd Gyorko to bring in Carpenter with the tying run before the two-run ground-rule double to DeJong.
"When you get going, you keep going," said Kelly, who was called up from Triple-A Memphis on Friday and inserted into the lineup when starter Yadier Molina was a late scratch. "You've just got to ride it."
NOTES: The Cardinals made a series of personnel moves prior to Friday's game, including a trade that sent LHP Marco Gonzales to Seattle for OF prospect Tyler O'Neill. St. Louis also designated C Eric Fryer for assignment, recalled C Carson Kelly from Triple-A Memphis, activated OF Randal Grichuk from the 10-day disabled list and LHP Zach Duke from the 60-day disabled list. ... The Chicago stop is the finale of a 10-game road trip for the Cardinals that included stops in Pittsburgh and at the New York Mets. ... St. Louis sends RHP Adam Wainwright (11-5, 5.08 ERA) against Chicago LHP Jon Lester (6-6, 4.07 ERA) in Saturday's middle game. ... Cubs 3B Kris Bryant sat out Friday's game after suffering a left pinkie finger sprain on Wednesday. He's also likely to miss Saturday. ... The Cubs began an 18-game stretch of game without a trip to the airport with three games against the Cardinals, a four-game home-and-home series with the White Sox, three in Milwaukee and a six-game homestand through Aug. 20.
Rejuvenated O's set to host banged-up Astros
Friday, July 21 at 1:39 AM (EDT)
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles have regained some of their swagger heading into a three-game weekend series against the Houston Astros, who have the best record in the American League.
Baltimore (46-49) completed a four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers on Thursday. There has been much debate about the Orioles' strategy heading into the non-waiver trade deadline July 31 regarding the team's position as buyers or sellers.
However, manager Buck Showalter said his focus has not changed at all. Baltimore sits seven games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East and three games out of the second AL wild-card position.
"We're trying to win our division and be the last team standing -- it's as simple as that," Showalter said. "We're trying to win more games than anybody in our division and win as many games as we can and try to play more home games than away games. This is July. ... The math part of it doesn't really figure into my thinking anyway right now."
The Astros, meanwhile, dropped two of three to Seattle this week but still lead the second-place Mariners by 16 games in the AL West. Houston enters the series against Baltimore dealing with injuries to several key players.
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who went on the disabled list June 8 due to neck discomfort, needs at least one more rehab start before he rejoins the team. Reliever Will Harris, on the DL with a bruised right shoulder, was expected to be ready for opener in Baltimore. However, the Astros want to give Harris more time to recover and put him on a throwing program.
"Our main focus is making sure I'm 100 percent healthy so I don't have any relapse," Harris said. "Getting pretty close. I'm thinking I may play catch in the next couple of days on the road trip."
All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa underwent surgery this week to repair a torn ligament in his left and will be out at least six weeks.
The Astros will rely on right-hander Mike Fiers (6-4, 3.75 ERA) to set the tone in the opener at Camden Yards. Fiers had one of his finest starts Sunday against the Minnesota Twins when he allowed two runs and four hits with a season-high 11 strikeouts over seven innings. He didn't issue a walk.
"The curveball, I felt like I could throw it any time," Fiers said. "I was throwing it for a strike and trying to expand it for two strikes and they start swinging once you show you can command it in the zone and then they just try to put it in play."
Fiers won his only career start against the Orioles when he allowed one run and five hits over seven innings on Aug. 20, 2016.
Baltimore will counter with the struggling Ubaldo Jimenez (4-5. 7.01 ERA). He has lasted less than four innings in four of his past 14 starts. Jimenez allowed six runs on 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
"I think everyone wants to do the job," Jimenez said. "I don't think you are going to get more pressure. Every five days, you want to go out there and be there for the team."
Jimenez has pitched well against Houston over his career, going 4-1 with a 2.87 ERA in 13 appearances, including 11 starts.
Brewers limp into Philadelphia after fifth straight loss
Friday, July 21 at 12:53 AM (EDT)
PHILADELPHIA -- The Milwaukee Brewers entered the All-Star break winners in nine of their past 11 games. They were 5 1/2 games clear of the World Series champion Chicago Cubs atop the National League Central.
After taking their first two games following the break at home against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Brewers were out to show they weren't going to be caught easily.
Five consecutive losses later, Milwaukee (52-46) limps into Philadelphia (32-61) hoping to right the ship against the worst team in baseball.
The Brewers, whose NL Central lead is down to one game, were swept away by the surging Pirates in four games, completed by a 4-2 defeat Thursday afternoon. Milwaukee scored just nine runs total at Pittsburgh.
"We didn't score enough runs this series," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell told Fox Sports Wisconsin. "That's evident for sure. I'm confident in our offense. We're going to score runs. I think that's a place we've been very consistent all year, and I think that'll pick up for sure."
On the mound for Milwaukee on Friday night will be right-hander Matt Garza (4-4, 3.84 ERA). He will face Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (6-6, 3.54).
If Counsell is looking for a quick turnaround, it won't be easy against Nola, who has been pitching lights out of late. Nola, who missed time between April and May with an arm strain, looks like the ace Philadelphia hopes he turns out to be. He is 3-1 in his past five starts, compiling a 1.78 ERA in those starts (35 1/3 innings) with 51 strikeouts.
"I'm trying to command the ball and not throw every pitch hard," Nola told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "The beginning of the year, I was trying to throw hard more than I am now. So that's why I was a little more spotty."
Nola opened the second half in Milwaukee and got a no-decision after throwing six innings of two-run ball in an eventual 3-2 Phillies loss on Saturday. He allowed seven hits and struck out seven.
For his short career, Nola has dominated Milwaukee. He is 2-0 lifetime against the Brewers in three starts (19 innings) with a 1.42 ERA.
Garza will be tasked with turning around a rough week for the Brewers. He will need to keep an impotent offense -- one that did compile 20 hits in a 10-3 win at Miami on Wednesday, though -- at bay to keep up with the streaking Nola.
Garza, too, had a no-decision against the Phillies his last time out. He allowed one run in five innings Sunday in a game Philadelphia won 5-2.
The 33-year-old has made nine starts against the Phillies over his 12-year career, producing a 2-2 record to go with a tidy 2.28 ERA. Four of those starts have come at Citizens Bank Park, where he has a 1-1 record and a 2.88 ERA.
The Brewers will need to take advantage of their three-game set in Philadelphia. After the Phillies, who may have a busy few weeks with the trade deadline approaching, Milwaukee travels to D.C. to face the first-place Washington Nationals before a showdown with the Cubs back in Milwaukee next weekend.
Mets' Matz looks to bounce back vs. A's
Friday, July 21 at 12:23 AM (EDT)
NEW YORK -- The last time the New York Mets took the field with an opportunity to win three straight games, it was a disaster -- especially for Steven Matz.
Matz will look to rebound from the worst start of his career and the Mets will attempt to get a third straight victory Friday night in the opener of a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics.
The left-hander is 2-3 with a 4.58 ERA in his first seven starts since missing the first two months recovering from left elbow inflammation. On Sunday, after the Mets scored 23 runs in consecutive victories over the Colorado Rockies, he allowed seven runs and nine hits in one-plus inning of a 13-4 loss.
Matz's last two starts have been difficult for him. Before his shortest outing of his career, Matz allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 6-0 loss at St. Louis on July 9.
"I feel like I wasn't really sharp today," Matz said. "I was leaving balls right over the middle of the plate and they were hitting it."
Matz was chased after allowing the first four batters to reach in the second and turned in the shortest start by a Met this season.
"I don't care how good your stuff is," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You can't do that in this league."
The struggles against Colorado also continued a trend of Matz faltering in the first three innings.
In the first three innings, he has a 7.11 ERA and hitters are batting .321. In innings four through seven, Matz has a 2.21 ERA and hitters are batting .213.
Matz is 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA in four career interleague starts and will attempt to give the Mets their first three-game winning streak since getting four straight victories June 28 to July 1.
Those wins gave the Mets a 38-42 record; but, starting with a 7-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on July 2, New York is 5-8 in its last 13 games.
New York comes into the series off a split against St. Louis. The Mets were outscored 11-3 in the first two games but followed up a 7-3 victory Wednesday with a 3-2 win Thursday when Jose Reyes hit a walk-off infield single with two outs in the ninth inning.
"We need one," Collins said. "We've had a lot of them slip away lately and we needed a win like this today."
Friday might mark the final home series for some Mets -- notably Addison Reed, Lucas Duda and Jay Bruce -- whose names are mentioned in trade speculation as the non-waiver deadline approaches July 31.
Duda homered Thursday while Bruce was given the day off.
"I don't know what they think, what goes on in their mind," Collins said earlier this week. "All I can tell you is what my approach has been to them, and that is you can't worry about if your name's mentioned or if it's not mentioned or anything else. You can't worry about possible callups. You can't worry about where you're going to be tomorrow. You're here today. You've got to worry about today."
Oakland (43-52) already began selling off pieces Sunday when it traded relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle to the Washington Nationals. The A's are starting a seven-game trip before facing the Minnesota Twins next weekend at home and it is possible Yonder Alonso and Sonny Gray might get traded between now and then.
Alonso had two hits and Gray allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings Wednesday in a 7-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. Oakland has begun the second half by winning four of its first six games and is 8-4 in its last 12 contests.
"I try not to think too much about that because when you have a group of guys that you're dealing with, that's basically what your focus is," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said.
Paul Blackburn will make his fourth start and looks to maintain the success of his first three after starting his career 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA. Blackburn took a no-decision Saturday in a 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians when he allowed three runs and five hits in six innings.
Blackburn will be making his second interleague start. He opposed the Atlanta Braves in his major league debut July 1 and allowed one run (unearned) and three hits in six innings.
In his second start, he induced 14 ground-ball outs in a win over the Seattle Mariners, who traded him to Oakland in the offseason for Danny Valencia.
"Everything was working for him," A's catcher Bruce Maxwell said of Blackburn's start against the Mariners. "He's a bulldog on the mound. He made pitches the whole night. That's his game. He doesn't throw 98 (mph), but he keeps hitters off balance."
The Mets are 8-5 all-time against Oakland, including 6-2 in New York. The last meeting was June 25, 2014, when Cespedes drove in three runs in Oakland's 8-5 victory in New York.
Struggling starters toe rubber when Indians host Jays
Friday, July 21 at 12:42 AM (EDT)
CLEVELAND -- Marco Estrada and Trevor Bauer, two pitchers in the middle of disappointing seasons, will be the mound opponents Friday night when the Toronto Blue Jays open a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.
It might be hard to find two pitchers who have struggled more in their recent starts than Estrada (4-6, 5.33 ERA) and Bauer (7-8, 5.59).
Estrada's last win came May 27. In eight starts since, he is 2-6 with a 9.50 ERA and an opponents' batting average of .344.
In his last two starts, Bauer is 0-2 with an 11.13 ERA. His last outing was a 7-3 loss at Oakland on Sunday in which Bauer matched the shortest outing of his career -- 2/3 inning.
Bauer threw a whopping 43 pitches. He gave up four runs on three hits and three walks, and he was removed after eight batters.
That was loss No. 3 for the Indians on their dreadful West Coast trip coming out of the All-Star break. The Indians went 1-5 on the trek, in which all six games were against the last-place Athletics and San Francisco Giants.
The Indians returned to Cleveland with their lead in the AL Central down to one-half game over Minnesota. Nothing is going right for the Indians at the moment. Their hitting has been spotty and their defense leaky, and their vaunted bullpen has struggled. Four of their last six losses have been charged to the bullpen.
"They can handle it," manager Terry Francona said of his relievers' collective slump. "They're a tough group. But when you're playing games like we have, every run is so magnified."
A bounce-back start by Bauer on Friday would help. In his last start against Toronto on May 8, Bauer was the losing pitcher in a 4-2 setback. Bauer pitched six innings, giving up four runs on six hits, with six strikeouts and three walks. In five career appearances (four starts) against the Blue Jays, Bauer is 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA.
Estrada's last start came Sunday -- a 6-5 Toronto loss to Detroit. Estrada, who received a no-decision, threw 94 pitches and made it through just 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits, with five strikeouts and four walks.
Estrada is 0-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two career starts vs. Cleveland.
Toronto is expected to activate reliever Joe Smith on Friday. Smith, who is 3-0 with a 3.41 ERA in 34 appearances with the Jays, was placed on the 10-day disabled list June 21 with right shoulder inflammation. Smith was expected to be activated Wednesday, but he wasn't ready.
"We thought he originally was going to (be activated Wednesday), but he needed one more (rehab) outing," Toronto manager John Gibbons told the Toronto Star.
That outing came with Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday. In three rehab appearances, Smith pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up one run and three hits, walking none and striking out three.
Smith's return Friday will come against his former teammates. He pitched with Cleveland from 2009 to 2013.
The Indians are also expected to make a roster move Friday involving a reliever. Left-hander Boone Logan strained a lat muscle while pitching Wednesday in San Francisco. He is expected to be placed on the disabled list Friday.
Marlins, Reds aim to snap out of post-ASG doldrums
Friday, July 21 at 12:34 AM (EDT)
CINCINNATI -- Jose Urena is hoping for a better start on Friday against the Reds in Cincinnati than his last appearance at Great American Ball Park.
The Miami Marlins right-hander, the scheduled starter in the opener of a three-game series and the first game of a six-game road trip, can't do much worse than his start on Aug. 16 of last season.
Urena (7-4), in his only career appearance against the Reds, got the first two batters before giving up five runs, four on Cincinnati catcher Tucker Barnhart's only career grand-slam. Urena regrouped to turn in five shutout innings, but the deficit was too much to overcome as Miami was hung with a 6-3 loss.
Right-hander Homer Bailey, Cincinnati's projected starter, will be making his sixth start since coming off the disabled list on June 24 after undergoing surgery in February to remove bone spurs from his right elbow.
Bailey (2-3) is coming off a start last Sunday against Washington in which he allowed eight hits and eight runs, including two Daniel Murphy home runs, while not recording an out in the fifth inning. Bailey is 2-1 in eight career starts against the Marlins.
The Marlins won their last three games going into the All-Star break, but they have lost five of their first six since, including two of three at home to a Phillies team that, even after winning the series, still had the major leagues' worst record.
The Marlins won't be the only team in the weekend series for which the All-Star break proved to be a speed bump. The Reds went 3-0-1 in their last four series before the All-Star break, but they are 1-6 during a 10-game homestand and have watched rampaging opponents reach double figures in runs in four of the six losses.
If there were any doubts, the Marlins made it clear on Thursday which way they're leaning as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. They traded relief pitcher David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners for four prospects.
"As we look towards the rest of the season, we wanted to see if we could get value for certain assets," Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill told the Miami Herald.
The Reds haven't made any deals yet. Shortstop Zack Cozart's name is most frequently mentioned, placing him in the same boat right fielder Jay Bruce manned last season before he was sent to the Mets. Reds manager Bryan Price sees similarities in the two players.
"I thought Jay handled it well last year, and it was tough," Price said. "One thing I've noticed in the eight years I've been with the Reds is guys, especially the ones that come through the system, they don't want to leave. It doesn't matter who it's been."
Cozart's status could depend on whether he stays hot and healthy. The All-Star sat out Thursday, resting the right quad that sent him to the disabled list in June, but he was 7-for-10 with two doubles and two home runs in his previous two games.
"There is hope that something can be worked out," Price said. "Zack also has an opportunity to go out there and test free agency for the first time. That might end up being a robust opportunity. I think the challenges here are a little bit different, but I think he has handled it marvelously to this point. I admire him for that."
Contending Rays excited for home series vs. Rangers
Friday, July 21 at 2:32 AM (EDT)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The last time the Tampa Bay Rays played a home game at least this late in the year while still in position to make the playoffs, it was September 2013, so there is an excitement as the Rays return to Tropicana Field for the first time since the All-Star break for a three-game series against the Texas Rangers.
The Rays (51-45) are in line for the American League's first wild card, sitting just 2 1/2 games behind the division-leading Boston Red Sox and one game up on the New York Yankees. Tampa Bay has won four of six since the All-Star break, building a momentum that would only grow with success in a six-game homestand.
"I think we're all excited to get home," Rays manager Kevin Cash said after a 7-2 loss at Oakland on Wednesday night. "You combine the break and these six games, it feels like we've been away from home for quite some time."
The last surge likely has made buyers of the Rays at the trade deadline as they seek bullpen help. However, the Rangers (45-50) have lost five in a row in a mid-July dive that could turn them into sellers, potentially of top starters such as Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels.
It's been an up-and-down month for Texas, which lost six of seven then won five of six before the current five-game skid. The Rangers fell 9-7 to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday in a game they led 5-1.
If they are to change directions again in St. Petersburg, it needs to start Friday with Darvish, who is 6-8 but carries a solid 3.45 ERA.
Darvish has been dominant against the Rays: 4-0 with a 1.09 ERA -- including a three-hit, 12-strikeout gem in his final appearance of last season.
He will go against one of the hottest pitchers in baseball. Rays right-hander Alex Cobb (8-6, 3.59 ERA) has allowed just one run over 15 1/3 innings in his past two starts. He is 3-1 in his past five starts, going at least seven innings in four of those outings.
Cobb is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers, though he hasn't faced them since 2014.
The Rays got a scare Wednesday when outfielder Steven Souza left the game after an awkward slide. However, X-rays came up negative, and he is listed as day-to-day with a left hip strain.
Souza has been one of the Rays' most consistent bats this season. He is second on the team with 20 home runs, all off right-handers, and he is one off the team lead with 60 RBIs. He also is tied the team lead with a .369 on-base percentage.
Texas got a solid start from Hamels on Thursday but saw the bullpen struggle, something that will need to change if the Rangers want to get back on track.
"We've got to be better than that," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said after the Thursday loss. "When you put five runs up (early), we have to find a way to play better baseball and limit the runs."
|Thursday, July 20, 2017|
|Major League Baseball|
Moustakas, Moss help Royals rout Tigers 16-4
Friday, July 21 at 1:23 AM (EDT)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- While the Kansas City Royals bats exploded for season highs in runs and hits, it was the Detroit Tigers' early fielding miscues that helped make it easier.
Mike Moustakas had three hits and drove in three runs, and Brandon Moss had four RBIs as the Kansas City Royals trounced the Detroit Tigers 16-4 on Thursday night to gain a split of a four-game series.
The Royals inched within 1 1/2 games of idle American League Central front-runner Cleveland.
"It's where you want to be," Moss said. "Obviously, you'd want to be a game and a half up. From where we started the season (10-20 record on May 7) and how well we've been playing lately, I definitely feel this is attainable. We all feel that. To be in the mix of it, to have a chance at the end of the season to get there and be in the postseason is what you play for all year."
Eric Hosmer and Whit Merrifield homered for the Royals, Hosmer and Alcides Escobar each drove in a pair of runs.
Danny Duffy (6-6) picked up the victory, going five innings plus three batters. He allowed four runs and nine hits to snap his personal two-game losing streak.
"Danny did a good job the first five innings, keeping his pitch count down," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I'm thinking man he may go the whole way. But the heat finally got to him in the sixth inning. He really struggled to keep the ball down. He was very efficient with his pitches."
Michael Fulmer (10-7) lost for the first time since June 23 and had the briefest outing of his big league career. He allowed eight runs (five earned) and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings.
A four-run Kansas City sixth, which included Merrifield's eighth home run, made it 12-4 and led to both managers substituting freely.
The Royals sent 10 men to the plate in a four-run eighth, capped by Moss' two-run single.
Kansas City jumped out to an 8-0 lead after three innings.
In the first inning, the Royals took advantage of three Detroit errors to score four runs (one earned). Third baseman Nicholas Castellanos and shortstop Jose Iglesias committed throwing errors, while center fielder Mikie Mahtook was charged with a fielding error. The Tigers have not committed more than three errors in a game this season.
Moustakas and Escobar had RBIs in the first, while the other two runs came home on errors.
The errors caused Fulmer to throw 37 pitches in the inning.
"It was tough but like I said, it comes all back to me," Fulmer said. "I think that I tried to strike more guys out because I had second and third and less than two out or whatever it would be. I threw a lot of balls and just didn't really attack the zone like I usually do.
"They put some swings on balls that I thought were good pitches and I got a few soft-contact hits. Obviously, a few hard-hit balls, too, but some days are just going to be like that. There's really not much you can do."
Fulmer failed to make it through the third inning when he yielded another four runs. Hosmer hit a 444-foot blast off Fulmer for his 14th home run, a solo shot. After Perez was struck by a pitch and Escobar hit a two-out single, Moss doubled to the right-center to bring both home.
Alex Gordon's double brought Moss home and chased Fulmer.
The Tigers got to Duffy for three runs in the fifth. Iglesias' single to right scored Andrew Romine, and Ian Kinsler drove in a pair of runs with a two-out double.
"We looked good in the middle innings there," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "We scored three then followed up with another run. We were back in the game, but the Merrifield home run and the three more tack-on runs that inning in the bottom of the sixth that was the final nail."
NOTES: Upon a review, the league changed Kansas City CF Lorenzo Cain's game-winning single in the ninth inning Sunday to an error on Rangers RF Shin-Soo Choo, who lost the ball in the sun. ... Detroit's Andrew Romine started in right field for the first time in his career. He finished the game at first base. ... Royals RHP Nathan Karns had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, ending his season. ... Royals C Salvador Perez stole his first base since April 8, 2015, and the third of his career. ... White Sox RHP James Shields and Royals RHP Ian Kennedy are the probables Fridayat Kauffman Stadium. ... The Tigers will start RHP Anibal Sanchez on Friday in a series opener at Minnesota. RHP Ervin Santana will pitch for the Twins.
Braves snap Dodgers' 11-game winning streak
Friday, July 21 at 2:20 AM (EDT)
LOS ANGELES -- Atlanta did more than put up a brave front against the best team in the majors. The Braves beat the Dodgers 6-3 on Thursday night, snapping Los Angeles' season-high, 11-game winning streak.
"To win something like that, it takes a well-pitched ballgame, and we got it," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
With some timely offense mixed in.
Mike Foltynewicz threw 6 1/3 strong innings, Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run homer, and Freddie Freeman had two RBIs as Braves cooled off sizzling Los Angeles.
The Dodgers lost for just the fifth time in 36 games. It was also only their second defeat in 20 games at Dodger Stadium.
"It gives us a little more momentum for this weekend," Foltynewicz said. "The guys are excited because they played good and overall it was just a good team win. The offense set the tone by getting some early runs, and then I got away with mistakes here and there."
Foltynewicz (8-5) surrendered three runs and six hits, struck out five and walked two. The right-hander, who began the season 0-4, won his career-high fifth consecutive decision in his first career outing against Los Angeles.
The Braves ended a five-game losing skid to the Dodgers.
"It's a weird feeling," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said about losing. "We need to start another streak tomorrow."
Los Angeles starter Brandon McCarthy (6-4) didn't do much in his bid to remain in the rotation. For a fourth straight start, McCarthy didn't get a win. He gave up season-high six runs and nine hits over four innings. He had five strikeouts and a walk.
The Braves struck quickly, scoring twice in the first. Freeman squirted a single past first baseman Cody Bellinger to send in Ender Inciarte for a 1-0 lead. Inciarte had opened the game with a single. Matt Adams' double chased home Freeman.
Los Angeles pulled within 2-1 in the bottom of the first when Bellinger collected his team-high 63rd RBI, driving in Corey Seager. A one-out double extended Seager's hitting streak to 10 games.
Atlanta went ahead 3-1 in the third, when Brandon Phillips opened with a triple past diving right fielder Yasiel Puig. Freeman singled to knock in Phillips for his second RBI of the game.
The Braves put a three-spot up in the fourth to surge in front 6-1, as McCarthy continued to struggle. Suzuki hit a two-run shot, his eighth homer of the year, and Inciarte added an RBI single.
"They just stayed aggressive, put that bat on the ball and made some things happen," McCarthy said.
It was the last inning for McCarthy, as he stretched his winless streak to a month after entering the game with three straight no-decisions.
Roberts said McCarthy's mechanics and command weren't sharp, and the right-hander had a developing blister as well, which aided in the decision to lift him.
"I wouldn't say it was a big issue, but it's just been there and I've had to deal with for a while," McCarthy said. "It's not something that when I'm out there that I'm noticing. It's just something I want to get past."
The Dodgers tried to climb back into the game when Yasmani Grandal clubbed a two-run homer in the sixth, slicing the deficit to 6-3. Chris Taylor was aboard after a one-out double. However, Foltynewicz quickly retired Joc Pederson and Puig to quell the threat.
Foltynewicz said he has been working on slowing the game down when things go haywire.
"Today I was really taking my time and really battling by butt off," he said. "I'm also glad the offense gave me some breathing room."
After Foltynewicz left following his 100th pitch, the Dodgers had limited success against three relievers. They got one runner to third over their final five outs.
Jim Johnson collected his 22nd save by working the ninth, but not before allowing the tying run to come to the plate.
NOTES: Atlanta 2B Brandon Phillips left the game in the sixth inning due to a strained right hamstring. He is expected to play on Friday. ... Braves 1B Freddie Freeman was in the lineup after leaving the Wednesday game against the Chicago Cubs with flu-like symptoms. ... LHP Jaime Garcia is listed as Atlanta's starter for Friday against the Dodgers, but reports are he will be traded to the Minnesota Twins. LHP Alex Wood will start for Los Angeles. ... Dodgers RHP Sergio Garcia was designated for assignment, and LHP Grant Dayton (neck) was activated from the disabled list. ... Los Angeles 2B Chase Utley got his first start since the All-Star break, and he went 1-for-3.
Severino, Yankees shut down Mariners
Friday, July 21 at 2:42 AM (EDT)
SEATTLE -- Brett Gardner recently called Luis Severino the ace of the New York Yankees' rotation.
The 23-year-old right-hander lived up to the billing Thursday night.
Severino pitched seven scoreless innings, and Gardner hit a solo home run as the Yankees defeated the Seattle Mariners 4-1 in the opener of a four-game series at Safeco Field.
"He's been unbelievable," said Gardner, the Yankees' left fielder. "Not just tonight but last week in Boston and the whole first half.
"It's been fun to watch him grow. He makes it easy on the defense because there's not much action for us. He's only going to continue to get better. He's got a great arm."
In his past two starts, Severino has matched up against the Red Sox's Chris Sale and the Mariners' Felix Hernandez.
Severino didn't get a decision Saturday against Sale in a game the Yankees won 4-1 in 16 innings, but he beat Hernandez on Thursday.
"When he's on the mound, we feel comfortable," Gardner said.
Severino (6-4), who didn't pitch in the All-Star Game despite being a member of the American League team, allowed eight hits to the Mariners but got out of several jams. He walked one and struck out six.
"I knew it was going to be tough," Severino said of facing Hernandez. "That's who I compare myself to. Any chance you get to face a guy like that ... it gives me a chance to (get) better."
Seattle's only run came on a two-out double by former Yankee Robinson Cano in the bottom of the ninth inning against Aroldis Chapman.
The Mariners wasted a strong start by Hernandez, stranding 12 runners and going 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Hernandez (5-4) allowed just one run on three hits and two walks in seven innings. He struck out a season-high nine.
"It was an outstanding pitching performance from both sides," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Felix was really sharp and gave us everything he had. ... Unfortunately, the other guy was a little better. Severino was about as good as we've seen all year."
Gardner broke a scoreless tie with his homer with one out in the top of the sixth inning. He hit a 2-1 pitch from Hernandez into the right field seats, a shot estimated at 406 feet. It was Gardner's 16th home run of the season.
"He gave me a fastball and kind of left it in the middle," Gardner said. "You don't want to miss a pitch like that."
New York added three unearned runs over the final two innings.
With one out in the eighth, Chase Headley singled to center off left-handed reliever James Pazos, and Gardner reached on an error by Seattle shortstop Jean Segura. Right-hander Tony Zych relieved Pazos and walked Gary Sanchez to load the bases for Aaron Judge.
Judge, who was in a 3-for-28 slump since winning the Home Run Derby in Miami during the All-Star break, hit a run-scoring single to right field to make it 2-0.
Zych got out of the jam by getting Matt Holliday to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Mariners threatened in the bottom of the eighth against Dellin Betances, as Kyle Seager was hit by a pitch with one out and Danny Valencia grounded a single to right field, putting runners at first and second.
Mitch Haniger hit a comebacker to the mound, with Betances throwing to second baseman Starlin Castro to get a force on Valencia. Castro bobbled the ball, and the Mariners challenged the call by second base umpire Rob Drake, but the out was confirmed after video review.
With runners at first and third, Betances struck out Jarrod Dyson to end the inning.
The Yankees scored twice more in the ninth. With one out, Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier singled off right-hander Max Povse. After Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to left, Headley hit a ground ball between first and second. Mariners second baseman Cano went into shallow right field to field the ball, but his throw to first was errant, allowing both runners to score.
In the bottom of the ninth, Chapman walked leadoff hitter Mike Zunino and threw a wild pitch before striking out the next two batters. Cano spoiled the shutout bid with run-scoring double to right-center field. Chapman got Nelson Cruz to fly out to right field to end the game.
NOTES: The Mariners acquired RHP David Phelps from Miami on Thursday in exchange for four prospects: CF Brayan Hernandez and RHPs Brandon Miller, Pablo Lopez and Lucas Schiraldi. Phelps was 2-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 44 relief appearances for the Marlins this season. ... First base umpire Tony Randazzo was hit in the head by a line drive from Yankees SS Didi Gregorius in the fifth inning. Mariners 1B Danny Valencia made a diving attempt for the foul ball, and the ball glanced off Randazzo's head, sending the umpire tumbling to the ground. Valencia and Yankees first base coach Tony Pena helped Randazzo to his feet, and Randazzo was checked by Mariners trainer Rick Griffin before play resumed. ... Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.54 ERA) is scheduled to take on Mariners rookie RHP Andrew Moore (1-1, 5.25) in the second game of the series Friday night.
Padres defeat Giants, Bumgarner 5-2
Friday, July 21 at 2:27 AM (EDT)
SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner insisted he pitched better Thursday night than the scoreboard indicated.
Unfortunately for the left-hander, the box score indicated he is still winless in 2017.
Hunter Renfroe and Cory Spangenberg hit two-run homers off Bumgarner, propelling the San Diego Padres to a 5-2 victory in the opener of a four-game series.
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin prevailed in a duel with Bumgarner for the second time in a week, limiting the Giants to two runs and four hits in six innings. He helped San Diego snap a three-game losing streak.
"When you pitch against (Bumgarner), you really have to make pitches and keep your team there, because he's never going to give up," Chacin said. "I felt really good tonight."
The Giants, who have lost 15 of their past 20 matchups with the Padres, had a three-game winning streak end.
Spangenberg broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning with a 415-foot home run to right-center field after Erick Aybar reached with a one-out single against Bumgarner. The homer was Spangenberg's eighth of the season.
"I've got to stop giving up homers," said Bumgarner, who surrendered a pair to the Padres for a second consecutive game. "I really felt good both times (against the Padres). That's what's frustrating."
The hit in the lefty-lefty matchup was the first of Spangenberg's career against Bumgarner after an 0-for-8 drought that included four strikeouts.
"I'm really impressed," Padres manager Andy Green said of Spangenberg's homer. "That's a long way out there. It'd take me two times hitting it to get it out that far."
Bumgarner (0-4) was pulled after the homer, having allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out five.
He was making his first home start since sustaining a separated shoulder in a dirt bike accident in Colorado in April.
"Solid outing," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've got to find a way to score a few more runs."
Renfroe's homer, his 17th, came in the second inning, in his first at-bat after being reinstated from the disabled list. He missed the Padres' previous seven games with a strained neck.
The rookie has hit two home runs in 10 career at-bats against Bumgarner.
Chacin (9-7) walked one and struck out four. He won for the fourth time in five career decisions at AT&T Park.
"Those first five innings from him were as good as he's been all year," Green said.
"Chacin's been tough on us -- and not just this year," he said. "Probably next to (Clayton Kershaw), I don't know who's tougher on us."
Ahead 5-2, the Padres survived a bases-loaded Giants threat in the eighth with left-hander Brad Hand on the mound.
In a battle of All-Stars, Hand got Buster Posey to fly to right field with two outs and the potential tying runs on the bases.
Padres closer Brandon Maurer pitched a two-hit ninth inning for his 20th save, striking out pinch hitter Nick Hundley as the potential tying run to end the game.
Denard Span and Eduardo Nunez had RBI singles in the sixth inning to account for all of the Giants' scoring.
Spangenberg and Aybar had two hits apiece for the Padres, whose nine hits included four for extra bases.
Span, Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez collected two hits apiece for the Giants, who lost two of three to the Padres in San Diego last week.
NOTES: The Giants have given LHP Madison Bumgarner a total of 10 runs of offensive support in his six starts this season. ... Bumgarner allowed two home runs for a second consecutive game, the first time he has given up multiple homers in back-to-back games. ... With his ninth win, RHP Jhoulys Chacin equaled the total of the Padres' top winner last season, RHP Luis Perdomo. ... Padres RF Hunter Renfroe took the roster spot of CF Manuel Margot, who was placed on the three-day paternity list Thursday.
Reyes' infield hit in ninth lifts Mets past Cardinals
Thursday, July 20 at 4:37 PM (EDT)
NEW YORK -- Matt Carpenter fielded it cleanly, and Trevor Rosenthal glanced at first base for too long.
Jose Reyes sped down the first-base line and by the time Rosenthal reached the bag, it was too late for the St. Louis Cardinals and just in time for the New York Mets.
Reyes hit the game-winning infield single with two outs in the bottom in the ninth inning when Rosenthal was late covering first base as the Mets edged the Cardinals 3-2 on Thursday afternoon.
"I saw the first baseman playing way back and I said in my mind if you hit something there, you know, hustle to first base and when I see the pitcher, he was standing on the mound for like two seconds and I said, man, it's going to be tough for him to beat me to first base," Reyes said.
The Mets had runners at first and third following singles by Yoenis Cespedes and T.J. Rivera. One pitch after Rivera singled, Reyes gave the Mets the win in a game decided by who executed a fundamental play better.
Carpenter was playing behind the bag and near the foul line. He fielded the sharply hit grounder, spun around to make a throw from foul territory but Rosenthal wasn't there.
Carpenter then attempted to make the play himself but by then Reyes already slid in head first. When Rosenthal arrived, the right-hander had to leap over Reyes to avoid a collision after initially thinking Carpenter was going to make the out himself.
"For a split second, I thought he might," Rosenthal said. "But looking back on it, he was pretty deep. I wish I would have maybe got a throw or maybe a chance to tag him or something. It's a fundamental play, a PFP (pitcher's fielding practice). If we expect guys to play defense behind us, we've got to do our part too."
Reyes' hustle gave the Mets their third walkoff win of the season and their fifth win in the last 13 games. It was the shortstop's fourth career game-ending RBI and it touched off a wild celebration near first base once Cespedes scored the winning run.
"First thing I saw was if the ball was fair and then I tried to see where the pitcher was, because I knew Jose was busting it down the line and when I saw the pitcher wasn't there I knew he was going to beat it out," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
The Cardinals were unable to win three of four after outscoring the Mets 11-3 in the first two games of the series and fell to 3-4 on a 10-game road trip before heading to Wrigley Field for a series with the surging Chicago Cubs.
"You got to get over," Carpenter said. "I turned and looked to throw and he's nowhere close."
It was the second time Rosenthal did not cover but unlike the time he did not cover for Anthony Rendon's potential game-ending double play July 1, the Cardinals did not escape with a win this time.
Before Reyes hustled and Rosenthal did not execute, the teams traded solo homers in the eighth.
Tommy Pham slugged his 13th homer into the left-field seats with one out against Erik Goeddel to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead. Pinch hitter Wilmer Flores tied the game with a homer over the left-center field fence against left-hander Brett Cecil.
The Mets nearly began a rally after Flores hit his third career pinch-hit homer but Curtis Granderson's infield single was overturned when the Cardinals challenged the initial ruling.
After the Mets were unable to regain the lead, Addison Reed (1-2) pitched a scoreless ninth.
Before the late-inning hits, neither did team much offensively.
Lucas Duda homered off Lance Lynn for the Mets while Pham hit a run-scoring double for St. Louis.
Pham's double occurred an inning after Seth Lugo lost his no-bid by allowing a two-out single to right by Greg Garcia.
Lugo allowed one run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings while throwing a career-high 103 pitches. Lynn allowed one run and four hits in six innings.
The Mets took a 1-0 lead when Duda hit a full count fastball over the right field wall to start the second. The Cardinals tied it when Carpenter walked and scored on Pham's double with one out in the sixth.
NOTES: Mets manager Terry Collins said he spoke to 2B/SS Asdrubal Cabrera about fielding ground balls at third base in preparation of a potential move there. Collins said Cabrera would not play third until 2B Neil Walker returns from a hamstring injury. ... St. Louis RHP Lance Lynn had his 14 1/3 scoreless inning streak end when 1B Lucas Duda homered in the second. ... The Mets activated RHP Josh Smoker from the disabled list and designated RHP Neil Ramirez for assignment. Ramirez was designated by his third team this season after being cut by the Toronto Blue Jays and San Francisco Giants in May. ... St. Louis LF Tommy Pham fouled a ball off his left leg in the fourth inning but stayed in the game.
Red-hot Pirates complete four-game sweep of Brewers
Thursday, July 20 at 6:11 PM (EDT)
PITTSBURGH -- The Milwaukee Brewers slipped out of town Thursday after their lead in the National League Central continued to slip away.
The Pittsburgh Pirates' 4-2 win at PNC Park completed a four-game sweep of the Brewers that not only imperiled the first-place (for now) Brewers but thrust the home team into a tightening, four-team race.
Eight games behind on Saturday, Pittsburgh, which has won five straight and 11 of its last 13 games, now trails the Brewers by three. Milwaukee, after a fifth straight loss, leads the Chicago Cubs by one. St. Louis remained 4 1/2 games back after losing to the New York Mets.
The only team that concerns Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is his own.
"I don't think we're doing a whole lot of scoreboard watching, we're just focused on playing our best ball," he said. "We've got a game in Colorado (Friday) that we'll need to get ready for. We're really best served when we stay in the day and that's where we'll stay."
All the games were low-scoring and close, and the Pirates again got quality pitching and just enough offense. Right-hander Jameson Taillon gave up two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, striking out eight. The bullpen was spotless, and Gregory Polanco hit his ninth home run.
Polanco's shot was one of the few hard-hit balls by the Pirates. That was one of the series' threads. Another was the Brewers' repeated failures with runners on base.
"I felt we pitched really well," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Today they had some balls in good spots. We didn't play poorly, we just didn't get that next hit. They got that next hit. They dumped some balls in today. ... They make a lot of contact and they got rewarded for it."
Milwaukee, on the other hand, has contact issues. Pirates pitchers fanned 10 Brewers, who lead the majors in strikeouts.
Chris Stewart, who went 3-for-3, opened the scoring in the second inning with the Pirates' third straight two-out single.
Taillon (6-3) stranded two baserunners in the first and struck out seven in the first three innings before a walk, an infield single, Brett Phillips' RBI double and Orlando Arcia's infield out gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Right-hander Jimmy Nelson (8-5) struck out the side in the bottom of the inning but also yielded Polanco's game-tying homer. In the fifth, RBI singles by Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen provided the Pirates' two-run lead.
"We're fine," Nelson said of the team's mindset. "We're still in first place."
Taillon, who underwent testicular cancer surgery on May 8 and missed nearly six weeks, gave up Manny Pina's one-out double in the sixth and departed after a season-high 116 pitches. Left-hander Matt LeBlanc and righty Juan Nicasio quelled potential rallies in relief, and lefty Felipe Rivero pitched the ninth for his ninth save.
NOTES: The Pirates start a nine-game, 10-day trip in Colorado on Friday having won five of their last six road games and nine of their last 14. ... The Brewers' five-game losing streak ties a season high set at the end of May. ... Pittsburgh has won five straight series.
Lamb's six RBIs help Diamondbacks rout Reds
Thursday, July 20 at 4:55 PM (EDT)
CINCINNATI -- Jake Lamb came up big in support of surprise Arizona starter Patrick Corbin.
Lamb drove in a career-high six runs with two three-run home runs and Corbin, pitching in place of new father Taijuan Walker, allowed just one run while pitching into the eighth inning as the Diamondbacks (55-40) earned their second win in a three-game series against the Reds 12-2 on Thursday.
Gregor Blanco tripled and homered and Ketel Marte also homered for the D-backs, who lost a three-game series to the Reds in Arizona right before the All-Star break.
"It's nice to end it with a win, especially with the offense we had today," said Lamb, an All-Star reserve third baseman.
"I'm so proud of the guys, fighting through very difficult circumstances in the last few games," first-year Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "Nobody did better than Patrick Corbin."
Eugenio Suarez logged his third career multi-homer game and second this season for the Reds (40-55), who went 3-0-1 in their last four series before the All-Star break, but dropped to 1-6 on their 10-game homestand. They have allowed opponents to reach double figures in runs in four of those games, just another in what to manager Bryan Price is a litany of examples of what ails his sinking team.
"The problem is clear," the former Cincinnati pitching coach said. "When we give six or fewer runs, our winning percentage is over .600 (39-25, .609). Unfortunately, we've given up double figures in runs in four of these games. That's the constant thing. We need to pitch better. It's a worn-out record. I'm tired of talking about it."
Walker left the team overnight when his wife went into labor with their first child. Corbin (7-9), 0-3 over his previous five starts after winning on June 16 at Philadelphia, responded by allowing seven hits and one run in a season-high 7 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Corbin learned of his start just before going to bed, he said.
"It took me a while to fall asleep," he admitted. "It's a different feeling when you're pitching the next day. You've just got to be ready sometimes. I felt pretty good."
The D-backs needed just 11 Luis Castillo pitches to jump out to a 3-0 lead. With two runners on, Lamb smacked an 0-1 pitch by Cincinnati's rookie right-hander off the bottom of the center-field batter's eye for his 21st homer of the season and first since July 6 off the Dodgers at Los Angeles.
Castillo fixed a mechanical problem and rebounded to retire 12 of the next 13 D-back batters.
"He has a tendency to open up his front side," Price said. "He has to get focused on staying in line with the plate. (Pitching coach) Mack (Jenkins) had a good talk with him."
Castillo understood the issue.
"I think I was working too fast, and that's why my front shoulder was opening up," said Castillo, who grounded a single up the middle in the third for his first career hit. "After that, everything got back to normal. After the first inning, I got back to normal again."
Lamb added a three-run homer in Arizona's six-run ninth for his third career multi-homer game, all this season.
After Suarez led off the fourth with a homer, the Reds loaded the bases with nobody out on singles by Joey Votto, Adam Duvall and Scooter Gennett, whose line-hugger to Lamb at third base originally was ruled a groundout before being overturned on a video review.
Corbin bounced back to get Devin Mesoraco on a 3-1 popup, strike out Scott Schebler and end the threat on Jose Peraza's popup.
"We had a good matchup with Devin and Corbin and (Mesoraco) got into a good count, but he couldn't square it up," Price said. "That was only one inning, but it was a big moment. We need to put together more of those opportunities. That was the one chance we had to either knock Corbin out of the game or put up some big numbers."
Said Lovullo: "It couldn't have worked out any better. He did it himself. He really went after the hitters. He's been throwing the ball much better than those wins and losses. He's been throwing the ball well in June without getting wins to show for it."
NOTES: The D-backs recalled RHP Matt Koch from Triple-A Reno to fill RHP Taijuan Walker's spot on the roster. Koch could fill in as a starter or the other starters all could move up a day while still working on normal rest because of Monday's off day, manager Torey Lovullo said. ... Despite going 7-for-10 with two doubles and two home runs in his last two games, Reds SS Zack Cozart got a scheduled day off on Thursday. ... Arizona OF J.D. Martinez didn't play on Thursday after getting hit in the left hand with a pitch while striking out on Wednesday in his second at bat after being acquired by the D-backs on Tuesday from Detroit.
|Blue Jays||8||vs.||6||Red Sox||Final Recap|
Blue Jays use offense to outlast Red Sox
Thursday, July 20 at 6:52 PM (EDT)
BOSTON -- Attempting to rebound from one of his worst starts of the season -- when he gave up five runs in just two innings at Detroit on July 15 -- Toronto left-hander Francisco Liriano instead had an even shorter start Thursday afternoon against the Boston Red Sox.
But Toronto's offense was led by Justin Smoak's two home runs and three RBIs, as the Blue Jays beat the Red Sox 8-6.
Liriano lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up three runs, two earned, at Fenway Park.
"Didn't start out real good," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "(The bullpen) carried a big workload, but they were all good.
"Any time a starter comes out early, you know it's going to turn the game."
But Red Sox starter Doug Fister also struggled, lasting just 4 1/3 innings. He gave up six runs on seven hits. He allowed four walks in his outing -- all in the third inning. He had not allowed more than three walks in his four previous outings this season.
"The strike zone began to elude him," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "This is one of the rare games that the number of walks issued today is a rarity."
It came down to mechanics, said Fister, who fell to 0-4.
"I've been working on a few things and seeing some results," he said. "I was down in the zone a lot today and that was really a focus and some of that was a little bit too much and then that's where the walks came from."
Toronto opened the scoring in the first inning when Russell Martin doubled and scored on Josh Donaldson's single to right.
The Red Sox came back with three in the second, capped by Mookie Betts' two-out, two-run single.
Trailing 3-1, the Blue Jays batted around in the third, scoring four runs on two hits and four walks. Steve Pearce and Ryan Goins each hit two-run singles in the inning. Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt lost Pearce's pop-up in the sun.
"I don't care how hard it's hit, it's a two-RBI knock," Pearce said. "Then Goins comes right behind me, keeps things rolling. We've had a lot of things going against us, so it's nice to finally have something go for us."
Smoak's 25th homer of the season, on Fister's first pitch of the fifth, put Toronto ahead 6-3. The Blue Jays added a run in the sixth when Smoak's two-out single off Kyle Martin scored Darwin Barney, who led off the inning with a walk.
Boston cut its deficit to one in the seventh on a three-run homer by Dustin Pedroia, who was serving as the designated hitter for the first time this season. The homer was his sixth of the season.
Smoak led off the ninth with his second homer of the game, his sixth career multi-homer game and second this season.
Right-hander Dominic Leone relieved Liriano and earned the win, improving to 2-0. Roberto Osuna pitched a scoreless ninth, with two strikeouts, for his 24th save.
NOTES: 2B Dustin Pedroia served as Boston's designated hitter on Thursday for the first time this season, and just the fifth time in his career. He is a career .500 hitter as the DH, going 9-for-18 with five RBIs. On Thursday he extended his hitting streak to nine games. ... With a scoreless first inning Toronto LHP Francisco Liriano lowered his first-inning ERA from 10.05 to 9.39. ... RHP Joe Smith, sidelined since June 14 with shoulder inflammation, is expected to join Toronto for its series in Cleveland beginning Friday. ... Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the starting lineup on Thursday for the first time since Monday. He had been bothered by a muscle contusion and a sprained right hand after being hit by a pitch. ... 1B Justin Smoak recorded his sixth career multi-homer game and second this season. He is the only Toronto hitter this season with multiple multi-homer games. ... Blue Jays 3B Josh Donaldson has driven in seven runs in his last nine games. His first-inning RBI was his first against an American League East opponent since he had one RBI against the New York Yankees on June 4. ... Boston RHP Doug Fister allowed four walks in Toronto's four-run third inning. He had not allowed more than three walks in his four prior appearances this season ... Toronto INF Ryan Goins went 1-for-1 with two outs and runners in scoring position in the game. He is batting .379, going 11-for-29, in such situations this season. Overall, he is batting .311, going 14-for-45 with runners in scoring position this season. ... Red Sox C Christian Vazquez was not in the starting lineup. He entered the game in the ninth inning to play third base. It was the second time in his career playing third. He also played there in a June 19 loss at Kansas City.
Orioles batter Hamels, sweep Rangers
Thursday, July 20 at 11:29 PM (EDT)
BALTIMORE -- The Texas Rangers were hoping ace Cole Hamels could find a way to contain the surging Baltimore Orioles.
Instead, he became the latest pitcher to fall victim to their powerful lineup.
The Orioles hit three home runs off Hamels and four in all, and Baltimore completed a four-game sweep of the Rangers with a 9-7 victory Thursday night.
Hamels (4-1) pitched 24 consecutive scoreless innings before Jonathan Schoop belted a solo homer in the fourth. Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo also homered off Hamels, who had allowed only five long balls in his previous nine starts.
"I am definitely not happy about it just for the fact that we obviously did not win the game," Hamels said. "We were just trying to win one against these guys. I was not finishing off hitters in counts that are favorable for me. That's unacceptable on my part in not being able to get the job done when the team does actually give you a lead."
Joey Rickard had an RBI single with one out in the sixth that tied the game 5-5 and ended Hamels' night. Hamels, who was out from May to late June with a right oblique strain, tied a season high by allowing seven runs. He also yielded nine hits.
Jeremy Jeffress entered and allowed a go-ahead RBI double to Jones. Two batters later, Schoop provided an 8-5 lead with a two-run single up the middle.
"When you win, it's more happy," Schoop said. "But we're a happy team and we believe in each other. Even the days we were down, you still come out here and try to win. You still play hard, go hard and leave it out there."
Chris Davis hit his third homer of the series, off Jeffress, for a four-run cushion in the seventh.
Shin-Soo Choo had a two-out, two-run single off Zach Britton in the ninth that pulled Texas within 9-7.
"I kind of let it get away from me a little bit after the two outs, but just be better tomorrow if I get it again," Britton said.
The Rangers' Mike Napoli went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, and Adrian Beltre also had a pair of hits, tying Sam Rice for 31st all-time at 2,985.
Orioles left hander Wade Miley struggled again, allowing five runs, seven hits and four walks over five innings.
Welington Castillo and Ruben Tejada had three hits apiece for Baltimore, which managed its first four-game home sweep of Texas since 2014.
Miguel Castro (2-1) picked up the win with a perfect sixth.
After struggling to generate much offense over the first three games, Texas finally came up with several clutch hits off Miley.
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the first on a two-out single by Beltre, who was thrown out by right fielder Rickard trying to take second.
Texas extended the lead in the fourth with two outs again on an RBI double by Carlos Gomez down the right-field line.
Schoop pulled the Orioles within 2-1 with his solo shot in the bottom half. Hamels then hit Trey Mancini with a pitch and issued a pair of walks that loaded the bases. He ended the threat by getting Tejada to ground out.
The Rangers responded in the fifth on Napoli's three-run homer -- his 21st long ball of the year -- which also came with two outs.
Baltimore came back that inning with a two-run homer by Jones and a solo shot by Trumbo that cut the margin to 5-4.
"A situation tonight where we come out, swing the bats and put some runs on the board is a positive for our offense," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "When we need to help our starter out, that bullpen has to find a way to put a foot down and not allow those runs to score. Limit the damage."
NOTES: The Orioles did not take batting practice with the heat index hovering above 100 degrees. The Rangers did hit before the game. ... Orioles RHP Mike Wright (right shoulder bursitis) is scheduled to throw two innings Saturday in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. ... Texas RHP Keone Kela (right shoulder tightness) was activated from the disabled list. To make room, INF Pete Kozma was designated for assignment.
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