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Today is Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
National Basketball Assoc.
Raptors 62 vs. 100 Cavaliers In-Progress

Raptors-Cavaliers Preview

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 6:22 PM (EDT)

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) Upon their return from Canada, the Cavaliers had nothing to declare at U.S. Customs.

Their lead in the Eastern Conference finals had already been confiscated.

Cleveland was stripped of its dominance and a 2-0 advantage during a long weekend in Toronto, where the growing-confident-by-the-shot Raptors, propelled by a crowd and city that believes they can make the NBA Finals, won two straight games.

''They flipped the script on us,'' Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said.

After being throttled by a combined 50 points in Games 1 and 2, the Raptors turned a series that began with blowouts into a best-of-3, winner-take-all slugfest. There wasn't supposed to be a Game 5, and now there will be a Game 6 as well.

Unable to contain Toronto All-Star guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan from scoring or keep Raptors super sub Bismack Biyombo off the boards, the Cavs have put themselves in a predicament.

Gone is their entire margin for error, some of their swagger and any aura of invincibility that surrounded them after reeling off 10 straight wins to open the postseason.

And as the teams prepared for Game 5 on Wednesday night, the pressure has swung back on superstar LeBron James and the Cavs, who spent Tuesday in film sessions breaking down went wrong during their visit to Toronto.

There was plenty to process from Monday's 105-99 loss.

Cleveland came out flat, falling behind by 16 in the first half and relying too much on its 3-point shooting, which has suddenly gone as cold as a Saskatchewan winter.

The Cavs fought their way back using a smaller lineup that didn't include the suddenly struggling Kevin Love, but they didn't have enough down the stretch as costly defensive lapses - and terrific shot-making by Lowry and DeRozan - helped the Raptors even the series.

No offense to rapper Drake and Toronto's rowdy fans, but Lue was happy to escape ''We The North.''

''Now it's our chance to come back, get some home cooked meals and have a chance to play in front of our home crowd,'' he said.

James, who logged 46 minutes in Game 4, did not speak to the media on Tuesday, choosing to stay far from the view of reporters and cameras.

Lue has carefully administered the four-time MVPs minutes during the second half of the regular season and playoffs, hoping to keep James as fresh as possible. James pushed himself harder in Game 4, and Lue said that was the plan.

''We talked about it before the game and the night before how his body felt and wanting to play more minutes because we knew it was a big game for us, but it didn't work out,'' Lue said.

James maximized his minutes in Game 4, scoring 29 on 11-of-16 shooting with nine rebounds and six assists. But he was somewhat passive in the fourth quarter, attempting just one shot in the final 5:28.

Again, Lue said that was by design as the Cavs took what the Raptors' defense gave them.

''LeBron knows when he has to take over a basketball game, but also knows he has to trust his teammates,'' Lue said.

James' faith in Love is being tested.

Cleveland's big man has lost his shooting touch at the worst time possible. After going 1-for-9 in Game 3, Love was only 4-of-14 in Game 4, and Lue left him on the bench in the fourth, playing Channing Frye instead.

Love's confidence appears shaken, but Lue insists there's nothing wrong that can't be fixed by the ball falling through the net.

''He's just missed shots. That's part of the game,'' Lue said. ''He's been playing great all playoffs and at some point you're going to miss some shots, but that's not our main concern, we gotta be better defensively and we're going to make shots.''

The Raptors have been daring the Cavs to launch from behind the arc. Without center Jonas Valanciunas, who could return in Game 5 from a sprained right ankle, Toronto gave up 106 inside points in the first two games before adjusting in Games 3 and 4 by packing the paint and forcing Cleveland to rely on its outside attack.

It was a risky move by coach Dwane Casey and his staff, but the strategy paid off and helped the Raptors reverse the series.

Casey has watched his young team survive a pair of knockout punches by the Cavs only to get up and deliver two of their own. They'll need at least another big one to stop James from getting to his sixth straight Finals.

After being counted out by many, the Raptors have a chance.

''It's a feel,'' Casey said. ''It's a rhythm. It's confidence. But I will say this: It's going to be a different animal back in Cleveland.''

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
National Basketball Assoc.
Warriors 94 vs. 118 Thunder Final Recap

Westbrook, Thunder put Warriors on brink of elimination

By CLIFF BRUNT - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, May 25 at 7:28 AM (EDT)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Suddenly, these Golden State Warriors who have been compared all season to the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the 1990s are on the brink of elimination.

Russell Westbrook had 36 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Warriors 118-94 on Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Finals. Golden State, which won a league record 73 games in the regular season, lost consecutive games for the first time this season.

The Warriors must win Game 5 on Thursday in Oakland to keep their season alive.

''We all have to bounce back,'' Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ''The good news is, we go home. Obviously we play well at home. The idea now is to go home and get one win. Do that, and we put some pressure on them and we'll see what happens.''

Klay Thompson led Golden State with 26 points, but two-time league MVP Stephen Curry was limited to 19 points on 6-for-20 shooting. Curry's shooting performance was so uncharacteristic that reporters asked if he was hurt.

''He's not injured,'' Kerr said. ''He's coming back from the knee, but he's not injured. He just had a lousy night. It happens, even to the best players in the world.''

The Warriors lost consecutive playoff games by at least 20 points for the first time since Games 2 and 3 of the 1972 Western Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks. Golden State's Draymond Green, who was fined for kicking Steven Adams in the groin in Game 3, finished with six points, 11 rebounds and six turnovers.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City got a boost from an unlikely source. Andre Roberson, a player the Warriors have ignored at times during the series, scored a career-high 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Kevin Durant added 26 points and 11 rebounds and Serge Ibaka added 17 points and seven rebounds.

As for Westbrook, it was his first triple-double of the playoffs after posting 18 in the regular season. It was his fifth career playoff triple-double.

''I play every game like it's my last, regardless of who's in front of me,'' he said. ''That's my job, and my job is to worry about my team, and that's all I do.''

The Thunder know they have to close. Nine teams have rallied from 3-1 deficits to win.

''I think we're in a good place, but like I said, this game is over,'' Westbrook said. ''We've got to move on to the next game. Every game is different.''

The Thunder led 30-26 at the end of the first quarter, then gained control in the second. In the most unlikely of connections, Adams threw a bullet pass to Roberson near the basket for a dunk that gave the Thunder a 56-43 lead with just over four minutes left in the first half.

Oklahoma City finished with a flurry and led 72-53 at halftime. The Thunder matched the most points they have scored in a first half in franchise playoff history, a mark they set the previous game against the Warriors. It also matched the most points Golden State has allowed in a half this season for the second straight game.

Westbrook had 21 points, nine assists and five rebounds in the first half, and Durant had 18 points and six boards.

Thompson tried to keep the Warriors in it, scoring 19 points in just over seven minutes to start the third quarter. But the Thunder maintained their composure, led 94-82 at the end of the period and remained in control in the fourth.

''This is a tough situation to be in, but the series isn't over,'' Curry said.

QUOTABLE

Kerr, on the pressure of trying to win a title after setting the regular-season wins record: ''We had a tremendous regular season, our guys competed every single night and did something no one has ever done and they're proud of that. But in the playoffs, everybody starts 0-0. So there's no extra pressure, whether you're talking about defending our title or trying to back up the regular season.''

STAT LINES

According to Thunder Public Relations, the last team to score 72 or more points in the first half of two straight playoff games was the 1987 Los Angeles Lakers.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Curry went 1 for 7 in the first quarter, and made just 1 of 4 3-point attempts. ... Thompson committed his third foul with 7:55 left in the second quarter, and C Andrew Bogut committed his third about two minutes later. ... Curry made a 3-pointer for his 48th consecutive playoff game, extending his NBA record. ... The Warriors were 12-0 this season the game after a loss.

Thunder: Westbrook had five points, six assists and three rebounds in the first quarter. ... Oklahoma City forced 13 turnovers in the first half. ... The Thunder improved to 19-0 this season when Westbrook gets a triple-double. ... The Thunder outrebounded the Warriors 56-40 and outscored them 31-19 from the free throw line.

---

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Major League Baseball
Royals 5 vs. 7 Twins Final Recap

Sano, Twins stave off another sweep with 7-5 win over Royals

By DAVE CAMPBELL - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, May 25 at 6:04 PM (EDT)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) With one powerful swing, Miguel Sano put the Minnesota Twins in front of the Kansas City Royals and out of their frustration.

For once, this floundering team had reason to feel good at the ballpark.

Sano hit the go-ahead two-run home run in the fifth inning, and the Twins staved off another series sweep Wednesday by beating the Royals 7-5.

''It hasn't been what everyone was hoping it would be, just being a guy who could come out and dominate in his second year and all the hype, but you know it's a tough game and he's kind of learned that,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said.

The major league leader with 67 strikeouts in 45 games, Sano bailed out Tyler Duffey (2-3) with his drive into the second deck above left field for a 6-5 lead on his eighth home run this season after Joe Mauer started with a single.

Sano, who is batting .221 after a strong debut in 2015, was in a 2-for-24 skid until that. He credited Mauer for some strategical hitting advice.

''I listened to him,'' Sano said through an interpreter, ''and I hit the ball out.''

Eduardo Nunez and Brian Dozier each homered, too, the first two batters to face Royals starter Dillon Gee (1-2) and just the fifth pair in Twins history to go deep in their first two plate appearances of the game.

Duffey gave away a 3-0 lead during a five-run fourth by the Royals, but the right-hander hung around long enough to become the first Twins starter this season to record his second victory. The rotation has totaled six wins. There were 11 pitchers in the major leagues with seven or more victories when the day began.

''When that kind of inning happens, that's kind of the test,'' Duffey said. ''If you don't go out and get it done after that, you kind of quit on your team and I wasn't going to do that.''

Duffey displayed the swagger the Twins had in ample supply Wednesday and have been missing all year. He responded to a brief mound visit from Dozier after Sano had returned him the lead.

''I told him he's got to bear down. The winning run is out there and that's the way you have to act,'' Dozier said.

The Twins (12-34) have trailed at some point in all but two of their games this year. They were in trouble after Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double to halt a 2-for-22 slide and the sizzling Salvador Perez tied the game with another double. Omar Infante added a two-out RBI triple and trotted home on Duffey's wild pitch.

Duffey pitched into the seventh, and Trevor May struck out Lorenzo Cain with two runners on to end a threat. May gave up 10 runs, including four homers, over 3 1/3 innings in his previous five appearances. Cain is batting .356 (32 for 90) with 17 RBIs in this month.

Kevin Jepsen pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in seven attempts. Pinch hitter Jarrod Dyson hustled for a one-out double, but Jepsen struck out Whit Merrifield to end it and give the Royals (24-22) just their third loss in their last 10 games.

The Twins have been swept an astounding eight times already, but not this week. After allowing only two extra-base hits to right-handers all season before Wednesday, Gee gave up four of them in this one in four-plus innings. Nunez went 3 for 4 and is 6 for 8 in his career against Gee.

''It just seemed like when I made a mistake today they really did some damage,'' Gee said.

Still, the Royals won their fourth straight series.

''It was a great road trip,'' manager Ned Yost said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Kansas City: Cheslor Cuthbert again played 3B for Mike Moustakas (bruised left knee). Yost said the plan all along was to re-evaluate him Thursday.

Minnesota: To make room for RHP Buddy Boshers on the 40-man roster, LHP Glen Perkins (strained left shoulder) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. He's now eligible to be activated June 10.

UP NEXT

Kansas City: The Royals return home for a four-game series beginning Thursday against Chicago, with LHP Danny Duffy (0-0, 2.13 ERA) on schedule to start for the third time. RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-1, 4.57 ERA) will take the mound for the White Sox.

Minnesota: After a day off for travel, the Twins begin a three-game series Friday in Seattle. LHP Pat Dean (1-0, 3.86 ERA) will make his second major league start. The Mariners will send RHP Felix Hernandez (4-3, 2.21 ERA) to the mound.

[CLOSE]

Cubs 9 vs. 8 Cardinals Final Recap

Arrieta moves to 9-0 and Cubs edge Cardinals 9-8

By JOE HARRIS - Associated Press

Wednesday, May 25 at 7:36 PM (EDT)

ST. LOUIS (AP) Jake Arrieta got some help from the Cubs' offense to stay perfect.

Arrieta remained unbeaten on the season despite allowing as many as four runs for the first time in nearly a year and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-8 on Wednesday.

''I picked a good day to be (bad),'' Arrieta said.

''I was aggressive but they had a good game plan coming in and it was a good thing our offense was able to be extremely productive today.''

Arrieta (9-0) joined the White Sox's Chris Sale as the only nine-game winners in the majors.

Arrieta allowed four runs in a regular-season game for the first time since June 16, 2015.

''We grind whoever it is,'' Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ''We acknowledge the fact that he's a good pitcher and has had a good start, but I think for us to give him too much credit and go up defeated it a bad route.''

Arrieta became the first Cub to win his first nine decisions since Kenny Holtzman in 1967 and it is the best start to a season for the franchise since Jim McCormick went 16-0 in 1886.

The Cubs have won Arrieta's past 23 starts, a franchise record.

''There was not any good flow to his pitching today,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''You look at the gun everything's normal. The guy competes.''

Kris Bryant hit a three-run homer and Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist each drove in two runs for the Cubs.

Bryant drove a 3-2 pitch from Seung Hwan Oh about 411 feet in the sixth inning, giving the Cubs a 9-4 lead. Bryant has homered in three of his past six games.

The Cubs sent 11 men to the plate in a six-run second, five of the runs scored with two outs. Heyward's two-run double and Zobrist's two-run single capped the scoring as Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez threw 38 pitches.

Hector Rondon earned his eighth save.

Stephen Piscotty, hitting .360 in May, had an RBI single in the first to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. It was the first run Arrieta had given up in the first inning of a regular-season game since May 29, 2015.

Randal Grichuk's solo homer in the second inning cut the Cubs' lead to 6-2 and was the first homer Arrieta had given up in 51 regular-season innings, which was the longest active streak in the majors.

The Cardinals made it 6-4 in the fourth on RBI hits by Matt Adams and Grichuk and they loaded the bases again in the fifth, but Cubs third baseman Tommy La Stella bailed out Arrieta with a diving stop on Grichuk's grounder and forced Yadier Molina at second.

''I think that was one of the turning moments in the game,'' Bryant said. ''The momentum could have completely changed. I think that was the play of the game.''

Matt Holliday snapped a 3-for-39 slump with a three-run homer in the sixth to make it 9-7. Adams hit his second homer of the series in the seventh to cut it to a one-run deficit.

''Grichuk I mean is really swinging the bat well,'' Maddon said. ''Adams got toasty at the wrong time and up and down their lineup Piscotty's a good player, (Aledmys) Diaz does swing the bat that well, they don't quit that's why they win championships.''

Martinez (4-5) lost his career-high fifth straight start.

BUNDLE OF JOY

Cardinals' Matt Carpenter, hitless in 16 at-bats against Arrieta, was out of the lineup Wednesday because he was with his wife, who went into labor before the game with their first child. Kolten Wong hit in Carpenter's leadoff spot.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cardinals: Acquired OF Jose Martinez from the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations and assigned him to Triple-A Memphis. RHP Mitch Harris (elbow) was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Martinez on the 40-man roster.

UP NEXT

Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (4-3, 2.60 ERA) will kick off a 10-game homestand Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Lester is 4-0 with a 1.76 ERA in six starts against the Phillies.

Cardinals: RHP Mike Leake (3-3, 4.07 ERA) will make his 10th start of the season, starting a seven-game road trip at the Washington Nationals. Leake is 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in his past three starts.

[CLOSE]

Padres 3 vs. 4 Giants Final Recap

Giants beat Padres 4-3 in 10 innings, 13th win in 14 games

By MICHAEL WAGAMAN - Associated Press

Wednesday, May 25 at 8:25 PM (EDT)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Brandon Crawford's alert baserunning in the second inning gave the Giants an early lift. His long single in the 10th capped another walkoff win.

Crawford singled in Matt Duffy with two outs in the 10th inning, and the surging Giants beat the San Diego Padres 4-3 Wednesday for their 13th win in 14 games.

It was the fourth game-ending hit of Crawford's career and the major league-high fifth walkoff win this season by San Francisco.

''We're playing good baseball,'' Crawford said. ''Really good pitching and defense, and found the bats a little bit these last couple of days. We're kind of putting everything together.''

Duffy singled off Brad Hand (1-2) with one out, pinch-hitter Hunter Pence popped out, Duffy advanced on a wild pitch and Crawford hit a 1-2 offering over center fielder Jon Jay as Duffy scored standing up.

Crawford also singled and scored after some alert baserunning in the second inning. Duffy and Denard Span drove in runs for the NL West-leading Giants.

San Francisco completed a three-game sweep, extended its winning streak to five and improved to 9-0 against the Padres this season. The Giants' two walkoff wins in the series were against Hand.

''When you're having fun it makes it a lot easier to come to the park,'' Duffy said. ''The big thing is it's saving the bullpen. We're keeping them from going prolonged extras which is a big thing, especially the way our starters have been going.''

Last-place San Diego was swept for the fourth time this season.

Yangervis Solarte hit a tying, two-run homer off Josh Osich in the eighth, but the Padres stranded runners on the corners in the 10th and lost for the eighth time in 10 games.

''It's really frustrating to lose games like that,'' Solarte said through an interpreter. ''I know we have the talent and the potential to come out of it.''

George Kontos (1-1) retired two batters.

Giants starter Jake Peavy, who spent his first eight seasons with San Diego, allowed one run and six hits in 6 2/3 innings and left after Alexei Ramirez's RBI single in the seventh.

San Diego's James Shields gave up two runs and five hits in six innings with one walk.

Crawford singled with one out in the second and advanced to an open third base as Jarrett Parker grounded out to the right side of the shifted infield. Kelby Tomlinson followed with an RBI single.

Gregor Blanco tripled leading off the sixth and scored on Duffy's single. Alexei Ramirez's RBI single in the seventh and Solarte's then took a 3-2 lead on Solarte's first home run since Oct. 1.

STRANGE PLAY

Brandon Belt sprained his left ankle in the eighth while sliding into second base during a play that started with Brandon Crawford hitting a high popup in front of home plate. Catcher Derek Norris lost track of the ball as it fell to the grass, then fielded the ball and threw to second. Belt waited to see whether the ball fell in. then stumbled as he approached the bag and Ramirez, the Padres shortstop, dropped the throw from Norris. Belt overslid the bag, however, and was tagged out as he lay in the infield dirt. ''He thought he was out, that's why he didn't try to crawl back to the bag,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ''He didn't know (they) missed the ball. We're hoping for good news with him. We'll know more once we get to Colorado.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: INF Will Myers (forearm) drew a leadoff walk as a pinch hitter in the 10th and was pulled for a defensive replacement in the bottom half.

Giants: Sergio Romo threw 16 pitches during a rehab appearance with Triple-A Sacramento. . Span was supposed to have the day off but came in as a defensive replacement in the top of the seventh. . Pence (hamstring) hopes to be in the starting lineup Friday at Colorado.

UP NEXT

Padres: LHP Christian Friedrich (0-1) is to start the series opener in Arizona on Friday. The former first-round pick by Colorado is winless since in the big leagues 2012.

Giants: RHP Matt Cain (1-5) is to start against the Rockies on Friday, attempting to win consecutive starts for the first time since 2013.

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Angels 9 vs. 15 Rangers Final Recap

Mazara hits long homer as Rangers beat Angels 15-9

By STEPHEN HAWKINS - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, May 25 at 7:23 PM (EDT)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Like Rougned Odor before him, Nomar Mazara is having an impact for the Texas Rangers as the youngest player in the major leagues.

Mazara, a 21-year-old rookie slugger, hit the longest home run in the majors this season while Odor drove in three runs and scored three more in likely his last game before a suspension, a 15-9 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.

''Wow, that was a grown-up homer right there,'' said Bobby Wilson, who had a career-high four hits. ''That's where the big boys go.''

Mazara led off the second with a drive into the second deck of the right-seat seats that would have traveled 491 feet had it landed unimpeded, according to Major League Baseball's Statcast program.

''They don't give you extra points for distance, but it was a majestic home run. Happy for the kid,'' manager Jeff Banister said.

''It's cool. Hope more to come,'' said Mazara, who was then asked if it got all of it. ''Probably, yeah.''

Odor, who at 20 was the MLB's youngest player when he made his debut two summers ago, is playing while awaiting the outcome of his appeal heard in New York on Tuesday for an eight-game suspension. The discipline was assessed for punching Toronto slugger Jose Bautista during a brawl May 15. A decision is expected before Friday night's game.

''He's a huge player for us, a big player us,'' Banister said. ''We're obviously going to miss him however many days it is, but we like where he's at.''

Along with his eighth homer, Mazara had a two-out, two-run single during a four-run sixth that made it 11-6.

While Mazara's homer is the longest in the majors this season, the Rangers wouldn't verify it as the longest hit in their 22-year-old ballpark; the Statcast system has been used only since last season.

Ballpark records list Josh Hamilton's 490-foot homer against Houston on June 27, 2010, as the longest, a measurement determined by a University of Texas-Arlington physics professor. That home run also was hit into the upper deck in right field, but higher up and three sections closer to center field.

The Rangers trailed 1-0 when Odor led off the first with a bunt single, stole second base and moved up on a throwing error before scoring the first of his three runs. He later drove in runs with a groundout, a fielder's choice and a sacrifice fly.

Los Angeles also led 4-1 after its second at-bat, but Hector Santiago (3-3) also quickly gave up that lead. It was 4-4 when Texas started the third with consecutive hits off the lefty before Ryan Rua greeted Mike Morin with a two-run single that put the Rangers ahead to stay.

''It just kind of fell apart. I didn't have good stuff today.'' Santiago said. ''Just an all-around bad day. I fell behind in counts, not making some great pitches.''

GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN

Colby Lewis (4-0) got the win even though he failed to get through six innings for the first time in 10 starts this season - the veteran right-hander had gone seven innings his last five games. Lewis left with a 7-5 lead after giving up consecutive hits starting the sixth, and one of those runners scored. His season ERA went from 2.75 to 3.38.

QUICK PITCHES

Texas set season highs for runs and hits (18). It was the most runs allowed by the Angels this season. ... Rangers CF Ian Desmond had 10 putouts, a club record for an outfielder in a nine-inning game. ... Wilson had a two-run single with the bases loaded in the eighth. His two homers this season are both grand slams. ... Rafael Ortega's three-run homer in the Angels eighth was the first of his career. ... Mike Trout, Yunel Escobar and Jett Bandy each had a sacrifice fly for Los Angeles.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs, coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2014, threw his third bullpen session Wednesday and is expected to pitch a simulated game Saturday. Skaggs hasn't pitched at Triple-A since April after experiencing biceps tendinitis.

Rangers: RHP Yu Darvish threw a bullpen session, three days before his first scheduled start for the Rangers since August 2014 and after Tommy John surgery. Darvish said the session went good and that he's very calm right now.

UP NEXT

Angels: Los Angeles opens a three-game series at home against Houston on Friday night.

Rangers: Texas starts a three-game interleague series at home Friday against Pittsburgh. Jeff Banister spent 29 years in the Pirates organization before becoming the Rangers manager last season.

[CLOSE]

Mets 2 vs. 0 Nationals Final Recap

Matz wins 7th straight, Mets beat Nats 2-0 to take series

By IAN QUILLEN - Associated Press

Wednesday, May 25 at 6:14 PM (EDT)

WASHINGTON (AP) Steven Matz pitched through the eighth inning for the first time in his big league career, and the most satisfying pitch was his final one, a sinker to Bryce Harper.

With Harper walking to the plate as the potential tying run for the Nationals, Mets manager Terry Collins stayed with Matz.

The rookie got Harper to ground out, and New York held on for a 2-0 victory over Washington on Wednesday to take two of three in the series.

''You don't want to come out in that situation,'' said Matz, who won his seventh straight start. ''And for your manager to have faith in you and leave you out and face the greatest hitter in the game right now is pretty awesome.''

Matz (7-1 with a 2.36 ERA) allowed four hits and a walk while striking out seven. He only faced Harper once, after the slumping slugger began the day on the bench in what Nationals manager Dusty Baker called a ''mental day off.''

After allowing seven runs in the first start this season, the hard-throwing left-hander has allowed only six since while compiling a 1.13 ERA during his winning streak.

Matzretired 16 batters in a row before Clint Robinson's two-out single in the eighth on his 100th pitch. Against Harper, he got behind 2-0 for just the second time in the game before throwing a pair of sinkers. Harper chopped the second one to shortstop Matt Reynolds just to the right of second base.

''I think when you have a young player, there's certain situations that you have to challenge them, and that was one of them,'' Collins said. ''If he's going to be a big winner for us and he's going to pitch in big games, he has to learn how to get those guys out in tight situations, and he did.''

Matz's dominance is welcome given the recent struggles of Matt Harvey. New York remained a half-game game behind Washington in the NL East.

''I think he thinks he belongs here,'' Collins said of Matz. ''I think he knows he's part of a very, very good pitching staff. We count on him when he goes out there and I think he picks his game up.''

David Wright hit his sixth homer of the season in the first inning. and Rene Rivera singled in a run in the seventh. Jeurys Familia allowed singles to Jayson Werth and Murphy starting the ninth, then got three straight outs to remain perfect in 16 save chances.

Tanner Roark (3-4) allowed two runs - one earned - over seven innings for Washington. He gave up his second run after Daniel Murphy's error let Matt Reynolds advance to third ahead of Rivera's single.

''I misplayed another ground ball, which just needs to stop happening,'' Murphy said of his fifth error of the season. ''He throws a double-play ball that should've gotten him out of the inning.''

HARPER SITS

Harper is 0 for 10 over his last four games and batting a season-low .245. He's batting .200 since April 18 (20 for 100) and hasn't homered since May 13.

''This is probably the worst period Bryce has gone through,'' Baker said. ''Every time you go through a bad period or a bad stretch, it's the worst time in your whole life, until the next time.''

OFF THE MATT

Harvey will remain in the rotation despite allowing five or more runs for a third consecutive start. Collins said Harvey (3-7) showed signs of improvement in his latest outing, despite the end result.

''We saw great movement on his fastball,'' Collins said. ''We saw the velocity up. We saw the tightness of his slider. Those are all things that we haven't seen in his last couple starts.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: SS Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from the lineup after the first pitch because of back spasms. He hopes to return Friday, Collins said.

Nationals: CF Ben Revere was given a day off out of the starting lineup on a day game after a night game. He has started 16 of 19 games for Washington since returning from a right oblique strain in early May.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Jacob DeGrom (3-1, 3.07) takes the mound Friday as New York hosts the Dodgers and LHP Alex Wood (1-3).

Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (3-4, 2.70) faces Cardinals RHP Mike Leake (3-3, 4.07) Thursday to open a four-game series.

[CLOSE]

Indians 4 vs. 3 White Sox Final Recap

After beating Sale, Indians top Quintana, White Sox 4-3

By JOHN JACKSON - Associated Press

Wednesday, May 25 at 6:54 PM (EDT)

CHICAGO (AP) Corey Kluber still is considered an ace in the Cleveland Indians' clubhouse.

''There's been a couple of hiccups, but, I promise you, the day he pitches we're thrilled,'' manager Terry Francona said.

Kluber allowed two runs over 7 1/3 innings and Cleveland beat a top Chicago White Sox pitcher for the second straight day in a 4-3 win Wednesday.

After sending Chris Sale to his first loss after a 9-0 start, the Indians got three runs and five hits in six innings against Jose Quintana (5-4). Quintana's ERA, an AL-best 1.98 at the start of the day, rose to 2.22.

Before Tuesday, the White Sox had been 15-3 in games started by Sale and Quintana.

Cleveland, which trailed by six games before play on May 10, closed within a half-game of the AL Central-leading White Sox, who lost for the ninth time in 12 games. Chicago finished a 3-7 homestand in which it scored more than three runs just twice.

''It didn't go well for us,'' manager Robin Ventura said. ''Offensively, we can do a lot more.''

Kluber (4-5) has won his last two outings following a slow start. The 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner gave up seven hits and struck out nine. Just one of the two runs he allowed was earned.

Cody Allen struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth to remain perfect in 11 save chances.

Lonnie Chisenhall hit a two-run triple, Yan Gomes had an RBI triple and Juan Uribe had a sacrifice fly.

Melky Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, and Jose Abreu had three hits for the White Sox.

After the Indians scored six runs in 3 1/3 innings against Sale on Tuesday, Chisenhall put Cleveland ahead in the second with a triple that rolled to the right-field wall after Adam Eaton missed on his attempt for a diving backhand catch.

Uribe's fly made it 3-0 in the third.

''Once the offense put up those early runs, I was really just trying to make it stand up,'' Kluber said. ''I think we just did a good job of getting ahead of guys today. That was the biggest thing, putting them in defensive counts so they're not sitting on fastballs. I think that's the key to most pitchers' success, getting ahead in the count and working ahead.''

Chicago cut the gap in the sixth when Todd Frazier walked, stole second, took third as Gomes' throw sailed into center field for an error and came home when center fielder Rajai Davis overran the ball for another error.

Gomes' triple boosted the lead to 4-1 in the eighth. Cabrera greeted Bryan Shaw with a home run on a 1-2 pitch in the bottom half.

PENNANT FEVER?

Despite closing the gap, the Indians say they are not focused on the standings.

''For me, personally, I think it's too early to start looking at the standings,'' Kluber said. ''But it's always nice to win a divisional series. These games count big time, so it's nice to come in here and take three out of four.''

SLUMPING

The White Sox have scored 20 runs in their last eight games and are 6 for 52 (.115) with runners in scoring position in their last seven games.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: SS Francisco Lindor was held out of the starting lineup after a three-hit game on Tuesday. It was his fourth three-hit game in his last 10 games.

UP NEXT

Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (3-2, 4.31 ERA) starts Friday against visiting Baltimore and RHP Mike Wright (2-3, 4.97) in the opener of a three-game series.

White Sox: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (0-1, 4.57 ERA) looks to keep the No. 5 spot in the rotation at Kansas City in the opener of a 10-game trip. LHP Danny Duffy (0-0, 2.13) is to start for the Royals.

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Phillies 8 vs. 5 Tigers Final Recap

Herrera's homer helps Phillies to 8-5 win over Tigers

By NOAH TRISTER - AP Baseball Writer

Wednesday, May 25 at 5:52 PM (EDT)

DETROIT (AP) With a series in Chicago against the Cubs looming next on the schedule, Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin felt leaving Detroit with at least one victory was crucial.

''It was a must-win,'' Mackanin said after his team beat the Tigers 8-5 on Wednesday. ''The guys battled the whole game. To me, they looked like they played like we had to win this game.''

Odubel Herrera and Peter Bourjos homered off Anibal Sanchez, and the Phillies salvaged the finale of their three-game series with Detroit. The Tigers had won eight of nine, including the first two games of this set, but Herrera's three-run drive put Philadelphia up 5-1 in the fourth.

Aaron Nola (4-3) and the Phillies were able to hold on from there. Jeanmar Gomez pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 17th save in 18 chances.

Sanchez (3-6) allowed three earned runs and eight hits in six-plus innings. The Tigers made two errors in the fourth before Herrera's two-out homer, so three runs were unearned.

Philadelphia's Andres Blanco swiped home in the second as part of a double steal, with Bourjos taking second.

Maikel Franco left in the seventh with a sprained right ankle but said afterward he'll be ready to play Friday in the Phillies' next game.

Nola allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings.

Detroit manager Brad Ausmus missed the game because of the death of his mother. Bench coach Gene Lamont filled in.

The Tigers were without outfielder Justin Upton (right quadriceps tightness) for a third straight game and second baseman Ian Kinsler (flu-like symptoms) for a second.

Sanchez has allowed at least four runs in each of his last five starts, although because of the unearned runs, his ERA actually went down Wednesday from 6.23 to 6.04.

''They're unearned runs, and sometimes unearned runs are a little deceptive, I think,'' Lamont said. ''I'm sure he's kicking himself, he knows they're unearned but he knows he threw a pitch that Herrera hit for a home run.''

Bourjos had an RBI single in the second, and the double steal made it 2-0, with Blanco coming home when the throw went to second.

''We have to try things,'' Mackanin said. ''We can't bang it out with most teams, so we've got to try all that kind of stuff, take chances.''

Herrera's fifth homer of the season gave the Phillies a four-run lead. Cameron Maybin, J.D. Martinez and Victor Martinez hit RBI singles for Detroit in the fifth to make it 5-4.

Bourjos led off the seventh with a homer to chase Sanchez, and it was 7-5 after Miguel Cabrera's RBI single in the bottom of the inning. Philadelphia's Hector Neris relieved David Hernandez, inheriting a first-and-second, one-out situation. Victor Martinez sent a drive down the line in right that looked like it might tie the game, but it went foul, and Neris was able to strike out both him and Nick Castellanos to end the inning.

PHLIPPING THE BAT

Herrera was pulled late in Monday's loss when Mackanin felt he didn't run hard enough after hitting a grounder. He was back in the lineup the next day, and he made a big impact Wednesday with his home run.

He also flipped his bat up in the air at the end of his follow-through on the homer, and when asked afterward if he was more impressed with the homer or the bat flip, he said ''both'' through a translator.

Herrera said he thought he might get thrown at later, but the Tigers didn't retaliate. Mackanin didn't seem overly concerned.

''A lot of players believe that they should be able to celebrate,'' he said. ''We'll see. We'll just see what happens. I didn't see it. I wish nobody brought it up to me.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: Franco singled in the seventh and later advanced to second on a throwing error by CF Maybin. He was hurt sliding into second.

Tigers: Detroit transferred the injury rehab assignment of RHP Shane Greene (right middle finger blister) to Triple-A Toledo. He allowed four hits and struck out seven in 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the Mud Hens on Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Phillies: Philadelphia's Adam Morgan (1-2) faces Jon Lester (4-3) of the Cubs on Friday.

Tigers: Michael Fulmer (3-1) is expected to start Friday night at Oakland against Sean Manaea (1-2).

---

Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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Blue Jays 8 vs. 4 Yankees Final

Blue Jays-Yankees Preview

By JEFF MEZYDLO - STATS Senior Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 11:46 PM (EDT)

In position to surpass the .500 mark for the first time since the second week of the season, the surging New York Yankees hope Ivan Nova can continue his success since joining the rotation earlier this month.

The right-hander tries for a third consecutive winning start that would give the Yankees a seventh straight victory Wednesday night against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

Thanks to six strong innings from Nathan Eovaldi and a home run from Carlos Beltran in Tuesday's 6-0 victory, New York (22-22) owns a 32-11 scoring advantage in the last six games. Winners in 14 of 20, the Yankees haven't been above .500 since they were 4-3.

"When things are going bad, you set your sights to get back to .500 and then you go from there," third baseman Chase Headley said. "We've had to play really good baseball to get back here, but we're here and now we've got to keep going, keep building."

New York starters have a 1.70 ERA during the winning streak.

Nova (3-1, 3.26 ERA) earned a fourth consecutive start after going 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in three since moving from the bullpen May 9.

"When you're starting, if you don't have it in the first inning you can have it in the second inning," said Nova, who went 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in six relief appearances. "This is my natural position and I feel good about it."

He's allowed a run in each start after giving up four hits with no walks Thursday over a season-high six innings in a 4-1 victory at Oakland.

"He's pitching great," said manager Joe Girardi, who could employ a six-man rotation with Luis Severino set to return from a stint on the disabled list due to a triceps strain.

Nova, 5-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 13 starts against the Blue Jays (22-25), was roughed up for four runs and five hits in an inning of out of the bullpen during a 7-2 loss to them April 13.

Josh Donaldson is 7 for 16 against Nova, while Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are batting a combined .340 with three doubles and a home run each. Bautista, batting leadoff, and Troy Tulowitzki had the only hits Tuesday.

Beltran is 10 for 21 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in the last five games. Three of his seven hits in 24 at-bats against Marco Estrada (1-2, 2.61) have left the park.

After giving up four earned runs and walking four in six innings at Texas on May 14, the right-hander yielded one earned and struck out nine while walking one over a season-high eight of Thursday's 3-2, 11-inning victory at Minnesota.

"He's got a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He knows how to pitch."

Starlin Castro is 12 for 27 with four doubles and a triple against Estrada and Brian McCann is 8 for 20. All three of Mark Teixeira's hits in nine at-bats against him went for home runs.

The impending return of Alex Rodriguez (hamstring) from the disabled list continues to drag on for the Yankees. The underachieving designated hitter played for Double-A Trenton on Tuesday, but he might not be activated for this series.

Batting .194, Rodriguez last saw major league action May 3.

"Our plan is a couple of days," Girardi said. "Again, we can change our mind. We're allowed to do that. And if he feels good after two days, I wouldn't hesitate to call him here."

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Diamondbacks 4 vs. 5 Pirates Final

Diamondbacks-Pirates Preview

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Wednesday, May 25 at 1:35 AM (EDT)

Since enduring a rough start that led to bullpen duty, the only thing that has slowed Rubby De La Rosa down lately has been some minor aches and pains.

After receiving much-needed rest, the right-hander will try to pick up where he left off Wednesday night when the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks look to avoid their 11th loss in the past 14 meetings with the red-hot Pittsburgh Pirates.

De La Rosa (4-4, 3.53 ERA) would rather forget the first couple of weeks when he went 1-3 with an 8.44 ERA in five games, including three relief appearances.

Those struggles now seem like long ago as he's gone 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in five starts since returning to the rotation. In his last outing, he gave up only a solo home run over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-1 home loss to San Francisco on May 15.

De La Rosa became the 12th pitcher in club history to allow one hit or fewer in six-plus innings and the first since Chase Anderson surrendered one hit over seven in June 2015 before leaving with groin tightness. The Diamondbacks then skipped his last start while he dealt with that injury, along with a blister and tight triceps.

"He had those nagging little injuries," manager Chip Hale told MLB's official website. "It just came down to the situation where Rubby had had that tight triceps, the tight groin. He had the blister thing, which, I think, talking to the training staff, is pretty regular for him. He creates so much friction with the velocity."

The Diamondbacks are concerned about second baseman Jean Segura after he was beaned in Tuesday's 12-1 season-opening loss and sent to the hospital for tests upon showing signs of a concussion.

Segura, who has a team-high .316 average, seems likely to miss some time.

Short-handed Arizona (21-26) hopes avoid its first back-to-back road losses since May 3-5 as it takes on a surging Pittsburgh team that has averaged 6.3 runs and hit .332 through the first eight games of this 10-game stay at PNC Park.

De La Rosa has gone 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts versus the Pirates (25-19). He gave up one run and three hits over six innings in a 7-1 home win April 23.

Sean Rodriguez homered and John Jaso doubled off him. However, Josh Harrison, Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen are 0 for 16 lifetime in the matchups.

Gregory Polanco went 3 for 5 with a home run, double and five RBIs Tuesday. He's batting .317 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 15 games since manager Clint Hurdle elevated him to third in the lineup.

"You know you're in the middle of the lineup,'' Polanco said. ''You're expected to hit. You're fighting every pitch, every at-bat.''

The Pirates will give the ball to Jeff Locke (2-3, 5.00) as they go after their eighth win in 10 games. The left-hander is coming off one of his best performances, allowing two runs over seven innings in Thursday's 8-2 home win over Atlanta.

Locke is 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA in three starts against the Diamondbacks, though he hasn't faced them since July 2014. Paul Goldschmidt is 5 for 9 in the matchup.

Phil Gosselin had two of the team's six hits Tuesday when Arizona fell to 2-2 on a six-game road swing.

Pittsburgh's Jordy Mercer is 11 for 23 over his last seven games and 7 for 16 in his past three versus Arizona.

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Athletics 1 vs. 1 Mariners In-Progress

Athletics-Mariners Preview

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Wednesday, May 25 at 10:18 AM (EDT)

Sonny Gray going on the disabled list was said to be a big blow for the Oakland Athletics' rotation given his potential to dominate on the mound. The reality is that he's been a major disappointment and one of their most unreliable starters this season.

It won't be difficult for replacement Zach Neal to better Gray's numbers.

Neal will make his first major league start Wednesday night against Hisashi Iwakuma and the host Seattle Mariners.

Gray had a 2.88 ERA over his first three seasons while emerging as one of the game's best young pitchers, but he struggled out of the gate this year with a 6.19 ERA through nine starts before going on the DL on Sunday with a strained right trapezius muscle.

Enter the 27-year-old Neal, a unproven rookie who won't have to do much to be better than Gray. Neal made his major league debut in relief May 11 at Boston, allowing three runs and four hits in three innings of mop-up duty in Oakland's 13-3 defeat.

The right-hander has pitched well for Triple-A Nashville, though, going 5-1 with a 2.53 ERA in seven starts.

"We like the movement on his fastball and his complement of pitches," manager Bob Melvin told MLB's official website. "We rely on our people in development to have input on that, and Zach Neal's our guy.

"He's pitching well. He's been here and we like what we saw."

Iwakuma (2-4, 4.39 ERA) hasn't been pitching well. He has a 5.19 ERA over his last three starts, showing problems early in two of them and later on in the other.

The right-hander spotted Cincinnati three runs before settling down and lasted six innings to pick up an 8-3 win Friday.

"I was fighting my command early," Iwakuma said. "I was going side to side instead of top to bottom, and that gave me a hard time commanding the ball down in the zone, but I was able to make the adjustment towards the end and it paid off."

Iwakuma was efficient against the A's on May 3, giving up one run in seven innings during an 8-2 victory in his best start of the season. He's 2-0 with a 1.33 ERA in his last three outings against them.

The Mariners (27-18) sit atop the AL West and won 6-5 in dramatic fashion Tuesday when Leonys Martin hit a walkoff two-run homer in the ninth. Seth Smith had three hits, and Robinson Cano hit a two-run shot in the eighth.

It marked another tough loss for the A's (20-27), who have dropped five of their last six after blowing a three-run lead in the final two innings. Coco Crisp had three RBIs before John Axford and Ryan Madson allowed the homers.

Oakland relievers have allowed at least a run in four of the last six and have a 4.06 ERA for the season.

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Brewers 2 vs. 2 Braves In-Progress

Brewers-Braves Preview

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Wednesday, May 25 at 12:13 AM (EDT)

The Milwaukee Brewers struggled to overcome the worst pitching staff in the majors early on, but the group has turned things around in the past two weeks.

Having played a role in that reversal, Junior Guerra will try to become the first starter to win his first four decisions with the club in eight years Wednesday night in the second of this three-game road set against the light-hitting Atlanta Braves.

Milwaukee (19-26) took a chance on Guerra in October when it acquired the 31-year-old off waivers from the Chicago White Sox. The Brewers are starting to reap the benefits after recalling him from Triple-A Colorado Springs earlier this month.

After allowing two hits over six innings in a 1-0 home win over San Diego on May 13, Guerra (3-0, 3.96 ERA) gave up three runs and struck out a career-high 11 over seven innings in Thursday's 5-3 home victory over the high-scoring Chicago Cubs.

The Brewers have won each of Guerra's four starts. Now the right-hander has an opportunity to become the first starter to win his first four decisions with Milwaukee since CC Sabathia won nine in a row from July 8-August 31, 2008.

"We had some hopes for him when we claimed him," manager Craig Counsell told MLB's official website. "We saw some things in Colorado Springs that we really liked."

The journeyman has been effective by mixing in a split-finger with his 94-96 mph fastball. That'll be the game plan again as he tries to contribute to a staff that has a 3.12 ERA in its last 16 after posting a MLB-worst 5.69 mark through May 6.

"It's a good pitch, and it plays off his other stuff very well," Counsell added.

Atlanta (12-32) has averaged 2.4 runs while dropping 13 of its last 14 games at Turner Field. Rookie outfielder Mallex Smith drove in the only run as the Braves finished with five hits in Tuesday's 2-1 loss in the opener of this three-game series.

"At some point in time it's going to start going our way," interim manager Brian Snitker said after his club fell to a major league-worst 2-18 at home.

The Braves will try to get something going for Mike Foltynewicz, who looks to rebound after allowing five runs and seven hits over three innings in Thursday's 8-2 loss at Pittsburgh. He had given up just two runs in 15 innings over his two prior outings.

"It's all part of the process," said Snitker, who has guided the club to a 3-4 record since replacing Fredi Gonzalez. "I can see what he's capable of. It's just the consistency."

In his only start versus Milwaukee, Foltynewicz (1-2, 4.57) surrendered one run and three hits while fanning seven over 7 2/3 innings in a 2-1 home win last May. Aaron Hill has gone 2 for 2 with a walk against the right-hander dating to his time with Arizona.

The Brewers have totaled nine runs and batted .176 over their last four games. Ryan Braun hit his eighth home run and Scooter Gennett had the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning Tuesday, but Milwaukee finished with only two other hits.

"It's very important, especially after the (0-4) series we had with (the New York Mets)," Gennett said. "Hopefully we can take the series tomorrow."

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Marlins 4 vs. 3 Rays Final

Marlins-Rays Preview

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Tuesday, May 24 at 10:57 PM (EDT)

Matt Andriese has already provided a boost to Tampa Bay's rotation, but next he will try to push himself into select company with the Rays.

Andriese hopes to open his season with a fourth consecutive victory as the Rays move their home-and-home set against the Miami Marlins to Tropicana Field on Wednesday night.

Tampa Bay (21-22) opened its eight-game trip with four wins but needed a split at Miami (23-22) to walk away with a 5-3 record. The Rays did so with a 4-3 victory Tuesday that snapped a three-game skid.

"We needed a win today to turn this road trip in the positive," manager Kevin Cash said. "With the way we started we had to finish a little better than the way we were going. It was a big win."

Andriese looks to supply the Rays with their sixth win in the last seven games of the Citrus Series while extending his own streak.

He's 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA since being called up from Triple-A Durham on May 8, earning a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels that day. He followed with his first shutout in a 6-0 win against Oakland on May 14 before taking a step back Friday.

The right-hander gave up five hits, including a two-run homer, and four runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 7-5 victory at Detroit.

Still, Andriese became just the fifth Rays pitcher to open a season with wins in his first three starts, joining Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Garza and Victor Zambrano. Moore was the only one to win at least four straight, opening 5-0 in 2013.

Andriese made his MLB debut out of the bullpen against Miami on April 10, 2015, walking one in a scoreless inning.

Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton drew that walk and will try to pose a threat to Andriese on Wednesday. Stanton was stuck in a 6 for 57 stretch (.105) before hitting his 12th home run Tuesday. He was stranded in the on-deck circle when Alex Colome sealed his 12th save by striking out Justin Bour looking.

Stanton's struggles were highlighted by 17 Ks while going 1 for 21 in six games before Monday's 7-6 win. He went 2 for 7 with a strikeout against Tampa Bay in Miami.

"He's starting to see the ball better," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "That's really what you want."

Marcell Ozuna also doubled twice and reached base for the 31st consecutive game on Tuesday. Ozuna and Stanton hope to provide some offense for Justin Nicolino, who looks to end his own struggles.

Nicolino (2-2, 4.30) opened by allowing six earned runs in his first three starts spanning 19 1/3 innings, but he's coughed up eight in his last two over 10 innings.

The left-hander had allowed one home run in his first 25 innings before allowing two in the second of Friday's 4-1 loss to Washington. He retired the next 10 batters he faced, but the damage was already done.

"That inning they were in attack mode," Nicolino said. "They were swinging. After that I settled in, but I put us in a hole early."

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Orioles 3 vs. 4 Astros In-Progress

Orioles-Astros Preview

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Wednesday, May 25 at 1:23 AM (EDT)

The Houston Astros' ace isn't getting it done, and his struggles have been compounded by their No. 2 faltering nearly as much.

Collin McHugh can at least begin to alleviate the latter Wednesday night as the Baltimore Orioles try to even things up in the second of a three-game series in Houston.

While reigning AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel sits at 2-6 with a 5.92 ERA through 10 starts, McHugh (4-4, 5.13 ERA) enters his 10th with a shot at stringing together quality starts for the first time this season. The right-hander gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings of Thursday's 2-1 loss at the Chicago White Sox.

His manager had no problem comparing his outing to the ace in the other dugout.

"Chris Sale came as advertised," A.J. Hinch told MLB's official website. "It's no real surprise as well as he's pitched. It's probably as good a stuff that we've seen all season. We knew it was going to be a tough, low-scoring game. If we could hang in there enough and give ourselves enough opportunities we'd get a chance, and we couldn't scratch anything across early. Got the big home run, got a couple of runners on. He was in pretty much control of the game, and Collin matched him."

The additional good news is these might not be sustainable poor numbers. He's throwing more pitches per inning (18.2) than he has since his rookie year, but he's walking fewer batters this season (2.28 per nine innings) than he has over his career (2.36). What it might come down to is a .368 batting average on balls in play that's certain to come down.

Whether that happens against the Orioles remains to be seen. McHugh is 1-0 with a 4.66 ERA in three starts in the series and gave up eight runs in 13 innings of two contests last season.

Mark Trumbo is 2 for 2 against him, while Adam Jones is 3 for 9 with a home run.

Baltimore counters with Tyler Wilson, who is coming off his worst start of the season. Wilson (2-2, 3.68) gave up five runs and six hits with three walks in six innings of Thursday's 7-2 home loss to Seattle, yet the Orioles can't be altogether upset with what the right-hander has given them in five starts since making the move from the bullpen.

Wilson is 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA in those games and has gone at least six innings in his last three outings after a couple starts of stretching out.

He said a three-run sixth in which he was trying to be too perfect spoiled what could have been a stronger box score.

"There in the sixth inning, sometimes you end up giving up three trying to stop one, and I think that's what happened," Wilson said. "I tried to make too good of pitches or tried to worry about stopping that guy from scoring on third, forcing the double play, and giving up three. And I think sometimes that happens in the game.

"Obviously, that's not how you want it to go down."

The Astros (18-28) walked off with Tuesday's 3-2 win in 13 innings on Carlos Correa's single scored Tony Kemp. George Springer was 3 for 4 with two walks and has a .420 on-base percentage on a 14-game span of reaching bas at least once.

Baltimore (26-17) has scored seven runs over a 1-2 span while batting .162.

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Reds 0 vs. 0 Dodgers In-Progress

Reds-Dodgers Preview

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Wednesday, May 25 at 1:58 AM (EDT)

Scott Kazmir's first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers has thus far been a letdown. Dan Straily's first with the Cincinnati Reds has been a pleasant surprise, and he hasn't even been with the club for two months.

They'll go at it Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium in the finale of a three-game series with the Dodgers seeking a sweep and the Reds just content with ending a nine-game losing streak.

Kazmir (3-3, 5.23 ERA), whose career resurgence hit a bit of a snag after being sent from Oakland to Houston in July, had a full-on regression to the crippling control issues that plagued him at the end of his time with Tampa Bay and into his seasons with the Los Angeles Angels in his latest start.

The left-hander gave up five runs, two homers and a career-high seven walks in Friday's 7-6 loss in San Diego but avoided the decision.

"I just felt like I was fighting myself for pretty much the whole game," Kazmir said. "I was getting behind in counts and not throwing good pitches down in the count."

He had no such problems in his only start against the Reds – a win in which he gave up a run and eight hits in seven innings three years ago while with Cleveland.

Straily (2-1, 2.85) has been Cincinnati's best starter despite being acquired off waivers April 1 and making his first three appearances with the club out of the bullpen.

The right-hander has gone 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA in seven starts while never surrendering more than three runs. That's included getting away with walking 4.38 batters per nine innings in those starts, but Straily has limited his last two opponents to a run and 10 hits in 11 innings.

Straily held Seattle to a run and four hits in six innings of Friday's 8-3 loss and wasn't stuck with the decision.

He's beginning to understand six innings, which is 1/3 of an inning off his season high, isn't enough. Over his last four starts, he's averaged 18.1 pitches per inning, which is up even from his already-high 17.8 career mark.

"I have to find a way to get as deep into the game as possible," Straily said. "Six? I always want more. I have to find a way to get my pitch count down earlier in games and find that rhythm earlier to take us deeper into the ball game. Six is better than five, but it's still not seven."

His two games against the Dodgers came in relief in 2014, but the two innings resulted in six runs, four hits and three walks. Howie Kendrick is 5 for 14 against him.

Los Angeles (24-23) has won three straight after dropping six of seven. The Dodgers have also won eight straight over Cincinnati while limiting the Reds to 14 runs and a .169 batting average.

Cincinnati (15-31), meanwhile, can't get anything right on the mound. The Reds have posted a 7.20 ERA on their nine-game skid, though that's hardly noteworthy after losing 13 straight as recently as Sept. 20-Oct. 2.

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Rockies 3 vs. 10 Red Sox Final

Rockies-Red Sox Preview

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Tuesday, May 24 at 11:50 PM (EDT)

With Jackie Bradley Jr. in the midst of a historic streak, the Boston Red Sox are riding the major league's best offense during a dominant run at Fenway Park.

They're hoping those trends continue with reliable Steven Wright on the hill.

While Bradley chases the team's longest hitting streak in 11 years, Boston goes after its 13th win in 15 home games Wednesday night against the Colorado Rockies.

Bradley wasted little time matching Wade Boggs (1985) for the fifth-longest streak in Red Sox history on Tuesday when he doubled in his first at-bat. He ended up 2 for 4, raising his average to .412 with eight homers and 29 RBIs over a 28-game run.

The outfielder can now match Johnny Damon's 29-game streak in 2005 for the fourth longest run in club history. Dom DiMaggio, whose brother Joe had a MLB-record 56-game streak in 1941, holds the franchise record with a 34-gamer in '49.

Bradley has contributed to a Boston offense that has averaged 8.7 runs and batted .352 with 20 home runs in the last 13 of a 12-2 stretch at Fenway. David Ortiz also stayed hot with two hits and four RBIs in Tuesday's 8-3 series-opening victory, while Dustin Pedroia added three hits and Xander Bogaerts had two.

Ortiz is hitting .365 with eight homers and 25 RBIs over a 21-game stretch, while Bogaerts is batting .408 with 12 RBIs in his 17-game hitting streak.

''I'm having so much fun watching it,'' said Ortiz, who is in his final season. "They make me feel like I'm a part of it. ... They make me feel like I'm their age.''

They'll try to make up for the poor run support given to Wright in his last start. He allowed three runs over eight innings in Wednesday's 3-2 loss at Kansas City.

Wright (3-4, 2.52 ERA) has held opponents to three runs or less in seven of eight outings. The only blemish came May 13 when he gave up five runs over 4 1/3 innings while struggling with his knuckleball in the rain in a 7-6 loss to Houston.

"He's been very steady for us all year long, very good," manager John Farrell told the league's official website.

Wright will get his first look at a Colorado team that has totaled 19 runs and hit .229 while dropping five of its last six games. Gerardo Parra drove in two runs and Charlie Blackmon hit his third home run on Tuesday.

The Rockies (21-23) will try to put up some runs for Chad Bettis in the second of this three-game interleague series. After allowing nine runs over 12 1/3 innings in his previous two starts, the right-hander got back on track Tuesday when he surrendered one run and five hits over 6 2/3 innings in a 3-1 win at St. Louis.

"Something that I try make sure I do every time I go out is keep the ball down and make them roll over to our infielders," he said after forcing 11 groundball outs.

In his first career start against the Red Sox (28-17), Bettis (4-2, 4.18) will try to help the Rockies avoid their 25th loss in their last 30 games at AL ballparks.

Hanley Ramirez's status is uncertain for Boston after he left in the fourth inning Tuesday when he was hit by a pitch on his right big toe. X-rays were negative.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Major League Baseball
Rays 4 vs. 3 Marlins Final Recap

Rays hang on to beat Marlins 4-3, ending a 3-game slide

By TIM REYNOLDS - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 4:59 PM (EDT)

MIAMI (AP) Jake Odorizzi was great at the start, and Alex Colome provided just as good a finish.

Everything else for the Tampa Bay Rays was an adventure.

Odorizzi allowed two hits in five shutout innings, Colome got a two-inning save and the Rays held on to beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 on Tuesday, ending a three-game slide.

''We needed a win today to turn this road trip in the positive,'' said Rays manager Kevin Cash, whose club finished an eight-game trip 5-3. ''With the way we started we had to finish a little better than the way we were going. It was a big win.''

Odorizzi (2-2) struck out seven and walked three, plus delivered an RBI single for his first career hit. Hank Conger hit a two-run single, Logan Morrison had three hits and Brad Miller had two hits and two stolen bases for the Rays.

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 12th home run for the Marlins, snapping a 6-for-57 drought. He was in the on-deck circle when Colome capped his 12th save by striking out Justin Bour looking to end the game.

''He's starting to see the ball better,'' Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ''That's really what you want.''

Marcell Ozuna doubled twice and reached for the 31st consecutive game, while Bour and Derek Dietrich added two hits for Miami.

Marlins starter Tom Koehler (2-5) allowed six hits and three runs in five innings, striking out six but walking five for the third consecutive outing. The Marlins are 0-5 in his May starts, and Koehler hasn't won since April 26.

''Unacceptable,'' Koehler said. ''It's something that we're looking at and seeing if we're just missing on pitches or if there's something in the delivery.''

Odorizzi left with a 3-0 lead, and the Rays nearly gave it away.

Stanton greeted Enny Romero with a homer to lead off the sixth, Dietrich delivered an RBI single five pitches later to chase the left-hander and Miami was quickly within 3-2.

Steve Pearce's single off the third-base bag in the seventh made it 4-2, but the Marlins rallied again in the eighth. Ozuna led off with a double, eventually scoring when Adeiny Hechavarria's single cut the lead to 4-3.

Conger and Odorizzi, the Rays' eighth and ninth hitters in Tuesday's lineup, came into the day with one RBI between them this season. They left with four. Odorizzi drove in Morrison in the second to open the scoring and Conger made it 3-0 in the third on a sharp single to right.

''I felt like I was a player today, a regular position player, getting to hit,'' Odorizzi said. ''AL pitchers, this is what we dream of basically. You get like two chances a year so you've got to try to make the most of them. It was a blast.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier (broken left hand) had surgery Tuesday in St. Petersburg. He was hurt Saturday diving for a fly ball and is likely out 8-10 weeks. ... RHP Brad Boxberger (abductor) is set for his fifth rehab appearance on Wednesday, for Double-A Montgomery. He is expected to rejoin the Rays in a matter of days, barring a setback.

Marlins: LF Christian Yelich (back spasms) missed his fourth consecutive start. Bour took Yelich's usual No. 3 spot in the batting order, hitting there for the first time this season.

LOUD CROWD

Thousands of schoolkids were at the day game, and they were loud. The Rays said that played a factor in Stanton reaching on what became a two-base error, a popup falling in between three converging defenders. ''The kids were so loud that they couldn't quite communicate,'' Cash said.

ICHIRO WATCH

Ichiro Suzuki had 10 hits in a three-game span ending Monday, and it was historic. Not only did he tie a Marlins record for most hits in a three-game stretch (done previously by Hanley Ramirez, Luis Castillo and Preston Wilson), but Suzuki became the first 42-year-old to go on such a streak since Cap Anson back in 1894. He was 0 for 5 Tuesday.

UP NEXT

The teams head to the Gulf side of the state to continue their four-game series Wednesday night, with LHP Justin Nicolino (2-2, 4.30) going for Miami and RHP Matt Andriese (3-0, 2.11) trying to win his fourth consecutive start for Tampa Bay. Nicolino is winless in his last three outings, with a 5.63 ERA over that stretch.

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Cubs 12 vs. 3 Cardinals Final Recap

Hammel stars on mound, plate in Cubs' rout of Cardinals

By R.B. FALLSTROM - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 11:39 PM (EDT)

ST. LOUIS (AP) Jason Hammel had a lot to do with the early six-run cushion.

The pitcher went above and beyond in helping end the Chicago Cubs' first three-game losing streak of the season with a 12-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

''Right out of the gate, took my first swings before I made my first pitch,'' Hammel said after working 7 1-3 stingy innings and contributing a two-run double to Chicago's big first.

Hammel has beaten the Cardinals twice this season, allowing two runs in 13 1-3 innings. This was his longest outing of the year, and manager Joe Maddon thought he could have thrown a complete game.

''It's important for us, it's important for him psychologically to be able to do that,'' Maddon said. ''It's important that they know he can.''

Michael Wacha (2-5) gave up a career-worst eight runs in four innings and has lost five consecutive decisions for the first time. The 24-year-old right-hander was a 17-game winner last season and the NL championship series MVP as a rookie in 2013, but this season has a 5.04 ERA.

''It's a pretty discouraging start,'' Wacha said. ''I never really gave the team a chance.''

Jorge Soler drew a bases-loaded walk in the first and hit a two-run home run in the fifth.

The six-run inning was a season-best for the NL Central leaders, who snapped their first three-game losing streak of the season. David Ross had an RBI double for his 500th career hit on a ball that somehow eluded center fielder Randal Grichuk's glove at the warning track, and Kris Bryant had an RBI single in the outburst.

Hammel (6-1) bounced back from his first loss in his previous start, allowing one run on four hits and retiring the side in order five times. The two-run double gave him a career-best five RBIs on the year and his sixth hit in 23 at-bats.

''Nice, let's focus on that,'' Hammel said. ''And I've got four months to go.''

The outing was his longest since throwing 7 2-3 innings against the Dodgers on June 23, 2015. He's 6-1 for the second time in his career, also doing it in 2012.

''Honestly, I really wasn't that good tonight,'' Hammel said. ''I got away with a lot of stuff.''

Wacha had no losing streak longer than three games prior to this season. In his last three outings he has allowed 20 runs, 16 earned, in 12 innings with all three lasting four innings.

''When the season broke he was as good as anybody,'' manager Mike Matheny said. ''He found a real good spot and we know what it looks like when he can get into a good rhythm.''

Pinch hitters Tim Fedorowicz and Matt Szcur had an RBI apiece in a four-run ninth off Dean Kiekhefer.

GREAT GRABS

Cardinals rookie SS Aledmys Diaz made an outstanding over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left, the start of a highly unusual 6-4-3 double play to end the second. Kris Bryant singled and had rounded second when Diaz snared Anthony Rizzo's flare. Diaz tossed to second baseman Kolten Wong, who flipped to first.

Cubs reliever Justin Grimm fielded a smash by Diaz between his legs in the eighth.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Chicago has won Jake Arrieta's last 22 starts, a franchise record. He's 19-0 since his last loss on July 25, 2015 against the Phillies. Arrieta leads the majors with a 1.29 ERA and .153 opponents' batting average.

Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (4-4, 3.56) has lost four consecutive starts for the first time in his career. But he's 3-0 for his career against the Cubs.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: RF Jason Heyward (ribs) returned after missing three games and had two walks.

Cardinals: Jhonny Peralta (thumb) was 2 for 3 and scored a run in a rehab start for Class A Peoria.

GOOD TOSSES

J.R. Hildebrand, who'll start from the fifth row in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, was one of two celebrities throwing first pitches. David Eckstein, the World Series MVP in 2006, also got the honor.

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Angels 1 vs. 4 Rangers Final Recap

Rangers youngsters Perez, Mazara key 4-1 win over Angels

By SCHUYLER DIXON - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, May 25 at 12:17 AM (EDT)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Martin Perez pumped his fist and shouted - and the Texas left-hander kept on hollering as he came off the mound when he escaped a sixth-inning jam against the Los Angeles Angels.

Part of the reason for the excitement was that the 25-year-old kept calm even with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols coming to the plate in a one-run game.

Perez finally got a win after another strong May start and rookie Nomar Mazara homered in his home park for the first time, leading the Rangers to a 4-1 victory Tuesday night.

''It was probably as calm as we've seen him in those type of situations all year long,'' Texas manager Jeff Banister said. ''Early on in the season, those type of situations he let speed up on him and seemed to get out of control and would lose the strike zone.''

Perez (2-4) was winless for the month despite a 2.59 ERA in four starts coming in, and he dropped that number to 2.08 with six strikeouts in six shutout innings.

Run support for Perez has been among the worst in the majors. But Mazara's seventh homer was a two-run shot into the upper deck in right field off Jhoulys Chacin (0-1) for a 3-0 lead in the sixth right after Perez escaped after putting runners on first and third with no outs.

''He's been pitching great, just, we couldn't score runs,'' said the 21-year-old Mazara, who had his third three-hit game and reached base all four times. ''But today we finally did, so pretty good for him.''

After Shane Robinson was thrown out at home trying to score on a hard grounder to Mitch Moreland at first base, Perez struck out Trout looking and walked Pujols to load the bases.

Perez finished the 31-pitch inning with a strikeout of Johnny Giavotella, who had a career-best 12-game hitting streak snapped. Perez has six quality starts in six appearances against the Angels.

''You hope first and third, nobody out, at least you're coming out of that inning tied in the ballgame,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He made some pitches, and they made some plays on the defensive side.''

The Rangers lost the shutout bid when 30-year-old rookie reliever Matt Bush gave up his first run in his sixth outing on a run-scoring groundout by Pujols in the eighth.

Sam Dyson struck out two in a perfect ninth for his third save in three chances since becoming the closer and fifth overall this season.

WAITING FOR WORD

Rougned Odor went 0 for 4 in the leadoff spot for Texas on the day his appeal was heard in New York for an eight-game suspension for punching Toronto slugger Jose Bautista during a brawl on May 15.

SHORT HOPS

Texas' Ian Desmond, who had three hits, has multiple hits in 10 of his last 14 games. ... Elvis Andrus extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a fourth-inning double that scored Mazara.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: LHP C.J. Wilson (left shoulder inflammation) and 2B Cliff Pennington (strained left hamstring) will start rehab assignments with Class A Inland Empire on Wednesday. Wilson hasn't pitched this season, and Pennington has been on the disabled list since May 13.

Rangers: Pitching coach Doug Brocail anticipates RHP Yu Darvish having a pitch limit around 90 for his first major league start Saturday since elbow surgery last year. That limit is similar to his final rehab appearance. Darvish last pitched in the majors on Aug. 9, 2014.

UP NEXT

Angels: LHP Hector Santiago (3-2, 3.93 ERA) makes his first start since getting ejected in the third inning of a 9-4 loss to Baltimore on Friday for gesturing toward plate umpire John Tumpane. Santiago, who was upset over balls and strikes, had already given up three home runs.

Rangers: RHP Colby Lewis (3-0, 2.75) has allowed four earned runs in 21 innings (1.71 ERA) over his last three starts with 17 strikeouts and one walk. He got his 100th career win in the majors and Japan combined with a 2-1 victory over Houston on Friday. He has pitched at least seven innings in a career-high five straight starts.

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Blue Jays 0 vs. 6 Yankees Final Recap

Yanks back at .500, beat Blue Jays 6-0 behind Eovaldi

By RONALD BLUM - AP Baseball Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 11:22 PM (EDT)

NEW YORK (AP) After their worst start in a quarter-century, the New York Yankees allowed themselves a moment to exhale: For the first time since the second week of the season, they're back at .500.

A resurgent Nathan Eovaldi combined with his bullpen on a two-hitter to win his fifth straight decision, and the Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-0 Tuesday night to extend their winning streak to six games.

''It's a milestone for us,'' Chase Headley said. ''When things are going bad, you set your sights to get back to .500 and then you go from there. We've had to play really good baseball to get back here, but we're here and now we've got to keep going, keep building.''

Carlos Beltran homered off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and drove in New York's first two runs. Having dropped as many as eight games under .500, the Yankees (22-22) won for the 13th time in 18 games and evened their record for the first time since they were 4-4 on the morning of April 15. New York had not strung together this many wins since last June 1-9.

''There's no doubt that we played horrible the first month,'' Beltran said. ''We were able to fight through it as a team and turn it around.''

Eovaldi (5-2), whose fastball velocity trails only the Mets' Noah Syndergaard among big league starting pitchers, improved to 5-0 with a 2.92 ERA in his last six starts and has allowed one run and three hits over 12 innings in his last two outings. He gave up two hits over six-plus innings in this one, escaping trouble in the second when, with two on, Kevin Pillar hit into a forceout and Darwin Barney struck out.

''After the third inning, I felt a lot better. I was able to locate the ball inside,'' said Eovaldi, who shifted more to his splitter as the game went on.

With New York ahead 2-0, Dellin Betances relieved after Troy Tulowitzki's leadoff walk in the seventh. He struck out Jimmy Paredes, retired Pillar on a flyout to the left-field warning track and fanned Barney.

After the Yankees doubled their lead in the bottom half, New York was able to avoid using the remainder of its late-inning trio, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. Kirby Yates and Luis Cessa finished with an inning each.

Just having the Done BMC bullpen trio since Chapman's return May 9 from a domestic violence suspension has changed the Yankees' mindset.

''That gives us a sense of relief to the pitchers, the starting pitchers, saying, you know what: I don't have to be perfect,'' Beltran explained.

Beltran drove in a first-inning run when he beat Tulowitzki's relay throw from second on a grounder to avoid what would have been an inning-ending double play and allow Jacoby Ellsbury to sprint home from third. Ellsbury tripled leading off when Jose Bautista made an ill-advised attempt for a diving backhand catch, and the ball rolled to the right-field scoreboard.

Beltran homered into the right-field second deck in the fourth, his 10th this season. Austin Romine chased Dickey with an RBI double in the seventh, and Ellsbury followed with a run-scoring infield hit against Joe Biagini. Headley added a sacrifice fly in the eighth, hitting right-handed against switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, and Didi Gregorius had an RBI single.

Following their only off day in a stretch of 40 games in 41 days, the Yankees started a three-game series that will be their only time at home over a 20-game span. New York also is beginning a stretch in which it plays 12 of 13 games against AL East rivals.

Making his 250th major league start, Dickey (2-6) dropped to 1-6 in nine appearances since winning his opener at Tampa Bay. He gave up four runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.

New York is winning despite the absence of Alex Rodriguez, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury for three weeks, and a minimal contribution from Mark Teixeira, who has two RBIs since April 26.

''We were struggling mightily for a while there,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''So you get those going, and you've really got something.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: Starting a rehab assignment at Double-A Trenton, Rodriguez was 2 for 4 with a pair of singles and an RBI. He is likely to be activated by Friday. ... RHP Luis Severino (strained right triceps) is to start Sunday for Class A Tampa.

UP NEXT

RHP Ivan Nova (3-1) is slated to start for the Yankees on five days' rest, and Marco Estrada (1-2) goes to the mound for the Blue Jays. Nova is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in three starts since joining the rotation.

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Diamondbacks 1 vs. 12 Pirates Final Recap

Polanco drives in 5, Pirates crush Diamondbacks 12-1

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 11:47 PM (EDT)

PITTSBURGH (AP) Thrust into the third spot in the lineup behind superstar teammate Andrew McCutchen earlier this month, Gregory Polanco knew it might take a while to get settled.

Or maybe not.

The rapidly maturing Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder is so hot at the moment, even his mishits are finding the seats. Polanco crushed a three-run homer off struggling Shelby Miller in the first inning and finished with a career-best five RBIs as the Pirates rolled by the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-1 on Tuesday night.

''You know you're in the middle of the lineup,'' Polanco said. ''You're expected to hit. You're fighting every pitch, every at-bat.''

Polanco's shot to the concourse in right-center field off Miller (1-6) three batters in gave Pittsburgh an early boost, even if Polanco flung his bat in disgust figuring he'd just missed it. Instead, it cleared the seats for his sixth home run of the season.

''I thought I didn't get that one,'' Polanco said. ''I don't know but ... (it just) kept going.''

Polanco is hitting .317 (20 of 63) with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 15 games since manager Clint Hurdle elevated him to third in a lineup that is batting an impressive .283.

''You put good hitters at third,'' Hurdle said. ''It's been a nice run for him.''

And a miserable one for Miller. His recent recovery from a poor start with the Diamondbacks took a step backward. Less than a year removed from an All-Star appearance with Atlanta, Miller had his ERA rise to 7.09 after surrendering six runs in five innings.

''I feel I'm obviously a better pitcher than this but the results just aren't there,'' Miller said. ''I'm not going to quit, though.''

The Diamondbacks acquired Miller in December figuring he and Zack Greinke could spearhead the club's return to contention. The transition for both has been uneasy at best. Greinke's ERA is 4.59 and Miller's remains well north of that thanks to an inability to keep the ball in the strike zone or the ballpark, problems that struck once again versus the surging Pirates.

''I keep putting the leadoff hitter on base and that keeps hurting me,'' Miller said. ''I've got to stop doing it. That's pretty simple. I didn't have command of my fastball tonight and it got me into the jams that I wasn't able to escape.''

Francisco Liriano (4-3) scattered two hits in 5 2/3 innings and added an RBI single as the Pirates improved to 6-2 during a 10-game homestand. Pittsburgh is 15-2 in Liriano's last 17 starts at PNC Park, though the left-hander wasn't as clean as he hoped after getting staked to a massive lead, leaving after walking in a run in the sixth.

CAREENING CAMINERO

Pittsburgh reliever Arquimedes Caminero was ejected in the eighth after hitting a pair of batters in the head. Caminero drilled 2B Jean Segura in the seventh and Nick Ahmed in the eighth. Segura was sent to the hospital for tests after showing signs of a concussion. Caminero has struggled all season, walking 13 and hitting three in just 17 1/3 innings of work.

''Guys need to keep the ball down and away from the head area,'' Arizona manager Chip Hale said. ''If a guy can't do it then he has no business being up here in the major leagues.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Diamondbacks: OF David Peralta is hitting off a tee and sending Hale texts about how rapidly his inflamed right wrist is improving. Peralta went on the disabled list on May 15. ... Reliever Josh Collmenter was scheduled to make a rehab appearance at Triple-A Reno. Collmenter has been on the disabled list all season with right shoulder inflammation.

Pirates: Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong has multiple facial fractures and significant swelling over his left eye after getting hit by a fastball from Colorado's Jordan Lyles on Monday. Vogelsong remained in the hospital on Tuesday and trainer Todd Tomczyk said it could be several days before the swelling subsides enough to get a clearer picture of the extent of Vogelsong's injuries, though Vogelsong's vision has not been severely affected. Pittsburgh called up A.J. Schugel to fill Vogelsong's spot on the roster.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks: Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.53 ERA) returns to work on Wednesday after the Diamondbacks skipped his spot in the rotation while he dealt with a sore groin. De La Rosa is 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last five starts.

Pirates: Jeff Locke (3-3, 4.63 ERA) looks for a second straight victory in the middle game of the three-game set. Locke is 0-2 with a 6.87 ERA in four career appearances against the Diamondbacks.

[CLOSE]

Mets 4 vs. 7 Nationals Final Recap

Strasburg stays perfect as Nats beat Harvey and Mets 7-4

By DAVID GINSBURG - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 11:13 PM (EDT)

WASHINGTON (AP) As an unbeaten pitcher for a first-place team, Stephen Strasburg is at the top of his game.

Given where he was a year ago, perhaps the Nationals' star can serve as a positive example for struggling Matt Harvey of the New York Mets.

Strasburg struck out 11, and Washington hit three of its season-high five home runs off Harvey in a 7-4 victory Tuesday night.

Strasburg (8-0) gave up two runs and four hits over 6 2/3 innings in defeating Harvey and the Mets for the second time in six days. Strasburg has five games this season with at least 10 strikeouts and 26 over his seven-year career.

Last season, Strasburg spent two stints on the disabled list and was 3-5 before bouncing back.

''There were definitely a lot of lows for me last year,'' he said. ''I am definitely trying to learn from that, to try to ride the roller coaster and stay consistent.''

Harvey (3-7) can relate. After going 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA last season, the right-hander is in danger of losing his spot in the rotation after a third straight miserable outing.

''We've got to think what's not just best for Matt, but what's best for us moving forward at the moment,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ''There are a lot of things to consider. We're not going to make any rash judgments tonight. We're going to sleep on it.''

Harvey bolted from the clubhouse before talking to reporters.

His early departure from the scene mirrored his performance on the mound. Harvey allowed five runs and eight hits over five rocky innings and has yielded 16 earned runs and 31 hits over his last three starts.

''I'm really surprised,'' Collins said. ''This guy is way too good to continue like this. But the guy tonight he faced was in a similar spot last year.''

Strasburg is the third starter in franchise history to start 8-0.

''It means he's one of the best out there and he's pitching like it,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''A lot of people say the wins don't matter, but they matter to the guys on the team and matter to the person getting the wins.''

Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon hit successive solo shots to put Washington ahead in the fourth inning, and Daniel Murphy added a two-run drive off his former teammate in the fifth for a 5-1 lead.

The three homers allowed by Harvey tied a career high. The former first-round draft pick hasn't lasted more than six innings in any of his 10 starts and has an unsightly 6.08 ERA.

Ben Revere connected off Antonio Bastardo in the seventh and Wilson Ramos went deep against Jim Henderson in the eighth for Washington.

Asdrubal Cabrera and Eric Campbell homered for the Mets, whose four-game winning streak ended.

Making his major league debut, New York third baseman Ty Kelly went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

Strasburg retired the first 10 batters, six by strikeout, before Cabrera homered into the Nationals bullpen beyond the wall in right field.

Zimmerman and Rendon answered in the bottom half, and Bryce Harper delivered a sacrifice fly in the fifth before Murphy went deep.

Campbell hit his first home run of the season in the ninth off Shawn Kelley.

STREAKY

Mets: New York relievers had a run of 16 1/3 scoreless innings over five games before Bastardo gave up Revere's first homer of the season.

Nationals: Harper went 0 for 3 and is 4 for 30 since May 13. His batting average is .246. ... Murphy had his major league-leading 23rd multihit game of the season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: 1B Wilmer Flores went 2 for 3 for Double-A Binghamton vs. Richmond in his first major league rehabilitation game Tuesday.

Nationals: RHP Matt Belisle (calf strain) returned to Washington for the day after launching his rehabilitation assignment Monday with Class A Potomac. ''I saw Matt in the video room,'' Baker said. ''He was kind of smiling. That's a good sign. Usually he's kind of stoic in his look.''

UP NEXT

Mets: Steven Matz (6-1, 2.81 ERA) brings a six-game winning streak into Wednesday's series finale. He has never lost a game on the road (5-0) or faced the Nationals.

Nationals: Tanner Roark (3-3, 2.89) is 5-0 with a 3.05 ERA in 11 lifetime appearances against the Mets.

[CLOSE]

Athletics 5 vs. 6 Mariners Final Recap

Martin homers in 9th, Mariners rally to beat A's 6-5

By JIM HOEHN - Associated Press

Wednesday, May 25 at 2:36 AM (EDT)

SEATTLE (AP) Leonys Martin needed a few looks to figure out Ryan Madson's changeup, and then he solved the offspeed pitch in a big way.

Martin hit a game-ending, two-run homer off the closer in the ninth inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 6-5 comeback victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.

''I've faced him a few times and he's never thrown me a changeup,'' Martin said. ''I don't even know what the action on the ball (is). ... I just see the ball and swing and don't get too aggressive.''

Seattle trailed 5-2 after seven innings but got a two-run homer from Robinson Cano in the eighth off John Axford.

Madson (2-1) came on in the ninth and got two quick outs before Norichika Aoki punched a double down the left field line.

Martin then drove a 1-2 pitch deep over the wall in right-center for his ninth home run.

''I slowed him down with four changeups in a row,'' Madson said. ''The last one was pretty much right down the middle. That's the frustrating part, is the location of the last one. I've gone four in a row before, but you make the fourth one the best one. That's not what happened tonight.''

Martin, whose previous season high was eight homers in 457 at-bats in 2013 with Texas, showed the black bat afterward with the seams of the ball visible on the barrel.

''As soon as I hit the ball, I knew it was going to be gone,'' Martin said. ''I crushed the ball. I was just trying to put the ball in play.''

Oakland erased a 2-1 deficit in the sixth, jumping on the Mariners bullpen to complete a four-run rally capped by Coco Crisp's bases-loaded double off Mike Montgomery.

Montgomery (2-0) wasn't charged with the runs and finished the game with 3 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cano put the Mariners up 1-0 in the first, following a one-out single by Seth Smith with an RBI double to left-center.

Crisp brought the A's even in the third with his fourth homer, a one-out solo shot to right off Nathan Karns.

''It speaks a lot to the character of our club and all I can say is `wow,''' Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ''They just don't quit. The huge home run by Robbie to get us close, Aoki huge hit with two out and Leonys, what can you say? Mike Montgomery. A lot of heroes in tonight's game. Keep fighting, keep battling and we have something good going on in the clubhouse. It's a lot of fun.''

RED-HOT CANO

Cano's three RBIs pushed his total to 42, tops in the majors. He has reached safely in 23 consecutive games, hitting .344 (33 for 96) over that span with five homers, 10 doubles and 18 RBIs.

BETTER OUTING FOR GRAVEMAN

Oakland starter Kendall Graveman allowed two runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, but that was an improvement over his previous five starts in which he was 0-5 with a 7.92 ERA.

TRAINING ROOM

A's: 2B Jed Lowrie, on the DL with a bruised shin, was 1 for 4 in a rehab appearance on Monday for Triple-A Nashville. He is scheduled to be activated Wednesday and in the lineup. ''I think as far as the psychology goes, we've been subtracting, and now we're on the verge of having a couple additions,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ''I think that will certainly be welcome. I know Jed's looking forward to getting back in the lineup.''

Mariners: SS Ketel Marte said his injured left thumb continues to improve, but he's being cautious. ''It's better than yesterday,'' said Marte, who is on the 15-day DL. ''It's hard, because I want to play.''

UP NEXT

A's: Zach Neal will be called up Wednesday from Nashville to make his first major league start. The right-hander was 5-1 with a 2.53 ERA in seven starts with the Sounds. He was previously called up May 11 for one game and made his debut with three innings of relief against the Red Sox, allowing three runs on four hits in three innings.

Mariners: Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (2-4, 4.39 ERA) is 2-1 with a 4.07 ERA in four starts in May after going 0-3 in five starts in April. In his only start against the A's this season, he allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings in an 8-2 victory.

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Brewers 2 vs. 1 Braves Final Recap

Gennett's RBI single in 8th lifts Brewers past Braves, 2-1

By CHARLES ODUM - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 11:15 PM (EDT)

ATLANTA (AP) The Milwaukee Brewers had the perfect scenario to snap its string of road losses - facing an Atlanta Braves team that has the majors' worst home record.

Scooter Gennett's tiebreaking single in the eighth inning lifted the Brewers to a 2-1 victory over Atlanta on Tuesday night, ending Milwaukee's streak of four straight road losses.

The Brewers improved to only 7-14 on the road, but the Braves have been even worse at home - now 2-18 with no series wins. Milwaukee, still looking for its first road series win, was swept in three games at the Mets before this series.

''It's very important, especially after the series we had with New York,'' Gennett said. ''Hopefully we can take the series tomorrow.''

With two outs in the eighth, Bud Norris (1-6) walked Jonathan Villar, who stole second base. Gennett then lined a single to right field. Villar scored as Nick Markakis' throw to the plate from right field was up the third-base line.

Ryan Braun's eighth homer gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the fourth.

Braves starter Julio Teheran set a personal high with 12 strikeouts while allowing one run in seven innings. He is 1-2 with a 0.89 ERA over his last six starts. He has 42 strikeouts and nine walks in that span.

''Teheran has been pitching as well as anybody in the league,'' Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ''I think we anticipated a low-scoring game, and both pitchers really delivered.''

Jimmy Nelson allowed one run in six innings for Milwaukee.

The loss spoiled Brian Snitker's home debut as the Braves' interim manager. Snitker, the former Triple-A Gwinnett manager, was promoted after Fredi Gonzalez was fired on May 17.

''It's exciting. Wish the outcome was different,'' Snitker said.

Michael Blazek (2-1) pitched a scoreless seventh. Jeremy Jeffress recorded the final three outs to earn his 12th save.

Mallex Smith tied the score by driving in Erick Aybar from second base with a fifth-inning triple to the right-field corner.

WASTED CHANCE

The Braves loaded the bases with no outs in the second but could not score. Aybar lined into a double play before Teheran's groundout to second base ended the inning.

1-1 ON REVIEWS

Blazek walked Smith in the seventh. Smith was called safe stealing second before a review showed he popped off the bag while the tag was being applied by Gennett, ending the inning.

Counsell asked for another review in the eighth after Ramon Flores was picked off first base. This time the call stood.

4 WHIFFS, 1 INNING

Teheran logged four strikeouts in the second inning. After fanning Jonathan Lucroy and Chris Carter, Teheran struck out Kirk Nieuwenhuis, but the third strike was a wild pitch that enabled Nieuwenhuis to reach first base. Following Aaron Hill's single, Flores struck out to end the inning.

Craig Kimbrel recorded Atlanta's last four-strikeout inning against Miami on Sept. 26, 2012.

Carter had four of the Brewers' 15 strikeouts.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: LHP Will Smith (sprained right knee) threw a scoreless inning with one strikeout and one hit allowed in his first rehab stint with Class A Brevard County on Tuesday. ... RHP Corey Knebel (left oblique strain) and RHP Matt Garza (right latissimus strain) are moving closer to rehab assignments.

Braves: RHP Shae Simmons has had good results at Triple-A Gwinnett in his comeback from Tommy John surgery. He could be promoted in June, providing a possible boost for the bullpen. ''That would be like making a nice trade when you get him back,'' Snitker said. ... LHP Manny Banuelos (left elbow inflammation) was activated from the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra (3-0), who had 11 strikeouts while allowing three runs over seven innings in a 5-3 win over the Cubs on Thursday, will make his fifth start when he faces the Braves on Wednesday night. The Brewers are 4-0 in his starts.

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz will try to regain his momentum after lasting only three innings, allowing five runs, in an 8-2 loss at Pittsburgh last Thursday. He allowed a combined two runs over 15 innings in his two previous starts.

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Indians 6 vs. 2 White Sox Final Recap

Tomlin wins again as Indians beat Sale, White Sox 6-2

By JAY COHEN - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, May 25 at 12:04 AM (EDT)

CHICAGO (AP) Cleveland manager Terry Francona raved about Josh Tomlin. The Indians roared when Mike Napoli's awkward slide into third base was shown on the TV in the visitors' clubhouse.

Fun night all around for Tomlin and company.

Tomlin beat Chris Sale in a one-sided matchup of unbeaten pitchers and Francisco Lindor had three hits, leading Cleveland to a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.

''I was able to throw strikes and mix it up enough to where they put the ball in play and the guys made the plays,'' Tomlin said.

Tomlin pitched eight innings of two-run ball to become the first Indians starter to reach 7-0 since Dennis Martinez won his first nine decisions in 1995. Sale was knocked out in the fourth, ending his bid to become the first pitcher to win his first 10 starts in a season since Andy Hawkins for San Diego in 1985.

It was baseball's first matchup of 6-0 or better pitchers since 1988, and only the fourth time in major league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

''The past doesn't matter,'' Sale said. ''It's right now. Everything is about right now and nine wins didn't get me anything tonight.''

Chris Gimenez homered for Cleveland, which had lost three straight before Monday's 5-1 victory at Chicago in the second game of a doubleheader. Jose Ramirez walked twice and scored twice, and Napoli drove in two runs.

Adam Eaton hit his fifth career leadoff homer and Jose Abreu broke out of a slump with three hits, but the White Sox were unable to overcome a rare off night for Sale (9-1).

''They had some good at-bats against him,'' manager Robin Ventura said. ''They got to a guy that's been rolling along. He was up there velocity-wise, it was uncharacteristic for him. It just seemed like everything was a little harder than normal.''

The ace left-hander struck out two in each of the first two innings and then retired the first two batters of the third. But Ramirez followed with a 10-pitch walk, and Sale unraveled from there.

Napoli had a two-run triple and Juan Uribe added an RBI single on the ninth pitch of his at-bat, helping Cleveland to a 3-1 lead. After Tomlin (7-0) quickly retired the White Sox in order in the third, Gimenez led off the fourth with a long drive to left for his second homer and Lindor's one-out RBI single chased Sale from his shortest start of the season.

''In the third inning we did a really good job with the pitch count and we scored,'' Francona said, ''and then we followed it up with more, which is big. I mean we made him work.''

Sale was charged with six runs after yielding six runs in his previous five starts combined. He walked four after issuing one walk over his previous three starts, including a streak of consecutive complete games without a single free pass coming into Tuesday.

It was more than enough support for Tomlin, who allowed five hits, struck out six and walked one. The right-hander has issued just six walks in 51 innings this season.

''Seeing him going out there and going all the way to the eighth, couldn't ask for anything better,'' Lindor said. ''I'm glad we have him on our team.''

RESTING

Indians 2B Jason Kipnis and C Yan Gomes got the day off. Francona said Lindor likely will rest Wednesday.

Gomes is batting .145 (9 for 62) in May.

''We've been playing a lot of baseball and he's been going through some frustrations,'' Francona said. ''I think that doesn't help your energy level. Hopefully, this will be helpful to him.''

NOT BAD AT ALL

Lindor is batting .340 (33 for 97) with two homers and 11 RBIs in May. He is 8 for 18 for his career against Sale.

WORTH NOTING

The White Sox released veteran 1B Travis Ishikawa from his minor league contract. He had been at Triple-A Charlotte.

UP NEXT

Indians RHP Corey Kluber (3-5, 4.10 ERA) and White Sox LHP Jose Quintana (5-3, 1.98 ERA) meet in the finale of the four-game series on Wednesday. Kluber is coming off seven innings of two-run ball in a victory at Boston. Quintana has dropped each of his last two starts, allowing four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings in a 4-1 loss to Kansas City on Friday night.

---

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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Orioles 2 vs. 3 Astros Final Recap

Correa's RBI single in 13th lifts Astros over Orioles 3-2

By KRISTIE RIEKEN - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, May 25 at 1:52 AM (EDT)

HOUSTON (AP) When the Baltimore Orioles walked the two batters ahead of Houston's Carlos Correa to load the bases in the 13th inning on Tuesday night, the star shortstop had only one thought.

''I'm going end this,'' Correa said.

And that's exactly what he did.

Correa's tiebreaking single lifted the Astros to a 3-2 win over the Orioles that ended a four-game losing streak.

Rookie Tony Kemp hit his first career triple off Dylan Bundy (0-1) and over the head of Adam Jones, who was playing shallow in center field, with no outs in the 13th inning. The Orioles then intentionally walked George Springer and Jose Altuve to bring last year's rookie of the year to the plate.

Correa snapped an 0-for-15 skid with an RBI single into shallow center that scored Kemp.

''It feels great to get a hit ... I was visualizing us celebrating after my at-bat,'' Correa said. ''So good it happened. It's really good it happened.''

Manager A.J. Hinch was glad to see Correa get a big hit after struggling a bit lately.

''His season is below the standard in which he's going to live in his career,'' Hinch said. ''But we are only in May (and) there are going to be a ton of stretches where he's going to be the highlight of the night, and tonight was one of them.''

Michael Feliz (2-1) struck out the side in the 13th for the win.

Pedro Alvarez and Manny Machado hit solo home runs for the Orioles. Luis Valbuena had a two-run homer for Houston in the fifth.

Houston used six relievers after starter Doug Fister left with two outs in the sixth, and they combined for 16 strikeouts. That tied a franchise record for most strikeouts by the bullpen in a single game that was set on April 25, 1962 against St. Louis. Fister fanned two to give Houston a season-high 18 strikeouts on Tuesday.

''It's kind of something we have had a challenge with,'' manager Buck Showalter said of the strikeouts. ''Tonight, you're going to give credit to their pitchers. They are good. Ours are, too. They are saying probably the same thing over there, but they got the `W,' so they aren't looking at it the same way.''

Baltimore had runners at first and second with one out in the 12th, but Scott Feldman struck out Jones and Chris Davis to leave them stranded.

It's the longest game of the season for the Orioles, who had just two extra-inning games entering Tuesday, both of which were 10 innings.

Houston has played longer, beating the Indians 5-3 in 16 innings on May 11.

The Orioles had a chance to win it in the ninth, loading the bases with two outs, but Luke Gregerson struck out Joey Rickard to end the threat.

Chris Tillman yielded three hits and two runs with five strikeouts in seven innings.

Fister allowed three hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings.

The Orioles had just one hit, a single by Jonathan Schoop in the second inning, before Alvarez sent one into the seats in right field to start the fifth.

Catcher Jason Castro helped Fister in that inning when he slid on his knees to make an acrobatic catch near Houston's dugout on a foul ball hit by Schoop for the first out.

Machado snapped out of an 0-for-11 slump in a big way when he hit a solo homer onto the train tracks beyond left field to start the sixth inning to tie it at 2-2.

Colby Rasmus was ejected for arguing with the umpire after he struck out looking in the sixth inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Yovani Gallardo (right shoulder tendinitis) is expected to throw a simulated game on Saturday and will likely throw one more simulated game before beginning a rehabilitation assignment.

Astros: OF Carlos Gomez, who is on the disabled list with a bruised left ribcage, went 0 for 3 and was hit by a pitch as the designated hitter in the first game of a rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi on Tuesday. He'll play center field on Wednesday in Corpus Christi.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Tyler Wilson (2-2, 3.68) is set to start for the Orioles on Wednesday. Wilson looks to bounce back after allowing six hits and five runs in six innings of a 7-2 loss to Seattle.

Astros: Collin McHugh (4-4, 5.13) will make his 10th start on Wednesday. McHugh pitched well in his last outing, allowing five hits and two runs in seven innings, but took the loss as he was outpitched by Chris Sale in a 2-1 win by the Chicago White Sox.

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Phillies 1 vs. 3 Tigers Final Recap

Verlander shines, Rodriguez earns 400th save in Detroit win

By NOAH TRISTER - AP Baseball Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 11:06 PM (EDT)

DETROIT (AP) After joining some impressive company with his 400th save, Francisco Rodriguez felt all sorts of emotions.

''I don't even know if I cried, screamed, laughed,'' Rodriguez said. ''A lot of things on my mind in that moment.''

Rodriguez became the sixth pitcher to reach 400 saves when he closed out Justin Verlander's gem Tuesday night in Detroit's 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. Miguel Cabrera drove in two runs for the Tigers, and since losing 11 of 12 earlier this month, Detroit has won eight of nine.

Verlander (4-4) struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings. He's allowed only four runs over his last four starts and gave up three hits and two walks in a 108-pitch effort Tuesday.

''Each start's been a little bit different,'' Verlander said. ''Tonight, it was the fastball mainly. Changeup was pretty good when I needed it, had some decent sliders mixed in there.''

Cabrera hit an RBI double in the first and a run-scoring groundout in the sixth. Rodriguez allowed a run in the ninth but held on for his 14th save in 15 chances this year.

Rodriguez came to the Tigers in an offseason trade as part of Detroit's latest attempt to solve its bullpen problems. He blew a save April 5 in the team's first game of the season but has converted 14 chances in a row since then.

''I think his command is back,'' manager Brad Ausmus said. ''I think when he first started the season, his command was a little off. He wasn't locating his fastball where he wanted.''

Rodriguez joined Mariano Rivera (652), Trevor Hoffman (601), Lee Smith (478), John Franco (424) and Billy Wagner (422) in the 400-save club.

''When I come up to the big leagues, I was just a little kid with a lot of dreams,'' said Rodriguez, who wore shoes afterward with `400' on them. ''Never even crossed my mind, saying 10, 15, 12, 14 years later, you're going to be able to accomplish 400 saves.''

Jeremy Hellickson (4-3) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out seven.

The Tigers were without Ian Kinsler (flu-like symptoms) and Justin Upton (right quadriceps tightness).

Cabrera had hit five homers in his previous four games, and although the Phillies kept him from adding to that total, his double to left-center field was enough to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Detroit added two more runs in the sixth on Cabrera's groundout and an RBI single by Victor Martinez.

After a two-out walk to Odubel Herrera in the third, Verlander retired 11 in a row until Tommy Joseph singled in the seventh. Verlander's last pitch was a 97 mph fastball that sent Herrera down swinging in the eighth.

''He was locating his fastball, and we just weren't catching up to it for some reason,'' Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. ''That's pretty much it.''

Herrera was in the starting lineup after being pulled in the seventh inning the previous night when Mackanin didn't think he ran hard enough after hitting a grounder.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Cabrera, who went 3 for 3 in each of the previous two games, finally made an out when Hellickson fanned him in the third. Immediately after swinging and missing for the third strike, Cabrera flashed a quick thumbs-up back toward the pitcher.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Tigers: Upton missed Monday's game in addition to Tuesday's. Ausmus said he'd likely be held out Wednesday, too, with an off day coming up Thursday. ... RHP Jordan Zimmermann (strained right groin) is expected to pick up a ball Friday for long toss, and if that goes well, Ausmus says he'll probably throw a side session Sunday.

UP NEXT

Phillies: Aaron Nola (3-3) takes the mound Wednesday as Philadelphia tries to avoid a three-game sweep against Detroit. He allowed five runs Friday against Atlanta, although only two of them were earned.

Tigers: Anibal Sanchez (3-5) starts for Detroit. He has allowed at least four runs in each of his last four starts.

---

Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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Reds 2 vs. 8 Dodgers Final Recap

Dodgers rout Reds 8-2, send Cincy to 9th straight loss

By BETH HARRIS - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, May 25 at 2:20 AM (EDT)

LOS ANGELES (AP) Yasiel Puig's failure to run out a single in the sixth inning drew the ire of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and got him pulled from the game.

Puig was hitless in his first two at-bats before singling during the Dodgers' two-run sixth on their way to an 8-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

''I thought it was a home run and I didn't run out the ball,'' Puig said through a translator. ''It was a bad decision on my part. It was a good decision on my manager's part. I should have run out the ball.''

Roberts was visibly upset in the dugout before replacing Puig with pinch-hitter Carl Crawford in the eighth.

''We talk about playing the game the right way. Mental mistakes you can live with, but he should have been on second base,'' Roberts said. ''I think Yasiel feels bad about it. It's a continued learning process for everyone.''

Roberts insisted there was no carry over from Puig's base-running gaffe in Sunday's 17-inning win at San Diego. The Cuban hit a leadoff single in the ninth, took second on a wild pitch, but didn't take third on A.J. Ellis' bunt even though it was open. Puig said he didn't run because he was confused.

''This was an isolated incident,'' Roberts said of the outfielder's latest mistake.

Joc Pederson doubled in the tying run and then scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error in the fourth for the Dodgers, who extended their winning streak over the Reds to eight games. The victory moved the Dodgers back above .500 and evened their home record at 12-12.

Mike Bolsinger (1-1) allowed two runs and three hits in 5 2/3 innings of a spot start, having been brought back from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday in place of injured Chin-hui Tsao, who went on the 15-day disabled list. Bolsinger struck out six and walked one.

''I feel like I got over the hump,'' Bolsinger said. ''Everything was working. Getting ahead of batters was priority number one.''

The Reds lost their season-high ninth in a row.

''At this point in time I am at a loss for words,'' manager Bryan Price said. ''Sloppy defensive game and we didn't hit, that is a bad combination.''

Daniel Wright (0-1) made his major league debut, giving up four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked one after coming up from Triple A-Louisville to start in place of Tim Adleman, who strained his left oblique against Cleveland last week. He gave up three straight singles to open the game.

''I was definitely a little bit anxious to get out there. First inning was a little bit fast for me but I was able to settle down,'' he said. ''I wish I could have gone a little bit longer but it is good to get my feet wet.''

The Reds have been outscored 69-25 during their losing streak. They have managed just five hits in the series' first two games, having gotten two in a 1-0 loss on Monday. They committed three errors, giving them six so far in the series, including three by catcher Austin Barnhart.

''The last thing I am worried about in my game is throwing,'' Barnhart said. ''I have never had that be an issue. It's just trying to hunt down opportunities to lessen the damage of an inning.''

Joey Votto went 1 for 4 with a strikeout for the Reds.

''Everybody wants to get out of the rut as quickly as we can and sometimes it just takes a little longer than we would like,'' Barnhart said.

Trayce Thompson singled leading off the fourth and scored on Pederson's double to tie the game 2-all. Pederson stole third base and scored on Barnhart's throwing error after the ball sailed into left field.

''I think everyone is pressing more than is necessary,'' Price said.

The Dodgers added two runs in the sixth, the first coming on Puig's RBI single off the wall in right field against Dayan Diaz. Pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick was safe at first base on an error by Votto and Puig came sliding home on his belly, getting his left hand around the bat that was blocking the plate and barely touching safe ahead of Barnhart's tag.

Adam Duvall's two-run homer with two outs in the fourth barely cleared Pederson's outstretched glove at the wall in center field, giving the Reds a 2-1 lead.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu will throw four innings or 60-65 pitches in his second rehab start Wednesday, this time for Triple-A Oklahoma City in Fresno. ... LF Scott Van Slyke (low back irritation) was set to play nine innings at first base Tuesday in another rehab start for Oklahoma City.

REFRESHED BULLPEN

Four Dodgers relievers tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings, having gotten some much-needed rest a night earlier when Clayton Kershaw tossed a complete game. The bullpen has allowed just two runs in its last 20 innings (0.90 ERA) over three games.

SHUTTING `EM OUT

With Kershaw's major league-leading third shutout on Monday, he became the first major leaguer to toss three shutouts in his first 10 games since David Cone had three in his first nine starts for Kansas City in 1994. The last Dodgers pitcher to accomplish the feat was Pedro Astasio, who recorded four shutouts in his first 10 major league starts from July-September 1992. The Dodgers' six shutouts this season are second in the majors behind Philadelphia's seven.

UP NEXT

Reds: RHP Dan Straily (2-1, 2.85 ERA) makes his eighth start of the season and the first of his career against the Dodgers.

Dodgers: LHP Scott Kazmir (3-3, 5.23) gave up a career-high seven walks to San Diego in his previous start. His only other start against the Reds came in 2013 as a member of the Indians.

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Rockies 3 vs. 8 Red Sox Final Recap

Price, Bradley lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Rockies

By JIMMY GOLEN - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 11:29 PM (EDT)

BOSTON (AP) Jackie Bradley Jr. is halfway to Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, and David Ortiz sees no reason why the Red Sox outfielder should stop there.

Asked how many more games he thinks Bradley can keep it going, Ortiz said ''70,'' before adding an expletive and a smile that said he didn't want to get into the business of making predictions.

''These kids, they work extremely hard. They want to be good,'' the 40-year-old designated hitter said on Tuesday night after twenty-somethings Bradley and Xander Bogaerts each had a pair of hits in an 8-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

''I'm having so much fun watching it,'' said Ortiz, who had two hits and four RBIs. ''They make me feel like I'm a part of it. ... They make me feel like I'm their age.''

In a rematch of the 2007 World Series, which Boston swept in four games, David Price (7-1) scattered five hits over seven innings and Bradley extended his major league-leading hitting streak to 28 games. Dustin Pedroia added three hits and Christian Vazquez hit his first career triple to help Boston win its third straight.

Charlie Blackmon had a solo homer and DJ LeMahieu had two hits for Colorado, which lost for the fifth time in six games.

Price was spotted a 2-0 lead after one inning. Boston made it 4-1 after two and 7-2 in the fourth, when the Red Sox chased Jorge De La Rosa (1-4).

''To go out there, knowing you don't have to be perfect, it's huge,'' said Price, who allowed three runs, walked one and struck out six to earn his third consecutive win. ''At some point, we're going to struggle offensively. That's when the pitchers are going to have to come together.''

DE LA ROSA'S RETURN

De La Rosa made his first start after spending almost a month on the disabled list with a left groin strain. He left with one out in the fourth with two on and one run already in.

It was his first appearance in Fenway Park. Asked if he would always remember the experience, he said with a laugh: ''I don't want to remember. It was good to pitch here.''

PAPI POPPING

Ortiz had a two-run single and a two-run double in his first three at-bats. When he came up in the eighth with one out and a runner on second, he was intentionally walked.

''He's a great hitter, one of the best of certainly our era here,'' Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. ''You're just in a tough spot there when he comes up with guys on base.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: RHP Jason Motte (right shoulder strain) is back with the team, and Weiss said Motte will pitch Wednesday or Thursday. Motte went on the disabled list April 11 and made six rehab appearances for Triple-A Albuquerque.

Red Sox: RHP Carson Smith had Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of the season, the team said. Smith appeared in three games this year, pitching 2 2/3 innings and making two trips to the disabled list. ... 1B Hanley Ramirez was lifted after being hit in the right big toe with a pitch. X-rays were negative. ... LHP Eduardo Rodriguez made a rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket, striking out seven in seven innings and allowing one run on four hits.

UP NEXT

The teams play the second game of the three-game series Wednesday night. Colorado's Chad Bettis (4-2) will face knuckleballer Steven Wright (3-4).

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Royals 7 vs. 4 Twins Final Recap

Perez, surging Royals take down Twins 7-4

By DAVE CAMPBELL - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, May 25 at 12:46 AM (EDT)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The bases were loaded with no outs in the bottom of the ninth, and Wade Davis was staked to a three-run lead for the Kansas City Royals.

He turned up the heat and sent down the Minnesota Twins.

Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer, Lorenzo Cain had four hits and two RBIs, and the Royals picked up where their bats left off the night before to build a 7-4 victory over the tumbling Twins 7-4 on Tuesday.

Davis worked a wobbly ninth for his 12th save in 13 attempts, preserving the seventh win for the Royals in their last nine games despite a leadoff double by Eduardo Escobar preceding consecutive walks. Davis struck out Eduardo Nunez and Joe Mauer and finished with a routine fly out by Miguel Sano.

''Wade, when he gets his back up against the wall, it's kind of like, `That's it,''' Royals manager Ned Yost said, adding: ''It's just that closer in him. The tighter the situation, the better he is.''

The Royals (24-21) raised their two-game total in Minnesota this week to 30 hits and improved to 5-0 against the Twins this season. The start for the defending World Series champion Royals was slow, particularly at the plate, and now Alex Gordon is out for a while. But the trip to Target Field has triggered a surge.

''We try to keep the line moving. That's been the motto the last few years,'' Cain said.

After going 5 for 5 in the series opener, missing the cycle by a home run, Perez went deep just one day and a couple of innings too late. The three-time All-Star catcher followed a leadoff walk by Kendrys Morales in the second inning with a soaring drive off his 2013 teammate Ervin Santana that landed in the grass behind the wall in center field for a 2-0 lead.

''They just started hacking,'' Santana said.

Said Twins manager Paul Molitor: ''They make it tough. They have a lot of long at-bats. They foul pitches. They put balls in play, and they find holes.''

Edinson Volquez (5-4) picked up his fifth victory, matching the cumulative total for Twins starters this season.

Volquez has given up four or more runs in four of his last six turns, and he surrendered six hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings in this one. The right-hander struck out six, though, and was stuck with two unearned runs in the fourth from an error on right fielder Paulo Orlando.

''We're putting together a lot of different things we didn't do before we started winning,'' Volquez said.

Escobar had three hits, but the Twins lost to the division rival Royals for the eighth straight time at home. They fell to 4-19 against the American League Central this year, including an astounding 0-17 against Chicago, Detroit and Kansas City.

Santana (1-3) lasted only 3 2/3 innings, allowing nine hits, six runs and two walks in the second time this month he failed to finish the fourth inning.

SURGING ROYALS

Perez has a 10-game hitting streak, batting .415 (17 for 41) during that stretch. He's a .415 career hitter (22 for 53) at Target Field. Orlando has an eight-game hitting streak, with a .567 batting average (17 for 30) during this span.

''We know what kind of talent we have in here. I feel like it was just a matter of time for us to click together, swing the bats together, and get hot at the same time,'' said Cain, who matched his career high for hits and raised his all-time batting average at Target Field to .333 (33 for 99).

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: Cheslor Cuthbert played 3B for Mike Moustakas, whose status was again day to day with a bruised knee.

Twins: Sano moved to DH to give Byung Ho-Park, who ended an 0-for-21 skid with a single on Monday. Sano struck out three times.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Dillon Gee (1-0, 2.90 ERA) will make his third start of the season on Wednesday, after picking up his first victory with Kansas City on Friday.

Twins: RHP Tyler Duffey (1-3, 3.30 ERA) will take the mound in the matinee to finish the series, after allowing a season-high six runs to Toronto on Friday.

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Padres 2 vs. 8 Giants Final Recap

Crawford, Samardzija lead Giants past Padres again, 8-2

By RICK EYMER - Associated Press

Wednesday, May 25 at 2:16 AM (EDT)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Jeff Samardzija appreciates good defense as much as the next pitcher and he continues to marvel at some of the plays made behind him.

Brandon Crawford drove in four runs and Jarrett Parker homered to lead Samardzija and the streaking San Francisco Giants past the San Diego Padres 8-2 on Tuesday night.

Buster Posey and Denard Span each knocked in a run for the Giants, who have won four straight and 12 of 13.

Matt Kemp was thrown out twice on the bases by Giants outfielders, getting nailed by Parker at second on a throw from the left-field corner in the first inning and at third by a relay from Gregor Blanco to Joe Panik to Matt Duffy in the eighth.

''Any time you have a double and triple and turn them into outs, that's a big momentum change,'' Samardzija said. ''You get rewarded for doing things the right way.''

Parker, recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, anticipated the bounce off the wall and came up throwing.

''I know he hit it hard and I knew it would ricochet right at me,'' he said. ''You always have a chance.''

John Jay homered for the Padres, who lost their third in a row and fell to 0-8 against the Giants this season. Hector Sanchez also drove in a run.

Samardzija (7-2) has won three consecutive decisions and six of seven after giving up a run and six hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three.

''It all came down to Jeff,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ''He threw the ball well again. Our defense is what has helped us in this roll we're on.''

Andrew Cashner (2-4) came off the disabled list and gave the Padres a six-inning start. He allowed three runs and four hits, walked four and struck out one.

''He battled well. His ball-strike ratio probably wasn't what it normally is for him,'' Padres manager Andy Green said. ''He typically commands the zone very, very well. I chalk that up to first time back on the mound in competition for 15 days.''

Pitching with a 3-1 lead, Samardzija got the first two outs of the seventh and then gave up a hit to Alexei Ramirez and walked pinch-hitter Christian Bethancourt. Josh Osich came on and mishandled Jay's grounder to load the bases before getting Alexi Amarista to ground out.

Panik drew a walk to open the sixth and was sacrificed to second. Posey, a .400 hitter against Cashner, delivered a sharp liner into left field for a double that snapped a 1-all tie. Posey later scored on Crawford's single.

Crawford's bases-loaded triple and Parker's two-run homer in the eighth against Keith Hessler broke it open.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: 1B Wil Myers was given the night off after feeling some tightness in his left forearm during Monday night's game. Green said Myers was available for late-game situations. ... RHP Kevin Quackenbush was optioned to Triple-A El Paso to make room for Cashner. ... LHP Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless inning for Class A Lake Elsinore in a rehab assignment and could join the team in Arizona.

Giants: OF Angel Pagan went on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain. He reinjured it running out a grounder in the eighth inning Monday night. ''I felt it just before I got to first base,'' Pagan said. ''It's a setback and now I want to give it all the time it needs to recover.'' ... RHP Sergio Romo allowed a home run and struck out three in a rehab outing Monday. He's scheduled to pitch again Wednesday and Friday.

UP NEXT

Padres: RHP James Shields (2-6, 3.07 ERA) starts the series finale Wednesday. He is 2-3 with a 2.56 ERA in six games against the Giants.

Giants: RHP Jake Peavy (1-5, 8.21) toes the rubber against his former team on Wednesday. He's coming off a start in which he lasted 1 2/3 innings, giving up five runs. He is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts against the Padres.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016
National Hockey League
Blues vs. Sharks In-Progress

Blues-Sharks Preview

By JOSH DUBOW - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, May 24 at 6:43 PM (EDT)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Patrick Marleau has played more than 1,500 games with the San Jose Sharks since joining the NHL as an 18-year-old draft pick but never one quite like the next one.

All those past playoff disappointments that have seemed to define the career of players like Marleau and Joe Thornton could be put to the side temporarily with one more San Jose win.

For the first time in 25 seasons as an NHL franchise, the Sharks are just one win away from making the Stanley Cup final. San Jose takes a 3-2 lead over St. Louis in the Western Conference final into Game 6 on Wednesday night in what should be a frenzied Shark Tank.

''It's nice,'' Marleau said Tuesday. ''It's not our final goal but it's as far as we've been so it's good that way. There's still a lot to go.''

For more than a decade, the Sharks have been known as much for their postseason failures as their regular-season success. San Jose has the second-most wins and has played in the second-most playoff series since the start of the 2003-04 season but has fallen short every spring.

The Sharks won just three total games in their first three trips to the conference final, lost an opening series as the top seed in 2009 and most memorably became the fourth NHL team ever to lose a best-of-seven series after winning the first three games against Los Angeles in 2014.

The Sharks then hit what they called rock bottom last year when they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2003 but rebounded this season under first-year coach Peter DeBoer and a core anchored by players like Thornton, Marleau, captain Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic that have spent years trying to bring a title to San Jose.

''It would be huge,'' Marleau said. ''It's something I've always wanted to do here for the fans and the Bay Area. They have been supporting us over the years and they deserve it.''

After winning Game 5 in St. Louis 6-3 on Monday night, they returned home to the excitement of a possible clincher. While the Blues are making another goalie switch, putting Brian Elliott back in net after going with Jake Allen the past two games, and figuring out how to get top goal scorer Vladimir Tarasenko back on his game after being shut down for five games, the focus for the Sharks is simpler.

They just want to stick to their game and not let thoughts of the prize ahead distract them.

''You just try to stay in the moment and not think too much about it,'' Marleau said. ''Just control what you can control. That's the biggest thing and knowing that you're in it with 20 other guys trying to do the same thing. That gives you a little extra boost.''

The Blues hope the move back to Elliott gives them a boost. Elliott started the first 17 games of the playoffs before coach Ken Hitchcock went to Allen in Game 4 in San Jose.

St. Louis won that game 6-3 to tie the series at two games apiece but Allen gave up four goals on 25 shots Monday night. That led to Hitchcock changing again to Elliott, who stopped 62 of 65 shots in St. Louis' Game 7 wins over Chicago and Dallas earlier in the playoffs.

''We needed a jolt to get back in the series and we got it,'' Hitchcock said. ''Unfortunately we didn't get the win yesterday, but this has been Brian's playoffs and we'd like him to finish the job.''

More importantly, the Blues would like to get Tarasenko going. He scored 40 goals in the regular season and had 13 points in 14 games the first two rounds but has been completely shut down by Vlasic and San Jose's defense in the conference final.

Tarasenko has a -4 rating for the series and has managed only four shots on goal the past three games.

''What happens with goal-scorers when they get frustrated is they look to hit home runs,'' Hitchcock said. ''We need him just to act like a worker. I know that's a funny thing to say, but he's looking for the home run.''

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
National Hockey League
Penguins 5 vs. 2 Lightning Final Recap

Crosby helps Penguins beat Lightning to force Game 7

By FRED GOODALL - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, May 25 at 12:28 AM (EDT)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Pittsburgh Penguins made good on Evgeni Malkin's pledge to force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference final.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, and Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino also scored Tuesday night in a 5-2 victory that evened the best-of-seven series with the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-3.

Game 7 is Thursday night, with the Penguins hoping to reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2009 and the Lightning looking to advance to the Cup Final for the second straight year.

''I just told them to embrace the moment. It's a great opportunity for us. These are the type of circumstances to where you have an opportunity to write your own story,'' Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan.

''They had a certain mindset going into this tonight: `We're going to leave it all out there and do everything we can to bring this back to Pittsburgh,''' Sullivan added. ''And, certainly that's what they did.''

Malkin was the most demonstrative of the players expressing confidence the Penguins could take the series back to Pittsburgh, saying he believed in himself, his teammates and that they could return home for a seventh game ''for sure.''

Crosby stepped up with his third game-winning goal of the series. The Penguins captain assisted on Kessel's 5-on-3 power-play goal in the opening period and later skated around Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman into the clear before sending a wrist shot between goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy's legs for a 3-0 lead in the final minute of the second period.

''We know the circumstances. It makes you go out there with a mindset of playing desperate,'' Crosby said. ''I think we had confidence in the whole group. I think everyone played great.

''Everyone contributed in their own way. In a big game like this you, don't do anything special, just do your job. I think that's gotten us this far.''

Rookie goaltender Matt Murray returned to the lineup after being replaced as the starter for Game 5 by Marc-Andre Fleury, but his 10th playoff victory did not come without a bit of suspense.

Brian Boyle scored twice in the third period for Tampa Bay, with one of the goals bouncing off Kessel before getting past Murray, who finished with 28 saves. The second score drew the Lightning within one goal with 7:17 remaining.

Instead of flinching, the young goalie who turns 22 on Wednesday retained his composure down the stretch to help the Penguins avoid relinquishing a third-period lead for the second straight game.

''I just think it's part of his DNA. He has a calming influence. He doesn't get rattled if he lets a goal in. He continues to compete,'' Sullivan said.

''That's usually an attribute that takes years to acquire. And to have it at such a young age is impressive. I think one of his biggest strengths is just his ability to stay in the moment.''

Rust's breakaway goal at 17:52 of the third gave Pittsburgh breathing room, and Bonino added an empty-netter to finish it off.

''We had a great chance tonight and just tip-toed around a little bit,'' Boyle said. ''We were tentative and weren't aggressive.''

Kessel's goal was his team-leading ninth of the playoffs. Crosby had the primary assist, his first point since delivering game-winners in Games 2 and 3, and Malkin also had an assist to extend his point streak to four games after a slow start in the series.

The Lightning had an apparent goal by Jonathan Drouin waived off a little more than five minutes into the game, when Sullivan successfully challenged that the young Tampa Bay winger was offside on the play before tapping in a rebound off Ondrej Palat's shot that bounced off Murray's pads.

Sullivan announced the decision to go back to Murray following Tuesday's morning skate.

Murray started the first four games of the series. Fleury replaced him during the third period of Game 4, then made his first start in nearly two months in Game 5, which Tampa Bay won 4-3 in overtime.

Before Game 5, Fleury had not started a game since March 31, when he suffered a concussion.

Tampa Bay entered the game determined to not come out flat in Game 6 of the conference final for the second straight year.

The Lightning beat the New York Rangers on the road to go up 3-2 in that series, but were badly outplayed at home the next game and had to return to Madison Square Garden to finish the series.

Now, they'll have to win on the road again to make the third Stanley Cup appearance in franchise history.

''I know we can. I've got confidence in this group. We believe we can do that,'' Tampa Bay's Ryan Callahan said. ''We've had success on the road in the playoffs. We've had success in their building already. It's going to be a good one.''

NOTES: The Penguins were 1 for 3 on the power play and are 4 for 19 in the series. The Lightning were 0 for 1, dropping to 2 for 12. ... Malkin was penalized in the first period for slashing Tampa Bay Bay's Ryan Callahan in what appeared to be retaliation for the Lightning forward whacking him across the wrist with his stick. ... Murray improved to 4-0 following a loss. He's 10-4 overall in the playoffs.

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