Today is Thursday, July 28, 2016.

Thursday, July 28, 2016
Major League Baseball
Diamondbacks 0 vs. 0 Brewers In-Progress

Diamondbacks-Brewers preview


Thursday, July 28 at 1:52 AM (EDT)

MILWAUKEE -- Zach Davies' run of success may be surprising to most baseball observers, but Craig Counsell isn't among that group.

"He showed us this last year," the Milwaukee Brewers manager said about Davies. "He's certainly shown that he's had this in him. What you love to see is just the consistency, a guy who you know you've got a good shot to win when he's taking the mound for you. That's what he's becoming."

Davies takes the mound Thursday afternoon against the Arizona Diamondbacks in search of his team-leading eighth victory of the season. He has been marvelous for Milwaukee in 2016, going 7-4 with a 3.64 ERA.

Those numbers would be even more impressive were it not for rough start. The 23-year-old right-hander took losses in each of his first three outings of the year, allowing 13 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings.

Ever since then, he has been fantastic, going 7-1 with a 2.84 ERA while holding opponents to a .217 batting average.

"I think I know what I'm capable of," Davies said. "I know that if I'm doing the right things and executing my pitches, good things are going to happen."

Over his past three starts, he has allowed just three earned runs in 20 innings. He threw seven scoreless innings against the Reds in Cincinnati on July 17, then held the Chicago Cubs to one run in 6 1/3 innings on Saturday.

"His first (three) starts since the break have been absolutely outstanding," Counsell said. "He's been really good. Again, it's off of four pitches. Him and (catcher Jonathan Lucroy) are really in sync, and they've really kind of got hitters on the defense and not knowing what to look for. He's doing a nice job making pitches."

Davies will go up against a Diamondbacks offense has sputtered all season yet broke out Wednesday night, riding two home runs from Yasmany Tomas to an 8-1 victory over the Brewers.

Left-hander Robbie Ray will get the start for Arizona. He is 1-4 with a 4.72 ERA in his past six starts. While he did strike out a career-best 10 batters his last time out, he allowed three unearned runs in the first inning and a three-run home run to Jay Bruce in the third as Arizona went on to lose 6-1 at Cincinnati on Saturday.

"It was just my fastball command," Ray said afterward. "It's something that's always been really good for me. I worked both sides of the plate with it tonight. I was able to keep them off balance with my curveball and my slider."

Counsell wouldn't say whether or not Brewers shortstop Jonathan Villar would be back in the starting lineup Thursday. Villar is enjoying a great season at the plate, batting .297 on the year, but while he is tied for the major league lead with 36 stolen bases, he also has made some horribly-timed mistakes on the base paths. On Wednesday, he was caught trying to swipe third after a leadoff double.

That gaffe, along with a pair of first-inning errors, led Counsell to pull Villar midgame.

"I think we've given him freedom," Counsell said. "Base-stealers have to have freedom. Then there are some rules we put into place. We have to follow those rules."


Rockies 0 vs. 1 Mets In-Progress

Rockies-Mets preview


Thursday, July 28 at 1:41 AM (EDT)

NEW YORK -- The Colorado Rockies are beginning to believe they are moving toward the cusp of playoff contention. The New York Mets are starting to run out of time to prove they are a legitimate threat to defend their National League pennant.

Two teams at the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum will meet Thursday afternoon when the Mets host the Rockies in the opener of a four-game series at Citi Field.

The Rockies posted their sixth win in seven games on Wednesday, when Nick Hundley and David Dahl hit a two-run homer and a solo shot, respectively, in the sixth inning of a 3-1 victory over the American League East-leading Baltimore Orioles.

The Rockies outscored the Orioles 11-6 during the three-game series. Colorado's starting pitchers recorded a 1.86 ERA against Baltimore, which ranks fifth in the American League with 478 runs scored.

"You look at the series overall, it's one of our best series of the year," Rockies manager Walt Weiss aid. "It's got to be up there. We got real good starting pitching this series and we had some really clutch hits. That's what it takes."

With nine wins in 13 games since the All-Star break, the Rockies have improved to 49-52 and moved within six games of the Miami Marlins for the second wild card spot in the National League.

That's the type of winning consistency the Mets would like to establish. But they've been unable to establish any sort of consistency: New York has alternated wins with losses in each of its 12 games after the All-Star break.

The Mets appeared ready to finally win a second straight game Wednesday, but closer Jeurys Familia blew a regular-season save opportunity for the first time in almost a year by allowing two runs in the ninth inning of a 5-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field.

Familia had converted 52 straight saves dating to Aug. 1, 2015, though he did blow three saves in the World Series.

"It's baseball and until the 27th out, you don't know any results," said Mets left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, who gave New York a 4-3 lead with a long two-run homer in the seventh inning. "We have a lot of faith in Familia. But things unfortunately didn't work out."

The loss dropped the Mets (53-47) 1 1/2 games behind the Marlins and 5 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.

"This is something we haven't had happen in quite some time, Jeurys Familia not saving the game," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "But you've got to come back early. You've got an early day (Thursday) and we've got to get ready to play."

The Rockies will also be working on short rest after traveling overnight from Baltimore.

"It's basically like we have a split doubleheader," Weiss said. "That's how I'm looking at it."

Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom is scheduled to oppose Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson. DeGrom took the loss in his most recent start last Saturday when he gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings as the Mets fell to the Marlins 7-2. Anderson posted his third straight win on Saturday when he gave up three runs in six innings as the Rockies beat the Atlanta Braves 8-4.


Orioles vs. Twins 6:10 (EDT) Preview

Orioles-Twins preview


Thursday, July 28 at 1:36 AM (EDT)

MINNEAPOLIS -- After playing 12 consecutive games out of the All-Star break, the Baltimore Orioles were originally due for a day off Thursday before beginning a quick three-game road trip in Toronto.

That off day will have to wait until Monday.

Before beginning a crucial series against the Blue Jays, the Orioles first must make up a rain postponed game against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Thursday night.

"It's this time of year where there's a decent amount of wear and tear," Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo said. "You just have to gut it out. That's what you have to do every year. You feel fortunate to have the ability to play every game, but this is kind of the grind that they talk about."

On May 9, inclement weather cancelled what was to be the first of a three-game series between the Orioles and the Twins. Instead of playing a doubleheader later in the week, both teams agreed it might be easier to make up the game near the end of July.

The game doesn't mean much to Minnesota, which has the worst record in the American League and is coming off a two-game sweep at the hands of baseball's worst team, the Atlanta Braves.

The Twins fell behind by seven runs early in the Wednesday game but battled back late, advancing the tying run to second base with two outs in the eighth inning. However, Minnesota couldn't find one more clutch hit, and it dropped its third consecutive game.

"We pecked away at them, got back into the game, but they added on a couple, which ended up being the difference in the game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We had chances right down to the end, but coming back from down seven is a tough task."

The stakes this weekend are large for the Orioles. Baltimore heads into Thursday two games ahead of Toronto for first place in the American League East, 2 1/2 games in front of the Boston Red Sox. The Orioles aim to avoid falling to Minnesota, which won the final two meetings at Target Field back in May.

The Orioles hope right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (5-9, 7.38 ERA) can get his season on track against an opponent he has had plenty of success against in his career. Jimenez was yanked from the rotation after allowing five runs in just 1 1/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on July 8, and he hasn't pitched since.

Jimenez, just off the paternity list after the birth of his first daughter, recently made a mechanical adjustment designed to allow him to better repeat his delivery.

"I'm hoping it's a positive for him, because anything that's a little different look that you haven't normally done when you're struggling sometime can work positively," Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun. "We had some -- not a whole lot of options -- but I think he might surprise us. Not me, but some people. You try to pick a place where he feels comfortable and has been successful. That would be the best place for him."

Jimenez is 5-3 in 10 appearances against the Twins in his career, including a 4-1 mark with a 1.82 ERA in six starts at Target Field.

Minnesota will counter with Kyle Gibson, coming off perhaps the best outing of his career on Friday against the Red Sox. Gibson (3-6, 4.67 ERA) allowed just two hits and one run over eight innings in the victory, not surrendering a hit after the first inning.

In four career starts against Baltimore, Gibson is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA. He lost to the Orioles in his first start this year, yielding four runs in five innings on April 6 at Camden Yards.


Red Sox vs. Angels 7:05 (EDT) Preview

Red Sox-Angels preview


Thursday, July 28 at 1:00 AM (EDT)

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Boston Red Sox are paying left-handed pitcher David Price $30 million this season, the first of a seven-year, $217 million contract. So one can imagine the angst Price's performance has caused so far this season.

Price will get the start for Boston on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, still searching for ways to regain the form that enticed the Red Sox into spending so much on the 30-year-old.

Twenty-one starts into the season, Price's 4.51 ERA is a bit concerning, considering it's a full run higher than any ERA he has had in the big leagues since his first season in 2009 with Tampa Bay.

He has managed to win nine games, but much of that is thanks to a Red Sox offense that leads the majors in runs scored. He hasn't faced the Angels yet this year and is a mediocre 5-5 with a 3.59 ERA in 12 career starts against them.

Coming off a poor performance in his last start -- he allowed five runs and 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Minnesota Twins -- he simply needs to make better pitches to turn things around.

"Honestly, I feel good, I feel healthy," Price told "I feel good out there on the mound. I feel confident. I'm just not making good pitches. That's what it boils down to. You can feel bad out there and still go out there and execute pitches and get good results. It doesn't matter how good you feel if you don't go out there and execute."

With the Red Sox in the middle of a race for the American League East title, Price can still be a force down the stretch and into the playoffs should the club get there.

"I'm still confident in myself, absolutely," Price said. "I'd go out there and pitch tomorrow if they'd let me. My confidence is not altered. I don't listen to the outside noise. I know my teammates and the coaching staff have a lot of confidence in me. I haven't really given them reason to have a lot of confidence in me this year. I just have to pitch better."

Price will face Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, who has had issues of his own. Weaver has shown he can pitch well with diminished fastball velocity, but if he misses spots, he's in trouble.

Weaver is 8-8 with a 5.32 ERA in 19 starts this season. He has been really good or really bad. He has had eight starts in which he has allowed two earned runs or fewer, including a three-hit shutout of the A's on June 19.

But he has had six starts in which he has given up five earned runs or more. He is 4-6 with a 4.16 ERA in 16 career starts against Boston.

Weaver's biggest problem has been the home run ball. He has given up 23 homers this season, fifth most among American League pitchers. With the weather hot in Anaheim lately, the air will be light on Thursday night.

"It's no secret that I need a big park to pitch my game," Weaver told "It's been the story of my career, really."


Royals vs. Rangers 7:05 (EDT) Preview

Royals-Rangers preview


Thursday, July 28 at 1:27 AM (EDT)

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals are both looking to steady the ship going into a four-game series that opens Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

The American League West-leading Rangers (58-44) have seen what was once a 10-game division lead dwindle to 2 1/2 games thanks to a 7-17 stretch.

The defending World Series champion Royals (49-51) are in fourth place in the AL Central.

The pitching matchup in the opener is a repeat of last Saturday's duel in Kansas City, which the Rangers won 7-4. Texas would love to get a repeat performance out of ace Cole Hamels, who picked up the win after allowing one run (none earned) and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The 32-year-old lefty, 11-2 with a 2.87 ERA, is among the league leaders in several major categories, including wins, ERA and strikeouts.

Hamels is facing Yordano Ventura (6-8, 4.99 ERA) again. The right-hander set down the first nine hitters he faced before a walk and a two-run homer by Jurickson Profar started the fourth. Ventura took the loss after being charged with three runs and three hits in five innings with four walks and five strikeouts.

Hamels owns the last three and five of the last six wins by a Texas starting pitcher. That's why the Rangers made the first of what could be several trades to upgrade the pitching staff with Wednesday's deal to land starter Lucas Harrell and reliever Dario Alvarez from Atlanta.

"You look at both pitchers we acquired, they can help our ballclub, fill a role and add depth," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "With Lucas, he is a guy who is throwing the ball well. He has been around a little bit, had some experience and he has been on a little bit of a roll."

Harrell, 31, fills an immediate need in the rotation, with his turn coming up Sunday against the Royals. Harrell has gone 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in five starts for the Braves this season.

"He has the capability of keeping us in the ballgame," manager Jeff Banister said.

Alvarez is a hard-throwing lefty with 3.00 ERA with 28 strikeouts and five walks in 15 innings. He has held opponents to a .200 batting average.

The Rangers did give up highly-regarded power prospect Travis Demeritte. The 21-year-old infielder was hitting .272 with 25 home runs in 88 games for High-Class A High Desert.

Daniels added the Rangers aren't necessarily done with the trade deadline looming Monday. While the search for arms tops the list, upgrading other facets of the club could be on the table.

"I wouldn't rule anything out," Daniels said, "but pitching is our priority."

Texas took the last two of three last weekend in Kansas City and it 6-4 against the Royals since the start of 2015. The teams split four games in Arlington in 2015, but the Rangers are just 5-7 against Kansas City at Globe Life Park since start of 2012.

Royals manager Ned Yost held a team meeting before Wednesday's 7-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels to try to ease concerns for a club that's fading in the standings and is inundated with trade rumors.

The get-together was quick -- Yost said about two minutes -- and to the point.

"We know what we have ahead of us, we've known the trials that we've been through in the past and we've known that we've had our backs against the wall before," he told "You know that you always come out of it. Just go out, enjoy your teammates and play the game like you did when you were 12 years old. That's what we do so well when we're successful, is we just go out and play hard and have fun doing it. So sometimes you just take a step back and relax a little bit and inch your way out."


White Sox vs. Cubs 7:05 (EDT) Preview

White Sox-Cubs preview


Thursday, July 28 at 12:52 AM (EDT)

CHICAGO -- Robin Ventura doesn't expect any more hoopla or controversy as Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale returns to the lineup Thursday.

Whether the White Sox manager is just looking at a best case scenario remains to be seen. But Ventura says there shouldn't be any issues from Sale's teammates.

"I think it's going to be fine," said Ventura on Wednesday, prior to the start of the two-game Wrigley Field leg of the White Sox-Cubs inter league crosstown clash.

"Players always have their teammates' backs and that's no different with our clubhouse," Ventura said. "I think it's going to be fairly normal when he comes in as fair as he's going to be prepared to pitch and our guys are going to get prepared to play and it's going to go from there."

Sale (14-3) was the first big league pitcher to 14 wins this season but hasn't pitched since July 18. He was yanked from his last start on July 23 and suspended for five games following a clubhouse incident where he reportedly damaged 1976 throwback jerseys intended to be worn that night.

"(The uniforms were) uncomfortable and unorthodox," Sale said in an interview this week with "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in."

In the same interview, Sale also apologized to fans who had come out that night to see him pitch against the Detroit Tigers.

Ventura said Sale is not required to say anything to his teammates about the incident, but expects there will be some discussion.

"They're going to talk on their own I'm sure," Ventura said. "Over the course of the year they've had meetings amongst themselves -- clubhouse meeting son their own. Some of that's going to happen but it's not going to be a full team meeting."

Sale will make only his second start in three weeks while facing the Cubs for the first time.

"He might have a little more on it than in the past because he's probably going to come out a little strong," Ventura said. 'He's had these situations before he's had a long layoff and he's always been pretty good when he's had a long layoff."

Sale goes against Cubs right-hander John Lackey (7-7) on Thursday. Lackey is 0-4 in his last six starts and 3-7 lifetime against the White Sox.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he felt more upbeat heading into the showdown with Sale after his offense woke up in Wednesday's 8-1 victory.

"In a game like tomorrow we have to pitch well to beat them because you really anticipate they're going to pitch well, he's going to pitch well," Maddon said. "To go into tomorrow's game with a defeat and not swinging the bats well would have been much more difficult."

The Cubs are 7-5 since the All-Star break and wins in three straight series. But as they regain health and sharpness, Maddon said they could return to a similar for that saw 25 wins in their first 31 games.

"I believe we have another really good run in us," Maddon said.

The Cubs stick with mostly American League opposition after the White Sox leave Wrigley Field. Seattle comes in for three games starting Friday and the Cubs travel to Oakland for three games starting Aug. 5. The Angels visit Chicago for a pair on Aug. 9-10.


Cardinals vs. Marlins 7:10 (EDT) Preview

Cardinals-Marlins preview


Thursday, July 28 at 12:03 AM (EDT)

MIAMI -- With Jose Fernandez on the mound, Dee Gordon returning from suspension, Ichiro Suzuki continuing to chase 3,000 hits and two teams battling for wild-card playoff spots, there will be no shortage of story lines on Thursday when the Miami Marlins play host to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Fernandez is nearly unbeatable at Marlins Park. The way he has pitched at home -- 26-1 with a 1.47 ERA -- he can pretty much throw his glove on this mound and win.

Overall, he is 12-4 with a 2.54 ERA. The 12 wins match a career high for the two-time All-Star. And don't sleep on Fernandez offensively, either. He has six RBIs this season.

The Cardinals will counter with Michael Wacha (5-7, 4.37 ERA), who was a bit shaky in his most recent start, allowing 10 hits but just two runs. Overall, though, Wacha has held opponents to three or fewer runs in eight straight starts.

Wacha vs. Fernandez should be a good matchup. Wacha, the 19th overall pick in the 2012 draft, is only 25, but he is already an All-Star (2015) and a National League Championship Series MVP (2013).

In that same year when Wacha was MVP, Fernandez was the NL Rookie of the Year. Fernandez is only 23 years old, but he already ranks as one of the game's best.

As for Gordon, he is due back after an 80-game ban for using performance-enhancing suspension.

His return should inject some life in a lineup that earlier this week went 24 innings without scoring before breaking out on Wednesday with an 11-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Gordon led the NL in steals and batting average last year, and he will also be an upgrade defensively at second base.

Suzuki, who is three hits from 3,000, is a reserve outfielder, and it is unknown when he will get his next start. His most recent start came Tuesday, when he went 1-for-5.

"We'll play what we think is our best lineup and move forward," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "It's a little uncomfortable when you get that close with 'Ich' because you don't want to put him out there just to (get to 3,000).

"We have been playing in the concept of the team the whole year. You'd like 'Ich' to get (No. 3,000) at home, but I don't want to force it.

"If it's a good matchup or if a guy needs a day off and it's a good thing for our team, we'll do it."

As for the pennant race, the Marlins (55-46) lead the Cardinals (54-47) by one game and the New York Mets (53-47) by 1 1/2 games for the second wild-card spot.

The Cardinals scored twice in the ninth inning off Mets closer Jeurys Familia on Wednesday night, rallying to win 5-4.

St. Louis won two of three in the important series, and the Cardinals also earned the distinction of ending Familia's streak of 52 consecutive saves.

So there you have it -- a confident Cardinals team travels on little rest to visit a confident Marlins team with a lot on the line in a hot playoff race.

And, oh yes, Fernandez takes on Wacha, Gordon returns from suspension and Suzuki chases 3,000.


Phillies vs. Braves 7:10 (EDT) Preview

Phillies-Braves preview


Thursday, July 28 at 12:38 AM (EDT)

ATLANTA -- Two highly regarded second-year pitchers will try to turn around seasons that have started to go the wrong way when the Philadelphia Phillies play the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.

The Phillies will send Aaron Nola (5-9, 4.75 ERA) against Atlanta's Matt Wisler (4-10, 4.92) in the opener of a four-game series at Turner Field.

The Braves (35-66) won the final two games of a three-city, 10-day road trip that saw them go 3-6. The Phillies (46-57) are on the third leg of a 10-day road trip that saw them go 1-2 in both Pittsburgh and Miami.

Nola was expected to be the ace of the Philadelphia staff, while the Braves anticipated Wisler becoming the No. 2 man in the rotation.

Nola went 6-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 13 starts at a rookie last year, then opened the season by going 5-4 with a 2.65 ERA in his first 12 starts. Since then, it has been a tough road for the right-hander, who is 0-5 with a 10.61 ERA over his past seven starts.

"When he's at his best, he has control of all of his pitches," Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's lost his control, and he needs to find a way to get it back."

Nola's last win came on June 5, when he threw six shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers. He recorded six scoreless innings against the Miami Marlins on July 18 but was roughed up by the Pirates for six runs in six innings on Saturday.

"I thought I did OK until the fifth inning," Nola said after his last start. "I left a couple balls up and over the plate, and they made me pay with some big hits."

Nola is 0-1 with a 2.57 in his only start against the Braves this season. He is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four career starts against Atlanta.

Wisler has had a similar flight pattern.

He went 8-8 with a 4.71 ERA in 20 appearances in 2015 and was 2-3 with a 2.98 after his first eight starts this year. Wisler then began a stretch in which he appeared to lose his aggressiveness. Lately, he has been plagued by one bad inning per outing.

Over his past seven starts, Wisler is 2-3 with a 5.98 ERA. He has allowed a combined 18 runs (17 earned) in his past three starts, a stretch of 15 1/3 innings.

"As far as the adjustments he's having to make a battle his way through, I like what I've seen," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "This guy doesn't have a lot of major leagues starts under his belt yet. He's still learning and working through things. I think he's doing a really good job at it."

Wisler is 1-1 with a 2.45 in two starts against the Phillies this season. He is 1-2 with a 5.12 in three career starts against Philadelphia.

Atlanta will make two roster additions prior to Thursday's game. The Braves traded right-hander Lucas Harrell and left-hander Dario Alvarez to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Travis Demeritte, a versatile prospect with power who can play multiple positions.


Nationals vs. Giants 7:15 (EDT) Preview

Nationals-Giants preview


Wednesday, July 27 at 9:23 PM (EDT)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Two teams that would be National League first-round playoff opponents square off Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series that will feature neither team's staff ace.

The Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants will take identical 59-42 records onto the field for the first of seven games they will play coast to coast over the next 11 days.

The Nationals, who lead the NL East by four games over the Miami Marlins, rode ace Stephen Strasburg's strong seven-inning outing to a 4-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday before boarding a flight to San Francisco.

The Giants, meanwhile, retained a 2 1/2-game lead in the NL West despite a 2-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, a game in which ace Madison Bumgarner lost despite allowing only two runs (one earned) in eight innings.

By virtue of both having pitched Wednesday, neither Strasburg nor Bumgarner is scheduled to start again until next week.

Interestingly, both are tentatively slated to pitch a week from Sunday, when the Giants and Nationals wrap up a three-game series in Washington.

Thursday's first 2016 meeting of the division leaders will pit Giants center Denard Span against his former team for the first time since he left as a free agent over the winter.

Washington might finally have found an adequate replacement atop the batting order in Trea Turner, the offensive star the Wednesday win with three hits and three RBIs.

He is batting .297 in eight games as the Nationals' leadoff hitter after the earlier Span replacements struggled at a .214 clip.

"He's fun to watch," Strasburg said of Turner after Wednesday's game. "I was just excited the other day to finally watch him hit a triple. I was waiting for that for such a long time, just to see him run."

The Nationals will be catching Span in his hottest stretch of the season. The Giants leadoff man has recorded two more hits in nine of his past 16 games, raising his average to .256.

The Nationals will begin the San Francisco portion of the seven-game sequence by sending right-hander Tanner Roark to the mound.

Roark has been roughed up on a regular basis over his past nine starts, allowing four or more runs on four different occasions, including in his last outing against the San Diego Padres.

Roark gave up a pair of home runs among four hits in five innings against the Padres, allowing all San Diego's scoring in 5-3 Washington loss last Friday.

Home runs were plentiful in the Giants' just-completed series with the Cincinnati Reds, during which San Francisco pitchers allowed eight long balls in three games.

That was the most home runs allowed by the Giants in a three-game series in AT&T Park history.

The homers led directly to a pair of Reds wins, which dropped San Francisco's record since the All-Star break to 2-9.

"We've been through this plenty of times, and we know what it's about," Bumgarner said of the Giants' struggles of late. "Things will turn around for us."

Right-hander Johnny Cueto (13-2) gets the call for the Giants on Thursday. In his most recent outing, he allowed one run, which was unearned, in six innings Saturday during a no-decision against the Yankees at New York. San Francisco won 2-1 in 12 innings.

Outside of the pitching matchups, second base will be a position of focus in the weekend series.

Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy smacked his 20th home run of the season in the series finale against Cleveland. He will take the field Thursday with the NL's best batting average (.354).

The Giants, meanwhile, have gone 23 games without their star second baseman, Joe Panik, who is recovering from a concussion. San Francisco has gone just 10-13 during that stretch.

Panik began a rehab stint at Triple-A Sacramento earlier this week, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy hopes to have his 2015 All-Star, a .300 hitter in each of the previous two seasons, back in the lineup by the weekend.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Major League Baseball
Nationals 4 vs. 1 Indians Final Recap

Strasburg, Nationals too strong for Indians


Wednesday, July 27 at 4:56 PM (EDT)

CLEVELAND -- Sometimes an ace really needs to be an ace. For the Washington Nationals, Wednesday was one of those times, and Stephen Strasburg responded with a sterling performance.

Less than 24 hours after a crushing ninth-inning loss, Strasburg pitched seven scoreless innings on Wednesday to lead the Nationals to a 4-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Trea Turner had three hits and three RBIs and Daniel Murphy homered to lead Washington's offense, but Cleveland had very little offense - thanks to Strasburg (14-1).

The big right-hander bounced back from his only loss of the season to hold the American League Central-leading Indians to three hits. He also had seven strikeouts and two walks in the victory.

"He was outstanding," Washington manager Dusty Baker said. "You hope he comes out and pitches like that, because that's what the big boys do."

Indians manager Terry Francona said Strasburg is a complete pitcher.

"He's really good," Francona said. "He can throw it by you. Throws his fastball to both sides of the plate, with a ton of finish. Slider, change, he's got everything. It's impressive."

Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco (7-4) surrendered three runs on as many hits in six innings to take the loss.

Blake Treinen picked up his first major-league save. It was only Washington's third win in its last nine games.

The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, which began with Carrasco walking the first two batters he faced, Jayson Werth and Anthony Rendon.

Ryan Zimmerman hit what looked like a double-play grounder to shortstop Francisco Lindor, who fielded it and threw to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the force out of Rendon. On his attempt to throw to first to complete the double play, Kipnis dropped the ball. Werth advanced to second and Zimmerman was safe at first.

Carrasco then struck out Danny Espinosa for the second out, but Ben Revere battled his way through a 12-pitch at-bat to draw a walk, loading the bases.

"He won. I threw him every pitch, and he (fouled off) everything," Carrasco said.

Turner followed with a two-run double to left, scoring Werth and Zimmerman to give Washington a 2-0 lead.

"What a game Turner had," Baker said. "Clutch hits like that. That's what we need, and with his speed, he creates havoc."

The Nationals scored again in the sixth inning when Murphy led off the inning with his 20th home run into the right-field seats.

The Indians could do nothing with Strasburg. Although they had base runners in five of Strasburg's seven innings, he kept them off the scoreboard by getting outs when he needed them.

"I was commanding my offspeed pitches well the whole game, and my fastball command got better as the game went on," said Strasburg, who is the first pitcher to start a season 14-1 since teammate Max Scherzer did it with Detroit in 2013.

Washington scored its final run in the seventh inning off reliever Dan Otero. Zimmerman led off with an infield single, and he went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Espinosa. Turner followed with a double down the left-field line, scoring Zimmerman to make it 4-0.

Cleveland finally scored in the ninth inning off the Washington bullpen. With one out, pinch-hitter Erik Gonzalez walked and went to second on a single by Rajai Davis off Felipe Rivero. Tyler Naquin singled up the middle, scoring Gonzalez and moving Davis to second.

But Treinen relieved Rivero and got Roberto Perez to ground into a game-ending double play.

"I was trying to get a double play there, and I was fortunate that I got a swing from (Perez) to get a ground ball," Treinen said.

"It's very important to have a ground ball guy coming out of your pen, because if he gets into trouble he can bail himself out with a double play," Baker said.

NOTES: Nationals INF Stephen Drew has been placed on the disabled list with vertigo-like symptoms. Drew has left the team to return to Washington for further tests. ... To replace Drew on the roster, the Nationals recalled INF Wilmer Difo from Double-A Harrisburg. ... A scoring change from Tuesday's game extended Nationals 2B Daniel Murphy's hitting streak to 12 games. A grounder hit by Murphy in the first inning was originally ruled an error on 3B Juan Uribe, but the official scorer changed it to a hit on Wednesday. Instead of going 0-for-5 in Tuesday's game, Murphy was 1-for-5, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. ... The Indians entered Wednesday's game with an eight-game winning streak in interleague play, their longest interleague win streak since a nine-game streak in 2005. ... According to Elias, prior to their 7-6 win Tuesday, the Indians had lost 95 consecutive games when trailing by three or more runs in the seventh inning or later.


Phillies 1 vs. 11 Marlins Final Recap

Stanton, Kelly power Marlins to rout of Phillies


Wednesday, July 27 at 4:37 PM (EDT)

MIAMI -- One alarm clock wasn't going to cut it for Adam Conley.

Conley, a Miami Marlins left-hander, used three rise-and-shine devices to make sure he got up at 6:30 a.m. for a noon start.

Apparently, no one woke up the Philadelphia Phillies.

That's how it appeared on Wednesday as Giancarlo Stanton drilled a two-run homer, Don Kelly hit a pair of triples and Miami used 16 hits to rout Philadelphia 11-1 at Marlins Park.

Conley (7-5) pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings, earning the win as he improved to 3-0 in five July starts. He allowed eight hits and three walks, twice escaping from bases-loaded, one-out jams - in the third and sixth innings.

Offensively, Conley went 1-for-1 with two RBIs. He had a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single despite having had just one career RBI entering Wednesday.

Indeed, Conley was wide awake for his early start.

"I would rather get less sleep," Conley said, "and have a regular routine and preparation."

With the win, the Marlins (55-46) took two out of three games from Philadelphia (46-57) and retained their position as the second and final wild-card team in the NL playoff race.

Stanton's homer, his 22nd of the season, was part of a three-run Miami first inning. The blast to left field gave Stanton 525 career RBIs, moving him past former Marlins star Miguel Cabrera for third place on the franchise list.

Kelly, a utility player who entered the game batting .045, went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs.

"That was fun," said Kelly, who is expected to be sent to the minors on Thursday when second baseman Dee Gordon returns from an 80-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. "This game is tough when you are struggling."

Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa can relate to that as he was ejected in the fourth inning after Cameron Rupp was called out on strikes. The Phillies have scored just one run in the past 18 innings.

In addition to the lack of offense, the Marlins battered Phillies starter Zach Eflin (3-4).

The 22-year-old rookie, who was coming off a three-hit shutout win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, lasted just five innings this time. He allowed nine hits, four walks and seven runs.

Eflin, a native of Orlando, Fla., pitched in his home state for the first time as a major-leaguer. He had his family and about 20 friends in the stands, but they did not see Eflin at his best.

"I wasn't executing," Eflin said. "I was leaving pitches up in the zone. I didn't give our team its best chance to win the game. I didn't do my job. I have to work on being consistent."

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Eflin didn't use his curve enough.

"Eflin wasn't the same pitcher he was in Pittsburgh," Mackanin said. "I didn't like the mix of pitches he used.

"I thought he made some good pitches that the umpire missed. But that wasn't the reason."

Mackanin was also sure to praise the Marlins:

"They should be in the race," he said. "They have a (heck) of a team. You look up and down their lineup ... They're getting Dee Gordon back, which is a big plus. And when (first baseman Justin) Bour comes back (from an ankle injury), they have a solid offensive team.

"(The Marlins) have pretty much every ingredient you need to be in the race."

NOTES: 1B Don Kelly became the seventh Marlins player to hit two triples in one game. It was also the first time Kelly has accomplished the feat. ... Just before first pitch, the Marlins unveiled the logo to the 2017 All-Star Game, which they will host. ... Marlins RHP A.J. Ramos (thumb) should be ready to pitch Thursday. ... Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (pectoral muscle) is not expected to miss a start. ... Slumping Marlins CF Marcell Ozuna was back in the lineup after a one-game rest. ... 2B Derek Dietrich was rested in favor of Miguel Rojas. On Thursday, 2B Dee Gordon is expected to retain his starting job. Gordon has served an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. ... Phillies RF Peter Bourjos, who hurt his right shoulder while banging into the wall and making a catch on Tuesday, was rested. ... Up next, the Phillies open a four-game series on Thursday at the Atlanta Braves. ... The Marlins will conclude their homestand with four games against the St. Louis Cardinals, starting Thursday.


Rays 3 vs. 1 Dodgers Final Recap

Rays dump Dodgers, halt four-game losing streak


Wednesday, July 27 at 8:12 PM (EDT)

LOS ANGELES -- The Tampa Bay Rays ended their nine-game road trip Wednesday by halting a string of skids.

Evan Longoria homered, and the Rays snapped a four-game slide with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

The Rays (39-61) won for first time in five all-time games at the park and snapped a three-game winning streak by the Dodgers (57-45). They also ended a run of four consecutive one-run losses, a club record.

"The pitching has kept us in games," said Longoria, a Southern California native who went 3-for-4 and homered in his 24th major league ballpark, another franchise mark. "That takes the pressure off the offense a little bit, and I think it takes the pressure off the other pitchers.

"It's good to see that come alive in the second half, and hopefully, offensively, we'll catch a little fire and start putting up some runs so it's a little easier on the pitching staff."

Rays lefty Matt Moore (7-7) allowed an unearned run on four hits with five strikeouts and four walks in 6 2/3 innings. Moore, who worked at least six innings for a personal-best 10th consecutive start, avenged a May 3 loss to the Dodgers, who tagged him for seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 10-5 decision.

"I was happy with the way I was able to contain myself a little bit and not overwork myself out there," said Moore, who also singled in the seventh inning for his second career hit.

Closer Alex Colome earned his 22nd save in 23 opportunities with a perfect ninth.

Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy (2-1) lasted four innings, giving up three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. He threw 83 pitches (51 strikes) before being replaced by Louis Coleman in the fifth.

McCarthy, who recently returned after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, was 5-0 in eight previous starts in a Dodger uniform.

"Overall, I thought he threw the ball well, but Longoria put a good swing on it and they got an extra run there," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "I thought he competed."

A throwing error led to the Dodgers scoring the game's first in the second inning. Joc Pederson drew a two-out walk and advanced to third on a single by A.J. Ellis. Ellis' steal of second forced an errant throw by catcher Luke Maile that allowed Pederson to score.

After Brad Miller led off the fourth with a double, Longoria crushed a 3-2 McCarthy pitch that landed into the Dodgers' bullpen in left for a 2-1 Tampa Bay edge. It was Longoria's 23rd home run this season and the first long ball ever by a Rays player at Dodger Stadium.

"Breaking ball, 3-2 and he had thrown me a couple of fastballs away," Longoria said. "I won't say I was sitting on it, but in the back of my mind, I was just thinking Bud (Norris) yesterday had gotten me out with a couple of breaking balls. (McCarthy) had thrown a breaking ball earlier that I didn't swing and one that I did swing at that I wasn't really close to.

"In the back of my mind, (I'm) kind of I thinking the pitch. He threw it over the middle of the plate. I'm sure he wasn't trying to throw it there."

An RBI double by Maile with two outs in the fourth scored Steven Souza Jr. to increase the margin to 3-1.

Rays first baseman Logan Morrison recorded the defensive play of the game, chasing down a Howie Kendrick foul ball and catching it while tumbling into the stands to end the seventh inning.

"I was just trying to make a play," Morrison said. "It was just one of those that happened to hit my glove when I hit the wall, and I held onto it."

NOTES: Rays 3B Evan Longoria has committed just one error in his past 42 games. Longoria leads all American League third basemen with a .980 fielding percentage. ... Los Angeles OF Yasiel Puig (right hamstring) missed his sixth consecutive start. The Dodgers are weighing whether to put him on the 15-day disabled list. OF Scott Van Slyke started in place of Puig and went 1-for-4. ... Both clubs are off Thursday and resume play Friday. New York Yankees RHP Ivan Nova (7-5, 4.65 ERA) will face Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.10 ERA) in the opening contest of a three-game series at Tropicana Field. At Dodger Stadium, Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Zack Godley (3-1, 5.88 ERA) will meet Los Angeles RHP Kenta Maeda (9-7, 3.25 ERA) to kick off a three-game set.


Padres 8 vs. 4 Blue Jays Final Recap

Padres extend homer streak to beat Blue Jays


Wednesday, July 27 at 5:07 PM (EDT)

TORONTO -- San Diego Padres manager Andy Green says he does not like to think about his team's home run streak that reached 25 games Wednesday afternoon in the 8-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

He would rather think about the improvement his club has made in its approach at the plate that coincidentally might have helped the streak along.

"To hit the ball out of the ballpark 25 straight days, it's borderline fluke," Green said. "It's just one of those things that happens. We don't think that much about it, at least I don't."

Adam Rosales, Brett Wallace and Alex Dickerson each hit home runs to keep the streak going as the Padres avoided a sweep in the three-game series.

The 2002 Texas Rangers set the major-league record when they hit homers in 27 straight games.

Dickerson extended his personal homer streak to four games when he hit his sixth of the season in the eighth inning against left-hander Franklin Morales.

"Every time he's in the batter's box, you think he's going to hit a homer," said Padres catcher Christian Bethancourt, who hit two doubles. "He's got that swing where he's right on time and he's always making hard contact. It's been fun."

"We have a lot of power," Dickerson said. "Every single guy is a threat to take you deep.

Even the days it's not there, you feel the next day it might be there. We all complement one another up and down (the lineup)."

Luis Perdomo (5-4) allowed five hits, two walks and four runs in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out four.

"Great arm," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the 23-year-old rookie. "You look at his stats coming in, he's been pitching much better lately. ... He had great life on the ball, he'd ride it up and he'd sink it. He had a nice little breaking ball. I was really impressed."

"Overall I couldn't be more pleased with him, his progress," Green said.

Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (7-12), starting on three days' rest, allowed four hits, four walks and seven runs (six earned) in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out five and yielded two home runs.

Dickey, who started so that Marco Estrada could start against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, said the short rest was not a factor.

"Not at all," he said. "You pitch when they ask you to pitch. That's one of the things that I feel like I can give a team is being able to come back on short rest and maybe help another guy out. And today they asked me to do that and I was happy to do it, and could do it physically. It was nothing out of the norm for me."

Rosales gave the Padres a 2-0 lead when he belted his seventh homer of the season in the third after Dickey hit Wallace with a pitch.

The Blue Jays (57-45) made two errors on a double by Bethancourt in the fourth. Ryan Schimpf walked with two outs and Bethancourt doubled to right center. Center fielder Kevin Pillar was charged with a fielding error and Schimpf scored. Second baseman Devon Travis threw errantly to try to get Bethancourt at third and that allowed the Padres catcher to score for a 4-0 lead.

Wallace hit his sixth homer of the season to lead off the fifth.

The Blue Jays scored a run in the bottom of the fifth. Travis walked, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a groundout by Ezequiel Carrera and scored on Darwin Barney's sacrifice fly to left.

The Padres (44-58) tacked on a run in the sixth. Matt Kemp led off with a walk, took second on Schimpf's soft groundout and scored on Bethancourt's double. Joe Biagini replaced Dickey and walked Alexei Ramirez before giving up Wallace's RBI single.

The Blue Jays cut the lead to 7-4 with a three-run bottom of the sixth.

Kevin Pillar hit a two-run double that scored Edwin Encarnacion, who had walked with two out, and Melvin Upton Jr., who had singled.

Travis trickled an infield single to third and Ezequiel Carrera hit an RBI single to right.

Left-hander Brad Hand replaced Perdomo with runners at the corners and ended the inning on Barney's flyout to right.

Jose Dominguez pitched a perfect bottom of the eighth.

Joaquin Benoit, obtained in a trade with the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, made his Blue Jays' debut in the ninth and survived two walks.

Brandon Maurer pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth for the Padres.

NOTES: The Padres recalled LHP Buddy Baumann and INF/OF Alexi Amarista from Triple-A El Paso. INF Yangervis Solarte was put on the family leave list. It is Baumann's second stint with the Padres and Amarista's fourth. ... OF Melvin Upton Jr. made his first start with the Blue Jays on Wednesday, playing left field for LF Michael Saunders. RF Jose Bautista started at DH with OF Ezequiel Carrera starting in right. The Padres traded Upton to the Blue Jays on Tuesday. ... Both teams have Thursday off. ... The Padres return home to play the Cincinnati Reds on Friday with RHP Brandon Finnegan (5-8, 4.93 ERA) facing Reds RHP Edwin Jackson (1-0, 2.92 ERA). ... Toronto RHP Marco Estrada (5-4, 2.94 ERA) will face Baltimore RHP Kevin Gausman (2-7, 3.77 ERA) on Friday in the opener of the three-game series with the Orioles at Rogers Centre.


Reds 2 vs. 1 Giants Final Recap

Bruce's blast helps Reds edge Giants


Wednesday, July 27 at 7:48 PM (EDT)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jay Bruce is rewriting Cincinnati Reds history by rewriting some of his own.

Bruce belted a solo home run off nemesis Madison Bumgarner to snap a tie in the seventh inning Wednesday and lift the Reds to a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in the finale of a three-game series.

Right-hander Dan Straily limited the Giants to three hits in 7 2/3 innings in his AT&T Park debut, helping the Reds win for the second time in three days in San Francisco.

The two-out-of-three series win was Cincinnati's fourth in a row since the All-Star break.

"It's important for us to win as many games as we can," Bruce said of his last-place ballclub. "It's important to experience what it takes to win."

Straily outdueled Bumgarner, who was pitching at home for the first time since his near-no-hitter on July 10 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Bumgarner (10-6) had allowed only three hits in six innings before Bruce smacked his first pitch of the seventh well over the right-field wall for his 25th home run, his fourth of the series and sixth in five games. The blast, which gave the Reds a 2-1 lead, marked his first career extra-base hit against the four-time All-Star.

"If my swing is right, I don't really think about who's pitching," Bruce admitted. "Madison, he's an ace in every sense of the word. If he gives you a pitch to hit, you better take advantage. He literally made one mistake today."

Bruce has homered in a career-high five straight games. He became the seventh Red ever to do so, the previous being catcher Devin Mesoraco in 2014.

The subject of serious trade talk with the deadline approaching, Bruce had entered the game just 2-for-17 (both hits singles) in his career against Bumgarner.

That slump went to 2-for-19 after a pair of flyouts in his first two at-bats Wednesday.

Bruce's four homers in 13 at-bats in the series came after he had hit only two previously at AT&T Park in 81 at-bats.

"In all my years watching him," Reds manager Bryan Price observed, "it's the best I've seen him swing the bat."

Straily (6-6) gave up a third-inning homer to Conor Gillaspie, but only two other hits before getting pulled with two outs in the eighth.

He walked one and struck out five in his 90-pitch effort.

"It's disappointing when you have Bum throw the ball the way he did," Giants manager Bruce

Right-hander Raisel Iglesias retired Gregor Blanco on a ground ball with a runner on base to end the eighth, and closer Tony Cingrani pitched around a leadoff single by Angel Pagan in the ninth for his 12th save and the Reds' 14th win in their last 19 visits to San Francisco.

The Reds improved to 8-4 since the All-Star break.

"I can't say enough about the bullpen," Bruce gushed. "They've had a tough time, but they've learned. They've gotten better."

Bumgarner completed eight innings, allowing two runs, only one of which was earned. He gave up five hits, struck out nine and did not walk a batter.

The outing was his 28th straight at home in which he has gone at least five innings and allowed no more than three earned runs. That streak is the longest by a Giants pitcher since 1913.

"It's been a hard time getting him wins," Bochy said of Bumgarner, who has only one win in five July starts despite giving up a total of just seven earned runs. "We're not getting timely hits. When your guy gives up five hits and you can't get a win, it's disappointing."

The All-Star had recorded 19 consecutive scoreless innings at home before the Reds scored an unearned run in the fifth.

After Gillaspie's homer had put the Giants in front, the Reds got even thanks in large part to a Pagan error.

Tucker Barnhart's sacrifice fly scored Brandon Phillips, who had singled with one out, to tie the game. Phillips advanced into scoring position on Eugenio Suarez's liner to left field that was dropped by Pagan for a two-base error.

"We've been through this plenty of times. And we know what it's about," Bumgarner said of the Giants' struggles of late. "Things will turn around for us."

Joey Votto had two of Cincinnati's six hits, extending his hitting streak to 12 straight games since the All-Star break.

Votto's run of nine consecutive games with a walk ended, however, on a 2-for-4 day.

Gillaspie's home run came after Straily had retired the first six Giants. It was his fourth of the season and survived a video review that assured that the ball had cleared the 20-foot-high barrier in right-center field.

Pagan had two hits for the Giants, whose record fell to 2-9 since the All-Star break.

NOTES: Reds RF Jay Bruce became just the second player in the majors this season to homer in five straight games. Baltimore Orioles 1B Chris Davis accomplished the feat from June 7-12. ... The other Reds to homer in five consecutive games were 1B Ted Kluszewski, 1B George Crowe, C Johnny Bench, CF Ken Griffey, Jr., 1B Adam Dunn and C Devin Mesoraco. ... Bruce has hit 25 or more homers in a season six times in his career. Among Reds, only RF Frank Robinson (nine), Bench (eight) and Dunn (seven) have done it more often. ... Reds 1B Joey Votto is hitting .500 (20-for-40) during his 12-game hitting streak. ... Giants pitchers surrendered eight home runs against the Reds, the most they have ever given up in a three-game series at AT&T Park. ... Giants 2B Ramiro Pena was a late scratch from Bruce Bochy's original starting lineup after reporting continuing soreness from the testicular contusion he suffered in Tuesday's game. He pinch-ran for LHP Madison Bumgarner in the eighth inning and then entered the game at second base.


Tigers 4 vs. 3 Red Sox Final Recap

Cabrera's blast helps Tigers complete sweep of Red Sox


Wednesday, July 27 at 5:59 PM (EDT)

BOSTON -- There are few better ways to end a road trip than completing a sweep of a team that had never been swept.

That's exactly what the Detroit Tigers did Wednesday when they beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 on Miguel Cabrera's tie-breaking home run in the ninth inning of the finale of the three-game series at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox (55-44) were the only team in the majors yet to suffer a sweep this season before they fell to the Tigers (54-48).

"I guess if you're a Red Sox fan, a couple bounces went our way," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "I look at it as Miggy hit the ball 385 feet into the wind, a ball without the wind that would have gone into the bullpen with ease."

Detroit, which went 5-2 on its road trip, squandered a 3-1 lead. But with two outs in the top of the ninth, Cabrera hit Red Sox reliever Brad Ziegler's 1-0 offering off the top of the wall and into the Boston bullpen for a 4-3 lead.

"Just a fastball," Ziegler (0-1) said. "Got a little too much plate and just obviously going 1-0 on him wasn't a great situation either. But still it wasn't a horrible pitch. It just wasn't a great one either."

Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer threw just 98 pitches over 7 2/3 innings but couldn't hold on to a 3-1 lead. Fulmer allowed three earned runs on seven hits, walked none and struck out three.

Designated hitter Victor Martinez went 4-for-4 with two RBIs and catcher James McCann hit a home run for the Tigers, who left 10 men on base.

Bruce Rondon (4-2) earned the win in relief and Justin Wilson secured his first career save for Detroit.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez left after throwing 101 pitches in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed three earned runs on nine hits and issued three walks. He also struck out six batters.

Boston infielders Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts homered and Mookie Betts delivered a game-tying triple in the bottom of the eighth.

"The one to Betts in the eighth inning was just a little up and over the plate," Fulmer said. "He just caught up with it and drove it."

Travis Shaw led off Boston's half of the eighth with a single, took second on a sacrifice bunt and went to third on a groundout. Betts then ripped a line-drive triple to the triangle area in center field to score Shaw. Third base coach Brian Butterfield stopped Betts at third and Rondon struck out Pedroia to end the inning.

"I was thinking I've got to go, I've got to go," Betts said about his race around the bases. "I'm not as fast as I used to be, so it's just a triple."

The Red Sox, who have lost five of their past six games, scored first when Pedroia hit a solo home run to center field as the second batter of the bottom of the first.

Martinez ripped a two-run single in the top of the third to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. McCann homered with one out in the sixth to give Detroit a 3-1 lead.

Bogaerts answered with a solo home run of his own leading off the seventh inning to pull Boston within 3-2.

NOTES: Boston RHP Craig Kimbrel went through his second bullpen session Wednesday in his attempt to return from surgery to repair a left knee medial meniscus injury. The Red Sox closer has been on the disabled list since July 9. He is scheduled to report to Triple-A Pawtucket for a rehabilitation assignment Saturday. His stint with the PawSox could be as short as one game. "That would be the most optimistic scenario," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. ... Red Sox C Ryan Hanigan remained out of the starting lineup with flu-like symptoms. Farrell said Hanigan would only be available in an emergency. ... Boston RHP Brandon Workman, who has been on the disabled list all season while rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery, is scheduled to pitch a simulated game prior to the regular game at Class A Lowell on Thursday. ... Red Sox RHP Sean O'Sullivan will start on the path to returning from left knee patellar tendonitis (on the DL since July 9) by pitching three innings for Pawtucket on Thursday. ... Detroit OF Cameron Maybin remained out of the starting lineup because of a back injury. He last played Sunday in the conclusion of Saturday's suspended game and might not return until Friday. ... Tigers RHP Drew VerHagen, who started the season in the majors before being optioned to Triple-A Toledo, is out for the season. He is scheduled to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. VerHagen had been trying to rehabilitate the injury to avoid surgery but he suffered a setback.


Athletics 6 vs. 4 Rangers Final Recap

Eighth-inning homers rally A's past Rangers


Thursday, July 28 at 12:13 AM (EDT)

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A pair of two-run homers in the eighth inning lifted the Oakland Athletics past the Texas Rangers 6-4 in the series finale on Wednesday night at Globe Life Park.

The A's (47-55) ended up taking two of three from the American League West leaders to extend their series win streak to four. That's the longest run for Oakland since 2014.

Coco Crisp and Kris Davis both went deep to right in the eighth off Texas reliever Matt Bush, turning a 3-2 deficit into a three-run advantage. Davis also homered in the first and leads the team with 25 long balls.

Oakland's late uprising avoided a loss for starter Sean Manaea and denied Texas' Yu Darvish of his first win in nearly two months.

Manaea was solid working into the seventh and kept the A's close. The left-hander fanned nine, scattered 11 hits and gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Oakland's bullpen closed out the club's fifth victory in the last six games. Ryan Dull (5-2) picked up the win and Ryan Madson posted his 22nd save of the season.

The A's are 9-4 since the All-Star break.

The Rangers (58-44) once again failed to win with Darvish on the mound. Darvish picked up his last victory on June 3.

Darvish went a season-high six innings for the second straight outing. He allowed two earned runs, both coming in the first, and four hits and struck out six without issuing a walk.

Darvish finished his night with a strikeout of Davis with a man at third. The 6-foot-5 righty let out a yell along with a fist pump on the way to the dugout.

The joy didn't last long.

Bush (3-2) immediately found himself in trouble as Ryon Healy singled to lead off the eighth. Crisp followed with a towering shot to right for a 4-3 lead.

After an out, Josh Reddick and Davis followed with their own single-homer combo to end Bush's night.

The Rangers did score once in the ninth and had the tying at the plate with two outs. Madson was able to strike out Jurickson Profar to end it.

The A's jumped on Darvish with two runs in the first. Crisp opened the game with a triple down the right-field line and scored on Jed Lowrie's sac fly to deep right. Davis drilled his 24th home run of the season to left with two outs.

Texas cut the deficit in half in the third on back-to-back hits with two outs against Manaea. Ian Desmond doubled into the right-field corner and scored on Adrian Beltre's single to left.

Desmond put the Rangers up 3-2 in the fifth with a two-run shot to right-center field, his team-leading 20th homer of the season.

NOTES: Texas acquired RHP Lucas Harrell and LHP Dario Alvarez from Atlanta in exchange for minor league INF Travis Demeritte. To make room on the major league roster, the Rangers designated INF Matt E. Duffy for assignment. Harrell slides into the rotation as the fifth starter, with his turn coming Sunday. Alvarez adds bullpen depth. ... Oakland rookie LHP Dillon Overton will be recalled from Triple-A Nashville to start Saturday in Cleveland. Dillon fills the rotation the rotation spot left by RHP Daniel Mengden's demotion. ... A's LHP Rich Hill (blister) remains a possibility to start Sunday, manager Bob Melvin said. If Hill is not ready, RHP Sonny Gray will start on his normal rest.


Mariners 1 vs. 10 Pirates Final Recap

Cole pitches shutout; Pirates rock Mariners


Wednesday, July 27 at 11:10 PM (EDT)

PITTSBURGH -- Wins had been elusive for Gerrit Cole. A complete game? That would be a luxury.

The Pittsburgh right-hander came up with both Wednesday night. He pitched a three-hitter and singled and scored as the Pirates beat the Seattle Mariners 10-1 at PNC Park to gain a split of a two-game series.

"You try to do it every time out, but it's not something I had been dwelling on," Cole (6-6) said of turning in his first career complete game. "There are lot of variables that can leak into any start and throw you astray, so you just focus on the things you can control like your delivery and making quality pitches."

He did that early and often. He struck out six, walked none and needed just 94 pitches to earn his first win since May 20. Between, there were a mix of shaky starts, lack of run support and a little more a month on the DL because of a right triceps injury.

Cole, who was making his third start since coming off the DL, had three losses and three no-decisions since that May 20 start, when he allowed one run and 10 hits in a 2-1 win over Colorado.

The only run he allowed against the Mariners came in the sixth when Norichika Aoki led off with a double and later scored on Robinson Cano's sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.

"He put his foot down and pitched," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the 25-year-old who has been expected to be one of the anchors of the rotation. "That's as efficient as I've seen him since he's been here. Twenty pitches the first inning, 74 for the other eight. Really good outing. Really good outing.

"I think (pitching a complete game) is part of the ownership of working your way to being a staff ace. He's still got work to do. He's still cutting his teeth in some areas. That type of performance is the type of performance you need to put you in that position. It helped the confidence."

Jung Ho Kang hit a bases-clearing double in a four-run seventh inning and Andrew McCutchen hit a three-run homer in the eighth after the Pirates built a 3-0 lead in the third.

James Paxton (3-5), who ended a run of three starts without a win Saturday when he pitched seven innings in a 2-1 victory at Toronto, gave up three runs and six hits. He struck out six and walked one but labored at times, needing 97 pitches to get through five innings.

"I didn't have my best stuff; my location wasn't really great today. It was kind of a battle," Paxton said. "I was pulling a little bit early on my front side so my location wasn't great. They hit some OK pitches there, left a couple up that hurt."

Right-hander Drew Storen, acquired a night earlier in a trade with Toronto, made his Seattle debut relieving Paxton. Storen pitched 1 1/3 innings and was charged with all four Pittsburgh runs in the seventh. Nathan Karns and David Rollins finished up.

"We kind of struggled," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "We're right there in the game, 3-1, tough game, you're going to need a big hit or something to go your way."

In the Pittsburgh seventh, Cole led off with a single, the first of five hits in the inning. Cole scored when Starling Marte drew a bases-loaded walk, and Kang followed with his three-run double.

In the eighth, McCutchen's drive over the center-field wall off Rollins made it 10-1. It was McCutchen's 15th homer of the season and the 166th of his career, tying him with Dave Parker for fifth in Pirates history. The four RBIs gave him 600 for his career.

It might have been a breakout game for McCutchen and Kang, who have been struggling and entered the game with identical .241 batting averages.

"I don't think there's anything in this game that helps boost confidence other than success," Hurdle said. "Their success was real -- the ability to drive in some runs, the ability to lay off some pitches."

McCutchen said Cole's performance had something to do with that.

"When you get good pitching, a lot of the time the offense, it follows," he said. "You see someone going out there and he's throwing, he's working hard, he's working quick, he's getting fast outs, we're playing great defense. That just carries over. It's a never-ending circle. It just keeps going and everything keeps working. Tonight was one of those nights."

There was no scoring for the first 2 1/2 innings, but the Pirates did provide a bit of extra entertainment in the top of the second.

First baseman David Freese bobbled a grounder hit his way by Aoki, but he recovered sufficiently to send a behind-the-back flip to Cole, who was headed to cover first. Cole made a barehanded grab and stepped on the base just ahead of Aoki.

Pittsburgh batted around in the third. It started when Josh Harrison tripled on a ball that bounced under sliding center fielder Leonys Martin -- Harrison rounded third with thoughts of an inside-the-park homer but had to scramble back to third. After Cole struck out, Jordy Mercer's double to left scored Harrison for a 1-0 lead.

Freese got an infield single, and McCutchen's double drove home Mercer to make it 2-0. Marte got grazed by a Paxton pitch to load the bases. Kang drew a walk to make it 3-0.

Cole felt some fatigue but fed off the energy of Pittsburgh's offense.

"(I was) not as strong in the eighth and ninth as I was earlier in the game, but once we got the lead and expanded on it, with the type of contact we were getting and way we were playing great on defense all night, there was no sense fooling around because we already had a good ballgame going on," he said. "I just kept attacking and trying to get quick outs."

Cole was the first Pirates batter up in the seventh and the second one in the ninth, but Hurdle didn't consider using a pinch-hitter or making a change in the ninth.

"He earned that opportunity," the manager said. "There's no flat-out way I'm taking him out of that game. There's no way he's coming out of that game without getting an opportunity. You've got to give him a chance to paint his own picture."

NOTES: Seattle OF/DH Nelson Cruz was not in the starting lineup on Wednesday. He fouled a ball off his left leg in Tuesday's game. Manager Scott Servais said it wasn't serious and that Cruz's leg already was banged up. He also noted if it was an American League park, Cruz probably would have been in the lineup as a designated hitter. ... Mariners RHP Taijuan Walker, who is on the disabled list because of right foot tendinitis, pitched a three-inning simulated game at PNC Park as scheduled. His next step is expected to be a minor league rehab start over the weekend. ... Seattle RHP Nick Vincent, who is on the disabled list because of a back strain, is scheduled to throw off the found Friday and probably will be on a rehab assignment next week. ... Facing a left-hander, the Pirates left RF Gregory Polanco out of the starting lineup. Polanco went 4-for-5 on Tuesday. ... Pittsburgh RHP Tyler Glasnow, who is on the disabled list because of right shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to begin playing catch over the weekend. ... Pirates C Chris Stewart, who is on the disabled list because of left knee discomfort, ran the bases and might go on rehab assignment as soon as next week. ... Both teams have a day off Thursday.


Rockies 3 vs. 1 Orioles Final Recap

Two homers are enough for Rockies to top O's


Wednesday, July 27 at 11:23 PM (EDT)

BALTIMORE -- The Colorado Rockies certainly made their hits count in Wednesday night's game vs. the Baltimore Orioles.

Nick Hundley and David Dahl both homered in the sixth inning, and starter Jon Gray gave Colorado seven solid innings as the Rockies defeated the Baltimore Orioles 3-1.

The Rockies (49-52) finished with only five hits, but two of them were homers that gave them their three runs en route to their second win in the three-game series.

"I love playing here," Hundley said. "The atmosphere here. The fans here. The team they run out there. If you don't play your 'A' game, you're going to get embarrassed."

That did not happen to the Rockies in this series. Colorado lost the first game to the Orioles (58-42) in 10 innings before taking the next two. Good starting pitching helped the Rockies, especially in this game, when the offense was limited.

Colorado put runners in scoring position only three times but came up with enough offense for Gray (7-4). The right-hander allowed one run on five hits with three strikeouts and two walks.

His teammates made some good plays on defense, and Gray worked out of a few jams and made it through seven innings.

"There were a ton of good plays tonight," Gray said. "It was a heck of a defensive night. They kept me in it, (and) you just take it one pitch at a time."

Orioles starter Dylan Bundy (3-3) began well in his third major league start. He retired the first 16 Rockies before giving up a walk and the two homers in the sixth, blasts that put Colorado on top for good.

Bundy allowed three runs on two hits in 5 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts and one walk.

"Just two mistakes, change-ups that were up in the zone and they were able to tag them for homers," Bundy said. "Maybe just a little more focus or location a little bit better in the sixth inning and you get out of that with six innings pitched and no harm done."

Bundy clearly appears to be improving with each start. He's given up four runs in 11 ? innings in his last two outings and looked in command both times.

"Dylan was really good, solid," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Got to get into another inning that he hadn't been into, got to throw a couple more pitches than he'd thrown. He was good. He was the reason we were in that game, impressive."

The Rockies did not get a baserunner until Mark Reynolds walked with one out in the sixth. Hundley then hit his two-run homer to left, and Dahl added his solo shot to center two batters later -- his first major league homer in just his third game -- for a 3-0 lead.

Manny Machado cut the lead to 3-1 for the Orioles (58-42) with a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth, but Baltimore could add no more.

Rockies relievers Adam Ottavino and Boone Logan combined to pitch the eighth. Carlos Estevez came on in the ninth and needed just seven pitches to record his 10th save. Colorado earned its second victory in a row, winning the three-game series.

Baltimore also missed a chance to extend its lead over Toronto and Boston in the American League East, as both lost earlier in the day. The Orioles lead the Blue Jays by two games and the Red Sox by 2 1/2.

"You look at the series overall, it's one of our best series of the year," Weiss said. "It's got to be up there. We got real good starting pitching this series and we had some really clutch hits. That's what it takes."

NOTES: The Orioles are hoping that OF Julio Borbon can rejoin the organization. He was designated for assignment Tuesday, and manager Buck Showalter said if Borbon gets through waivers that he could return. ... RHP Vance Worley, who threw seven strong innings in a spot start for Baltimore on Sunday, is going to be back in the bullpen when RHP Ubaldo Jimenez starts in the make-up game Thursday in Minnesota. ... The Rockies placed RHP Jason Motte on the disabled list with a rotator cuff strain. The move is retroactive to Tuesday. ... LHP Chris Rusin was reinstated from the disabled list. He gives the Rockies a third-left hander in their bullpen, one who can both start and come on in relief.


White Sox 1 vs. 8 Cubs Final Recap

Baez, Russell blasts seal Cubs' win over White Sox


Thursday, July 28 at 12:42 AM (EDT)

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez snapped a tie with a two-run, seventh-inning homer, and Addison Russell slugged his first career grand slam in the eighth to lead the Chicago Cubs to a 8-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

Baez's home run spoiled a strong first start by White Sox right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, who tossed five no-hit innings before giving up home runs in the sixth and seventh.

Baez went deep to left, his 11th homer of the season, to score Jason Heyward for a 3-1 lead that helped make a winner of Cubs starter Jason Hammel (10-5).

The Cubs (60-40) snapped a two-game losing streak, while the White Sox (50-51) saw their four-game winning streak end.

Ranaudo (1-1) departed after the Baez homer. He gave up three runs on two hits, struck out three and walked four in 6 2/3 innings.

Hammel allowed one run on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

The Cubs were hitless until the sixth, when Kris Bryant tied the game at 1-1 with his 26th home run of the season. The homer to left matched a career and season high and was his first since July 5 against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cubs added five runs in the eighth. Ben Zobrist doubled home Bryant with no outs off White Sox reliever Carson Fulmer, and Miguel Montero walked on four pitches to load the bases.

Russell greeted reliever Jacob Turner with a no-out grand slam home run to left on a 1-0 pitch as the lead grew to 8-1.

Aroldis Chapman, acquired this week in a trade with the Yankees, made his Cubs debut with a one-two-three ninth. He threw several fastballs clocked in excess of 100 mph.

Ranaudo gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead with his first major league hit and home run, sending an 0-1 pitch from Hammel to the right field bleachers to open the fifth. His homer was the first by a White Sox pitcher since Mark Buehrle on June 14, 2009, at Milwaukee.

Ranaudo was called up from Triple-A Charlotte to replace Chris Sale, who was suspended for five games but is scheduled to start on Thursday. He was 5-3 with a 3.20 ERA in 13 Triple-A starts.

NOTES: The White Sox placed INF Brett Lawrie on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 22 with a strained left hamstring. They recalled INF Carlos Sanchez from Triple-A Charlotte. ... White Sox LHP Chris Sale returns from a team-imposed suspension to face Cubs RHP John Lackey (7-7) on Thursday in the series finale at Wrigley Field. Lackey is 0-4 in his last six starts and 3-7 lifetime against the White Sox. ... Wednesday's game kicked off an eight-game homestand, the Cubs' longest since a 10-game run at home between May 27-June 5. ... Cubs C/OF Willson Contreras was given the night off on Wednesday but is expected to play Thursday. His 33 hits are third most among NL rookies, and he has reached base safely in 18 games, the longest since Kosuke Fukudome (19) in June 2008.


Braves 9 vs. 7 Twins Final Recap

Freeman's four hits, five RBIs fuel Braves' 9-7 win


Thursday, July 28 at 12:39 AM (EDT)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Freddie Freeman had a chance in the eighth inning on Wednesday to establish a new career high in both single-game hits and RBIs. But after working ahead in the count, the Minnesota Twins chose to walk him instead.

Freeman settled for matching his career bests with four hits and five RBIs, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 9-7 win over Minnesota at Target Field.

"I've never had more than four hits or more than five RBIs. I had a chance there," Freeman said. "But all-in-all, a good night."

A triple short of the cycle, Freeman had four knocks for the third time this season. It was the fifth time in his career the first baseman drove in five runs.

Jeff Francoeur also homered as Atlanta took both games of a two-game series. The Braves have won their last seven matchups against the Twins and finished a nine-game road trip 3-6.

Gordon Beckham and Jace Peterson each had two hits and scored three runs. Beckham also drove in a run with an RBI double in the first inning.

Freeman's homer in the fourth inning gave Atlanta a 7-0 lead and the Braves hung on as the Twins charged back in the middle frames.

Kurt Suzuki homered and had two hits for Minnesota, which has lost three straight games.

Braves right hander Mike Foltynewicz (4-4) cruised early, ran into trouble in the middle innings but got deep enough for the win despite allowing seven runs (six earned) and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings, walking none and striking out three.

Foltynewicz became the first Braves pitcher since Greg Maddux on Aug. 23, 1998, to allow seven runs and still get the win.

"It's great to jump out and (Foltynewicz) did a great job early of having the shutdown innings," said Braves interim manager Brian Snitker. "He was getting to two strikes (in the middle innings) but was having a tough time putting guys away. But he got the win, that's the big thing."

Fill-in closer Jim Johnson worked the ninth for his fourth save and second in as many nights.

It didn't take long for the Braves to get on the board against Twins starter Tyler Duffey (5-8), who walked the leadoff man Peterson before surrendering Beckham's double off the left-field wall for a 1-0 lead.

Freeman singled but was erased on a 4-6-3 double play before the Braves continued their onslaught. Adonis Garcia doubled ahead of Francoeur's two-run blast over the center-field fence for a 4-0 lead.

The Braves poured it on in the second, getting a leadoff double from Peterson before Freeman blooped an RBI single down the right-field line for a 5-0 lead.

It was the last batter Duffey faced. The right-hander was lifted after just 1 1/3 innings, allowing five runs, eight hits and a walk. It was the shortest outing of his big-league career and second straight that he failed to get out of at least the third inning.

"I had a short (start) last time out and obviously, I wanted to put us in a good situation today," Duffey said. "Didn't do that and taxed our bullpen. We scored enough runs to win which is really frustrating."

Freeman's two-run shot to center field in the fourth extended the Braves' lead to 7-0.

"It's been a rare occurrence for us to give our starter an early lead and it was nice to be able to do that," Freeman said. "Nice way to end the road trip. Our offense has been struggling a bit all year so it was nice to put up some runs like we did and hopefully we can carry that (over)."

Eddie Rosario's RBI double got the Twins on the board in the bottom half of the inning and Suzuki's two-run homer got Minnesota back within 7-3.

"We pecked away at them, got back into the game but they added on a couple, which ended up being the difference in the game," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "We had chances right down to the end but coming back from down seven is a tough task."

Eduardo Nunez led off the fifth for the Twins with a single and Joe Mauer followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position for Miguel Sano, who chopped a two-run single to right to make it 7-5.

NOTES: The Braves traded RHP Lucas Harrell and LHP Dario Alvarez to the Texas Rangers for INF prospect Travis Demeritte. Harrell was 2-2 in five starts for the Braves and pitched six shutout innings in Tuesday's 2-0 win. Demeritte was hitting .272 with 25 homers and 59 RBIs in Class-A High Desert this season. ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe took flips in the batting cage before the game and had his live batting practice session moved up to Friday. On the disabled list since July 4 with a fractured rib, Plouffe could head out on a rehab assignment as soon as this weekend. ... Atlanta will return home to open a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday at Turner Field. ... Minnesota will make up a postponed game from May 9 against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night at Target Field.


Cardinals 5 vs. 4 Mets Final Recap

Wong double the difference as Cards edge Mets


Thursday, July 28 at 12:21 AM (EDT)

NEW YORK -- Kolten Wong's tie-breaking RBI double in the ninth inning Wednesday night made Adam Wainwright's evening. It made a lot more than that for Wong.

"Tell you what, that was probably one of the top things that I've experienced in a while, man, just coming through in a big situation," Wong said after the Cardinals mounted a rare ninth inning rally against New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia to beat the Mets, 5-4, at Citi Field.

The Cardinals expected Wong to cement himself as their long-term second baseman when they signed him to a five-year extension in March. But Wong opened the season by hitting just .222 in his first 49 games before being demoted to Triple-A Memphis, where he began playing the outfield.

Wong was recalled June 17 and has made just 19 starts -- 10 at second base and nine in the outfield -- in the last 36 games. But he is hitting .417 (5-for-12) as a pinch-hitter following his go-ahead hit Wednesday.

"He's just been grinding," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We've got to drag him out of the cage when we're trying to get on the bus. He's constantly trying everything. Nice to have a little positive reinforcement."

Wainwright was in need of some positive reinforcement himself after squandering a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh, when he uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch four pitches before giving up a long go-ahead two-out, two-run homer to Yoenis Cespedes. It was the first homer allowed by Wainwright in the last 67 1/3 innings.

"I was ready to bang my head into the wall here and crawl into a hole and die for a little bit there," Wainwright said with a grin.

Wainwright's mood began lifting with one out in the ninth, when Jedd Gyorko drew a one-out walk. Yadier Molina followed with a game-tying RBI single to score pinch-runner Randal Grichuk.

Molina was thrown out at third on a comebacker by pinch-hitter Jeremy Hazelbaker, who stole second and trotted home on a double down the third base line by Wong.

The blown save ended a streak of 52 straight regular season saves by Familia dating back to last Aug. 1. He did blow three saves in the World Series.

"As the stats say, he's been dominating this whole season so far," Wong said. "Just to see some kind of light at the end of the tunnel was definitely something I needed and something I've been waiting for a long, long time."

The rally made a winner of Jonathan Broxton (3-2), who threw a one-hit eighth. Seung Hwan Oh notched his sixth save with a perfect ninth as the Cardinals (54-47) remained a game behind the Miami Marlins in the race for the National League's second wild card and 6 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

"Just when you think it's your lowest moment all of the year, all of a sudden the team wipes that away and now I'm looking forward to my next start already," said Wainwright, who allowed the four runs on 11 hits and one walk while striking out four over 6 2/3 innings. "Instead of having a flight full of sorrow and pouty pants, now I'll have some good times with the boys."

Matt Holliday had a two-run double in the third, when Matt Adams followed with an RBI double. Molina and Aledmys Diaz had two hits each.

Neil Walker had three singles -- including an RBI hit in the second -- and drew a walk in four plate appearances for the Mets (53-47), who fell 1 1/2 games behind the Marlins as well as 5 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.

"This is a tough one -- this is a really tough one to take," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You know when you come back on Adam Wainwright and have a chance to win the game, that's a pretty big night. To have your closer who just has been lights out give up two, that's a little tougher to take."

Cespedes, Travis d'Arnaud and James Loney all had two hits apiece for the Mets, who have alternated wins with losses in their first 12 games following the All-Star Break.

Mets right-hander Logan Verrett allowed three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out seven over seven innings and was in line for the win after Cespedes' homer.

"That was a big-time at-bat when we needed it pretty badly, so I was ecstatic," Verrett said. "Unfortunately it didn't work out in the end, but that's baseball. Nobody's perfect."

NOTES: Mets 3B Jose Reyes (left side) sat out his second straight game and was not expected to be available for Thursday afternoon's series opener against the Colorado Rockies. Both Reyes and manager Terry Collins are confident a disabled list stint will not be necessary. ... With Reyes out, INF Wilmer Flores played third base and started against a right-hander for only the second time since Reyes rejoined the Mets July 5. ... Cardinals 1B/OF Brandon Moss (sprained left ankle) is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Thursday. ... Due to Tuesday's doubleheader, the Cardinals do not have a starter listed for Saturday or Sunday. One possibility is RHP Alex Reyes, the club's top prospect who was pulled after throwing 57 pitches for Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday.


Diamondbacks 8 vs. 1 Brewers Final Recap

Tomas has blast with two homers in Arizona's 8-1 win


Thursday, July 28 at 12:23 AM (EDT)

MILWAUKEE -- Yasmany Tomas hit two home runs and Archie Bradley struck out six to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to an 8-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night at Miller Park.

Tomas drove in five runs and was one of four Diamondbacks batters to finish with two hits.

Bradley (4-6) held Milwaukee to one run and four hits with three walks in seven innings and didn't allow a run until Hernan Perez's sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson (6-9) struggled, allowing eight runs, nine hits and two walks while striking out seven in 4 2/3 innings.

Only six of Nelson's runs were earned as the Brewers' defense committed five errors -- three by Kirk Nieuwenhuis and two by Jonathan Villar -- in the first two innings.

Phil Gosselin reached on Villar's first error of the game. Jean Segura followed with a base hit. Villar, with a possible double play, made a bad throw to second that went into right field, where Niewunhuis misplayed the ball and allowed Gosselin to score and Segura to reach third.

Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk and Welington Castillo made it 2-0 with an RBI single to center. That brought up Tomas, who made it 5-0 a game when he cracked a 2-2 sinker to left-center field for his 16th home run of the year.

Villar's issues continued in the bottom of the inning. He led off with a double to left but was caught trying to steal third and was be pulled from the game in favor of Jake Elmore to start the second.

Niewunhuis committed two more errors in the second as the Diamondbacks made it 6-0 on a Segura single.

Tomas hit his second homer of the night, a two-run shot in the fifth, on a 0-2 slider from Nelson, who gave way with two outs in the inning.

NOTES: Milwaukee placed RHP Jacob Barnes on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a sore right elbow. Barnes has appeared in 16 games for the Brewers this season, going 1-0 with a 3.71 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17 innings of work. ... The Brewers recalled RHP Michael Blazek from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he made three scoreless appearances after being optioned on July 10. ... RHP Zack Greinke felt good a day after throwing a 40-pitch bullpen session and will travel to Arizona, where he will start for the Diamondbacks' rookie-level Arizona League squad as he works his way back from a strained left oblique. Manager Chip Hale said Greinke would be on a 60-pitch limit and that it hasn't been decided whether Greinke's next start would be with the Diamondbacks or in the minor leagues.


Yankees 1 vs. 4 Astros Final Recap

McCullers, Astros dump Yankees


Thursday, July 28 at 12:19 AM (EDT)

HOUSTON -- If recent weeks represent the start of Astros right-hander Lance McCullers' emergence, observers would be wise to take notice.

McCullers posted his fourth double-digit strikeout start of the season, and Colby Rasmus snapped a prolonged slump with a critical home run as the Houston Astros averted a sweep with a 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.

McCullers (6-4) allowed exactly one earned run for a fifth time in six starts. He surrendered five hits and walked two batters while recording 10 strikeouts for the third time in five starts this month.

Beginning with his strikeout of Carlos Beltran to close the third inning, McCullers' ensuing seven outs came on strikeouts, six of them swinging.

"He's been pretty good with his game plan," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The fastball command has gotten better; he's learning when to use it. The least aggressive players in the league, one of them being (Yankees left fielder) Brett Gardner, are swinging at the first-pitch fastball trying to stay away from the breaking ball. That should tell you the word's out that he's going to throw 40-50 percent breaking balls. Still hard to hit."

After surrendering a leadoff homer to Brian McCann in the fourth inning, McCullers rallied to strike out the side, including Chase Headley and Aaron Hicks with two runners on base. McCullers followed by striking out the side again in the fifth, this time in order.

McCullers faced 25 batters and he threw 91 pitches, just 29 of them balls. Over his past six starts, McCullers has allowed eight earned runs with 50 strikeouts in 36 innings (2.00 ERA).

"Early on, I threw a lot of fastballs, and they were kind of pounding them into the ground," McCullers said. "After McCann hit that ball out in center, especially after a long inning like that, on a guy that doesn't swing a lot at the first pitch, I knew that they were probably going to try to get to the heater now.

"Started mixing it up, and J (catcher Jason Castro) and I were on the same page pretty much all night. The only time I had to shake was for maybe a different location or something, so it made it a lot easier on me."

Rasmus snapped an 0-for-29 skid with his 12th home run in the third inning off Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (7-3). The blast gave the slumping Rasmus just his second multi-RBI game of the month.

The Yankees (52-49) dropped three games behind Houston in the American League wild-card chase. The Astros (55-46) are one game behind the final AL playoff position.

Preston Tucker and Alex Bregman made Tanaka labor with one out in the second inning, working walks to set the table for Carlos Gomez, whose sharp single through the box shot past Tanaka and bounced by shortstop Didi Gregorius to drive in Tucker.

In the third inning. Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Correa sandwiched singles around a Jose Altuve groundout. Correa plated Gonzalez, on third following a wild pitch, with his hit to left field,. Correa scored when Rasmus followed with his two-run shot to right.

"(Tanaka) had the one bad inning," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He left the (splitter) up, he left a couple pitches up that inning. They made him work. He had a real easy first inning, and then after that, they really made him work. The one inning really did him in."

For just the second time since mid-May, Tanaka failed to work into the sixth inning. He allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts over five innings.

"Sharpness with the balls," Tanaka said was his problem. "We came in on a good stretch winning a couple of games in a row. Wanted to go out there and obviously wanted to beat the opponent, but that didn't happen. So very disappointed about that."

NOTES: Yankees DH Carlos Beltran and 2B Starlin Castro were both in the starting lineup, the team's only two players to participate in all 13 games between the All-Star break and the scheduled off day Thursday. Castro entered Wednesday batting .302 with one home run and nine RBIs since the break, and he went 0-for-3. Beltran was batting .378 with two homers and six RBIs since the break before going 0-for-4 on Wednesday. ... Astros 3B Luis Valbuena met with a physician on Wednesday, but the extent of his right hamstring injury remains undetermined. Valbuena strained his hamstring running out of the box in the second inning Tuesday night and left the game. The injury is not considered serious enough to warrant a stint on the 15-day disabled list. ... Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez and Astros first base coach Rich Dauer celebrated birthdays on Wednesday, with Rodriguez turning 41 and Dauer 64. Rodriguez did not play.


Angels 5 vs. 7 Royals Final Recap

Angels protesting Royals' win


Thursday, July 28 at 12:59 AM (EDT)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals ended a rough 3-6 homestand with a victory on Wednesday night. Or did they?

The Los Angeles Angels protested the Royals' 7-5 victory, which included Raul Mondesi's first two big league hits, which led to four runs thanks to a pair of throwing errors.

The Royals scored four runs in the seventh inning, Mondesi's bunt single starting the key play. Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker committed a throwing error on the bunt, scoring Alex Gordon and Paulo Orlando, who each had three hits.

Jarrod Dyson tripled home Mondesi and scored on an Alcides Escobar sacrifice fly.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia, however, said Mondesi was running inside the line, which caused Shoemaker's throw to hit him.

"It was very clear," Scioscia said. "Phil Cuzzi, the home plate umpire, had Mondesi running inside the line in jeopardy the whole way, and stated that it's OK because he was stepping back toward the bag, which is wrong. It's only OK if you start in the lane and step back toward the bag. You are in jeopardy the whole way if you run inside, whether you get to the bag or not.

"The question wasn't if the throw impeded him or he impeded the throw. It wasn't if he was running inside. It's what I believe is his misinterpretation of the rule, given the guidelines that he gave me. There's no judgement involved. He admitted that (Mondesi) was inside the line. In Phil's head he wasn't in jeopardy because he was stepping toward the bag, which is wrong. That's the basis of the protest.

"I would not have protested if I was not 100 percent correct on this. This is a misinterpretation of a rule."

Scioscia said Mondesi should have been called out and the runners would be brought back to first and second.

"I hit him, but it was also a terrible throw," Shoemaker said. "I don't want to get involved in that because I don't know the rule."

Naturally, Royals manager Ned Yost disagreed with Scioscia's view.

"It was pretty confusing what was going on," Yost said.

Scioscia was on the field for several minutes conferring with the four umpires, who in turn put on the headsets for another 6 minute, 15 second delay with nothing changing.

"It was the umpire's judgement that he wasn't out of the line," Yost said. "I went back and looked at the video and he was right on the line. You can't protest a judgmental call."

Yost then read from the rulebook to back his case.

In the eighth, Mondesi's infield single knocked in Gordon, and reliever Jose Alvarez's throwing error on the play allowed Orlando to score.

Joakim Soria (4-4) picked up the victory by throwing a scoreless seventh inning. Royals starter Danny Duffy gave up three runs in six innings.

"Every win from here on out is going to be huge for us," Duffy said. "We've definitely got to get back on the right track."

The Angels made it interesting with a two-run ninth off Wade Davis, who threw 33 pitches. Davis walked Albert Pujols with the bases loaded and gave up a run-producing single to Andrelton Simons.

Jett Bandy struck out with the bases loaded to end the game.

Johnny Giavotella had three hits for the Angels, while Jefry Marte stroked two doubles and drove in a run.

The Angels broke a scoreless deadlock in the fifth, which began with Duffy walking Bandy and Gregorio Petit. Giavotella, who began his career with the Royals, singled up the middle to load the bases with nobody out. Bandy scored when Yunel Escobar, who had five hits Tuesday, grounded into a double play.

Shoemaker retired the first 13 batters he faced before Salvador Perez drilled a double to right-center in the fifth inning. Gordon, who had been 3-for-24 on the homestand, singled to right, advancing Perez to third. Orlando's ground-rule double to left-center drove in Perez to tie the score.

Shoemaker (5-11) gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings.

NOTES: With the Royals losing six of seven entering Wednesday night, manager Ned Yost called a team meeting before the game. "I felt like they were pressing a little bit. Just relax," Yost said of his message in the brief meeting. The players have some anxiety, he said, because several Royals are being mentioned in trade speculation stories. "They don't want to see anybody leave that room," Yost said. "They want to see us all continue to stay together." ... Gregorio Petit started in left field for the Angels, his first professional game in the outfield. ... Angels OF Shane Robinson, who went on the disabled list July 6 with a right ankle sprain, begins a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Inland Empire in the California League. ... The Angels return home Thursday to face the Boston Red Sox, who will start LHP David Price. RHP Jered Weaver will be on the mound for the Angels. ... The Royals open an eight-game trip with the first four at Texas. RHP Yordano Ventura starts Thursday against Rangers LHP Cole Hamels.