MLB Scores

Today is Wednesday, September 28, 2016.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Major League Baseball
Brewers 5 vs. 3 Rangers In-Progress

Rangers' Hamels tunes up for postseason vs. Brewers

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:25 AM (EDT)

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Cole Hamels is gearing up for the playoffs by making his last start of the season Wednesday in the Milwaukee-Texas series finale at Globe Life Park.

The Rangers' ace won't see the mound again until Game 1 of the American League Division Series.

Hamels (15-5, 3.30 ERA) needs 6 1/3 innings to reach 200 for the eighth time in his career. If he beats the Brewers, Hamels would finish a win shy of his career-high 17 set in 2012. He also won 15 in 2007.

The lefty needs six strikeouts to crack 200 for a fifth time. After a pair of starts on extended rest, Hamels is back to pitching after four days off. His last outing was Texas' division-clinching win Sept. 23 at Oakland.

The rest of Texas' postseason staff and roster appears to be falling into place behind Hamels, as manager Jeff Banister is considering going with eight relievers and four bench players.

"I'm leaning more that way," he said. "Possibly no traditional long reliever and the extra reliever allows us to really shorten the game if we need to. The one thing we have been able to do in our bullpen, other than Sam Dyson, is multiple-inning stints for all our guys. We are comfortable with that part."

Banister had seven in the bullpen and five on the bench in the ALDS against Toronto last season.

Two of the arms in the 'pen will likely be Jeremy Jeffress and Tony Barnette, who have both returned in this series after long layoffs.

"That's two big pieces to get back in the bullpen," Texas catcher Jonathan Lucroy said.

Lucroy played a big part in Texas besting his former club 6-4 Tuesday night. Carlos Gomez, another former Brewer, had a three-run homer in the win the evened the series 1-1.

Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell was asked what it was like being beat by "your guys."

"They're not our guys," he said. "Carlos had a big hit, and Luc had a big hit."

The Brewers send Chase Anderson (9-11, 4.36) to the mound for his 30th start. Anderson last pitched Sept. 22 against Pittsburgh, earning the win after allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts.

He is 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA over his last 11 starts and has six quality starts this season. The club is 12-17 in his starts. Anderson is facing the Rangers for only the second time.

Milwaukee second baseman Jonathan Villar reached a milestone Tuesday, becoming the first player to have 15 home runs and 60 steals in the same season since Carl Crawford in 2009.

Villar needs two homers to become the fourth player in MLB history to put together a 20-60 season. Rickey Henderson did it last in 1990.

The Rangers (93-65) jumped ahead of Boston (92-65) in the race for the best record in the league. The Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees.

Lucroy knows his former teammates won't lay down in the series finale.

"Those guys are going to try to beat us and knock us off our perch," Lucroy said.

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Rays 0 vs. 0 White Sox Delayed Preview

White Sox, Rays streaking in opposite directions

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:50 AM (EDT)

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox will try to increase their winning streak to five games Wednesday night when they host the Tampa Bay Rays.

Although the White Sox (76-81) have no chance at reaching the playoffs, a .500 finish is a remote possibility. Chicago has two games remaining against Tampa Bay before finishing the season with three games at home against the last-place Minnesota Twins.

As Chicago is finishing strong, Tampa Bay (65-92) is headed in the opposite direction. After a 13-6 defeat to the White Sox on Tuesday, the Rays have lost five games in a row, nine of their past 11 and 13 of their past 19.

White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (4-8, 3.98 ERA) will make his final start of the season. Gonzalez was released by the Baltimore Orioles during spring training but has found success in Chicago. In his past 12 outings, he has recorded 10 quality starts.

Gonzalez credits mental toughness as the biggest reason for his recent success.

"I had a tough year last season toward the end with Baltimore, and then I had some injuries and wasn't feeling 100 percent," Gonzalez said. "Mentally, I've been working on that this year, and it has been helping me very much. It has shown on the field. I'm going to keep working with that.

"We all know that baseball is very much mental. You've got to be strong about it."

Rays left-hander Blake Snell (6-8, 3.65 ERA) will take the mound against the White Sox. In his most recent outing, the 23-year-old rookie pitched five scoreless innings against the New York Yankees to earn the victory.

Command issues have plagued Snell throughout the season. He has walked 50 batters to go along with 94 strikeouts in 86 1/3 innings.

Several White Sox hitters are swinging hot bats and could pose a challenge for Snell. On Tuesday, Chicago battered the Rays for a season-high-tying run total.

Third baseman Todd Frazier increased his hitting streak to 11 games and collected his 97th RBI of the season. Frazier is sitting on 39 home runs and hopes to notch a personal milestone by hitting No. 40 in the next five contests. His homer and RBI totals are already career highs.

Chicago left fielder Melky Cabrera is hitting .327 with five home runs and 22 RBIs in 25 games in September. Cabrera reached 40 doubles for the first time since 2011 and has tallied 14 home runs and 82 RBIs.

Even though both teams are out of contention, White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he did not want to experiment too much with his lineup.

"Not yet," Ventura said. "There are some guys that are still looking for personal things, and you want to make sure you're respectful of that."

Meanwhile, the Rays will try to find some positives in the games that remain. Left fielder Corey Dickerson is hitting .380 (27-for-71) with five home runs and 13 RBIs in his past 19 games. Catcher Curt Casali also is looking to stay hot after going deep against White Sox left-hander Chris Sale for his first home run since July 30.

Right-handed reliever Chase Whitley could make another appearance this season despite a heavy workload Tuesday.

"There is a chance," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Whitley, who pitched 3 2/3 innings and allowed four runs (two earned). "We're going to talk through some things, but there's a good chance Whitley throws again for us."

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Reds 2 vs. 1 Cardinals In-Progress

Cardinals continue pursuit of NL wild-card spot

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Wednesday, September 28 at 2:14 AM (EDT)

ST. LOUIS -- Tuesday night's 12-5 victory for the St. Louis Cardinals over the Cincinnati Reds produced one of the best moments of the season when Aledmys Diaz, playing his first game since the death of close friend Jose Fernandez, whacked a grand slam.

But it didn't help St. Louis gain ground on the New York Mets or San Francisco Giants in the National League wild-card race. New York and San Francisco won their games easily Tuesday night, leaving the Cardinals (82-75) a game back of the Giants and 1 1/2 behind the Mets with five contests remaining.

And now St. Louis faces Cincinnati's top pitchers in the series' final two games, beginning Wednesday night when the Reds (66-91) send Anthony DeSclafani to the hill opposite old teammate Mike Leake.

DeSclafani (8-5, 3.38 ERA) is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in six career outings against the Cardinals, although he's lost his last three starts, allowing 14 runs over 16 innings and giving up four homers.

Leake's next good outing against Cincinnati, the team with whom he pitched the first five-plus years of his big league career, will be his first. The Reds rapped Leake (9-11, 4.72) around to the tune of a .343 average in three starts this year.

Leake, whose ERA against Cincinnati is 8.31 this season, is coming off a 5-0 loss Friday at the Chicago Cubs, giving up five runs in 3 1/3 innings thanks in part to the shaky defense that's been a St. Louis pitfall all year.

The teams have exchanged blowout wins in the series' first two games. The Reds stomped the Cardinals 15-2 on Monday night before St. Louis gained revenge by belting five homers Tuesday night.

"I didn't anticipate that kind of vengeance. We beat them by 13 but that doesn't mean we have to lose to them the next game," Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said. "I knew they wouldn't sit on their hands and wait to get beat. We got into some really bad counts and they just teed off on some fastballs."

Although it hasn't happened quite as much to the Reds the second half of the season, Tuesday night was a bad flashback to the season's first three months that paved the way for them to set an all-time MLB record for most homers allowed in a year. They're at 251 with five games left.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals added to their NL home run lead and have 218 with five games left. Matt Carpenter's 20th homer in the third inning made him the fifth player to reach 20 this year, tying a club record.

Tuesday night's game also marked the first time since April 21, 2004 that they homered for the cycle. Besides Diaz's emotional slam, Jhonny Peralta walloped a three-run shot, Matt Adams pinch-hit a two-run blast and Randal Grichuk joined Carpenter in the solo club.

St. Louis might need to keep hitting at that rate to hold off Cincinnati's lineup.

"They aren't making it easy for us," said Adam Wainwright, who picked up the win Tuesday night. "They're working counts, fouling off tough pitches. That's a good lineup over there."

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Athletics vs. Angels 10:05 (EDT) Preview

Athletics' Gray will come off DL to start vs. Angels

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Wednesday, September 28 at 3:51 PM (EDT)

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- One of the American League's best pitchers last year will make his first start in more than seven weeks when the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels conclude their three-game series Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.

Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray, an All-Star last year, will be activated from the disabled list to start for the first time since Aug. 6 and for just the second time since the end of July.

The 26-year-old native of Nashville went on the disabled list for the second time this year when he strained his right forearm last month while pitching against the Chicago Cubs. That strain resulted in an inflamed elbow. In May, a strained right trapezius muscle put Gray on the disabled list for two weeks.

All told, the right-hander has missed 57 games this season.

Last year, Gray finished third in voting for the Cy Young Award after compiling the American League's third-best ERA (2.73) while winning 14 games and amassing 183 strikeouts.

A's manager Bob Melvin, who announced the decision Sunday, said Gray would be on a strict pitch limit and likely would not work more than two innings.

Melvin told MLB.com that the purpose for Gray's brief outing will be for the left-hander to "get on a mound and get after it and know you're healthy going into the offseason," he said. "That is really what we're looking for."

Gray faced hitters in a bullpen session before Saturday's game against the Texas Rangers and said he felt no ill effects.

"I know in my mind I'm fine to pitch next year," Gray told the San Jose Mercury News, "and that's what's important."

Opposing Gray will be right-hander Alex Meyer, whose past two outings provided a glimpse into the kind of potential that made him a first-round draft choice in 2013.

On Sept. 18, Meyer earned his first major-league victory in a 4-0 decision over the Blue Jays. Meyer pitched five shutout innings, amassed a career-high seven strikeouts and scattered two hits and three walks while throwing a fastball that reached 98 mph.

"That stuff out there was electric," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said afterward. "He had great angles, great velocity, and he was spinning the ball well."

Then on Friday night against the Houston Astros, Meyer conceded one run, three hits and a walk in his first five innings before loading the bases on an infield single and two walks with one out in the sixth. Though Meyer was charged with four runs, the Angels used a six-run rally in the ninth inning to earn a 10-6 victory.

Meyer and fellow right-hander Ricky Nolasco came to Los Angeles at the trading deadline from the Minnesota Twins in a four-player deal for left-hander Hector Santiago. Meyer follows Nolasco in the Angels' rotation, so being able to consult with the 11-year veteran has proved valuable, especially since Nolasco and two relievers combined to shut the Astros out Thursday night.

"I was talking to him about what he did," Meyer told MLB.com. "Being able to pitch right behind him has definitely helped. He's a smart pitcher."

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Dodgers vs. Padres 10:10 (EDT) Preview

NL West champion Dodgers seek to keep their edge

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Wednesday, September 28 at 2:47 AM (EDT)

SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres tangle in Game 2 of a three-game series on Wednesday, with the National League West champions seeking to keep their mojo.

"It's about playing good baseball," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "Not to get complacent and lose that edge."

Roberts has been on squads that have clinched playoff spots and gone soft. This is his first go-around as a manager heading into the postseason, but he's going to lean on his experience as a player.

"I have been on teams that continued to keep that momentum and I've been on teams that went the other way," Roberts said.

It's easy to keep the Dodgers' focus. While they know they'll play the Washington Nationals in the National League Divisional Series, they aren't quite sure where.

The Nationals, who have been hit by injuries, led the Dodgers by just two games for home-field advantage.

Washington picked up a game on the Dodgers as they fell to the Padres 7-1 in the opener.

"Knowing that we have something to play for, that is an incentive for us," Roberts said. "I think considering the way we have played this year at home (53-28) we put a lot value on it. It's not the be-all, end-all, but we are going to try and catch the Nationals.

"I think regardless of the injuries we still had the mindset to go after them. But it does kind of have us looking at them and approaching them different. It changes the landscape of their club. They are still a very good club."

First the Dodgers catch up with Luis Perdomo (8-10, 5.59). The right-hander has been among the positive signs for the Padres near the end of their 10th year of missing the playoffs.

"He is one of those guys that at the end of the year we are going to smile about," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He continues to make strides."

His biggest step has been mastering his slider. Work with pitching coach Darren Balsley has paid off. Over his last 15 starts, Perdomo has gone 6-8 with a 3.90 ERA.

"If it's not working, he is able to fix it pitch-to-pitch instead of game-to-game," Green said. "Now he's able to make that adjustment."

Perdomo had never pitched above Double-A before the season.

"He had to get a belief that he could plow through a major-league lineup with his slider," Green said.

Roberts counters with Jose De Leon (2-0, 5.52 ERA) in this battle between right-handed rookies. De Leon last pitched on Sept. 18 at Arizona, allowing six runs (four earned) on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

De Leon notched his first major-league win on Sept. 4, beating the Padres at Dodgers Stadium. He struck out nine Padres without issuing a walk.

Roberts knows he has some difficult decisions ahead as fringe players jockey for spots on the playoff roster. This last week of the season will serve as an audition for some as they try to prove their worth to Roberts and the front office.

"That is what these guys play for, to see things through the playoffs," Roberts said. "We are going to have some tough conversations, but it is a compliment to our guys that we have so many good players."

The Padres have many good prospects -- such as slugger Hunter Renfroe, fresh from a two-homer, seven-RBI game -- and they'll be on display against the Dodgers.

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Rockies vs. Giants 10:15 (EDT) Preview

Rockies' Chatwood looks for road glory vs. Giants

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Wednesday, September 28 at 3:02 AM (EDT)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Colorado Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood will be seeking a piece of individual glory while stalling a rival's pursuit of a playoff berth when he faces the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

Chatwood ranks among the major-league leaders in road winning percentage (7-1, .875) and road ERA (1.88) as he prepares for his final start of the season.

A win against the Giants would allow the 26-year-old to tie Rich Hill of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals and Aaron Sanchez of the Toronto Blue Jays -- all 8-1 (.889) -- for the top road winning percentage in baseball.

Chatwood also has a chance to pass Hill (1.74) for the lead in road ERA. It would take six shutout innings to lower the fifth-year Rocky's mark below 1.74.

Holding the Giants without an earned run for six or more innings would not be a first for Chatwood this season. He limited San Francisco to one unearned run on four hits over seven innings in a 5-2 win in Colorado on May 27.

Chatwood also beat the Giants 7-3 the only time he faced them in San Francisco, on July 5. He allowed three hits and two runs (one earned) in five innings that day.

A third win over San Francisco would be a major blow to its playoff hopes. The Giants (83-74) will take the field Wednesday night sandwiched between the New York Mets (84-74) and St. Louis Cardinals (82-75) in the battle for two wild-card spots in the National League.

All three contenders totaled 12 runs in wins Tuesday.

"I told Bam Bam (hitting coach Hensley Meulens): They responded to the challenge," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said of the Mets and Cardinals, who played earlier games than the Giants. "They put up big numbers. I told him, 'It's up to you.'

"He accepted the challenge, I guess."

The Giants exploded for 19 hits, their most in a home game this season, in a 12-3, series-opening win.

San Francisco right-hander Jeff Samardzija also will have a personal incentive when he pitches the middle game of the three-game series.

The start will be Samardzija's last of the season; and, if the rotation holds, he'd be the next man up after Sunday's finale. That would put him in place to start Wednesday's wild-card game, should the Giants get there.

That said, Bochy announced Tuesday that Johnny Cueto has recovered from a groin injury and will start Thursday's series finale against the Rockies. He also would have ample rest (five days) to start next Wednesday.

One more quality start from Samardzija and it might be hard to keep him out of the wild-card game. He has allowed just nine hits and one run in 13 2/3 innings during his last two starts, striking out 13.

Among the Rockies he'll have to deal with Wednesday night is D.J. LeMahieu, who is dueling Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy for the NL batting title.

LeMahieu, who singled in his last at-bat Tuesday to go 1-for-4, will take a .349-.347 advantage into Wednesday's action.

As Rockies star Nolan Arenado observed last week, "The thing about D.J. is he always has competitive at-bats. He never gives up an at-bat. And now he's better than ever."

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Mariners 12 vs. 4 Astros Final

Mariners, Astros try to stay postseason relevant

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:17 AM (EDT)

HOUSTON -- In the aftermath of their extra-inning victory over the Astros on Monday night, several Seattle Mariners crowded around a clubhouse television and enjoyed watching the highlights of the Yankees-Blue Jays skirmish earlier that evening, a lighthearted moment that partially revealed their relaxed nature down the stretch.

Following a slump that included 10 losses in 12 games closing August and bleeding into September, Mariners manager Scott Servais took measures to keep the club loose with tactics that were part original ideas, part inspiration from the motivational ploys of others.

Despite a loss to the Astros (83-75) on Tuesday night, the Mariners (83-74) remain in the hunt for a postseason berth.

"The season is so long that if you sit there and grind every day after every day you just run out of gas," Servais said. "And I think we've created enough distractions and kept it fun and light that even when we weren't playing well guys still enjoyed coming to the ballpark.

"We have a close-knit group that like hanging out with each other. I think that's carried us and kept it interesting and kept us afloat when a lot of people wanted to write us off. And rightfully so. It looked like we were dead in the water, but we hung in there."

Left-hander James Paxton (5-7, 3.72 ERA) will start the series finale for the Mariners. Paxton is 0-2 with a 4.74 ERA over three career starts against the Astros.

In his only start at Minute Maid Park, Paxton allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while recording seven strikeouts over seven innings in a no-decision on April 30, 2015. In two starts against Houston this season, Paxton is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA.

Astros right-hander Doug Fister (12-12, 4.42 ERA) will make his eighth career start against the organization that selected him in the seventh round of the 2006 draft. Fister is 4-2 with a 4.64 ERA against Seattle, including 2-2 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts this season.

The Astros got a boost on Tuesday night from the return of rookie third baseman Alex Bregman, whose pinch-single in the sixth inning pulled the Astros even at 4-4 and keyed a six-run frame that resulted in an 8-4 win over Seattle ace Felix Hernandez.

Bregman suffered a right hamstring injury on Sept. 14 and was slated to miss 4-6 weeks, essentially the remainder of the regular season. He proved to be a fast healer and then, when the Astros desperately needed it, a clutch performer.

"He's Alex Bregman," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's sort of never out of an at-bat. His competitiveness, his readiness, he's been bouncing off the walls trying to get back in the game. He almost couldn't hold back his smile how good he felt. Now who knows when you go up there? There is a little bit of an unknown when you haven't had an at-bat for a couple weeks. But he's put some good work in the cage, he's obviously prepared and ready. He's got a youthful energy to him."

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Cubs 4 vs. 7 Pirates In-Progress

Cubs' Arrieta out to maintain dominance of Pirates

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Wednesday, September 28 at 2:52 AM (EDT)

PITTSBURGH -- Jake Arrieta, last season's NL Cy Young Award winner, goes into his final start of the regular season Wednesday night with a 2.85 ERA that would be the best of any starter on 26 other teams.

With the Chicago Cubs -- owners of baseball's best record for the first time since 1945 -- he ranks only third behind Kyle Hendricks (1.99) and Jon Lester (2.28).

Against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team Arrieta defeated in last season's NL wild card game, he has certainly been the Cubs' ace -- going 9-2 with a 2.44 ERA in 14 starts. The most memorable, of course, came when he threw eight shutout innings as the Cubs eliminated the Pirates from the postseason, 4-0, on Oct. 7, 2015.

The atmosphere inside PNC Park won't be nearly as electric Wednesday night, when Arrieta (18-7) attempts to take a strong finish to the season into the postseason against the Pirates (77-80), who won't reach the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Arrieta is coming off one of his best starts of the season: seven scoreless innings, with 10 strikeouts and five hits allowed, in the Cubs' 5-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

"I don't need anything to convince me I can sustain this," said Arrieta, who, despite being the NL's best pitcher in 2015, figures to start the postseason behind Lester and Hendricks in the Cubs' rotation.

That figures to put him on the road for his first postseason start, which probably wouldn't be a bad idea given his 11-2 record and 3.11 ERA in 14 road starts this season.

The Pirates don't need any convincing of how good Arrieta is, even if he hasn't been able to sustain the 1.46 ERA he had in his first 12 starts against them. In his last two starts against Pittsburgh, Arrieta is 0-1 while allowing six runs in each game.

Pittsburgh starts rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon (4-4), who began the season in the minors but might end it as their top starter. The 24-year-old Taillon has a 3.00 ERA in 10 career starts at PNC Park and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 17 starts to date.

In his most recent start, Taillon gave up three runs in five innings but didn't get the decision as the Pirates came back to beat the Washington Nationals 6-5 on Friday. He gave up three runs and four extra-base hits in the second inning, the only inning in which he allowed any scoring.

"That's a really good lineup," Taillon said of the NL East champion Nationals.

He'll face another really good lineup in the Cubs (101-56), who are doing little more than counting down to October -- they have five games remaining, two in Pittsburgh and three in Cincinnati. Their first 100-win season since 1945 is partly a byproduct of their uncharacteristic domination of the Pirates.

The Cubs' 101 wins, including seven in their last eight games, are the franchise's most since the 1910 team won 104. Of those 101 wins, 14 are against the Pirates.

"Their record speaks for itself," Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer said. "It's pretty evident they're one of the top teams in baseball and they've got a chance to make a run at it."

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Diamondbacks 3 vs. 0 Nationals Delayed Preview

Fernandez's friend Gonzalez start for Nats vs. D-backs

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Wednesday, September 28 at 3:05 AM (EDT)

WASHINGTON -- Even under normal circumstances this year, it is hard to predict what kind of performance Gio Gonzalez will give the Washington Nationals when he takes the mound.

The veteran left-hander is 11-10 with a 4.51 ERA through 31 starts, but he has a 5.35 ERA in his past seven starts and has lasted a combined 9 1/3 innings in his past two outings.

Gonzalez will start at home Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks just three days after his friend, Miami Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez, died in a boating accident in Florida.

Gonzalez broke down in tears when a moment of silence was given for Fernandez before Washington's game in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The Nationals are trying to hold onto the second-best record in the National League and home-field advantage for the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Washington (92-65) owns a two-game edge on Los Angeles (90-67).

"That is what we are playing for," right-hander Max Scherzer said after the Nationals' 4-2 win Tuesday over Arizona. "I would love for Game 5 to be here at Nationals Park."

But first things first.

Gonzalez hasn't faced the Diamondbacks this year, and he owns a 2-0 record with a 2.97 ERA in five career starts against them.

However, the current Arizona hitters who have faced him have done very well.

Paul Goldschmidt is hitting .778 in nine at-bats against the veteran lefty. Welington Castillo is batting .333 in nine trips to the plate against Gonzalez, and Phil Gosselin is 4-for-5.

Arizona will counter Gonzalez with right-hander Shelby Miller, who is concluding a rough year. He is 2-12 with a 6.47 ERA, although he had one of his best outings on Friday. Facing the playoff-hopeful Orioles in Baltimore, Miller went six scoreless innings.

Miller is 2-2 with a 2.85 ERA in seven career starts against Washington, though he hasn't faced the Nationals this year and he lost to them twice last year.

Daniel Murphy is 4-for-10 against Miller, though the Washington second baseman is slowed by a strained glute, and he has not played since Sept. 20.

Bryce Harper is hitting .294 in 17 at-bats against Miller, but Harper has not played since hurting this left thumb in a slide on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Washington shortstop Danny Espinosa is 4-for-11 (.364) against Miller. Anthony Rendon is 5-for-14 (.357), while Ben Revere, a reserve outfielder, is hitting just .133 (2-for-15) against the former St. Louis righty.

One Nationals regular who won't be in action Wednesday -- or again this year -- is Wilson Ramos. The All-Star catcher was diagnosed with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament.

His season ends with a .307 average, a career-high 22 homers and a career-high 80 RBIs.

"This was the most inopportune time for this to happen," Washington manager Dusty Baker said.

Arizona lost all three games last weekend in Baltimore and has now split the first two games against Washington.

"We are doing our best," Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said Tuesday. "The guys want to finish strong whomever we are playing. We will have to be ready tomorrow."

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Red Sox 2 vs. 0 Yankees In-Progress

Red Sox, Ortiz look to make amends

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:15 AM (EDT)

NEW YORK -- The next time David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox conduct postgame interviews, they hope their comments take place in a raucous clubhouse during a boisterous celebration for clinching the American League East.

The Red Sox did not clinch Tuesday as Ortiz was 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and stranded seven runners during a 6-4 loss.

Their next opportunity will be Wednesday in Ortiz's penultimate game against the Yankees.

The Red Sox won 11 of their last 12 to be in position for their eighth division title. They need a win, or a loss by Toronto to Baltimore, but neither happened in the series opener.

Ortiz's comments were also as quiet as his bat. He did not field any questions and before exiting the clubhouse said: "That ain't fun. They got me out, just put it down like that. They tricked me tonight. Too much talking between the pitcher and catcher. I'll trick them tomorrow."

If Ortiz can "trick the Yankees" by getting more big hits in a win, the Red Sox will be division champions, doing so after starting their 11-game streak with four straight victories over the Yankees at Fenway Park.

"I mean it's what he always does," Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts said. "He comes through in those situations. Nobody's perfect so he'll be ready to go tomorrow."

Beside Ortiz's inability to add to his 124 RBIs, David Price allowed three home runs among 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings.

The Red Sox hope Clay Buchholz can continue his recent resurgence and further improve his chances of being on the postseason roster. The Red Sox can use an effective Buchholz since Drew Pomeranz (forearm soreness) was scratched from his Thursday start and Steven Wright remains out with shoulder bursitis.

On the surface, Buchholz's numbers of 8-10 with a 5.00 ERA in in 36 appearances (20 starts), are not appealing but playoff roster construction often is a "what have you done for me lately" business.

And for Buchholz, the answer is this: 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his last six starts. Those wins are not necessarily a situation where he has been blessed with tremendous run support.

"I knew it wasn't going to be bad all year," Buchholz told reporters in Baltimore last week. "There were a stretch that I didn't really know what was going on and I didn't know how to fix it. And when I tried to fix it, I was trying too hard and overdoing a lot of things, overanalyzing."

His run of effective starts began Aug. 16 and 23 in a 4-3 loss and a 2-1 victory against Detroit and Tampa Bay, respectively. Three relief appearances followed and then came four more starts this month against San Diego, Toronto, New York and Baltimore.

Only the start against the Blue Jays can be considered ineffective as Buchholz allowed six runs and four hits in three innings of Boston's 11-8 victory. In the other three starts, he allowed four earned runs and 18 hits in 19 2/3 innings.

Buchholz is 6-9 with a 5.99 ERA in 19 appearances (18 starts) against the Yankees. On Sept. 16, he allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings at Fenway Park.

The Yankees have won five of their last 15 games following a seven-game winning streak and are barely mathematically alive. They are four games behind Baltimore with five to play, but also are behind Houston, Seattle and Detroit.

Gary Sanchez hit his 20th home run and Tyler Austin had the tiebreaking home run in the seventh Tuesday, and at this point the storylines for the Yankees are not about postseason plans but development.

"There are some good things that have happened but no because we're about winning championships and whenever you fall short, there's a ton of disappointment," manager Joe Girardi said when asked if this season has been successful. "It's very difficult. You look and examine everything that's went on with the player and what you need to do to get to that level. So I think there are successful stories but as an overall success, no."

Bryan Mitchell makes his fifth start of the season and eighth of his career Wednesday for the Yankees. He pitched in Friday's 9-0 loss at Toronto but allowed three runs (one earned) and six hits in a career-high six innings.

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Orioles 1 vs. 2 Blue Jays In-Progress

Orioles remain in hot pursuit of Blue Jays

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:55 AM (EDT)

TORONTO -- The job just got a little bit tougher for the Baltimore Orioles as they try to overtake the Toronto Blue Jays in the race for the first wild-card position in the American League.

The Orioles need to win the final two contests of the three-game series at Rogers Centre to draw even with the Blue Jays.

By winning the series opener 5-1 on Tuesday, Toronto opened a two-game lead over Baltimore. Each team has five games remaining.

The Orioles also must cast a look over their shoulders because the Detroit Tigers are one game behind them for the second wild-card spot.

The team that finishes in the first wild-card spot is the home team in Tuesday's one-game playoff.

The Blue Jays start left-hander Francisco Liriano (8-13, 4.88 ERA) on Wednesday while Baltimore goes with right-hander Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.84).

"We're playing with house money," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said before Tuesday's game. "A win for the Orioles opens the door for the Orioles. We win and we control our own destiny. You worry about others and you will not be that destiny. We just need to handle what we can handle, control what we can control. I know it's a cliche and I'm not a real cliche kind of guy, but that's just the truth with six games to go.

"We're playing with house money. We weren't supposed to be here. ... We're playing with house money, I think that's how we all look it. Now let's go do something with it."

The Orioles have a chance to take advantage of some misfortune that hit the Blue Jays in the form of two injuries that resulted from a second-inning bench-clearing incident with the New York Yankees in a wild 7-5 loss Monday.

Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis has a sore left shoulder as a result of the skirmish and is day to day. It is the same shoulder that required offseason surgery.

Travis, who left the game Monday in the sixth inning after the shoulder hampered him at the plate, said he was feeling better Tuesday and hopes to play Wednesday. Meanwhile, Darwin Barney has been taking his place.

Not so optimistic is the situation with reliever Joaquin Benoit, who suffered a torn left calf muscle while running from the bullpen to take part in the Monday melee. He said Tuesday that he will be out for 2-to-3 weeks.

Manager John Gibbons will have to find other ways to get through the seventh inning without the right-hander, who was virtually unhittable since arriving in a trade with the Seattle Mariners on July 26. He is 2-0 with a 0.38 ERA in 25 games with Toronto.

"It's a big loss, no doubt about it," Gibbons said.

To make up for Benoit's absence, the starters might be asked to go a little longer. The solution Tuesday was to have Joe Biagini pitch the seventh and eighth innings and he was strong, allowing only an infield hit.

It helped preserve an important win. "Really a good bounceback game after a tough one (Monday)," Gibbons said.

Liriano has not faced the Orioles this season and in eight career starts against them is 2-4 with a 5.01 ERA in eight career starts against them,

Tillman is 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA in three starts against the Blue Jays this season. He is 5-10 with a 5.61 ERA in 23 career starts against Toronto and 2-6, 7.51 in 12 career starts at Rogers Centre.

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Indians 3 vs. 3 Tigers In-Progress

Tigers rookie Fulmer aims for AL ERA title

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:06 AM (EDT)

DETROIT -- It's not the quality of his pitches that stand out about Michael Fulmer, although the pitches are impressive.

It's the calm, professional way the rookie right-hander goes about his work.

That work will be on display Wednesday night when he pitches for the Detroit Tigers against the Cleveland Indians.

Fulmer will need 6 1/3 innings to reach 162, which would qualify him for the American League ERA title.

Fulmer currently has the lowest ERA in the league (2.95, although he technically was off the list for one day) and, if he can keep his runs allowed down Wednesday, he could become the first rookie to win the ERA title since the Tigers' Mark Fidrych in 1976 (2.34).

Fulmer, acquired from the New York Mets in a trade deadline deal last year, has a fastball in the mid-90s, a slider that can dazzle and a changeup that kind of came out of nowhere early this year and has made him an effective pitcher.

What sets Fulmer apart is how he keeps his emotions in check, the stoic way he goes about his starts and never lets any adversity ruffle him.

So, Michael, who gets the credit for that?

"A lot of people," Fulmer said. "My parents, for raising me and keeping me humble. My high school coach, Ron Moore, who had me all four years of high school. He was teaching our team how to play the game the right way."

Moore coached Fulmer at Deer Creek high school in Edmond, Okla. He has since moved on to Durant (Okla.) High School but still maintains contact with his former star.

"High school is a prime time to mold the team," Fulmer said, "young kids, whether you're going to go on to play college or pro ball or not. You learn just by talking to him, getting insights into the game.

"I was raised properly. I went to church every Sunday. I was raised to say 'yes, sir' and 'no, sir.'"

Fulmer (11-7, 2.95 ERA) is 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts against Cleveland, which will return to its regular lineup after manager Terry Francona rested most of his starters Tuesday night, a day after they clinched the AL Central Division.

Detroit drubbed Cleveland 12-0 behind a four-hit shutout by Justin Verlander (7 2/3 innings) and Kyle Ryan (1 1/3).

Francona has shuffled his rotation to get ready for the postseason after winning the division for the first time since 2007 and the eighth time overall.

Veteran Zach McAllister will replace Trevor Bauer against Fulmer, with Bauer shifted to Saturday. Lefty Ryan Merritt pitches Thursday, with Josh Tomlin/Adam Plutko splitting the Friday/Sunday dates in some order.

"So there's some balls in the air," Francona said. "One of those games will most likely be Plutko starting."

That rotation means Cleveland is giving ace Cory Kluber as much time as possible to recover so he can start the Indians' first postseason game. Kluber left Monday's start after four innings with a right quad strain. He will miss 7-10 days but should be available when the divisional playoffs begin.

Francona is putting his pitchers ahead of getting the best record in the league.

"If I had my choice, I think I'd rather play at home," Francona said. "I think anybody would. But not at the expense of burning out your entire rotation or your bullpen, because having your guys ready to play is the most important thing."

McAllister (3-2, 3.58 ERA) is making just his second start of the season and it's possible Francona is looking to see whether he would be a viable starter in the playoffs. He is 0-0 with a 7.50 ERA in eight relief appearances against Detroit this season but is 1-3 with a 5.25 ERA in 22 career games (10 starts).

It's a big start for Fulmer because a win definitely would strengthen his Rookie of the Year bid and the ERA title would enhance it even more.

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Mets 5 vs. 2 Marlins In-Progress

Mets visit Marlins with wild-card lead

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:34 AM (EDT)

MIAMI -- The New York Mets can put on a power show.

--Lucas Duda hit 30 homers in 2014 and 27 last year.

--Curtis Granderson has 30 homers this season and 21 RBIs in 23 games this month.

--Yoenis Cespedes hit his 31st homer of the season Tuesday and is one of the most feared sluggers in the game.

--Jay Bruce, who had been slumping since the Mets acquired him from the Cincinnati Reds at the trade deadline, has six hits in his past 14 at-bats. He, like Cespedes, his his 31st homer Tuesday.

--Asdrubal Cabrera, a switch hitter, has 23 homers this season and is hitting .424 in his past eight games.

Add it all up -- as the Mets did Tuesday when they launched 19 hits in a 12-1 victory over the Miami Marlins -- and it can be scary for opposing pitchers.

Bruce and Cespedes hit homers in the same game for the first time since the Mets made the trade.

"That's what we were hoping they would do," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "If he's back, we're going to be a different lineup."

Another big development for New York was the return of Duda, who had his first multi-RBI game since May 4. He missed nearly four months because of back surgery, returning Sept. 18.

"It's going OK -- it could be a lot better," Duda said of his comeback. "The more I play, the more comfortable I get."

The Mets (84-74) and Marlins (78-79) play their series finale Wednesday, and New York is locked in a three-way battle with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants for two NL wild-card berths, one-half game ahead of San Francisco and 1 1/2 on top of St. Louis.

New York throws 26-year-old right-hander Seth Lugo on Wednesday. The rookie is 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in his past six starts.

Lugo and fellow rookie right-hander Robert Gsellman have effectively saved the Mets season.

With four of the team's projected top five starters out for the season because of injuries -- Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz -- Lugo and Gsellman have stepped up for New York.

Miami also throws a young right-hander as Jose Urena, who is 5-13 with a 5.64 ERA in his two-year career, takes the ball. This season, he is 4-8 with a 5.95 ERA.

However, Urena has pitched well against the Mets this year with a 1-1 record and a 1.50 ERA.

The Marlins are hoping for the best from Urena, but are still mourning the death of star pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boat crash Sunday morning.

Memorial services for Fernandez include a public viewing Wednesday and a mass Thursday.

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Phillies 2 vs. 11 Braves In-Progress

Phillies' Howard set for final hacks at Turner Field

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Wednesday, September 28 at 3:51 AM (EDT)

ATLANTA -- No one is going to hate to see the Atlanta Braves leave Turner Field more than Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.

The 36-year-old veteran, who will play his final two games at the facility this week, continues to put up all-star numbers at the park as he plays out the string.

Howard likely will be in the lineup again Wednesday for the second game of the three-game set that will conclude the Phillies' history at Turner Field. He will leave as the most productive visiting player at the ballpark.

In 88 career games at Turner Field, Howard is hitting .270 (87-for-322) with 23 homers and 81 RBIs. In 182 career games against the Braves, Howard has a .281 average (185-for-658) with 52 homers and 154 RBIs.

Howard hit his 15th career grand slam -- extending his club record -- and second of the season on Tuesday against Atlanta ace Julio Teheran. The homer was the 24th of the season for Howard and the 381st of his career, the latter tying the slugger with Albert Belle for 69th on the all-time list.

"Howie with those two hits (Tuesday), that grand slam," manager Pete Mackanin said. "But we've got to keep adding on."

Despite building a 6-0 lead, the Phillies let the Braves rally for a 7-6 win.

Atlanta will send Mike Foltynewicz to the mound on Wednesday to try to slow Howard. Philadelphia will counter with left-hander Adam Morgan.

Foltynewicz (8-5, 4.41 ERA) will make his 22nd and final start of the season. The hard-throwing righty has established his presence as the team's No. 2 starter with a solid season. He has made one start against the Phillies this season, taking a loss when he allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings. He is 1-1 with a 7.62 ERA in three career appearances, two starts, against Philadelphia.

Foltynewicz is coming off a shaky outing against the Miami Marlins. He was staked to a seven-run lead but allowed five runs and was lifted one out into the fourth inning after getting struck by a line drive. He missed one start due to the injury.

"He was throwing too good and his stuff was too good to let that happen," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said of Foltynewicz struggling with the big lead. "That's a mental-type thing and focus. That's all part of it, too, is how to channel that type of thing. The only way you learn it is to experience it, then you know you're better prepared for it when it happens."

Morgan (2-10, 5.57 ERA) will make his 21st and final start of the season. The southpaw hasn't won since Sept. 6. He received no decisions in his past two starts, allowing two runs (one earned) in 4 1/3 innings against the Marlins on Sept. 16 and three runs in five innings at the New York Mets on Thursday. Morgan is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA against the Braves in two starts this season. He is 1-4 with a 3.19 ERA in five career starts against Atlanta.

The Phillies would like to get a long stint from Morgan to take some stress off the bullpen, which has a 10.13 ERA since Sept. 15.

"The bullpen just hasn't been doing the job," Mackanin said. "At some point, somebody has to do a job. Somebody has to step up. In two games, every reliever I've brought in has given up a run. That's unheard of."

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Twins 2 vs. 2 Royals In-Progress

Playoffs unlikely, Royals aim for winning mark

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:44 AM (EDT)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mathematically, the Kansas City Royals remain alive in the American League wild-card standings.

Practically, the odds are next to impossible the Royals will make it back to postseason for the third consecutive year and get to defend their World Series championship. One could get better odds that the Cleveland Browns will win the Super Bowl this season.

The Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 in 11 innings Tuesday to remain on life support. With five games left, they are five games behind the Baltimore Orioles, who lost Tuesday at Toronto, for the second wild-card spot. One Orioles victory or one Royals loss would eliminate Kansas City.

However, if the Royals can win two of their remaining five games, they would finish above .500 for the fourth consecutive year. That is a more reasonable and achievable goal.

"It's very, very important," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I mean, it's important to us. Um, if it wasn't important, we'd just pack our bags and go home right now.

"So, we've got a group of guys in there that play hard. They play hard until the last out's made and they play hard every single day. And they play to win. Everything that's happened, with all the injuries and everything that's happened this year, for us to have a winning record's going to be good for us."

The Twins and Royals will meet again Wednesday night in the middle game of this three-game series. The Twins have lost 14 of 17 to the Royals this year, including all eight games at Kauffman Stadium. The Twins have never gone winless in Kansas City during a season since the Royals' franchise was birthed in 1969.

Left-hander Jason Vargas will start Wednesday for the Royals. This will be the third start of the year for Vargas, who had Tommy John surgery in August 2015 and spent most of this year rehabilitating. He made six minor league rehab starts, going 0-2 with a 5.85 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 20 innings, before making his first big league appearance.

In his past start, Vargas gave up a solo home run to Jason Kipnis and a run-producing double to Carlos Santana in the first inning at Cleveland, but he retired the final 10 batters he faced. He left after 70 pitches and four innings with a no-decision. He will be on a pitch count Wednesday, probably around 85.

Vargas is 6-4 with a 3.96 ERA in 16 career outings against the Twins. He is 4-1 with a 2.53 ERA in seven starts with the Royals against the Twins.

The Twins will counter with veteran right-hander Ervin Santana, who pitched for the Royals in 2013.

Santana will be making his fifth start of the season against Kansas City and the 21st of his career. He is 5-9 with a 4.65 ERA against the Royals, allowing 66 earned runs in 127 2/3 innings while striking out 104 and walking 45.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is 7-for-21 with two home runs and nine RBI against Santana. Alex Gordon is just 8-for-38 (.211) off Santana, but two of the hits were home runs. Kendrys Morales is 4-for-17 with one home run against Santana.

While rookie right-hander Jose Berrios failed to make it through five innings Tuesday against the Royals, Twins manager Paul Molitor hinted he would start the season finale Sunday at the Chicago White Sox. He said he would discuss it with the 22-year-old Berrios and see how he is feeling after the long season.

Berrios wants the ball.

"I felt confident," he said of his start against the Royals. "I think the work that I put into the bullpens getting to the start have been put into the start and have helped a lot.

"I feel 100 percent. I want to go out there and pitch. I feel like that's what every athlete wants is to win a game. That's what they pride themselves on. So, yeah, if that's what they want, that's what I'll do."

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Major League Baseball
Brewers 4 vs. 6 Rangers Final Recap

Lucroy sparks Rangers' rally in win over Brewers

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Wednesday, September 28 at 12:52 AM (EDT)

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister doesn't bother scoreboard watching. He's got a job to do.

"This is a challenging job," Banister said. "I'm not just sitting over there drinking Powerade, chewing bubble gum and spitting sunflower seeds."

So when he found out the Rangers regained the best record in the American League by rallying past the Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park, Banister was typically understated.

"It's an added bonus," he said.

Texas (93-65) moved a half-game ahead of Boston (92-65) in the race for home-field advantage throughout the postseason by virtue of the AL's victory in the All-Star Game. The Red Sox had their 11-game winning streak snapped in a 6-4 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

"We've got a job to do," Jonathan Lucroy said. "We're in the driver's seat."

Lucroy, acquired from Milwaukee at the trade deadline, lined a two-run double in the sixth for the go-ahead runs in the middle contest of the three-game set.

Texas, trailing on two different occasions, posted its major league-leading 48th comeback victory.

The Brewers (71-87) won the series opener behind a solid start from Matt Garza. Jimmy Nelson wasn't as sharp, but largely avoided trouble until the Rangers caught up to him in the sixth.

Carlos Beltran reached on an infield single and Adrian Beltre walked to get Texas going. Lucroy followed one out later with a double into the left-field corner to clear the bases for a 5-4 advantage.

Nelson was replaced by Jacob Barnes, and the Rangers nearly went up two runs, but Lucroy was gunned down at home by Domingo Santana after Mitch Moreland singled to right.

Nelson (8-16) took the loss after giving up five runs on five hits. He walked four in 5 1/3 innings, with 42 of his 88 pitches being balls.

"It was similar to a lot of his nights," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "The walks got him in trouble."

Texas added an insurance run in the seventh against Jhan Marinez on a groundout by Beltre.

The Rangers received another poor start from A.J. Griffin. After getting only five outs Sept. 20, the right-hander lasted 4 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on seven hits.

Texas worked in another reliever after a long absence. One night after Jeremy Jeffress returned, Tony Barnette toed the rubber for the first time since Sept. 4 and earned the win.

The right-hander pitched a scoreless sixth, striking out two and allowing two hits. Barnette improved to 7-3.

"It was impressive for Tony with the layoff, the injury, the pitches that he made, the ability to work his way out of the inning," Banister said. "Made some great pitches. Felt like the velocity was there. The sharpness of the pitches is going to get better."

Sam Dyson struggled to pick up his 37th save, putting two runners on and needing 28 pitches to close out the ninth.

"We made Dyson work, for sure," Counsell said.

The Brewers used the long ball to get to Griffin early, taking a 3-0 lead after two innings.

Chris Carter started it off with his 39th home run into the left-field seats in the first. The two-run shot scored Jonathan Villar, who walked to open the game. Manny Pina also went deep to left to lead off the second.

Nelson put himself in trouble by walking the first two batters in the third. Pitching coach Derek Johnson came out for a visit. It didn't help.

Carlos Gomez cranked his first homer against his former club into the second deck in left, tying the game 3-3. That was Texas' first hit.

Griffin was pulled with one out in the fifth and runners at first and second. Domingo Santana's single off reliever Alex Claudio plated Villar for a 4-3 Brewers' lead.

NOTES: Texas SS Elvis Andrus is on pace to become the fourth shortstop in franchise history to hit .300. Andrus is hitting .302, including .357 in September. Andrus is trying to join Michael Young, Alex Rodriguez and Scott Fletcher as .300-hitting shortstops. ... Milwaukee 2B Jonathan Villar stole his 60th base Tuesday, becoming the first player to have 15 home runs and 60 steals in the same season since Carl Crawford in 2009. ... Rangers C Jonathan Lucroy threw out his 39th attempted base stealer Monday, the most in the majors since Detroit's Gerald Laird had 40 in 2009. ... Texas OF Shin-Soo Choo went 2-for-5 with two singles and a stolen base in an instructional league game Tuesday. He also drew a walk and was hit by a pitch.

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Mariners 4 vs. 8 Astros Final Recap

Bregman sparks Astros' win over Mariners

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Wednesday, September 28 at 12:31 AM (EDT)

HOUSTON -- Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez endured his fair share of problems in two prior starts against the Houston Astros, yet entering the sixth inning Tuesday night, he found a groove befitting his ace status.

Then, he collapsed.

Rookie Alex Bregman emerged from a two-week injury hiatus and delivered a game-tying, pinch single with two outs in the sixth to ignite a six-run frame that pushed the Astros to an 8-4 victory over the Mariners at Minute Maid Park.

Bregman, sidelined by right hamstring discomfort since Sept. 15, dumped a curveball into center field off Hernandez (11-7) to even the score at 4-4. The floodgates opened from there, with George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez producing two-run base hits to chase Hernandez and complete the onslaught.

"It's pretty rough not being able to go out and compete with your brothers, and coming up like that and to come through with a hit to tie the game was awesome," Bregman said. "It felt great."

The Astros (83-75) pulled within 2 1/2 games of the second American League wild-card spot with the victory. The Baltimore Orioles (85-72) maintain that position despite falling 5-1 to the team holding the top wild-card place, the Blue Jays (87-70). Toronto holds a two-game edge on the Orioles.

Baltimore is one game in front of the Detroit Tigers (84-73) and two up on Seattle (83-74).

"Obviously we're not dead yet," said Springer, who finished 3-for-5 and scored twice. "This team isn't going to quit. We're going to go down fighting, and this is a big game for us. Now we've got to move to tomorrow and have ourselves another day."

Hernandez had allowed just one hit between Evan Gattis' infield single with one out in the first inning and the Astros' rally in the sixth. Bregman followed a two-out walk from Tony Kemp and preceded Jake Marisnick reaching on the Mariners' second error of the inning.

Springer and Gonzalez then doubled and singled as Houston became the first team to score six-plus run off Hernandez, who allowed eight runs (four earned) on 10 hits and two walks, in three consecutive games.

"I'm not going to say it's not a good lineup," Hernandez said. "I just have to throw different pitches and have a different approach, and I will be fine."

The Mariners, who led 4-2 in the third, fell to 16-16 over their past 32 games.

Houston right-hander Jandel Gustave (1-0) earned his first major league win after throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.

Astros right-hander Mike Fiers started slowly, surrendering eight hits over his first 15 batters. Seattle strung together three consecutive hits in the first inning, with Nelson Cruz following a Robinson Cano double with an RBI single to center field.

With one out in the second, Jesus Sucre and Ketel Marte produced back-to-back singles to set the table to the top of the Mariners' order. Nori Aoki dropped a run-scoring double over Springer in right field before Seth Smith followed with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Marte, who scampered to third on the Aoki double.

Fiers allowed one more hit, an RBI double to Lind with one out in the third inning, before closing his outing with a flourish by retiring the final seven batters he faced.

Fiers gave up four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts in five innings. He appeared set to absorb the loss before Marte and Lind erred in the sixth to benefit the Astros.

"It's part of the game," said Cano, who went 2-for-4 with two doubles. "You don't want to blame anybody. They took their chances when we gave them chances and took advantage. They got the big hit and took advantage when we made mistakes."

NOTES: After not factoring in the decision Monday thanks to a two-run, ninth-inning rally, Astros RHP Collin McHugh remains undefeated in 13 September starts since 2014. McHugh is 11-0 with a 3.05 ERA in September with the Astros, including 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA this month. ... The Mariners trio of 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz and 3B Kyle Seager are in contention to become the first American League teammates to record 30-plus doubles, 30-plus home runs and 100-plus RBIs since the 2001 Athletics (Eric Chavez, Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada). ... Astros 3B Alex Bregman was a full participant in batting practice and was scheduled to take a flight to Florida so he could continue his rehab at the club's spring training complex in Kissimmee, Fla. However, he will remain with the team following his pinch hit in the sixth inning.

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Rays 6 vs. 13 White Sox Final Recap

White Sox's Sale records career-high 17th victory

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Wednesday, September 28 at 12:23 AM (EDT)

CHICAGO -- Chris Sale wasn't in peak form, but he didn't have to be to earn his 17th win Tuesday night at U.S. Cellular Field.

Sale (17-9, 3.21 ERA) got a lot of run support in the White Sox's 13-6 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays, helping him tie his career high for wins in a season.

Chicago's ace left-hander allowed three runs on eight hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked none in his 31st start, which might've been his final appearance of the year and final outing with the White Sox (76-81).

"You always want to finish strong and do everything you can until the pin drops," Sale said. "I just tried to go out there today and get another win. We've been on a pretty good roll here and have a good taste in our mouths going into the offseason."

Sale, who is lined up to start Chicago's last game Sunday against the Minnesota Twins, might be skipped. The ace left-hander also has been the subject of trade rumors since the All-Star break and might be dealt in the offseason if the White Sox decide the price is right.

He left the decision about the final game this season up to the White Sox coaching staff and front office, and will do the same regarding offseason trade speculation.

"That stuff is going to work itself out," Sale said. "I don't read too much into that stuff. So, whether I'm here, there or anywhere -- a little Dr. Seuss for you -- I'll be there. This is baseball. This is sports. You can't always choose and pick what you want to do or where you want to be."

Chicago's offense gave Sale plenty of room to breathe against the Rays (65-92), who have lost five straight games. Sale worked with a lead from the second through the seventh innings, as the White Sox scored eight runs in the first three.

Eight players recorded at least one hit for Chicago, led by Tim Anderson (3-for-5, home run, double, three RBI), Melky Cabrera (2-for-5, home run, two RBI) and Leury Garcia (2-for-4, home run, three RBI).

Todd Frazier went 2-for-5 with an RBI to extend his season-high hitting streak to 11 games, and Adam Eaton went 2-for-5 in his return to the lineup after missing three games.

Right-hander Alex Cobb (1-2) started and took the loss for Tampa Bay. Cobb, who spent most of the season rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery, allowed eight runs on eight hits in three innings.

"To me, this is all part of the lumps and the growing pains of coming back," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I don't think it's fair to him or us to over-analyze too much of the results. We know the type of pitcher Alex is, and is going to be, when he gets back to form. It's been a long road back, but him being healthy is what we're most concerned about."

Curt Casali went 2-for-4 with his eighth home run to lead the Rays, while former White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez went 1-for-4 with two RBI.

Cobb struggled from the outset, allowing three runs in the first, two more in the second and three more in the third to complete his outing. The White Sox added two unearned runs in the fifth off right-hander Chase Whitley, who's also coming back from Tommy John surgery.

A throwing error with the bases loaded allowed the runs to score.

"The bases-loaded situation, you could make an argument that he gets out of that with no runs at all," Cash said. "So, I like the way he's going about his business and continuing his rehab process and getting back into form."

NOTES: White Sox CF Adam Eaton returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing the previous three games because of soreness stemming from a collision with the outfield wall last weekend in Cleveland. Eaton hit in his usual spot atop the lineup. ... Chicago also played without INF Tyler Saladino, who has missed five games with tightness in his back. ... Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier (bruised left wrist) missed his second straight game after being hit with a pitch Sunday by Boston Red Sox LHP Eduardo Rodriguez. ... Tampa Bay RHP Alex Cobb made his first career start at U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday. It was the only remaining American League stadium in which Cobb hadn't made an appearance. It was also his last start this season.

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Reds 5 vs. 12 Cardinals Final Recap

Emotional Diaz helps Cardinals slam Reds

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:24 AM (EDT)

ST. LOUIS -- Aledmys Diaz lived three houses down from Jose Fernandez growing up in Cuba, so the Sunday morning news that the Miami Marlins pitcher died in a boating accident hit really hard.

"It's tough," Diaz said Tuesday night with perhaps two dozen media members around his locker. "I'm looking at life differently right now."

Armed with a heavy heart and a changed perspective, Diaz honored his close friend and fellow National League All-Star with a swing that also helped the St. Louis Cardinals win a game they needed desperately.

Belting an emotional grand slam in the bottom of the fourth inning, Diaz gave St. Louis the lead for good in a 12-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium.

His 17th homer of the year came on a 2-1 pitch from Robert Stephenson, flying 408 feet and just clearing the fence in deep left-center. The stoic Diaz rounded the bases with gradually moistening eyes, accepting hugs from Yadier Molina at the plate and several teammates in the dugout before taking a curtain call from the crowd of 34,286.

"I felt some serious goosebumps," winning pitcher Adam Wainwright said. "I almost got choked up. I know he was."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, "It was one of those special moments. Watching him cross home plate and then seeing his reaction crossing the guys in the dugout really hit me. I can't understand the load he's carrying.

"It's a tough thing for anyone to deal with. His mind looked like it was somewhere else, but in a good place."

Diaz missed the Cardinals' games Sunday and Monday to travel to Miami to be with Fernandez's family.

Much like Dee Gordon's stunning leadoff homer Monday night that lifted Miami to a win over the New York Mets and opened up tear ducts everywhere, Diaz's homer was a feel-good moment for almost everyone.

Even Stephenson, the rookie pitcher who saw a 2-1 lead turn a 5-2 deficit and, ultimately, a loss because of Diaz's swing, viewed the bigger picture.

"I thought that was unfortunate timing for me, but really a special moment for him," Stephenson said.

From that moment, St. Louis (82-75) took off. The Cardinals battered Cincinnati (66-91) for five homers, including a three-run blast by Jhonny Peralta in the fifth, plus a two-run shot by pinch hitter Matt Adams in the sixth and a solo bomb by Randal Grichuk two batters later.

The result kept the Cardinals within striking distance of both National League wild-card spots. They trail the New York Mets (84-74) by 1 1/2 games for the first slot and the San Francisco Giants (83-74) by one game for the second position.

Wainwright (13-9) gave up 10 hits and five runs over 5 2/3 innings, issuing two walks and fanning six.

Stephenson (2-3), who didn't allow a hit until Matt Carpenter ripped his 20th homer with two outs in the third, permitted five hits and five runs in four innings with a walk and four strikeouts.

Joey Votto whacked his 28th homer and went 3-for-5 with two RBI for the Reds, while Scott Schebler lined a two-run homer in the sixth.

All of that paled in comparison to one swing of the bat by Diaz, who homered off Fernandez on July 28 in the only regular-season matchup between the two. Fernandez promised to fan Diaz three times when the friends met next year.

For reasons no one ever wanted to happen, that rematch won't take place. However, that doesn't mean Fernandez won't live in Diaz's soul every time he takes the field.

"Every time going forward when I put on a uniform, I'll think about him," Diaz said. "He was living the American dream. He enjoyed performing and competing. He had made it. It's tough, but you have to be a professional first of all.

"I know his family has been through a lot the last couple of days. I hope this helps."

NOTES: St. Louis LF Matt Holliday (right thumb fracture) appears doubtful to return this year. Swelling hasn't abated in the thumb, preventing Holliday from taking a live batting practice session to test it out. ... On Monday, Cincinnati RF Steve Selsky produced the franchise's first five-hit game for a rookie since Wade Rowdon had one on July 9, 1986, against the New York Mets. ... Cardinals 1B Matt Carpenter (hand) returned to the lineup Monday in his normal leadoff role.

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Athletics 1 vs. 8 Angels Final Recap

With mom watching, Angels' Marte slams Athletics

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:50 AM (EDT)

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jefry Marte delivered a special present to his mother, who was watching him play for the first time in his professional career Tuesday night.

Marte hit his first career grand slam to lead the Los Angeles Angels' 8-1 rout of the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium.

"I'm very happy," Marte said through a translator. "I'm especially happy that it happened when my mom was watching for the first time."

Marte's mother, Luisa, arrived from the Dominican Republic about a week ago.

"It's the first time they gave her a visa and it's her first visit to the United States," Marte said. "That's why I was very happy to be able to give her this gift."

Kole Calhoun added two doubles and a triple, scored twice and drove in a run while going 3-for-3. Mike Trout contributed his 99th RBI as the Angels (71-87) earned their sixth victory in seven games and their eighth in 11.

Right-hander Ricky Nolasco won his third successive start. In eight innings, Nolasco (8-14) permitted an unearned run, scattered five hits, issued two walks, collected four strikeouts and induced three double plays.

Nolasco attributed his recent success to the development of a slider under the guidance of pitching coach Charles Nagy.

"Nagy helped me out a ton with understanding how good a pitch that can be for me," Nolasco said. "I didn't use it as much before and now I'm gaining confidence in throwing it. Getting those quick outs on ground balls is huge."

Rookie Ryon Healy collected three of the Athletics' six hits, including a double, and drove in their only run. But Oakland (67-90) suffered its seventh loss in eight games.

"He's a tough kid," A's manager Bob Melvin said about Healy, a converted first baseman who is learning to play third base. "When you haven't played a position before and you go to the big leagues and play it, it can be difficult. But it hasn't bothered him at all. He's very confident. The big thing is that he can hit."

Angels third baseman Yunel Escobar left the game for a pinch hitter in the fourth inning because of a sore right shoulder. Manager Mike Scioscia said Escobar is day-to-day.

Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead in the first inning against right-hander Daniel Mengden. With one out, Calhoun hit a fly ball into left-center field. Poor communication between left fielder Danny Valencia and center fielder Brett Eibner prevented Eibner from making a clean backhanded catch, and Calhoun received credit for a double. Trout then lined a single into right field to bring Calhoun home and register his 99th RBI this year.

The Angels chased Mengden in the fourth by sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs on seven hits, a walk, a fielder's choice and a groundout. Marte began the onslaught by propelling Mengden's 93 mph fastball over the center-field fence with the bases loaded for his 13th home run of the season.

Andrelton Simmons and Rafael Ortega followed with singles, then Juan Graterol doubled just inside the left-field line to bring Simmons home and send Ortega to third base. Kaleb Cowart's groundout scored Ortega. Then pinch hitter Cliff Pennington reached base on a fielder's choice and came home on Calhoun's triple.

Mengden (2-9) allowed eight runs on nine hits in three-plus innings. He walked one and struck out one as he received his fourth loss in his past five starts.

"The first time through the order, he was real aggressive with his fastball," Melvin said. "It looked like he had a lot of confidence. Then he got a couple of guys on and I think the grand slam probably took a little wind out of his sails."

Oakland broke the shutout with an unearned run in the sixth. Eibner reached second base on third baseman Cowart's two-base throwing error and scored on Healy's double down the left-field line.

NOTES: Tuesday marked the 43rd anniversary of Nolan Ryan setting the season strikeout record while pitching for the Angels. In his final start, Ryan struck out 16 Minnesota Twins in a 5-4 win in 11 innings. Ryan finished with 383 strikeouts, beating by one the record Sandy Koufax established in 1965. ... Since the All-Star break, Oakland 3B Ryon Healy leads American League rookies with 74 hits and ranks second with 12 home runs, 33 RBI, 32 runs scored and 17 doubles. ... Athletics RHP Sonny Gray will be activated from the disabled list to start Wednesday night. Gray injured his right forearm Aug. 6. ... Los Angeles RHP Garrett Richards will pitch to hitters in a simulated game Wednesday for the first time since tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in May. Richards is using stem-cell therapy to try to avoid Tommy John surgery. ... Angels LHP Tyler Skaggs threw a 40-pitch bullpen session before Tuesday's game. Skaggs was diagnosed with a strained flexor in his forearm Sept. 14. ... Angels DH Albert Pujols did not play because of a sore right foot. ... Angels RHP Matt Shoemaker celebrated his 30th birthday.

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Dodgers 1 vs. 7 Padres Final Recap

Padres rookie Renfroe drives in all 7 in victory

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Wednesday, September 28 at 2:26 AM (EDT)

SAN DIEGO -- Padres rookie slugger Hunter Renfroe was a fresh face to many of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.

But not to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.

"I've known of Hunter (from) being in San Diego," said Roberts, a former Padres coach. "He's got big power."

Renfroe had two home runs and seven RBIs to lift San Diego past Los Angeles Dodgers 7-1.

"One of the big things is you can't think of it as more than what it is," Renfroe said. "It's a game. You've been playing since you were 4 years old or what have you. It's just on a bigger stage and more fans and everything is kind of magnified."

Renfroe, among the wave of prospects called up last week from Triple-A El Paso, had an eighth-inning grand slam and a three-runner homer in the first to upend the newly minted National League West champ.

Renfroe, a first-round pick in 2013, has three homers in six games. He hit his first grand slam off Louis Coleman, the Dodgers' sixth pitcher.

"To see what he just did tonight is just extremely impressive," Wil Myers said. "I've been nothing but impressed."

The Dodgers fell two games behind the Washington Nationals in the race for home-field advantage in their upcoming National League Division Series.

Paul Clemens (4-5) earned the victory while Kenta Maeda (16-10), who is scheduled to start Game 3 of the NLDS, took the loss.

The Dodgers had the tying runs aboard with two outs in the seventh, but Corey Seager grounded out.

In the sixth, Los Angeles loaded the bases with one out but Yasmani Grandal and Josh Reddick hit harmless flies.

The Padres didn't make much noise after Renfroe's first-inning shot. San Diego had just three batters reach base, and only one got into scoring position.

Then came Renfroe's second long fly, which went 419 feet over the fence in dead center.

Yangervis Solarte got on three times, with two hits and a walk.

Maeda was gone after four innings. His next-to-last regular-season start served more as a tune-up for the postseason than Roberts being concerned about Maeda going deep in the game. Maeda, who struck out five, surrendered three runs on three hits.

"After the first inning, Kenta was good," Roberts said. "He left a breaking ball up to Renfroe; but, other than that, he was getting strikeouts and soft contact. I told him it was a positive outing."

Clemens got through five innings, allowing one run on three hits.

The Dodgers pulled to within 3-1 in the third, thanks to Chase Utley's 13th home run of the season. It was Utley's second hit of the game and first homer since Aug. 31 at Colorado.

Utley and Josh Reddick, with a second-inning single, were the only batters to reach base during Clemens stint.

Renfroe, who was recently named the Pacific Coast League MVP, launched a three-run homer for a 3-0 lead in the first. Maeda elevated an 83 mph slider and Renfroe's blast chased in Jon Jay and Solarte, both aboard on singles.

"It wasn't so much miscommunication as it was I was facing new hitters and I wasn't familiar with them," Maeda said about Renfroe's homer.

"I'm very comfortable," Renfroe said. "I think I've done a pretty good job."

NOTES: Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda was moved up to go Tuesday so he can get two starts before the playoffs. ... Manager Dave Roberts said the playoff rotation will be LHP Clayton Kershaw, LHP Rich Hill and Maeda. ... RF Yasiel Puig will be on the postseason roster. ... Padres RHP Tyson Ross (shoulder) is having additional tests to determine whether he needs surgery. He hasn't pitched since Opening Day. ... RHP Jarred Cosart (elbow) is awaiting his test results.

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Rockies 3 vs. 12 Giants Final Recap

Giants pile on Rockies, keep pace in wild-card race

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Wednesday, September 28 at 2:21 AM (EDT)

SAN FRANCISCO -- After the San Francisco Giants exploded for 19 hits Tuesday night, their highest total at home all season, first baseman Brandon Belt was asked if the offensive momentum might carry over to the Wednesday game.

His response: Why stop there?

"You've heard a lot that hitting is contagious. I really believe that," Belt said after he contributed a single, a double and a triple to the Giants' 12-3 thumping of the Colorado Rockies.

"Tomorrow, a whole series ... heck, even the rest of the season," Belt continued. "We've got that confidence back. See the ball and square it up."

Buster Posey and Hunter Pence hit back-to-back home runs, and Brandon Crawford had two triples among four hits as the Giants opened a critical six-game homestand with a bang.

"Pretty much our goal all the time is: take the pressure off the pitcher as much as possible," Belt said. "Fortunately, we did that tonight."

The beneficiary was left-hander Matt Moore. He struck out a career-high-tying 11 and allowed only one run in 7 2/3 innings, helping the Giants (83-74) remain a game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals (82-75) in the battle for the second National League wild card.

The New York Mets (84-74) also won Tuesday and maintained a half-game lead on San Francisco for the first wild card.

"Great all-around game," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, whose team was coming off a 3-4 trip. "It's good for the guys to bust out. Hopefully that's something that gets them going."

The homers by Posey, his 14th, and Pence, his 13th, came during a four-run fifth inning that broke the game open and ended the night for Rockies rookie right-hander German Marquez (1-1).

With the Giants leading 2-1, Denard Span got the big inning going with a double. He scored on Belt's third hit of the game, a single.

After Belt was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double, Posey lined a shot into the bleachers in left field to increase the lead to 4-1.

The hit was the 1,000th of Posey's career, all as a Giant. The last Giant to accomplish that feat had been Rich Aurilia in 2003.

Posey's homer was just the second in his past 59 games.

Three pitches later, Pence followed with another solo shot, making it a 5-1 game.

The back-to-back homers were the Giants' fifth of the season.

"Home runs are nice," Bochy said. "We don't hit a lot of them, but they sure help the cause."

The barrage against Marquez wasn't done. Crawford smacked his first triple and scored on a single by Angel Pagan to make it a four-run inning.

That was it for Marquez, who allowed six runs and 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter.

"These are opportunities for growth for pitchers like Marquez," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of his 21-year-old, who was coming off five-inning, one-run effort in an 11-1 home win over the Cardinals. "(He's) obviously very talented, but there's always things to learn at the major league level, and he's doing that now."

Moore (5-5 with the Giants, 12-12 overall) won for the third time in his past four starts. He allowed six hits and no walks in 7 2/3 innings.

"We couldn't afford any more bad starts," said Moore, whose 11 strikeouts matched his total from Sept. 11 against the Arizona Diamondbacks and two times previously in his career while with the Tampa Bay Rays. "We needed to change direction and get it going right now."

Belt had two shots at a cycle after completing three-quarters of the feat in his first three at-bats, but he grounded into a double play in the sixth inning and grounded out in the eighth to finish 3-for-5.

Crawford's second triple came in a five-run eighth inning off the Rockies' fourth pitcher, Justin Miller. The two-run blow scored Posey and Pence.

The hits were Crawford's first since the shortstop dislocated his left pinkie finger on Sept. 20 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Conor Gillaspie capped the inning with a two-run homer, his sixth of the season.

Pence finished with three hits, while Span, Pagan, Gillaspie and Joe Panik added two hits apiece for the Giants, who entered the game having scored the fewest runs in September (84) of any major league team.

Ten of the Giants' hits went for extra bases.

"I felt very comfortable," said Marquez, who gave up six of the Giants' 10 extra-base hits. "Give credit to them. I battled."

Nick Hundley had a pair of singles, while David Dahl, Cristhian Adames and Stephen Cardullo all doubled for the Rockies, who had split the first 16 games against the Giants this season.

Cardullo's double drove in a run in a two-run ninth inning for the Rockies against the Giants' third pitcher, Josh Osich.

Colorado, which has lost eight road games in a row, finished with eight hits.

NOTES: The Giants' previous high for hits in a home game this season had been 18, which they reached twice. ... The Giants had four triples in the game, matching a San Francisco-era record for a home game. ... With 3B Eduardo Nunez (strained hamstring) a question mark this week, the Giants acquired INF Gordon Beckham from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league SS Rich Rodriguez. Beckham was in uniform for Tuesday's game. ... The Giants also promoted C Tony Sanchez off the roster of Triple-A Sacramento. ... To make room for Beckham and Sanchez on the 40-man roster, the Giants designated LHP Matt Reynolds for assignment and placed OF Mac Williamson (strained quad) on the 60-day disabled list. ... Giants RHP Johnny Cueto (strained groin) threw a bullpen session before the game and was deemed healthy enough to start the series finale Thursday against the Rockies. Cueto would be a possibility for the National League wild-card game next Wednesday should the Giants get in.

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Cubs 6 vs. 4 Pirates Final Recap

Cubs keep rolling, beat Pirates for 101st win

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:24 AM (EDT)

PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Cubs have heard all about 1908 for what literally has been more than a century. On this night, though, the team with the majors' best record heard about 1910.

Chris Coghlan gave still-streaking Chicago an early lead with a three-run triple in the second inning, and the Cubs posted a 6-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

The Cubs, despite long since clinching the National League Central title, kept up a surge they hope continues into the postseason with their seventh victory in eight games and 14th in 17 games against the Pirates -- the team they eliminated in the 2015 NL wild-card game.

Chicago is 101-56, the most wins by the franchise in 106 years -- or since the 1910 Cubs won 104 games. That was two years after the 1908 Cubs became the club's last World Series winner.

"Their record speaks for itself," Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer said. "It's pretty evident they're one of the top teams in baseball and they've got a chance to make a run at it."

The Pirates, despite rallying with three runs in the ninth and putting the potential winning run on base, were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since 2012 when the San Francisco Giants won late Tuesday. The Pirates dropped their fourth in a row and fifth in six games.

Pittsburgh (77-80) must win four of its final five to avoid its first losing season since 2012 -- the last in a record run of 20 consecutive losing years.

The Pirates' falloff from their 98-win team of last season is partly the result of their dismal record against the Cubs.

"They've got good players, and they came together at the right time," Mercer said. "They've got good pitching and timely hitting, and when they're getting guys on base, it's hard to beat a team like that."

Dexter Fowler scored once and added an RBI double in the fourth against Pirates starter Ryan Vogelsong, who hurt himself with five walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch while permitting four runs over five innings. Vogelsong (3-7) threw only 51 of his 101 pitches for strikes.

Already leading 4-1 in the ninth, the Cubs added what proved to be two important runs after Gregory Polanco, playing left field rather than right with Starling Marte out, dropped a routine, two-out fly ball hit by Tommy La Stella. Albert Almora Jr., who had tripled, scored on that play, and Javier Baez followed with a single for his seventh RBI in two games.

Cubs starter John Lackey (11-8) -- who came over from the rival Cardinals during the offseason -- needed 93 pitches to get through five innings. However, he allowed only a run on five hits to beat the Pirates for the second time in four career decisions.

"I had some pretty good offers from some other teams, but I came to this one for a reason," Lackey said.

Manager Joe Maddon is glad he did, too.

"He was really eating them up for a long time," Maddon said of Lackey, who turns 38 next month. "He's thrown a lot of innings (188 1/3), he's pitched extremely well -- like some of our guys, his record could be a little better, but I think he's been very good for us."

Six relievers followed Lackey, with Justin Grimm surrendering three runs in the ninth on Polanco's single and Andrew McCutchen's two-run single. Felix Pena got the final two outs on strikeouts for his first major league save.

Coghlan missed by a couple of feet of hitting the Cubs' second grand slam in as many nights -- Javier Baez hit the second of his career as the Cubs won 12-2 Monday -- when he hit a drive off the wall in right center in the second.

That was the only hit the Cubs needed in a three-run second as Vogelsong hit Baez with a pitch before walking Munenori Kawasaki and Fowler to load the bases.

"Unacceptable -- that's all I'll say, unacceptable," Vogelsong said. "That's a good team over there, but I beat myself."

The Pirates got a run back in their half of the inning against Lackey as Matt Joyce singled, moved up on Sean Rodriguez's single and scored on Francisco Cervelli's double-play grounder.

Lackey then helped himself in the fourth, putting down a sacrifice bunt following Kawasaki's leadoff single. Fowler followed with an RBI double off the wall in center.

The start likely was the 39-year-old Vogelsong's 13th and last of his 12th major league season, one in which he missed nearly 2 1/2 months after being struck in the face by a Jordan Lyles fastball on April 27 against Colorado. He hasn't said if he intends to try to pitch next season.

NOTES: The Cubs are 100-game winners for the first time since 1935, but they won't threaten the franchise record for single-season victories. The 1906 Cubs went 116-26. ... Pirates OF Gregory Polanco (facial contusion) started for the first time since running into an outfield wall Friday. OF Starling Marte (back) remained out. ... Cubs INF Kris Bryant plans to pay off an incentive to teammate Chris Coghlan by giving him the meal money he's receiving for the team's current road trip. Before Monday's game, Bryant promised that if Coghlan scored on what would be Bryant's 100th RBI of the season, Bryant would give him all the money in his wallet. Bryant wanted to reach the mark after finishing with 99 RBIs last season. Bryant got the night off Tuesday. ... Cubs OF Jorge Soler (right side tightness) might be ready to play by this weekend in Cincinnati.

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Diamondbacks 2 vs. 4 Nationals Final Recap

Rendon homer lifts Nationals over Diamondbacks

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Tuesday, September 27 at 10:53 PM (EDT)

WASHINGTON -- Dusty Baker is big on numbers and milestones, and he wants to see ace pitcher Max Scherzer try and win 20 games this year.

But Baker needed to pinch-hit for Scherzer in the sixth inning Tuesday night with his team trailing 2-0.

The Washington manager got the best of both worlds as the Nationals scored four runs in the sixth and Scherzer got his 19th win of the year when the Nationals came back to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 despite being held to three hits. The Nationals have won the Scherzer's last nine starts.

"Dusty was out of his mind," Scherzer said with a grin, after the Nationals took the lead in the sixth. "That is what made it fun. We were both pumped up."

Anthony Rendon hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning after Scherzer was lifted for pinch-hitter Wilmer Difo earlier in the frame.

"He went down and got it," Arizona manager Chip Hale said of the homer.

Jose Lobaton, starting in place of injured catcher Wilson Ramos, had the first hit for the Nationals when he blooped a single to center to start the sixth off Arizona starter Matt Koch. His five hitless innings were the most for an Arizona pitcher in his first career start, as he threw 69 pitches.

"He was around the zone," said Hale. "He goes right after guys. It was good to see. He showed us he can do it. He had a little blister issue that cropped up at the end. That is not the reason he came out. He had a win in his pocket and it went away quick. His ball moves. He is around the zone. He elevated when he had to. It was a very impressive outing."

After a walk to pinch-hitter Wilmer Difo, Koch was replaced by Randall Delgado. Trea Turner walked to load the bases and two batters later Stephen Drew drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1.

Rendon then golfed a pitch from losing pitcher Delgado (4-2) over the fence in left to give Washington a 4-2 lead. It was the 19th homer of the year and 500th career hit for Rendon, a former first-round pick out of Rice. That gave Rendon 84 RBIs this year, a career-best, after he had just one RBI in April.

"Randall comes in and gives up another walk," Hale said. "It is something we are going to have to fix. It is happening too many times. For me it is more about the walks."

Koch, in his first career start, gave up just one hit and two runs in five innings and did not figure in the decision. Delgado yielded two runs on the one hit in one inning.

Scherzer (19-7) has one more start left this weekend. He gave up six hits and two runs with two walks and 10 strikeouts. Scherzer now has 277 strikeouts this season, the most in Nationals history, from 2005 to present. He said Arizona went after his fastball early in the count so he had to change his approach.

"He went to his slider and he went to his changeup," Baker said of Scherzer.

Sammy Solis pitched a perfect seventh for the Nationals and Shawn Kelley went a scoreless eighth. Closer Mark Melancon got his 14th save for Washington and 44th overall as he threw the ninth, getting University of Virginia product Phil Gosselin for the last out on a bunt pop to Rendon at third.

Chris Owings had two hits for the Diamondbacks.

The Nationals (92-65) are now 14-17 against the National League West this year while Arizona (65-92) has lost four of its last five.

Jean Segura hit the first pitch of the game from Scherzer over the fence in left for his 20th homer of the season. It was the 29th homer allowed this year by Scherzer, which is tied for the league lead.

"After that he settled down," Baker said of his ace.

Scherzer, after giving up five hits in the first three innings, fanned six in a row before Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk with two outs in the fifth.

NOTES: Washington C Wilson Ramos has a torn ACL in his right knee and is done for the year, manager Dusty Baker said Tuesday. Ramos was injured in the sixth inning Monday when he came down awkwardly after taking a relay throw from 1B Ryan Zimmerman. Ramos, a pending free agent, will have surgery at some point in the next week after hitting .307 with a career-high 22 homers and 80 RBIs in 131 games. "This was the most inopportune time for this to happen," Baker said. The Nationals started C Jose Lobaton (.220 in 35 games) on Tuesday and will also use C Pedro Severino, hitting .350 in 12 games ... C Spencer Kieboom was called up from Double-A Harrisburg on Tuesday by Washington to give the team more catching depth. He was already on the 40-man roster and will be making his MLB debut. He hit .230 in 94 games with Harrisburg this year ... Washington LHP Gio Gonzalez (11-10, 4.51) will face Arizona RHP Shelby Miller (2-12, 6.47) on Wednesday ... The Nationals were also without RF Bryce Harper (thumb) and INF Daniel Murphy (strained glute) in the starting lineup ... Arizona RHP Matt Koch, who made his first MLB start Tuesday, had a 1.29 ERA in five bullpen outings to begin his big league career.

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Red Sox 4 vs. 6 Yankees Final Recap

Austin homers, Yankees keep Red Sox from clinching

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Tuesday, September 27 at 11:53 PM (EDT)

NEW YORK -- Two on, David Ortiz at the plate in the late innings with a chance for a big hit.

It is a scenario the many New York Yankees pitchers have faced since Ortiz joined the Boston Red Sox in 2003 and a scenario that often ends negatively.

On Tuesday, it ended up working out for the Yankees.

Pitchers Luis Cessa, Blake Parker and Tyler Clippard each retired the slugger with two runners on -- Clippard to end the game -- and the Yankees prevented the Red Sox from clinching the AL East title with a 6-4 victory.

"What are the chances that he's coming up in this situation," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's just kind of the way fate had it tonight."

Parker said: "He's the guy that gets you on your toes. You see him come out on deck and you know he's out there."

Rookie Tyler Austin hit the tiebreaking home run with none out in the seventh off David Price (17-9) but it was the pitches to Ortiz which enabled the Yankees to regain the lead after squandering a 4-2 edge. Those pitches and the home run allowed the Yankees to stay mathematically alive in the wild card race.

New York (81-76) is four games behind Baltimore with five games remaining after winning for the fifth time in its last 15 games.

"They threw the ball well and made big pitches when they needed to," Austin said of the Ortiz at-bats.

Ortiz finished 0-for-5 in the opener of his final road series and stranded seven runners. He went 0-for-5 for the third time this season (also May 18 at Kansas City and July 31 at Los Angeles) and was hitless in at least five at-bats against the Yankees for the first time since April 11, 2015, the day after Boston had a 19-inning win.

Ortiz's comments were as quiet as his bat. He did not field any questions and before exiting the clubhouse said: "That ain't fun. They got me out, just put it down like that. They tricked me tonight. Too much talking between the pitcher and catcher. I'll trick them tomorrow."

Cessa retired Ortiz on a harmless fly out to end the first and a quiet pop-up for the first out of the fourth with a runner on second in a 2-0 game. Ortiz came up a third time with two on in the sixth after the Red Sox cut the lead to 3-1 on Dustin Pedroia's RBI single.

Ortiz reached a full count but struck out swinging on a breaking ball to end the seven-pitch at-bat.

An inning later, the Red Sox had tied the game on Aaron Hill's pinch hit home run and Pedroia's second run-scoring single when Ortiz came up with two on. This time it was against Parker and on the fifth pitch, he hit a curveball into a routine ground ball to third.

"I threw him a lot of junk," Parker said. "I faced him the other night at Boston and I challenged him with fastballs. One of the biggest things is to not stay in patterns with him."

Moments later, Austin drove an 0-2 pitch into the right field seats, putting Parker (1-0) in position for the win. Parker's win was secured when Clippard fanned the 40-year-old on an off-speed pitch to end a six-pitch encounter.

"Oh, certainly, I think every time David steps to the plate there's the potential for something big," Boston manager John Farrell said. "Particularly in this ballpark with the short right field porch. The table was set in those two innings, the sixth and the ninth, and I think we always view David in that way that something big is going to happen. Tonight, it didn't happen."

The way the Yankees successfully pitched to Ortiz and Austin's fourth career home run prevented the Red Sox from clinching their eighth division title. The Red Sox (92-65) needed a win or Toronto loss to secure the division but while Price was allowing home runs to Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius and Austin, the Blue Jays defeated the Orioles.

"To have a chance to clinch the division for us here, it's not acceptable," Price said. "For our offense to score four runs I feel like I should go out there and be able to win."

Price lost for the first time in nine decisions since Aug. 7. He allowed six runs and 12 hits in 6 1/3 innings and tied a career-high by allowing three home runs.

Cessa allowed two runs and five hits in six innings.

Before Ortiz was unable to get big hits with two on, the Yankees built a 3-0 lead through five on Sanchez's 20th home run and Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI single in the fifth. Sanchez tied Wally Berger's 1930 record with the Boston Red Sox for the fastest to 20 home runs by doing so in his 51st game.

NOTES: Retiring Boston DH David Ortiz gave a lengthy pregame press conference and addressed a number of topics, including his favorite hit in New York and whether he would play for the Dominican Republic in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Ortiz said he couldn't name the favorite hit since he has so many and said he is not participating in the WBC. ... Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (forearm) played catch without difficulties Tuesday and will have a bullpen session to determine if he starts Saturday against Baltimore. ... Boston RHP Drew Pomeranz (forearm soreness) will not start Thursday and LHP Henry Owens will make the start. ... There was a moment of silence before the game for Jose Fernandez, who died Sunday in a boating accident in Miami.

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Orioles 1 vs. 5 Blue Jays Final Recap

Sanchez strikes out 10 as Jays beat Orioles

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Tuesday, September 27 at 11:10 PM (EDT)

TORONTO -- Aaron Sanchez continues to be a strong starter for the Toronto Blue Jays.

There were concerns before the season began about how he would handle the workload in his first full major league season as a starter, and steps were taken to control his innings pitched.

He is handling everything well.

The 24-year-old right-hander struck out 10 over six innings on Tuesday night, and Josh Donaldson and Ezequiel Carrera homered as the Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 in the opener of a three-game series.

"About as good as he can get," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Sanchez. "We were a little concerned early, he was throwing a lot of pitches and getting strikeouts, but he was able to settle in and get six (innings)."

The outing brought Sanchez up to 185 innings, by far the most in his career in one season. Sanchez (14-2) allowed five hits, three walks and one run to end a string of three straight no-decisions.

"Aaron has been good all year," Gibbons said. "He's one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball, he's got to be. He's as strong as ever. He's learned how to pitch. He has the big arm and the hearer but he's learned how to pitch both sides of the plate."

Sanchez said, "They came out super-aggressive and I was able to locate the heater when I needed to. I was able to repeat my mechanics most of the night."

Carrera and Donaldson each had two RBIs for the Blue Jays, who won for the eighth time in 12 games.

By winning the opener of the three-game series, the Blue Jays (87-70) moved two games ahead of the Orioles (85-72) in the race for the first wild-card spot in the American League. Baltimore holds a one-game lead on the Detroit Tigers (84-73) for the second wild card.

Toronto also barely stayed alive in the AL East race when Boston (92-65) lost to the New York Yankees, but the Red sox lead the Blue Jays by five games with five to play.

Joe Biagini took over from Sanchez in the seventh and allowed one infield single over two scoreless innings.

Toronto closer Roberto Osuna allowed singles to Matt Wieters and Michael Bourn to start the ninth, but he got Adam Jones to ground into a game-ending double play.

"We just didn't mount much offensively," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "Sanchez was really good again, like he's been most of the year. We had very few opportunities and we didn't cash them in very much. They played well defensively.

"We're capable of better. We only scored one run. We gave them a lot of margin for error. They have good pitchers. That's why they're where they are, or one of the big reasons."

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis and manager Buck Showalter were ejected in the seventh after Davis was called out on strikes.

Baltimore right-hander Kevin Gausman (8-12) allowed seven hits, two walks and five runs (four earned) in six innings in taking his second loss in a row. He struck out five.

Carrera led off the bottom of the first with a walk and Donaldson followed with his 37th homer of the season to give Toronto a 2-0 lead.

"When you put that many guys on base and don't have quick innings against this lineup, you're going to get hurt," Gausman said. "You try to make those big guys not beat you and you can kind of get overwhelmed with some of the other guys in their lineup.

"Me, against them this year, the first inning hasn't been very good in all three of my starts. Especially when you walk the leadoff guy, you're kind of putting yourself in a bad situation. They fouled off some good pitches and took some really good pitches also."

Sanchez struck out five of his first six batters with a walk breaking up the streak.

He allowed a run in the third after a leadoff double by J.J. Hardy, a one-out walk to Davis, a spectacular diving catch by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on a low liner by Manny Machado, and an RBI single by Mark Trumbo.

The Blue Jays took a 3-1 lead with one out in the bottom of the third when Carrera hit his sixth homer of the season.

The lead increased to 5-1 in the fifth. Kevin Pillar led off with a single and Darwin Barney sacrificed him to second. Carrera hit an RBI single and continued to second on the throw home. Donaldson walked. Carrera scored when Machado threw wildly to second for an error on Edwin Encarnacion's grounder to third.

NOTES: Toronto RHP Joaquin Benoit is out for an undetermined period after tearing his left calf while running in from the bullpen during the bench-clearing melee with the New York Yankees on Monday. ... Toronto 2B Devon Travis (shoulder) was not in the lineup Tuesday and INF Darwin Barney started at second base. Travis left the game Monday in the sixth inning because of a sore shoulder, the result of a second-inning bench-clearing incident with the New York Yankees. He aggravated it on a swing. ... The Blue Jays recalled RHP Chris Smith and INF/OF Andy Burns on Tuesday. ... The Orioles confirmed that RHP Ubaldo Jimenez would start the series finale on Thursday. ... Toronto LHP Francisco Liriano (8-13, 4.88 ERA) faces Baltimore RHP Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.84) on Wednesday in the second game of the series.

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Indians 0 vs. 12 Tigers Final Recap

Cabrera powers Tigers past Indians 12-0

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Wednesday, September 28 at 12:33 AM (EDT)

DETROIT -- Justin Verlander got Detroit back on track, but the problem the Tigers face is staying on the rails until their ace can pitch again Sunday.

Verlander blanked Cleveland on four hits over 7 2/3 innings Tuesday night and Miguel Cabrera drove in five runs to surpass 100 RBIs for the 12th time and lead the Tigers to a 12-0 win over the Indians and their patchwork lineup.

The win pulled Detroit to within one game of Baltimore for the second American League wild-card spot with five games to play.

"Right now," manager Brad Ausmus of Detroit said, "if it comes down to the last game, we do have a guy in Verlander that's experienced it before.

"But between now and the next time Verlander pitches we're going to need some young guys to either harness the energy or the emotion that's involved in these games or find a way to block it out."

The fourth single allowed by Verlander (16-8) and third by Erik Gonzalez ended the right-hander's night after 110 pitches. He struck out 12 and walked one. It was the eighth time this year Verlander has recorded double-digit strikeouts and 37th time in his career.

Kyle Ryan got the last four outs for Detroit to complete the shutout.

"I thought he was pretty good. He's been pretty good," manager Terry Francona of Cleveland said. "Like Cory Kluber, every five days he goes out there. He's been one of the best for a long time, because he can hold his stuff like he does, it's pretty amazing."

Cabrera got his five RBIs with a two-run double in the first and a three-run home run in the second, his 35th of the season.

Justin Upton added a three-run homer in the seventh and Andrew Romine hit a two-run shot for the Tigers in the eighth.

Cabrera's five RBI put him at 102. Eight of his 12 100-RBI seasons in his 14-year career have come with the Tigers, tying him with Harry Heilmann for most in franchise history.

(Cabrera and Verlander), that's why they get paid the big bucks," Ausmus said, tongue in cheek. (Verlander) "has been outstanding. I'm tired of talking about how good he's been. If you're not sure how good he's been, just watch him."

Ian Kinsler hit an RBI single to make it 6-0 in the fourth as Detroit beat Cleveland for only the third time in 17 tries this season.

Upton hit a hanging slider deep into the left field seats near the foul pole with two on in the seventh, his 29th home run of the season, to hike Detroit's lead to 9-0. Tyler Collins delivered a pinch-hit RBI triple in the eighth and Romine followed with his second home run of the season.

Cabrera's five RBIs came at the expense of Mike Clevinger (2-3), who gave up seven hits in two innings.

Cleveland rested key regulars Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Jason Kipnis and Mike Napoli.

"I think after 155 games," Francona explained pre-game, "with what they accomplished, they needed a night where they could watch and enjoy. Then they'll be right back in there.

"In trying to weigh everything, it's good for them to have a day (off). These guys have played a lot."

The Indians learned during the game that Kluber had a right quad strain and would be out 7-10 days.

"I don't know about best case," Francona said, "but it's a heckuva lot better than it could have been. I think we were hopeful that he'd be okay. But again, when a guy's out there competing, you don't know how much they're really hurting.

"But this will give him a chance to hopefully have a bullpen session or two. Hopefully, maybe it'll even help him. It's certainly not bad news."

NOTES: Manager Terry Francona trotted out his 'Z' lineup Tuesday night after his team clinched the American League Central and celebrated the night before. The most prominent regular was DH Carlos Santana and "that's only because we ran out of guys," Francona said. At third was C Chris Gimenez and "I'm not thrilled about that," he said. ... Detroit 3B Nick Castellanos, activated off the disabled list, arrived from Florida in the seventh inning and manager Brad Ausmus sent him up to pinch-hit in the eighth. Castellanos doubled and stayed in to play third. He could start Wednesday. ... RHP Cory Kluber went to Cleveland for examination of his strained right groin, with Francona optimistic because his ace said it wasn't worse than Monday night. ... Francona shuffled his rotation, pushing RHP Trevor Bauer back from Wednesday to Saturday. RHP Zach McAllister starts Wednesday, LHP Ryan Merritt on Thursday, RHP Josh Tomlin either Friday or Sunday and RHP Adam Plutko going on the other day.

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Mets 12 vs. 1 Marlins Final Recap

Mets pile up 19 hits, manhandle Marlins

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:24 AM (EDT)

MIAMI -- Monday, with all the emotion of the death of star pitcher Jose Fernandez still fresh on everyone's mind, belonged to the Miami Marlins.

Tuesday, the New York Mets took over, banging out 19 hits in a 12-1 win over Miami at Marlins Park.

Jay Bruce and Yoenis Cespedes each hit their 31st homer of the season, and Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda each had three RBIs to pace the Mets attack.

Duda had his first multi-RBI game since May 4. He missed nearly four months due to back surgery, returning on Sept. 18.

"It's going OK -- it could be a lot better," Duda said of his comeback. "The more I play, the more comfortable I get."

Bruce, who made his Mets debut on Aug. 2 after being acquired from the Cincinnati Reds, is also trying to get comfortable.

He has struggled through much of his time with the Mets, hitting just .190 before Tuesday's 2-for-5 performance.

"It's been very encouraging," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Bruce's recent work, including six hits in his past 14 at-bats. "He's been working on some things, and it looks like it's paying off. If he's back, we're going to be a different lineup."

Bruce hit a two-run homer in the second, and Cespedes matched him in the third as the Mets (84-74) maintained a half-game lead over the San Francisco Giants and a 1 1/2-game edge on the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL wild-card race. At most, two of those three teams will make the playoffs.

New York broke the game open with a five-run eighth inning, getting a two-run single by Granderson and a three-run double by Duda. Granderson added an RBI double in a three-run ninth.

The 19 hits were the most allowed by Miami this season. In the past two Mets wins, New York has outscored its competition by a combined score of 29-1.

Miami (78-79), playing its second game since Fernandez's tragic death in a boating accident on Sunday, was much more subdued than it was in Monday's highly emotional 7-3 win over New York.

Noah Syndergaard (14-9) earned the win, striking out eight and walking none while allowing just five hits and one run in six innings. He also hit two singles and is batting .190 this season.

Miami's Tom Koehler (9-13), making perhaps his last start of his season, allowed six hits, four walks and four runs in 3 2/3 innings. He failed in his ninth straight attempt at getting to 10 wins.

Koehler, though, indicated that it was hard to focus given the circumstances.

"It was different," Koehler said of the atmosphere surrounding the Marlins on Tuesday as compared to Monday. "It's hard to explain.

"I think everybody is doing the best they can. This (Fernandez's death) is something we are not trained to handle. I have a lot of fond memories of Jose. That may have been the first home start that he wasn't here."

Dee Gordon scored a first-inning run for the second straight day. But while he homered on Monday, this time he played small ball, getting a bunt hit, stealing second and scoring on a Marcell Ozuna single.

New York took a 2-1 lead in the second. After Granderson drew a four-pitch leadoff walk, Bruce pulled the next pitch 396 feet to the upper deck in right field.

There was a similar pattern in the third. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a leadoff single, and the next batter, Cespedes, pulled a 432-foot blast to left.

With Syndergaard in top form, including a fastball that consistently hit 99 mph, that was all the Mets really needed.

"This cat's got great stuff," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Syndergaard.

"I'm proud of our guys. They are dealing with stuff, but they are continuing to play."

NOTES: Marlins 3B Martin Prado reportedly agreed to a three-year, $30 million extension. ... Marlins LF Marcell Ozuna said Jose Fernandez had invited him to go out on his boat after Saturday night's game. Ozuna declined the invitation because his wife and kids were waiting to see him. A couple of hours later, Fernandez and two friends died in Sunday's early-morning boat crash. ... Memorial services for Fernandez include a public viewing on Wednesday and a mass on Thursday. ... Mets LHP Steven Matz (bone spurs) will have surgery and is out for the season. He should be ready to pitch again in three months and joins three other Mets starting pitchers who are already out for the season: Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler. ... This three-game series ends on Wednesday in a battle of right-handers: Seth Lugo of the Mets and Jose Urena of the Marlins. Lugo is 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in his past six starts.

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Phillies 6 vs. 7 Braves Final Recap

Braves escape six-run hole, edge Phillies

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Wednesday, September 28 at 1:36 AM (EDT)

ATLANTA -- The Philadelphia bullpen had another meltdown and the Atlanta Braves were grateful recipients.

Atlanta pinch hitter Emilio Bonifacio's infield single with the bases loaded in the eighth inning capped the Atlanta Braves' 7-6, come-from-behind win against the Phillies on Tuesday at Turner Field.

The Braves trailed 6-0 after two innings but came back to win by scoring two runs in the eighth against a Philadelphia bullpen that allowed six runs in four innings.

"You don't feel good being down six, but I thought we had a chance with all the at-bats we had left," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.

The Braves scored two runs against Severino Gonzalez, two against Luis Garcia and one each against Joely Rodriguez and David Hernandez.

Philadelphia relievers have allowed 34 runs over the past five games and have a 10.13 ERA since Sept. 15.

"The bullpen just hasn't been doing the job," Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said. "At some point somebody has to do a job. Somebody has to step up. In two games, every reliever I've brought in has given up a run. That's unheard of."

Atlanta tied the game in the eighth when Mallex Smith lifted a single to left with the bases loaded off Hernandez (3-4). The Braves took the lead when Bonifacio lined a shot off the glove of Philadelphia shortstop Freddy Galvis, allowing Tyler Flowers to score.

The Braves made the game close by scoring four runs in the sixth inning. Nick Markakis delivered a two-out single to get one home, and Flowers followed with a three-run homer against Garcia.

"That was a big homer by Tyler, getting three back with one stroke, and Boni has been coming up big with those pinch hits since he's been back here," Snitker said.

Mauricio Cabrera (4-1) got the last out of the eighth inning to earn the win. Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth and struck out one for his 18th save.

Philadelphia jumped out to a fast start against Atlanta ace Julio Teheran.

The Phillies entered the game having given up 25 unanswered runs over two games. That streak ended in the first inning when they scored four runs on a grand slam by Ryan Howard, his 23rd homer.

Philadelphia added two runs in the second inning. Roman Quinn doubled, stole third and scored when Atlanta catcher Flowers threw the ball into left field. Cameron Rupp drove in the other run with his 25th double.

"We got 14 hits but we stranded 12," Mackanin said. "We've got to keep adding on."

The Braves got a run in the fourth inning when Freddie Freeman hit a solo homer to make it 6-1. Freeman's 33rd home run extended his hitting streak to 29 games and his streak of reaching base to 45 games.

Atlanta (64-92) has won eight of its last nine games. The last time the Braves rallied from a six-run deficit to win was last August against the San Francisco Giants.

Philadelphia (70-87) has lost four of its last five.

The game was delayed 1 hour, 53 minutes due to rain, and that forced Philadelphia starter Jared Eickhoff to exit the game.

The right-hander allowed just one run on one hit in four innings, with five strikeouts, but he did not return after the stoppage.

"Well, if things weren't going bad enough, Eickhoff looked like he was having one of his best games when the rain came," Mackanin said. "That was our first disappointment."

There was also a 31-minute delay at the start due to a late-afternoon storm.

NOTES: Atlanta traded 2B Gordon Beckham to San Francisco for cash. ... The Braves had a moment of silence in memory of Miami Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident on Sunday morning. 1B Freddie Freeman bought a Fernandez jersey on Sunday and wore it on the plane back to Atlanta. ... The Braves announced results of their voting for the All-Turner Field team. The winners: 1B Freddie Freeman, 2B Marcus Giles, SS Rafael Furcal, 3B Chipper Jones, LF Ryan Klesko, CF Andruw Jones, RF Brian Jordan, C Javy Lopez and UTIL Martin Prado. Pitchers were Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, Julio Teheran and Craig Kimbrel. ... Philadelphia's game on Saturday against the Mets has been selected to be shown by Fox, and the starting time was moved to 1:05 p.m. ET. ... Pitching matchups for the second game of the three-game series: Atlanta RHP Mike Foltynewicz (8-5, 4.41 ERA) vs. Philadelphia LHP Adam Morgan (2-10, 5.57).

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Twins 3 vs. 4 Royals Final Recap

Royals outlast Twins in 11 innings

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Wednesday, September 28 at 12:24 AM (EDT)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- While Raul Mondesi scored the winning run, it was the Kansas City Royals' bullpen that made the victory possible.

Mondesi scored on Billy Burns' sacrifice fly in the 11th inning as the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 on Tuesday night.

Seven Royals relievers combined to throw six scoreless innings, allowing three singles. Brooks Pounders (2-1) picked up the victory, entering in the 11th with Byron Buxton on first base with one out.

"Just coming in that situation with the go-ahead runner on base, I tried to make good pitches and get the offense back in there," Pounders said.

He retired pinch hitter Kurt Suzuki and Brian Dozier on fly balls to set up the Royals to win in the 11th without a hit.

Mondesi opened the inning by drawing a walk from Tommy Milone, the ninth Twins pitcher. He stole second and Jarrod Dyson advanced him to third on a bunt.

After Whit Merrifield and Eric Hosmer were walked intentionally, Burns delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly to center.

"I was on deck and saw them put Hosmer on," Burns said. "In my mind, I was thinking I had faced Tommy Milone when he was with the A's a couple of years ago. I had seen what he had. He's a very good pitcher that spots up very well. I was thinking, stay middle approach, don't try to pull the ball because he can put it wherever he wants it.

"I was very confident if I got it to the outfield, Mondi was going to score, so that was really what I was trying to do."

The defending World Series champion Royals are five games back in the American League wild-card standings with five games left.

The Twins threatened in the sixth, which included Logan Schafer's leadoff single, Juan Centeno's bunt single and rookie pitcher Scott Alexander's throwing error. With runners on second and third and one out, Peter Moylan replaced Alexander. He struck out Buxton and retired James Beresford on a ground ball to third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert to strand the runners.

Kelvin Herrera walked Eduardo Escobar and Centeno with two out in the eighth, but struck out Buxton to end the inning.

Cuthbert led off the Royals' eight with a single and Terrance Gore ran for him. Gore stole second and third sandwiched around a strikeout. On a suicide squeeze, Merrifield's bunt was caught by first baseman Beresford, who easily doubled Gore off third base.

"It was a perfect situation right there," Royals manager Ned Yost said to bunt. " We had Whit that can handle the bat. We had tremendous speed at third. We had Wade (Davis) coming into the ballgame. All he's got to do is get it down. We put the safety squeeze on there and Gore just read it that it was going to get down. It just didn't."

Escobar, who had not homered in 111 at-bats since Aug. 2 at Cleveland, won a marathon battle royal with right-hander Ian Kennedy in the fourth inning to belt his sixth home run, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead. Escobar fouled off four pitches with two strikes before depositing the 10th Kennedy pitch over the right-field fence. Kennedy yielded 32 home runs this season, but none in his previous three starts.

Escobar singled in the second and scored on Centeno's one-out double to center.

The Royals got to Twins rookie right-hander Jose Berrios for two runs in the fourth to tie the score at 2. Berrios walked Dyson to lead off the inning. Dyson moved to third on Merrifield's double to center. Eric Hosmer's two-strike soft single to center scored Dyson and advanced Merrifield to third. Kendrys Morales grounder to Beresford started a 3-6-3 double play with Merrifield scoring.

After retiring the first two batters in the fifth, Kennedy walked Dozier and Robbie Grossman. Max Kepler dumped a single into shallow center to score Dozier, putting the Twins on top 3-2.

Berrios failed to make it through the fifth and the Royals tied it. With two outs, Dyson punched a 2-2 pitch off rookie left-hander Buddy Boshers into shallow center, scoring Paulo Orlando, who reached when hit by a Berrios pitch.

Berrios was charged with three runs on four hits, a walk and a hit batter in 4 2/3 innings.

"Yeah, my secondary pitches were good; curveball, changeup were pretty good," Berrios said through an interpreter. "And I was falling behind in the count a little bit, but I didn't let that stop me from competing, so I just kept going and went out there and trying to do better as I went."

Kennedy, who threw 106 pitches in five innings, was replaced by Alexander to start the sixth. Kennedy allowed three runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out five.

"With the extra days rest, I felt like he was a little strong," Yost said. "He was up in the zone, which allowed them to foul off a lot of pitches. They got five hits off of him, four of them were stuff that they just kind of fought, little bloopers into the outfield, and then the one double that was hit pretty good. But, he went out and battled pretty well."

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