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Today is Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
National Basketball Assoc.
Jazz 22 vs. 17 Thunder In-Progress

Thunder try to avoid elimination against Jazz

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Tuesday, April 24 at 11:36 PM (EDT)

Oklahoma City was built this offseason around three All-Stars with the hopes of contending for the Western Conference crown.

The Utah Jazz started the year 18-26 without center Rudy Gobert. But Gobert returned and the Jazz rolled off 11 straight wins into Valentine's Day with the help of a surprise rookie of the year contender.

One more win and the Jazz will reach the second round for the second straight year. They'll send the Thunder home with a second straight first-round exit -- despite Oklahoma City's overhauled, star-studded roster.

After losing the first game on the road, Utah won decisively in each of the past three games, including a 17-point victory in Game 4 -- a game the Thunder called a must-win in Salt Lake City.

"It's the playoffs, it's gonna be war," Utah point guard Ricky Rubio, who had a triple-double in Game 3, told the Salt Lake Tribune after Utah's 113-96 victory in Game 4. "We know that it's gonna be another war next game. We just have to be tough but at the same time, mentally ready for that."

Game 5 is set for 9:30 p.m. EST Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell, who averaged 20 points per game during the regular season, has averaged 27.6 points during the past three games -- taking his play to another level to lead a balanced Jazz attack that has five players averaging in double figures. Mitchell, who was the 13th overall pick in last year's draft, has scored 110 points through the first four games, the most by a rookie in his first four games since Michael Jordan's 117 in 1985, according to nba.com.

"To be honest, a lot of this is surreal. I'm just taking it game-by-game and not really getting caught up in the big picture," Mitchell told the Salt Lake City Tribune. "Just focusing on game-by-game. My teammates have helped me out a lot as far as that goes. But we're playing together."

Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook picked up four fouls before halftime in Game 4 and was fined $10,000 for an altercation with Gobert late in the game. Luckily for the Thunder, he was not suspended following his altercation with the Utah center.

Westbrook's foul trouble has hardly been the Thunder's biggest issue.

Oklahoma City was inconsistent much of the year, but it has had to contend with shooting woes from offseason acquisition Carmelo Anthony, who has hit just 25 percent of his 3-pointers in the first four games of the playoffs.

"We gotta win, nothing to it," Anthony said after the Game 4 loss. "We've just gotta win. We can sit here and say what we gotta do, or what we didn't do or what we did do, but it comes down to having the will to win that game Wednesday and forcing a Game 6 back in Utah."

Winning in Utah won't to be easy, where the Jazz have won six straight. Oklahoma City has to get back to Salt Lake City first and stave off elimination. But Utah hasn't lost three straight games since Gobert's return to the lineup in mid-January.

"Every game's been physical," Gobert said to reporters. "We just got to watch the tape, see how much better we can get and get ready to play basketball."

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Timberwolves vs. Rockets 9:30 (EDT) Preview

Rockets aim to close out Timberwolves

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Tuesday, April 24 at 10:40 PM (EDT)

HOUSTON -- There was an undeniable inevitability in the Houston Rockets finally unleashing their full potential offensively, with the only legitimate ambiguity being exactly when it would happen.

That moment arrived without warning in the third quarter of Game 4, with Houston producing a 50-point outburst that staggered the Minnesota Timberwolves and gave the Rockets control of their Western Conference first-round playoff series. Houston used that eruption to propel it toward a 119-100 victory on Monday night at the Target Center, giving the Rockets a 3-1 lead in the series. It also gave Houston the opportunity to conclude the series at Toyota Center in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

The Rockets had trudged along on offense even while establishing a 2-1 series lead, averaging a pedestrian 103.7 points entering Game 4 while producing a modest 31.5 percentage on 3-pointers. Houston flirted with statistical immortality during the regular season, ranking among the most efficient offenses in league history before losing its edge over the final weeks of the schedule, specifically after the Rockets clinched the top seed in the West at the end of March.

Over their final six regular-season games, the Rockets posted an offensive rating (101.3) that ranked 26th in the NBA. That lagging momentum carried over into the playoffs until the second half on Monday when the Rockets broke free from their lethargy and reclaimed their identity.

"We talked about it going into the game about being aggressive, and I think we all just tried to do that," said Rockets guard Chris Paul, who paired 25 points with six assists in the victory.

"Just the entire team, we were confident," said Rockets guard James Harden, who scored a franchise playoff-record 22 points in the third quarter en route to a game-high 36. "We had a good talk (Sunday), a good practice (Sunday). And even most of the guys stayed after practice just to shoot, shoot the basketball and be aggressive. We had the mentality to be aggressive. Make or miss shots, that's what we do. We shoot the basketball, and eventually, they start falling."

In producing the second-most points in any quarter in NBA postseason history, the Rockets not only pushed the Timberwolves to the brink of elimination, they put Minnesota in the precarious position of having to acknowledge what has been obvious all along. The Timberwolves' defense wasn't explicitly responsible for the Rockets' wayward perimeter shooting entering Monday, and when Houston converts open looks at an average clip -- the Rockets shot 16 of 43 on 3s -- the Timberwolves are essentially helpless at stopping the deluge.

As postseason series extend, team identities solidify. The Rockets reclaiming their offensive rhythm was as predictable an outcome as the Timberwolves showcasing their defensive warts.

Minnesota closed the season ranked 22nd in defensive efficiency (108.4), with the foundation of its four losses to the Rockets set on the defensive end. It might be easy to dismiss a 50-point period as an anomaly, but the reality of the Rockets' offensive momentum can't be denied. The Timberwolves staved off the inevitable for three-plus games and are now left to hope that the Rockets will start missing again in order for this series to include a return trip to Minneapolis.

"How many points did they score in the third? Fifty? Exactly," Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose said. "Do we even have to say something? It can be seen easily what happened in the game and why they took off. Our job is to look at film, see what our mistakes were, and try to execute a little better on the defensive end."

Said Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns: "You've got to give it to them. There's a reason they're the team they are."

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Pacers 95 vs. 98 Cavaliers Final

Pacers aim to put pressure back on Cavs

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Tuesday, April 24 at 10:09 PM (EDT)

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Indiana Pacers are in no better position to pull off a historic upset in this first-round playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers than when they awoke Sunday morning.

The Pacers had a chance to put the Cavs, at the time reeling with playoff inexperience and the crushing weight of expectations with LeBron James, squarely behind the eight ball in this series by winning Game 4.

But Indiana fell behind by a huge deficit in the first half for the second consecutive game, erased it in the third and early fourth quarters again, but couldn't sustain the momentum. Kyle Korver and James made enough plays down the stretch for the Cavs to win, 104-100, tying this series at 2-2 with Game 5 on Wednesday in Cleveland.

James has never lost a first-round series in 12 previous playoffs. Now, he has two of the next three games at home to try and keep his streak alive.

"I think just tying the series up and coming back home is something we feel good about," said Kevin Love, who like every other Cav not named James has mostly struggled in this series. "We feel like it's a best-of-three type series and at the end of the day, if it comes to it, we have two games at home. We like our advantage and we're going to use that to our advantage (Wednesday) night."

The Pacers trailed by 17 at halftime of Game 3 but steamrolled the Cavs in the second half and pulled out a 92-90 win behind 30 points from Bojan Bogdanovic, a playoff career high. They were down 10 through two quarters in Game 4 but fought back and were ahead 93-91 with 3:49 remaining before Korver connected on two deep 3s.

Indiana won Game 1 behind a playoff career-high 32 points from Victor Oladipo, who has struggled since (19-of-53 shooting in the last three games). Domantas Sabonis played a big role in the Pacers' comeback Sunday, scoring a playoff career-best 19 off the bench.

The Pacers are getting the best night of someone's playoff career almost each game of this series, and it's been good enough for two wins. Then again, the Cavs' two wins were by a combined seven points, and outside of James (32.5 ppg this series) almost no one is scoring.

Love is the next closest at 12.0 points in this series and JR Smith is third with 10.0 points.

"We're not losing confidence," point guard Darren Collison said, according to the Indianapolis Star. "This team is the defending Eastern Conference champions. Whatever you want to say about them, this is a very good team. They've been through a lot over the last few years. We're fine. There's no need to overreact or panic. We're going to go into their building and we're going to give the same effort."

The Cavaliers say point guard George Hill (back spasms) is questionable to play in Game 5. He missed Game 4 with the same injury -- four injections before the game were not enough to ease the pain to the point where he could play.

Jose Calderon started for Hill on Sunday and scored five points in 19 minutes. The Cavs are 24-9 this year (regular season and playoffs) when Calderon starts.

Hill is the only player on either team listed on the injury report. But Love suffered an injury to his left thumb in Game 1 and it's affected him. He's shooting 17-of-47 in the series with 11 turnovers. Catching and gripping the ball have been obvious problems.

"I've been able to get up a lot of shots," Love said. "I think initially it was painful and in the few days that followed, but now it's kind of subsided and I'm just getting my feel back in my left thumb."

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Wizards 98 vs. 108 Raptors Final

Pressure on Raptors vs. Wizards in Game 5

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Tuesday, April 24 at 9:44 PM (EDT)

TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors appeared to have control of their first-round series against Washington Wizards when they won the first two games.

They also thought they had Game 4 within their grasp, and yet the series is tied 2-2.

The pressure will be on the No. 1 Eastern Conference seed when they host the No. 8 seed Wizards in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series at the Air Canada Centre.

"I feel like both teams protected home court, now it's the best-of-three," Wizards guard John Wall said. "Somebody is going to have to win on the opponent's court to win. We have a good opportunity to go there with some momentum, going into Game 5, and we want to take full advantage and try to get that win."

It could have been different. With just under five minutes to play in Game 4 at Washington on Sunday, Wizards guard Bradley Beal fouled out. He had scored 31 points in 32 minutes.

The Wizards did not fold, however, but the Raptors did. With Wall leading the way, the Wizards went on to defeat the Raptors 106-98 to even the series.

"This one was tougher, because I thought we had it under control," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.

Wall had 27 points, 14 assists and six rebounds in playing 43 minutes on Sunday.

After dropping the first two games in Toronto, Washington won both games at home, including a 122-103 decision in Game 3.

The Raptors led by 14 points during the third quarter on Sunday, but the score was tied at 92 when Beal fouled out.

The Raptors, who used their full bench successfully during the season, have started to again rely heavily on their All-Star guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

DeRozan had 35 points, six rebounds and six assists Sunday, but also committed four of Toronto's 19 turnovers (the Wizards made 13 turnovers) in 38 minutes. He also made some ill-advised shots down the stretch and was willing to shoulder his share of the blame.

"I blame myself for a lot of mistakes, for a lot of forced shots late in the game," DeRozan said. "Mental mistakes, turnovers, late-game execution, stabbing in the backcourt in transition late in the game. A lot of things."

Reserve guard Delon Wright continued on that theme.

"I just think we have to make that adjustment to realize that they're not blitzing (DeRozan) as much anymore, they're playing more single coverage," said Wright, who passed up a couple of 3-pointers.

"Shoot it, man," DeRozan said. "Every one of my teammates, I don't care if they miss 20 shots in a row, if you get a shot, shoot it. That's the confidence we've had in one another all year."

Lowry also saw considerable playing time, playing 39 minutes and had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

A key player off the bench for the Raptors all season has been point guard Fred VanVleet, who has played only 2:49 in the series because of a sore right shoulder and is listed as doubtful for Game 5.

The Wizards, meanwhile, have been dealing with adversity all season with Wall limited to 41 starts because of a sprained left shoulder and surgery on his left knee. The Wizards were 2-2 against the Raptors during the season even though Wall missed all four games.

"You have to have resolve to win in this league," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "We've had some tough moments this year with John missing half the season, but we found it, and it put us in a position to make the playoffs through resolve. You win playoff games, and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games, and one of them has to be on the road."

The Raptors will be trying to avoid making as many turnovers. Another veteran, forward Serge Ibaka, also made four turnovers Sunday.

"Some of it is Washington's good defense and some of it is just taking out a gun, pointing it at your foot and shooting ourselves in the foot," Casey said. "A lot of it was uncharacteristic. But it just didn't start in Game 3. We had some of the same turnovers the first two games, but we were able to score and have a cushion and live through it. We have to take care of the basketball. Make sure we get quality shots."

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018
National Basketball Assoc.
Heat 91 vs. 104 76ers Final Recap

Believe it! 76ers roll with Meek Mill past Heat in Game 5

By DAN GELSTON - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, April 24 at 11:56 PM (EDT)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid hoisted diminutive comedian Kevin Hart not unlike the way a parent would toss up a toddler. Embiid then pulled him in for a hug as confetti rained on the court, team flags waved around them and the promise of a rowdy late-night celebration was on deck.

Hart grabbed the mic and yelled, ''Let's give it up for Joel Embiid!''

Believe it, Philly.

The 76ers are rolling in the postseason - and rappers, politicians, actors and athletes are dancing along in the ride.

Embiid and Ben Simmons shined again in front of rapper Meek Mill, and the dominant duo ushered the nightmares-into-dreams Process of the Philadelphia 76ers into the second round with a 104-91 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.

The 76ers, winners of 10 games just two seasons ago, are in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2012.

''I kind of promised the city this,'' Embiid said.

The Sixers won the series 4-1 and turned the Wells Fargo Center into the wildest house party in the city. Embiid had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Simmons had 14 points and 10 boards, and the entire team was energized by Mill's surprise appearance. Mill made a dramatic return hours after Pennsylvania's highest court ordered him freed while he appeals decade-old gun and drug convictions.

He was taken from prison by helicopter to Philadelphia, where he rang the ceremonial bell at the start of Game 5.

''Welcome home Meek Mill,'' was about all that was heard from the public address announcer as wild cheers drowned out the rest. Mill sat courtside next to Hart and Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin.

Before the game, Mill visited privately with the Sixers in their locker room.

''For him to come to this type of game ... I was just happy,'' Embiid said.

Hart talked trash, wandered onto the edge of the court to rile up fans and palled around with Mill as the young and gettin' it Sixers proved they just might be the team to beat in the East.

They'll have plenty of time to rest and recover - Embiid again played in a black mask to guard a face injury - with the other Eastern Conference playoff series expected to stretch into the weekend.

They await the winner of Milwaukee-Boston. The Celtics lead the series 3-2.

The 76ers were buzzing once Mill's release made headline news in the city. Rubin had organized prison trips with Embiid, Simmons and Markelle Fultz, and the rapper's songs played in the locker room and during warmups.

Simmons called Mill's presence ''amazing.''

''Just having someone that looks out for us, all of us here, it would just mean a lot for him to be back in Philly, in the city of Philadelphia with the fans, especially with a game like that tonight,'' Simmons said.

Mill breezed into the locker room about 45 minutes before tip and hugged some of the Sixers. Mill was met with a crush of media and celebrity fans as he tried to take his courtside seat. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and retired boxing great Bernard Hopkins sat near Hart and Mill, and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf joined them in the second half. The national champion Villanova Wildcats posed for pictures with Mill in the locker room.

What they saw was just the latest beatdown from a franchise whose maligned rebuild has morphed into the one of the trendiest terms in sports.

The Sixers outscored the Heat by 14 in the third quarter to snap a tie game and had fans belting ''Trust the Process!''

Goran Dragic was whistled for a technical after slapping Simmons on the backside of his head, and that got the crowd howling early in the third. Simmons kept his cool - the rookie is rarely rattled - and made the Heat pay. JJ Redick sank the free throw off the technical, and Simmons kicked the ball out to Robert Covington on the possession for a 3 and a 54-48 lead. Redick followed with his third 3, and Philly was litty again.

Redick, who scored 27, sank the dagger late in the fourth that got the party started. Coach Brett Brown was showered with water and sports drinks in the locker room.

''We've got more to do. We've got more to give,'' Brown said.

TIP-INS

Heat: Josh Richardson played with a sprained left shoulder. He picked up three fouls in his first 2 minutes. ... James Johnson was hit with personal and technical fouls late in the fourth that ended a 10-0 Miami run. ... Justise Winslow led the Heat with 18 points.

76ers: Redick was whistled for a technical foul in the first half. ... Missed 10 of 12 3s in the first half.

WADE OUT?

Dwyane Wade is considering retirement. He congratulated Embiid after the game (''the NBA is in great hands with Joel'') and said he ''couldn't have asked for a better ending'' this season than to return to the Heat. Wade did not announce a decision on his future.

''You're going to make me emotional if we start to think about that or talk about that right now,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

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For more AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

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Spurs 91 vs. 99 Warriors Final Recap

Durant, Green lead Warriors past Spurs into second round

By JANIE McCAULEY - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, April 25 at 2:25 AM (EDT)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Klay Thompson has rediscovered his shooting touch at the perfect time for the playoffs, Draymond Green is crashing the boards and doing it all on both ends as usual, while Kevin Durant is piling up the points even when not shooting at his most efficient.

Now, this All-Star cast might welcome back two-time MVP Stephen Curry soon from a knee injury as the Warriors charge ahead toward the goal of a repeat championship.

Durant scored 25 points, Green led a smothering Golden State defense, and the Warriors held off the late-charging San Antonio Spurs 99-91 on Tuesday night to win Game 5 and advance to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Thompson had another stellar shooting performance with 24 points, and Green contributed all over with 17 points, a career-playoff high 19 rebounds and seven assists. Golden State looked dominant until the fourth quarter even without Curry - and he could be back soon from a left knee injury.

''Draymond can literally do everything. So these last two games, he's been rebounding like a beast,'' Thompson said. ''And his ability to take the ball from the rim and push the break is what sparks the offense so much.''

LaMarcus Aldridge converted a three-point play with 1:31 left that pulled the Spurs within 93-89, and then a pair of free throws at 57.2 to make it a two-point game. Green responded with a long jumper at the top of the key then made two free throws with 9.1 seconds remaining.

The Warriors will face New Orleans in the West semifinals with Game 1 Saturday at Oracle Arena, having smoothly eliminated the Spurs aside from a brief Game 4 blip Sunday at San Antonio. New Orleans, coached by former Golden State top assistant Alvin Gentry, swept Portland in the first round.

Durant didn't have his usual steady shooting night, going 8 for 19 and missing his initial six 3-point tries. That hardly mattered. After a rebound late in the first half, the reigning Finals MVP drove coast-to-coast for a huge two-handed slam that helped Golden State grab momentum.

Aldridge had 30 points and 12 rebounds, and Patty Mills added 18 points with four 3-pointers for cold-shooting San Antonio. Manu Ginobili had 10 points and seven assists in what might have been the 16th-year pro's final game at age 40.

The Spurs fought for and without coach Gregg Popovich, away from the team following the death of his wife, Erin, last week following a long illness.

''I think it speaks highly of the character and spirit of this team, of never giving up, of competing until the very end,'' Pau Gasol said. ''And it was a game and a situation where we easily could have just thrown the towel at different points. But we didn't. So that's something that we can be proud of.''

Thompson swished a turnaround fadeaway as the halftime buzzer sounded and scurried for the tunnel hands raised high in triumph as Curry celebrated alongside his Splash Brother. Thompson hit 11 of 22 shots, his fourth time shooting at least 50 percent in the series.

Thompson became the third Warriors player ever to make 600 field goals in the postseason, and Golden State won its 12th straight playoff game at Oracle Arena.

Coach Steve Kerr challenged the Warriors to make ''simpler passes'' - or ''keep hitting singles'' as he put it in baseball terms - to avoid silly miscues after a sloppy showing in Sunday's 103-90 loss that forced the series back to the Bay Area.

After Golden State committed 16 turnovers and managed only 19 assists in the defeat, the Warriors were far better taking care of the ball with just 10 turnovers while dishing out 25 assists.

They used a 13-3 burst in the second quarter to take a 35-26 lead.

Green followed up an 18-rebound outing Sunday with another brilliant night on the boards.

''One thing we spoke about coming into this series was trying to control the glass,'' Green said.

THOUGHTS WITH POP

The Warriors congratulated the Spurs for their efforts under the difficult circumstances as Popovich mourns.

''What they were going through the last week was awful,'' Thompson said. ''I can't imagine how hard it is to go out there and perform under those circumstances.''

Spurs assistant Ettore Messina coached San Antonio for a third straight playoff game.

''Pop, if you're watching out there, we love you,'' Kerr said. ''Our whole team and coaching staff has been thinking about you every day. Your team reflected who you are tonight.''

CURRY STATUS

Kerr didn't want to guess when Curry might be cleared. The two-time MVP is scheduled to be re-evaluated later this week as he works back from a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee that he injured March 23 the same night he returned from a six-game absence with his latest right ankle injury.

''We'll see. We are locked in on tonight. Steph has been coming into the gym every day working and he's doing his thing and we are doing ours,'' Kerr said. ''We are just hoping for the best. Not making any predictions.''

TIP-INS

Spurs: Danny Green was 0 for 5. ... San Antonio is 2-8 all-time on Golden State's home floor in the postseason. The Spurs were swept in the Western Conference Finals by the Warriors last year. ... The Spurs shot 37.2 percent, going 7 for 30 from 3-point range.

Warriors: Thompson joined Rick Barry (699) and Curry (652) as the Warriors with 600 postseason field goals. ... ... Durant (3,189) passed Paul Pierce (3,180) for 20th and Kevin McHale (3,182) for 19th place on the career NBA postseason scoring list. ... Golden State is 18-2 in postseason Game 5s at home. ... Green notched his 38th postseason game with 10 or more rebounds.

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More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

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Pelicans vs. Trail Blazers 3:00 (EDT)
Bucks 87 vs. 92 Celtics Final Recap

Horford, Smart lift Celtics over Bucks 92-87 for 3-2 lead

By KYLE HIGHTOWER - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, April 24 at 11:30 PM (EDT)

BOSTON (AP) Al Horford has been the Celtics' quiet leader this postseason, and Marcus Smart might be the kindling Boston was missing in back-to-back losses in Milwaukee.

The duo was reunited for Game 5, and together, they helped put the Celtics on the verge of closing out their first-round series.

Horford had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Smart made an impact in his first game since mid-March and Boston beat the Bucks 92-87 on Tuesday night for a 3-2 lead.

Smart came off the bench and had nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocks in his first action since right thumb surgery. He played 25 minutes wearing a protective splint and had a key assist to Horford late from the bottom of a scrum beneath three Milwaukee players.

''I just tried to make sure I got him the ball and it was going to take everything I had,'' Smart said. ''They weren't taking it from me.''

Terry Rozier added 16 points and five assists for Boston. The home team has won all five games in the first-round series, and Game 6 is Thursday in Milwaukee.

Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 23 points, Jabari Parker added 17 points and eight rebounds, and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a series-low 16 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists.

The Celtics led by 16 before Milwaukee rallied to make it 74-70 with 7:33 left. Middleton scored later and was fouled to get Milwaukee within 84-79, but he failed to complete the three-point play.

A few possessions later, Smart managed to squeeze out the pass to Horford with three Bucks draped over him, and Horford easily dropped in a layup to make it 86-79 with 28.1 seconds left.

Milwaukee got within 87-84 after a layup by Eric Bledsoe, but the Celtics hit enough free throws the rest of the way to secure the win.

The Bucks entered the game shooting an NBA playoff-best 54 percent from the field, but they hit just 37 percent for the game (32 of 87) - a series low.

Boston needed an energy boost after slow starts in Games 3 and 4, and Smart gave the Celtics exactly that.

He checked in for the first time late in the first quarter. Less than a minute later, he deflected a pass and won a scramble on the floor for the loose ball.

A few possessions later, he was helping protect the rim, getting his hand in to deny an alley-oop dunk attempt by Antetokounmpo.

He was also active on the offensive end, helping drive the ball into the interior of Milwaukee's defense, like when he tossed an alley-oop to Horford late in the third quarter .

Boston made a change to a smaller lineup, shifting Horford to center in place of Aron Baynes and starting Semi Ojeleye at forward.

Ojeleye drew the primary responsibility of guarding Antetokounmpo and handled it well. Antetokounmpo had just 10 field goal attempts.

''It's on me. I had open shots, but they wasn't my shots,'' Antetokounmpo said. ''I think my teammates did a great job finding me, but coming the next game, Game 6, I've got to be more aggressive and make more plays.''

TIP-INS

Bucks: F John Henson missed his third straight game with back soreness. ... Scored 15 points in first quarter. It was low for a quarter in the series, excluding the Game 1 overtime period (eight points).

Celtics: Finished with 18 turnovers. ... Outscored the Bucks 32-28 in the paint.

HE SAID IT

''It's win or go home, so I mean you can't leave nothing on the line. That's pretty much how you play this whole playoffs - you leave it all out there. Tonight we had too many lapses where we just didn't want it as bad as they did.'' - Middleton

DROUGHT AND A RUN

The Celtics went without a field goal from Rozier's 3-pointer with 9:14 left in the third until Jaylen Brown hit from beyond the arc with 4:26 to go in the period.

It allowed Milwaukee to go on a 12-2 run, trimming Boston's lead to 58-52.

STILL BEEFING

Rozier and Eric Bledsoe got tangled up with 9:33 left in the third quarter. Rozier bumped Bledsoe near the baseline. Bledsoe responded with a hard shove. They then got face-to-face and had to be separated.

Bledsoe was assessed a flagrant foul and Rozier was issued a technical foul.

It was the continuation of some off-court chiding between the pair.

Rozier called Bledsoe ''Drew Bledsoe'' when asked about him after Game 1. Bledsoe has since responded by saying ''Who?'' whenever he's asked about Rozier.

''We're looking forward to Game (6),'' Bledsoe said. ''It's as simple as that.''

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More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Major League Baseball
Athletics 2 vs. 2 Rangers In-Progress

A's hope ace Graveman gets in groove vs. Rangers

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Wednesday, April 25 at 12:12 AM (EDT)

The Oakland A's have been on a tear over the past week and a half but have had that success without much contribution from right-hander Kendall Graveman, their opening day starter and erstwhile ace.

Graveman (0-4, 10.07 ERA) will head to the mound on Wednesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, to try to get back on track and get a piece of the A's momentum. Texas will send right-hander Doug Fister (1-2, 3.95 ERA), who returns to the team after a stint on the disabled list, to oppose him.

Oakland will go for the series sweep on after beating the Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday behind six innings of 1-run, 4-hit from Trevor Cahill and a home run from Mark Canha.

The win Tuesday was the Athletics' eighth in their past nine games.

Graveman was the losing pitcher in his last start, a 7-3 A's loss to Boston on April 20 in Oakland. In that game, he showcased a modified delivery, keeping his hands near his belt as opposed to bringing them over his head, and also utilized his changeup with more frequency, loosening his grip on the pitch.

The results were encouraging -- Graveman's lone blemish was a three-run homer by the Red Sox's Jackie Bradley, Jr. Graveman retired 11 in a row at one point in the game.

"The mindset is good," Graveman said. "I made really good pitches last week and had a good bullpen session this week, kept it shorter than I have been to save some of my arm, and I just want to continue to focus on location.

"I'm excited about jumping on board and getting it rolling, too," Graveman added. "That, for me, is the next step, helping this team win. I'm excited where I'm headed, where I'm trending."

Graveman's four losses are tied for the major league lead and ranks last in the majors with 25 runs allowed and second in the American League with 35 hits allowed. He has allowed at least four runs while tossing five innings or fewer in each of his first five starts, a mark that matches the longest such streak by an Athletics pitcher at any point in the season since at least 1908.

Graveman is 4-3 with a 4.39 ERA in nine career starts against Texas. He was the losing pitcher in his only start versus the Rangers this year, a 4-1 A's loss on April 3.

Fister returns from the DL (right hip strain), meaning -- for the time being -- the Rangers will go with six starters on its pitching staff. Bartolo Colon was elevated from the bullpen to a starting role when Fister was on the shelf and performed well, taking a perfect game into the eighth in his first start.

Texas manager Jeff Banister said getting Fister back gives his team some maneuverability.

"It's a lot better than only having four," Banister told mlb.com. "We like the fact we're getting Doug back and we like where (Martin) Perez is trending. Those are positive questions. But we've got some options, and we'll have some decisions to make."

Fister is 8-9 with a 3.35 ERA over 19 career starts versus the Athletics, including 0-1, 13.50 ERA in a single start last season as a member of the Red Sox. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings in a 6-2 loss at Oakland on April 4.

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Brewers 4 vs. 1 Royals In-Progress

Hot Brewers conclude interleague series with Royals

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Wednesday, April 25 at 1:04 AM (EDT)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Milwaukee Brewers, streaking in one direction, and the Kansas City Royals, going another, will meet Wednesday to conclude a two-game mini interleague series at Kauffman Stadium.

The Brewers beat the Royals 5-2 on Tuesday night for their seventh straight victory. The last time Milwaukee has won eight in a row was June 28 through July 5, 2015.

On the flip side, the Royals have lost 16 of their first 21 games to begin the season. They are a pitiful 1-8 at home and the Tuesday defeat was the opener of a seven-game homestand. Their lone home victory was a 10-0 tally on April 9 against the Seattle Mariners.

Even the Royals welcoming back All-Star catcher Salvador Perez and five-time Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon could not help the club land a victory. Perez had been on the disabled list for the first 20 games, tearing a ligament in his knee while toting luggage upstairs at his home the day before the season opener. Gordon sat out 13 games with a left hip labral tear. Perez hit a solo home run and Gordon doubled and singled in their return, accounting for three of the Royals' six hits.

"We score two runs and they each score one, so it's nice to get their bats back in the lineup," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Milwaukee leadoff hitter Lorenzo Cain, who developed into a Royals star and favorite the past seven years, was given a standing ovation before his first at-bat. He tipped his cap to the appreciative crowd, while Cain and close friend Perez hugged just outside the batter's box. Cain signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Brewers in January. Cain homered in the seventh, one of two Milwaukee home runs.

Royals starting pitcher Ian Kennedy suffered a right foot contusion after being struck by liner off the bat of Ryan Braun in the third. X-rays were negative. Kennedy remained in the game, only to give up a three-run homer to Travis Shaw, the next batter.

It is unknown whether Kennedy will miss a start.

"We're going to wear a boot to take pressure off of it the next 12 hours, just wait and see how it feels," he said. "This is right off my push off leg. I said let me go downstairs and have them look at it. Soon as I took a step to go upstairs, I felt it, and said warm somebody up. It's a tiny little bone, but it means a lot."

Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will start the finale of this series. Chacin is 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA in five starts. He has allowed 28 hits and walked 13 in 23 2/3 innings, while striking out 16. Opponents are hitting .289 off him.

Royals first baseman Lucas Duda has had success against Chacin, going 4-for-7, .571, with two home runs and six RBIs. Jon Jay has faced Chacin the most, going 3-for-11 with a home run.

Chacin picked up his first victory of the season in his previous start, tossing six scoreless innings against the Miami Marlins and permitting four hits while striking out five. The Brewers are 3-2 when he starts.

Chacin is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts against Kansas City. He last pitched at Kauffman Stadium on May 14, 2014 while with the Rockies, taking a loss when he allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out one. While with the San Diego Padres last year, Chacin topped the Royals 6-3 at Petco Park, surrendering two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out six in seven innings.

The Royals will counter with veteran right-hander Jason Hammel, who is 0-1 with a 3.20 ERA in four starts. Hammel went nine innings in a no-decision in his previous start, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks, with four strikeouts, on Friday in Detroit.

Hammel is 10-2 with a 3.13 ERA all-time against the Brewers. He is 4-6 with a 4.86 ERA at Kauffman Stadium as a Royal.

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Mets 1 vs. 7 Cardinals In-Progress

Cardinals, slumping Ozuna face Mets again

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Wednesday, April 25 at 2:41 AM (EDT)

It was the kind of situation for which the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna.

With the game tied at 5, two on and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Ozuna stepped to the plate with a chance to produce the game-winning hit. Instead, Ozuna bounced into a 5-4-3 double play to force extra innings Tuesday night, and the Cardinals lost to the New York Mets 6-5 in the 10th inning.

It capped an 0-for-5 night that made Ozuna, who drove in 124 runs for Miami last year, 1-for-his-last-23. It dropped his average to .233, but it doesn't sound like St. Louis manager Mike Matheny is planning to bench him for Wednesday night's matchup with New York in Busch Stadium.

"He's going to be fine," Matheny said of Ozuna. "Borderline pitches are getting him into bad counts and he's trying to make it up all at once. He's just trying to find the feel for his swing. Nobody's immune to (slumps). He can flat hit."

Ozuna, who was batting .328 before his skid, has two homers and 11 RBIs. One way he could help himself is to improve his walk-to-strikeout ratio. He has three walks and 23 punchouts in his 20 games this season.

Ozuna has always been an aggressive hitter, sometimes to a fault. But he reined that in somewhat last year, drawing a career-high 64 walks. That was the first time in his career he had drawn more than 43 walks, and his .312 average was 43 points higher than his previous career best.

While Ozuna's ninth-inning failure ended a promising rally, it wasn't the only frustrating moment for St. Louis (13-9). Cardinals pitchers walked eight hitters, with four scoring, and coughed up a 4-1 lead.

"Any time you have a three-run lead and can't hold on to it," Matheny said, "that's going to hurt. You've just got to move on."

The Cardinals will try to move on behind Michael Wacha (3-1, 4.22 ERA), who has won three straight since absorbing a 6-2 loss to the Mets on March 31 in New York. Wacha posted a 4-2 win Friday night over Cincinnati, allowing only one run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings with a walk and three strikeouts.

The big right-hander is 4-2 with a 2.70 earned run average in six career starts against New York, including a complete-game shutout last July at Citi Field.

Left-hander Steven Matz (1-1, 4.42) gets the call for New York (15-6), looking to avenge a 5-1 loss to St. Louis on April 1, when he allowed three runs on four hits and three walks in four innings. Matz is coming off a no-decision on April 18 in an 11-5 win over Washington, when he gave up three hits and three runs in four innings.

Matz is 0-2 with an 8.64 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals.

The Mets displayed more of their early-season resilience on Tuesday in overcoming a three-run deficit, finally taking the lead for good on Jay Bruce's solo shot in the 10th inning.

"You work, you prepare and you try to give yourself a chance to be successful," Bruce said. "I was fortunate to learn that at a young age. You're never really at a finish line, in my opinion."

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Angels 2 vs. 5 Astros Final Recap

Verlander, Astros beat Angels 5-2; Pujols HR for 2,994th hit

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Wednesday, April 25 at 5:32 PM (EDT)

HOUSTON (AP) Justin Verlander pitched seven sharp innings, AL MVP Jose Altuve hit his first home run of the season and the Houston Astros beat the Angels 5-2 Wednesday, ending Los Angeles' road winning streak at a team record-tying 11 in a row.

Albert Pujols connected off Verlander for his 619th career homer. Pujols now has 2,994 hits.

Alex Bregman hit a three-run double and Jake Marisnick homered as Houston avoided a three-game sweep. The Angels had also won 11 straight road games in 1988.

Verlander (4-0) held the Angels hitless into the fifth inning before Zack Cozart singled with two outs. Verlander gave up two runs and four hits, striking out nine without a walk.

Verlander won his 11th regular-season decision in a row, dating to mid-August last year, before the Detroit traded him to Houston.

Ken Giles pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.

Nick Tropeano (1-2) retired the first 11 batters he faced, striking out six.

With two outs in the fourth, Tropeano walked Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick and hit Yuli Gurriel to load the bases. Bregman cleared them for a 3-0 lead.

Altuve's sixth-inning homer came on a 79 mph hanging slider. He hit 24 homers in each of the past two seasons.

Marisnick also put one into the Crawford Boxes in left field, making it 5-2 in the seventh.

Correa extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a double in the sixth.

Pujols hit a line drive homer to deep left-center in the seventh for his fifth home run of the season. A single by Andrelton Simmons and a double from Cozart cut Houston's lead to 4-2 later in the inning.

UP NEXT

Angels: Andrew Heaney (0-1, 9.64 ERA) will make his third start of the season on Friday at home against the Yankees, seeking his first winning decision since last August. Heaney was charged with the loss in last Friday's start against San Francisco, where he allowed seven runs on six hits with two walks in 4 1/3 innings.

Astros: Dallas Keuchel (1-3, 3.10) enters his sixth start of the season hoping to build off of his first win of the season as the Astros host Oakland on Friday. In his last start, Keuchel held the White Sox to one run on four hits in six innings in a 6-1 win.

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Mariners 4 vs. 3 White Sox Final Recap

Zunino homers to back Hernandez, Mariners beat White Sox 4-3

By ANDREW SELIGMAN - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, April 25 at 7:04 PM (EDT)

CHICAGO (AP) Mike Zunino knew the ball hit the sweet spot. He just wasn't sure at first if it would clear the wall.

Zunino homered and scored twice to back Felix Hernandez in the Seattle Mariners' 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

Chicago's Yoan Moncada hit his first career leadoff homer . But at 5-16, the White Sox are off to their worst start since 1950.

Zunino doubled and scored in a two-run third and gave the Mariners a 4-3 lead with an opposite-field, solo drive to right against James Shields in the sixth.

''The rhythm, the timing's, the biggest thing and that's what's gonna come,'' Zunino said. ''Obviously, that's where I'm trying to drive those fastballs. It's tough on a day like today when you have Shields (who) can mix it up so well, add that really slow curveball and was able to locate it just below the zone. But I was just able to try to battle, get in a good count and get a good pitch to hit.''

Nelson Cruz added three hits, including two RBI singles.

Hernandez (3-2) settled down after giving up the homer to Moncada and a double by Yolmer Sanchez on his first two pitches. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner went six innings, scattering three runs and seven hits while striking out six and walking two.

''After the first inning, I was in better command, making better pitches,'' Hernandez said. ''I had a good curveball, had a good sinker.''

James Pazos worked a perfect seventh. Juan Nicasio struck out all three batters in the eighth, and Edwin Diaz tossed a one-two-three ninth for his 10th save in as many chances .

The bullpen also dominated in Tuesday in a 1-0 win, with Marco Gonzales and four relievers combining on a five-hitter.

Shields (1-3) went six innings, allowing four runs and six hits. The right-hander is 0-3 in four starts and five appearances since a season-opening win at Kansas City.

Yolmer Sanchez doubled, singled and scored two runs for Chicago. The White Sox lost for the 14th time in 16 games.

''We don't want to lose, ever,'' Shields said. ''No matter what the situation is, we're all competitive in this clubhouse, so we all want to win. The effort level is definitely there, but things just aren't going our way.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: The Mariners expect 1B Ryon Healy (sprained right ankle) to return from the 10-day disabled list at during this weekend's four-game series at Cleveland. Healy - who had 25 homers and 78 RBIs with Oakland last season - was 2 for 22 before getting hurt during a postgame workout. ''He needs to come in and contribute; he knows that. He's off to a slow start,'' manager Scott Servais said. ''Giving him the extra days of at-bats and playing time on the rehab assignment hopefully helps him.''

White Sox: Slugger Jose Abreu left the game because of flu-like symptoms and was replaced at first base by Matt Davidson to start the fourth. Manager Rick Renteria said the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year had been ''feeling a little bit queasy'' but opted not to sit out the game.

UP NEXT

Mariners: The Mariners and Indians open their four-game series, with Seattle's LHP James Paxton (1-1, 5.61 ERA) trying to bounce back from a rough start and RHP Mike Clevinger (2-0, 1.75) looking to remain unbeaten. Paxton got hit hard at Texas on Saturday, though the Mariners won 9-7.

White Sox: Tied for the major league lead with 19 walks, RHP Lucas Giolito (0-3, 9.00) hopes to solve his control problems as the White Sox open a five-game series at Kansas City. RHP Jakob Junis (3-1, 2.03) goes for the Royals. The teams are scheduled to play a day-night doubleheader Saturday.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Padres 2 vs. 5 Rockies Final Recap

Gray strikes out 11 to help Rockies beat Padres 5-2

By PAT GRAHAM - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, April 25 at 7:52 PM (EDT)

DENVER (AP) Jon Gray altered the grip on his slider and set his aim higher in the strike zone.

It added up to a big change in fortune.

The hard-throwing righty struck out 11 in six dominant innings and David Dahl lined a two-run triple, lifting the Colorado Rockies to a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

Gray (2-4) had pinpoint control in scattering three hits and walking one to break his three-game slide. He had at least one strikeout in every inning before being lifted for a pinch-hitter after throwing 101 pitches.

For this, he credits a tweak to his slider - he's using the index finger to create more spin - and a decision to own the top part of the zone. Gray was letting his fastball fly as his long, blond hair flew in every direction.

''I feel like Jon's best games, it looks like he's having a lot of fun,'' catcher Tony Wolters said. ''I told him he's an aggressive assassin that has fun.''

Reliever Bryan Shaw allowed a run in the seventh and Wade Davis another during a shaky ninth in a nonsave situation. But Davis fanned Manuel Margot to end the game and help the Rockies take two of three from San Diego. It was their first home series win of the season.

This game turned into a strikeout-fest, though, with the teams fanning a combined 27 times.

Tyson Ross (2-2) allowed four runs in four innings and struck out seven as he dropped to 0-6 lifetime at Coors Field. He didn't have the same sort of stuff as his last start, when he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning at Arizona.

''Pitches were at a premium for him today,'' Padres manager Andy Green said. ''Obviously after four that was enough. I think he did enough to keep us in the ball game. We just didn't do anything offensively.''

Dahl provided the big blow at the plate with a triple off the wall during a three-run third that gave Colorado an early 4-0 cushion. That was more than enough support for Gray, who's been struggling with his rhythm. He entered the game allowing 18 earned runs over his three-game skid.

He found his groove early, striking out Jose Pirela to start the game. Two batters later, a fan interfered with first baseman Ryan McMahon trying to catch Wil Myers' foul ball near the stands. Gray quickly regrouped after the fan got the souvenir and promptly struck out Myers.

Gray found himself in a one-out, two-on jam in the fourth. After Franchy Cordero struck out, Chase Headley flied out to end the threat.

''That was really good to see,'' manager Bud Black said. ''He bent, but he didn't break. ''

Gray's commanding performance follows on the heels of Kyle Freeland's outing a night earlier, when the lefty threw seven sizzling innings in an 8-0 win.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: 3B Christian Villanueva was out of the starting lineup for a third straight game with hamstring tightness.

Rockies: Freeland remains sore after taking a liner off his left heel in Tuesday's win. ''Hopefully he'll be ready for his next start,'' Black said. ... OF Carlos Gonzalez (strained right hamstring) began hitting in the cage.

SCOUTING EXPEDITION?

Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra is in Miami as he serves a four-game suspension for his role in a brawl against the Padres two weeks ago.

''He's scouting,'' Black said.

Actually, the Marlins are in Los Angeles playing the Dodgers.

''He has people there,'' Black said. ''He's hitting in Miami.''

WOLTERS DAY

Wolters drove in a run with a single and another on a sacrifice fly. He also threw out two runners at second.

''I love throwing guys out,'' Wolters said.

GRAY MATTERS

Myers was impressed with Gray's location.

''Today was just one of those days that he was just on and locating his pitches well,'' said Myers, who had one of the three hits off Gray and a double in the ninth off Davis.

UP NEXT

Padres: After a day off, LHP Clayton Richard (1-2, 5.67 ERA) takes the mound Friday for a three-game series against the New York Mets, who will throw RHP Jacob deGrom (2-0, 2.53).

Rockies: Travel to Miami for a three-game series that starts Friday. LHP Tyler Anderson (1-0, 4.32) goes for the Rockies and RHP Jose Urena (0-3, 5.88) for the Marlins.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Nationals 15 vs. 2 Giants Final Recap

Turner, Adams power Nats over Giants 15-2, end 4-game skid

By MICHAEL WAGAMAN - Associated Press

Wednesday, April 25 at 7:57 PM (EDT)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Washington manager Dave Martinez insisted Trea Turner and the Nationals would snap from their scoring slump soon, even as the losses piled up and the runs didn't.

Behind three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, Washington didn't need much, but got plenty.

Turner got five hits, Matt Adams homered and drove in six runs, and the Nationals broke out of their offensive funk in a big way, routing the San Francisco Giants 15-2 Wednesday to end a four-game losing streak.

''That was fun,'' Martinez said after his team dodged a three-game sweep. ''The boys came out to play. They've been swinging the bats well. Today we just got hits, the timely hits. It was good day for all of them.''

The Nationals had totaled just eight runs during their skid. Andrew Stevenson had two doubles, two singles and four RBIs as Washington set season highs for runs and hits (18).

Turner came into the game batting .232, and the leadoff man's slow start had contributed to the Nationals' struggles. He raised his batting average 35 points, tying a career high for hits in a game. He also scored twice, drove in two runs and stole his 10th base this season.

''We know that this is what the offense is capable of doing,'' Adams said. ''If we go out there and have quality ABs like we have been, things are going to start falling and they did today.''

Adams matched his career best for RBIs. He singled as part of a three-run first, put the Nationals up 6-1 with a three-run homer off Jeff Samardzija (1-1) in the fourth and added a two-run single in the eighth.

The Nationals scored 14 of their 15 runs with two outs.

''This could actually jumpstart our offense,'' Martinez said.

Martinez's ballclub has been stunted by a rash of injuries this season but salvaged the final game of the three-game series at AT&T Park to end a rough 4-5 road trip. Scherzer (5-1) did his part, striking out 10 in six innings.

Scherzer earned his fourth consecutive win, all of them coming after a Washington loss. He allowed two runs and five hits, and reached double figures in strikeouts for the fourth time in six starts this season.

''Our bats just came out and we got contributions up and down the line today,'' Scherzer said. ''When you get that as a starting pitcher you just want to go out there and put up those zeroes, get the offense back in and have everybody run to that bat rack.''

Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval had two hits apiece for the Giants.

''This was one of those games that started out rough and gradually got worse,'' San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. ''You get down like that and you're looking for someone to put up a zero and we had a hard time doing that.''

NOT AS GOOD AS HIS FIRST

Samardzija labored through a 30-pitch first inning and was done after retiring 11 batters, a quick ending to his second start of the season. He gave up six runs, eight hits and three walks, a stark contrast to his first start when he pitched five scoreless innings against the Angels.

BRIEF DELAY

The game was paused briefly in the sixth when home plate umpire Todd Tichenor was hit below the belt by a pitch from Scherzer. Brandon Crawford swung under the pitch and catcher Pedro Severino missed the ball before it hit Tichenor.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman and 2B Howie Kendrick were held out of the starting lineup. Kendrick singled and scored as a pinch hitter in the eighth.

Giants: Mac Williamson was a late scratch because of neck stiffness, one day after stumbling over the bullpen pitching mound and crashing into a low fence while chasing a foul ball. ... RHP Chris Stratton was placed on the paternity list. ... RHP Roberto Gomez was called up from Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 2.97 ERA) pitches against the Diamondbacks on Friday in Washington. He has yielded six earned runs and three homers over his last 13 innings.

Giants: LHP Derek Holland (0-3, 4.98) faces the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a four-game series at AT&T Park on Friday night. Holland is winless in two career starts against the Dodgers.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Tigers 13 vs. 10 Pirates Final Recap

Red-hot Castellanos powers Tigers over Pirates 13-10

By JOHN PERROTTO - Associated Press

Wednesday, April 25 at 8:14 PM (EDT)

PITTSBURGH (AP) Nicholas Castellanos stayed hot with four hits and a key home run and the Detroit Tigers used 20 hits to outslug the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-10 on Wednesday night in the opener of a doubleheader.

The teams combined for 34 hits, including four from Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera and three from Jeimer Candelario.

Castellanos was coming off consecutive three-hit games against Kansas City. He's 10 for 15 with two homers and nine RBIs in Detroit's last three games, and he's batting .337 for the season.

Candelario homered, doubled and scored five runs for Detroit. Leonys Martin led off the game with his third home run of the season, and James McCann also went deep as the Tigers won for the sixth time in eight games.

Pittsburgh has lost seven of eight. Francisco Cervelli had three hits and a career-high six RBIs, including a three-run homer in the third inning. His two-run double in the eight pulled the Pirates within 12-10.

Corey Dickerson also had three hits for Pittsburgh, and Colin Moran homered.

Daniel Stumpf (1-0) retired all four batters he faced for his first major league win. Shane Greene pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save in six opportunities.

Jameson Taillon (2-2) allowed seven runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings. He has been tagged for 12 runs in 5 1/3 innings in losing his last two starts after pitching a combined 15 scoreless innings to win his previous two outings.

Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann lasted just three innings, giving up six runs and six hits.

Detroit added an insurance run in the ninth on a throwing error by Cervelli, the catcher, on Niko Goodrum's tapper in front between the pitcher's mound and home plate.

Castellanos' two-run shot off Kyle Crick capped a five-run fourth inning and gave the Tigers an 8-6 lead. McCann led off with his homer and Cabrera hit a two-run double in the frame.

Cervelli's single got the Pirates within 8-7 in the fifth.

However, Candelario countered with a leadoff home run in the sixth and the Tigers scored three times in the eighth to make it 12-7.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Pirates: RHP Joe Musgrove (strained right shoulder) threw a 38-pitch simulated game. He is likely to join one of the two Class A farm clubs next week to begin a rehab assignment.

UP NEXT

Tigers LHP Matthew Boyd (0-1, 1.40 ERA) faces Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (2-1, 4.57) in the second game. Both teams can add an extra player for the nightcap. Detroit will call up RHP Artie Lewicki from Triple-A Toledo while Pittsburgh will recall INF/OF Jose Osuna from Triple-A Indianapolis.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Twins 4 vs. 6 Yankees In-Progress

Gregorius, Yankees continue series vs. Twins

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Tuesday, April 24 at 11:48 PM (EDT)

NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius stood in front of his locker and still insisted he is not a home run hitter, but a hitter whose emphasis is on hitting line drives.

Those line drives are going over fences and driving in runs for the New York Yankees.

Gregorius attempts to add to the best statistical month of his career Wednesday night when the Yankees continue their four-game series with the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium.

"Nope, not changing, I'm not a home run hitter," he said after hitting a two-run homer and driving in three runs during an 8-3 win on Tuesday.

With six games remaining in April, Gregorius is already up to eight homers while leading the majors with 27 RBIs. He has homered in three straight games and his 27 RBIs through New York's first 22 games are the most since Alex Rodriguez (34 RBIs) in 2007.

All eight homers were at home for Gregorius, whose left-handed swing is producing a .417 (20-for-48) average at home. He is the fourth Yankee to hit at least eight homers in any month at the current Yankee Stadium.

"I don't know if I could describe it, it's incredible," Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said.

Gregorius is achieving his lofty numbers after hitting 25 homers and 87 RBIs last season when he missed most of April with a shoulder injury sustained at the World Baseball Classic.

"He's the anchor of our team," Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia said.

Gregorius is not the only hot Yankee as they are 7-2 in their last nine games since April 12 after beating Minnesota for the 11th time in 12 home games.

Gary Sanchez is batting .341 (14-for-41) in his last 10 games after homering twice Tuesday, while Judge is hitting .370 (10-for-27) in his last eight games.

Minnesota (8-10) has been outscored 48-18 during its current five-game losing streak, which featured three blowouts and two walk-off losses.

During this skid, the Twins are batting .217 (36-for-166) and getting outhomered 14-4. Minnesota also owns a 10.15 ERA after Jose Berrios allowed five runs in four-plus innings Tuesday.

"Sometimes it rains, sometimes you lose five in a row," second baseman Brian Dozier said. "The beautiful thing about it is we play tomorrow."

Dozier saw his 17-game hitting streak end by going 0-for-4 while Miguel Sano is still trying to get going. He is hitting .191 and is 1-for-17 during this skid.

The Twins will attempt to end their skid against a struggling starting pitcher in New York's Sonny Gray, who is 1-1 with an 8.27 ERA through four starts and allowing opponents to hit .315 (23-for-73) so far.

"I've seen a guy that I think is close. I think the stuff is there," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before Tuesday's game. "I think he's fallen behind a little bit too much, ball one, strike one, that first pitch. Over time that's going to bear out. It's tough to pitch when you're behind. It's a lot easier when you're ahead, especially when you have the equipment that Sonny has."

Since joining the Yankees in a trade from the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 1, Gray is 5-8 with a 4.63 ERA in 15 starts.

As a Yankee, Gray has not completed six innings in seven of his starts, including three times this season. The most recent occasion was Friday's 8-5 loss when he was booed off the mound after allowing five runs and five hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings during a no-decision.

On Friday, he fell behind on the first pitch to 15 of 19 hitters. This season, Gray has thrown first-pitch strikes to 39 of 86 hitters so far.

Gray is 2-3 with a 5.14 ERA in five career starts against Minnesota. All of those starts occurred while pitching for Oakland, and he allowed three homers (Dozier, Sano, Jason Castro) in six innings of a 9-1 loss at Minnesota on May 2.

Minnesota will counter with Lance Lynn (0-1, 6.00 ERA), who is making his fourth start with his new team.

He last pitched Friday and allowed five earned runs in six innings in a no-decision at Tampa Bay after weather caused him to go 10 days between starts.

"I was as sharp tonight as I have been all year," Lynn said to reporters. "That's a plus. I threw some good breaking pitches and good changeups. There is still some work to be done."

Lynn will be hoping to improve his command of the strike zone. He has issued 15 walks so far, giving him a rate of 9.0 per nine innings.

The right-hander is making his second career start against the Yankees. On May 27, 2014, in St. Louis, he threw a five-hit shutout.

Brett Gardner is the only remaining Yankee from Lynn's appearance against New York, but Giancarlo Stanton is 5-for-17 (.294) and Neil Walker is 15-for-43 (.349) against him.

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Braves 5 vs. 4 Reds Final

Finnegan will try to pitch Reds past Braves

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Wednesday, April 25 at 12:32 AM (EDT)

If you don't think the Cincinnati Reds have a lot riding on left-handed starter Brandon Finnegan, consider this.

The last few years, they've dealt away Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, and all they have to show for it currently is Finnegan.

Right now, he is not showing much at all for the team with the worst record in the majors. No wonder the Reds are hoping he starts turning it around when he faces Atlanta Braves right-hander Matt Wisler on Wednesday night in the third game of a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

After beginning the season on the disabled list with a biceps injury, Finnegan is 0-2 with an 11.05 ERA, giving up nine runs on 10 hits and walking eight in 7 1/3 innings. In a 4-2 loss Friday to the St. Louis Cardinals, he threw 33 pitches in the first inning alone en route to allowing four runs on five hits and four walks in only three innings.

"Two horse-bleep outings. There's nothing you can say about that," Finnegan said. "I felt I got ahead of the hitters better (Friday). It just didn't go my way. I'm not making good enough pitches."

That was a sentiment echoed by Jim Riggleman, who served his first game as the Reds interim manager while Finnegan was losing to the Cardinals.

"He's getting closer," Riggleman said. "He's such a good competitor, but he's struggling with his control. He left some balls up. They (the Cardinals) are a good-hitting ballclub and you're not going to get away with those pitches (against them)."

Since coming over to the Reds from the Kansas City Royals in the Cueto trade, Finnegan is 13-16 over four seasons -- only one of which was spent entirely in their rotation. He was 10-11 over 31 starts in 2016 but, due to health issues, is only 1-3 over the last two seasons.

He's 25 and is young enough for a career turnaround, and the Reds are hoping it starts about now.

The Reds won only three of their first 21 games -- one of the eight worse starts in the majors over the last century -- before beating the Braves on Monday and Tuesday. Cincinnati blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning Tuesday before winning 9-7 on Scooter Gennett's two-run homer, his second of the game, in the 12th inning.

Wisler gave the Braves a big lift in his first start after being promoted from the minors, giving up one run on two hits while striking out eight and walking none over seven innings in a 12-4 win Thursday over the New York Mets. As a result, what was supposed to be an emergency start for Wisler -- scheduled starter Anibal Sanchez strained a hamstring the day before -- has turned into a second start, against the Reds.

Once a top prospect, Wisler (1-0, 1.29 ERA) wound up making only one start for Atlanta last season, but he's back in the picture now following his strong outing against the Mets. Until he beat the Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey, Wisler hadn't won a game in the majors since a 6-2 decision over the Washington Nationals on Sept. 18, 2016, when he lasted 5 2/3 innings.

"That's the best I've seen Wisler," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of his most recent start. "He was just on the attack with all of his pitches. He had a really good breaking ball and he was locating his fastball. That was as aggressive as I've seen him."

Wisler is 1-1 over four games and 15 2/3 innings, including two starts, in his career against the Reds. Not many of their batters have a history against him, but Joey Votto is 4-for-6 (.667) with one homer and two RBIs, Scooter Gennett and Billy Hamilton are 2-for-5 (.400) and Tucker Barnhart is 1-for-6 (.167).

Finnegan hasn't faced the Braves since beating them twice in two starts in 2016, lasting 11 innings in which he allowed three runs but struck out 10 and walked four. Freddie Freeman was 1-for-5 against him with a double.

The teams wrap up their four-game series on Thursday. The Reds are getting close to welcoming back third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who has been out since April 9 with a fractured right thumb. He began a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday at Triple-A Louisville, and Riggleman said he doesn't expect him to be there long.

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Diamondbacks 3 vs. 5 Phillies In-Progress

Phillies' Arrieta faces Diamondbacks' Greinke

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Wednesday, April 25 at 12:26 AM (EDT)

A pair of former Cy Young Award winners will match up Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Philadelphia Phillies' Jake Arrieta will face Zack Greinke as the Phillies host the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second of a three-game series in Philadelphia. The pair of veteran right-handers are both coming off their best starts of 2018.

Arrieta (2-0, 2.04 ERA) struck out 10 and gave up just one hit to the Pirates over seven scoreless innings last Thursday while picking up the win. It was the sharpest of three starts in a Phillies uniform for Arrieta, who won the National League Cy Young Award in 2015 with the Chicago Cubs.

Arrieta signed a three-year, $75 million deal with the Phillies in mid-March and said he feels like he is getting into a groove with his new team.

"Three starts in, to be able to do that as well as I did (Thursday), it's a good sign," Arrieta told reporters after silencing the Pirates. "Combined with spring training and my three starts, that's probably five or six starts. I was a little behind, but now I'm caught up."

The 10 strikeouts for Arrieta were the most he had in a game since April 9, 2017, and they came after he recorded just six strikeouts in his first two starts of the season combined.

Arrieta is 3-3 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.073 WHIP in seven career starts against the Diamondbacks. He faced them twice last year, going 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA.

Greinke (2-1, 4.13) has had considerable career success against the Phillies. He is 8-1 with a 2.48 ERA, 0.903 WHIP and .192 batting average against in 11 appearances (10 starts) when he faces Philadelphia.

Greinke, who has four All-Star appearances to go with his 2009 American League Cy Young Award, had his best start of 2018 in his last appearance. He surrendered just one run on three hits and one walk over seven innings against the Giants on Thursday.

"He gave us seven incredible innings, working both edges of the plate," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said of Greinke after the start. "He had a great mixture of pitches. He and (catcher Jeff Mathis) got in a great rhythm and turned it over to the bullpen."

Greinke's strong start against San Francisco came after he allowed at least four earned runs in back-to-back outings against the Cardinals and Dodgers.

Greinke will try to keep up a string of strong pitching from the Diamondbacks, who have a team ERA of 2.80 in 22 games this season. Arizona pitchers have gone seven straight games without allowing more than four runs.

Offensively, the Diamondbacks got three home runs -- one each from Alex Avilia, Jarrod Dyson and Daniel Descalso -- in an 8-4 win in Tuesday's series opener. It marked the eighth straight win for the Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park. They swept a series in Philadelphia in both the 2017 and 2016 seasons and have not lost in the City of Brotherly Love since May 17, 2015.

A win on Wednesday or Thursday would give the Diamondbacks their eighth straight series win to start the 2018 season.

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Rays 8 vs. 4 Orioles In-Progress

Rays, Orioles finally get series going

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Tuesday, April 24 at 10:38 PM (EDT)

BALTIMORE -- The Tampa Bay Rays will need to wait one more day to try to extend their four-game winning streak and see an old friend.

Tampa Bay's series opener with the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday was postponed two hours before the planned 7:05 p.m. start time as bad weather was heading for the city.

The game is going to be rescheduled on May 12 as part of a single-admission doubleheader starting at 3:05 p.m.

For Wednesday's series opener, the starting pitchers will remain the same. The Rays' Jake Faria (1-1, 5.82 ERA) will go against former Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb (0-2, 15.43).

The Rays pushed back Chris Archer one day, and Baltimore did the same with ace Dylan Bundy. Both will start on Thursday.

The sub-plot to the Wednesday game will be the Rays going up against long-time Tampa Bay starter Cobb. He made 115 starts for the Rays from 2011-2017 and had a 48-35 record with a 3.50 ERA in those games.

Cobb will be making his first start versus his old team.

"I miss Cobb a lot," said Tampa Bay infielder Brad Miller. "He was a guy (who was the) ultimate competitor. He's a bulldog, just really intense."

Cobb has started poorly this season for Baltimore, allowing 12 earned runs on 20 hits in just seven innings so far.

However, his former skipper is not concerned.

"We felt good when Alex Cobb took the ball every fifth day for us; we felt we had a really good chance to win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's going to get going here. Hopefully, he can wait one more start before he does."

Cobb also said the entire experience will be a bit unusual for him.

"It will be a little odd seeing the jersey," Cobb said to the Tampa Bay Times. "Been part of the family for so long."

Faria is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in four career games, including three starts, against the Orioles. He has had just one bad start out of four this season and will be facing a Baltimore team struggling at the plate.

Tampa Bay also had the day off on Monday but is coming off a big win on Sunday when Carlos Gomez homered to beat the Twins 8-6 and stretched the team's winning streak to four.

Gomez came into the game mired in a 2-for-34 skid. But he ended the game feeling much better about things.

The Rays scored 26 runs in their three-game sweep of the Twins, getting at least eight in every game.

Cash said he knows the Orioles are banged up, and they may lose another starter as infielder Tim Beckham (groin/foot) appears headed to the disabled list Wednesday. Baltimore claimed infielder Jace Peterson off waivers from the Yankees, and he joins the team for this game.

The Orioles also transferred pitcher Gabriel Ynoa to the 60-day disabled list (right shoulder inflammation), but they are hoping to get some quick help from Peterson.

"Peterson is a versatile player who has experience playing all over the field, who had his best year in 2015 playing second base," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told The Baltimore Sun in a text message. "Given our need and his experience, he should be able to contribute right away to the O's."

The Orioles need contributions on offense, which has struggled throughout the team's 6-17 start. Cleveland took three of four from the Orioles, who have lost nine of their last 10.

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Red Sox 4 vs. 3 Blue Jays In-Progress

Jays aim to build on 'meaningful' win vs. Red Sox

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Wednesday, April 25 at 12:40 AM (EDT)

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays won the first of a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox Tuesday night on a 10th-inning homer by Curtis Granderson.

The win had significance beyond defeating an American League East rival. The city of Toronto has been reeling since a van attack killed 10 people and injured 14 others Monday afternoon. A man has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.

"I think the city is hurting right now," said Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ, who struck out a season-best 10 and allowed one run over seven innings in a no-decision on Tuesday. "We had some first responders (honored in a pregame ceremony) here today. I hope they enjoyed the game. It was a meaningful win for us on several levels."

The win ended a seven-game losing streak against the Red Sox at the Rogers Centre for the Blue Jays. The second game will be played Wednesday night with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (2-0, 3.45 ERA) starting for Boston against Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.86 ERA).

"I think we remember that they played well against us, so I think it's nice to set the tone and get that first one," Happ said. "It's going to be battle all year long."

Granderson had three hits on the game. The homer against Boston closer Craig Kimbrel was his third of the season, and his fourth career walk-off blast.

He has eight RBIs in his past five games.

Granderson also threw out Eduardo Nunez, who was trying to score the go-ahead run from second on Brock Holt's game-tying single to left in the top of the ninth.

The Blue Jays outfielder said the positioning from Blue Jays first-base coach Tim Leiper, who also sets defensive alignments, helped give him a chance to make a successful throw.

"You have to challenge Granderson," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "You've been challenging Granderson for more than five years. He made a perfect throw and threw him out. ... We put ourselves in a position to win the game. It just didn't happen."

Granderson, who had been moved from right field to left field in the ninth, repeated what he had heard someone say from the Canadian capital of Ottawa after the tragedy.

"Somebody in Ottawa said continue to keep going, don't live in fear and don't stop things because of this incident," Granderson said. "So, having a lot of fans come out and continue to support and knowing we have a big game against the Red Sox, it was a big thing for the city and the country."

The Blue Jays (14-8) ended a two-game losing skid with the victory on Tuesday, while the Red Sox (17-5) have lost three in a row for the first time this season. They had won 17 of their first 20 games this season.

Holt was 3-for-4 for the Red Sox and he will take a seven-game hitting streak into the second game on Wednesday. Holt is batting 12-for-29 (.414) with four doubles, one homer and five RBIs during that span.

Sanchez will be making his fourth start of the season. He is 4-2 with a 3.75 ERA against the Red Sox in 15 games, including seven starts.

Rodriguez has won each of his past two starts. He is 1-3 with a 5.67 ERA in eight career appearances (seven starts) against the Blue Jays.

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Cubs 1 vs. 4 Indians In-Progress

Indians look to get on winning track vs. Cubs

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Tuesday, April 24 at 11:25 PM (EDT)

CLEVELAND -- The Chicago Cubs' first trip back to Progressive Field, where the Cubs won Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, will conclude Wednesday night, with the final game of a brief two-game interleague series with the Cleveland Indians.

The Cubs belted four home runs and won the first game 10-3 on Tuesday, snapping the Indians' three-game winning streak. The victory extended a hot streak by Chicago's hitters. The Cubs have won four of their last five games, and in those four wins they have outscored their opponents 43-20.

The pitching matchup for Wednesday night will be Cubs left-hander Jon Lester (2-0, 3.10 ERA) vs. Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer (1-2, 2.67). Lester is coming off an outstanding performance in his last start, an 8-5 win over St. Louis on April 19. In that game, Lester pitched six innings, allowing no earned runs, two hits, with seven strikeouts and one walk.

The 34-year-old Lester has made 15 career starts against Cleveland, and is 7-1, with a 3.03 ERA. He also had two starts and one relief appearance against the Indians in the 2016 World Series and was 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in those games.

In 42 career starts in interleague games, Lester is 20-12, with a 3.36 ERA.

Bauer's last start was a 3-1 loss to Baltimore on April 20 in which he pitched seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits, with six strikeouts and three walks. Bauer's only career start vs. the Cubs in the regular season was a 6-0 win on June 16, 2015, when he pitched seven scoreless innings on four hits, with seven strikeouts and three walks.

Bauer did make three appearances, two of them starts, against the Cubs in the 2016 World Series, going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA. In those three games, he pitched 8 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on 12 hits, with 10 strikeouts and two walks.

In 21 career appearances (20 starts) in interleague games, Bauer is 7-5 with a 3.03 ERA.

Whether Bauer will face Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant remains to be seen. Bryant suffered a cut above his left eye when he got hit in the helmet by a pitch during Sunday's game against Colorado. He passed all concussion tests and took batting practice prior to Tuesday's game, but it was decided he needed another day off as a precaution. Tommy La Stella replaced Bryant at third base in Tuesday's game.

Indians left fielder Michael Brantley will return to the lineup Wednesday after being given a day off Tuesday. Brantley, a two-time All-Star who got a late start this season as he completed his rehab from offseason ankle surgery, has been the Indians' best hitter thus far, hitting .320 in 12 games, as manager Terry Francona tries to easy him back into every-day duty.

"Our team is different when he is in the lineup," Francona said. "It's not just his bat, but his steadiness in left field. It's a nice feeling during games when he's out there."

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Marlins 4 vs. 0 Dodgers In-Progress

Marlins rookie Richards starts against Dodgers' Kershaw

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Wednesday, April 25 at 2:57 AM (EDT)

LOS ANGELES -- Trevor Richards' first-ever trip to California will end late Wednesday, but not before he has an experience he never will forget.

In his fifth career start, Richards will take the mound for the Miami Marlins in an early evening contest at Dodger Stadium and square off against Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. Richards won't have any time to be in awe.

So how will he handle his first-ever matchup with a future Hall of Famer?

"Kershaw's not that good of a hitter," Marlins manager Don Mattingly joked. "You say he's facing Kershaw, but he's really not. You're facing yourself. Can you execute your pitches and what you want to do? The battle is with you."

Richards has yet to win a game, going 0-2 in his four starts with a 6.16 ERA. He gave up six runs (five earned) on five hits and six walks in 3 2/3 innings in an 8-0 loss to Milwaukee in his most recent start on Friday.

His rise to the Marlins has been quick, having pitched in independent baseball just two years ago.

The Richards story bears a sharp contrast to the one for Kershaw, a former first-round draft pick (seventh overall) in 2006, who was in the major leagues 23 months later.

The left-hander enters Wednesday's start just 1-3, but does have a 2.45 ERA. The Dodgers are just 2-3 in his five starts, but that has more to do with a lack of run support. The Dodgers have scored just 13 runs on days that Kershaw has pitched (2.6 per game).

Kershaw is 5-4 with a 2.57 ERA in 10 career starts against the Marlins, but he has not faced them since 2016, when he lost both his starts against Miami.

The Marlins entered Tuesday's game at Los Angeles on a five-game losing streak and losers of eight of their last nine, but they have given the Dodgers fits in the first two games of the current three-game series. On Tuesday they ended that losing streak with a 3-2 victory.

The Dodgers pushed across an eighth-inning run Monday for a 2-1 victory.

The Marlins are now 6-17 but they have stayed competitive. Their last three defeats have been by a combined margin of four runs, and 11 of their 23 games this season have been decided by three runs or less.

The Dodgers seemed to have found their stride before falling Tuesday. They won seven of their previous eight games before the Marlins got them. After a slow start, they have made up ground, but they are still five games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West.

"I think we're in a good spot right now, honestly," Dodgers leadoff man Chris Taylor said this week, according to the Orange County Register.

A good spot is having Kershaw on the mound looking to close out a series victory against a rookie pitcher.

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Tigers 1 vs. 3 Pirates In-Progress

Pirates, Tigers to play two after rainout

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Tuesday, April 24 at 10:55 PM (EDT)

After what amounted to an extra day off, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers will play a doubleheader starting in the late afternoon Wednesday at PNC Park.

The teams both had a scheduled day off Monday, and Tuesday's series opener was postponed after a rain delay of 1:37 at the start.

Detroit right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 7.71 ERA) will square off against Pittsburgh right-hander Jameson Taillon (2-1, 1.86 ERA) in the opener.

In the second game, Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl (2-1, 4.57 ERA) will oppose Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd (0-1, 1.40 ERA).

Pittsburgh (12-10) has lost four games in a row and is on a 1-6 swoon. It opened the season by sweeping the Tigers in three games in Detroit.

The Tigers (9-11), conversely, are coming off a 5-3 homestand, their first winning record for a stretch of eight or more home games since last June-into-July.

Taillon, in particular, has been looking forward to this start -- not because it's against the Tigers, whom he has never faced, but because of his last outing.

He knew immediately after his last start what he needed to do differently his next time out.

Taillon, 26, started the season like gangbusters and took a 0.89 ERA into his start Thursday at Philadelphia. After a nine-pitch first inning that extended his scoreless stretch to 16 innings, the bottom fell out in the second.

He gave up five runs, four hits, two walks, hit a batter and needed 43 pitches in the second before leaving after just 1 2/3 innings, the shortest outing of his young but promising career. Three RBI hits came on full counts.

"You've got to realize you're always one pitch away, and you've got to make that pitch," Taillon said after what was a 7-0 loss. "So next time I'll look to make that pitch, and I'll look not to put myself in that spot -- three-ball counts, hit-by-pitch with two strikes ... I kind of did it to myself."

Taillon had breezed through his first three starts, including a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts a 5-0 win over Cincinnati on April 8.

Surprisingly, beyond making his pitches in key spots, he won't be looking to do much different against the Tigers.

"It obviously didn't play well, but overall, it felt about the same," Taillon said of his pitches against the Phillies compared to his first three outings.

In five career appearances against Pittsburgh, Zimmermann is 1-3 with a 4.35 ERA. In three career starts at PNC Park, he is 1-2 with a 3.32 ERA.

Boyd, in the nightcap, will be making his second career start against the Pirates and looking for his first win against them. Last Aug. 8 at PNC Park, he got a loss when he gave up six runs (five of them earned) and nine hits, with one walk and five strikeouts in four innings.

This season, Boyd has had quality starts in each of his three outings, an extension of his strong finish in 2017. Over his past seven starts dating to Sept. 12, he has a 2.00 ERA over 45 innings with 43 strikeouts.

"I just focus on hitting the glove," Boyd said. "I focus on changing speeds. My goal is to hit my spots right now and change speeds on all my pitches -- add and subtract with all my pitches and keep hitters off-balance."

Kuhl is 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two career starts against Detroit.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Major League Baseball
Athletics 3 vs. 2 Rangers Final Recap

Lowrie, A's beat Rangers 3-2 as Beltre leaves with injury

By SCHUYLER DIXON - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, April 25 at 1:04 AM (EDT)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) The Oakland Athletics keep finding ways to win after their slow start. The Texas Rangers can't stop losing - games and key players.

Jed Lowrie hit a tiebreaking double before Texas slugger Adrian Beltre left with a hamstring injury, and the A's beat the Rangers 3-2 on Tuesday night, tagging Cole Hamels with his fourth loss before the end of April for the first time in the left-hander's career.

Beltre strained his left hamstring coming out of the batter's box in the eighth inning and limped to first base on what would have been a double but was instead a single for his 3,075th career hit.

The 39-year-old third baseman in his 21st season didn't sound optimistic after the game but wanted to wait for an MRI on Wednesday before saying much else.

If Beltre ends up on the disabled list, the Rangers won't have any of their opening day infielders in those spots for the finale of what is already a fifth straight series loss at home, the most to start a season since the franchise moved to Texas in 1972.

''We already have our key players hurt on the middle infield,'' Beltre said. ''We didn't need another one. It's no secret we've been struggling offensively. We're trying to find a way to get through it.''

Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus is out at least another month after breaking his right elbow when he was hit by a pitch April 12. Second baseman Rougned Odor has been out since April 10 with a left hamstring strain.

When Andrus got hurt, Joey Gallo was shuffled to left field from first base, where rookie Ronald Guzman is starting now. Delino DeShields has returned to center field after a broken hand sidelined him for three weeks and weakened the Texas outfield significantly.

''It's gut-wrenching, to say the least,'' said manager Jeff Banister, whose Rangers (8-17) have matched their second-worst 25-game start and are 3-12 at home. ''However, I'll continue to say this: There is no timeout. We'll continue to play.''

Lowrie's seventh-inning liner over the glove of a diving DeShields came against reliever Matt Bush after two doubles off Hamels in an inning that included a pair of Oakland baserunners getting thrown out at third base.

Andrew Triggs (2-0) allowed one run in six innings with six strikeouts, and former closer Santiago Casilla pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save in Oakland's eighth win in nine games since a 5-10 start.

''There's no coincidence that we've been winning games when we've been getting starting pitching six innings or more,'' manager Bob Melvin said.

Hamels (1-4) gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings and hit three batters, matching the 2008 World Series MVP's career high set on April 20, 2016, in a 2-1 win against Houston. Rangers reliever Jake Diekman also hit a batter.

Mark Canha broke a scoreless tie in the sixth with his third homer, a solo shot that went in and out of leaping right fielder Nomar Mazara's glove just above the fence. Matt Olson hit an RBI double in the eighth.

Beltre's liner to the gap when he was injured was a single that scored Shin-Soo Choo from first. Beltre had two hits and both Texas RBIs, the other coming on a sacrifice fly.

GET IN THERE, ROOKIE

Oakland rookie Lou Trivino struck out two batters to finish the eighth after coming in cold when Blake Treinen took a line drive from Choo off his right leg and had to leave the game. Melvin said Treinen had a bruised shin and would be evaluated Wednesday.

Trivino was called up from Triple-A Nashville earlier in the day when Yusmeiro Petit went on the bereavement list following the death of his mother in Venezuela. Petit was away from the team for four days earlier this month to spend time with his mom.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Athletics: RHP Liam Hendriks was to have a procedure Tuesday to remove a cyst in his right hip, with a plasma injection for a muscle tear. Hendriks was already on the disabled list because of a right groin strain. He should be throwing off a mound in a few weeks.

Rangers: RHPs Tony Barnette (right shoulder inflammation) and Tim Lincecum (blister) threw live bullpen sessions. Banister said Barnette probably won't return before Friday. Lincecum is on the 60-day DL.

UP NEXT

RHP Kendall Graveman (0-4, 10.07 ERA), Oakland's opening day starter, has allowed at least four runs without throwing more than five innings in all five starts, the longest such streak to begin a season for an A's pitcher since at least 1908. RHP Doug Fister (1-2, 3.59) is scheduled for Texas in the series finale as he returns from a right hip strain. His most recent start was April 9.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Angels 8 vs. 7 Astros Final Recap

Trout hits 10th HR, Ohtani shaky, Angels beat Astros 8-7

By KRISTIE RIEKEN - AP Sports Writer

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

HOUSTON (AP) Shohei Ohtani didn't have a great start. Mike Trout, Andrelton Simmons and the Los Angeles Angels did plenty to finish off the Houston Astros.

Trout hit his major league-leading 10th homer and the Angels overcame another shaky outing by Ohtani to beat Houston 8-7 Tuesday night, tying a team record with their 11th straight road win.

Simmons homered twice with a career-high five RBIs, connecting for a tiebreaking, three-run drive in the seventh inning. The Angels also won 11 in a row outside Anaheim in 1988.

Ohtani yielded four runs on six hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings. The two-way star from Japan was tagged by Boston in his previous start and left after two innings because of a blister problem.

''You look at the five walks, but I tell you, Shohei wasn't missing by much,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''As the game went on he got really good command of his split, threw some terrific pitches. Just had to work hard ... he had good stuff, gave us a chance to win, and that's all you can ask for.''

Ohtani struck out seven and has fanned 26 this year, a record for an Angels pitcher after the first four career games of his career.

He said he felt better than he did in his last outing.

''To get my pitch count down, I've got to throw first-pitch strikes,'' he said through a translator. ''That's the key. Also, the Astros have a very good lineup and they made me work really hard. If the pitch count goes up, there's nothing I can do about that.''

The Angels jumped on Charlie Morton early to build a 4-1 lead. Derek Fisher hit a two-run homer for Houston in the fifth off Ohtani and Brian McCann added a two-run homer off Jose Alvarez in the sixth to put the Astros ahead.

There were runners at first and second with two outs in the seventh when Albert Pujols snapped an 0-for-7 slide with an RBI single to tie it at 5. Simmons then sent a pitch from Joe Smith (1-1) to the train tracks atop left field for fourth career multihomer game.

''They won the World Series last year and we beat them two times in a row,'' Simmons said. ''It's just a confidence-booster for us.''

Alex Bregman hit an RBI single off Jim Johnson (2-0) in the seventh and Marwin Gonzalez added a run-scoring single off Justin Anderson to cut the lead to 8-7 with one out in the inning. But Anderson retired the next two batters to wriggle out of a bases-loaded jam and preserve the lead.

Cam Bedrosian walked one in a scoreless ninth for his first save.

Morton, who entered the game with an AL-leading 0.72 ERA, allowed five hits and a season-high four runs, while walking a season-most five in four-plus innings.

''The big inning that he struggled, there were a few close-call walks and a few infield singles - that inning took a lot out of him,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ''He didn't look like he could throw the ball where he wanted to, which is uncommon of him.''

Bregman doubled with two outs in the second and Houston cut the lead to 2-1 when he scored on a single by Gonzalez.

Morton, who had only walked six batters in his first four starts combined, loaded the bases on three straight walks to start the third inning. Justin Upton followed with an RBI single on a high chopper to push the lead to 3-1.

Simmons singled with one out on a grounder to third base to send another run home and leave Los Angeles up 4-1.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Angels: Simmons returned after sitting out on Monday after being hit with a pitch on the forearm in Sunday's game.

CHASING 3,000

Pujols' hit moved him within seven of reaching 3,000. The slugger, who has 618 homers, is looking to become the fourth player in major league history with at least 3,000 hits and 600 home runs.

WHAT A STEAL

With Ian Kinsler's swipe, the Angels improved to 13 of 13 on steal attempts this season. They are the eighth team in major league history to not get caught stealing once through the first 24 games of a season. The last team to do it was the Mets, who weren't caught stealing in the first 26 games of the 2015 season.

UP NEXT

Angels: Nick Tropeano (1-1, 3.75 ERA) will start in the series finale on Wednesday, looking to bounce back after allowing seven hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings of a loss to Boston in his last outing.

Astros: Justin Verlander (3-0, 1.10) looks to extend his regular-season winning streak to 11 games when he starts on Wednesday. Verlander allowed two hits in six scoreless innings of a win over the White Sox in his last outing.

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Brewers 5 vs. 2 Royals Final Recap

Cain homers in return to KC as Brewers beat Royals 5-2

By DAVE SKRETTA - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, April 25 at 12:03 AM (EDT)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Lorenzo Cain spent seven seasons with the Kansas City Royals, winning two American League pennants and a World Series title while growing accustomed to the cheers of their adoring fans.

The jersey has changed. That love for Cain has not.

The affable outfielder homered and reached base four times in his return to Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday night, sending the Milwaukee Brewers to a 5-2 victory over the Royals. And on several occasions, including his homer in the seventh inning, Cain was given a standing ovation.

''He should get a treatment like that. They had some special times here for sure,'' said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose team has won seven straight. ''Just a solid game setting the tone for us.''

Travis Shaw added a three-run homer for the Brewers, while Zach Davies (2-2) pitched six innings of four-hit ball. Ryan Braun had two hits, walked twice and drove in a run.

Matt Albers, Dan Jennings and Jeremy Jeffress combined for three scoreless innings of relief.

Just about the only negative for Milwaukee was a thumb injury for first baseman Eric Thames, who left in the ninth inning. Counsell said he would know the extent of the injury after tests on Wednesday.

''It's a ligament issue we're concerned about,'' Counsell said.

Salvador Perez homered for Kansas City in his return from the disabled list, and Alex Gordon doubled and scored in his return from the DL, giving the slumping Royals their only offense.

''It's nice to get their bats back in the lineup,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Ian Kennedy (1-3) left after allowing four runs over three shaky innings. He took a liner off his ankle in the third but finished the inning before leaving the game.

He had precautionary X-rays taken on his right foot that came back negative.

''We're going to wear a boot to take pressure off of it the next 12 hours,'' Kennedy said. ''It's a tiny little bone, but it means a lot. I've learned my lessons in the past, pitching through things that can affect your movements or your balance that makes a difference especially down the road.''

Cain walked and scored in the third and fifth before going deep off Burch Smith. He also made a couple of nifty grabs in center field, that familiar patch of turf he presided over for so many seasons.

Cain parlayed his success in Kansas City into an $80 million, five-year contract in free agency, returning to the club that drafted him in 2004 and eventually traded him in a deal for Zack Greinke.

''I've grown a lot,'' Cain said. ''Gotten a little older. Won a World Series, went to two. A lot happened since they traded for me. I've been thinking about this day for a while now.''

He was certainly remembered fondly by the Royals faithful.

Cain got his first standing ovation when he sprinted onto the field for warmups, then got another one when he stepped to bat in the first inning. And when he lined his third homer of the year to right to lead off the seventh, the crowd gave him another round of applause.

''It was cool. It was neat to get a warm welcome,'' Davies said. ''He was having fun with it.''

STATS AND STREAKS

Kennedy failed to record a strikeout for the first time in 273 appearances, the second-longest active streak in the majors.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: SS Orlando Arcia got the day off because of stomach pain, though his ailing ankle was fine. ... LHP Boone Logan (left triceps strain) threw a simulated game without problems and will join Double-A Biloxi on a rehab assignment. ... C Stephen Vogt (right shoulder strain) is headed to Arizona for at-bats in extended spring training. He could join a minor league club next week.

Royals: RHP Justin Grimm went on the DL with back tightness. It was part of a series of moves that included the activation of Perez (left knee strain) and Gordon (torn left hip labrum).

ROSTER MOVES

Brewers: C Manny Pina (right calf strain) was activated from the DL and C Jacob Nottingham was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Royals: C Cam Gallagher and OF Paulo Orlando were optioned to Triple-A Omaha, while LHP Eric Stout was recalled from the same club to provide some bullpen help.

UP NEXT

Brewers RHP Jhoulys Chacin moves up in the rotation to face Kansas City on Wednesday night, while RHP Chase Anderson will pitch Thursday against the Cubs. The Royals counter with RHP Jason Hammel.

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Mets 6 vs. 5 Cardinals Final Recap

Bruce's HR in 10th sends Mets to 6-5 win over Cardinals

By JOE HARRIS - Associated Press

Wednesday, April 25 at 1:16 AM (EDT)

ST. LOUIS (AP) A slumping Jay Bruce took extra batting practice before Tuesday night's game. The extra swings paid off handsomely.

Bruce hit a tiebreaking homer in the 10th inning, Yoenis Cespedes launched a majestic, three-run shot and the New York Mets rallied for a 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bruce began the game batting .194 but broke out with three hits, including an RBI triple.

''You never feel perfect, but I think overall the timing's been a little off,'' he said. ''I haven't been in sync for an extended period of time yet, but I'm working at it every day.''

Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Bruce looked different at the plate.

''He was on time,'' Callaway said. ''He wasn't feeling for it. He was letting it go. It looked like he had a little bit of that conviction in his swing back. He went and attacked the ball and lived with the results and the results were good.''

After Bruce's decisive drive to center field off former Mets farmhand Matt Bowman (0-1) with two outs, the Cardinals claimed he missed first base and challenged. A 56-second replay review confirmed Bruce touched the bag, and the NL East-leading Mets (15-6) closed it out for their 10th comeback victory of the season.

''We were all like, what's going on? And Jay was like, why are they challenging that? I stepped right on the middle of the bag,'' Callaway said. ''So that was interesting.''

There was no doubt in Bruce's mind that he touched them all.

''I've hit a few home runs in my career and I've never even gotten close to missing that base,'' Bruce said. ''That would be a new low for me.''

Cespedes also has been slumping - he started the night hitting .195. But his homer off starter Luke Weaver tied it 4-all in the fifth. The drive traveled an estimated 463 feet to left field, the third-longest by an opposing player in the history of Busch Stadium III.

''He was losing the strike zone with the fastball so I was focusing on catching the changeup,'' Cespedes said through a translator. ''I caught it and I hit it.''

Bruce's eighth-inning single sent Todd Frazier from first to third before Adrian Gonzalez tied it at 5 with a sacrifice fly.

Mets starter Zack Wheeler lasted a season-low four innings and gave up four runs. Former ace Matt Harvey allowed a run over two innings in his first relief appearance since being demoted to the bullpen.

Back-to-back doubles by Dexter Fowler and Paul DeJong off Harvey with two outs in the fifth gave St. Louis a 5-4 lead.

Harvey declined to speak with reporters after the game.

''There's no doubt that tonight he went out there and attacked and tried to help the team,'' Callaway said of Harvey. ''He's manned up and he's going to do the job.''

Robert Gsellman (3-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win, and Jeurys Familia earned his ninth save.

Bruce's sinking line drive got by left fielder Marcell Ozuna in the second for an RBI triple. It was Bruce's first triple in 174 games with the Mets.

Weaver lasted 4 2/3 innings. He gave up four runs and walked a career-high six as St. Louis had its three-game winning streak snapped.

Tommy Pham drove Wheeler's 95 mph fastball 420 feet to center for a home run that gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Kolten Wong doubled in a run and scored on Weaver's single in the fourth to make it 4-1. Weaver's single was the first time the Mets allowed an opposing pitcher to reach safely in 42 plate appearances this season.

''Anytime you have a three-run lead and you can't hold onto it, that's always going to hurt,'' Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ''The guys fight back into it and then give it up again, those are tough ones to recover from. You've just got to move on.''

WEB GEM

Wong made a diving play at second on Gonzalez's grounder and threw him out from his knees for the first out in the second. Wong was playing in with Bruce at third. The play saved a run and Weaver was able to strand Bruce at third.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: LHP Jason Vargas (broken right hand) started Monday for Triple-A Las Vegas and allowed three runs over four innings. He is scheduled to make his season debut Saturday in San Diego.

Cardinals: RHP Sam Tuivailala and LHP Ryan Sherriff have reported to Triple-A Memphis for rehab assignments. Tuivailala is scheduled to throw Wednesday and Sherriff will throw later this week.

UP NEXT

Mets LHP Steven Matz (1-1, 4.42 ERA) seeks his first win against St. Louis in the middle game of the series Wednesday night. Matz is 0-2 with an 8.64 ERA in two career starts against the Cardinals. They counter with RHP Michael Wacha (3-1, 4.22), who has won his last three starts.

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Padres 0 vs. 8 Rockies Final Recap

Story's power, Freeland's arm help Rockies beat Padres 8-0

By PAT GRAHAM - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, April 25 at 1:16 AM (EDT)

DENVER (AP) Kyle Freeland's left heel throbbed after being hit by a liner.

The pain actually helped him bear down and make some of his best pitches.

''I was thinking more about my heel than my mechanics,'' Freeland said.

Trevor Story hit the second grand slam of his career, Freeland scattered three hits over seven crisp innings and the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 8-0 on a cold Tuesday night.

Freeland (1-3) provided plenty of heat as the lefty struck out a season-high eight to earn his first win since July 30. But there was a moment of concern when Freeland was hit by a Chase Headley liner in the fourth. Freeland took a few warmup pitches and remained in the game. After that, his mechanics have rarely looked sharper, Rockies manager Bud Black said.

''It smoothed him out. He didn't overthrow,'' Black explained. ''His focus might have been more heightened, because he was in a little bit of discomfort.''

Although the heel smarts, Freeland said it will ''be all right.''

Colorado outfielder Noel Cuevas notched his first major league hit - a single down the line that looked like a sure double before he slipped on the first base bag. That's about the only stumble for the Rockies in a game delayed 46 minutes by rain on a 37-degree evening. In an effort to stay warm, Nolan Arenado resorted to wearing a ski mask in the field.

San Diego lefty Eric Lauer (0-1) had a rough outing in his major league debut. He allowed seven runs, six earned, over three innings.

''Like I said to him on the mound when I took the ball from him, `There's going to be a lot of really good days ahead. You're going to remember this because you're going to come back from this one and have a lot of really good days,''' Padres manager Andy Green said. ''Definitely not the debut I know he was looking for, but humble beginnings are a good place to start from.''

One consolation: Lauer picked up his first big league hit on a bloop single.

''It kind of hurt my hand a little bit but I'll take it,'' Lauer said.

The 22-year-old Lauer made a mistake in the second with a fastball that Story took deep to left to give the Rockies a 7-0 lead. Story's other grand slam was April 21, 2017, against San Francisco.

Story is on a roll over his last eight games, hitting .423 with three homers.

''Just trying to put my best swing on it and not try to do too much,'' Story said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: 3B Christian Villanueva (hamstring tightness) was given the night off due to the cold conditions. ''It just wasn't in his best interest or our best interest to push him,'' Green said.

TOUCHDOWN!

The Rockies scored a touchdown's equivalent in runs over the first two innings. Fitting since linebacker Von Miller, quarterback Case Keenum and a few other Broncos were on hand for the game.

''We threw a shutout for (the Broncos),'' Black said.

FAMILY LEAVE

First baseman Eric Hosmer was placed on family medical leave. The team hopes to have him back in the lineup Friday.

''He had some things he needed to go home and take care of,'' Green explained. ''Respecting his privacy and his family's wishes, we'll just kind of leave it at that right now.''

NAME GAME

Rockies right-hander Brooks Pounders had the most memorable name in the minor leagues in 2014. No disputing it, either - he won the ''Moniker Madness '' bracket challenge that crowns the best name.

''It's pretty cool,'' Pounders said.

Pounders pitched the ninth in his Rockies debut. His contract was selected from Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday.

MORE LAUER

Lauer became just the second pitcher from the 2016 draft class to make his major league debut. The other was teammate Joey Lucchesi, who made his first start on March 30, 2017.

In addition, Lauer was the 27th pitcher to make his inaugural big league start at Coors Field, including seventh as an opponent and second for the Padres (Anthony Bass on June 13, 2011).

''It was just nerves,'' Lauer said. ''I'm just going to work and come back.''

UP NEXT

The Padres will throw RHP Tyson Ross (2-1, 2.81 ERA) in the series finale Wednesday. His last time out he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning at Arizona. The Rockies counter with RHP Jon Gray (1-4, 6.75), who's looking to snap a three-game skid.

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Marlins 3 vs. 2 Dodgers Final Recap

Marlins edge Dodgers 3-2 on Maybin's RBI in 9th, stop skid

By BETH HARRIS - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, April 25 at 2:43 AM (EDT)

LOS ANGELES (AP) Poor starting pitching. Bullpen breakdowns. Defensive mistakes. The Marlins have found plenty of ways to lose, quickly piling up 17 losses to start the season.

Now the young team has a chance to win its first series - against the defending NL champions, no less.

Cameron Maybin doubled home the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and Miami edged the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Tuesday night, snapping its season-high five-game skid.

Brian Anderson singled leading off the inning against Pedro Baez (1-1) and scored on Maybin's double to deep left field. Miami had lost eight of its previous nine and 11 of 13, including a 2-1 decision in the series opener Monday.

''Hopefully, we can start to put some momentum together and then you can start to feel like you're going to win these games,'' Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ''That's the difference between good teams and teams that aren't at that caliber. They feel like they're going to win these games.''

Drew Steckenrider (1-0) got the win with one inning of relief. Brad Ziegler retired the side in the ninth for his second save.

Maybin was back at Dodger Stadium, where he celebrated winning the World Series in Game 7 last year with the Houston Astros. In a matter of months, the 31-year-old outfielder has gone from the sublime to the somewhat ridiculous with Miami's losing streak.

''I always try to take a positive out of a negative,'' Maybin said. ''A positive is we feel like we've been in every game this year except for two ballgames. For a young team, it's about, how do you finish? Being in the game is the first step and we were in every game.''

The loss ended the Dodgers' three-game winning streak and sent them back to .500 one game after they had moved above the mark for the first time this season.

''We had our chances,'' catcher Austin Barnes said. ''It's a game we've got to win.''

Starlin Castro's two-out RBI double off Tony Cingrani tied the game 2-all in the eighth. Cingrani gave up a one-out single to Derek Dietrich, who went to second on Cingrani's balk.

''It's not a balk, but he called it a balk, so it's a balk,'' Cingrani said. ''I think everything should be reviewed.''

Pinch-hitter Chase Utley drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the go-ahead run in the seventh, putting the Dodgers back in front 2-1.

After getting two outs, Nick Wittgren gave up a walk to pinch-hitter Joc Pederson, a single to Chris Taylor and a walk to Corey Seager that loaded the bases. Utley worked Tayron Guerrero to a 3-2 count before Miami's third free pass of the inning.

J.T. Realmuto homered on the first pitch from Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda with two outs in the third to tie the game 1-all.

The Dodgers led 1-0 in the second on Barnes' RBI double down the right-field line that eluded diving first baseman Justin Bour and scored Matt Kemp, who had a leadoff double.

Marlins starter Dillon Peters allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, struck out four and walked two.

Maeda gave up one run and four hits in six innings, struck out seven and walked one.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Marlins: 3B Martin Prado (left hamstring strain) and SS JT Riddle (right shoulder tendinitis) played in rehab stints at Class A Jupiter and will do so again on Wednesday. ... RHP Elieser Hernandez (tooth infection) and RHP Dan Straily (forearm) each pitched in rehab assignments and will be re-evaluated Wednesday.

Dodgers: RHP Yimi Garcia (right elbow surgery) is on a rehab assignment and could possibly return in May. The team is taking a conservative approach so Garcia will be ready to pitch the rest of the season without restrictions.

DODGERS NEMESIS

Realmuto has hit safely in all 18 career games against the Dodgers, which ties the longest hitting streak against LA to start a major league career since 1900. San Francisco's Jim Davenport had a similar streak from April 15 to Sept 1, 1958. Realmuto has hit .391 with 10 runs, two doubles, three homers and six RBIs during his run that began on May 11, 2015.

NO JANSEN

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts went with Baez and not closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth. ''That's a decision that didn't work and I take full responsibility for it,'' Roberts said.

For his part, Jansen was diplomatic. ''Sometimes you gamble, and it didn't work,'' he said. ''We win together, we lose together.''

OFF THE BENCH

Utley continues to be stellar off the bench, getting his second pinch-hit, bases-loaded walk this season. He is 4 for 6 with three RBIs as a pinch hitter.

UP NEXT

RHP Trevor Richards (0-2, 6.16 ERA) makes his first career start against the Dodgers and LHP Clayton Kershaw (1-3, 2.45) in the series finale. Richards gave up a career-high six runs in his last start at Milwaukee. Kershaw is 5-4 with a 2.57 ERA in 10 starts against the Marlins while averaging 10.13 strikeouts per nine innings.

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Nationals 3 vs. 4 Giants Final Recap

Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

By MICHAEL WAGAMAN - Associated Press

Wednesday, April 25 at 1:48 AM (EDT)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Mac Williamson had to dust himself off after crashing into a low padded wall near the stands in left field while chasing a foul ball.

More frustrated than hurt, Williamson took it out on Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark a few moments later after undergoing a series of concussion tests in the dugout.

Williamson homered for the second straight night and third in five games, hitting a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning to lead San Francisco to a 4-3 victory over Washington on Tuesday night.

''I got pretty lucky,'' Williamson said. ''I felt fine then and I feel fine now. I'm sure once the adrenalin wears off later tonight, tomorrow we'll see how the body feels. I'm sure I'll be a little sore.''

Brandon Belt hit his fifth home run in six games, Joe Panik added three hits and scored twice, and the Giants won their third straight and fourth in the last five.

One night after hitting a 464-foot homer in the series opener, Williamson hit a first-pitch solo shot to center off Roark with two outs in the sixth inning that bounced off the top of the wall and broke a 3-all tie. It wasn't as far as Monday's clout - this one went 423 feet - but was just as pivotal for the Giants.

''We've talked about what a shot in the arm he's been and he's more than that,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ''He came through again tonight. Good for him because he's worked hard at it.''

Williamson's deciding home run came one inning after he stumbled over the bullpen mound in foul territory and crashed into a low wall near the stands while trying to chase down Bryce Harper's foul ball. Williamson stayed down briefly as team trainers rushed out before getting to his feet.

''I tried to roll my neck a little bit and my head down a little bit when I started going down,'' Williamson said. ''I think that helped break my fall. I was just a little frustrated I didn't come up with the play. I had it in my glove and it came out.''

Belt hit a two-run shot off Roark (1-2) in the third.

Michael Taylor had a three-run homer for Washington, which has lost four straight and 14 of 20 since opening the season 4-0.

''It seems like that sixth inning's been biting us in the rear as of late,'' Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. ''We're swinging the bats. We just can't get the big hit with people on base.''

Reyes Moronta (1-0) retired six batters for his first career win. Sam Dyson pitched one inning and Hunter Strickland worked the ninth for his fifth save.

The Giants got a run off Roark in the first but left the bases loaded when Evan Longoria struck out looking to end the inning. Belt homered on a 3-2 pitch from Roark in the second to make it 3-0.

Washington tied it on Taylor's three-run homer off starter Ty Blach in the third. Ryan Zimmerman walked and Moises Sierra singled before Taylor's deep drive into the right-field stands.

Roark went into the game 6-0 in seven career games against San Francisco but couldn't find a rhythm this time. He allowed four runs on six hits, walked two and hit a batter and threw a pair of wild pitches.

WHERE DID IT GO?

Panik hit a soft comebacker to Roark in the fifth that glanced off the pitcher's glove then bounced up on the top of his cap before falling to the turf. Roark initially couldn't locate the ball but found it in time to throw to first for the out.

AILING BLACH

Blach allowed three runs and four hits in five innings. After the game, Bochy said the left-hander suffered from food poisoning last week and was given an IV on Monday. ''That was a really gutty effort that he gave us,'' Bochy said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: Placed RHP Shawn Kelley on the 10-disabled list with ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow. Infielder/outfielder Matt Reynolds was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and outfielder Rafael Bautista and infielder Adrian Sanchez were called up.

UP NEXT

Nationals RHP Max Scherzer (4-1, 1.36 ERA) and Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 0.00) take to the mound for the series finale at AT&T Park on Wednesday. Samardzija is making his second start after beginning the season on the disabled list.

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Mariners 1 vs. 0 White Sox Final Recap

Gonzales, Mariners edge sagging White Sox 1-0

By PAUL LADEWSKI - Associated Press

Tuesday, April 24 at 9:38 PM (EDT)

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago White Sox experimented with an unusual 4:10 p.m. start time Tuesday, and the early returns are in.

''I love it,'' Seattle Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales said, ''Talking to a couple hitters in the first inning, guys just said, `Anything that comes out looks like a fastball. You don't know what it is.'''

Gonzales and four relievers combined on a five-hitter, Mitch Haniger singled home the only run and the Mariners pulled out a 1-0 victory.

''Winning a 1-0 game is a special win,'' Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ''The conditions to hit with the sun and the shadows probably played into that a little bit, but you've got to find a way to win it.''

At 5-15, the rebuilding White Sox are off to their worst start since the 1950 season. That year they opened 5-20 on the way to a 60-94 finish.

''We didn't have very many opportunities for me to say I'm disappointed,'' said manager Rick Renteria, ejected by plate umpire Mike Estabrook after he protested a called third strike to Matt Davidson that ended the sixth.

Gonzales (2-2) was in control almost from the start, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out eight in six-plus innings.

Gonzales allowed singles to Tim Anderson and Yolmer Sanchez, the first two batters. He picked Anderson off second base, induced Jose Abreu to bounce into a double play and didn't allow another hit until the sixth.

Seattle broke out on top against fill-in starter Chris Volstad (0-1) in the fourth when Kyle Seager doubled and scored on Haniger's hard grounder up the middle, both with two outs.

''Definitely didn't see the ball as good as yesterday, but it's the same for both teams, so you got to get the job done any way you can,'' said Haniger, whose streak of four straight games with a home run came to an end. ''Just trying to hit the ball hard, and it squeaked through and got the run across.''

After Yoan Moncada's leadoff double chased Gonzales in the seventh, reliever Dan Altavilla retired the next two batters before Marc Rzepczynski got the final out of the inning.

Juan Nicasio pitched the eighth and Edwin Diaz worked the ninth for his ninth save in as many tries.

Volstad (0-1) allowed one run and four hits in 4 1/3 innings and didn't walk a batter as a replacement for Miguel Gonzalez, who is on the 10-day disabled list with an inflamed right rotator cuff. The start was the first for Volstad after four relief appearances this year.

TIME WILL TELL

An estimated 2,000 fans witnessed the first pitch in sunny, 59-degree weather. The announced attendance was 10,761.

IN DANNY'S CORNER

Former Mariners teammates and their wives remained in contact with the family of White Sox RHP Danny Farquhar, who underwent surgery for a brain aneurysm last weekend. He spent the 2013-15 seasons with the team.

''You just want to give his family enough space, but you also want to do all you can to be there for support,'' said C Mike Zunino, Farquhar's ex-batterymate. ''When you first hear something like this happens, it's really scary because you have don't know what's going to happen. It seems like each day we hear something positive, so that's a really good feeling.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: 1B Ryon Healy (sprained right ankle) neared his return from the disabled list with a two-run single and walk in four plate appearances for Double-A Arkansas on Tuesday.

White Sox: OF Avisail Garcia was placed on the 10-day DL with what Renteria called a ''mild-to-moderate'' strain of his right hamstring. He will be re-evaluted later in the week. OF Daniel Palka was called up from Triple-A Charlotte.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Felix Fernandez (2-2, 5.06 ERA) will take a career 6-6 mark vs. the White Sox into the series finale Wednesday. He was a 4-3 winner in his only appearance against them last year.

White Sox: RHP James Shields (1-2, 6.17) comes off his worst start of the season, a 10-0 blowout against the Houston Astros in which he allowed seven earned runs in 5 1/3 innings.

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Cubs 10 vs. 3 Indians Final Recap

Schwarber hits 2 HRs as Cubs beat Indians in Series rematch

By STEVE HERRICK - Associated Press

Tuesday, April 24 at 11:08 PM (EDT)

CLEVELAND (AP) The memories of winning a championship two years ago came flooding back for the Chicago Cubs when they arrived at Progressive Field on Tuesday.

The positive feelings continued once the game began.

Kyle Schwarber hit two of Chicago's four solo home runs during a 10-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians in the first meeting between the teams since their classic 2016 World Series.

The Cubs won Game 7 of that Series in Cleveland for their first championship since 1908. While the significance of the latest victory didn't come close to matching that, the Chicago players were reminded of it everywhere they turned.

''I like to think about the World Series, especially about all of the adversity we faced,'' Schwarber said. ''That was the moment we all live for, and we want to get back to it.''

Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, who doubled and scored in the second, was excited about the return.

''Just walking off the bus, into the stadium, you get a sense of nostalgia,'' he said. ''The first thing I noticed when we got in the clubhouse was they replaced the carpet, which was nice. I think we messed it up pretty good. I was thinking about that great memory, walking around with my World Series champion shirt on.''

Even the weather was similar. Game 7 was delayed by rain in the 10th inning shortly before Chicago took the lead. This matchup was played in a steady rain that began before the first pitch.

The Cubs won three games in Cleveland's ballpark during the 2016 Series and continued the trend against Josh Tomlin (0-3), who allowed all four homers. Schwarber connected leading off the second and fourth. Willson Contreras went deep in the third and Ian Happ homered in the fourth.

Schwarber is batting .500 (15 for 30) with three homers and eight RBIs in seven career games at Progressive Field, including the postseason. The left-handed hitter, who grew up in southwest Ohio, made his major league debut in Cleveland in 2015. He had six hits in his first two starts.

''Obviously, he sees the ball well here,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''His debut was here, so that was adrenalin. The World Series was adrenalin. Now he's starting to hit the ball really well, so he showed up in Cleveland at the right time.''

Tyler Chatwood (1-3) won for the first time with the Cubs, allowing one run in six-plus innings. He was pulled after a leadoff single in the seventh.

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was out of the lineup two days after being hit in the head by a pitch. Maddon said before the game that the 2016 NL MVP has a cut above his left eye but no concussion after being drilled Sunday by Colorado's German Marquez.

Maddon said he would speak with Bryant before making out Wednesday's lineup.

Happ was 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and Contreras hit his first home run of the season.

Tomlin has allowed eight home runs in 12 2/3 innings over four appearances. The right-hander gave up five runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Jason Kipnis had an RBI groundout in the third, but right fielder Jason Heyward's throw home got Rajai Davis at the plate to end the inning. Davis tried to score from second on Jose Ramirez's single, but was out on a headfirst slide. Cleveland challenged but the call was upheld.

Heyward also took a hit away from Kipnis with a sliding catch in the sixth.

''It was one of those games where we got down early and it just ... it was 5-1, but it seemed like more and they spread it out,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. ''It's kind of a miserable night and it's more miserable when you're losing.''

The teams complete the two-game series Wednesday night. The Cubs have won four of five and are two games over .500 (11-9) for the first time this season.

The rain intensified throughout the game, leaving puddles in the infield and causing Cubs reliever Steve Cishek to slip on the mound several times. The inclement weather led to a crowd of 16,408.

MORE FLASHBACKS

It only seemed natural the topic of the World Series was brought up before the game.

''It was one of the most interesting Series, probably ever,'' Maddon said.

Davis' eighth-inning home run off closer Aroldis Chapman tied the game and caused the ballpark to shake from the crowd reaction. Davis downplayed the significance of that moment on this series.

''We have to put it in perspective,'' he said. ''It's not October, nor is it November. It's not World Series baseball. It's a lot different.''

UP NEXT

Cubs LHP Jon Lester (2-0, 3.10 ERA) faces RHP Trevor Bauer (1-2, 2.67) in the series finale. Lester went 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in three appearances against Cleveland during the 2016 World Series.

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Twins 3 vs. 8 Yankees Final Recap

Gregorius, Sanchez, Yanks top Twins 8-3 for 4th straight win

By RONALD BLUM - AP Baseball Writer

Tuesday, April 24 at 11:40 PM (EDT)

NEW YORK (AP) Didi Gregorius leads the major leagues with 27 RBIs and has eight home runs in 22 games, totals matched previously in Yankees history by only Babe Ruth in 1921 and Alex Rodriguez in 2007.

Perhaps with a few more big nights, the promotional people at Yankee Stadium will spell his name correctly.

Gregorius had a two-run homer and three RBIs as New York romped past the Minnesota Twins yet again, 8-3 on Tuesday. During the game, an advertisement board at the ballpark promoted "Didi Gregious Bat Day - May 12."

''What can I do? I can't fix that,'' Gregorius said with a chuckle. ''It's all over Twitter and all over the place.''

Gregorius hit an RBI single for a 2-1 lead in the third inning and pulled a changeup just inside the right-field foul pole and into the second deck for a 5-1 margin in the fifth, chasing Jose Berrios (2-2). Gregorius had three hits, raising his average to .347, and has homered in three straight games.

''It's fun to hit in front of a guy like that. I've just got to get on first base,'' said Aaron Judge, who hit his seventh home run and was a triple short of the cycle.

Gregorius also has 15 walks and a 1.229 OPS. He had 25 walks all of last season and his career high is 37 in 2013.

''Everybody knows that I don't walk that much,'' he said. ''I'm learning, try to lay off of those pitches and try to get on base for the next guy.''

Gary Sanchez homered twice as the Yankees went deep four times for the second straight night, and Gleyber Torres had a pair of hits and his first RBI. New York extended a winning streak to four for the first time under new manager Aaron Boone and sent the Twins to their season-worst fifth consecutive loss.

A night after a 14-1 drubbing, New York beat Minnesota for the sixth straight time and improved to 27-9 against the Twins at new Yankee Stadium, including the playoffs.

''I've always heard it talked about that the Yankees play well against them, but I think that's a year-to-year thing,'' Boone said.

CC Sabathia (1-0) rarely allowed hard contact in his second start back from the disabled list and gave up an unearned run and two hits in six innings. He is 20-9 in 39 regular-season starts against the Twins.

Dellin Betances entered with a 5-1 lead in the seventh but lasted just four batters, giving up a pair of walks, a hit and another unearned run. David Robertson pitched out of two-on, one-out trouble by striking out Ehire Adrianza and retiring pinch-hitter Joe Mauer on a comebacker.

Judge led off the bottom half with a loud, opposite-field drive to right off Tyler Duffey, brought up from the minors before the game for his season debut. Judge became the fastest in major league history to hit 63 career home runs, doing it in 203 games, four fewer than Mark McGwire.

Sanchez, whose second-inning home run tied the score , hit a two-run drive later in the seventh into the netting above Monument Park in center. Judge, arms crossed, gave Sanchez the silent treatment in the dugout before smiling and patting Sanchez on the helmet.

Berrios entered with 14 consecutive scoreless innings and had 29 strikeouts and one walk in his first four outings. He allowed five runs, six hits and two walks in four-plus innings, raising his ERA from 1.63 to 2.84.

''They've got a lot of guys that can do damage in a hurry,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ''Everything is kind of magnified when you're not swinging the bats more on your side, too. You just can't hold them down and you can't score. It's been a bad combination.''

SLOPPY

Errors by Judge in right, Neil Walker at first, Torres while covering first and Betances raised the Yankees' total to 22 in 22 games, tied for the major league lead.

TWINS TIDBITS

Eduardo Escobar had three hits, a walk and an RBI. Brian Dozier went 0 for 4 after getting hits in Minnesota's first 17 games - 24 in a row dating to last season.

''As an offensive unit, pressing a little bit too much,'' Dozier said. ''You're trying to explode in one kind of swing.''

EMERGING EMOJI

As the Yankees add new players, Gregorius comes up with additional emojis for his tweets that follow wins. Torres is Baby bottle, Giancarlo Stanton is Volcano and Tyler Austin is Police car. Luis Severino has grown from Baby last season to Child.

WHIFFS

A night after going 4 for 4, Stanton had his second three-strikeout game this season to go along with a pair of five-strikeout games.

HE'S BACK

Released during spring training and re-signed last week, 1B Adam Lind made his season debut for the Yankees' Class A farm team in Tampa and went 3 for 3 with a double, walk and RBI.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: OF Byron Buxton (migraines) will go to extended spring training after fouling a ball off his left foot Sunday during a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers.

Yankees: 3B Brandon Drury (migraines) is on track to start a rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

UP NEXT

RHP Sonny Gray (1-1, 8.27 ERA), who has totaled just 16 1/3 innings in four starts, is on the mound for the Yankees on Wednesday night, when RHP Lance Lynn (0-1, 6.00) starts for Minnesota. Lynn's only previous outing against the Yankees was a five-hit shutout for St. Louis in 2014.

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Braves 7 vs. 9 Reds Final Recap

Mahle loses no-hitter in 7th, Reds beat Braves 9-7 in 12

By JOE KAY - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, April 24 at 11:43 PM (EDT)

CINCINNATI (AP) The Cincinnati Reds couldn't get Tyler Mahle a win despite his dominant performance. Scooter Gennett made sure they avoided another gut-wrenching loss.

Gennett hit a two-run homer in the 12th inning for a 9-7 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night, salvaging a game that got out of hand when their rookie starter left. Mahle took a no-hitter into the seventh, and it all came apart.

Freddie Freeman homered for Atlanta's first hit, only the third ball the Braves managed to get out of the infield. He homered again as Atlanta scored four times in the ninth for a 7-7 tie.

Gennett pulled it out with his second homer of the game, connecting off left-hander Max Fried (0-1) for his first career game-ending shot.

''You had a bad feeling once Atlanta came back,'' interim manager Jim Riggleman said. ''I give our guys tremendous credit. This is a game of heartbreak sometimes, and it looked like it was going to be one of those nights for us.''

Jared Hughes (1-2) escaped a two-on threat in the 10th and got the last eight outs.

''This is very similar to Coors Field,'' Braves manager Brian Snitker said. ''I've seen some weird games in this place, just like Coors Field.''

Off to their worst start since the Great Depression, the 5-18 Reds rallied for their first set of back-to-back wins since last September - a span of 34 games - and got an encouraging performance from their most promising young starter.

The 23-year-old Mahle fanned a career-high 11 with a sharp slider and a tailing fastball that caught the Braves gawking. Atlanta leads the majors in runs, but managed only two balls beyond the infield through six innings.

Freeman led off the seventh with a homer on the rookie's 90th pitch - Mahle turned his head and muttered a word in frustration as the ball left the bat. Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run homer off Mahle later in the inning.

Mahle drew attention on his way to the majors by throwing a no-hitter in Single-A in 2016 and a perfect game last April 22 at Double-A. He was starting to think another was in reach on Tuesday.

''It's always in the back of your mind a little bit,'' Mahle said.

Joey Votto and Gennett hit their first homers - back-to-back solo shots in the fifth off Brandon McCarthy - as the Reds' sluggish offense showed signs of coming around. The Reds came into the series with only 11 homers, by far the fewest in the majors. They have four in the first two games.

TAKE THAT

Votto's teammates ignored him in the dugout after he circled the bases for the first time, a razzing for taking so long to homer. When Gennett followed with his first homer, Votto was on the top step of the dugout to congratulate him.

BIG INNINGS

The Reds sent 10 batters to the plate for five runs during the sixth inning of a 10-4 win on Monday. They sent nine to the plate for three runs in the second inning on Tuesday. The last time they had nine-batter innings in consecutive games was Aug. 12-13, 2016, against Milwaukee.

HELLO FRIED

Fried was called up before the game from Triple-A Gwinnett to restock a depleted bullpen. Right-hander Miguel Socolovich was designated for assignment.

Fried came on in the 12th. He walked Votto and gave up Gennett's homer on a hanging curve.

''It was a two-strike curve that was up,'' Fried said. ''The intent was to get it in the dirt, and I left it up.''

REDS MAKE A MOVE, TOO

RH Kevin Shackelford was activated after recovering from a strained right forearm. RH Kevin Quackenbush was designated for assignment.

BUCKNOR OUT

Umpire C.B. Bucknor was scheduled to work the plate, but was ill. Brian O'Nora took his turn behind the plate, and Chris Segal replaced him on the crew, working second base. Bucknor is expected back on Wednesday.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: Snitker plans to give RH reliever Sam Freeman a couple days off. Freeman has made a team-high 14 appearances and struggled during a 10-4 loss on Monday.

Reds: C Devin Mesoraco was scratched with a stiff neck. ... 3B Eugenio Suarez began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville. He has been sidelined since April 8, when he was hit by Jameson Taillon's pitch and broke his right thumb.

UP NEXT

Braves: Matt Wisler (1-0, 1.29 ERA) is 1-1 career against the Reds in two starts and two relief appearances, allowing eight runs in 15 2/3 innings.

Reds: LH Brandon Finnegan (0-2, 11.05 ERA) makes his third start. He opened the season on the DL with a strained left biceps.

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Diamondbacks 8 vs. 4 Phillies Final Recap

Avila leads Diamondbacks in 8-4 win over Phillies

By AARON BRACY - Associated Press

Tuesday, April 24 at 11:52 PM (EDT)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Alex Avila broke out of his slump in a big way.

Avila homered among his three hits and drove in two runs, Robbie Ray struck out 11 while pitching into the fifth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-4 on Tuesday night.

Avila started his big night by leading off the third with a towering homer to deep right-center off Vince Velasquez (1-3) that caromed off the base of the second deck. Avila began the at-bat in a 4-for-35 slump with 18 strikeouts.

''He's the guy you saw today,'' Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ''Nothing fazes him. There's an ease to his game. In his mind, he feels like he's going to hit.''

Daniel Descalso and Jarrod Dyson also homered for the Diamondbacks, who upped their NL-best record to 16-6.

Ray was lifted after 107 pitches with two outs in the fifth and couldn't earn the victory. He gave up three runs and five hits and walked three while raising his strikeout total to 43 in 26 1/3 innings.

Fernando Salas (3-1) pitched an inning of relief for the victory.

The loss snapped Philadelphia's seven-game home winning streak, and was just the club's second loss in 11 games at Citizens Bank Park. A win would've given the Phillies their best home start in the franchise's 134-year history.

''We'll come back tomorrow and be ready to roll,'' Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.

Arizona has won eight consecutive games at Philadelphia.

''We're just a team that goes out day by day no matter who the opponent and does our best to perform,'' Lovullo said. ''We know the Phillies are a quality team. Their record isn't a fluke and they're playing with a lot of energy.''

Dyson followed with a long drive to right to put Arizona ahead 2-0. He was batting .160 before going deep for the first time this season.

The Phillies went ahead in the bottom of the inning. After Aaron Altherr's one-out, bases-loaded double to right scored two to tie the score, Maikel Franco's sacrifice fly to left gave Philadelphia a 3-2 lead.

The advantage was short-lived though as David Peralta hit a two-run double down the right-field line in the fifth after Velasquez loaded the bases with no outs by sandwiching a pair of walks around a single by Avila.

Arizona then went ahead 5-3 in the sixth on Avila's one-out RBI single to right.

The Phillies closed within a run in the bottom half on Cesar Hernandez's two-out single to left.

But the Diamondbacks padded their lead in the eighth with three runs, highlighted by Descalso's two-run homer that made it 8-4.

The game was played on a chilly, rainy night in front of a sparse crowd of 18,195. Much of Philadelphia sports fans' attention on Tuesday night centered across the street for Game 5 of the 76ers' first-round series clinching victory over the Miami Heat.

Velasquez took a step back from a strong string of three straight good outings and couldn't get through the fifth inning, allowing four runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and two walks. It ended a span of 12 straight starts by Philadelphia starters with three earned runs or fewer.

Velasquez entered having gone six or more innings in three straight starts after doing that just three times all of 2017.

RAY REPORT

Ray was disappointed he wasn't able to earn the victory, especially since he felt like he had his pitches working.

''I'm frustrated from the results, not the execution,'' he said. ''Definitely something to build on.''

Lovullo wanted to get Ray through the fifth, but ultimately long innings prevented that from happening.

''Those are hard situations to walk through for me,'' Lovullo said.

SLUMPING

Philadelphia's Scott Kingery went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts. He has two hits in his last 24 at-bats with 12 strikeouts.

Phillies C Jorge Alfaro struck out three times while going 0 for 4 and is now 8 for 47 (.170) with 24 strikeouts.

UP NEXT

Arizona RHP Zack Greinke (2-1, 4.13) faces Phillies RHP Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.04) on Wednesday night in the second game of the three-game series.

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Rays 0 vs. 0 Orioles Postponed Recap

Rainout delays Orioles RHP Cobb's reunion with Rays

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Tuesday, April 24 at 11:21 PM (EDT)

BALTIMORE (AP) The Tampa Bay Rays have to wait at least one more day before taking their swings against former teammate Alex Cobb.

Cobb, now with the Baltimore Orioles, was scheduled to face his old team on Tuesday night before the game was postponed by rain.

Thus, Cobb will start Wednesday in the delayed start of this series between the only two AL East teams with losing records.

The rainout will be made up as part of single-admission doubleheader on May 12.

It was the 27th major league game to be postponed this season, the most related to weather through April since the commissioner's office started keeping records in 1986. Detroit's game at Pittsburgh was washed out later Tuesday, raising the total to 28.

Cobb, 30, spent his entire career with the Rays before signing with Baltimore as a free agent on March 21. Over six years with Tampa Bay, the right-hander was 48-35 and one of the leaders of the staff.

''He was a crucial part to this organization's success,'' Rays starter Chris Archer said. ''He's a big-game pitcher and somebody who's very consistent, very routine oriented. The competitive nature rubbed off on me and rubbed off on the other guys in this clubhouse as well.''

Cobb signed a $57 million, four-year deal with the Orioles, who will be counting on him to deliver the same kind of pitching and leadership in Baltimore.

Thus far, it hasn't gone well. Cobb got off to a late start because he missed most of spring training, and since his return he's gone 0-2 with a 15.43 ERA.

''Abbreviation has affected that,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ''He's going to get going here. Hopefully he can wait one more start before he does.''

Brad Miller was down to bat cleanup for the Rays on Tuesday night before the game was called. Miller knew better than to chat with his old friend beforehand.

''Definitely wouldn't talk to him on his start days,'' Miller said. ''Thought about maybe texting him just to rattle him a little bit, but ... .''

Miller won't know what to think when he sees Cobb wearing the orange and black of the Orioles.

''It's definitely going to be weird seeing him on the mound,'' Miller said. ''I miss Cobb a lot. He was the ultimate competitor.''

And that, Miller contends, is what sets Cobb apart from most pitchers.

''He's a bulldog. Really intense, kind of an old-school throwback starting pitcher,'' Miller said. ''He's going to go out there and do anything he can for his team. So that, for me, is obviously his biggest trait.''

The rainout came at an opportune time for the Orioles, who are hampered by injuries and have lost nine of 10 games to fall 11 games under .500 (6-17).

Baltimore's projected starting lineup did not include infielder Tim Beckham, who's been bothered by a groin injury and is expected to land on the 10-day disabled list.

With Beckham out and Trey Mancini playing with a tender right knee, manager Buck Showalter would have been operating with a short bench.

Help is on the way: Baltimore claimed utility infielder Jace Peterson on waivers from the New York Yankees. He's expected to arrive Wednesday.

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Tigers 0 vs. 0 Pirates Postponed Recap

Pirates-Tigers become 28th postponement in majors this year

By WILL GRAVES - AP Sports Writer

Tuesday, April 24 at 9:33 PM (EDT)

PITTSBURGH (AP) The weather keeps wreaking havoc on the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers.

Steady rain at PNC Park on Tuesday forced the clubs to postpone a game for the third time in the first month of the season.

The game was the 28th postponement in the majors this season, the most related to weather through April since the commissioner's office started keeping those records in 1986. Baltimore and Tampa Bay were also rained out on Tuesday.

Detroit and Pittsburgh will make up the game with a straight doubleheader on Wednesday starting at 4:05 p.m.

This is the second time the teams will play a doubleheader this season and the third time they've had to reschedule due to weather. Wintry conditions pushed back opening day at Comerica Park on March 29 and their game on March 31 was also postponed. Pittsburgh swept a doubleheader from the Tigers on April 1. Detroit also had two games against the New York Yankees wiped out earlier this month.

Pittsburgh will send out Jameson Taillon (2-1, 2.86) in Game 1 against Detroit's Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 7.71). Chad Kuhl (2-1, 4.57), who had been scheduled to start on Tuesday and was originally slated to take the hill for the opener of the doubleheader, will face Matthew Boyd (0-1, 1.40) in the nightcap.

The Pirates have dropped six of seven following a hot start, while the Tigers have won five of seven.

Pittsburgh's offense has cooled off during its current slide and manager Clint Hurdle believes his team's struggles are part of a somewhat larger trend, one the weather is impacting. There could be more strikeouts than hits across the majors in a month for the first time, and Hurdle pointed to frigid temperatures as an issue.

''This has been the most challenging weather I've ever been a part of, and I'm not playing,'' said Hurdle, who spent a decade in the majors as a player from 1977-87 before going into coaching. ''It's hard to hit when it's cold.''

Pittsburgh had more strikeouts than hits in each game while dropping a four-game set with Philadelphia last week. Hurdle pointed to his own experiences as a player as proof that when conditions aren't ideal, hitting can become painful.

''Sometimes, you can only have one bad at-bat, the first at-bat of a game, in this kind of weather, (and) that can re-arrange your mental furniture,'' he said. ''I know if I hit a ball right off the end of the bat, that first at-bat, I knew I didn't want to do it again. Some of my aggressiveness might have leaked out of me.''

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Red Sox 3 vs. 4 Blue Jays Final Recap

Granderson's homer in 10th gives Blue Jays win over Red Sox

By IAN HARRISON - Associated Press

Tuesday, April 24 at 11:32 PM (EDT)

TORONTO (AP) With one big throw, and an even bigger swing, Curtis Granderson gave a somber city reason to smile.

Granderson threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the top of the ninth inning, then hit a walk-off homer in the 10th to give the Toronto Blue Jays a 4-3 win over Boston on Tuesday night and hand the Red Sox their season-worst third straight defeat.

It was the first game for the Blue Jays following Monday's deadly van attack in Toronto that killed 10 people and injured 14.

''The city's hurting,'' left-hander J.A. Happ said. ''This was a meaningful win.''

Boston (17-5) still owns the best record in the majors.

Granderon's his third home run of the season came on a 2-0 pitch from Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel (0-1), a towering solo blast off the facing of the third deck in right field. Granderson went 3 for 5 with three RBIs.

''Trying to just do anything I can to help the team win,'' said Granderson, who entered 0 for 5 with three strikeouts in his career against Kimbrel.

Kimbrel allowed his first earned run of the season and suffered his first blown save since Aug. 1, 2017, against Cleveland. The loss was Kimbrel's first since Oct. 1, 2016, against Toronto.

''You fall behind anybody, it's no good,'' Kimbrel said. ''I threw a ball in there to get back in the count and it was game over.''

Tyler Clippard (3-0) worked a scoreless 10th for the win as Toronto snapped a seven-game home losing streak against the Red Sox.

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was handed a 3-1 lead in the ninth but allowed the Red Sox to tie it, his first blown save in seven chances.

''It's a big game for us,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ''If you don't win that one, that's a kick in the teeth.''

Hanley Ramirez singled to begin the ninth, went to third on a one-out hit by Rafael Devers and scored on Eduardo Nunez's single to right. It was the first run off Osuna this season.

Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out and Nunez stole second before Christian Vazquez walked to load the bases for Brock Holt, who scored Devers with an RBI single to left. Left fielder Granderson threw out Nunez at the plate to prevent Boston from taking the lead.

''You have to challenge Granderson,'' Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. ''You've been challenging Granderson for more than five years. He made a perfect throw and threw him out.''

Happ struck out a season-high 10 over seven innings. He walked none and allowed four hits and one run in his longest outing of the season.

Boston's Rick Porcello allowed three runs and three hits in seven innings. Porcello walked three, two more than he'd walked in his previous four starts combined, and struck out a season-high nine, including five straight in the third and fourth.

''Those two guys, that was a pitching clinic,'' Cora said. ''Happ was tremendous.''

Porcello extended his scoreless innings streak to 14 by pitching around a one-out walk in the first but couldn't escape the second. One run scored on Kevin Pillar's fielder's choice, and Granderson added a two-run single that bounced off Devers' glove and rolled into shallow left field.

Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts and is 0 for 11 with eight strikeouts over his past three games.

Boston finished with a season-worst 14 strikeouts. The Red Sox have fanned 10 or more times in three straight.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts (left ankle) went 2 for 3 with an RBI in a six-inning stint with Triple-A Pawtucket, and remains on track to rejoin the Red Sox on Friday.

Blue Jays: 3B Josh Donaldson (right shoulder) could begin a minor league rehab assignment later this week, Gibbons said.

TORONTO STRONG

Before the game, the Blue Jays honored the victims of Monday's deadly attack and some of the first responders who rushed to the scene. Players from both teams stood in front of the dugouts as four Toronto police officers and two paramedics stood between second base and the pitcher's mound and were introduced to cheering fans. Following a video message and a moment of silence, a group of high school students sang the national anthems.

Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada greeted the first responders as they left the field

A blue banner reading ''(hash)TORONTOSTRONG'' was hung from the second deck in center field, and similar signs were hung on the wall behind home plate. The same message was also printed in white on the back of the mound.

CATCH OF THE DAY

Two-time Gold Glove winner Mookie Betts made a diving, backhanded catch to retire Teoscar Hernandez in the fifth.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (2-0, 3.45) is 1-3 with a 5.67 ERA in eight career games against Toronto.

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.86) will face his fourth AL East opponent in five starts when he takes the mound Wednesday. Sanchez has faced New York twice and Baltimore once.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018
National Hockey League
Maple Leafs vs. Bruins In-Progress

Bruins host Leafs in deciding Game 7

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Wednesday, April 25 at 10:14 AM (EDT)

BOSTON -- Toronto coach Mike Babcock thinks his Maple Leafs should cherish the chance to play in Wednesday night's Game 7 of their first-round series with the Boston Bruins.

"You're a kid playing outside road hockey, it's the seventh game and you're scoring a winning goal in overtime," Babcock said after his Leafs won their second straight and evened the series with a 3-1 victory in Toronto on Monday night.

"That's just the way it was your whole life," he continued. "No one else in hockey is playing right now, they're all stopped and watching and that's always some, but I think just the opportunity, you get to go on. I think there's obviously a lot on the line that way and we'd like to play in the next round, Boston wants to play in the next round, something's got to give. We're excited for the opportunity and enjoy the rest of today. Get ready tomorrow.

"...Let's embrace it."

The Boston Red Sox dedicated the 2013 season to being "Boston Strong." Tuesday, Toronto joined the long list of cities attacked in some way when a van jumped a curb and mowed people down. The Leafs paid the proper tribute to the victims before the game, and then rode Frederick Andersen to the win.

Does it carry over in Game 7?

The winner faces the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bruins surrendering the top spot in the conference with a shaky finish to the regular season.

Also in 2013, the Maple Leafs, who haven't won a playoff series since 2004, led the Bruins 4-1 late in Game 7 and wound up losing in overtime. Tuukka Rask gave up four goals on 28 shots and was not brilliant in that game and his record in elimination games is 5-11, 1-2 in Game 7s.

Tim Thomas won three seventh games and led the Bruins to the 2011 Stanley Cup. Rask lost to Philadelphia in 2010 and to Washington in 2012.

He was poor in Game 5 and guaranteed he'd be better in Game 6. He was, keeping his team in the game in the third period.

His teammates were not as good. The top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, on fire with 20 combined points in the two wins that started the series, have been scoreless in the last two games (plus Game 3) -- Bergeron was out of Game 5 with an upper-body injury and being ineffective in Monday night's game.

The trio has no points and is a combined minus-16 in the Bruins' three series losses.

"It's always how it should be. When you've lived it, you want to share that experience," Bergeron said of playing in another Game 7 (he scored the tying and winning goals in the 2013 comeback). "We have some amazing young players in this locker room and I know they're going to step up. That's the approach that we have.

"Everyone just needs to go out there and play and step up their game up and rely on everybody else to do the same. Do your job, I guess, is kind of the cliche, but that's how you have to approach (a Game 7)."

Andersen, 10-1-0 lifetime against the Bruins coming into these playoffs, shook off a shaky start in the series and has been great since.

The Bruins are trying to win their first playoff series since 2014.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018
National Hockey League
Blue Jackets vs. Capitals 8:00 (EDT)
Devils vs. Lightning 8:00 (EDT)
Wild vs. Jets 8:00 (EDT)