Today is Sunday, September 24, 2017.
|Sunday, September 24, 2017|
|Major League Baseball|
|Angels||vs.||Astros||8:08 (EDT) Preview|
Angels look to get much-needed win vs. Astros
Saturday, September 23 at 6:27 PM (EDT)
HOUSTON -- When the Los Angeles Angels bolstered their lineup with the additions of left fielder Justin Upton and second baseman Brandon Phillips at the waiver trade deadline, the acquisitions were deemed impactful enough that the club could present itself as postseason contenders.
Instead, the Angels (76-78) have regressed during the stretch run, and head into Sunday's series finale against the Houston Astros on a six-game losing streak.
With Saturday's 6-2 loss, the Angels fell to 7-13 in September. They have managed only two runs over the last three games and, despite tweaks to the starting lineup and Upton doing his part to help carry the offense with six home runs and 12 RBIs in 20 games, the Angels are spinning their wheels losing ground in the chase for the second American League wild card and postseason contention.
With eight games left on the schedule the Angels are four games behind the Minnesota Twins and just about out of time. A loss to the on Sunday would result in a second consecutive sweep and all but certain elimination.
"We can't go 2-0 tomorrow. We've got one game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've got to slice it down pitch to pitch with that focus. Certainly, there's some moves you're going to make from a tactical standpoint, maybe a pitcher is not pitching now as deep in games as he may have in April or May. You're certainly going to match up more in your bullpen. So, those are things that we've been doing for the last month."
The Angels will turn to left-hander Tyler Skaggs (2-6, 4.30 ERA) to help keep their postseason hopes afloat. In six career starts against the Astros (95-59), Skaggs is 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA including two starts against Houston this season where he is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA over 12 innings.
Skaggs missed 85 games on the disabled list with a right oblique muscle strain.
All-Star right-hander Lance McCullers (7-3, 3.97 ERA) will make just his second start for the Astros since July 30 in the series finale.
McCullers has battled a number of ailments this season, first serving two stints on the disabled list with back woes before being sidelined since his last start on Sept. 6 with arm fatigue. McCullers, 0-1 with an 8.24 ERA over four starts in the second half, is 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA over eight career starts against the Angels.
With outfielder Jake Marisnick lost for the season with a broken right thumb, the Astros have been working with center fielder Cameron Maybin to tweak his swing mechanics. Maybin, acquired at the same deadline as Upton and Phillips, opened his Astros' career with a flourish, belting three home runs and producing seven RBIs over his first six games with the ball club.
Maybin has slumped badly since.
After going 0-for-4 on Saturday, Maybin is batting .037 (1-for-27) with one RBI and six strikeouts and no walks over nine games (six starts).
"Lately he's gotten a little bit mechanical and caught in between with some of his hitting mechanics," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Getting him some regular at-bats will be nice for him because he's just one click away from getting back to being productive. I like what I've seen from him even though he's had a tough week."
|Twins||vs.||Tigers||12:10 (EDT) Preview|
Twins try to inch closer to playoff berth versus Tigers
Sunday, September 24 at 3:38 AM (EDT)
DETROIT -- The Minnesota Twins not only pass the eye test, they pass the 'D' test.
Good defense has been a Minnesota trademark this season as the Twins scramble to keep ahead of the pack in the run to the second American League wild-card spot.
"They have tried to find ways to be able to measure those things a little bit more specifically," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said Saturday before his Twins rallied for eight runs in the eighth inning to post a 10-4 victory over Detroit. "I still think that the eye test sometime is the best test.
"I mean the numbers usually just support what you kind of already know by watching. I've been really pleased that the guys have taken a lot of pride in that side of the game."
Byron Buxton in center and two telephone poles would constitute a good outfield defense, Joe Mauer is among the elite at first, Brian Dozier is reliable at second, Jorge Polanco is steady at short and Eduardo Escobar has been sterling at third since Miguel Sango was injured in mid-August.
"I think coming off of last year and having to listen to me talk about defense in spring training probably more than a couple of times (might be responsible)," Molitor said. "And the effort that they've put in to try to make themselves a better club in terms of that aspect of the game.
"And it's paid dividends. I think it not only shows up on the outs that we have and our ability to get off the field but I think it gives more confidence to your pitching staff when they know that if they throw it over (the plate) the guys are going to make plays."
Right-hander Jose Berrios (12-8 3.94 ERA) will start Sunday for the Twins and his improvement from last year to this is one of the reasons Minnesota holds the second wild-card spot by 4 1/2 games over Kansas City, Texas and the Los Angeles Angels. He lost his last start, in New York.
Berrios started once this season against Detroit without receiving a decision and over his two seasons in the majors is 0-1 in three starts with an 18.00 ERA against the Tigers.
Detroit counters with right-hander Buck Farmer (4-4, 7.11 ERA), who is making his 10th start of 2017 and a late-season audition for a spot in next year's rotation.
Farmer has made only one start amid five career appearances against the Twins in his career and is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in that time. He also lost his last start.
Manager Brad Ausmus isn't into big goodbyes and won't speak to his team about leaving until the last game of the season, in Minnesota.
"I'm not going to plan anything out," he said. "I'll just speak to them from the heart.
"Why finish out the season? I'm under contract for 2017 and my job is to manage the Tigers. And I'm going to do that until I finish the season.
"It's going to be a little bit of a haul for the first couple years. But they're moving in the right direction and I wish Al (GM Avila) and the Tigers nothing but the best."
Ausmus reiterated he knew when Detroit traded Justin Upton and Justin Verlander on Aug. 31 that he was going to finish out the season and his contract and then leave. He called his wife and told her he felt it would be best to let the Tigers bring in another manager to guide the rebuild.
His last home game as Detroit's manager is Sunday.
"I mean, we've had good crowds," he said, "despite the fact that we haven't been playing winning baseball. Quite frankly, I'd like to just win."
|Yankees||vs.||Blue Jays||1:07 (EDT) Preview|
Yankees look to keep foot on pedal versus Blue Jays
Sunday, September 24 at 2:27 AM (EDT)
TORONTO -- The New York Yankees have clinched an American League wild-card spot.
Do no expect them to be taking it easy when they complete their three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday at the Rogers Centre.
They still have a faint chance of winning the American League East although they trail the first-place Boston Red Sox by four games.
"The first goal is obviously to win the division," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The next goal is to make sure, if you don't win the division, is that you have home-field advantage (for the wild-card game). I think it's important that we keep our foot on the gas. Our fate may not be determined till the last weekend."
The Yankees clinched a wild-card spot with a 5-1 victory Saturday after losing to the Blue Jays 8-1 on Friday. Their magic number to clinch at least homefield in the wild-card game is three as they lead Minnesota by 5 1/2 games.
New York left-hander Jaime Garcia (5-9, 4.19 ERA) opposes Toronto righty Marcus Stroman (12-8, 3.01) on Sunday. It is the final home game of the season for the Blue Jays.
The Yankees (86-68) were not expected to do as well as they have this season, while the Blue Jays (72-83), who played in the past two American League Championship Series, were not expected to be last in the AL East as they are now.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is impressed with the Yankees.
"They're young and talented," Gibbons said after the game Saturday. "They've got a lot of pop in their lineup. They've got some good pieces to go along with it. Some speed with (Jacoby) Ellsbury and (Brett) Gardner. They've got some good starting pitching and arguably one of the best bullpens, if not the best. They can be as tough as anybody."
The Yankees are on a 16-6 roll that started Aug. 31.
"It's a great accomplishment," Girardi said. "We learned a lot about our young players, our veteran players. To see the kids kind of grow up in front of you, it's special.
"We're still playing for the division. Obviously, I have to be smart. I can't run guys out there 10 days in a row. That doesn't make sense because I think it becomes counterproductive.
"We're going to do what we can to win these games and see where we're at. If we do get eliminated from the division then you start to think a little differently."
The Yankees are 18 games above. 500, which matches a season high.
"We're a lot better than a lot of people thought we were," Yankees infielder Chase Headley said. "This is my second postseason in 11 years so I'm enjoying it. Obviously, we have more work to be done but any time you have a chance to play in the postseason, you can't take it for granted. A lot of guys play a long time and don't have this chance."
The Blue Jays are finishing up a disappointing season and right fielder Jose Bautista could be playing his final home game with the team. It is unlikely that the club will pick up the $17-million option for 2018.
"A lot of us, as usual, played through a lot of things, physically and mentally," Bautista said. "We tried our best. We just couldn't get consistent enough, we didn't get the results we wanted. I'm sure if you go down this room, individually and collectively, everybody's going to have sort of the same feeling about the season even though there were more than a few guys here who have had terrific seasons. And that shouldn't be put on the back burner. ...
"A month ago, a month and a half ago, we were still in the ball game. Even two weeks ago we were still with high hopes and high possibilities. It just didn't happen for us."
One of the Blue Jays to have a good season is Stroman, who reached a career best Tuesday with his 12th win of the season.
He defeated the Kansas City Royals for his first win since Aug. 16, a span of five winless starts (0-2) when he allowed one run, four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings. In his past six starts, he is 1-2 with a 2.91 ERA. He is 0-1, 5.79, in three starts against the Yankees this season and is 5-3, 2.97 in 11 career starts against them.
Garcia will make his eighth start as a Yankee Sunday.
The Yankees are his third team this season. He is 5-9 with a 4.19 ERA in 26 starts combined with the Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins and the Yankees.
The 31-year-old allowed one unearned run in a no-decision Monday against the Twins. He allowed four hits, no walks and struck out nine. He was acquired from the Twins in a trade July 29 after he made one start for them. The Twins acquired him in a trade with the Braves on July 24. He is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA with the Yankees.
Garcia is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four career starts against the Blue Jays. He allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings in his only start against Toronto this season, receiving a no-decision May 16 when he was with Atlanta.
|Nationals||vs.||Mets||1:10 (EDT) Preview|
Scherzer, deGrom to duel in Nationals-Mets matchup
Sunday, September 24 at 3:26 AM (EDT)
NEW YORK -- Two of the National League's best pitchers will square off Sunday afternoon when the New York Mets host the Washington Nationals in the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field.
If all goes according to plan for Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, Sunday will also be the game in which he takes another step closer toward matching the ace standards set by Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer.
DeGrom (15-9, 3.55 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Scherzer (15-6, 2.59) in a rare matchup of true No. 1 pitchers. Both teams will be looking for a series win after the Nationals snapped a two-game losing streak Saturday night with a 4-3, 10-inning victory.
Scherzer (253) and deGrom (228) entered Saturday ranked 1-2 in the NL in strikeouts and were in the top 10 in wins, ERA and innings pitched.
"They're two of the best in the game," Mets manager Terry Collins said of deGrom and Scherzer. "If you're a baseball fan, those are games you want to see. And I'm going to get to see it, so I'm excited about it."
Scherzer continued to cement himself as one of the best pitchers of his era in his most recent start on Tuesday, when he not only picked up the win by allowing two runs in seven innings in the Nationals' 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves but also struck out seven to reach 250 strikeouts for the fourth straight season.
Scherzer is the fourth pitcher with 250 strikeouts in four straight seasons. His predecessors? Hall of Famers Fergie Jenkins, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez.
"You have to be durable to accomplish that," Scherzer told reporters afterward. "I have been durable and going out there, making 30-plus starts every year. That is how you achieve something like that."
When Scherzer takes the mound Sunday, he will reach 30 starts for the ninth straight season - a streak exceeded only by Chicago Cubs left-hander Jon Lester, who has made at least 30 starts in 10 straight seasons.
Scherzer is 8 2/3 innings shy of reaching 200 innings for the fifth straight year. DeGrom reached 30 starts for the second time in his most recent outing Sept. 16, when he picked up the win after allowing one run in seven innings in the Mets' 7-3 win over the Braves, is 4 2/3 innings away from reaching 200 for the first time.
DeGrom has had his eye on 200 innings since spring training.
"That's a big thing," deGrom said following a win over the Miami Marlins on Aug 20. "That was kind of a goal coming into the year."
DeGrom was initially scheduled to start Friday's series opener but was pushed back two days due to a stomach illness. He is 5-3 with a 2.75 ERA in 11 career starts against the Nationals. Scherzer is 7-4 with a 2.27 ERA in 14 career appearances (13 starts) against the Mets, whom he no-hit on Oct. 3, 2015.
|Red Sox||vs.||Reds||1:10 (EDT) Preview|
Red Sox's Fister looks for better start against Reds
Saturday, September 23 at 8:35 PM (EDT)
CINCINNATI -- Boston Red Sox right-hander Doug Fister adjusted his pregame schedule in an effort to improve his first-inning command. He's scheduled to make his 13th start of the season on Sunday afternoon when the Red Sox wrap up a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Boston's magic number to clinch the American League East title now is five. The Red Sox (90-64) lead the second-place New York Yankees by four games in the division standings after the Yankees won on Saturday at Toronto.
In the first inning this season, Fister owns a 9.69 ERA with three home runs, seven doubles, and a triple allowed this season. By the fourth inning, Fister's ERA plummets to 0.77.
"That's the biggest issue for him, just to come out and command the baseball a little more regularly," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "To me, the biggest key for him is the first out of every inning.
"When he records the first out of each inning, that's when he's in a much better position to put up a zero. Because he is a contact pitcher, first out is key for him."
Fister is 2-2 with a 5.00 ERA and 15 earned runs allowed in 27 innings in his past five starts. Most of that damage has been done in the first and second innings. He has allowed 11 earned runs in his past two starts, five in the first.
"There was an adjustment, getting the warmups started pregame closer to game time," Farrell said. "Every guy has their own routine. He had one, he would finish prior to the start of the game earlier than most. Just thought maybe that had something to do with re-establishing a release point and repeating the delivery. So we've shortened that up. The first inning has been somewhat of a challenge for him."
Fister is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in three career starts against the Reds. Fister owns a career 2.97 ERA in interleague games. He issued a season-high five walks in his last start at Baltimore.
"His start in Baltimore was uncharacteristic in terms of the number of walks issued," Farrell said. "He's a guy who's going to throw the ball over the plate and have good command. He's a contact pitcher."
Cincinnati (66-89) will send rookie right-hander Jackson Stephens to the mound on Sunday for his third career start. Stephens is 1-0 as a starter with an 8.31 ERA and eight earned runs and four home runs in 8 2/3 innings.
The Red Sox hope to have right fielder Mookie Betts back in the lineup on Sunday. He was scratched from his Saturday start with a left foot contusion. He fouled a pitch off the top of his foot in his second at-bat on Friday.
Boston leads the all-time series 11-1. The Red Sox have swept three of the four series played between the clubs.
The Reds and Red Sox haven't played each other since 2014. The most memorable meeting, of course, was in the 1975 World Series, won by Cincinnati in seven games. It's regarded by many to be the most exciting Fall Classic ever played.
|Cardinals||vs.||Pirates||1:35 (EDT) Preview|
Cardinals turn to Gant in series finale versus Pirates
Sunday, September 24 at 2:57 AM (EDT)
PITTSBURGH -- St. Louis, clawing to get into the playoffs and trying to improve to 6-1-1 in its most recent eight series, will turn to John Gant on Sunday.
Gant, a sinkerballer, will be making his first start as a Cardinal player and first in the majors this season when St. Louis (81-73) plays the rubber match of a three-game series against also-ran Pittsburgh (70-85) at PNC Park.
The Pirates did a little spoiling Saturday night with an 11-6 victory, breaking the Cardinals' four-game winning streak and leaving them a half-game behind second-place Milwaukee and five behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central.
The Cardinals are 1 1/2 games behind Colorado for the final NL wild-card spot.
Sunday will be St. Louis' last road game of the regular season.
Gant (0-0, 3.86 ERA) earned the promotion to this start -- with Jack Flaherty going to the bullpen -- after three solid relief appearances.
"I'm just going to go make the start and do my best," Gant told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I'm not approaching it any different kind of way. I'm just going to go play baseball.
"I feel pretty loose. I feel comfortable going the distance -- whatever that may be."
Wednesday at Cincinnati, he pitched two scoreless innings in his most recent relief appearance.
"The ball's coming out good and I've been making some good pitches," the 25-year-old told the Post-Dispatch.
"It's nice being here in the playoff push, but it's still just baseball," he said. "I'm here to take some pressure off some of the other guys by picking up some innings and to do whatever I'm asked to do. I want to contribute any way I can to help this team win and to find a way into the playoffs."
Gant broke into the majors with Atlanta last season before being acquired by the Cardinals in the offseason for left-hander Jaime Garcia. He was recalled from Triple-A Memphis as part of the general roster expansion Sept. 1. His last start was Aug. 27 for Memphis, when he allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Against the Pirates, Gant is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two career relief appearances.
Gant will square off against Pittsburgh right-hander and fellow 25-year-old Jameson Taillon (7-7, 4.73 ERA). Taillon has had an up-and-down season and it seemed to be showing the later in the season it got.
He is 2-5 with a 6.86 ERA since the All-Star break and hasn't had a win since Aug. 11 at Toronto.
Then, earlier this month, he had his turn in the lineup skipped. That gave him a boost, even if the results weren't great immediately.
In his first start after the 10-day layoff, Taillon allowed two runs in five-plus innings with six hits, one walk and four strikeouts.
"I actually thought I did pretty well, definitely an encouraging step in the right direction, which is what I'm looking for at the end of the year," Taillon said.
"The season's coming to a close. I'm just looking to trend in the right direction."
Taillon is 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in four career starts against St. Louis.
|Phillies||vs.||Braves||1:35 (EDT) Preview|
Braves bid to sweep Phillies in final home game
Sunday, September 24 at 1:49 AM (EDT)
ATLANTA -- Two highly regarded rookies will close out the first season at SunTrust Park on Sunday.
Philadelphia will send right-hander Nick Pivetta (6-10, 6.57 ERA) to the mound against Atlanta left-hander Luiz Gohara (1-2, 6.00) in the finale of a three-game series. It will be Atlanta's final home game this year at SunTrust, where they have posted a 37-43 mark.
Atlanta has won the first two games of the series. The Braves have won four straight contests against the Phillies after winning only two of their first 14 meetings. Atlanta's last three-game sweep over Philadelphia came in September 2016.
Pivetta will make his 25th start of the season. The rookie was promoted in late April has been a steady contributor since joining the rotation. Pivetta was acquired by the team in a 2015 trade with Washington that sent reliever Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals.
Pivetta won his last start on Sept. 18, posting a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pivetta allowed two runs on four hits and struck out eight in six innings against the Dodgers.
Pivetta is trying to ensure his place in the Philadelphia rotation for 2018. He struggled mightily during five August starts when he was 1-3 with an 11.57 ERA. He's been better in four September starts, going 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA.
"He needs to understand how to continue to carry that through five, six, seven or even eight innings," Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said. "That's when you get to be a real solid starter. He's a young pitcher. It's his first year in the big leagues. He's going to get it. He's going to be good."
Consistency is the problem with Pivetta, who average 9.52 strikeouts per nine innings. He's had double-digit strikeouts twice, including a career-high 11 against the Padres on Aug. 16.
Pivetta has made two starts against Atlanta this season. He's 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA and beat the Braves on July 31 when he allowed one run in six innings.
Gohara has less major league experience as he will be making his fourth start and is trying to put himself in consideration for inclusion in the 2018 starting rotation. Gohara was acquired from Seattle, which was growing impatient with the beefy 6-foot-3, 230-pound prospect.
Gohara, 21, has breezed through the club's minor league system. He began in Single-A and was pitching with Triple-A Gwinnett before being called up on Sept 4. He was 7-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 26 minor league appearances with three clubs in 2017.
Since being thrust into the starting rotation, Gohara has faced some good hitters. He made his debut against the Rangers and has two starts against Washington. His best game came on Sept. 13 when he outpitched Washington's Max Scherzer and allowed one run in six innings.
"He battles," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "He's a strike thrower. He gets the ball over the plate. I thought he was a little sharper the other day in Washington, but he's still pretty good."
It could be the final home game for Snitker, who is nearing the end of a one-year contract to manage the team. Snitker, who has spent 40 years with the Braves organization, said he would like to return.
The Braves finish the season with four games in New York and four in Miami. Philadelphia returns home for three-game series against Washington and the New York Mets.
|Rays||vs.||Orioles||1:35 (EDT) Preview|
Rays aim to keep flickering playoff hopes alive vs. Orioles
Sunday, September 24 at 2:21 AM (EDT)
BALTIMORE -- Seeking to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Tampa Bay Rays will look for their third straight win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday at Camden Yards.
After dropping the series opener Thursday night, the Rays (76-79) have taken the last two in this four-game weekend series behind their big bats and starting pitching.
Lucas Duda and Logan Morrison each went deep in Saturday's 9-6 win over the Orioles, as the Rays set a single-season franchise record for home runs. They now have 218 this season.
"It's cool," said Morrison, who clubbed his 37th of the season on the first pitch of the ninth inning Saturday night. "We've had some guys set some career highs. That's one aspect of the game where we have done pretty well this year."
Starting pitchers Alex Cobb and Jake Odorizzi, meanwhile, turned in solid outings back-to-back to keep Tampa Bay five games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second American League wild-card spot.
Odorizzi struck out a season-high nine batters and only allowed three hits over six innings in Saturday's win.
The Orioles (74-82) were eliminated from postseason contention with Saturday's loss, their 14th in their last 17 games.
"It's unfortunate, but like I said, we're not going to stop playing hard," said left fielder Trey Mancini, who is riding a career-long hitting streak of 13 games. "It's a 162-game season. It is tough to be eliminated from postseason contention, but still got a week of baseball left."
For Sunday's series finale, the Rays will send Chris Archer to the mound.
Archer is looking for his first win since Aug. 22. He has lost each of his last four starts after experiencing discomfort in his right forearm.
Rays manager Kevin Cash dismissed the idea that the injury is lingering and affecting Archer's performance. In his most recent start Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs, Archer gave the Rays six solid innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and striking out six.
"We would not be pitching him if there was any concern," Cash said. "He's 100 percent healthy, very strong. You can see that by the stuff he is featuring every fifth day."
Archer will be making his 33rd start of the season. He is 9-11 with a 4.02 ERA in 192 1/3 innings pitched.
"I think Arch has had a good year," Cash said. "You look at just the body of work, the innings that he's provided, the opportunities he's gone out there with and given us a chance to win, I think he's had a solid year. I'd like to see him finish strong."
In 15 prior starts against the Orioles, Archer is 4-7 with a 4.78 ERA. He is 1-4 all-time at Camden Yards.
This season, Archer is 1-1 against the Orioles with a 6.39 ERA. He won his last start against them June 23 in Tampa Bay, allowing five earned runs on seven hits over six innings. Archer also lost to the Orioles at Camden Yards on April 24.
The Orioles will counter with their best starting pitcher this season, Dylan Bundy.
Having already logged a career high for innings pitched, Bundy will make his 29th start of the season Sunday.
Bundy has not won since Aug. 29. In his last start, he was hammered by the Boston Red Sox for six earned runs on seven hits before earning a no-decision last Monday.
Overall, Bundy has thrown 169 2/3 innings this season. That's 60 more than he threw last season. He is 13-9 with a 4.24 ERA.
This will be the fourth start Bundy has made against the Rays this season. He is 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA over the previous three. After earning a no-decision against Tampa Bay on April 16 at Camden Yards, Bundy beat the Rays on June 24 in Tampa and lost to them July 1 at home.
In six career starts against Tampa Bay, Bundy is 1-2 with a 6.26 ERA.
|Cubs||vs.||Brewers||2:10 (EDT) Preview|
Cubs, Brewers meet in key series finale
Sunday, September 24 at 2:14 AM (EDT)
MILWAUKEE -- The postseason is still a week away, but the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs can expect another afternoon of playoff-like intensity and atmosphere on Sunday when they wrap up a four-game showdown at Miller Park.
The first three games of this crucial four-game series between the National League Central-leading Cubs and the upstart Brewers have been riddled with drama: strong solid pitching, lockdown late-inning relief and last at-bat heroics as all three games went 10 innings and were decided by two runs or fewer.
"There's no difference between these three games and the games that are going to occur in the next month," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon, whose team has a 4 1/2-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central. "They were absolutely that intense, well played on both sides, give both teams credit."
And the Brewers, who kept their slimming playoff hopes alive Saturday with a two-run walk-off homer by Travis Shaw, know it won't get any easier.
"I haven't been able to come up with the words for this series," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "This is about as exciting as it gets. It is as exciting as it gets.(The Cubs are) clearly coming into a good place where they're really tough to beat."
The Brewers not only are behind the Cubs for the division lead but trail Colorado by just a game for the second National League wild-card spot, with a half-game lead over the resurgent St. Louis Cardinals.
"They've battled when people have counted them out or not believed," Counsell said. "They'll continue to show up fight until the very end."
Chase Anderson gets the start as Milwaukee goes for the series split and a victory in the season series, which is tied at nine games apiece.
He has been sharp all season, despite missing nearly two months with a strained oblique, but has been dominant at Miller Park, where he's 5-0 with a 2.34 ERA in 10 starts this season.
"I want to be that guy," Anderson said of stepping up to bolster a rotation that has been depleted by injury and ineffectiveness. "There's plenty of guys in this clubhouse that can be that guy, but when you get asked to do it, it's an honor. I hope to do it throughout this September and hopefully in the postseason.
"I feel strong, I feel healthy and I think being out with the oblique injury kind of set me up for this. Kind of a blessing in disguise. Arm feels great, I'm ready to go."
Anderson has faced the Cubs three times this season, going 2-1 with a 5.14 ERA, and is 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA in six career starts against Chicago, which hands the ball to left-hander Jose Quintana.
Acquired at the break from the crosstown White Sox, Quintana has gone 6-3 with a 3.95 ERA since shifting to the North Side and took a no-decision his last time out, allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Cardinals.
"He's becoming more part of the fabric, he knows the guys now, he seems more at ease," Maddon said of Quintana. "He's become part of the group. He's assimilated well.
"He's easy to respect. It's easy to respect this guy the way he goes about his work. He's become more comfortable with us and I think he won us over with the way he went about his work."
|Royals||vs.||White Sox||2:10 (EDT) Preview|
Royals' Kennedy welcomes son, set to face White Sox
Sunday, September 24 at 2:44 AM (EDT)
CHICAGO -- Six years, four months, five children, one boy.
It almost sounds like an official scorer or broadcaster reciting a pitching line, but those figures simply illustrate the particulars for Kansas City Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy, his wife, Allison, and their growing young family.
"There's a lot going on there," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
The Kennedys welcomed their fifth child and first son, Isaac Patrick, on Friday, and the boy's father wasted no time in imparting a lesson on commitment.
Ian Kennedy is scheduled to start for the Royals in Sunday's series finale against the host Chicago White Sox. He traveled from Kansas City to Chicago on Saturday, Yost said.
Kennedy (4-12, 5.39 ERA) returned to the rotation on Tuesday after missing his previous start with fatigue in his throwing shoulder. He entered the sixth inning with a shutout before the Toronto Blue Jays' Darwin Barney smacked a two-run home run on an 0-2 changeup with none out.
Although Kennedy took the loss for the Royals, Yost still expressed optimism in his five-plus innings of three-hit, two-run, two-strikeout ball. It was Kennedy's first start without a walk all season.
"He threw very well," Yost said. "You know, he had rotator cuff fatigue and it dropped his arm slot. We skipped him one start, it was 11 days, and it got everything back on track. And now he's been on top of his arm slot, and everything's been good."
Kennedy, who is 2-2 with a 4.63 ERA in eight career starts against the White Sox, will look to keep the Royals afloat in a muddled American League wild-card race. Kansas City (76-78) rebounded from Friday's frustrating loss in the series opener with an 8-2 victory against Chicago (62-92) on Saturday.
The Royals stand 4 1/2 games back of American League Central rival Minnesota for the second wild-card spot with eight games to play, but also are battling Los Angeles and Texas, among other teams in a jumbled race.
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (2-3, 2.58 ERA) will make his second career start against the Royals. Giolito took a no-decision in a Sept. 13 start at Kansas City, spacing one run, four hits, three walks and three strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
The Royals are no strangers to in-season births in players' families. In August 2016, left-handed reliever Mike Minor was in Sacramento on a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha when his wife prepared to give birth to the couple's second child.
Minor remembers a whirlwind stretch surrounding the joyous news in his native Tennessee.
"My wife went into labor and then they contacted us, contacted the team, they did everything to get me the first flight home, and I went right to the hospital. ... I only took maybe a day or two, and then I was back."
Fellow reliever Brandon Maurer was born during baseball season -- in July 1990 -- but said, "I've had a pretty standard ride, I guess," when it comes to experiencing in-season family milestones. Or in his case, a lack thereof.
Several teammates texted Kennedy Friday to offer well wishes.
"A lot of guys reached out and just made sure everything went OK," Maurer said.
|Rangers||vs.||Athletics||4:05 (EDT) Preview|
Rangers hope to ride Perez to win over A's
Sunday, September 24 at 3:33 AM (EDT)
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Texas Rangers left-hander Martin Perez had a 5-10 record and a 5.46 ERA after his first 21 starts this season. He owned a four-game losing streak and had allowed a combined 15 runs and 18 hits in losses to Baltimore and Minnesota.
Perez appeared to be well on his way to the worst season of his major-league career but somehow flipped the switch after that Aug. 4 loss to the Twins and has been almost unbeatable down the stretch.
Perez has gone 7-1 with a 3.14 ERA in his past nine starts, and he'll try to stay hot Sunday afternoon in the series finale against the Oakland Athletics with the Rangers clinging to their wild-card playoff hopes.
"I found a way to throw more strikes and get out of the inning when I get problems in a game," Perez said. "Just trying to stay positive and never lost my mind and never lost my focus. I'm good now. I think now it's my time to do things good for the team."
The Rangers (76-78) lost 1-0 to the A's on Saturday night and fell 4 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins, who were 10-4 winners over Detroit, for the second AL wild-card spot. The Rangers, who have eight games remaining, are tied with Kansas City and the Los Angeles Angels in the wild-card race.
"We still have a chance," Perez said before the loss. "Just go out there and do my job and throw a quality start. I think it's time to help the team. We need it. So go out there and do my job and try to go six or seven tomorrow and win. That's what it's all about. Win."
Unfortunately for the Rangers, they're 1-7 with seven straight losses at the Coliseum this year. They need to win Sunday to avoid getting swept at the Coliseum for the second straight time.
"We got to win games," said Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele, who served as acting manager in place of Jeff Banister, who returned to Texas to be with his mother, Verda, who is experiencing complications for surgery. "It's simple. We got eight games left. We know where we're at."
The Rangers will face A's right-hander Jharel Cotton, who was scratched from his previous scheduled start Wednesday at Detroit after straining a groin while warming up before the game.
Cotton (8-10, 5.81) is 3-0 in his past five starts with victories against Houston, Texas and Boston.
"Of course I want to go out there for my last two starts and prove myself some more," said Cotton, a rookie. "This year was for sure a learning experience. I learned a lot and of course it's going to take me into the offseason on a good note and I'm excited for that."
Cotton allowed two runs and four hits in six innings in an 8-3 A's victory over Texas on Aug. 27 at the Coliseum. He struck out nine, matching his career high, and walked none.
"I think everything was working," Cotton said. "My command was there. And the confidence was there. I'm going to take that same approach into tomorrow."
Cotton is 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA in three career starts against Texas. This year, he's 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts vs. the Rangers.
Perez is 6-6 with a 5.03 ERA in 14 career starts against the A's. This season against Oakland, he's 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in two starts.
The A's have won a season-high six straight games and are 13-3 in their past 16 games.
"It's fun to watch," Cotton said. "We're coming together as a squad and it's going to be something special to watch, especially in the upcoming years. I'm excited about it. I'm excited to be a part of it."
|Giants||vs.||Dodgers||4:10 (EDT) Preview|
Giants look to win series against Dodgers
Sunday, September 24 at 3:32 AM (EDT)
LOS ANGELES -- The San Francisco Giants have been looking ahead to next season for a while, and they'll put rookie right-hander Chris Stratton back under the microscope in their series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon.
Stratton (3-3, 3.94 ERA) has made an impression over his past six outings, posting a 2.17 ERA in that span to demonstrate he's a legit candidate to fill a back-end starter role next season.
"He's on a nice roll," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News after Stratton allowed two runs and five hits over six innings in a 7-2 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. "If you have good stuff and good command and the ability to adjust your patterns and how you attack hitters, you'll be good. That's how it works in the major leagues and he's doing that."
Stratton, taken 20th overall by the Giants in the 2012 MLB Draft, two spots behind Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, made one of his nine career starts against the visiting Dodgers on Sept. 11, but recorded only one out on five pitches before a lengthy rain delay ended his evening.
He made his only other appearance against Los Angeles in June of last season and earned his first major league win in one inning of relief. He gave up a solo home run in the 10th inning to Adrian Gonzalez, but the Giants scored twice in the bottom of the inning off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen to win the game.
Stratton will be up against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who's still trying to find his rhythm after missing six weeks with back issues. Kershaw (17-4, 2.26 ERA) is 2-2 with a 3.74 ERA in four starts since his return. He gave up the first grand slam of his career in his most recent outing, a 4-3 loss at the Philadelphia Phillies.
Kershaw lost a 4-3 decision to the visiting Giants on May 1, but has been otherwise stellar against San Francisco this season, owning a 3-1 mark with a 1.73 ERA. He beat the Giants on Sept. 12 after holding them to one earned run and scattering eight hits in six innings of a 5-3 victory in San Francisco.
Kershaw has thrown a career-high five shutouts in 39 starts against San Francisco. He's 21-9 overall against the Giants with a 1.62 mark, his best ERA against a team he has faced at least 10 times.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he does not plan to place any limitations on Kershaw, even though Los Angeles has already locked up the National League West title.
"He's going to go full bore and after (Sunday) we'll know more on how we want to manage him for that last start against Colorado," Roberts said.
The Giants won't be holding anything back against Kershaw either. They're looking to win a series for one of the few times this season.
"They're staying focused, despite where we're at." Bochy said of his players after a 2-1 win on Saturday night. "That's what I feel good about. I like the intensity and how we're playing."
|Indians||vs.||Mariners||4:10 (EDT) Preview|
Indians face Mariners with postseason in mind
Sunday, September 24 at 1:35 AM (EDT)
SEATTLE -- With only a handful of games in the regular season and the American League Central title already in hand, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has the luxury of getting his team set up for the postseason.
That covers a lot of ground, from setting up the rotation, giving his veterans a breather to making sure they have their legs in October.
"We're trying to put a lineup out there that can win every day," Francona said. "That's their goal. But we're also trying to accomplish some things and we need to keep our house in order."
Then there is the part of Francona's job where he writes right-hander Corey Kluber's name into the lineup, as he'll do on Sunday -- that's not about to change.
The Indians have already clinched the AL Central, but are still pushing for the league's best record -- they currently have a 1 1/2-game edge against the Houston Astros. And catching the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors is still a possibility.
At 75-80, the Mariners' AL wild card hopes are alive, but fading, six games behind the Minnesota Twins with seven games left to play.
Kluber comes into Sunday's game with a 17-4 record with a 2.35 ERA in 191 2/3 innings and is one of the frontrunners for the AL Cy Young Award.
He's been almost flawless in September, going 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA in 31 innings with 37 strikeouts against one walk.
The Indians also figure to get some players back in the lineup Sunday, such as designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and center fielder Jason Kipnis, each of whom got days off on Saturday. Kipnis had missed 3 1/2 weeks with a strained hamstring before coming off the disabled list on Sunday.
"We went over it with the trainers," Francona said. "There was thought to play him all three and maybe playing him at short (on Saturday). But I think they felt it would be really good for him not to play today, play (Sunday) and maybe play nine."
Among the Mariners, Robinson Cano has hit Kluber the hardest in his career, hitting .364 (4-for-11 with three doubles) against the Indians' ace.
For Seattle's regular-season home finale on Sunday, the Mariners will turn to Mike Leake (3-0 with Seattle, 10-12 overall), who has been their hottest pitcher in September.
Since being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals on Aug. 30, Leake has shined in the Mariners' rotation, posting a 2.13 ERA in 25 1/3 innings over four starts. On a Seattle staff that had aces Felix Hernandez and James Paxton still mending down the stretch, that was just was needed.
"He's probably exceeded expectations on the numbers he's put out there in his first four starts," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I probably wasn't expecting him to be that good. We'll take it."
But that's only been part of what Leake has brought to the Mariners' clubhouse, smoothly fitting into the team's chemistry.
"I really like his fit in our group, in our clubhouse in what he brings from an experience standpoint," Servais said. "He likes to talk pitching. You see him talking to our younger guys all the time, with our catchers, stuff like that."
After spending most of his time in the National League this season, of the Indians' regulars, Leake has only seen Jay Bruce in 2017 -- another player who spent most of the season in the NL. Bruce went 1-for-2 against Leake on July 14 when the Bruce's New York Mets defeated Leake's St. Louis Cardinals, 7-3.
But over his career, Leake has limited current members of the Indians to a .188 batting average.
|Marlins||vs.||Diamondbacks||4:10 (EDT) Preview|
Marlins try to get in the way of Diamondbacks
Sunday, September 24 at 2:36 AM (EDT)
The Miami Marlins have been eliminated from playoff contention, but they haven't stopped fighting.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are closing in on their first playoff berth since 2011, but they haven't stopped working to accomplish their goal.
That, in a nutshell, figures to be the mindset for the Marlins (73-81) and Diamondbacks (89-66) when they meet in Sunday's rubber game of a three-game series.
"This is September baseball," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo told mlb.com. "When you are driving toward something as special as we are, you feel that moment."
So far, the series has been a hide-your-eyes type of nightmare for pitchers. The Diamondbacks won Friday's game 13-11 and Miami won 12-6 on Saturday.
On Sunday, the Diamondbacks will throw left-hander Patrick Corbin (14-13, 4.14 ERA) against Miami right-hander Dan Straily (10-9, 4.17 ERA).
Arizona's magic number for hosting the National League wild-card playoff game is one, which means the Diamondbacks can punch their ticket by simply beating the Marlins on Sunday -- no need to worry about what the Colorado Rockies are doing against the San Diego Padres.
But the Diamondbacks -- like every team lately -- are going to try to be extra careful with Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who went 3-for-6 with four RBIs and a homer on Saturday. Stanton's homer was his major-league leading 57th of the season.
"He's been hitting everybody," Marlins manager Don Mattingly told mlb.com when asked about Stanton, who this year has set franchise records for homers and RBIs (125). "He is capable of hitting two homers per game, pretty much."
Stanton, in fact, has two career homers against Corbin in just 14 at-bats.
But it's not just Stanton who Corbin has trouble keeping in the park. Corbin has allowed 50 homers the past two years in 55 starts. He has a career 4.14 ERA, but that mark sinks to 5.00 in his career in September.
In five starts against the Marlins, he is 1-1 with a 5.04 ERA.
Still, Corbin, who broke into the majors in 2012, is one win grom setting his career best with 15 victories. And his 32nd start, set to happen Sunday, would tie his career high.
This is Corbin's second full year after elbow surgery, and his biggest improvement has been his walk rate, which is down from 3.8 to 2.7.
Meanwhile, Straily has turned in his second straight double-figure win season. He doesn't have much history against Arizona -- 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in one career start -- but Straily wants to wipe out a 2017 trend in which he has been much better in the first half than he has been after the All-Star Game.
In reality, Straily has been strong in September throughout his career, going 10-4 with a 4.49 ERA. So perhaps this year's 5.45 second-half ERA and 6.86 September ERA are just aberrations.
But if Straily struggles a little bit on Sunday, he would truly appreciate a couple of those Stanton moon shots.
Stanton, though, said he doesn't go up there looking for long balls.
"If I go up there trying to hit homers, I would be terrible up there," Stanton told Fox Sports Florida on Saturday night. "I keep trying to put a good barrel on the ball."
As for his records set this year, Stanton said he doesn't have time for those indulgences at the moment.
"I think when the season is over, I can look at my numbers," said Stanton, a California native who has three homers and 12 RBIs in his past five games. "I'm feeling better. It's always good to be on the West Coast -- that locks me in."
|Rockies||vs.||Padres||4:40 (EDT) Preview|
Rockies thinking wild card in last road game vs. Padres
Sunday, September 24 at 2:53 AM (EDT)
SAN DIEGO -- The Colorado Rockies are headed home after Sunday's game against the San Diego Padres. They hope their final destination after the regular season is the playoffs.
Colorado plays its last road game to wrap up its four-game series in San Diego. The Rockies have been blanked in three of their last four games, which has allowed some teams, most notably the Milwaukee Brewers, to stay within striking distance.
The Rockies have a one-game lead over the Brewers for the second NL wildcard spot.
"I know the teams that I want to lose when the highlights are on in the locker room," Rockies star Charlie Blackmon said. "But I don't actively seek out any of the standings. I think we still have a lot of baseball left to play and I think the most important thing is to not look back, but be looking forward."
Blackmon's game looks grand even if the Rockies have dropped two of three to the Padres in this series. He leads the league in batting at .325 and is among the leaders in virtually every significant category.
This year he became the 11th player in major league history to collect at least 130 runs, 30 doubles, 10 triples and 35 homers.
The last player to accomplish that feat was Stan Musial in 1948.
"To me it feels the same," Blackmon said about the stress of playing down the stretch. "I feel other people put that extra pressure on you.
"I'm trying hard every time I go up there. It doesn't matter if we are 20 games under .500 or 20 games above it. I think that is the best place for a player to be mentally because they are not giving any at-bats away, good or bad. I think if I were to play every day and now all of a sudden because of where we are I have to things differently that means I've been doing something wrong all along."
What's gone right for the Rockies is a powerful offense which features Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, DL LeMaieu, Trevor Story and others. But Black, who won 121 games pitching in the majors, knows a team is only good at its rotation. On Sunday, German Marquez (10-7, 4.41) is on the mound.
"Your starting pitcher sets the tone over the course of the season," Black said. "There are games maybe where your starting pitchers falters and you can out slug someone. But you can't rely on that formula. You have to rely on starting pitcher, that is what wins."
Marquez, who has split two career decisions versus the Padres, is tied for second among rookie with 10 wins, with his 142 strikeouts No. 1.
The Padres counter with Luis Perdomo (8-10, 4.57), who is 0-3 lifetime against the Rockies. The right-hander leads the staff woith 16 quality starts. Over his last six outings, he's heaved a five consecutive quality starts and pitched to a 3.31 ERA.
He beat the Diamondbacks in his last start, although he tied a career-high with six walks. He tiptoed around the damage enough to allow but two runs in 5 1/3 innings.
"Love the fact he made big pitches," Padres manager Andy Green said. "He made big pitches when he had to for most of the day. He put himself in really tough situations. But I think you've got to be encouraged that he keeps getting out of those situations."
|Saturday, September 23, 2017|
|Major League Baseball|
Stanton, Marlins knock off Diamondbacks
Sunday, September 24 at 1:47 AM (EDT)
After double-digit scoring wasn't sufficient the night before, the Miami Marlins again surpassed 10 runs and kept the Arizona Diamondbacks from clinching a postseason berth.
Giancarlo Stanton's 57th home run helped lead the Marlins to a 12-6 win over the Diamondbacks on Saturday night.
Unlike Friday, when the Marlins scored eight runs against Arizona Diamondbacks starter Zach Greinke but Marlins pitchers allowed 13 runs in a 13-11 loss, Miami took an early lead and relievers surrendered one run through the final five innings.
Stanton went 3-for-6 and was a triple shy of the cycle. Stanton drove in four runs and became the Marlins' season RBI leader with 124, breaking the previous mark of 120 set by Preston Wilson in 2000.
"RBIs are cool, too, because I'm always known for homers," Stanton said on the Marlins' postgame TV show. "To get up there in RBI you have to be a good hitter, too."
Justin Bour homered for the fourth consecutive game as his two-run opposite-field shot in the eighth gave Miami an 11-6 lead. Bour's shot bounced off the left-field foul pole for his 25th home run.
Miami (73-81) took the lead for good with a five-run third and withstood home runs from Arizona's J.D. Martinez and Paul Goldschmidt. Martinez now has 43 homers and Goldschmidt connected for the 36th time this season.
The loss kept Arizona (89-66) within one game of clinching a wild-card berth.
"We didn't close the deal the way we wanted," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "We are very proud what we accomplished at this point, but we got to reload for (Sunday) and make sure we do this thing right."
Brian Ellington (1-1) pitched two innings of relief for the win. Ellington struck out three around Martinez's solo home run.
"This ballpark you just don't feel comfortable," Miami manager Don Mattingly said. "You know things happen fast. The ball jumps. It's an offensive ballpark. It's not like a regular place where you get a couple of runs lead and start feeling comfortable late in the game. You don't feel comfortable here."
Neither starter reached the fifth inning. Arizona's Taijuan Walker (9-9) allowed six runs and six hits, walked three and struck out six in 3 2/3 innings.
Despite enjoying four- and three-run leads, Miami's Dillon Peters was lifted for a pinch hitter after four innings. Peters surrendered five runs, six hits, walked three and struck out one.
Martinez's solo homer off Ellington in the fifth put Arizona within 7-6. Stanton leaped and attempted to catch Martinez's opposite-field shot before it landed over the wall in right-center field.
Stanton's solo homer and Bour's RBI single in the fourth gave Miami a 7-4 lead. Bour's single to shallow center scored Christian Yelich from second. Yelich originally was called out on second baseman Brandon Drury's throw to catcher Chris Ianetta, but Miami challenged the play and a video review overturned the call.
"It's tough, but I got to try to keep putting good barrel on the ball and the rest takes care of itself," Stanton said of his pursuit of reaching 60 home runs.
The Marlins erased a 1-0 deficit with a five-run third keyed by Stanton's two-run double and a fielding error by Walker off Dee Gordon's short dribbler that scored Miguel Rojas from third. Bour drove in a run with a single and Brian Anderson's sacrifice fly to deep center scored Miami's fifth run of the inning.
"Offense did a really good job putting up runs," Walker said. "I just didn't do my job and have that shutdown inning. I have to do my job -- make the plays and get that shut down inning."
Goldschmidt's three-run homer off Peters in the bottom of the inning cut the deficit to 5-4.
Drury's home run to lead off the second gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead. Drury drove Peters' pitch above the wall in right-center field for his 13th homer of the season.
NOTES: 2B Dee Gordon favored his right leg as he attempted to beat out a grounder in the fourth inning. Although Gordon limped on his way to the dugout, he remained in the game. ... 3B Martin Prado, sidelined since mid-July because of a right knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery, is traveling with the Marlins on their road trip to Arizona and Colorado. Prado took batting practice before Saturday's game and is targeting possible pinch-hit opportunities the final week of the season. ... J.D. Martinez has 27 home runs since July 19, second behind Stanton. Martinez also drove in his 28th run of the month, tying Luis Gonzalez for the one-month record he set in March-April 2000. ... Saturday's crowd of 39,259 at Chase Field pushed the Diamondbacks past two million in home attendance for the season. Arizona has never drawn less than two million at home in the club's 19-year history.
Padres shut out struggling Rockies
Sunday, September 24 at 1:02 AM (EDT)
SAN DIEGO -- Jhoulys Chacin wanted revenge against his former team on Saturday night. He got that and the San Diego Padres clinched the series as Chacin beat the Colorado Rockies 5-0 with six effective innings.
The fading Rockies' lead over the Milwaukee Brewers was shaved to one game for the second National League wild-card spot as Colorado managed but five hits.
Chacin (13-10) surrendered a hit and three walks to his ex-team and struck out six in winning his fourth straight start at Petco Park. He beat the Rockies for the first time in three starts this year as they were shut out for the third time in four games -- a franchise first.
"Today was that little extra for me, facing my former club and my last start at home,'' Chacin said. "I really wanted to do good and finish the season strong, especially at home.''
The Rockies' lineup has gone quiet at the wrong time. Colorado stranded nine and was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and didn't have an extra-base hit for the second game of the series.
"I wish I had the answer,'' Rockies manager Bud Black said of his team's malaise.
Four Padres relievers, with Brad Hand pitching the ninth, finished off the Rockies as they fell for the fifth time in six games.
Chacin took a no-hitter into the sixth before DJ LeMaieu's sinking line drive just escaped the diving Manuel Margot's attempt.
"At some point in time it starts creeping into your mind what's going on but it needs to go deeper before it gets too dramatic,'' Padres manager Andy Green said of Chacin's no-hit bid. "Manny made a great effort to try to take it away. I think it unseated Jhoulys for a couple of batters but he settled back in.''
Chad Bettis (1-4) lost for the third time in his last four decisions. He lasted 4 2/3 innings and gave up a run and seven hits with two walks. He struck out three.
"I thought his velocity was up and he mixed in the curveball,'' Black said. "He kept the ball down.''
The Padres added three runs in the eighth, with Ian Desmond's throwing error accounting for one of the runs. The RBIs came from pinch-hitter Erick Aybar and Manuel Margot.
The Rockies, trailing 2-0, threatened against reliever Craig Stammen after Chacin's exit.
Desmond and Jonathan Lucroy produced one-out singles, but Stammen struck out pinch-hitter Raimel Tapia before southpaw Buddy Baumann came on to face the left-handed-hitting Charlie Blackmon. Baumann fanned the NL's batting leader to halt the rally.
"We're not making good contact overall,'' Black said. "Even though tonight we had some guys on base, we couldn't get the big hit again and that has been the common theme, that at-bats have not resulted in not a lot of hard-hit balls consistently."
Chacin, who tied Clayton Richard with his team-high 31st start, got out of a first-inning jam after LeMahieu walked and Nolan Arenado reached on an error by second baseman Carlos Asuaje. Chacin retired Gerardo Parra on a flyout to end the inning.
Bettis had to tiptoe around trouble with runners reaching base in each of the first five innings. He was bitten in the fifth when the Padres chased him after 85 pitches on Yangervis Solarte's RBI single as the Padres took a 1-0 lead.
The way the Rockies are scuffling, it might as well been a 10-run advantage.
"There is no reason to change now as a team, and individually, a lot of guys have had a lot of success this year,'' Desmond said. "We just need to stick with it and keep on grinding it out.''
NOTES: Rockies LHP Kyle Freeman will continue to pitch out of the bullpen, although he could get a spot start next weekend against the Dodgers. ... Padres LF Travis Jankowski started in left field, which has been the case against right-handed starters. ... CF Manuel Margot was thrown out attempting to steal, which snapped his streak at 10 straight stolen bases. He did extend his hitting streak to seven games.
Davis' 40th HR only run in A's win over Rangers
Sunday, September 24 at 1:36 AM (EDT)
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The math is becoming simpler and the task more daunting every day for the Texas Rangers in their quest for an American League wild-card playoff berth.
The Rangers lost for the second straight night to the last-place Oakland Athletics, this time 1-0 on Saturday night at the Oakland Coliseum.
Texas (76-78) fell 4 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins, 10-4 winners over Detroit, for the second wild-card spot. The Rangers, who have eight games remaining, are tied with Kansas City and the Los Angeles Angels.
"We got to win tomorrow," said Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele, who served as acting manager in place of Jeff Banister. Banister returned to Texas to be with his mother, Verda, who is having complications from a recent surgery. "We're going to take one game at a time, not look ahead. We know exactly where we're at. We got to win the games."
That hasn't been easy for the Rangers at the Coliseum this season. Khris Davis hit his 40th home run of the season, Raul Alcantara threw five strong innings and the A's beat Texas at the Coliseum for the seventh straight time. The A's (71-83) won their season-high sixth straight game overall.
"It is tough," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "But there's no other way to go. We have to come back tomorrow and win. We're having a tough time winning here. Winning tomorrow and heading back home would be really good."
Davis became the second Athletic in franchise history to hit at least 40 home runs in back-to-back seasons, joining Jimmie Foxx (1932-34). Davis hit a career-high 42 home runs last season, his first with Oakland. With his solo shot in the second inning, Davis also set a career high for RBIs with 103, one more than he had last year.
"It's nice to be mentioned in the presence of Hall of Famers," Davis said. "I'm just enjoying it and embracing it as much as I can, just trying to help the ballclub win games."
Alcantara (1-1) made a spot start in place of lefty Sean Manaea, who was a late scratch because a strained upper back. Alcantra allowed no runs on two hits over five innings with five strikeouts and two walks. He lowered his ERA from 9.20 to 6.86.
Alcantara made a spot start at Detroit on Monday and blanked the Tigers for 3 2/3 innings on two hits in an 8-3 Athleitcs' victory.
"He looks like a different guy," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Alcantara. "I think a lot of it had to do with how well he pitched last time. The command of the fastball is better. It looks to me like his split and slider are better, and he's pitching with a lot more confidence. It's good to see."
Ryan Dull, Daniel Coulombe, Chris Hatcher and Blake Treinen combined to blank Texas over the final four innings on two hits. Treinen pitched a scoreless ninth for his 11th save.
Rangers right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (8-12) allowed one run on four hits over six innings in his fourth start since being traded by the White Sox to Texas. He struck out five and walked none.
The Athletics took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Davis led off with his milestone home run. Davis launched Gonzalez' first-pitch fastball over the right-center field wall.
"First pitch, you tip your hat to him," Gonzalez said. "He's a great hitter. It's a young team and I know they're going to be aggressive, starting from the get-go. I thought it was a good pitch. Maybe just up a little bit."
After Davis' home run, the A's loaded the bases as Matt Olson and Ryon Healy singled, and Matt Chapman was hit by a pitch. But Gonzalez retired the next three batters to escape further damage.
The Rangers had runners on first and second with two outs in the fifth after Robinson Chirinos singled and Alcantara walked Rougned Odor. But Alcantara retired Drew Robinson on a ground ball to end the threat.
"Not to complain or anything, but the last couple games were typical games for us in Oakland where you look up there and we have three, four hits in the middle of the game and we don't bunch them together, we don't make any productive outs," Buechele said. "We have a tough times stringing hits and having that big inning here in this ballpark."
NOTES: A's C Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel during the national anthem as he joined a protest against racial injustice that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began last season. Maxwell is an African American who was born in Wiesbaden, Germany, when his father, Bruce, was stationed there with the Army during a tour of duty. Maxwell posted a strong response on Instagram opposing President Trump's recent criticism of NFL players who kneel during the anthem. A's OF Mark Canha placed a hand on Maxwell's shoulder during the anthem then hugged him when it ended. "My kneeling, the way I did it was to symbolize the fact that I'm kneeling for a cause, but I'm in no way or form disrespecting my country or my flag," Maxwell. said. Maxwell missed his second straight game while undergoing concussion tests. ... Rangers manager Jeff Banister returned to Clear Lake, Texas, before Saturday's game to be with his mother, Verda, who is experiencing complications from recent surgery. Banister is expected to miss Sunday's series finale, too. Bench coach Steve Buechele filled in for Banister on Saturday in his first full game managing in the big leagues and will fill in again Sunday. "We'll just hold down the fort until he's back," Buchele said. ... A's INF/OF Chad Pinder (sore back/neck) was out of the lineup, one day after crashing into the right-center field wall in the sixth inning while trying to catch a deep fly ball.
Bumgarner helps pitch Giants to 2-1 win over Dodgers
Sunday, September 24 at 1:35 AM (EDT)
LOS ANGELES -- The final weeks of this season have become all about silver linings for the San Francisco Giants.
Madison Bumgarner delivered one on Saturday night.
The veteran left-hander allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings to end his four-game losing streak and the Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 at Dodger Stadium.
Bumgarner (4-9) permitted five hits, struck out five and walked one. The Giants won for just the fourth time in his 14 starts this season.
"To me, it don't matter if it's a 37-run win or a one-run win, it's a win," Bumgarner said. "That's what we're up here to do."
The Dodgers had clinched their fifth straight National League West title on Friday night and rested several regulars.
Bumgarner blanked the Dodgers for seven innings on July 30, his only other appearance against them this season. He shut them out for seven more on Saturday before Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes led off the eighth with a home run to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Charlie Culberson doubled with one out in the inning and moved to third on a fly ball to right by pinch-hitter Cody Bellinger, the 99th pitch from Bumgarner. Giants manager Bruce Bochy then brought in right-handed reliever Hunter Strickland and he got Chris Taylor to fly out to the warning track in right.
"We couldn't quite tack on (runs) when we had the chance," Bochy said. "They get within one and have the tying run on third base, and you're hoping to hold on for (Bumgarner) because he pitched such a beautiful game."
Sam Dyson pitched the ninth for his 14th save. Dodgers right-fielder Yasiel Puig was caught stealing by Giants catcher Buster Posey for the final out.
"That was one of the best throws I've seen because (Puig) had a good jump and I didn't think he had a chance at him," Bochy said.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Puig didn't have a steal sign, but rather tried to take the base on his own.
"Plays like that, when you're trying to win a championship, can't happen," Roberts said.
The Dodgers hadn't put a runner in scoring position against Bumgarner until left fielder Enrique Hernandez doubled over the head of Denard Span in center with one out in the seventh. Hernandez, who came in 13-for-27 in his career against Bumgarner with four doubles and three home runs, was stranded at third.
Gorkys Hernandez and Span had three hits apiece. Hernandez scored both runs and Span and Posey had the RBIs.
Hernandez hit the first pitch of the game from Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu into the left-field corner for his 18th double of the year. Joe Panik sacrificed Hernandez to third and Posey lined a two-out RBI single to center for a 1-0 lead.
Ryu stranded two runners in the second but then was hit in the left forearm by a hard comebacker by Panik to lead off the third and was removed from the game. X-rays came back negative, Roberts said.
Ross Stripling entered and pitched the remainder of the third inning and Brandon McCarthy, another former starter who came off his third stint on the DL on Friday, pitched a scoreless fourth in his first appearance since July 20.
The Giants tagged McCarthy for a run in the fifth, however.
Hernandez singled to center, stole second and advanced to third on Panik's grounder to second. Span then lined a single up the middle and Hernandez scored his second run of the game for a 2-0 lead.
Bumgarner walked Taylor to start the first and gave up a single to Kyle Farmer to lead off the third, but both were erased by 4-6-3 double plays. He retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth innings.
"He did have really good stuff tonight and really crisp," Bochy said. "His cutter, his curveball, change up, along with a good fastball, and he went up and down with it. A good day for Bum. He really looked good."
NOTES: Dodgers 3B Justin Turner was out of the lineup for a third straight game after suffering a thumb contusion when he was hit by a pitch on Thursday and then feeling the effects of a stomach virus the past two days. ... Dodgers 1B Kyle Farmer made his first major league start and was 1-for-3 against Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner. Farmer came in 4-for-12 (.333) in 12 games this season. His lone extra-base hit was a walk-off two-run double in the 11th inning against the Giants in his first major league at-bat on July 30, a game in which Bumgarner threw seven shutout innings. ... Bumgarner had been supported by 2.8 runs per game this season coming into Saturday, the second fewest of any major league pitcher with at least 100 innings pitched.
Correa, Gattis lead Astros over Angels
Sunday, September 24 at 12:51 AM (EDT)
HOUSTON -- With Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel the only locks for the postseason rotation, Houston Astros starters have firmed up their candidacies recently with a string of noteworthy performances, with right-hander Charlie Morton again underscoring his viability on Saturday.
Morton worked seven innings for the first time since Aug. 5, while Carlos Correa recorded his first three-hit game since returning from the disabled list and teamed with Evan Gattis to pace the Astros to a 6-2 victory over the fading Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park.
Correa finished 3-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs, posting his fifth three-hit game and sixth game with three-plus RBIs. Correa got the Astros (95-59) on the board with a run-scoring single in the first inning before adding a two-out RBI double in the fifth and an RBI single in the seventh.
Gattis followed the Correa double in the fifth with a three-run homer for his 12th on the season. The Astros' four-run rally came against right-hander Eduardo Paredes, who relieved Angels starter Bud Norris (2-6) with one out in the fourth inning. Gattis also posted three RBIs.
The top four hitters in the Astros order finished a combined 8-for-14 and scored all six runs.
"We could have won in a lot of different ways today but those guys that are normally at the bottom of our order, step up at the top of our order and produce," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It was a good day."
The Angels (76-78) mustered just five hits total while suffering their season-high-tying sixth consecutive defeat with the second American League wild card on the line. They trail the Minnesota Twins by 4 1/2 games with eight remaining.
Morton (13-7) capitalized on the early lead by producing an efficient outing to complement that run support, allowing one run on four hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
Morton faced the minimum over his first five innings, inducing a pair of inning-ending double plays to erase singles by Albert Pujols in the second inning and Brandon Phillips in the fifth. Morton had just 42 pitches on his ledger entering the sixth, completing the second and third innings on nine pitches each while tossing five pitches in the fourth inning and eight in the fifth.
"My sinker was moving pretty good today," Morton said. "They were aggressive and stacked righties. I threw some decent changeups, some decent sinkers and fortunately the balls that were put in play found some guys."
Said Angels center fielder Mike Trout of Morton: "He had good stuff today. He was sinking it, cutting it obviously with that curveball. He threw a couple of changeups as well. Just keeping us off-balance and we were just missing pitches."
Angels' left fielder Justin Upton ended the shutout bid with a leadoff home run in the seventh inning, his 33rd on the season. Upton added his 34th homer leading off the ninth against Astros reliever Will Harris for his 16th career multi-homer game.
"Right now there is a number of guys who are not having hits fall in, that are struggling a little bit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think the quality of at-bats are pretty consistent but at times we're missing some pitches.
"So as far as our lineup being deeper, there's no doubt it's deeper but hopefully it's going to take that one spark to get these guys to start get some momentum and start to pressure other teams. We've had a tough time doing it this whole week."
The Astros have won eight of nine and will pursue a series sweep on Sunday. Houston is 36 games over .500 for the first time since concluding the 1998 campaign with a 102-60 record.
NOTES: Facing a noon start following a night game, Astros manager A.J. Hinch rested a number of regulars, including OF George Springer, 2B Jose Altuve, C Brian McCann and DH Carlos Beltran. With Springer, OF Josh Reddick (back) and Altuve unavailable, 3B Alex Bregman hit leadoff for just the second time this season. ... When Angels LF Justin Upton opened the seventh inning with a home run to left field, it snapped a string of 23 scoreless innings for Los Angeles. ... With his second double of the game, Astros 2B Marwin Gonzalez pushed the Astros' season total to 326 doubles, which matched the franchise record set in 1998.
Shaw's 2-run homer lifts Brewers to dramatic win over Cubs
Sunday, September 24 at 12:08 AM (EDT)
MILWAUKEE -- In each of the first two games of their four-game weekend showdown at Miller Park, the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs went into the 10th inning before the defending World Series champions broke their young challengers' hearts.
So Saturday afternoon, when the Cubs again manufactured a go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning, the few remaining local fans among the sold out crowd of 44,067 prepared for more agony.
Instead, the Brewers flipped the script, getting a one-out double from Ryan Braun that set up a two-run walk-off home run from Travis Shaw as Milwaukee rallied late -- and kept its slim postseason hopes alive -- with a 4-3 victory.
"I haven't been able to come up with the words for this series," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell, whose team got within 4 1/2 games of the Cubs and one of the Rockies for a wild-card spot. "If this hasn't been the best series that you've seen in a long time this is about as exciting as it gets. It is as exciting as it gets. They're clearly coming into a good place where they're really tough to beat but we hung with them today."
Shaw hit his 31st homer after Milwaukee tied it in the ninth on a homer by Orlando Arcia off Wade Davis. The Cubs, who won the first two games in the 10th, took a one-run lead on a single by Jon Jay before Milwaukee dramatically won it.
Davis came back out for the 10th, working two innings for the second time in three games. He struck out Neil Walker to open the inning but Braun sent a double down the line and into the corner to bring up Shaw, who took ball one before connecting on a hanging curveball to win it.
"He missed with the curveball on the first pitch, and I was going to see if he'd do it again and he tried it again," Shaw said. "Last night I missed an opportunity early in the game to kind of blow it open. It just feels good to come out on the right side of things after a couple of tough days."
Davis (4-2), working multiple innings for the second time in three games, hadn't blown a save since Sept. 2, 2016.
"My arm was dragging a little bit," Davis said. "I just made a lot of bad pitches and good pitches for them to hit."
In the ninth, Davis struck out Neil Walker to open the inning but missed his mark coming inside on a 0-1 fastball that Arcia ripped down the left-field line for his 14th home run of the season, tying the game 3-3.
"Just wanted to get it in more and obviously I didn't," Davis said. "He put a pretty good swing on it."
Davis hadn't allowed a home run since Aug. 13 but recovered quickly from there, retiring the next two batters and Chicago got to work quickly in the 10th against Jeremy Jeffress (4-2) with Ian Happ starting things off by drawing a leadoff walk.
Jason Heyward moved him over with a sacrifice bunt and Jay sent him home with a single back up the middle, putting the Cubs ahead. Jay stole second and took third on a throwing error by Stephen Vogt and, with the Cubs threatening to break the game open, Jeffress intentionally walked Anthony Rizzo, Chicago's leader with 32 home runs and 107 RBIs.
The move paid off as Jeffress got Wilson Contreras -- no slouch himself with 21 homers and 73 RBIs this season -- to bounce into a force, ending the inning.
"The walk hurt JJ today but again, he did a pretty good job," Counsell said. "It's not hard contact that's beating him. It was just a roller up the middle."
Milwaukee got a solid start from left-hander Brent Suter, who held the Cubs to a run on six hits with a pair of strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.
Kyle Hendricks was just as stingy, allowing just a run on Eric Thames' first-inning RBI single, despite giving up eight hits with a walk while striking out six over six innings of work.
The bullpens took over from there and maintained the tie into the eighth when Jacob Barnes, back out for his second inning, allowed a leadoff double to Ian Happ and a single to Heyward.
Counsell turned to setup man Anthony Swarzak to get out of the jam but Jay moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt and Kris Bryant put the Cubs ahead with a sacrifice fly to center before Swarzak ended the inning.
NOTES: Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon says he plans to keep his rotation in order this week, with LHP Jon Lester kicking off a four-game series at St. Louis on Monday despite command problems in his last outing. ... Milwaukee Brewers C Manny Pina missed a second consecutive game because of a sprained left thumb suffered Thursday in the series opener. ... The Brewers and Cubs have split the season series, winning nine games each, and wrap it up Sunday afternoon with Chicago LHP Jose Quintana (6-3, 3.95 ERA) facing Milwaukee RHP Chase Anderson (11-3, 2.74).
|Yankees||5||vs.||1||Blue Jays||Final Recap|
Bird's homer helps Yankees clinch postseason spot
Saturday, September 23 at 9:35 PM (EDT)
TORONTO -- The New York Yankees feel they have a lot more to accomplish this season.
They took the first step Saturday when Greg Bird's three-run homer and Sonny Gray's solid start lifted them a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays to clinch an American League wild-card spot.
"We've got to keep working," Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said. "We're not done yet. This is just the beginning.
"We've got a lot of goals for this team, a lot of stuff we want to do. Getting a chance to be in the postseason, we've got to keep it rolling and finish strong."
Todd Frazier also homered for the Yankees (86-68).
Relievers Chad Green, David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman each pitched a perfect inning to finish the game.
Teoscar Hernandez homered for the Blue Jays (72-83).
"We've got one of the best bullpens in all of baseball and we've got a stacked lineup and we have fun and go out and compete," said Judge, who has 46 homers. "We compete our butts off every single pitch, we don't take a pitch off."
The Yankees are on a 16-6 run and still have a mathematical chance to finish first in the AL East.
"It's a great accomplishment," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We learned a lot about our young players, our veteran players. To see the kids kind of grow up in front of you, it's special.
"We're still playing for the division. Obviously, I have to be smart. I can't run guys out there 10 days in a row. That doesn't make sense."
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is impressed with the Yankees.
"They're young and talented," Gibbons said. "They've got a lot of pop in their lineup. They've got some good pieces to go along with it. Some speed with (Jacoby) Ellsbury and (Brett) Gardner.
"They've got some good starting pitching and arguably one of the best bullpens, if not the best. They can be as tough as anybody."
Gray (10-11) won for the fourth time against six losses since joining the Yankees in a trade with the Oakland Athletics on July 31 by holding the Blue Jays to one run and four hits.
Toronto starter Joe Biagini (3-12) continued to look for his first win since June 21 after allowing three hits, including a home run, four walks and three runs in five innings. He is 0-6 in his past eight starts.
"I've established some consistent inconsistency," Biagini said. "The maddening thing for me is that I kind of see spurts of little parts of my game come out occasionally that I feel are good and that's what I feel I should be doing and tap into a little bit more."
Hernandez hit his fourth homer since being called up for September, and his second in two days, in the third inning.
Bird hit his sixth homer of the season with one out in the fifth on a first-pitch cutter. It also scored Chase Headley and Starlin Castro, who had walked, giving the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
"What a team to be a part of," Bird said. "What a group. We were just trying to get (Gray) runs. We haven't got him many runs the last few starts."
"(Biagini) definitely had his fastball going early and we tried to keep that going as long as we could," Blue Jays catcher Raffy Lopez said. "He lost it a little bit, so we had to try use more of his other pitches.
"He still did a good job. The cutter we were trying to go up and in (to Bird) and it was middle in and he put a pretty good swing on it. The fifth inning maybe he got a little tired. A hot day in late September, a guy who is trying to get extended out as a starter."
Danny Barnes replaced Biagini and pitched a perfect sixth. Aaron Loup pitched around a single in the seventh.
Frazier hit his 27th homer of the season in the eighth against Tim Mayza.
The Yankees scored a run in the ninth off Luis Santos on a double by Gary Sanchez, a walk to Headley, a fielder's choice grounder to first by Ellsbury and an infield single to third by Castro.
"We're a lot better than a lot of people thought we were," Headley said. "This is my second postseason in 11 years so I'm enjoying it.
"Obviously, we have more work to be done, but any time you have a chance to play in the postseason, you can't take it for granted. A lot of guys play a long time and don't have this chance."
NOTES: Yankees OF Brett Gardner was 0-for-4 Saturday to end an 11-game hit streak. ... Toronto INF/OF Steve Pearce (stiff lower back) will not play for the rest of the season. He had not played since Sept. 8 when he left the game after one inning. ... Yankees RF Aaron Judge struck out for the 200th time this year in the first inning, the first player this season to reach that plateau. It is a major league record for a rookie. ... Yankees LHP Jaime Garcia (5-9, 4.19 ERA) will oppose Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman (12-8, 3.01) in the series finale on Sunday.
Lindor, Gomes power Indians to rout of Mariners
Saturday, September 23 at 9:25 PM (EDT)
SEATTLE -- It took one batter for the Cleveland Indians to get over dropping their series opener against the Seattle Mariners. After that, the American League Central champions were fine.
Francisco Lindor hit a leadoff homer and the Indians went deep four times in an 11-4 victory over the Mariners on Saturday at Safeco Field.
Jose Ramirez and Yan Gomes each had four RBIs. Ramirez went 3-for-3 with a double and a homer, and Gomes was 3-for-5 with two homers.
Lindor made the most of a rare start at designated hitter -- he went 2-for-5 with a double in the third inning and scored three runs. The Indians had 14 hits.
Cleveland (97-58) stayed 1 1/2 games ahead of Houston for the best record in the American League and home-field advantage up to the World Series. The Indians also responded after losing the series opener to Seattle on Friday night.
"It's part of the game," Gomes said of the Friday night loss. "The best thing to do is just come back and put that behind you like we've done all year. Put games behind us and go out there and compete."
Seattle (75-80) lost for the seventh time in eight games and fell six games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild card.
Carlos Carrasco (17-6) pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed one earned run, six hits and two walks. He struck out six.
Five relievers, including All-Star Andrew Miller, went the rest of the way for the Indians to seal the victory.
Miller, who missed time in August and September with knee tendinitis, pitched 1 1/3 shutout innings after walking his first two batters.
"(Carrasco's) been great, they've got a pretty good lineup," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He got up around 100 pitches and they were starting to look like he left a couple balls up, and we were trying to get Andrew for the inning-plus, so that seemed a good time to do it."
Seattle rookie Andrew Moore (1-5) went four innings, allowing three runs (two earned). He struck out three.
"I thought Andrew made a few adjustments during the game," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "But you could see from the get-go he wasn't as sharp as he had been."
Defense was a problem for Seattle, which committed five errors -- three of them led to Cleveland runs.
"For us and where we're going, it's about catching the baseball and doing things right fundamentally," Servais said. "We haven't done that. We've struggled with that."
Lindor got the Indians going early, hitting his 33rd homer and his third leadoff shot of the season.
He kept it going in the third inning, leading off with single down the right-field line. Austin Jackson then singled him home and he took third on errors by first baseman Yonder Alonso and catcher Mike Zunino.
Ramirez followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Jackson to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead.
The Mariners scored in the sixth inning on Kyle Seager's RBI double to left-center field.
The Indians tacked on two runs in the seventh on sacrifice flies by Ramirez and Greg Allen to put the game out of reach. Ramirez and Gomes each homered in a five-run ninth.
Nelson Cruz added a solo shot in the eighth, his 37th homer, for the Mariners.
NOTES: Cleveland RHP Mike Clevinger has been moved to the bullpen, with Indians manager Terry Francona noting, "We kind of think he can be a weapon." ... Cleveland IF Yandy Diaz returned after missing three days with a jammed finger. He went 1-for-1 as a pinch hitter and stayed in the game at third base. ... Seattle RHP Tony Zych has been shut down for the season with a strain of his right elbow flexor bundle, an injury he suffered in August. ... The Mariners lost an instant replay challenge on Marco Gonzales' attempted pickoff of Cleveland OF Tyler Naquin in the sixth inning. The delay for the replay was 2 minutes, 35 seconds. ... The Indians won their challenge on a Francisco Lindor grounder that 1B Yonder Alonso muffed before 2B Robinson Cano scooped it and threw to first. Lindor was ruled safe after a 32-second delay.
|Red Sox||5||vs.||0||Reds||Final Recap|
Red Sox blank hapless Reds
Saturday, September 23 at 8:29 PM (EDT)
CINCINNATI -- The Boston Red Sox still have plenty of decisions to make in terms of their postseason pitching staff. But, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is pitching himself into the conversation.
Mitch Moreland hit a three-run home run and Rodriguez allowed only three hits through 7 2/3 innings, lifting the Red Sox to a 5-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
The win reduced Boston's magic number to five to clinch the American League East title. The Red Sox (90-64) lead the New York Yankees by four games.
"We're playing good ball," Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez said. "We're getting on base. Getting clutch hits."
The Yankees defeated Toronto 5-1 on Saturday to clinch a wild-card spot.
Rodriguez (6-6) had six strikeouts and walked two.
It was his longest outing since May 21. Rodriguez has made six straight quality starts on the road and four consecutive starts of two earned runs or fewer.
"He maintained his stuff all the way through seven innings," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He used three pitches at both sides of the plate. Using his secondary pitches to make the fastball even better."
Cincinnati (66-89) committed two errors and had a passed ball while losing its fifth straight game.
Rookie right-hander Robert Stephenson (5-6) made his 10th start of the season for the Reds and was charged with two earned runs in six innings.
Xander Bogaerts led off Saturday's game with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball by Tucker Barnhart. Bogaerts scored on a sacrifice fly by Brock Holt to put the Red Sox ahead 1-0.
Rodriguez did not allow a hit until Joey Votto's single with one out in the fourth.
"He's very comfortable on the mound," Vazquez said. "He has a good feeling out there. We're on the same page. (Three times) I just put down whatever you want to throw."
Boston's defense helped Rodriguez out.
Votto was thrown out trying to reach second after his single by Andrew Benintendi.
It was Benintendi's 11th outfield assist this season, tying him for third in the American League.
Scooter Gennett singled leading off the fifth to extend his hitting streak to a season-high seven games. But, he was erased on an inning-ending 3-6-3 double play.
Stephenson's fielding error on Holt's grounder back to the mound opened the floodgates in the sixth.
Benintendi walked, then Moreland followed with a three-run blast to center, putting Boston ahead 4-0.
It was Moreland's 20th homer of the season, and it snapped a 0-for-19 skid.
"He threw a changeup that split the plate in half, top of the zone," Moreland said. "I got the barrel on it. It gave us some breathing room."
Reds manager Bryan Price believed Stephenson's error on a routine grounder, contributed to his poor location on the Moreland homer.
"That's one the challenges of this game when you make a mistake, get beyond it," Price said. "That's part of the game. It can linger. That's not an excuse. That may have had nothing to do with what followed."
Benintendi, a Cincinnati area native, prompted cheers from his hometown fans with an RBI single in the seventh to make the score 5-0.
Reds right-hander Luke Farrell, son of the Red Sox manager, pitched the ninth inning, marking the first time a major-league player has faced his manager father since the Chicago Cubs' Moises Alou faced his dad, Felipe's San Francisco Giants, in 2004.
Farrell walked two in a scoreless frame, then offered a subtle tip of his cap toward his dad in the dugout as he walked off.
"There was a lot of internal conflict going on there," John Farrell said. "It was somewhat surreal. It's a proud day. Class move by Bryan (Price) to put him in there."
NOTES: Boston Red Sox RF Mookie Betts was scratched from the lineup with a left foot contusion. Betts fouled a pitch off the top of his foot in his second at-bat on Friday, according to manager John Farrell. Brock Holt started in RF. Betts is expected back in the lineup on Sunday. ... Cincinnati Reds CF Billy Hamilton was given a day off on Saturday. He returned to the lineup Friday after missing 13 games with a fractured left thumb. ... The Reds honored RHP Bronson Arroyo prior to Saturday's game. He is retiring following the season after 14 seasons, including three with the Red Sox.
Granite's HR highlights 8-run eighth as Twins rout Tigers
Sunday, September 24 at 12:15 AM (EDT)
DETROIT -- A big inning was big for the surging Minnesota Twins.
Minnesota scored eight times in the eighth inning Saturday night, capped by rookie Zach Granite's three-run homer, to earn a come-from-behind 10-4 victory over Detroit that was the Tigers' sixth straight loss.
The Twins lead Texas, Kansas City and the Los Angeles Angels by 4 1/2 games for the American League's second wild-card spot.
"That's a really good win," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It didn't look particularly good. (Tigers' starter Matthew) Boyd's been on a good run. He had us baffled a little bit.
"Doz (Brian Dozier) had the bunt to lead off the game. ... He got another single but I think we only had two hits going into the seventh inning before we got the double and the single to cut it to one."
Ervin Santana (16-8) gave up four straight hits at the start of the game but only three thereafter in his seven innings, during which he struck out five and didn't walk a batter. Santana retired 18 of 20 after the first inning.
"Give Ervin a lot of credit," Molitor said. "It looked like he had a little rough start. He didn't catch many breaks. Couple balls painted down the right field line. Couple other things that happened.
"But he settled in really nicely and other than the changeup he kind of left up for (Efren) Navarro he had a solid seven innings for us.
"I'm glad we're able to pick up a win for the team first and get another for Ervin in his win column too."
Alan Busenitz pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Gabriel Moya the ninth to finish the win and make Minnesota's lead in the American League second wild-card chase four games over Texas, which played later Saturday. Moya gave up Navarro's second home run of the game leading off the ninth.
Tigers reliever Alex Wilson took a line drive single by Joe Mauer off his right leg to start the eighth, threw one warm-up pitch and crumpled to the ground. He limped off the field with help and was replaced by Daniel Stumpf. X-Rays showed a non-displaced fracture of near Wilson's right ankle.
"It was numb at first, and then it kinda felt warm," Wilson said. "I was walking around the mound to see whether or not I was going to be able to go. I squatted down, and was able to do that. Of course, it wasn't on the weight-bearing bone.
"So, really, it had no effect. Then I tried to throw a pitch, and I felt a pop. And, obviously, that was the end of the night. And, that's when the pain really started shooting through."
Jorge Polanco greeted Stumpf (0-1) with a single to right and Eddie Rosario forged a 3-3 tie with a single to left. Eduardo Escobar blooped an RBI single into right center to put Minnesota ahead, 4-3.
Reliever Joe Jimenez hit a batter and caught a line drive before giving up a two-run line single to center by Robbie Grossman, making it 6-3. The Twins got another run on a groundout to second by Jason Castro.
Granite, who pinch-ran for Mauer earlier in the inning, completed the eight-run inning by hitting his first major league home run, off Blaine Hardy. Granite's three-run blast went to right field.
Granite became the first Minnesota Twin to pinch-run and hit a home run in the same inning and the first major leaguer to do so since 2001.
"Unfortunate for them that their guy gets knocked out," Molitor said. "Not surprisingly Joe's the guy to get us going. That was a huge hit leading off the inning there and Polanco followed up with a good at-bat and Rosie. One after another, next thing you know we put eight up there."
The Twins cut the gap to 3-2 and chased Boyd in the seventh. Ehire Adrianza, an early sub for injured Max Kepler, doubled to left center with one out and scored when Grossman followed with a single.
Boyd, in his first start since his near no-hitter Sunday, lasted 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. The first run he allowed was unearned.
"He's been outstanding," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said of his lefty. "He's been much better since he cleaned up his mechanics. The last two outings have been superb. He got us deep in the game. We just had trouble getting the ball to (closer Shane) Greene."
Navarro entered the game when Miguel Cabrera left after one inning with a lower back strain. He cranked a high changeup into the seats in right for his first home run to put the Tigers ahead, 3-1, with one out in the sixth.
Detroit opened its half of the first with four straight hits good for a 2-1 lead against Santana. Ian Kinsler doubled to right and scored on a ground single to right by Alex Presley. Cabrera blooped a single near the line in right and Nicholas Castellanos plopped an RBI single into short left.
Dozier gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead to open the game with a bunt single to third on which he ended up scoring when Jeimer Candelario threw the ball past first for a three-base error. The error was his fourth in nine games.
NOTES: Tigers OF Mikie Mahtook's return this season is doubtful after he was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain suffered Friday night, a recurrence of an injury that struck him earlier this month. ... Twins manager Paul Molitor says RHP Bartolo Colon is set to open Minnesota's three-game series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. ... RHP Jeff Ferrell of Detroit, struck on the head by a line drive Monday night, remains in MLB's concussion protocol with no time set for a possible return. ... RF Max Kepler was removed from Saturday night's game after one inning and being examined for a left hip injury.
Pirates hit Cardinals with 8-run first in 11-6 win
Saturday, September 23 at 11:59 PM (EDT)
PITTSBURGH -- A breakout on offense allowed the Pittsburgh Pirates to put a little dent in the St. Louis Cardinals' push for a playoff spot.
Pittsburgh used an eight-run first inning Saturday and pounded out 14 hits for an 11-6 win at PNC Park
"Good to get the win and get our offense out of a little log jam and score a bunch of runs, give our pitchers a little break and it was a good win all the way around," said Pittsburgh shortstop Jordy Mercer, who was 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs.
"It was just what we needed."
It was not what the Cardinals needed.
St. Louis (81-73), which had its winning streak stopped at four, fell a half-game behind second-place Milwaukee and remained five behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central,
The Cardinals were 1 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot after Colorado also lost on Saturday.
David Freese added three RBIs and Starling Marte added two RBIs for Pittsburgh (70-85), which is reduced to a spoiler role.
The eight-run first, when Pittsburgh sent 12 players to the plate and took an 8-2 lead, was highlighted by Mercer's two-run triple, Marte's RBI triple, Freese's leadoff double and four singles.
St. Louis starter Lance Lynn (11-8) was charged with all eight runs, six that crossed the plate while he was on the mound and two that Josh Lucas inherited.
Lynn's pitching line was like something from a nightmare -- eight runs and six hits with two walks and a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning. He has one win in his past nine starts.
"There was a couple balls up, and then a couple things didn't go my way," Lynn said. "Unfortunately, that happens some nights. Usually, I'm able to get through it. Tonight it just kind of snowballed.
"It's that time of year where you feel good. I'm just happy I feel good, but I've got to hone it back in and make quality pitches."
Pittsburgh bumped its lead to 10-3 through five innings before St. Louis scored three in the sixth -- including tying a major league record by using six pinch hitters in the inning -- to close to 10-6.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wasn't conceding the game by using all the subs.
"We've got a group of guys (on the bench) that have been working really hard," he said. "Get a couple young guys in there, give (others) a little time off, but also give them an opportunity, and they made something happen."
Freese added an RBI double in the eighth to make it 11-6.
Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole (12-11) allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with one walk and five strikeouts to break an 0-3 streak at home. He had received just five runs of support in his previous five starts, totaling 32 innings, but had plenty Saturday to help overshadow a game in which he struggled a little.
"He's done that throughout the year," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's made the next pitch, faced the next batter. There hasn't been any overreaction."
St. Louis' first inning looked promising with Tommy Pham hitting his 22nd homer, a two-run shot to dead center, but that was dwarfed by what the Pirates did in the bottom of the inning.
Pittsburgh's key hit that inning came from Mercer. He stepped to the plate with a 3-2 lead, the bases loaded and one out. He looped the ball into shallow center, where Dexter Fowler raced in and dived forward but missed, letting the ball get behind him.
"He's got to try and catch it, so he made a good effort," Matheny said. "Unfortunately, it ended up clearing the bases."
It appeared that Mercer might have a shot at an inside-the-park grand slam, but he had to hold up at third with a still-impressive bases-clearing triple.
"Definitely was thinking about it," Mercer said of the slam.
The Cardinals made it 8-3 on Pham's RBI double in the third, but Pittsburgh answered in the bottom of the third against Adam Wainwright when Marte's sacrifice fly made it 9-3.
The Pirates reached double figures in the fifth on Mercer's RBI double, making it 10-3 before St. Louis drew a little closer.
"They were pretty locked in throughout the whole game," Cole said of the Cardinals. "They made it tough for us. Fortunately, we just scored more than they did."
NOTES: St. Louis 1B Jose Martinez, who left Friday in the seventh because of a sprained left thumb, had tests in St. Louis that showed no serious damage, manager Mike Matheny said. ... Matt Carpenter moved from 3B to 1B for the Cardinals, with Jedd Gyorko returning to his normal spot at 3B. ... Pittsburgh OF Jordan Luplow was named the organization's minor league player of the year and LHP Steven Brault the minor league pitcher of the year.
Odorizzi's nine strikeouts highlight Rays' win over Orioles
Sunday, September 24 at 12:27 AM (EDT)
BALTIMORE -- Tampa Bay bashed its way into the franchise record books to keep its slim playoff hopes alive. That was more than enough for starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi.
In a 9-6 victory over Baltimore that knocked the Orioles out of playoff contention, Odorizzi turned in his second consecutive dominant performance, striking out a season-high nine batters.
Lucas Duda matched his career-high with his 30th home run of the season. It marked the 217th of the season for the Rays, which set the franchise record. Logan Morrison added a solo home run on the first pitch in the ninth inning to run the total to 218.
Tampa Bay (76-79) remained five games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second American League wild-card spot with seven games to play.
"Good win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Jake threw the ball well, even after the first inning when he threw 30 pitches if not right on it. He came back, settled in, threw a good ballgame for us. He made some big pitches."
Before one of the largest crowds of the season at Camden Yards (42,802), the Orioles (74-82) lost for the sixth time in seven games to fall out of the postseason chase.
Trailing 9-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, the made things interesting with a five-run rally. But that could not save them from their 14th loss in 17 games.
"That's something I'll have to look at now," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of being eliminated from the playoff race. "I haven't looked at any of that stuff."
Duda gave the Rays a 3-1 lead with two outs in the top of the third by lining a 3-2 pitch from Orioles starter Jeremy Hellickson over the right-field wall.
The homer followed back-to-back singles by No. 9 hitter Adeiny Hechavarria and leadoff man Kevin Kiermaier. Hellickson had retired the first eight batters prior to that flurry of hits.
The Rays added two more runs in the seventh off reliever Richard Bleier on an RBI single by Wilson Ramos and a sacrifice fly to right by Hechavarria that scored Steven Souza Jr. They added four more in the ninth, including Morrison's 37th home run of the season.
That was more than enough for Odorizzi (10-8, 4.26 ERA), the 27-year-old who was making his 27th start of the season for the Rays. Over six innings, he allowed an unearned run on three hits and walked only two.
"The change-up was a big key tonight," he said. "I was able to throw it effectively and get a lot of good movement on it. It's been kind of hit or miss all year. So, it was nice to have one of my major weapons back, and I used it to my advantage tonight."
Since the start of 2016, Odorizzi has allowed three hits or fewer in 18 starts, the most in the American League over that span. Last Sunday night, he had a no-hitter through five innings before giving up a leadoff homer to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the sixth, the only hit Odorizzi allowed on his way to the win.
"These last four starts have been really good, probably the best I've thrown in maybe my career," Odorizzi said. "I finally feel good. It (stinks) that it's September. I wish it was July, see what kind of happens. It's always nice to have health being on your side to end the year."
Hellickson pitched well other than the one brief rough patch in the third inning. But that was enough to send him to his third consecutive loss and sixth in his last nine starts.
Hellickson (2-6, 6.97 ERA), facing his former team for the first time, allowed three runs and four hits, in addition to striking out four and walking one.
Hellickson, who pitched for the Rays from 2010-2014, has not won since an Aug. 25 road start against the Boston Red Sox.
"Besides those three (runs), I felt good," he said. "That's happened way too many times this year. Two outs, nobody on. I just can't get that third out for some reason."
Down to their last gasp, the Orioles batted around in the ninth inning off the Tampa Bay bullpen. They scored five runs before an out was recorded.
Eventually, Rays closer Alex Colome came on to record the final out and his 46th save of the season.
"To mount something there (in the ninth) and put a lot together and get the tying run to the plate, I think you probably could have taken a lot of bets," Showalter said. "That was good to see."
NOTES: The Rays improved to 8-7 against the Orioles in 2017 with four games remaining in the season series. ... Rays DH Logan Morrison hit his 27th home run of the season on the road to extend his American League lead and team record. ... Orioles RHP Jeremy Hellickson surrendered his 35th home run of the season, which is a career high. ... With one home game remaining, the Orioles fell to 45-35 this season at Camden Yards.
Murphy homer lifts Nationals over Mets
Sunday, September 24 at 12:24 AM (EDT)
NEW YORK -- Jacob Rhame has only been with his new team for three weeks, but it took him just six pitches Saturday night to learn what current and former New York Mets have known for two years: Daniel Murphy owns his former team.
Murphy continued to torment the Mets by hitting the tiebreaking homer leading off the 10th inning Saturday night to lift the Washington Nationals to a 4-3 win at Citi Field.
Murphy spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Mets and helped spark their run to the World Series in 2015 by hitting .421 with seven homers during the National League Division Series and NL Championship Series. But New York made no attempt to re-sign Murphy, who eventually inked a three-year deal with the Nationals in January 2016.
Since then, all Murphy has done is remind the Mets his October 2015 performance was no fluke. Murphy went 2-for-5 Saturday and is now hitting .390 with nine homers and 35 RBIs in 37 games against his former club.
"This was his prior home," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "I'm sure he has a lot of friends and people here, a lot of memories. So it's always good to come back to where you had success."
Rhame (0-1) was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 20 and promoted to the Mets on Sept. 1. He got ahead 1-2 in the count before Murphy stayed alive and fouled off a 2-2 slider. Murphy then hit Rhame's next pitch, another slider, well beyond the center field fence.
Baker and Murphy both believe getting most of Friday off -- Murphy flew out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of the Nationals' 7-6 loss -- was an even bigger factor in the second baseman's most recent success against the Mets.
"Of all the guys on the team, a day off, you look at their averages (after a) day off, it really helps him and (Anthony) Rendon," Baker said.
Murphy, who has played in 138 of the Nationals' 154 games, is batting .309 (17-for-55) with four homers and 10 RBIs after a day off.
"I don't know what my numbers are, but I feel fresher," Murphy said. "I don't know if it leads to success, but he's done a great job here down the stretch of kind of managing our playing time. Hopefully we can sprint through the finish line of the regular season and into the Division Series."
Murphy's homer capped a comeback from a 3-0 deficit by the NL East champion Nationals (93-61), who are 4 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the race for the No. 1 seed in the NL.
The Mets (66-88) scored all their runs off Washington starter Stephen Strasburg in the third, when Brandon Nimmo hit an RBI double and Kevin Plawecki followed with a two-run single.
The Nationals chipped away in the fourth, when Adam Lind hit a two-run homer, and fifth, when Matt Wieters tied the game with a leadoff homer. Lind's round-tripper was the 200th of his career.
Strasburg and five relievers combined to 22 of the final 24 batters they faced. Sammy Solis (1-0) threw a perfect ninth inning and Sean Doolittle earned his 23rd save of the season, and his 20th since the Nationals acquired him from the Oakland Athletics on July 16, by working around a two-out walk in the 10th.
Strasburg allowed the three runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out six over five innings.
Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard started for the Mets and threw a scoreless inning in his first major league action since he tore his right lat against the Nationals on April 30. Syndergaard allowed one hit while throwing just five pitches.
"It was great to see him out there," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We're going to see how he feels tomorrow and the next day and we'll have him get himself ready, see if we can run him out there one more time."
Matt Harvey, making his first professional relief appearance, followed Syndergaard and gave up three runs on four hits over four innings.
"I was actually pretty nervous, I didn't really know what to do," Harvey said. "Noah threw, I think, five pitches and I had to check with (bullpen coach) Ricky Bones if I was going in or not."
Nori Aoki had two hits for the Mets.
NOTES: To make room for RHP Noah Syndergaard on the 40-man roster, the Mets transferred RHP Zack Wheeler (stress reaction in his right arm) to the 60-day disabled list. ... Before Saturday, Mets RHP Matt Harvey hadn't pitched in relief since his sophomore season at North Carolina in 2009. ... Nationals RF Bryce Harper (left knee) and OF Michael Goodwin (left groin) each participated in a simulated game Saturday. ... Nationals RHP Shawn Kelley (right forearm) will undergo what Baker called "extensive testing" early next week. Kelley left Friday's game with numbness in his right arm.
Braves rally past Phillies with three-run eighth
Saturday, September 23 at 11:20 PM (EDT)
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves have long been eliminated from playoff consideration. But it hasn't stopped the club from continuing to weave its late-inning magic.
On Saturday, the Braves collected their league-leading 20th win in their last at-bat. And it was the rookies who came through to produce the win.
Rookie Johan Camargo delivered a pinch-hit double with two outs in the eighth inning to drive in two runs and give the Braves a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night at SunTrust Park.
"It's important for me to put in the work ethic day in and day out," Camargo said. "The other thing is I try to stay as healthy as I can and be consistent."
The Braves rallied to score three times in the eighth against reliever Luis Garcia. Matt Adams opened with a one-out single and rookie pinch-runner Micah Johnson stole second and scored on rookie Dansby Swanson's single, tying the score at 2.
Swanson went to second on the throw and rookie Rio Ruiz was intentionally walked. Both advanced on a wild pitch and scored easily when Camargo lined a 1-2 pitch in the gap in right.
The winning pitcher was left-hander Rex Brothers (4-3), who worked a scoreless eighth inning. Arodys Vizcaino pitched the ninth and struck out the side for his 13th save.
Atlanta has won four consecutive games over the Phillies after starting the season 12-2 against Philadelphia.
Garcia (2-5) had not allowed a run in his last 12 1/3 innings and gave up multiple runs in one inning for the first time since Aug. 3.
"Luis got behind on the hitters and didn't throw quality strikes," Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's had some good moments and some bad moments like tonight. When you're pitching in a clutch situation like that, you can't fall behind hitters. You've got to get ahead of hitters."
Phillies starter Henderson Alvarez pitched five shutout innings but failed to pick up his first victory in three years when the bullpen was unable to hold the lead. Alvarez was seeking his first major league win since Sept. 23, 2014, when he beat the Philadelphia Phillies while a member of the Miami Marlins.
"Alvarez pitched through five innings, got through it," Mackanin said. "Didn't give up a run. Ball had some movement on it, he changed speeds."
The veteran right-hander pitched five shutout innings in his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He gave up five runs and walked three (one intentionally) and struck out two.
"That's the way baseball is sometimes," Alvarez said. "There are some things you cannot control. Just go out there and try your best."
Atlanta starter Julio Teheran received no decision. He pitched seven innings and allowed two runs (one earned), seven hits and one walk with five strikeouts. In his last six starts, Teheran has not allowed more than three runs.
"I think it was huge to be able to get out of that (seventh) inning," he said. "I wanted to try my best. I gave up one run early, but I was trying to keep the score low. I knew the guys would get some runs later."
The Braves got their first run when Ruiz hit his fourth homer in the sixth inning off Kevin Siegrist.
The Phillies got a run in the first inning. Nick Williams had a two-out single and came around to score when Rhys Hoskins doubled off the fence in center field.
Philadelphia added a run in the fifth without hitting the ball out of the infield. Maikel Franco reached on an infield single and J.P. Crawford walked. Both advanced on an infield out and Franco scored a passed ball.
The Braves had the bases loaded in the fourth inning and runners on the corners in the fifth but failed to score.
NOTES: Philadelphia broke a club record by allowing its 215th home run. The previous record was set in 2004. Kevin Siegrist allowed the tiebreaker, which was hit by Atlanta's Rio Ruiz. ... Atlanta CF Ender Inciarte had a double and needs five more hits to reach 200. ... Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman was sick with a stomach virus and out of the lineup on Saturday. ... Atlanta signed C Kurt Suzuki to a one-year, $3.5 million contract for 2018. The club has a $4 million option on C Tyler Flowers, which the club expected to exercise. .. Atlanta signed Korean SS Jihwan Bae. He was at SunTrust Park and met with fellow countryman Hyn Soo Kim of the Phillies before the game. Bae is likened to a left-handed Trea Turner. ... Sunday will be the final game of the season at SunTrust Park. The Braves are 37-43 in their new home.
|Royals||8||vs.||2||White Sox||Final Recap|
Duffy pitches Royals past White Sox
Saturday, September 23 at 11:30 PM (EDT)
CHICAGO -- Left-hander Danny Duffy figures to make one more start for the Kansas City Royals before the regular season ends.
His latest effort helped sustain the Royals' faint aspirations to go beyond that and return to the postseason for the first time since 2015.
Duffy pitched six-plus strong innings to finally solve a familiar foe, helping the Royals to an 8-2 win against the Chicago White Sox and keep Kansas City's American League wild-card hopes alive.
Kansas City (76-78) remained 4 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second AL wild-card spot while pulling even with Anaheim. Texas, playing late at Oakland, was one-half game ahead of the Royals when Saturday's game ended.
"Just keep pushing," Duffy said. "I mean, there's crazier things that have happened in this game. We want to continue to try to finish strong and worry about next year when next year comes."
Duffy pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two runs on two hits with two strikeouts and two walks. He was 0-3 with a 9.56 ERA in three earlier starts against the White Sox this season, yielding at least five runs each time.
"Historically, I've done well here," Duffy said. "This has been a rough year for me. They've seen me, so they're incredibly tough to punch out and they're hard to finish off, so hats off to them. Tonight, we were able to make some pitches in some tough spots, and my changeup was really working for me tonight, and everything felt great. I just felt like I was in rhythm, big time."
Whit Merrifield smacked a bases-clearing double in the seventh inning to break things open for Kansas City. The White Sox (62-92) struggled to mount an attack after Jose Abreu hit an RBI single against Duffy (9-9) in the first inning. Abreu added a run-scoring groundout in the seventh for his club-leading 100th RBI. Abreu joined Joe DiMaggio and Albert Pujols as the only players with at least 25 home runs and 100 RBIs in their first four major league seasons.
Speaking through a team translator, Abreu praised the White Sox front office, teammates and fans for their support.
"This organization was the one that made possible my mom's dream for me to play in the majors," Abreu said.
White Sox right-hander Dylan Covey (0-7) retired the first seven Royals he faced before Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar singled with one out in the third inning. Greater trouble surfaced one inning later as the Royals erased an early one-run deficit with a two-out rally in the fourth.
Salvador Perez doubled to score Eric Hosmer from first base before Perez scored on a Mike Moustakas single. Alex Gordon added to the lead in the fifth, hitting an opposite-field, solo home run against Covey with one out.
Covey made his 17th career major league appearance and 11th start, all this season. Covey spaced three runs, five hits, three strikeouts and one walk in six innings, his longest outing since also working six innings in a May 18 no-decision at Seattle.
"That was, I think, my fourth start against (the Royals)," Covey said. "I'm familiar with their hitters a little bit. I feel like the more a pitcher faces a hitter, the pitcher gets the advantage a little bit, more so than the hitter might."
Hosmer, Perez, Gordon and Brandon Moss had two hits apiece for the Royals. Perez doubled twice and had two RBI.
Matt Davidson had two hits for the White Sox and their only extra-base hit, a double.
The White Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but left-hander Scott Alexander pitched out of the jam, sandwiching two strikeouts around the Abreu groundout.
"That was huge for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "All our relievers pitched well tonight."
Game time temperature was 91 degrees, but several players, including Escobar, seemingly felt right at home.
Heat and humidity are the norm in his native Venezuela this time of year.
"It's just like this; 85, 90 (degrees)," Escobar said.
The White Sox fell to 10-12 in September and are aiming to finish a rebuilding season with a winning record in the final month. Manager Rick Renteria lauded a consistent effort and clubhouse vibe among players, key elements he feels have buoyed the White Sox throughout 2017.
NOTES: Royals C Salvador Perez returned to the lineup after leaving Friday's game as a precautionary measure when he was hit by a foul tip. "It was more his neck got a little sore last night, a little stiff," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "But he's fine." ... White Sox SS Tim Anderson extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games when he singled to lead off the fourth inning. ... White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon, out for the remainder of the season with an injured throwing shoulder, said the club still is working to determine the extent of his injury. Rodon said he could not answer whether offseason shoulder surgery could be a possibility.