|Sunday, June 24, 2018|
|Major League Baseball|
|Phillies||vs.||Nationals||8:08 (EDT) Preview|
Phillies on the brink of mopping up against Nationals
Saturday, June 23 at 9:49 PM (EDT)
WASHINGTON -- Having already won their first series at Nationals Park since April 2016, the Philadelphia Phillies will go for the sweep of Washington on Sunday night.
Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08 ERA) faces Nationals right-hander Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 4.66).
Pivetta was drafted by the Nationals in 2013 and went to the Phillies in 2015 as part of the Jonathan Papelbon trade.
After struggling for three straight starts -- giving up 13 runs in 14 innings -- Pivetta allowed two runs and four hits in 7 1/3 innings of a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals last time out, striking out a career-high 13 batters.
"That's some of the best stuff I've seen him have all year," catcher Andrew Knapp told mlb.com. "The curveball was electric."
Pivetta got 11 swings and misses with the curveball.
"It was nice to have it back," Pivetta told mlb.com. "It all started with my delivery. I was staying up through it, not trying to rush too much and it worked out."
It his first start -- and second big-league appearance -- the 24-year-old Rodriguez picked up a win against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. He allowed five runs, four hits and three walks in five innings.
Rodriguez and Satuday's losing pitcher, Erick Fedde, are filling in for injured starters Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson.
The Phillies have outscored the Nationals 17-5 in the fist two games of the series. On Saturday, Maikel Franco had four hits and Carlos Santana homered to back Aaron Nola in a 5-3 victory.
"That was just a tremendous all-around baseball game," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of Franco. "It's so interesting how we've been looking for him to be not just a hitter but a defender and a baserunner and an all-around athlete."
Franco drove in a run and scored twice, including the go-ahead run when he scored just ahead of the tag on Jesmuel Valentin's sacrifice fly.
The Phillies, who have won six of seven, pounded out double-digit hits for the second day in a row in Washington.
"They have a lot of patient hitters," Fedde said of the Phillies. "I think that's what makes it tough. Guys aren't swinging at bunch of junk, so you have to attack them."
The Phillies have now won four straight series for the first time since May 2016 and are 2-0 in what will be a stretch of 10 games against the Nationals and the New York Yankees.
Anthony Rendon homered and Daniel Murphy had a two-run single for Washington, which has lost three of four while scoring nine runs.
"Look, I've got all the confidence in the world we're going to start hitting," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "We'll start scoring some runs. Right now, the bullpen is a little beat up. We've got to get them going again."
Rendon is doing his part. In his las 15 games, he is batting .382 with seven doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs.
Hellickson (right groin strain) will make a rehab start Sunday for Class A Potomac and then is expected to rejoin the Nationals' rotation.
Hernandez said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) is about a week from beginning a rehab assignment.
|Mariners||vs.||Red Sox||1:05 (EDT) Preview|
Mariners try to win series vs. Red Sox
Saturday, June 23 at 11:44 PM (EDT)
BOSTON -- Their five-game losing streak over, the Seattle Mariners send seven-game winner Marco Gonzales to the mound against Red Sox ace Chris Sale in the deciding game of a three-game series at Fenway Park Sunday.
The Mariners handed Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez only his second loss in 11 decisions with Saturday night's 7-2 victory and now ask Gonzales to shake off his last start and butt heads with Sale in the finale.
After allowing just six runs in 38 1/3 innings in his previous six starts, Gonzales yielded six and was reached for three home runs in losing to the New York Yankees in the Bronx Tuesday night.
Sale has struck out 30 in 21 innings over his last three starts but is just 1-1 over that span. His team is just 8-8 in his 16 starts and he is 6-4 with a 2.74 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 102 innings in 2018.
The skinny left-hander is 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 10 games, eight starts, lifetime against the Mariners.
Gonzales will face the Red Sox for the first time. Boston is just 9-9 in games started by lefties this season.
Mike Leake pitched eight shutout innings to avenge last Sunday's loss to the Red Sox and defeat Boston for the first time in his career. Closer Edwin Diaz, who hadn't pitched in a week, worked a shaky ninth and allowed two runs, but that couldn't taint the evening for the visitors, who took a 14-10 loss in the opener Friday.
"Unbelievable and really big for our ballclub for him to step up tonight," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "Exactly what we needed for someone to shut it down and steady it."
Said Leake: "When you have a five-game losing streak, yeah, you want to end it."
The Red Sox, who remained a game behind the losing New York Yankees atop the American League East, fell to 13-2 in Rodriguez's 5 starts.
While Mookie Betts (illness) was out of the Boston lineup, both teams were without their shortstops Saturday night.
Seattle's Jean Segura missed his third straight game with an arm infection, had it drained by a Boston doctor Friday and hopes to play Sunday.
"It was bad," Segura said before Saturday's game. "It was hurting me, especially when I was swinging. I couldn't extend my arm. It doesn't feel right when you swing and feel pinching, like somebody is trying to grab your bat. As a player, you don't want that feeling.
"If it feels good, I'll play. But you can't play around with an infection. I have to wait til it recovers."
Boston's Xander Bogaerts, suffered a sprained left index finger diving into second base Friday night and sat out Saturday. He was due for a game off Saturday, anyway, and the hope and Betts will both play Sunday.
"How's Xander? He's day to day," manager Alex Cora said. "We'll see. (We'll) probably stay away from him tomorrow. We were looking for an off-day, and it just came up now. Hopefully he'll be ready to play on Sunday."
After the game, Cora said he hoped both would be ready to play
"They're going to show up early tomorrow, see where they at," Cora said. "So, we'll go from there."
The Mariners, 3-4 against Boston in the last 10 days, remained three games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.
The current Seattle roster is hitting a combined .200 against Sale.
Nelson Cruz is 8-for-26 (.308) with two homers and four RBIs against Sale, but Mike Zunino is 0-for-7. Kyle Seager is 1-for-16 (.063), Ryon Healy and Guillermo Heredia both 1-for-6 (.167) and Andrew Romine 3-for-14 (.214).
Triston Casas, the Red Sox top pick in the recent draft, took batting practice in the same group of J.D. Martinez before Saturday night's game.
|Cubs||vs.||Reds||1:10 (EDT) Preview|
Cubs attempt to prevent sweep by Reds
Saturday, June 23 at 10:09 PM (EDT)
It was unheard of not that long ago, but now it has become somewhat commonplace: pitchers by committee.
A manager begins a game not with a starting pitcher but a reliever -- and with more relievers to follow.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon, certainly not a stranger to taking a risk, tried it Saturday with poor results against a suddenly hot team that's not playing like a last-place club.
Don't look for him to make the same mistake Sunday.
Maddon will run out one of his regular starters, right-hander Tyler Chatwood (3-5), at Great American Ball Park to try to avoid a four-game sweep by the Cincinnati Reds, who are playing nothing like the tail-ending team they've been all season.
The Reds mounted their second six-game win streak of the year -- the first time they've done that since 2012 -- by making quick work of the Cubs' starter-by-committee plans Saturday during an 11-2 victory keyed by the pitching of right-hander Anthony DeSclafani.
And, remarkably, keyed by the hitting of DeSclafani, who hit the Reds' seventh grand slam in 33 days and their third of the week, but the first by a Cincinnati pitcher since Bob Purkey against the Cubs on Aug. 1, 1959.
DeSclafani (3-1) posted his third win in a row while giving up two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Cubs reliever-turned-starter Luke Farrell (2-3) was long gone by then, having been lifted with only a 2-1 deficit and two outs in the third inning. The Reds went on to score eight more runs against the Cubs' bullpen -- and catcher Chris Gimenez, who pitched the eighth inning.
DeSclafani's shot came with two outs in the third inning against left-hander Brian Duensing, and it was a no-doubt drive well up into the left-field stands.
"All in all, I was trying to hit the ball hard somewhere and not strike out," said DeSclafani, who came into the game with a .138 career batting average. "I knew a fastball was coming and I tried to square it up, and it happened to go out. ... It was awesome. It all happened so quick."
And slowly the Reds, once 8-27, are starting to play the way they expected when the season started. They've won nine of 11 and are 5-0 on their current six-game homestand.
"When you get down in the standings, it can be deflating," said Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman, who replaced Bryan Price during the terrible start. "But they kept coming to the ballpark and working hard, and now we're getting closer to respectability in the standings, though we're not there yet."
The Cubs' domination of the Reds is disappearing, too - going into the series, they'd won 43 of 62 against them in the last four seasons -- as quickly as DeSclafani's homer reached the seats.
"We're playing clean baseball -- we've run the bases, made plays ... are getting timely hits," Riggleman said. "We have a nice string of well-played games."
This probably isn't encouraging to the Cubs' faithful, either. Chatwood is 0-4 with a 4.18 ERA in five career appearances against the Reds. He has walked 63 batters in 68 1/3 innings this season.
Despite Chatwood's lack of success against the Reds, only Joey Votto (2-for-10, .200) has double-digit at-bats against him.
Chatwood opposes right-hander Sal Romano (4-7), who is coming off his best start of the season -- seven shutout innings against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. Romano gave up four hits and struck out six despite walking four in a 9-5 Reds victory in which the Tigers scored all of their runs in the ninth inning.
Romano's last start against the Cubs wasn't a good one. He surrendered seven runs and six hits in five innings of a 10-0 Chicago victory on May 19. He is 0-1 against them in two career games.
Maddon gave Kris Bryant the day off Saturday after he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the Reds' 6-3 win Friday as he tries to get some of the slumping hitters going. Bryant is likely to be in the lineup Sunday against Romano.
"We've got to get (Willson) Contreras going, we've got to get KB (Bryant) and (Anthony Rizzo) going," Maddon said. "I mean, these were our primary offensive weapons last year, and they really haven't hit their stride yet."
|Dodgers||vs.||Mets||1:10 (EDT) Preview|
Dodgers, Mets headed in starkly different directions
Sunday, June 24 at 12:41 AM (EDT)
NEW YORK - There's no better indicator of the different directions in which the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are headed than the main topic of conversations following Saturday night's game, when the Dodgers were excited by the return of their Hall of Fame-bound ace and the Mets were pondering if the pitcher with the second-worst ERA in team history would have to start in place of the pitcher with the worst ERA in team history.
The Dodgers will look to complete a sweep of the reeling Mets Sunday afternoon, when the two teams play the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field.
The Dodgers hit a game-breaking grand slam for the second straight game Saturday, when Matt Kemp's pinch-hit blast off Robert Gsellman in the eighth inning provided insurance and then some in an 8-3 win. On Friday, Cody Bellinger snapped a scoreless tie with a sixth-inning grand slam off Zack Wheeler in a 5-2 victory.
The big news Saturday for the Dodgers (40-35), who have gone 24-9 since May 17, was the return of ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who missed the previous three-plus weeks due to a lower back strain. Kershaw allowed two runs in three innings in his first start since May 31.
Manager Dave Roberts said afterward he expected Kershaw to start again on Thursday or Friday.
"To not just have the mindset that I can keep going and know that at some point the plug is going to be pulled, that's got to be tough for the psyche," Roberts said of the famously competitive Kershaw. "But I think for me, for us, it's just more of having him out there is such a plus and just a boost for all of our guys."
If the Mets (31-43), who have lost five straight and are 20-41 since an 11-1 start, are going to get a badly needed boost Sunday, they'll receive it from an unknown and unlikely source.
Manager Mickey Callaway said Saturday night that Jason Vargas, who was scheduled to start Sunday, will be placed on the disabled list with an injury he suffered while doing conditioning work earlier this week.
Callaway said the Mets have yet to decide who will start.
Right-hander Chris Flexen will be recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace Vargas on the active roster and is a candidate to start.
Vargas is 2-6 with an 8.60 ERA in nine starts this season and has a 9.38 ERA in 11 career starts with the Mets, for whom he also pitched briefly in 2007. Vargas' ERA is the highest for any Mets pitcher who has thrown at least 40 innings for the team.
The second-highest ERA in Mets history belongs to Flexen, who has an 11.57 ERA in two appearances this season and an 8.05 ERA in 16 games (nine starts) dating back to last season. Flexen last pitched Thursday, when he got the final out of the Mets' 4-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies before being optioned to Las Vegas.
"We're going to see when guys come in (and) play catch," Callaway said. "Our bullpen's obviously thrown some innings and we're going to see how everybody's feeling when they come in (Sunday) and make that decision then."
Another possibility to draw the start or to pitch extended innings in relief is rookie Tim Peterson.
He last pitched Thursday, when he tossed 1 1/3 perfect innings against the Rockies and has a 1.17 ERA in five games. The only other Mets reliever to not pitch Friday or Saturday is closer Jeurys Familia.
Whomever pitches for the Mets will oppose Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill (1-2, 4.99 ERA), who is scheduled to make his second start since coming off the disabled list last Tuesday, when he pitched against the Chicago Cubs.
Hill, who missed a month with a blister on his left middle finger, didn't factor into the decision after allowing three hits over six scoreless innings in Los Angeles' 2-1, 10-inning loss.
Hill is 1-2 with an 8.00 ERA in six career games (four starts) against the Mets. Neither Flexen nor Peterson has ever faced the Dodgers.
|Tigers||vs.||Indians||1:10 (EDT) Preview|
Indians go for seventh straight win in series finale vs. Tigers
Saturday, June 23 at 10:22 PM (EDT)
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians will attempt to run their winning streak to a season-high seven games Sunday against the slumping Detroit Tigers in the final game of a three-game series.
For the Indians, it's also the end of a nine-game homestand in which they've gone 6-2.
The Tigers have lost four in a row and go into Sunday's game with a 3-9 record against the Indians this year. They're 6-28 since June 25, 2015.
The staggering Tigers made a flurry of roster moves before Saturday's game, starting with activating pitcher Francisco Liriano off the 10-day disabled list. Liriano pitched four innings and took the loss Saturday in a 4-1 Cleveland victory.
The Tigers also optioned infielder Ronny Rodriguez to Triple-A Toledo. They placed pitcher Johnny Barbato on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder rotator cuff tendinitis. To replace Barbato on the roster, Detroit recalled right-handed pitcher Artie Lewicki from Toledo.
The pitching matchup Sunday will be Detroit left-hander Matthew Boyd (4-5, 3.63 ERA) vs. Cleveland right-hander Adam Plutko (3-1, 5.04).
Boyd will make his second start against the Indians this year. His first one was a good one. On April 10, the Tigers lost to Cleveland 2-1. Boyd worked seven innings, giving up one run and three hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
Boyd comes into Sunday after a loss in his last start, 9-5 to Cincinnati on June 19. In that game, he pitched four innings, giving up five runs and six hits with five strikeouts and three walks. In six career appearances against the Indians, Boyd is 1-2 with a 1.78 ERA.
Plutko's last appearance was a two-inning relief stint during the Indians' 9-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins on June 16. In that game, Plutko pitched two innings, giving up one run and two hits with one strikeout and no walks.
Plutko's last start was a 5-1 loss to the White Sox on June 12 in which he pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up five runs and eight hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
Sunday will be Plutko's second career appearance against Detroit. He made a relief appearance against the Tigers on Sept. 27, 2016, allowing three runs and three hits, including a home run, with one walk and one strikeout in two innings.
Sunday was supposed to be Mike Clevinger's day to start, but Indians manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Carl Willis decided to tweak the rotation. Clevinger will instead pitch Monday in St. Louis. Corey Kluber, who's day to pitch would have been Monday, will now pitch Tuesday against the Cardinals.
"Somebody was going to get an extra day," Francona said. "Just talking to Carl, we felt like Clev's thrown 100 (or more) pitches in nine (of his last 10 starts). So giving him an extra day, we just thought it would help us more than anything. So that's why we changed it."
Plutko will be backed by a Cleveland bullpen that is much improved since the additions of newcomers Oliver Perez and Neil Ramirez. Ramirez has a 2.57 ERA in 16 games, and in his nine appearances with Cleveland Perez has a 1.17 ERA.
"The reliever world can be very volatile, so when you hit on guys like that, it sure helps," Francona said.
The Tigers, meanwhile, are trying to get their offense started. Detroit has scored three runs or less in four of its last five games, being outscored 29-12 in those games.
|Yankees||vs.||Rays||1:10 (EDT) Preview|
Yankees face first three-game skid of the season vs. Rays
Saturday, June 23 at 8:52 PM (EDT)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The New York Yankees are the only team in baseball yet to lose three games in a row this season, but that could end Sunday with a sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa Bay (36-40) posted a 4-0 victory Saturday at Tropicana Field after a 2-1 win Friday. For the second day in a row, the Rays relied on a patchwork relievers-as-starters bullpen-day approach.
The Yankees have not gone this late into a season without losing three in a row since August 1954.
The Rays have an actual starter on the mound Sunday in Blake Snell, who looks like an All-Star with a 9-4 record and 2.48 ERA. But he's 0-2 against the Yankees with a 9.72 ERA, including his only loss in his last seven outings.
On June 14, Snell gave up four runs in five innings in a loss to the Yankees. By comparison, he has a 0.95 ERA in three outings against the Boston Red Sox.
Snell's career record against the Yankees is 2-4 with a 4.89 ERA in 10 starts.
If Snell has the Yankees (50-24) as a nemesis, New York starter Domingo German (2-4, 4.77 ERA) is nearly the opposite -- he had no wins in his first 11 appearances of the season until a June 14 game against the Rays when he lasted six innings and gave up three runs and five hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts for his first victory of the year. German made it two straight wins with a 7-2 victory over Seattle on Tuesday, striking out nine.
A Rays sweep of the Yankees would be unexpected, given that they opened the season with five straight wins over Tampa Bay by a combined score of 31-10. The Rays had lost five of seven entering the series, but now are one win from a sweep.
"That road trip kind of knocked us in the mouth a little bit," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We faced arguably the two best teams in the American League (Yankees and Astros). ... To be able to come back here, take the off day, get back at home and the fans, my gosh, the fan support that we've gotten has been outstanding, and to find a way to win two games has to be special for this clubhouse."
The Yankees have dominated in the first three months of the season and so scoring one run in a span of two nights is concerning but nothing Aaron Boone is too worried about long term. The Yankees haven't had extended hitting slumps this season, so he's eager to see his lineup get back to business even before the squad leaves town.
"You're going to hit a little dry spell like that," Boone said. "Overall, we haven't really been mounting much since that big inning a couple of days ago. Over the course of 162 games, that is going to happen. We just have to keep grinding at it and really come back and have that urgency (Sunday), to try to get out of here with one (win) under our belt."
|Diamondbacks||vs.||Pirates||1:35 (EDT) Preview|
Saturday, June 23 at 10:29 PM (EDT)
The adjustments have come both ways and Pittsburgh Pirates rookie outfielder Austin Meadows is doing better at them than opposing pitchers.
Through the first three games of a series against Arizona that concludes Sunday at PNC Park, Meadows has gotten the better of Diamondbacks pitching. Despite going 0-for-4 Saturday, he's 5-for-13 in the series with a run, a walk and a stolen base.
In fact, Meadows told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that pitchers are only adjusting to him "a little bit" after his early success.
"They're throwing a little more of their off-speed early in the count for strikes," he said. "For me, it's just going out there and having the same mentality I did when I got here. Having that fastball-first mentality and adjusting to certain things and staying in my zone and not swinging at their pitches."
Meadows, 23, a 2013 first-round draft pick who is healthy after injury setbacks, started on fire after his call-up from Triple-A Indianapolis on May 18, but going from .409 to .330 is probably just leveling off to something closer to what he can maintain.
He has made 25 starts -- he batted leadoff Saturday in a 7-2 Pirates loss -- divided among all three outfield spots. He has hits in 20 of the 25 starts, including 12 of the past 14, with six doubles, two triples, five homers, 11 RBIs, 14 runs and five stolen bases.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle expects that opposing teams will use whatever resources they have to try to shift the advantage to the pitchers.
"We've seen a punch-back already," said Hurdle, who doesn't sound as if he expects opponents to fully solve Meadows any time soon.
"If you're not impressed by Meadows' at-bats, you need to go watch another sport right now," he said.
Pittsburgh (36-40) has lost four straight and five of six. Arizona (43-33) has won three in a row, five of six, and will go for a four-game series sweep Sunday.
Arizona right-hander Clay Buchholz (1-1, 2.94 ERA) is scheduled to face Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams (6-4, 4.00).
Buchholz has three no-decisions in a row. His most recent start last Sunday was one of the Diamondbacks' most frustrating losses.
He allowed one earned run in 5 2/3 innings and Arizona went into the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead before the New York Mets came back against closer Brad Boxberger to win 5-3.
"We got some very solid pitching, and Buccholz handed it off to the bullpen," manager Torey Lovullo said.
Buchholz was subdued but "felt pretty good for the most part."
Buchholz has been strong on the road with no wins to show for it -- 0-1 with a 2.12 ERA and a .180 average against in three starts.
He is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA in two career starts against the Pirates.
Williams is coming off a gem. He pitched seven one-hit, scoreless innings and struck out seven Monday in a 1-0 win over Milwaukee. It was his first win since May 15.
Against the Diamondbacks, Williams is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in three career starts. That includes a 13-8 road loss on June 12 when he gave up six runs (one earned) in the first inning and two in the third.
|Orioles||vs.||Braves||1:35 (EDT) Preview|
Orioles go for unlikely sweep of Braves
Saturday, June 23 at 11:39 PM (EDT)
The Baltimore Orioles go for their first series sweep of the season against an unlikely opponent.
The O's, who entered the weekend with the worst record in the American League, will try to take three straight from the Atlanta Braves, who began the series tied for the best record in the National League. Atlanta has been swept only once this season.
Baltimore will send right-hander David Hess (2-3, 4.82 ERA) against Atlanta's Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 4.89) on Sunday at SunTrust Park.
Baltimore has found its offense in Atlanta, scoring 17 runs in the first two games. Mark Trumbo had a grand slam Saturday and Chris Davis returned from an eight-game hiatus to hit a home run Friday and drive in three runs Saturday.
"I feel a lot better," said Davis, who entered the series hitting .150. "I feel like I'm getting there, starting to get that calm and easy feel. It feels good to contribute to two wins."
Baltimore had lost eight of its last 10 games entering the series, but their two losses in the previous series against Washington had been by three or fewer runs.
"We have been playing better, more like we need to play and how to play," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm happy that they are getting their turn. The mood and the effort, that's been on-going, but how much of that can you take? You worry about that because nobody is happy about losing."
Hess will be making his eighth start and has made quality starts in four of them. He's received an average of 4.10 runs in support. But his last victory came on May 25 against Tampa Bay.
The rookie will be making his first career start against Atlanta. He has started seven games this season and has struggled in the last two outings.
He allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings against Washington on Tuesday and five runs in 3 1/3 innings against Boston on June 12. His last four starts have reaped two losses and two no-decisions.
McCarthy was on the verge of losing his spot in the rotation, but received a reprieve when rookie Mike Soroka had to be placed on the disabled list for the second time with shoulder soreness. Otherwise, he would likely have been moved to the bullpen.
McCarthy threw 5 2/3 innings in his last start against San Diego on June 15 and allowed two runs. In 14 starts, McCarthy has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 10 games.
McCarthy has made 10 career appearances (eight starts) against Baltimore and compiled a 2-2 record with a 4.28 ERA. He has not faced the Orioles since 2014.
Atlanta would like to see McCarthy pitch deeper in the game in order to give the bullpen a break. Luke Jackson, Sam Freeman and Peter Moylan have pitched the last two days and are likely unavailable. Concern remains about closer Arodys Vizcaino, who has complained of right shoulder soreness and hasn't pitched in six days.
Vizcaino has suffered shoulder issues this season and had a cortisone injection this week.
"It's one of those spots in the year with him," manager Brian Snitker said. "We went through it a couple times with him last year. There are times he's going to have to be down, just to get him through the year."
|Athletics||vs.||White Sox||2:10 (EDT) Preview|
A's draw bead on road series win over White Sox
Saturday, June 23 at 8:16 PM (EDT)
The Oakland Athletics will go for a series victory when they face the Chicago White Sox in the finale of a four-game set Sunday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Oakland (40-37) rallied for a 7-6 victory Saturday to post its second win in the past three games against the White Sox. The A's have won six of their past seven games and have started a 10-game road trip with an impressive record of 4-1.
Meanwhile, Chicago (25-51) is sliding quickly in the opposite direction. The White Sox have lost nine of their past 10 games and dropped to 7-16 in one-run games after Saturday's defeat.
Oakland has enjoyed its recent visits to Chicago's South Side, winning eight of its last 13 games at the ballpark.
The latest win came thanks in large part to the heroics of outfielder Nick Martini, who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake and attended White Sox games as a kid. Martini singled in the go-ahead run for his first big league hit Saturday, and he figures to have another contingent of family and friends in the stands on Sunday to support him.
Martini was called up from the minors before Saturday's contest and promptly appeared in his fourth big league game.
"I told my family immediately," Martini said when asked about getting the call to the majors. "I was like, 'Hey, I'm going to be in Chicago this weekend. Everybody was super-stoked."
The A's will turn to right-hander Paul Blackburn (1-1, 8.03 ERA), who will make his fourth start of the season. Blackburn has posted a 4-2 record with a 4.06 ERA in 13 career starts. He never has faced Chicago.
The White Sox will counter with left-hander Carlos Rodon (0-2, 4.41 ERA), who also will make his fourth start of the 2018 season. The 25-year-old was sidelined for the first couple months of the season because of a biceps injury.
Rodon allowed two earned runs in each of his first two starts before giving up four earned runs in his most recent outing. He is 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA in three career starts against the Athletics.
One bright spot for the White Sox is shortstop Tim Anderson, who has homered in back-to-back games. His latest blast cleared the wall in right field and marked his 13th home run of the season.
"He's seeing the ball very well, obviously," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "Having some good at-bats, getting some pitches he can handle and he's obviously driven a few balls out of the ballpark."
Anderson, who turned 25 on Saturday, has focused more on delivering power to all fields.
"The more I grow, the better hitter I become," Anderson said. "I'm going to keep working."
For Oakland, closer Blake Treinen has converted 14 consecutive save opportunities. In his last 21 appearances, he has a 0.73 ERA.
|Cardinals||vs.||Brewers||2:10 (EDT) Preview|
Saturday, June 23 at 10:30 PM (EDT)
MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun will be back in the starting lineup Sunday when the Milwaukee Brewers wrap up their four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.
Braun left the team ahead of their scheduled game in Pittsburgh Wednesday morning to get an injection on his right thumb -- a process he undergoes every few months after a nerve issue in the thumb robbed him of his power in 2014.
Braun returned to the team Thursday ahead of the series opener against St. Louis but despite being ready and available, according to manager Craig Counsell, Braun has yet to appear in a game since coming back.
"Ryan is doing fine, he's doing great," Counsell said Saturday before the Brewers' 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. "I just think that if we can give him more time, great, that works out for both of us in that perspective. He'll play (Sunday)."
With Braun sidelined, Eric Thames has seen most of the action in left field, a move that allows Counsell to keep hot-hitting Jesus Aguilar at first base.
Putting Thames in left also allowed the Brewers the flexibility to option slumping outfielder Domingo Santana to Triple-A Colorado Springs Saturday morning.
The 25-year-old Santana hit 30 home runs in a breakout 2017 campaign but with his playing time limited after Milwaukee added Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich during the offseason, Santana hasn't made the most of his limited opportunities. He was batting .249 with three home runs, 17 RBIs and a .667 slugging percentage while going more than two series without a start.
"We need to get Domingo going," Counsell said. "At some point, we're going to need Domingo. We'd both prefer he'd be rolling and clicking when that time comes. It's tough to do when you're not playing that much.
"Eric and 'Aggie' are playing well. We're trying to find ways to get them both in the lineup. That's a factor in this."
To replace Santana on the active roster, Milwaukee recalled infielder Brad Miller from Colorado Springs. That move could help the Brewers address another troubling situation: The season-long offensive struggles of shortstop Orlando Arcia.
Arcia is batting .201 with a .234 on-base percentage this season but has remained in Counsell's starting lineup on a regular basis because of his stellar ability on defense and because the Brewers lacked other viable options.
Eric Sogard has struggled at the plate this season, too, batting .146 with a .255 OBP. Counsell prefers to keep Jonathan Villar at second base, where he moved after Arcia was promoted two years ago and Tyler Saladino, who performed well enough after joining the team in May for the Brewers to send Arcia to Triple-A is out indefinitely with a serious ankle sprain.
"Brad has played all over the field," Counsell said. "He played a lot of shortstop for a while, then he played a lot of second base, then a lot of first base. So, he has moved around in different years, but it's been a while since he played shortstop."
One thing that has been constant for Milwaukee this season is right-hander Jhoulys Chacin.
As has been the case for most of his career, Chacin has been especially effective at home this season where he's posted a 2.31 ERA in six starts at Miller Park.
Overall, he's made a team-leading 16 starts this season and is 6-2 with a 3.18 ERA. He's held opponents to a .231 average and a 1.24 WHIP while striking out 66 in 87 2/3 innings.
"He's pitching," Counsell said. "He's got some cunning and some craftiness out there, as well as good stuff."
The Cardinals will be trying to get a split of the series after Yadier Molina hit two homers Saturday. The Cardinals dropped the first two games by committing four errors Thursday and allowing a game-ending homer to Aguilar Friday.
Molina has five homers in his last six games and guided Miles Mikolas through 6 2/3 strong innings.
"What he's doing behind the plate is willpower," St. Louis Mike Matheny said. "Being able to handle pain and discomfort. He's smarter at the plate. He has such a great idea, and he's dangerous, obviously. It's hard to say, if he kept playing, where he'd be right now in the home run column and a number of others."
Right-hander Luke Weaver gets the nod for the Cardinals as they try to build momentum after snapping a three-game losing streak.
Weaver will be looking for his first victory since May 11 when he threw five shutout innings in a 9-5 victory at San Diego. In seven starts since that outing, Weaver is 0-4 with a 4.46 ERA and has allowed four runs in each of his last three starts while recording only one out past the fifth inning.
He's 2-2 with a 4.41 ERA in six career starts against the Brewers with a 2-2 mark and 3.68 ERA in four starts at Miller Park, where he lasted four innings and took the loss after giving up four runs on four hits in an 8-3 loss on May 28.
|Rangers||vs.||Twins||2:10 (EDT) Preview|
Colon goes for history as Rangers face Twins
Saturday, June 23 at 10:37 PM (EDT)
Bartolo Colon goes for a spot in the history books Sunday afternoon when he takes the mound at Target Field where the Texas Rangers will face the Minnesota Twins.
Colon (4-4, 4.91) snapped a tie with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal and became the winningest pitcher from the Dominican Republic earlier this week and should he earn a win Sunday, he would tie Nicaragua native Dennis Martinez for the most by a pitcher from any Latin American country.
"Now that I've won the 244, I see that it's close to Dennis Martinez, but with health and enough time, I'm ready to be able to pass him and be the first Latin with more wins," Colon said through a translator after snapping out of a five-game funk against the Kansas Royals on Monday "I feel happy, of course, to pass a Hall of Famer, the first Dominican in the Hall of Fame."
Colon is 11-8 with a 3.78 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) against the Twins. Last season he was 5-6 with a 5.18 ERA in 15 starts for the Twins.
Colon is pitching in Minnesota as a visitor for the first time since July 16, 2005 at the Metrodome when he pitched the Los Angeles Angels.
The Latin American record is a big deal for not just the 45-year-old Colon but also for his teammates.
"They've wanted to get this win for him for some time now," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It's just incredible to watch. He's such a humble guy. No real fanfare whatsoever. Kind of just a great humility."
The Rangers have been one of baseball's hottest teams of late.
They stretched their season-best winning streak to seven games Saturday as Adrian Beltre and Robinson Chirinos homered in 9-6 victory. With a win Sunday, the Rangers would clinch their second consecutive series sweep -- and their second of the season, overall.
They may need to do it without first baseman Joey Gallo, who left the game in the third inning after stretching a double. Banister said Gallo had been "battling some soreness" the last few days.
"We played him at first base to try to alleviate some of that today, but it seemed to come back and get him a little bit," Bannister said. "We'll reassess him and see where he is tomorrow."
The Twins have dropped three straight games after Eddie Rosario homered and drove in four runs Saturday.
Right-hander Jose Berrios (7-5, 3.38) will try to keep Texas' brooms at bay.
Berrios earned a no-decision but was magnificent in his last outing, holding the Red Sox to a run on five hits while striking out six over 6 1/3 innings Tuesday.
He's only allowed one run in each of his last two outings and gave up two in the start before that. Over his last seven outings, Berrios is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA.
Berrios won his only start against Texas, allowing five runs and five innings in a 6-5 victory Aug. 6. He also is 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in four starts against teams from the AL West.
Should Berrios struggle Sunday, the Twins will have a fresh arm in the bullpen. Minnesota's bullpen covered 7 1/3 innings Saturday after Jake Odorizzi recorded just five outs.
The team plans to summon right-hander Alan Busenitz from Triple-A Rochester, where he has a 1.27 ERA in 17 outings this season.
To make room for Busenitz on the roster, Minnesota optioned 23-year-old starter Fernando Romero to Triple-A. The right-hander is 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA and has a 7.54 ERA over his last five starts.
"His starts, while they haven't been horrific or horrendous or any of those type of things, it just looks like it's been a little more laborious for him," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Some of the things that a young pitcher goes through, I think it's time to reset him. There's obviously some things maybe that I don't want to be too transparent about that I think he needs to work on. I'm sure he'll get back to work."
|Royals||vs.||Astros||2:10 (EDT) Preview|
Balanced Astros look to win rubber match against Royals
Sunday, June 24 at 12:41 AM (EDT)
HOUSTON -- It was yet another example of what the Houston Astros look like when their lineup depth flashes, their fourth win in their final at-bat this season offering a glimpse of potential even when everything didn't quite fall into place.
As the Astros (51-27) near the halfway point of the schedule on Sunday against the Kansas City Royals, they recognize fully that they will require more wins like the one they recorded on Saturday to keep pace in the chase for the best record in the American League.
They were handcuffed by a scuffling pitcher for seven innings before the bottom third of their order helped complete a game-tying rally in the ninth.
And, while Houston failed to walk it off in the 11th, the bottom third of its order generated just enough traffic for the heavy hitters to come to bat in the 12th and secure the 4-3 victory.
Designated hitter Evan Gattis, batting seventh, produced the game-tying RBI with his sacrifice fly in the ninth inning following an 0-for-3 start to his evening. Marwin Gonzalez, batting eighth, walked in both of his final two plate appearances after recording three strikeouts against Royals starter Ian Kennedy. By churning out quality plate appearances, the job was easier up top.
"We're at our best when those guys are doing something at the bottom," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "That takes a lot of pressure off the top of the order or the middle of the order to have to do it every time. That's why we think we have a complete team."
Right-hander Gerrit Cole (8-1, 2.59 ERA) will start the series finale for the Astros in the rubber match. Cole did not factor into the decision in his last start, a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, after allowing four runs on three hits and five walks with eight strikeouts over seven innings.
He made his lone start against the Royals on July 21, 2015, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits with six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings in a 3-2 loss at Kauffman Stadium when he pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Right-hander Jason Hammel (2-8, 4.88 ERA) gets the starting nod for the Royals. Hammel is 2-2 with a 2.85 ERA over nine career appearances (eight starts) against the Astros, including a 1.74 ERA over his last three starts. He hasn't pitched at Minute Maid Park since 2014.
Hammel, who issued a season-high four walks in his previous outing, has issued two or fewer walks in 11 of 15 appearances this season and is tied for fifth in the American League with 37 starts with two or fewer walks since the start of 2017. His four walks against the Texas Rangers snapped a 37-start streak of walking three or few batters dating back to May 29, 2017.
After delivering at the plate and in the field for the Royals (23-53) in the opener, right fielder Rosell Herrera had a quiet night on Saturday, going 0-for-4 with a walk. Claimed off waivers from Cincinnati on June 2, Herrera was recalled from Triple-A Omaha last Sunday and has worked to show the defensive range and offensive versatility that could make him an asset as the Royals take extended looks at some of the younger players on their major league roster.
"He's athletic, he's fast," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Herrera. "He seems to swing the bat OK from both sides. It's only been a week. There's a lot to like looking at him on a short look."
|Marlins||vs.||Rockies||3:10 (EDT) Preview|
Another Coors newcomer to start for Marlins against Rockies
Saturday, June 23 at 9:54 PM (EDT)
DENVER -- In the rubber game of their series Sunday, the Miami Marlins for the third straight game will start a pitcher against the Colorado Rockies who has never taken the mound at Coors Field.
The Marlins' hope is that left-hander Caleb Smith (5-6, 4.03 ERA) replicates the effort of Trevor Richards and not Wei-Yin Chen.
The latter wasn't hit hard Friday night but gave up nine hits and seven runs in four innings, and the Rockies romped 11-3. On Saturday, Richards allowed three hits and one run in six innings in Miami's 6-2 victory.
Smith received a no-decision Monday at San Francisco, allowing four runs and six hits and throwing 88 pitches in four innings in Miami's 5-4 victory. Smith allowed two hits and one walk in seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in his only start against the Rockies on April 29 in Miami.
Smith has limited opponents to a .221 average and in 76 innings has allowed 62 hits with 87 strikeouts and 32 walks.
"He's been pretty good," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of Smith, who turns 27 next month and was acquired in a November deal with the New York Yankees. "He's been a nice surprise for us. He's a guy with a lot of swing-and-miss without having huge velocity. But they don't see the ball that well.
"He's got a good little breaking ball. He's got a good changeup. And everything works off his fastball. He's not really a young, young guy. He's a guy that's been a little bit more polished, a guy that we're really more willing to just keep putting him in there, not worrying about his innings (limit) or things like that. Early in the year, we were trying to find out is he a reliever, is he a starter, but he's been pretty solid for us out of the rotation."
German Marquez (5-7, 5.20) will start for the Rockies. He won for the first time in four starts Tuesday against the New York Mets when he gave up four runs in six innings in Colorado's 10-8 victory. He's 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA in two starts against the Marlins, including April 28 when he gave up three runs (one earned) in six innings in Colorado's 4-1 loss.
The Rockies are 7-8 in starts by Marquez, who is 2-4 with a 7.45 ERA in eight starts at Coors Field this season.
The Marlins broke a three-game losing streak Saturday and are 4-4 on a three-city road trip that ends Sunday. They scored at least six runs for the first time in a 10-game span, which they last accomplished June 11 in a 7-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
The Rockies had their four-game winning streak end Saturday as they dropped to 4-2 on a homestand that ends Sunday. Bryan Shaw gave up a grand slam in the seventh inning to J.T. Realmuto, a line drive that just cleared the wall in right field and put the Marlins ahead 6-1.
It was the career-high-tying eighth home run Shaw has allowed this season and the first grand slam he has yielded.
In a major-league leading 41 appearances, Shaw has a 7.57 ERA. He has been scored upon in 11 of his past 16 appearances, a stretch in which he has a 13.15 ERA in 13 innings while allowing 29 hits, including five homers.
A free agent after last season, Shaw signed a three-year, $27 million contract with the Rockies, who envisioned him working in a setup role. That may be changing.
Scott Obert (back strain) and Mike Dunn (rhomboid strain) are scheduled to make rehab appearances Saturday and Monday and if all goes well, they will join the Rockies on Tuesday in San Francisco and be activated the following day. That would pave the way for Shaw to pitch earlier in the game in lower-leveraged situations.
"We might have to take a step back with Bryan going forward, if we get some of our guys back," Rockies manager Bud Black said.
|Padres||vs.||Giants||4:05 (EDT) Preview|
Padres short on arms for series finale against Giants
Saturday, June 23 at 8:31 PM (EDT)
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Diego Padres will put a franchise-record streak on the line with an overworked bullpen Sunday afternoon when they wrap up a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants.
The Padres will be looking to split the series in a game matching rookie right-handers Eric Lauer (3-4, 5.47 ERA) of the Padres against Dereck Rodriguez (2-1, 4.56) of the Giants.
Lauer has pitched well in his last two starts, allowing three runs in 11 2/3 innings, but he has failed to pitch into the seventh inning in either, which could become an issue Sunday.
The Padres were forced to turn Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Giants into a bullpen affair after scheduled starter Jordan Lyles experienced tightness in his right forearm during warmups.
Five regular members of the bullpen, including emergency starter Matt Strahm, combined to throw 133 pitches, one day after Padres manager Andy Green used five relievers, including two of the same guys, to secure a 6-2 victory.
Green admitted the rotating-relievers thing, which included using three in the same inning Friday night for the first time this season, has been a bit dizzying.
"It's more a matchup thing," he explained of his three trips to the mound in the same inning. "It didn't necessarily work. We ended up giving up a run. I liked the way it played up to that point."
By allowing three, two and five runs in the first three games of the series, the Padres extended their streak of allowing five or fewer runs on the road to 13 consecutive games.
Lauer worked five innings in an earlier start against the Giants this season, allowing three runs. He did not get a decision in a game in which Green went to the bullpen four times.
The 23-year-old survived a shaky start in the April 30 outing, allowing a single to Gorkys Hernandez, a triple to Andrew McCutchen and a double to Buster Posey in the first three batters.
It was his only previous matchup with the Giants.
The Giants, meanwhile, have struggled out of the bullpen in the series after Mark Melancon came on to complete Madison Bumgarner's shutout with a scoreless ninth in Thursday's 3-0 victory.
San Francisco relievers have allowing five runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings in the last two games, and have proved especially vulnerable in the ninth inning, giving up three insurance runs that padded San Diego's 6-2 victory Friday, and letting the Padres back in the game with two runs in Saturday's 5-3 outcome.
The Giants are playing the series -- and at least the next month -- without closer Hunter Strickland, who broke a finger on his pitching hand earlier in the week.
Rodriguez will try to give the Giants' bullpen a break in the series finale. But like Lauer, he has failed to give his club depth in his starts this season, averaging 4 2/3 innings in his five outings.
He has posted a win and a no-decision in his last two starts despite allowing five runs and 14 hits in 11 2/3 innings. Rodriguez has never faced the Padres.
|Blue Jays||vs.||Angels||4:07 (EDT) Preview|
Blue Jays hope to limit Angels again
Sunday, June 24 at 12:53 AM (EDT)
The Toronto Blue Jays pitching staff seems to have found a solution to the Los Angeles Angels this weekend, and they will try to keep their offense quiet again in the finale of their four-game series Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
After giving up eight runs in the series-opening loss on Thursday, the Blue Jays have limited Los Angeles to a combined three runs over the past two games.
Toronto (35-41) has been especially tough on Mike Trout, the best hitter for the Angels, who is 1-for-9 in the series with six strikeouts to drop his average to .327.
Luis Valbuena's third home run of the series in the eighth inning tied the score at 1-1 and ended a scoreless streak of 14 innings for the Angels (41-36), who saw a three-game winning streak stopped.
Steve Pearce answered with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth for Toronto, his second game back after missing seven weeks with an oblique strain.
The starting pitchers for the series finale opened their seasons in the bullpen.
The only difference is Toronto right-hander Sam Gaviglio had experience as a major-league starter last season, while Felix Pena made his first major-league start earlier this week for Los Angeles.
Gaviglio (2-2, 3.75 ERA) will make his seventh straight start after originally moving into the rotation when Marcus Stroman went down with shoulder fatigue in mid-May.
Stroman returned Saturday night and threw five shutout innings, but fellow starters Aaron Sanchez (right finger contusion) and Jaime Garcia (sore left shoulder) were placed on the 10-day disabled list on Saturday, opening the door for Gaviglio to remain in the rotation.
Gaviglio threw seven shutout innings in a 3-0 loss to the New York Yankees on June 6 but hasn't gone past the fourth inning in his past two outings.
He allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits in four innings on Sunday against the visiting Washington Nationals, but due to official scoring rules, he was ineligible for the win in the 8-6 victory that completed a three-game sweep.
Since his last start, Gaviglio also spent three days on the paternity list to be with his wife, Alaina, for the birth to their first child on Tuesday, a girl.
Gaviglio has made one appearance against the Angels in his career, allowing three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings as a member of the Seattle Mariners last July. The Mariners lost 4-0 and he was traded to the Kansas City Royals later that month.
"He's never going to wow you with his stuff, but he's a pretty good pitcher," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told the Toronto Sun after Gaviglio's latest start.
Pena (0-0, 5.40) made 38 career relief appearances before making his first start on Tuesday against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pena allowed one run and two hits in four innings and Los Angeles won 5-4 to end a three-game losing streak.
"Starting isn't the same as relieving, but I didn't feel any different," Pena told MLB.com following his starting debut.
Pena's only experience against Toronto came when he struck out the side while with the Cincinnati Reds last August.
|Saturday, June 23, 2018|
|Major League Baseball|
Blue Jays snap road losing streak, beat Angels 4-1
By DAN GREENSPAN - Associated Press
Sunday, June 24 at 1:45 AM (EDT)
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) After losing 10 of their previous 11 games away from home, the Toronto Blue Jays got timely plays to break out of their rut.
Steve Pearce hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning and the Blue Jays ended a five-game road losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.
''We needed it. We did it in dramatic fashion, and sometimes that's what you need to start a little streak,'' said Pearce, who is 4 for 6 in two games since returning from the disabled list because of a strained oblique.
Pearce's fourth homer was a line drive down the left-field line off Justin Anderson (1-2), who gave up a two-out single to Aledmys Diaz and walked Devon Travis to bring Pearce to the plate. Pearce was waiting for a slider, and Anderson left it hanging over the middle of the plate.
''It was in the back of my mind, but I was just trying not to strike out,'' Pearce said. ''In that situation, you've got two guys on, you've got to put it in play and let the chips fall where they may.''
Seunghwan Oh (3-2) got the win despite giving up a solo home run to Luis Valbuena that tied it at 1 in the eighth. Ryan Tepera earned his sixth save, striking out Jose Fernandez to end the game.
Marcus Stroman threw five scoreless innings for the Blue Jays, who had lost 10 of their last 11 on the road. Stroman, who had not started since May 8 because of shoulder fatigue, allowed six hits and one walk.
Stroman said it was his best performance of the season, able to effortlessly switch between pitches that he described as ''easy'' and ''natural'' coming off his hand. After going through a limited spring training because of inflammation in his shoulder, Stroman treated his stint on the disabled list as a second chance to get his body ready for the season.
''I thought he looked like the old guy,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
Teoscar Hernandez gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead on his solo home run in the third. The shot to left-center was the 13th this season for Hernandez, who went 2 for 4.
Los Angeles had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Angels used five rookie starters, including right-hander Jamie Barria, who gave up one run and four hits, and walked four in five innings.
The Angels had a chance to tie it in the bottom of the third after loading the bases with one out, but Russell Martin tagged out David Fletcher at home plate to end the inning. Valbuena popped out to short center, and Kevin Pillar's throw home arrived ahead of the rookie second baseman.
''I knew he was out,'' said Stroman, who was backing up Martin on the play. ''I had the best view. The throw couldn't have been any more perfect. Right on the money. Literally, Russell could have closed his eyes and probably caught the ball, put that tag.''
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (right finger contusion) and LHP Jaime Garcia (shoulder) were placed on the disabled list Saturday. LHP Tim Mayza was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.
Angels: DH/RHP Shohei Ohtani (elbow) will be re-evaluated Thursday and will not travel with the team during its upcoming 10-game road trip. ... C Rene Rivera (right knee) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Blue Jays: RHP Sam Gaviglio (2-2, 3.75 ERA) is seeking his first win since May 25. He has allowed seven runs in 7 1/3 innings in his last two starts.
Angels: RHP Felix Pena (0-0, 5.40) will make his second career start. Pena faced the Blue Jays as a reliever with the Cubs last season, striking out all three batters he faced.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Martini gets 1st big league hit, Athletics top White Sox 7-6
By MATT CARLSON - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 7:26 PM (EDT)
CHICAGO (AP) Nick Martini picked a perfect time - and place - for his first major league hit.
Pinch hitting, Martini drove in the tiebreaking run in the eighth inning with full-count single up the middle and the Oakland Athletics came back from an early five-run deficit to edge the Chicago White Sox 7-6 on Saturday.
Martini, recalled from Triple-A before the game, battled through the eight-pitch at-bat and lined his hit off Juan Minaya (0-2) with two outs to center to score Stephen Piscotty from second. Piscotty reached on a double when right fielder Avisail Garcia lost his routine fly in the sun.
Martini is from Crystal Lake, Illinois, a Chicago suburb about 45 miles northwest of Guaranteed Rate Field. Although the 27-year-old outfielder says he followed the crosstown Cubs as a kid, coming through on the South Side suited him just fine.
''It's hard to describe,'' said Martini who played in front of a contingent of family members and friends. ''To get it here in my backyard was definitely special and I was super excited.''
Martini was called up by the A's for three games earlier this month, but the 27-year-old outfielder was hitless in nine at-bats.
Piscotty launched a two-run drive and Matt Olson hit a solo shot as the Athletics homered in their 24th consecutive road game, tying a modern day record set by Baltimore in 1996. Olson's homer was his 17th and third in four games.
''Who knows why, but we're definitely in a groove right now,'' Piscotty said. ''I felt like the way our offense has been, (coming back) wasn't too daunting a task.''
Lou Trivino (5-1), the A's fourth reliever, pitched 1 2/3 innings and struck out four. Blake Treinen got the last five outs for his 17th save as Oakland hung on for its sixth victory in seven games despite committing two errors in the ninth.
Tim Anderson hit his 13th homer, a three-run shot on his 25th birthday, that capped Chicago's five-run first inning burst. The White Sox have lost nine of 10.
Both starters exited early with injuries.
Oakland's Daniel Mengden was roughed up for the fourth straight outing, allowing five runs and five hits before a sprained right foot forced him to leave after two innings. The right-hander, who is 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA over 16 1/3 innings in June, said the foot has bothered him over his past few starts.
Although he appeared to be cruising with a 5-2 lead, White Sox starter Dylan Covey was pulled due to right hip soreness with no outs in the fifth when Oakland scored three times to tie it at 5. Manager Rick Renteria called the move precautionary and said the team would know more on Sunday.
Coved said his hip ''felt funny'' as he left the field after four innings.
''I could feel it in my (fifth inning) warmups,'' Covey said ''My drag leg was not really painful, but nagging me. I was bracing every pitch for something. It was affecting the quality of my pitches.''
Covey, who was charged with four runs, left after walking Matt Joyce to start the inning and reaching a 2-1 count on Jonathan Lucroy. Chris Volstad completed the walk to Lucroy, then gave up a single to Franklin Barreto, a sacrifice fly to Dustin Fowler and Jed Lowrie's two-run double.
Piscotty's homer in the second made it 5-2. After Oakland tied it, Olson's homer leading off the sixth put the A's ahead 6-5.
Yoan Moncada grounded into a force at second with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth to push in a run to tie it at 6.
Martini was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday, and right-handed pitcher Chris Bassitt and left-hander Danny Coulombe were optioned.
Athletics: Manager Bob Melvin said LHP Ryan Buchter (strained left shoulder) will be activated on Monday at Detroit. . Melvin had no timetable or plan for Mengden, but said the right-hander's current injury isn't related to previous surgery.
White Sox: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (right rotator cuff inflammation) is expected to throw three innings in a rehab start Sunday at Triple-A Charlotte. Gonzalez, who was 0-3 with a 12.41 in three starts in April, said he expects to make three or four starts on the rehab assignment. . Renteria said OF Nicky Delmonico (broken finger on right hand) is getting ready to start hitting off a tee.
Athletics RHP Paul Blackburn (1-1, 8.03) faces White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon (0-2, 4.41) on Sunday in the series finale. Both Blackburn and Rodon will make their fourth starts since returning from the DL.
Six-run outburst lifts Rangers to seventh straight win
By PATRICK DONNELLY - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 7:37 PM (EDT)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Adrian Beltre has helped the Texas Rangers win a lot of games over the years. On Saturday, he found a surprising way to spark his team to its seventh straight victory.
Beltre and Robinson Chirinos homered to help Yovani Gallardo win for the first time since last July as the Texas Rangers beat the Minnesota Twins 9-6 on Saturday.
The home run wasn't anything unusual -- he's got 466 of those his 21-year major league career. But he led off the second inning by beating out a ground ball to shortstop, no easy feat for a 39-year-old who has spent almost a month on the disabled list this year with a strained left hamstring.
The infield single led to a six-run rally to help the Rangers overcome an early 2-0 deficit.
''Speed kills - don't you know that?'' a grinning Beltre said. ''Over the last week or so, we've been able to find out how to get guys on, and now we're getting more consistent in bringing those guys in.''
Eddie Rosario homered and drove in four runs for the Twins, while Logan Morrison also homered and Mitch Garver had three hits. Minnesota lost its third straight when it couldn't overcome a short start from veteran Jake Odorizzi (3-5).
The Twins did rally for three runs in the ninth and had the tying run at the plate with two outs. But Rangers closer Keone Kela struck out Morrison with the bases loaded to end the game, earning his 18th save in 18 chances.
Gallardo (1-0) was making his second start for Texas after opening the year with Cincinnati. He promptly fell behind 2-0 just five pitches into the game before turning it around and pitching into the sixth inning.
Joe Mauer led off the bottom of the first with a sharp single to left. Then Rosario hit the first pitch he saw into the right-field seats for his 17th home run of the season.
But Gallardo settled down, at one point retiring 12 of 13. Morrison's two-run homer with one out in the sixth inning ended Gallardo's day, but he earned his first victory since July 29, 2017, when he was pitching for Seattle.
Odorizzi retired the side in order in the first inning, but the Rangers knocked him out in a six-run second. The big blows were two-run singles by Delino DeShields and Nomar Mazara.
Beltre's second hit of the inning finally spelled the end for Odorizzi, who lasted just 1 2/3 innings. It was the shortest start of his career, other than a one-inning start in 2017 that he was forced to leave due to an injury.
''It just started to unravel,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ''A couple guys got on, then he slipped on the mound, then he hit a guy, and even later in the inning after he'd given up some, we still had chances. He got ahead of Mazara 0-2, Beltre he got ahead of, but we just couldn't finish.''
Odorizzi, the Twins' opening day starter, has seen his ERA climb steadily in his last six outings. He's allowed 25 earned runs in 25 2/3 innings over that stretch, driving his ERA to a season-high 4.97.
''It's upsetting and frustrating . It's not something I take lightly.'' Odorizzi said. ''I take a lot of pride in getting guys out. Trust me, I'm more frustrated about this than anybody in this clubhouse. This has been one of the tougher stretches in my short big league career.''
HIT BATTER BEEF
Rangers 3B Jurickson Profar was hit by pitches three times on Saturday, tying a team record that he also matched just two weeks ago. But the Rangers were not happy with the circumstances surrounding the third time it happened.
Profar stole second base in the fourth inning when the Rangers were leading 9-2. The next time Profar came to bat, Twins reliever Addison Reed threw three inside fastballs, finally hitting him in the leg with the third one.
''I thought the intent there was excessive, especially they tried to dial him up three different times,'' Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ''The guy's playing baseball hard. I guess you can just look at it that there's a difference in what they're focusing in on and what we're focusing in on.''
Molitor didn't try to rationalize Reed's approach to Profar, but he also didn't deny that the dugout took notice when Profar stole a base with a seven-run lead.
''The thought process between the unwritten rules of the game is not clearly defined,'' Molitor said. ''What I might think and what he might think might be different things. I was surprised that (Profar) ran with the score the way it was, when he did. And getting hit there was something that Banister felt wasn't appropriate.''
ROMERO TO ROCHESTER
After the game the Twins optioned rookie RHP Fernando Romero to Triple-A Rochester, with a corresponding move to be announced on Sunday. Romero, who made his major league debut on May 2 and won his first two starts, is 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA in 10 starts.
Rangers: 1B Joey Gallo left the game in the third inning with left hamstring tightness. He was replaced by Ronald Guzman.
Twins: 3B Eduardo Escobar returned to the starting lineup for the first time since he was hit by a pitch on the right elbow in the first inning of Thursday's game against Boston.
Rangers: RHP Bartolo Colon (4-4, 4.91 ERA) returns to Target Field to face his former teammates in the series finale Sunday afternoon. Colon went 5-6 in 15 starts for the Twins last season as he helped them clinch the second AL wild card spot.
Twins: RHP Jose Berrios (7-5, 3.51) will be looking for his first victory since June 7 as Minnesota tries to avoid being swept. In his last two starts he's allowed two earned runs in 12 1/3 innings but took no-decisions against Detroit and Boston.
Realmuto hits grand slam, Marlins beat Rockies 6-2
By BRENT W. NEW - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 7:49 PM (EDT)
DENVER (AP) J.T. Realmuto was focused purely on putting the ball in play with the bases loaded and two strikes on him.
He ended up putting it out of play.
Realmuto hit a grand slam during a five-run seventh inning and the Miami Marlins beat the Colorado Rockies 6-2 Saturday.
With one out, Realmuto fouled off three pitches against struggling reliever Bryan Shaw before lining an elevated cutter just over the right-field wall. The drive helped Miami stop a three-game skid and ended the Rockies' winning streak at four.
''Early, I felt like I was trying to do a little too much in that at-bat,'' Realmuto said. ''Once I got to two strikes I was really just trying to fight and put the ball in play. That's really it.''
Shaw said he threw the pitch he wanted against Realmuto. It just ended with a bad result.
''We executed where we wanted to and he hit it,'' Shaw said.
Trevor Richards (2-4) gave up one run and three hits in six innings, striking out eight. He also singled for his first hit in the majors.
The 25-year-old rookie was 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA on the road coming into the day at Coors Field.
''He set the tone,'' Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ''He kept us in the game and gave us a chance.''
Rockies starter Tyler Anderson (4-3) was sharp before allowing three consecutive hits to open the seventh, including an RBI single from pinch-hitter Justin Bour that chased the lefty and put the Marlins ahead 2-1. Starlin Castro then loaded the bases after video review reversed an out call and ruled him safe with an infield single.
An out later, Realmuto hit his second career grand slam. His first came on Aug. 12, 2015 against the Boston Red Sox.
''J.T.'s great, you know he's not afraid,'' Mattingly said. ''He's not bothered by anything out there. He's one of the guys that you like being up there. I remember telling him last year, at one point he was struggling, and I just told him `there's no one I like up there better than you', because you always feel like he's not afraid and nothing is going to bother him up there.''
Gerardo Parra hit a solo homer in the seventh to bring Colorado within 6-2. Parra drove both runs for the Rockies, who fell back below .500 (38-39).
Derek Dietrich hit his 10th home run of the season off Anderson in the fourth to put the Marlins up 1-0. Colorado tied it on Parra's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning.
Marlins: SS Miguel Rojas was a late scratch with soreness from a bruise on his left hand.
Rockies: RHP Scott Oberg (back strain) and LHP Mike Dunn (shoulder strain) were slated to begin rehab assignments in Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday.
NEW ROLE FOR SHAW?
Colorado manager Bud Black wasn't opposed to the idea of moving Shaw into a different role in the bullpen as he continues to struggle.
''That's possible,'' Black said. ''We have some guys coming back that might potentially be able to go that way to give Bryan a little step back.''
The Rockies called up INF Pat Valaika and optioned RHP Yency Almonte to Triple-A Albuquerque.
The Rockies welcomed back a few of their former players as the organization celebrated their 25th year anniversary. Todd Helton and Larry Walker were among those in attendance. Prior to the game, they returning players posed for selfies with fans and a couple of them took a few swings in a batting practice. Former Rockies third baseman Vinny Castilla - who is 50 - hit a couple well over the fence in left to the oohs and ahhs of the crowd.
Marlins: LHP Caleb Smith (5-6, 4.03 ERA) takes the mound for the series finale Sunday. Smith has gone 3-4 with a 4.89 ERA on the road this season.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (5-7, 5.20 ERA) is 1-2 with a 7.77 in his four starts in June. He got the win against the Mets on Tuesday after allowing four runs in six innings.
Greinke pitches Diamondbacks past Pirates 7-2
By ALAN SAUNDERS - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 9:48 PM (EDT)
PITTSBURGH (AP) Arizona manager Torey Lovullo had quite the dilemma when the game was stopped by rain for the second time in the middle of the fourth inning.
When the showers subsided, Lovullo gave the ball back to Zack Greinke, and the ace right-hander delivered.
Greinke pitched six scoreless innings, Paul Goldschmidt homered and the Diamondbacks beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 on Saturday for their third consecutive win.
''We were having debates in here whether we should send Zack out or not,'' Lovullo said. ''He said he felt great and he wanted to keep pitching. Just felt like we had to do the right thing and take him off the mound, but he saved us today. He did a great job.''
David Peralta had two hits and two RBIs for NL West-leading Arizona. Goldschmidt also walked twice and scored three times.
Greinke (7-5) allowed two hits, struck out seven and walked none. He also doubled and scored on Jon Jay's double in the fourth.
The Pirates hit just four balls out of the infield against Greinke, who had never before stayed in through two rain delays. They combined to halt play for 1 hour, 21 minutes.
''Didn't really know how to respond,'' he said. ''Told Torey if it feels terrible, I'd let them know. It wasn't too bad.''
Greinke's extra-slow curveball was especially effective. Sitting around 69 mph at a big separation from his 89 mph fastball, it accounted for four of his strikeouts.
''It's obviously a weapon that slows the hitters down because it's such a slow pitch,'' Arizona catcher Jeff Mathis said. "He has a good feel for it too. He's always looking for an opportunity to drop it in there.''
Arizona grabbed control with five runs in the first four innings against Joe Musgrove (2-3).
Goldschmidt walked and scored on Peralta's triple in the first. Peralta then scored when Sean Rodriguez's relay throw landed in the Pirates' dugout.
The duo combined for another run in the third when Goldschmidt walked again and scored on Peralta's double. Chris Owings singled in Jake Lamb to make it 4-0.
''If I can't control the inner half to the lefties, it's a tough day for me to get them out,'' Musgrove said. ''It showed today.''
Goldschmidt hit his 17th homer in the seventh, and Lamb added an RBI single in the ninth.
Musgrove's day ended with the second rain stoppage. He allowed seven hits, struck out two and walked three.
Rodriguez went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in addition to his error on his bobblehead day. He is hitting .149 on the season.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (strained right oblique) will make his third rehab start on Monday.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli, already on the seven-day disabled list, has been diagnosed with a concussion. There is no timeframe for his return. ... LF Corey Dickerson returned from the Family Medical Emergency Leave List and started. INF/OF Adam Frazier was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Diamondbacks: RHP Clay Buchholz (1-1, 2.94 ERA) is expected to start the series finale on Sunday. In three starts on the road, he has a 2.12 ERA and is holding opponents to a .180 batting average.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (6-4, 4.00 ERA) is coming off one of his best outings of the season, when he struck out seven over seven one-hit innings Monday against Milwaukee.
Crawford's 3 extra-base hits lead Giants over Padres 5-3
By MICHAEL WAGAMAN - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 7:55 PM (EDT)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Two days after returning from the paternity list, Brandon Crawford's sleep pattern is slowly getting back to normal. His swing is looking smooth, too.
Crawford doubled twice, tripled and drove in three runs, leading the San Francisco Giants over the San Diego Padres 5-3 on Saturday.
The breakout game came less than a week after Crawford's wife gave birth to the couple's fourth child, son Bryson.
''You just know him, you know it's a matter of time,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. ''I'm sure his timing was a little bit off. Today he found it. We needed it.''
Crawford went into the game mired in an 0-for-18 funk. He walked in the second inning, hit a triple off Matt Strahm in the fourth and doubled in a pair of runs off Adam Cimber (3-4) in the sixth. Crawford also doubled and scored in the eighth.
''Even though I may not have looked that good at times, I did feel like I was seeing the ball well,'' Crawford said. ''My timing might have just been a little bit off. It was just a matter of squaring the ball up, finding a hole, hitting it to a spot they couldn't catch it.''
San Francisco's Gold Glove-winning shortstop also helped turn three of the Giants' four double plays. He made a throwing error in the ninth that allowed a run to score.
Crawford was bothered as much by the error as he was excited about breaking out of his batting slump.
''It's frustrating, I'm not going to lie,'' Crawford said. ''Obviously I like going 3-for-3 any day, but I want to be able to make those plays in the ninth inning also.''
Brandon Belt singled twice and Gorkys Hernandez added an RBI double as the Giants won their fifth in seven games.
Reyes Moronta (3-1) retired three batters.
Hunter Renfroe homered for San Diego. The Padres have dropped six of seven.
San Diego manager Andy Green was forced to scramble after starting pitcher Jordan Lyles was scratched from the lineup with right forearm tightness minutes before he was scheduled to take the mound in the bottom of the first.
''Just kind of my read on his body and the way he was talking and the way he was feeling was that it wasn't worth putting him on the mound today,'' Green said. ''We're very hopeful that it's just one of those things where by keeping him off the mound today we preserved the rest of his season.''
Strahm, who started last Sunday in Atlanta, replaced Lyles and pitched into the fourth inning. Strahm gave up two hits and left after yielding Crawford's RBI triple.
Cimber, the fourth San Diego pitcher, allowed both runs in the sixth.
Hernandez doubled in Nick Hundley in the seventh to make it 4-1.
Giants starter Andrew Suarez gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings.
Things got a little chippy in the seventh when Andrew McCutchen was hit by a pitch from San Diego reliever Phil Maton. McCutchen took exception after the previous pitch was high and inside, and he glared at Maton for several moments. Padres A.J. Ellis stepped in front of McCutchen and spoke to the hitter briefly before McCutchen walked to first base.
Earlier in the week, the Giants and Miami Marlins exchanged allegations of beanballs during their three-game series at AT&T Park.
The Giants optioned left fielder Mac Williamson to Triple-A Sacramento. Williamson was one of San Francisco's hottest hitters before suffering a concussion in late April but has struggled at the plate since returning. Austin Slater was recalled and will join a crowded depth chart in left. Alen Hanson started Saturday, with Hunter Pence and Austin Jackson also in the mix.
Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (elbow inflammation) was scheduled make his first rehab start with Sacramento on Saturday night. ... RHP Jeff Samardzija (shoulder tightness) will join Cueto in Sacramento and will throw around 90 pitches in a rehab start Tuesday.
Giants RHP Dereck Rodriguez (2-1, 4.56 ERA) makes his third home start since joining the rotation. Rodriguez is unbeaten in his two previous starts at AT&T Park while allowing four runs in 11 innings. Eric Lauer (3-4, 5.47) pitches for the Padres. The left-hander has yielded three earned runs or fewer in his previous four starts.
Franco has 4 hits as Phillies defeat Nationals 5-3
By HARVEY VALENTINE - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 9:04 PM (EDT)
WASHINGTON (AP) Nicked in the first inning, Aaron Nola figured he'd be fine if could find his form.
He did, and the Philadelphia Phillies took advantage.
Maikel Franco went 4 for 4, Carlos Santana homered and the Phillies defeated the Washington Nationals 5-3 on Saturday.
''The way (we've) been swinging lately, I just felt like if I kept putting up zeros and battling out there they were going to come through and score some more runs,'' Nola said.
With the Phillies leading 3-2 in the eighth, Santana sent a drive into the Philadelphia bullpen in left-center field off Kelvin Herrera for his 13th homer of the season and second in two games. Franco later added an RBI single.
Philadelphia's Odubel Herrera, who had homered in five straight games, went 0 for 4.
The Phillies have won five of six while the Nationals have lost three of four, scoring a total of nine runs. Anthony Rendon homered for Washington.
''Look, I've got all the confidence in the world we're going to start hitting,'' manager Dave Martinez said. ''We'll start scoring some runs. Right now the bullpen is a little beat up. We've got to get them going again.''
Nola (9-2) stiffened after giving up two runs in the first inning. He didn't allow a hit after the second and left following the sixth. He also hit an RBI single.
Seranthony Dominguez worked the ninth for his fourth save.
Erick Fedde (0-3) allowed three runs on eight hits in six-plus innings.
''They have a lot of patient hitters,'' Fedde said. ''I think that's what makes it tough. Guys aren't swinging at bunch of junk, so you have to attack them.''
With the score 2-all, Franco doubled leading off the seventh and moved to third on a groundout. Pinch-hitter Jesmuel Valentin lifted a fly to right, Franco tagged and just beat Adam Eaton's throw home with the safe call surviving a replay challenge.
''That was just a tremendous all-around baseball game,'' Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said of Franco's day.
Daniel Murphy's two-run single in the first inning gave Washington the early lead, but the Phillies strung together four two-out singles - the last by Nola - in the second to tie it.
For the second consecutive game, Harper tried to beat the shift with a first-inning bunt. Friday night, he bunted foul before striking out and Saturday he was thrown out by Nola.
Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (right lat strain) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session and will likely throw another session in a few days.
Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman (right oblique strain) is expected to go on a rehabilitation assignment within the next week, according to Martinez. ... RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) will pitch Sunday for Class A Potomac and is expected to rejoin the rotation after the one rehab start. ... RH reliever Brandon Kintzler (right foreman flexor strain) will also pitch at Potomac on Sunday.
Phillies: RHP Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08), acquired from Washington in the trade for Jonathan Papelbon, pitches the finale. He's 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA in three starts against the Nationals.
Nationals: RHP Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 4.66) makes his second big league start.
Molina's 2 homers boost Cardinals past Brewers
By CHARLES F. GARDNER - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 9:05 PM (EDT)
MILWAUKEE (AP) Yadier Molina's defense and longevity might earn him a ticket to the Hall of Fame. Suddenly the veteran St. Louis Cardinals catcher is on a home-run tear.
He homered twice to back a strong start by Miles Mikolas and lift the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.
Molina's two-run homer in the sixth inning off reliever Jeremy Jeffress gave St. Louis the lead and the Cardinals held on behind the solid pitching of Mikolas and four relievers.
Molina has five home runs in his last six games, including another two-homer game in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said the 35-year-old Molina has developed more power as he has grown older.
''He was such a young player when he came up,'' Matheny said of Molina, who earlier this week set a major league record for most games caught with one team (now 1,762).
''You figured there was going to be room for improvement but the route he has taken is unique because you can't always count on that kind of willpower. He's as driven a player as I've ever seen.''
Marcell Ozuna led off the sixth with a line-drive single to center and scored on Molina's shot to right-center, a ball that bounced off the top of the wall and into the St. Louis bullpen for a 3-2 Cardinals lead.
''He did some damage today,'' Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ''He was their offense.''
The Brewers (45-31) remained two games ahead of the second-place Chicago Cubs in the NL Central after Chicago lost in Cincinnati on Saturday.
Mikolas (8-2), who pitched in Japan last season, allowed three hits and two runs in 6 2/3 innings while walking two and striking out five. Bud Norris earned his 14th save with a scoreless ninth. Jeffress (5-1) took the loss.
''We didn't have any idea what we were getting when we got him and he's been everything as advertised from the Japanese league, plus,'' Matheny said of Mikolas. ''You just don't know how that's going to translate.''
Mikolas retired 16 of the last 17 hitters he faced.
The Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Jesus Aguilar and an RBI single by newcomer Brad Miller.
St. Louis closed the gap when Molina led off the second inning with a solo home run to right-center.
Brewers starter Chase Anderson did not yield another run in five innings, giving up two hits and striking out nine while walking four.
The Brewers had a big chance in the eighth when they loaded the bases with two outs on two hit batters and an infield single. Aguilar grounded out to shortstop against Cardinals reliever Sam Tuivailala to end the threat.
The Brewers recalled infielder Brad Miller from Triple-A Colorado Springs and optioned struggling outfielder Domingo Santana.
Miller, acquired from Tampa Bay on June 10 in exchange for first baseman-outfielder Ji-Man Choi, was in the Brewers starting lineup at second base and had a bloop RBI single in his first at-bat.
Santana hit .278 last season for Milwaukee with 30 homers and 85 RBIs, but never got on track this season. He hit .249, with three homers and 17 RBIs in 189 at-bats.
Miller, who played 95 games at shortstop for Tampa Bay in 2016, likely will play a utility role with Milwaukee.
''I was pretty excited to get the call and come to a team in first place,'' Miller said. ''I have the versatility to play everywhere but I'm definitely more comfortable in the middle of the diamond.''
Brewers: Ryan Braun entered in the fifth inning to play left field, when outfielder Lorenzo Cain exited due to groin tightness. Cain also was hit by a pitch in the right elbow on Friday and hit by a pitch in the back in the first inning Saturday. Counsell said Cain would not play Sunday in the series finale. ''He's just a little beat up,'' Counsell said. Braun appeared for the first time since receiving a cryogenic injection in his right thumb on Wednesday and went 1-for-2. . RHP Zach Davies (10-day DL, right rotator cuff inflammation) is scheduled to make a second rehab start for Colorado Springs on Sunday.
Cardinals: RHP Luke Weaver (3-6, 4.69 ERA) will be making his 16th start of the season and seventh career start against the Brewers. He is 2-2 against Milwaukee.
Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (6-2, 3.18 ERA) had a six-game winning streak snapped in a 1-0 loss at Pittsburgh on Monday. Chacin is 0-6 with a 5.88 ERA in eight career games (seven starts) against the Cardinals.
Pitcher Anthony DeSclafani hits grand slam, Reds rout Cubs
By MARK SCHMETZER - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 8:20 PM (EDT)
CINCINNATI (AP) The last-place Cincinnati Reds slammed the Chicago Cubs - again.
Anthony DeSclafani hit the first grand slam by a Cincinnati pitcher in 59 years, helping the Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 11-2 on Saturday for their sixth consecutive victory.
It was Cincinnati's third slam in five days and major league-leading seventh of the season, two short of the record set in 2002. Jesse Winker hit one in the series opener against Chicago on Thursday night.
The last Reds pitcher to hit a grand slam was Bob Purkey against the Cubs on Aug. 1, 1959.
Tucker Barnhart and Joey Votto also went deep in front of a crowd of 36,818, Cincinnati's largest since opening day. Votto hit a three-run shot off backup catcher Chris Gimenez in the eighth.
''We're playing clean baseball,'' interim manager Jim Riggleman said. ''We've strung some good ballgames together.''
The Reds matched their longest win streak of the season and won a third straight game against the Cubs for the first time since winning five in a row in 2014.
''They definitely have played much better,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''They deserved all three. Our pitching was in disarray, and they took advantage of it.''
Willson Contreras and Ben Zobrist homered for Chicago, which has lost three straight games for the first time since a five-game slide from May 1 through May 6. Zobrist and Ian Happ each had two of the Cubs' six hits.
Contreras' fifth homer trimmed Cincinnati's lead to 2-1 in the second, but the Reds responded with six in the third.
Votto sparked the rally with a two-out walk against Luke Farrell (2-3). Brian Duensing then came in and yielded run-scoring hits to Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez with his first two pitches.
A walk to Winker and Adam Duvall's infield single loaded the bases for DeSclafani, who drove a 3-2 pitch from Duensing into the seats in left for his first career homer.
''I got to a full count there,'' DeSclafani said. ''I knew a fastball was coming, so I just tried to square it up and it happened to go out. At first, I didn't think it was a home run. but I saw the left fielder kind of give up on it. Then I saw the ball get into the stands. It was awesome. Everything in that at-bat happened so quick, from when I swung and hit the ball until I started shaking hands in the dugout.''
DeSclafani (3-1) also pitched a season-high 6 1/3 innings in his fourth start after beginning the year on the disabled list with a left oblique strain. He allowed three hits, struck out three and walked four.
Farrell, a former Red and the son of ex-Red Sox manager and current Reds scout John Farrell, yielded Barnhart's two-run homer in the first. He was charged with three runs and two hits in his second career start.
''I made one big mistake to Barnhart,'' Farrell said. ''They're an aggressive team. I got too aggressive with a fastball.''
Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber, who grew up in nearby Middletown, took an autographed bat to a fan who was injured by one of his foul balls. The fan walked out with help wearing a white bandage around his head.
Cincinnati third baseman Eugenio Suarez had three hits, extending his career-high hitting streak to 13 games. It's the longest streak by a Red this season.
FOUR FOR FOUR
DeSclafani is the fourth Reds pitcher to hit a grand slam, joining Purkey, Al Hollingsworth in 1936, also against the Cubs, and Icebox Chamberlain with an inside-the-park homer in 1892.
Cubs third baseman Tommy La Stella crashed into the first row of seats down the left-field line while catching Votto's first-inning popup.
Contreras's homer survived a crew-chief replay review after video showed a fan wearing a Cubs jersey trapped it with his glove against the top of the fence before hauling it in.
Chicago bench coach Brandon Hyde was ejected by plate umpire Greg Gibson in the top of the fourth inning for complaining about ball-strike calls.
Gimenez made his 10th career pitching appearance and first for the Cubs.
Cubs: LHP Rob Zastryzny left in the sixth with what Maddon called left side tightness.
Reds: INF Nick Senzel, Cincinnati's top pick and the second overall selection in the 2016 draft, is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right index finger. He suffered the injury on Friday with Triple-A Louisville.
Cubs: If Tyler Chatwood's wife doesn't go into labor, the right-hander will start Sunday's series finale.
Reds: RHP Sal Romano (4-7) gave up six hits and seven runs in a 10-0 loss to Chicago on May 19.
Trumbo hits first-inning grand slam, Orioles hold off Braves
By CHARLES ODUM - AP Sports Writer
Saturday, June 23 at 8:50 PM (EDT)
ATLANTA (AP) Chris Davis is feeling ''calm and easy'' at the plate.
His big swings are making the Baltimore Orioles feel like winners again.
One day after hitting a drought-breaking homer, Davis belted a three-run double and Mark Trumbo hit a first-inning grand slam to power the Orioles to a 7-5 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
Davis worked on his swing for almost two weeks before returning to the lineup on Friday with his first homer since May 9, and he added more momentum to his renewed confidence with his big fifth-inning double high off the right-center wall.
''I feel a lot better,'' Davis said. ''I feel like I'm getting there. I'm starting to get that calm and easy feel, seeing the ball a little bit better and putting some good swings on the ball.''
Dylan Bundy (6-7) allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings while improving to 3-0 in June. One day after allowing four runs and recording only one out, Zach Britton pitched around a one-out walk to Johan Camargo in the ninth to earn his first save.
The last-place Orioles have won four of six.
AL East-leading Atlanta dropped its third consecutive game. Julio Teheran (5-5) allowed a season-high seven runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Trumbo's homer was his fourth in his last six games. He has seven homers this season after missing April with a right quad strain.
Nick Markakis, who spent his first nine seasons with Baltimore, drove in three runs for Atlanta, including a two-run double off Donnie Hart in the seventh.
Ozzie Albies had four hits for the Braves, including an infield single off Mychal Givens in the eighth that sent Charlie Culberson to third base. Givens' errant pickoff throw to first base allowed Culberson to score, cutting Baltimore's lead to 7-5. Givens walked Freddie Freeman before striking out Markakis to end the inning.
The Orioles led 4-0 before Teheran recorded an out. Colby Rasmus walked, Adam Jones doubled and Manny Machado walked before Trumbo hit a drive to center field.
''I think the two walks in the first inning got me in trouble and I couldn't get out,'' Teheran said.
Trumbo took a called third strike from Teheran with the bases loaded in the fifth. Davis followed with his double for a 7-1 lead.
''The bases-loaded double was the big one ... that really hurt.'' Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
There was a 20-minute rain delay before Hart entered the game in the seventh.
Orioles: Manager Buck Showalter said OF Trey Mancini (stiff neck) needed another day before returning to the lineup. He struck out as a pinch hitter on Friday night and was held out of the lineup for the third straight game.
Braves: Closer Arodys Vizcaino was again unavailable due to a sore right shoulder. He felt more discomfort while throwing in the outfield before the game. Snitker said he hopes Vizcaino feels better on Sunday, but the team could soon face a decision on placing the right-hander on the DL.
BEATING THE BRAVES
The Orioles have won the first two games of the interleague series. Baltimore has won seven straight over Atlanta, including a three-game sweep at Camden Yards in the teams' last series in 2015.
Each team needed a fresh arm in its bullpen following Friday's night's 15-inning game. The Orioles recalled Hart, a left-hander, from Triple-A Norfolk. Hart relieved Bundy in the seventh and allowed two runs without recording an out. Infielder Steve Wilkerson was optioned to Norfolk.
The Braves recalled right-hander Lucas Sims from Triple-A Gwinnett and optioned outfielder Preston Tucker to Gwinnett.
Orioles: RHP David Hess will look to recover after allowing five runs in each of his last two starts against Washington and Boston. He is 0-2 in his last four starts.
Braves: RHP Brandon McCarthy is 2-2 with a 4.28 ERA in 10 career appearances, including eight starts, against Baltimore.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Font gets 1st win, Adames homers, Rays beat Yankees 4-0
By MARK DIDTLER - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 8:12 PM (EDT)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Wilmer Font became the latest pitcher to slow down the New York Yankees.
Font worked into the sixth inning to get his first major league win, Willy Adames homered and the Tampa Bay Rays blanked the Yankees 4-0 Saturday.
Font (1-3) allowed three hits, one walk and struck out four over 5 2/3 innings. Four relievers completed a four-hitter.
''Just an awesome performance by him and the rest of the guys,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The Rays have won the first two of a three-game series against the Yankees, who have the best record in the majors.
New York has scored just once in its last 25 innings.
''It's amazing,'' Font said. ''It's the second win in a row for us. Perfect.''
Adames had an RBI single during a two-run second and added a solo homer in the seventh off Sonny Gray (5-5).
New York (50-24), coming off a three-game sweep over Seattle, is the only team in the big leagues that hasn't dropped more than two straight games this year. This is the latest the Yankees have gone into a season without losing three in a row since August 1954.
''You do shrug it off,'' Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. ''We also know you turn the page and really lock in. Come in with urgency and expect to get a `W.'''
Gray gave up four runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
After Jake Bauers had a first-inning RBI double, Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead in the second when Daniel Robertson hit a run-scoring double and scored on Adames' single.
''Definitely uplifting,'' Rays reliever Sergio Romo said. ''It's something we can feed off of, most definitely.''
The Yankees had one hit in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position, including three unsuccessful tries in both the second and third innings.
New York was limited to five hits and went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1 loss Friday night.
''It's been two games,'' Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius said. ''So, I don't think it's really, like, a big deal.''
Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka, on the 10-day disabled since June 9 with strained left and right hamstrings, will have his first bullpen session Sunday and may start a simulated game Friday. ''If you look back two weeks ago there was no way I would be able to move the way that I did today,'' Tanaka said through a translator. ''It's definitely better.''
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (left abdominal strain) felt great one day after a 20-pitch bullpen session and will take the mound again Monday. ''Highly encouraged,'' said Archer, who could return around the All-Star break. ... RHP Jake Faria (left oblique strain) threw 25 fastballs in his first mound session.
Rays 1B C.J. Cron doubled in four at-bats and is 5 for his last 57. The other four hits were homers. . Tampa Bay CF Kevin Kiermaier is 1 for 16 in four games since coming back from right thumb surgery.
The Rays have given up one or fewer runs in four straight home games. It ties the team record set in 2008.
Yankees: RHP Domingo German (2-4), Sunday's starter, got his first major league win by beating Tampa Bay on June 14. He struck out 10 and allowed three earned runs over six innings.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell (9-4) had his scheduled start Sunday pushed back one day to Monday night against Washington. Cash said Snell could benefit from the extra day off given his recent workload. Tampa Bay will have RHP Matt Andriese (1-3) open a bullpen day Sunday.
Bauer strikes out 11 as Indians defeat Tigers 4-1
By STEVE HERRICK - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 10:43 PM (EDT)
CLEVELAND (AP) Trevor Bauer is piling up the strikeouts. And, the Cleveland Indians are piling up the wins.
Bauer (7-5) struck out 11 over 6 1/3 innings to beat Detroit for the fourth time this season, leading Cleveland past the Tigers 4-1 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win overall.
The right-hander recorded his seventh double-figure strikeout game of the season, including five of his last six starts. Bauer has struck out 140 this season and is tied for the AL lead with Boston's Chris Sale.
''I definitely take pride in it,'' Bauer said. ''It's what I enjoy doing most, punching guys out.''
Bauer's consecutive games with double-digit strikeouts was interrupted Monday by a rain delay after he struck out eight in seven innings against the Chicago White Sox. He threw 100 pitches and didn't return after the delay.
''I wish it hadn't rained last game,'' he said. ''It would have been six in a row, but I'll start a new streak this time.''
Bauer allowed a run in the second inning on a wild pitch and was pulled after Dixon Machado's one-out single in the seventh. He's 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in four starts against the Tigers.
''He's got quality pitches across the board,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. ''That's part of what's making him so good.''
Francisco Lindor hit a leadoff homer in the fifth, and Jose Ramirez - who reached base in his 30th consecutive game - and Edwin Encarnacion had RBI singles in a three-run first.
Cody Allen struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.
Francisco Liriano (3-3), making his first start in a month, allowed three runs - two earned - in four innings. The left-hander, who strained his right hamstring against the White Sox on May 26, threw 40 pitches in the first.
''He was rushing and after the first inning we told him you got to slow down,'' Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''Just make your pitches and don't overthrow the ball. We had a chance to get out of there and we cost him some extra pitches in the first.''
Detroit lost its fourth straight and committed three errors. Catcher James McCann dropped a throw from center field that allowed a run to score in the first.
Bauer struck out the game's first two hitters, but a walk, single and a hit by pitch loaded the bases. McCann struck out, ending the 28-pitch inning. Bauer allowed five hits, walked two, hit two batters and threw 112 pitches.
Cleveland's first consisted of four hits, two walks, two wild pitches and McCann's error. Ramirez singled in the first to score Lindor. Encarnacion followed with another single for a 2-0 lead.
Following a wild pitch, Brandon Guyer singled to center. Encarnacion would have been out by 10 feet, but scored on a slide when McCann couldn't hang on to Leyonis Martin's throw.
Liriano made his first start since straining his right hamstring against the Chicago White Sox on May 26.
Oliver Perez retired the final two batters in the seventh and Neil Ramirez worked a scoreless eighth.
The Indians aren't going to rush left-hander Andrew Miller to come back from his sore right knee, an injury that has had him on the disabled list since May 26. He won't throw off a mound for 10 days and there's no timetable for his return.
''We saw the load he carried a couple years ago,'' Francona said. ''For us to get where we want to go, and have the best chance to do that, he's going to carry a big load. So we feel like being patient is the best chance to get there.''
BUT WHO'S COUNTING?
The first inning lasted 36 minutes and included five hits, three walks, a hit batter, two wild pitches, an error, nine baserunners and a combined 68 pitches.
Detroit started the week with a five-game winning streak, but lost twice in Cincinnati and has dropped the first two games of this series.
''You look at Cincinnati, they're hot,'' Gardenhire said. ''We come in here and this team is hot. It's all part of the schedule. Right now, we are scuffling offensively and it all kind of molds together.''
Tigers: RHP Johnny Barbato (rotator cuff tendinitis) is on the 10-day disabled list. He allowed five runs in one-third of an inning Friday.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (bruised elbow) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday. He was struck on the elbow by a line drive hit by Minnesota's Joe Mauer on June 16.
Tigers: LHP Matthew Boyd (4-5, 3.63 ERA) is 1-2 with a 1.78 ERA in six career appearances - five starts - against Cleveland.
Indians: RHP Adam Plutko (3-1, 5.40) will make his fifth career start for Cleveland.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Kershaw, deGrom stumble; Kemp slam lifts Dodgers over Mets
By JAKE SEINER - AP Sports Writer
Sunday, June 24 at 12:32 AM (EDT)
NEW YORK (AP) Clayton Kershaw felt strong - if not quite effective - in his return from the disabled list.
That was good enough for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They had muscle to spare against the New York Mets.
Kershaw and Jacob deGrom stumbled in an unexpected ace showdown, Matt Kemp hit a pinch grand slam and the Dodgers won 8-3 on Saturday night.
The Dodgers have won 11 straight against the Mets dating to May 2016, matching their best run in the rivalry. Los Angeles beat New York 11 straight times in 1963-64.
Kershaw gave up two runs over three innings in a surprise return from a lower back strain. He threw 55 pitches, starting out strong before laboring through his final inning.
''Good to be back,'' Kershaw said. ''Now I can focus on getting better.''
Left-handed rookie Caleb Ferguson (1-1) replaced him and escaped a couple tight situations over four scoreless innings for his first major league win.
DeGrom (5-3) allowed three earned runs in six innings, including Max Muncy's 14th home run in the first. He entered the game with a major league-leading 1.51 ERA and hadn't allowed three earned runs in a game since April 16 against Washington.
New York has lost five straight overall and 12 of 13 at home. The Mets have scored four or fewer runs in 15 straight home games dating to May 20. Some fans at Citi Field were wearing paper bags over their heads by the end of the game.
''It was tough tonight,'' said Brandon Nimmo, who had three hits for New York.
Kemp cleared the bases during a five-run eighth inning with his eighth career slam and 13th home run this season. Chris Taylor had a key two-run pinch double, and Los Angeles won for the 24th time in 33 games.
KERSHAW BUILDING UP
Kershaw was scheduled to make a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City at Omaha, but Los Angeles decided Friday to have him pitch in New York because of precarious weather in Nebraska. The lefty ace had been sidelined since June 1.
Kershaw was electric in the first inning, freezing leadoff man Nimmo on a curveball for a three-pitch strikeout and catching Todd Frazier looking for a five-pitch K.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner wasn't as sharp after that. Michael Conforto and Jose Bautista lined consecutive doubles in the second inning to tie it at 1, and Kershaw threw 25 pitches in the third inning, including an RBI single by Wilmer Flores to put New York ahead 2-1.
Kershaw struck out four, walked one and allowed five hits before Taylor hit for him in the fourth. Kershaw was expected to be limited to roughly 60 pitches, and he threw an extra simulated inning inside after being replaced.
''The most important thing, he came out of it feeling good, feeling strong,'' manager Dave Roberts said.
FERGUSON'S ''GOOD TREND''
Ferguson struck out six, walked one and allowed three hits. The 21-year-old worked out of trouble in the fifth and seventh innings. The latter jam emerged when Cody Bellinger badly misplayed Nimmo's low liner to center, leading to a one-out triple. Ferguson then struck out Frazier and got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out.
Ferguson dropped his ERA from 7.59 to 5.52 in his first career relief appearance - he'd previously made three starts. Roberts said Ferguson has shown a ''good trend'' of looking more comfortable with each outing.
''He's handling himself considerably better each time out there,'' Roberts said.
Bautista hit a solo homer off Yimi Garcia in the eighth inning, his fourth this season.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (4-1, 2.63) is still dealing with soreness from a right rib microfracture. Buehler nixed a scheduled bullpen session Saturday, and Roberts said he may throw it Sunday if there's improvement. ... LHP Adam Liberatore was optioned to Triple-A to make space for Kershaw.
LHP Rich Hill (1-2, 4.99) starts the series finale for the Dodgers. Jason Vargas was supposed to start for New York, but the Mets placed him on the DL with a strained calf late Saturday night. The team expected to name a replacement starter early Sunday.
Follow Jake Seiner at https://twitter.com/jake-seiner
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
Mariners stop 5-game slide with 7-2 win against Red Sox
By KEN POWTAK - Associated Press
Saturday, June 23 at 11:43 PM (EDT)
BOSTON (AP) The toughest moment of Mike Leake's stellar night was missing a chance for a shutout.
Leake pitched eight sparkling innings, Mitch Haniger drove in three runs and the Seattle Mariners snapped a season-high five-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.
With closer Edwin Diaz needing some work, Seattle manager Scott Servais had to deliver the bad news to Leake.
''Very tough, very, very hard,'' Servais said. ''I told him: `Mike, 99 percent of the time I wouldn't take you out of this game, but we need to get Eddie out there.'''
Leake (8-4) gave up three singles, struck out five and walked two six days after he allowed five runs and took the loss against the Red Sox at Safeco Field. Diaz gave up two runs in the ninth.
''I wanted it,'' Leake said. ''I was ready, but they wanted to give Diaz work, so there's no fight there.''
His last shutout was on Sept. 30, 2015, for San Francisco against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Nelson Cruz had three hits and scored twice a night after hitting two homers and driving in seven runs for Seattle, which went on its skid after beating Boston two straight at home last weekend.
J.D. Martinez had two singles for Boston after going 4 for 5 with five RBIs when the Red Sox collected a season-high 20 hits in a 14-10 victory Friday.
Eduardo Rodriguez (9-2) gave up five runs, four earned, in four innings, snapping his personal six-game win streak. The Red Sox were 13-1 in his starts this season.
''Today was just the command with the pitches, you know what I mean?'' he said.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Rodriguez's lack of command with his cutter was the difference from last weekend when he was solid against the Mariners. He said both of Haniger's doubles came off the pitch.
''Those two pitches, compared to last week, last week we attack them away, Eduardo did and tonight he tried to go in and it didn't work,'' he said.
Playing on a cool, misty night, the Mariners managed to close out the Red Sox after blowing two five-run leads during their slide, including Friday.
Seattle broke it open with three runs in the fourth. Haniger made it 4-0 with a two-out, two-run double off the Green Monster. He scored from second on Kyle Seager's infield hit when Rodriguez slipped covering first and turned late for the plate.
Haniger also had an RBI double in the first.
Mariners: SS Jean Segura missed his third straight game with a right forearm infection. ''The swelling has gone down quite a bit,'' Servais said. The plan was for him to hit and field to see where he'd be for Sunday afternoon's game.
Red Sox: Cora said LHP Drew Pomeranz (10-day DL, left biceps tendinitis) felt better after throwing off a mound on Friday. He threw lightly on Saturday and Cora said he ''might do another bullpen'' on Monday. ... 3B Rafael Devers fouled a ball of his foot and came out after completing his at-bat. ''He's OK,'' Cora said.
Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts and shortstop Xander Bogaerts were both out of the lineup.
Cora said Betts was ''a little bit under the weather. He had no energy.'' The All-Star outfielder entered Saturday with a .342 average, second-best in the majors, with 19 homers and 39 RBIs.
Bogaerts left Friday's game after he sprained his left index finger on a headfirst slide to second.
For the second straight game, both starters had faced the same team in their previous start. Rodriguez earned the win, allowing only two runs in six innings last Sunday in Seattle.
''It does make it a little bit more challenging for the pitcher in my mind,'' Servais said before the game.
Cora said: ''You have to make an adjustment just to make an adjustment.''
Mariners: LHP Marco Gonzales (7-4, 3.80 ERA) is slated to start the series finale Sunday. He's 6-2 with a 2.88 ERA in his last 11 starts.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (6-4, 2.74) is set to start. The ace has allowed one or no runs in nine of 17 starts this season and is 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in his career against Seattle.
Correa's RBI single in 12th gives Astros 4-3 win over Royals
Sunday, June 24 at 12:21 AM (EDT)
HOUSTON (AP) Houston's deep lineup can create all sorts of problems for its opponents.
Like deciding whether to pitch to Jose Altuve or Carlos Correa.
Correa hit a game-ending RBI single in the 12th inning after Altuve was walked intentionally, sending the Houston Astros to a 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
''He's been a very clutch hitter,'' Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ''I've seen that base hit to right-center a handful of times during his short career. It does not surprise me that he put a good swing on a fastball away.''
George Springer led off the 12th with a walk, and Alex Bregman followed with a bloop single into shallow right field that fell between three players. An error by Ryan Goins allowed Springer to advance to third.
''We had the shift on,'' Royals first baseman Hunter Dozier said of the bloop single. ''Just perfect placement. We all tried, but we just couldn't get there.''
After Altuve was awarded first, Correa singled into the gap in right-center against Justin Grimm (1-3).
''You get in that situation you have to intentionally walk one,'' Grimm said. ''Bases loaded and no outs, just battling with that guy. He put a good swing on a fastball in the outfield. It happened how it happened.''
Correa said he was trying to drive the ball to get a sacrifice fly or something to the outfield. It was his sixth career game-ending hit and first since August 1, 2016, against Toronto.
''I don't know how many career walk-offs I have,'' Correa said. ''Every single time they walk Altuve. They walk him because the best hitter in the game is hitting in front of me, but at the same time, it's not an easy task to walk him and get me out.''
Collin McHugh (3-0) pitched a perfect inning for the win. Houston's bullpen combined for six shutout innings.
''Everybody up and down the staff, we know that our job is to get outs no matter what time of the game it is called upon us to do it,'' McHugh said.
Kansas City carried a 3-2 lead into the ninth, but Houston rallied against Brandon Maurer. After Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick singled with one out, Evan Gattis hit a tying sacrifice fly to left. Marwin Gonzalez then walked, but Brian McCann grounded out to end the inning.
The Royals wasted a solid start by Ian Kennedy in their 10th loss in 11 games. Kennedy allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings.
Kansas City jumped in front on Dozier's three-run homer in the fourth, but Correa hit a sacrifice fly and Gurriel homered to trim the Royals' lead to 3-2 in the bottom half of the inning.
''Hunter gave us a big lift with the three-run jack,'' Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. ''We just couldn't really muster anything outside of that. If we could just find a way to tack on a run here or there it would be beneficial for us.''
Houston right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. struck out nine in six innings. He permitted four hits and walked two.
ALTUVE MOVING UP THE CHARTS
Altuve tied Terry Puhl for seventh in Astros history with 1,357 hits with his double in the fourth. Altuve tied Bill Doran for ninth place in franchise history with 611 runs when he scored in the fourth.
HE SAID IT
''He's going to do that 99 times out of 100. He did exactly what I thought he would.'' - McHugh on Correa's game-ending hit.
Royals: 1B Lucas Duda (right foot) was recalled from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha and started at designated hitter. He went 1 for 4 with a ninth-inning single. OF Paulo Orlando was optioned to Omaha to make room on the roster for Duda.
Royals: RHP Jason Hammel (2-8) will make his 16th start of the season Sunday in the series finale. Hammel has a 2.85 ERA in nine appearances - eight starts - against the Astros.
Astros: RHP Gerrit Cole (8-1) will make his 16th start of the season looking for his seventh straight win. Cole walked a career-high five and allowed four runs for a second straight outing in earning a no-decision Monday against the Rays.