|Friday, June 23, 2017|
|Major League Baseball|
|Athletics||vs.||White Sox||8:10 (EDT) Preview|
White Sox make themselves at home for a while starting with A's
Thursday, June 22 at 11:24 PM (EDT)
CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox will look to improve upon their winning record at home when they open a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
Chicago can settle in for a while at Guaranteed Rate Field after playing 15 of its last 19 games on the road. Friday's game marks the start of a season-long 10-game homestand for the White Sox (32-39), who are 15-12 at home but 17-27 on the road.
Meanwhile, Oakland (31-42) opens a six-game trip that includes a stop in Houston. Traveling has not been fun for the A's, who are 9-25 on the road compared with 22-17 at home.
Both teams are coming off series losses and could stand to benefit from a winning weekend.
The White Sox have dropped three of their past four games but are coming off a 9-0 win on Thursday over the Minnesota Twins. That marked Chicago's third shutout victory this season, but both of the team's previous shutout wins were followed by losses.
Oakland has lost four games in a row and will try to avoid its second five-game losing streak of the season. The A's have been outscored 29-15 during their four-game skid.
Right-hander Mike Pelfrey (3-5, 3.56 ERA) will make his 12th start of the season for the White Sox. The 33-year-old is coming off a win over Toronto in which he allowed one run in six innings.
Pelfrey is looking for his first career victory against Oakland. In four career appearances, all starts, he is 0-4 with a 7.97 ERA. He has surrendered 18 earned runs and 32 hits in 20 1/3 innings.
In his first season with the White Sox, Pelfrey has focused more on breaking pitches rather than trying to overpower hitters with fastballs. He credits his development to pitching coach Don Cooper.
"I'm a totally different guy," Pelfrey said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "I'm throwing more offspeed pitches than I ever have. ...
"'Coop' has been awesome, man. He's always ready to work. He;s the big one about both sides of the plate with the fastball. It's simple. Both sides. We've continued to expand on it."
The Athletics will counter with right-hander Jharel Cotton. The 25-year-old will make his 13th start of the season and 18th start of his career.
Cotton never has faced the White Sox. He is coming off a victory over the New York Yankees in which he posted his fourth quality start of the year. He allowed three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
One player who will not join the Athletics for the road trip is catcher Stephen Vogt. On Thursday, the team designated the All-Star veteran for assignment in the latest sign of its long-term rebuild.
"I could see it coming," Vogt told the East Bay Times. "There was infrequent playing time in what would be good matchups for me.
"It's something I understand, although I don't like it. ... Oakland is a place we love. It's a place we watched our family grow. We had success here as a family and as a team."
|Blue Jays||vs.||Royals||8:15 (EDT) Preview|
Blue Jays, Royals trying to reach .500
Friday, June 23 at 12:06 AM (EDT)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals began the season as viable playoff contenders, but are struggling to reach .500.
They will meet in a three-game weekend series at Kauffman Stadium beginning Friday.
The Royals bring in a 35-36 record. Their season high-water mark is 7-7. That was the calm before the storm as they finished April with a nine-game losing streak.
The Blue Jays had a chance to reach .500 on Thursday, but lost 11-4 to the Texas Rangers to drop to 35-37. They are 11-13 in series openers.
Toronto manager John Gibbons moved slugger Jose Bautista to the top of the order Wednesday and he walked to lead off the game and trigger a six-run first inning.
"We'll see how it works," Gibbons told the Blue Jays website. "We put Bautista there last year and it kind of sparked us a little bit. Try something different. Change things up, maybe it'll do something."
The Blue Jays went 25-15 with Bautista batting leadoff in 2016.
After a 9-17 April, the Royals went 13-13 in May and are 13-6 in June. They have not lost a series this month and have won nine of their last 11.
"We've been playing really well, having great at-bats later in the games, kind of picking up like we as starters, if we keep it tight," Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy said.
He kept it close Wednesday and Salvador Perez hit a grand slam in the eighth as the Royals rallied to defeat Boston 6-4. Relievers Mike Minor, Joakim Soria and Kelvin Herrera allowed two hits and no runs over the final 4 1/3 innings after Kennedy was pulled.
"Salvy and all the hitters picked me up later in the game," Kennedy said. "Our relievers are pitching great again. Mike threw great again. He's been pitching great all season. Kelvin and Soria come in and do their job."
The Royals will start rookie right-hander Jakob Junis (2-1, 5.56 ERA) on Friday. This will be his fifth start and seventh appearance. He has never faced the Blue Jays.
Junis is coming off a loss Saturday at Anaheim, allowing five runs on eight hits with no walks and eight strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He yielded home runs to Albert Pujols and Cameron Maybin on Saturday and has surrendered six homers in 16 innings in his last three starts.
The Blue Jays will counter with left-hander J.A. Happ, a 20-game winner last season. Happ, however, is 2-4 with a 4.26 ERA this season and was shut down for six weeks with an elbow injury before returning May 30. He is 2-0 in his past three starts after beginning the season 0-4.
Happ is coming off a solid start Sunday against the Chicago White Sox, allowing three runs on eight hits with no walks and nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Happ is 2-2 with a 5.96 ERA in four starts against the Royals. He has not faced them since 2014, when he permitted six runs on nine hits in 7 2/3 innings, including home runs to Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon, in a loss.
Brandon Moss is 7-for-13, Gordon 5-for-11 and Cain is 4-for-6 with six RBIs.
Josh Donaldson and Steve Pearce are question marks for the series. Donaldson was a late scratch Thursday with soreness in his left knee. Donaldson was out for six weeks earlier this season with a right calf strain before returning May 26.
Left-fielder Pearce bruised his right knee Wednesday crashing into the wall while trying to make a catch. X-rays were negative, but he did not play Thursday.
|Pirates||vs.||Cardinals||8:15 (EDT) Preview|
Pirates, Cardinals still in hunt in weak Central
Thursday, June 22 at 10:40 PM (EDT)
If the Pittsburgh Pirates or St. Louis Cardinals were in any other division but the National League Central, they might already be cast in the role of seller at next month's trading deadline.
But at least this year, location is everything. The Pirates (33-40) and Cardinals (33-38) start a weekend series Friday night at Busch Stadium still in contention instead of staring at an insurmountable deficit.
St. Louis is only five games behind first place Milwaukee, while Pittsburgh is six games in arrears of the Brewers. It arrives in town fresh off a four-game split at Milwaukee that the Pirates could have turned into a series victory.
After winning the series' first two games, they coughed up a late lead Wednesday night in a 4-3 defeat, then lost the series finale Thursday 4-2.
"I'm not going, 'Wow, we can't play with these guys.' We can play with them and we have played with them," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "We just have got to continue to work hard to get a little bit better. We had a chance to do more. We didn't."
The Pirates will try to conquer a place that hasn't been kind to them lately. They have lost their last seven games under the Gateway Arch, including three in a mid-April series. All three games were 2-1 finals.
That's been a problem for both teams this year -- the lack of consistent offense. While the Cardinals scored 38 runs in the first five games of a road trip to Baltimore and Philadelphia, they cooled off Thursday, getting shut down by the Phillies' Aaron Nola in a 5-1 setback.
The result was somewhat aggravating to manager Mike Matheny, who said he felt his team had a chance for a sweep with Carlos Martinez taking the mound. Martinez turned in a quality start, allowing two earned runs over six innings, but Nola was simply better.
"We've had a couple of real nice efforts, but you put Carlos on the mound, you expect to build on some of the same things you've seen offensively," Matheny said.
Veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright (7-5, 5.75) is hoping a return to familiar environs enables him to reverse a recent trend of brutal outings. Wainwright is 5-1 with a 2.88 ERA in seven home starts.
In his last two road starts, Wainwright has been eviscerated for 18 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, bloating his ERA nearly two full runs. Wainwright is 13-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 33 career games, 28 of them starts, against Pittsburgh.
Jameson Taillon (3-2, 3.38) takes the ball for the third time since returning to the Pirates after undergoing surgery for testicular cancer last month. After blanking Colorado for five innings in a win June 12, Taillon gave up eight hits and four runs Sunday in five innings of a 7-1 defeat against the Chicago Cubs.
Taillon has started once in his career against St. Louis, yielding six hits and two runs in five innings of a no-decision start last year.
|Phillies||vs.||Diamondbacks||9:40 (EDT) Preview|
Diamondbacks return home on a roll to face Phillies
Thursday, June 22 at 11:15 PM (EDT)
PHOENIX -- The resurgent Arizona Diamondbacks flew into Philadelphia last weekend and swept a three-game series, further enhancing their status as one of baseball's biggest surprises of 2017.
If an Arizona team that owns the best home record in the major leagues can repeat that success against the team with the worst record this weekend at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks will take another stride toward achieving what was unthinkable in March.
And that's to play into October.
Their 26-9 record at Chase is a major reason the Diamondbacks are making a much faster-than-expected rebound from a three-season slide in which they averaged 91 losses. They've won 11 of their last 12 at home before increasingly larger and more excited crowds.
And a team that's quickly learned how to win at home under new manager Torey Lovullo also is showing it's not entirely dependent on winning in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks went 7-1 on an eight-game road trip that ended with a 10-3 win Thursday at Colorado -- the best winning percentage (.889) on a three-city trip in the franchise's 20-year history.
The Diamondbacks went into hitter-friendly Coors Field and outslugged the formerly first-place Rockies, following a 16-5 victory Wednesday that included a 10-run fourth inning with another double-digit effort barely 12 hours later. Paul Goldschmidt had a three-run homer and drove in four runs on Thursday, a night after Brandon Drury drove in six.
"This group went out and made a statement," Lovullo said. "We won two of three here, and that was very positive for this ballclub ... we have the ability to score runs quickly. The road trip was very successful."
Jeremy Hazelbaker said the Diamondbacks are building the confidence that good teams possess.
"It shows what we can do throughout the lineup, whatever lineup is out there," the former Cardinals outfielder said. "We can play, we can bang (out hits), we can go out there with the best team and can compete every day. We're playing real good baseball."
Still, Lovullo doesn't want those 26 runs in two games, a 46-27 record that's the best to date in franchise history and the successful road trip to overshadow what's up next.
"We don't want to get distracted by anything other than the Phillies coming into Chase Field," Lovullo said.
Perhaps for good reason, too. Despite being 25 games below .500 this season, the Phillies (23-48) have won four straight in Phoenix, and they were 5-1 winners over St. Louis at home Thursday.
Lovullo will send left-hander Patrick Corbin (6-6) to the mound to oppose rookie Mark Leiter Jr. (0-0), who will be making his first major league start in the first game of a four-game series. It's also the start of a 10-game homestand for Arizona, which has played only six home games in June to date -- going 5-1.
Corbin was in line to start Thursday at Colorado, but Lovullo bumped him back a day partly because he is 5-1 with a 3.45 ERA this season at Chase Field. Corbin gave up four runs (two earned) in six innings of a 5-4 victory over the Phillies last Friday.
The only Phillies batter who has had more than three at-bats against Corbin is Howie Kendrick, who is 6-for-19 (.316) against him.
Leiter, a right-hander, was 1-0 in five games, including three starts, at Triple-A Lehigh Valley before rejoining the Phillies on Thursday. He had a 4.74 ERA in 12 appearances for Philadelphia earlier this season.
Leiter's dad pitched for seven teams in the majors from 1990 to 2001, going 65-73.
While the Phillies have won only twice in their last 15 games, their starting pitching is improving. Aaron Nola allowed one run and four hits and struck out eight in 7 1/3 innings Thursday, the fifth consecutive quality start for a Phillies starter.
"What the starters are doing right now is giving us a chance to win," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "I'm happy with the performance of our (last few) guys."
|Astros||vs.||Mariners||10:10 (EDT) Preview|
Hernandez returns as Mariners host Astros
Friday, June 23 at 2:40 AM (EDT)
SEATTLE -- When Felix Hernandez pitches at Safeco Field, there's a different atmosphere.
The seats in the left-field corner are filled with fans sitting in "King's Court," wearing "King Felix" T-shirts and holding "K" cards to wave with every two-strike count.
But court has been out of session for much of the season as Hernandez has been on the disabled list since April 26 with bursitis in his right shoulder.
The longtime Seattle ace is scheduled to make his return Friday night, when the Mariners open a three-game weekend series against the American League West-leading Houston Astros.
"I don't care who I face, I'm just happy to be back -- finally," said Hernandez, who is 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA this season.
Hernandez, the Mariners' career leader in wins (156), innings (2,442 1/3), strikeouts (2,286) and starts (364), has won both his appearances at home this season.
"The stadium will be buzzing," Mariners catcher Mike Zunino said. "It's great to get our ace back out there."
Added Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager: "Any time you get your guy back, especially someone the caliber of Felix, your confidence is going to get a big boost."
The injury-riddled Mariners (38-37), who passed the .500 mark for the first time Thursday and are 12 1/2 games behind the Astros in the division race, could use a boost.
Four members of the projected rotation have spent significant time on the disabled list, with Hisashi Iwakuma and Drew Smyly still sidelined.
That makes Hernandez's return even more important.
"Felix pitches with a lot of emotion. He will be up (Friday). He's anxious to get back and help the team," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Somehow we've stayed afloat through all the injuries, but there's a lot of work to be done."
Hernandez had hoped to return earlier in the week, but he struggled with his command in a rehab start for Triple-A Tacoma. Instead he got one more game with the Rainiers, pitching six scoreless innings and striking out eight Saturday against Salt Lake.
"The first was fine," Hernandez said of the rehab starts, "but the second was way better. I could put the ball wherever I wanted."
Hernandez is 3-6 with a 4.25 ERA in 11 career starts against the Astros. He took the loss on Opening Day this season at Minute Maid Park, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings, with six strikeouts.
Hernandez is scheduled to face Astros right-hander Joe Musgrove (4-6, 5.09 ERA).
Musgrove has made two career starts against the Mariners, both this season. He took a no-decision April 6 at Houston, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings of a 4-2 loss. Musgrove got the win April 11 at Seattle, giving up three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 7-5 victory.
Musgrove has lost both his decisions since a stint on the 10-day disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation. He struck out a season-high seven in a 6-5 loss Sunday against Boston, allowing five runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. Musgrove threw 90 pitches.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he doesn't consider Musgrove to be 100 percent quite yet.
"One step closer to that, obviously," Hinch told the Houston Chronicle. "Fully back, to me, is extending him north of 100 pitches."
|Rockies||vs.||Dodgers||10:10 (EDT) Preview|
Rockies' rookie Freeland looks to sink Dodgers
Friday, June 23 at 3:20 AM (EDT)
LOS ANGELES -- Any West Coast baseball fan scanning the summer schedule would not have isolated the three-game series starting Friday between the visiting Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers as must-see MLB.
The Rockies had a new manager, Bud Black, who had washed out as the manager of the Padres, with two winning seasons in eight-plus seasons. They had a lot of hitters but their pitching was undistinguished, as usual, for a team that plays home games at high altitude.
Yet here they are, a few weeks away from the All-Star break, and they're keeping pace with the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in a scorching three-way division race that seemingly will crown one division champ and send the two other teams to a wild-card playoff.
Wild indeed. The Rockies have done it with four rookies in their rotation, most notably Friday's starter, left-hander Kyle Freeland. A former 2014 first-round choice (eighth pick overall), Freeland has emerged as the poised ace of the rotation in his first major league season, going 8-4 with a 3.42 ERA. He has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of his starts and has made a quality start in 10 of 14. He's getting batters to hit the ball on the ground at about a 60 percent rate, a trait management would certainly want playing at altitude in Denver.
In one of his recent wins, he used his sinker for 15 ground-ball outs in the 22 outs he notched.
"Being a sinker-heavy pitcher, it plays into my game," Freeland told the Denver Post. "I can go back-to-back-to-back sinkers and have a good chance of getting a ground ball.
"I don't go after strikeouts. You go for strikeouts when you can. Bottom of the order, nobody on, 1-2 count, you can bounce one in the dirt and try to get him to chase. But my game throughout the season is to throw sinkers and get ground balls."
The grounders also translate into fewer home runs. He has allowed only eight in a season where the home run is king. Freeland faced the Dodgers twice in April, going 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA, and the Rockies won both games.
The Dodgers are taking the Rockies seriously. They will throw the heart of their rotation at them: Alex Wood (7-0, 1.90) on Friday, Clayton Kershaw (10-2, 2.61) on Saturday and Brandon McCarthy (6-3, 2.87) on Sunday.
Wood has made seven appearances against the Rockies, with a 3-2 record and 5.59 ERA. In his most recent showdown, he allowed five hits and a walk in six innings. In his last 10 starts, he's 6-0 with a 2.08 and 0.99 WHIP.
"I think it's a good thing," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said about the division race. "(I don't) think our team needs incentive to continue to keep going and stay focused; but, when you have teams in your division that you're going to see nine more times and you're playing for the division (title) and wild card, it's good for us.
"It's going to be a fun weekend."
|Tigers||vs.||Padres||10:10 (EDT) Preview|
Padres, Tigers open interleague series
Friday, June 23 at 1:46 AM (EDT)
SAN DIEGO -- It's back to work and back home for the San Diego Padres as they welcome the Detroit Tigers on Friday night.
The Padres hope a return to interleague play is the tonic for a team that just capped a 2-4 road trip. In the Tigers, losers of six straight, they face an American League Central foe for the first time in three years.
The Tigers have won eight of 12 meetings over the last 20 years, although the Padres lost but one contest in a three-game set in 2014.
San Diego juggled its rotation and sends right-hander Luis Perdomo (1-4, 4.97 ERA) to the mound. The rotation revealed rookie Dinelson Lamot's turn, but the Padres gave him an additional rest day. He will start Saturday night against the Tigers.
Perdomo, who christened the season by setting a franchise record with six consecutive no-decisions, is on a decent run. He's produced four quality starts in his last five times out and looked decent in his previous start against Milwaukee. Perdomo, who made the club as a Rule 5 draft pick last year and has never faced the Tigers, surrendered two runs over six innings versus the Brewers.
"I feel really good about what he's accomplished over the past year," Paders manager Andy Green told reporters. "I do think there's some steps ahead for him as he continues to grow, but he's come a long way."
Among the batters Perdomo will have to conquer in the Tigers' lineup is former Padre Justin Upton. He played for the Padres in 2015 and this is the first time he's competed against them since leaving.
Upton usually leaves a mark at Petco Park. He tied a franchise mark with 15 homers in San Diego in 2015, a record that was broken by Wil Myers. Upton has a career .879 on-base-plus percentage career mark at Petco.
The reeling Tigers seek a spark from anyone on their 0-4 road trip.
Michael Fulmer (6-5, 3.45), who has battled a sore right shoulder this year, gets the nod for the Tigers. Fulmer worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs Saturday in a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
After missing a start with his shoulder ailment, he was steamed he didn't do better in his return. Never mind his fastball hit 98 mph.
"The offense puts up two runs, you got to give up less," Fulmer told MLB.com. "That's how I look at it. It comes down to execution. I wasn't able to execute more than their guy."
Fulmer, with a fastball, curveball and slider mix, tied a career high with four walks and that led to his defeat.
"Obviously the walks, they'll come back to haunt you," said Fulmer, who'll be facing the Padres for the first time. "I should have done a better job of throwing quality strikes."
The righty has felt right at home on the West Coast, where he's compiled five quality starts in as many outings.
The Padres won't have Yangervis Solarte available on Friday. Solarte, who's been the Padres' hottest hitter lately, was placed on the disabled list with an oblique injury.
"It's tough for us as a club," Green said. "He is a guy who kind of is the heartbeat of the club, and he had swung the bat incredibly well in the last month. It's hard to lose him."
Over two weeks, Solarte had hit six homers and was batting .370.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, fallout Solarte's absence has on Wil Myers. Solarte provided Myers the veteran protection in the middle of the lineup, something that is hard to find elsewhere on this rebuilding roster.
Austin Hedges is expected to return Friday after being injured in a controversial collision with Anthony Rizzo at the plate during the recent Cubs series in which the Padres took two-of-three games. Hedges missed two games with a bruised thigh.
|Mets||vs.||Giants||10:15 (EDT) Preview|
Something has to give as Mets visit Giants
Friday, June 23 at 2:33 AM (EDT)
SAN FRANCISCO -- The New York Mets and San Francisco Giants, two teams desperate for a winning streak, will turn to young pitchers to begin a three-game series of National League disappointments Friday night.
Mets right-hander Seth Lugo and Giants lefty Ty Blach will duel in a battle of teams that have one win apiece in the past eight days.
"We have a lot of work to do," outfielder Jay Bruce said recently of the Mets, who ended last week losing three of four to the Washington Nationals before getting swept four straight against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "We have an uphill battle to climb."
It's not quite the uphill battle staring the Giants in the face after they completed an eight-game trip to Colorado and Atlanta with a 1-7 record, with the only win coming Tuesday against the Braves.
The Mets (31-41) begin play Friday 12 games behind the Nationals in the NL East. The Giants (27-48) are 21 1/2 back of the Dodgers in the NL West.
With rotation regulars Matt Harvey (shoulder) and Noah Syndergaard (lat) out of action, Lugo was pressed into starting duty June 11 and responded impressively, limiting the Braves to one run and six hits over seven innings. It was his season debut.
His second outing wasn't as sharp as he allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the Nationals.
Those were his exact numbers when he faced the Giants in San Francisco last August in an 8-1 loss. It was his only career meeting with the Giants.
The rest of the patchwork Mets rotation got roughed up the last four nights in Los Angeles, with Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, Tyler Pill and Steven Matz getting bombed for 22 runs and 25 hits in 18 1/2 innings.
If there's reason for optimism in the visitors' clubhouse Friday night, it's that the Mets have completed an 11-game stretch against the powerful Chicago Cubs, Nationals and Dodgers.
The Giants reside at the other end of the success spectrum. They stand tied with the 1985 edition for the worst 75-game record in West Coast franchise history.
Blach, who has never faced the Mets, will attempt to turn things around. He got a no-decision at Colorado during the club's disastrous trip, allowing three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
With one exception, the second-year major-leaguer's home starts have been impressive. But that exception was in his most recent appearance at AT&T Park, when he was shelled by the Kansas City Royals for seven runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Before that, he hadn't allowed more than two runs in any of his five home starts this season.
"He's done a terrific job. Been a sliver lining," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Blach, who has replaced injured Madison Bumgarner (shoulder) in the rotation. "Losing your Opening Day starter and he has stepped in and more than held his own. Done a nice job keeping us in the game. He's a pleasure to watch.
"This kid has established himself as a major league starter in all of this."
|Rangers||vs.||Yankees||7:05 (EDT) Preview|
Rangers' Darvish, Yankees' Tanaka set for first U.S. meeting
Friday, June 23 at 3:15 AM (EDT)
NEW YORK -- Two nations will turn their eyes to Yankee Stadium on Friday night, when Japanese stars Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish oppose each other on American soil for the first time as the New York Yankees host the Texas Rangers in the opener of a three-game series.
The matchup between the Yankees' Tanaka (5-7, 6.34 ERA) and the Rangers' Darvish (6-5, 3.35) marks the first time they have faced each other since they were in Japan's Pacific League in 2011, when Darvish outdueled Tanaka as the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters edged the Tohuku Rakuten Golden Eagles 3-1.
Darvish joined the Rangers the following season while Tanaka headed to the Yankees in 2014.
"I think it's something that hopefully Japanese baseball fans are looking forward to," Tanaka told reporters through an interpreter Thursday before the Yankees' 10-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium. "I just want to go out there and come up with a strong performance."
Darvish expressed a similarly narrow vision earlier Thursday, when he spoke to reporters before the host Rangers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 11-4.
"My focus is to win the game," Darvish said through an interpreter.
Tanaka and Darvish will be looking to bounce back from rough starts. Tanaka took the loss Saturday, when he gave up five runs over four innings as the Yankees fell to the Oakland Athletics 5-2. Darvish absorbed the defeat Sunday, when he allowed a season-high five runs over five innings as the Rangers dropped a 7-3 decision to the Seattle Mariners.
Darvish's sluggish start looks like a hiccup -- he tossed seven innings of one-hit ball in his previous start, when he earned the win in the Rangers' 6-1 victory over the Houston Astros.
But Tanaka is in the midst of an extended slump. He is 0-6 with an 8.91 ERA in his last seven starts, a stretch in which he has given up at least five runs five times.
The only positive lately for Tanaka? He has struck out 44 and walked only 10 over 33 1/3 innings in the last seven starts, which has manager Joe Girardi confident Tanaka's stuff is still sharp.
"It tells you it's in there," Girardi said. "To me, that's a good sign. It's in there. It's just being more consistent."
The Yankees and Rangers have been consistent lately, albeit in different ways. New York (39-31) has lost eight of nine to fall into a virtual tie for first place in the American League East with the Boston Red Sox. Texas (36-36) has won nine of 13 to climb within 1 1/2 games of the second AL wild card.
"The only feeling we know is that for the first time in the last week and a half, the team is together," Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez told the team's website Thursday after hitting two homers in his sixth game back from the disabled list.
Gomez has five homers and 14 RBIs since returning to action June 16 after missing a little more than a month due to a right hamstring injury.
Tanaka is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in two career starts against the Rangers. Darvish is 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA in five turns against the Yankees.
|Reds||vs.||Nationals||7:05 (EDT) Preview|
Nationals RHP Strasburg aims to improve home mark
Thursday, June 22 at 2:51 PM (EDT)
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals will return from a second straight winning road trip when they host the Cincinnati Reds on Friday at Nationals Park.
Washington went 4-3 on a road trip to New York and Miami, as the Nationals won three of four against the Mets before dropping two of the three to the Marlins. Washington was off Thursday after playing 20 days in a row and after Max Scherzer lost a no-hit bid and the game in the eighth inning Wednesday to the Marlins.
In the previous road trip, the Nationals were 7-2 on a swing through San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, taking two of three from the Dodgers.
"We are one of the best road teams around," said Dusty Baker, the Nationals manager.
Washington, however, has not been as good at home of late.
In the previous homestand, the Nationals were swept in three games by the Texas Rangers and lost two of three against the lowly Atlanta Braves.
First-place Washington (43-29) will look to get started strong on Friday as Baker will send right-hander Stephen Strasburg (8-2, 3.28) to the mound to face right-hander Luis Castillo, a former Marlins prospect who will be making his major league debut for Reds manager Bryan Price.
The last-place Reds (30-41) are coming off a loss on Wednesday at Tampa Bay. Cincinnati was also off on Thursday and has lost 10 of its last 11.
"It's extremely disappointing," Price told reporters after an 8-3 loss Wednesday. "It would have been a good feel to not just break a losing streak but to win a series. For us to do what we want to do, we have to start to knock down series."
Castillo is coming from Double-A Pensacola, where he was 4-4 with a 2.58 ERA in 14 starts.
"He's throwing good stuff, he's throwing strikes," Price told reporters of Castillo. "That's really what we need."
Despite overall strong numbers this year, Strasburg has not been as dominant at home as on the road in 2017.
And he has struggled with the Reds since he got to the majors in 2010.
Strasburg has a 4.15 ERA in six starts at home this year and has a 3.40 ERA in his last nine starts overall.
Strasburg is 2-1 with a 4.35 ERA in six starts in his career against the Reds, having allowed 28 hits and 13 walks in 31 innings, while striking out 31.
Strasburg, in his last start, got the win as the Nationals beat the host Mets 7-4. He gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings and benefitted from three homers by Washington on Saturday.
"I think it just shows the makeup of this team that we're very capable of winning on any given day, even when we're not firing on all cylinders," Strasburg told reporters.
Last year was the first time Strasburg faced the Reds twice in the same year. He faced them one time in 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In his start against them in 2013, he gave up nine hits and six runs in 5 1/3 innings and was tagged with the loss.
Current Reds hitters are 7-for-46 (.152) against Strasburg, and that includes shortstop Zack Cozart, who went on the 10-day disabled list Monday with a strained right quadriceps and will miss the three-game series in Washington. Cozart is hitless in 10 at-bats against Strasburg.
The player with the Reds who has the most at-bats against Strasburg is Joey Votto, who is 3-for-14 with two homers.
Cincinnati's Scooter Gennett, who hit four homers against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 6, is 2-for-5 against Strasburg with two homers.
Friday will begin a stretch of 17 days in a row of games for the Nationals before the All-Star break starts July 10. The Reds rotation includes Tim Adelman, who pitched at nearby Georgetown. He started Wednesday at Tampa Bay and is not slated to start this weekend.
|Angels||vs.||Red Sox||7:10 (EDT) Preview|
Pujols to see friend Ortiz honored before Angels face Red Sox
Friday, June 23 at 12:46 AM (EDT)
BOSTON -- Albert Pujols is happy that he and his Los Angeles Angels teammates will be at Fenway Park for the David Ortiz number retirement ceremony on Friday night.
Pujols was a teenager when he met the fellow Dominican and the two are close now. On Friday night, Ortiz gets his ultimate Red Sox honor before the teams open a three-game series with the Angels' Alex Meyer facing Boston's Rick Porcello.
"It's pretty awesome," Pujols said before the Angels rallied from four runs down and clubbed the Yankees 10-5 in the rubber game of a three-game series on Thursday night in the Bronx.
"He had an amazing career," Pujols said. "To be able to see how the city of Boston appreciates his career and celebrates one last time, it will be pretty cool and pretty emotional."
With Red Sox fans still hoping Ortiz will change his mind, his No. 34 will go up on the facade of retired numbers in right field at Fenway. The city of Boston announced Friday that one of the streets around the ballpark, previously known as the Yawkey Way Extension, will now be David Ortiz Drive and lead up to the Ortiz Bridge.
"This city means a lot to me," said Ortiz, famous for saying, "This is our (expletive) city," to the Fenway crowd after the Boston Marathon bombings. "Boston has been incredible to me and my family. I love this city. I can talk about it all day."
Once the pregame festivities are over, a hot Meyer will go against an ice-cold Porcello in the series opener.
Meyer allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out nine in six shutout innings in his last start, a 9-0 win over the Kansas City Royals.
It was the first time in 15 career starts that Meyer threw six scoreless innings.
He is 1-1 with a 1.19 ERA in four starts this month, a stretch in which he has struck out 27 in 22 2/3 innings and lowered his overall ERA from 5.79 to 3.52.
Porcello, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, has been living a pitching nightmare. After going 22-4 last year in front of the largest amount of offensive support of any pitcher in the major leagues, he is 3-9 with a whopping 5.05 ERA in 2017.
Porcello has gone at least six innings in 12 straight starts -- the longest streak in the American League -- but he is 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his last five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs in 30 2/3 innings.
He pitched a complete game to win at Anaheim last season, but is just 5-6 with a 6.26 ERA in 14 career starts against the Angels -- 94 hits allowed in 77 2/3 career innings.
His season is looking more like the 9-15 record he staggered through in 2015, his first year in Boston.
"I don't know, I don't think back to (2015), necessarily," Porcello said after his latest loss. "You just try to make the adjustments you need to make to get back to executing pitches. It's a different year. I'm not going to go back and look at all that sort of stuff. It's a matter of executing pitches.
"That's what got me out of the (funk) I was in in 2015, and that's what's going to get me out of it now -- executing pitches."
Cole Calhoun in 6-for-12 (.500) with two homers, Pujols 8-for-23 (.348) with a homer and Cliff Pennington 5-for-15 (.333) against Porcello. Yunel Escobar is just 2-for-16 (.125), Andrelton Simmons 1-for-8 (.125) and Luis Valbuena 2-for-10 (.200) against the right-hander.
Meyer has never faced the Red Sox.
The comeback win in New York on Thursday night lifted the Angels to 12-11 since Mike Trout went down with thumb injury.
While Matt Shoemaker was slated to come off the disabled list to pitch Sunday in Boston, Shoemaker needs more evaluation and Parker Bridwell will start for the Angels.
"I keep saying, 'Continue to stick around and hopefully we just win a series,'" said Cameron Maybin, who has been outstanding in center field with Trout out (he has reached base in 26 straight games). "Winning each series is big. I think that's the focus.
"It was good to start this road trip by taking this series from a really, really good ball team (in) a tough place to play. So we've got to take this energy -- we had great energy the two nights that we won -- and take the energy into Boston, try to keep it going."
The Red Sox, one percentage point behind the Yankees for the AL East lead, are coming off a 4-4 road trip and have seven straight at home. On Wednesday in Kansas City, the bullpen blew a game late, dropping Boston to 29-1 this season when leading after seven innings.
|Cubs||vs.||Marlins||7:10 (EDT) Preview|
Cubs try to make it two straight versus Marlins
Friday, June 23 at 1:51 AM (EDT)
MIAMI -- Chicago Cubs right-hander John Lackey, who turns 39 in October, will be the first to admit he doesn't throw as hard as he did a few years ago.
"But if you can locate, it doesn't matter," Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer told the media Sunday after Lackey beat his team 7-1. "(Lackey's) fastball was really good. If you locate consistently and make guys expand the zone a little bit, that always works."
Lackey (5-7, 4.98 ERA) will try that plan again Friday when the Cubs (37-35) play the Miami Marlins (32-39) in the second contest of a four-game series at Marlins Park.
The Cubs took the opener 11-1 on Thursday.
"It seemed like it went the same way all night," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said of his team's failure to get back into the game.
On Friday, Miami will start young right-hander Jose Urena (5-2, 3.64), who is in his third year in the majors and first as a relative fixture in the rotation.
The 25-year-old went 5-14 combined in his first two years in the majors, sporting ERAs of 5.25 and 6.13.
This year has been different.
After pitching in relief in his first six games this season, Urena got his first start of the season May 7, beating the New York Mets 7-0.
He has won his past four decisions, and the Marlins have prevailed in five of his past six games. He hasn't lost a decision since May 17.
Urena has only faced the Cubs twice, sporting a 1-1 record with a 4.91 ERA. However, he beat the Cubs 6-5 at Wrigley Field on June 7, allowing three runs in five innings.
Lackey, meanwhile, is 1-2 with a 5.01 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins. Lackey was on the mound June 7 when he got beat by Urena and the Marlins.
One of Lackey's problems this year has been the long ball. He has allowed at least one homer in seven straight starts and 12 of 14 games. He has allowed 20 homers in 81 1/3 innings this year. Last year, he gave up 23 homers in 188 1/3 innings.
Last year, Lackey allowed only 1.1 homers per nine innings. Ths year, he has allowed 2.2 long balls per nine, which would surpass his previous career high of 1.4.
At this rate, Lackey will blow past his previous high of 31 homers allowed in one season.
However, of the 20 home runs he has allowed this season, 11 have traveled less than 400 feet.
Lackey on Friday will have to try to control Marlins left fielder Marcell Ozuna, who hit his 20th homer of the season Thursday and is bidding for a spot in next month's All-Star Game at Marlins Park.
Ozuna is especially good at home. He is hitting .385 with 14 homers and 33 RBIs at Marlins Park this season. He also has one homer in 10 career at-bats against Lackey.
As for Urena, the first batter he is likely to face Friday is Anthony Rizzo, who since moving to the leadoff spot is 6-for-8 with a walk and three home runs in his first at-bat of the game.
|Orioles||vs.||Rays||7:10 (EDT) Preview|
Surprising Rays host struggling Orioles
Friday, June 23 at 12:03 AM (EDT)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- A win in Friday's series opener against the Baltimore Orioles would put the Tampa Bay Rays at four games over .500 for the first time since July 2015, and it's a surprising assortment of replacement players that is helping the Rays find their way.
In a series win against Cincinnati, key hits came from Trevor Plouffe -- acquired last week from the Athletics -- and Taylor Featherston, acquired for cash from the Phillies.
Plouffe, hitting .214 with Oakland, had hits in all three games against the Reds, including his first home run with the Rays. Featherston, a career .156 hitter when the Rays got him, reached base three times in Tuesday's victory and homered Wednesday.
"I'm just trying to help the team win," said Plouffe, who played first base, third base and designated hitter in his first three games with the Rays. "It means a lot. I want to contribute any way I can to get wins. So far, so good."
The Rays took two of three from the Reds and have won nine of their last 12 at home, and they'll get three more this weekend against an Orioles team that has lost three of four, including a 6-3 setback to the Indians on Thursday night.
As they try to sustain their success -- they'd have the second wild card in a logjammed American League right now -- the Rays are being careful to give key players off. Even knowing they had Thursday off, they won Wednesday without third baseman Evan Longoria, outfielder Colby Rasmus and shortstop Tim Beckham, resting all three and getting production from their all-but-unknown replacements.
"I know Longo wasn't very happy about not playing," said manager Kevin Cash, who got at least one hit from all nine starters Wednesday. "I don't blame him. That's what good teams do. They rally around the lineup a little bit and everybody seemed to really contribute offensively."
The Rays lost centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier to a hip injury that will sideline him another month or more, but have gotten good production from Mallex Smith, who has a 12-game hitting streak and is one off the team lead with nine steals (Kiermaier).
In Baltimore (35-37), Tampa Bay (39-36) faces a division rival that has struggled of late -- the Orioles have allowed at least five runs in 19 straight games, one short of the all-time major league record set by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1924.
The teams have only met three times as the halfway point of the season nears, but will play a pair of three-games series in the next nine games, also meeting for seven of their final 10 games of the season.
"It's frustrating not to win," bench coach John Russell said Thursday, filling in while Buck Showalter went home to Texas for the birth of his first grandchild. "Guys don't like it. But our club has been very resilient over the last few years, and I haven't seen a lot of difference in how resilient they are. ... These guys come out with a good attitude every day and go out and try to win the game."
The Rays send Chris Archer (5-4, 3.75 ERA) to the mound. The right-hander gave up five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Orioles earlier this season.
Baltimore answers with right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2, 6.25 ERA). Tampa Bay has the AL's second-best record against right-handed starters this season at 30-20 with Houston 40-15.
|Twins||vs.||Indians||7:10 (EDT) Preview|
Indians return home to face struggling Twins
Friday, June 23 at 1:19 AM (EDT)
CLEVELAND -- After a rousing eight-game road trip, the red-hot Cleveland Indians return home Friday night to host the staggering Minnesota Twins in the first game of a three-game series.
The Indians went 7-1 on the trip to Minnesota and Baltimore that ended Thursday with a 6-3 win over the Orioles. The Indians (39-32) are a season-high seven games over .500.
The Twins, who were shut out 9-0 by the White Sox on Thursday, have lost five of their last seven games and eight of their last 12.
During their eight-game trip, the Indians made up 4 1/2 games on the Twins. At the start of the trip, the Indians were in second place in the Central Division, two games behind first-place Minnesota. The Indians then swept a four-game series in Minnesota and won three of four in Baltimore to come home in first place in the division, 2 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Twins.
Indians manager Terry Francona isn't getting carried away by his team's hot streak.
"I don't care about what happened a week ago. I only care about the game today," Francona said. "We don't want to get too down or too full of ourselves. We want to stay in the moment."
Cleveland has several hot hitters at the moment, the hottest being third baseman Jose Ramirez, who had a streak of nine multi-hit games snapped Thursday. During his streak, Ramirez hit .548 (23-for-42), with 10 doubles, one triple, three home runs and seven RBIs. It was the longest such streak by an Indians player in 82 years, the third longest in franchise history.
Cleveland's offense is flourishing without No. 3 hitter Michael Brantley, who missed the trip and is on the disabled list with a sprained ankle. He will miss the Minnesota series as well.
Veteran Austin Jackson replaced Brantley in the lineup, and in his last five games Jackson has hit .421 (8-for-19) with eight RBIs.
"He's getting hits, driving the ball into gaps, driving in runs. You can see how much fun he's having," Francona said.
The Twins' offense has begun to sputter. In losing five of their last seven games, the Twins have been outscored 46-21.
Manager Paul Molitor feels like the offense can get a boost through stolen bases. The Twins rank sixth in the league in steals.
"We definitely have guys that know how to run the bases and can be somewhat proficient in that area," Molitor told the Pioneer Press. "(Byron) Buxton is still learning. (Brian) Dozier has always been good at that. (Eddie) Rosario and (Max) Kepler are some other guys we can put in the running mix from time to time."
Infielder Ehire Adrianza was placed on the disabled list Thursday with an abdominal injury. The Twins also optioned pitcher Nik Turley to Triple-A Rochester and are expected to add two players before Friday's game.
The pitching matchup features Cleveland's Trevor Bauer (6-5, 5.54 ERA) against Minnesota's Adalberto Mejia (1-3, 5.53).
Bauer's last start was a 5-2 win on June 18 in Minnesota. Bauer pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. He is 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts against the Twins this year. In 14 career starts vs. Minnesota, Bauer is 4-5 with a 4.84 ERA.
Mejia's last start came against Cleveland, a 6-2 loss on June 17. It was his only career appearance vs. the Indians. Mejia pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, with three strikeouts and three walks.
|Brewers||vs.||Braves||7:35 (EDT) Preview|
Hard-throwing righties clash as Brewers visit Braves
Friday, June 23 at 1:54 AM (EDT)
ATLANTA -- A pair of hard-throwing right-handers oppose each other Friday when Milwaukee makes its only visit to Atlanta this season, to begin a three-game series at SunTrust Park.
The Brewers will send Jimmy Nelson (5-3, 3.28 ERA) against the Braves' Mike Foltynewicz (4-5, 4.26) in the opener.
This is the second series between the teams this year. Atlanta won two of three in Milwaukee from April 28-30.
Nelson has been on a roll. He outpitched Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw on June 3 and threw a complete game in his last outing against the San Diego Padres on June 18. Nelson became the first Milwaukee starter to reach the ninth inning this season and wound up with the club's first complete game since July 2015.
Nelson's durability allowed manager Craig Counsel to give his depleted bullpen a rest. Closer Corey Knebel and setup men Jared Hughes and Oliver Drake had been deemed unusable for Nelson's most recent start. He wound up pitching nine innings to make them unnecessary.
"I can't imagine having to throw every day like those guys," Nelson said. "It was definitely nice to get those guys a day. They were really helping the starters out the first month of the season, so being able to give those guys a blow was nice."
Nelson, 28, is 2-0 with a 2.20 ERA in four starts this month, with 31 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings. He had 10 strikeouts in his last start, his third double-digit strikeout game of the season and fourth of his career.
Foltynewicz, 25, is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four starts this month. After back-to-back starts with seven shutout innings against the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies, he was rocked for eight runs in 3 1/3 innings against the Washington Nationals. But Foltynewicz rebounded in his last start against the Miami Marlins, allowing two runs in six innings June 18.
"The more he can establish the fastball, effectively throw inside and get strikes with it early, that opens up everything," Atlanta catcher Tyler Flowers said.
Nelson is 0-2 with a 4.32 ERA in three career starts against the Braves, striking out 14 in 16 2/3 innings. He was on the losing end of an 11-3 decision against the Braves on April 25, when he allowed five runs in five innings.
Foltynewicz will be making his fourth start against the Brewers and is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA over 20 innings. He lost to Milwaukee on April 30, when he allowed four runs in six innings.
The Brewers (40-35) are coming off a split of a four-game series against Pittsburgh. The Brewers lost the first two games and won the final two games, winning the finale 4-2. Milwaukee has a 1 1/2-game lead over Chicago for first place in the National League Central.
Atlanta (34-38) took three of four in its series against San Francisco. The Braves have won seven of their last 10 and haven't been this close to the .500 mark since May 26, when they were 21-25. They remain in second place in the NL East.
|Thursday, June 22, 2017|
|Major League Baseball|
Dodgers hit three more homers in win over Mets
Friday, June 23 at 3:10 AM (EDT)
LOS ANGELES -- The 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers are ruining the reputation of their own stadium.
Historically one of the toughest parks for home run hitters, the current team is slugging them out of Dodger Stadium at a record rate as the New York Mets will attest.
Los Angeles hit three home runs Thursday night in a 6-3 victory, giving them 15 in the four-game series that they swept, scoring 36 runs in the process.
Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson homered Thursday, running the Dodgers' winning streak to a season-high seven games. It was the 14th straight contest that the Dodgers have hit a home run, tying a franchise record set last season.
They have hit 101 home runs this season -- 64 of them at home or 1.64 per game, far beyond the record of 1.33 set in 2000.
"I think the best part of it is that every guy in contributing," Turner said afterward. "The history of the stadium is that when it's cold and you see dew on the grass, the ball isn't going to fly as far. When you don't see that moisture, the ball will travel (farther)."
Manager Dave Roberts didn't deny that there's more to it than weather. "The ball is flying in baseball, no doubt," he said. "The ball isn't as heavy as it was, so we're telling everyone to elevate."
The win elevated the Dodgers in the National League West as they lead Colorado and Arizona by 1 1/2 games. Turner hit a solo home run and Hernandez a two-run shot in the third against Mets starter Steve Matz, who went a credible six innings, allowing three hits while striking out eight.
The game was tied 3-3 going into the bottom of the seventh when Dodger hitters and Met pitchers combined for a three-run L.A. rally.
Pederson greeted reliever Paul Sewald with a first-pitch home run to right field, his fifth of the season. A single and walk sent Sewald out for Jerry Blevins, who walked Hernandez to load the bases. Reliever Pedro Baez was due up, but Roberts wanted him to throw the eighth, so he let Baez hit with the bases loaded and two outs.
Blevins walked Baez on four pitches, then walked Austin Barnes to give the Dodgers a 6-3 lead.
The Mets have allowed 110 home runs, the second most in the NL, and rank last or next to last in ERA, hits allowed, runs allowed and walks.
"Walks and home runs are killing us," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "In all my years here, walks and home runs have never been a problem. Not this team. It's hard to say what's going on. It's very frustrating."
Met pitchers walked 10 Dodgers Thursday.
The Mets have lost seven of eight and are 6-13 in their last 19 road games, with a slew of road games ahead of them into the All-Star break. They have allowed 77 runs in their last 10 games.
Hyun-Jin Ryu went five innings, allowing home runs to Curtis Granderson and Travis d'Arnauld. The Dodgers needed five relievers to close it out including Kenley Jansen, who posted a four-out save for his 16th of the season.
NOTES: The Mets purchased the contract of RHP Chasen Bradford from Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday and optioned Wednesday night's starter, Tyler Pill, to Las Vegas. Bradford has been in the Mets system since 2011 as a reliever. He was 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA in 29 games for the 51s. ... The Mets also moved injured LHP Tommy Milone (knee) from the 10- to the 60-day disabled list. ... Two Dodgers regulars were not in the starting lineup as C Yasmani Grandal and SS Corey Seager got the day off from manager Dave Roberts, although Seager entered in the eighth inning. ... LHP Julio Urias, the Dodgers' top pitching prospect who was 5-2 last season, will return to Los Angeles for medical tests related to an inflamed left shoulder.
Moore, Cano (six RBIs) lift Mariners past Tigers
Friday, June 23 at 2:24 AM (EDT)
SEATTLE -- Andrew Moore never blinked.
At least, not until his night was done.
The right-hander pitched seven strong innings in his major league debut and Robinson Cano hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in six runs as the Seattle Mariners defeated the Detroit Tigers 9-6 on Thursday at Safeco Field.
Moore, a 23-year-old who was a second-round draft pick out of Oregon State in 2015, allowed three runs on six hits. He didn't walk a batter and struck out four.
"That was unbelievable. I felt like I blinked and it was over," Moore said. "I was pretty amped up; but, once I threw the first pitch, the nerves sort of went away and I was pretty locked in. ... It still feels surreal."
"It was a heck of a debut," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "It was awesome to get seven innings out of him, on a night our bullpen was thin."
Cano hit a two-run shot in the third inning and added his slam in the seventh, giving him 13 homers this season, as Seattle (38-37) won its fifth game in a row to move over .500 for the first time this year. The Mariners had failed in four previous attempts to clear that mark.
"For me it's not about how many home runs I hit," Cano said. "I'm just trying to do my job with runners in scoring position."
Cano also had high praise for Moore.
"I love the way he got on the mound and he put the ball where he wanted," the second baseman said. "He didn't try to overdo too much. You don't need to throw 97-98 (mph) to be good."
Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler homered for Detroit (32-40), which suffered its season-high sixth consecutive defeat and was swept in a four-game series by the Mariners for only the second time. The other occurred in 1998 at Tiger Stadium.
"We kind of fought our way back into the game a little bit, but then Cano's grand slam kind of puts it out of reach," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
The Tigers trailed 9-3 before scoring three times in the eighth against right-hander Max Povse, who was also making his big league debut.
After Povse retired the first two batters, Alex Avila doubled and Cabrera hit a two-run shot to right-center field, his eighth homer of the season. J.D. Martinez then doubled down the left-field line and Justin Upton singled to drive him in.
That was it for Povse. Tony Zych walked Nicholas Castellanos to bring the potential tying run to the plate, but Zych struck out Andrew Romine to end the threat.
Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for his first save of the season.
The Mariners opened the scoring in the second as left-hander Daniel Norris (4-5) struggled with his control.
Norris walked Nelson Cruz and Danny Valencia, and Ben Gamel lined a two-run double into the gap in right-center field. Gamel scored on a single to right by Guillermo Heredia.
Norris got out of the inning as Heredia was caught stealing on a third strike to Mike Zunino.
Moore retired the first five batters before allowing a two-out double to Castellanos.
Kinsler led off the third with a home run, pulling the Tigers to within 3-1.
"The key was staying in good counts," Moore said. "Kinsler got into a fastball count (at 3-1) and he beat me."
The Mariners struck again in the third on Cano's 398-foot, two-run shot to right-center field.
Detroit added two runs in the fifth. Castellanos led off with a double and moved to third on John Hicks' one-out double. Jose Iglesias brought home Castellanos with a groundout to second, and Kinsler singled to left-center to make it 5-3.
NOTES: The Mariners have used 31 pitchers this season, including 12 rookies, and 13 starters, all MLB highs. ... Seattle LF Ben Gamel extended his hitting streak to 14 games. ... Detroit DH Victor Martinez, who was put on the 10-day disabled June 16 with an irregular heartbeat, has begun light cardio workouts and hitting off a tee, manager Brad Ausmus said. ... Mariners RHP Edwin Diaz was unavailable to close Thursday after pitching in a career-high four straight games. Manager Scott Servais said Diaz might also get Friday off. ... The Tigers continue their seven-game trip with a weekend series in San Diego. RHP Michael Fulmer (6-5, 3.45 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday against Padres RHP Luis Perdomo (1-4, 4.97). ... The Mariners will host AL West-leading Houston in a three-game series this weekend. RHP Felix Hernandez (2-2, 4.73) is set to return from the disabled list to start the opener Friday, facing Astros RHP Joe Musgrove (4-6, 5.09).
Nola pitches lowly Phillies past Cardinals
Thursday, June 22 at 6:25 PM (EDT)
PHILADELPHIA -- For the St. Louis Cardinals, Thursday afternoon provided a shot at a series sweep and a chance to make up ground in the National League Central Division race. Meanwhile, it was an opportunity for the Philadelphia Phillies to get a break from the life of being the major league's worst team.
Phillies starter Aaron Nola provided the reprieve for the struggling ballclub and put together one of his best pitching efforts of the season. He struck out a season-high eight batters and allowed just one run in 7 1/3 innings to help lift Philadelphia to a 5-1 win and snap the team's five-game losing streak.
Thursday's performance gave Nola, the team's 2014 first-round pick out of LSU, some much-needed confidence in a career that has been marked by equal parts potential and inconsistency. The righty improved to 4-5 with a 4.32 ERA with the win, and he is 15-16 with a 4.39 ERA in his career.
"I know what I'm capable of and I know what I can do," Nola said, "and today was me. I felt confident in all my pitches today and commanding all my pitches when I wanted to. It was all good in those areas."
Nola tied his season high of seven strikeouts before the game reached the seventh inning and cruised through the first seven innings, allowing just three hits and one walk.
After allowing a leadoff home run to Paul DeJong on a 2-2 pitch in the top of the eighth, Nola fanned pinch hitter Greg Garcia for his eighth strikeout. He left in favor of reliever Pat Neshek one batter later after walking Matt Carpenter.
Neshek got the Phillies (23-48) out of any potential damage by getting Tommy Pham to ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. Luis Garcia pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out the game.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, whose team blew a five-run lead and eventually dropped a 7-6 extra-inning game to the Cardinals Wednesday night, was encouraged by what he saw of Nola.
"He had a lot of success early when he first got here and went through a period where he was struggling to find himself in the last outing and this outing," Mackanin said, "especially in this one. That looked like the old Nola that we saw, and that's great to see. I was ecstatic."
Said DeJong: "He was locating his fastball really well, hitting those corners and throwing breaking balls for strikes and off to kind of fool you."
DeJong, who was called up by the Cardinals back on May 28 and homered in his first career at bat, went 1-for-3 Thursday and is hitting .265 with four homers and 10 RBIs.
"It's been up and down," said DeJong, who also committed two errors in the game. "I think I can be more consistent and strive every day to be more consistent. That's just baseball. You're going to have the ups and downs. You have to try to be even keeled as much as you can."
Shortstop Freddy Galvis gave the Phillies an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when he hit Carlos Martinez's first pitch of the at-bat five rows deep into the right-center field bleachers. Nola got more run support in the bottom of the fifth when first baseman Tommy Joseph led off with a line-drive home run to left field and second baseman Andres Blanco singled and later scored on an error by Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz to make it a 3-0 ballgame.
Joseph, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, pushed the Phillies out to a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run single that scored Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco.
Martinez (6-6) came into the game ranked third in the NL with a 2.86 ERA and among the top 10 in 11 different statistical categories. He left after six innings, allowing three runs (two earned), six hits and the two home runs while striking out four. He took the loss.
The Cardinals, who had made a living off the NL East this season with a 13-2 record in 15 previous games against the division, dropped to 33-38 to wrap up a seven-day, six-game road trip. A win Thursday would have given St. Louis its first three-game series sweep in Philadelphia since April of 2006.
NOTES: RHP Aaron Nola's 7 1/3 innings were a bit of a rarity for the Phillies, whose starting rotation had averaged a little more six innings per game. ... With a one-out single to right field on the top of the seventh inning, Cardinals C Yadier Molina extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Thursday's win was Philadelphia's first since a June 15 victory against the Boston Red Sox. ... The Cardinals have hit at least one home run in a season-best 11 consecutive games, dating back to June 11.
White Sox pound Twins after long delay
Thursday, June 22 at 11:50 PM (EDT)
MINNEAPOLIS -- Waiting through a lengthy rain delay was rewarding for the Chicago White Sox.
The rain and starting pitching issues just made Thursday another long day for the Minnesota Twins.
Matt Davidson had three hits, including a towering home run, while Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier each supplied first-inning, two-run homers in Chicago's 9-0 win against Minnesota on Thursday.
Jose Quintana (4-8) enjoyed the run support to win his second straight start and the White Sox snapped a three-game losing streak. The game was delayed for 4 hours, 50 minutes at the start because of persistent rain showers.
"It's miserable," Frazier said of the delay. "You try and find some things to do. Play cards. Hang out with the guys. If you had a set time, it'd help. But we came out banging, man. We took it to 'em in that first inning. That was huge."
As soon as play began, Chicago jumped on Twins starter NikTurley's offerings. Turley (0-2) got only two outs in his third major league start, allowing five runs on six hits. He was optioned back to Triple-A Rochester after the game.
"You just watch the inning unfold, there was ball one on, I think, eight of the nine hitters he faced," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "It just got out of hand. I wanted to try and get him through because I needed some innings, but we got to four and they got a couple more hits. I tried to stop the bleeding."
Quintana did his part after getting a big lead. He pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings while giving up five hits and striking out nine.
Turley struggled with command, getting behind each of the first five batters. Abreu lined a homer to left as the third batter of the inning and Frazier followed Avisail Garcia's hit with another two-run homer.
Adam Engel had four hits and his first career RBIs for the White Sox, who avoided being swept at Target Field for the fifth time in the park's eight-year history.
"I tip my hat to them, because obviously they're the ones dealing with all the chaos, so to speak," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said of the players dealing with the rain delay. "They're the ones who play the game. They're the ones who have to get their minds ready to go out and perform. They've been able to respond well. That's just part of who they are, their character, and hopefully that's something they'll be able to continue to do."
Davidson had his team-leading 17th homer to lead off the fifth. He's second to New York's Aaron Judge in homers among American League rookies and has homered in seven of his past 10 games.
Turley has been the last minor league recall the Twins have used to try and fill in the depleted and ineffective rotation, but the left-hander has struggled in each of his three starts, not pitching past the fifth inning in any outing. He owns a 16.39 ERA in his three career appearances.
"I feel like today it was a lot to do with my mentality," Turley said. "There's no excuse. It's just I went out there and I was a little cautious instead of pitching my game. So, I started getting behind guys. I know if I get ahead and stay aggressive in the zone then I'll be alright. But I kept getting behind guys, you can't do that here."
Quintana has started to round into form after a disappointing start to his season. The left-hander has a 2.25 ERA (six earned runs, 24 innings) in four June starts after starting the month with a 5.60 ERA.
"I'm really happy with changeup today," Quintana said. "Almost tonight, right? It's a long day here. All my stuff was real good."
NOTES: The delay at the start of the game due to rain was the longest delay in Twins history. ... Minnesota placed INF Ehire Adrianza on the disabled list after the game with abdominal issues. Manager Paul Molitor said Adrianza will be having tests to determine the problem. ... Each of Chicago 1B Jose Abreu's 13 home runs has come on the road this season. The last homer he hit at home was Sept. 15, 2016, against Cleveland. ... Twins LHP Hector Santiago (left shoulder strain) got through a successful rehab start with Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday but the team is waiting to decide the next step of Santiago's rehab. Santiago threw three hitless innings and gave up one walk. ... White Sox manager Rick Renteria expressed his excitement in Chicago returning home for 10 games starting Friday against Oakland. Chicago has played 15 of its past 19 games on the road. ... Minnesota travels to Cleveland for a three-game series with the American League Central-leading Indians to start an 11-game road trip.
Hot Gomez homers twice as Rangers pound Blue Jays
Thursday, June 22 at 7:15 PM (EDT)
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Carlos Gomez had a feeling going into Thursday's series finale against Toronto that he would hit a home run.
He was wrong.
He hit two.
Gomez powered a home run barrage to lead the Texas Rangers to a series-splitting 11-4 win over the Blue Jays at Globe Life Park.
"I put myself in position where I could drive the ball," said Gomez, who went 3-for-4 and tied a career high with five RBIs.
Texas (36-36) climbed back to .500 by snapping a two-game skid and splitting the four-game set with Toronto. The Rangers completed their homestand at 4-3.
Gomez, Mike Napoli, and Robinson Chirinos each clubbed long balls off Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, who dropped to 7-4 and lost for the first time in six road decisions this season. Gomez added another homer, a two-run shot, in the eighth to give him five home runs and 14 RBIs in six games since returning from the disabled list.
"I've seen this before with Carlos, when he's locked in, he's extremely challenging, he's a true professional hitter with a ton of power," Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
Texas starter Martin Perez wasn't sharp but enjoyed plenty of offensive support in improving to 4-6 after working six innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on nine hits. Perez is 4-0 this season when backed by at least three runs.
The Blue Jays (35-37) dropped to 0-9 in games with a chance to get to .500 this season.
"It's been a battle trying to get back to that .500 mark," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "The most important part is that it seems we get knocked around pretty good on that day."
Perez was staked to a 7-0 lead through four innings. The Rangers got going in the first on Adrian Beltre's two-out double to left, scoring Elvis Andrus from first. The relay throw to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was dropped to negate a play at the plate.
Napoli got to Stroman an inning later with his 14th homer, an opposite-field blast to right to plate Gomez.
Stroman initially avoided giving up a fourth run in the third when Andrus was thrown out at the plate. With one out and the infield in, Beltre's chopper to third was fielded cleanly by Russell Martin, who gunned down Andrus.
Rougned Odor followed with a single before Gomez ripped a three-run bomb off the left-field foul pole. Chirinos had a solo shot in the fourth.
Stroman didn't come back out for the fifth.
"The long ball hurt me," he said. "It was kind of the feel for my pitches out there. I'm not really worried about it, just didn't have a good feel of my sinker and all of the other pitches kind of played off of that. I'll make a few adjustments and we can get back out there Wednesday."
Perez ran into trouble in the fifth, as the Blue Jays scored four runs after two outs. The rally started when Dwight Smith was hit by a pitch. Luke Maile's double got Toronto on the board.
Hits from Martin and Kendrys Morales, with the bases loaded, pulled the visitors within three runs.
The Rangers head out on a 10-day, 10-game road trip starting Friday at the New York Yankees. Texas is 14-19 on the road.
Toronto completes its seven games on the road with three in Kansas City beginning Friday.
NOTES: Texas RHP Yu Darvish opens the upcoming 10-game road trip Friday at Yankee Stadium squaring off against RHP Masahiro Tanaka for the first time in the majors. The two did meet four times in Nippon Professional Baseball, with Darvish winning three of those matchups. ... Toronto 3B Josh Donaldson was scratched from the lineup less than an hour before the first pitch due to left knee soreness. He was slated to be the DH and bat third, but was replaced by Kendrys Morales, who was set to have a day off. ... Texas placed RHP Jeremy Jeffress (strained back) on the 10-day DL and called up RHP Preston Claiborne from Triple-A Round Rock. ... Toronto is 15-6 in Arlington since the start of 2013.
Sogard, Shaw lead Brewers past Pirates
Thursday, June 22 at 6:53 PM (EDT)
MILWAUKEE -- After Eric Sogard missed all of the 2016 season while recovering from knee surgery before returning to the big leagues on May 12, the veteran infielder has been making up for lost time.
Sogard came up big again Thursday. He finished with two doubles and two runs scored, and helped preserve the lead with a sparkling defensive play in the eighth inning as the Milwaukee Brewers salaved a split of a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 4-2 win at Miller Park.
"He just keeps doing it," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Sogard had three hits against the Pirates, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He also has reached base in 28 of his 35 games this season and has been on base twice in 19 of those.
"I'm having a blast," Sogard said. "Being around these guys every day. It's a fun group of guys to go to battle with. We fight every day and we're having fun doing it."
Travis Shaw had a big day too, finishing with three hits -- two doubles and a home run -- as the Brewers tagged Pittsburgh starter Ian Nova (7-5) for four runs, 11 hits and two walks in seven innings.
"He's a pro," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Nova. "He's got a lot of experience. Settled himself down. Had a couple of real pitch-efficient innings as well.
"We just weren't able to do enough on our side of the board to score runs to tilt the thing back our way or get some different help out of the bullpen."
Brewers starter Chase Anderson (6-2) went six innings and allowed two runs and two hits while striking out seven.
"(My) arm felt really good today," Anderson said. "(My) legs got a little tired as the game went on because of the humidity. This team, it's been a lot of fun, this run. The defense today, Sogard's play was unbelievable. Those are the things that win championships."
Anderson came into the game riding one of the best stretches of his career -- 3-1 with a 1.04 ERA in his last four starts -- but got into a little early trouble. He hit Josh Harrison with a pitch and Harrison stole second before scoring the first run on Josh Bell's RBI single in the top of the first.
Milwaukee's offense answered in the bottom of the inning, tying the score when Eric Thames snapped an 0-for-15 slump with a RBI base hit that scored Sogard.
Domingo Santana bounced into a double play, but Shaw put the Brewers ahead with solo home run to center.
Pittsburgh evened things up in the fourth on Gregory Polanco's fifth home run of the year.
Shaw came through again in the fifth with a double to right that drove in Santana, putting Milwaukee back in front 3-2, and nearly broke the game open in the seventh when he doubled off the top of the wall in left.
Sogard, who led off the inning with a double, scored easily on the play, but Santana, who walked ahead of Shaw, took his time rounding third thinking it was a home run and was tagged out, ending the inning.
"From a baserunning standpoint, that can't happen," Counsell said. "It was certainly in question so we have to keep running. Those are the types of things that make it just a little bit harder on ourselves."
The call stood after a crew chief review.
"I didn't want to give up on the ball," said left fielder John Jaso, who played the ball off the wall. "I had no idea of what was going on behind me. I knew it was like a guaranteed double, at least, if not a homer. I just played back, waiting for it to hit the wall. It did and it gave me a really good bounce off the wall obviously to make a strong throw."
With a 4-2 lead, Milwaukee returned the favor in the eighth, getting Jacob Barnes out of a jam when Sogard made an off-balance but perfect throw to get Adam Frazier at the plate trying to score on a hard-hit ground ball from Polanco.
"The best part about the play was there was just no hesitation," Counsell said. "Get to the ball and throw it home. Any hesitation and there's trouble."
Corey Knebel worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save of the season.
NOTES: Pittsburgh placed C Francisco Cervelli on the seven-day concussion list for the second time this season. Cervelli missed the last two games with what the team originally described as "flu-like symptoms," which actually were brought on by a concussion on June 6. ... The Pirates recalled C Jacob Stallings from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace Cervelli on the roster. ... Brewers LF Ryan Braun (left calf strain) and 2B Jonathan Villar (lower back strain) were scheduled to be in the Class A Wisconsin starting lineup Thursday night as they begin minor league rehab assignments.
Homers power Diamondbacks past Rockies
Thursday, June 22 at 8:35 PM (EDT)
DENVER -- Two three-run homers in the early innings and a magnificent start by Zack Godley enabled the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete a historic road trip Thursday by pounding the Colorado Rockies 10-3.
Arizona went 7-1 on a three-city trek that included stops in Detroit and Philadelphia. The Diamondbacks' .875 winning percentage on the trip is the highest in franchise history for a three-city road trip.
The victory moved the Diamondbacks (46-27) three percentage points ahead of Colorado (47-28). Both teams are one game behind Los Angeles (47-26), pending the outcome of the Dodgers' game Thursday night.
The Rockies finished a 5-2 homestand by losing their third series at Coors Field home and first in nearly two months. They dropped three of four to Washington and then lost two of three to Seattle.
Chris Owings in the third and Paul Goldschmidt in the fourth hit three-run homers that gave the Diamondbacks an early 9-1 bulge as they went on to win the rubber match of the three-game series. It was just the third series loss for the Rockies at Coors Field this season, and they fell to 6-2 in rubber games.
"I think we were just able to get some guys on base," said Goldschmidt who had three hits and four RBI. "And when you do that here, one swing of the bat can open it up."
Arizona starter Zack Godley (3-1) gave up two hits in the first inning, including Charlie Blackmon's 24th career leadoff homer and second this season on a ball that was nearly in the dirt. Two batters after Blackmon belted his 16th home run, Nolan Arenado singled. And that was pretty much it for the Rockies' offense against Godley.
After Arenado's hit, Godley retired 19 of his next 20 batters, including 13 straight after DJ LeMahieu grounded into an inning double play in the third. The streak ended when Raimel Tapia led off the eighth with a single. Pinch-hitter Pat Valaika followed Tapia with a run-scoring double that finished Godley, who gave up four hits and three runs with one walk and a career-high tying eight strikeouts in seven-plus innings.
Godley also singled home a run in the eighth inning for his second career RBI in 45 at-bats.
"I think he got off to a wobbly start," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo. "The command of his pitches wasn't as consistent as it was in the middle frames. He started to have fastball location and I think the changeup, curveball off it was very effective. He got a number of swing on secondary stuff on balls in the zone."
It was the second straight lopsided victory for the Diamondbacks, who erupted for 10 runs in the fourth inning on Wednesday, the biggest inning on the road in franchise history, and walloped the Rockies 16-5 after a 4-3 loss Tuesday night.
The Diamondbacks roughed up faltering rookie Antonio Senzatela (9-3). In 14 previous starts totaling 83 1/3 innings. Senzatela yielded 13 home runs. But the only three-run blast was hit by Ben Zobrist of the Chicago Cubs on June 11 at Wrigley Field.
After Goldschmidt, who had three hits and four RBIs, singled home a run in the third inning, Senzatela walked Jake Lamb before Owings hit his sixth homer.
Jeff Mathis led off the fourth with a single and was sacrificed to second by Godley. Senzatela walked Jeremy Hazelbaker before Nick Ahmed singled home a run, and Goldschmidt followed with his 18th home run.
"I didn't see the command that we've seen from Antonio over the last couple games to be honest with you," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "A little bit different than what we saw the first couple months."
Senzatela, 22, who had never pitched above Double-A before making the Opening Day rotation, had a 3.19 ERA after his first 10 career starts. But in his past five starts, Senzatela has a 8.20 ERA (26 1/3 innings, 24 earned runs) to raise his overall ERA to 4.79. He has surrendered eight homers in his past four games compared with seven homers in his first 11, a span of 67 innings.
In five innings against the Diamondbacks, Senzatela allowed career highs in hits (eight) and runs (nine).
"Today I feel really good," Senzatela said. "But I throw a couple pitch(es) up, and they got me. I didn't have really good fastball command. It was a bad day."
This is third time in franchise history that Rockies starters have yielded nine or more earned runs in consecutive games and first time in nearly 20 years. On July 1-2, 1998, at Seattle, Mike Saipe allowed nine earned runs in his second and last major league start Darryl Kile yielded 10 earned runs the following day.
Asked whether opponents are starting to figure the Rockies' rookie starters or they're simply not executing, Colorado manager Bud Black said, "Time will tell. I think that's the best way I'm going to answer that one. Time will tell."
NOTES: Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and pitched the ninth inning in his first professional relief appearance.,. RHP Carlos Estevez was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. ... Diamondbacks CF A.J. Pollock (strained right groin) could resume his rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Reno. ... Rockies RHP Scott Oberg made his team-leading 33rd appearance and pitched two innings for the second time this season...Diamondbacks 3B Jake Lamb has reached base in 17 consecutive games, one game shy of his season and career high of 18 games April 4-23.
Astros hammer out 12-9 win over A's
Thursday, June 22 at 8:57 PM (EDT)
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Houston Astros got off to a scary start Thursday afternoon against the Oakland Athletics when leadoff hitter George Springer was hit in the left hand by a Jesse Hahn fastball five pitches into the game.
Springer came out of the game, but that was the end of the bad news for the red-hot Astros.
Jake Marisnick, who replaced Springer, and Marwin Gonzalez hit three-run homers in the second inning and rookie right-hander David Paulino pitched 5 1/3 solid innings, leading the Astros to a 12-9 victory over the Athletics and a sweep of their four-game series at the Coliseum.
X-rays on Springer's left hand were negative. He is day to day with a contusion and hopes to play Friday at Seattle.
"He's already lobbying for leading off tomorrow," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Springer, who has 21 home runs. "We were very, very cautious with pulling him out. He wanted to stay in and run and see if he could get the feeling back in his hand, but I told him I wanted to get Jake in there. It all worked out with Jake hitting a homer and George being OK. It ended up being a really good day for us."
The Astros defeated the A's at Oakland Coliseum for the 10th straight time and have won 15 of the past 16 games overall against Oakland. Houston, which swept the A's in Oakland for the third straight time, had their seventh series sweep of the season and fifth on the road.
The Astros improved to a major league-best 50-24. The last-place A's (31-42) trail the first-place Astros by a season-high 18 1/2 games in the American League West.
Former A's outfielder Josh Reddick went 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and a solo homer, his seventh blast of the season for the Astros. He also walked and scored four runs, matching his career high, and finished a single shy of his first career cycle. Evan Gattis had three RBIs.
The A's were coming off a four-game sweep of the Yankees before being swept by Houston.
"They were in pretty high spirits," Reddick said, looking back to the start of the series. "We just had a tough homestand as well, so we were kind of down in the dumps a little bit. To be able to come out here and put it on them for four games was pretty special. Anytime you can sweep somebody it's going to be fun."
Paulino (2-0) gave up three runs and seven hits, struck out six and walked two. He was coming off his first career major-league victory, a 7-1 win over Boston on Saturday. Now he has his first winning streak in the big leagues.
The A's trailed 10-0 after two innings but made a late push, scoring six times in the eighth inning to cut Houston's lead to 12-9. Rajai Davis, catcher Bruce Maxwell, Adam Rosales and Matt Olson doubled during the inning. Reliever Dayan Diaz gave up five runs and retired only one batter before giving way to Michael Feliz, who gave up one run.
Chris Devenski pitched a perfect ninth with three strikeouts for his third save.
Hahn (4-4) gave up 10 runs (nine earned) -- both career highs -- in two innings. He allowed six hits, including two home runs, walked three and struck out none. Hahn had gone 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in his three previous starts.
"I really don't have an answer for it," Hahn said. "I just didn't have good stuff. I think it was one of those starts where no matter what I did, no matter how much I battled I couldn't find anything."
Maxwell was called up from Triple-A Nashville and went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run for the A's. Maxwell took the roster spot of catcher Stephen Vogt, a two-time American League All-Star who was designated for assignment as the A's continued a youth movement. Olson was also called up from Nashville and went 2-for-3 with a double, two walks and a run.
The Astros took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. After hitting Springer, Hahn had back-to-backs walks and then gave up sacrifice flies to Carlos Beltran and Gattis.
Houston scored eight times in the second to make it 10-0. Yuli Gurriel hit a leadoff single and moved to third on Norichika Aoki's double. Marisnick followed with blast to left-center field, his career-high 10th homer of the season.
"We were being selective," Marisnick said. "We were making them come in the zone, taking our walks and when we had the chance, put some good swings on balls."
The Astros reloaded the bases on Reddick's double, a walk to Carlos Correa and an error by A's first baseman Yonder Alonso. Gattis hit a two-run single, extending Houston's lead to 7-0, and Gonzalez launched a home run to right, his 13th of the season, making it 10-0.
"It just wasn't there for him today," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Hahn. "The velocity wasn't there, command wasn't there. So it put us in a little bit of a tough hole but it was good to see these youngsters battle back too."
NOTES: Oakland 3B Matt Chapman (left knee infection) was placed on the disabled list. He had missed the previous three games while being treated orally with antibiotics. He was sent to a hospital to receive antibiotics intravenously. ... Houston 2B Jose Altuve was out of the lineup for the fourth time this season, getting a rare day off. ... Astros LF Norichika Aoki went 3-for-5 with two doubles.
Angels erase early deficit against Yankees
Friday, June 23 at 12:47 AM (EDT)
NEW YORK -- Mike Scioscia earned a World Series ring in 2002 by presiding over an Anaheim Angels team that began its path to a championship by removing the cloak of invincibility from the dynasty-era New York Yankees.
The Yankees had reached five of the previous six Fall Classics before falling to the Angels in the Division Series. But 15 years later, the manager of the team now known as the Los Angeles Angels knows how challenging it is to come back against the Yankees.
"Not many times are you going to dig a hole to those guys and get out of it," Scioscia said Thursday night when the Angels overcame an early deficit by scoring the final nine runs of a 10-5 win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
The Angels appeared to be in for a long night when Aaron Judge hit his major league-leading 25th homer -- a mammoth 425-foot three-run shot to straightaway center field -- to cap a four-run second inning and give the Yankees a 5-1 lead.
But starter Jesse Chavez and four relievers combined to limit the Yankees to three hits in the final seven innings. Offensively, the Angels climbed back via a patient offense that generated 11 hits -- via nine singles and two doubles -- and went 5-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
The Angels also disrupted the Yankees into committing three errors in the seventh and eighth inning, during which Los Angeles scored six runs.
"We did a good job with runners in scoring position, good job running the bases," Scioscia said. "The whole comeback was done without a ball going out of the park, so it was impressive."
The Angels closed within 5-4 thanks to three RBI singles by Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar (in the third inning) and Luis Valbuena (in the sixth).
In the seventh, Cliff Pennington (3-for-3 with a walk) led off with a single against Yankees starter Luis Severino before American League stolen base leader Cameron Maybin followed with a sharp grounder to second that skipped by Starlin Castro for an error.
Pennington scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Kole Calhoun against Chasen Shreve. With ace Yankees reliever Dellin Betances on the mound, Maybin then stole second, took third when Gary Sanchez's throw sailed into center field and trotted home on Pujols' go-ahead single.
"I love creating chaos, making those guys frantic," said Maybin, who led the game off with a homer. "You could see it tonight -- I get on base, guys get wary, they get nervous. Guys behind me get good pitches, (the Yankees' pitchers) make mistakes on the mound throwing balls away. That's a part of my game."
Escobar followed with a walk. One out later. Andrelton Simmons laced a two-run double off Betances to extend the Angels' lead to 8-5.
Pennington and Maybin teamed up to create havoc again in the eighth, when Pennington doubled with one out and went to third on a wild pitch. Maybin walked, after which Domingo Graham's pickoff throw to first sailed into foul territory. Pennington trotted home and Maybin raced to third before scoring on Calhoun's second sacrifice fly.
Maybin and Pennington each scored three runs.
"Tonight you're down 5-1 and these guys, they're talking to the pitchers (saying) 'Hey, put up some zeroes here, give us a chance to get some things going," Scioscia said.
Yusmeiro Petit (2-0), the Angels' first reliever, picked up the victory by striking out three in two perfect innings as Los Angeles (38-38) won the three-game series. Chavez allowed five runs, seven hits and two walks whiles striking out three in four innings.
Chris Carter was the only player with two hits for the reeling Yankees (39-31), who have lost eight of nine.
"It's a number of things we haven't done well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We haven't pitched well at times, we weren't able to add on tonight and there were some defensive miscues on our part. If you're going to compete at a high level, you can't keep making the mistakes that we're making."
Severino (5-3), who was lifted after Maybin reached in the seventh, allowed six runs (five earned), eight hits and two walks while striking out five in six-plus innings.
"He gets a double-play ball, it takes a bad hop and it changes the complexion of the game," Girardi said.
Betances, who allowed two runs (one earned) in his first 22 2/3 innings this season, gave up two runs in two-thirds of an inning Thursday.
NOTES: The Yankees recalled LHP Tyler Webb from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned IF/OF Rob Refsnyder to the same affiliate. ... Yankees 1B Greg Bird (right ankle) received a cortisone shot Tuesday and hopes to resume baseball activities this weekend. ... The Angels activated RHP Huston Street from the 10-day disabled list and optioned RHP Mike Morin to Triple-A Salt Lake City. Street has been out all season with lat and shoulder injuries. ... Angels RHP Matt Shoemaker (right forearm), who hoped to start Sunday against the Boston Red Sox, is still feeling discomfort and will be re-examined in California.
Jackson, Gonzalez carry Indians past Orioles
Thursday, June 22 at 11:50 PM (EDT)
BALTIMORE -- Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona likes to stay even-keeled, never getting too high or low over his team's performance.
Nonetheless, he has to feel pretty good about his club coming off a successful road trip.
Austin Jackson had three hits with three RBIs, Erik Gonzalez homered and the Indians took three of four games against the Baltimore Orioles with a 6-3 victory on Thursday night.
Cleveland has won eight of its past nine games and outscored Baltimore 28-10 in the series. The Orioles have allowed at least five runs in 19 consecutive games -- one shy of the major league record set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.
"I don't care about a week ago," Francona said. "We showed up today to win today. That's what we always do. We'll enjoy it for a few minutes and then we'll get on the plane and we'll get ready for Minnesota. That's the way we always do it. I think that's the best way to not get too down or too full of yourself. Stay right in the moment."
Cleveland's Mike Clevinger (3-3) got his first victory in five starts. He allowed two runs and six hits with four strikeouts and four walks in five innings.
The Indians' Jose Ramirez went 1-for-4, ending his consecutive multi-hit game streak. He was the first Cleveland player since 1936 with two or more hits for nine consecutive days.
Gonzalez had a solo home run in the sixth inning that boosted the Indians' margin to 5-2. Edwin Encarnacion had an RBI single in the ninth.
Manny Machado pulled the Orioles within 5-3 with an RBI double in the ninth off Andrew Miller, who was one of five Cleveland relievers used in the game.
Seth Smith hit his eighth home run for Baltimore.
Orioles left-hander Wade Miley (3-5) labored through another start, allowing four runs, eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts in just five-plus innings and 111 pitches. Miley has given up 19 earned runs in his past four starts (15 2/3 innings).
"We're going out there and working our tails off trying to work on track, and I think we're moving in the right direction," Miley said.
Baltimore lost for the 11th time in 15 games.
"It's depressing, but it's part of the deal," Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo said. "It's part of the game. There's not a single person that has any sympathy for us, and I get it. Tomorrow's a new day. It's a cliche, but it's the truth, and we're going to keep fighting. That's our job. We take pride in it."
Smith hit his fourth leadoff home run of the season when he hammered an 89 mph changeup by Clevinger into the left-field bleachers. The Indians took a 2-1 lead in the second on an RBI triple by Jackson and a single by Yan Gomes.
Clevinger then hit two batters that helped load the bases in the bottom half of the inning. After getting Smith to hit into a 1-2-3 double play, Clevinger walked Machado and Jonathan Schoop to tie the score.
Jackson gave the Indians another spark in the third with a two-out, two-run single for a 4-2 lead.
"This is a good momentum boost for us going home," Jackson said. "It's tough going on the road and getting some wins. And I think that from the first game in Minnesota, we just set a tone in the clubhouse where we went out there and we performed well."
NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter flew to Texas for the birth of his first grandson and will return for this weekend's series against the Rays. Bench coach John Russell managed the team in Showalter's absence. ... Indians RHP Cody Allen missed the past two games because his wife was giving birth in Cleveland. Allen could be back Friday when the team returns home. ... Orioles LHP Zach Britton (forearm strain) threw another scoreless inning in his second rehab assignment, allowing one hit with two strikeouts on 16 pitches for Class A Delmarva.
Cubs, Arrieta cut down Marlins
Thursday, June 22 at 11:49 PM (EDT)
MIAMI -- Less hair, fewer runs allowed.
That summed up the night for 2015 Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, who has been struggling this year but turned in a vintage all-around performance on Thursday night, leading the Chicago Cubs to an 11-1 win over the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park.
Arrieta (7-5), in a good mood after his first win since beating the Marlins on June 6, said there were various reasons for the buzz-cut look he showed off for the first time on Thursday.
"You come to Miami, and you know it's going to be hot and humid," said Arrieta, who is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his career against the Marlins. "It was time to take it down, minimize some sweat, and let it roll, man.
"I feel like I've got a decent face. It doesn't matter if I don't have any hair."
The new look certainly worked Thursday.
Arrieta, an All-Star and World Series champion last year, held Miami to six hits, no walks and one run in seven innings.
Offensively, he went 2-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI, helping spark two rallies in what became a 16-hit, three-homer Cubs attack.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Arrieta could have gone longer, but he wanted to be cautious due a blister on the pitcher's right thumb, which has given him trouble lately.
"The cut is good -- he's fine," Maddon said. "I did not want to press our luck at that point. But to get Jake pitching that type of quality game for us will be big."
Arrieta's vintage performance was supported by Kris Bryant's three-run homer. It was Bryant's 16th home run of the season, and it helped propel the Cubs (37-35) to their fourth win in their past five games. For Bryant, it was his first three-RBI game since April 15.
Other Cubs heroes included Wilson Contreras, who hit a two-run homer, and Addison Russell and Ian Happ, who each went 4-for-5 with two RBIs. Russell homered and doubled twice for his first career game with three extra-base hits.
Chicago's Mark Zagunis made his major-league debut, starting in right field and batting ninth. He got an RBI in his first at-bat, grounding out to shortstop. He finished 0-for-5.
Marcell Ozuna hit his 20th homer of the season, a solo shot, to lead Miami (32-39). Ozuna is three short of tying his career high for homers.
Marlins starter Jeff Locke (0-3) has yet to win during his brief career in Miami. He lasted four innings, allowing seven hits, three walks and five runs.
"I just didn't make enough good pitches," Locke said.
Chicago got to Locke in the second inning. Russell and Happ singled, and Javier Baez was walked intentionally with one out. That set up Arrieta (infield single) and Zagunis (groundout) for their RBIs.
Ozuna's leadoff homer in the bottom of the second cut Miami's deficit to 2-1. He hit a 3-0 pitch to left-center field.
"We felt," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said, "that we were in the game right there."
That soon changed. Chicago took a 5-1 lead when Bryant's blast was preceded by Arrieta's single and a two-out, four-pitch walk to Anthony Rizzo.
Russell gave Chicago a 6-1 advantage with a solo homer in the fifth, his seventh long ball of the season. Contreras hit his two-run shot in the sixth, and the rout was on for Chicago.
"I don't want to get too crazy over one game," Maddon cautioned. "But it was a nice game. We had good at-bats, utilizing more of the field."
NOTES: This was the start of an 11-game road trip for Chicago. ... Cubs OF Kyle Schwarber, who hit .412 in five World Series games last year and was thought to be a rising offensive star, was optioned to Triple-A Iowa after hitting just .171 in 64 games. ... Chicago placed OF Jason Heyward (abrasion on left hand) on the disabled list retroactive to Monday. ... Chicago called up OF Mark Zagunis and RHP Dylan Floro from Triple-A Iowa. ... Chicago signed LHP Brendon Little, the 27th overall pick in this year's draft who received a $2.2 million bonus. ... Miami placed RHP Brad Ziegler (back strain) on the disabled list and activated RHP Junichi Tazawa (ribs). ... Wednesday was the ninth time in franchise history that the Marlins were hitless through seven innings. It was also the first of those nine games that the Marlins won.
Eight-run fifth propels Braves over Giants
Friday, June 23 at 2:14 AM (EDT)
ATLANTA -- Atlanta Braves outfielder Lane Adams had some incentive to show off a little Thursday night.
His mother and a couple of his nieces had driven all the way from their home in Oklahoma to watch him play for the first time.
The inspired rookie hit a long pinch-hit home run, one of the Atlanta Braves' four long balls, and sparked an eight-run fifth inning that carried Atlanta to a 12-11 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday at SunTrust Park.
"They say hitting is contagious and I believe it," Adams said. "When one guy gets going, the rest fall in line. It was a great inning."
The Braves also counted homers from Nick Markakis, Matt Adams and Brandon Phillips. Markakis had four of the team's 16 hits as Atlanta took three of four games in the series and won for the seventh time in the last 10 games.
Lane Adams connected against reliever Bryan Morris for a long three-run shot in the fifth, when the Braves opened the inning with six consecutive hits. It was the first major league homer for Adams, who was signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason.
Atlanta starter Jaime Garcia lasted only 4 1/3 innings before being chased. He allowed six runs on seven hits, two of them homers, and three walks. Rookie Jason Hursh (1-0) got the final two outs of the inning and ended up getting credit for his first career victory.
The Giants made it interesting in the ninth inning against closer Jim Johnson. San Francisco scored twice and had runners on first and second when Hunter Pence grounded out to end the game. Johnson earned his 14th save.
"That was big. Unfortunately, we weren't able to finish it off. We battled pretty hard this whole game. That's baseball," Pence said.
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said, "We had them where we wanted them there in the ninth, we just couldn't finish it off. There's been quite a few of those where we come up just short like we did again tonight."
San Francisco starter Matt Cain (3-7) was knocked out after failing to retire the three batters he faced in the fifth. The right-hander allowed seven runs on 10 hits, three of them homers, in four innings. He has lost six straight decisions. Morris, who followed Cain, got two outs in the fifth but was charged with five runs on five hits and one walk. The bleeding didn't stop until Kyle Crick pitched 2 1/3 innings in his major league debut.
"Our guy (Cain) was having his struggles," Bochy said. "The ball was flying out of here, which we saw, and Matty was a little bit off ... left some pitches up. Morris was up, but he was just missing location. He was off. When you get back-to-back that are off, you're probably going to give up some runs."
San Francisco's Buster Posey was 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs. Joe Panik and Brandon Belt also homered for the Giants.
The Braves jumped on top in the first inning when Markakis hit a two-run homer, his third home run of the season.
The Giants answered in the second and took a 3-2 lead. Posey led off with his 10th homer, which slid just inside the right-field foul pole. Cain drove home the two other runs with a two-out double, his first two RBIs of the season.
San Francisco went ahead 5-2 in the third on doubles from Posey and Austin Slater.
The Braves got a run back in the fourth. Ender Inciarte singled, went to second on an infield grounder and scored when Markakis singled to left.
Atlanta cut the deficit to 5-4 when Matt Adams connected for his 13th homer, but the Giants immediately got the run back in the fifth on Panik's fifth homer of the season.
The Braves sent 13 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth and scored eight runs. Phillips hit his fifth homer, a solo shot, to start the onslaught.
Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said, "You talk about a roller coaster of emotions. It's baseball. It happens. Team's aren't going to lay down. They came back. We came back."
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 26 minutes because of rain. It was the third rain delay in the four-game series. ... Atlanta sent 3B Rio Ruiz to Triple-A Gwinnett and recalled INF Jace Peterson. Ruiz hit .175 with two home runs in 30 games. Peterson was batting .338 in 17 games with the G-Braves. ... San Francisco LHP Madison Bumgarner threw 45 pitches in a two-inning simulated game Wednesday. He will make a three-inning appearance Sunday. ... The Giants finished the road trip 1-7 and have lost nine of their last 10. ... The teams combined for seven home runs, the most for a single game at SunTrust Park. Teams are on pace to hit 190 homers at the new park, a feat that occurred only once at Turner Field.