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  • Mets to promote Tebow
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, June 25, 2017

    The New York Mets will promote former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow from Class A Columbia to Class A Advanced St. Lucie on Sunday.

    • St. Lucie is the Mets' third-highest ranked minor league affiliate.

      The 29-year-old Tebow is batting .222 with three home runs, 23 RBIs, a .311 on-base percentage and a .340 slugging percentage in 63 games for the Columbia Fireflies. He has 69 strikeouts and 23 walks in 212 at-bats.

      Tebow was scheduled to play in his final game Sunday for Columbia, before reporting to St. Lucie on Tuesday.

      "It's not like he's tearing up the league, but at the same time all of the indications are positive in terms of various things we look at -- chase rates and exit velocity," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told reporters Sunday. "The bottom line is the average isn't there, but he's improving.

      "His recent last three weeks are actually trending pretty well. Given all the other circumstances, age and so forth, we thought this was the right time to promote him."

      Tebow signed with the Mets in September and spent time in the Florida Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League.

      Tebow captured the 2007 Heisman Trophy as part of a stellar college football career at the University of Florida, leading the Gators to two national championships.

      The Broncos made him a first-round draft pick in 2010, and he led Denver to an overtime playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in his second season. He spent one season with the New York Jets and played in 35 NFL games. He also spent time in training camps with the New England Patriots (2013) and Philadelphia Eagles (2015).

  • Brewers claim former All-Star C Vogt off waivers
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, June 25, 2017

    The Milwaukee Brewers claimed catcher Stephen Vogt off waivers on Sunday after he was designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics.

    • Vogt was batting .217 with four home runs and 20 RBIs in 54 games with the A's this season when was designated for assignment on Thursday.

      The 32-year-old left-handed hitter made 42 of his 43 starts (36 at catcher, seven at designated hitter) in games started by a right-handed pitcher and batted .229 against righties compared to .077 against lefties.

      Vogt was a two-time American League All-Star with the Athletics (2015-16), hitting .261 with 18 home runs and 71 RBIs in 2015 and .251 with 14 homers and 56 RBIs in 2016.

      Vogt started all five games at catcher for the A's in the 2013 American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers and had a walk-off single to win Game 2 in Oakland. He made his major league debut with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012 and spent all or parts of the last five seasons with Oakland. He is a .251 career hitter with 49 home runs and 198 RBIs in 476 games.

  • Dodgers place OF Gutierrez on DL
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, June 25, 2017

    The Los Angeles Dodgers placed outfielder Franklin Gutierrez on the 10-day disabled list with an episode of ankylosis spondylitis, the team announced Sunday.

    • Gutierrez's gastrointestinal/autoimmune and arthritic condition has affected his hips and lower body that cost him the 2014 season.

      Gutierrez, 34, is batting .232 with one home run and eight RBIs in 35 games in his first season with the Dodgers this season.

      The Dodgers also recalled up infielder/outfielder Mike Freeman from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take the roster spot.

      Freeman, 29, will make his first stint with the Dodgers after being claimed by the team on May 26 from the Seattle Mariners. In 20 games with Oklahoma City, he is hitting .295 with four RBIs and three stolen bases. He also appeared in 16 games with the Mariners this season, going 2-for-30 (.067) and hitting his first career major league home run on April 12 against the Houston Astros. He appeared in three games (two starts) at first base, three games (two starts) at second base and two starts at third base with Seattle.

      In 37 major league games in two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Mariners, Freeman is batting .135 with one home run and two RBIs. He has a .292 career batting average with 132 steals, 19 home runs and 279 RBIs in 757 minor league games.

  • White Sox LHP Rodon close to return
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, June 25, 2017

    Chicago White Sox left-hander Carlos Rodon has rejoined the team and appears ready to make his first start of the season this week after being sidelined due to left biceps bursitis.

    • Manager Rick Renteria said a return date is not set but Rondon likely will start on the current homestand.

      The White Sox open a four-game series against the New York Yankees on Monday followed by a weekend series starting Friday against the Texas Rangers at Guaranteed Rate Field.

      The 24-year-old Rodon made his fourth rehab start Friday and third with Triple-A Charlotte, getting up to 91 pitches while giving up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.

      "He felt good, pain-free, we're very happy with that," Renteria said Saturday. "According to the reports, the slider was working very well. He's on track to come on back."

      Renteria was not concerned about Rodon's runs allowed in his rehab outings, instead looking at pitch count and velocity.

      "I think that a lot of those guys who have been here a while, once you get back here and into the arena it kind of heightens their ability with the adrenaline a little bit," Renteria said. "Hopefully he comes back and he's ready to go. The biggest concern we had was extending him and bringing him back healthy."

      Rodon is 18-16 with a 3.90 ERA in 54 games (51 starts) over two seasons major league seasons. Chicago's starters ranked 23rd in the majors in ERA entering Sunday's game against the Oakland Athletics.

  • MLB roundup: Dodgers' Kershaw wins 11th game
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw threw six shutout innings for his 11th win of 2017 and Joc Pederson homered to extend Los Angeles' streak of games with a home run to 16 as the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 4-0 on Saturday night.

    • Kershaw (11-2) improved to 21-6 all-time in 36 starts with a 3.04 ERA against Colorado, the most wins against any team he's faced. He has a career 1.46 ERA covering 17 starts against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium.

      Los Angeles extended its winning streak to nine straight and has won 15 of its last 16. It was also their 10th straight win at home and improved their major league-leading home record to 31-10.

      The win clinched the series for the Dodgers and will mark the first time this season that Colorado has lost consecutive series. The Rockies have also lost a season-high four straight.

      Rangers 8, Yankees 1

      NEW YORK -- Austin Bibens-Dirkx pitched seven effective innings and Texas scored four times in the ninth inning in its victory over New York.

      Bibens-Dirx (3-0), a little over a month after being the oldest pitcher in Rangers history to make his first major league start, allowed one run and five hits and tied a career high by pitching seven innings. The 32-year-old right-hander, who waited 12 seasons to make his major league debut May 17, struck out three, walked one and threw 93 pitches.

      Bibens-Dirkx made one mistake and it was a 1-1 fastball that Aaron Judge hit 439 feet over the left-center field fence for his major-league-leading 26th homer with one out in the sixth.

      Athletics 10, White Sox 2

      CHICAGO -- Rookies Franklin Barreto, Matt Olson and Jaycob Brugman hit their first career home runs -- marking the first time three teammates have accomplished the feat in a game in more than 100 years -- to lead Oakland to a rout of Chicago.

      The trio are the second set of three teammates to hit their first major league home runs in a game since the Federal League Kansas City Packers' John Potts, Duke Kenworthy and Art Kruger did so April 26, 1914, according to STATS and SABR HR Log.

      Olson hit a two-run shot in the first, Brugman connected for a solo shot in the second and Barreto drove a two-run shot in the third after he was called up from Triple-A Nashville earlier in the day -- all off James Shields (1-1).

      Nationals 18, Reds 3

      WASHINGTON -- Michael A. Taylor matched a career high with four hits, including two homers, Trea Turner went a career-best 5-for-5 with a walk and Daniel Murphy drove in four runs as Washington had 19 hits to pummel struggling Cincinnati.

      The Nationals' Joe Ross (4-3), in his 10th start of the year, gave up one run and six hits in seven innings. He received a major league-record 62 runs of support in his first four starts of the year.

      That trend continued against the last-place Reds, who entered the game with a league-worst ERA for starters at 6.08. That theme also moved forward as Homer Bailey (0-1), in his first start this season, gave up six hits and eight runs in 1 2/3 innings.

      Angels 6, Red Sox 3

      BOSTON -- JC Ramirez tossed six one-run innings in winning his fifth consecutive road start and five Angels batters drove in one run apiece as Los Angeles beat Boston.

      Ramirez (7-5) allowed four hits and no walks while striking out five. Martin Maldonado, Eric Young Jr., Luis Valbuena, Cameron Maybin and Kole Calhoun each had an RBI as the Angels bounced back from a 9-4 loss in Friday's series opener.

      Mitch Moreland slugged a solo home run, his 10th of the season, and Hanley Ramirez had an RBI for the Red Sox, who have lost three of their last five games. Boston's David Price (2-2) allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits in six innings.

      Astros 5, Mariners 2

      SEATTLE -- Lance McCullers Jr. pitched five strong innings and Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer as Houston defeated Seattle.

      McCullers (7-1), who was activated from the 10-day disabled list before the game, opened with four perfect innings. The right-hander, who had been out with lower back discomfort, allowed one run, four hits and struck out eight in five-plus frames.

      Brian McCann added a three-run double for the American League West-leading Astros, who won for the fifth time in six games and snapped the second-place Mariners' season-high winning streak at six.

      Diamondbacks 9, Mariners 2

      PHOENIX -- Jake Lamb homered to start the first of successive three-run innings and light-hitting Chris Herrmann drove in three runs as Arizona won for the 10th time in its last 12 games.

      Robbie Ray (8-3) contributed a double to his own effective pitching while limiting Philadelphia to two runs in 6 1/3 innings -- both on opposing pitcher Ben Lively's two-run homer -- to improve to 6-0 in his last seven starts, all of them Diamondbacks wins.

      Herrmann, a .183 hitter who often catches for Ray, added a run-scoring single following Lamb's 17th homer leading off the three-run sixth, and had a two-run double in the seventh as Arizona broke the game open. Brandon Drury and David Peralta also drove in two runs apiece for the Diamondbacks.

      Cubs 5, Marlins 3

      MIAMI -- Javier Baez drove in three runs and Jon Lester completed his list of at least one win over all National League clubs as Chicago defeated Miami.

      Baez, who led all Cubs hitters with a .302 batting average in May, delivered a tiebreaking, two-run double in the sixth inning. Lester (5-4) has defeated 29 of the 30 teams in the majors. The only exception is the Boston Red Sox, a team with which he used to play and has never faced.

      Lester, facing the Marlins for the fifth time, pitched seven innings and allowed three runs on four hits with one walk as the Cubs took a 2-1 lead in this weekend's series, which concludes Sunday.

      Twins 4, Indians 2

      CLEVELAND -- Brian Dozier's home run leading off the eighth inning broke a tie, and Chris Gimenez added a solo shot in the ninth as Minnesota beat Cleveland.

      Dozier's homer, his 13th, came on a 3-2 pitch from the Indians closer Cody Allen (0-3). Gimenez's homer, his fourth, came off Zach McAllister in the ninth.

      Cleveland starter Corey Kluber was sensational, striking out 13 in seven innings, allowing two unearned runs, three hits and two walks. He has not allowed an earned run in his last 21 innings.

      Braves 4, Brewers 1

      ATLANTA -- Brandon Phillips homered for the third straight game and R.A. Dickey pitched seven strong innings to help Atlanta extend its winning streak to four by beating Milwaukee.

      Phillips was 2-for-4 and scored two runs, but it was his long two-run homer in the third inning that was the decider. The Braves have won seven of its last eight and pulled within two games of .500 for the first time since April 29.

      Dickey (6-5) gave up his only run in the first inning but settled down to complete seven innings, allowing five hits and one walk with six strikeouts. He retired the minimum from the second through fifth innings.

      Pirates 7, Cardinals 3

      ST. LOUIS -- Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison each homered while Gerrit Cole pitched six solid innings as Pittsburgh dumped St. Louis.

      After giving up a homer to the first batter he faced, Cole (6-6) kept the Cardinals off the board for the rest of his outing. He permitted one run and five hits, walking two and fanning five.

      Mercer and Harrison each contributed an RBI to a three-run sixth which saw the Pirates manage one hit. Mercer's infield out scored David Freese to make it 5-1. John Brebbia gave Pittsburgh its last two runs, plunking Adam Frazier and Harrison in succession with the bases loaded.

      Mets 5, Giants 2

      SAN FRANCISCO -- Jay Bruce broke a tie with an RBI single in the eighth inning and Wilmer Flores capped a two-run uprising with a double that scored Asdrubal Cabrera to lift New York over San Francisco.

      Jacob deGrom completed eight innings for a third consecutive start, as the Mets won their second straight at AT&T Park after having opened a 10-game trip with four consecutive losses against the Los Angeles Dodgers. DeGrom (7-3) limited the Giants to four hits in eight innings, walking one and striking out seven.

      The loss was the Giants' 50th of the year, making them the first team to reach the half-century mark this season.

      Royals 3, Blue Jays 2

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Jason Vargas worked seven strong innings and Alcides Escobar had three hits and scored two runs as Kansas City edged Toronto to move above .500 for the first time this year.

      Vargas (11-3), who leads the majors in victories, gave up two runs on eight hits. He walked none and struck out two. Kelvin Herrera picked up his 18th save.

      Troy Tulowitzki homered off former Long Beach State teammate Vargas to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead in the second. It was his third home run of the season and gave him seven RBIs in 24 games since coming off the disabled list.

      Orioles 8, Rays 3

      ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Baltimore finally held a team to fewer than five runs and victimized Tampa Bay's bullpen in the victory.

      The Rays had bounced back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game, but the Orioles rallied with two outs in the seventh for four runs to break it open. Baltimore had allowed at least five runs in 20 straight games, matching the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.

      Tampa Bay reliever Jumbo Diaz was a strike away from getting out of what had been a two-on, no-out jam, but that strike didn't come. Instead, Mark Trumbo hit a two-run double and the next pitch was a two-run homer by Trey Mancini to make it 7-3.

      Padres 7, Tigers 3

      SAN DIEGO -- Hector Sanchez hit a two-run, go-ahead, pinch-hit homer off Shane Greene to trigger a five-run eighth inning and lead San Diego past Detroit.

      The Padres were trailing 3-2 when pinch-hitter Erick Aybar drew a walk to open the eighth. Sanchez drove an 0-1 pitch 403 feet into the right-field stands. San Diego's second straight victory over the Tigers was San Diego's third straight win.

      Andrew Romine finished 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored while Justin Upton was 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored for Detroit, which has lost eight straight -- the Tigers longest losing streak since 2015.

  • MLB notebook: Jays' Osuna battles anxiety problem
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna said Saturday that he is dealing with an anxiety issue, feeling "a little bit lost right now."

    • Osuna told reporters he is unsure when he will be available to pitch again as he tries to work through his issues. He did not pitch in a save situation for the Blue Jays on Friday night against the Kansas City Royals.

      "This has nothing to do with me being on the field," he said. "I feel great out there. It's just when I'm out of baseball, when I'm not on the field, that I feel just weird and a little bit lost."

      The 22-year-old has 19 saves and a 2.48 ERA in 31 appearances this season.

      --The Texas Rangers placed left-hander Martin Perez on the 10-day disabled list with a fracture and laceration at the tip of his right thumb.

      Perez sustained the injury when he caught his thumb in the hinge section of a hotel room door on Thursday night in New York. He tore the nail off his thumb and a team trainer took him to a hospital, where the nail was reattached and X-rays showed a small fracture. The DL move is retroactive to Friday.

      Perez, 26, is 4-6 with a 4.70 ERA in 15 starts with the Rangers this season. The Rangers recalled infielder/outfielder Drew Robinson from Triple-A Round Rock to take the roster spot. He was in uniform for Saturday's game against the New York Yankees.

      --The Oakland Athletics placed infielder Chad Pinder on the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain after he was removed from Friday night's game against the Chicago White Sox in the sixth inning because of the injury.

      Pinder, 25, has started 39 games for the A's this season at five different positions. He hit safely in six of his last eight games, going 9-for-31 (.290). For the season, Pinder is hitting .234 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs in 47 games.

      The A's also recalled infielder Franklin Barreto from Triple-A Nashville to take the roster spot. His first appearance with Oakland will mark his major league debut.

  • Blue Jays closer Osuna dealing with anxiety
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna said Saturday he is dealing with an anxiety issue, feeling "a little bit lost right now."

    • Osuna told reporters he is unsure when he will be available to pitch again as he tries to work through his issues. He did not pitch in a save situation for the Blue Jays on Friday night against the Kansas City Royals.

      "I really don't know how to explain it. I just feel anxious. I feel like I'm lost a little bit right now," the hard-throwing right-hander, who is from Mexico, said through a translator. "I'm just a little bit lost right now.

      "This has nothing to do with me being on the field. I feel great out there. It's just when I'm out of baseball, when I'm not on the field, that I feel just weird and a little bit lost."

      The 22-year-old Osuna has 19 saves and a 2.48 ERA in 31 appearances over 29 innings this season.

      Osuna's absence was noticeable Friday night as the Royals rallied to score four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 5-4 victory. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons would only say after the game that Osuna was unavailable because he wasn't feeling well enough to pitch.

      Osuna made it clear Saturday that his problem was not physical.

      "I wish I knew how to get out of this, but we're working on it, trying to find ways to see what can make me feel better," Osuna said. "But, to be honest, I just don't know."

  • Rangers place LHP Perez (thumb) on 10-day DL
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    The Texas Rangers placed left-hander Martin Perez on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with a fracture and laceration at the tip of his right thumb.

    • Perez sustained the injury when he caught his thumb in the hinge section of a hotel room door on Thursday night in New York. He tore the nail off his thumb and a team trainer took him to a hospital where the nail was reattached and X-rays showed a small fracture. The DL move is retroactive to Friday.

      Perez, 26, is 4-6 with a 4.70 ERA in 15 starts with the Rangers this season. He becomes the fourth Rangers' starter currently on the disabled list, joining Andrew Cashner, A.J. Griffin and Cole Hamels.

      The Rangers also recalled infielder/outfielder Drew Robinson from Triple-A Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League to take the roster spot. He was in uniform for Saturday's game against the New York Yankees.

      Robinson is hitting .273 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs in 58 games with Round Rock this season. He has started at second base, at third base and in the outfield.

      This will be Robinson's third stint of the season with Texas. He opened the season with the club and went 0-for-2 in his major league debut on April 5 in his only action before being optioned to Round Rock on April 12. He was recalled on May 28 but returned to Triple-A the following day.

  • Athletics place INF Pinder (hamstring) on 10-day DL
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    The Oakland Athletics placed infielder Chad Pinder on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with a left hamstring strain.

    • Pinder was removed from Friday night's game against the Chicago White Sox in the sixth inning because of the injury.

      Pinder, 25, has started 39 games for the A's this season at five different positions (17 at shortstop, nine at second base, seven at designated hitter, five in right field and one in left field). He hit safely in six of his last eight games, going 9-for-31 (.290) with three doubles, a home run, and seven RBIs during that stretch.

      For the season, Pinder is hitting .234 with nine home runs and 25 RBIs in 47 games.

      The A's also recalled infielder Franklin Barreto from Triple-A Nashville to take the roster spot. His first appearance with Oakland will mark his major league debut.

      Barreto, 21, is the Athletics' top prospect according to Baseball America. He is batting .281 with eight home runs and 32 RBIs in 68 games with Nashville, and has seven multi-hit games over his last 12 contests (17-for-48, .354). Barreto has seen the majority of his playing time at shortstop in Triple-A.

  • With look of contender, Royals may go for broke
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    The Kansas City Royals did it again on Friday night. They staged another heart-pounding comeback, this one a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals couldn't get it going for a long time but, with two on and two out in the ninth, they finally put it together and rallied from a 4-1 deficit.

    • The last three Kansas City at-bats produced run-scoring hits. Alcides Escobar singled to bring in one. Alex Gordon singled to bring in another. And Whit Merrifield gave them the win with a walk-off two-run double. Down by two runs in the eighth in Boston on Wednesday, Sal Perez lifted the Royals to a 6-4 win with a grand slam.

      With this triumph, the Royals climbed back to .500 at 36-36 and became something fascinating to watch for the next five weeks. At the start of the month, Kansas City was dead last in the AL Central and plans were being laid for a serious sell-off. It is a major league-best 14-6 in the month of June now.

      At three games back of Cleveland in the division and two games off the pace for the second AL wild card, the Royals can't be thinking of themselves as sellers right now.

      You win when you can and the Royals have a group of players that have demonstrated it can win. The foundation of position players for the 2014 American League champions and 2015 World Series champions is still intact: Perez at catcher, Eric Hosmer at first base, Escobar at shortstop, Mike Moustakas at third base, Lorenzo Cain in center field and Alex Gordon in left field.

      That doesn't mean some tough calls don't remain for general manager Dayton Moore.

      Things looked so simple a month ago when the club was nine games under .500 and 7 1/2 games back in the division. Escobar, Gordon and designated hitter Brandon Moss were hitting under .200 and none of the regulars aside from Perez had an OPS over .800.

      Hosmer, Cain, Escobar, Moustakas and suddenly phenomenal starter Jason Vargas will all be free agents at the end of the season. Dealing them away to contenders was an open door to a fast rebuild as each would be worthy of bringing back at least one player of substance in trade.

      Now nothing is simple. The Royals could still stick to a rebuild plan, make trades and lay groundwork for the future of the club. Or they could try to ride a group of proven winners and deal away the remaining prospects in the organization to bolster them in their quest for another World Series title. They don't have the budget to retain all of those free agents to-be, so Kansas City would be a greatly diminished team.

      How the Royals play in the weeks leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline is now must-watch. For so many teams, the decisions will be clear. Heck, the Oakland A's this week punted on the 2017 season and ushered up the best of their prospects. But what if the Royals play well during the rest of June and July?

      Vargas, back from Tommy John surgery, is a surprise 10-game winner. Moustakas has 19 home runs and is on pace for the club record of 36 by Steve Balboni. Cain has hit .320 with a 1.000 OPS in the past month. The lineup is averaging 5.5 runs per game in June.

      The feeling here is they'd have to take a go-for-it stance.

      When Kansas City reached the 2014 World Series, it was making its first postseason appearance since winning it all in 1985. A passionate fan base, long suffering, became inspired. And that team was so close to beating the San Francisco Giants for the crown. When the Royals won it the next year, an entire community celebrated.

      Royals fans are sharp enough to know exactly where the franchise is and -- if you put it to a vote -- they'd surely take a couple more years of suffering for another World Series win.

      "We're playing like we know we can and we're moving in the right direction," Merrifield, the second baseman, said on Wednesday, "and hopefully we can keep that up and keep making progress."

  • Mets aim for second second straight win over Giants
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-handers Jacob deGrom and Johnny Cueto go head-to-head for the first time since the 2015 World Series when the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants continue their three-game series Saturday night.

    • The Mets won the series opener 11-4 on Friday behind a season best-tying 20 hits, snapping a four-game losing streak.

      "We have our work cut out for us," Mets manager Terry Collins said of the club's big picture, which showed his team a season-worst 10 games under .500 at the start of play Friday. "They know what they have to do. Our backs are to the wall. This was the first step."

      Pitching then for the Kansas City Royals, Cueto got the better of deGrom in Game 2 of the 2015 World Series, throwing a complete-game two-hitter in a 7-1 victory.

      The Royals went on to win the best-of-seven series 4-1.

      Signed as a high-priced free agent by the Giants last season, Cueto has not retained his championship form in 2017. He's won just once in his last nine starts, allowing a 4.13 ERA over that stretch.

      Cueto will take the mound with a 5-7 record, the first time he's had a losing slate this late in the season since he was a rookie in 2008.

      He was 11-1 for the Giants on this date last season.

      Cueto has faced the Mets once since the World Series duel and was nearly as effective in an 8-1 Giants home win last August. He allowed one run on eight hits over seven innings in that game, outdueling Seth Lugo.

      He has a 4-4 record and 3.75 ERA in 12 career starts against the Mets.

      Cueto might have the recent history, but the Mets will employ the hot pitcher Saturday in deGrom. He has been dominant in each of his last two starts, beating the Chicago Cubs 6-1 with a complete-game five-hitter, then silencing the Washington Nationals over eight innings, allowing just an unearned run in a 5-1 win.

      In earning National League Player of the Week honors, deGrom (6-3, 3.94 ERA) became the first Mets pitcher since Bartolo Colon in 2015 to throw eight or more innings in back-to-back starts. He'd never done it previously in his career.

      An All-Star in 2015, deGrom was roughed up for six hits and four runs in the World Series loss to Cueto and the Royals.

      The Mets complained about umpire Mark Carlson's strike zone that night, and Saturday they'll have another potential issue with the guy behind the plate. Cueto has never lost with Marvin Hudson calling the balls and strikes, going 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in five starts.

      Striking out 38 batters in 32 1/3 innings along the way, deGrom has a 3-1 record and 3.62 ERA in five career starts against the Giants.

      On a night that began with second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera claiming he planned to request a trade from the Mets, it was the Giants who walked off the field Friday in a bit of disarray.

      "We scored four runs," Giants manager Bruce Bochy demanded when asked if Thursday's rain-delayed late start at Atlanta and cross-country flight could be used as an excuse for Friday's lackluster effort. "Those guys (the Mets) had to play at night (in Los Angeles), too."

  • Royals aim to go above .500; Blue Jays trying to get there
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals will try to climb above .500 for the first time this season when they take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

    • The Royals (36-36) are 10-2 in the past dozen games to reach .500 for the first time since April.

      "We had a good road trip to California and we're just trying to keep that momentum going at home," said rookie right-hander Jake Junis, who got a no-decision Friday, giving up two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

      The Royals won seven of their final eight games on their West Coast trip. They are 4-1 on this homestand.

      "We've said all year we have a team that is definitely capable of making a run," Royals designated hitter Brandon Moss said. "Early on, we had some unbelievable pitching, but we didn't have any offense going. Now the rest of the lineup is starting to at least contribute.

      "Once you make that lineup deeper, we're able to score some more runs and keep us in the ballgame. Less pressure on the pitching staff, too."

      The Royals' rally prevented the Blue Jays from moving within a game of .500. Nine times this season Toronto has been within a game of .500 but lost all nine.

      Josh Donaldson returned to third base after being scratched Thursday with a sore knee. Outfielder Steve Pearce, however, sat out his second successive game with a bruised knee.

      Manager John Gibbons is tinkering with a new batting order, moving Jose Bautista, who had three hits Friday, to the leadoff spot. But the knee injuries to Donaldson and Pearce have prevented him from getting his regular lineup on the field at the same time.

      "I think it'll be good, but until we get them all in there ... and hopefully it won't be long until we get them all in there," Gibbons said.

      Gibbons said he does not recall a season with so many injuries.

      "Yeah, there's been a lot, but there's no crying in baseball," Gibbons said.

      The Royals will start left-hander Jason Vargas in the middle game of the series. Vargas is tied for the major league lead with 10 victories. He is 10-3 with a 2.27 ERA in 14 starts and 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA in his past five starts. His 1.81 ERA at home tops the American League.

      Vargas is 2-3 with a 5.32 ERA in eight career starts against the Blue Jays. He last faced them on May 30, 2014, in a 6-1 win at the Rogers Centre.

      The Blue Jays will counter with right-hander Marco Estrada, who like Vargas went to Long Beach State. Estrada is 4-5 with a 4.98 ERA in 15 starts. He is averaging 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings and has an 8-11 career record with a 6.13 ERA in June.

      This will be his third career start against Kansas City and the first since July 10, 2015, at Kauffman Stadium. He lost that one 3-0, giving up two runs and hits in 6 2/3 innings.

      Estrada is 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA in his first two starts against the Royals, holding them to a .245 batting average and .306 slugging percentage.

      Eric Hosmer is 4-for-5 against Estrada and Alcides Escobar is 0-for-7. No Royal has more than seven at-bats against Estrada.

  • Yankees look for start a win streak against Rangers
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    NEW YORK -- Winning one game is proving hard enough for the New York Yankees recently.

    • Now they'll get a second opportunity to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a week Saturday afternoon when they continue a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

      New York last won consecutive games when it put together six straight wins from June 7-12. The Yankees then lost seven in a row for the first time since April 20-27, 2007.

      The streak ended with an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, but the follow-up was ugly when the Yankees allowed made three errors and were handed a sloppy 10-5 loss after taking a 5-1 loss.

      It is the recent performance leading many to wonder about the hot start and if this is the Yankees coming back down to earth after surprising many.

      "That's always a question that we talk about. I think that whenever you struggle for a while, I think people are gonna have a little self-doubt. But I think that’s normal," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Friday afternoon. "I think if you're oblivious to your struggles, then they can't get better. So they're all working on correcting them, which I think is a great thing, and we'll get them ironed out."

      New York is 2-8 in its last 10 games after opening the series with a 2-1 win in 10 innings on Friday. Masahiro Tanaka pitched eight scoreless innings, Brett Gardner homered and Ronald Torreyes delivered the game-winning hit.

      "You really need this one" Girardi said after Torreyes won the game at 12:19 a.m. "When you get a performance like that. When you get a performance from Tanaka like that, you need to win that game."

      Torreyes will likely be in the lineup again Saturday since Chase Headley will likely miss his third straight game with a back injury. He will also being throwing across the field to a new first baseman as Tyler Austin will join the Yankees to replace Chris Carter, who was designated for assignment after Friday's game.

      When Texas visited the Yankees last season, it had the best record in baseball, but this season the Rangers have hovered around .500 and are a game below after Elvis Andrus scored the only run on a passed ball in the ninth.

      The Rangers are 9-5 in their last 14 games but will look to rebound after being held to four hits, striking out 12 times and going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

      Elvis Andrus and Jonathan Lucroy had two hits apiece, but Carlos Gomez and Joey Gallo struck out three times apiece.

      If the Rangers had a lead into the late innings, they'll hope their bullpen can hold it this time.

      Matt Bush blew his fourth save chance and Texas blew its 14th save opportunity. The Rangers' 11 saves are tied with the Chicago White Sox for the fewest in the American League.

      "It's very difficult," Bush said. "I feel the weight of these losses. It's very tough mentally. I'm going to grind. I'm in a battle."

      The latest blown save occurred after the Texas bullpen went 13 scoreless innings since Bush allowed two runs to Toronto on Monday.

      Right-hander Luis Cessa makes his second start for the Yankees in place of CC Sabathia (hamstring). Cessa allowed four runs in four innings during a 4-3 loss at Oakland on Sunday.

      Cessa is 2-5 with a 4.37 ERA in 10 career starts.

      Last season, Cessa faced the Rangers as a reliever and was the winning pitcher in a 9-7 win on June 29 that was decided on a homer by Didi Gregorius.

      Austin Bibens-Dirkx makes his fifth start for the Rangers on Saturday and first appearance against the Yankees. He is 1-0 with a 4.86 ERA as a starting pitcher.

      Biibens-Dirkx took the no decision in a 7-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday when he allowed five runs and five hits in five innings.

  • Rockies rely on Chatwood against Kershaw, Dodgers
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    LOS ANGELES -- A major league general manager could put together a decent pitching staff of players cast off or lost by the Los Angeles Angels.

    • There's Ervin Santana and Hector Santiago with the Minnesota Twins, John Lackey with the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City's Jason Vargas, Zack Greinke in Arizona, and veteran closers Francisco Rodriguez and Fernando Rodney. Among the lesser known is the Colorado Rockies' Tyler Chatwood, who throws against the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw in the middle game of their series Saturday.

      Chatwood has become a dependable part of the Rockies' rotation, and the lone veteran with Jon Gray on the DL. He is 6-7 with a 4.08 this season and has been dominant on the road. He once seemed part of the Angels' future. He was a second-round pick in 2008 out of East Redlands Valley High School. He quickly impressed, going 13-9 in the minors in his third season, 2010. When a hole opened in the Angels' rotation, he found himself in the majors in 2011.

      There were moments when he looked ready, most of them early in the season. He had eight quality starts in his first 15 outings through the end of June and was 5-4. But his lack of a foundation of innings caught up with him. He began to show the stress, his season blew up and no one on the Angels tried a rescue.

      The Angels kept running him out to the mound, and his outings got shorter. Starting in July, the Angels lost 11 of the 12 games he started. He lasted three innings or less in his last five starts. The front office soured on him abruptly, trading him to Colorado.

      He was 8-5 in 2013 for the Rockies, then had Tommy John surgery and missed almost all of two seasons. He returned in 2016, going 12-9 with a 3.87 last season, and now the Rockies are contending the NL West title.

      Chatwood is a workhorse and team leader. "He sets the bar for us," Rockies catcher Tony Wolters said after a recent win against the Cubs. "Guys look up to him. He knows how to pitch. His pitches are plus-plus. Now it's about getting his whole arsenal in control."

      "You hear a lot of different philosophies about saving your stuff for the second time through the lineup," Chatwood said. "But I think if you put other pitches in guys' heads, it's in there from the get-go. If they know you have four pitches and are willing to use all of them, it gets the game going."

      Chatwood has made 12 starts against the Dodgers in his career, going 4-7 with a 3.95 ERA. His best outing was in 2016, when he pitched an eight-inning one-hitter. He faced the Dodgers in April and allowed six hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings.

      He'll be facing the eminent starter in the NL in Kershaw (10-2, 2.61), and the Dodgers are 13-2 in his starts. He's pitched in 35 games against the Rockies, with a 20-6 record, 3.13 ERA and .222 opponents average. He's faced them three times this season, going 2-1 with a 3.60.

      Kershaw has thrown in a couple of duds recently. He gave up 11 hits and four runs (three homers) against the Cubs, and last week allowed six hits, four of them home runs, and six runs to the Mets. It was the most he's allowed in his career. He's allowed 17 home runs in 2017, but 10 of them came in three games.

  • Diamondbacks' Ray hopes for better outing against Phillies
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    PHOENIX -- Zack Greinke owns the biggest name on the Arizona Diamondbacks' pitching staff. So far this season, Robbie Ray owns the best numbers.

    • Ray, who recently went through a five-game stretch allowing only one earned run, starts Saturday night against the Philadelphia Phillies at Chase Field, and no doubt the left-hander wants to be more effective than he was in his lone less-than-dominating start during the last month.

      That came Sunday in Philadelphia, where Ray surrendered eight hits, four runs and four walks in 5 1/3 innings -- even though the Diamondbacks came back to win 5-4 in 10 innings.

      It was a rare off day for Ray, who is 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA (five earned runs in 42 1/3 innings) and 55 strikeouts in his last six starts -- all of them Diamondbacks victories.

      "It wasn't my best outing," Ray said after receiving the no-decision on Sunday. "I was just trying to keep the team in it after the first few innings ... go as deep as I can and try to win the game."

      Arizona subsequently did that, prompting Ray to say, "That was huge."

      Ray has been coming up big himself this season. He and Greinke (8-4), who pitches Monday against Philadelphia, are teaming to give manager Torey Lovullo two aces on a team that's enjoying a surprisingly good season after losing 93 games last year, despite a 6-1 loss to Philadelphia on Friday night.

      Ray had a scoreless streak of 27 2/3 innings from May 14 to June 6, and he's 7-3 with 114 strikeouts and a 2.87 ERA in 14 starts overall.

      Against the Phillies, Ray is 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA in three career starts. He'll oppose right-hander Ben Lively (1-1, 3.33 ERA), who gave up eight hits and three runs in six innings in that Sunday game. He was in line to get the win until the bullpen gave away a late-inning lead in the ninth and the game itself in the 10th, when Rey Fuentes won it for Arizona with his first career home run.

      Overall, Lively is 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA in four major league starts, striking out 11 and walking eight in 27 innings.

      The Diamondbacks came into the series against the major league-worst Phillies -- losers of 13 of their last 16 -- as one of the majors' hottest teams, winning seven of eight on a road trip and nine in 10 games overall.

      But even though the Cardinals and the Rockies are coming on the Diamondbacks' current homestand, Lovullo didn't want his team looking ahead -- or looking back to taking two of three in Colorado, where Arizona scored 26 runs in the final two games.

      For good reason, too, as the Diamondbacks generated little offensively Friday against rookie right-hander Mark Leiter Jr., who shut them out on three hits in six innings.

      "These guys have been so resilient, strong and ready for every moment every single day. But I just wanted to make sure after an emotional series in Colorado, after a tremendous road trip that we don't have any type of letdown," Lovullo said. "I know the Philadelphia Phillies, despite their record, are a quality team that's played a lot of tough games of late. They've had a chance to win a lot of games. But know they're very capable and a dangerous team and we're not going to take them lightly."

      Lovullo said it's no secret why Arizona's offense is catching up to a pitching staff that has carried the team for much of the season -- or at least it was before the Friday night setback.

      "(Timely hitting) is something that's been coming, it's been on the rise, it was one area of concern (previously)," Lovullo said. "The numbers are bearing that ... Defensively, we've been a team that's improving day by day, making the routine plays and even the above-average plays. That, in combination with good pitching, has been very timely for us."

      The Phillies sat down outfielder-second baseman Howie Kendrick with left hamstring tightness after initially having him in the starting lineup, but he came on to contribute a pinch-hit double to a four-run ninth inning. Kendrick, who is hitting .355, was out for more than a month with an oblique injury earlier this season.

      "He's fine, he said he thinks he'll be ready (Saturday)," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "I contemplated whether to let him pitch, but I decided to use my best hitter there."

      Just like the Diamondbacks will start the man currently is their best pitcher on Saturday.

  • Rays rookie Faria goes for fourth straight win
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays had spent every day of the 2017 season within three games of .500, good or bad, until Friday's emphatic 15-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

    • So the idea of seizing momentum and sustaining it for an extended win streak is still something foreign, even for a team in line for a wild-card berth in the current American League standings.

      "The guys have come together really well and found ways to win series," manager Kevin Cash said. "Some series we've won by slugging, some series we've won by getting really good starting pitching. ... As we've said for a while, we feel we are a good team."

      The Rays (40-36) hope to show that Saturday at Tropicana Field against the Orioles, counting on another unlikely star in rookie Jacob Faria, who has been dominant in his first three starts, going 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA.

      With that, Faria joins Jeremy Hellickson as the only pitchers in Rays history to win their first three starts, and the only pitchers to go at least six innings in each of their first three starts. There's more. Since 1913, he is just the fifth pitcher to go at least six innings, allow one run or less and get the win in his first three starts, and the first since the Cardinals' Andy Rincon in 1980.

      Faria has struck out 22 batters while walking only four -- that makes him the first pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 to win his first three starts while striking out at least 20 and walking fewer than five batters.

      The Orioles, at the other end of the spectrum of momentum, found a more dubious piece of history, becoming the first time since the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies to allow at least five runs in 20 straight games.

      Starter Ubaldo Jimenez couldn't make it out of the third inning, making the Orioles use relievers Alec Asher (49 pitches) and Miguel Castro (50) so long that they'll need to make a roster move before Saturday's game.

      "We have to pitch better. It is what it is," manager Buck Showalter said. "The help's going to come from within. We've got to get back in step. We have to create some rhythm for the offense and the defense. I don't like to hang it around one phase of it, but it starts to string some good starts together."

      Asked if he'd need a fresh arm called up for Saturday's game, Showalter said, "At least one, for sure." He'll turn to RHP Dylan Bundy, who has a solid 7-6 record and 3.72 ERA, but he gave up six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in his last outing.

      Bundy is 0-1 with 6.06 ERA in four games -- three starts -- versus the Rays. He got a no-decision against them on April 26 when he allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 5-4 Baltimore win.

      The Rays will get another boost to their surging offense as catcher Wilson Ramos will be reinstated from the disabled list to make his season debut after missing the entire season recovering from a torn ACL suffered last year. Ramos would add another power bat to their lineup, with Derek Norris being designated for assignment to make room for him.

  • MLB roundup: Rays beat up on Orioles
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays moved four games above .500 for the first time in nearly two years, surging past the Baltimore Orioles with a 15-5 win on Friday night at Tropicana Field.

    • The Rays jumped out to a 9-2 lead in the first three innings and reset their season high for scoring, getting home runs from Derek Norris, Shane Peterson and Logan Morrison. The slumping Orioles matched a dubious major league record by allowing at least five runs in 20 straight games -- the first team to do so since the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.

      Tampa Bay roughed up starter Ubaldo Jimenez (2-3), who didn't survive the third inning. Rays starter Chris Archer (6-4) threw six innings, not needing his best stuff to win his second straight start.

      The Rays got four RBIs each from Evan Longoria and Peterson, who was called up before the game and had a two-run homer.

      Marlins 2, Cubs 0

      MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton homered, Jose Urena pitched six scoreless innings and Miami defeated Chicago at Marlins Park.

      One night after Chicago routed Miami 11-1, Urena (6-2) held the Cubs to five hits and three walks. Relievers Kyle Barraclough, David Phelps and A.J. Ramos completed the shutout. Ramos posted his 11th save of the season.

      Stanton's solo homer in the third inning gave Miami a 1-0 lead. It was his 19th long ball of the season, and he also doubled and was hit by a pitch in a 2-for-3 night. The Cubs got a good pitching performance by John Lackey (5-8), who allowed three hits, two walks and two runs (one earned) in six innings.

      Red Sox 9, Angels 4

      BOSTON -- Boston retired David Ortiz's No. 34 in a pregame ceremony and then went out and built a six-run lead en route to a victory over Los Angeles.

      Sandy Leon drove in four runs with a two-run homer and two-run double, and Hanley Ramirez also hit a two-run homer for Boston. Rick Porcello (4-9) avoided becoming the major league's first 10-game loser as the Red Sox opened a seven-game homestand.

      The Red Sox entered the game a percentage point behind the New York Yankees in the American League East. They had three runs and one hit off Alex Meyer (3-4) in the first inning, Meyer wild-pitched home two of the runs after Xander Bogaerts' RBI double.

      Twins 5, Indians 0

      CLEVELAND -- Jorge Polanco homered and Brian Dozier had three hits and two RBIs as Minnesota shut out Cleveland at Progressive Field.

      Twins starter Adalberto Mejia (2-3) threw 104 pitches in five scoreless innings, allowing two hits with four strikeouts and five walks. Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer (6-6) pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up five runs (four earned) and eight hits with four strikeouts and one walk.

      Mejia and relievers Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers and Trevor Hildenberger combined on a four-hitter.

      Nationals 6, Reds 5

      WASHINGTON -- - Bryce Harper had an RBI single to right field with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning against Raisel Iglesias as Washington came back to beat Cincinnati.

      The liner scored Trea Turner, who singled with two outs and went to third on a single by Brian Goodwin. The winning pitcher was Matt Albers (3-1), who worked a scoreless top of the 10th. Iglesias (2-2) was stuck with the loss as Harper had the winning hit on a full-count pitch.

      Goodwin, who had three hits, belted his second solo homer of the game to lead off the seventh to tie it at 5 against reliever Wandy Peralta. Daniel Murphy lined a solo homer, the 100th home run of his career, into the Nationals' bullpen in right to lead off the sixth against reliever Michael Lorenzen to cut the lead to 5-3.

      Pirates 4, Cardinals 3

      ST. LOUIS -- John Jaso clouted a tiebreaking homer as Pittsburgh rallied for a win over St. Louis.

      It was the fifth homer for Jaso, who pounced on a changeup over the middle of the plate from Seung Hwan Oh (1-4) and drilled it 406 feet into the seats in right-center field.

      Felipe Rivero (3-1) picked up the win, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He bailed the Pirates out of eighth-inning trouble, getting a lineout from Aledmys Diaz and a flyout from Paul DeJong to strand runners at the corners. Rivero then pitched around a leadoff walk to Eric Fryer in the ninth.

      Athletics 3, White Sox 0

      CHICAGO -- Khris Davis hit his 19th home run of the season and Jharel Cotton pitched five shutout innings as Oakland ended its four-game losing streak.

      Cotton (5-7) won his first night game of 2017, going five innings while allowing no runs and scattering three hits. He left the game after allowing a single to start the sixth because of a blister on his right thumb.

      Matt Joyce also hit a home run for the A's, who remained undefeated against Chicago starter Mike Pelfrey (3-6). Pelfrey dropped to 0-5 career against Oakland. He threw 106 pitches in 4 2/3 innings.

      Braves 5, Brewers 4

      ATLANTA -- Brandon Phillips had a home run and a double and Atlanta survived a bullpen meltdown to hang on for a win over Milwaukee.

      Phillips was 2-for-5, scored twice and drove in two runs to pace the Atlanta attack. The second baseman showed no signs of the groin issue that caused him to leave Thursday night's game early.

      Atlanta appeared to be in control with a 5-1 lead after six innings when the Brewers' bats took advantage of some shaky relief work. Milwaukee scored a run in the seventh on Domingo Santana's RBI single and twice in the eighth on a sharp two-run double by Orlando Arcia.

      Yankees 2, Rangers 1 (10)

      NEW YORK -- Ronald Torreyes singled with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, lifting New York over Texas in a game that marked the first major league meeting between Japanese starters Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish.

      The Yankees began their winning rally when Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius singled, putting runners at the corners for Chris Carter.

      After Carter struck out, Torreyes lined a 98 mph fastball from Matt Bush (3-2) up the middle to give the Yankees only their second win in 10 games. Brett Gardner tied it by hitting a 2-1 fastball from Bush into the right-field seats in the bottom of the ninth.

      Royals 5, Blue Jays 4

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Whit Merrifield delivered his first career walk-off hit with a two-run double as Kansas City rallied from a four-run deficit to top Toronto.

      All four runs in the ninth inning were scored with two outs. Alcides Escobar singled home Salvador Perez with the first run of the inning and Alex Gordon singled home Brandon Moss, who had walked, with the second run.

      Merrifield greeted Jason Grilli with a double to left to score Escobar and Gordon. The victory moved the Royals to .500 for the first time since April 16. Joakim Soria (4-2) got the victory and Aaron Loup (2-1) took the loss.

      Dodgers 6, Rockies 1

      LOS ANGELES -- Justin Turner had three hits to improve his batting average to .392 and Alex Wood moved to 8-0 on the season as Los Angeles won its eighth straight game.

      Yasiel Puig crushed a solo home run in the fourth inning to extend the Dodgers' streak of consecutive games with a home run to 15. Corey Seager had two hits, scored a run and had an RBI but left the game after two innings after tweaking his right hamstring.

      The win moved Los Angeles' lead in the National League West to a season-high 2 1/2 games over Colorado, which has lost three straight, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers have won 14 of their last 15 and the eight-game win streak is their longest since 2013. They've also won nine straight at home.

      Mariners 13, Astros 3

      SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez pitched six strong innings in his first start since April 25 and Seattle hit three home runs to defeat Houston at Safeco Field.

      Hernandez (3-2), who had been on the disabled list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, allowed eight hits and three runs. He walked one and struck out six.

      Mike Zunino hit a three-run homer for Seattle, which won its season-high sixth straight game. Ben Gamel and Kyle Seager added solo shots. Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman hit solo home runs for Houston, which had its four-game winning streak snapped.

      Phillies 6, Diamondbacks 1

      PHOENIX -- Mark Leiter Jr. effectively mixed his pitches over six shutout innings in his starting debut, and Maikel Franco and Tommy Joseph homered in the late innings to help last-place Philadelphia cool off Arizona.

      The Diamondbacks, coming off a 7-1 road trip, had won nine of 10 overall and 11 of 12 at Chase Field only to generate almost no offense against Leiter (1-0), whose first 12 career appearances came in relief.

      The Phillies, winning successive games for the first time since June 5-6, didn't generate much offense themselves until the final two innings, but they turned Freddy Galvis' one-out triple in the first off starter Patrick Corbin into a run, then added a key insurance run when Franco hit his ninth homer in the eighth.

      Padres 1, Tigers 0

      SAN DIEGO -- Luis Perdomo and three relievers shut out Detroit on three hits, and Austin Hedges doubled home the game's lone run in his return to the lineup as San Diego won the opener of a three-game interleague series.

      Perdomo (2-4) allowed two hits and five walks with six strikeouts in six innings. Friday marked the first time in 13 starts this season that Perdomo wasn't scored upon. His ERA fell from 4.97 to 4.56.

      He was followed by relievers Ryan Buchter, Brad Hand and closer Brandon Maurer, who picked up his 14th save. Detroit wasted a solid start from Michael Fulmer (6-6), who allowed one run, two hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

      Mets 11, Giants 4

      SAN FRANCISCO -- Yoenis Cespedes highlighted a six-run second inning with a two-run homer, helping New York end a four-game losing streak.

      Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilmer Flores, Michael Conforto and Lucas Duda had three hits each for the Mets, whose 20 hits equaled their season high, set twice previously. Cabrera's big game, which included two runs scored, came shortly after he made his intentions known to reporters that he planned to request a trade from the Mets.

      Duda also homered for the Mets, who were coming off a four-game sweep against the Los Angeles Dodgers and began the night a season-worst 10 games below .500.

  • Ortiz earns 'super honor' with Red Sox retiring his No. 34
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    BOSTON -- David Ortiz had seemingly won and done it all throughout his storied 20-year career.

    • Three World Series championships and a World Series MVP Award. Seven American League Silver Slugger and two Hank Aaron awards. Ten All-Star Game appearances.

      Oh, and an unforgettable ALCS MVP performance in 2004 against the New York Yankees to help lead the Boston Red Sox to their first World Series title in 86 years.

      But the honor bestowed upon the man they call Big Papi on Friday night at Fenway Park cemented his legacy forever in the city of Boston.

      "That happening to me today, it's a super honor to be out there hanging with those guys," Ortiz said after the Red Sox retired his iconic No. 34 in a pregame ceremony.

      Ortiz is the 11th player to have his number retired by the Red Sox and the first since the team retired Wade Boggs' No. 26 last May.

      "Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in it," Ortiz said. "It takes a special people to do a special thing and ... be able to have their number retired up there."

      Pedro Martinez, who had his No. 45 retired by the team in 2015 and lobbied the Red Sox to sign Ortiz as a free agent, was among Ortiz's former teammates present at the ceremony and addressed the crowd.

      Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who teamed with Ortiz on the 2007 and 2013 World Series teams, also spoke.

      Ortiz spent 14 of his 20 seasons with the Red Sox from 2003 to 2016 after breaking in with the Twins and playing six seasons with Minnesota.

      The family of late Twins great Kirby Puckett, who Ortiz said wore the number 34 in honor of, also greeted Ortiz on the field during the ceremony.

      "When I first started wearing the jersey, that number, I was just happy and proud of doing it because of him," Ortiz said. "Never thought about my number being, hanging up there with all those legendaries."

      Ortiz hit .290 with 483 home runs and 1,530 RBIs in 1,953 career games with Boston. He trails only Ted Williams on the Red Sox's all-time home runs list and ranks third in franchise history in RBIs.

      Asked about his future with the organization, Ortiz said he has been in conversation with Boston's front office about a role with the team but hasn't hammered anything down yet.

      "It's going to happen," he said. "At some point, I'm going to be able to help out somehow, some way."

  • Tigers release struggling reliever Rodriguez
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    Francisco Rodriguez lost his job as closer last month. On Friday, the veteran right-hander simply lost his job.

    • The Detroit Tigers released Rodriguez one day after the 35-year-old served up a grand slam to Robinson Cano during Thursday's 9-6 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

      Rodriguez was just 2-5 with a 7.82 ERA in 28 appearances this season. He served up nine homers in 25 1/3 innings and blew six save opportunities and converted seven.

      The six-time All-Star ranks fourth in baseball history with 437 career saves but was hit hard this season. He was unhappy to be removed as closer and publicly criticized manager Brad Ausmus' communication style last week.

      "To be honest, no one talked to me," Rodriguez told the Detroit News. "No one tells me anything. They never ask my opinion. They never ask me if I am ready to do that or not. It was their decision. Nobody asks me anything."

      The Tigers have dropped a season-worst six straight games to fall into last place in the American League Central.

      Detroit recalled right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo to fill the bullpen opening.

      The Tigers also placed outfielder Alex Presley on the seven-day concussion list and recalled outfielder Matt den Dekker from Toledo.

  • Mariners' Hernandez set to return vs. Astros
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    The Seattle Mariners activated right-hander Felix Hernandez and the former Cy Young Award winner is starting Friday's contest against the Houston Astros.

    • Hernandez has been sidelined nearly two months due to a shoulder injury but told reporters on Thursday that he is no longer experiencing pain.

      Hernandez was 2-2 with a 4.73 ERA in five April starts before being shut down. Opponents batted .348 against him.

      Seattle manager Scott Servais is expecting to see a much sharper version of the 31-year-old known as "King Felix."

      "Felix pitches with a lot of emotion, and the adrenaline will be up," Servais told reporters. "He's anxious to get back out there and help the team."

      The Mariners have won a season-best five consecutive games, while the Astros are the first team in the majors to reach 50 victories.

      Right-hander Andrew Moore, who beat the Detroit Tigers in his major league debut on Thursday, was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma to open up the roster spot. Moore gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings against Detroit.

  • MLB roundup: Homer-happy Dodgers win seventh straight
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    LOS ANGELES -- The homer-happy Los Angeles Dodgers blasted three more Thursday night and ran their winning streak to a season-high seven games as they finished a four-game sweep of the New York Mets, 6-3.

    • Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez and Joc Pederson all homered for Los Angeles. It was the 14th straight game that the Dodgers have hit a home run, tying a franchise record set last season.

      Los Angeles hit 15 home runs and scored 36 runs in the series against the injury-depleted New York pitching staff. The Dodgers moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Colorado and Arizona in the National League West.

      Los Angeles' Hyun-Jin Ryu went five innings, allowing home runs to Curtis Granderson and Travis d'Arnaud. The Dodgers needed five relievers to close it out. Kenley Jansen got four outs for his 16th save of the season.

      Cubs 11, Marlins 1

      MIAMI -- Former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta turned in a vintage all-around performance and Kris Bryant crushed a three-run homer to lead Chicago over Miami.

      It was Bryant's 16th homer of the season, and it propelled Chicago to its fourth win in their past five games. Arrieta (7-5) allowed one run and six hits in seven innings and was 2-for-4 with a run scored and RBI, helping spark two rallies.

      Wilson Contreras hit a two-run homer, and Addison Russell and Ian Happ each went 4-for-5 with two RBIs for the Cubs. Chicago's Mark Zagunis made his major league debut and got an RBI in his first at-bat, grounding out to shortstop. He finished 0-for-5.

      Mariners 9, Tigers 6

      SEATTLE -- Andrew Moore 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 Seattle won its fifth straight game.

      Moore, a 23-year-old right-hander 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. Cano hit a two-run shot in the third inning and added his slam in the seventh.

      Miguel Cabrera and Ian Kinsler homered for Detroit, 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.

      Indians 6, Orioles 3

      BALTIMORE -- Austin Jackson had three hits with three RBIs and Erik Gonzalez homered as Cleveland defeated Baltimore for the third time in their four-game series.

      The Indians have won eight of their past nine games and outscored the Orioles 28-10 in the series. Baltimore has allowed at least five runs in 19 consecutive games -- one shy of the major league record set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies.

      Mike Clevinger (3-3) got his first victory in five starts. He allowed two runs on six hits, with four strikeouts and four walks, over five innings.

      Angels 10, Yankees 5

      NEW YORK -- Albert Pujols began a big comeback with a third-inning RBI single and delivered the go-ahead hit with a seventh-inning RBI single as Los Angeles routed reeling New York.

      The Angels trailed 5-1 in the second inning but scored the final nine runs to win the rubber game of a three-game series with the Yankees, who have lost eight of nine. Cameron Maybin hit a leadoff homer and scored three runs for Los Angeles.

      Starlin Castro had an RBI single in the first inning for the Yankees. Brett Gardner hit into a run-scoring groundout in the second before rookie Aaron Judge launched his major-league-leading 25th homer, a three-run shot for New York.

      White Sox 9, Twins 0

      MINNEAPOLIS -- Matt Davidson had three hits, including a towering home run, while Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier each supplied first-inning, two-run homers following a lengthy rain delay as Chicago routed Minnesota.

      Jose Quintana (4-8) enjoyed the run support to win his second straight start as the White Sox snapped a three-game losing streak. Davidson, who hit his team-leading 17th home run, is second to Judge among American League rookies.

      Twins starter Nik Turley (0-2) got only two outs in his third major league start, allowing five runs on six hits. Turley, who owns a 16.39 ERA in his three career appearances, was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the game.

      Braves 12, Giants 11

      ATLANTA -- Lane Adams' pinch-hit home run -- his first in the major leagues -- sparked an eight-run fifth inning that carried Atlanta past San Francisco.

      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 contests.

      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.

      Rangers 11, Blue Jays 4

      ARLINGTON, Texas -- Carlos Gomez went deep twice to power a home run barrage by Texas in its victory over Toronto.

      Gomez, Mike Napoli and Robinson Chirinos each homered off Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman (7-4), who lost for the first time in six road decisions this season. Gomez added another homer, a two-run shot, in the eighth to finish with five RBIs.

      Rangers starter Martin Perez (4-6) wasn't sharp but enjoyed plenty of offensive support. He worked six innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on nine hits, improving to 4-0 this season when backed by at least three runs.

      Astros 12, Athletics 9

      OAKLAND, Calif. -- Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez hit three-run homers in the second inning and rookie David Paulino pitched 5 1/3 solid innings to help Houston complete a four-game sweep of Oakland.

      The Astros defeated the Athletics at Oakland Coliseum for the 10th straight time and have won 15 of the past 16 games overall against the Athletics. Houston recorded its seventh series sweep of the season and fifth on the road.

      Former Oakland player Josh Reddick went 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and a solo homer, his seventh home run of the season, for the Astros. He also walked and scored four runs, matching his career high.

      Brewers 4, Pirates 2

      MILWAUKEE -- Eric Sogard had two doubles, scored a pair of runs and prevented a run with a defensive gem in the eighth inning as Milwaukee earned a split of their four-game series against Pittsburgh.

      Sogard missed all of the 2016 season recovering from knee surgery but has been red-hot since the Brewers called him up in early May. He is batting .366 with a .985 OPS.

      Travis Shaw had two doubles and a home run, and Milwaukee tagged Pirates starter Ian Nova (7-5) for four runs on 11 hits and two walks over seven innings. Chase Anderson (6-2) went six innings and allowed two runs on two hits while striking out seven.

      Diamondbacks 10, Rockies 3

      DENVER -- Chris Owings and Paul Goldschmidt hit three-run homers as Arizona beat Colorado in the rubber match of their three-game series.

      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, but then retired 13 straight batters. Godley also singled home a run in the eighth inning for his second career RBI in 45 at-bats.

      The Diamondbacks have won nine of their past 10 games.

      Phillies 5, Cardinals 1

      PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Nola had one of his best efforts of the season, striking out a season-high eight batters and allowing one run in 7 1/3 innings to help Philadelphia snap a five-game losing streak.

      Freddy Galvis and Tommy Joseph hit a home runs for the Phillies. Joseph went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

      Paul DeJong homered for the Cardinals, who fell to 13-3 against the National League East this season.

  • MLB notebook: Cubs send Schwarber to Triple-A
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    The Chicago Cubs demoted struggling outfielder Kyle Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday and also placed outfielder Jason Heyward on the disabled list with a cut hand.

    • Schwarber is batting just .171 with 12 homers and 28 RBIs this season. The 24-year-old has struck out 75 times in 222 at-bats.

      "There is no actual timetable," Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters in reference to how long Schwarber will be with Iowa. "I don't anticipate it to be long. We'll see how it plays out."

      Schwarber batted .412 and drove in two runs in his team's World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians.

      The Cubs recalled outfielder Mark Zagunis and right-hander Dylan Floro from Iowa.

      --The Oakland Athletics designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.

      Vogt was named to the All-Star Game in both 2015 and 2016, but has struggled mightily this season. The 32-year-old is batting .217 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 2017.

      Oakland also placed rookie third baseman Matt Chapman on the 10-day disabled list with a knee infection and recalled catcher Bruce Maxwell and first baseman Matt Olson from Triple-A Nashville.

      --Houston Astros center fielder George Springer was hit by a pitch on his left hand while leading off in the top of the first inning against Oakland and left the game at the Oakland Coliseum.

      Springer, according to the Astros, is day to day.

      Springer was hit by A's right-hander Jesse Hahn's 92 mph fastball on a 3-1 count. Springer has 21 home runs overall and leads the major leagues with eight leadoff homers.

      --Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez isn't interested in rushing his way back from a herniated disk in his back and plans to miss the next month rehabilitating the injury.

      Gonzalez, who was placed on the disabled list June 13, tentatively has set a late July date for his return to the diamond.

      Manager Dave Roberts is more optimistic as he said the team is hopeful that the 35-year-old would return prior to the All-Star break, which begins July 10.

      --Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz will have a street named in his honor in Beantown.

      The Boston mayor's office declared that a street near Fenway Park will be renamed David Ortiz Drive. It is currently known as Yawkey Way Extension.

  • Astros CF Springer departs after getting hit by pitch
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Houston Astros center fielder George Springer was hit by a pitch in his left hand while leading off in the top of the first inning Thursday against Oakland and left the game at the Oakland Coliseum.

    • Springer, according to the Astros, is day to day.

      Springer was hit by A's right-hander Jesse Hahn's 92 mph fastball on a 3-1 count. The pitch sailed high and tight. Springer was replaced by pinch runner Jake Marisnick and went to the clubhouse, accompanied by a team trainer.

      Springer has 21 home runs overall and leads the major leagues with eight leadoff homers. That ties the franchise record for leadoff homers that he already shared with Craig Biggio. He had homered in three of his previous four games before Thursday.

      Marisnick remained in the game in center field.

  • Cubs' Schwarber sent to Triple-A; Heyward goes on DL
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    The Chicago Cubs demoted struggling outfielder Kyle Schwarber to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday and also placed outfielder Jason Heyward on the disabled list.

    • The move with Schwarber was done so he can "clear his head," CSN Chicago's David Kaplan posted on Twitter.

      Schwarber is batting just .171 with 12 homers and 28 RBIs this season. The 24-year-old has struck out 75 times in 222 at-bats.

      "There is no actual timetable," Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters in reference to how long Schwarber will be with Iowa. "I don't anticipate it to be long. We'll see how it plays out."

      Schwarber had a much better time of it last year when he played a key role in leading the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908. Although his knee injury kept him from being cleared to play in the field, Schwarber batted .412 and drove in two runs in his team's World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians.

      Heyward is dealing with a cut hand suffered in Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The move was made retroactive to Monday.

      Heyward is batting .258 with six homers and 29 RBIs this season.

      The Cubs recalled outfielder Mark Zagunis and right-hander Dylan Floro from Iowa.

  • Athletics designate C Vogt for assignment
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    The Oakland Athletics designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment on Thursday.

    • Vogt was named to the All-Star Game in both 2015 and 2016, but has struggled mightily this season. The 32-year-old is batting .217 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 2017.

      Vogt was shuffled into left field in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Houston Astros, marking the first time he's played that position since July 2, 2014.

      Oakland also placed rookie third baseman Matt Chapman on the 10-day disabled list and recalled catcher Bruce Maxwell and first baseman Matt Olson from Triple-A Nashville.

      Chapman, who is nursing a left knee infection, was recalled from Nashville last Thursday and went 3-for-14 with three RBIs in four games.

      Maxwell is batting .211 in nine games over his first two stints with the Athletics. He is hitting .286 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 25 games with the Sounds.

      Olson is 0-for-9 in six games with Oakland. He has fared significantly better with Nashville, batting .271 with 17 homers and 43 RBIs in 58 games.