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  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Grandal single in 12th gives Padres win over Dodgers
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN DIEGO -- Yasmani Grandal felt the odds had tipped in his favor.

    • With the bases-loaded and two out in the bottom of the 12th, the Padres first baseman knew Dodgers starter-turned-reliever Kevin Correia had to throw a strike. And given the fact that Correia needed to throw a strike, Grandal figured it would be with his best pitch -- a cut fastball.

      "There was a high chance that would be the pitch," said Grandal, who lined a cutter left over the plate to right to give the Padres their second straight, extra-inning, walk-off win at Petco Park.

      Yangervis Solarte scored from third on Grandal's single to give the Padres a 3-2 win over the National League West leaders in the opener of a three-game series.

      But it wasn't exactly your typical bottom of the 12th.

      The Dodgers employed a five-man infield for two hitters -- and used four infielders on the right side against left-handed hitter Seth Smith ... and it worked.

      "We practiced that in spring training," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of the four-man shift.

      Shortstop Alexi Amarista singled to open the Padres' 12th and moved to second when Correia, who was demoted from the Dodgers rotation to the bullpen earlier in the week, walked Solarte on four pitches. Both runners advanced when Correia's second pitch to center fielder Abraham Almonte bounced away from catcher A.J. Ellis for a wild pitch.

      The Dodgers then brought in center Andre Ethier to play first in a five-man infield. With Smith coming to the plate after Almonte walked to load the bases, the Dodgers played four of their five infielders on the right side.

      "I had never seen that before," said Padres manager Bud Black.

      And it worked.

      Smith grounded sharply to the Dodgers infielder the second from the right, who happened to be second baseman Dee Gordon. Gordon threw to the plate to force Amarista.

      The Dodgers should have kept the shift on against Grandal, who lined the full-count pitch through the hole that is plugged in a three-man shift.

      The win was the Padres' third straight while the Dodgers lost for only second time in the last five games.

      Tim Stauffer (5-2) won the game in relief. Correia (2-2) suffered the loss.

      The Dodgers had tied the game at 2-2 on Hanley Ramirez's one-out homer in the top of the ninth. Ramirez's 390-foot drive onto the second balcony of the Western Metal Supply building came on a 2-and-1 fastball by Padres right-handed reliever Dale Thayer.

      The Padres held a 2-1 lead after six innings behind the pitching of right-hander Andrew Cashner. Making only his second start since June 18, Cashner held the Dodgers to one run on six hits with eight strikeouts over the six innings.

      The Padres gave Cashner a 1-0 lead in a wild second.

      Grandal was on first with a lead-off walk when second baseman Jedd Gyorko hit what appeared to be a perfect double-play grounder to Gordon. But Gordon's throw to shortstop Ramirez covering second was so wide of the bag that Grandal was able to race to third. Grandal scored on catcher Rene Rivera's sacrifice fly to left fielder Carl Crawford.

      The Dodgers tied the game in the third after third baseman Justin Turner and catcher A.J. Ellis opened the inning with back-to-back singles.

      Cashner struck out the next two hitters -- starting right-hander Dan Haren and Gordon (looking on a 97-mph fastball) -- before Ramirez doubled between the diving Grandal and the first-base bag.

      The Padres broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth on three straight, two-out singles by Rivera, right fielder Rymer Liriano and Amarista.

      Haren allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk against three strikeouts in six innings.

      NOTES: Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig, who is hitless in his last 16 at-bats, got Friday off because manager Don Mattingly said "he looks frustrated." ... LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu will start Sunday's series finale for the Dodgers. ... Albuquerque OF Joc Pederson was named the MVP of the Pacific Coast League a day after the 22-year-old Dodgers prospect was also named the league's Rookie of the Year. ... Padres SS Everth Cabrera will likely start a rehab assignment with Class A Lake Elsinore this weekend.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Posey, Giants power past Brewers
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants hadn't scored a single run while right-hander Ryan Vogelsong was on the mound in his five previous starts at AT&T Park.

    • Friday night against 15-game winner Wily Peralta, they couldn't stop scoring.

      Buster Posey became the first catcher in Giants history to record two five-hit games, contributing a triple and four singles to a 19-hit attack that overpowered the Milwaukee Brewers 13-2 in the opener of a three-game series.

      Second baseman Joe Panik had a double among his four hits, center fielder Angel Pagan and right fielder Hunter Pence added three hits apiece, and left fielder Gregor Blanco belted a two-run homer for the Giants, who recorded season highs in runs, hits and margin of victory.

      "The at-bats up and down the lineup were great," said Panik, who matched his career-high for hits in a game. "That was good to see, especially coming off that series against Colorado. It's good to see us continue the momentum."

      The win was San Francisco's fourth in a row and allowed it to pick up a game on the National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost in 12 innings in San Diego. The Dodgers (76-59) now lead the Giants (72-62) by 3 1/2 games.

      The Giants' second double-digit uprising in nine days came at the expense of Peralta, who was seeking to tie the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw for the most wins in the majors. Peralta (15-9) was pulled after three innings, having allowed six runs on nine hits. He walked two and struck out one.

      "We need to get him right," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Peralta, who lost two straight and three of four. "We need to get him back to where he's going deep in games, and obviously keeping the run total down."

      Posey had singles in the first, second, fourth and sixth innings, and a two-run triple in the fifth, allowing him to match the five-hit outing he had last season against the New York Mets.

      "You're right, he's a good pitcher," Posey said of Peralta. "We hit some balls in the right spots. I had one my third time up. The big thing is we were able to capitalize on it."

      Posey scored three runs for the Giants, and he, Pence and Blanco drove in three runs apiece. Like Posey, Pence reached base all five times he batted, with a walk and an error complementing three singles.

      Blanco, whose homer came off Brewers reliever Marco Estrada in a five-run fifth inning, also walked three times, scored twice and stole a base. The homer, Blanco's fourth of the season, was his second of the homestand.

      Pagan had a single, double and triple, but popped up to the catcher with a chance to hit for the cycle in his last at-bat in the sixth inning. He was removed from the game in the eighth.

      "We're playing with a lot of confidence right now," Posey said. "As an offense, we feel we're capable of doing that every night."

      The beneficiary of the offensive onslaught was Vogelsong, who entered the game with the lowest average run support (1.89 per game) of any pitcher in the majors.

      He coasted through seven innings, allowing single runs in the second and fifth innings. In winning at home for the first time since May 24, Vogelsong (8-9) allowed four runs and one walk. He struck out seven.

      First baseman Lyle Overbay and center fielder Carlos Gomez drove in runs for the Brewers, who lost a third straight game after beginning a nine-game road trip Monday with a 10-1 win over the San Diego Padres.

      Despite the loss, Milwaukee (73-61) was able to maintain a 1 1/2-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals (71-62) atop the NL Central. Pittsburgh (70-64), the only winner among the three Friday night, moved within three games of the division leaders.

      Down three runs by the end of the first inning and 8-1 after four, Roenicke said it was important his team just get through it and come back to fight another day.

      "This was gone pretty early," he said.

      NOTES: The Giants' four-game winning streak is their longest since a five-gamer from June 4-8. ... The Giants' 13 runs were their most in a home game since Aug. 24, 2010, and the 19 hits were their most at home since Aug. 14, 2001. ... Brewers RHP Matt Garza (strained left oblique) threw a simulated game Friday afternoon and was deemed ready to be activated off the disabled list and return to the team's starting rotation next week. ... One day after he set a record for having retired 46 consecutive batters over eight games, Giants RHP Yusmeiro Petit was rewarded with a second start. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Petit will start Tuesday in Colorado against the Rockies.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Game roundup: Defense propels Angels past A's
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jered Weaver threw seven scoreless innings and Albert Pujols and Chris Iannetta hit home runs, but the Los Angeles Angels' 4-0 win over the Oakland A's Friday night at Angel Stadium was all about defense.

    • The Angels made a number of outstanding plays, while the A's just missed making one of their own. Oakland also committed a couple of errors that resulted in an unearned run.

      Center fielder Mike Trout made a running catch at the wall in left center, left fielder Josh Hamilton made a diving catch in foul territory down the left-field line and third baseman Gordon Beckham made a leaping catch of a line drive.

      Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp nearly made the play of the game, reaching above the wall and appearing to rob Iannetta of a two-run home run in the fifth inning. He initially had the ball in his glove but lost it when he slammed into the wall and landed hard on his back.

      He left the game under his own power and was initially diagnosed with a strained neck.

      Weaver, who gave up three hits and three walks, improved to 15-7, tying Detroit's Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer for the league-lead in wins.

      Giants 13, Brewers 2

      SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey became the first catcher in San Francisco history to record two five-hit games, contributing a triple and four singles to a 19-hit attack that overpowered Milwaukee in the opener of a three-game series.

      Second baseman Joe Panik had a double among four hits, center fielder Angel Pagan and right fielder Hunter Pence added three hits apiece, and left fielder Gregor Blanco belted a two-run homer for the Giants, who recorded season-highs in runs, hits and margin of victory.

      The win was San Francisco's fourth in a row.

      Nationals 8, Mariners 3

      SEATTLE -- Washington tagged Seattle's Felix Hernandez for four home runs, then added two more against Mariners relievers, on the way to snapping their three-game losing streak.

      Catcher Wilson Ramos had two of the Nationals' six home runs, five of which were solo shots. Washington had 14 hits, 10 of them coming against Hernandez, on the way to earning the franchise's 10th consecutive head-to-head win against Seattle.

      Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond and Ramos all had solo homers off Hernandez, while Jayson Werth added a two-run shot. Bryce Harper and Ramos hit back-to-back solo homers off reliever Joe Beimel in the eighth inning.

      Yankees 6, Blue Jays 3

      TORONTO -- Jacoby Ellsbury capped a five-run seventh inning with a two-run homer and he also tripled as New York defeated Toronto.

      Left-hander Chris Capuano (2-3) picked up his first win in seven starts since joining the Yankees from the Colorado Rockies on July 24. He allowed eight hits and three runs in 6 1/3 innings. Third baseman Chase Headley also homered for the Yankees.

      Right fielder Jose Bautista homered for the third consecutive game for the Blue Jays.

      Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 2

      PHOENIX -- Jake Lamb hit a grand slam home run with two outs in the eighth inning to lift the Diamondbacks over Colorado at Chase Field. Lamb hit a 2-1 pitch into the overhang above the fence in center field for his second homer of the year.

      Brad Ziegler (5-2) gave up a run on three singles when Colorado took a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning.

      Addison Reed pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 31st save for Arizona, which broke a three-game losing streak.

      Indians 6, Royals 1

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Danny Salazar pitched five superb innings and Carlos Santana homered and drove in three runs as Cleveland topped Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium.

      Salazar was not allowed to come back out after a 44-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth. He stymied the Royals on four hits and two walks, while striking out three in five scoreless innings.

      Santana hit a two-run shot in the ninth for his sixth home run this season at Kauffman. He also contributed a RBI-single in a three-run third.

      Rangers 13, Astros 6

      HOUSTON -- Michael Choice recorded his first career three-hit game while four teammates posted multihit efforts as Texas pounded Houston at Minute Maid Park.

      Choice went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and his ninth home run, a three-run shot in the fourth inning. Second baseman Rougned Odor added a three-run blast, his seventh, off Astros right-hander Jake Buchanan in the seventh.

      Odor finished 2-for-5, three RBIs, Daniel Robertson went 2-for-4 and Adam Rosales finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs to support Scott Baker. Baker limited the Astros to two runs on six hits and one walk with three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings.

      Tigers 7, White Sox 1

      CHICAGO -- Right-hander Justin Verlander shrugged off a shaky start as he helped lead Detroit to a victory over Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field.

      Verlander (12-11) allowed a first-inning run and loaded the bases then shut out the White Sox through the rest of his successful seven-inning outing. The victory lifted the Tigers into a temporary one-half game lead over the Seattle Mariners for the second American League wild card spot with 29 games to play.

      Detroit left fielder J.D. Martinez went 3-for-5 with a run scored, designated hitter Victor Martinez was 2-for-5 while center fielder Ezequiel Carrera and right fielder Torri Hunter also had two hits apiece. Second baseman Ian Kinsler and Hunter each batted in two runs.

      Cubs 7, Cardinals 2

      ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals welcomed back perennial All-Star catcher Yadier Molina to the lineup after 40 games, but the night belonged to Chicago rookie Jorge Soler. Soler homered to tie the game in the seventh and then capped a four-run eighth inning with a tape-measure two-run blast as Chicago rallied at Busch Stadium.

      Another Cubs rookie, second baseman Javier Baez, snapped a 2-2 tie earlier in the eighth with a two-run double off reliever Pat Neshek to score Logan Watkins and Chris Coghlan.

      Neshek entered the night having allowed only five runs in 55 1/3 innings, but gave up four before being pulled following Soler's second homer.

      Braves 5, Marlins 2

      ATLANTA -- Justin Upton hit his 26th homer and drove in three runs as Atlanta defeated Miami at Turner Field. Upton has seven homers and 28 of his 91 RBIs in August while raising his batting average for the season to .288.

      Upton hit a two-run blast in the sixth inning and had then delivered RBI single in the seventh as the Braves broke a tie with three runs against the Marlins bullpen.

      David Carpenter (5-3) got credit for the victory although he allowed a tying homer to pinch-hitter Jordanny Valdespin in the top of the seventh. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 40th save in 44 chances, allowing one hit but getting a double play.

      Red Sox 8, Rays 4

      ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rookie right-hander Anthony Ranaudo remained perfect as a big-leaguer and fellow newcomer Mookie Betts hit a grand slam as Boston trounced Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field.

      Ranaudo, who has won all three of his big league starts, allowed three earned runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in six innings. He was hardly threatened by the punchless Rays.

      Brandon Guyer knocked in three of Tampa Bay's runs with a two-run homer and ninth-inning single.

      Pirates 2, Reds 1

      Josh Harrison tripled in the tying run and scored the winning run on Jose Tabata's single in the eighth inning as Pittsburgh rallied for the victory at PNC Park. Harrison had three hits and finished a home run shy of the cycle in helping the Pirates to their sixth win in their last eight games.

      Tony Watson earned the victory despite giving up a go-ahead single to the only batter he faced, Devin Mesoraco in the top of the eighth inning. Mesaroco's single snapped a scoreless tie, but the inning ended when second baseman Brandon Phillips was thrown out at home plate.

      Pirates starter Edinson Volquez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Mesoraco broke it up with a leadoff single.

      Mets 4, Phillies 1

      NEW YORK -- Right-hander Jacob deGrom tossed seven strong innings to earn the win after New York scored three unearned runs in bizarre fashion in the bottom of the seventh inning at Citi Field.

      The Mets broke a 1-1 tie without a hit in the seventh. Left fielder Matt den Dekker drew a one-out walk off left-hander Jake Diekman and stole second. With two outs, shortstop Wilmer Flores was hit by a pitch.

      Eric Campbell, pinch-hitting for deGrom, drew a full count walk to load the bases. Center fielder Juan Lagares followed with a seemingly routine fly to left, but Grady Sizemore dropped the ball as he pulled the glove down and den Dekker and Flores raced home. Three pitches later, Lagares took off for second and Campbell bolted for home when catcher Carlos Ruiz threw to second. Campbell beat the throw home for his second career stolen base and the Mets' first steal of home since Jason Pridie did it on May 15, 2011.

      Orioles 9, Twins 1

      BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis hit his second grand slam of the season and Delmon Young added a two-run homer as Baltimore routed Minnesota at Camden Yards.

      Davis has been struggling at the plate all season. He's now batting just .189 but still hits home runs. This one, a grand slam to right, proved to be the big hit in a five-run fourth inning which put the Orioles up 5-0 over the Twins and broke the game open.

      The Orioles now have won four of their last five games while the Twins have dropped five of six.

      Padres 3, Dodgers 2 (12 innings)

      SAN DIEGO -- Yasmani Grandal singled home Yangervis Solarte with two out in the 12th inning to give San Diego a win over Los Angeles at Petco Park.

      The win was the Padres' second straight, extra-inning walk-off win.

      The Dodgers had tied the game at 2 on Hanley Ramirez's one-out homer in the top of the ninth.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Defense helps carry Angels to shutout
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jered Weaver threw seven scoreless innings and Albert Pujols and Chris Iannetta hit home runs, but the Los Angeles Angels' 4-0 win over the Oakland A's on Friday night at Angel Stadium was all about defense.

    • The Angels made a number of outstanding plays, and the A's just missed making one of their own. Oakland also committed a couple of errors that resulted in an unearned run.

      Center fielder Mike Trout made a running catch at the wall in left center and third baseman Gordon Beckham made a leaping catch of a line drive. But no play was quite as good as left fielder Josh Hamilton's diving catch in foul territory down the left-field line that helped Weaver get out of a rare jam in the fifth inning.

      "A big play like that gets your team excited, gets you amped," Weaver said. "Just when you think he wasn't going to get there he takes a couple extra strides to get to the ball. It was a great play, and it was a momentum changer, for sure."

      Pujols also nearly made a spectacular play at first base, leaping to catch a ball thrown too high and reaching behind his back to try to make a tag on the runner going by. A's shortstop Eric Sogard was ruled safe on the play, which the Angels unsuccessfully challenged via replay review.

      "Any time your defense is making great plays behind you, it's going to add up to victory," Weaver said. "I've been pretty lucky to get some support."

      Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp nearly made the play of the game, reaching above the wall and appearing to rob Iannetta of a two-run homer in the fifth inning. He initially had the ball in his glove but lost it when he slammed into the wall and landed hard on his back.

      Crisp left the game under his own power and was initially diagnosed with a strained neck.

      "I was worried about his head too, but his neck's the issue," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He was a little shook up. We were worried about a concussion, but it wasn't."

      Weaver, who gave up three hits and three walks, improved to 15-7, tying Detroit's Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer for the American League-lead in wins.

      "I do?" Weaver said when told he had 15 wins. "Fifteen? I don't know, you would have never guessed. I'm just trying to my job and keep the team in the game, no matter how I'm feeling or what the case is. My team has been picking me up a lot this year, I’ve had some great support, great defense behind me."

      Relievers Joe Smith (eighth inning) and Huston Street (ninth) finished the Angels' 10th shutout of the season.

      A's starter Jon Lester (3-2), coming off a no-decision in a 2-1 win over the Angels in his last start, gave up three runs (two earned), six hits and one walk in six innings.

      The win moved the Angels (81-53) three games ahead of the A's (78-56) in the AL West, their biggest lead of the season.

      The A’s have now lost 12 of their past 18 games, going from four games up to three back.

      "It’s frustrating," Melvin said. "It seemed like every ball we hit hard today was hit right at somebody. It's just the way it goes sometimes, but you have to play through it. They're fighting, they're playing hard, they're running down the line, just things aren't going our way right now. But it will turn."

      Weaver and Lester matched each other zero for zero for the first four innings, neither allowing a run.

      The A's put runners on first and second with one out in the fifth inning when Weaver got a boost from his defense. Second baseman Alberto Callaspo hit a foul popup down the left-field line, where Hamilton got horizontal to make the diving catch.

      "Josh plays aggressive out there in left field. He's a terrific outfielder," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

      The Angels broke through in the bottom of the fifth inning on Iannetta's two-run homer, despite the effort by Crisp.

      "Unbelievable," Melvin said of Crisp. "He came out of nowhere to get to it, airborne, actually in his glove for a while, just couldn’t pull it back."

      NOTES: The A's have decided to drop their protest of Thursday's game, in which Angels SS Erick Aybar was awarded first base after colliding with RHP Dan Otero while running to first base in the ninth inning. Plate umpire Greg Gibson ruled first baseman Brandon Moss, who initially bumped into Otero, had obstructed Aybar's path to first base. Moss did not field the ball, nor did Aybar run into him. "Based on my conversation with the front office and the front office's conversation with MLB, it was a judgment call and there's no chance it's going to be overruled," A's manager Bob Melvin said. ... A's INF Jed Lowrie will play games Saturday and Sunday for Triple-A Sacramento on a rehab assignment. Lowrie, out with a broken right index finger, could return to the big league club Monday. ... The Angels announced after Friday's game that RHP Cory Rasmus, normally a reliever, will start Saturday's game.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Nationals rock against Mariners, Hernandez
    By The Sports Xchange

    SEATTLE -- After each one of ace Felix Hernandez's dominating performances through the first four months of the season, Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon deadpanned the same joke to explain the outing.

    • "He listened to me," McClendon would quip with a twinkle in his eye.

      On Friday night, McClendon was halfway across the country to attend a daughter's wedding and Hernandez apparently was missing his words of wisdom.

      The American League Cy Young candidate suffered through his worst start of the season as the slumping Washington Nationals snapped out of their three-game funk on the way to six home runs and an 8-3 victory over Hernandez and the Mariners.

      "I don’t think it had anything to do with me," fill-in manager Trent Jewett said. "Felix is human. And the other team's getting paid too. So it's going to happen."

      The Nationals, more than an absent manager, proved to be Hernandez's downfall. Washington tagged Hernandez for four home runs, the most he has allowed in a game, and six total.

      "You can't figure those things out," said designated hitter Jayson Werth, who hit the only two-run shot in a game that saw the Nationals hit five solo homers, including two by catcher Wilson Ramos. "Sometimes things like that happen. He's a great pitcher; everybody knows that. But we were good today."

      Washington (76-57) had 14 hits, 10 of them against Hernandez, on the way to the franchise's 10th consecutive head-to-head win against Seattle.

      Third baseman Anthony Rendon, shortstop Ian Desmond and Ramos all had solo homers off Hernandez, and Werth added a two-run shot as the Nationals built a 5-2 lead in the fourth inning.

      Left fielder Bryce Harper and Ramos hit back-to-back solo homers off reliever Joe Beimel in the eighth inning when the Washington lead swelled to 7-2.

      "It was pretty amazing," said Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings to improve to 10-5. "These guys, 1 through 8, they have power and can take it deep at any moment. It's fun to watch, for sure."

      Rendon went 4-for-4 with a double, a home run and an RBI. In his first-ever meeting with Hernandez, Rendon reached base in all four plate appearances; he added a single off Seattle closer Fernando Rodney in the top of the ninth inning.

      Hernandez (13-5) allowed a season-high five earned runs in seven innings. He hadn't allowed more than one home run in a game all season and had given up just nine in 27 starts this year. In his first four August starts, Hernandez had allowed seven runs and three home runs.

      "It was a tough day," Hernandez said after his Friday night performance. "I couldn't get out of the middle of the plate over the first four innings, (the ball) was up, and I got crushed."

      Hernandez was pitching on six days' rest after McClendon moved back his latest start two days. The rest didn't work in the veteran pitcher's favor, as he had his worst outing of the season on a night when the Mariners (72-61) needed a win to keep pace in the AL wild-card standings.

      Seattle fell a game being Detroit in the race for the AL's second wild-card spot.

      McClendon juggled Seattle's rotation earlier this week to give Hernandez some extra time off. The Mariners recalled Erasmo Ramirez to fill in Wednesday, pushing Hernandez's start to Friday. In those two games, Seattle was outscored 20-7 while seeing starting pitchers Ramirez and Hernandez get bounced around for 19 hits and five earned runs in 12 combined innings.

      Hernandez had a 2.07 ERA heading into the game, .04 behind AL leader Chris Sale, and came out of Friday's performance with a 2.23 ERA.

      The Nationals still have the best record in the National League, by a half-game over the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they maintained a six-game lead atop the NL East standings with the win.

      "It was big," Zimmermann said. “We had a few bad games (during a three-game sweep in Philadelphia). Hopefully, we get the momentum back on our side."

      Rendon started the long-ball carnage with a solo home run on the first pitch he saw for a 1-0 lead one out into the first inning. Werth added a two-run shot in the third, then Desmond and Ramos each had a solo homer in the fourth.

      Seattle took a temporary lead in the bottom of the first inning when back-to-back RBI singles by designated hitter Kendrys Morales and third baseman Kyle Seager put the Mariners in front 2-1.

      NOTES: Mariners prospect Jesus Montero was involved in an incident with a team scout Thursday night in Boise. Montero and scout Butch Baccala apparently had a heated exchange during a Class A game between the Everett AquaSox and the Boise Hawks. Montero, who was on a rehab assignment with Everett, was involved in what the Mariners called "a verbal altercation" with the scout. The Mariners released a statement for what they called an "unfortunate incident" and added that Baccala has been sent home "until further notice." Montero, once a top prospect in the organization, has been pulled off his rehab assignment and will not play again this season, general manager Jack Zduriencik said before Friday's game. ... Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon was not at Friday's game, He was in Indiana to attend his daughter's wedding. Bench coach Trent Jewett handled managing duties Friday. ...Seattle shuffled its pitching rotation, moving LHP Roenis Elias up to Saturday and RHP Chris Young back two days to Monday. No reason for the change was given. ... The Nationals entered Friday's game on a three-game losing streak, one shy of its season-long losing streak. ... Washington extended its affiliation with the Auburn Doubledays of the Class A New York-Penn League on Friday. The extension will keep the sides together for two more years. ... Seattle recalled OF James Jones before Friday's game. RHP Erasmo Ramirez had been demoted to Triple-A after his Wednesday start.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Lamb slam pushes D-backs past Rockies
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHOENIX -- Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb swung through two moderately paced fastballs while striking out in the early innings Friday. It turned out 97 mph was just his speed.

    • Lamb hit his first career grand slam off hard-throwing Adam Ottavino with two outs in the eighth inning to lift the Diamondbacks to a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field.

      "I was missing the ones at 90 miles an hour," Lamb said. "I was just trying to do a little too much early on in the game. I was frustrated. Had guys in scoring position multiple times. You always want to come through in those situations.

      "To come through in that situation was cool."

      Rockies left-hander Rex Brothers (4-6) walked the bases loaded to open the eighth inning before Ottavino entered and got first baseman Mark Trumbo to hit into a force out at home.

      Ottavino could not handle Trumbo's comebacker cleanly, a ball that could have been a double play, and he had to settled for the force at the plate. He then struck out Miguel Montero.

      Lamb hit a 2-1 pitch into the overhang above the fence in center field for his second homer of the year, his second in five games.

      "Obviously I was going with everything I had," Ottavino said. "Missed my location a little bit but he put a good swing on it and came up big.

      "I mis-fired fired on two pitches to get into that situation, then I had to throw a strike. Being conservative I just tried to throw a strike thinking I could overpower him still. He barreled it. Bottom line, he did a great job."

      Colorado right fielder Charlie Blackmon's sacrifice fly off right-hander Brad Ziegler (5-2) in the eighth inning gave the Rockies (53-81) a 2-1 lead, their first lead.

      Addison Reed pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 31st save for Arizona (56-78), which broke a three-game losing streak.

      Colorado has lost four in a row.

      Starters Josh Collmenter and Christian Bergman dueled through six innings without a decision.

      Arizona right fielder David Peralta tripled with one out in the sixth inning off Bergman before scoring on a two-out wild pitch by left-handed reliever Christian Friedrich to make it 1-0.

      Bergman gave up two hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings.

      "He threw the ball well," Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. "He's got a sneaky fastball. The ball gets on you as a hitter, so he can beat the bat even though it is not 95 miles per hour."

      Collmenter retired 18 straight after a leadoff single by Blackmon in the first inning before center fielder Drew Stubbs beat out a bunt single with one out in the seventh. Collmenter was removed then, after 81 pitches.

      Third baseman Nolan Arenado's two-out double off rookie right-handed reliever Evan Marshall tied the game at 1-1. It was only the second of 20 inherited runners to have scored on Marshall this season.

      "He threw well," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of Collmenter. "He was in control of the game. We have to kind of watch how far he goes as well as some other (starters), trying to decide some things for the future."

      Blackmon singled to open the game but was thrown out trying to steal second base as Stubbs struck out. The Rockies did not get another runner on base through the first six innings.

      Collmenter had the Diamondbacks' first hit off Bergman, a double into the gap in right-center field with two outs in the fifth inning.

      NOTES: Colorado CF Charlie Blackmon has 59 RBIs from the No. 1 spot in the batting order this season, the most in the majors. All 15 of his homers have come from the leadoff spot. St. Louis 2B Matt Carpenter has 50 RBIs hitting first. ... Arizona activated OF Nolan Reimold on Friday after claiming him off waivers from Toronto on Thursday. Reimold, 30, hit .212 with two homers and nine RBIs for the Blue Jays after being acquired from Baltimore on July 6. OF Xavier Paul was released to make room on the 25-man roster. Paul was acquired Aug. 7. ... Colorado LHP Tyler Anderson was named the Double-A Texas League pitcher of the year after going 6-4 with a 2.08 ERA at Tulsa. Darryl Scott is the Tulsa pitching coach.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Salazar, Santana impact Indians' 6-1 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Only the rain could stop right-hander Danny Salazar. Nothing can stop Carlos Santana in Kansas City.

    • Salazar pitched five superb innings and Santana homered and drove in three runs as the Cleveland Indians topped the Kansas City Royals 6-1 on Friday night.

      Salazar (5-6) was not allowed to come back out after a 44-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth inning. He stymied the Royals on four hits and two walks while striking out three in five scoreless innings.

      "We were told originally to wait 40 minutes and when they were taking off the tarp it looked like maybe it would be 50 minutes," Indians manager Terry Francona said of replacing Salazar with C.C. Lee after the delay. "We weren’t going to do that with him. We weren't going to start him back up."

      Salazar said, "Sometimes with a good tempo, I think about slowing down a little bit. If I'm able to make that adjustment, if I'm able to keep that tempo, it makes a big difference."

      Santana hit a two-run shot in the ninth inning for his sixth home run this season at Kauffman Stadium. He also contributed an RBI single in a three-run third. He said he is not thinking about his success at Kansas City.

      "No, I'm thinking about playing baseball hard," Santana said.

      Shortstop Alcides Escobar, who had his fourth career four-hit game, singled home second baseman Christian Colon in the ninth for the only Kansas City run.

      Designated hitter Zach Walters' two-out double in the second inning scored second baseman Jason Kipnis with the Indians' first run.

      The Indians added three runs in the third inning with shortstop Jose Ramirez, Santana and Kipnis each driving in a run. Royals left-hander Jason Vargas threw 26 pitches in the third inning after tossing only 27 in the first two.

      Rookie right fielder Tyler Holt began the inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on Vargas' throwing error.

      "I just turned and spinned and let it loose," Vargas said. "It just wasn't a very fundamentally sound play."

      Vargas (10-7) took the loss, permitting four runs and 10 hits in six innings.

      "He threw the ball OK," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He ran into trouble in the third inning where he threw a couple of inside fastballs that kind of crept back into middle in and ended up getting hurt by them."

      Salazar, who entered the game averaging 9.77 strikeouts per nine innings in his first 14 starts, limited the Royals to four hits and no runs in the first five innings while striking out three.

      The Royals had a mild threat in the second inning when with two outs designated hitter Josh Willingham walked and center fielder Lorenzo Cain singled. That brought up third baseman Mike Moustakas, who has six home runs and a .733 slugging percentage this season against the Indians. Moustakas grounded out to Santana to end the inning.

      The Royals put two more runners on in the fifth inning with Moustakas walking and Escobar's two-out single, but left fielder Alex Gordon grounded out to second to strand them.

      NOTES: The Royals designated for assignment LHP Bruce Chen one day after he was torched for six runs and five hits, three for extra bases, and two walks in the 10th inning of a loss to the Twins. They recalled RHP Louis Coleman from Triple-A Omaha, where he was 2-1 with seven saves and a 3.86 ERA in 28 appearances. Coleman threw a scoreless seventh inning, walking one and striking out one. ... The Indians activated C Yan Gomes from the concussion list and started him Friday. Gomes went 2-for-4 after sitting out six games. ... The Indians placed IF-C Chris Gimenez on the paternity list. ... Royals 1B Eric Hosmer, who has not played since July 31 because of a fractured right hand, is scheduled to report Saturday to Triple-A Omaha to begin a rehab assignment. ... Indians OF Ryan Raburn, who is on the disabled list with a right wrist injury, collected three hits Thursday in a rehab game for Double-A Akron.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Tigers' Verlander recovers from slow start
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- Justin Verlander had a shaky start, but his troubles didn't last for long on Friday night.

    • Verlander (12-11) allowed a first-inning run and loaded the bases, then shut out the Chicago White Sox through the rest of his seven-inning outing as the Tigers claimed a 7-1 victory at U.S. Cellular Field.

      "Verlander was lights out. He was good today," right fielder Torri Hunter said. "He had the change-up working, slider working, everything. His fastball was 95 (mph)."

      The victory lifted the Tigers (73-60) into a temporary half-game lead over the Seattle Mariners, who played a later game Friday, for the second American League wild-card spot with 29 games to play.

      Detroit left fielder J.D. Martinez went 3-for-5 with a run scored, designated hitter Victor Martinez was 2-for-5, and center fielder Ezequiel Carrera and Hunter also had two hits apiece. Second baseman Ian Kinsler and Hunter each batted in two runs.

      Chicago center fielder Adam Eaton was 3-for-4 and walked once. First baseman Jose Abreu was 3-for-3 with a walk.

      Verlander won his second straight as he allowed a season-low one run and nine hits, tied a season high with eight strikeouts and walked two.

      "He actually seemed to get a little bit stronger towards the end," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He started getting some swings and misses, some strikeouts. ... He was a lot sharper tonight in terms of the stuff on his pitches but also the command of his pitches."

      White Sox right-hander Scott Carroll slipped to 5-9 as Chicago (60-74) suffered its ninth loss in 10 games.

      The White Sox claimed a short-lived 1-0 lead in the first inning as designated hitter Adam Dunn's RBI sacrifice fly to left scored Eaton from third.

      Chicago went on to load the bases in the inning, but Verlander escaped any more damage as catcher Tyler Flowers struck out looking to end the inning.

      "He gets stronger as he goes along. You have to take advantage of it early," White Soc manager Robin Ventura said. "We just missed our shot."

      White Sox left fielder Alejandro De Aza collected his 500th career hit in dramatic fashion in the second inning, slicing a one-out double down the right-field line. De Aza was thrown out by Hunter from right field when he tried to stretch it into a triple.

      The Tigers went up 2-1 in the third inning. Kinsler evened the score at 1 as his one-out double to left drove home Carrera. Kinsler took third on a relay throw and scored on Hunter's sacrifice fly to right.

      The Tigers added five runs in the fourth inning -- including three unearned -- as they extended the lead to 7-1. Two scored on fielder's choice grounders and another came in on an Abreu error, his second of the game.

      Carroll left after five-plus innings, having allowed seven runs (three earned) and 10 hits while striking out two.

      "Carroll got some good sink on his ball, good movement on his ball," Hunter said. "We just tried to get it up and do something with it."

      The teams play a split doubleheader on Saturday. The first game starts at 1:10 p.m. ET.

      NOTES: The Tigers purchased the contract of RHP Evan Reed from Triple-A Toledo before Friday's series opener with the White Sox. Reed (0-1) pitched in 27 games for Detroit and has a 4.88 ERA. It's his first time back with Detroit since a sexual assault charge was dismissed last week. ...The Tigers optioned the contract of LHP Kyle Lobstein to Triple-A Toledo after Thursday's game and designated the contract of RHP Jose Ortega for assignment. ... Detroit also purchased the contract of LHP Kyle Ryan as 26th man for Saturday's split doubleheader with the White Sox. He's scheduled to start the second game in his major league debut. ... The Tigers sent RHP Max Scherzer (15-4) against LHP Chris Sale (10-3) at noon Saturday. Ryan goes against Chicago RHP Chris Bassitt, also set to start his first big league game. ... The White Sox will honor the 2014 U.S. Little League champion Jackie Robinson West team in ceremonies before Saturday's second game. They were the first Chicago team to reach the Little League World Series championship game since 1967. ... Citing a desire to spend more time with his grandchildren, longtime White Sox broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, 76, told a local radio host that he might cut back his television schedule next season.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Choice helps Rangers pound Astros
    By The Sports Xchange

    HOUSTON -- From the reassurance of his manager Ron Washington to additional video study, Rangers left fielder Michael Choice had the support and the focus necessary to break free from an 0-for-10 slump since his most recent promotion. All he needed was to deliver.

    • Choice recorded his first career three-hit game while four teammates posted multi-hit efforts as the Rangers pounded the Houston Astros 13-6 on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

      The Rangers (53-81) approached a season high in runs (16 on Aug. 5 against the White Sox), and their 16 hits were just shy of their season high of 18 accomplished three times.

      Choice, the Rangers' right fielder, finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs and his ninth home run, a three-run shot in the fourth inning.

      Washington threw batting practice to Choice earlier Friday and indicated that Choice needed to utilize the same swing during the game to reap success. Choice also took his own observations into consideration.

      "Just kind of looked at some video and made a small adjustment at the plate and it worked out," Choice said. "I saw I was pulling my head a little bit once the ball was getting close to the hitting zone. I was pulling it just a tad, so tonight I really focused on trying to keep my head down as long as I could."

      Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor added a three-run homer, his seventh, off Astros right-hander Jake Buchanan in the seventh inning.

      Odor (2-for-5, three RBIs), center fielder Daniel Robertson (2-for-4) and third baseman Adrian Beltre (2-for-4) tallied two hits apiece, while shortstop Adam Rosales finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs in support of right-hander Scott Baker (3-3), who limited the Astros (57-79) to two runs on six hits and one walk with three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. The innings pitched represented a season high for Baker.

      "They swung the bat well but I'm even more happy with what Baker gave us," Washington said. "We call on that guy for many things and tonight he got into the seventh inning for us and did a tremendous job. That's where it all started, but those guys at the bottom (of the batting order) were great for us."

      Catcher Jason Castro homered for a second consecutive game for the Astros, who had won eight of the last nine games in the Lone Star Series. Houston leads the season series 9-5 and remains one win shy of reclaiming the Silver Boot for the first time since the 2006 season.

      "We just have to look at this night just like we didn't pitch too well; we just didn't have it early and they jumped out to a pretty big lead," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "All you can do is put it behind you and come back tomorrow."

      Having squandered early scoring opportunities in the series opener on Thursday night, the Rangers were far less wasteful against Astros left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, tallying single runs in the first and third innings before rocking Oberholtzer with a breakout four-run fourth.

      Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus victimized Oberholtzer with an RBI double that scored Robertson in the first inning and a sacrifice fly that scored Choice in the third, giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

      Choice, who doubled with one out in the third, recorded his second extra-base hit an inning later, the homer that followed catcher Tomas Telis' RBI single and built the lead to 6-1.

      Beltre scored on Telis' hit in the fourth and chased Oberholtzer with his run-scoring double in the fifth, plating right fielder Alex Rios.

      Oberholtzer (4-10) departed having surrendered a season-high seven runs on nine hits and one walk over 4 1/3 innings.

      "I am just going to forget about this one," Oberholtzer said. "Go the next four days and prepare like I normally would and put this start behind me and move forward."

      NOTES: Astros manager Bo Porter declined to comment on his relationship with general manager Jeff Luhnow and denied a published report that he spoke with owner Jim Crane concerning grievances with Luhnow. According to the report, Porter grew exasperated with Luhnow for intervening in on-field decisions. Luhnow was out of town and unavailable for comment. ... Rangers 1B-OF Jim Adduci was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list after he slammed his head on the warning track following a catch in foul territory Thursday night. To replace Adduci on the active roster, the Rangers purchased the contract of IF-OF Ryan Rua from Triple-A Round Rock. When Rua appears in a game, he will become the 59th player to play for Texas this season, which will tie a major league record held by the 2002 Indians, 2002 Padres and 2008 Padres. Rua is the 20th rookie on Texas' active roster this season, a club record. ... Rangers LHP Derek Holland (left knee) will be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday and will make his first start of the season at Kansas City.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Soler's two homers power Cubs past Cardinals
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. LOUIS -- Baseball isn't supposed to be as easy as Jorge Soler is making it look.

    • The Chicago Cubs right fielder homered on consecutive pitches, sparking a late comeback that gave Chicago a 7-2 win Friday night over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

      After tying the score in the top of the seventh inning with a towering 409-foot blast to center field, Soler capped a four-run eighth with a two-run shot, a 442-foot bolt that landed in the concourse just behind the left field bleachers.

      In his first three games, Soler is 7-for-11 with three homers, becoming the second Cub to do it this month. Second baseman Javier Baez, whose two-run double in the eighth unknotted a 2-2 game, was the first.

      "I don't know how to explain it," a smiling Soler said through an interpreter. "Everything is going so well."

      The 22-year old Soler, who was born in Cuba and defected in 2011, is one of a wave of power-hitting prospects that has win-starved North Side fans salivating. Baez has seven homers in his first 24 MLB games and minor league third baseman Kris Bryant has 43 between Triple-A Iowa and Double-A Tennessee.

      In fact, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer shot down a rumor before the series opener that Bryant would receive a promotion to Chicago.

      "We're just waiting for Bryant now," Baez laughed.

      The Cubs (60-74) are certainly a different team from the one that quickly fell into the National League Central cellar early this season. While they'll probably finish there for a second straight year, their lineup, which has more homers than any NL team except Colorado, commands respect.

      "They've got some studs and a lot of power," St. Louis starter Shelby Miller said. "We've all realized it. They are tough, man. That's a good team."

      Miller pitched a solid game against Chicago, with the exception of two mistakes. Third baseman Luis Valbuena drilled a leadoff homer in the second inning and Soler ambushed a first-pitch fastball to wipe out a one-run lead that Miller nursed through the middle innings.

      In seven innings, Miller gave up only four hits and two runs, walking two and fanning three.

      "I threw that right in his swing path," he said of Soler's first homer. "I couldn't have given him a better pitch to hit."

      Reliever Pat Neshek (6-1) entered the eighth inning having allowed only five runs in 55 1/3 innings but fell victim to the Cubs' youth brigade. After pinch-hitter Logan Watkins stroked a leadoff single and left fielder Chris Coghlan lofted a ground-rule double down the right field line, Baez mashed a 2-2 fastball to the wall in left-center field.

      Two outs later, Soler capped Neshek's worst performance since Aug. 11, 2007, when he gave up four runs to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim while pitching for Minnesota.

      "I hate giving it up," Neshek said. "It's never fun, but I'll finish strong."

      The Cardinals (71-62), which lost their third straight game and have scored just nine runs in their last five contests, jumped out to a 2-0 lead against Kyle Hendricks in the first. Left fielder Matt Holliday and shortstop Jhonny Peralta collected RBI singles.

      But Hendricks allowed just two more singles after that, leaving after six innings with his seventh quality start in nine starts. He yielded five hits and two runs with a walk and three whiffs.

      Neil Ramirez (2-1) worked around two singles in the seventh inning for the win. Reliever Justin Grimm closed it out with four strikeouts in the ninth, the 72nd time that has happened in MLB history.

      That was preceded by Chicago's fourth homer, a leadoff jack by center fielder Arismendy Alcantara in the top of the ninth inning. All four traveled at least 409 feet.

      "I feel we have a good team," Soler said.

      Perennial All-Star catcher Yadier Molina returned to the St. Louis lineup after a 40-game absence with torn right thumb ligaments suffered July 9. He went 0-for-3, reaching in the sixth inning when he was hit by a pitch.

      NOTES: To make room for C Yadier Molina, St. Louis optioned C Tony Cruz to Double-A Springfield. Cruz, who is hitting .195 with 12 RBIs, will likely be back next week when the rosters can expand to 40 players. ... Chicago 1B Anthony Rizzo (lower back tightness) didn't start for the third straight game. He suffered the injury Tuesday night at Cincinnati, leaving a rain-delayed game in what was described as a precautionary move. ... The Cardinals will bring up LHP Marco Gonzalez from Triple-A Memphis to start the night portion of Saturday's day-night doubleheader. They also announced that OF Shane Robinson (shoulder) underwent season-ending surgery Thursday.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Yankees score five in seventh to defeat Blue Jays
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- The New York Yankees usually have their way with Mark Buehrle.

    • It just took them a little longer to get to the Toronto Blue Jays left-hander on Friday.

      After struggling for six innings, the Yankees struck for five runs in the seventh inning to defeat the Blue Jays 6-3 in the opener of a three-game series.

      "We weren't doing much off of Buehrle and then we got to him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's happened a couple of times where he's shut us down for a while and then we've been able to put some hits together."

      A two-run homer by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury against left-handed reliever Aaron Loup capped the seventh for the Yankees.

      Buehrle is 1-13 in 20 career starts against the Yankees (70-63) and his only win came on April 10, 2004.

      "I started missing some pitches there in the seventh and didn't get away with them," Buehrle said. "The first six innings is the most I've been locked in and location wise hitting my spots for a lot of the season."

      Left-hander Chris Capuano (2-3) picked up his first win in seven starts since joining the Yankees from the Colorado Rockies on July 24. He allowed eight hits and three runs (two earned) in 6 1/3 innings.

      Ellsbury also had a triple and third baseman Chase Headley hit a homer, his third as a Yankee and 10th overall, against Dustin McGowan in the ninth.

      Right fielder Jose Bautista homered for the third consecutive game for the Blue Jays (67-67) in the fourth inning.

      Buehrle allowed seven hits and four runs in six-plus innings and has just one win since June 1.

      With Toronto leading 1-0, Yankees catcher Brian McCann led off the seventh inning with a double to right center. Designated hitter Carlos Beltran walked. Center fielder Brett Gardner doubled to right to tie the game. Beltran continued home and Gardner moved to third on an error on the relay throw by second baseman Steve Tolleson.

      Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki beat out an infield single while Gardner held third. Loup replaced Buehrle and struck out pinch-hitter Headley. But with Ellsbury batting, Toronto catcher Dioner Navarro attempted a pickoff throw to third that resulted in an error that scored Gardner. Ellsbury then hit his 14th homer to right to increase the lead to 5-1.

      The Yankees spoke highly of Buehrle. "He's a handful," shortstop Derek Jeter said. "He knows what he's doing. He keeps you off balance, he never really throws a pitch over the plate. ... It's not like we're all running to the bat racks because Buehrle is pitching. He's got great stuff and he's a competitor."

      "You know it coming into the game, but I don't go out there and think about it," Buehrle said of his troubles against the Yankees. "I guess, if anything, it's they've owned me my whole career and I'm due for a win. Just one of those teams I can't seem to figure out."

      Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar doubled after designated hitter Colby Rasmus walked in the home seventh to cut the Yankees' lead to 5-2. Toronto had runners at the corners after Jeter was charged with a throwing error on a grounder by Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes. Right-hander Adam Warren replaced Capuano.

      Pillar scored the second run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to left by Toronto left fielder Melky Cabrera.

      Yankees closer David Robertson entered the game with two out in the eighth after pinch-hitter Munenori Kawasaki singled against left-hander Josh Outman. Robertson struck out Rasmus to end the eighth and pitched the ninth for his 35th save.

      "We had a chance to add on, we had first and third with one out (in the fifth) and we had some shots later but we really couldn't get a lot of offense happening," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Buehrle was damn good tonight. We've just got to swing our way out of it. We're better hitters than we're producing as a whole."

      NOTES: The Blue Jays will recognize Yankees SS Derek Jeter with a presentation before Sunday's game, which will be his last at Rogers Centre. ... Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow (torn tendon sheath in right index finger) will move from Class A Dunedin to Triple-A Buffalo to make his second rehabilitation assignment on Saturday. ... Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (right elbow inflammation) experienced general arm soreness on Friday and will return to New York for further strengthening work. ... The Yankees selected LHP Josh Outman from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and designated for assignment LHP Rich Hill before Friday's game. ... Blue Jays CF Colby Rasmus (illness) returned Friday as designated hitter after missing two games. OF Kevin Pillar started his third straight game in center field. ... New York RHP Michael Pineda (3-2, 1.95 ERA) will start Saturday against Toronto RHP Drew Hutchison (8-11, 4.68 ERA).

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Harrison comes through again in Pirates' 2-1 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    PITTSBURGH -- The sellout crowd at PNC Park began chanting "M-V-P, M-V-P," though the fans weren't serenading Andrew McCutchen, the winner of last year's National League Most Valuable Player.

    • McCutchen is still the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates' franchise, but Josh Harrison, the utility player-turned-third baseman, has become a folk hero by hitting .308 with 12 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 108 games after beginning the season as the last man off the bench.

      Harrison starred again Friday night as he tripled in the tying run and scored the winning run on right fielder Jose Tabata's single in the eighth inning as the Pirates rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

      Harrison had three hits and finished a home run shy of the cycle in helping the Pirates to their sixth win in their last eight games. They entered the day four games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central race and two games in back of the San Francisco Giants for the second wild card.

      "It's very humbling," Harrison said of the crowd reaction. "I'm very grateful. I'm just out there trying to help any way possible. I was presented with a lot of opportunities tonight."

      Harrison made a number of outstanding defensive plays, the best coming in the seventh inning with the game scoreless and Pirates starter Edinson Volquez having just lost his no-hit bid by giving up consecutive singles to catcher Deven Mesoraco and right fielder Jay Bruce to begin the inning.

      Third baseman Kris Negron hit a ball hard down the third-base line. Harrison dived, made a backhanded stop with his bare hand, stepped on third base to force Mesoraco and then threw a one-hopper across the diamond to complete the double play.

      "Another chapter in the Josh Harrison story," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "You can watch a lot of Major League Baseball games and be hard pressed to find a better all-around game than he had tonight."

      Tabata, starting in right field for injured Travis Snider, finished with two hits.

      Tony Watson (10-1) got the win despite giving up a go-ahead single to the Mesoraco, the only batter he faced, in the top of the eighth inning. Mesaroco's single snapped a scoreless tie, but the inning ended when second baseman Brandon Phillips was thrown out at home plate.

      Volquez was charged with one run and three hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out six in his seventh start in a row without a loss. Volquez also retired 11 straight batters between the second and fifth innings.

      Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 25th save.

      The Pirates' ERA is 2.15 in their last eight games.

      "It was a very impressive outing," Hurdle said. "It wasn't his best fastball, but he kept it down and no-hit them for six innings without the best stuff we've seen from him."

      Reds starter Mike Leake pitched seven innings and did not allow a run for a second consecutive start after holding the Atlanta Braves scoreless for 6 2/3 innings last Saturday. Yet the right-hander wound up with a no-decision.

      Pittsburgh got six hits off Leake, who had no walks and one strikeout. He has gone 12 straight starts since last losing to the Pirates.

      "Volquez pitched a great game and Leaky matched him inning for inning," said Mesoraco, who had two of the Reds' four hits. "They both pitched great games and it was unfortunate we couldn't get a win for our guy."

      The Pirates' winning rally came against reliever Jonathan Broxton (4-2) and sent the Reds to just their second loss in their last six games.

      Pinch-hitter Andrew Lambo, recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis before the game, singled off first baseman Todd Frazier's glove with one out and then Harrison and Tabata followed with their hits.

      "It was really one pitch that hurt me," Broxton said. "Harrison hit one off the right-field wall, but the other two hits were ground balls."

      NOTES: Pittsburgh recalled 1B-OF Andrew Lambo from Triple-A Indianapolis and, in a procedural move, optioned RHP Gerrit Cole to rookie-level Bristol to clear a roster spot. Cole will remain with the Pirates and be recalled Monday to start at St. Louis when the major league roster limit expands from 25 to 40. ... Pirates 1B Pedro Alvarez (sprained left foot) and RF Travis Snider (left hamstring discomfort) were both out of the starting lineup, necessitating the call-up of Lambo. ... Cincinnati RHP Alfredo Simon (13-8, 3.26 ERA) will face Pittsburgh Vance Worley (5-4, 3.14 ERA) on Saturday afternoon

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Newcomers boost Red Sox past Rays
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox dealt away much of their core at the non-waiver trade deadline to prepare for the future. The future arrived early on Friday.

    • Rookie right-hander Anthony Ranaudo remained perfect as a big-leaguer and fellow newcomer Mookie Betts hit a grand slam as the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-4 at Tropicana Field in the first game of a series uncharacteristically devoid of postseason importance.

      While the Rays continued to harbor unlikely playoff aspirations, Boston looked more like a team moving on with its next phase.

      Boston improved to 59-75 in winning for the third time in four games. Meanwhile, the Rays, who until this week fostered flickering playoff hopes, fell to 65-70, losing for the ninth time in their last 13 games. Tampa Bay entered play eight games out of the second American League wild-card spot.

      "I'm hoping we can catch our second wind, or you know, the third or fourth one," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We need it. We need to straighten this out rather quickly. That was not a good game tonight."

      Ranaudo, who has won all three of his big league starts, allowed three earned runs, five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in six innings. Ranaudo, who was named the International League Most Valuable Pitcher after leading the circuit in wins (14) and ERA (2.61), was hardly threatened by the punchless Rays.

      "It's pretty remarkable," Ranaudo said. "It seems every time I get the ball, the team's doing a really good job offensively."

      Left fielder Brandon Guyer knocked in three of Tampa Bay's runs with a two-run homer and ninth-inning single off reliever Edward Mujica.

      Boston ripped Rays starter Chris Archer for eight runs in the first two innings, with Betts delivering a grand slam in the second on his third homer of the season.

      In a season of firsts, his first grand slam in memory became a special moment, the diminutive Betts said.

      "I can't tell you the last time I hit one," said Betts, who at 21 years is the youngest Red Sox player to hit a grand slam since 20-year-old Tony Conigliaro in 1965. "I don't remember even hitting one in high school, so that one was pretty enjoyable."

      The Red Sox scored five times off the right-hander in the second inning as he labored with command. He walked only two and hit a batter but consistently left hittable pitches in the strike zone that the Red Sox punished.

      It was an emphatic end to a stellar streak for Archer, who allowed one earned run or fewer in four consecutive starts, one short of the club record. Archer had also not allowed a homer in 36 consecutive innings since Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz hit a three-run blast against him at Tropicana Field on July 27 that prompted sniping between the players on the decorum of admiring long balls.

      Archer (8-7) lasted just four innings, allowing seven earned runs and 10 hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He is 1-4 with a 6.03 ERA in seven career starts against Boston.

      "I've been pitching really well, but it sucks to let the team down," Archer said. "I'm disappointed in myself because I'm capable of much, much more than that."

      Boston took a 3-0 lead in an odd first inning. Shortstop Brock Holt led off with a single and second baseman Dustin Pedroia followed with a walk before Archer won a brief respite by retiring nemesis Ortiz on a flyout. But left fielder Yoenis Cespedes flared a single to right for a 1-0 and right fielder Daniel Nava fought an 0-2 pitch into left for another run-scoring single and a 2-0 lead with two out.

      Archer prolonged the inning when he muffed a routine chopper by Betts and a third run scored when second baseman Ben Zobrist fielded a Will Middlebrooks liner slowed by Archer and bounced a throw to first base for an error that was later re-scored as a hit.

      "We had very good at-bats in those first two, three innings," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We drove up the pitch count, a lot of hard contact and Anthony Ranaudo made it stand up."

      Tampa Bay recovered a run to trail 8-1 in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by right center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. Guyer's third homer of the season, a two-run shot off Ranaudo in the fifth, trimmed the deficit to 8-3.

      NOTES: Rays CF Desmond Jennings (left knee soreness) was scratched moments before the game and replaced as leadoff hitter by Brandon Guyer. ... Boston rookie SS Xander Bogaerts rejoined the team after completing concussion protocols. Red Sox manager John Farrell said "everything points to him being activated" on Saturday. ... Rays manager Joe Maddon said LHP Drew Smyly, acquired in a deadline deal for LHP David Price, might make only two or three more starts. He has reached a career-high 141 1/3 innings. Price is slated to pitch against Boston on Monday. ... Tampa Bay has allowed five grand slams this season. Only Arizona (6) has allowed more. ... OF Carlos Rivero walked in his major league debut for Boston.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Upton powers Braves to win over Marlins
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- Justin Upton is starting to make a late push for Most Valuable Player consideration in the National League.

    • The left fielder hit his 26th homer and drove in three runs as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Miami Marlins 5-2 on Friday night at Turner Field.

      Upton has seven homers and 28 of his 91 RBIs in August while raising his batting average for the season to .288.

      "He's getting some great at-bats," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You're seeing those hot streaks (of his) going longer and longer. He's maturing as a hitter."

      Upton, who has 17 homers at home, hit a two-run blast in the sixth inning and had then delivered an RBI single in the seventh as the Braves (71-64) broke a tie with three runs against the bullpen of the Marlins (65-68).

      "The guys are getting on base in front of me," said Upton, who has a career high for RBIs. "When you drive in runs, it's not just you."

      Chris Hatcher (0-2) took the loss after giving up a bunt single to shortstop Andrelton Simmons leading off the seventh inning and then a hit off first baseman's Garrett Jones' glove to pinch-hitter Ramiro Pena.

      "To win games at this time of year, you have to make plays," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said.

      Left-hander Mike Dunn came in to face Jason Heyward, who has struggled mightily against lefties this season. However, the right fielder grounded an RBI single through the infield to break the tie and Upton followed with a two-out single against Sam Dyson. The third run of the inning scored when Marlins center fielder Marcel Ozuna booted the ball.

      "That hit by Jason off a tough lefty like Dunn was big," Gonzalez said.

      David Carpenter (5-3) was credited with the victory, although he allowed a tying homer to pinch-hitter Jordanny Valdespin in the top of the seventh. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 40th save in 44 chances, allowing one hit but getting a double play.

      The Marlins used three straight hits to go up 1-0 in the sixth inning against Braves starter Ervin Santana. Ozuna, who had three hits, followed one-out singles by third baseman Casey McGehee and Jones by dropping in a double down the right-field line. Jones was out at the plate, but Miami had a lead.

      That changed quickly in the bottom of the inning. Marlins starter Tom Kohler walked first baseman Freddie Freeman leading off and smashed a 1-1 fastball deep over the fence in distant center field.

      "There are just so many fastballs that Justin is going to miss," Kohler said. "Unfortunately, that wasn't one of them."

      The Marlins tied it off Carpenter in the seventh as Valdespin, pinch hitting for Kohler, swung late on a 95 mph, 1-1 fastball and lined a homer just over the fence in left field.

      Santana, who came in 6-0 with a 2.66 ERA at home since June, allowed five hits and a run in six innings in the no-decision. The right-hander struck out seven and walked four -- three in the first inning.

      Kohler allowed four hits and two runs in his six innings, the only mistake by the right-hander was Upton's homer. He struck out six and walked three.

      Santana walked three straight batters with one out in a 32-pitch first inning, but he got out of the jam after a visit from pitching coach Roger McDowell and then found his groove.

      "It was a long inning, but I was just getting comfortable with my pitches," Santana said. "After that, everything was better."

      NOTES: RF Jason Heyward received his plaque as the Braves' winner of the Heart and Hustle Award from the Major League Baseball Players' Alumni Association. ... The Braves were 6-4 during an 11-day trip that ended Thursday and return to the road for nine games in 10 days after a pair of three-game series against the Marlins and Philadelphia. ... The stop in Atlanta concludes a nine-game, 10-day trip for the Marlins, who host the Braves in Miami next weekend. ... The Marlins, who were off Thursday, went 1-2 against both the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Angels to open their trip. ... RHP Jarred Cosart, 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in four starts since being acquired from the Houston Astros, will start for the Marlins on Saturday against Braves RHP Aaron Harang (10-8).

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Mets take advantage of mistakes in win over Phillies
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Without some gift runs Friday night, the scuffling New York Mets might have fallen into last place in the National League East for the first time in two months. The Philadelphia Phillies provided the Mets the help they needed -- and with it ample evidence why the Phillies have been in the NL East cellar for those two months.

    • The Mets broke a tie by taking advantage of multiple mistakes by the Phillies during a three-run seventh inning that fueled a 4-1 win at Citi Field.

      The Mets, who were last in last place on June 27 -- the most recent day in which the Phillies were not in last place -- have scored more than three runs just 13 times in 40 games since the All-Star break.

      "We were pretty pumped up in the dugout," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We haven't been scoring. You take every gift you can get right now."

      The seventh inning was Christmas morning for the Mets, who loaded the bases via two walks and a hit batsman. With two outs, center fielder Juan Lagares lofted a seemingly routine fly to left field, but Grady Sizemore dropped the ball as he squeezed the glove shut.

      "Looked to me like three players surrounded it and he called it," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "One of those unfortunate things, and they scored the runs with no hits."

      Left fielder Matt den Dekker and shortstop Wilmer Flores raced home to give the Mets a 3-1 lead while Eric Campbell, who walked as a pinch-hitter, ended up at third.

      "Routine play, had it the whole way, saw it fine, was under it, just missed it," Sizemore said. "It does not get much worse than that."

      Three pitches later, Lagares took off for second and Campbell bolted for home when catcher Carlos Ruiz threw to second. Campbell beat the throw home from shortstop Jimmy Rollins and slid in ahead of the tag for the Mets' first steal of home since Jason Pridie did it on May 15, 2011.

      "We had to look at the guy at third there," Sandberg said.

      The steal was just the second in 67 big league games for Campbell, who never stole more than 12 bases in a single minor league season.

      "Right now that's the kind of break that we need, until we get it going offensively," Campbell said.

      The unusual rally made a winner out of right-hander Jacob deGrom, whose night ended when Campbell pinch-hit for him. DeGrom (7-6) allowed an unearned run on four hits and two walks while striking out five over seven innings.

      It was the first win since Aug. 2 for deGrom, who missed two starts due to right rotator cuff tendinitis. He is 7-2 with a 2.12 ERA over his last 11 starts. The Mets have scored four runs or less in eight of those starts.

      "Again, (he's) walking that tightrope (where) you can't make a mistake because you don't have hardly any runs on the board," Collins said of deGrom. "He's unfazed by that. He just goes out and does the best he can."

      Right-handers Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia (20th save) each tossed a scoreless inning to preserve the win.

      Catcher Travis d'Arnaud had an RBI single in the fourth for the Mets (63-72), who are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies (61-73).

      Mets second baseman Dilson Herrera went 0-for-3 with an error in his major league debut. He is expected to play every day while All-Star Daniel Murphy recovers from a calf strain.

      Phillies third baseman Cody Asche had an RBI single in the seventh inning, which was extended by a throwing error by Mets first baseman Lucas Duda. Second baseman Chase Utley had two singles.

      Left-hander Jake Diekman (3-4) took the loss in relief of right-hander David Buchanan, who allowed one run, four hits and one walk while striking out three in six innings.

      NOTES: Mets 2B Dilson Herrera made his major league debut one year and two days after he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates along with a player to be named in exchange for C John Buck and OF Marlon Byrd, the latter of whom now plays for the Phillies. The player to be named in the deal was RHP Vic Black, whom the Mets placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. ... Herrera might take over at second base for a while because both manager Terry Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson indicated 2B Daniel Murphy needs more than a minimum stay on the disabled list. ... Manager Ryne Sandberg said the Phillies could promote five or six players once rosters expand Monday. ... Phillies RHP David Buchanan is the first Georgia State University alum to reach the major leagues.

  • Saturday, August 30, 2014
    Davis flexes muscle as Orioles pound Twins
    By The Sports Xchange

    BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis isn't hitting for average, but he's certainly still showing his power.

    • He did it again on Friday night. Davis hit his second grand slam of the season, and Delmon Young added a two-run homer as the Baltimore Orioles posted a 9-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

      Davis has a .189 average after going 1-for-3 against the Twins. In fact, most of Davis' recent hits have been timely homers even though his average keeps sliding. All three of the hits he's had in the first five games of this home stand have been homers.

      Seven of his 14 hits in August also have been home runs. Despite the low average, Davis still has 24 homers and 67 RBIs.

      "I'm real proud of the way he's continued to fight through it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "A lot of people could have or would have given in, but he hasn't."

      Davis has struggled at the plate much of the season. His average has stayed below .200 for several days now, and Showalter often bats him seventh.

      That's where Davis hit on Friday, and he came up with the bases loaded in the fourth inning and crushed 3-1 pitch from Twins starter Trevor May into the seats in right to give the Orioles (77-56) a 5-0 lead.

      "There have been games where I've had a rough couple of first at bats and I've come up late and hit a home run or had a big hit," Davis said. "I think that's the way you kind of have to approach it when you're not swinging the bat the way you want to all the time."

      The Davis homer proved to be the big hit in a five-run inning that gave the Orioles and starter Miguel Gonzalez (7-7) command of the game. May (0-4) gave up eight runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings in his fourth career start.

      The Orioles maintained their seven-game lead over the Yankees in the American League East. .

      The right-hander struck out the side in the second and fourth and finished with eight strikeouts overall. But he looked rattled on the mound after hitting two batters and giving up a single to start the fourth.

      "It was a learning experience for him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's got to learn to control his emotions. You hit a guy, you've just got to get back out there and take a deep breath and go at it. We could obviously see from the dugout that he was really cranked up out there, and it didn't work in his favor."

      Young added a two-run homer in the fifth that ended May's outing and gave the Orioles an 8-0 lead, more than enough cushion for Gonzalez.

      The right-hander ran into little trouble during his seven-inning stint, allowing just one run and four hits and rarely running into trouble.

      "It's definitely better to pitch with that type of lead," Gonzalez said. "I thought our offense did a good job later in the game. Our offense and defense was great, and that's what [we need]."

      Gonzalez also struck out six and walked only one. The defense didn't have to do much, but second baseman Jonathan Schoop made a great running catch of first baseman Kennys Vargas' bloop down the right field line in the sixth inning.

      The Twins (59-75) did get their 10,000th home run in franchise history when third baseman Trevor Plouffe hit a solo shot off Gonzalez in the top of the seventh inning for their lone run.

      Both offenses were quiet until the Orioles took advantage of May's wildness in the bottom of the fourth inning.

      Third baseman Jimmy Paredes, who entered the game in the top of the inning after first baseman Steve Pearce (right abdominal strain) left, started the rally with a single to right. That was his first hit as an Oriole -- he was called up Thursday. May then hit both center fielder Adam Jones and designated hitter Nelson Cruz to load the bases.

      May struck out Young before shortstop J.J. Hardy brought in the game's first run with a walk. Davis then hit a 3-1 pitch into the seats in right field for the grand slam and a 5-0 lead.

      NOTES: Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he still has LHP Wei-Yin Chen and RHP Kevin Gausman penciled in to start Sunday and Monday, respectively, against the Twins even though both were optioned to the Gulf Coast League in a bit of a roster shuffle this week. There's still a chance that could change, depending upon how the bullpen is needed. ... The Orioles have been in first place throughout August. From 1998 to 2013, the team was in first place for a total of just nine days at any point past Aug. 1. ... This is Minnesota's first trip to Baltimore since the first week of the 2013 season. The Twins took two of three from the Orioles in Minnesota on May 2-4, the only times they've met this year. ... 1B Kennys Vargas is first among all rookies in the majors with 24 RBIs in August. Plus, he ranks fourth among all players. Houston's Chris Carter leads with 29.

  • Friday, August 29, 2014
    Season over for Mariners player who attacked scout
    By The Sports Xchange

    Seattle Mariners minor league catcher/first baseman Jesus Montero, on a rehab assignment with short-season Everett at Boise, will not play again this season after he went after a cross-checker scout with a bat during Thursday's game when the scout heckled him.

    • According to MiLB.com, Montero went into the stands with a bat after the scout ordered him to hustle off the field in Spanish and had an ice cream sandwich sent to him in the dugout.

      Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik called the behavior of Montero and cross-checker Butch Baccala "unacceptable" and "embarrassing."

      "We are extremely disappointed in both of their actions. It is unacceptable," Zduriencik said. "This organization doesn't condone that type of behavior. It is being addressed as we speak. There are no excuses for either party. We have none. We don't intend to make any. It's something that is extremely disappointing and embarrassing for the organization and for those two individuals."

      Baccala, who was overseeing other Mariners scouts, was apparently teasing Montero about his weight. Montero had reported to spring training 40 pounds overweight. At the time of the incident, Montero was acting as first base coach.

      After exchanging words, Montero had to be physically restrained when he tried to enter the stands where the scout was sitting while carrying a bat in his hands. Montero swore at the scout, threw the ice cream sandwich at him and then was pulled back by Everett pitching coach Nasusel Cabrera, according to the Boise official scorer.

      Montero was not ejected from the game. He remained in the Everett dugout until the end of the contest. Everett won 13-8.

      Montero joined the Everett squad in Boise early this week and was scheduled to be placed on the roster Friday.

      Montero, 24, is batting .286 with 16 home runs and 74 RBIs in 97 games with Triple-A Tacoma this season.

  • Friday, August 29, 2014
    MLB roundup: Cards' Molina returns from DL
    By The Sports Xchange

    St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Friday night's game against the Chicago Cubs.

    • Molina had been sidelined since July after having right thumb surgery. To make room for him on the roster, the Cardinals optioned catcher Tony Cruz to Double-A Springfield.

      The 32-year-old Molina tore ligaments in the sliding into third base on July 9 and had the surgery two days later. At the time, he was batting .287 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs in 83 games and 335 plate appearances.

      The six-time All-Star went 5-for-6 at the plate with three doubles and two RBIs in two rehab games with Springfield.

      ---Colorado Rockies left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa was claimed and blocked on waivers, meaning he will not be traded prior to Monday's deadline, CBSSports.com reported.

      It is not known which team claimed De La Rosa, but it was apparently done to block a trade to a possible contender. He apparently will stay in Colorado though the season.

      The Rockies looked to trade De La Rosa before the non-waiver deadline in July, but he will now head into free agency, where the Rockies intend to make him a qualifying offer before trying to re-sign him.

      De La Rose has a 4.19 ERA and 13-9 record in 154 2/3 innings this season.

      ---The New Yankees placed left-handed pitcher Josh Outman on the 25-man roster, one day after acquiring him from the Cleveland Indians.

      The Indians traded Outman to the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

      Outman, 29, was 3-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 23 appearances (one start) at Triple-A Columbus this season. He will be available out of the bullpen beginning Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays

      The Yankees also designated pitcher Rich Hill for assignment to clear a spot on the active roster for Outman.

      ---Seattle Mariners minor league catcher/first baseman Jesus Montero, on a rehab assignment with short-season Everett at Boise, went after a cross-checker scout with a bat during Thursday's game after the scout heckled him.

      According to MiLB.com, Montero went into the stands with a bat after the scout ordered him to hustle off the field in Spanish and had an ice cream sandwich sent to him in the dugout.

      The cross-checker, who was overseeing other Mariners scouts, was apparently teasing Montero about his weight. Montero had reported to spring training 40 pounds overweight. At the time of the incident, Montero was acting as first base coach.

      After exchanging words, Montero had to be physically restrained when he tried to enter the stands where the scout was sitting while carrying a bat in his hands. Montero swore at the scout, threw the ice cream sandwich at him and then was pulled back by Everett pitching coach Nasusel Cabrera, according to the Boise official scorer.

      ---Texas Rangers first baseman/outfielder Jim Adduci was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list after he slammed his head on the warning track following a catch in foul territory Thursday night.

      To replace Adduci on the active roster, the Rangers purchased the contract of infielder/outfielder Ryan Rua from Triple-A Round Rock.

      Left-hander Derek Holland (left knee) will be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday and will make his first start of the season at Kansas City.

  • Friday, August 29, 2014
    Cardinals C Molina returns from DL
    By The Sports Xchange

    St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Friday night's game against the Chicago Cubs.

    • Molina had been sidelined since July after having right thumb surgery. To make room for him on the roster, the Cardinals optioned catcher Tony Cruz to Double-A Springfield.

      The 32-year-old Molina tore ligaments in the sliding into third base on July 9 and had the surgery two days later. At the time, he was batting .287 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs in 83 games and 335 plate appearances.

      The six-time All-Star went 5-for-6 at the plate with three doubles and two RBIs in two rehab games with Springfield.

      The Cardinals entered Friday's play trailing the first-place Milwaukee Brewers by 1 1/2 games in the National League Central.

  • Friday, August 29, 2014
    Yankees activate LHP Outman
    By The Sports Xchange

    The New Yankees placed left-handed pitcher Josh Outman on the 25-man roster, one day after acquiring him from the Cleveland Indians.

    • The Indians traded Outman to the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

      Outman, 29, was 3-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 23 appearances (one start) at Triple-A Columbus this season. He will be available out of the bullpen beginning Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays

      The Yankees also designated pitcher Rich Hill for assignment to clear a spot on the active roster for Outman. Hill appeared in six games for the Yankees as a lefty specialist, allowing just two hits in 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

  • Friday, August 29, 2014
    Rockies' De La Rosa blocked on waivers
    By The Sports Xchange

    Colorado Rockies left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa was claimed and blocked on waivers, meaning he will not be traded prior to Monday's deadline, CBSSports.com reported Friday.

    • It is not known which team claimed De La Rosa, but it was apparently done to block a trade to a possible contender. He apparently will stay in Colorado though the season.

      The Rockies looked to trade De La Rosa before the non-waiver deadline in July, but he will now head into free agency, where the Rockies intend to make him a qualifying offer before trying to re-sign him.

      De La Rose has a 4.19 ERA and 13-9 record in 154 2/3 innings this season. He is 9-2 with a 3.19 ERA this year at Coors Field, and 44-14 with a 4.03 ERA lifetime.

  • Friday, August 29, 2014
    Cardinals confident Lackey will deliver
    By The Sports Xchange

    When the St. Louis Cardinals dealt for John Lackey at the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline from the Boston Red Sox, it was as much about shaking things up as adding a frontline starting pitcher.

    • General manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny felt the Cardinals had gotten stale after winning the National League pennant last season. Despite being the big favorite to win the NL Central again this season, St. Louis fell behind the Milwaukee Brewers early and still trails with a month left in the season.

      However, an interesting offshoot of the trade, it that Lackey would be the Cardinals' No. 1 starter if the postseason started today because ace right-hander Adam Wainwright is having a poor second half since starting for the NL last month in the All-Star Game at Minneapolis.

      Lackey is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts for the Cardinals. However giving up nine in five innings to the Baltimore Orioles in his second start skewed his ERA. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in his other four outings.

      The Cardinals know what Lackey can do in big-game situations after being closed out by him in Game 6 of last season's World Series as he gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings.

      "Winning big games was part of the plan when we traded for him," Matheny said.

      Lackey had spent his entire 12-year career in the American League but has made a smooth transition to the NL.

      "I'm still learning the lineups over here but my game plan is to go with my strengths first then adjust from there," Lackey said.

      Conversely, though he has spent his entire nine-year career in the NL, it would be difficult to ask Wainwright to win a big game in October with the way he is pitching. He is 3-5 with a 4.68 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break after going 12-4 with a 1.83 ERA in 19 first-half starts.

      Wainwright turned in a quality start Wednesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowed three runs in six innings, but still took the loss. Afterward, he acknowledged he hasn't been feeling right in recent weeks.

      "I've been going through a ‘dead arm' phase; everybody does that," Wainwright said. "You have to find a way to get outs. Most of the time I found ways to get outs. It's not pretty. I know I'm close. This month is over for me. I'm ready to move on to September and build off the few good pitches I threw."

      If he doesn't, the matter of who pitches first game of the postseason for the Cardinals will be moot.

      AROUND THE HORN

      --Gregory Polanco was supposed to boost the Pittsburgh Pirates' chances of returning to the postseason for a second straight year when he was called up June 10 from Triple-A Indianapolis.

      He did at first, hitting .344 in 14 games. However, he gradually went into a slide that grew to the point that it forced the Pirates to send him back to Indianapolis on Monday.

      Polanco's slump extended to 1-for-30 over his last nine games Sunday when the 22-year-old went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in a 4-3 loss to the Brewers at Milwaukee. That dropped his batting average to .241 through 64 games after he hit .347 in 62 games with Indianapolis before being called up.

      The plan is for Polanco to return to the Pirates on Sept. 2, the day after Indianapolis' season ends.

      "The timing is off on his swing, and I don't think the best way for him to spend the next week is sitting on the bench," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "This is an opportunity for him to get down, get some at-bats and get out of the spotlight that has been here for a week and find his way. I believe he will, and he will come back and help this ballclub in September in a positive way."

      --Another highly touted rookie right fielder who cooled after a hot start, though he still hit for power, is the Houston Astros' George Springer, who batted .268 with 10 home runs in his first 38 games after being called up from Triple-A Round Rock on April 16.

      Springer then hit .192 with 10 homers in his next 42 games and has been on the disabled list with a right quad strain since July 20. The Astros hope he will be able to play again this season, though there are no guarantees.

      "I want to get to the point where he has no limitations," manager Bo Porter said. "You don't want to get into September and him have a setback and then you're talking about something that lingers into the offseason and then next year because you're talking about a guy who can be an MVP."

      Springer admits that going from the cover of Sports Illustrated to more than a month of inactivity in the same season has been difficult.

      "I feel like I'm missing out on everything," he said.

      --The Cleveland Indians have not given up hope of making a repeat appearances in the postseason but they are trying to pull off the unique feat of contending and retooling simultaneously.

      The Indians traded right-hander Justin Masterson and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera last month. The player they got back from the National for Cabrera, shortstop Zach Walters, has hit six home runs in 14 games while serving primarily as the designated hitter.

      The Indians' youth movement was summed up last Saturday night when they scored a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Astros 3-2. Pinch hitter Tyler Holt hit a leadoff single, was bunted to second by catcher Roberto Perez and scored on shortstop Jose Ramirez's single

      All three players involved in producing the winning run were rookies.

      "It's a fun way to mix in," manager Terry Francona said. "With the youth you need some patience, but you can also see what they can do."

      ---

      Senior writer John Perrotto is The Sports Xchange's baseball insider. He has covered Major League Baseball for 27 seasons.

  • Friday, August 29, 2014
    A's protest 10-inning loss to Angels
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Howie Kendrick turned out to be the hero for the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night -- unless Oakland A's manager Bob Melvin gets his way.

    • Kendrick's 10th-inning sacrifice fly to right field drove home Albert Pujols and gave the Angels a 4-3 win at Angel Stadium. However, Melvin and the A's filed a protest with the league office after the game based on an umpire's call on a strange play one inning earlier.

      Angels shortstop Erick Aybar led off the bottom of the ninth with a chopper up along the first base line. Pitcher Dan Otero and first baseman Brandon Moss converged, then collided as Otero fielded the ball. At the same time, Aybar ran into Otero and fell down, appearing to be tagged out.

      Plate umpire Greg Gibson ruled Aybar's path to the base was obstructed by Moss and awarded him first base. Melvin argued, then the four umpires met alone before sticking with the original call. Melvin said he was told by Gibson that Aybar has to have a clear lane to the base.

      "One, he's way out of the baseline, and two, he went to try to make contact with the fielder," Melvin said of Aybar. "So, hopefully (the protest) it's upheld. I can't see from where I am how far out of the baseline he was and how he went after the fielder and made contact with him, but it was pretty evident."

      Aybar said simply he had nowhere to run because both Otero and Moss were in his way.

      "I tried to keep moving, get away, but two guys were in front of me," Aybar said.

      As it turned out, the Angels didn't score in the inning, despite loading the bases with one out. Right fielder Kole Calhoun popped out and center fielder Mike Trout grounded into a force play, each missing a chance to be a hero.

      Kendrick, though, took advantage of his opportunity to win it one inning later.

      Pujols got the winning rally started with a leadoff walk against Oakland right-hander Ryan Cook. The Angels first baseman went to third on left fielder Josh Hamilton's single to center.

      Kendrick fell behind Cook 0-2 before working the count full and driving the ball deep enough to score Pujols.

      "I was really looking to hit that first pitch, but I kind of froze on it," Kendrick said. "Then I swung at a high pitch. Once it gets to two strikes, it's about battling and trying to get anything you can handle. He left one up, and I was able to drive one to right."

      The win moved the Angels (80-53) two games ahead of the A's (78-55) in the American League West, matching their biggest lead of the season. Each team has 29 games remaining, including six more against each other.

      Fernando Salas (5-0), the last of five Angels relievers, earned the victory by pitching a scoreless top of the 10th.

      Kendrick and Hamilton each had two hits for the Angels, while third baseman Josh Donaldson and center fielder Coco Crisp had two hits apiece for the A's. Donaldson homered in the sixth inning.

      Angels starter C.J. Wilson gave up three runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings, but he was unable to hold a 3-0 lead.

      "My location just kind of went away," Wilson said. "I was hitting spots the first couple innings, and after that it was a bit of a battle. I don't know if it was something I was doing wrong or if the ball was moving too much. I was very close, but I was not throwing strikes to get ahead in the count, and it burned me."

      A's starter Sonny Gray worked his way through some rough innings early on, but he managed to go seven, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks, leaving the fate of the game to the bullpen.

      "I thought he recovered really well," Melvin said. "He was having some issues with command early and then recovered beautifully and gave us seven innings. That's a sign of a true competitor. Maybe early on you don't have your best stuff, but you're able to recover and give us seven."

      The Angels broke through against Gray in the second inning, getting consecutive singles from Hamilton, Kendrick and Aybar for a 1-0 lead. Third baseman Gordon Beckham capped the rally with a two-out, two-run single on an 0-2 pitch that put the Angels up 3-0.

      The A's got two runs in the fifth to get close, then tied it on Donaldson's 26th homer leading off the sixth. However, the Oakland offense stopped there, as the Angels' relief corps of Mike Morin, Kevin Jepsen, Joe Smith, Huston Street and Salas shutting down A's the rest of the way.

      "What are you going to do? You've got two good pitching teams and two evenly matched teams," Melvin said. "It was a great game, but obviously we didn't come out on the right end of it."

      NOTES: Angels LHP Wade LeBlanc, designated for assignment Tuesday, cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Triple-A Salt Lake. ... The Angels have not announced a starter for Saturday's game against the A's but are expected to choose either 38-year-old LHP Randy Wolf, who is currently at Salt Lake, or LHP Michael Roth, who is pitching for Double-A Arkansas. ... The A's flip-flopped their starters for the weekend, pushing LHP Scott Kazmir to Sunday and moving up RHP Jeff Samardzija to Saturday. Manager Bob Melvin said it was done to give Kazmir an extra day of rest. ... The A's optioned LHP Drew Pomeranz to Class A Beloit and recalled RHP Evan Scribner from Triple-A Sacramento. Pomeranz gave up one unearned run in 5 1/3 innings Wednesday against Houston but was replaced by Scribner so the club could have an extra arm in the bullpen for the series against the Angels.

  • Friday, August 29, 2014
    Game roundup: Kendrick sac fly gives Angels 10th-inning win
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Howie Kendrick's sacrifice fly to right field drove home Albert Pujols in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-3 win over the Oakland A's Thursday night at Angel Stadium.

    • The win moved the Angels two games ahead of the A's in the American League West, matching their biggest lead of the season. Each team has 29 games remaining, including six more against each other.

      Pujols got the winning rally started with a leadoff walk against Oakland right-hander Ryan Cook, and went to third on Josh Hamilton's single to center. Hendrick fell behind in the count 0-2 before working the count full and driving the ball deep enough to right field to score Pujols.

      Fernando Salas, the last of five Angels relievers, earned the victory with a scoreless inning in the top of the 10th.

      Tigers 3, Yankees 2

      DETROIT -- Alex Avila lined the first pitch he saw off the fence in right field to score pinch runner Bryan Holaday from second base and give Detroit a walk-off victory over New York.

      Victor Martinez lined a double over the shift into the right field corner leading off the ninth against losing reliever Shawn Kelley (2-5) and Holaday ran for him. Kelley struck out the next two hitters before Avila hit a deep fly that glanced high off the fence in right to drive in the winning run.

      Phil Coke (2-2) earned the win in relief. Rookie lefty Kyle Lobstein, making his first major league start and his second appearance, allowed four hits in his six innings of work for Detroit, with one of his two runs unearned.

      Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda went the first seven innings for New York, allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts.

      Giants 4, Rockies 1

      SAN FRANCISCO -- Yusmeiro Petit set a major-league record for consecutive batters retired while pitching San Francisco over Colorado.

      The Giants' third straight win allowed them to win the series 3-1 and move within 4 1/2 games of the idle Los Angeles Dodgers atop the National League West.

      Petit (4-3), promoted to the starting rotation earlier this week to fill the spot vacated by demoted Tim Lincecum, limited Colorado to one run and four hits in six innings. Making his seventh start of the year, he struck out a season-high nine and did not walk a batter.

      Petit etched his name into baseball lore by retiring the first eight Rockies he faced, extending his streak to 46 batters in eight appearances. That bettered the previous major league mark of 45 set in July 2009 by Mark Buehrle, then of the Chicago White Sox.

      Reds 7, Cubs 2

      CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati stole second base six times in the first four innings and four were turned into runs during a win over Chicago.

      Zack Cozart had three hits and two stolen bases, and Todd Frazier had two hits, two RBIs and two stolen bases, leading the Reds to their third win in their last four games. Billy Hamilton and Kristopher Negron each had one steal to help the Reds finish 4-3 on the home stand.

      Dylan Axelrod, whose first start for Cincinnati was postponed a day by a water main break outside of Coors Field in Denver on Aug. 16, needed 100 pitches to string together five two-hit shutout innings and earn his first major league win since Aug. 7, 2013. The right-hander (1-0) tied his career high with eight strikeouts while allowing three walks.

      Braves 6, Mets 1

      NEW YORK -- Mike Minor allowed four hits over seven-plus innings and contributed to a pair of run-scoring innings by Atlanta in over New York at Citi Field.

      The Braves won the final two games of the three-game series and remained 1 1/2 games behind San Francisco in the race for the National League’s second wild card.

      The Mets fell to 6-11 at home since the All-Star Break.

      Minor, who took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Cincinnati last Friday, retired the first 12 batters he faced before Mets first baseman Lucas Duda lined a single into left.

      Orioles 5, Rays 4

      BALTIMORE -- J.J. Hardy blooped an RBI single to short right field in the seventh inning that gave Baltimore a 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay.

      The Orioles stretched their American League East lead over the Yankees to seven games with 30 to play. Detroit beat New York 3-2 earlier in the day.

      Andrew Miller (4-5) threw 1 2/3 perfect innings of relief and got the win. Zach Britton replaced him in the ninth inning and locked up his 29th save.

      Astros 4, Rangers 2

      HOUSTON -- Collin McHugh produced his sixth consecutive start allowing two or fewer earned runs, leading Houston to a win over Texas at Minute Maid Park.

      McHugh (7-9) improved to 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in August by allowing two runs on eight hits with six strikeouts over seven innings. He did not walk a batter for the fifth time this season and third time this month while pitching at least seven innings for the sixth time in 2014.

      The Astros provided McHugh all the run support he needed when Jason Castro smacked his second career grand slam off right-hander Roman Mendez (0-1) in the fifth inning.

      Texas fell to 4-9 against Houston in the 2014 Lone Star Series and dropped deeper into the American League West cellar, four games behind the Astros.

      Indians 3, White Sox 2

      CHICAGO -- Cleveland is headed to Kansas City on a high note after beating Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field.

      Carlos Carrasco pitched 6 2/3 strong innings and struck out seven for the win, allowing one run and four hits, and right-handed closer Cody Allen got four outs for his 18th save. John Danks (9-9) started for Chicago and took the loss, yielding two runs and five hits in six innings.

      It was Cleveland's third straight series win and fifth in the past six (5-0-1). The Indians now head to the next stop on their road trip for a big series against the Royals, who are on top of the American League Central and lead third-place Cleveland by 5 1/2 games.

      Twins 11, Royals 5

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Brian Dozier and Jordan Schafer each drove in two runs in a six-run 10th as Minnesota toppled Kansas City.

      Bruce Chen (2-4) took the loss as the Twins sent 10 men to the plate in the 10th. Anthony Swarzak (3-1), the sixth of seven Minnesota pitchers, picked up the victory.

      Schaffer drove in four runs, matching his career best, and extended his hitting streak to eight games, also matching his career best, with three hits. Dozier and catcher Kurt Suzuki, who had two doubles, also had three hits.

  • Friday, August 29, 2014
    Royals acquire Nix off waivers from Pittsburgh
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals added Jayson Nix into the mix on Thursday as they acquired the veteran journeyman infielder off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    • Nix, who will likely join the club Saturday, hit .133 with one home run and three RBIs in 34 games this season with the Philadelphia Phillies and Pirates. He also hit .272 in 55 games with Durham, the Tampa Bay Rays' Triple-A affiliate.

      "We got another guy for depth in the infield," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We really love the job that Christian Colon has done, but going into September, we felt we needed another infielder for depth.

      "Jayson Nix is a veteran guy and has played in big markets and fits our mold here of players that we like to bring in."

      Nix, 32, has a .214 batting average in 459 games over seven years in the majors. When he arrives, probably Saturday, the Royals will have to make a roster move to put him on the 25-man roster.