Major League Baseball
MLB News Wire
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Padres' Johnson to undergo second Tommy John surgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    San Diego Padres right-hander Josh Johnson will undergo his second Tommy John surgery on Thursday, the team announced.

    • Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure. Johnson also had Tommy John surgery in 2007.

      In 16 starts and 81 1/3 innings for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, Johnson went 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA. He did manage to throw 191 1/3 innings with the Miami Marlins in 2012, but was limited to only 60 1/3 innings in 2011.

      The Padres signed Johnson to a one-year, $8 million contract during the offseason. Because he will make fewer than seven starts in 2014, the team gets a $4 million club option for 2015.

      Johnson, 30, was examined by Andrews on Tuesday. The visit was prompted by the Padres' concern that Johnson had not shown improvement since he was diagnosed with a strained flexor in his right forearm in March.

      "He was arguably pitching as well as anybody that we had in spring training," said Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch. "It's a big loss that he unfortunately never got off the ground, other than a few spring training starts. We all feel badly for JJ that he'll miss the rest of the year and leak into next year, too."

      The recovery timetable for pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery is typically between 12 and 18 months.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Diamondbacks 7, Cubs 5
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- Right-hander Jeff Samardzija finally got elusive run support but the Chicago Cubs failed to hold a late lead as the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied to a 7-5 victory on Wednesday.

    • The Diamondbacks snapped a four-game losing streak with five ninth-inning runs as the Cubs bullpen collapsed during a game marking Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary.

      Right-handed reliever Justin Grimm gave up a two-out triple to second basemen Aaron Hill that scored catcher Miguel Montero and third baseman Martin Prado open a 7-5 lead.

      Hill went 4-for-5 with two RBIs while right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-4) picked up his first win after working two scoreless innings. Right-hander Pedro Strop (0-2) took the loss in his fifth appearance.

      Wednesday's game was the 7,883rd game at Wrigley Field since the Chicago Federals hosted the Kansas City Packers in an April 23, 1914 debut at Weeghman Park.

      The Cubs moved in two years later and the name was changed to Cubs Park. The Wrigley Field name was adopted in 1927.

      As part of centennial festivities, the Cubs wore Federals throwback uniforms while the Diamondbacks were clad in Packers attire.

      The Diamondbacks claimed a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Montera scored as shortstop Chris Owings grounded into a fielder's choice with one out.

      The Cubs used a three-run outburst to claim a fifth-inning lead.

      Second baseman Darwin Barney brought home third baseman Mike Olt on what started as a sacrifice to first. Barney was safe and reached second on a throwing error by Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt that also moved catcher Welington Castillo to third.

      Samardzija's sacrifice to right-center drove in Castillo for a 2-1 lead. Center fielder Emilio Bonifacio's fielder's choice tap to starter Wade Miley brought home Barney to make it 3-1.

      The Diamondbacks got one run back in the sixth as left fielder Cody Ross' RBI single scored Goldschmidt from second.

      Right fielder Justin Ruggiano lined a 372-foot homer to right with none out in the sixth -- his first of the season -- and drove in first baseman Anthony Rizzo for a 5-2 lead.

      Miley was then replaced by right-hander Brad Ziegler. Miley, who had no decision, lasted five innings and gave up four hits, three earned runs while walking three and striking out seven .

      Samardzija worked 7 1/3 innings and departed with runners on first and second, but right-handed reliever Hector Rondon ended the inning without any damage.

      Strop walked Owings to open the ninth. A potential double-play grounder by center fielder Tony Campana was bobbled by Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, leaving runners at first and second with none out.

      Strop then walked pinch hitter Eric Chavez to load the bases for leadoff batter Gerardo Parra, representing the lead run.

      Parra struck out on a full count but Prado singled up the middle to score Owings and Campana to cut the Cubs' lead to 5-4 while A.J. Pollock -- running for Chavez -- reached third.

      Strop struck out Goldschmidt and was pulled for left-hander James Russell, who gave up a run-scoring single to Montero who drove home Pollock for a 5-5 tie.

      Ruggiano, the Cubs right fielder, fell on the right field line while pursuing Hill's two-RBI triple. He was assisted off the field and his condition was not immediately known.

      Samardzija allowed just two earned runs, walked two and struck out seven in his third no-decision outing.

      NOTES: Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said he would do anything within his powers to assist the Ricketts family -- the Cubs owners -- in a multi-million dollar renovation of Wrigley Field. "They know the right thing to do for this franchise and the sport is to preserve this," said Selig, on hand for Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary observances. "I know they've had trouble, I'm disappointed and I think they've been unfairly criticized in so many ways. ... I'll try to do anything that I possibly can and they know that." ... The Diamondbacks' 1910 throwbacks were simple gray collared uniforms and gray hats with a blue bill while the Cubs' Federals uniforms had a pinstripes, simple CFeds lettering and a slight yellow tint. They wore a plain dark blue cap. ... Nine more Cubs games will feature throwback uniforms as the season progresses representing different decades in team history. ... Arizona 1B Paul Goldschmidt has reached base via hit or walk in 23 contents, including hits in 21 of 24 games this season. He entered Wednesday's game batting .330 and his 30 hits topped the National League. ... The Diamondbacks send right-hander Mike Bolsinger (0-1, 10-29 ERA) against the Cubs Edwin Jackson (1-1, 5.40 ERA) in Thursday's series finale.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Red Sox send struggling Nava to Triple-A
    By The Sports Xchange

    Boston Red Sox struggling outfielder Daniel Nava was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket, the team announced Wednesday.

    • Nava, 31, is 10-for-67 (.149) with two doubles, two home runs, three RBIs, six walks and seven runs scored in 17 games for the Red Sox this season between right field (15 games, 14 starts), left field (three games, one start), and first base (two games, two starts). He had 17 strikeouts.

      Nava hit .303 with 12 homers and 66 RBIs in 134 games last season.

      In 299 career major league games over parts of four seasons with the Red Sox (2010, 2012-14), the switch-hitter has a .265 batting average (253-for-953) with 66 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 128 RBIs and 113 walks.

      With Shane Victorino likely to be activated from the disabled list on Thursday and Boston's bullpen in need of an extra pitcher for Wednesday night's game against the New York Yankees, Nava's roster spot was the one utilized.

      Right-hander Alex Wilson, who spent time with the Red Sox last year before suffering arm problems, was recalled from Pawtucket. The Red Sox will likely send Wilson back to the minors on Thursday to open a spot for Victorino, who has been sidelined with a right hamstring strain.

      "That's never a fun conversation," manager John Farrell said about Nava in an interview on Boston radio station WEEI on Wednesday. "I think he was certainly disappointed by the news he was going to be optioned back. He was a big part of this offense last year, particularly as a left-handed hitter. But we've got to get him back on track. The at bats and the consistency of the at bats are not there right now. There's the need for a little bit more of a consistent two-strike approach. And he's got to get back to get reps as a right-handed hitter."

      Wilson will be active for Wednesday's game against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

      Wilson, 27, is 0-0 with one save and 8.0 scoreless innings over eight appearances for Pawtucket, all in relief. He has given up just four hits and five walks (one intentional) with nine strikeouts for the PawSox, with no hits allowed in five of his eight outings.

      Last year, Wilson made his major league debut with 26 games over three stints with the Red Sox, going 1-1 with a 4.88 ERA and 22 strikeouts compared to 14 walks. He did not surrender a home run in 27 2/3 innings with the big league club.

      Born in Dhahran, Wilson was the first pitcher from Saudi Arabia to appear in a major league game.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Gattis' pinch double helps Braves beat Marlins
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- Evan Gattis continues to torment the Miami Marlins for the Atlanta Braves.

    • Gattis delivered his second game-winning hit of the series, this time producing a two-run pinch double with two outs in the eighth inning to give the Braves a 3-1 victory at Turner Field.

      "It's a luxury to give him a day off and have him lurking there the whole game," manager Fredi Gonzalez said of his catcher, who is 7-for-13 as a pinch hitter.

      Gattis won the series opener on Monday with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning and has a .377 average with seven doubles, four homers and 17 RBIs in 46 career at-bats against Miami.

      "I know I got off to a good start against them early, the first series last year, and hit a couple of home runs," Gattis said of the start to his success against the Marlins.

      Gattis' decisive hit this time came off right-hander A.J. Ramos after lefty Mike Dunn had given up a walk to third baseman Chris Johnson and infield single to second baseman Dan Uggla.

      "Sometimes when you come off the bench you get anxious," Gattis said. "You get only one crack at it and fortunately I was able to come through."

      The right-handed hitter turned around a 1-1 fastball and lined a shot into the left-field corner.

      "I was trying to be loose against a guy with a lot of velocity," Gattis said.

      "I have faith in my fastball," Ramos said. "It was just a bad pitch over the middle."

      Braves closer Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the season in the series opener, but retired the Marlins in order in the ninth inning this time, striking out two.

      Both starting pitchers were dominant through six innings, with the run off the Marlins' Nathan Eovaldi unearned.

      Braves starter Aaron Harang, who came in leading the National League with a 0.70 ERA, struck out 11. The veteran right-hander's only walk came to the leadoff batter in the seventh and he gave up six hits.

      "I'm trying to stay aggressive and pound the strike zone," said Harang, who was picked up at the end of spring training. "I couldn't have told you how many strikeouts I had."

      Eovaldi allowed five hits, walked one and struck out seven while lowering his ERA to 2.87 and continuing his stellar work against Atlanta. He had a 0.62 ERA against the Braves over his previous four starts.

      "I feel that I know these guys pretty well and I was able to locate my pitches," Eovaldi said.

      Harang took a no-hitter into the seventh at Milwaukee on April 2 and had a no-hitter through seven innings against the Mets in New York last Friday before being pulled after 121 pitches and six walks.

      Harang retired the first six Marlins to stretch his no-hit streak to nine innings before shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria led off the third with a ground single up the middle.

      Hechavarria was caught attempting to steal second and Miami didn't have a second base runner until second baseman Derek Dietrich bounced a single into right field with two outs in the fifth.

      The Marlins finally broke through in the sixth, though, to tie the game. Left fielder Marcell Ozuna had a two-out hit after a leadoff bunt single by catcher Jeff Mathias and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton delivered a broken-bat bloop double after earlier checking his swing on a 1-2 pitch.

      The Braves had scored an unearned run in the fourth after a throwing error by Hechavarria and Eovaldi's wild pitch. Ryan Doumit, playing left field for Justin Upton, produced the RBI single.

      Harang allowed a walk and a single to start the start the seventh inning, but Jordan Walden came in strike out Hechavarria and then pinch hitters Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Greg Dobbs.

      "I think we won the game there in the seventh with Walden," Gonzalez said.

      NOTES: Marlins LF Christian Yelich, who had struck out his first three at-bats, extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a leadoff bunt single in the eighth inning. ... Miami RHP Carlos Marmol left with a right hamstring strain after walking RF Jason Heyward, the third batter he faced in the seventh inning. ... The Marlins' 1-0 victory on Tuesday behind RHP Jose Fernandez was historic. It was the first time since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, that there had been as many as 28 strikeouts in a game without a walk. Fernandez fanned 14 in eight innings and LHP Alex Wood recorded 11 over eight for the Braves. ... Miami recalled RHP Carter Capps from Triple-A New Orleans on Wednesday to take the bullpen spot previously held by RHP Arquimedes Caminero, who was sent down after Tuesday's game. ... Both teams are off on Thursday. The Braves host Cincinnati over the weekend, while the Marlins go to New York to play the Mets.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Braves 3, Marlins 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- Evan Gattis continues to torment the Miami Marlins for the Atlanta Braves.

    • The catcher delivered a two-run pinch double with two outs in the eighth inning Wednesday to break a tie and Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his sixth save as the Braves beat the Marlins 3-1 at Turner Field.

      Gattis won the series opener on Monday with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning and has 17 RBIs in 13 career games against Miami.

      Gattis' decisive two-out hit came off right-hander A.J. Ramos after lefty Mike Dunn had given up a walk to third baseman Chris Johnson and infield single to second baseman Dan Uggla.

      Kimbrel blew his first save of the season in the series opener, but retired the Marlins in order in the ninth inning this time, striking out two.

      Both starting pitchers were dominant through six innings, with the run off the Marlins' Nathan Eovaldi unearned.

      Braves starter Aaron Harang, who came in leading the National League with a 0.70 ERA, struck out 11. The veteran right-hander's only walk came to the leadoff batter in the seventh and he gave up six hits.

      Eovaldi allowed five hits, walked one and struck out seven while lowering his ERA to 2.87 and continuing his stellar work against Atlanta. He had a 0.62 ERA against the Braves over his previous four starts.

      Harang took a no-hitter into the seventh at Milwaukee on April 2 and had a no-hitter through seven innings against the Mets in New York last Friday before being pulled after 121 pitches and six walks.

      Harang retired the first six Marlins to stretch his no-hit streak to nine innings before shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria led off the third with a ground single up the middle.

      Hechavarria was caught attempting to steal second and Miami didn't have a second base runner until second baseman Derek Dietrich bounced a single into right field with two outs in the fifth.

      The Marlins finally broke through in the sixth, though, to tie the game. Left fielder Marcell Ozuna had a two-out hit after a leadoff bunt single by catcher Jeff Mathias and right fielder Giancarlo Stanton delivered a broken-bat bloop double after earlier checking his swing on a 1-2 pitch.

      The Braves had scored an unearned run in the fourth after a throwing error by Hechavarria and Eovaldi's wild pitch. Ryan Doumit, playing left field for Justin Upton, produced the RBI single.

      Harang allowed a walk and a single to start the start the seventh inning, but Jordan Walden came in strike out Hechavarria and then pinch hitters Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Greg Dobbs.

      NOTES: Marlins LF Christian Yelich, who had struck out his first three at-bats, extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a leadoff bunt single in the eighth inning. ... Miami RHP Carlos Marmol left with a right hamstring strain after walking RF Jason Heyward, the third batter he faced in the seventh inning. ... The Marlins' 1-0 victory on Tuesday behind RHP Jose Fernandez was historic. It was the first time since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, that there had been as many as 28 strikeouts in a game without a walk. Fernandez fanned 14 in eight innings and LHP Alex Wood recorded 11 over eight for the Braves. ... Miami recalled RHP Carter Capps from Triple-A New Orleans on Wednesday to take the bullpen spot previously held by RHP Arquimedes Caminero, who was sent down after Tuesday's game. ... Both teams are off on Thursday. The Braves host Cincinnati over the weekend, while the Marlins go to New York to play the Mets.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Yankees' Tanaka more than living up to huge contract
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- Boston fans got their first look at Masahiro Tanaka on Tuesday night -- and the

    • Japanese import continued his rookie-season dominance with another strong outing.

      On the night center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury made a triumphant return to Boston, Tanaka turned

      in 7 1/3 strong innings in a 9-3 rout of the Red Sox.

      Tanaka, 24-0 in Japan last year, is 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA in his first four major league starts.

      He has pitched 29 1/3 innings, striking out 35 and walked only two -- making the Yankees' huge

      investment in him ($155 million plus the $20 million posting fee) seem like an early bargain.

      He gave up long back-to-back homers to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli in the fourth inning but did

      so with a 4-0 lead and then gave up nothing the rest of his outing.

      "He has a great presence on the mound," said shortstop Derek Jeter, who had a pair of RBI

      singles as the Yankees beat up on nemesis Jon Lester. "It doesn't seem liked he's fazed by too

      much. He has a lot of confidence in his ability -- on top of having a lot of ability. He's fun to

      play behind. He's been a lot of fun to watch."

      As far as the control, manager Joe Girardi said, "We knew his command was good but it's been

      really, really good. He didn't walk people in spring training - he's got a real good idea of what

      he's doing."

      The 35 strikeouts is a record for a Yankees pitcher through his first four starts and are tied

      for third most in baseball over the last 100 years.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Phillies capitalize on Dodgers' mistake in 10th
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- A defensive miscue cost the Los Angeles Dodgers a victory on Tuesday night.

    • Dominic Brown's RBI double in the 10th inning lifted the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-2 win over the Dodgers before a crowd of 44,826 at Dodger Stadium.

      "On the defensive side of it, obviously it's become a frustration for us," Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly said of his club, which has committed 20 errors in 21 games. "We've talked about it the last two days. We've had a number of balls that should have been caught. We've just got to get better. We're not going to do anything if we don't play better defense."

      Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz reached second on a Dodgers error when Carl Crawford misplayed a fly ball that he and shortstop Hanley Ramirez converged on in shallow left with one out in the 10th. Brown drove Ruiz home with a double into the gap in left-center field off reliever J.P. Howell (1-2) for the tiebreaking run.

      "Anything can happen," said Ruiz, who slammed his bat to the ground before running to second. "That was the difference in the game."

      Antonio Bastardo (3-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory and Jonathan Papelbon picked up his sixth save.

      "Very good win. The bullpen was outstanding," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said.

      Los Angeles (12-9) tied the score at 2 with two outs in the seventh.

      Dee Gordon lined an A.J. Burnett pitch to center in what appeared to be a routine single. However, Gordon used his speed to beat Ben Revere's throw from center for a one-out double. Gordon, who went 2-for-3 with two steals in the game to give him 12 overall, stole third and scored on pinch-hitter Justin Turner's single to left.

      That chased Burnett, who worked 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Burnett, who had lost his last four starts at Dodger Stadium, also had a career-high three hits in three at-bats.

      "That's baseball. That's how it goes sometimes," Burnett said. "It's a long season, but we've got a streak going right now. To be .500, it's good because we've had some close games we should have won."

      Sandberg said, "(Burnett) mixed his pitches well and he was solid. He really grinded it out and battled."

      Hyun-Jin Ryu had his scoreless string of innings snapped at 18 when he gave up two runs in the fifth. It was the first time he had been scored upon since April 4, when the San Francisco Giants tagged him for eight runs (six earned).

      Against Philadelphia, Ryu gave up two runs and nine hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked two (one intentional) on 106 pitches, 68 for strikes.

      Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was 0-for-3 with a walk, ending his 16-game hitting streak.

      Revere went 4-for-5, tying a career best four hits for the eighth time. He also had his sixth steal.

      "Ben had a very good day swinging the bat," Sandberg said. "It was a very good win, a well-pitched game, good defense and some timely hitting. We did have some opportunities early, but to finally break through in the fifth (was big)."

      The Phillies (10-10) got back-to-back singles by Burnett and Revere to open the fifth. Right fielder Marlon Byrd's RBI double to left with one out scored Burnett before first baseman Ryan Howard followed with a sacrifice fly to left to bring home Revere for a 2-0 advantage.

      Dodgers catcher Tim Federowicz led off the bottom of the inning with a double to left and advanced to third on Ryu's sacrifice. He scored on Crawford's sacrifice fly to center to slice Philadelphia's lead to 2-1.

      NOTES: Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw threw a bullpen session before the game. If he does not encounter any setbacks, Kershaw is scheduled to pitch a minor league rehab assignment on Friday. Kershaw has been on the 15-day disabled list since March 23 with a teres major strain. ... Los Angeles C A.J. Ellis, out since April 6 after surgery on his left knee, performed throwing and catching drills before the game. ... With his home run on Monday night, 1B Ryan Howard joined Mike Schmidt and Dale Murphy as the only visiting players to go deep in nine straight seasons at Dodger Stadium. ... Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke received his 2013 Silver Slugger before the game. ... Dodger IF Dee Gordon celebrated his 26th birthday.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Wilson leads Rangers' ninth-inning rally
    By The Sports Xchange

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- When Texas Rangers infielder Josh Wilson came to the plate on Tuesday night in the top of the ninth inning with two outs, a runner on first and his team trailing the Oakland A's 4-3, he was more concerned with getting a win than redemption.

    • Wilson wound up getting both.

      He had committed a costly fielding error in the fourth inning that helped Oakland score two unearned runs and take a one-run lead that still stood in the ninth.

      But after Leonys Martin stole second base, Wilson ripped a run-scoring double to left off A's right-hander Luke Gregerson as the Rangers pulled even. Then Wilson raced home with the go-ahead run on rookie Michael Choice's sharp single to center.

      The Rangers held on for a 5-4 victory and beat the A's for the second straight time. They'll go for a series sweep on Wednesday afternoon.

      "We've been on the other end of a couple of those, and they sting a little bit, especially against a division rival," Wilson said. "It's great to win a game like that in the ninth inning."

      Pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland rocketed a leadoff double to right-center field off Gregerson in the ninth. Moreland moved to third on Robinson Chirinos' sacrifice bunt.

      But Moreland tried to score on an apparent squeeze bunt by Martin, and Gregerson easily threw him out at home.

      "There wasn't a (squeeze) sign on," Moreland said. "I think Martin thought there was a squeeze. When he bunted, I was probably a little too aggressive."

      But Martin stole second and scored, and Wilson crushed a hanging slider off the left-field fence.

      "It's funny, you get a gift like that, a nice ball come right back to you, you get the guy at home," Gregerson said. "I just didn't execute my pitches, I didn't get the ball down in the zone like I wanted to. I kind of had a slider that backed up on me and he took advantage of it."

      After Wilson's game-tying double, Choice quickly put Texas ahead of his former team.

      "It meant a lot," said Choice, who was traded by Oakland to Texas in December. "To be in that situation was huge. I was just looking to get (Wilson) in."

      Rangers closer Joakim Soria pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save in five chances this season.

      Alexi Ogando got the victory and Gregerson took the loss.

      Rangers rookie right-hander Nick Martinez was called up Tuesday from Double-A Frisco and made his second career start. He lasted just five innings and allowed four runs, but just two of those were earned.

      Martinez had runners on base in every inning he pitched except a 1-2-3 third. He gave up six hits, walked three and struck out just one.

      Left-hander Tommy Milone allowed three runs in six innings and had a no-decision.

      Milone gave up two runs in the first inning when the Rangers sent eight batters to the plate. After that, Milone settled down and gave up just one more run, in the third.

      Milone walked four and struck out one.

      The Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Choice led off with a walk and moved to third on shortstop Elvis Andrus' sharp single to center. Both runners advanced when right fielder Alex Rios grounded out to first. Then, with two outs, Milone fell behind third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff 3-0 and walked him intentionally, loading the bases.

      Designated hitter Donnie Murphy brought Choice home with an infield single, and Milone walked Chirinos, forcing Andrus home, making it 2-0.

      The A's answered with two runs in the bottom of the first off Martinez. Shortstop Jed Lowrie ripped a one-out double and scored on third baseman Josh Donaldson's sharp single to center as Donaldson took second on the throw home. With two outs, left fielder Yoenis Cespedes brought Donaldson home with a double down the left-field line.

      Texas moved back ahead with a run in the third. Rios led off with a walk and moved to third on first baseman Prince Fielder's single. Rios scored when Kouzmanoff hit into a double play.

      Oakland scored two unearned runs in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead.

      "We have to be able to add on some runs so we're not getting late in games with giving a team a chance to score a couple of runs and beat us," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You can look at what happened in the ninth inning, and then you can look a little farther into the game.

      "It's usually not what happens in the last inning or the last at-bat. A lot of times it's what transpired in the middle innings or when you had opportunities earlier."

      Kouzmanoff had exited the game with tightness in his back after the top of the fourth. Wilson moved to third and rookie Luis Sardinas came off the bench to play second. After A's catcher John Jaso singled with one out, right fielder Josh Reddick hit a routine grounder back that got past Wilson. Jaso raced to third and Reddick got all the way to second.

      Second baseman Eric Sogard hit a sacrifice fly, driving in Jaso, and Coco Crisp followed with an RBI double.

      NOTES: Rangers left-hander Pedro Figueroa left the game with an injury to his pitching elbow after throwing one pitch in the eighth inning. ... Rangers LF Shin-Soo Choo was out of the lineup on Tuesday night and will not play Wednesday because of a sprained left ankle, but an MRI revealed that he does not have the more serious high ankle sprain. Choo, who avoided a trip to the disabled list, was hurt in the seventh inning on Monday night when he tried to beat out an infield hit and hit the bag hard with his left foot. ... Oakland CF Coco Crisp was in the lineup on Tuesday night against Texas despite bruised ribs he suffered while attempting to make a diving catch on Monday night in the sixth inning. X-rays of Crisp's ribs were negative. A's manager Bob Melvin said Crisp will probably get Wednesday off. ... Rangers RHP Hector Noesi was designated for assignment on Tuesday, making room on the 25-man roster for RHP Nick Martinez, who was called up from Double-A Frisco and started against Oakland. The Rangers acquired the reliever from Seattle on April 12 in a trade for a player to be named or cash considerations. In three appearances for Texas, he allowed seven runs and seven hits in one inning.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    McHugh pitches Astros to win in Seattle
    By The Sports Xchange

    SEATTLE -- Houston Astros pitcher Collin McHugh avoided all forms of news in the hours that followed his Monday morning promotion from Triple-A, so he didn't know until late that night that he would be making his 10th career start the next day in Seattle.

    • Apparently, McHugh didn't need much preparation.

      The 26-year-old right-hander finally earned his first career victory in impressive fashion Tuesday night, pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings and striking out a career-high 12 in Houston's 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

      "It was great," he said. "It's really good when you get that proverbial gorilla off your back with a W."

      Catcher Jason Castro, designated hitter Chris Carter and third baseman Matt Dominguez all homered as the Astros (7-14) built a 4-0 lead before holding on for their second consecutive win.

      Because of an injury that landed Astros ace Scott Feldman on the 15-day disabled list one day earlier, McHugh made his Houston debut Tuesday after spending parts of the past two seasons with the Rockies and Mets. He had an 0-8 record and 8.94 ERA to show for his time in the majors.

      Over 6 2/3 innings of work on Tuesday, McHugh (1-0) gave up just three hits, all of them singles, and only saw one of the four baserunners he allowed reach second base.

      His career ERA dropped by more than a run -- from 8.94 to 7.83 -- with the performance.

      "It felt really good," he said. "I've had a lot of people encouraging me over the years, and my wife and I have bounced around to a lot of places. So this one's for the people like my wife who've been with me through it all."

      Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak hit a two-out, two-run homer off reliever Raul Valdes in the bottom of the seventh inning to account for the Mariners' only runs of the game.

      The Mariners (7-13) extended their losing streak to eight games with the loss. Over the past four games, Seattle has scored a total of just six runs.

      "We're just trying to do a little too much," manager Lloyd McClendon said.

      Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez (1-3) allowed home runs in each of the first two innings but settled down for six solid innings of work. He allowed just three hits while striking out eight, with three earned runs allowed.

      Both home runs came on 0-2 pitches.

      "He didn't make quality strikes right when he needed to: with two strikes in the count," McClendon said.

      Dominguez homered off reliever Dominic Leone in the seventh, hitting a solo shot to center field that gave Houston a 4-0 lead. Dominguez has homered on back-to-back nights.

      The two teams combined for 26 strikeouts. Seattle has now struck out 28 times over the first two games of the series.

      A modest crowd of 10,466 fans began getting impatient in the top of the seventh inning, when Seattle center fielder Abraham Almonte committed the team's third error in two nights and drew a chorus of boos.

      Houston has scored 12 runs in the first two games of the series after scoring a total of 14 during the seven-game losing streak the Astros had before they arrived in Seattle.

      The Astros jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the home runs by Castro and Carter. Castro took Ramirez deep for a one-out, two-run homer in the first, and Carter added a solo shot off Ramirez in the second.

      McHugh got off to quite a start by striking out the side in the bottom of the first, then turning the trick again in a 1-2-3 third. He matched his career high of nine strikeouts in a game during the first five innings.

      Seattle's McClendon said the Mariners were surprised by McHugh's fastball, which was clocked at 94 miles per hour.

      "That wasn't in the scouting report," McClendon said.

      McHugh said he typically throws a fastball around 90 to 92 miles per hour but added: "If I'm juiced up, I can get it up there."

      Said Astros manager Bo Porter: "That's what you call seizing the opportunity. He was tremendous."

      NOTES: Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained tendon in a finger, had his scheduled rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma rained out Tuesday. In lieu of the rehab start, Iwakuma threw a four-inning simulated game before Tuesday's Mariners-Astros game at Safeco Field. "The ball jumped out of my hand pretty well today and I feel pretty close to the regular season," Iwakuma told The Seattle Times after the 58-pitch session. ... Astros RHP Lucas Harrell cleared waivers and was officially outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Harrell made three starts with Houston this season and had an 0-3 record and 9.49 ERA to show for it before being designated for assignment last week. ... Houston's 7-2 win on Monday night, which came against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, improved the Astros' record to 3-0 when facing former Cy Young winners this season. Houston has now beaten Hernandez, RA Dickey and CC Sabathia while scoring a combined 17 runs against them. In three games against former Cy Young winners, the Astros averaged 6.3 runs per game; against everyone else, Houston has averaged 2.4.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Phillies 3, Dodgers 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- Dominic Brown's RBI double in the 10th inning lifted the Philadelphia Phillies to a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers before a crowd of 44,826 at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.

    • Catcher Carlos Ruiz reached second on a Dodgers error when Carl Crawford misplayed a fly ball to shallow left with one out in the 10th. Brown drove him home with a double into the gap in left-center field off reliever J.P. Howell (1-2) for the tiebreaking run.

      Antonio Bastardo (3-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory and Jonathan Papelbon picked up his sixth save.

      Los Angeles tied the score at 2 with two outs in the seventh. Dee Gordon lined an A.J. Burnett pitch to center in what appeared to be a routine single. However, Gordon used his speed to beat Ben Revere's throw from center for a one-out double. Gordon, who went 2-for-3 with two steals in the game to give him 12 overall, stole third and scored on pinch-hitter Justin Turner's single to left.

      That chased Burnett, who worked 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Burnett, who had lost his last four starts at Dodger Stadium, also had a career-high three hits in three at-bats.

      Hyun-Jin Ryu had his scoreless string of innings snapped at 18 when he gave up two runs in the fifth. It was the first time he had been scored upon since April 4, when the San Francisco Giants tagged him for eight runs (six earned).

      Against Philadelphia, Ryu gave up two runs and nine hits in six innings. He struck out three and walked two (one intentional) on 106 pitches, 68 of them strikes.

      Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was 0-for-3 with a walk, ending his 16-game hitting streak.

      Revere went 4-for-5, tying a career best four hits for the eighth time. He also had his sixth steal.

      The Phillies got back-to-back singles by Burnett and Revere to open the fifth. Right fielder Marlon Byrd's RBI double to left with one out scored Burnett before first baseman Ryan Howard followed with a sacrifice fly to left to bring home Revere for a 2-0 advantage.

      Dodgers catcher Tim Federowicz led off the bottom of the inning with a double to left and advanced to third on Ryu's sacrifice. He scored on Crawford's sacrifice fly to center to slice Philadelphia's lead to 2-1.

      NOTES: Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw threw a bullpen session before the game. If he does not encounter any setbacks, Kershaw is scheduled to pitch a minor league rehab assignment on Friday. Kershaw has been on the 15-day disabled list since March 23 with a teres major strain. ... Los Angeles C A.J. Ellis, out since April 6 after surgery on his left knee, performed throwing and catching drills before the game. ... With his home run on Monday night, 1B Ryan Howard joined Mike Schmidt and Dale Murphy as the only visiting players to go deep in nine straight seasons at Dodger Stadium. ... Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke received his 2013 Silver Slugger before the game. ... Dodger IF Dee Gordon celebrated his 26th birthday.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Astros 5, Cubs 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    SEATTLE - Houston Astros pitcher Collin McHugh needed 10 starts over three Major League seasons before earning his first career victory, but he sure made it a memorable one on Tuesday night.

    • The 26-year-old right-hander, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day, pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings with a career-high 12 strikeouts in the Astros' 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

      Catcher Jason Castro, designated hitter Chris Carter and third baseman Matt Dominguez all homered as the Astros (7-14) built a 4-0 lead before holding on for their second consecutive win.

      Because of an injury that landed Astros ace Scott Feldman on the 15-day disabled list one day earlier, McHugh made his Houston debut Tuesday after spending parts of the past two seasons with the Rockies and Mets. He had an 0-8 record and 8.94 ERA to show for his time in the majors.

      Over 6 2/3 innings of work on Tuesday, McHugh (1-0) gave up just three hits, all of them singles, and only saw one of the four baserunners he allowed reach second base.

      His career ERA dropped by more than a run - from 8.94 to 7.83 - with the performance.

      Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak hit a two-out, two-run homer off reliever Raul Valdes in the bottom of the seventh inning to account for the Mariners' only runs of the game.

      The Mariners (7-13) extended their losing streak to eight games with the loss. Over the past four games, Seattle has scored a total of just six runs.

      Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez (1-3) allowed home runs in each of the first two innings but settled down for six solid innings of work. He allowed just three hits while striking out eight, with three earned runs allowed.

      Dominguez homered off reliever Dominic Leone in the seventh, hitting a solo shot to center field that gave Houston a 4-0 lead. Dominguez has homered on back-to-back nights.

      The two teams combined for 26 strikeouts. Seattle has now struck out 28 times over the first two games of the series.

      A modest crowd of 10,466 fans began getting impatient in the top of the seventh inning, when Seattle center fielder Abraham Almonte committed the team's third error in two nights and drew a chorus of boos.

      Houston has scored 12 runs in the first two games of the series after scoring a total of 14 during the seven-game losing streak the Astros had before they arrived in Seattle.

      The Astros jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the home runs by Castro and Carter. Castro took Ramirez deep for a one-out, two-run homer in the first, and Carter added a solo shot off Ramirez in the second.

      McHugh got off to quite a start by striking out the side in the bottom of the first, then turning the trick again in a 1-2-3 third. He matched his career high of nine strikeouts in a game during the first five innings.

      NOTES: Mariners RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained tendon in a finger, had his scheduled rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma rained out Tuesday. In lieu of the rehab start, Iwakuma threw a four-inning simulated game before Tuesday's Mariners-Astros game at Safeco Field. "The ball jumped out of my hand pretty well today and I feel pretty close to the regular season," Iwakuma told The Seattle Times after the 58-pitch session. ... Astros RHP Lucas Harrell cleared waivers and was officially outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Harrell made three starts with Houston this season and had an 0-3 record and 9.49 ERA to show for it before being designated for assignment last week. ... Houston's 7-2 win on Monday night, which came against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, improved the Astros' record to 3-0 when facing former Cy Young winners this season. Houston has now beaten Hernandez, RA Dickey and CC Sabathia while scoring a combined 17 runs against them. In three games against former Cy Young winners, the Astros averaged 6.3 runs per game; against everyone else, Houston has averaged 2.4.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Angels' Pujols back to hitting like old self
    By The Sports Xchange

    WASHINGTON -- Los Angeles Angels' first baseman Albert Pujols was hoping that his wife, Deidre, would be on hand when he hit the 500th career homer of his career.

    • But she missed by a few days, as Pujols went deep twice Tuesday against young Washington pitcher Taylor Jordan to reach the milestone in a 7-2 win against the Nationals.

      Pujols called his wife back in California after his second homer and she asked if had hit his 500th home run. So what was his wife doing when he called?

      "She was doing her nails," said Pujols, with a laugh.

      There were also happy faces in the Angels clubhouse, as Pujols seems to have found his old form now that he has eight homers this year.

      "I can't really say enough about how great of a teammate he is and what he's meant to us as a team," said second baseman Howie Kendrick, who had two hits Tuesday. "This year in spring training he told me he said, 'Hey man, I feel good this year.' It's great to see him playing well and being his old self. He looks like the Albert of old."

      Left fielder Raul Ibanez, who had the game-winning hit as a pinch-hitter Monday, was on deck when Pujols went deep in the fifth.

      "Just an honor to be a part of it, such an incredible career that's still going. To have been there and to have been on deck, I'll never forget it," Ibanez said.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Headlines hiding Nationals' woes
    By The Sports Xchange

    WASHINGTON -- The past two Washington Nationals games against the Los Angeles Angels have drawn national attention, with young outfield stars Bryce Harper and Mike Trout facing each other for the first time Monday and Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hitting his 500th homer Tuesday against the Nationals.

    • Those headlines are masking a team hitting slump for the Nationals, who had three hits Tuesday for the second day in a row. Harper is in a funk again with one hit in his last 10 at bats. Right fielder Jayson Werth, after a fast start, is two for his last 19.

      And the Nationals have lost their five games at home to the Angels and have lost eight of their last 12 overall.

      Pujols went deep twice against young Taylor Jordan, 25, who may be looking a trip back to Triple-A Syracuse if things don't turn around.

      "You make mistakes to somebody like Albert, you're going to pay for it," said Nationals manager Matt Williams. "He's been doing that for a long, long time. First pitch he hit over the fence was a hanging offspeed pitch, which he's paid to do. The second time, he got a ball up again. I think for Taylor, it's just been balls up in the strike zone. That's an example tonight. Albert's a professional hitter, like we talked about yesterday. He's one of the best of his generation. That's what he does, he makes pitchers pay for balls that are left up. He did that today."

      Veteran starter Doug Fister appears to be about 15 days away from returning to the big league club as he works back from a right lat strain. And young Taylor Hill is pitching well for Syracuse.

      The Nationals have developed some good arms in the minor league system, only to see some of them fare less than superb once they get to the big leagues. Last year, one of them was Nathan Karns, who made three starts and was traded prior to this season.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Padres 2, Brewers 1 (12)
    By The Sports Xchange

    MILWAUKEE -- Third baseman Chase Headley homered in the 12th inning and the San Diego Padres snapped a two-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night at Miller Park.

    • With Milwaukee's bullpen still recovering from a 14-inning affair on Sunday in Pittsburgh, right-hander Alfredo Figaro was the Brewers' guy in extra innings.

      Taking over for right-hander Jim Henderson, Figaro (0-1) worked around a one-out single by right fielder Chris Denorfia in the 10th and breezed through the 11th with a 1-2-3 inning.

      Headley, though, took ball one from Figaro in the 12th and connected on a 95 mph fastball for his second home run of the season.

      Headley went 2-for-4 with a walk.

      Padres right-hander Donn Roach threw two scoreless innings for his first victory of the season.

      Right-handed reliever Houston Street got both center fielder Carlos Gomez and second baseman Scooter Gennett to bounce out to short before retiring right fielder Ryan Braun on a called third strike for his seventh save of the season.

      Both pitching staffs put forth a strong effort.

      The Milwaukee offense failed to cash in early against Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy, who went went six innings and allowed four hits and three walks and struck out five.

      The Brewers put runners at second and third with nobody out in the second and then loaded the bases with two out in the third but could not cash in on either opportunity.

      Kennedy needed 73 pitches to get through those first three innings but fell into a groove after that, retiring nine of the next 10 Brewers batters. The only blemish was a solo home run by Gennett in the fifth.

      The Milwaukee offense left nine runners stranded and was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in regulation.

      Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo kept Milwaukee in the game, holding the Padres to one run, five hits and two walks while striking out four in a seven-inning effort.

      Lefty Zach Duke and Henderson kept San Diego off the board in the eighth and ninth, combining for five strikeouts.

      NOTES: CF Carlos Gomez was atop the Brewers' lineup on Tuesday after appealing a three-game suspension handed down earlier in the day by Major League Baseball for his role in a bench-clearing brawl on Sunday at Pittsburgh. ... The Padres acquired minor league infielder Tyler Greene from the Braves on Tuesday in exchange for a player to be named. Greene was batting .200 for Triple-A Gwinnett this season and is a career .224 hitter in parts of five major league seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox. ... RHP Johnny Hellweg, a top Brewers prospect at Triple-A Nashville, tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm and might have to undergo Tommy John surgery.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Hammel, Olt lead Cubs past Diamondbacks
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO - The Chicago Cubs aren't quite on a significant winning streak, but they kept the Arizona Diamondbacks on their steep slide.

    • Right-hander Jason Hammel threw seven strong innings, third baseman Mike Olt hit his team-leading fourth home run, and the Cubs won consecutive games for the first time this season with a 9-2 win Tuesday over the struggling Diamondbacks.

      Arizona has lost four straight and 10 of 11 to plummet to 13 games below .500.

      While neither team is in contention, the Cubs got positive contributions from Hammel and Olt.

      Hammel began the day with baseball's lowest WHIP at 0.73, and he continued his strong first month with the Cubs. During those seven innings, Hammel (3-1) allowed four hits and one run while striking out four, bouncing back from his April 16 loss to the Yankees.

      "Very nice job. Got some groundball double plays when he needed to. Made some pitches when he needed to," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "He did a very nice job. It was pretty efficient."

      Hammel threw 109 pitches and didn't walk anybody.

      "You get yourself into a lot of trouble if you don't throw strikes," Hammel said. "Honestly, tonight I kind of battled through it. Didn't really have command of the two-seamer, so I had to use the four-seamer a lot tonight. It's simple math - if you don't let anybody on base you don't have to worry about giving up runs."

      Hammel also didn't have to worry about support thanks to Olt and a Cubs offense that scored a season-high nine runs.

      Olt's home run -- a three-run blast in the fifth off Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy -- helped the Cubs win two straight for the first time since Sept. 9-10 against Cincinnati. Along with Olt's home run, second baseman Luis Valbuena had two hits and scored three times while right fielder Nate Schierholtz and center fielder Justin Ruggiano had two RBIs for Chicago, which scored four times in the fifth and eighth and won back-to-back games at Wrigley Field for the first time since Sept. 4-6 against Miami and Milwaukee.

      With a win Wednesday or Thursday, the Cubs can clinch their first series of the season and their first since taking two of three from the Reds on Sept. 9-11, a span of 11 series.

      Olt has been limited by a right shoulder problem and a platoon, but Renteria said Olt will get more playing time. And based on Tuesday, he seems ready for the increase.

      "I've been working a lot," Olt said. "Extra work, just making sure I can take as many reps as I can to get as comfortable as I can, and when I get in there that's my main goal, is stay comfortable and it has been working."

      Not much has been working for Arizona.

      Other than catcher Tuffy Gosewisch's sixth-inning solo home run, the scuffling Arizona offense didn't do much to help McCarthy. McCarthy (0-4) went five innings and allowed seven hits and five runs (one earned) and struck out a season-high six. His night was undone by four unearned runs in the fifth, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 5-0 hole.

      "We didn't mount any pressure again offensively," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said.

      They could have used some after the fifth, when the Cubs scored four times after second baseman Martin Prado's one-out error on an Anthony Rizzo grounder helped the Cubs blow the game open. It culminated with the Olt homer and extended Arizona's miserable start to the season.

      "I've been on a few bad teams, but (the frustration is) usually was spaced out with some positivity and ... some rays of hope," McCarthy said. "This is just a different animal right now."

      NOTES: Cubs president Theo Epstein said the team has been "plucky" so far but bemoaned its bullpen and offensive issues. As for Wednesday's 100th anniversary of the first game at Wrigley Field reminding him of the franchise's title drought, he said, "I don't think I really need that kind of a reminder." ... OF Mark Trumbo was out of the Arizona lineup because of a sore left foot. "It just got sore in the game last night late in the game," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Something that popped up, just kind of sore so we'll take it easy." ... RHP Jake Arrieta will likely get one more rehab start before returning to the Cubs. Arrieta hasn't pitched in the majors this season because of right shoulder tightness, and had his fourth rehab appearance Monday, allowing five runs -- three earned -- and five hits over 5 2/3 innings. ... Wednesday's pitching matchup is Arizona LHP Wade Miley (2-2, 4.35 ERA) against Chicago RHP Jeff Samardzija (0-2, 1.29 ERA).

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Royals break out bats in 8-2 win over Indians
    By The Sports Xchange

    CLEVELAND -- After scoring a total of six runs in two previous losses, the Kansas City Royals erupted for an 8-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

    • First baseman Eric Hosmer had four hits, third baseman Mike Moustakas belted a three-run homer and right-hander James Shields pitched six strong innings for the win.

      Shields (2-2) pitched six innings, giving up one earned run and six hits, with nine strikeouts and one walk.

      "You've got James Shields on the mound throwing his usual game. Nine punch-outs and combine that with what he did his last start, that's pretty impressive work," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said.

      In his last start, a 5-1 win over Houston on April 17, Shields struck out 12 and gave up four hits in eight innings.

      "I really didn't have my best stuff tonight, but I located my fastball when I needed to and I got some early outs," Shields said. "Overall, it was a good outing."

      Moustakas' three-run homer capped a four-run, fourth-inning rally as the Royals, who have been struggling to score runs, enjoyed a rare offensive outburst.

      "That's huge," Shields said. "We're down 1-0 right there. Moose put a good swing on it and got us the lead."

      Most of Kansas City's offense came against Cleveland right-hander Danny Salazar, who never made it out of the fifth inning. Salazar, who was very impressive in 10 starts as a rookie with the Indians last season, has yet to win a game this year. With Tuesday's loss, his record fell to 0-3 and his ERA ballooned to 7.85.

      "I'm not going to put this all on his youth. This is a guy we gave the ball to in a playoff game last year," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of Salazar. "Tonight, he was real aggressive with his fastball for the first three innings and threw some powerful breaking balls, but after that it looked like he got frustrated and got his ball up."

      The Indians cut a 5-1 lead to 5-2 in the sixth on a two-out RBI double by catcher Yan Gomes.

      Kansas City countered with a run in the seventh when second baseman Omar Infante singled off right-hander CC Lee and scored on a double by Hosmer to make it 6-2. Left fielder Alex Gordon's two-run double in the ninth stretched the lead to 8-2.

      The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the second when shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera reached on an error by Infante, went to third on a single by right fielder David Murphy and scored on a single by center fielder Michael Bourn.

      Salazar held the Royals scoreless and hitless through three innings, but Kansas City erupted for four runs in the fourth. Hosmer and designated hitter Billy Butler started the inning with singles.

      Salazar retired the next two hitters, but Moustakas belted a changeup over the wall in right field, his third homer of the season, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead.

      "Moose drove one in the seats. It was good to see us get on the board like that," Yost said.

      Salazar said, "That was a mistake by me. I threw him two changeups in a row. The second one I should have probably thrown a fastball away."

      Shortstop Alcides Escobar followed with a single. Escobar stole second and went to third when catcher Yan Gomes' throw sailed into center field. Escobar then scored on a bunt single by center fielder Jarrod Dyson to extend Kansas City's lead to 4-1.

      Back-to-back doubles by Hosmer and Butler knocked Salazar out of the game in the fifth. In 4 1/3 innings, Salazar was charged with five runs, four earned, and seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

      NOTES: Royals SS Alcides Escobar started the season on an 0-for-16 hitless streak but followed with a 20-for-49 (.408) run after going 2-for-4 on Tuesday. ... Indians manager Terry Francona celebrated his 55th birthday on Tuesday. "I don't feel a day over 75," Francona said. ... Cleveland pitchers went 42 consecutive innings without allowing a home run before RHP Danny Salazar gave up a three-run homer to 3B Mike Moustakas in the fourth inning on Tuesday night.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Yankees beat Red Sox in Ellsbury's return to Fenway
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON - Tuesday night at Fenway Park was supposed to be about Jacoby Ellsbury and the center fielder's return to Boston for the first time as a New York Yankee. But Ellsbury wasn't the only story on what turned out to be a rainy night and a 9-3 New York win.

    • This night also belonged to Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka.

      The two former free agents, who cost the Yankees $328 million counting Tanaka's posting fee, combined to lead New York to its fourth win in five games against the rival Red Sox this April.

      Ellsbury heard boos, heard cheers, was given a nifty video tribute but had a long triple and an outstanding catch in the first inning and then doubled home two runs in the fifth. Tanaka worked 7 1/3 strong innings and shook off hefty back-to-back fourth-inning home runs by designated hitter David Ortiz and first baseman Mike Napoli and raised his record to 3-0 to go with a 2.15 ERA.

      Tanaka, 24-0 in Japan last year, has pitched 29 1/3 innings in the major leagues, striking out 35 and walking two.

      "He has a great presence on the mound," said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who had a pair of RBI singles and extended his hitting streak to 11 games as the Yankees beat up on nemesis Jon Lester. "It doesn't seem like he's fazed by too much. He has a lot of confidence in his ability -- on top of having a lot of ability. He's fun to play behind. He's been a lot of fun to watch."

      Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi: "We knew his command was good but it's been really, really good. He didn't walk people in spring training -- he's got a real good idea of what he's doing."

      Speaking through an interpreter, Tanaka said, "I think I was a little pumped up today just because I knew how good this lineup was."

      Talking about his control, he said, "The number of walks I've given up, I'm pretty satisfied."

      Ellsbury, hitting .342 as a Yankee, had a wild night.

      "Any time we win it's a good game. I'm happy I could go out there and help the team win tonight," he said. "I thought the fans were great. I thought the reception was nice. The tribute the Red Sox gave on the video board was unexpected and I thought it was very classy of them to do that."

      DH Carlos Beltran hit a solo homer (No. 5) and the Yankees, 4-1 against Boston this season, collected seven extra-base hits in raising their record to 12-8 with their second straight win. Catcher Brian McCann had three of New York's 15 hits. Six Yankees players had at least two hits.

      Rain started falling in the fourth inning but was mostly light, until the ninth when it started to come down heavier.

      For the Red Sox, sitting in last place in the scrambled AL East at 9-12, falling behind is nothing new. Boston has been outscored 53-27 in the first four innings of games this season. Last year, they had a 426-298 advantage in the first four innings.

      Lester came in off four strong starts and owning all kinds of success against the Yankees, but threw 117 pitched in 4 2/3 very shaky innings Tuesday. Five of the eight runs he allowed were unearned, but he was still hit hard from the start, when Ellsbury opened the game with a triple on an 0-2 pitch. It was actually a fan interference call at the center-field wall and Ellsbury was awarded a triple.

      Lester gave up five extra-base hits, including three straight doubles to start the third inning. That dug a hole and Tanaka made it stand up.

      "He throws a lot of strikes. He never gave in," Boston manager John Farrell said of Tanaka. "He forced us to swing the bat early in the count at times."

      NOTES: New Yankee CF Jacoby Ellsbury made his first return to Fenway Park with his new team on Tuesday night -- and heard boos when he led off the game. He tripled, then made a nifty catch in the bottom of the inning and received a video salute from the Red Sox -- and then an ovation -- after the bottom of the first. He waved to the crowd on camera. ... The Yankees activated RHP/closer David Robertson from the 15-day disabled list (he warmed up in the ninth inning), but learned RHP Ivan Nova has been advised to have Tommy John surgery that would require 12-18 months of rehab. ... New York's Michael Pineda, with a 1.00 ERA in his first three starts, faces RHP John Lackey on Wednesday night. Lackey has allowed six earned runs in each of his last two starts, the first of those in a loss at Yankee Stadium. ... The national-champion University of Connecticut men's basketball team was honored on the field before the game, with star guard Shabazz Napier throwing out the first pitch.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Price leads Rays to win over Twins
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It wasn't hard to tell whether left-hander David Price was more upset about the two pitches he allowed for home runs or the line drive Joe Mauer rocketed off his protective cup on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

    • The two home run balls, easy. The line drive didn't hurt, he said, but those two pitches cost him a shutout.

      Price followed his worst outing of the season by tossing a complete-game six-hitter in the Rays' 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins.

      "If I'm going to get hit, that's the place to hit me," Price dead-panned. "I don't know how it didn't break (the cup). Two feet higher and it hits me in the face."

      Price, who went a season-low five innings and allowed six earned runs on Thursday in a loss to the New York Yankees, was threatened only in one inning -- when he allowed two home runs and the shot by Maurer. He struck out 12 and walked just one.

      Tampa Bay improved to 10-10 in taking the first of the three-game series. The Twins fell to 9-10 and lost for the third time in four games.

      Left fielder David DeJesus went 3-for-4 and knocked in three runs for Tampa Bay, and designated hitter Matt Joyce and first baseman James Loney each went 2-for-4 with a double and plated a pair.

      Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead in the first inning against right-hander Kyle Gibson. Second baseman Ben Zobrist led off with a walk and took second with one out when shortstop Pedro Florimon misplayed a Joyce pop-up into a single. Third baseman Evan Longoria walked to load the bases before Loney hit a two-run double to the gap in left. DeJesus then followed a Wil Myers single with a run-scoring base hit off the base of the right-field wall.

      The Rays led 3-0, as Gibson required 41 pitches finish the inning.

      "I don't know how you get a base hit on a pop fly to shortstop," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's ridiculous. He didn't miss it in the roof. He just missed the ball."

      The Rays improved the lead to 5-0 in the third on a DeJesus' two-run single.

      Price cruised into the fourth having not allowed a base runner, but Brian Dozier led off with his sixth homer of the season to trim the lead to 5-1.

      "Dozier got him off his rhythm a little bit," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "To his credit, he put a good swing on it."

      Minnesota hammered Price in the inning, with Joe Mauer lining a single off his glove and 30-year-old rookie Chris Colabello walloping a two-run homer -- his second this season -- to cut the deficit to 5-3.

      "He's gotten me with that backdoor cutter the first at-bat so, obviously [that was] in my mind," Colabello said. "I had gotten ahead in the count and he threw it 3-1. I missed the fastball on 3-2. I just looked for another one. He just happened to hang a cutter and I got the barrel out."

      Tampa Bay knocked out Gibson in the fourth, however, scoring two runs on a Joyce double off reliever Samuel Deduno for a 7-3 lead. Zobrist and Desmond Jennings had led off with singles, prompting Gardenhire to remove Gibson, who was eventually charged with seven runs on 10 hits in three-plus innings. In his first three starts over 19 1/3 innings combined, Gibson had allowed two earned runs, and 12 hits.

      "The kid just didn't have it tonight," Gardenhire said. "They weren't killing him, by any means, but they were putting the balls in the right places and it ended up costing us."

      Major League Baseball issued a statement after the game confirming that the umpiring crew had erred on the fifth-inning strikeout call of shortstop Yunel Escobar even though it used replay to ascertain the count. Home plate umpire Paul Schreiber incorrectly ruled foul ball on a pitch catcher Kurt Suzuki muffed earlier in the at-bat. Maddon asked for clarification when Escobar was not awarded first base on a 3-2 ball call, but the crew still could not figure out the count even after checking replays.

      NOTES: In retiring 2B Brian Dozier for his first out of the game, Rays LHP David Price reached 1,000 innings, second in franchise history to current Royals RHP James Shields (1,454.2). ... Rays LF David DeJesus broke an 0-for-24 streak with a run-scoring single off RHP Kyle Gibson in the first inning on Tuesday. He hadn't knocked in a run all season and had not produced more than one hit in a game since April 6. ... Twins RF Chris Colabello has a seven-game hit streak and reached safely in 16 of 19 games this season.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Cabrera's bat comes alive in Tigers' 8-6 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- No one in the Detroit Tigers' clubhouse was worried about first baseman Miguel Cabrera's early season slump. On Tuesday night, Cabrera finally hit like everyone expects from the reigning two-time American League Most Valuable Player.

    • Cabrera smacked three hits and drove in three runs, including his second home run this season, and the Tigers hung on for an 8-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park.

      Cabrera was batting .206 with seven RBIs entering the game before his third multi-hit outing. His average rose to .235 and so did the spirits of his teammates.

      "I really don't think anyone was worried about it," said Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, who doubled twice, scored two runs and knocked in two.

      "It's nice for everyone to see it from him, everyone else (outside the team). I don't think he was too concerned with it. He knows he's going to have his at-bats and he's going to get going and things are going to fall into place."

      Cabrera had two long flyouts to the opposite field while going hitless in four at-bats on Monday. His opposite-field approach was rewarded Tuesday night when he ripped a double and a two-run homer in his first two at-bats. He added a single to center in the eighth.

      He was not the only Tigers hitter in a groove. Detroit pounded White Sox pitching for 15 hits. That included a season-high eight extra-base hits in the second game of the four-game series. Another struggling hitter, catcher Alex Avila, had three hits and an RBI.

      "It's nice," Cabrera said. "That's what we want to do, go out there and try to do our job."

      Detroit starter Justin Verlander (3-1) picked up his third consecutive victory, allowing two runs and eight hits while striking out seven. The Tigers built an 8-1 lead through five innings.

      "Once he gets a lead like that, he kind of goes into power-save mode," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "He wasn't really cranking it up and letting it fly. He was controlling with off-speed stuff and getting guys out front. He wasn't reaching back trying to blow anybody away, he trying to conserve, which is smart."

      The White Sox scored three ninth-inning runs to make things interesting. Designated hitter Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer off reliever Phil Coke to make it a two-run game. Joba Chamberlain relieved Coke and walked a batter, then secured the final out for his first save.

      Chicago starter Charlie Leesman (0-1) lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and nine hits. Leesman was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on Monday night after ace left-hander Chris Sale went on the 15-day disabled list with a flexor muscle strain.

      "You'd like to see him go a little bit further, but they hit him around pretty good," Ventura said. "The bullpen did a nice job of coming in and calming things down."

      First baseman Jose Abreu hit his sixth home run, a solo shot to center field, and right fielder Dayan Viciedo added four hits for the White Sox.

      Cabrera tied the score at 1 with a one-out double in the first inning to bring home Kinsler, who also doubled. Cabrera hit a two-run homer in his next at-bat during part of a five-run third as the Tigers sent 10 men to the plate and moved ahead 6-1.

      Kinsler drove in the first two runs with a double down the left-field line. Cabrera then smashed a liner that just snuck over the 365-foot mark on the right-center field wall. Third baseman Nick Castellanos added a sacrifice fly.

      Run-scoring doubles by Avila and Rajai Davis in the fifth made it 8-1.

      "We haven't had a big inning like that very often," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "It was enough. Barely, but it was enough."

      NOTES: Chicago 3B Conor Gillaspie missed the game because of a swollen left hand. ... White Sox LHP Charlie Leesman made one previous career start in the majors, a five-inning no-decision against Minnesota on Aug. 9 last season. ... Detroit CF Austin Jackson did not start for the first time this season. Manager Brad Ausmus said he wanted to give Jackson a rest and that he will return to the lineup on Wednesday. ... White Sox SS Alexei Ramirez hit safely in 19 of his first 20 games. ... Detroit has a 6-1 record when scoring five or more runs. ... The Tigers' rotation has a 2.99 ERA, second best in the American League.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Rockies 2, Giants 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies can do no wrong at Coors Field. The San Francisco Giants can't do much right lately wherever they play.

    • The Rockies beat the Giants 2-1 on Tuesday, thanks in large part to an effective start by left-hander Franklin Morales.

      Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and third baseman Nolan Arenado homered for the Rockies, who improved to 4-1 on the homestand, which ends Wednesday, and 8-3 overall at home this season.

      The weak-hitting Giants lost for the fifth time in six games. They have scored only 12 runs in their past seven games. The Giants went hitless in nine at-bats with a runner in scoring position, leaving them 3-for-40 in such situations in their past six games. Additionally, the Giants, who are 11-10 overall, have dropped five of their past six games on the road after beginning the season 5-1 away from AT&T Park.

      Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner gave up the homers to Tulowitzki in the fourth and Arenado in the fifth while throwing a complete game despite getting the loss. It was the third complete game of his career and his first since Aug. 14, 2012, against Washington.

      Adam Ottavino took over for Morales in the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to right fielder Hunter Pence, who had homered in the fifth. Michael Morse also singled off Ottavino with one out in the eighth.

      Left-hander Rex Brothers came on to face switch-hitter Pablo Sandoval, making him bat right-handed. Sandoval grounded Brothers' first pitch to Tulowitzki, who started an inning-ending double play. Brothers happily pumped his fist as he started off the mound.

      Brothers got left-handed-hitting Brandon Belt to hit a bouncer back to him leading off the ninth, and Brothers was then relieved by closer LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins walked pinch hitter Brandon Crawford and gaveup a single to pinch hitter Gregor Blanco. But Hawkins struck out pinch hitter Hector Sanchez and got center fielder Angel Pagan to ground to shortstop to preserve Morales' win and earn his sixth save.

      Morales matched a personal milestone Tuesday and advanced his cause for staying in the rotation.

      He pitched seven innings for the second time in 26 career starts. His other seven-inning outing was June 28, 2012, while pitching for the Boston Red Sox at Seattle.

      After giving up a home run to Pence, Morales retired the next five batters before Bumgarner doubled into the left-field corner with two out in the seventh. But Morales struck out Pagan, the final batter he faced.

      Morales allowed five hits and one run in seven innings with two walks and seven strikeouts and threw 67 of his 99 pitches for strikes.

      Rockies starters Jhoulys Chacin and Brett Anderson are on the disabled list, with Chacin headed toward an early May return. Morales may yet end up in the bullpen, where he would give the Rockies a third left-hander. But all he can do is keep pitching well and make the team's decision difficult. Morales has won two straight starts, allowing nine hits and two runs in 13 innings with three walks and 12 strikeouts.

      Arenado extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games when he connected off Bumgarner leading off the bottom of the fifth.

      Arenado's fourth homer of the season gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead after Pence, who had four hits in his past 23 at-bats, homered with two out in the top of fifth against Franklin Morales. It was Pence's second homer of the season.

      Colorado had scored its first run when Tulowitzki led off the fourth with his third homer of the season. He came into the game leading the majors with a home batting average of .609 (14-for-23).

      Catcher Wilin Rosario and first baseman Justin Morneau followed with singles, but Bumgarner got center fielder Drew Stubbs to ground into a double play. After intentionally walking second baseman DJ LeMahieu, Bumgarner fielded Morales' bunt, but first baseman Belt dropped Bumgarner's throw. Bumgarner escaped when right fielder Brandon Barnes flied to right.

      Morales pitched out of trouble in the second and fourth. With runners on first and third and one out in the second, he struck out shortstop Ehire Adrianza and Bumgarner.

      After giving up a one-out double to Sandoval in the fourth and walking Belt, Morales got second baseman Joaquin Arias to ground into a force play and Adrianza to pop to shortstop.

      NOTES: Giants LHP David Huff (left quad strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and OF Juan Perez was recalled from Triple-A Fresno. ... Rockies CF Charlie Blackmon, a left-handed hitter who homered twice Monday and entered Tuesday leading the National League with a .411 average, was not in the lineup against LHP Madison Bumgarner. Blackmon was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Bumgarner. ... Rockies RHP Tommy Kahnle tied a franchise record with five strikeouts in two innings Monday. It was the sixth time that had been done and first since Adam Ottavino on June 28, 2012.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Lawrie comes through in Jays' win over Orioles
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- Toronto Blue Jays' third baseman Brett Lawrie is not getting many hits so far this season but he is making them count when he does collect one.

    • He hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning Tuesday to snap a 3-3 tie, and when left fielder Melky Cabrera added a three-run homer of his own in the inning, the Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 9-3.

      Lawrie has 10 hits this season and is batting .135 (10-for-74). But four of his hits have been home runs and he leads the team with 15 RBIs.

      "Keep swinging it, the hits are going to come," Lawrie said. "I can't worry about the average, it's going to be what it's going to be. It's just going to be taking the same approach, the same mentality and keep swinging it."

      Designated hitter Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer for the Orioles and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion belted a three-run shot for the Blue Jays to leave the score tied at 3 after six innings.

      Designated hitter Juan Francisco led off the Jays' eighth with a single against right-handed reliever Evan Meek (0-1). Center fielder Colby Rasmus walked before Lawrie connected on a 1-1 pitch for his fourth homer of the season to give Toronto a 6-3 lead.

      Lawrie admitted that he thought manager John Gibbons might ask him to bunt.

      "That was my first thought," Lawrie said. "Then Gibby said swing it. So I got up there with the mentality of driving something hard, trying to shoot something in the gap and caught something out front and ended up doing the job."

      "Brett's something good waiting to happen," Gibbons said. "He's bunted a couple of times on his own, but I like him swinging the bat."

      Cabrera's fifth homer of the season came against right-handed reliever Josh Stinson after singles by catcher Josh Thole and shortstop Jose Reyes.

      "Brett's got some big hits for us this year," Gibbons said. "He's got a couple home runs at big times and tonight to give us the lead, give us a nice little cushion. It's in there, it's going to come out. The thing is, he wins games for you with his glove, too."

      Right-handed reliever Steve Delabar (2-0), who entered in the top of the eighth, picked up the win. Right-hander Esmil Rogers pitched the ninth, allowing two hits.

      Neither starter figured in the decision. Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey allowed six hits, three walks and three runs while striking out six in six-plus innings.

      Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez gave up three runs (two earned), four hits and two walks while striking out seven in 5 2/3 innings.

      Gonzalez needed 102 pitches to get that far and he said he was frustrated because the bullpen has been overworked early in the season.

      "You've just got to stay ahead and to get guys as soon as possible and not to try to do too much and make better pitches," Gonzalez said. "It's pretty frustrating."

      "Miguel was very close there," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "If we do a couple of things differently he probably pitches six or seven innings. He had good stuff obviously. He gave us a good chance to win. I can't fault his effort."

      Cruz hit his fourth homer of the season with none out in the sixth to give Baltimore a 3-0 lead. Second baseman Steve Lombardozzi led off with a shallow fly that dropped in front of Cabrera for a double. Right fielder Nick Markakis walked to bring up Cruz, who hit a 1-1 pitch to left center.

      The Orioles loaded the bases with a pair of two-out walks and a hit batter before Dickey finished the inning.

      The Blue Jays (11-9) came back with a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to tie it at 3. Encarnacion hit a 1-1 pitch to the second level in center field to score Cabrera, who started the inning by reaching first on Lombardozzi's error, and right fielder Jose Bautista, who singled.

      "With Encarnacion you can't double up, you've got to keep the ball down and make better pitches," Gonzalez said.

      After Gonzalez hit Lawrie with a pitch, left-hander T.J. McFarland entered the game and allowed a walk before completing the inning.

      The Orioles (9-10) opened the seventh with a single by Lombardozzi that dropped in front of Cabrera and a ground-rule double by Markakis that Rasmus could not run down.

      Right-hander Neil Wagner retired one batter before being replaced by left-hander Brett Cecil, who walked Orioles first baseman Chris Davis to load the bases before striking out center fielder Adam Jones and catcher Steve Clevenger to end the threat.

      NOTES: The Orioles recalled LHP T.J. McFarland from Triple-A Norfolk and designated for assignment INF/OF Steve Pearce, who was 1-for-7 in three games at Baltimore. ... The Blue Jays claimed OF Darin Mastroianni off waivers from the Minnesota Twins and optioned him to Triple-A Buffalo. Mastroianni, a 16th-round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2007, was 0-for-11 for the Twins this season. ... OF Kenny Wilson, who was batting .210 with one homer and eight RBI at Double-A New Hampshire, was designated for assignment to make room for Mastroianni on the 40-man roster. Wilson was a second-round draft pick in 2008 by the Blue Jays. ...Orioles C Matt Wieters did not start Tuesday because of slight forearm soreness but should return Wednesday. ... Orioles SS J.J. Hardy (hamstring) did not start for the second straight game but could be back on Wednesday. ... RHP Chris Tillman (1-0, 1.71 ERA) will start for Baltimore against Toronto RHP Dustin McGowan (1-1, 4.85) on Wednesday.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Cueto goes distance in Reds' 4-1 victory
    By The Sports Xchange

    PITTSBURGH --- Johnny Cueto heard the chants, but they made him smile this time rather than drop the ball at PNC Park.

    • The Reds right-hander checked the Pirates on three hits, pitching his second complete-game victory over the Pirates in a week as Cincinnati beat Pittsburgh 4-1 on Tuesday night.

      "The fans made me laugh," he said with a smile. "They didn't forget."

      It was quite a contrast to the last time Cueto (2-2) pitched in Pittsburgh in last season's National League wild-card game. The Pirates knocked Cueto out in the fourth inning en route to their first postseason victory since 1992.

      With the crowd slowly chanting "Cueto," he dropped the ball as he stood on the mound and then gave up a two-run homer to catcher Russell Martin.

      The fans started the "Cueto" taunt again in the first inning on Tuesday night, but it did not have quite the same effect as the attendance was just 11,926.

      "What happened last time was in 2013," Cueto said. "It's 2014 now. Last year is in the past. This is a new year."

      Cueto came within two outs of becoming the first Reds pitcher to throw back-to-back shutouts since Hall of Famer Tom Seaver in 1977. Cueto struck out four and walked three in a 117-pitch outing.

      Center fielder Andrew McCutchen ended the shutout bid and Cueto's streak of 21 1/3 scoreless innings by hitting his third home run of the season. McCutchen had two of the Pirates' three hits.

      Last Wednesday at Cincinnati, Cueto blanked the Pirates on three hits and struck out a career-high 12.

      "It was a little different mix of pitches tonight with more off-speed, the slider, the backdoor breaking balls," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He wasn't as sharp, but it was a similar outcome. He got a number of ground balls and the defense was great behind him."

      Pirates starter Edinson Volquez (1-1) pitched well in defeat as he gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings with one walk and three strikeouts.

      Volquez took a one-hit shutout into the seventh -- center fielder Billy Hamilton singled in the third -- before the Reds broke through with the game's first two runs.

      Right fielder Jay Bruce and third baseman Todd Frazier opened the inning with singles and Bruce took third on left fielder Ryan Ludwick's flyout. Reds catcher Brayan Pena singled in Bruce and shortstop Zack Cozart doubled home Frazier.

      Volquez was once teammates with Cueto, a fellow Dominican on the Reds, and they continue to keep in touch regularly.

      "It's always fun to pitch against former teammates and a guy like Johnny. We're pretty close," Volquez said. "We're good friends and you just want to compete, stay in the game and put up some zeroes.

      "I was just making good pitches the first couple, six innings. I just made a couple of mistakes in the seventh."

      The Reds added two late-inning runs on RBI singles by Bruce in the eighth and Cueto in the ninth.

      Hamilton, Bruce and Pena had two hits each for the Reds.

      "Johnny was great, he pitched a great game," Pena said. "Back-to-back complete games is pretty good. That doesn't happen too often. Volquez pitched a great game and we didn't do anything against him for six innings. It was a really well-pitched game on both sides."

      NOTES: Pirates RF Travis Snider (two games) and C Russell Martin (one game) appealed the suspensions handed down on Tuesday by Major League Baseball for their part in Sunday's brawl with the Milwaukee Brewers and were in the starting lineup. ... Pirates SS Jordy Mercer returned to the lineup after being limited to bench duty in the previous three games because of a sore right ankle. ... Reds RHP Mat Latos (right elbow) is still "a few days away" from throwing, manager Bryan Price said. Latos has been on the disabled list all season as he recovers from surgery performed in October and was shut down on April 13 when he felt in the elbow during a bullpen session. ... Reds OF Skip Schumaker is no longer feeling pain from the left shoulder dislocation he suffered in spring training. However, the team's medical staff wants him to regain more strength in the shoulder before he can be sent to the minor leagues for a rehab assignment. ... Reds RHP Alfredo Simon (2-1, 0.86 ERA) will face Pirates RHP Charlie Morton (0-4, 4.32) on Wednesday night.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Nothing wrong with Wainwright in Cards' 3-0 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Adam Wainwright could smile and laugh on Tuesday night, which meant the St. Louis Cardinals could breathe a giant sigh of relief.

    • Wainwright, the Cardinals' ace right-hander, dodged serious injury when he suffered a hyperextended right knee trying to field the final out in the seventh inning of St. Louis' 3-0 win over the New York Mets at Citi Field.

      "I'll be all right, just give me a couple of days and everything will be all right," Wainwright said after he improved to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.46 by extending his scoreless innings streak to 17 innings. "It was slippery ground. I was very off-balance -- as you could probably see in that goofy video -- but everything is good."

      Wainwright was efficiently dominating the Mets on a rainy night in Queens when New York center fielder Chris Young popped up Wainwright's 79th and final pitch into the no man's land between the pitcher's mound and first base.

      Wainwright whirled around, raced over and made an unsuccessful diving attempt to catch the ball. First baseman Matt Adams fielded the ball, raced to the bag and slapped a diving Young on the shoulder.

      Wainwright got up and trailed the play but began limping as he walked into foul territory. He walked slowly off the field and was promptly informed by manager Mike Matheny that his night was over.

      "It was clear to me," Matheny said as a smile crept to his face. "Not real clear to him."

      An immediate examination of Wainwright by the Cardinals' medical staff revealed no evidence of any tears to his knee ligaments. Matheny said he did not think Wainwright would have to undergo an MRI and Wainwright said he expected to make his next start as scheduled on Sunday against Pittsburgh.

      "I did all the resistance stuff -- my ACL, MCL, UCL, QCLs, all those CLs are good," Wainwright said with a grin.

      The injury scare cost Wainwright a chance to pursue his second straight shutout. He allowed just four hits and walked none while striking out three.

      "I knew I wanted to stay in the game, I knew I had a pretty low pitch count and I was very capable of finishing that out," said Wainwright, who threw a two-hitter in the Cardinals' 8-0 win over Washington last Thursday. "But I also knew that to get (relievers) in the game there when I wasn't maybe 100 percent might be the right call. So I didn’t try too hard."

      Matheny is trying to come up with new ways to describe what he is seeing out of Wainwright, who allowed only one runner past second base and appears ready to make another run at a 20-win season. Wainwright won 20 games in 2010 and led the National League with 19 wins apiece in 2009 and 2013.

      "He was terrific," Matheny said. "He's just pitching like I've never seen him. Just a different feel for every single pitch and what he's trying to do with it. And (to) be able to locate with all of them -- it's been fun to watch."

      Left-hander Kevin Siegrist threw a perfect eighth inning and right-hander Trevor Rosenthal picked up his sixth save in as many chances after working around two one-out walks in the ninth.

      Center fielder Jon Jay provided the Cardinals the only runs they needed with a two-run single in the fourth inning.

      Left fielder Matt Holliday helped Wainwright with his bat as well as with his glove: He had three hits, including an RBI single in the ninth, and preserved the Cardinals' 2-0 lead when he robbed Chris Young of a two-run homer with a leaping catch in the fifth.

      The Cardinals, who have scored just 19 runs in their last seven games, squandered chances to expand the lead when they left the bases loaded in the fourth and eighth.

      "We got enough to get by today and that's what counts," Jay said. "So we'll take it."

      Four players had a single apiece for the Mets (10-10), who have scored two runs or less seven times this season. Third baseman David Wright went 0-for-4 and struck out as the potential tying run in the ninth inning as his hitting streak ended at 12 games.

      Right-hander Dillon Gee took the loss for the Mets, allowing two runs, six hits and two walks while striking out four in six innings. Five of the eight baserunners he allowed came in succession with none out in the fourth.

      "Dillon had somewhat of a bad inning and we couldn't score," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

      NOTES: Injured Mets RHP Matt Harvey marked the six-month anniversary of his Tommy John surgery in interesting fashion on Tuesday. Harvey threw 20 pitches on flat ground a few hours after he deleted his Twitter account. He had posted in the morning a picture of himself -- smiling and making an obscene hand gesture -- from his hospital room the morning of the surgery. ... Mets CF Juan Lagares, who was placed on the disabled list April 15 with a pulled right hamstring, has begun running but has not yet been scheduled for a rehab assignment. ... Two rehabbing Cardinals pitchers -- LHP Jaime Garcia (shoulder surgery) and RHP Jason Motte (Tommy John surgery) -- were scheduled to throw on Tuesday at the Cardinals' spring training complex in Florida. ... LHP Tyler Lyons, who allowed two runs in six innings during his season debut on Monday night, will remain in the Cardinals' rotation and start Saturday against Pittsburgh.

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO - Right-hander Jason Hammel threw seven strong innings, third baseman Mike Olt hit his fourth home run, and the Chicago Cubs won consecutive games for the first time this season with a 9-2 win Tuesday over the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks.

    • Hammel began the day with baseball's lowest WHIP at 0.73, and he continued his strong first month with the Cubs. During those seven innings, Hammel (3-1) allowed four hits and one run while striking out four, bouncing back from his April 16 loss to the Yankees.

      Olt's home run - a three-run blast in the fifth off Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy - helped the Cubs win two straight for the first time since Sept. 9-10 against Cincinnati. Along with Olt's home run, second baseman Luis Valbuena had two hits and scored three times while right fielder Nate Schierholtz and center fielder Justin Ruggiano had two RBIs for Chicago, which scored four times in the fifth and eighth and won back-to-back games at Wrigley Field for the first time since Sept. 4-6 against Miami and Milwaukee.

      With a win Wednesday or Thursday, the Cubs can clinch their first series of the season and their first since taking two of three from the Reds on Sept. 9-11, a span of 11 series.

      For the Cubs, Arizona's visit has been perfectly timed.

      The Diamondbacks lost their fourth straight and 10th of 11 to plummet to 13 games below .500. Other than catcher Tuffy Gosewisch's sixth-inning solo home run, the scuffling Arizona offense didn't do much to help McCarthy.

      McCarthy (0-4) went five innings and allowed seven hits, five runs (one earned) and struck out a season-high six. His night was undone by four unearned runs in the fifth, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 5-0 hole.

      McCarthy needed 25 pitches to get through the first, but he ended the inning scoreless when he got Starlin Castro to ground into a fielder's choice.

      Hammel retired the first six batters he faced, but Chris Owings led off the third with an infield single when first baseman Anthony Rizzo fielded a sharp grounder but lost a race to the base. Owings was erased on the next at-bat when Gosewisch grounded into a double play.

      Like his counterpart, Hammel got off to a strong start. After the first inning, McCarthy struck out the next four batters he faced before Valbuena's one-out double in the third. Valbuena would go onto score the first run of the game on Schierholtz's two-out single.

      The Cubs then blew the game open in the fifth, scoring four times. Valbuena scored on Schierholtz's sacrifice fly, then with two outs, Olt took a 3-1 McCarthy pitch into the right-field bleachers for a three-run homer that gave Chicago a 5-0 lead.

      All four runs were unearned thanks to Martin Prado's one-out error on a Rizzo grounder.

      NOTES: Cubs president Theo Epstein said the team has been "plucky" so far but bemoaned its bullpen and offensive issues. As for Wednesday's 100th anniversary of the first game at Wrigley Field reminding him of the franchise's title drought, he said "I don't think I really need that kind of a reminder." ... OF Mark Trumbo was out of the Arizona lineup because of a sore left foot. "It just got sore in the game last night late in the game," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "Something that popped up, just kind of sore so we'll take it easy." ... RHP Jake Arrieta will likely get one more rehab start before returning to the Cubs. Arrieta hasn't pitched in the majors this season because of right shoulder tightness, and had his fourth rehab appearance Monday, allowing five runs -- three earned -- and five hits over 5 2/3 innings. ... Wednesday's pitching matchup is Arizona LHP Wade Miley (2-2, 4.35 ERA) against Chicago RHP Jeff Samardzija (0-2, 1.29 ERA).

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
    Pujols reaches 500 homers in Angels' 7-2 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    WASHINGTON -- Albert Pujols was pretty sure he would reach the magical 500 home run mark at some point during the 2014 season. He just was not sure when.

    • That moment came in the fifth inning on Tuesday night when the Los Angeles Angels first baseman hit his second homer of the game to reach 500 for his career.

      He also drove in five runs as the Angels beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 before 21,915 fans, most of whom gave Pujols a nice ovation after he crushed his second homer of the game after hitting a three-run shot in the first.

      "I am just glad it happened tonight," he said after the game. "I was thinking about (500 homers) because you guys brought it up. I knew this year it was going to happen, either tonight, tomorrow or two months from now. My goal was to prepare myself every day."

      Pujols became the 26th player in major league history to reach 500 homers and the first in five years.

      "It is pretty special," Pujols said. "To be one of 26 players to do this is pretty special. I give the glory and credit to the Lord. My career has not been perfect. I take my job seriously."

      Pujols took over the American League lead in homers with eight and has gone deep 24 times with 50 RBIs in 67 games against the Nationals. The slugger has 18 RBIs in his last 13 games and has driven in at least one run in his first nine starts this season.

      His teammates came to home plate to congratulate him after the 500th homer.

      "It was middle up. It was a really good swing," Pujols said of his second homer against Nationals starter Taylor Jordan. "It was probably the best swing I have had this year so far. I had a good feeling it would be a special day.

      "It was crazy. I was pretty emotional running the bases. When I hit third, I pointed to the sky. I told them we had a game to win. You don't want to disrespect the other ballclub."

      The fan who came up with the 500th home run ball in the left field stands was Thomas Sherrill, who grew up as an Angels fan in California, now lives in Colorado and is in the Air Force.

      "I could tell it was going over my head. I scooped it up real quick," said Sherrill, standing outside of the Angels' clubhouse before giving the 500th home run ball to Pujols.

      Washington manager Matt Williams was asked earlier this week if 500 homers would be significant for Pujols.

      "It's huge. That's a lot of balls over the fence," said Williams, who hit 378 career homers and was teammates with Barry Bonds in San Francisco. "What stands out to me is the ability to be a .300 (career) hitter with power."

      The Pujols milestone came one night after young stars Mike Trout of the Angels and Bryce Harper of the Nationals met for the first time in regular-season play. The two outfielders combined to go 1-for-9 with five strikeouts on Tuesday.

      The Angels made it 7-2 in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by third baseman David Freese.

      Angels starter Tyler Skaggs (2-0) allowed three hits and two runs in seven innings to pick up the victory. Jordan (0-3), who gave up six runs (four earned), was tagged with the loss.

      The Angels scored four runs in the first as Pujols hit the 499th homer of his career -- a three-run shot just inside the left field foul pole -- with no outs against Jordan. The Angels made it 4-0 later in the inning as catcher Chris Iannetta, hitting .190 at game time, singled to drive in a run.

      The Nationals cut the lead to 4-2 in the third against Skaggs as catcher Sandy Leon, who led off with a double, scored on a wild pitch and Jordan, who had reached on a bunt single, scored on a double-play groundout.

      Jordan, in his 13th career start, allowed six runs (four earned) in five innings before Craig Stammen came on to pitch the sixth.

      NOTES: With a left-hander starting for the Angels, Washington manager Matt Williams gave Adam LaRoche the day off and moved young 3B Anthony Rendon into the cleanup spot. It was the first time that he had batted cleanup in the majors. ... The Nationals called up RHP Aaron Barrett from Triple-A Syracuse and sent LHP Xavier Cedeno to the Chiefs. Barrett made the Opening Day roster for the first time and did not allow a run in six outings out of the bullpen for the Nationals. ... The Angels led at some point in seven of their first 10 losses this season. ... The scheduled starters for the series finale on Wednesday are Angels RHP Jered Weaver (1-2, 4.74 ERA) against Washington LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.88).