Major League Baseball
MLB News Wire
  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Diamondbacks 3B Chavez retires
    By The Sports Xchange

    Eric Chavez, one of the best third basemen in the major leagues during the early 2000s, announced his retirement Wednesday.

    • The 36-year-old spent 17 seasons in the major leagues, and he won American League Gold Gloves every year from 2001 to 2006 while with the Oakland A's. He also captured a Silver Slugger award in 2002, when he hit a career-high 34 homers and drove in 109 runs.

      After 13 years in Oakland, Chavez played for the New York Yankees in 2011 and 2012, then for the Arizona Diamondbacks the past two seasons. He landed on the disabled list June 9 due to a sprained left knee, and he never returned to action. He hit .246 with three homers and eight RBIs in 69 at-bats this year.

      Injuries limited Chavez over his final seasons in Oakland, and he was largely a reserve in New York and Arizona.

      For his career, Chavez posted a .268 batting average, a .342 on-base percentage, a .475 slugging percentage, 260 home runs and 902 RBIs in 1,615 games. His on-base percentage ranked fifth among active players at the time of his retirement.

      Chavez never made an All-Star team, though he received Most Valuable Player votes in four seasons.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Giants halt six-game skid with 7-5 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Down 5-4 and staring at the bitter end of a historically bad homestand, the San Francisco Giants needed a break Wednesday.

    • They got two.

      One inning after a colossal baserunning blunder cost the Pittsburgh Pirates a chance to build upon a one-run lead, second baseman Joe Panik raced home from third base on a passed ball, capping a two-run, seventh-inning rally that put the Giants ahead for good in a 7-5 victory.

      The win snapped the Giants' six-game losing streak and allowed them to avoid what could have been the first winless homestand of six or more games since the club moved to San Francisco in 1958.

      "It's good to win that game today," said Giants center fielder Gregor Blanco, who contributed a career-high-tying three singles to the team's 12-hit attack. "We need to keep playing like we did today and hopefully things will get better."

      Five Giants relievers combined for 5 2/3 shutout innings following starter Tim Lincecum. The third reliever, right-hander Jean Machi (6-0), picked up the win after pitching hitless sixth and seventh innings.

      Closer Santiago Casilla gave up a one-out single in the ninth inning to Pirates catcher Chris Stewart -- the only hit allowed by the San Francisco bullpen -- before retiring the final two batters he faced for his eighth save of the season.

      The Giants trailed 5-4 entering the seventh inning but caught a break when Pirates reliever Justin Wilson (3-2) issued a one-out walk to left fielder Michael Morse.

      Panik and Blanco followed with singles, with Blanco's blooper to right scoring pinch-runner Juan Perez to tie the score at 5.

      Wilson had two strikes on the next batter, Giants catcher Andrew Susac, before Stewart couldn't handle a low fastball, with the ball deflecting 30 feet to his left.

      The catcher ran down the ball and appeared to have plenty of time to get Panik at the plate, but he threw wildly to Wilson, allowing the eventual winning run to score.

      "Obviously, a good throw and I would have been out by a lot," Panik said. "That's why you want to put pressure on the defense.

      "It was a situation where they've got a strikeout pitcher (Wilson) out there, so I tried to make something happen."

      Third baseman Pablo Sandoval provided the San Francisco bullpen an insurance run with an RBI single in the eighth inning, scoring shortstop Brandon Crawford to increase the lead to 7-5.

      The seven runs were one more than the Giants' total in their six-game losing streak, during which they were outscored 27-6.

      "We've been up and down," Panik said of the Giants' season. "We were up for a while, then we were down for a while. Now, hopefully, we're heading back up again."

      Blanco's three hits produced two RBIs for the Giants, who avoided what would have been their first three-game home sweep by the Pirates since 2007. Morse and Sandoval had two singles apiece and Susac contributed his first major-league hit, an RBI single in the third inning, as part of the Giants' 12-hit attack.

      After totaling just one run in two losses to begin the three-game series, the Giants jumped on Pirates starter Charlie Morton for three runs in the first inning on four hits and two walks. Morse and Blanco had RBI singles.

      Lincecum couldn't hold the lead, however, failing to complete four innings in his shortest start of the season. He was pulled after 3 1/3 innings, having allowed two-run homers by third baseman Josh Harrison in the third inning and shortstop Jordy Mercer in the fourth, and five runs in all.

      Lincecum allowed five hits and three walks. He struck out two.

      Harrison's homer, his ninth of the season, was his third of the series and fourth in the Pirates' last four games.

      Up 5-4 in the sixth inning, the Pirates, seeking a fourth consecutive win, blew a big-time opportunity to build upon the lead when a critical baserunning error turned a bases-loaded, one-out situation into an inning-ending double play.

      Left fielder Travis Snider was the culprit, straying too far off second base after Stewart had drawn a walk to load the bases. Machi picked off Snider with a throw to Crawford. When the lead runner, first baseman Gaby Sanchez, broke for the plate while Crawford was chasing down Snider, he also got caught in a rundown and was eventually tagged out by Sandoval.

      "If you watch enough games, you'll see something new," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the game-changing play. "Unfortunately, it's the first I've seen us walk into a double play.

      "Snider must have thought there was a guy on first (which would have forced in a run), and then Sanchez thought he could help him out. It hamstrung us and cost us an opportunity to tack on runs."

      Panik realized just how important the play was.

      "Fortunately, our guys were heads-up," he said. "That really changed the momentum of the game."

      Morton allowed 13 baserunners in five innings but managed to retain a 5-4 lead when he was pulled to start the sixth inning. He gave up a season-high nine hits and three walks but stranded six Giants in scoring position. He struck out two.

      "We need to kick it to the curb," Hurdle said of the loss. "We won a series. Now we go to Arizona and try to win our next game."

      NOTES: Five of the Giants' last eight home wins have come in RHP Tim Lincecum starts. ... With 5 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday, the Giants' bullpen lowered its ERA to 1.34 since the All-Star break. ... The Pirates, who clinched the three-game series by winning the first two games Monday and Tuesday, have won six of their last nine road series. ... The Giants announced before the game that 1B Brandon Belt, out since July 19 with a concussion, will travel with the team on its 10-game trip to New York, Milwaukee and Kansas City. Belt is expected to be activated off the disabled list sometime during the three-game series later this week against the Mets. ... The Giants expect CF Angel Pagan, who is rehabbing a back injury in Arizona, to begin a minor league assignment later this week, with an eye on rejoining the team next week in Milwaukee.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Game roundup: Brewers beat Price, Rays
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Right-hander Yovani Gallardo allowed four hits over seven shutout innings and backup catcher Martin Maldonado drove in a career-high-tying four runs as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0 at Tropicana Field on Wednesday.

    • Coming off 7 2/3 shutout innings on Friday, Gallardo retired 13 Rays hitters in a row at one point. He gave us two singles in the first inning and didn't surrender another until there were two outs in the seventh inning.

      Gallardo (6-5, 3.38 ERA) stole the show from Rays left-hander David Price, making perhaps his final start with Tampa Bay. The non-waiver trade deadline is Thursday, and Price's name became a constant in industry rumors as the Rays struggled early on this season.

      Price toyed with fans around baseball on Wednesday morning, posting on Twitter that, "This is my last start for the Rays...IN JULY!!!"

      Whether it was his last start with the Rays, period, remains to be seen.

      Diamondbacks 5, Reds 4

      CINCINNATI -- Paul Goldschmidt and Didi Gregorious each hit two-run homers and Wade Miley tossed six shutout innings, lifting Arizona over Cincinnati in the finale of a three-game series.

      Catcher Devin Mesoraco hit his 18th home run, a two-run shot, in the ninth for Cincinnati, which has lost 10 of 12 since the All-Star break.

      Miley (7-7) pitched in and out of trouble much of the afternoon, walking four with just one strikeout. But he was efficient enough to help Arizona (47-61) take the series.

      Mets 11, Phillies 2

      NEW YORK -- Second baseman Daniel Murphy snapped a tie with a three-run homer in the fifth inning and New York added five runs in the seventh inning.

      The Mets took two of three in the series and have won their last four home series.

      Murphy, center fielder Juan Lagares and shortstop Ruben Tejada all had three hits apiece for the Mets. Every Mets position player starter had a hit except third baseman David Wright.

      Mets right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler (6-8) wriggled out of numerous jams to allow two runs or less for the seventh time in his last eight starts.

      Nationals 4, Marlins 3

      MIAMI -- Right fielder Jayson Werth hit a tie-breaking eighth-inning sacrifice fly to lead first-place Washington over red-hot Miami.

      The Marlins had their season-best six-game win streak snapped.

      The winning rally started when pinch hitter Scott Hairston led off the eighth with a double. He advanced to third when center fielder Denard Span got a bunt hit to third.

      On the close play at first, which stood up after a video review, second baseman Jordany Valdespin failed to stretch out for the throw from third baseman Casey McGehee.

      That became crucial when, one out later, Werth hit his fly ball to left fielder Christian Yelich, which was deep enough to score pinch runner Nate McLouth.

      Astros 8, Athletics 1

      HOUSTON -- Dallas Keuchel logged his fourth complete game and Houston scored six first-inning runs to claim its first series against the American League West champions since last August.

      Keuchel (10-7) surrendered a leadoff home run to Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson, his 23rd, in the second inning. From that point forward he was efficient, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out five and recording 12 groundball outs. On the heels of the Astros bullpen blowing a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, Keuchel was precisely what the pitching staff needed.

      The early run support certainly aided his cause, with 10 Astros coming to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jason Hammel (0-4) in the first inning.

      Giants 7, Pirates 5

      SAN FRANCISCO -- Joe Panik raced home from third base on a passed ball in the seventh inning, capping a two-run rally that put San Francisco ahead for good.

      The win snapped the Giants' six-game losing streak and allowed them to avoid what could have been the first winless homestand of six or more games since the club moved to San Francisco in 1958. Five Giants relievers combined for 5 2/3 shutout innings following starter Tim Lincecum. Jean Machi (6-0) picked up the win after pitching hitless sixth and seventh innings.

      Pablo Sandoval provided the San Francisco bullpen an insurance run with an RBI single in the eighth inning, scoring shortstop Brandon Crawford to increase the lead to 7-5. The seven runs were one more than the Giants' total in their six-game losing streak, during which they were outscored 27-6.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    MLB roundup: Indians deal Masterson to Cardinals
    By The Sports Xchange

    The St. Louis Cardinals acquired right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for outfielder James Ramsey, the teams announced Wednesday.

    • Masterson is 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA in 98 innings for the Indians this season. He is currently sidelined with a knee injury but expected to return from the disabled list for the Indians on Friday. He is expected to make his first start with the Cardinals on Saturday against Milwaukee.

      Masterson was 14-0 with a 3.45 ERA last season, but has struggled with his control in 2014. He has walked 56 batters in 98 innings, after walking 76 a year ago in 193 innings.

      Ramsey, 24, was the first-round pick (23rd overall) of the Cardinals in the 2012 draft out of Florida State. He has spent the entire 2014 season with Double-A Springfield where he hit .300 (73-for-243) with 14 doubles, 13 home runs and 36 RBIs in 67 games.

      ---Detroit Tigers minor league pitcher Evan Reed was charged on Wednesday with sexually assaulting a woman at a Detroit hotel in March.

      Reed allegedly sexually assaulted an "incapacitated" woman in his hotel room on March 30 before ordering her to leave, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in announcing charges against the 28-year-old reliever with the Toledo Mud Hens. Reed's attorney, however, insists the 45-year-old woman consented to sex, according to the Detroit News. After a months-long investigation, Reed was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. If convicted, he could spend up to 15 years in prison.

      Reed was 0-2 with a 4.88 ERA in 27 games for the Tigers. He has a 6.97 ERA in eight games with Toledo.

      ---Houston Astros right-hander Josh Zeid will undergo season-ending surgery on his right foot next Wednesday.

      Zeid was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 26 (backdated to July 25) with left foot bilateral sesamoiditis but will undergo a sesamoidectomy on his right foot first. Zeid will undergo the same procedure on his left foot six weeks after his initial surgery. He is expected to be sidelined a minimum of three months.

      ---The Miami Marlins promoted infielder Ed Lucas, 32, from Triple-A New Orleans. The team sent down outfield Jake Marisnick, 23, to the same team to make roster room.

      Lucas, who spent the first nine-plus seasons of his pro career in the minors, played 51 games with the Marlins this year before being sent back down on July 19.

      ---The San Francisco Giants announced before the game that first baseman Brandon Belt, out since July 19 with a concussion, will travel with the team on its 10-game trip to New York, Milwaukee and Kansas City.

      Belt is expected to be activated off the disabled list sometime during the three-game series later this week against the New York Mets.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Astros strike early; Keuchel goes distance
    By The Sports Xchange

    HOUSTON -- This was the Dallas Keuchel who forged a new identity as a staff ace during one brilliant seven-start stretch beginning in May, the one whose penchant for efficiency proved to be a bullpen's saving grace.

    • Keuchel logged his fourth complete game and the Houston Astros scored six first-inning runs to defeat the Oakland Athletics 8-1 on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.

      The Astros claimed their first series against the two-time reigning American League West champions since last August.

      Keuchel (10-7) surrendered a leadoff home run to Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson, his 23rd homer of the season, in the second inning. From that point forward, he was sterling, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out five and inducing 12 ground-ball outs.

      On the heels of the Astros bullpen blowing a three-run lead in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, Keuchel was precisely what the pitching staff needed.

      "They've pretty much owned us the last couple of years, so it feels pretty good," Keuchel said. "They got some guys hurt and they're not going to make any excuses over there because they're a good team and they figure out ways to win just like last night. We can't take anything for granted and I just wanted to close the door.

      "It's just another start. I try to go the distance every start and I just got fortunate enough to get some other contact and looked up and it was the eighth inning."

      The early run support certainly aided his cause, with 10 Astros coming to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jason Hammel (0-4) in the first inning. Hammel was positioned to limit the damage to one run when he induced left fielder Marc Krauss to roll into a run-scoring groundout for the second out of the inning. But that was before five consecutive batters reached base safely, the last four via base hits.

      "I think the biggest play of the game was Jason Castro going hard into second base and Marc Krauss absolutely giving the effort in which he gave getting down the line and not allowing them to turn a double play, which obviously led to the first run being scored and then the next five as well," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "That's the way the game is supposed to be played. To both of those guys' credit, they did a tremendous job in that situation."

      Third baseman Matt Dominguez and catcher Carlos Corporan followed a Jon Singleton walk with RBI singles, with Singleton scoring from first on the Corporan hit when Athletics center fielder Billy Burns erred on the play. Right fielder Robbie Grossman, a late addition to the Houston lineup when left fielder Chris Carter was scratched because of illness, followed with his fourth home run, a two-run shot to right.

      "He had trouble getting the ball down again and in the next couple of innings when he got the ball down he was effective," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of Hammel. "That's where the movement takes over, the downhill plane and everything that makes him successful. And he had a tough time finishing guys off when he was ahead."

      Hammel settled down, retiring nine consecutive batters during one stretch. But when Singleton struck for an opposite-field, two-run homer in the fifth inning, Hammel was finished and added to his woes with the Athletics (66-41). Since joining the club via trade with the Chicago Cubs on July 5, Hammel has allowed 18 earned runs in four starts.

      "There's not much to explain; you can see it all for yourself," said Hammel, who allowed 18 earned runs in his last nine starts with the Cubs. "I'm a completely different pitcher. Just keep making the same mistakes over and over."

      NOTES: Astros RHP Josh Zeid will undergo season-ending surgery on his right foot next Wednesday. Zeid was placed on the 15-day disabled list July 26 (backdated to July 25) with left foot bilateral sesamoiditis but will undergo a sesamoidectomy on his right foot first. Zeid will have the same procedure on his left foot six weeks after his initial surgery, and he is expected to be sidelined a minimum of three months. ... Athletics CF Billy Burns made his first career start Wednesday. Burns, promoted on Monday from Double-A Midland, served as a pinch hitter in the series opener and a pinch runner on Tuesday night. ... Astros LF Chris Carter was a late scratch because of illness. RF Marc Krauss shifted to replace Carter defensively and Robbie Grossman was added to the lineup and replaced Krauss in right field. Carter leads the American League in slugging percentage (.679), is tied for first with eight home runs and is third in OPS (1.043) and RBIs (19) for July.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Nationals halt Marlins' six-game win streak
    By The Sports Xchange

    MIAMI -- The Washington Nationals nearly blew a three-run, ninth-inning lead for the second time in three days at Marlins Park.

    • Nationals manager Matt Williams opted not to use closer Rafael Soriano and that plan nearly backfired.

      But Washington managed to hold on to a 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, avoiding what would have been a three-game sweep.

      Miami's win streak was snapped at six games.

      The Marlins trailed 4-1 to start the ninth inning against reliever Drew Storen. Then right fielder Giancarlo Stanton homered and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria hit a run-scoring double.

      Finally, with the tying and winning runners on base, Storen got pinch-hitter Reed Johnson to bounce out, posting his first save of the season. Storen allowed three hits, one walk and two runs in a shaky performance.

      "Not nervous," Williams said when asked how he felt in the ninth inning. "(But the Marlins) have made a real habit of doing that (rallying in the ninth) -- not just to us but to a lot of teams."

      Williams said Soriano, who has not pitched since he blew the three-run lead on Monday, was rested in an attempt to keep him fresh going forward.

      "We decided to give him a couple of days because of the amount of pitches he threw Monday and his workload before that," Williams said. "(Soriano) should be ready to go (Thursday)."

      The Nationals (58-47) lost the three-game series 2-1 but kept their slim lead in the National League East over the Atlanta Braves. The Nationals also completed their road trip with a 5-4 record.

      Miami (53-54), which is in third place, six games back, has still won nine of its past 11 games.

      Stanton, who has 24 homers and 72 RBIs this season, said it was "pretty crazy" that the Marlins were one extra-base hit from another dramatic ninth-inning win.

      "Until the last out, we were right there again," Stanton said. "We wanted the sweep, (but) we need to do it (rally) before the last out. We can't rely on scoring three runs in the ninth every time."

      Washington's winning rally started when pinch-hitter Scott Hairston led off the eighth inning with a double.

      "Our bench is so deep," Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said when asked about Hairston's contribution.

      Hairston advanced to third when center fielder Denard Span got a bunt hit to third. On that close play at first, which stood up after a video review, second baseman Jordany Valdespin failed to stretch out for the throw from third baseman Casey McGehee.

      That became crucial when, one out later, Werth hit his fly ball to left fielder Christian Yelich, which was deep enough to score pinch-runner Nate McLouth.

      Desmond capped the three-run rally with a two-out, two-run double to left.

      "If we could have gotten the out on the bunt, that could have changed the outcome of that whole inning," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "Maybe we would have gotten through that inning with no runs or one run."

      For seven innings, the game was a 1-1 pitchers' duel between Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark and Marlins left-hander Brad Hand.

      Roark, who took a no-decision, allowed just three hits, two walks and one run in seven innings, striking out seven.

      Hand (2-3), the tough-luck losing pitcher, went seven-plus innings, allowing five hits, two walks and three runs. But he twice retired nine consecutive batters.

      The Nationals, who were shut out Tuesday, needed just two batters to score Wednesday. Span walked and stole second when Hand tried to pick him off first. Span then scored when third baseman Anthony Rendon doubled down the third-base line.

      The Marlins tied the score 1-1 in the fourth inning when Valdespin hammered an inside pitch, pulling it to the upper deck in right field for his second homer of the year.

      "That's a good team over there," Desmond said of the Marlins. "In the dugout before the bottom of the ninth, we're all telling each other: 'We have to focus and finish this thing out.'"

      The Nationals did just that -- barely.

      NOTES: Nationals RF Jayson Werth (twisted right ankle) returned to the starting lineup after one day off. ... The Marlins promoted INF Ed Lucas, 32, from Triple-A New Orleans. They sent OF Jake Marisnick, 23, down to the same team to make roster room. ... Lucas, who spent the first nine-plus seasons of his pro career in the minors, played 51 games with the Marlins this year before being sent back down on July 19. ... Nationals catchers lead MLB by throwing out 38.6 percent of runners attempting to steal. ... Entering Wednesday, the Nationals' ERA of 3.11 leads the National League. ... Next up, the Nationals return home Thursday to start a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. ... The Marlins also open a four-game series on Thursday, playing host to the Cincinnati Reds.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Murphy show the way in Mets' 11-2 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy has authored a tutorial for the younger members of the New York Mets on how to survive early career hiccups and emerge as a reliable regular. Now the All-Star second baseman has to hope he can remain around long enough to see the fruits of his teammates' efforts.

    • Murphy hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning to give the Mets the lead for good, second-year right-hander Zack Wheeler grinded through 6 2/3 innings and a spate of young players contributed to the Mets' 11-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday at Citi Field.

      The Mets (52-56) won two of three from the Phillies to finish July at 15-10. New York's impressive month appears to have convinced management to stand pat instead of trading veterans such as Murphy, who has a National League-high 130 hits after Wednesday's three-hit effort.

      General manager Sandy Alderson said Monday that he didn't expect the Mets to make any deals before Thursday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trading deadline.

      Murphy, who is a free agent after next season, said he wasn't going to worry about the deadline and was instead going to enjoy Thursday's off-day with his family. But he also acknowledged he'd like the opportunity to be a part of the next contending Mets team.

      "You always want to be a part of the future, you want to be part of the solution," Murphy said. "There's a lot of guys playing really well in this clubhouse right now."

      The path to the All-Star Game this year was not an easy one for Murphy, who switched positions before missing the 2010 season because of two knee injuries and the final 49 games of the 2011 season because of another knee injury.

      So he certainly appreciates what Wheeler, first baseman Lucas Duda, catcher Travis d'Arnaud, center fielder Juan Lagares and shortstop Ruben Tejada have gone through in their brief careers.

      Duda, d'Arnaud and Tejada have been sent down to the minors in the last 13 months, a span in which Tejada and Lagares have each taken two trips to the disabled list. On Wednesday, though, the quartet of position players combined to go 9-of-18 with a homer, five RBI, five runs scored, two walks and a stolen base.

      Lagares and Tejada singled to begin a four-run fifth inning that was capped by Murphy's opposite field homer. Duda, d’Arnaud and Tejada all had RBI hits in the Mets' five-run seventh inning and Duda completed the scoring in the eighth by delivering a two-run homer -- his fifth home run in the past eight games -- into the second deck in right.

      "It's just quality at-bats up and down the lineup," Murphy said. "Lucas is scorching right now. D'Arnaud's having great at-bats. And you see what Lagares and Ruben did today."

      On the mound, Wheeler continued his maturation by surviving on an afternoon in which he didn't have his best stuff or command. Wheeler threw 60 pitches in the first three innings and had just one 1-2-3 inning but limited the Phillies to two runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out four.

      "There's one of the outings we're going to talk about down the road," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He didn't have real good stuff today, you looked up and he pitched real well."

      Wheeler allowed at least four runs in six of his first 14 starts. But he has given up two runs or less in seven of his last eight starts, a stretch in which he has gone 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA and provided evidence he can be a No. 1 or No. 2 starter for a playoff contender -- which Wheeler believes the Mets can be sooner than later.

      "We're a good team right now," Wheeler said. "We're just a couple swings or outs away from turning the corner."

      First baseman Ryan Howard had an RBI double and Jimmy Rollins delivered a rare pinch-home run for the Phillies (47-61), who might be one of the game's biggest sellers on Thursday.

      "The deadline talk has been going on since the beginning of the month," Howard said. "It's something that I don't really pay a whole lot of attention to until something happens."

      Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick (5-11) allowed four runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out four in six innings.

      NOTES: There were thousands of day campers in the crowd for the game, which started at 12:10 p.m. The attendance of 37,647 was the fifth highest of the season for the Mets. ... Mets RHP Jeurys Familia singled in the seventh inning and is 2-for-2 this season. He and RHP Jacob deGrom (7-for-28) have combined for nine of the 14 hits that Mets pitchers have in 182 at-bats. ... The pinch-homer in the seventh inning was only the second of SS Jimmy Rollins' career. He also hit a pinch-homer on April 19, 2009. ... Phillies OF Ben Revere robbed consecutive Mets batters of extra-base hits in the fourth inning when he made a leaping catch at the wall of 1B Lucas Duda's blast before running down C Travis d'Arnaud's deep fly ball.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Brewers beat Price, Rays
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Milwaukee Brewers managed to cobble together only two runs in their first two games against the Tampa Bay Rays, both losses. Wednesday afternoon's series finale brought a matchup with ace lefty David Price.

    • That didn't exactly seem like a recipe for success. Didn't matter.

      Backup catcher Martin Maldonado drove in a career-high-tying four runs to back up right-hander Yovani Gallardo's seven shutout innings as the Brewers beat the Rays 5-0 at Tropicana Field.

      "It always feels good, especially when they're going for the sweep and they have (their) best pitcher on the mound," Maldonado said. "I think it's always good when you can score runs early against that guy."

      Not that they needed many with the way Gallardo was pitching. He gave up two hits to start the game then didn't allow another one until there were two outs in the seventh inning.

      Coming off 7 2/3 shutout innings on Friday, Gallardo retired 13 Rays hitters in a row at one point Wednesday afternoon. Overall, he stretched his scoreless streak to 16 2/3 innings, and he has only allowed nine hits during that stretch.

      Gallardo's effort continued a stretch of impressive work by Milwaukee's starters, who have posted a 1.72 ERA over the last 10 games, with nine quality starts.

      "It was definitely a big win," Gallardo said. "We had two tough games yesterday and the day before that, and I was able to make pitches."

      Gallardo (6-5, 3.38 ERA) also stole the show from Price, making perhaps his final start with the Rays. The non-waiver trade deadline is Thursday, and Price's name became a constant in industry rumors as the Rays struggled early on this season.

      Price toyed with fans around baseball on Wednesday morning, posting on Twitter that, "This is my last start for the Rays...IN JULY!!!"

      Whether it was his last start with the Rays, period, remains to be seen.

      Price seemed confused after the game, initially expressing his belief that the 4 p.m. ET deadline was Wednesday, not Thursday.

      Either way, Price and Rays manager Joe Maddon believe he will be back in Tampa Bay's home clubhouse on Friday.

      "Yep, I do," Maddon said. "It takes two to dance, boys."

      "Absolutely," Price added.

      Price, who entered the day having gone 7-3 with a 1.88 ERA over his previous 11 starts, permitted four runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks while striking out six over seven innings. Maddon said he pitched well enough to win, but a couple of early walks did him in.

      The Brewers got to Price (11-8, 3.11) early, loading the bases with a single and two walks in the second inning. Maldonado lined a 1-0 changeup into center field, giving the Brewers a 2-0 lead.

      "I didn't make pitches when I needed to in the second inning," Price said. "Whenever you walk two guys in one inning, you're probably going to give up at least one run, if not more."

      Milwaukee tacked on another run in the third inning. First baseman Jonathan Lucroy singled and moved to second when right fielder Ryan Braun reached on an error by Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar. Up came designed hitter Aramis Ramirez, who drove home Lucroy with a single to center.

      Maldonado came through again in the sixth, ripping an RBI double to left-center field to put the Brewers up by four runs. He singled in the Brewers' fifth run off reliever Kirby Yates in the eighth inning.

      The Brewers finished with nine hits after managing only six in their previous two games combined.

      "I thought the at-bats were great," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I wish I knew why, from game to game, but for some reason today I thought they saw the ball really well."

      With the win, the Brewers avoided a series sweep and improved to 60-49. That guarantees the Brewers will remain atop the National League Central heading into this weekend's series against the Cardinals.

      The Rays, meanwhile, fell to 53-55, missing a chance to reach .500 for the first time since April 22. They have won 11 of their last 13 games but enter Thursday's day off with uncertainty, not knowing if Price or several other key players will be there when they return Friday.

      Even if Price and others are sent elsewhere, Maddon believes the Rays aren't throwing up the white flag.

      "Obviously if you were to lose some really important players and some friends, that would be difficult. But we are in a business. We've done it before, and we've survived," Maddon said. "Regardless of what happens, I still believe that we're in this thing."

      NOTES: RHPs Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb said Wednesday morning they hope the Rays keep LHP David Price at Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline. "We're not going to get where we want to be without him," Hellickson said. ... The Brewers have been alone or at least tied for first place every day since April 5. ... Maldonado's four RBIs matched his output from his previous 24 games combined. ... Price had won six straight starts, tying a franchise record. ... The Rays were shut out for the American League-leading 13th time. ... The Rays have Thursday off before starting a three-game series with the Angels this weekend. Hellickson (0-0, 1.00) is scheduled to start the opener against RHP Matt Shoemaker (8-3, 4.13). ... The Brewers will travel to St. Louis for a three-game series against the Cardinals. RHP Wily Peralta (12-6, 3.56) is scheduled to start Friday against RHP Adam Wainwright (13-5, 1.92).

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Cards acquire Masterson from Indians
    By The Sports Xchange

    The St. Louis Cardinals acquired right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for outfielder James Ramsey, the teams announced Wednesday.

    • Masterson is 4-6 with a 5.51 ERA in 98 innings for the Indians this season. He is currently sidelined with a knee injury, but was expected to return from the disabled list for the Indians on Friday. He is expected to make his first start with the Cardinals on Saturday against Milwaukee.

      Masterson was 14-0 with a 3.45 ERA last season, but has struggled with his control in 2014. He has walked 56 batters in 98 innings, after walking 76 a year ago in 193 innings.

      Ramsey, 24, was the first-round pick (23rd overall) of the Cardinals in the 2012 draft out of Florida State. He has spent the entire 2014 season with Double-A Springfield where he hit .300 (73-for-243) with 14 doubles, 13 home runs and 36 RBIs in 67 games.

      Ramsey is currently sixth in the Texas League in home runs (13) despite missing three weeks (May 17-June 9) with shoulder and abdominal injuries. He has made starts at all three outfield positions this season for Springfield, including 36 in center field.

      In 2013, the Alpharetta, Ga., native spent his first full professional season between Class A Palm Beach, Springfield and Triple-A Memphis where he hit a combined .265 (109-for-411) with 16 doubles, four triples, 16 home runs and 51 RBIs in 112 games.

      Ramsey is not currently on the 40-man roster and will be assigned to Triple-A Columbus.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    D-backs' bats bail out Miley to beat Reds
    By The Sports Xchange

    CINCINNATI -- Wade Miley's worst enemy often is himself. That was again the case on Wednesday afternoon, only this time he had a friend in the Diamondbacks' defense.

    • Paul Goldschmidt and Didi Gregorious each hit two-run homers and Miley tossed six shutout innings, lifting the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

      Miley (7-7) pitched in and out of trouble much of the afternoon, walking four with just one strikeout. But he was efficient enough to help Arizona (47-61) take the series.

      "He fights himself when he doesn't have to," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson. "We're working on that. He managed it pretty well today. We played pretty well behind him."

      Catcher Devin Mesoraco hit his 18th home run, a three-run shot, in the ninth for Cincinnati (53-54) which has lost 10 of 12 since the All-Star break.

      Following the game, Reds manager Bryan Price shouldered responsibility for Wednesday's loss, but catcher Brayan Pena said there's plenty of blame to go around for the club's recent struggles.

      "The skipper's been great. It's us not playing good," Pena said. "It's not fair for him to put the blame on himself. We're a team -- one unit. When we're right, everybody's right. When we're not doing good, everybody's not doing good."

      Reds starter Alfredo Simon (12-6) was coming off a 4 1/3-inning performance in his last start in which he gave up three runs and a season-high nine hits.

      Simon was more efficient with his pitches (105) on Wednesday, allowing seven hits and two runs in seven innings. But his command hasn't been on par with his first 17 starts which earned him a spot on the National League All-Star team.

      "He wasn't sharp early today," said Price. "He was kind of side-to-side, but he made some adjustments. He made some outstanding pitches with his sinker. He had them hitting the ball on the ground."

      Simon rolled through the D-backs order, allowing only two hits through five innings. But, that was before Goldschmidt's two-run homer on his 0-1 pitch to put Arizona ahead 2-0 in the sixth.

      "He put a good swing on it," said Simon. "That was just good hitting. After that, I just tried to come back and do my job."

      The post-All-Star break slump continued for the Reds who had runners in scoring position in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings but failed to score. Cincinnati went 1-for-11 and left 10 runners on base.

      Credit Arizona's defense.

      In the third, Cincinnati had two hits and a walk, but also had a runner thrown out attempting to steal third and another thrown out at trying to stretch a double. Gregorious made several nice plays at short.

      "The defense made some plays when I needed them to," said Miley. "A lot of bad things could've happened. I just didn't feel that good. There are going to be those days."

      Right fielder Gerardo Parra tripled and scored on left fielder Mark Trumbo's sacrifice fly in the eighth to make the score 3-0.

      Cincinnati scored its first run on right fielder Skip Schumaker's RBI double in the eighth.

      Gregorious' fourth home run, a two-run shot off Carlos Contreras, made the score 5-1 in the ninth.

      "He was trying to throw a strike there," said Gregorious, who played four seasons in the Reds organization. "I'm feeling pretty good at the plate."

      Addison Reed allowed Mesoraco's three-run bomb in the ninth, but closed the door for his 26th save.

      "That's not a good place to turn your offense on, down four runs in the ninth," said Price.

      NOTES: Reds CF Billy Hamilton was given a day off on Wednesday. "I need to stay aware that he's an everyday player at the big-league level playing centerfield," said manager Bryan Price. "I have no concerns about Billy. He competes and fights every single game." … Despite losing 9 of 11 since the All-Star break, Price doesn't believe the Reds should be sellers at the trade deadline. "I think we're looking to get better," Price said. "I don't think we're a team looking to 2015." … Arizona, which is expected to be active at the deadline, has 10 rookies on its roster that, through Tuesday, had compiled 209 hits and 90 runs. … Cincinnati scored a run in the eighth off RHP Brad Ziegler, ending a 19-inning scoreless streak for the D-Backs bullpen.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Tigers' Reed charged with sexual assault
    By The Sports Xchange

    Detroit Tigers minor league pitcher Evan Reed was charged on Wednesday with sexually assaulting a woman at a Detroit hotel in March.

    • Reed allegedly sexually assaulted an "incapacitated" woman in his hotel room on March 30 before ordering her to leave, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in announcing charges against the 28-year-old reliever now with the Toledo Mud Hens.

      Reed's attorney, however, insists the 45-year-old woman consented to having sex in the pitcher's room at the MotorCity Casino Hotel, according to the Detroit News.

      After a months-long investigation, Worthy charged Reed with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. If convicted, he could spend up to 15 years in prison.

      The Tigers signed Reed in April 2013. After an inconsistent start this season, Reed was sent to Toledo in June. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told the Detroit Free Press that the sexual-assault allegation was not a factor in the demotion.

      Reed was 0-2 with a 4.88 ERA in 27 games for the Tigers. Reed has a 6.97 ERA in eight games with Toledo.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Cubs are prepared to make another deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- Despite making a big splash earlier this month by trading away two stalwarts of their rotation, the Chicago Cubs could be diving into the trade market yet again.

    • Just two days away from baseball's July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said his cell phone is eating up its charge faster than usual this week.

      "A lot of conversations," Hoyer said Tuesday prior to the Cubs' 4-3, 16-inning win over the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field. "I think we'll be active. It wouldn't surprise me if we made no moves, but I guess I'd say I expect to be active. We're having a lot of conversations. It's still early. (Wednesday) is sort of moving day, and I'd expect things to get a lot more serious as we move into (Wednesday)."

      The Cubs already made a big move earlier this month by trading starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics for a package of highly touted prospects. Chicago still owns some valuable assets for teams in the playoff chase, but that earlier deal is likely the biggest the organization will pull off this season.

      "We're no less active in terms of texts and phone calls and stuff like that, but I guess, in all candor, it's probably a little less pressure-packed than it (would be) if Jeff and Hammel were still on the team," Hoyer said. "I think we'd be looking at it a little bit differently. There might be a little more phone traffic, but it'd be a lot more pressure to get a deal, especially with the number of starting pitchers that are currently on the trade market."

      As for potential trade targets on his own team, Hoyer said the club isn't against trading away players who are still under the team's control going forward. If the deal is right, the Cubs will pull the trigger.

      "We certainly could," he said. "The free agent markets are pretty thin now, and if you trade a guy that is under club control, unless you've got a prospect that can do that same job, all that means is that you're right back on the market this winter trying to find virtually the same skill set. So, we're certainly aware of that, and the price on the guys that are under club control reflects that."

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Giants RHP Cain to get another opinion on ailing elbow
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Matt Cain flew to Florida on Tuesday for a scheduled appointment with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy warned

    • not to read too much into the visit.

      Bochy said Cain will use Andrews as a second opinion on his ailing right elbow, then probably seek a third opinion before deciding whether surgery is the best course of action in his attempt to pitch pain-free again.

      Cain hasn't started a game since July 9. He has been diagnosed as having bone chips in his elbow, an ailment that wouldn't necessarily require surgery.

      The veteran is on the disabled list -- his third trip this season for three different problems -- and, according to Giants general manager Brian Sabean, is no sure-thing to pitch again this year. Sabean disclosed as much when he announced the acquisition of right-handed starter Jake Peavy last week.

      Bochy said Cain, who is 2-7 this season with a 4.18 ERA, would rejoin the Giants in New York at the end of this week. It's possible that is where Cain will get his third opinion.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Rockies rush back Morneau, Logan
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- It didn't take long for the Colorado Rockies to see what they needed to see from first baseman Justin Morneau and left-hander Boone Logan on a minor league rehab assignment.

    • Both played one rehab game, Monday night with Triple-A Colorado, before both were activated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday at Wrigley Field prior to the Rockies' 4-3, 16-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs. Morneau hit fifth and went 1-for-4 with a two-run double. Logan threw a scoreless inning of relief.

      "With a couple veterans like Boone and (Morneau), we just needed to see them go down there and show that the speed of the game wasn't too much for them," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of the rehab outing. "They needed to go down and be sharp, then come back up and help us."

      Morneau, who went on the DL retroactive to July 14 due to a neck strain, went 2-for-4 for the Sky Sox on Monday. During his DL stint, Morneau had an MRI exam on his neck, and the results were good news, showing that it actually improved from an earlier MRI done in spring training.

      "I think the MRI gave him some peace of mind, and we're always in a hurry to get (Morneau) back in the mix," Weiss said. "He went down there, got four at-bats, a couple hits, and that was good enough."

      Boone, who was out with a case of diverticulitis, pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Colorado Springs on Monday, striking out one.

      "He's had a tough year because he's been on the DL a few different times," Weiss said. "He was really good early. We saw some electric stuff early, so the silver lining, I guess, is that his arm is in good shape. He hasn't thrown a lot of innings, so his arm is real healthy, and we could use him."

      That is especially true now with the Colorado bullpen featuring seven, not eight, options. The Rockies optioned right-handed relievers Brooks Brown and Chad Bettis to Colorado Springs in order to clear roster space for Morneau and Logan.

      "We've been eight pitchers in the bullpen for a long time, and this is the first time we've gone to seven," Weiss said, "so, we'll have to deal with that."

      After all seven appeared Tuesday, Weiss turned to starter Tyler Matzek, who ended up as the losing pitcher.

      Colorado also optioned rookie first baseman Ben Paulsen to Triple-A and brought up rookie Cristhian Adames, an extra middle infielder who can fill in while shortstop Josh Rutledge battles an upper-respiratory infection.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    C Baker earns win in Cubs' longest game
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- The last time John Baker threw a pitch in a game, he was playing in the Cape Cod League.

    • Early Wednesday morning, in a game against the Colorado Rockies that started Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs' backup catcher was back on the mound as a pitcher.

      He threw a scoreless 16th inning in the longest game, time-wise, in Cubs history and earned his first professional win in Chicago's 4-3 victory.

      "It's really cool," said Baker, who also scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 16th on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Starlin Castro. "I was having trouble not smiling on the mound, because you never get an opportunity to do things like this.

      "I think about how many pitchers I played with who were really good and never got a chance to pitch in the big leagues. It's something I will definitely cherish for a long time."

      Throwing pitches that traveled between 75 and 79 mph, Baker (1-0) got a foul pop for the first out of the 16th. After issuing a walk, he induced a double-play grounder from Colorado shortstop Cristhian Adames, who was making his major league debut.

      Afterward, Baker got the traditional beer shower from his teammates for his first win in the majors.

      "I got beer, I got chocolate milk, I got hair gel, I got shampoo, I got body wash and then I got some more beer," Baker said of the postgame celebration. "It was great. Best shower I've ever taken. I need some photographs, I need a ball and a lineup card, because that thing is going to replace my first hit in the big leagues ... my first win in the big leagues."

      Baker became the first Cubs position player to pitch since Joe Mather did it Aug. 27, 2012, against the Milwaukee Brewers. He got the opportunity only because the Cubs already burned through seven relief pitchers.

      "That wasn't the plan," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "That wasn't the game plan when we started, but obviously that's the way it ended."

      The game, which lasted 6 hours, 27 minutes, set club records for time for each team. The previous Cubs record was 6 hours, 10 minutes against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 17-18, 1982. The previous record for the Rockies was 6 hours, 16 minutes on April 17, 2008, against the San Diego Padres.

      In the bottom of the 16th, the Cubs loaded the bases against Rockies left-hander Tyler Matzek (2-5). They finally ended the marathon game on Castro's liner to right.

      "It was different," said Matzek, a starter. "But I've thrown in the (bullpen) before and had a routine down, so it wasn't anything crazy. I just didn't execute."

      Cubs third baseman/center fielder Emilio Bonifacio went 4-for-7 and smacked a two-run homer off Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa in the fourth inning that created the 3-3 tie, which held for the next 11 1/2 innings.

      Colorado squandered an opportunity to break the tie in the top of the 10th. Following a one-out double by shortstop Charlie Culberson that put runners at second and third, Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu missed a bunt attempt on a squeeze play with Justin Morneau lumbering down the third base line.

      Cubs catcher Welington Castillo ran Morneau down for the second out, and LeMahieu then struck out against right-hander Blake Parker to end the inning.

      Castillo nearly ended the game in the bottom of the 10th, but his line drive with Castro on second was snagged with a great leaping catch by center fielder Charlie Blackmon -- who also snared a liner by Castillo in the first that would have scored two runs.

      Chicago starter Edwin Jackson lasted only four innings and received a no-decision, which was part of the reason the bullpen was expended in extra innings.

      De La Rosa also received no decision after going six innings and allowing three runs on six hits. He struck out seven and walked just one, giving up a run in the first and two in the fourth on the homer by Bonifacio.

      Jackson exited after throwing a whopping 105 pitches (64 strikes), with his early exit continuing a disturbing trend. He lasted six innings in only eight of his 22 starts, and this was the fifth time he did not last at least five.

      The Rockies, who lost for the third straight game, scored three times on three hits in the first inning off Jackson and didn't score again. They got run-scoring doubles from third baseman Nolan Arenado and Morneau, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game.

      "When you go 15 innings without scoring a run, you don't deserve to win," Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. "Three runs in the first, starter's out (of) the game early. If you can't win that game, you don't deserve to win."

      NOTES: Before Cubs C John Baker, the last major league position player to earn a pitching win was Baltimore Orioles 1B Chris Davis on May 6, 2012, against the Boston Red Sox. ... The Rockies activated 1B Justin Morneau and LHP Boone Logan from the 15-day disabled list and called up rookie INF Cristhian Adames from Triple-A Colorado Springs. In order to make room on the 25-man roster, RHP Brooks Brown, RHP Chad Bettis and 1B Ben Paulsen were optioned to Colorado Springs. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki, who is on the DL with a hip flexor strain, will resume baseball-related activities Wednesday. ... Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said the team is having discussions about potential trades as the July 31 deadline approaches. "A lot of conversations," Hoyer said. "I think we'll be active. It wouldn't surprise me if we made no moves, but I guess I'd say I expect to be active. We're having a lot of conversations. It's still early. (Wednesday) is sort of moving day and I'd expect things to get a lot more serious as we move into (Wednesday)."

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Jays explore possible deadline moves
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- One day after acquiring infielder Danny Valencia from the Kansas City Royals, the question around the Toronto Blue Jays was simple.

    • What's next?

      With the trade deadline approaching at 4 p.m. ET Thursday, the Jays were attempting to figure out if they could add another player to help their push in the American League East. Manager John Gibbons said he was in close contact with general manager Alex Anthopoulos about possible moves.

      "I've been talking to him at least once every day," Gibbons said Tuesday before the Jays' 4-2 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. "He might bounce some things off me about what could happen. Then roster moves, when Valencia comes in and that kind of thing. There's a lot going on out there.

      "We have good debates about who can do what -- how I look at it, and how he looks at it, if it's a chance to upgrade."

      Valencia joined the Jays on Tuesday and went 0-for-1 after replacing first baseman Juan Francisco late in the game. He was acquired for third-string catcher Erik Kratz and right-hander Liam Hendriks in order to add depth and another right-handed hitter to the bench.

      The Jays are believed to be seeking help for their rotation. One pitcher they aren't likely to acquire: Red Sox ace lefty Jon Lester. While Boston likely wouldn't be concerned about trading Lester within the division, the Jays don't seem to be a match because of their reluctance to trade the top prospects in their farm system.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Kemp homers twice as Dodgers double up Braves
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp made it clear he wasn't addressing any trade scenarios. Instead, he let his bat do much of the talking.

    • "I'm not worried about any rumors, I'm just worried about helping the team win anyway," Kemp said. "I've been working on some things (offensively), and it's been working for me. Might as well just stick with it and just keep it going."

      Kemp, who is rumored to be on his way out of Los Angeles, homered twice and drove in a season-high four runs, sparking the Dodgers to an 8-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

      The right fielder, who went 3-for-4, guided the Dodgers (60-47) to their first four-game winning streak of the season and a win over the Braves (58-49) in the teams' first meeting since Los Angeles captured last season's National League Division Series.

      The score was 4-4 in the seventh before consecutive singles by center fielder Yasiel Puig, who went 4-for-5 with a double and a triple, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs, put runners on the corners with no outs.

      After shortstop Hanley Ramirez struck out, Puig scored on left fielder Carl Crawford's groundout to give the Dodgers a lead. Kemp followed with his second homer of the night and 10th of the season, a towering blast over the wall in center off reliever Anthony Varvaro (3-3), who allowed three runs on four hits in one inning.

      "He's been nails for the whole year," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Varvaro. "It just happened today (he was) facing a pretty good hitting lineup that is clicking on all cylinders."

      Kemp praised his teammates and the Dodgers' offensive attack, which produced 15 hits.

      "I think we're all in a groove right now," said Kemp, who had his seventh career multi-homer game. "We're playing really good baseball. We went into San Francisco and swept a good Giants team, and we can back tonight and beat another good Atlanta team. I think everybody's confidence is high. We just have to keep going."

      Said Crawford, "Matt came through real big for us today."

      Dodgers reliever Brandon League (2-2) gave up a walk and a hit in a scoreless seventh inning. After J.P. Howell put two runners on base in the eighth, closer Kenley Jansen came on to get the final four outs and record his career-best 31st save.

      Los Angeles starter Josh Beckett was charged with four runs on nine hits with four walks (one intentional) and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. He didn't figure in the decision.

      Neither did Atlanta's Aaron Harang, who gave up four runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and a walk in six innings.

      "That's about as close to an American League lineup that we've faced in a long time," Gonzalez said, "and they're clicking pretty good right now. I thought Harang did a nice job just giving up four runs in six innings. He (had) to get himself through the tough guys in that lineup."

      In the first, Braves leadoff hitter B.J. Upton reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a walk to second baseman Tommy La Stella. The Atlanta center fielder stole third, and he scored on left fielder Justin Upton's sacrifice fly. The run ended Beckett's string of 23 scoreless innings against the Braves.

      After Crawford walked to lead off the second inning, Kemp hit a 2-2 pitch from Harang off the top of the right field wall and into the seats for a two-run shot and a 2-1 Los Angeles lead.

      Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman launched a two-run blast off Beckett with no outs in the third, allowing Atlanta to grab a 3-2 advantage.

      Shortstop Andrelton Simmons' RBI double with one out in the fifth gave Atlanta a two-run cushion and chased Beckett.

      The Dodgers tied the score in the bottom of the inning as Puig led off with a triple in the gap in right-center and scored on Gonzalez's double. Crawford drove in Gonzalez with a single to center to pull Los Angeles even at 4-4.

      NOTES: The Dodgers announced that legendary broadcaster Vin Scully will return for his 66th season next year. ... Braves RHP Shae Simmons was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday due to a right shoulder strain. The reliever was 1-2 with a 2.91 ERA, but he allowed five earned runs in his last six innings. RHP Juan Jaime was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to fill Simmons' roster spot. ... INF Darwin Barney, who was acquired by the Dodgers in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on Monday, is expected to join the club Wednesday. ... The game drew a crowd of 49,630.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Game roundup: Cubs C Baker earns win on mound
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- Catcher John Baker pitched a scoreless top of the 16th inning, and he scored the winning run in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly as the Chicago Cubs beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 in a game that started Tuesday night and ended Wednesday morning.

    • The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the 16th against Rockies left-hander Tyler Matzek (2-5) and finally ended a marathon game on a fly to right by shortstop Starlin Castro.

      The game, which lasted 6 hours, 27 minutes, set club records for time for each team. The previous Cubs record was 6 hours, 10 minutes against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 17-18, 1982. The previous record for the Rockies was 6 hours, 16 minutes on April 17, 2008, against the San Diego Padres.

      Baker (1-0) made the first pitching appearance of a pro career that began in 2002. He got the first batter to foul out. After issuing a walk, Baker induced a double-play grounder from Colorado shortstop Cristhian Adames, who was making his major league debut.

      Orioles 7, Angels 6 (12 innings)

      BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado led off the bottom of the 12th with a home run, giving Baltimore Orioles a victory over Los Angeles.

      Machado lined a 1-2 pitch from Cory Rasmus (2-1) into the left field seats. The third baseman hit an RBI double earlier in the game.

      Right-hander Ryan Webb (3-1) got the win after escaping a jam and retiring the Angels in the 12th. The Orioles improved to 12-3 in extra-inning games this season.

      Phillies 6, Mets 0

      NEW YORK -- Left-hander Cole Hamels concluded an impressive July by throwing eight shutout innings, and Chase Utley crushed a grand slam in the seventh inning as Philadelphia beat New York.

      Hamels, who has been the subject of trade rumors leading up to Thursday's non-waivers trading deadline, allowed hits to six of the first 16 batters he faced before retiring the final 13.

      Hamels allowed only two runners as far as second base and walked none while striking out eight. He improved to 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA in six starts this month.

      Reds 3, Diamondbacks 0

      CINCINNATI -- Mike Leake pitched seven shutout innings and Todd Frazier went 2-for-4 with an RBI, lifting Cincinnati over Arizona.

      Leake (8-9) allowed only five hits with no walks and eight strikeouts. Arizona had a few scoring chances against Leake but couldn't cash in, going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranding eight.

      Didi Gregorius went 2-for-3 with a triple for the D-backs, who were shutout for the eighth time this season.

      Rays 5, Brewers 1

      ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Alex Cobb stifled Milwaukee for eight innings and Ben Zobrist provided all the offense Tampa Bay needed, knocking in the tying and eventual winning runs with a homer and a double.

      Zobrist's one-out double in the eighth off reliever Will Smith broke a 1-1 tie and ruined what had been a stellar start by former Rays pitcher Matt Garza. Pinch hitter Logan Forsythe followed with a run-scoring double to left for a 3-1 lead.

      Cobb (16-6) outlasted Garza to win his fifth straight decision, allowing a run on three hits, with two walks and 12 strikeouts. The Rays have won 11 of their last 12 games.

      Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 2

      BOSTON -- Toronto rookie right-hander Marcus Stroman picked up where he left off in his last outing -- handcuffing Boston.

      Stroman, who allowed one hit over seven scoreless innings against the Red Sox on Thursday, was only slightly more generous in this outing. He improved to 7-2 by allowing one run on six hits in seven innings.

      The Red Sox got a run back in the ninth when Xander Bogaerts led off with a home run off right-hander Casey Janssen, who then retired the next three batters to earn his 17th save.

      Marlins 3, Nationals 0

      MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton drove in two runs, and right-hander Henderson Alvarez outdueled Stephen Strasburg as streaking Miami beat Washington.

      The Marlins have won a season-best six games in a row and nine of their past 10.

      Stanton, who had been hitless in his past 11 at-bats, including eight strikeouts, snapped his slump by pulling a high breaking pitch down the left field line for a run-scoring double. That snapped a scoreless tie in the sixth. Stanton added an RBI single in the eighth.

      Alvarez (8-5) pitched seven innings, allowing three hits, four walks and no runs.

      Mariners 5, Indians 2

      CLEVELAND -- Mike Zunino doubled and homered, and right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma pitched seven strong innings as Seattle beat Cleveland.

      The Mariners took a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning, then added another run in the fifth on Zunino's solo home run. Iwakuma (9-5) allowed two runs on six hits. He struck out six and walked one.

      Iwakuma came into the game having not walked a batter in his last 35 2/3 innings, the second-longest streak in Mariners history behind left-hander Cliff Lee's 38-inning streak in 2010. However, Iwakuma walked the third batter of the game, Michael Brantley.

      White Sox 11, Tigers 4

      DETROIT -- Jose Abreu blasted his major-league-leading 31st home run during a seven-run, seventh-inning outburst as Chicago overpowered Detroit.

      Abreu, who drove in four runs, extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a fourth-inning single prior to his two-run shot. Abreu, who also had an 18-game hitting streak from June 15-July 4, added a two-run double and took the major league lead in RBIs with 83.

      Alexei Ramirez hit a three-run double and Conor Gillaspie supplied three hits, including two singles during the seventh when the White Sox sent 12 men to the plate. Adam Dunn added a solo home run.

      Twins 2, Royals 1

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson pitched seven scoreless innings as Minnesota beat Kansas City.

      Gibson (9-8) limited the Royals to two singles and two walks while striking out seven. Gibson, who missed his previous start because of back stiffness, left after 95 pitches. Glen Perkins gave up a run in the ninth but logged his 26th save in 29 opportunities.

      The Twins made it 2-0 in the fifth when Brian Dozier's double to left drove in Danny Santana from third base.

      A's 7, Astros 4

      HOUSTON -- Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss delivered consecutive RBI singles in the ninth inning as Oakland rallied for six runs in its final at-bat to defeat Houston.

      Armed with a 4-1 lead, Astros closer Chad Qualls (1-2) allowed a two-run single to pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo three batters before Cespedes delivered a flare to right field that scored John Jaso and tied the game.

      Moss followed with his run-scoring single off left-hander Tony Sipp. Right-hander Jose Veras entered and surrendered a two-run double to Josh Donaldson.

      Yankees 12, Rangers 11

      ARLINGTON, Texas -- New York rallied from a three-run deficit, then held on for victory when Texas slugger Adrian Beltre flied out with the bases loaded for the final out in the ninth.

      For the second consecutive night, Brett Gardner hammered the Rangers, going 4-for-5 while hitting two doubles, a home run and a single. The previous evening he had two homers and a single.

      The Yankees trailed 4-1 entering the sixth inning, but scored seven runs in that frame to take command.

      In the ninth, Elvis Andrus hit a two-out, two-run single off David Robertson to get Texas within one. But Beltre flied out on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

      Pirates 3, Giants 1

      SAN FRANCISCO -- Josh Harrison led off the game with a home run, and left-hander Francisco Liriano won his second consecutive start with seven four-hit innings, lifting Pittsburgh past San Francisco.

      In winning for the eighth time in 11 games since the All-Star break, the Pirates (57-49) improved to a season-best eight games over .500 and moved past the Giants (57-50) in the National League wild-card standings. The loss was a season-worst sixth in a row for the Giants.

      Travis Snider belted a two-run homer in the second inning as the Pirates, for the second night in a row, did all their scoring in their first two at-bats.

      Padres 3, Cardinals 1

      SAN DIEGO -- Yangervis Solarte hit his second homer in seven games as a Padre, leading San Diego to a victory over St. Louis.

      The third baseman drove in a run in all but one of his seven starts since the Padres acquired him in a July 22 trade that sent third baseman Chase Headley to the New York Yankees. He homered in the seventh inning Tuesday.

      Jedd Gyorko, in his second start back from the disabled list after missing 44 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, broke a 1-1 tie with a two-out RBI single off Cardinals starter Lance Lynn (11-8) in the sixth.

      Dodgers 8, Braves 4

      LOS ANGELES -- Matt Kemp homered twice and drove in four runs, leading Los Angeles over Atlanta.

      The right fielder, who went 3-for-4, guided the Dodgers to their first four-game winning streak of the season and a win over the Braves in their first meeting since Los Angeles captured last season's National League Division Series.

      Yasiel Puig went 4-for-5 with a double and a triple, and Adrian Gonzalez finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs for the Dodgers.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Solarte helps lead Padres past Cardinals
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN DIEGO -- Right-hander Tyson Ross will never forget Yangervis Solarte's first start for the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

    • Third baseman Solarte, who was acquired from the New York Yankees in the July 22 trade that sent third baseman Chase Headley to New York, threw out a runner at the plate then hit his second homer as a Padre to lead San Diego to a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

      Solarte's eighth homer of the season and a determined six-inning effort by Ross (10-10) allowed the Padres to snap a three-game losing streak in the opener of a six-game homestand.

      Ross allowed one run on four hits and five walks with seven strikeouts to top Cardinals right-handed starter Lance Lynn (11-8), who allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts over six innings.

      The decisive run was produced by second baseman Jedd Gyorko, who drove home Solarte from second with a two-out single in the bottom of the sixth. It was Gyorko's second game back from the disabled list after missing 44 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

      "I needed the defense to make some great plays behind me and the offense to come through tonight and they did," Ross said after winning his third straight decision.

      Ross has allowed two runs on 13 hits over 19 innings in his last three starts and finished July with a 4-2 record and a 1.10 ERA.

      But he struggled Tuesday night, walking five of the first 12 Cardinals he faced.

      "My fastball command has been better," said Ross. "(Catcher) Rene (Rivera) kept me under control. And the defense played great behind me. I just ground through it."

      "He's been so good, phenomenal, that five walks were a little exasperating," Padres manager Bud Black said of Ross's effort. "He was a little out of sync early, which is very uncharacteristic. But he found the rhythm and righted the ship."

      The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the third when Rivera reached second on a two-base scoring error by Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong and scored on center fielder Alexi Amarista's one-out sacrifice fly to center.

      But the Cardinals tied the game in the fifth and would have had more had it not been for Solarte's throw to the plate to gun down the go-ahead run.

      Lynn opened the fifth with a single past Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, moved to third on a double by third baseman Matt Carpenter and scored on a sacrifice fly by Wong.

      Carpenter moved to third on the sacrifice fly and tried to score when the next hitter, left fielder Matt Holliday, chopped a ball that forced Solarte to come in and to his left. But Solarte threw a strike to Rivera, who tagged out Carpenter after the Cardinals dodged the initial tag.

      "If he goes, I'm throwing home on that play," said Solarte. "And he went."

      Solarte's second home run in seven games as a Padre was his eighth of the season. Since joining the Padres, Solarte is 8-for-28 with a triple and two homers for six RBIs and seven runs scored.

      Tuesday's homer was a 342-foot drive down the line in right off Cardinals right-handed reliever Jason Motte to make it 3-1 in the seventh.

      "That was a pretty good pitch," said Black. "Motte got it inside."

      Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was disappointed his club didn't produce a win for Lynn.

      "He pitched great and deserved better," Matheny said of Lynn, who departed the game with a 2.98 ERA.

      "We ran into a guy (Ross) who is having a real nice season and threw the ball well tonight. Lance threw a great game for us tonight."

      NOTES: The Cardinals released C George Kottaras, who was designated for assignment Saturday when C A.J. Pierzynski was signed. ... The Padres designated LHP Jason Lane for assignment a day after the 37-year-old held Atlanta to one run on six hits over six innings. ... The Padres activated SS Everth Cabrera from the disabled list. Cabrera had been on the DL since July 3 with a left hamstring strain. ... RHP Ian Kennedy, who missed his scheduled start Monday with a mild oblique issue, is expected to make his next scheduled start Saturday.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Pirates score in first and win again
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN FRANCISCO -- By now, the Pittsburgh Pirates are well aware that when they score in the first inning, they're almost unbeatable.

    • They don't necessarily understand why it happens, but according to Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, they don't have to.

      "That's why people keep (stats like that)," Hurdle said after his club's 17th win in a row under those circumstances Tuesday night, a 3-1 triumph over the San Francisco Giants. "It doesn't mean a whole lot, other than let's try to do it again."

      Third baseman Josh Harrison led off the game with a home run, and left-hander Francisco Liriano won his second consecutive start with seven four-hit innings, lifting the Pirates to their eighth win in 11 games since the All-Star break.

      "It definitely benefits us. It benefits everybody," Harrison said of the first-inning scoring. "You get a lead, it helps your starter. It makes him more comfortable."

      The Pirates (57-49) improved to a season-best eight games over .500 and moved past the Giants (57-50) in the National League wild-card standings.

      Meanwhile, the loss was a season-worst sixth in a row for the Giants, who have lost five consecutive games to begin a homestand for just the second time in the history of AT&T Park. The Giants have lost 21 of their last 27 home games.

      "We'll come through this, but why at home?" Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I wish I had a reason to give you."

      Left fielder Travis Snider belted a two-run homer in the second inning as the Pirates, for the second night in a row, did all their scoring in their first two at-bats. Harrison had a second-inning homer in Monday's 5-0 win, and now has home runs in each of his last three games.

      He admitted he knew he'd never led off a game with a home run previously in his big-league career.

      "It's something you remember," he said. "I knew when I hit it, I hit it good. I knew they weren't going to catch it. I didn't know it was going out."

      Liriano outdueled Giants right-hander Tim Hudson, allowing a second-inning home run to left fielder Michael Morse but only three other hits.

      Catcher Buster Posey had two singles and center fielder Gregor Blanco a double for the Giants against Liriano, and all three times they reached scoring position. But the Giants went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, and now have scored only five runs in the first five games of their six-game homestand.

      "We've played some pretty good teams," Hudson said of the winless homestand so far against the Los Angeles Dodgers (three games) and the Pirates (two). "I feel we're good enough to bounced back and persevere through the tough times."

      Liriano (3-7) allowed one run in his seven innings. He walked one and struck out a season-best 11.

      "I thought it was his best outing," Hurdle said of Liriano, who had just one win at the All-Star break. "This is a guy who was a big part of our success last year. That's why I thought it was important to get him up and running the first game out (after the break)."

      Getting that early cushion helped, Liriano insisted.

      "We had already scored in the game (before he threw his first pitch). That's a relief for you," he said. "After that, just hit your spots and let the guys make the plays behind you. Don't try to do too much."

      Left-hander Tony Watson survived a leadoff single by pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias to pitch a scoreless eighth inning, and closer Mark Melancon closed the door in the ninth after giving up Posey's third single of the game for his career-high-tying 20th save.

      Second baseman Neil Walker had two singles for the Pirates, who outhit the Giants 7-6. Pittsburgh is now 17-7 against NL West competition this season.

      Hudson (8-8) lost for the sixth time in his last seven decisions. He gave up six hits and three runs in seven innings. He walked one and struck out two.

      NOTES: Pirates LHP Francisco Liriano struck out 10 or more 15 times in his career. ... The only other time the Giants have lost the first five games of a homestand at AT&T was in their first five games at the park in 2000. ... Giants LF/1B Michael Morse hit his first home run at AT&T Park since May 15 and recorded his first RBI at home since June 13. ... The Pirates sent Marc DelPiano, their special assistant to the general manager, to Boston on Tuesday in case trade talks for Red Sox LHP Jon Lester heat up. ... The Pirates announced that RHP Gerrit Cole (lat) would make a second rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis before being considered for reinstatement off the disabled list. ... Giants RHP Matt Cain flew to Florida on Tuesday for a scheduled appointment with Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. Cain, who hasn't pitched since July 9 because of a right elbow injury, is seeking as many as three opinions before deciding his course of action in regards to possible surgery. ... The Giants promoted 1B Travis Ishikawa and OF Juan Perez from Triple-A Fresno. INF Adam Duvall was optioned to Fresno, and INF Tony Abreu was designated for assignment.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Leake strong as Reds blank Diamondbacks
    By The Sports Xchange

    CINCINNATI -- Mike Leake isn't a fan of the strikeout.

    • "I'd rather get 27 ground balls," he said.

      The Cincinnati right-hander struck out eight on Tuesday night, but it meant more to him that Arizona Diamondbacks batters hit just one ball to an outfielder during his 7 2/3 shutout innings, helping lift the Reds to a 3-0 victory at Great American Ball Park.

      Leake (8-9) allowed only five hits with no walks. He recorded 10 ground-ball outs while earning his 50th career win.

      "I'd rather use the infield than the outfield," said Leake, who provided a much-needed respite for a Reds bullpen which pitched seven innings in Monday's 15-inning loss. "I felt pretty good taking the ball to the seventh and letting them finish it."

      Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth for his 23rd save and the 100th of his career.

      "I had no idea he was accumulating them at that rate," said Reds manager Bryan Price. "The first one hundred of what I hope are many more."

      Cincinnati (53-53) won for just the second time in 11 games since the All-Star break. The Reds entered Tuesday's game batting just .171 since the break. But, on Tuesday, they took full advantage of minimal scoring chances.

      Meanwhile, Arizona (46-61) couldn't cash in against Leake, going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranding eight.

      Arizona starter Trevor Cahill (1-8) retired 11 straight after allowing runs in each of the first two innings, finishing with three runs and seven hits allowed with no walks and three strikeouts in seven innings.

      "He threw the ball better," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's going to get confidence out of it. We've got to score some runs for him."

      It was the second straight start in which Cahill didn't walk a batter.

      "I can't remember the last time that happened," said Cahill.

      Shortstop Didi Gregorius went 2-for-3 with a triple for the D-backs, who were shut out for the ninth time this season.

      Right-hander Bo Schultz, recalled from Triple-A Reno earlier in the day, pitched two scoreless innings to extend the D-backs' streak of scoreless relief innings to 18 2/3.

      Catcher Brayan Pena's RBI single in the sixth put Cincinnati ahead 3-0. That was more than enough support for Leake.

      "I've often felt like there's a certain element of competitiveness, a fierceness to the kid that makes him even better than his stuff," said Price of Leake. "When he unleashes that, he's on the attack, pitching aggressively inside. Tonight it was on display for sure."

      Center fielder Billy Hamilton snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a leadoff double, then scored on third baseman Todd Frazier's single to put Cincinnati ahead 1-0.

      "It set the tone when we came out and put the barrel on the ball, "Price said. "The first three hitters hit the ball on the screws."

      It was Frazier's second RBI since the All-Star break, after compiling 52 in the first half.

      "Even though it was just one run, it was something we hadn't done in a while," said Frazier of scoring first on Tuesday. "It puts the pressure on them. When Billy gets on base it helps us."

      The Diamondbacks thought they were out of the second inning when shortstop Zack Cozart was called out at first on a close play. However, Price challenged the call and won. Cozart was credited with a single, snapping an 0-for-22 skid and putting runners on first and second.

      Leake followed with a single off third baseman Martin Prado's glove, driving in a run to make the score 2-0.

      Arizona failed to capitalize off Leake even with a one-out triple Gregorius in the third and two throwing errors committed by Cincinnati in the fourth.

      "That ball was moving more than normal," Arizona catcher Miguel Montero said of Leake. "His sinker was working."

      NOTES: Reds RF Jay Bruce was placed on bereavement after the passing of his grandfather and RHP Curtis Partch was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. Partch began his fifth stint with Cincinnati this season. Bruce will rejoin the club Friday. ... Diamondbacks OF Alfredo Marte was optioned to Triple-A Reno, and RHP Bo Schultz was recalled from the same club. Schultz gives the Diamondbacks some insurance in the bullpen after they used five relievers in Monday night's 15-inning win. ... Reds manager Bryan Price said LHP Manny Parra could be unavailable for up to three more days due to back stiffness. Parra last pitched July 20. ... Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman had one strikeout, extending his major league record streak to 45 straight appearances with at least one K. ... With the win, Cincinnati clinched the season series against Arizona for the third straight year.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Gibson, Twins edge Royals
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There are two sides to Minnesota Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson.

    • In eight of his 20 starts, Gibson did not allow a run. In four starts, he failed to make it through three innings.

      The good Gibson showed up Tuesday night, tossing seven scoreless innings as the Twins defeated the Kansas City Royals 2-1.

      Gibson (9-8) limited the Royals to two singles and two walks while striking out seven. Gibson, who missed his previous start because of back stiffness, left after 95 pitches.

      "My back felt good all night," Gibson said. "There were a couple of times my hips got a little tight, but it never went up into my back. On Saturday and Sunday, I turned it around (with the back)."

      Only two Royals reached second base off Gibson, who walked left fielder Alex Gordon and third baseman Mike Moustakas in the fifth. In the sixth, right fielder Nori Aoki walked and stole second. Gibson, who gave up six runs on nine hits while losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in his previous start, July 18, needed only four pitches to retire the Royals in seventh.

      "After a quick inning, walking off the field, I was hoping they'd let me come back for another inning," Gibson said.

      However, the Twins did not want to push him for another inning.

      Casey Fien replaced Gibson and threw a scoreless eighth inning. Glen Perkins gave up a run in the ninth but logged his 26th save in 29 opportunities.

      Second baseman Omar Infante led off the ninth with a double and scored on first baseman Eric Hosmer's single for the lone Kansas City run. Designated hitter Billy Butler lined out to second base to end the game.

      "(Gibson has) got a good sinker and had it working tonight," Butler said. "He was throwing his slider for strikes and throwing his curveball for strikes. His fastball was moving pretty good. It was tough on us. It's just one of those days where we had a tough day offensively."

      "Just the loss is frustrating in general. It doesn't matter how it is. It's not fun to lose, especially in a 2-1 game like that. We should have put up more runs. We just didn't get anything going."

      Royals right-hander James Shields, who won only one of his six July starts, left after six innings and a season-high 124 pitches. Shields (9-6) gave up two runs, one earned, on six hits, four walks and a hit batter. He struck out five.

      "They do a good job of working the count, getting deep in the count and really making the starting pitcher battle," Shields said. "I've got to do a better job. They were spitting on some really good pitches. Their plate discipline was phenomenal. I was throwing some pitches I normally get swings on, and they were taking them. They are very selective."

      Shields also took a line drive off his buttocks on a smash by right fielder Sam Fuld in the third inning, but he remained in after manager Ned Yost and a trainer visited him.

      Shields is 0-3 in three starts against the Twins this season, but eight of the 14 runs he allowed in those games were unearned.

      The Twins broke through for a run in the third when left fielder Josh Willingham's sacrifice fly drove in center fielder Danny Santana, who led off the inning with a bunt single.

      Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, however, failed to make it through the inning. After Gardenhire lost a challenge that left fielder Alex Gordon trapped Chris Parmelee's liner to end the third, the manager complained to plate umpire Ted Barrett and was quickly ejected.

      "I know you're not supposed to go out there," Gardenhire said. "I just wanted to find out how that happened. That's the part a lot of managers are trying to figure out, what did they see? I know they don't want it to go any longer, but it's gone on long enough. I was just looking for an explanation. He threw me out really quick. He was really hot."

      The Twins made it 2-0 in the fifth when second baseman Brian Dozier's double to left scored Santana, who doubled with two outs and stopped at third on Fuld's fly ball single to shallow left.

      "A bit erratic," Yost described Shields' outing. "He got his pitch count up early and maintained it. At the end of five, he's at 110, which is uncharacteristic for him, but for him to go back and get us through the sixth inning was huge."

      NOTES: Royals LHP Jason Vargas threw four 15-pitch innings in a simulated game Tuesday. Vargas, who is on the disabled list after an appendectomy, could return to the rotation Saturday at Oakland. ... OF Oswaldo Arcia was not with the Twins after his wife gave birth to a son Tuesday in Minneapolis. He is expected to join the team Wednesday, rejecting an offer from the club to go on the paternity list. ... Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco, who went on the disabled list July 7 with a sore elbow, threw a 10-minute bullpen session. ... 1B Eric Hosmer returned to the Royals' lineup after not starting six of the previous seven games due to a bruised right hand.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Yankees hold on for win in slugfest
    By The Sports Xchange

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- The New York Yankees rallied from a three-run deficit, then held on for a 12-11 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday when Rangers slugger Adrian Beltre flied out with the bases loaded for the final out in the ninth.

    • "Strange game, but it's great to get out with a win," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

      The teams combined for 23 runs and 27 hits, in what was a thrilling offensive endeavor that had the home fans on their feet with their best hitter at the plate in the final, crucial moment.

      "I would want (Beltre) up there every single night," Rangers first baseman J.P. Arencibia said.

      Yankees closer David Robertson allowed two runs and had the bases to get loaded in the final inning but got the out when it counted.

      "That is about as bad as you can suck at the end and still get one of the best hitters in baseball out...lucky," Robertson said.

      For the second consecutive night, Yankees left fielder and leadoff man Brett Gardner hammered the Rangers, going 4-for-5 while hitting two doubles, a home run and a single. The previous evening he had two homers and a single.

      Arencibia had a big night in a losing cause, hitting two doubles and two home runs for seven RBIs.

      "I had a good game and felt good in my confidence," Arencibia said. "I wanted to help my team win and I did my best, but it wasn't enough."

      Righty Brandon McCarthy (3-0), making his fourth start for the Yankees, gave up nine hits and four earned runs in six innings pitched to get the win.

      Rangers' starter, right-handed Nick Martinez (1-7), took the loss, giving up a home run to Gardner to start the night and running into serious trouble in the sixth. His final line was six hits, six earned runs and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

      "I stuck with my game plan (after the Gardner home run)," Martinez said. "He is just a hot hitter right now. I would have liked to finish tonight on a better note."

      The Yankees improved to 21-7 when leading after the first inning this season, despite falling behind in the middle frames and giving up ground in the seventh.

      The Yankees trailed 4-1 entering the sixth inning, but scored seven runs in that frame to take command.

      A Gardner double, a single from shortstop Derek Jeter and a walk to first baseman Mark Teixeira loaded the bases. Designated hitter Carlos Beltran drove in two runs with a single, and catcher Brian McCann tied the score with a sacrifice fly.

      Right-hander Shawn Tolleson was brought in to relieve Martinez at that point. New York right fielder Zoilo Almonte added an RBI single, and second baseman Brendan Ryan drove in two more with a double.

      Gardner hit a ball that bounced off the glove of right fielder Alex Rios and then off center fielder Leonys Martin's head for an error that scored the final run of the inning, making it 8-4.

      "He was calling for it, that is what I saw on the replay, but I never heard him," Leonys Martin said of Rios. "I called it a little early but we have to make that play."

      Two walks helped the Yankees score two more in the seventh with Chase Headley and Almonte getting the RBIs against Texas hurler Roman Mendez.

      The Rangers got back in the game in the bottom of the seventh when Arencibia hit a grand slam to trim the deficit to 10-8.

      Teixeira made it 12-8 with a two-run homer in the top of the eighth, and Beltre had an RBI groundout in the bottom of the inning.

      In the ninth, shortstop Elvis Andrus hit a two-out, two-run single off Robertson to get Texas within one. But with the bases loaded, Robertson got Beltre to fly out on a 3-2 pitch.

      Texas had taken the lead early in the game.

      In the third, Rios and Beltre singled. Left fielder Jim Adduci plated Rios on a single, and Beltre and Adduci came home on a double from Arencibia, putting the Rangers on top 3-1.

      Arencibia drilled a two-out solo shot in the fifth inning, pushing Texas' advantage to three runs.

      NOTES: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira was back in the starting lineup for the first time since July 20. A lat strain kept him on the bench until he pinch-hit Monday. ... The Rangers are carrying 13 pitchers, the extra being RHP Jerome Williams who started against the Oakland A's last week. He is scheduled to start Friday in Cleveland, as RHP Nick Tepesch was pushed back in the rotation due to a sore left knee. ... RHP Nick Martinez started against the Yankees for the second time in one week. On July 22, he allowed only one earned run in the Bronx but threw just 67 pitches in 5 1/3 innings. ... The Yankees won seven of their first eight after the All-Star Break, but they lost three in a row entering Tuesday. ... Texas entered the night looking for its first two-game winning streak since June 27-28 against the Minnesota Twins. The Rangers did not get it.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Machado's 12th-inning homer lifts O's over Angels
    By The Sports Xchange

    BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado just wanted to get on base leading off the bottom of the 12th inning, but he wound up doing much more.

    • The Baltimore third baseman hit a home run, giving the Orioles a 7-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.

      The blast was the first walk-off home run of Machado's career -- and he enjoyed it. Machado lined a 1-2 pitch from Cory Rasmus (2-1) into the left field seats.

      "Once I hit it, I knew it was out," Machado said. "At that point, it was just excitement running through my body. I got chills rounding the bases."

      He said he was mainly trying to make contact after Rasmus jumped ahead of him in the count, but the Angels pitcher left a curve up a little, and Machado nailed it.

      "I didn't think it was a terrible pitch, but obviously not down enough," Rasmus said. "He's a good hitter and made me pay. That's how it goes."

      Machado also hit an RBI double earlier in the game to help the Orioles (59-46) keep their 2 1/2-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East. Baltimore improved to 12-3 in extra-inning games this season.

      Orioles manager Buck Showalter liked how his team got help from so many places in this game, especially the bullpen. Six relief pitchers combined to hold the Angels (63-42) to one run on five hits over seven innings.

      Right-hander Ryan Webb (3-1) got the win after escaping a two-out jam in the top of the 12th. Angels shortstop Erick Aybar came up with runners on second and third and lined a shot right at first baseman Steve Pearce to end the inning, opening the door for Machado's heroics.

      "Somebody's got to step up," Showalter said. "I think it's a good mentality that you have to have because there's so many challenges the schedule presents and, more importantly, the competition presents."

      Earlier in the evening, starters Chris Tillman and Jered Weaver matched up for the second time in a week, but neither pitched well after both threw strong games in Anaheim.

      Weaver gave up six runs on seven hits and four walks in five innings Tuesday. He allowed two homers, a solo shot to center fielder Adam Jones in the first and a three-run blast from right fielder Nick Markakis in the fourth.

      "I don't think (Weaver) ever got settled in and felt good about repeating pitches," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That was one of the few games he was really out of sorts and struggled."

      Tillman gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits in five innings and made a throwing error that let in a run. The right-hander also never really settled in, giving up runs in four of his five innings.

      "I felt good physically, made some good pitches, but not consistent enough," Tillman said. "They're too good of a team to make mistakes against, and they put some good swings on some good pitches."

      The game swung back and forth in the early innings. Designated hitter Josh Hamilton's RBI groundout gave the Angels a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

      Jones tied it with a two-out solo homer off Weaver in the bottom of the inning, and shortstop J.J. Hardy made it 2-1 with an RBI single moments later.

      The Angels bounced back with two runs in the top of the second, the first scoring on a Tillman throwing error when the Baltimore pitcher tried to get second baseman Howie Kendrick at the plate on third baseman David Freese's grounder back to the box. The other run came in on right fielder Kole Calhoun's RBI double.

      Baltimore tied it on Machado's RBI double in the second.

      The Angels took a 4-3 lead when catcher Hank Conger hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth. Markakis then lined a three-run homer off the right field foul pole in the bottom of that inning to put the Orioles on top 6-4.

      Hamilton hit a solo homer off Tillman in the fifth to make it 6-5, and the Angels tied it in the seventh on Hamilton's RBI infield single.

      The Angels had runners on first and third with two outs when Hamilton grounded to Hardy, who started to flip to second for the inning-ending forceout but changed his mind and then tried to throw to first instead. Hamilton hustled down the line and beat the throw as the tying run scored.

      Hamilton finished 3-for-6 with three RBIs. First baseman Albert Pujols added three hits for Los Angeles. Designated hitter Delmon Young went 3-for-5 for Baltimore.

      NOTES: The Orioles sent 1B Chris Davis home before the game due to an illness. Manager Buck Showalter said Davis was battling nausea and a condition that could be contagious. Steve Pearce started at first and went 0-for-4 with a walk. ... Baltimore GM Dan Duquette said that no deals are about to happen, but he would like to increase the club's pitching depth. ... Angels manager Mike Scioscia said LHP C.J. Wilson, on the disabled list due to an ankle sprain, felt good after throwing 5 1/3 innings on rehab Monday with Double-A Arkansas. Wilson is expected to return at some point during the current road trip.

  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    Yankees 12, Rangers 11
    By The Sports Xchange

    ARLINGTON, Texas - The New York Yankees rallied from a three-run deficit, then held on for a 12-11 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday when Rangers slugger Adrian Beltre flied out with the bases loaded for the final out in the ninth.

    • The teams combined for 23 runs and 27 hits.

      For the second consecutive night, Yankees left fielder and leadoff man Brett Gardner hammered the Rangers, going 4-for-5 while hitting two doubles, a home run and a single. The previous evening he had two homers and a single.

      Texas first baseman J.P. Arencibia had a big night in a losing cause, hitting two doubles and two home runs for seven RBIs.

      Righty Brandon McCarthy (3-0), making his fourth start for the Yankees, gave up nine hits and four earned runs in six innings pitched to get the win.

      Rangers' starter, right-handed Nick Martinez (1-7) took the loss, giving up a home run to Gardner to start the night and running into serious trouble in the sixth. His final line was six hits, six earned runs and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

      The Yankees improved to 21-7 when leading after the first inning this season, despite falling behind in the middle frames and giving up ground in the seventh.

      The Yankees trailed 4-1 entering the sixth inning, but scored seven runs in that frame to take command.

      A Gardner double, a single from shortstop Derek Jeter and a walk to first baseman Mark Teixeira loaded the bases. Designated hitter Carlos Beltran drove in two runs with a single, and catcher Brian McCann tied the score with a sacrifice fly.

      Right-hander Shawn Tolleson was brought in to relieve Martinez at that point. New York right fielder Zoilo Almonte added an RBI single, and second baseman Brendan Ryan drove in two more with a double.

      Gardner hit a ball that bounced off the glove of right fielder Alex Rios and then off center fielder Leonys Martin's head for an error that scored the final run of the inning, making it 8-4.

      Two walks helped the Yankees score to more in the seventh with Chase Headley and Almonte getting the RBIs against Texas hurler Roman Mendez.

      The Rangers got back in the game in the bottom of the seventh when first baseman J.P. Arencibia hit a grand slam to trim the deficit to 10-8.

      Teixeira made it 12-8 with a two-run homer in the top of the eighth, and Beltre had an RBI groundout in the bottom of the inning.

      In the ninth, shortstop Elvis Andrus hit a two-out, two-run single off David Robertson to get Texas within one. But with the bases loaded, Robertson got Beltre to fly out on a 3-2 pitch.

      Texas had taken the lead early in the game.

      In the third, Rios and Beltre singled. Left fielder Jim Adduci plated Rios on a single, and Beltre and Aducci came home on a double from Arencibia, putting the Rangers on top 3-1.

      Arencibia drilled a two-out solo shot in the fifth inning, pushing Texas' advantage to three runs.

      NOTES: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira was back in the starting lineup for the first time since July 20. A lat strain kept him on the bench until he pinch-hit Monday. ... The Rangers are carrying 13 pitchers, the extra being RHP Jerome Williams who started against the Oakland A's last week. He is scheduled to start Friday in Cleveland, as RHP Nick Tepesch was pushed back in the rotation due to a sore left knee. ... RHP Nick Martinez started against the Yankees for the second time in one week. On July 22, he allowed only one earned run in the Bronx but threw just 67 pitches in 5 1/3 innings. ... The Yankees won seven of their first eight after the All-Star Break, but they lost three in a row entering Tuesday. ... Texas entered the night looking for its first two-game winning streak since June 27-28 against the Minnesota Twins.