Major League Baseball
MLB News Wire
  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Tigers 7, Indians 5
    By The Sports Xchange

    DETROIT -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler drove in four runs, including a go-ahead three-run homer, to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 7-5 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.

    • Kinsler doubled his RBI total for the season and center fielder Austin Jackson had two sacrifice flies to help Detroit overcome a season-high three errors.

      Tigers starter Justin Verlander (2-1), who gave up three unearned runs, notched the victory despite lasting only five innings. He threw 113 pitches while allowing six hits and four walks. Joe Nathan collected his second save.

      Left fielder Michael Brantley drove in four runs, including a two-run homer, for the Indians. Designated hitter Lonnie Chisenhall added a career-high four hits.

      Indians starter Danny Salazar (0-2) was charged with the loss, giving up five runs in 4 2/3 innings.

      Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was ejected in the third inning after he struck out with the bases loaded. Kipnis turned to complain to home-plate umpire Lance Barrett after his three-pitch strikeout and Barrett quickly tossed him. It was Kipnis' first career ejection.

      The Tigers' four-run fifth gave them a 5-3 lead. Kinsler crushed a 3-1 pitch into the left-center field bullpen to put Detroit on top 4-3. Salazar got into trouble by walking catcher Alex Avila and shortstop Alex Gonzalez. The Tigers tacked on a run with Jackson’s second sacrifice fly.

      Kinsler’s RBI single in the sixth made it 6-3. He knocked in left fielder Rajai Davis, who was hit by a pitch and reached third on an errant pickoff throw.

      Brantley's homer off Ian Krol in the seventh brought the Indians within a run. Davis' infield single in the eighth gave Detroit an insurance run.

      Cleveland broke through in the fourth on David Murphy's RBI single. The Tigers got the run back in the bottom of the inning on Jackson's first sacrifice fly.

      A two-out error by Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos helped the Indians take a 3-1 lead in the fifth. Two batters later, Brantley ripped a two-run single to right.

      NOTES: Tigers LHP Drew Smyly makes his first start of the season against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. Smyly, the team's fifth starter, has tossed six scoreless innings in relief. ... Indians ace RHP Justin Masterson, who is still seeking his first victory, starts the opener of a three-game series against Toronto on Friday. Cleveland plays its next seven games at Progressive Field. ... Before Cleveland's 3-2 victory over Detroit on Wednesday, the Indians had lost 30 consecutive games when scoring fewer than four runs with less than six hits. ... Tigers DH Victor Martinez needs seven more hits to reach 1,500 for his career.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Twins 7, Blue Jays 0
    By The Sports Xchange

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson entered spring training just hoping to make the big-league roster. He headed north as the team’s No. 5 starter, but since the start of the season he has pitched like the team's ace.

    • Gibson was masterful again Thursday in the first game of a day/night doubleheader against Toronto, pitching eight shutout innings as the Twins defeated the Blue Jays 7-0 at Target Field.

      Gibson kept the game scoreless through five innings, long enough for the Minnesota bats to come alive against Blue Jays right-hander RA Dickey.

      In the bottom of the fifth, the Twins strung together three consecutive one-out singles, the last from third baseman Trevor Plouffe, that drove in the first run of the game. A walk loaded the bases for left fielder Jason Kubel, who ripped a sharp single to right to make it 2-0 before designated hitter Josmil Pinto’s RBI double high off the wall in left-center drove in two more. A sacrifice fly by catcher Kurt Suzuki made it 5-0.

      The five-run inning supplied all the offense the Twins needed.

      Gibson allowed only one hit -- an eighth-inning single that was erased by a double play -- in his final three innings. In eight innings, he gave up four hits and a walk while striking out four for to improve his record to 3-0 and lower his ERA to 0.93.

      Plouffe added a sacrifice fly and Colabello had an RBI double in the sixth to provide extra cushion for the Twins, who attempted to climb above .500 mark for the first time this season with a win in the nightcap

      Dickey took the loss for the Blue Jays, dropping to 1-3. He threw 112 pitches -- only 67 of them for strikes -- in 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and five runs, all earned, with four strikeouts.

      NOTES: The game-time temperature of 31 degrees was coldest in Twins history, breaking the previous low of 32 degrees set May 2, 1967, at Metropolitan Stadium. The previous low at Target Field was 34 degrees last April 12. ... The paid attendance of 20,507 was the lowest in Target Field history (opened April 12, 2010). ... Blue Jays OF Melky Cabrera went 0-for-4, snapping a 14-game hitting streak. He had hit safely in every game this season. ... The shutout was Minnesota's first of the season. It was also the first time that Toronto was shut out by an opponent this season.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Phillies 1, Braves 0
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHILADELPHIA -- For those who enjoy offense, there was not much to like about the Philadelphia Phillies-Atlanta Braves matchup on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

    • The two teams combined for just nine hits through the first seven innings as the starting pitchers cruised. And even when the Phillies got some offense, it was only barely enough to squeak out with a 1-0 victory.

      The Phillies manufactured their run in the bottom of the eighth inning after LF Domonic Brown reached on a leadoff single for his first hit of the day. Will Nieves, who started behind the plate in place of Carlos Ruiz, sacrificed Brown to second. Jayson Nix then followed with a strikeout before Ryan Howard pinch-hit and drew a two-out walk.

      It was center fielder Ben Revere who finally broke the ice, sending a 0-1 pitch on a rope back up the middle, scoring Brown from second for the only run the Phillies needed.

      Both teams received stellar performances from their starting pitchers.

      Phillies right-hander AJ Burnett battled through a hernia to provide seven innings of three-hit, five-strikeout baseball to lower his ERA to 2.74.

      Wood, a 23-year-old right-hander, gave up the one run in eight innings but took the loss, which evened his record at 2-2 but lowered his ERA to 1.67.

      Phillies reliever Jonathan Papelbon worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five opportunities.

      Brown was the first baserunner that Philadelphia had in scoring position, with the team managing only five singles to that point. The Phillies' only multi-hit inning before that was the first, but a double play between two singles prevented anything substantial from happening.

      After a five-run outburst in the eighth inning of a loss to Atlanta on Monday night, the Phillies were held scoreless for 17 innings between Wednesday night’s game (Tuesday night was rained out) and the first seven innings on Thursday.

      The first extra-base hit for either team did not come until the top of the eighth, when Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo gave up a double to Braves catcher Gerald Laird to open the inning. But Bastardo retired the next three batters in order without further damage.

      NOTES: Phillies 2B Chase Utley went 2-for-3 a day after his 11-game hitting streak was snapped. He’s now batting .462 through the Phils’ first 16 games of the season. ...Braves LHP Alex Wood drew a walk with one out in the third inning. It was his first walk or hit in 31 career plate appearances, though he has one career run scored, when he reached base on a fielder’s choice in a game against Philadelphia last Sept. 7. ...The Braves entered play with the best starters’ ERA in the league (1.62) and were tied for the lowest opponents’ batting average (.204).

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Cardinals put RHP Kelly on DL
    By The Sports Xchange

    The St. Louis Cardinals placed right-hander Joe Kelly on 15-day disabled list Thursday with a left hamstring strain.

    • Kelly was injured Wednesday afternoon in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee while running to first base trying to beat out an infield single on a ground ball in the top of the fifth inning.

      The 25-year-old Kelly returned home to St. Louis for an MRI, but the team had not yet disclosed the results.

      The Cardinals were expected to recall left-hander Tyler Lyons from Triple-A to take Kelly's place while he recovers. Lyons started a game on Wednesday in the minors.

      In three starts this season, Kelly was 1-1 with a 0.59 ERA. Last year, Kelly was 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA in 15 starts and 37 appearances for the Cardinals.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Brewers' Overbay takes paternity leave
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Milwaukee Brewers placed first baseman Lyle Overbay on the paternity list and recalled utility player Elian Herrera from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday.

    • Overbay's wife, Sarah, is pregnant with the couple's fifth child and due to deliver.

      In 10 games this season, Overbay is batting .100 (2-for-20) with three RBIs.

      The 37-year-old veteram signed with the Brewers in the offseason after playing for the New York Yankees last year.

      Herrera had a .250 batting average with two RBIs for Nashville.

      The Brewers begin a four-game series on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    'Ridiculous' rule a clear drop by MLB
    By The Sports Xchange

    It used to be that the "transfer rule" applied to collegiate athletes being forced to sit out for one year by the NCAA when they left one school for another.

    • However, the "transfer rule" has become the talk of baseball in the early stages of the season. The suddenly strict enforcement of what is and isn't a catch has everyone but the umpires confused as they are suddenly following the letter of the rulebook.

      The rule reads: "In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional."

      Case in point, the rule came into play in two recent games involving American League West teams.

      Seattle Mariners left fielder Dustin Ackley had a particularly tough time with the rule in a 3-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics at Safeco Field on Saturday. However, the Athletics were unable to take full advantage of Ackley's problems.

      First baseman Brandon Moss' apparent flyout in the third inning turned into an RBI single when Ackley dropped the ball during the transfer. However, Moss was called out for passing third baseman Josh Donaldson, who thought the ball was caught and retreated to first.

      Ackley then appeared to catch a routine line drive by left fielder Yoenis Cespedes in the sixth inning but again dropped the ball when he went to take it out of his glove. However, neither Cespedes nor first base coach Tye Waller saw it and Cespedes was called out when he trotted back to the dugout.

      "I don't like it," Donaldson said. "I've been playing baseball for over 20 years and that's always been an out. It's similar to football where you have to catch the ball then come down with your feet before it's a catch. When the ball's in the glove, it's a catch."

      The Mariners scored a run because of the transfer rule Monday night in their 5-1 victory over the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

      Rangers reliever Pedro Figueroa fielded shortstop Brad Miller's comebacker with the bases loaded and threw home with designs of starting a 1-2-3 double play. Catcher J.P. Arencibia lost control of the ball as he transferred it from his glove to his hand.

      Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber ruled first baseman Justin Smoak out at home, until Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon asked for a review and gained a reversal. Rangers manager Ron Washington was ejected after disputing the call, which came after a three-minute, 30-second wait.

      "I think it's jeopardizing the game," Arencibia said. "It's giving guys extra outs when the game's been played the same way for however-many years. It's ridiculous what's going on."

      Ridiculous. There is indeed no better word to describe it.

      AROUND THE BASES

      --While the "transfer rule" is murky, something clear so far this season is that defensive infield shifts are here to stay. Even teams that haven't been sabermetrically inclined in the past like the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees are shifting three infielders to the first-base side of the bag whenever a left-handed pull hitter comes to the plate.

      "The information is there on hitters, so you can't ignore it," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.

      The Pittsburgh Pirates have built their pitching staff with sinkerballers who induce a large percentage of ground balls and have also spread the philosophy to all levels of their farm system.

      "It's been a game changer," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "A hard ground ball up the middle or in the hole between first and second base used to be a hit nine out of 10 times. Now it's a hit two or three times out of 10."

      --Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow deserves credit for having the patience to go into a total rebuilding project when he was hired during the 2011-12 offseason. That resulted in the Astros losing 107 and 111 games in his first two years.

      Owner Jim Crane is reaching for the stars when he talks about the Astros being a .500 team this year but they suddenly became much more interesting Wednesday when they called up outfielder George Springer from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Springer hit 37 home runs and stole 45 bases last season between Oklahoma City and Double-A Corpus Christi and batted .353 with three homers and four steals in 13 Pacific Coast League games this season.

      Two other premium prospects at Oklahoma City, first baseman Jonathan Singleton and right-hander Mike Foltynewicz are expected to soon follow Springer to Houston.

      The Astros' best prospect is 19-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa, the first overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft. He is playing at high Class A Lancaster and is so advanced that many scouts feel he can play regularly in big leagues now.

      --In the wake of Jackie Robinson Day being celebrated Tuesday, which marked the 67th anniversary of his breaking of baseball's color barrier, it's sad to report that African-Americans represented a little less than eight percent of players on Opening Day roster.

      New England Patriots All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis was blunt when I asked him a few years ago why he did not play baseball at Aliquippa High School, which is located outside Pittsburgh, where he was an All-State selection in football and basketball.

      "I always thought it would be an interesting sport to play but black kids look at baseball as a white man's sport," Revis said. "If you're a black kid and play baseball, people don't think you're cool."

      That wasn't a politically correct answer but a brutally honest one and why MLB continues to face major hurdles in its attempts to turn African-American youngsters on to the sport.

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

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Red Sox happy Napoli won't be out long
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- All things considered, the Boston Red Sox caught a break after first baseman Mike Napoli grotesquely dislocated the ring finger on his left hand Tuesday night.

    • Napoli injured the finger diving headfirst into second base in the top of the ninth inning of a tied game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Close-ups from the television broadcast showed the bent finger and Napoli in a lot of pain after taking an extra base on a wild pitch.

      The initial fear was a broken bone, but X-rays taken immediately after Napoli left the field showed no fractures. The finger was reset and Napoli, who didn't play Wednesday, is considered day-to-day.

      "He's sore today and we'll find out after he goes through stretch and puts a glove on his hand if he's available defensively here tonight," manager John Farrell said before Boston's 6-4 win in 14 innings. "But I've got to say that going out to second base (Tuesday) night and seeing his ring finger with a hard left turn, we're fortunate that it was only a dislocation."

      Napoli said he rarely slides headfirst because of the risk for such an injury to his hands, but he got caught up in the play. After seeing the ball hit the dirt after it was pitched, he took off for second instinctively.

      "It was just a reaction play from me," Napoli said. "Usually I have my gloves, holding them in my hands when I run, but it was just so cold. I was trying to keep my hands from being cold. It was just a freak thing."

      If he needs to miss just a few days, it will be a big relief for the injury-laden Red Sox, who have three players on the 15-day disabled list and two others working through some aches and pains without being on the DL.

      Boston got second baseman Dustin Pedroia back Wednesday from a two-game absence for inflammation in his left wrist, and Farrell expects to have closer Koji Uehara available in the series finale Thursday. He hasn't thrown since April 9 because of shoulder stiffness.

      Napoli said if the stakes were bigger than an early regular-season game, he might've lobbied harder to play. In the meantime, he'll take a more conservative approach. His .302 batting average, three home runs and nine RBIs will be missed, but the hope is that Napoli won't be out long.

      "I don't really know how this is going to go," Napoli said. "I can't tell you. I've never done it before. I can tell you from the way it was and the way it looked, it's a lot better than what I expected. I'd jammed my fingers before, but I'd never dislocated it to the point where it was sideways."

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    No. 3 starter? Yankees' Tanaka sure looks like an ace
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- About two months ago, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman tried to downplay Masahiro Tanaka.

    • He went on radio shows saying Tanaka was a No. 3 starter and then reiterated that at Tanaka's introductory press conference.

      Three starts in, Tanaka seems to be the Yankees' best starting pitcher. He certainly looked the part Wednesday in the first game of a doubleheader, dominating the Cubs by allowing two bunt singles and striking out 10 in eight innings.

      Tanaka has 28 strikeouts in three games, the most by a Yankee in his first three starts since current broadcaster Al Leiter struck out 25 in three September starts in 1987.

      Leiter was making less than $100,000 when he joined a team in need of pitching after falling seven games behind the Detroit Tigers. Tanaka is in the first year of a seven-year contract that will pay him $155 million.

      Perhaps an even better number to gauge Tanaka is his strike percentage. Tanaka has thrown 69.5 percent of his pitches (212-of-305) for strikes.

      It's a number that may get some wows but doesn't necessarily surprise teammates.

      "My reaction is that he has that good of stuff that he doesn't have to throw a lot of balls because he can throw pitches in the zone," Shawn Kelley said. "That's how good he is. I know it's early, but he's special."

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Injury replacement Semien hopes to stick with White Sox
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- Rookie infielder Marcus Semien is doing what he can to make a strong impression on White Sox management.

    • Semien has become the main fill-in for injured second baseman Gordon Beckham (oblique strain) and is hitting second in a lineup that's leading the American League in most offensive categories through the season's first two weeks.

      He doesn't know where he'll be playing once Beckham returns from the 15-day disabled list, but he definitely wants to give the White Sox something to think about.

      "I'm just going to continue to show up here every day and whatever they do, they do," he said, prior to going 1-for-7 in Chicago's 6-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox in 14 innings Wednesday night at U.S. Cellular Field. "As of now, I'm here with the White Sox. I don't know after that."

      Semien played roles in some late-inning dramatics in the previous two games, which both ended in the bottom of the ninth with Chicago shortstop Alexei Ramirez scoring the winning run. He drilled his second eighth-inning go-ahead homer of the season Sunday in a 3-2 victory against the Cleveland Indians and then hit a ground ball Tuesday against Boston that led to a 2-1 win on a throwing error by Red Sox rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

      According to Elias, Semien's two eighth-inning homers to put Chicago into the lead in the first 13 games of a season were last matched in White Sox history by Dick Allen in 1972.

      "It's great to be a part of the Opening Day roster," said Semien, who has two home runs, five RBIs and two stolen bases. "Last year I was a September call-up, where it was a 40-man roster, so now being on the 25-man roster it's a great feeling. It's where I want to be and I want to take advantage of every opportunity given to me."

      Despite the small sample size, manager Robin Ventura is impressed.

      "He's doing fine," Ventura said. "He's a confident kid. He's played a lot of different positions, so second base isn't one that he's uncomfortable with. He's just getting a good opportunity right now because of Gordon's injury and he's taking advantage of it."

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Headley's biceps injury could leaves big hole for Padres
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN DIEGO -- Third baseman Chase Headley was out of the San Diego Padres' lineup Wednesday night with what was described as a mild strain of his right biceps muscle.

    • Even though Headley is off to a terrible start in his pre-free agency season, any hint of an injury to Headley raises concerns for the Padres.

      San Diego's weakest position in terms of depth is third base -- unless the club wants to move Jedd Gyorko back to third and try to find a replacement at second base.

      "Third base is not an easy position to fill," manager Bud Black said Wednesday. "All across baseball, there's a lack of depth at third."

      For the second time this season, infielder/outfielder Alexi Amarista started at third for the Padres on Wednesday night. He went 1-for-2 with a walk and scored twice in San Diego's 4-2 win over the Colorado Rockies, but he made a throwing error in his first start at the position. Amarista lacks the arm to be a regular at the position.

      At the moment, Amarista is the only utility infielder on the Padres' 25-man roster. The Padres best Triple-A option, Ryan Jackson, is on the disabled list with a wrist injury that could require surgery.

      That explains why first baseman Yonder Alonso, who played third in high school, was taking ground balls at third Wednesday afternoon. Black said catcher Yasmani Grandal might soon be fielding grounders at third, too. For the moment, Gyorko isn't moving from second, although the Padres' most advanced middle-infield prospect at the moment might be second baseman Cory Spangenberg.

      As for Headley, who is eligible for free agency at the end of this season, he is hitting .160 (8-for-50) and has committed four errors. He has two doubles, a homer and four RBIs.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Dodgers' Puig declines comments on alleged threats
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Right fielder Yasiel Puig issued a statement through his agent Wednesday, saying he will not comment on a soon-to-be-published Los Angeles magazine article that claims he has received death threats since joining the Dodgers last season.

    • According to the magazine, the threats were a result of friction between groups that helped Puig leave Cuba and whether they should share in the $42 million contract he signed with the Dodgers in 2013.

      The Dodgers have not commented on the alleged threats, but the Los Angeles Times reported that the club added extra security last season to deal with the frenzy over Puig joining the team and his remarkable start as a major-leaguer.

      Presumably, similar efforts -- potentially beefed up -- will now be considered.

      Puig did not start Wednesday's game in San Francisco against the Giants, but it had nothing to do with anything other than the Dodgers having four healthy outfielders to squeeze into three spots. They gave center fielder Matt Kemp the game off the night before.

      Puig entered the game in the eighth inning Wednesday and went 0-for-1 in the Dodgers' 2-1 loss to the Giants.

      The article will appear in the May edition of Los Angeles magazine.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Iannetta's homer propels Angels past A's in 12th
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It is difficult to say what was more impressive -- catching 12 innings in a span of more than four hours, or hitting the game-winning home run in the bottom of the 12th.

    • Chris Iannetta did both, his two-out home run in the bottom of the 12th inning lifting the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-4 win over the Oakland A's and putting to an end the 4-hour, 19-minute game Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.

      "It's awesome, it's a great feeling," Iannetta said of his fourth career walk-off homer. "I know I hit this one well, but Angel Stadium at night, you never really know. It's a great feeling. It never gets old."

      The catcher's home run off A's left-hander Drew Pomeranz (1-1) allowed the Angels to avoid a three-game sweep. But it was more than that, the normally stoic Angels manager Mike Scioscia admitted.

      "Usually you say a game's a game, but there's a different feeling in the clubhouse after tonight," he said. "It stems from a couple games where we had opportunities to win (and didn't). You have to turn the page and go. Coming back on a team that's playing well and has a good bullpen gives us a great sense of confidence. There's a great feeling in the clubhouse right now."

      While Iannetta got a hero's welcome from his teammates at game's end, the Angels' real hero was their much-maligned bullpen. Los Angeles relievers went into the game with a cumulative ERA of 5.31, better only than three teams in the American League.

      On Wednesday, however, five Angels relievers combined to throw six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit along the way. Joe Smith (1-0) pitched the 12th to get the win. He followed Kevin Jepsen (seventh inning), Fernando Salas (eighth and ninth), Michael Kohn (10th) and Yoslan Hererra (11th).

      "Our bullpen did a great job," Scioscia said. "We've been waiting for that, to line it up and get guys throwing the ball the way they can. It was great to see Michael Kohn, Fernando Salas, Kevin Jepsen, those guys in the middle shutting it down and giving us a chance to get back in the game, and we did."

      Despite the loss, the A's had a successful road trip, winning seven of nine games in Minnesota, Seattle and Anaheim.

      "Well look, we battled hard again and we had a couple chances to win it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You're not going to win 'em all, so you move on. We had a good trip."

      A's starter Tommy Milone cruised through six innings, and he held a 4-1 lead -- thanks to a three-run homer by right fielder Brandon Moss -- before he hit Iannetta with a pitch to start the seventh.

      Melvin requested a replay review, but the call was upheld.

      Right fielder Collin Cowgill followed with a single, and that marked the end of the night for Milone. The Angels managed to push two runs across in the inning, thanks in part to a throwing error by first baseman Alberto Callaspo and an RBI single by Albert Pujols, cutting the Athletics' lead to 4-3.

      Both runs were charged to Milone, who gave up three runs (two earned) and six hits in six-plus innings.

      The Angels managed to tie the game in the ninth against A's right-hander Luke Gregerson. Center fielder Mike Trout started the rally with a one-out single, and he went to third on a single by Pujols.

      Second baseman Howie Kendrick, down in the count 0-2, managed a slow grounder to third. Pujols was forced out at second, but the relay to first too late to get Kendrick. That allowed Trout to score, tying the game at 4.

      The Angels got on the scoreboard in the third inning when shortstop Erick Aybar scored from first on a double by Trout for a 1-0 lead.

      The A's pulled even in the fourth on Callaspo's RBI double, then got the big blow of the inning, a three-run homer by Moss for a 4-1 lead.

      NOTES: Angels RF Kyle Calhoun was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a severely sprained right ankle. He is expected to miss four to six weeks. After grounding out and running past first base in the 11th inning Tuesday against Oakland, Calhoun rolled over the ankle in some soft dirt. Calhoun played in all 14 of the Angels' games before Wednesday and led the team in runs (12). ... A's CF Coco Crisp (hamstring) was not in the starting lineup for the third game in a row. He walked as an 11th-inning pinch hitter. Melvin wanted to give Crisp another game off ahead of the team's Thursday off day.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Red Sox edge White Sox in extras
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- It wasn't pretty and took a combined 504 total pitches, but the Boston Red Sox will gladly take a 14-inning victory Wednesday night against the Chicago White Sox.

    • Aided by 15 walks, a blown save, two hit batters and three sacrifice flies, Boston (6-9) snapped a three-game losing streak by outlasting the Chicago 6-4 at U.S. Cellular Field.

      A two-run double to right field by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the top of the 14th off White Sox utility infielder Leury Garcia provided the winning runs in a marathon game that lasted 5 hours, 17 minutes in 40-degree weather.

      "Stay back," Bradley said, when asked what his approach was to facing Garcia. "He was actually kind of funky, though. He was kind of throwing rise balls, so it was just one of those things where I wanted to make him throw strikes. He got behind 2-0 and ended up working his way back. Stay back, see it late and put a good swing on it."

      Garcia (0-1) was only pitching because Chicago manager Robin Ventura burned through his entire bullpen, including a three-inning, 59-pitch outing by right-hander Daniel Webb that concluded in the 13th.

      "We just, for one reason or another, we didn't seem to throw it over (the plate)," Ventura said. "So, you know, a game that if you are going to give them that many opportunities, you are a little surprised you are in it that late into the game."

      Left-hander Chris Capuano (1-0) got the win by throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings and right-hander Burke Badenhop got a one-out save. Three innings earlier, Boston right-hander Edward Mujica blew a save opportunity when Chicago catcher Tyler Flowers rolled a two-out RBI single to center field that scored Jordan Danks.

      The White Sox's bullpen was equally ineffective. Chicago (8-7) coughed up a 3-2 lead in the ninth after shortstop Alexei Ramirez's two-run homer in the sixth broke a 1-1 pitcher's duel. Five White Sox relievers combined to allow the Red Sox solo runs in the eighth and ninth on six walks, one hit and two sacrifice flies to force extra innings.

      Chicago right-hander Matt Lindstrom was assessed a blown save, his third in four opportunities this season, but entered in a tough spot in the ninth. The White Sox still led 3-2, but there were no outs and two runners on base after right-hander Maikel Cleto gave up back-to-back walks to start the inning.

      An infield hit with one out by Jonny Gomes loaded the bases and left fielder Grady Sizemore tied it 3-3 by plating second baseman Dustin Pedroia with a sacrifice fly.

      "They just told me to be ready to follow Cleto so I did as told," Lindstrom said. "I could kind of see how they wouldn't be confident in me in that situation, but I was feeling good before (batting practice) throwing. I felt like I was ready and did my normal routine to get ready to go out there in the ninth. It was a tough loss. Our guys battled their butts off today. Even watching Leury pitch, he did a pretty good job."

      Pedroia, who returned from a brief injury stint to relieve inflammation in his left wrist, went 2-for-6 and played the role of catalyst perfectly for the Red Sox (6-9). He doubled and scored to start the game and scored twice more after drawing lead-off walks in the ninth and 11th.

      "It was cold," Pedroia said. "It was good to come out on top. It was one of those crazy games. (We were) just trying to find a way to score. Everyone's by the heater trying to stay warm and get some pine tar on your bat. It's just smash-mouth baseball. That's about it."

      Boston nearly tied it in the eighth, when four Chicago relievers each walked a batter. David Ortiz eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2 before Cleto finally wiggled off the hook that inning by getting Bradley to pop out with the bases loaded.

      It was just another example of Boston struggling to plate runners in scoring position. The Red Sox came into the game hitting .194 with runners in scoring position, which was tied for 13th in the American League.

      The trend continued when they stranded 10, left the bases loaded twice and squandered golden opportunities in the eighth, ninth and 11th against Chicago's scuffling bullpen.

      Can a win in this fashion spark a turnaround?

      "I sure hope so," Bradley said. "It has been a rough couple days. I've been in so many different situations and haven't been able to execute, so I'm glad I could finally help the team out with that last at-bat."

      Ramirez's fourth home run of the season, his second in the past three games, extended his hitting streak to 15 games and tied him with legendary White Sox slugger Frank Thomas for the longest streak to start a season in franchise history.

      Thomas accomplished the feat to start the 1996 season.

      "First of all, I wasn't even aware of that," Ramirez said through an interpreter. "I'm thankful it happened but I wasn't even thinking about it. I was more concentrating on the game than anything else."

      Boston starter Clay Buchholz and Chicago starter John Danks each pitched well and took no-decisions.

      NOTES: White Sox reliever Nate Jones, on the 15-day disabled list since April 4 with a strained left hip muscle, has not resumed throwing yet. ... Chicago manager Robin Ventura said prior to the game that backup C Adrian Nieto would continue catching most of Danks' starts. ... Boston 1B Mike Napoli didn't start and is day-to-day after dislocating his left ring finger in Monday's game. ... Red Sox closer Koji Uehara, who hasn't pitched since April 9 because of shoulder stiffness, threw a pre-game bullpen session and is expected to be available Thursday. ... Boston RF Shane Victorino had his injury rehab assignment pushed back by at least a day because of a rainout at Double-A Portland. He will likely be assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket next, where he could play Friday or Saturday.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Angels 5, A's 4 (12 innings)
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Chris Iannetta's two-out home run in the bottom of the 12th inning lifted the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-4 win over the Oakland A's on Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.

    • The catcher's home run off A's left-hander Drew Pomeranz (1-1) allowed the Angels to avoid a three-game sweep.

      While Iannetta got a hero's welcome from his teammates at game's end, the Angels' real hero was their much-maligned bullpen. Los Angeles relievers went into the game with a cumulative ERA of 5.31, better only than the three teams in the American League.

      On Wednesday, however, five Angels relievers combined to throw six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit along the way. Joe Smith (1-0) pitched the 12th to get the win. He followed Kevin Jepsen (seventh inning), Fernando Salas (eighth and ninth), Michael Kohn (10th) and Yoslan Hererra (11th).

      A's starter Tommy Milone cruised through six innings, and he held a 4-1 lead before he hit Iannetta with a pitch to start the seventh.

      Oakland manager Bob Melvin requested a replay review, but the call was upheld.

      Right fielder Collin Cowgill followed with a single, and that marked the end of the night for Milone. The Angels managed to push two runs across in the inning, thanks in part to a throwing error by first baseman Alberto Callaspo and an RBI single by Albert Pujols, cutting the Athletics' lead to 4-3.

      Both runs were charged to Milone, who gave up three runs (two earned) and six hits in six-plus innings.

      A's right-hander Dan Otero escaped further damage in the inning when Moss made a nice running catch in right field of a liner by Howie Kendrick.

      The Angels threatened again in the eighth, but not without some help from the A's defense. Right-hander Ryan Cook entered the game with two outs and nobody on base, and he struck out Iannetta, but catcher Derek Norris mishandled the ball. Iannetta was able to reach first on the passed ball.

      Pinch hitter Brennan Boesch followed with a routine grounder to third baseman Josh Donaldson, but Donaldson booted it for an error, and the Angels had the potential tying run in scoring position.

      Cook, though, took care of things himself, fielding shortstop Erick Aybar's comebacker, throwing to first and ending the inning.

      The Angels managed to tie the game in the ninth. Center fielder Mike Trout started the rally with a one-out single, and he went to third on a single by Pujols.

      Kendrick, down in the count 0-2, managed a slow grounder to third. Pujols was forced out at second, but the relay to first too late to get Kendrick. That allowed Trout to score, tying the game at 4.

      The Angels got on the scoreboard in the third inning when Aybar scored from first on a double by Trout for a 1-0 lead.

      The A's pulled even in the fourth on Callaspo's RBI double, then got the big blow of the inning, a three-run homer by right fielder Brandon Moss for a 4-1 lead.

      NOTES: Angels RF Kyle Calhoun was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a severely sprained right ankle. He is expected to miss four to six weeks. After grounding out and running past first base in the 11th inning Tuesday against Oakland, Calhoun rolled over the ankle in some soft dirt. Calhoun played in all 14 of the Angels' games before Wednesday and led the team in runs (12). The Angels purchased the contract of OF Brennan Boesch from Triple-A Salt Lake. ... A's CF Coco Crisp (hamstring) was not in the starting lineup for the third game in a row. He walked as an 11th-inning pinch hitter. Melvin wanted to give Crisp another game off ahead of the team's Thursday off day.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Sandoval's single pushes Giants past Dodgers
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval admitted the Los Angeles Dodgers did the right thing Wednesday night when they intentionally walked Hunter Pence in order to face him late in a tie game.

    • Of course Sandoval would feel that way. The move turned him into a hero.

      The Giants' struggling third baseman drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the seventh inning, and five pitchers combined to hold the Dodgers to six hits, leading San Francisco to a 2-1 victory over its National League West rival.

      A second consecutive loss in San Francisco was doubly painful for the Dodgers, as Los Angeles shortstop Hanley Ramirez left the game after he was hit on the back of his left hand by a pitch while leading off the seventh inning. X-rays were negative.

      "I'm sure he's relieved," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said afterward about Ramirez, who wasn't ruled out of Thursday's series finale. "We were worried."

      After the Dodgers stranded the bases loaded in a 1-1 tie following Ramirez's injury, the Giants came through with the decisive run in the bottom of the inning.

      Left-hander J.P. Howell (1-1), the second Dodgers pitcher, walked No. 8 hitter Joaquin Arias, the Giants' shortstop, to open the inning. Pinch hitter Ehire Adrianza sacrificed Arias to second, and after center fielder Angel Pagan struck out, the Dodgers elected to intentionally walk Pence.

      That set the stage for the switch-hitting Sandoval, who reached out and dropped a single into center field, scoring Arias with the difference-making run.

      "I had to tell myself to calm down," Sandoval said of an at-bat that began with a weak swing and miss at a Howell fastball that was off the plate. "I told myself not to go after that one again."

      Mattingly wasn't convinced Howell's next pitch was any better. It was just slower -- a changeup that also was off the outside corner.

      "He's one of those guys where you can't throw the ball bad enough. You can't throw far enough off the plate," Mattingly said of Sandoval. "He just put his bat on it."

      Protecting the 2-1 lead, right-hander Santiago Casilla and lefty Javier Lopez combined on a scoreless eighth, and closer Sergio Romo went through the middle of the Los Angeles order in 1-2-3 fashion in the ninth for his fourth save.

      The win allowed the Giants (10-5) to move ahead of the Dodgers (9-6) atop the NL West.

      "I don't care about myself," said Sandoval, who is batting .186. "I care about winning games. I'm happy every day we win games."

      The Giants outhit the Dodgers 7-6. Half the Los Angeles' hit total came off the bat of second baseman Dee Gordon, who drove in the Dodgers' run with a sixth-inning triple.

      Sandoval had two of the Giants' seven hits.

      For the second night in a row, two previously struggling starters pitched well without getting a decision.

      Dodgers left-hander Paul Maholm, who entered the game with an 8.10 ERA, held the Giants to one run on five hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out two.

      He also scored the Dodgers' first run after drawing a two-out, full-count walk from Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong in the top of the sixth. The next batter, Gordon, smacked a triple to right-center field, scoring Maholm from first to tie the game at 1-1.

      Vogelsong stranded Gordon at third, but he couldn't get out of a jam in the seventh and had to be replaced by right-hander Jean Machi (3-0).

      Vogelsong threw only one more pitch after hitting Ramirez to open the seventh. He gave up a single to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to end his night, having allowed just one run on four hits over six-plus innings. He walked two and struck out two.

      The single extended Gonzalez's hitting streak to 11 games.

      Machi gave up an infield hit to right fielder Andre Ethier to load the bases with one out, but then he got third baseman Juan Uribe to ground back to the mound for a home-to-first double play that ended the inning and kept the score tied.

      Neither team managed a hit with the bases loaded over the first two games of the series, going a combined 0-for-8.

      "Our pitchers were good. Theirs were a little better," Mattingly said. "We just couldn't get that extra run up."

      NOTES: The Giants earned their fifth one-run win. ... San Francisco's bullpen has a 0.63 ERA in the first eight games of a nine-game homestand. ... The game featured a four-minute, 25-second video review after Dodgers CF Matt Kemp was called out at first base on a pickoff. After the long delay, the Dodgers' challenge was denied and the call stood. ... Dodgers GM Ned Colletti (60) and Giants manager Bruce Bochy (59) celebrated birthdays Wednesday. ... The Giants activated LHP Jeremy Affeldt (sprained knee ligament) off the 15-day disabled list before the game and optioned OF Juan Perez (0-for-8 this season) to Triple-A Fresno. ... RHP Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery in 2013) returned to Los Angeles to have an MRI on his ailing elbow. The Dodgers expect to get the results Thursday.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Cashner grinds through Padres win over Rockies
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN DIEGO -- Five days after throwing his second one-hit, complete-game shutout in a span of five starts, San Diego Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner did not flirt with another gem Wednesday night against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park.

    • In fact, the Padres starter lost his no-hit bid and shutout to the Rockies' fifth hitter when Justin Morneau drove a changeup 411 feet beyond the fence in right-center.

      Even so, Cashner held Colorado to two runs (one earned) on nine hits over 7 1/3 innings, and the Padres defeated the Rockies 4-2 at Petco Park.

      "Cashner worked his way through that game," said Padres manager Bud Black. "Overall, it was a well-pitched game. He had good movement and location. His intent is to throw strikes, get outs and not give up runs. He was pitching as the aggressor."

      The Padres tied the game on Tommy Medica's second-inning homer and took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth -- scoring the go-ahead on a passed ball just two days after they defeated the Rockies when two runs scored on a combination wild pitch/error.

      Medica started in left field for the Padres because they were facing a left-handed starter (Jorge De La Rosa) for the first time since Opening Day.

      "I thought the Medica homer was crucial," said Black. "I didn't want to let De La Rosa get in the front-running position. He's always been tough on us. Tommy's homer swung the momentum back to us."

      In the fifth, third baseman Alexi Amarista started the two-run rally with a one-out, drag-bunt single to the right side and was sacrificed to second by Cashner. Shortstop Everth Cabrera hit a high chopper off the plate for an infield single, putting runners at first and third. Amarista scored the go-ahead run when a De La Rosa slider got through catcher Jordan Pacheco for a passed ball.

      Outfielder Chris Denorfia then doubled down the right field line -- the only ball hit out of the infield in the inning -- scoring Cabrera from second to make it 3-1. Denorfia singled home the Padres fourth run in the seventh.

      The turning point came in the top of the sixth when the Rockies loaded the bases against Cashner on three straight, one-out singles -- two of which were grounders that Amarista, who was subbing for Chase Headley, couldn't handle at third.

      Cashner got catcher Jordan Pacheco to ground to Cabrera, who converted an inning-ending double play.

      "I threw Pacheco five straight inside sinkers," said Cashner.

      "He's got a real hard sinker and it came into play against Pacheco," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss. "You don't get many opportunities against a guy like that."

      "I thought my sinker was good tonight," said Cashner (2-1, 1.27 ERA in four starts). "I thought my command slipped later."

      Right-hander Huston Street picked up his fifth save.

      De La Rosa (0-3) gave up three runs, two earned, on seven hits over six innings. His ERA fell from 9.69 to 7.57 after his best outing of the season.

      NOTES: Rockies 1B Justin Morneau finished 3-for-3. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley missed Wednesday's game with a right biceps strain. 1B Yonder Alonso took grounders at third just in case Headley is more than day-to-day. ... Padres RHP Casey Kelly, rehabbing from 2013 Tommy John surgery, successfully completed a simulated game in Arizona. He might make one more simulated start before starting a rehab assignment. ... Padres LF Carlos Quentin took live batting practice for a third straight day but has yet to run on the bone bruise in his left knee, ruling out the possibility of starting a rehab assignment this weekend.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Moustakas, bullpen lead Royals past Astros in 11
    By The Sports Xchange

    HOUSTON -- Bit by bit, the Kansas City Royals are showing signs of recovery.

    • On Wednesday, two key components of their roster -- third baseman Mike Moustakas and their power-laden bullpen -- delivered.

      Moustakas slapped a leadoff home run to right field in the top of the 11th inning to support a brilliant performance by a quartet of Royals relievers in a 6-4 victory over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

      Second baseman Omar Infante added a run-scoring fielder's choice off Astros right-hander Jerome Williams (0-1) to complete the comeback for Kansas City, which trailed 4-2 entering the seventh.

      Moustakas opened the night with just two extra-base hits and a .150 slugging percentage before his second at-bat off the bench shifted momentum.

      "I hit it pretty good," Moustakas said. "I got underneath it a little bit, but I knew I hit it pretty good. I was kind of blowing as it was up in the air hoping it was going out. I knew I got it pretty good. I didn't know how far it was going to go, but I was obviously happy it carried out of here."

      Royals closer Greg Holland earned his fifth save by blanking the Astros in the 11th. Kansas City rode five scoreless innings of relief to victory, as Holland teamed with Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera and left-hander Danny Duffy (1-0) to produce eight strikeouts against just eight baserunners.

      The Royals' bullpen ranked 23rd in the majors in ERA (4.76) and 26th in walk rate at 13.1 percent before setting the stage for the comeback.

      "I don't think that they needed a confidence boost; they've been pretty successful for the last two years," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "They just needed to get themselves on track. They're not lacking confidence; it's just early in the year. They were behind in the count and walking guys, and tonight they came in on the attack with their great stuff that they have. They did a phenomenal job."

      After Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel worked six solid innings, his bullpen coughed up the two-run lead immediately. Right-hander Brad Peacock, scheduled to start Sunday in Oakland, allowed two hits while recording two outs in the seventh before left-hander Kevin Chapman, summoned to face left-handed-hitting Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, issued a five-pitch walk to load the bases.

      Royals catcher Salvador Perez followed by slapping the first pitch from Astros right-hander Matt Albers past diving shortstop Marwin Gonzalez and into center field, scoring both Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar.

      "This was tough to swallow because we felt we had the right guys in the right situation tonight," Astros manager Bo Porter said of his bullpen. "We just did not get it done."

      Third baseman Danny Valencia delivered his first home run, a one-out solo shot to left in the second that staked Kansas City to a 1-0 lead. The blast was the second of the series and third of the season for the Royals.

      Astros right fielder George Springer, promoted Wednesday to provide the scuffling offense a spark, did exactly that when he reached on a swinging bunt single in the third inning for his first major league hit.

      One batter later, with Springer bouncing on first as a base-stealing threat, catcher Jason Castro crushed a two-run homer off Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie into the seats in left, giving Houston a 2-1 lead.

      Springer finished 1-for-5 with a run scored, a walk and two strikeouts.

      "It's always good to get that first one out of the way," said Springer, the Astros' third-rated prospect. "I didn't really hit it all that well, but I will take it. Now I can relax, breathe a little bit and just have some fun."

      Kansas City pulled even in the top of the fourth inning, loading the bases against Keuchel before Cain delivered a run-scoring groundout that brought home left fielder Alex Gordon from third.

      NOTES: The Astros selected the contract of RF George Springer, their third-ranked prospect and the organization's 2013 minor league player of the year. Springer was batting .353 with eight extra-base hits, nine RBIs and four stolen bases in 13 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He had his first hit in his second at-bat, a swinging bunt single. ... The Astros optioned OF Robbie Grossman to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Springer. Grossman had a .125/.236/.313 line in 14 starts. Houston also designated RHP Lucas Harrell for assignment after he dropped to 0-3 with a 9.49 ERA on Tuesday night. ... Royals LHP Bruce Chen was scratched from his Thursday night start because of back stiffness. RHP James Shields will replace Chen against the Astros, with Chen tentatively scheduled to start Sunday in the series finale against the Minnesota Twins.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Red Sox 6, White Sox 4 (14 innings)
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- It wasn't pretty and it took a combined 504 pitches to complete, but the Boston Red Sox will gladly take a 14-inning victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.

    • Aided by 15 walks, a blown save, two hit batters and three sacrifice flies, Boston snapped a three-game losing streak by outlasting the Chicago 6-4 at U.S. Cellular Field.

      A two-run double to right field by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the top of the 14th off White Sox utility infielder Leury Garcia provided the winning runs in a marathon game that lasted 5 hours, 17 minutes.

      Garcia (0-1) was pitching because Chicago manager Robin Ventura burned through his entire bullpen, including a three-inning, 59-pitch outing by right-hander Daniel Webb that concluded in the 13th.

      Left-hander Chris Capuano (1-0) got the win by throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings, and right-hander Burke Badenhop got a one-out save.

      Three innings earlier, Boston right-hander Edward Mujica blew a save opportunity when Chicago catcher Tyler Flowers rolled a two-out RBI single to center field, scoring Jordan Danks.

      The White Sox's bullpen was equally ineffective. Shortstop Alexei Ramirez's two-run homer in the sixth broke a 1-1 pitcher's duel, but Chicago coughed up a 3-2 lead in the ninth. Five White Sox relievers combined to allow the Red Sox solo runs in the eighth and ninth on six walks, one hit and two sacrifice flies, forcing extra innings.

      Chicago right-hander Matt Lindstrom was assessed a blown save, his third in four opportunities this season, but he entered in a tough spot in the ninth. The White Sox still led 3-2, but there were no outs and two runners on base after right-hander Maikel Cleto gave up back-to-back walks to start the inning.

      An infield hit with one out by Jonny Gomes loaded the bases, and Grady Sizemore tied it 3-3 by plating Dustin Pedroia with a sacrifice fly.

      Pedroia, the All-Star second baseman who didn't start the previous two games due to left wrist inflammation, went 1-for-4 and played the role of catalyst perfectly for the Red Sox (6-9). He doubled and scored to start the game and scored twice more after drawing leadoff walks in the ninth and 11th.

      Boston nearly tied it in the eighth. Chicago (8-7) used four relievers and each walked a batter. Designated hitter David Ortiz eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2 before Cleto finally wiggled off the hook that inning by getting Bradley to pop out with the bases loaded.

      It was just another example of Boston struggling to plate runners in scoring position. The Red Sox came into the game hitting .194 with runners in scoring position, which was tied for 13th in the American League.

      The trend continued when they stranded 16 on the night. Boston left the bases loaded twice and squandered golden opportunities in the eighth, ninth and 11th against Chicago's scuffling bullpen.

      Ramirez's fourth home run of the season, his second in the past three games, extended his hitting streak to 15 games and tied him with legendary White Sox slugger Frank Thomas for the longest streak to start a season in franchise history. Thomas accomplished the feat to start the 1996 season.

      Boston starter Clay Buchholz and Chicago starter John Danks each pitched well and took no-decisions.

      NOTES: White Sox reliever Nate Jones, on the 15-day disabled list since April 4 with a strained left hip muscle, has not resumed throwing. ... Chicago manager Robin Ventura said prior to the game that backup C Adrian Nieto would continue catching most of LHP John Danks' starts. ... Boston 1B Mike Napoli didn't play. He is day-to-day after dislocating his left ring finger in Monday's game. ... Red Sox RHP Koji Uehara, who hasn't pitched since April 9 because of shoulder stiffness, threw a pregame bullpen session. He is expected to be available Thursday. ... Boston RF Shane Victorino had his rehab assignment pushed back by at least a day because of a rainout at Double-A Portland. He likely will be assigned next to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he could play Friday or Saturday.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Giants 2, Dodgers 1
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Struggling third baseman Pablo Sandoval drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the seventh inning and five pitchers combined to hold the Los Angeles Dodgers to six hits, leading the San Francisco Giants to a 2-1 victory over their National League West rivals Wednesday night.

    • A second consecutive loss in San Francisco could have been worse for the Dodgers, who sent star shortstop Hanley Ramirez for X-rays after he was hit on the back of his left hand by Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong while leading off the seventh inning. The X-rays were negative.

      After the Dodgers stranded the bases loaded in a 1-1 tie following Ramirez's injury, the Giants came through with the decisive run in the bottom of the inning.

      Left-hander J.P. Howell (1-1), the second Dodgers pitcher, walked No. 8 hitter Joaquin Arias, the Giants' shortstop, to open the inning. Pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza sacrificed Arias to second and, after center fielder Angel Pagan struck out, the Dodgers elected to intentionally walk right fielder Hunter Pence.

      That set the stage for the switch-hitting Sandoval, who reached out and dropped a single into center field, scoring Arias with the difference-making run.

      Right-hander Santiago Casilla and lefty Javier Lopez combined on a scoreless eighth, and closer Sergio Romo went through the middle of the LA order in 1-2-3 fashion in the ninth for his fourth save.

      The win allowed the Giants (10-5) to move ahead of the Dodgers (9-6) atop the NL West.

      The Giants outhit the Dodgers 7-6. Half the L.A. total came off the bat of second baseman Dee Gordon, who drove in L.A.'s first run with a sixth-inning triple that sandwiched singles in the first and eighth.

      Sandoval, who began the game batting .164, had two of the Giants' seven hits.

      For the second night in a row, two previously struggling starters pitched well but neither got a decision.

      Dodgers left-hander Pal Maholm, who entered the game with an 8.10 ERA, held the Giants to one run on five hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out two.

      He also scored the Dodgers' first run after drawing a two-out, full-count walk from Vogelsong in the top of the sixth. The next batter, Gordon, smacked a triple to right-center field, scoring Maholm from first to tie the game at 1-1.

      Vogelsong stranded Gordon at third, but couldn't get out of a jam in the seventh and had to be replaced by right-hander Jean Machi (3-0).

      The veteran threw only one more pitch after hitting Ramirez to open the seventh. He gave up a single to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to end his night, having allowed just one run on four hits over six-plus innings. He walked two and struck out two.

      Machi gave up an infield hit to right fielder Andre Ethier to load the bases with one out in the seventh, but then he got third baseman Juan Uribe to ground back to the mound for a home-to-first double play that ended the inning and kept the score tied.

      Neither team has gotten a hit with the bases loaded in the first two games of the series, going a combined 0-for-8.

      Vogelsong allowed two hits and a walk in the first three innings but managed to face the minimum nine Dodgers hitters during that span. The veteran got Ramirez to ground into a double play in the first inning, picked off center fielder Matt Kemp in the second and watched as Uribe was caught stealing in the third.

      The Giants rewarded Vogelsong for his impressive start with a run in the bottom of the third. Catcher Buster Posey drove in Pence with a one-out single to open the scoring.

      However, Maholm got an inning-ending double play of his own to prevent further damage, enticing left fielder Michael Morse to ground straight to Gordon with runners on first and second.

      NOTES: Thursday's series finale concludes a nine-game Giants homestand and a six-game Dodgers trip. LA returns home on Friday to begin a 10-game homestand. ... The game featured a four-minute, 25-second video review after Dodgers CF Matt Kemp was called out at first base on a pickoff. After the long delay, the Dodgers' challenge was denied and the call stood. ... Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti (60) and Giants manager Bruce Bochy (59) celebrated birthdays on Wednesday. ... The Giants activated LHP Jeremy Affeldt (sprained knee ligament) off the 15-day disabled list before the game and optioned OF Juan Perez (0-for-8 this season) to Triple-A Fresno. ... Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery in 2013) returned to Los Angeles to have an MRI on his ailing elbow. The Dodgers expect to get the results on Thursday.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Padres 4, Rockies 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN DIEGO -- Andrew Cashner lost his no-hit bid and shutout on the game's fifth hitter Wednesday night.

    • Even so, the San Diego right-hander held Colorado to two runs (one earned) on nine hits over 7 1/3 innings, and the Padres defeated the Rockies 4-2 at Petco Park.

      The Padres scored the winning run on a passed ball just two days after they defeated the Rockies when two runs scored on a combination wild pitch/error.

      Last Friday, Cashner allowed only one hit against the Detroit Tigers, his second complete-game, one-hit shutout in five starts dating back to Sept. 16. His string of 10 consecutive scoreless innings ended in the second against the Rockies on first baseman Justin Morneau's 411-foot home run into the "beach" just beyond the fence in right-center.

      Cashner (2-1) lowered his ERA to 1.27 through four starts. He issued one walk and struck out five.

      Right-hander Huston Street picked up his fifth save.

      Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa (0-3) gave up three runs, two earned, on seven hits over six innings. His ERA fell from 9.69 to 7.57 after his best outing of the season.

      Tommy Medica, who started in left field for the Padres with left-hander De La Rosa on the mound for the Rockies, answered Morneau's blast with a solo homer of his own leading off the bottom of the second to tie the score.

      The game remained tied until the Padres pushed across two in the bottom of the fifth -- the go-ahead run scoring before the ball left the infield.

      Third baseman Alexi Amarista opened the inning with a one-out, drag-bunt single to the right side and was sacrificed to second. Shortstop Everth Cabrera hit a high chopper off the plate for an infield single, putting runners at first and third. Amarista scored the go-ahead run when a De La Rosa slider got through catcher Jordan Pacheco for a passed ball. Outfielder Chris Denorfia then doubled down the right field line, scoring Cabrera from second to make it 3-1.

      The Rockies loaded the bases with one out in the sixth when Morneau's third hit went off the glove of Amarista, who was subbing for Chase Headley at third. But Cashner got Pacheco to ground to Cabrera, who turned an inning-ending double play.

      NOTES: Rockies 1B Justin Morneau finished 3-for-3. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley missed Wednesday's game with a right biceps strain. 1B Yonder Alonso took grounders at third just in case Headley is more than day to day. ... Padres RHP Casey Kelly, rehabbing from 2013 Tommy John surgery, successfully completed a simulated game in Arizona. He might make one more simulated start before starting a rehab assignment. ... Padres LF Carlos Quentin took live batting practice for a third straight day but has yet to run on the bone bruise in his left knee, ruling out the possibility of starting a rehab assignment this weekend.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Royals 6, Astros 4 (11 innings)
    By The Sports Xchange

    HOUSTON -- Third baseman Mike Moustakas slapped a leadoff home run in the top of the 11th inning, and the Kansas City Royals rallied against the Houston Astros' bullpen for a 6-4 win Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.

    • Royals second baseman Omar Infante added a run-scoring fielder's choice off Astros right-hander Jerome Williams (0-1) to complete the comeback for Kansas City, which trailed 4-2 entering the seventh inning.

      Kansas City closer Greg Holland earned his fifth save by blanking the Astros in the bottom of the 11th. The Royals rode five scoreless innings of relief to victory, as Holland teamed with Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera and Danny Duffy (1-0) to produce eight strikeouts against just four hits and three walks.

      After Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel worked six solid innings, his bullpen coughed up the 4-2 lead immediately upon his departure. Right-hander Brad Peacock, scheduled to start Sunday in Oakland, surrendered two hits while recording two outs in the seventh before left-hander Kevin Chapman, summoned to face left-handed-hitting Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, issued a five-pitch walk to loaded the bases.

      Royals catcher Salvador Perez followed by slapping the first pitch from Astros right-hander Matt Albers past diving shortstop Marwin Gonzalez and into center field, scoring both Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar.

      Third baseman Danny Valencia delivered his first home run on the season, a one-out solo shot to left field in the second inning that staked Kansas City to a 1-0 lead. The blast was the second of the series and third of the season for the Royals.

      Astros right fielder George Springer, promoted earlier Wednesday to provide the scuffling offense a spark, did exactly that when he reached on a swinging bunt single in the third inning for his first major league hit. One batter later, with Springer bouncing on first as a base-stealing threat, Houston catcher Jason Castro crushed a two-run homer off Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie into the seats in left, giving Houston a 2-1 lead.

      Kansas City pulled even in its next at-bat, loading the bases against Keuchel before Cain delivered a run-scoring groundout the opposite way to first, bringing home left fielder Alex Gordon.

      NOTES: The Astros selected the contract of RF George Springer, their third-ranked prospect and the organization's 2013 minor league player of the year. Springer was batting .353 with eight extra-base hits, nine RBIs and four stolen bases in 13 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City. He had his first hit in his second at-bat, a swinging bunt single. ... The Astros optioned OF Robbie Grossman to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Springer. Grossman had a .125/.236/.313 line in 14 starts. Houston also designated RHP Lucas Harrell for assignment after he dropped to 0-3 with a 9.49 ERA on Tuesday night. ... Royals LHP Bruce Chen was scratched from his Thursday night start because of back stiffness. RHP James Shields will replace Chen against the Astros, with Chen tentatively scheduled to start Sunday in the series finale against the Minnesota Twins.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Rangers best Mariners in battle of aces
    By The Sports Xchange

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Something seemed destined to give in a clash between two of baseball's dominant pitchers off to perfect starts.

    • But on Wednesday night, neither lost.

      The Texas Rangers rallied with two outs in the ninth inning to beat Seattle 3-2 at Globe Like Park. Center fielder Leonys Martin delivered the winning hit off Mariners closer Fernando Rodney.

      Seattle ace Felix Hernandez was in line for the win after outdueling Texas counterpart Yu Darvish for the majority of the night. Instead, the Rangers improved to 8-7 this season and 4-2 on their current 10-game homestand.

      The Rangers lead the majors with four walk-off victories this season.

      "Tremendous," Texas manager Ron Washington said after the win. "That's why you play nine innings. Those kinds of wins build character. We have a new group that we're playing with, and they learn how to hang together and play the game until the third out is made."

      The game-deciding surge began after Rodney easily dispatched the first two Texas batters in the bottom of the ninth. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff singled as the ball squirted away from shortstop Brad Miller.

      Designated hitter Mitch Moreland followed with a walk before Miller came into play again. After fielding a grounder from pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy, Miller's underhand toss to second was high and pulled Robinson Cano off the bag.

      After a wild pitch by Rodney allowed Texas to tie the score, Martin lined a soft single to left to win it.

      "Rodney did a great job for us," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "It's unfortunate we made the error there. That's baseball. Things happen. Over the course of a 162-game schedule, you're going to win your share of those and you're going to lose your share."

      Hernandez was bidding for a 4-0 start after giving up one run and four hits in seven innings. He struck out nine and has fanned 39 batters in the four games, which is a career high to open a season.

      Darvish rebounded after a shaky start to finish with a solid seven-inning performance. After two scoreless games to open his season, Darvish gave up two runs, seven hits and two walks.

      Darvish racked up eight strikeouts and did not allow a hit in his last four innings, but the Rangers' offense struggled again with its No. 1 on the mound. Darvish had yet to throw a pitch this season with any Texas runs on the board.

      The Rangers needed more than seven innings to post a run against Hernandez. Martin tripled to lead off the eighth, his first extra-base hit of the season.

      That ended the night for Hernandez, who threw 96 pitches and walked one. Pinch-hitter Michael Choice's sacrifice fly scored Martin to cut the Seattle lead in half.

      "I knew it was going to be a tough game. They have my number," said Hernandez, who is 12-20 lifetime against Texas. "I was on. I made good pitches. I made one mistake in the game and that was that fastball to Leonys."

      Hernandez was the sharper of the two starters through the early going. He struck out seven through five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits.

      Darvish did not have the command and sharpness he displayed through his first two starts. A couple of mound visits -- one from pitching coach Mike Maddux and another by catcher Robinson Chirinos -- were needed to calm Darvish down.

      "After that, we were able to get on the same page and throw a lot of effective breaking balls," Darvish said through a translator.

      The 27-year-old right-hander ran into trouble in the second and gave up his first runs of the season. The Mariners scored twice on three hits and a walk.

      Designated hitter Nick Franklin got things going with a one-out triple, and catcher Mike Zunino and center fielder Abraham Almonte each delivered two-out RBI singles.

      NOTES: Texas came into the game alternating wins and losses over the previous 10 games. The Rangers owned one two-game winning streak and one two-game losing streak. ... Seattle had made just one error in the 11 games going into Wednesday, with none in the previous four games. ... Texas leads MLB with four shutouts, including three on the current homestand. ... The Mariners are 7-0 in games in which they hit a home run and 0-7 when they don't. ... Each of Texas' seven home runs have come from a different player.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Yankees finish doubleheader sweep of Cubs
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- For Adam Warren, the adrenaline was flowing first and then the release point was troublesome.

    • Once Warren got those things under control, he had his second career save and the New York Yankees had an impressive doubleheader sweep.

      Warren wiggled out of trouble in the top of the ninth inning as the Yankees completed a day-night doubleheader exacta against the Chicago Cubs with a 2-0 victory at frigid Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.

      "It feels a little different," Warren said. "You get the blood flowing a little bit more, but I just tried to slow everything down. Everything's moving fast at the beginning, but the big thing for me is to make sure I'm moving slow."

      Warren's other save was a four-inning job in a 7-0 win at Cleveland in the second game of a doubleheader on May 13 that also was played in frigid conditions. This one was significantly different.

      "Early on, I was having trouble kind of feeling my release point on my pitches," he said, "and I tried to slow the game down and just made some good pitches when I could."

      Warren, whose role has evolved from potential Yankees long man to eighth-inning guy, was called upon for the save after Shawn Kelley pitched in the previous two games. He became the third Yankee to get a save and he recorded New York's sixth save since closer David Robertson landed on the disabled list.

      "You want to keep the train rolling along and you don't want to be that guy that messes it up," Warren said. "So it kind of pushes you a little bit to keep it going."

      Unlike Kelley's save in the opener of New York's first shutout sweep of a doubleheader since 1987 against Kansas City, this was not comfortable. Warren came on after left-hander Matt Thornton gave up an infield single to designated hitter Nate Schierholtz.

      Warren fell behind 3-0 against shortstop Starlin Castro before getting a pop-up to second baseman Dean Anna. Then he walked third baseman Luis Valbuena on five pitches and threw a wild pitch on the first offering to catcher Wellington Castillo.

      With runners on second and third, Warren regrouped and got Castillo to foul out to catcher John Ryan Murphy and then ended New York's fourth straight win by getting right fielder Ryan Kalish on a groundout to shortstop Derek Jeter.

      Warren's high-wire act capped a cold day on which game-time temperatures were 43 and 47 degrees respectively. In the opener, rookie Masahiro Tanaka dominated by allowing two bunt hits and striking out 10 in eight innings, and Warren finished off Michael Pineda's second win.

      "Anytime we can get two wins in a doubleheader and hold them to zero runs, even better," Warren said.

      Pineda allowed four hits in six innings. He might have gone beyond the 89 pitches but the Yankees are still being cautious especially as he is coming off shoulder injuries and the weather was cold.

      "I think he was on top of the ball really today," said Murphy, who caught all of Pineda's six rehab outings in 2013 at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes Barre.

      Pineda allowed three singles through the first five innings before allowing a triple to first baseman Anthony Rizzo. He ended his third start as a Yankee by retiring Schierholtz.

      "It wasn't the best of conditions to pitch in, but I thought he did a really good job," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

      Pineda's biggest inning came with nobody out in the fifth when he opened the inning by allowing base hits to Castro and Valbuena.

      After they were sacrificed by Castillo, Pineda struck out Kalish on a slider and retired second baseman Darwin Barney. The Yankees had a 2-0 lead when Pineda's night ended.

      They had that lead after Sizemore lined an RBI single off Chicago starter Travis Wood (0-2), marking the first run the 29-year-old had driven in since hitting a three-run home run at Seattle on Sept. 27, 2011. An RBI single by center fielder Brett Gardner in the fourth accounted for New York's first run.

      "I'm sure it's special for him because he's been through a lot with the two knee surgeries and getting close to getting back in a sense and then re-injuring his anterior cruciate," Girardi said.

      "So for him it's a special day."

      The Cubs dropped their fourth straight game, falling to 4-10. They were blanked for the fourth time this season and saw pitching coach Chris Bosio get ejected by plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth for arguing balls and strikes in the bottom of the seventh.

      "We just weren't able to put anything together," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "We weren't able to put a whole lot together."

      Wood lasted 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and tying a career high by yielding 11 hits for the second time.

      "They were just putting them in the right spot and weren't able to get outs," Renteria said.

      NOTES: 3B Scott Sizemore, DH Carlos Beltran, 1B Kelly Johnson, CF Brett Gardner and LF Alfonso Soriano were the only Yankees to start both games. Beltran changed positions, going from right field to designated hitter, while Gardner moved from left field and Soriano moved from designated hitter. ... For the Cubs, CF Emilio Bonafacio, DH Nate Schierholtz, 1B Anthony Rizzo and SS Starlin Castro started both games. ... Before the game, the Yankees unveiled a plaque in Monument Park honoring late South African president Nelson Mandela. It commemorated his visit and address at Yankee Stadium on June 21, 1990. ... Both teams added pitchers for the nightcap. The Cubs called up LHP Zac Rosscup while the Yankees added RHP Shane Greene. … The Yankees said that 1B Mark Teixiera will appear for three innings in a game Thursday, though they aren't sure where that will place.

  • Thursday, April 17, 2014
    Rangers 3, Mariners 2
    By The Sports Xchange

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Something seemed destined to give Wednesday night in a clash of two of baseball's dominant pitchers off to perfect starts.

    • But on this night, neither lost.

      The Texas Rangers rallied with two outs in the ninth to beat Seattle 3-2 at Globe Like Park. Center fielder Leonys Martin delivered the winning hit off Mariners closer Fernando Rodney.

      The Rangers lead the majors with four walk-off victories this season.

      Seattle ace Felix Hernandez was in line for the win after outdueling Texas counterpart Yu Darvish for the majority of the night. Instead, the Rangers improved to 8-7 this season, 4-2 on their current 10-game homestand.

      The game-deciding surge began after Rodney easily dispatched the first two Texas batters in the bottom of the ninth. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff started it with a single that squirted away from shortstop Brad Miller.

      Designated hitter Mitch Moreland followed with a walk before Miller came into play again. After fielding a grounder from pinch-hitter Donnie Murphy, Miller's underhand toss to second was high and pulled Robinson Cano off the bag.

      After a wild pitch by Rodney allowed Texas to tie the score, Martin lined a soft single to left to win it.

      Hernandez was bidding for a 4-0 start after giving up one run on four hits in seven innings. He struck out nine and has fanned 39 batters over those four games, which is a career high to open a season.

      Darvish rebounded after a shaky start to finish with a solid seven-inning performance. After two scoreless games to open his season, Darvish gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks.

      Darvish racked up eight strikeouts and didn't allow a hit over his last four innings, but the Rangers' offense struggled again with its No. 1 on the mound. Darvish had yet to throw a pitch this season with any Texas runs on the board.

      The Rangers needed more than seven innings to post a run against Hernandez. Martin tripled to lead off the eighth, his first extra-base hit of the season.

      That ended the night for Hernandez, who threw 96 pitches and walked one. Pinch-hitter Michael Choice's sacrifice fly scored Martin to cut the Seattle lead in half.

      Hernandez was the sharper of the two starters through the early going. He struck out seven through five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits.

      Darvish didn't have the command and sharpness he displayed through his first two starts. A couple of mound visits -- one from pitching coach Mike Maddux and another by catcher Robinson Chirinos -- were needed to calm Darvish down.

      The 27-year-old righty ran into trouble in the second and gave up his first runs of the season, as the Mariners scored twice on three hits and a walk.

      Designated hitter Nick Franklin got things going with a one-out triple, and catcher Mike Zunino and center fielder Abraham Almonte each delivered two-out RBI singles.

      NOTES: Texas came into the game alternating wins and losses over the previous 10 games. The Rangers owned one two-game winning streak and one two-game losing streak. ... Seattle had made just one error in the 11 games going into Wednesday, with none in the previous four games. ... Texas leads MLB with four shutouts, including three on the current homestand. ... The Mariners are 7-0 in games in which they hit a home run and 0-7 when they don't. ... Each of Texas' seven home runs have come from a different player.

  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014
    Walters makes impression in Nationals' win in Miami
    By The Sports Xchange

    MIAMI -- With two home runs in his past two at-bats -- including one game-winner -- Washington Nationals rookie Zach Walters is making an impression.

    • "He's got power from both sides of the plate," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "He's got speed, too, so if he gets on base, he can steal. He's got a lot of tools."

      Walters didn't need to run Wednesday night, however -- just trot.

      His tiebreaking, pinch-hit, solo home run in the eighth inning led the Nationals to a 6-3 win over the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park.

      Walters hit a 1-0, 87 mph breaking pitch from lefty reliever Mike Dunn (0-2), pulling the ball down the line in left field.

      "It was a hanging slider," Dunn said. "It was a terrible pitch -- and he hit it."

      A 24-year-old shortstop from Cheyenne, Wyo., Walters made his big-league debut last September, but he had not hit a homer in the majors until late in Tuesday's 11-2 loss to Miami.

      "Going back to last September, he put together some good at-bats, and it looks like his approach at the plate is pretty refined for a kid who does not have much big-league experience," said Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth. "He's got talent, he's got pop -- he's got a chance."

      Werth was one of the other heroes of the night for Washington -- it was his three-run homer in the sixth that tied the score.

      And after Walters' blast, Washington added a two-run, eighth-inning single by shortstop Ian Desmond.

      The win went to Drew Storen (1-0), who pitched in relief of starter Tanner Roark.

      Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth and earned his third save. He has converted 15 consecutive saves, dating to last season.

      Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez, who entered the game 11-0 with a 1.12 ERA at home in his one-plus seasons in the majors, got a no-decision.

      Fernandez, who struck out 10, pitched seven innings, allowing four hits, no walks and three runs -- all unearned.

      Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia made two errors in the sixth, accounting for the unearned runs. The crucial one came on a bunt play in which Saltalamacchia tried to cut down the runner at third, but his throw was wide of the bag.

      "If he makes a good throw, he gets him," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It looked like he yanked (the throw) a little bit."

      The Nationals (9-6), who lost four of their previous five before Wednesday, managed to take two out of three from the Marlins.

      Miami (6-10) lost for the ninth time in its past 10 games.

      The Marlins opened the scoring in the fourth, when second baseman Derek Dietrich pulled a 92 mph fastball for a one-out, three-run homer that struck the facing of the second deck in right field.

      Dietrich's homer, his third of the season, came after first baseman Garrett Jones and third baseman Casey McGehee singled.

      But Miami's lead was short-lived as Werth beat Fernandez with his homer on a 0-1, 96 mph fastball.

      "It was an outside pitch," Fernandez said. "I checked to 'Salty', and I got beat. It's part of the game. I was trying to keep my team in the game, and we had the lead. Obviously it's not what I wanted to happen. But we learn from it."

      Fernandez said Saltalamacchia remained positive in the midst of the rough sixth inning.

      "He came up to me and said: 'You know what? That runner is not going to come in. Don't worry about it. We'll get through it.'

      "But it didn't happen the way we wanted it to. Hopefully, Friday when we come back, we play hard and get a win."

      NOTES: A half-hour before first pitch, Nationals LF Bryce Harper (quad tightness) was scratched from the lineup and replaced by Tyler Moore. Harper was hitting 10-for-19 (.556) on the current road trip with three doubles and a triple. ... Nationals CF Denard Span (concussion) plans to return to the lineup Saturday. ... Marlins manager Mike Redmond said LHP Brad Hand lost his rotation spot after two starts, neither of which lasted past the fourth inning. RHP Kevin Slowey, who was 1-6 with a 4.21 ERA as a starter last season, will start Sunday. Injured RHP Jacob Turner likely will return by the time Slowey's rotation spot comes up again. ... After a night off Thursday, the Marlins play host to the Seattle Mariners on Friday for the start of a three-game series. The teams will meet for the first time since 2011. The only other time the Mariners played in Miami was in 2005. ... The Nationals return home Thursday for the start of a four-game series vs. the St. Louis Cardinals.