Major League Baseball
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  • Tuesday, September 1, 2015
    MLB roundup: Surging Indians stop hot Blue Jays
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- Jerry Sands singled in the go-ahead run with two outs in the seventh, Danny Salazar pitched seven innings and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 on Monday.

    • The victory in the opener of the three-game series gave Cleveland (64-66) a six-game winning streak, and the Blue Jays (74-57) had their winning streak end at three games.

      The Blue Jays finished August with a 21-6 record.

      Salazar (12-7), the Indians right-hander, struck out 10 and held the Blue Jays to six hits, one walk and two runs.

      Blue Jays left-hander David Price (13-5) allowed six hits, one walk and three runs in seven innings to take his first loss in six starts with the Blue Jays.

      Mets 3, Phillies 1

      NEW YORK -- Right-handed pitcher Bartolo Colon threw eight shutout innings and singled and scored during a three-run fifth inning that lifted New York to a win over Philadelphia at Citi Field.

      The Mets won their second straight to ensure they would remain at least 5 1/2 games ahead of Washington in the National League East.

      The Phillies have lost six of their last eight.

      Marlins 4, Braves 0

      ATLANTA -- Miami made sure Shelby Miller's winless streak continued. Cole Gillespie homered off the Atlanta right-hander in the second inning, and the Marlins added three runs against the Braves bullpen for a shutout victory behind left-hander Chris Narveson.

      Narveson, making just his second start for Miami, allowed only two hits and two walks as the Marlins handed Miller (5-12) his 11th straight loss.

      Rays 6, Orioles 3

      BALTIMORE -- Asdrubal Cabrera, Evan Longoria and Tim Beckham all homered while starter Chris Archer threw six shutout innings as Tampa Bay scored a victory over Baltimore.

      The Rays have won two straight games while the slumping Orioles slid to a fifth straight loss. They have also lost 11 of their last 12, and Baltimore's scoreless streak stretched to 19 innings before it finally broke through with three runs in the seventh.

      Tampa Bay got lots of offensive help to support Archer (12-10), who needed 113 pitches to get through six innings. The right-hander allowed four hits but escaped trouble in three different frames.

      Red Sox 4, Yankees 3

      BOSTON -- David Ortiz inched closer to the 500-home run club with his 495th career homer and Mookie Betts added a two-run blast as Boston squeaked past rival New York in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park.

      The designated hitter now has three homers in four games and 29 in 2015 while the young center fielder increased his season total to 13 as Boston ended the month on a high note. The last-place Red Sox went 15-12 in August, only their second winning month of the season.

      Ortiz and Betts each had two hits and Jackie Bradley Jr. was 3-for-3. Eduardo Rodriguez (8-5) took the win in a brief five-inning outing, as the Red Sox left-hander allowed just two runs -- one earned -- on seven hits and three walks while striking out four.

      Astros 8, Mariners 3

      HOUSTON -- Left-hander Dallas Keuchel matched the club record for consecutive home wins and received ample run support as Houston beat Seattle at Minute Maid Park.

      Keuchel (16-6) leads the American League in victories after allowing one run on six hits and one walk with eight strikeouts over seven innings. He earned his 13th consecutive win in Houston, a streak that dates to last season and matches one by Danny Darwin.

      Jed Lowrie, Hank Conger and Carlos Correa all homered off Mariners left-hander Vidal Nuno (0-2) to support Keuchel and help Houston clinch the season series over the Mariners.

      Cardinals 8, Nationals 5

      ST. LOUIS -- Scoring five two-out runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, St. Louis administered a potentially crushing loss to Washington at Busch Stadium.

      It was the eighth win in nine games for the Cardinals, who have averaged 6.3 runs in this latest stretch of success. They entered the game scoring just over four runs per contest.

      Jason Heyward delivered the game's key hit, a two-run double off reliever Felipe Rivero that went over the head of left fielder Jayson Werth and snapped a 5-5 tie. It was preceded by two-strike RBI singles from Stephen Piscotty and Jhonny Peralta off reliever Casey Janssen (1-3).

      Reds 13, Cubs 6

      CHICAGO -- Pinch hitter Adam Duvall slugged a go-ahead home run in his first Cincinnati at-bat in a victory over Chicago. Duvall, called up from Triple-A Louisville earlier in the day, capped a four-run sixth with a two-run shot to left that also scored Tucker Barnhart and snapped a 5-5 tie.

      The Reds have now won two of their last three. The Cubs have dropped five of their last six.

      Cincinnati right-handed reliever Ryan Mattheus (2-4) pitched one-third of an inning for the win. Left hander Aroldis Chapman worked 1 2/3 innings for his 26th save.

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    Royals acquire OF Gomes from Braves for minor-leaguer
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- Left fielder Jonny Gomes was pulled out of the Atlanta Braves' game after the fifth inning Monday, and he was traded to the Kansas City Royals along with cash for minor league shortstop Luis Valenzuela.

    • Gomes, a 34-year-old right-handed hitter, batted .221 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 83 games with Atlanta this year. He went 0-for-2 on Monday in the Braves' 4-0 loss to the Miami Marlins.

      Gomes captured a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in 2013, and he also has playoff experience with the Cincinnati Reds in 2010 and the Oakland A's in 2012 and 2014.

      In 13 major league seasons, Gomes has a career .242 batting average with a .334 on-base percentage, a .438 slugging percentage, 162 homers and 522 RBIs in 1,191 games.

      The arrival of Gomes gives the Royals cover at a position normally manned by Alex Gordon, who has been on the disabled list since July 9 due to a left groin strain. In the interim, Kansas City acquired utility man Ben Zobrist from the A's, and he has seen most of his action with the Royals in left field.

      Valenzuela, 22, played a combined 55 games for two low-level Royals farm teams this year, posting a .364 average, .385 on-base percentage, a .502 slugging percentage, four homers and 23 RBIs.

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    Dodgers' Hernandez placed on disabled list
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- Infielder/outfielder Enrique Hernandez is the latest Los Angeles Dodgers player to be sidelined by a hamstring injury.

    • Hernandez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday after sustaining a left hamstring strain in Sunday's 2-0 no-hit loss to the Chicago Cubs. Hernandez hurt himself running out a grounder in the eighth inning. Catcher Austin Barnes was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take Hernandez's roster spot.

      Hernandez, who started at third to give Justin Turner a rest Sunday, had been one of the team's most consistent hitters recently. Hernandez had a six-game hitting streak snapped against the Cubs, but was one of only two Dodgers to reach base during Jake Arrieta's no-hitter. Hernandez reached on a much-discussed error in the third inning by Cubs second baseman Starlin Castro. Many Dodgers and Cubs believe Hernandez should have been rewarded a hit.

      Hernandez was batting .474 (9-for-19) with a double and three RBIs during the hitting streak. In August, Hernandez was hitting .353 (24-for-67) with three doubles, three home runs and nine RBIs in 21 games.

      Hernandez is the third Los Angeles player to go down with a hamstring injury this month. Second baseman Howie Kendrick, who went on the DL on Aug. 10, has missed 19 games with a strained left hamstring. Manager Don Mattingly wasn't sure when Kendrick would return, saying Kendrick hasn't been able to run at full speed yet.

      A left hamstring strain also resulted in right fielder Yasiel Puig being place on the 15-day disabled list three days ago.

      Hernandez's injury means struggling center fielder Joc Pederson will return to the lineup. Hernandez had recently replaced Pederson, who was hitting .063 in his previous 15 games before Monday's contest. Mattingly added that infielder Jose Peraza also will receive some playing time in center.

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    Reds recall Duvall to replace injured OF Boesch
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Cincinnati Reds called up utility player Adam Duvall on Monday.

    • Duvall was acquired in the July trade that sent right-hander Mike Leake to the San Francisco Giants.

      In 125 Triple-A games for the two organizations this year, he hit .264/.312/.511 with 30 homers and 87 RBIs.

      Duvall replaced outfielder Brennan Boesch, who was placed on the disabled list with an ankle contusion.

      As manager Bryan Price forecast on Sunday, left-hander Michael Lorenzen was recalled from Louisville and started Monday against the Cubs in Chicago.

      Left-hander David Holmberg was sent down to Louisville.

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    MLB notebook: Cubs acquire Jackson from Mariners
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Chicago Cubs acquired centerfielder Austin Jackson from the Seattle Mariners on Monday in exchange for a player to be named later and international slot money.

    • The deal, first reported by 710 ESPN radio in Seattle, came just hours before the 12 p.m. ET waiver trade deadline.

      Jackson was acquired by the Mariners from the Detroit Tigers in 2014.

      Jackson, 28, was inconsistent during the first half of this season and spent time on the disabled list with an ankle injury but has hit .304 in 42 games since the All-Star break.

      --Closer David Robertson will not return to the New York Yankees.

      The Chicago White Sox slammed the door on reunion talk when they revoked waivers on Robertson and retained their ninth-inning reliever.

      He has three years and $38 million remaining on a contract signed with Chicago as an unrestricted free agent last winter.

      --Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has gone back to New York for more tests on his bruised right shin.

      Teixeira, who sat out a weekend series in Atlanta, will miss the Yankees' three-game series in Boston.

      Teixeira suffered the injury Aug. 17.

      --Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro was named president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre following the completion of the 2015 season.

      Shapiro will take over for Paul Beeston, the 70-year-old Jays president who previously announced his plan to retire.

      --The St. Louis Cardinals reinstated closer Trevor Rosenthal from the paternity list prior to Monday night's series opener against the Washington Nationals.

      Rosenthal, 25, is second in the National League with 41 saves and has a 1.52 ERA in 58 games.

      The team also optioned right-hander Sam Tuivailala to Triple-A Memphis following Sunday's game.

      --The Cleveland Indians will activate infielder Chris Johnson (left index finger infection) and right-hander Gavin Floyd (right elbow fracture) from the disabled list Tuesday.

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    Cubs acquire CF Jackson from Mariners
    By The Sports Xchange

    SEATTLE -- The Chicago Cubs acquired centerfielder Austin Jackson from the Mariners in exchange for a player to be named later and international slot money.

    • The deal, first reported by 710 ESPN radio in Seattle, came just hours before the 12 p.m. ET waiver trade deadline.

      Jackson was acquired by the Mariners from the Detroit Tigers in 2014 in exchange for shortstop Nick Franklin in a three-way deal that also saw left-handed pitcher David Price go from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Tigers.

      Jackson, 28, was inconsistent during the first half of this season and spent time on the disabled list with an ankle injury but has hit .304 in 42 games since the All-Star break.

      The pending free agent was reported to have cleared waivers last week.

      Jackson adds valued veteran depth to the Cubs' outfield. Centerfielder Dexter Fowler is batting .309 since the All-Star Break. Left fielder Kyle Schwarber has also been swinging a hot bat but is a converted catcher, and right fielder Chris Coghlan entered Monday batting .248 with 15 home runs and 35 RBI.

      The Mariners are expected to give Brad Miller an extended look in centerfield with impressive rookie Ketel Marte taking over the bulk of the shortstop duties. Seattle lost Sunday's game at the Chicago White Sox after Miller failed to handle a shorthop on a stolen base attempt and then overthrew first base with two outs in the ninth inning, allowing the tying run to score. The Mariners lost in 11 innings.

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    Sidelined Yankees 1B Teixeira to have more tests
    By The Sports Xchange

    New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has gone back to New York for more tests on his bruised right shin.

    • Teixeira, who sat out a weekend series in Atlanta, will miss the Yankees' three-game series in Boston, which began Monday night.

      "He woke up today and he was still sore, so we sent him back to kind of just redo the test to make sure," manager Joe Girardi said.

      Teixeira suffered the injury Aug. 17 against the Minnesota Twins, fouling

      a pitch off his leg. He had appeared in two games since, going 0-for-3 in losses to the Houston Astros last week.

      Teixeira is hitting .255 with 31 homers and 79 RBIs.

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    Cardinals reinstate RHP Rosenthal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The St. Louis Cardinals reinstated closer Trevor Rosenthal from the paternity list prior to Monday night's series opener against the Washington Nationals.

    • Rosenthal witnessed the birth of his second daughter, Adalyn, during Friday's game.

      Rosenthal, 25, is second in the National League with 41 saves and has a 1.52 ERA in 58 games.

      The team also optioned right-hander Sam Tuivailala to Triple-A Memphis following Sunday's game.

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    5 reasons 2015 belongs to Royals
    By The Sports Xchange

    And on the last day of August, the Kansas City Royals enjoyed their third-to-last off day of the 2015 season. And a 13-game advantage in the American League Central thanks to the best record in the American League.

    • As the Kansas City Royals entered September last year, they desperately clung to pennant race hopes, their fans anxiously anticipating an end to the 29-year playoff drought.

      They ultimately edged into the playoffs, then took a thrilling Wild Card victory and swept their way to the World Series, where they fell to the Giants with the tying run just 90 feet away at the end of Game Seven.

      A year later and flukes no more, the club is running away with the Central division and just a few wins behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in MLB.

      Fans who felt, a year ago, that merely getting to the playoffs would be enough now flock to Kauffman Stadium, brimming with confidence that this will be the year the Royals take the crown.

      Here are the top five reasons they might be right:

      No. 5: The Bullpen

      Last year, "H-D-H" was a dreaded acronym if you were an opposing team because it meant the Royals had the lead and were about to bring on Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, who combined for 49 saves, 53 holds, a 1.28 ERA and a 3.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio while becoming the first trio in modern baseball history to each pitch at least 60 innings with an ERA below 1.50.

      This year, "H-D-H" is still around and still deadly, but the club has added other valuable pieces.

      "Hoch, Madson, Morales… all these guys have been so productive," manager Ned Yost said, referring to right-handers Luke Hochevar and Ryan Madson, and left-hander Franklin Morales. "You can use them in any spot in the game – the seventh, the eighth, the ninth."

      The bullpen's 2.37 ERA is second only to the Cardinals (2.33) and their .209 opponent batting average is second only to the Astros (.202).

      The best bullpen in the game is now even better, deeper, and more versatile, making it a devastating weapon in a short series.

      No. 2: Homefield Advantage

      Kansas City's 45-21 home mark matches the Astros for best home record in the American League. While they've also won on the road, going 34-28 away from Kauffman Stadium, they shine at "The K" in front of a loud, enthusiastic crowd.

      After drawing nearly two million fans in 2014 – their best attendance since 1991 – the club is averaging an additional 9,000 more fans this year and is poised to shatter their previous franchise attendance record.

      The crowd inspires Royals players.

      "The fans continuously come out every game," third baseman Mike Moustakas said. "The stadium's packed. It's electric. We have a great time playing in front of them. They give us the energy we need. The come out and get loud, and we respond to that."

      "It's a different atmosphere and energy," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "It's truly become a home field advantage. It can really get momentum going on your side very easily."

      With five weeks left before the playoffs, the Royals hold a significant lead for home field advantage throughout the playoffs and, because of the AL's All-Star game victory, they would also enjoy home field advantage in the World Series.

      No. 3: Balanced Offense

      Last year the Royals sometimes had trouble generating offense against right-handed pitchers. Their .310 on-base and .372 slugging averages against right-handers were below league-average.

      In 2015, the team has added more punch, partly because of the re-emergence of third baseman Mike Moustakas as a dangerous hitter, and partly through the addition of switch-hitting designated hitter Kendrys Morales.

      Moustakas' improvement has been a revelation. He has suddenly learned to use all fields instead of just trying to drive every pitch into the seats. The results are telling; he has added almost 100 points to his on-base and slugging averages against right-handers.

      As beloved as Billy Butler was in Kansas City, his replacement has been a vast improvement, particularly with power hitting. While Butler slugged .374 against right-handers last year, Morales is slugging .511 this year.

      The result has been a Royals offense which is now above-average against right-handers, reaching base at a .326 clip with a .419 slugging average and overall the club is scoring 0.37 runs per game more than last year.

      No. 2: The Addition Edition

      Besides adding right-hander Edinson Volquez, designated hitter Kendrys Morales and right fielder Alex Rios in the off-season, Royals General Manager Dayton Moore also addressed needs at the trade deadline by acquiring right-hander Johnny Cueto and versatile infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist.

      The club's primary need at mid-season was an ace to head a rotation that was average, at best. In 2014, James Shields consistently delivered solid starts at critical junctures.

      Moore aggressively pursued and landed one of the very best starters available on the trade market, bringing Cueto to Kansas City. Cueto, along with Volquez, a re-vitalized Yordano Ventura, and a now-healthy Kris Medlen, give the Royals a solid starting rotation for the stretch drive and playoffs.

      What do you do if your All-Star left fielder is lost to injury for two months?

      If you're Moore, you get Zobrist, who has filled in admirably for Alex Gordon, and will soon fill holes at second base or right field, giving manager Ned Yost enviable lineup options and making the Royals lineup strong from top to bottom.

      No. 1: Wild Confidence

      The amazing come-from-behind victory over Oakland in last year's Wild Card game boosted the club to eight straight post-season wins but may have actually been even more important to the success of the 2015 team.

      Every player from last year points to that game as the catalyst which drives them this year.

      "It all started with that game," center fielder Lorenzo Cain said. "It was definitely a confidence booster coming into this year."

      "In that Wild Card game we actually started believing in ourselves and believing that everybody can get the job done," third baseman Mike Moustakas said.

      Manager Ned Yost highlighted the change in the players' attitude.

      "What they did was in the middle of the wild card game they finally believed that they were really, really good," he said. "There was no more guessing; there was no more hoping; there was no more thinking. They knew it. They knew that they could achieve incredible things. It's just a solid belief in their abilities."

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    White Sox revoke waivers, keep closer Robertson
    By The Sports Xchange

    Closer David Robertson will not return to the New York Yankees.

    • The Chicago White Sox slammed the door on reunion talk Monday, the deadline for waiver trade agreements, when they revoked waivers on Robertson and retained their ninth-inning reliever.

      He has three years and $38 million remaining on a contract signed with Chicago as an unrestricted free agent last winter.

      Robertson left the Yankees, for whom he successfully stepped into the closer's role when Mariano Rivera, to be one of the highest-paid closers in baseball and was a key piece to a White Sox makeover.

      The Yankees filled his spot with Andrew Miller and have a strong bullpen, but claiming Robertson also kept other teams -- namely the AL East-leading Blue Jays and AL West-leading Houston Astros -- from entering a claim and potentially working out a deal with the White Sox.

      Many veterans hit the waiver wire in August, and most clear. If a team places a claim, the originating team holding that player contract can revoke or pull back the claim to retain the player. If not, they can let the player go -- in the case of Robertson the Yankees would assume the remainder of the contract -- or attempt to swing a trade.

      But general manager Rick Hahn, who told The Sports Xchange in July that he wanted to keep the team's key pieces together, remains committed to Robertson as the closer of the White Sox.

      The Yankees were at U.S. Cellular Field on July 31, the date of the non-waiver trade deadline, but both teams failed to make a move. New York tried to acquire a closer, including a run at Padres All-Star Craig Kimbrel and Reds All-Star Aroldis Chapman.

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    Indians' Shapiro to become Blue Jays president
    By The Sports Xchange

    Cleveland Indians president Mark Shapiro was named president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Rogers Centre following the completion of the 2015 season.

    • Shapiro will take over for Paul Beeston, the 70-year-old Jays president who previously announced his plan to retire.

      "Through my 24 years as part of the Cleveland Indians, I have developed a deep emotional and civic attachment to the Indians organization and the Cleveland community," Shapiro said Monday in a statement released by the Indians. "The root of those ties is in the personal relationships that my family and I have built.

      "While weighing those bonds carefully and seriously, I feel the unique and compelling nature of the Blue Jays President/CEO position warranted my consideration. This position represents a unique opportunity for me and one that I felt was the right new challenge to undertake. With mixed emotions, I will assume the Toronto Blue Jays CEO position upon the conclusion of the 2015 season. As the Indians organization moves forward, I am confident the current leadership represents a strong foundation to field a championship caliber team moving forward. The relationships we have enjoyed here will be lifelong bonds and will ensure that I will always be a fan of the city of Cleveland and the Cleveland Indians organization."

      According to CBSSports.com, Shapiro plans to keep Alex Anthopoulos as the general manager of the American League East-leading Blue Jays.

      Shapiro, 48, was selected the major leagues' Executive of the Year twice while serving as the Indians' general manager from 2001-10. Following the 2010 season, he became the team president.

      Indians owner Paul Dolan said in a statement Monday that he "will not be seeking an external replacement" for Shapiro.

      "Given the person that Mark is, the significant leadership and values that he has brought to the organization and with everything he has helped us accomplish, it will be extremely difficult to see him leave," Dolan said. "However, I hope that this new challenge brings happiness and fulfillment for Mark and his family.

      "As we move forward, I will not be seeking an external replacement for Mark and will continue to rely on the existing strong leadership group to guide us forward. Mark and I are confident that moving forward through this transition, we have a very strong foundation in place to build championship level success on and off the field."

      Beeston held the job of team president in Toronto from 1989-97 (during which the Blue Jays twice won the World Series) and then again since 2008.

      The Blue Jays (74-56) are a major-league-best 29-10 since the All-Star break, allowing them to move from fourth place in the American League East to first place, 1 1/2 games in front of the New York Yankees.

      The Indians (63-66) are 21-20 since the break. They are five games out of the second AL wild-card spot and 16 1/2 games behind the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central.

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    Dodgers enter key series coming off 2nd no-hit loss
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- For most of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants moved in lockstep.

    • The Dodgers have held first place in the National League West every day but one since April 16. The Giants have held second place for nearly all of that time.

      However, the Giants haven't cut into the Dodgers' lead. Since the All-Star break, the margin has been no higher than 3 1/2 games, no lower than 1 1/2.

      A three-game series between the rivals beginning Monday at Dodger Stadium gives the Dodgers a chance to put some distance between the two teams.

      "There's definitely a little more fire there," Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford said of the matchup. "I'm pretty sure they ramp it up when they play us, and we need to do the same."

      The matchups haven't gone in the Dodgers' favor so far this season. Los Angeles is 3-9 in head-to-head meetings against the Giants, dropping all six games in San Francisco.

      That head-to-head dominance matters a little bit, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

      "We haven't proven that we can beat them on a regular basis," Mattingly said. "In the same breath, those games are behind you and we're not going to get them back, so those don't even matter anymore. We're in the present ... It'll be right in front of us.

      "To me, we can build them up or build them down, whatever. It always gets back to execution of pitches, coming up with a big at-bat, making plays. It really is to me that simple. That being said ... I do think those games are important because they are head to head. This is one series here and we've got another one at their place. You want to keep those guys as far back as possible."

      Giants manager Bruce Bochy also varied from the standard, every-game-is-worth-same script, saying, "This series coming up is a critical series. We know it. It's that time of the year. You look forward to series like this, especially when you're behind. We need to win ballgames. It's that simple."

      The Dodgers enter the series heading in the wrong direction -- at least on offense. Los Angeles was no-hitter Sunday night by Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta in a 2-0 loss to Chicago.

      It was the second time in 10 days that the Dodgers' expensive lineup was no-hit, following an Aug. 21 gem by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers in Houston. No NL team ever was no-hit twice in so short a span.

      "The last one bothered me more," Mattingly said about Fiers' performance. "I thought we got out of the strike zone way too much and didn't feel like we were really ready to play. Tonight (against Arrieta), I felt like we were in the game all night."

  • Monday, August 31, 2015
    Arrieta dons Maddon-ordered pajamas after no-no
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- Without a doubt, Chicago Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta is the first pitcher in baseball history to throw a no-hitter and then show up for his postgame press conference in "onesie" pajamas.

    • The pajamas were mandatory travel attire for the Cubs' flight home from California after a six-game road trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Cubs won the first game of the trip but lost the next four before going home happy after Arrieta's no-hitter Sunday night in a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

      "It works both ways," Maddon said. "If you won, it makes it better. And if you lost, it's, 'Let's put this behind us and move on.' I see it as a 'Win-Win-Win' as Michael Scott (Steve Carell's character on 'The Office') would say."

      Arrieta's fashion choice was a moustache-emblazoned onesie. Second baseman Starlin Castro went with a Super Mario Brothers ensemble.

      Superhero-themed pajamas were popular, with closer Hector Rondon sporting a Superman onesie and reliever Pedro Strop going for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles outfit.

      Maddon has made the "themed" road trips a staple of his managerial style from the start of his time with the Tampa Bay Rays. The team-bonding exercise breaks up the monotony of baseball's travel schedule and promotes team unity.

      Earlier this season -- Maddon's first with the Cubs -- he declared a "Blackhawks" road trip in honor of Chicago's Stanley Cup victory. Players were encouraged to wear Blackhawks jerseys or other gear.

      On another trip, the attire was limited to sports coats with chinos -- or shorts.

      The pajama party wasn't quite timed properly, Maddon admitted, with Southern California experiencing a heat wave.

      "I really thought that by this time of the year here, it was going to be cooler at night and they would play perfectly," he said. "Bad call."

      Pajama night came after Arrieta put the Dodgers to sleep in a 12-strikeout performance. He issued one walk and had one batter reach base on an error.

      "Everybody who plays this game wants to accomplish great things," the right-hander said. "You think about that all the time as a kid. You see other people do it, and you want to be a part of something like that. It's hard to put that into words right now."

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    D-backs' Hale sends Chafin down to 'protect him from us'
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks sent rookie reliever Andrew Chafin to the minor leagues Sunday to prevent them from the natural temptation, given his success this season, to use him more.

    • "Sometimes we have to make these moves to protect him from us," Arizona manager Chip Hale said with a smile. "He just needs the time off, and we need to be vigilant in taking care of our arms."

      Chafin entered spring training as a candidate for a role in the starting rotation but after converting to the bullpen late this spring has been one of the best rookie relievers in the league this season. Chafin is 5-1 with two saves and a 2.41 ERA, and he leads major league rookie relievers with 67 1/3 innings.

      Even before left-hander Oliver Perez was traded to Houston in late July, Chafin pitched in high leverage situations, not only a left-hander specialist but also in occasional two-inning bursts. Chafin has nine holds, and he had a streak of 19 consecutive scoreless innings broken Monday. He gave up seven hits and struck out 18 in 20 1/3 innings during that stretch.

      "Nobody is ever happy about being sent down," Chafin said, "but the way I see it, it is best for me right now and it is best for the team right now. They don't want to push me too hard, and if I'm up here and not able to pitch, it doesn't do the team any good."

      Chafin, 25, is not expected to pitch for Reno, Hale said, but will take one or two bullpen sessions to stay sharp. He is to return after Reno's season ends Sept. 7. Chafin's fastball sat at 90 mph Saturday, when he took his first loss of the season by giving up two hits and a run, a few ticks down from usual.

      "He's a little tired," Hale said. "He's been so good in every role, long left-handed setup, going multiple innings, in the late part of the game. And I would not be afraid to use him as a closer if we needed to."

      Chafin established himself as a key component moving forward.

      "For me, he is right where he needs to be for us to be a championship team," Hale said. "He's a key cog in that. We explained that this was for and for his arm. He's definitely shown us what he can do. He's probably one of the brightest surprises on the team this year."

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Rangers' roster expansion will come in phases
    By The Sports Xchange

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- Roster help will arrive for the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, when teams can expand their squads.

    • However, manager Jeff Banister said the Rangers likely won't have all their reinforcements join them Tuesday. Catcher Carlos Corporan seems the most likely candidate to be coming up, as he is on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock while recovering from a strained thumb.

      The club will add some bullpen help and an extra middle infielder, too.

      "We continue to have internal conversations about what's the structure of the club and what we need," Banister said. "We're not going to have all the players you expect to see in September. There's still a (Triple-A) ballclub that's playing. We've had a number of conversations about our immediate needs for September 1 and what our long-term needs are for September."

      Round Rock is a likely playoff team, and the Rangers want to leave some of the players with the team until the minor league season concludes. Even so, winning at the major league level is the priority, and Banister knows that.

      Banister said the Rangers won't add too many players because it can clutter a team. Last year when the Rangers were out of the postseason picture in September, their roster ballooned to 38 players at one point in September.

      "When you start adding just bodies, it takes away from the work and it does get cluttered," Banister said. "We still want to maintain that chemistry we have in that clubhouse."

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Slumping O's remain optimistic about playoff chances
    By The Sports Xchange

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- The road trip couldn't have gone much worse than it did, but the Baltimore Orioles aren't giving up their playoff hopes.

    • Baltimore, which was swept by the Rangers thanks to a 6-0 defeat Sunday, is now 5 1/2 games behind Texas for the final American League wild-card spot after is 1-6 road trip continued a streak in which the Orioles lost 10 of their past 11 games.

      However, with 31 games remaining, the Orioles know that as fast as things went bad, they can also be turned around. Baltimore starts a two-game home series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.

      "We're still right in the thick of things," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. "We just have to get on a little winning streak. If we get in a five-, six-game winning streak, you guys are going to be coming back to us like, 'OK, you're back in the middle of it.' That's how it works. We just need to get on that roll."

      Sunday's loss was the 67th for Baltimore, which is one more than the team had during its 2014 playoff season. Five of the past nine losses were by one run, which is proof to the Orioles they are close to getting things turned in the right direction.

      "We just haven't caught fire," left fielder Steve Pearce said. "We had a good run earlier this year, but we followed it right (away) with a bad one. We still have one more month of baseball. It's got to start tomorrow. We've got to turn this thing around, and we know we're capable of doing it, and I think we got the right guys for it."

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Hale another branch off Oakland manager Melvin's managerial tree
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHOENIX -- The Bob Melvin managerial tree grew another branch when Chip Hale was hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks this season, and the two had a reunion while opposing each other for the first time this weekend at Chase Field.

    • Melvin and Hale took part in a tongue-and-cheek version of the match game as orchestrated by FOX Sports Arizona on Friday, and they drove to the park together.

      "This is the perfect place for him, and he's done a great job with this team," Melvin, the Oakland Athletics manager, said. "Arizona resident, been in this organization. To be able to learn under Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart. It's just been the right place at the right time for him."

      Hale served two stints with Melvin, as Arizona's third base coach for three years from 2006-08 and as Oakland's bench coach from 2012-14, and he is the third of Melvin's coaches to take the next step.

      Cincinnati manager Bryan Price was Melvin's pitching coach in Arizona from 2006-09, quitting when Melvin was fired in May, 2009. Price was Baseball America's coach of the year when helping the Diamondbacks to the 2007 National League West title.

      Kirk Gibson was Melvin's bench coach in 2008-09, and he took over as the Diamondbacks' manager when A.J. Hinch was fired midway through the 2010 season. Hinch is now a top candidate for AL manager of the year with Houston.

      Melvin called Hale a natural for his new role.

      "He's always watched the game the right way," Melvin said. "He's always prepared the right way. He has a great baseball mind. It was just a matter of getting the right opportunity at the right time, and this was it. I kept telling him the right one would come. He's in a good spot."

      Hale believes in an aggressive style of play, and the National League game serves him well. The Diamondbacks' have a roster of athletic players capable of playing that way, and Melvin has seen the fit.

      "He's got the right type of team for what he would prefer to do," Melvin said. "You look at the numbers whether it is the stolen bases, the runs scored. They steal third. They steal off lefties. A lot of stuff that creates some havoc, and they play the game the right way.

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Kiermaier takes matters into own hands for Rays
    By The Sports Xchange

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said the Tampa Bay Rays had to claw their way back into wild card contention after losing the first two games of a weekend series to the Kansas City Royals.

    • In Sunday's 3-2 win, Kiermaier decided to take matters into his own hands.

      Kiermaier hit his second home run in as many days and it was the difference in the game.

      "We know the situation we're in and we need to get things turned around," Kiermaier said. "There's still a lot of time left."

      On a team that's had its share of ups and downs this season, Kiermaier is becoming a constant. He is a quality defensive outfielder with 13 assists, he is aggressive on the bases and leads the AL with 12 triples.

      Now he is adding power to his game.

      "He's super talented," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's got plenty of power. He's not trying to do too much at the plate and it's paying off in huge dividends."

      If Kiermaier's August can carry over into September and the Rays stay alive in the wild card chase, it could pay off with extra baseball in October.

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Tigers trounced in Toronto
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- After what happened to the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre, even the Kansas City Royals might not look so tough, even though they have the best record in the American League.

    • The Tigers left Toronto, not only being swept in three games by the Blue Jays, but being trounced. The only close game was Friday, a 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays. Then came a 15-1 loss on Saturday and a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Aggregate score: 29-6.

      "We ran into the best offensive team in the league," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "They were swinging the bats extremely well and we didn't pitch very well. That's not a good recipe. They can put up runs in a hurry and they did that against us for three straight days.

      "In all three of these games, these guys (Toronto) kind of threw a haymaker right out of the gates. They keep tacking on as the game goes on. You feel like you're always digging yourself out of a hole."

      Not only that but the Blue Jays have as their ace left-hander David Price, acquired by the Blue Jays in a trade on July 30. Price did not start in the series against the Blue Jays. They also traded away outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets.

      "We've gone through quite a transition since the trade deadline, trading those guys and then Sanchy (right-hander Anibal Sanchez) going down (with a rotator cuff strain). We've got a very different looking staff."

      "They're just a very good hitting team," Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos said of the Blue Jays.

      Castellanos had three hits Sunday.

      "Obviously I hate losing and I hate not playing how we're supposed to play but you're not going to be able to have a fantastic season every season," he said. "They're supposed to be the best-hitting team in baseball and this weekend they definitely played like it."

      The Tigers, who lost nine of their past 10 games, have a day off in the schedule Monday after suffering their first sweep at Toronto since 2003. They lost five straight games at Rogers Centre.

      After the day off, Detroit visits the Royals, who are runaway leaders in the American League Central, where the Tigers used to rule.

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Jays to cap best month, record-wise, in franchise history
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays will finish the best month in franchise history Monday when they open a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians.

    • Their 9-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday complete a sweep of the three-game series and gave them a 21-5 record for August, an .808 winning percentage.

      Even a loss to the Indians on Monday would leave them with a better winning percentage than May of 1984 when they were 19-6, a winning percentage of .760, the best for a month in franchise history until now.

      "We've had some pretty good stretches this year: two 11-game win streaks and that second one put us right back into the thing," manager John Gibbons said. "We had those two streaks, but we were basically playing .500 ball. With the trades: (shortstop Troy) Tulowitzki, (left-hander David) Price, (right-hander LaTroy) Hawkins, (right-hander Mark) Lowe, (left fielder Ben) Revere, (infielder Cliff) Pennington, we just took off after they happened. Tulo, his bat's not going yet, but it's going to. He's always hit. But basically he's been on that field every day, and look at the results. He's got a huge part in that. And of course Dave every time he takes the mound, he's won every game he's started with a no-decision.

      "Revere's come on, and he's heated up with the bat and he's made some great defensive plays -- plays we haven't made most of the year and that leads to wins. Those guys down in the bullpen have been rock solid. They kind of give us that little added depth. And Penny's a good baseball player. I don't know how it could but the addition of those guys that has pushed us to this point. It gave everybody a shot in the arm."

      The Blue Jays have won 24 of their past 30 games. They are 29-10 since the All-Star break, outscoring the opposition 232-121.

      "If this isn't the feel of a championship team, I don't know what is," said catcher Russell Martin, a key offseason acquisition as a free agent. "I feel like we're great offensively, we're great on defense, we're pitching great, our bullpen has depth. I like what we have going right now. We've just got to keep pushing, keep playing the game the way we play and I think we're going to do great things right now."

      They are 18 games above .500 for the first time since 1993, when they won their second World Series. They have completed a sweep in five of their past eight series.

      Left-hander Mark Buehrle, the winning pitcher on Sunday, has said there are similarities between this year's Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox team he was on that won the 2005 World Series.

      "I still feel like if we get down early or late in the game. ...I feel like we still have a chance to win," Buehrle said. "So that aspect it's about the same. I feel a lot better about this offense than I did in Chicago. In 2005 it seemed like we were winning games, but we were barely squeaking them out. We had a few games where we weren't scoring many runs. Here, shoot, if we don't score eight runs, we had a bad day. It's a little different, but at the same time we're confident. We're coming to the field every day thinking we're going to win."

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Report: Shapiro set to become Blue Jays president
    By The Sports Xchange

    Indians president Mark Shapiro is set to leave Cleveland to take the same position with the Toronto Blue Jays, CBS Sports reported Sunday.

    • According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, Shapiro will be introduced in Toronto this week, perhaps as early as Monday. Heyman wrote that Shapiro plans to keep Alex Anthopoulos as the general manager of the American League East-leading Blue Jays.

      Shapiro would take over for Paul Beeston, the 70-year-old Jays president who previously announced his plan to retire.

      Indians manager Terry Francona implied Friday that Shapiro was headed out of Cleveland, with the Cleveland Plain Dealer quoting him as saying, "One of the reasons I think Mark would think about leaving is because I think he's confident that things are in place, the way we have worked so hard to do it."

      Shapiro, 48, was selected the major leagues' Executive of the Year twice while serving as the Indians' general manager from 2001-10. Following the 2010 season, he became the team president.

      Beeston held the job of team president in Toronto from 1989-97 (during which the Blue Jays twice won the World Series) and then again since 2008.

      The Blue Jays (74-56) are a major-league-best 29-10 since the All-Star break, allowing them to move from fourth place in the American League East to first place, 1 1/2 games in front of the New York Yankees.

      The Indians (63-66) are 21-20 since the break. They are five games out of the second AL wild-card spot and 16 1/2 games behind the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central.

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Series at St. Louis looms large for Nationals
    By The Sports Xchange

    WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals are desperately trying to gain ground on the first-place New York Mets, who led the National League East by 5 1/2 games.

    • But the next three days will not be easy, as the Nationals begin a series Monday in St. Louis against the Cardinals.

      The Cardinals are 46-19 at home this season. That is the most home wins of any team in the majors and St. Louis has the best record in the majors.

      "Every day is different. We will take tomorrow as tomorrow and go from there," said Washington manager Matt Williams, who has preached that mindset in his nearly two-full years at the help.

      The series at St. Louis will take on special meaning for Washington's Clint Robinson, who hit his first career pinch-hit homer on Sunday in a 7-4 win.

      Robinson, 30, is a native of Jefferson City, Missouri, and he played at Troy University in Alabama. He had just 13 big-league at-bats before this season but now has seven homers in 220 at-bats this year.

      "The Cardinals are a good organization," said Robinson, who had a cup of coffee with the Kansas City Royals in 2012 and the Los Angeles Dodgers last year. "This is going to be a tough series."

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Lincecum may miss rest of Giants season
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Two days after Giants fans pondered the potential retirement of one former staff ace, then were alerted to the possibility of another Sunday.

    • Former two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum disclosed before Sunday's 7-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals that his degenerative hip has not responded as well as he'd hoped to treatment.

      "The bad days are outshining the good ones," is how he put it.

      Those days began shortly after he was placed on the disabled list on June 28, the result of having gotten nailed in the right forearm by a line drive.

      Shortly thereafter, Lincecum was diagnosed with a degenerative hip, something he was told he could pitch through.

      Turns out, that hasn't been the case. Despite, by his count, numerous shots in the hip, he remains in a lot of pain a full two months into his recovery.

      Another painful day at the ballpark Sunday prompted the disclosure that his 2015 season might be over.

      And maybe his career? That must be considered a possibility, especially considering the 31-year-old is in the final year of a two-year, $35 million contract.

      The Giants on Friday placed right-hander Matt Cain on the disabled list because of nerve pain in his right elbow. He also might be done for the year.

      Cain is still owed $47.5 million guaranteed over the next three seasons.

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Cardinals, Lynn dodge injury bullet
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN FRANCISCO -- The Cardinals breathed a sigh of relief Sunday when they arrived at AT&T Park and saw Saturday's starting pitcher, Lance Lynn.

    • He wasn't on crutches. No cast. Not even a protective sleeve on his right ankle, which looked for all the world to be in really bad shape as he laid on the AT&T infield grass in some serious pain during the eighth inning Saturday.

      Cardinals manager Mike Matheny later admitted he was "sure" something was seriously wrong with a guy who he says has a high threshold for pain.

      Matheny even pondered the possibility that Lynn had blown out his knee.

      Instead, after a few minutes on the ground, Lynn was able to limp to the clubhouse, where he later waved off X-rays.

      Turns out he didn't need them. He showed up Saturday in good spirits, even showing off his bare ankle to the media.

      He assured he will make his next start, which figures to be a big one. It will open a three-game series against the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

      Lynn will even get an extra day of rest before that start just to assure he's in top health. The Cardinals have an off day on Thursday following a three-game home series against the Washington Nationals that begins on Monday night.

  • Sunday, August 30, 2015
    Reds recall Lorenzen to start Monday; demote Holmberg
    By The Sports Xchange

    MILWAUKEE -- When the Cincinnati Reds opened their three-game series at Milwaukee on Friday night, manager Bryan Price suggested a move could be made in his rotation.

    • He confirmed the change Sunday, announcing after the Reds' 4-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers that left-hander Michael Lorenzen would be recalled from Triple-A Louisville and start Monday against the Cubs in Chicago.

      Lorenzen went 3-8 with a 5.46 ERA in 19 appearances, including 17 starts, for the Reds before he was optioned to Louisville on Aug. 13 after posting a 12.57 ERA in his final five starts.

      Since being sent down, he posted a 1.13 ERA in three starts and allowed a hit over eight scoreless innings his last time out.

      "He's throwing the ball extremely well since he got to Louisville to kind of get things going. And he has," Price said. "He's taken advantage of the opportunity to get a breather, and kind of get locked back in and comfortable on the mound. He's thrown the ball probably as well as anybody at the Triple-A level anywhere."

      Lorenzen will take the place of left-hander David Holmberg, who was sent down to Louisville to start Monday.

      Holmberg pitched in all of eight major league games before this season, and has pitched in six this year, all of them starts, going 1-4 with a 7.62 ERA. In his last three outings, he surrendered 18 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings of work, moving into the rotation when Johnny Cueto was traded to Kansas City.