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Today is Thursday, June 21, 2018.

MLB Scores

Thursday, June 21, 2018
Major League Baseball
Athletics vs. White Sox 8:10 (EDT) Preview

A's gunning for 5th straight win

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Wednesday, June 20 at 10:38 PM (EDT)

The Oakland Athletics will go for their season-high fifth win in a row when they open a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.

Oakland (38-36) has achieved a four-game winning streak on four occasions this season, including its current stretch, but has yet to make it five. The A's have outscored opponents 28-15 during this week's streak, which includes two wins apiece against the Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres.

A's hitters slugged five homers in a 12-4 rout of the Padres on Wednesday. The team already has four players with double-digit blasts, including Khris Davis (20), Matt Olson (15), Jed Lowrie (11) and the injured Matt Chapman (10).

"We definitely have some power," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said to the A's official website. "That's one of the strengths of the team."

As Oakland is riding a hot streak, Chicago (24-49) is mired in a seven-game losing streak. A loss in the series opener would give the White Sox their worst skid of the season, which is saying something considering the club's ugly record.

White Sox manager Rick Renteria's club is coming off back-to-back sweeps at the hands of the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. In Wednesday's series finale, Chicago managed only two hits in a 12-0 loss to the Indians.

"It's tough, but instead of getting frustrated, we have to keep working, use that feeling to work harder," White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada said to the team's official website. "There are still plenty of games to play, and we can improve. We can keep getting better, and if it is not this year, then next year. But definitely the games we have this year, we have a chance to improve."

White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito (4-7, 7.19 ERA) will look to improve in his 15th start of the season. The former first-round pick of the Washington Nationals (No. 16 overall in 2012) has terrific potential but has been unable to produce consistent results in his first full season on the South Side.

Poor command has plagued Giolito, who has 45 walks in 71 1/3 innings. He also has hit 10 batters, which is tied for most in the majors along with Cole Hamels of the Texas Rangers and Carlos Martinez of the St. Louis Cardinals.

This will mark the 23-year-old's first career appearance against Oakland.

For the A's, right-hander Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.45 ERA) will make his third start of the season. The 29-year-old is seeking his first victory since Aug. 4, 2015, against the Baltimore Orioles.

Bassitt is quite familiar with the White Sox, who drafted him in the 16th round in 2011 and developed him in the minors. He went 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in six appearances (five starts) as a rookie in Chicago in 2014.

On Dec. 9, 2014, the White Sox shipped Bassitt, Marcus Semien, Josh Phegley and minor leaguer Rangel Ravelo to Oakland in exchange for Jeff Samardzija and Michael Ynoa. The trade did not pan out as hoped for Chicago, which retained Samardzija for one underwhelming season before he signed as a free agent with the San Francisco Giants.

Bassitt has faced the White Sox once in his career. That was in 2016, when he gave up eight hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings, but did not get a decision in Chicago's 5-4 victory.

This will be the first meeting of the season between the teams. Last year, Oakland won the season series 5-1.

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Cardinals vs. Brewers 8:10 (EDT) Preview

Thumbs up for Braun as Brewers host Cardinals

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Thursday, June 21 at 1:04 AM (EDT)

MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun is expected to be back in Milwaukee and available Thursday night when the Brewers open a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.

Braun left the team Thursday morning for Los Angeles, where he received a cryotherapy injection in his right thumb -- a procedure he has undergone four times since first receiving treatment on the thumb following the 2014 season.

"It started bugging him the last couple of days so he flew out (Thursday) morning)," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It's something that he expects from time to time. When it starts (bothering him), we try to get in front of it and knock it out right away."

Braun was expected to miss Milwaukee's game Wednesday night at Pittsburgh, but Mother Nature made the point moot as rain forced cancellation of the finale of a three-game series with the Pirates.

As a result, the Brewers will take the field Thursday virtually tied with the Chicago Cubs for first place in the National League Central with the Cardinals lingering 4 1/2 games behind.

St. Louis will try to cut into that deficit behind right-hander Carlos Martinez (3-3, 2.73 ERA), who has struggled since returning from the disabled list back on June 5.

In three starts since then, Martinez is 0-1 with a 7.11 ERA. He struck out 15 while walking 18 in 12 2/3 innings -- failing to get past the fifth in any of those outings -- while opponents have batted .306 against him with a .908 OPS.

"He's got to do something different, I know," manager Mike Matheny admitted. "(Pitching coach Mike) Maddux has talked to him about getting locked in. It just looks different. We need him to be like he can be."

Martinez was off to a strong start before the injury. He bounced back from a rough season-opening outing against the New York Mets to post a 0.99 ERA over his next seven starts. He still had a 1.77 ERA after the Minnesota Twins tagged him for four runs over five innings in a 7-1 loss on May 8 but was placed on the disabled list the next day with a strained forearm.

"Right when he got hurt, he was as good as anybody in the league," said Matheny. "We've just got to get him back there, that's all.

Martinez has faced Milwaukee twice this season, dominating the Brewers in each appearance. He held them to a run over six innings in a 5-3 victory on April 10 in St. Louis and fell two outs short of a complete game shutout on April 4 at Miller Park, where he is 4-4 with a 2.36 ERA in 16 career appearances, including 10 starts.

Overall, he's 6-4 with a 1.95 ERA in his career against Milwaukee and has held the Brewers to two runs or fewer in 10 of his last 14 starts against the Brewers.

Because of the rainout in Pittsburgh, left-hander Brent Suter (7-4, 4.30) will get an extra day of rest and start for Milwaukee on Thursday, with Junior Guerra, Chase Anderson and Jhoulys Chacin rounding out the series.

Suter is 1-0 with a 3.48 ERA in two starts against St. Louis this season, and 1-2 with a 4.10 ERA in eight career appearances (four starts) against the Cardinals..

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Blue Jays vs. Angels 10:07 (EDT) Preview

Jays' Sanchez returns home to take on Angels

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Wednesday, June 20 at 10:27 PM (EDT)

Aaron Sanchez will likely have friends and family in the stands when the Toronto Blue Jays open a four-game series at the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.

Sanchez will also have plenty of motivation to keep the Blue Jays rolling.

A right-hander who grew up in a desert community halfway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Sanchez is scheduled to make his first major league start at Angel Stadium in the series opener.

Sanchez (3-5, 4.35 ERA) was a supplemental first-round draft pick of the Blue Jays out of Barstow (Calif.) High School in 2010. The Angels had three picks before Sanchez was chosen, and the organization had twice drafted Sanchez's stepfather, Mike Shipley, in the 1970s, but they opted to take infielder Kaleb Cowart with the 18th overall pick, reliever Cam Bedrosian at No. 29 and outfielder Chevy Clarke at No. 30.

Four picks later, the Blue Jays nabbed Sanchez.

Cowart continues to struggle to break into the majors with the Angels, Bedrosian hasn't performed up to expectations either, and Clark is currently playing independent ball for the Cleburne Railroaders.

Sanchez, meanwhile, made his major league debut in July 2014, was chosen to the American League All Star team while going 15-2 in 2016, and his 3.00 ERA that season led the AL.

Sanchez has faced the Angels (39-35) three times in his career, but his only two starts came in Toronto (34-29). He's 0-1 overall against Los Angeles with a 2.03 ERA. He threw one inning of scoreless relief at Angel Stadium in 2015.

Sanchez is 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three starts this month after going 0-3 with a 5.96 ERA in May.

"It's been a battle the first couple months, trying to get back into the swing of things," Sanchez told reporters after his last start, when he allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of a 6-5 win against the Washington Nationals. "As of late, it's been trending up."

That can also be said of the Blue Jays, who have won four of five following their 5-4 win against the visiting Atlanta Braves on Wednesday, improving to 28-1 this season when scoring five or more runs.

The Angels had an off day at home on Wednesday after holding on the defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 on Tuesday night to earn a split of the two-game series.

They plan to send Tyler Skaggs to the mound for the series opener. Like Sanchez, he's undefeated this month after going winless in May. Skaggs has won all three starts in June, allowing one earned run in 20 innings for a 0.45 ERA.

He went 0-2 in May with a 4.28 ERA and had a sub-par outing in Toronto on May 23, allowing three runs and six hits in five innings. He avoided taking the loss when the Angels scored four runs in the ninth inning of the 5-4 win.

This might be his best stretch since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2014.

"With Tyler, we've seen a constant growth in confidence," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times. "This guy's worked so hard to get back to where he was and even a little above that now."

Skaggs (6-4, 2.81) is 2-2 overall in his six-year career against the Blue Jays with a 4.11 ERA.

Red-hot Mike Trout will appear in his 1,000th career game for Los Angeles. He is 16-for-23 with four homers and nine RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.

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Padres vs. Giants 10:15 (EDT) Preview

Bumgarner hopes for progress as Giants host Padres

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Wednesday, June 20 at 10:57 PM (EDT)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner's comeback from a broken finger continues Thursday night when the San Francisco Giants open a four-game series against the San Diego Padres and a pitcher with whom they are quite familiar, Tyson Ross.

The Giants will take a two-game winning streak and the Padres a four-game skid into the series, the third of the season between the National League West rivals. San Diego has won four of the first seven head-to-head games.

Bumgarner (0-2, 4.67 ERA) wasn't around for either of the earlier series against San Diego, having been hurt in his final spring training tuneup. He's made just three starts since being activated off the disabled list, with the Giants having lost all three games.

The outings have included hard-luck losses to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers, and an effort at Miami last week in which he was ejected after running out of gas in the sixth inning, blowing a 4-2 lead.

Bumgarner hasn't seen the seventh inning since his return, which could be cause for concern for a Giants team that blew leads in all four losses they suffered against Miami in the past 10 days.

One of those blown leads featured a Hunter Strickland meltdown in the ninth inning Monday, after which he punched a door and, like Bumgarner, broke a finger.

Sam Dyson stepped into Strickland's closer role and picked up his second save of the season in Tuesday's 6-3 win over the Marlins, but then he had to be pulled Wednesday after allowing two ninth-inning runs that allowed Miami to pull within 6-5.

Reyes Moronta was summoned to record his first career save.

The Padres had ninth-inning troubles of their own during their two-game home sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics.

Closer Brad Hand got within one strike of a 2-1 win in the series opener Tuesday night before serving up a game-tying home run to Stephen Piscotty in a game A's went onto win 4-2 in 10 innings.

Ross (5-4, 3.51) has twice pitched the Padres to wins over the Giants this season, getting credit for one of the victories.

He limited the Giants to just one unearned run in a 5-1 home win in April, then left with a 2-1 lead in San Francisco on May 1, only to see San Francisco tie the game before the Padres won it off Strickland in the ninth.

Ross, a San Francisco Bay Area product, is 4-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 12 games (10 starts) in his career against the Giants.

He has gone head-to-head with Bumgarner three times, winning once.

Ross has pitched well of late, allowing three or fewer runs in seven consecutive starts.

Bumgarner got the better of Ross in a pitchers' duel in their last head-to-head, winning 2-0 in 2015.

The Giants' ace has pitched 31 times, including 30 starts, against the Padres in his career, registering a 10-9 record and 3.46 ERA.

Bumgarner hasn't recorded a win against the Padres in his last six starts against them dating back to May of 2016. He's 0-4 with one no-decision during the drought.

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Mariners vs. Yankees 1:05 (EDT) Preview

Attractive pitching matchup in Yankees-Mariners game

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Thursday, June 21 at 12:56 AM (EDT)

NEW YORK -- Last season, New York Yankees right-hander Luis Severino credited things such as getting tips from Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez as a reason why everything came together after a difficult experience in 2016.

This year, Seattle Mariners left-hander James Paxton is joining Severino among the elite pitchers in the American League, and he credits improved conditioning to go along with an aggressive mindset in attacking hitters.

Paxton and Severino will oppose each other Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium when the Mariners and Yankees conclude their three-game series.

The Yankees are in position to get the sweep after rallying from five runs down and recording a 7-5 win on Wednesday on Giancarlo Stanton's two-run homer in the ninth inning off Ryan Cook. The Yankees are 16-4 in their last 20 games and are going for their first home sweep of Seattle since May 23-25, 2008.

Seattle is on its second three-game losing streak after blowing its first five-run lead this season. Despite their worst collapse of the season, the Mariners are 13-6 in their last 19 games and 32-17 in their last 49 games.

Paxton heads into his first career start against the Yankees with a 6-1 record and a 3.44 ERA. After going 18-15 in his first 50 starts since making his debut in 2013, Paxton is 18-7 in his last 39, a stretch that includes a 99-pitch no-hitter last month in Toronto and six of his eight career double-digit strikeout games.

Last season, Paxton was 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA but only made 24 starts due to two stints on the disabled list with a strained left forearm and a strained left pectoral muscle. After five DL stints within the first five years of his career, Paxton refined his conditioning with a program to keep everything working. He described the program in detail while referring to the muscle activation technique.

"You need everything to be firing together at the right time and have all your muscles working together in order for them to be optimal strength and stamina," Paxton said. "So, that's what I did this offseason and I continue to work with those guys during the season to allow myself to stay healthy."

Paxton enters his 90th career start with 115 strikeouts this year, 39 away from his total last season and sixth in the American League.

Paxton said the strikeouts are coming more often because of aggressiveness -- resulting in numbers such as a .216 opposing batting average with runners on base, a .194 average with runners in scoring position and a .178 mark when getting ahead of a hitter 0-1.

"I think I've gotten more aggressive in the zone and stuff," he said. I'm not picking around the corners as much. I tried to be a little too perfect I think in the past, got myself in bad counts, allowing guys to cheat on fastballs. I think when I get ahead of guys, it gives me more options, makes them think about more pitches I can throw and gets them off my stuff a little bit."

Since the no-hitter on May 8 in Toronto, Paxton is 4-0 with a 3.48 ERA in his last seven starts, a number inflated due to his last start.

Paxton is coming off his shortest start of the season when he allowed five earned runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings Friday against the Boston Red Sox in an eventual 7-6 win.

"He's matured a ton," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "He knows how important he is for our team and how important it is for him to stay healthy.

"He's changed a lot of his offseason workouts, his work in between starts, understanding to be able to take the ball every fifth day means so much to our team. He's really put a priority on that, probably more so than actual pitch sequencing or pitch development."

As for Severino, he can join Cleveland's Corey Kluber as the second 11-game winner in the majors with a victory Thursday.

He is 10-2 with a 2.09 ERA after allowing three hits in eight scoreless innings in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the fourth time he pitched into the eighth inning and fourth scoreless start.

"Obviously anytime he goes, I feel great about it," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "He's a great pitcher. He's clearly establishing himself as one of the best in the game."

Severino was 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA last season after Martinez suggested some mechanical tweaks and encouraged him to include his changeup more frequently. Martinez's advice took place after Severino finished 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA in 22 appearances in a 2016 campaign that featured a triceps injury and a demotion to the minors.

It has resulted in Severino being able to maintain velocity throughout games, such as Saturday when 23 of his 102 pitches were clocked at 99 mph or higher.

"I've played with him all the way through the minor leagues," Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said. "This is what I expect out of Sevy. Go out there and just dominate."

The right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two career starts against Seattle. He pitched seven scoreless innings in a 4-1 win at Seattle on July 20, 2017, and allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 7-1 home loss on April 15, 2016.

New York left fielder Brett Gardner missed his third straight game Wednesday with a swollen right knee and is day-to-day. If Gardner does not play, Aaron Hicks will likely bat leadoff.

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Red Sox vs. Twins 1:10 (EDT) Preview

Twins look to complete sweep of Red Sox

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Thursday, June 21 at 1:57 AM (EDT)

After earning a victory for the first time in 12 starts in his last outing, Minnesota Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson will try to make it two in a row Thursday afternoon as the Twins look to finish off a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Gibson (2-4, 3.27 ERA) threw six shutout innings to earn the win against Baltimore in his season debut but was 0-4 over his next 12 starts despite posting a 3.75 ERA during that stretch as the Twins' offense struggled to generate run support.

He finally snapped the drought last week, outdueling Cleveland ace Corey Kluber by holding the Indians to a run over seven innings.

"There's no complaints around here about how Gibby's been throwing the ball," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Can't explain some things that happen. For him to go whatever it was, 10 or 11 weeks, as well as he's been pitching. But we backed him up a little bit, got to a tough pitcher."

Gibson is 1-2 with a 3.08 ERA in four career starts against Boston.

How Molitor plans to protect any lead Gibson and the lineup can generate remains to be seen.

Molitor has been rotating relievers through late-inning roles after Addison Reed was removed from the setup role to get the right-hander back on track.

Reed has pitched just once since June 10, with right-handers Trevor Hildenberger and Ryan Pressly and left-handers Zach Duke and Taylor Rogers expected to get a chance to bridge the gap to closer Fernando Rodney.

"There's no question that while we get Reed back to where we want Reed to be, I think he's getting a little antsy to pitch," Molitor said. "I'm looking for a chance to get him in there."

Second baseman Eduardo Nunez will likely be back in Boston manager Alex Cora's lineup Thursday as the Red Sox look to avoid being swept for the first time this season.

Nunez has seen the bulk of the action at second base with Dustin Pedroia on the disabled list, but Nunez has not produced at the plate or in the field. He is batting .247 with a .625 OPS this season and is last among American League second baseman with minus-10 defensive runs saved.

He took early work at second base ahead of Boston's game Monday with Pedroia and infield coach Carlos Febles looking on.

"We need this guy to get going," Cora said. "I saw what he did last year. We know there's more there."

Obtained from the San Francisco Giants last July, Nunez batted .321 with an .892 OPS in 38 games after the trade, and the Red Sox signed him to a one-year deal as they prepared to open the season without Pedroia.

"Eduardo is not known for his defense," Cora admitted. "He's an offensive player. He's doing his best. He's making the routine plays."

Rick Porcello (8-3, 3.70) gets the start for Boston in the series finale.

The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA over his last four starts, and he had his string of three straight outings allowing two earned runs halted when the Mariners tagged him for four over six innings in a loss at Seattle on Friday.

Porcello is 10-10 with a 3.90 ERA in 29 career starts against Minnesota, but he has yet to face the Twins this season.

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Mets vs. Rockies 3:10 (EDT) Preview

Freeland faces Matz in Rockies-Mets finale

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Thursday, June 21 at 1:50 AM (EDT)

DENVER -- Two left-handers who have been very successful lately will square off Thursday when Kyle Freeland starts for the Colorado Rockies against Steven Matz of the New York Mets.

The Rockies will be looking to win the four-game series after winning their second straight game over the Mets 10-8 on Wednesday. Colorado will also be trying to avoid a dubious major league record. The Rockies have allowed at least eight runs in each of their past nine home games, tied with the St. Louis Browns in 1894 for the longest such streak.

Freeland (6-6, 3.59 ERA) has made 14 starts, half of which the Rockies have won. He worked a season-high seven innings for the fourth time this season in his last start Saturday at Texas. Freeland allowed two runs in seven innings, ending up with no-decision in Colorado's 5-2 loss.

In his past 10 starts, Freeland, 25, is 6-3 with a 2.89 ERA and has limited opposing hitters to a .237 average and a .646 OPS in that stretch. He's 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two career games (one start) against the Mets. The start was on May 6 at Citi Field this season when Freeland, the winning pitcher, allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts and one walk in Colorado's 3-2 victory.

In eight starts at Coors Field this season, Freeland is 3-2 with a 2.93 ERA. A Denver native who grew up pitching in the city's mile-high altitude, Freeland is 9-10 with a 3.52 ERA in 24 career games (21 starts) at Coors Field and has never been fazed by the hitter-friendly ballpark.

"In my mind, it's baseball," Freeland said. "You have to make your pitches, no matter where you're at. Home runs are going to be home runs. People are going to hit good pitches here. People are going to hit bad pitches here. If you don't execute the pitch and they get whacked out of the park, it's going to happen here; it's going to happen at sea level.

"Things can snowball on you quicker here just because of how large our outfield is. But you still have to have that mentality of I can get out of this jam here."

While winning his last start, Matz (3-4, 3.31) gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings Saturday at Arizona in the Mets' 5-1 triumph. Matz lost 2-0 to the Rockies at Citi Field on May 5, giving up one run and three hits in six innings. He's 0-3, 6.50 in four career starts against the Rockies and 0-0, 5.40 in one start at Coors Field.

In his past five starts, Matz, 27, is 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA. During that stretch, Matz has allowed two or fewer runs in four of the five outings, and opposing batters are hitting .208 with a .609 OPS.

"He's in a good place mentally," New York pitching coach Dave Eiland said. "He's in attack mode, where he's attacking the hitters. Early in the year, he was a little bit unsure of himself, not really trusting his stuff as much. So therefore, he wasn't in attack mode. And when the first little thing would go wrong ... he would kind of lose his concentration, his focus, and it would affect the next few pitches and might make the difference in his outing.

"He's worked really hard at letting things go that are out of his control and just focusing on things he can control. And once he started doing it, he got back to believing in himself, trusting his stuff, attacking the strike zone, attacking the hitters."

At this point after nearly a month of superb pitching, Matz has a reservoir of success to draw upon when things do go wrong.

"I'm sure it still eats at him a little bit," Eiland said, "but he doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve, so to speak."

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Diamondbacks vs. Pirates 7:05 (EDT) Preview

D-backs open 4-game series in Pittsburgh

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Wednesday, June 20 at 10:12 PM (EDT)

The Arizona Diamondbacks open a four-game series Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and by the time they move on to Miami, their rotation could look different. As in, more intact.

Right-hander Zack Godley (7-5, 4.77 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh righty Ivan Nova (4-5, 4.42) in the opener and, in fact, the Diamondbacks (40-33) have starters penciled in all four games against the Pirates (36-37).

But starters Shelby Miller (Tommy John surgery) and Robbie Ray (strained right oblique) appear close to returning, particularly Miller.

"He's getting close," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said of Miller. "With these outings and the feedback he's giving us, he's telling us that he's getting closer every day."

One possibility is that Miller will replace Matt Koch, who allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings Wednesday in a 5-4 loss against the Angels.

"Yet to be determined," Lovullo said. "We're going to huddle up and have some conversations ... and figure out what the next course of action."

In the meantime, Godley is 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA over his past two starts. That includes a 7-3 win Friday against the New York Mets when he gave up two runs in 6 2/3 innings.

"I had to fight through myself pretty much for the first three innings and then after that kind of settled in a little bit and got some quick outs and was able to go deep into the game," Godley said. "I was just kind of fighting myself body-wise, just kind of not finishing some of my pitches and leaving some up and in on righties and up and away on lefties."

Getting through that impressed Lovullo.

"He's battling himself," Lovullo said of Godley's early innings in that game. "He can't duplicate pitches, and he just made some key pitches at the right time. ... So, when you see things like that when a guy doesn't have his best stuff, that's what sticks out for me. Pretty impressive."

Godley is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in two appearances, one start, against Pittsburgh.

The Diamondbacks, who were off Wednesday, have won eight of their past 12 games. That includes taking two of three last week when the Pirates visited Chase Field.

Pittsburgh last lost two home games in a row against Arizona but had won six in a row before that.

The Pirates have won four of six after getting an impromptu day off Wednesday -- their game against Milwaukee was postponed after a rain delay of more than two hours.

Nova, like Godley, is coming off two good starts, going 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA since he came off the disabled list (sprained finger).

On Saturday, he struggled with his curveball but it didn't stop him from allowing just one run and five hits in six innings in a 6-2 win over Cincinnati.

"Even though I walked a couple guys, the fastball command is better than what it was before I hit the DL," Nova said. "I think I've been able to control it a bit better. I think that's been the key."

Nova is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in three career starts against the Diamondbacks.

Pittsburgh will be without starting left fielder Corey Dickerson for at least the start of the series. He is on family leave.

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Orioles vs. Nationals 7:05 (EDT) Preview

Scherzer looks to end rare skid as Nats face Orioles

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Thursday, June 21 at 2:14 AM (EDT)

WASHINGTON -- Their winning streak against the Baltimore Orioles ended, the Washington Nationals will turn to Max Scherzer on Thursday night as they look to win the three-game series against the team with the worst record in baseball.

Scherzer (10-3, 2.06 ERA), seeking to avoid losing three starts in a row for the first time since 2015, will be opposed by Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.48).

In each of his last two outings, Scherzer has made one mistake and the Washington bats haven't been able to overcome it. On June 10, he allowed a two-run homer to Brandon Crawford in a 2-0 home loss to the San Francisco Giants, and last Saturday he was touched for a two-run shot by Toronto's Devon Travis, also in a 2-0 loss.

"This is major league baseball. One pitch can cost you a game. Now I've had it happen back-to-back starts," Scherzer told the Washington Post. "... You can get beat like that."

Scherzer allowed a combined eight hits in the two losses while striking out 19 in his first back-to-back defeats since 2015.

He leads the NL in wins, strikeouts (152) and opponents' batting average (.171) and ranks second in ERA.

Scherzer is 6-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 11 career starts versus the Orioles. He beat them on May 30, throwing eight shutout innings and giving up just two hits.

Adam Jones is 13-for-32 (.406) with three doubles and four home runs against Scherzer, while Manny Machado is 2-for-25 and Mark Trumbo is 1-for-16.

On Wednesday night, the Orioles got a two-run homer from Trumbo and five pitchers combined for a 3-0 win, snapping a six-game losing streak against Washington that dated to last season.

Baltimore (21-51) won for only the fourth time in 21 games and improved the majors' worst road record to 10-28 after the teams endured a 2-hour, 43-minute rain delay.

"It's never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark," Trumbo said. "Then you have to restart. It's almost two games in one, so great job by our guys tonight."

One night after pounding out 14 hits, the Nationals (39-33) were held to five and were shut out for the fourth time in their last nine games.

"We've got some pretty good hitters," Washington manager Dave Martinez said. "We've just got to keep pushing and keep going. The runs will come. I know they'll come and when they do come they'll come in bunches."

Gausman has not won since May 11, though in his last two starts it had as much to do with the Baltimore bats as his pitching. On June 9, he allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings of a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays. Then on June 15, he gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 2-0 loss to the Miami Marlins as he allowed five hits and threw 107 pitches.

"Kevin gave us a really good chance to win," manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun. "I'm sure he'd like to take back some of the 0-2 hits he gave up, but two runs ... I can't fault him for that. It just gets magnified any runs our pitchers give up because we're struggling so much to score runs."

Gausman is 3-1 with a 4.70 ERA in four career starts against the Nationals. Bryce Harper is 3-for-7 against him and Anthony Rendon is 3-for-9.

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Cubs vs. Reds 7:10 (EDT) Preview

Cubs start series vs. resurgent Reds

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Wednesday, June 20 at 10:19 PM (EDT)

Any time seems to be the right time for the Chicago Cubs to play the NL Central Reds. After all, Chicago took 43 of 62 from Cincinnati over the last four seasons.

Maybe this time, for a change, isn't the right time.

Sure, the Cubs just got done taking two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field, and they're competing with the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the division. They also took three of four from the Reds in Cincinnati only a month ago.

"To be able to take two of three (from the Dodgers) after losing the first game in the manner we did, I give our guys a lot of credit," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon, whose team lost a ninth-inning lead in the series opener.

But as the Cubs and Reds open a four-game series Thursday night at Great American Ball Park, the Cubs -- winners of four of their last six games and 13 of their last 19 -- aren't the only team that's trending well. The Reds, still trying to rebound from their horrific 8-27 start, have won six of eight and are coming off a two-game sweep of the AL Central-contending Detroit Tigers.

"Hopefully we can run off a few wins and make the season a little interesting for everybody (at the ballpark) -- and for us in the clubhouse, too," Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said following a 5-3 victory over the Tigers on Wednesday.

That would take quite a few wins given the Reds' double-digit deficit in the NL Central race. But they've begun making life difficult for teams with better records than they have.

"As people have said through the history of the game, momentum is only as good as your next day's starting pitcher," Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. "We're just trying to win the game today. You enjoy (winning) ... but we will come here (the next day) and try to get the next one."

The Reds will send still-inconsistent right-hander Matt Harvey (1-5, 5.92 ERA) to the mound Thursday to face Kyle Hendricks (5-6, 3.55). The Cubs right-hander can only hope to supply the momentum that Cubs starter Jon Lester did Wednesday while winning his fifth in a row, a 4-0 victory over the Dodgers.

Lester (9-2) walked three and struck out only one but limited the Dodgers to five base hits over seven innings before right-hander Anthony Bass pitched the final two innings.

Hendricks is 4-1 with a 3.57 ERA in 11 career starts against the Reds but didn't figure in the decision the last time he opposed them on May 19, a 5-4 Reds victory in which he gave up three earned runs and six hits in five innings.

Hendricks would like to get the same offensive support from shortstop Javier Baez that Lester did Wednesday, as Baez had two doubles and a triple for his first career three-extra-base-hit game. In his last 10 games, Baez is 10-for-24 (.417).

"I'm seeing the game (well)," Baez said. "And trying to do the small things."

The Cubs generally see the big picture quite well against the Reds, given their recent domination of them, but Harvey will try to change that.

He's still trying to gain traction since coming over to the Reds from the Mets. Harvey is only 1-3 with a 5.09 ERA in seven starts with Cincinnati -- and 0-3 since last his last win on May 22. Harvey also has allowed 16 earned runs and 23 hits in 21 1/3 innings over his last four starts, all of them Reds losses.

Harvey is 1-1 with a 4.57 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs, but most of their current hitters don't have much experience against him. Only Jason Heyward (3-for-11, .272) has double-digit at-bats against him.

Barnhart had five hits and reached base eight times in his last two games but is 6-for-25 (.240) against Hendricks. Joey Votto, who hit a grand slam Tuesday, is 8-for-16 (.500) with two homers against him. Scooter Gennett is 8-for-31 (.258).

In a scheduling quirk, this is the Cubs' third trip to Great American Ball Park already this season, while the Reds have yet to play in Wrigley Field. The final 10 games of the season between the two division opponents will be in Chicago.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Major League Baseball
Rays 1 vs. 5 Astros Recap

Back to back to back: 3 straight HRs propel Astros to win

By KRISTIE RIEKEN - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, June 20 at 11:46 PM (EDT)

HOUSTON (AP) Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch might want to consider giving Jose Altuve more days off.

A night after he was out of the starting lineup for the first time all season, the 2017 American League MVP homered twice, including the last of three straight by the Astros in the sixth inning, to lift Houston to a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.

Altuve, who pinch-hit in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, said getting a little break gave him a chance to regroup.

''It felt good. It's always good to sit down and think about how you feel,'' he said. ''And I came back strong today.''

The game was tied in the bottom of the sixth when George Springer's 15th homer this season made it 2-1. Two pitches later Alex Bregman sent an 87 mph slider from Rays' starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-3) into the seats in left field for his 11th home run.

But the Astros weren't done yet, as Altuve put one on the train tracks atop left field for the second time on Wednesday night to push the lead to 4-1. It was the first time the Astros had hit three home runs in a row since May 2, 2008 when Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee did it against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Altuve got a little amped up after seeing the balls by Springer and Bregman leave the yard, and once he got in a hitter's count he was looking for a ball to drive.

''There was a lot going on in that inning and I got a little excited,'' he said.

It was a welcome display of power for a team which managed just five singles in a 2-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday night that snapped Houston's 12-game winning streak. Wednesday night's win made the Astros the first team to reach 50 victories this season.

''It was a pretty electrifying crowd after three home runs one after another after another,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ''Obviously, it was a huge inning for us. What energy that got put back into the building and also our team. Pretty impressive.''

Houston starter Charlie Morton (9-1) allowed just two hits and one unearned run in six innings for the win.

Eovaldi, who grew up in suburban Houston, entered the game 1-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four career starts against the Astros. But he allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings for his third straight loss.

''It's just a matter of time before that offense gets you,'' manager Kevin Cash said. ''He was efficient, they made some adjustments, but it was a lot of power and by that third time through, it kind of caught up. It's just a very talented offense.''

Jake Bauers doubled with two outs in the first inning before Morton walked Wilson Ramos and plunked Joey Wendle to load the bases. But he escaped the jam when left fielder Tony Kemp made a diving catch on a ball hit by Willy Adames to end the inning.

''That's probably the highlight of the game defensively for us just because a lot of things can happen there,'' Hinch said. ''We're playing a little bit deep, it looked like he got a little bit of a late start and then comes in with an acrobatic catch.''

Mallex Smith singled with one out in the fourth and scored when Carlos Gomez grounded out and first baseman Yuli Gurriel badly overthrew first base for an error to make it 1-0.

Altuve tied it up with his first home run of the night with one out in the fourth. It was the first multi-homer game in the regular season since July 24, 2016 for Altuve, who hit a career-best three in Game 1 of the ALDS against Boston last season.

The Astros added a run on an RBI single by Kemp with one out in the seventh.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: Hinch said RHP Joe Smith (right elbow inflammation) was feeling a lot better on Wednesday and is likely to throw off the mound either this weekend or early next week.

Rays: Manager Kevin Cash said INF Daniel Robertson (left hamstring strain) is doing well and should come off the disabled list on Friday.

KIERMAIER'S STRUGGLES

Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts after going 0 for 5 on Wednesday night in his first game back after missing more than two months following thumb surgery. His slump is a continuation of the struggles he had before the injury and he's hitting just .135 in 14 games this season.

''Unfortunately, K.K. just got off to a rough start and takes a month or two months off,'' Cash said. ''The numbers are going to be ugly for a little while, but I'm very confident he'll get going.''

UP NEXT

Rays: Tampa Bay is off on Thursday before beginning a three-game series with the New York Yankees on Friday. They have yet to announce their pitching rotation for that series.

Astros: Houston also has a day off on Thursday before hosting Kansas City in the opener of a three-game series on Friday. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-8, 4.15 ERA), who got his first win since May 13 in his last start, will oppose Royals' lefty Danny Duffy.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Red Sox 1 vs. 4 Twins Recap

Kepler, Grossman homer to help Twins beat Red Sox 4-1

By BRIAN HALL - Associated Press

Thursday, June 21 at 12:56 AM (EDT)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Facing a run of starting pitching that included two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Chris Sale and David Price, the Minnesota Twins could have seen their fledgling playoff hopes fade toward another long summer.

Instead, Minnesota's been rejuvenated by beating some of the best pitching in the American League.

Robbie Grossman and Max Kepler homered to back an effective start by Lance Lynn as the Twins beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 on Wednesday night.

Grossman led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run and Kepler added a two-run shot off Boston starter David Price (8-5). Brian Dozier added a pair of doubles to help Minnesota win for the fourth time in five games.

The Twins beat Kluber and Carrasco in taking two of three games at Cleveland before returning home and winning the first two games against the Red Sox with Sale and Price starting.

''Yeah, after the game when you acknowledge who's on the mound,'' Kepler said when asked if Minnesota can take something away from beating the recent competition. ''I feel like we go into games and we're kind of blind to who's on the mound and we grind together, which is awesome about this team.''

Lynn (5-5) again struggled with command, issuing five walks, but he surrendered just one unearned run and three hits in five innings.

Four relievers combined for four scoreless innings, retiring 12 of the final 13 batters, with Fernando Rodney securing his 16th save in 19 chances.

''If you can find a way to battle every at-bat, wait for something to break, try to build pitch-count when you can, and if you're holding them down as our starting pitching has been doing, you know you've got a chance late,'' Twins manager Paul Molitor said.

The Red Sox were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and are 2 for 22 in the first two games of the series. They've stranded 18 baserunners in the two games and lost for the fourth time in five games.

''Pitching-wise, we've been great,'' Boston manager Alex Cora said. ''I'll take that. If we keep throwing the ball the way we've been throwing we're going to win a lot of ballgames. We know the offense, you know how it is.''

Lynn has had an uncharacteristic wild season in his first year with the Twins. He walked at least five batters for the fifth time in 14 starts. But the veteran right-hander has limited the damage and allowed less than three runs in five of his last six starts.

''Command was really not there,'' Lynn said. ''But I was able to make pitches with runners in scoring position and not give up a bunch of runs. With this offense we have, you keep them to one run, we're going to win the games more times than not.''

Boston's lone run scored in the second as Lynn couldn't catch first baseman Logan Morrison's high throw to first for the final out of the inning, allowing Mitch Moreland to score from second base on an error charged to Morrison.

''We've been through stuff like this in the past, even this year early on,'' Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said of the offense. ''The pitching has been doing great. It's up to us now to come through.''

PAYING THE PRICE

Price was hurt by the home run but allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk. He had given up just one home run in his previous five starts and seven total in 14 starts this season coming into Wednesday.

''Not so much that he could hit it like he did, but to keep it fair, that's pretty impressive,'' Price said of Kepler's home run.

SHOWING SIGNS

Dozier had just one extra-base hit in his previous 13 games while hitting .068. His double off the left-field wall in the eighth plated Eddie Rosario.

Kepler hit his first home run in 22 games and the fifth of his eight this season against left-handed pitching. Kepler was hitting .158 over his previous 21 games with just four RBIs.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz is getting closer to having his first throwing session since he went on the 10-day disabled list on June 5 for left biceps tendonitis. Cora said Pomeranz was dealing with soreness in his neck but has recovered.

Twins: Molitor said OF Byron Buxton's first rehab game in Triple-A on Tuesday went well and that his left foot with the broken toe is ''in a good place and we haven't said that for about seven weeks or so.'' There is no timetable for Buxton's return.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (8-3, 3.70 ERA) will start the series and road trip finale on Thursday afternoon. Porcello pitched six innings and gave up four runs in a no-decision at Seattle in his last start.

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (2-4, 3.27) counters for Minnesota. Gibson has allowed five total runs over his last four starts, spanning 26 2/3 innings.

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Rangers 3 vs. 2 Royals Recap

Royals lose ninth straight, fall to Rangers, 3-2

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Thursday, June 21 at 12:41 AM (EDT)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Austin Bibens-Dirkx earned his first victory of the season, shutting down a struggling Kansas City Royals squad that's wondering when it will get its next win.

Bibens-Dirkx pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Rougned Odor homered and the Texas Rangers extended their winning streak to a season-high five games with a 3-2 victory Wednesday night.

Bibens-Dirkx (1-1) allowed one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings for his first win since last Sept. 6 in a relief appearance at Atlanta - and sent the Royals to their ninth straight loss.

''The first two starts didn't quite go as I had wanted,'' Bibens-Dirkx said, ''so to get another opportunity and to come out here and do what I feel like I can do on a pretty consistent basis was nice.''

Kansas City's slump is its longest this season, and the Royals have dropped 15 of 16 overall and been outscored 102-38 while losing 16 of 18 in June. Their worst June in franchise history was 7-19 in 1970, the team's second year in existence. The Royals will wind up June with nine games against the Astros, Angels, Brewers and Mariners, clubs above .500.

Bibens-Dirkx, a 33-year-old right-hander, spent 12 years in the minors, including two seasons with independent league teams before making his big league debut last year. He was called up to replace Yohander Mendez, who was sent to Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday after violating team rules.

Jake Diekman worked the ninth for his second save, but not before yielding a leadoff homer to Mike Moustakas. The game ended when Hunter Dozier was thrown out at second on a delayed steal.

''It's perfect timing,'' Royals manager Ned Yost said to steal. ''You probably haven't noticed that we've been having trouble bunching some hits together. It's a chance to maybe hopefully catch them by surprise and get into scoring position and one hit will tie the ballgame up and keep us going.''

Yost acknowledged that Isiah Kiner-Falefa making his first big league start behind the plate factored into the decision to send Dozier. His throw nearly hit Diekman in the head.

''It was kind of scary, a crazy, crazy way to end the game,'' Kiner-Falefa said. ''It worked out. Everything worked out. That was close. I was kind of in shock that he was out. I was just glad it didn't hit Jake, honestly. I tried to adjust my throw last second and saw it bounce, but that was close.''

Diekman just avoided being hit.

''I was shocked - that the ball was thrown, that he was running at all - but it was my bad for not getting out of the way,'' Diekman said. ''It ended the game and it didn't hit me, so we're good.''

Odor homered into the Royals' bullpen with two outs in the sixth on a 1-2 pitch from Royals starter Jakob Junis, who has lost his last five starts and has not won since May 18. Junis (5-8) has given up 19 home runs to tie for the American League lead. He allowed three runs and five hits with four walks and a hit batter.

''I've given up a lot of home runs this year,'' Junis said. ''It's something I'm conscious about. I'm trying to keep in the ball park because when I do that's when I have more success. I can't pinpoint on it on one exact thing.''

Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a single, extending his on-base streak to 34 games. He stole second, moved to third on Elvis Andrus' high chopper back to Junis and scored on Nomar Mazara's fly out to center,

The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the second on singles by Jurickson Profar and Odor and Joey Gallo's first of three walks. The Rangers, however, converted that into only one run when Kiner-Falefa grounded into a double play.

Alex Gordon singled with one out in the Kansas City second and scored on Dozier's double.

HYPHENATED BATTERYMATES

Bibens-Dirkx and Kiner-Falefa became the first starting pitcher and catcher in big league history with hyphenated last names.

WHO'S CLOSING?

After the Royals traded closer Kelvin Herrera to Washington, who will inherit that role? ''All of them,'' Yost said of his relievers. ''Opportunity exists down there. We'll have to see who takes advantage of it. I'll look at different guys, but I would prefer one guy to emerge, take advantage of the opportunity. But it's wide-open right now.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (elbow discomfort) threw batting practice to C Robinson Chirinos and OF Carlos Tocci. He is hopeful to begin a minor league rehab assignment Monday. ''There were some quality pitches inside the set, like a guy that was getting ready to take the next step of the rehab process,'' Banister said. ... RHP Chris Martin (right calf strain) also threw to hitters. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday. ''He's close,'' Banister said.

UP NEXT

Rangers: Off on Thursday before opening a weekend series Friday at Minnesota with LHP Mike Minor (4-4, 5.35) starting.

Royals: Travel day on Thursday to Houston, where LHP Danny Duffy (3-7, 5.55) will start the series opener Friday.

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Mets 8 vs. 10 Rockies Recap

Homers by Arenado, Blackmon, McMahon rally Rockies past Mets

By MICHAEL KELLY - Associated Press

Thursday, June 21 at 1:48 AM (EDT)

DENVER (AP) Ryan McMahon turned a small adjustment into a big return for the Colorado Rockies.

McMahon tweaked his swing early in the afternoon and then hit a go-ahead, three-run homer to help rally the Rockies past the New York Mets 10-8 on Wednesday night.

Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon also went deep, and Colorado's struggling bullpen shut the door in the late innings.

''You need a bullpen to do what ours did tonight from the sixth on - put up zeros,'' Rockies manager Bud Black said. ''That's the expectation, and that's their expectation.''

Colorado trailed 8-6 when McMahon pinch-hit with two on and two outs in the fifth. He sent a 1-0 changeup from reliever Robert Gsellman into the Rockies' bullpen to give Colorado the lead.

It was McMahon's second homer of the season and it came just hours after he worked with hitting coach Duane Espy in the batting cage.

''I made a small adjustment today with my hands, just put them in a better position to get that shorter swing off, that flatter swing off,'' McMahon said. ''Stood the bat up a little more and got instant results.

''It's been a long time coming and it felt really good to come through for the guys.''

Gsellman (5-2) had given up just one home run in 16 road games prior to Wednesday.

''A changeup right down the middle and the hitter just did his job and hit it out of the ballpark,'' he said. ''Got to execute the pitch.''

Bryan Shaw (3-5) got one out to earn the win. Wade Davis pitched the ninth for his 21st save this season - and the 100th of his career.

New York took an 8-6 lead with a four-run fifth. The Mets batted around for the second time in the game and benefited from three walks in the inning, including one to Brandon Nimmo with the bases loaded.

Dominic Smith, who tripled in the fifth, had a career-high three hits for New York and was a home run short of the cycle.

The Mets loaded the bases in the sixth against lefty Harrison Musgrave but pinch-hitter Kevin Plawecki grounded into an inning-ending double play to Arenado at third.

''The sixth got a little dicey, but zeros nevertheless,'' Black said. ''That's how you win games.''

Neither starter lasted long in another high-scoring game at Coors Field. The Mets scored three in the first and another in the second to take a 4-1 lead, but Colorado tied it with three unearned runs in the second.

The Rockies went ahead 6-4 in the third on RBI singles by Gerardo Parra and Tom Murphy.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mets: RHP A.J. Ramos had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder. ... Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the results of OF Jay Bruce's MRI revealed a right hip strain and the team will decide on a plan soon. ... RHP Noah Syndergaard (strained ligament in right index finger) threw before batting practice.

Rockies: LHP Mike Dunn (rhomboid strain) threw live batting practice and said he had no ill effects. Dunn said he threw about 20 pitches. If he feels good Thursday, Black said Dunn could go on a rehab assignment this weekend. ... RHP Scott Oberg (back strain) could also go on a rehab assignment, Black said.

INJURY SCARE

New York second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera was holding his left arm after tagging out Murphy on a steal attempt in the seventh inning. The trainer checked him over but Cabrera was able to stay in the game.

''He just landed hard on his left elbow,'' Callaway said.

HOME INVASION

The Rockies have allowed eight or more runs in their last nine home games, which ties for the longest streak in big league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The 1894 St. Louis Browns were the last team to do it.

ROSTER MOVE

Before the game, the Mets recalled RHP Chris Flexen from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned RHP Hansel Robles to their top farm team.

UP NEXT

In a matchup of left-handers, the Mets will send Steven Matz (3-4, 3.31 ERA) to the mound against Colorado hometown favorite Kyle Freeland (6-6, 3.59) in the finale of the four-game series Thursday afternoon.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Tigers 3 vs. 5 Reds Recap

Gennett, Suarez HRs rally Reds over Tigers 5-3

By JOE KAY - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, June 20 at 4:50 PM (EDT)

CINCINNATI (AP) The Tigers knew exactly what hit them - the daunting combination of a homer-friendly park and a free-swinging Reds offense starting to come around.

Scooter Gennett hit a tying two-run homer , and Eugenio Suarez also connected on the next pitch - a hit originally ruled a double but changed to a homer on review - for a 5-3 victory and a two-game sweep on Wednesday.

The Reds moved ahead in the all-time series 13-11, with two games left at Comerica Park starting July 31.

After managing only a pair of singles through the first five innings, the Reds finally got to Michael Fulmer (3-6). Gennett connected with two outs for his 13th homer, tying it 2-2.

''The way we're playing right now is how we expected to play all year,'' Gennett said. ''It's a lot of fun.''

Fulmer threw Gennett a slider that was headed for the dirt on a 1-2 count, only to see it sail out to right field aided by the wind.

''I thought it was a great pitch,'' Fulmer said. ''I'm mad at the results, but I'm not mad at the way I pitched.''

Suarez hit Fulmer's next pitch to left field, with the ball landing on the top of the wall and bouncing back into play. The Reds sounded their home run siren and shot off fireworks, but the umpires ruled the ball was in play and stopped Suarez at second base.

After a review of 1 minute, 12 seconds, the hit was ruled a homer - replays indicated the ball skipped off the top of the wall and deflected off a railing behind it.

Adam Duvall added a solo shot in the eighth as the Reds out-homered the Tigers 3-2.

''That's the way it is here,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Tyler Mahle (6-6) overcame a pair of solo homers to remain unbeaten in four June starts. The rookie has allowed a total of four earned runs while going 3-0 in the month. He struck out eight in six innings of his team-high sixth quality start.

''I was more lucky than good today,'' Mahle said . ''If I had to give myself a grade today, it would be a `D.'''

Raisel Iglesias gave up a hit in the ninth while earning his 11th save in 13 chances.

INTERLEAGUE

The Reds improved to 6-1 in interleague games. They've won five straight against the AL, tying their best all-time mark. The Tigers fell to 1-7.

SWING AND A MISS

Fulmer has little hitting experience in the majors, and it hurt the Tigers in the sixth. With runners on second and third and two outs, the Reds intentionally walked Dixon Machado to bring up Fulmer. He struck out on three pitches, the last one a high 94 mph fastball. Fulmer is 0 for 9 with six strikeouts for his career.

Gardenhire said that's the big advantage for the NL, where pitchers take batting practice regularly.

''There's your unfair advantage,'' he said.

HARDY APPEARANCE

Left-hander Blaine Hardy relieved in the seventh and gave up a pair of hits and a walk. Hardy has been a fill-in starter for the Tigers' depleted rotation and pitched into the sixth inning Sunday for a 3-1 win over the White Sox.

VOTTO HONORED

Joey Votto received his 2017 Lou Marsh Award as Canada's Athlete of the Year, the second time he's won it. Ferguson Jenkins and Larry Walker are the other baseball players to win it.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Tigers: Right-handed reliever Drew VerHagen was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a broken nose suffered Tuesday night when he was hit by a thrown ball while covering first base. Right-handed reliever Johnny Barbato was called up from Triple-A Toledo. He gave up Duvall's homer in the eighth.

Reds: Manager Jim Riggleman and the training staff are developing a rehab plan for starter Homer Bailey, who has been sidelined since June 2 with a sore right knee. He's 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA.

UP NEXT

Tigers: After a day off, the Tigers start a weekend series in Cleveland, where they've lost 20 of their past 26 games, including their past seven. Mike Fiers (5-3) is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts at Progressive Field.

Reds: Matt Harvey (1-5) makes his eighth start for the Reds, who open a four-game series against the Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Harvey has lost his past three decisions for the Reds, who got him from the Mets in a trade for catcher Devin Mesoraco on May 8.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Braves 4 vs. 5 Blue Jays Recap

Happ pitches 8 1/3 innings as Blue Jays beat Braves 5-4

By IAN HARRISON - Associated Press

Wednesday, June 20 at 4:20 PM (EDT)

TORONTO (AP) The better J.A. Happ pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays, the better the chance he finishes the season with another team.

Happ pitched a season-high 8 1/3 innings to win his fifth straight decision, Kendrys Morales hit a two-run home run and the Blue Jays beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4 Wednesday for Toronto's seventh win in eight home games.

Happ (9-3) allowed four runs and six hits, walked none and struck out eight. The veteran left-hander is the first big league pitcher to record four starts this season with at least eight strikeouts and no walks.

''He's got good life on his fastball,'' Atlanta's Nick Markakis said. ''He's always been a thorn in the side.''

With Toronto well behind in both the AL East and the wild card standings, Happ could be a candidate for a midseason trade to a contender.

''I know he's in demand and I can see why,'' Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ''If we were on the other end of it, I'd want him, too.''

Happ is in the final season of a three-year, $36 million contract.

''I signed to play here and try to help this team get to the playoffs,'' Happ said. ''I know there may be rumors out there, but I like it here and my focus is here.''

Happ improved 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA in nine career starts against the Braves.

''We knew going in it was going to be a tough ride,'' Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.

Happ had retired 18 of 19 before Freddie Freeman and Markakis hit back-to-back singles with one out in the ninth.

Ryan Tepera came on and gave up an RBI single to Kurt Suzuki, struck out Charlie Culberson, then allowed an RBI single to Ender Inciarte, putting the tying run at second. Tepera finished it by getting Johan Camargo to fly out, earning his fifth save in eight opportunities

Morales, who turned 35 Wednesday, went 2 for 3 and scored twice. He homered in the first, walked and scored in the fourth, singled in the fifth, and flied out in the eighth.

Suzuki and Peter Bourjos hit solo home runs for the Braves, who lost for the second time in eight games. Atlanta began the day with an NL-best record of 43-29.

Braves right-hander Anibal Sanchez (3-1) allowed four runs and five hits in five innings.

''It wasn't bad, wasn't great,'' Snitker said. ''He kept us in the game, gave us a chance.''

Sanchez is 0-2 with a 9.19 ERA in his past three starts against the Blue Jays.

After Morales hit a two-out drive off Sanchez, his sixth homer of the season, Suzuki connected in the second, his eighth, and Bourjos tied it in the third with his first homer of the season.

Toronto broke the deadlock in the fourth when Randal Grichuk hit an RBI double and Aledmys Diaz followed with a sacrifice fly.

Blue Jays infielder Yangervis Solarte made it 5-2 with a two-out RBI single off A.J. Minter in the seventh.

WALK THIS WAY

Blue Jays C Russell Martin has walked at least once in eight straight games, matching a career-long stretch. Martin, who walked twice Wednesday, also walked in eight straight in 2013.

BIRTHDAY BLASTS

Morales has four home runs and eight RBIs in eight career games on his birthday.

THRIVING WITH FIVE

Toronto is 28-1 when scoring five or more runs.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: Markakis started at designated hitter, the first time this season he hasn't played one of the corner outfield spots.

Blue Jays: RHP Marcus Stroman (shoulder) will be activated off the disabled list to start at the Angels on Saturday, Gibbons said. Stroman is 0-5 with a 7.71 ERA in seven starts. ... 3B Josh Donaldson (left calf) left the team Wednesday and will continue working out at Toronto's spring training facility in Florida. Donaldson will not begin a rehab assignment until he is able to run the bases at full speed.

UP NEXT

Braves: Atlanta is off Thursday before opening a three-game home series against Baltimore on Friday. LHP Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.70 ERA) starts for the Braves. Newcomb has won eight of his past nine decisions. The Orioles have not named a starter.

Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez (3-5, 4.35) starts the opener of a four-game series against the Angels. Sanchez is 1-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three June starts. LHP Tyler Skaggs (6-4, 2.81) starts for Los Angeles.

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Cardinals 3 vs. 4 Phillies Recap

Herrera's solo homer lifts Phils to 4-3 win over Cardinals

By ROB MAADDI - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, June 20 at 6:05 PM (EDT)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Odubel Herrera smiled when told he was being compared to Ichiro Suzuki and Vladimir Guerrero. He has potential to be known by his first name just like Ichiro and Vlad, too.

Herrera hit a tiebreaking, solo homer in the seventh inning, Cesar Hernandez hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 Wednesday to win their third straight series.

''What he's doing is special,'' manager Gabe Kapler said, adding that Herrera reminds him of Suzuki. ''It's elite.''

Herrera is batting .419 (13 for 31) with two doubles, five homers and eight RBI in the last seven games.

''He's a different breed,'' starter Jake Arrieta said before mentioning Guerrero's name with Herrera. ''When he gets hot, he's fun to watch.''

Herrera had a tough stretch after an excellent start before finding his stroke again.

''It's very satisfying to be compared to two legends,'' he said.

Yadier Molina hit a pair of homers for the Cardinals, who lost starter Michael Wacha to injury.

Philadelphia's beleaguered bullpen tossed three scoreless innings after Arrieta had another so-so outing, giving up both of Molina's homers. Edubray Ramos (2-0) got five outs and Adam Morgan retired the last two batters with the tying run on second for his first career save.

''It was cool to go out there and succeed,'' Morgan said.

The Phillies took two of three to win a series against the Cardinals for the first time since August 2014.

Arrieta gave up three runs and four hits in six innings to remain winless in June after posting a 0.90 ERA in five starts in May. Arrieta, who is earning $30 million this season as part of a three-year, $75 million contract, has a 6.97 ERA in four starts this month.

Wacha left in the fourth with a left oblique strain. The right-hander allowed three runs - one earned - and six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He'll have an MRI on Thursday.

''Feeling a little bit better,'' Wacha said. ''I'm hoping for the best.''

Herrera ripped a 91 mph slider from Sam Tuivailala (1-3) off the scoreboard on the facing of the second deck in right field to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. Herrera has a homer in four straight games.

Pinch hitter Jedd Gyorko hit a one-out double off Victor Arano in the ninth. Morgan entered to get Matt Carpenter on a foul pop and Tommy Pham on a grounder.

Molina drove a 3-2 pitch the opposite-way into the seats in right-center for his fifth career multihomer game in the sixth to tie it at 3.

A throwing error by Carpenter led to a pair of unearned runs in the fourth. Jorge Alfaro reached with one out when Carpenter's throw pulled first baseman Jose Martinez off the bag. With two outs, Hernandez lined a 1-2 change-up to the seats in right for a 3-1 lead.

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the first after Rhys Hoskins hit a single, advanced to third on Herrera's double and scored on Carlos Santana's sacrifice fly.

Molina crushed Arrieta's first pitch in the second inning to left to tie it at 1.

Wacha worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third by striking out Scott Kingery and retiring Nick Williams on a bouncer.

CLUTCH

Seven of Herrera's 12 homers have given Philadelphia a lead.

TRAINER'S ROOM

PHILLIES: INF J.P. Crawford was placed on the 10-day disabled list after breaking his hand Tuesday night. INF Mitch Walding was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace him. ... Williams returned to the lineup after he broke his nose in the field on Monday night.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: RHP Carlos Martinez (3-3, 2.73 ERA) takes the mound for the start of a four-game set at Milwaukee. He's 6-4, 1.95 vs. the Brewers.

Phillies: After a day off, RHP Zach Eflin (4-2, 3.43 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series at Washington on Friday night. Eflin has never faced the Nationals.

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White Sox 0 vs. 12 Indians Recap

Kluber is first to 11 wins, Indians rout White Sox 12-0

By BRIAN DULIK - Associated Press

Wednesday, June 20 at 6:08 PM (EDT)

CLEVELAND (AP) Corey Kluber shut down the White Sox and became the first pitcher with 11 wins this season. So what else is new for the reigning AL Cy Young winner?

Kluber allowed one hit over seven dominant innings and retired his final 14 batters Wednesday as the Cleveland Indians routed Chicago 12-0. The right-hander struck out seven and issued a lone walk in his latest masterpiece.

''Every five days, you try to come up with maybe something different to say about him, but my goodness,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said. ''His level of consistency is so high that, man, it's just fun to watch. And it's nice.''

Jose Ramirez and Jason Kipnis hit three-run homers for Cleveland, which swept the three-game series by a 24-5 margin. The Indians have won 17 of their last 21 games against the White Sox at Progressive Field, including all six this season.

Kluber (11-3) only permitted a second-inning single past third base by Omar Narvaez and a third-inning walk to Charlie Tilson, throwing 96 pitches before giving way to George Kontos to begin the eighth. Josh Tomlin surrendered a double to Jose Abreu in the ninth before completing the combined two-hitter.

''Hopefully in the long run, there will be a benefit to not throwing as many pitches as I usually do,'' said Kluber, who now has one more victory than Washington's Max Scherzer and the Yankees' Luis Severino. ''When the game is sort of out of hand like that, if (Francona) has the opportunity to save me a couple bullets, then why not?''

Yonder Alonso added three hits and Yan Gomes doubled twice as the Indians chased White Sox righty Reynaldo Lopez (2-5) after 4 1/3 innings. Lopez gave up five runs, four earned, and is 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in three career starts against Cleveland.

The Indians tacked on six runs in the sixth against Bruce Rondon to extend their lead to 11-0, including a two-run double by Edwin Encarnacion and Kipnis' three-run shot.

''We're making it really tough for opposing pitchers, which always leads to good things,'' Alonso said. ''We understand that Corey is going to do his thing and keep us in every ballgame, so we just have to be an offensive force for him.''

The White Sox matched their longest losing streak of 2018 at seven and fell to a season-low 25 games under .500. Manager Rick Renteria was ejected by home plate umpire Will Little in the sixth for arguing a strikeout.

''He should have ejected me,'' Renteria said. ''He was actually pretty kind. I was calm. I was trying not to get too crazy. I just wanted to go talk to him. It was not a very confrontational exchange.''

Ramirez put Cleveland ahead 3-0 in the first with his team-high 22nd home run, extending his on-base streak to a career-high 28 games. He also scored three times and stole a base.

Brantley was caught stealing in the third, ending Cleveland's franchise-record run of 23 successful stolen base attempts dating back to May 23.

NOT MILLER TIME

Indians president Chris Antonetti said LHP Andrew Miller (right knee inflammation) is throwing bullpen sessions, but not ready to go on a minor league rehab assignment.

''He has to go through a progression to get back to game activity, and he's not there yet,'' Antonetti said.

Miller is 1-3 with one save and a 4.40 ERA in 17 appearances. The two-time All-Star has been on the disabled list since May 26.

TRAINER'S ROOM

White Sox: OF Avisail Garcia (right hamstring strain) could be activated Thursday. He is hitting .333 with two homers and seven RBIs during a six-game rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte.

Indians: OF Lonnie Chisenhall (bilateral calf soreness) was a late scratch. He was sidelined with a strained right calf from April 8-June 5 and missed six weeks in 2017 with a similar injury.

UP NEXT

White Sox RHP Lucas Giolito (4-7, 7.19 ERA) takes on Athletics RHP Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.45 ERA) in the opener of a four-game series Thursday in Chicago.

Indians RHP Shane Bieber (1-0, 3.97 ERA) faces Tigers RHP Mike Fiers (5-3, 4.09 ERA) as Cleveland continues its nine-game homestand Friday.

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Dodgers 0 vs. 4 Cubs Recap

Lester wins 5th straight start, Cubs beat Dodgers 4-0

By ANDREW SELIGMAN - AP Sports Writer

Thursday, June 21 at 10:07 AM (EDT)

CHICAGO (AP) Whether they were making neat grabs or nailing runners at the plate, the Chicago Cubs came through with one sparkling play after another.

It was just what Jon Lester needed.

The four-time All-Star won his fifth straight start, Javier Baez backed him with three hits and two runs, and the Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 on Wednesday.

''That's what we're capable of doing,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ''In the past when we've won at a high level, we've played outstanding defense. It never gets old. It never gets old to watch that kind of baseball.''

Lester (9-2) gave up five hits over seven innings, though he didn't have his usual pinpoint command.

Baez had two doubles and a triple for a career-high three extra-base hits. He also stole a base and made some big plays at shortstop and second.

Kyle Schwarber hit his 14th homer. Kris Bryant added two hits and an RBI in his third straight game batting leadoff. And the Cubs handed Ross Stripling his first loss since April 30, taking two of three in a rematch of the past two NL Championship Series.

''We'll be somewhere (in the playoffs) in October,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ''I can't speak to the opponent, but we'll be somewhere.''

Lester walked three and struck out one batter. Anthony Bass worked the final two innings to finish the six-hitter.

''I really didn't have much today,'' Lester said. ''I was kind of grinding through that one.''

But he didn't need his best stuff with the defense coming through in a big way.

Baez made a strong throw from deep in the hole at shortstop in the second inning to rob Logan Forsythe of a hit and had fans chanting his name in the eighth after a neat double play as the second baseman. He caught Justin Turner's line drive and lunged to the bag to double off a diving Enrique Hernandez.

Right fielder Jason Heyward threw out Chris Taylor trying to score on Turner's fly in the third.

Center fielder Albert Almora raced in for a diving grab on Yasiel Puig's liner in the seventh. And the Cubs caught several balls on the warning track while winning for the 17th time in 25 games.

''Al comes in, dives for one and I'm just like, `OK, I'm done clapping for you guys,'' Lester said. ''It's expected now that these guys can make these plays.''

Stripling (6-2) had won six straight starts. The right-hander went six innings, allowing three runs and eight hits while striking out seven without a walk. But the Dodgers dropped back-to-back games for the first time since they lost a season-high six in a row May 10-16.

STINGY STARTS

Cubs starters have allowed one run or less in seven straight home games, matching Chicago's longest streak since May 11-June 7, 1919, according to STATS.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: SS Taylor exited with a tight left hamstring in the sixth. He said it started bothering him running the bases in the third, and he expects to be available Friday, when the Dodgers open a three-game series at the New York Mets. ... INF Chase Utley (sprained left thumb) was ready to return from the disabled list. But the Dodgers decided to wait until Friday to activate him. ''Kind of where we're at with the pitching,'' Roberts said. ''He's healthy and ready to go with us, but having some option-able players on the roster makes a lot of sense for us. Playing a doubleheader, three games in 24 hours, we've got to kind of see how things play out and give ourselves some options.''

Cubs: The Cubs placed closer Brandon Morrow (lower back tightness) on the 10-day disabled list. ... RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis) threw a simulated game. Maddon said he looked ''outstanding,'' and the Cubs will see how he feels Thursday before announcing the next step as he works his way back. ... Maddon also said the Cubs are ''very close'' to mapping out a plan for Carl Edwards Jr. (right shoulder inflammation) to return from the DL.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (2-5, 4.22 ERA) tries to win his second straight start as the Dodgers open a three-game series against the Mets on Friday. RHP Zack Wheeler (2-5, 4.82) pitches for New York.

Cubs: The Cubs open a four-game series at Cincinnati on Thursday, with RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-6, 3.55) going against RHP Matt Harvey (1-5, 5.92)

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Athletics 12 vs. 4 Padres Recap

Barreto's 3-run homer leads Oakland's barrage in 12-4 win

By BERNIE WILSON - AP Sports Writer

Wednesday, June 20 at 8:05 PM (EDT)

SAN DIEGO (AP) Five home runs. Back-to-back twice.

The Oakland Athletics put on quite the power display in beating the San Diego Padres 12-4 on Wednesday.

Light-hitting Franklin Barreto got the barrage started when he connected for a 424-foot, three-run home run in the second inning off rookie lefty Joey Lucchesi, who was returning from more than a month on the disabled list. Josh Phegley, Mark Canha, Matt Olson and Jed Lowrie also went deep for Oakland.

''This team's got a lot of power,'' Lowrie said. ''Continue to put quality at-bats together, that's when this game starts to get fun.''

The A's hit seven homers in sweeping the two-game series. Stephen Piscotty tied Tuesday night's game with a homer with two outs in the ninth off Brad Hand and Lowie hit a two-run shot with two outs in the 10th for a 4-2 victory.

''We have it in us, that's for sure,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ''The ball carries a little better in day games here, similar to our place. After last night, other than the last couple of innings, hits were hard to come by. We started out early, led by Frankie, which was good to see.''

Barreto and Phegley went back-to-back with their first homers of the season in the second inning off left-hander Joey Lucchesi (3-3), who had been on the disabled list for more than a month. Barreto, hitting .071 coming in and batting seventh, homered into Oakland's bullpen well beyond the fence in center field on a full-count pitch. Phegley homered off the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left field corner on a 1-1 pitch. Lucchesi hit Olson with a pitch opening the inning and then walked Piscotty ahead of Barreto's homer.

Robbie Erlin got the last out of the second before allowing consecutive homers to Canha and Olson in the third. It was Canha's ninth and Olson's 15th. Phegley added a sacrifice fly.

Lowrie connected off Phil Hughes in the eighth, his 11th.

Frankie Montas (4-1) benefited from the long balls as he threw 6 2-3 strong innings. He held the Padres to one run and five hits, struck out six and walked three. He allowed Cory Spangenberg's RBI single in the third.

''It's always good getting support from the guys, especially early in the game,'' he said. ''I just tried to keep myself in the game.''

Montas was the only Oakland player in the starting lineup who didn't have a hit. Melvin said he wouldn't have minded if his pitcher went 0 for 4, because that would mean he went deep into the game. He went 0 for 3.

''Honestly, I wanted to hit the ball really bad, but I was not about hitting the ball because the guys were actually doing it for me,'' Montas said. ''So I was just going to do my job pitching.''

Lucchesi went just 1 2/3 innings, allowing four runs and three hits.

''The first inning I felt OK and then I guess I felt a little bit off, maybe a little rusty,'' said Lucchesi, who hadn't pitched since May 14 due to a strained right hip. ''I couldn't get my offspeed to work. I felt like I was doing something weird with my arm. I just didn't have it.''

Manager Andy Green thought Lucchesi looked sharp in the first. ''His stuff kind of fell off somewhat rapidly today,'' Green said. ''This was a tough return for him, but he's going to bounce back from it and be just fine.''

Trailing 10-1, the Padres had infielder Cory Spangenberg pitch the ninth. He allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in his second appearance of the season.

''You've got to preserve bullpen arms,'' Green said, adding that it made no sense to use a reliever such as Matt Strahm just to try to hold the game at 10-1. ''So we were to Cory. At that point in time you get what you get and he got us through.''

San Diego's Christian Villanueva homered in the ninth, his 16th.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Padres: Placed RHP Bryan Mitchell on the 10-day disabled list with an impingement in his right elbow to make room for Lucchesi on the 25-man roster. Mitchell (0-3, 7.08 ERA) hasn't pitched since June 5. Mitchell has been disappointing since being acquired from the New York Yankees along with third baseman Chase Headley. The Padres wanted Mitchell so badly they were willing to take on Headley's $13 million salary, but the deal has backfired. Headley was released on May 19 and Mitchell was demoted from the rotation to the bullpen.

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (0-2, 2.45) is scheduled to start Thursday night's opener of a four-game series at the Chicago White Sox, who counter with RHP Lucas Giolito (4-7, 7.19).

Padres: RHP Tyson Ross (5-4, 3.51) is set to start the opener of a four-game series Thursday night at San Francisco, opposite LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 4.67).

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Marlins 5 vs. 6 Giants Recap

Giants hold off Marlins for 6-5 victory

By MICHAEL WAGAMAN - Associated Press

Wednesday, June 20 at 8:07 PM (EDT)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) After two games filled flaring tempers and alleged beanballs, the Giants and Marlins finally learned to play nice together in their season series finale.

Just the way San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy expected - or at least hoped.

Brandon Belt had three hits, Gorkys Hernandez added a two-run single during a five-run sixth inning and the Giants beat the Marlins 6-5 on Wednesday.

''I didn't think it would continue,'' Bochy said. ''You're going to have games like that and tempers are going to flare. Boys will be boys, as they say, but it's back to baseball.''

In comparison to the games Monday and Tuesday when both teams were chippy, Wednesday's game was tame.

There were more errors than hit batters and the only damage was self-inflicted when Giants leadoff hitter Alen Hanson fouled a ball off his left knee in the first inning.

What fireworks there were came primarily in the sixth when San Francisco chased Miami starter Jose Urena (2-9).

Kelby Tomlinson walked and took second on Joe Panik's single. After Brandon Belt doubled in Tomlinson, Pablo Sandoval was intentionally walked and Nick Hundley struck out.

Panik scored the go-ahead run when Mac Williamson hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Miguel Rojas with one out. Rojas made a diving stop but second baseman Starlin Castro had to stretch for the throw and was unable to make the relay to first.

Hernandez capped the inning with a two-run single after a 14-pitch at-bat against Urena.

''He really grinded out that at-bat,'' Bochy said. ''Just came through with a huge hit there and gave us a cushion.''

Derek Holland (5-7) had seven strikeouts and allowed three runs over six innings in his first start against the Marlins since 2011. He walked two and left after giving up back-to-back hits opening the seventh.

''(Catcher Nick Hundley) and I did a great job establishing what we needed to, getting ahead of hitters,'' Holland said. ''I know the line says I gave up three runs but at the end of the day these guys did a good job of keeping the momentum on our side.''

The Giants' left-hander said he changed his stance on the mound, shifting from one side of the rubber to other.

''Just wanted to do something different, that's all,'' Holland said.

The Marlins scored twice in the ninth off Sam Dyson. Reyes Moronta struck out JB Shuck for his first career save.

Castro drove in a pair of runs and Brian Anderson had three hits for Miami, extending his on-base streak to a career-high 18 games.

The Marlins hit into three double plays, including when Urena was doubled up at first after mistakenly heading for third on Castro's fly ball to center with no outs in the third.

''I've never seen a guy be the leadoff hitter and then lose count of the outs,'' Miami manager Don Mattingly said. ''He was hustling though. We had some other chances too.''

QUOTABLE

''That's cute. I remember my first 14-pitch at-bat.'' - Belt, who set a major league record with a 21-pitch at-bat against the Angels on April 22, talking about Hernandez's long at-bat in the sixth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Marlins: Outfielder Garrett Cooper (wrist) was sent to Triple-A New Orleans to begin a rehab assignment.

Giants: Hanson had to be helped off the field and was diagnosed with a knee contusion after undergoing X-rays. ... Buster Posey was given the day off. ... RHP Jeff Samardzija (shoulder tightness) makes his second rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday.

UP NEXT

Marlins: Following a day off Thursday, Miami heads to Colorado to begin a three-game series. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-3, 5.91 ERA) pitches the opener seeking his second win against the Rockies this season.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (0-2, 4.67) faces San Diego on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series. Bumgarner has lost four straight to the Padres.

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Brewers 0 vs. 0 Pirates Postponed Recap

Pirates and Brewers rained out; Braun has therapy on thumb

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Thursday, June 21 at 3:08 AM (EDT)

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Milwaukee Brewers sent struggling star outfielder Ryan Braun to Los Angeles on Wednesday for treatment on his achy right thumb.

Braun is expected to rejoin the first-place Brewers on Thursday when they begin a four-game series at Miller Park against St. Louis.

The Brewers planned to play without Braun on Wednesday. Turns out, they didn't have to.

The finale of Milwaukee's three-game series against Pittsburgh was postponed by heavy downpours at PNC Park that turned hallways leading from the dugouts to the clubhouses into raging rivers.

A makeup date was not immediately announced.

Officials delayed the scheduled 7:05 p.m. start Wednesday as showers loomed. Groundskeepers took the tarp off around 8 p.m., but quickly put it back in place after another rain band moved in. The game was called after a delay of 2 hours, 1 minute.

This is the second time this season the Pirates have been forced to postpone a home game due to inclement weather. It was the 39th postponement in the majors this year, matching the total from all of last season.

The Brewers are scheduled to visit PNC Park twice more this season. The teams do have a common day off on Sept. 20 right before the Brewers begin a three-game set in Pittsburgh.

Chad Kuhl, Pittsburgh's scheduled starter on Wednesday, will instead get the nod when the Pirates begin a four-game series against Arizona on Thursday.

There was no immediate word on if the Brewers would alter their rotation against St. Louis. Brent Suter was scheduled to start Wednesday against the Pirates, with Junior Guerra slated to take the hill on Thursday.

Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel did his best to have a little bit of fun in the monsoon. He did a series of belly flops on the tarp shortly after the game was called.

By then, Braun was already on the West Coast to have cryotherapy on his right thumb.

''It's something that he expects from time to time, and when it starts, we try to get in front of it and knock it out right away,'' Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.

Counsell said it's the fifth time Braun has had the procedure done over the last few years. The six-time All-Star is hitting just .236 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs this season and is mired in a 3-for-17 slump.

The Pirates announced Wednesday that third baseman Jung Ho Kang is dealing with discomfort in his left wrist while playing for Triple-A Indianapolis.

Kang, who is in the process of returning after missing the entire 2017 season following his arrest on DUI charges in South Korea, is considered ''day to day.''

The team also placed outfielder Corey Dickerson on the Family Medical Emergency List and recalled utility player Adam Frazier from Triple-A Indianapolis. The team offered no details on the reason for Dickerson's departure, but he will be away from the club for at least three days.

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Mariners 5 vs. 7 Yankees Recap

Stanton hits walk-off HR, Yankees rally past Mariners 7-5

By SCOTT ORGERA - Associated Press

Thursday, June 21 at 12:58 AM (EDT)

NEW YORK (AP) Expectations have been sky high for Giancarlo Stanton since he was acquired from Miami last offseason. In front of a sellout crowd Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, the 6-foot-6 slugger had his first huge moment in pinstripes.

Stanton lined a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the New York Yankees erased a five-run deficit to beat the Seattle Mariners 7-5.

''That ball was absolutely scalded,'' Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Gary Sanchez tied the score with a two-run homer in the eighth, and the Yankees went on to complete their largest comeback victory of the year.

Coming off an MVP season in which he led the majors with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs, Stanton has been inconsistent so far with New York, batting .255 with 18 homers.

The 28-year-old slugger has started to heat up lately, though, with four hits Monday night in Washington and a home run in Tuesday's series opener against Seattle.

Didi Gregorius singled with two outs in the ninth and Stanton hammered an 0-2 breaking ball from reliever Ryan Cook (1-1). Stanton knew it was gone the moment he connected, and he took a little jump at the plate and pumped his arm before tossing his bat aside.

''When you hit a line drive, that's a base hit to center for me,'' Boone said. ''He's a different animal.''

The laser shot traveled a projected 453 feet for Stanton's first walk-off homer with the Yankees - his previous one came on April 18, 2014, for the Marlins (also vs. Seattle). He was mobbed by teammates and doused as he crossed the plate, throwing his helmet into the air and smiling from ear to ear.

''I was trying to decide whether I was going to bowl it or throw it up,'' Stanton said, acknowledging the homer was his biggest hit for the Yankees. ''I'm part of it now.''

New York is a season-high 27 games above .500 with the majors' best record at 49-22. The Yankees have won nine of their last 11 against Seattle (46-28) and will try for a three-game sweep Thursday afternoon.

''They're dangerous,'' Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ''They made us pay tonight.''

Aroldis Chapman (3-0) pitched a perfect inning for the win. His final pitch was clocked at 104.3 mph, his fastest this season.

The Mariners have lost three straight for the first time since April 17-19 against the World Series champion Astros.

Seattle starter Felix Hernandez lasted five innings and threw 95 pitches. He was charged with two runs, one earned, and six hits.

Sanchez drove Alex Colome's cutter 439 feet off the back wall of the left-center bullpen, knotting the score at 5.

''Excited for two of our big boys to really deliver in a big way tonight,'' Boone said.

Dee Gordon had two RBIs for the Mariners. Denard Span and Ryon Healy each drove home a run in the fifth, extending Seattle's advantage to 5-0.

Yankees rookie Jonathan Loaisiga, making his second major league start in place of injured Masahiro Tanaka, allowed three runs on six hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.

New York broke through in the fifth with two outs and runners on first and second. Aaron Judge hit a broken-bat single to left, scoring Miguel Andujar. Aaron Hicks also came home when Span bobbled the ball.

''I knew our offense was going to come through eventually,'' said Judge, who had his first three-hit game since May 9.

Gregorius' sacrifice fly in the seventh made it 5-3.

SAYING GOODBYE

A moment of silence was held before the game for Billy Connors, a three-time Yankees pitching coach and confidant of late owner George Steinbrenner. Connors died Saturday, the team said. He was 76. Connors also served as vice president of player personnel from 1996 to 2012.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (right shoulder surgery) remains in Arizona, where his first rehab start was pushed back due to soreness. He was scheduled to play catch Wednesday. ... OF Guillermo Heredia was not in the starting lineup after batting just .122 this month, but entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh. ''G is struggling a bit lately,'' Servais said. ''Also, extra left-handed hitter in this ballpark (is) not a bad thing.''

Yankees: OF Brett Gardner (swollen right knee) ran and took batting practice before the game. He has not played since Saturday. ''Feeling optimistic that it's not going to be a DL thing,'' Boone said. ... Tanaka (two strained hamstrings) played catch and rode an exercise bike. ... Jacoby Ellsbury is in Florida and might be getting close to resuming baseball activities, according to Boone. The outfielder has been sidelined all season by a string of injuries, including a strained right oblique, sore back, sore left hip and plantar fasciitis in his right heel.

UP NEXT

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (6-1, 3.44 ERA) starts the series finale. He is 5-0 with a 2.55 ERA since the beginning of May, a span of nine starts that included a no-hitter in Toronto.

Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (10-2, 2.09) threw eight scoreless innings Saturday against Tampa Bay, becoming the first Yankees pitcher with 10 wins before the All-Star break since Tanaka in 2014.

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Orioles 3 vs. 0 Nationals Recap

Orioles weather long rain delay in 3-0 win over Nationals

By DAVID GINSBURG - AP Sports Writer

Thursday, June 21 at 1:34 AM (EDT)

WASHINGTON (AP) The rain was heavy and relentless. As the puddles grew deeper on the tarp at Nationals Park, the Baltimore Orioles were left to wonder if their bid for a rare road victory would be thwarted by, of all things, the weather.

During a season in which very little has worked in their favor, the Orioles withstood a long rain delay to beat the Washington Nationals 3-0 Wednesday night.

Baltimore led 2-0 after four innings when play was stopped. After a wait of 2 hours, 43 minutes, the game resumed with a few hundred fans from the announced crowd of 32,153 sprinkled around the lower seating bowl.

Mark Trumbo homered for Baltimore, and Andrew Cashner and four relievers combined on a five-hitter in a game that ended long after midnight.

''It was nice,'' Trumbo said. ''I'm glad that we actually kept the game going. Had we not been able to, it might have been a wash. But it ended up being pretty big for us.''

Baltimore ended a six-game losing streak to Washington that began last May, won for only the fourth time in 20 games and improved the majors' worst road record to 10-28.

This one was worth the wait.

''It's never easy, especially when you get over the hour mark, two-hour mark,'' Trumbo said. ''Then you have to restart. It's almost two games in one, so, great job by our guys tonight.''

The Nationals managed only two hits following the delay, both in the ninth inning.

''It happens. You can't do anything about the rain,'' manager Dave Martinez said. ''You've got to come out and get yourself ready to play. I'm not going to make any excuses.''

The rain delay cut short a solid pitching performance by Cashner, who allowed three hits and no walks over four innings in his return from an 11-day stay on the disabled list with back spasms.

Miguel Castro (2-2) followed with two hitless innings, Darren O'Day pitched a perfect seventh and Zach Britton got four outs.

Brad Brach allowed the Nationals to load the bases with two outs in the ninth before striking out Mark Reynolds .

Trumbo hit a two-run homer in the second inning off Gio Gonzalez (6-4), and for a while it appeared the drive would be washed out by the rain.

''One pitch. That was the whole game,'' Gonzalez lamented. ''That was it.''

Indeed, it all ended well for the Orioles, who added a run in the sixth when Adam Jones doubled off Shawn Kelley and scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia .

BRYCE STRUGGLES

Nationals OF Bryce Harper went 0 for 4, dropping his batting average to .209.

Martinez said Harper has been working hard with batting coach Kevin Long, and the manager expects the five-time All-Star to end his prolonged slump with a flourish.

''He's going to hit. I know he's going to carry us for a month or two or for whatever,'' Martinez said.

WAITING FOR DAVIS

Now in the third year of a seven-year, $161 million contract, Baltimore's Chris Davis is batting .150 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 57 games. He last played on June 11, when he went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts against Boston.

Since then, Davis has been working on his swing and improving his mental outlook. His return appears imminent.

''A couple of days,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''We're pretty close to it.''

OH, BROTHER

With Cashner coming off the DL, the Orioles optioned infielder Corban Joseph to Double-A Bowie. That ended the 24-hour, feel-good story of Corban and catcher Caleb Joseph as brothers on the same team.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: 3B Tim Beckham (core surgery) went 1 for 4 with 3 strikeouts in a rehab game with Triple-A Norfolk. ... RHP Chris Tillman (back) began his rehab assignment by giving up three runs in two innings for Class A Aberdeen.

Nationals: Martinez said patience is the key in awaiting the return of RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder). ''We're really going to take our time and make sure he's 100 percent,'' the manager said. ... 1B Ryan Zimmerman (oblique) is taking grounders and some swings. ... C Matt Wieters (oblique) caught in the bullpen but is not yet running at full speed.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.48 ERA) pitches the finale of the three-game series Wednesday night.

Nationals: Max Scherzer (10-3, 2.06) tries to avoid his first three-game losing streak since August 2015.

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