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Cardinals Hold Off Cubs

Paul Goldschmidt homered for the seventh time in eight games, a go-ahead drive off Darvish in the sixth inning that lifted the St. Louis Cardinals over the Chicago Cubs 2-1 Tuesday night and back into sole possession of the NL Central lead.

 

Goldschmidt was 1 for 14 against Darvish before hitting a single and the winning home run.

A six-time All-Star, Goldschmidt drove a fastball from Darvish (3-5) to center for his 25th home run this season.

 

Goldschmidt is hitting .364 (12 for 33) in his last eight games with 14 RBIs. He has 11 home runs in July, which ties his career high for a month.

 

St. Louis (57-49) dropped out of first place on May 7 but has held at least a share of the lead since Thursday and moved one game ahead of the Cubs (56-50).

 

Giovanny Gallegos (3-1) retired Kyle Schwarber on a bases-loaded flyout that ended the sixth after he relieved Adam Wainwright, who allowed one run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.

 

After a pair of two-out walks in the eighth by Andrew Miller, Carlos Martinez struck out Ian Happ.

 

Martinez then struck out his first two batters in a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances.

 

Martinez was perfect in eight opportunities in July, and this was his third save of four or more outs.

Darvish gave up two runs and six hits in six innings with nine strikeouts, no walks, a hit batter and two wild pitches. Darvish has 10 wild pitches this season.

 

Chicago has lost 21 of its last 29 road games and is 0-8-1 in nine road series since May 27.

 

Javier Baez hit an RBI single in the fourth that scored Jason Heyward, who singled and advanced to second on Kris Bryant's fly to deep center. Heyward had his seventh three-hit game this season.

 

The Cubs stranded 10 baserunners.

 

St. Louis tied the score in the bottom half when Jose Martinez and Goldschmidt singled, and Darvish threw a pair of wild pitches.

 

For the first time since the Cardinals and Cubs first met in 1892, the home team has won the first 10 games of the season series.

 

Kyle Hendricks (7-8) starts Wednesday against St. Louis RHP Miles Mikolas (7-10).

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Mets Outlast Sox in 11

Noah Syndergaard put aside trade talk to turn an eighth-inning lead over to his relievers, and the Mets rebounded from another bullpen meltdown when Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto hit consecutive home runs in the 11th.

 

In their first game since trading for All-Star pitcher Marcus Stroman, the Mets extended a winning streak to five games for the first time since April 2018. After falling to 40-51, the Mets have won 11 of their last 15 games to move within the outer edge of the NL wild-card race.

 

Given a 2-0 lead, Syndergaard gave up an unearned run in the sixth when third baseman Todd Frazier bobbled Jose Abreu's two-out grounder, allowing Yolmer Sanchez to score. The 26-year-old right-hander allowed five hits in 7 1/3 innings.

 

Syndergaard, not eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season, tweeted a GIF on Sunday of an actor who played Thor - his nickname - in a movie with the words ''I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON'' superimposed.

 

Seth Lugo relieved with the bases loaded and got Abreu to ground in to an inning-ending double play.

 

Edwin Diaz then blew a save for the fifth time in 28 chances when he walked Ryan Goins leading off the ninth, threw a wild pitch as Eloy Jimenez struck out, hit James McCann with a pitch, threw another wild pitch, then allowed a sacrifice fly to Tim Anderson.

 

Amed Rosario singled off Jose Ruiz (1-2) leading off the 11th for his fourth hit, and McNeil greeted Josh Osich with his 11th home run - his first this year off a left-hander, The drive barely cleared the fence in right-center.

 

Conforto homered two pitches later, giving him home runs in three straight games.

 

Robert Gsellman (2-2) pitched perfect two innings. The Mets had lost their previous five extra-inning games since beating Detroit on May 25.

 

New York built its lead on RBI groundouts by Tomas Nido in the second and Robinson Cano in the fourth.

 

Chicago starter Reynaldo Lopez allowed two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. The White Sox have lost six of seven. They were 41-42 before play on July 4 but are 5-16 since.

 

Anderson was activated from the 10-day IL (sprained right ankle) and was 0 for 3 in his first big league game since June 25. 

 

Yoan Moncada came out after the first inning with right hamstring tightness.

 

Jacob deGrom (6-7, 2.86) is scheduled to start Wednesday against White Sox RHP Lucas Giolito (11-5). DeGrom has a 17-inning scoreless streak. Giolito is 0-3 with a 7.06 ERA in his last four starts.

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Cubs, Cardinals Open Crucial Three-Game Series

Excitement and uncertainty surround the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals as the teams prepare to open a three-game series Tuesday night.

 

The series opener in St. Louis features two longtime rivals tied for first place in the National League Central. It also marks the last game before Wednesday afternoon's trade deadline -- with both teams vowing they have enough to win now but also scouring the market for a boost.

 

St. Louis is coming off a road series in which it dropped two of three games against the Houston Astros. The Cubs also are looking to regroup after dropping two of three games on the road against the Milwaukee Brewers.

 

The teams have played each other nine times this season, and the home team has won every game. The Cubs swept a three-game series at Wrigley Field from May 3-5, the Cardinals swept a three-game series at Busch Stadium from May 31-June 2, and the Cubs answered back with a three-game sweep at Wrigley from June 7-9.

 

The Cardinals are 29-22 at home this season.

 

Meanwhile, the Cubs are 20-31 on the road, which is a far cry from their 36-18 record in Chicago.

Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright (7-7, 4.63 ERA) is scheduled to make his 20th start of the season. He picked up a win his last time out despite giving up four runs in five innings at the Pittsburgh Pirates.

 

In 48 career games (39 starts) against Chicago, the 37-year-old Wainwright is 16-12 with a 4.06 ERA. This will be his fourth start of the season against the Cubs, having posted a 1-2 record with a 4.67 ERA.

 

The Cubs will counter with right-hander Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.54), who is set to make his 22nd start. He has been sharp since the All-Star break, allowing four runs on 10 hits in 18 innings for a 2.00 ERA. He has walked two and struck out 21 during that time.

 

The 32-year-old Darvish is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in two career starts -- both this season -- against St. Louis.

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PGA Tour Considering Stricter Cut Lines

Making it to the weekend in a PGA Tour event will officially become a little tougher starting next season.

 

That development comes with the news that the tour will implement a stricter cut line for the 2019-2020 season. As a result of a policy change approved this week, the number of players to advance to the final two rounds of events next season will be limited to the top 65 and ties. The PGA had previously allowed the top 70 and ties to compete in the final 36 holes. 

 

In addition to this change, the secondary 54-hole cut -- utilized if 78 or more players advance after the 36-hole cut -- has been eliminated altogether.

 

This is a significant alteration to the tour landscape moving forward. Not only will the smaller number of weekenders make competition a little stiffer, but it also raises the stakes on tournament payouts as prize money will be awarded to fewer finishers. The change is one that has competitors on both sides of the aisle.

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Cubs Blast Brewers

Kyle Schwarber hit a grand slam and a three-run homer to power the Cubs past the Milwaukee Brewers 11-4 on Sunday, averting a three-game sweep. The Cubs moved into a first-place tie with St. Louis, with Milwaukee one game back.

 

Schwarber crushed a first-pitch slam deep into the second deck in right field off starter Zach Davies (8-4) with one out in the second inning for his 23rd home run of the season.

 

The slugger took Davies deep again in the fourth with an opposite-field shot to make it 7-0.

 

After the Brewers cut it to 7-3 in the fifth, Schwarber's infield single with two outs in the sixth kept the inning alive for pinch-hitter Victor Caratini, who hit a three-run homer off Milwaukee reliever Jeremy Jeffress.

 

Schwarber, who has struggled at the plate lately, reached base all four times while batting eighth in the lineup.

 

Christian Yelich's run-scoring double in the fifth, which extended his hitting streak to 16 games, chased Cubs starter Jose Quintana, who failed to get the win despite being staked to a seven-run lead. Quintana gave up four hits and three runs in 4 2/3 innings.

 

Brad Brach (4-3) retired the only batter he faced for the victory.

 

Davies was coming off his worst start, when he allowed seven runs in four innings of a 14-6 loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday. This time, he gave up seven runs and four hits in five innings. He had permitted only one earned run in 12 innings against the Cubs this season prior to Sunday.

 

Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.54 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game set at St. Louis on Tuesday night. Adam Wainwright (7-7, 4.63) pitches for the Cardinals.

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Twins Slam Sox

Miguel Sano hit a three-run homer in Minnesota's five-run first inning, and the Twins pounded Dylan Covey and the Chicago White Sox 11-1 on Sunday to strengthen their hold on the AL Central.

 

Jorge Polanco, Jonathan Schoop and Max Kepler also connected as Minnesota ran its major league-leading total to 205 home runs. The Twins went deep 11 times while taking three of four in the series and moved two games ahead of second-place Cleveland, which lost 9-6 at Kansas City.

 

Covey (1-7) threw 14 pitches and failed to get an out in his 10th start of the season. After Polanco's 16th homer made it 2-0, Nelson Cruz and Luis Arraez singled before Sano chased Covey with an opposite-field drive just inside the foul pole in right.

 

Kyle Gibson (10-4) struck out nine in six effective innings. The right-hander improved to 9-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 16 career starts against Chicago.

 

The White Sox played without slumping All-Stars Jose Abreu and James McCann, who each got the day off for rest. Abreu is batting .200 since the break, and McCann is hitting just .178 with 31 strikeouts this month.

 

Covey was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte after Chicago's fifth loss in six games.

 

Jon Jay hit an RBI single in the sixth to account for Chicago's only run. The White Sox had the bases loaded with no outs, but Gibson wiggled out of the jam by striking out Eloy Jimenez, Welington Castillo and AJ Reed to end the inning.

 

Reynaldo Lopez (5-9, 5.52 ERA) starts Tuesday night against the visiting New York Mets. Lopez has a 1.71 ERA over his last three appearances. Noah Syndergaard is scheduled to pitch for New York, but that could change with the trade deadline coming up on Wednesday.

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Koepka Outlasts McIlroy, The Field for Win at St. Jude Invititional

It wasn't a major championship, but there was still plenty at stake for Brooks Koepka at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational on Sunday at TPC Southwind. 

 

The four-time major winner and three-time 2019-20 PGA Tour champion rolled in for his 1 p.m. CT tee time well after noon. This is about the pace at which Koepka lives and plays, though, and it's served him well.

 

Koepka rolled out of his parking space and shot a 3-under 32 on the front nine as playing partner -- and 54-hole leader -- Rory McIlroy sputtered to an even-par 36. Things didn't get better for McIlroy on the back as Koepka continued his clean card and went on to close with a 5-under 65 for a five-stroke boat race over the Ulsterman, who finished T4. Koepka cleared runner-up Webb Simpson by three after shooting all four rounds under par.

 

McIlroy fell back to the pack after crushing on the first three days, and made just 34 feet of putts on his first 13 holes. Koepka, on the other hand, led the field in strokes gained putting on the day and on the week.

 

There was more than just a WGC (Koepka's first) at stake on Sunday. The win guaranteed Kopeka will finish atop the FedEx Cup regular-season points race and receive a $2 million bonus. When you toss in his PGA Championship from the spring and CJ Cup from last fall, he's also likely locked up his second straight PGA Tour Player of the Year Award, depending on what happens in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

 

Jon Rahm led the field through 18 holes with a scorching 8-under 62, three strokes ahead of the field. Over the next 54 holes, though, he faded into the background as Koepka, Simpson, Marc Leishman and the rest of the field made their charge. It's impossible to be disappointed with a top-10 finish, but with the way he started the weekend, it's impossible to ignore what he could have done.

 

6 under through his final 36 holes, Jordan Spieth made a spirited effort, but was ultimately doomed by his own mistakes. If not for several blow-ups throughout the week -- specifically two triple-bogeys in Round 1 and two double-bogeys on Sunday -- he could easily have been the winner this weekend. If you replace those four holes with pars, he and Koepka would maybe have been going to a playoff after 72.

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Twins Power Past Sox

Nelson ruz hit three of Minnesota's five homers and finished with five RBIs, helping the AL Central leaders beat the White Sox 10-3 on Thursday night.

 

Max Kepler and Miguel Sano also connected as Minnesota (62-40) totaled at least five homers for a major league-record ninth time this season, according to STATS. Jose Berrios (9-5) pitched seven effective innings for his first win since June 6.

 

Cruz hit a solo drive in the first, a two-run shot in the third and another two-run homer in the fifth. The designated hitter struck out swinging for the final out of the sixth then flew out to right leading off the ninth.

 

The White Sox (45-55) lost for the 11th time in 14 games since the All-Star break and dropped 10 games below .500 for the first time this season. Yoan Moncada hit his 19th homer, but Lucas Giolito (11-5) was hit hard by Cruz.

 

Giolito (11-5) allowed seven runs and seven hits in five innings, dropping to 0-3 in four July starts.

Michael Pineda (6-5, 4.41 ERA) will take the ball in the second of the four-game set on Friday night.

Dylan Cease (1-2, 6.19 ERA) is set for his fourth career start.

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Cardinals Double Up Pirates for 4 Game Series Sweep

Paul Goldschmidt homered in his career-high fourth straight game, powering the St. Louis Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 on Thursday for a four-game sweep.

 

Goldschmidt drove a changeup from Joe Musgrove (7-9) for his 22nd home run, a solo shot that put St. Louis ahead 3-1 in the fourth. He has one homer in each of his past five games against Pittsburgh.

 

Kolten Wong homered later in the fourth and Dexter Fowler hit a two-run drive for a 6-1 margin in the fifth as the Cardinals won for the 11th time in 14 games since the All-Star break, including their last five. The Pirates have lost 11 of 13.

 

Miles Mikolas (7-10) gave up three runs and five hits in six innings.

 

Musgrove matched his season high by giving up six runs - five earned - and seven hits in five innings.

Jose Martinez hit an RBI single in the first and scored on Paul DeJong's sacrifice fly. Bryan Reynolds's sacrifice fly cut the Cardinals' lead to 2-1 in the third.

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Cardinals Outslug Pirates

Paul DeJong hit a career-high three home runs, connecting during a nine-run second inning as the Cardinals walloped the Pittsburgh Pirates 14-8 on Wednesday night.

 

DeJong, Andrew Knizner and Paul Goldschmidt each hit two-run homers in the big burst as the Cardinals batted around against Jordan Lyles (5-7). DeJong also hit one of St. Louis' five doubles for a total of eight extra-base hits in the inning, tying a major league record.

 

Goldschmidt homered for the third straight game. The Cardinals have won 10 of 13, pulling within a half-game of the division-leading Chicago Cubs.

 

DeJong has hit six home runs since the All-Star break and has 18 this season, one off his total from 2018.

 

Adam Wainwright (7-7) gave up two runs in each of the first two innings and used 105 pitches to get through five innings with five hits and four walks while striking out five.

 

Lyles had a clean first before the rough second. He was charged with eight runs, five earned, over 1 2/3 innings. It was the second time in three starts that Lyles was pulled early. He got just two outs on July 13.

 

Miles Mikolas (6-10, 4.17 ERA) will start the series finale Thursday. He has dropped five straight decisions on the road.

 

Joe Musgrove (7-8, 4.08) is scheduled to start for Pittsburgh. He is 1-4 with a 7.09 ERA in five career starts against St. Louis.

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Cubs Beat Giants

Javier Baez homered in the first inning, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. also went deep, and the Cubs beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 Wednesday after starter Jon Lester was scratched with an illness.

 

Baez hit his 25th homer and Bryant his 21st to help Chicago avoid a three-game sweep. The Cubs bounced back from a 5-4, 13-inning loss Tuesday night to give Maddon his 442nd win with Chicago, tying Joe McCarthy for fifth in franchise history.

 

Before the game the Cubs optioned Addison Russell to Triple-A Iowa about two months after he completed a 40-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy. The move made room for catcher Willson Contreras to return from the injured list.

 

Lester was scratched from his start due to illness. Rizzo was ejected after striking out to end the fifth, and Bryant left a few moments later because of soreness in his right knee.


Kyle Ryan (3-1), the second of six pitchers used by the Cubs, retired five batters. Craig Kimbrel allowed two singles in the ninth but got Brandon Belt to fly out for his seventh save.

 

Stephen Vogt doubled twice and had three hits for San Francisco. The Giants had won 17 of 20 games.

 

The Cubs lead in the Central was down to a half-game before tagging San Francisco starter Tyler Beede (3-4) for three home runs in the first four innings.

 

Baez homered in the first and then scored on Bryant's two-run blast in the third. Almora added his 10th home run in the fourth.

 

Beede had been unbeaten with a 1.66 ERA in three July starts but couldn't keep the streak going against the Cubs. Beede allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings and matched his career-high with seven strikeouts.

 

Jose Quintana (8-7, 4.42 ERA) takes a four-game winning streak into Friday's game at Milwaukee. Quintana has six wins in 13 career starts against the Brewers.

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Marlins Blank Sox

Zac Gallen pitched seven innings of two-hit ball for his first major league win and Cesar Puello hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning as Miami won its second straight game, beating the Chicago White Sox 2-0 on Wednesday night.

 

Puello launched his fourth homer deep to left on the first pitch from Reynaldo Lopez, making a winner out of Gallen (1-2) in his sixth start since joining the Marlins rotation on June 20.

 

The 23-year-old Gallen struck out nine, walked one and hit two batters in his longest outing to date as he lowered his ERA to 2.76. He threw 95 pitches and 68 strikes before being replaced by Nick Anderson in the eighth.

 

Sergio Romo worked around two singles in the ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances.

 

Lopez (5-9) allowed four hits and struck out 10 in eight innings, matching the longest outing of his career. The right-hander walked one and hit one batter in his third straight solid outing.

 

Lopez threw 76 of 97 pitches for strikes on Wednesday and retired 21 of 25 Miami batters through seven innings before hitting Harold Ramirez to lead off the eighth. After Jorge Alfaro struck out, Puello connected on a breaking pitch.

 

All-Star RHP Lucas Giolito (11-4, 3.12) takes the mound against Minnesota RHP Jose Berrios (8-5, 2.96) on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series. Giolito hasn't won since June 30 and is 0-2 with a no-decision in his last three starts. Berrios is 0-3 with four no-decisions in his last seven outings, despite a 2.62 ERA during the span.

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Packers To Release All-Pro Defensive Lineman

The Green Bay Packers have undergone a facelift over the last year or so and it continued on Wednesday morning when the team cut one of its longest-tenured defensive veterans in Mike Daniels.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Media first reported the news. 

 

Daniels' release is a stunner because he's been with the team since they drafted him in 2012. He's one of the notable defensive veterans on a unit everyone expected to take a step forward this season and potentially equal the production that Aaron Rodgers and Co. delivered on the offensive side of the ball.

 

On the other hand, maybe this makes a little more sense when you dive a little deeper into it. The defensive tackle signed a four-year, $43 million contract extension with Green Bay near the end of the 2015 NFL season. He's only 29 years old, although he had a down year in 2019 after missing six games because of a foot injury.

 

The former fourth-round pick had been missing in OTAs because of the foot injury and there was a report in May that he might have his snaps reduced heading into the season.

 

Daniels was going to count $10.7 million against the cap in 2019, and by releasing him the Packers will save $8.3 million in cap space.

 

Per Garafolo, the Packers tried to trade Daniels but couldn't find any suitors. Cleveland looms as a team that could continue to build depth on the defensive line by inking Daniels. 

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Cardinals Stay Hot, Beat Pirates Again

Dakota Hudson struck out and Josh Bell on three pitches, then got Colin Moran to hit into an inning-ending double play to preserve the lead and help St. Louis hold on for a 4-3 victory on Tuesday night.

 

It was an exclamation point on an outing that began ominously for Hudson (10-4). He gave up three runs before recording an out - all on Starling Marte's 17th home run - but settled down quickly. He didn't allow a run the rest of the way, working 6 1/3 innings, giving up six hits and three walks to improve to 8-1 in his last 12 starts. Giovanny Gallegos and Andrew Miller retired the last eight Pittsburgh batters, with Miller throwing a perfect ninth for his third save.

 

Paul Goldschmidt, who hit a go-ahead grand slam in the 10th inning on Monday, delivered a two-run drive to the left-field seats in the third inning off Chris Archer (3-7). Jose Martinez put St. Louis in front with a solo shot leading off the fifth , and the pitching did the rest as St. Louis moved to 9-3 since the All-Star break to close ground on the first-place Chicago Cubs in the quickly widening NL Central.

 

Adam Wainwright (6-7, 4.50 ERA) is 13- against the Pirates, the second-most victories against Pittsburgh among active pitchers.

 

Jordan Lyles (5-6, 4.91) is winless since May 23 heading into his 17th start of the season. Lyles is coming off his best performance since mid-May, allowing one run on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings against Philadelphia last Friday.

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Giants Outlast Cubs

Pablo Sandoval homered with one out in the 13th inning, sending the San Francisco Giants past the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Tuesday night long after Bumgarner's night was done.

 

Sandoval just cleared the left-field fence with his first-pitch drive off Brad Brach (3-3) that went to replay and was upheld to formally finish the 3-hour, 45-minute game.

 

Sam Coonrod (1-0), San Francisco's fifth reliever, pitched the 13th for his first career victory. The Giants had missed a chance in the 10th when Sandoval grounded out with the bases loaded.

 

Madison Bumgarner struck out seven over seven innings in another strong start without a win to show for it, then San Francisco won playing its fifth extra-inning game in the last eight and fourth of the homestand. The Giants had a 16-inning victory Bumgarner's last time out.

 

Jason Heyward hit a tying single in the eighth for the Cubs, who have lost 10 of the last 14 in San Francisco.

 

Bumgarner, 9-2 in 14 career starts against the Cubs, dueled with Yu Darvish after the Cubs right-hander had worked six scoreless innings in each of his past two outings.

 

Kris Bryant hit a pair of RBI singles for the Cubs. He singled in the first as the Cubs went ahead only for San Francisco to tie it in the second on Mike Yastrzemski's sacrifice fly.

 

Bryant singled again in the third before Alex Dickerson tied it at 2 with a solo homer in the fourth. Kevin Pillar then hit a go-ahead two-run double three batters later.

 

Jon Lester (9-6, 3.87 ERA) is coming off a no-decision last Friday against the Padres in which he was tagged for 12 hits, matching the most he has allowed in his career. He is 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA in six career regular-season starts against the Giants.

 

Giants starter Tyler Beede (3-3, 4.70) owns a 1.66 ERA in July. The right-hander will face the Cubs for the first time having pitched a career-high eight innings Friday against the Mets.

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Marlins Drop Sox

Caleb Smith retired his first 17 batters before allowing two walks and a hit, then cruised through seven innings of two-hit ball to lift Marlins over the Chicago White Sox 5-1 Tuesday night.

 

Curtis Granderson hit a two-run homer to cap Miami's four-run fourth inning against Dylan Covey (1-6). Harold Ramirez added a solo shot in the fifth as the NL-worst Marlins ended a four-game skid.

 

Smith (6-4) worked flawlessly through a depleted White Sox lineup before walking Adam Engel and Leury Garcia with two outs in the sixth. Jon Jay followed by grounding a single to right for Chicago's first hit and only run.

 

The walk on a 3-1 count to Engel, Chicago's No. 9 hitter, disrupted Smith briefly but didn't undo the left-hander as he went on to match his longest outing this season.

 

Smith struck out nine - including five straight over the fifth and sixth innings - in his fourth start after missing a month with left hip inflammation. Since returning, the 27-year-old is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA.

The hardest hit balls off Smith were A.J. Reed's lined single in the seventh and Ryan Goins' fly to the wall in left that Granderson hauled in with a jumping catch to end the inning.

 

Chicago's Tim Anderson and Eloy Jimenez are out with injuries, and All-Star catcher James McCann didn't start.

 

Covey allowed five runs and six hits through six innings in his second start and fourth appearance since coming of the injured list with right shoulder inflammation.

 

Covey set down nine of his first 10 hitters before Miami jumped ahead 4-0 in the fourth.

 

Zac Gallen (0-2, 3.63) takes the mound against White Sox RHP Reynaldo Lopez (5-8, 5.76) in the series finale Wednesday. Gallen will make his sixth start after joining Miami's rotation on June 20. Lopez is coming off two consecutive solid starts, allowing two earned runs over 13 innings, in an inconsistent season.

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White Sox Pound Marlins

Ivan Nova pitched a four-hitter that led the Chicago White Sox over Miami 9-1 on Monday night.

 

Jose Abreu hit a two-run homer, Yoan Moncada added a three-run shot, and James McCann and Ryan Goins later connected for back-to-back drives.

 

Chicago opened a 10-game homestand by winning for the third time in its last 11 tries. The Marlins fell to 0-4 on their six-game road trip.

 

Jorge Alfaro homered in the second inning for the lone Miami run.

 

Trevor Richards (3-12) allowed seven runs over five innings in his seventh consecutive loss. He walked one and struck out seven.

 

Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the first. Jon Jay singled for the first of his two hits, Abreu followed with an RBI double and scored on Moncada's single.

 

After Jay doubled in the third, Abreu hit his team-high 22nd home run of the season.

 

Moncada extended Chicago's lead to 7-1 in the fifth with his 18th homer.

 

McCann and Goins greeted reliever Jose Quijada with home runs.

 

Caleb Smith (5-4, 3.47 ERA) starts for the Marlins against RHP Dylan Covey (1-5, 5.83). Covey has pitched twice in relief after getting hit hard in his last start by Oakland.

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Goldschmidt's Grand Slam Lifts Cardinals Past Pirates

Paul Goldschmidt hit his fifth career grand slam in the top of the 10th and right fielder Jose Martinez threw out the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the inning to help the Cardinals beat the reeling Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 on Monday night.

 

Goldschmidt took an offering from Clay Holmes (1-1) and sent it to the concourse that runs behind the wall in right-center field with the bases loaded in the 10th as the streaking Cardinals moved to 8-3 since the All-Star break. Goldschmidt's 19th home run of the season was just enough after St. Louis reliever Carlos Martinez nearly let a four-run cushion get away.

 

Pittsburgh drew within a run in the bottom of the 10th on an RBI single by Josh Bell and a two-run home run by Jung Ho Kang. The Pirates put the tying run at second base with no outs but couldn't pull even.

 

Martinez threw out Pittsburgh's Kevin Newman at home on a sharp single to right by Jacob Stallings for the second out. The call stood after the Pirates challenged and Carlos Martinez retired Adam Frazier on a fly ball to right to collect his ninth save.

 

Matt Wieters hit his eighth home run for the Cardinals - and fourth this month - and added a sacrifice fly. Chasen Shreve (1-0) picked up his victory since last August by escaping a two-on, two-out jam in the ninth.

 

Starling Marte had three hits for Pittsburgh. Bell, Colin Moran and Bryan Reynolds all drove in runs but the Pirates left 11 runners on base to fall to 2-8 since a 12-5 surge pulled them within 2 1/2 games of first in the NL Central at the break.

 

St. Louis rookie Daniel Ponce de Leon was roughed up by the Pirates last week, getting tagged for eight hits and four runs in less than four innings of work. The 27-year-old wasn't any sharper in the rematch. He labored through three innings while battling his command, allowing three hits and four walks while needing 86 pitches to record nine outs.

 

Still, Ponce de Leon managed to surrender just a single run as Pittsburgh's listless offense - the Pirates came in averaging just 2.7 runs since the break - failed to take advantage.

 

Dakota Hudson (9-4, 3.57 ERA) is 5-1 in his last six road starts heading into Tuesday's game.

 

Chris Archer (3-6, 5.36) will try to pick up his first win since June 6. Archer has a no-decision in each of his last six starts. He gave up three runs in six innings to St. Louis last Wednesday.

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Giants Top Cubs

Joe Panik hit a go-ahead double with two outs in a three-run eighth inning, and the Giants continued their winning ways since the All-Star break by rallying past the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Monday night.

 

Austin Slater doubled home the tying run, and Brandon Crawford hit an RBI single to help key the late comeback against Pedro Strop (2-4) as surprising San Francisco (51-50) won for the ninth time in 10 games and 16th in 19.

 

Robel Garcia and Kyle Schwarber each hit a solo homer for the Cubs, who couldn't hold a 4-2 lead in the eighth.

 

Anthony Rizzo had delivered an insurance run with an RBI double in the eighth before the Giants answered.

 

This series features two of the best clubs so far in the second half, and the Giants won for just the fourth time all year when trailing after seven innings.

 

Drew Pomeranz pitched two perfect innings with four strikeouts in relief for the Giants, then Trevor Gott (7-0) worked the eighth. Sam Dyson finished for his second save, but issued a two-out walk and Addison Russell's single to make it interesting until the final out. Schwarber popped up to end it.

Alec Mills allowed two runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked one in his first career road start and second outing for Chicago.

 

The Cubs have lost nine of 13 in San Francisco and are trying for their first winning road series since taking two of three at Washington from May 17-19.

 

Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.46 ERA) pitches for Chicago in his second career start vs. San Francisco, having worked six scoreless innings in each of his past two outings. The Giants send LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-7, 3.65) to the mound with his future on the club still uncertain ahead of the trade deadline next week. Bumgarner went nine innings in last Thursday's 16-inning win against the Mets.v

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Tampa Doubles Up Chicago

Blake Snell struck out 10 in six scoreless innings, Travis d'Arnaud hit his first grand slam and the Rays stopped their longest losing streak of the year at five games by beating the Chicago White Sox 4-2 on Sunday.

 

D'Arnaud had been hitless in 11 at-bats since a three-homer game Monday night in a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees that preceded his team's recent skid.

 

Tampa Bay is 16-21 since June 11 and nine games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees. The Rays are also in back of Cleveland and Oakland in the AL wild-card race after once having an eight-game advantage in terms of reaching the postseason.

 

Yolmer Sanchez got his 21st triple since 2017 for the White Sox, who won the first two games of the series and were seeking their first sweep since May 27-29 against Kansas City.

 

Yandy Diaz walked, Avisail Garcia singled and Joey Wendle also walked before d'Arnaud sent a 1-1 pitch from Dylan Cease (1-2) into the left field seats for a 4-0 lead.

 

Over the past seven games, d'Arnaud has nine of Tampa Bay's 18 RBIs.

 

The Rays got all three of their hits in the second, when Cease threw 44 pitches. He gave up four runs, three hits and four walks over five innings in his third career start.

 

Sanchez had an RBI triple and scored on Adam Engel's infield single off Andrew Kittredge to make it 4-2 in the seventh.

 

Emilio Pagan struck out the side in the eighth and Adam Kolarek got his first save since Sept. 1 last year with a 1-2-3 ninth to complete a five-hitter.

 

Snell worked out of a second-and-third, none-out jam in the first. After Jose Abreu struck out and with James McCann batting, Leury Garcia was tagged out while trying to score from third on a pitch in the dirt that eluded d'Arnaud. Snell covered the plate and took the throw from d'Arnaud.

Snell ended the inning by striking out McCann.

 

Ivan Nova (4-9, 5.86 ERA) will face Miami RHP Trevor Richards (3-11, 4.24) on Monday night to begin a 10-game homestand. Nova is 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA in four starts against the Marlins.

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Cardinals Down Reds

Jairo Munoz celebrated a rare start with a home run and a triple to help the Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-1.

 

Munoz, making his 16th start among 55 games, also singled to finish with three of the six hits for the Cardinals, who improved to 7-3 since the All-Star break.

 

His second homer of the season in the ninth, off Raisel Iglesias, gave St. Louis an insurance run.

Just two Reds baserunners got as far as second base in the first four innings against Jack Flaherty, who was 0-3 over his last 10 starts since winning at Atlanta on May 14, before they loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth.

 

Flaherty got Yasiel Puig to pop out, and Giovanny Gallegos (2-1) came on to fan Josh VanMeter and Scooter Gennett, the first two of four straight strikeouts.

 

Carlos Martinez pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

 

Anthony DeSclafani (5-5) struck out a career-high 11 and allowed just one earned run in six innings, but a shaky second was all the Cardinals needed.

 

Four different Cardinals stole bases while St. Louis was scoring two runs in the inning. Tyler O'Neill scored from third on Munoz's one-out bloop single to right over a drawn-in Cincinnati infield. Andrew Knizer walked and, after a double steal, Munoz scored an unearned run on Suarez's error of Harrison Bader's sharp one-hopper.

 

The Pirates roughed up Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-0) for eight hits and four runs in 3 2/3 innings of a 6-5 St. Louis win on Wednesday.

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Padres Down Cubs

Francisco Mejia homered, Fernando Tatis Jr. drove in three runs and the San Diego Padres avoided the sweep, beating the Chicago Cubs 5-1 on Sunday.

 

Mejia and Tatis had two hits apiece for the Padres, who scored three runs in the ninth and have won just two of their last nine.

 

Kyle Hendricks allowed two runs in seven innings and Anthony Rizzo had two hits for the NL Central-leading Cubs, who are 7-2 after the All-Star break.

 

Cal Quantrill (3-2) threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, retiring 14 of his final 15 batters. He struck out six and walked none.

 

Quantrill took over for Adrian Morejon, who allowed one run and three hits in 2 1/3 innings as the opener. Morejon, 20, is the second-youngest pitcher to debut with the Padres. The left-hander went 0-4 with a 4.25 ERA in 16 starts at Double-A Amarillo before his call-up.

 

Tyler Yates struck out three in the ninth to work around a Rizzo single.

 

Javier Baez singled, advanced to third on Kris Bryant's blooper and scored on Rizzo's groundout to give the Cubs the lead in the first.

 

Alex Mills (0-0, 4.50) starts Monday at San Francisco against the Giants and RHP Shaun Anderson (3-2, 4.87) in the opener of a three-game series.

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Shane Lowry Dominates Open Championship

Shane Lowry, an Irishman who grew up not too far from Royal Portrush, shot an under-fire 1-over 72 to finish at 15 under and win the 148th Open Championship by six over Tommy Fleetwood in Northern Ireland, which hosted this major for the first time in 68 years.

 

Lowry actually won the event with a 63 on Saturday and then held on for dear life Sunday as the wind and the field tried their best to blow him out to sea. For a couple of moments, it looked as if that might happen. But it never got serious.

 

Lowry hit a shaky bullet off the first tee that hooked into the rough and labored for bogey from there. If the man who was up four to start the day was going to be caught, it would be because he fell apart early on. It didn't happen. He rebounded strong by playing the next six holes in 3 under.

 

When the wind and rain started pounding players down the leaderboard as the Lowry-Fleetwood twosome reached the back nine, Lowry stumbled again. He bogeyed three of his first four there, but nobody could mount a charge. The last five groups (not including Lowry) played the course in 41 over. Nobody played it under par. That's obviously problematic when Lowry was hovering around par throughout. 

 

The knockout blow came at No. 15. Lowry made birdie to kick it to 15 under and a six-stroke lead with three to play. It's hard to blow a four-stroke lead in the final round. It's almost impossible to blow a six-stroke lead with three to play.

 

A tie for third (-7), marks five top-10s in majors since the start of 2018 for Finau, who maintained his status among the best scorers at the Open Championship in recent years with no rounds over par. 

With a tie for fourth (-6), Brooks Koepka joins Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth as the only golfers to finish in the top-five of all four majors in a given year. If there was any doubt as to who has the lead in the Player of the Year race, Koepka's performance and contention here has put that conversation to bed. 

 

A round of unfortunate bounces started with the worst of breaks, an ominous sign of struggles to come in Rickie Fowler's push to chase down Lowry. Fowler's tee shot at 1 was slightly off line and initially bounced in bounds before hitting a marshal and bouncing out of bounds. The penalty resulted in a double-bogey for Fowler, sending him on his way to a final round 74. 

 

A top ten finish (-4), Patrick Reed's best-ever Open finish, and it's enough evidence to suggest that he's started to find something special late in the year. Seems fitting that Captain America would peak later in the year, getting his "A" game ready for the Presidents Cup in December. 

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Cubs Rally Past Padres

Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo homered for the NL Central-leading Cubs, who have won six of seven since the All-Star break, after the Cubs overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Padres 6-5. 

Manny Machado hit a home run that built a 3-0 lead.

 

Josh Naylor tied the score 5-5 in the eighth inning against Pedro Strop (2-3) with his first career pinch homer, but the Cubs went back ahead in the bottom half.

 

Rizzo singled off Craig Stammen (6-5), rookie shortstop Fernandez Tatis Jr. threw Addison Russell's grounder into center field for an error, Jason Heyward was intentionally walked and David Bote hit a grounder to third. Machado threw home for a forceout and catcher Francisco Mejia threw to first, even though he didn't have a play on Bote. The ball hit off the glove of first baseman Eric Hosmer and bounced into short right field as Rizzo scored on Hosmer's error.

 

Craig Kimbrel struck out three around a four-pitch walk in the ninth for his fifth save in six chances. San Diego has lost five of six and 11 of 15.

 

Jon Lester made his 400th big league appearance and matched his career high by allowing 12 hits, giving up four runs in six innings. He needed 26 pitches to get through the first on an afternoon with a 93-degree temperature at game time.

 

Padres left-hander Eric Lauer gave up four runs, five hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings in his first appearance since July 5. Lauer had gone on bereavement leave following the death of his father.

He remained in the game after he was hit on the back by Albert Almora Jr.'s single in the third.

 

Hunter Renfroe hit a sacrifice fly in the first and Machado made it 3-0 in the third with his 24th homer, a two-run drive.

 

Rizzo's fourth career slam put Chicago ahead in the bottom half.

 

Mejia tied the score with an RBI double in the fifth, and Baez hit an opposite-field homer to right-center in the bottom half.

 

Joey Lucchesi (7-4) is scheduled to start Saturday for San Diego. Jose Quintana (7-7) has won three straight starts for the Cubs.

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Cardinals Out-slug Reds

Jose Martinez homered and singled and Paul DeJong added a two-run double during a 10-run rally in the sixth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals overcame a seven-run deficit Friday night for a wild 12-11 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

 

Down 7-0, the Cardinals put together their biggest inning of the season on the way to their sixth win in seven games.

 

Adam Wainwright was rocked for nine hits and seven runs in 3 1/3 innings but ran out in shorts and a T-shirt to pass out high fives after the big inning.

 

Jesse Winker hit a two-out, two-run single in the ninth off Cardinals closer Carlos Martinez. But Joey Votto grounded out with runners at the corners to give Martinez his seventh save.

 

Journeyman catcher Ryan Lavarnway hit two homers, doubled and drove in a career-high six runs for Cincinnati in his first game in the majors this season. Released by the Yankees this week after hitting .213 in a Triple-A backup role, Lavarnway was signed by the Reds after a series of injuries left them thin behind the plate.

 

The 31-year-old Lavarnway, who had played a total of 12 games in the big leagues in the last four seasons, went 3 for 4 with a walk.

 

Wainwright's career ERA against the Reds jumped from 5.01 to 5.31, his worst against major league team.

 

Michael Wacha (6-4) wound up with the win, allowing three hits in 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

 

Jose Martinez had an infield single that loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth against Tyler Mahle. After DeJong's two-run double off Matt Bowman made it 7-5, a two-out error by Votto at first base let the Cardinals tie it.

 

Martinez capped the comeback with a three-run homer off Jared Hughes (3-3).

 

DeJong added a long two-run homer in the seventh, his second in two nights off Robert Stephenson.

 

Lavarnway hit a three-run homer in the fourth that finished Wainwright for his first home run in the big leagues since Aug. 23, 2015, for Atlanta. Lavarnway added a two-run shot in the eighth for his first multihomer game since hitting two for Boston on Sept. 27, 2011.

 

The Reds roughed up RHP Miles Mikolas (6-9) for six hits, including three home runs, and four runs in five innings of a 12-1 St. Louis loss on April 26.

 

Luis Castillo (9-3) pitching six innings of two-hit, one-run ball in a 4-1 Cincinnati win at St. Louis on June 4.

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Sox Power Past Rays

Leury Garcia had four hits, including three doubles, Reynaldo Lopez won for the first time in six starts and the White Sox stopped a seven-game losing streak by beating the Rays 9-2 on Friday night.

 

Lopez (5-8) gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts. He had been 0-2 with a 5.34 ERA since beating Kansas City on June 9.

 

Tampa Bay fell a season-high nine games behind the AL East-leading Yankees after arriving about 3:30 a.m. following a doubleheader loss in New York. The Rays have dropped behind Cleveland and Oakland for the two AL wild-card spots - Tampa Bay held an eight-game lead over the third-place team in the wild-card race at the start of play on June 11 but have lost 20 of 35 since.

 

Rays rookie Brendan McKay (1-1) lasted just 3 1/3 innings in his fourth start, allowing six runs - five earned - and nine hits as his ERA doubled from 1.69 to 3.72. The two-way player had given up three runs over 16 innings in the first three outings.

 

Garcia doubled leading off the first and scored from second when Jose Abreu's hard grounder went off the glove of second baseman Mike Brosseau and into right field for an error.

 

Chicago went ahead 4-1 in the second when Adam Engel beat out a two-out grounder to shortstop, Garcia hit a two-run double that dropped between Meadows and Brosseau in shallow right and Yoan Moncada followed with an RBI double.

 

Yolmer Sanchez homered and Moncada had an RBI single during the fourth, and Engel hit a run-scoring triple in the fifth and scored on Colin Poche's wild pitch for an 8-2 lead. Sanchez added a run-scoring double in the ninth.

 

Ji-Man Choi and Brosseau drove in runs for the Rays.

 

Lucas Giolito (11-4) starts Saturday night against Rays LHP Ryan Yarbrough (8-3). He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts against the Rays, allowing two earned runs in 14 innings.

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Cardinals Down Reds

Rookie Tommy Edman snapped a tie with his first career grand slam and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-4 Thursday night for their fifth win in six games.

 

All-Star Paul DeJong hit a two-run homer in the fifth, and Edman broke it open an inning later with a slam against Robert Stephenson's slider.

 

The slam came one pitch after the Reds just missed what would have been an inning-ending double play. Stephenson retired pinch-hitter Yairo Munoz on a bases-loaded fly to right fielder Yasiel Puig, and Puig's throw home kept Matt Wieters at third. Catcher Juan Graterol's throw to first almost caught Kolten Wong off the bag, but Wong got his hand to the base a split-second before Joey Votto's tag. Votto had to scramble back to the bag from his cutoff position.

 

Stephenson (2-2) allowed four hits and five runs while getting just two outs.

 

Eugenio Suarez hit a solo home run in the first inning and added a sacrifice fly in Cincinnati's two-run third as the Reds built a 3-0 lead.

 

DeJong got St. Louis on the board in the fifth with his first homer since June 16 and 14th this season.

 

Edman's blow gave Dakota Hudson the win. Hudson (9-4) gave up six hits and three runs with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings. He's 7-1 over his last 11 starts. Hudson also hit a batter.

 

Roark sparked their two-run third with a leadoff double. He pitched five innings, allowing five hits and two runs with two walks, a hit batter and six strikeouts - three of Paul Goldschmidt, including to end the fifth with runners on first and third with two outs.

 

The Reds are 2-5 since the All-Star break and dropped eight games behind the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs

 

Adam Wainwright's (6-7) 5.01 ERA in 30 career appearances against Cincinnati is his highest against any NL opponent.

 

Tyler Mahle (2-10) set career highs by allowing 12 hits and 10 runs over 4-1/3 innings in his last start on Sunday at Colorado.

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Royals Down White Sox

The Kansas City Royals a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox with a 6-5 win Thursday afternoon in Kansas City.

 

Ian Kennedy gave up a run in the ninth, but struck out A.J. Reed looking with the tying run on second base to clinch the win and earn his 16th save in 19 opportunities.

 

The White Sox have lost seven in a row since coming back from the All-Star break and dropped a season-worst nine games under .500.

 

Keller (6-9) got off to a rocky start, allowing the first four batters of the game to reach base on a pair of infield hits, an error and a walk, leading to a pair of unearned runs. But Keller settled down after that and battled through 6 1/3 innings, allowing just a couple of runs after the first inning. Keller gave up nine hits, struck out seven and walked two.

 

Yoan Moncada matched his career high, set last year, with his 17th home run in the top of the third to make it 3-0 before the Royals scored.

 

Cuthbert led off the inning with a shot to left-center and Soler hit a two-run homer a couple of batters later to draw the Royals even. Billy Hamilton's two-run single later in the inning put the Royals ahead for good.

 

Cuthbert finished with three hits.

 

Bubba Starling had the best game of his young career. The 26-year-old had two hits, his first multi-hit day as a big leaguer, including his first extra-base hit when he doubled in the fifth inning and first career stolen base. Starling also scored twice, the second coming on Cam Gallagher's bunt single in the fifth inning, putting the Royals up 6-3. After going hitless in his debut, Starling has a hit in five straight games.

 

White Sox starter Ross Detwiler (1-1) lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up five runs and eight hits, struggling with his command from the beginning.

 

The White Sox open a three-game set with Tampa Bay on Friday. Reynaldo Lopez (4-8) will get the start for Chicago looking to build on one of his best outings of the season on Sunday, when he allowed just one unearned run and three hits over six innings. Tampa Bay has yet to announce a starter.

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Cardinals Outlast Pirates

Paul Goldschmidt hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off Michael Feliz in the seventh inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat Pittsburgh 6-5 on Wednesday, dealing the Pirates their fifth loss in six games.

 

St. Louis trailed 4-3 when Tommy Edman singled off Francisco Liriano (4-2) with one out in the seventh and Jose Martinez walked. Feliz relieved, and Goldschmidt followed with his 18th homer.

 

John Brebbia (3-3) struck out four in two perfect innings. Carlos Martinez gave up an RBI single to Bryan Reynolds in the ninth before Starling Marte hit into a forceout, giving Martinez his sixth save in eight chances.

 

Tyler O'Neill also homered for the Cardinals, who won two of three from the Pirates.

 

O'Neill singled in a run in the first and hit a solo homer in the fifth. He is 10 for his past 20 with four home runs.

 

Daniel Ponce de Leon made his first start since the Cardinals announced he was joining the rotation and gave up four runs, eight hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings.

 

Pirates starter Chris Archer allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. Archer had a pair of hits, including an RBI single in a three-run fourth, after starting the season 1 for 25 at the plate. Reynolds chased de Leon with a two-run single.

 

Marte homered in the first, his fourth home run on a six-game trip.

 

Dakota Hudson is to start Thursday night at Cincinnati and RHP Tanner Roark (5-6, 3.99 ERA). Hudson is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three career appearances against the Reds.

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Cubs Down Reds

Yu Darvish tossed six innings of two-hit, shutout ball to earn his first win at the iconic ballpark as a Cub and lead Chicago past the Cincinnati Reds 5-2 on Wednesday.

 

Kris Bryant and Addison Russell homered for the only hits off Sonny Gray (5-6) as Chicago won for the fifth time in six games.

 

Entering Wednesday, Darvish was 0-5 with a 5.50 ERA in 13 starts at home after signing a six-year, $126 million contract with Chicago in February 2018.

 

So when the normally stoic right-hander fanned Yasiel Puig for his final out in the sixth and a runner on base, Darvish turned to the outfield, hollered and pumped his fist.

 

Darvish (3-4) also won for the first time anywhere since April 27 at Arizona as he struck out seven, walked none and hit two batters. The right-hander had 12 no-decisions and a loss in his previous 13 starts.

 

Darvish hasn't allowed a run in 13 2/3 innings. He credits mixing his pitches differently and a confidence level of ''almost 120 percent'' as keys to his turnaround.

 

Jason Heyward drove in two insurance runs with a double as the NL Central leaders took two of three from the Reds to win just their second series since sweeping St. Louis on June 7-9.

Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in five chances.

 

Sonny Gray nearly matched Darvish, allowing just two hits - Bryant's and Russell's drives - while striking out eight and walking none through six innings. Nick Senzel and Puig drove in runs in the eighth off Brandon Kintzler, but the Reds lost for the sixth time in eight games.

 

Gray has a 1.65 ERA in his past four starts for the last-place Reds.

 

Russell made it 2-0 in the second with a solo shot to left, his sixth homer.

 

Following a day off Thursday, LHP Jon Lester (9-6, 3.74) faces San Diego LHP Eric Lauer (5-7, 4.04) on Friday. Lester has won four of his past five starts with a 2.97 ERA during the span.

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Royals Down Sox

Danny Duffy (4-5) pitched a strong six innings and ended a nine-start winless skid, and Jorge Soler and Nicky Lopez hit back-to-back RBI singles twice as the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 7-5 on Wednesday night.

 

Duffy scattered six hits and struck out five in sending Chicago to its season-worst sixth straight loss. With a heat index well above 100 degrees for most of the game, Royals manager Ned Yost was careful not to overwork him.

 

A.J. Reed hit a three-run homer, his first, with two outs in the ninth inning off Wily Peralta. Ian Kennedy entered the game and completed the one-out save, his 15th in 18 opportunities.

 

Ivan Nova (4-9) lasted just 4 2/3 innings and struggled with his command. He allowed six runs and six hits with five walks. After giving up two runs in the first inning, Nova retired 13 of the next 14 batters before running into trouble again in the fifth with two outs, allowing five straight batters to reach base, three by walks.

 

Ryan Goins homered in his first major league game this season, a two-run shot into the Royals' bullpen in the sixth inning. That snapped a 15-inning scoring drought for the White Sox that dating to Monday's game.

 

The White Sox have scored just 18 runs in their last eight games and scored more than three runs for the first time since Independence Day. In six games since the All-Star break, Chicago has been outscored 44-12.

 

Whit Merrifield had three more hits and was on base five times, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. He also increased his league-leading hit total to 128. During the streak, Merrifield is hitting .410 (25-61).

 

The Royals and White Sox conclude their four-game set with a day game Thursday. Brad Keller (5-9) will start for the Royals, looking to continue a strong July. Keller has allowed just two runs in 13 2/3 innings this month and is coming off a career-high eight innings Saturday in a 4-1 win over Detroit. Ross Detwiler will get the ball for the White Sox, making his third start of the season. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 5.02 ERA this year.

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Cubs Walk Off Reds

Kyle Schwarber hit a solo home run with one out to give the Chicago Cubs a 4-3 comeback victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

 

The lefty slugger stroked a 1-1 pitch from closer Raisel Iglesias (2-8) into the basket in front of the left field bleachers for his 21st homer and first career game-ending hit of any kind.

 

Robel Garcia and Kris Bryant also connected for the NL Central leaders, who have won six of eight.

Eugenio Suarez homered for Cincinnati, which fell to 7-4 against Chicago this season.

 

Steve Cishek (3-5) worked the 10th and four Cubs relievers combined for four scoreless innings.

 

Iglesias was pitching for the third straight day. He got five outs for a save Monday night and then the final two outs of the ninth inning Tuesday before staying in for the 10th.

 

Cubs spot starter Alec Mills allowed three runs and five hits over six innings in his season debut. He walked one, struck out two and hit four batters with pitches.

 

Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani allowed three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

 

Cincinnati's Derek Dietrich was hit by a pitch twice to extend his major league-leading total to 20.

 

Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish (2-4, 4.72 ERA) faces Reds RHP Sonny Gray (5-5, 3.42) in the finale of the three-game series Wednesday afternoon. Darvish, who has 13 no-decisions in 19 starts this season, is still looking for his first win at Wrigley Field since signing with Chicago last year. Gray will be making his first career appearance at the iconic ballpark.

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Royals Blank White Sox

Glen Sparkman pitched a five-hitter, Whit Merrifield and Hunter Dozier both had three hits including a home run, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White sox 11-0 Tuesday night.

 

Sparkman (3-5) finished with a career-high eight strikeouts and one walk in the Royals' first complete-game shutout since June 2, 2017, when Jason Vargas beat Cleveland 4-0.

 

Kansas City improved to 4-1 since the All-Star break and dropped the White Sox to 0-5.

 

Merrifield, hitting .379 (22 for 58) in a 14-game hitting streak, raced to an inside-the-park homer down the right-field line in the fourth inning after Cam Gallagher doubled. Plate umpire Tom Hallion initially called Merrifield out on the play at home, but it was overturned after a quick replay review.

 

That made the score 6-0 and gave Merrifield the 100th inside-the-park homer in Royals history.

 

Dozier hit a two-run, 447-foot homer to left field in the eighth inning to cap a four-run inning and finish the scoring.

 

Chicago starter Dylan Cease (1-1) gave up six runs - four earned - and eight hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out seven.

 

Ivan Nova (4-8, 5.60 ERA) will make his 20th start of the season.

 

Danny Duffy (3-5, 4.64 ERA) will make his first start since last Friday night when he left in the third inning after being bruised on the pitching hand by a line drive.

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Pirates Down Cardinals

Colin Moran drove in the go-ahead run with an infield single and the Pittsburgh Pirates scored twice in the ninth for a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

 

Francisco Liriano (4-1) pitched the eighth and earned the victory. Felipe Vazquez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 21st save.

 

Carlos Martinez (2-1) worked one inning of relief and took the loss.

 

With the score tied 1-1 and one out in the top of the ninth, Starling Marte reached base when he was hit in the back with a pitch by Martinez. Josh Bell beat the shift with a single to the left side of second base, sending Marte to third. Moran hit a sharp grounder to Kolten Wong, who made a diving stop and rose to one knee, but his throw was not in time as Moran slid safely into first and Marte scored for a 2-1 lead.

 

Corey Dickerson walked, loading the bases. Kevin Newman hit a grounder to short, but the Cardinals failed to turn a double play, and Bell scored to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead.

 

The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Pirates. St. Louis had a three-game winning streak stopped.

 

St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty pitched seven strong innings, but did not get a decision. He allowed one run and three hits, striking out eight and walking three, including one intentional. Flaherty's last victory came on May 14. Since then, Flaherty has three losses and seven no-decision outings.

 

Pittsburgh starter Dario Agrazal pitched into the seventh before he was pulled for Richard Rodriguez. Agrazal gave up a run on five hits and three walks.

 

Flaherty helped himself in the fifth by driving in a run to tie it at 1-all. With one out, a short fly by Harrison Bader fell in and he hustled for a double. After Bader stole third, Flaherty doubled down the third-base line. It was his third double and third RBI this season.

 

Flaherty then tried to steal third. He was called safe, but Pittsburgh challenged. The call was overturned after a review.

 

Chris Archer (3-6, 5.42) had a season-high 10 strikeouts but didn't get a decision in his last start, a 4-3 loss to the Cubs. He has three career starts and is 0-0 with a 2.20 ERA against St. Louis.

 

Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-0, 1.99) is making his second career start against the Pirates. In his last outing, he made an emergency start for Adam Wainwright (back spasms) and held Arizona to one run on three hits while pitching 6 2/3 innings. He did not figure in the decision.

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Illinois RB Corbin Named to Maxwell Award Watch List

The Maxwell Award named Illinois senior running back Reggie Corbin to its watch list, the award committee announced. It is the first career watch list honor for Corbin.

 

The Maxwell Football Club presents the Maxwell Award for the College Player of the Year.

 

Corbin was a third-team all-conference by the media and honorable mention by Big Ten coaches, rushing for 1,085 yards on 128 carries with nine touchdowns. 

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Cardinals Win; Cubs, White Sox Lose Monday

>>Cardinals Blank Pirates

 

Miles Mikolas pitched an eight-hitter and Tyler O'Neill hit a pair of two-run homers, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

 

It was the first complete game this season and second overall for Mikolas (6-9), who lasted just four innings in his last start before the break. He struck out three and walked none while throwing 100 pitches.

 

It was first complete game by a Cardinals pitcher this season. Mikolas had the only one last year on May 21 against Kansas City.

 

It also was the second shutout of his career.

 

Mikolas pitched out of three jams. The Pirates had runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth, but Mikolas got Jacob Stallings to ground out and end the inning. In the sixth, he allowed one-out singles to Adam Frazier and Brian Reynolds, his third hit before Starling Marte grounded into an inning-ending double play. Marte also hit into a double play in the first inning. In the seventh, Colin Moran doubled with one out and was stranded at third.

 

St. Louis has won three games in a row.

 

O'Neill, who is playing in left for the injured Marcell Ozuna, had his first career multi-homer game, and drove in four runs for the second time in the last three games. He also singled to finish with three hits.

 

Pittsburgh starter Joe Musgrove (6-8) gave up five runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three along with hitting a batter.

 

The Cardinals scored an unearned run in the first inning. Paul Goldschmidt walked with two outs and O'Neill hit a line drive that Dickerson dropped, allowing Goldschmidt to score. Musgrove ended up striking out the side but he needed 36 pitches without allowing a hit to get out of the inning.

 

St. Louis went ahead 3-0 in the third. Matt Carpenter was called out at first on a close play to start the inning. After a 37-second challenge, the call was overturned. With one out, Goldschmidt hit a fly ball to deep left in front of the fence. The ball hit Dickerson's glove and popped out. It was ruled a double. An infield hit by O'Neill moved Goldschmidt to third and he came home on a sacrifice fly by Dexter Fowler.

 

The Cardinals chased Musgrove in the fifth. DeJong singled after Carpenter was picked off first by catcher Stallings. After Goldschmidt struck out, Musgrove gave up a two-run homer to center on his first pitch to O'Neill, giving St. Louis a 5-0 lead.

 

O'Neill got his second home run to center off reliever Kyle Crick in the seventh after Goldschmidt walked with two outs.

 

Dario Agrazal (2-0, 2.18) will be making his third big-league start. In his last outing, he went six innings and allowed two runs against Milwaukee.

 

Jack Flaherty (4-6, 4.64) will be making his sixth career start and appearance against Pittsburgh. The Cardinals are 4-1 in his five starts against Pittsburgh, winning the last four.

 

>>Reds Double Up Cubs

 

Eugenio Suarez and Yasiel Puig each hit their 22nd home run of the season, and Cincinnati rallied past Chicago 6-3 on Monday night.

Jesse Winker raced home with an unearned run to cap a two-run seventh inning that made a winner of All-Star starter Luis Castillo. And although the NL Central standings are tight, the Reds improved to a surprising 7-3 against the first-place Cubs this season.

 

After the game, the Cubs acquired catcher Martin Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City that sent left-hander Mike Montgomery to the Royals. In related news, Chicago also announced that All-Star backstop Willson Contreras is going on the 10-day injured list with a strain to the arch area of his right foot.

 

The 32-year-old Maldonado was batting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games for struggling Kansas City. The Cubs will be the fifth major league team for the nine-year veteran, a 2017 Gold Glove winner with the Angels.

 

Casali sent the first pitch from reliever Steve Cishek (2-5) in the seventh into the left field bleachers to tie it at 3. Winker pinch-hit for Castillo and singled, then the Reds jumped on errors by two usually sure-handed Cubs infielders to take the lead.

 

Winker advanced to second when shortstop Javier Baez couldn't handle Nick Senzel's grounder. Winker came home when Suarez's hard bouncer slipped over David Bote's glove at third.

 

Pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and reliever Michael Lorenzen singled home insurance runs in the eighth.

Castillo (9-3) allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out 10 through six innings. After throwing 105 pitches, the right-hander left trailing 3-2 before his teammates rallied to get him a win.

 

Raisel Iglesias got five outs for his 17th save.

 

Kyle Schwarber hit his 20th home run and doubled. Jason Heyward came through with two more singles and an RBI, but the Cubs fell flat after a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh.

 

Kyle Hendricks was sharp through six innings in his third start following a 17-day stint on the injured list with shoulder inflammation. The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits.

 

Anthony DeSclafani (5-4, 4.26 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday against Chicago RHP Alec Mills, who will make his season debut. DeSclafani is 3-1 in his last six starts and has held opponents to two or fewer runs in five of them. Mills is 6-2 with a 4.73 ERA at Triple-A Iowa. He appeared in seven games for the Cubs last season.

 

>>Royals Down White Sox

 

Jacob Junis struck out a career-high 10 and Nicky Lopez drove in a pair of runs as Kansas City beat the White Sox 5-2 on Monday night. It was the Royals' third win in four games since the All-Star break.

The Royals beat Lucas Giolito for the first time and thwarted his bid for a 12th victory. The right-hander entered the game 6-0 with a 2.13 ERA in 10 previous career starts against Kansas City. After an eight-game winning streak, Giolito is 1-3 with a 6.48 ERA in his last five starts.

 

Junis (5-8) worked seven innings and gave up one run, James McCann's 10th homer of the season.

Whit Merrifield extended his hitting streak to 13 games (.358, 19 for 53) with a bunt single in the seventh. He leads the majors with 122 hits.

 

Giolito (11-4) was hit on his left shoulder by a wicked line drive off the bat of Lopez. The ball ricocheted into right field and Lopez got a double.

 

The Royals got to Giolito in the fourth inning. Alex Gordon and Hunter Dozier had back-to-back doubles for the Royals' first run. Dozier advanced on a wild pitch and scored on single by Cheslor Cuthbert, making the score 2-0.

 

Giolito was removed after the six innings and 94 pitches. Dozier and Lopez each had two hits off the White Sox ace.

 

Jon Jay went 4-for-4 for the White Sox with two doubles and two singles but didn't score a run. The Sox stranded 10 runners.

 

Royals closer Ian Kennedy worked a scoreless ninth for his 14th save in 17 chances.

 

The second of the four-game series on Tuesday matches White Sox RHP Dylan Cease (1-0, 5.40 ERA) and Royals RHP Glenn Sparkman (2-5, 5.18 ERA), the first start for each since the All-Star break.

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Cards, Cubs Win; A's Edge Sox Sunday

>>Cardinals Down Diamondbacks

 

Paul Goldschmidt homered, Adam Wainwright pitched seven scoreless innings, and the St. Louis Cardinals held on to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 on Sunday.

 

Wainwright (6-7), who was scratched from Friday's start due to back spasms, relied on a mixture of cutters, change-ups and curve balls. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out seven as he improved 4-0 in day starts this season.

 

Arizona trailed 5-0 going to the ninth before Domingo Leyba and Jarrod Dyson had RBI singles against John Brebbia. The Diamondbacks had the bases loaded with two outs, but Carlos Martinez got Eduardo Escobar to hit a fly ball to center for the final out for his fifth save.

 

Wainwright helped himself out offensively by walking and scoring to start a three-run third inning rally and he also laid down a sacrifice bunt leading to Matt Carpenter's sacrifice fly as the Cardinals tacked on their fifth run in the fourth.

 

Goldschmidt's 416-foot two-run shot into the upper deck in left field gave the Cardinals a 4-0 lead in the third. Yairo Munoz started the rally with a single that drove in Wainwright, and advanced to third on Nick Ahmed's throwing error.

 

Tyler O'Neill continued his RBI barrage by driving home Goldschmidt with a double that hugged the left field line to make it 1-0 in the first inning, ending Greinke's 14-inning scoreless streak. O'Neill drove in all four Cardinals run in a 4-2 win on Saturday night.

 

Greinke (10-4) gave up five runs in six innings. The loss snapped a five-year July winning streak for the Arizona ace, who entered the game 14-0 with a 1.34 ERA in his last 18 starts in the month dating back to July 25, 2014.

 

Miles Mikolas (5-9, 4.53 ERA) will get the start to kick off a three-game series against Pittsburgh and RHP Joe Musgrove (6-7, 4.15 ERA) on Monday night. Mikolas is 2-3 with a 2.96 ERA in nine career appearances against the Pirates.

 

>>Cubs Top Pirates For Three-Game Sweep

 

Jason Heyward, Albert Almora Jr. and Kyle Schwarber hit home runs and the Cubs beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-3 on Sunday for a three-game sweep.

The NL Central leaders posted their first series win since taking all three from St. Louis on June 7-9.

The Cubs were 10-16 in the 26 games before last week's break. They outscored Pirates 22-10 in the series.

 

Robel Garcia had a pair of doubles and Anthony Rizzo added two hits as Chicago improved to 32-16 at Wrigley Field.

 

Cubs starter Jose Quintana (7-7) allowed three runs on six hits in six innings to win his third straight start. The left-hander struck out four and walked two.

 

Quintana has allowed six runs in 19 innings for a 2.84 ERA during the winning streak. Before that, he had lost six straight decisions.

 

Bryan Reynolds got two hits and drove in a run for Pittsburgh, which has dropped five of seven.

 

Almora had a pinch-hit homer in the sixth and Schwarber followed with a drive to right on the next pitch. Williams was pulled after giving up a single to the next batter, Javier Baez, and Rizzo later had a sacrifice fly.

 

Trevor Williams allowed a career-high tying eight runs on a career-high 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

kyle Hendricks (7-7, 3.49 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series against Cincinnati on Monday night as the homestand continues. RHP Luis Castillo (8-3, 2.29) pitches for the Reds.

 

>>A's Edge White Sox

 

Chad Pinder scored all the way from first base on a Jose Rondon's throwing error trying to start a double play, and Oakland beat Chicago 3-2 on Sunday.

Pinder singled as a pinch-hitter off Jace Fry (1-4) to begin the ninth. Laureano, who homered in the eighth to tie it at 2, followed with a sharp grounder to the left side of the infield.

 

Rondon made a backhanded stop, hurried and threw on the run. But the ball sailed past second baseman Yolmer Sanchez and rolled into the large foul territory near Chicago's bullpen, and Pinder scored standing up.

 

After acquiring pitcher Homer Bailey from Kansas City earlier in the day, the A's completed a three-game sweep. They have won 10 of 12 to put themselves in solid playoff contention.

 

Mark Canha had two hits and Matt Chapman added an RBI for Oakland.

 

Eloy Jimenez homered for the White Sox. Sanchez had two hits and Rondon had an RBI double. Chicago was outscored 21-5 in the three games.

 

Jimenez entered the day tied for the lead in home runs among rookies in the AL, then padded that total with his 17th in the seventh against starter Brett Anderson.

 

Oakland tied it on Laureano's fourth home run in five games, a solo drive to right-center off reliever Evan Marshall, who had just entered the game.

 

White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez allowed an unearned run, had seven strikeouts in six innings and left with a 2-1 lead. It's the first time in 11 starts that the right-hander has not allowed a home run.

Lucas Giolito (11-3, 3.15 ERA), fresh off throwing a scoreless inning at the All-Star game, pitches against Kansas City on Monday. Giolito is 6-0 lifetime against the Royals.

 

>>Cardinals Legend Gibson Has Pancreatic Cancer

 

Bob Gibson, the Hall of Fame right-hander who spent his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals, is battling pancreatic cancer. 

 

Gibson's longtime agent, Dick Zitzmann, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Gibson was first diagnosed with the cancer a few weeks ago. Gibson visited doctors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and has been hospitalized in his hometown of Omaha, Neb. for the past two weeks. 

 

Zitzmann said Gibson is likely to begin chemotherapy Monday in Omaha.

 

Gibson, who will turn 84 in November, pitched his entire career -- 17 MLB seasons -- with the Cardinals. The eight-time All-Star won the Cy Young Award twice, in 1968 and 1970. 


Gibson, a two-time World Series champion, was dominant in the postseason and was 7-2 in nine World Series starts. He was named the World Series MVP for both of the years in which the Cardinals won (1964, 1967).

 

Gibson also earned the MVP Award in 1968. During the '68 season, Gibson finished 22-9 and led the majors in ERA (1.12), shutouts (13) and strikeouts (268).

 

Gibson retired following the 1975 season and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981. 

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Rockets Add Westbrook as OKC Rebuild Continues

In a stunning blockbuster deal, the Oklahoma City Thunder have reportedly traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Chris Paul.

 

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Houston has traded two first-round draft picks and pick swaps in 2021 and 2025 in exchange for Westbrook. 

 

Bobby Marks of ESPN also reports that the 15 percent trade kicker as part of Westbrook's contract will be voided.

 

The trade reunites Westbrook with James Harden, with whom he played during their early years with the Thunder from 2009 until 2012 until Harden was traded to the Rockets prior to the start of the 2012-13 season.

 

The Rockets came up just short of their ultimate goal over the past couple of years -- a championship. Despite startling regular season success, including a No. 1 seed in 2018, Houston came up a game short of the NBA Finals in 2017-18 and were eliminated by the Golden State Warriors for the second consecutive year in the 2019 NBA playoffs. They'll now attempt to contend for a title with the former MVP duo of Harden and Westbrook. 

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Cards, Cubs, White Sox Back In Action Tonight

Two years ago, Chris Archer and Yu Darvish were All-Stars. Now they are both trying to regain All-Star form, or something close to it.

They will face off when the regular season resumes for Archer's visiting Pittsburgh Pirates and Darvish's Chicago Cubs on Friday afternoon.

 

It's an important series for both National League Central foes. The Pirates find themselves just 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs for first place in the tightest division race in the majors.

 

Archer and Darvish lead the NL in home runs allowed with 20 each, though Darvish has done so in three more starts. Archer gave up two homers to the Cubs in his last start before the break on July 3, and will be pitching on the north side of Chicago for the fourth time in his career.

 

Darvish (2-4, 5.01) is second in the league in wild pitches with eight and has six hit batters. He has yet to win at home this season and is 0-6 in his career at Wrigley Field.

 

The Pirates are powered by All-Star slugger Josh Bell, who led the majors at the break with 30 doubles and 84 RBIs and leads Pittsburgh with 27 home runs.

 

The Cubs have not been playing especially well of late, and figure to be buyers in the trade market with a half-game division lead over the Milwaukee Brewers. Chicago is 8-12 in its last 20 games, 13-17 in the last 30 and 15-16 against division opponents this season.

 

The Cubs are 3-4 against the Pirates this season, with just one run separating the teams in total runs scored against each other, 37 for Pittsburgh and 36 for the Cubs.

 

 

 

Paul Goldschmidt spent most of the last decade as the face of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He confronts his former franchise for the first time when the St. Louis Cardinals host the Diamondbacks on Friday to start a three-game series between teams in the thick of the National League wild-card race.

Part of the formula for the Cardinals to have second-half success is for Goldschmidt to get hot.

 

The 31-year-old first baseman is hitting. 254 with 16 home runs and 37 RBIs in 88 games.

 

Other than the home runs, his numbers are down across the board. The batting average would be his lowest since he played in 48 games as a rookie for Arizona in 2011, and he has a mere nine doubles after hitting at least 33 in each of the past seven seasons. He failed to reach the All-Star Game after six consecutive appearances.

 

St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina (thumb) was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday while third baseman Matt Carpenter (back) was activated.

 

Arizona, which swept a three-game home series against the Colorado Rockies before the All-Star break to get to 46-45, made out OK in the Goldschmidt trade. Starting pitcher Luke Weaver was effective (4-3, 3.03 ERA) before suffering a right forearm strain in late May, and catcher Carson Kelly is hitting .276 with 10 homers in 174 at-bats.

 

Moreover, the move cleared the way for one of Arizona's first-half standouts -- first baseman Christian Walker, who is hitting .263 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs.

 

The Cardinals will open the second half with right-hander Adam Wainwright (5-7, 4.31 ERA). His last start was at Seattle on July 3, when he allowed two runs in five innings, getting a no-decision in a 5-2 victory. He is 8-5 with a 2.95 ERA in 15 career appearances (12 starts) against Arizona.

 

The Diamondbacks will go with left-hander Robbie Ray (6-6, 3.96). Although he often struggles with his control, he strikes out 11.78 per nine innings, the fifth-best mark in the majors. Ray is coming off a win over the Rockies on Saturday, when he allowed one run and two hits over six innings, striking out eight and walking five.

 

Ray has made five career starts vs. the Cardinals, with a 1-3 record and a 6.10 ERA.

 

 

 

The Oakland Athletics are typically overlooked on a national scale but are right in the thick of the American League wild-card race as play resumes after the All-Star break.

 

The Athletics (50-41) are 1 1/2 games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second berth as they begin a three-game series on Friday against the visiting Chicago White Sox.

Oakland reached the wild-card game last season after a 97-win season and figures it can reach the postseason again.

 

Matt Chapman, who is batting .264, leads Oakland with 21 homers and 52 RBIs, is one of seven Athletics in double digits in homers.

 

First baseman Matt Olson (19), designated hitter Khris Davis (16) and center fielder Ramon Laureano (16) are among the others for a squad that ranks fourth in the AL with 145 blasts.

 

The White Sox (42-44) don't pack a lot of power as they rank 13th in the AL with 103 homers. All-Star first baseman Jose Abreu has 21 with third baseman Yoan Moncada and left fielder Eloy Jimenez next with 16.

 

Jimenez, a 22-year-old rookie, is batting .241 but is loaded with promise. He called the first half of the season as a learning session.

 

The White Sox will start right-hander Ivan Nova (4-7, 5.58 ERA), who halted a seven-start winless stretch by beating the Chicago Cubs last Sunday.

 

The 32-year-old Nova allowed five hits over 5 2/3 scoreless innings to post his first victory since May 22.

 

Nova's ERA is third worst in the majors among qualifiers.

 

Nova is 2-0 with a 3.52 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against Oakland.

The Athletics tabbed right-hander Mike Fiers (8-3, 3.87) to make the start.

 

The 34-year-old has won six consecutive decisions, a streak that began when he threw his second career no-hitter on May 7 against the Cincinnati Reds.

 

Fiers has allowed one earned run in each of his past four starts, including a July 3 effort against the Minnesota Twins in which he gave up two total runs and five hits over six innings.

 

Fiers is 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA in six career outings against the White Sox.

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AL Beats NL in Midsummer Classic

Justin Verlander blazed 97 mph heat from the start, Shane Bieber and Aroldis Chapman each struck out the side and the American League slowed a loaded NL lineup 4-3 Tuesday for its seventh straight win.

 

Facing Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger and a bunch of boppers, the AL staff combined to strike out 16.

 

Derby champ Pete Alonso of the Mets grounded a two-out, two-run single past Gleyber Torres in the eighth to close the NL's gap. After a double steal put runners at second and third against Cleveland reliever Brad Hand, White Sox catcher James McCann made a tumbling catch on Mike Moustakas' twisting foul pop to end the inning.

 

Chapman closed to give the AL its 19th win in 22 games, with a tie stuck in there. He got a little encouragement with two outs - Yankees teammate CC Sabathia, honored this week for his contributions on and off the field, strolled to the mound to talk to the flamethrower.

 

Chapman then struck out Yasmani Grandal for a save, giving the AL an overall 45-43-2 lead in the Midsummer Classic.

 

Major League Baseball is on a record-shattering pace for homers this season, but no one came close to clearing the walls until Charlie Blackmon connected in the NL sixth to make it 2-1. Texas' Joey Gallo countered with a solo drive in a two-run seventh.

 

Still, it was a far cry from last year's All-Star Game that featured a record 10 home runs.

 

Cleveland favorite Michael Brantley had an early RBI double off losing pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

 

Jorge Polanco drove in a run with an infield single for a 2-0 edge in the fifth and another scored on a double-play grounder.

 

Winning pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, Lucas Giolito and Shane Greene did their parts to protect the lead with scoreless innings.

 

NL starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, deGrom and Luis Castillo threw scoreless innings to keep the NL close in the early going.

 

Overall, there were 36 first-timers, a number boosted by the absence of Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Jose Altuve and several past perennials. And consider this: Of the 16 AL pitchers on the 2017 All-Star roster, zero made the roster this year.

 

All players wore a uniform patch with No. 45 to honor late Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Los Angeles teammates Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella switched their jerseys to Skaggs' number, and there was a pregame moment of silence.

 

The regular season resumes on Thursday night with one game, Houston at Texas. All teams are back in action Friday. Next year's All-Star Game is at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 1980.

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Warriors Waive G Livingston, Sign Cauley-Stein

After revitalizing his career and helping the Warriors win three titles, Shaun Livingston's time in Golden State is reportedly over. 

 

According to Shams Charania, the Warriors will waive the veteran, who is expected to become a target for various contenders. 

 

The Warriors agreed to a deal with Willie Cauley-Stein earlier in free agency, and now we know the details. 

 

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, Cauley-Stein's deal will be worth $4.4 million over two years, and the big man will have a player option for the second year. 

 

Veteran forward Marcus Morris agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the San Antonio Spurs over the weekend. 

 

However, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Morris is considering signing with the New York Knicks, which may acquire additional cap space due to a reworked contract with Reggie Bullock.

 

Per the NBA's transactions page, the Suns have officially waived Kyle Korver. The veteran sharpshooter is expected to be a target of many contenders.

 

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to build out their roster around superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. 

 

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, veteran guard Avery Bradley plans to sign a two-year, $9.7 million deal with the Lakers upon clearing waivers. The second year of the deal will be a player option. 

 

Veteran forward and former second overall pick Jabari Parker has found another new NBA home. 

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Parker has agreed to a two-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks worth $13 million. The second year of the deal is a payer option. 

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Baseball Notes: Mets' Alonso Wins HR Derby; Baseballs Juiced?; Trade Rumors

>>Mets' Alonso Outlasts Fellow Rookie Vlad Jr For HR Derby Title

 

Baseball's profoundly impressive young talent base was on display at the 2019 Home Run Derby Monday night from Clevelands' Progressive Field as Pete Alonso of the Mets topped fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays in the finals. 

 

Alonso becomes the third rookie ever to win the Derby, joining Aaron Judge of the Yankees in 2017 and Wally Joyner of the Angels, who was co-champion in 1986. Alonso triumphed despite having just the third highest home run total on the night (57). 

 

Alonso took home $1 million -- the largest prize in Derby history -- but Guerrero's performance will be the one everyone remembers. Through three rounds, including a marathon second round against Joc Pederson that went to three tiebreakers, Guerrero racked up a Derby-record 91 home runs on Monday night. Along the way, he set a single-round record with 29 home runs in the first and second rounds. Pederson tied that mark in the second round to force the tiebreaker.

 

Ronald Acuña Jr. also had an impressive showing as he hit 25 home runs in the first round before falling to Alonso in the second. In all, the eight contestants combined for 311 home runs, the most ever in a single Derby. 

 

>>Astros Ace Verlander Blasts MLB Over "Juiced Balls"

 

If you've been following along with Major League Baseball this season, you know the baseball is hopping over the fence at alarming rates -- and it's due in part to the ball itself. A combination of changes, including reduced seams and a more-centered "pill," have made the ball more aerodynamic -- capable of carrying further and at higher speeds than past iterations. Hence the league-wide home-run barrage that is threatening seemingly every record on the books. 

 

For the most part, pitchers have remained quiet on the matter. That changed Monday, when Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander used the All-Star Game to air his grievances with MLB and the new baseball. Per ESPN's Jeff Passan, Verlander said quote - "It's a f---ing joke. Major League Baseball's turning this game into a joke. They own Rawlings, and you've got Manfred up here saying it might be the way they center the pill. They own the f---ing company. If any other $40 billion company bought out a $400 million company and the product changed dramatically, it's not a guess as to what happened. We all know what happened. Manfred the first time he came in, what'd he say? He said we want more offense. All of a sudden he comes in, the balls are juiced? It's not coincidence. We're not idiots."

 

The regular-season numbers resemble what would happen if the Home Run Derby balls were used all year long. Over the course of the first half, teams homered 1.37 times per game; the record high entering this season was 1.26 times per game, set in 2017. Long balls are becoming more frequent in AAA as well. 

 

Obviously this isn't the first time MLB has faced these accusations. Rather, the charge seems to pop up every 10 or so years, like clockwork. There was the rabbit-ball epidemic of the late-80s, a slew of allegations in the '90s and '00s, and now this. (Japan had its own juiced ball scandal a few years ago -- and the league later admitted to being behind it.) 

 

Verlander, an eight-time All-Star who is starting his second All-Star Game on Tuesday.

 

>>Red Sox Among AL East Contenders Interested in Mets Starter

 

The Boston Red Sox are the defending World Series champions, but they would not qualify for the playoffs if the season ended tomorrow. Rather, the Red Sox will enter the second half some nine games back in the American League East and two behind in the wild card hunt. 

 

Perhaps predictably, Dave Dombrowski is doing his best to right the course -- including, evidently, seeking rotation help instead of waiting for the end of July, per Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic the Red Sox are seeking starting pitching.

 

The Red Sox have since been linked to numerous names, including New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler, according to the New York Post. The Red Sox also reportedly had scouts at Detroit Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd's last start, and are almost certainly interested in the other usual suspects -- Madison Bumgarner and Tanner Roark among numerous others. 

 

The Red Sox will face some challenges in landing a starter. Foremost, they're already over the luxury tax number by nearly $37 million, per some estimates. Were the Red Sox to exceed the $40 million mark -- as they would with nearly any veteran addition -- they would be charged an additional surtax and would again have their draft pick dropped next June.

 

On top of that, the Red Sox have an underwhelming farm system after years of win-now trades and promotions. Baseball Prospectus ranked them last in the majors entering the season. MLB.com, meanwhile, gives just eight of their prospects a future potential of 50 or better -- meaning, essentially, a league-average player.

 

This isn't to suggest the Red Sox will come up empty in their search -- indeed, making a trade with the Mets for Wheeler would seem plausible, given he's an impending free agent having a subpar season. Those factors are likely, however, to limit the upside of what they can do.

The Red Sox entered this week ranked 18th in the majors in rotation ERA. Nathan Eovaldi is expected to return from the injured list as their closer. 

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Nova gets home win as White Sox beat Cubs 3-1

Ivan Nova pitched shutout ball into the sixth inning for his first win in eight tries at Guaranteed Rate Field, Eloy Jimenez and Jose Abreu homered, and the Chicago White Sox beat the crosstown Cubs 3-1 to salvage a two-game split Sunday.

 

The right-hander delivered in a big way after going 0-4 with an 8.31 ERA in his first seven starts there. Nova (4-7) allowed five hits over 5 2/3 innings, struck out four and walked one.

 

Jimenez hit a long, two-run homer to center against Kyle Hendricks in the fourth.

 

Abreu had three hits, including a solo shot to the right-field bullpen against Brad Brach in the fifth that made it 3-0.

 

Yoan Moncada extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games with a single. Alex Colome worked the ninth for his 20th save in 21 chances, getting Victor Caratini to ground into a game-ending double play after Jason Heyward singled, and the White Sox won for the sixth time in nine games.

 

After winning two in a row, the Cubs lost for the 16th time in 26 games. They went 0 for 8 with men in scoring position and fell to 0-10 when scoring one run or less. Even so, they maintained a half-game lead in the NL Central.

 

Hendricks (7-7) lost his third straight start after going 6-0 in his previous eight to match the longest winning streak of his career. The right-hander gave up two runs and four hits in four innings and threw 86 pitches in his second outing after missing about two weeks because of inflammation in his right shoulder.

 

Robel Garcia homered for the second time in four games since the Cubs called him up from Triple-A Iowa. 

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Longoria's late home run lifts Giants past Cardinals

Evan Longoria homered with one out in the seventh inning to break up Jack Flaherty's bid for a no-hitter, and the Giants held on to beat the Cardinals 1-0 on Sunday.

 

San Francisco won for the seventh time in nine games despite getting only two hits off Flaherty. Alex Dickerson followed Longoria's drive with a bloop single to left that glanced off the glove of All-Star shortstop Paul DeJong.

 

Flaherty was masterful before Longoria's home run. The 23-year-old retired his first 12 batters before walking Alex Dickerson leading off the fifth. He struck out two of the next three and got Kevin Pillar to foul out.

 

But the Cardinals couldn't muster much offensively and Flaherty became the latest St. Louis pitcher to come up short in a no-hit bid. Adam Wainwright twice had no-hitters broken up in the sixth inning this season, against Cincinnati on April 13 and the Cubs on June 2.

 

Flaherty (4-6) struck out six and allowed two hits in seven innings.

 

Jeff Samardzija (6-7) pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed four hits to beat the Cardinals for the first time in four career starts at Oracle Park.

 

Samardzija took a no-hitter into the fifth, pitched out of a jam in the sixth after allowing a one-out double, then got Matt Wieters to fly out with two on and two out in the seventh.

 

Sam Dyson retired three batters. All-Star closer Will Smith pitched the ninth and is 23-for-23 in save opportunities.

 

Yairo Munoz had two hits for St. Louis. The Cardinals finished 4-5 on their road trip and head into the All-Star break two games behind first-place Chicago in the NL Central.
 

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World Cup Results

A second-half goal from Jonathan Dos Santos lifted Mexico past the United States, 1-0, in the 2019 Gold Cup final on Sunday night in Chicago.

 

Both Christian Pulisic and Jozy Altidore missed golden opportunities in the opening minutes to set the tone for the USMNT. Mexico knocked on the door for most of the second half and the winner finally came in the 73rd minute.

 

For the fourth time in history and the second time in a row, the United States women's national team is the world's best. In Lyon, France on Sunday, the Americans beat the Netherlands 2-0 in the final at the 2019 Women's World Cup. Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle both scored in the second half, and Jill Ellis remained unbeaten in World Cup play, becoming the first manager to win the tournament twice.

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Cubs erupt after Maddon's ejection to rip Pirates 11-3

Joe Maddon earned his second ejection this season Thursday providing a spark in what became an 11-3 victory that snapped a four-game losing streak.

 

Maddon's theatrics came with the Cubs nursing a slim one-run lead. An inning after Maddon headed to the clubhouse Chicago broke it open during a five-run fifth that included a two-run single by Baez.

 

Bryant tied a season high with four hits, including a first-inning home run to the seats in right-center off Lyles.

 

Robel Garcia finished a double short of the cycle in his first major league start. Willson Contreras drove in three runs for the Cubs, who moved back into a tie with Milwaukee for first place in the crowded NL Central, where all five teams are separated by 3 1/2 games.

 

Jose Quintana (6-7) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings to win consecutive starts for the first time since April.

 

Kevin Newman had two hits and All-Star Josh Bell boosted his RBI total to a major league-leading 81 with a sacrifice fly, but the Pirates couldn't pull off a four-game home sweep of the Cubs. Lyles surrendered a season-high seven runs and 10 hits, eight of them for extra bases, as Pittsburgh missed out on a chance to get back to .500 for the first time since May 31.
 

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Another big hit from Edman lifts Cardinals past Mariners 5-4

Matt Wieters and Dexter Fowler homered, Tommy Edman came through with another key hit, and the St. Louis Cardinals rallied for a 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

 

Edman put the Cardinals in front for the second straight day with a two-run single in the seventh.

 

Edman connected for a pinch-hit three-run homer during St. Louis' five-run ninth in a 5-2 win Wednesday night. He nearly went deep again, watching his drive down the right field line for a potential grand slam on Thursday hook foul at the last moment. Rather than be bothered by the long strike, Edman worked a nine-pitch at-bat and capitalized with a single to put the Cardinals in front.

Wieters hit a solo shot in the third inning and Fowler added a two-run drive in the fourth. Daniel Ponce de Leon got his first major league win, and Carlos Martinez worked the ninth for his third save. The Cardinals took two of three in the rare interleague series.

 

St. Louis starter Michael Wacha was charged with four runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings, but the Cardinals bullpen was solid for the second straight game. Ponce de Leon (1-0) allowed one baserunner in 2 2/3 innings. Andrew Miller worked out of a jam in the eighth before Martinez finished.

 

J.P. Crawford and Tim Beckham homered for the Mariners, who have dropped six of seven. All-Star Daniel Vogelbach added a run-scoring single.

 

Seattle wasted a chance to tie the game in the eighth. The inning started with Mallex Smith hitting a liner that deflected off John Gant's leg for a base hit. Miller then replaced Gant, and a single by Domingo Santana and a wild pitch put runners at second and third with one out.

 

Miller escaped the threat by striking out Vogelbach and Omar Narvaez, and got a big assist from Wieters keeping a spiked pitch to Narvaez from going to the backstop.

 

Seattle's Tommy Milone (1-3) was solid for five innings following opener Matt Carasiti, but ran into trouble in the seventh. Milone was lifted after a leadoff walk and one-out single, and Matt Festa walked Wieters to load the bases. Edman barely missed a grand slam earlier in the at-bat when a deep fly ball hooked late. On the ninth pitch, Edman lined a slider into right to give St. Louis the lead.

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Tigers use 3 HRs, Boyd's 13 K's to top ChiSox 11-5

Niko Goodrum lined a two-run homer in Detroit's five-run sixth inning, Boyd struck out 13 to tie a career high and the Tigers topped the Chicago White Sox 11-5 on Thursday.

 

Boyd (6-6) allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, and all but three of the outs he recorded came via strikeout. He struck out the side in the first and fourth innings, did not walk a batter and won for the first time since May 28.

 

The 28-year-old left-hander reached double digits in strikeouts for the second straight start, for the fourth time this season and fifth time in his career.

 

Miguel Cabrera added a 454-foot solo shot and doubled, and Jeimer Candelario also homered.

 

Hicks and Nicholas Castellanos each had two RBIs as Detroit rebounded after being swept in a doubleheader on Wednesday to win for just the second time in its past 13 games.

 

White Sox rookie Eloy Jimenez hit a 436-foot two-run homer to center and had three RBIs. Jose Rondon also had a two-run drive off Boyd, but Chicago's winning streak ended at three games and the White Sox failed to climb back to .500.

 

Chicago's Reynoldo Lopez (4-8) retired the first nine Detroit batters, but allowed nine hits and seven runs (six earned) before Goodrum's shot to right chased him with one out in the sixth.

 

Lopez was 7-10 last season with a 3.91 ERA, but this year it has ballooned to 6.34.

 

Detroit jumped ahead 1-0 in the fourth on Castellanos' RBI single. Rondon homered to right in the bottom of the inning to put Chicago ahead 2-1.

 

The Tigers regained the lead when Hicks drove in two runs with a single to center.

 

Detroit broke it open with five runs in the sixth. After Cabrera, Christin Stewart and Harold Castro each doubled, Goodrum lined his seventh homer to right. He had three hits on the day.

 

After Jimenez cut it to 8-4 in the bottom half of the sixth, Cabrera homered to center in the seventh.

Candelario's drive in the ninth completed the scoring.

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Cardinals rally for 5 in 9th to stun Mariners 5-2

Tommy Edman capped St. Louis' big ninth inning with a two-out, three-run home run as the Cardinals rallied for five runs to beat the Seattle Mariners 5-2.

 

St. Louis entered the ninth trailing 2-0 after a masterful performance from Seattle starter Mike Leake, who threw 7 2/3 shutout innings against his former team for the first time. But Seattle's bullpen imploded and the Cardinals took full advantage of the meltdown.

 

Edman struck out in the ninth inning against Roenis Elias with the tying run in scoring position in the opener of the series on Tuesday night. A day later, Edman learned from his mistakes and provided the final blow to an unlikely ninth inning.

 

Austin Adams (1-1) got the final out of the eighth in relief of Leake but struggled in the ninth allowing two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out. Elias took over and was greeted by an RBI single from Dexter Fowler to cut the deficit to 2-1. Yadier Molina followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to score Paul Goldschmidt with the tying run, beating Dylan Moore's throw to the plate.

 

Adams felt Seattle should have had a second out on a potential strike three pitch to Tyler O'Neill.

 

O'Neill eventually walked.

 

John Brebbia (2-3) pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief and struck out six. Andrew Miller struck out the first two batters of the ninth and Carlos Martinez got the final out.

 

The late rally ruined Leake's chance at a win in his first start against the Cardinals since being traded to Seattle during the 2017 season. Leake struck out seven and retired 11 straight at one point. It was the kind of outing that could raise interest from contenders looking to add an arm to their pitching rotation ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.

 

Leake had allowed 11 earned runs in his previous two starts, but the outing was more what he showed in late May and early June where Leake had four consecutive starts of at least seven innings and three earned runs or less.

 

St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright kept the Mariners in check but a high pitch count ended his night early. Wainwright was lifted after 101 pitched following Domingo Santana's single leading off the sixth inning. Santana later scored on a wild pitch. Moore's hit a solo homer off Wainwright in the fifth inning.

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Pirates rally against Kimbrel in 9th to edge Cubs 6-5

Jung Ho Kang scored on Corey Dickerson's sacrifice fly to cap a frantic ninth-inning rally off Kimbrel and lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-5 victory over the struggling Cubs on Wednesday night.

 

Kimbrel (0-1) came on to protect a one-run lead and pick up his second save since signing a three-year deal with Chicago. Instead, he trudged to the dugout with his teammate walked off with his first loss since joining the Cubs. The Pirates used a walk, a flare that turned into a double and some aggressive base running to win their third straight.

 

The closer walked Elias Diaz on a full count with one out. Kang followed with a double to right that Chicago's Willson Contreras couldn't track down. Diaz beat the throw to the plate from Chicago second baseman Addison Russell on Adam Frazier's fielders' choice. Kang sprinted home when Kyle Schwarber's heave from the left field following Dickerson's fly ball was late to set off a giddy celebration.

 

Starling Marte collected three hits for the Pirates. Frazier's streak of hits in seven straight at-bats ended in the first but he singled in the seventh. Melky Cabrera went 3 for 4 and delivered a two-run home run off Chicago starter Yu Darvish but was also thrown out at home by Contreras to end the eighth while trying to score on a single by Colin Moran.

 

All it did was set the stage for Pittsburgh's 21st comeback win of the season.
 

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Cease goes 5 innings in debut, White Sox beat Tigers 7-5

Dylan Cease threw five innings in a winning major league debut, and the White Sox beat the struggling Detroit Tigers 7-5 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

 

The 23-year-old right-hander gave up three runs and four hits. He struck out six and walked four - three during a two-run first in which he also hit a batter - on a charged afternoon.

 

Yolmer Sanchez had two hits, drove in two runs and scored two as the White Sox won for the fourth time in five games. Sanchez hit an RBI double and came around in a two-run fourth against Daniel Norris that put Chicago on top 4-2, and added an RBI single in a two-run sixth.

 

Surging slugger Jose Abreu went 2 for 4 with a double and a run. He is 10 for 19 over his past five games.

 

McCann added an RBI double and run-scoring single, and Ryan Cordell drove in two.

 

Kelvin Herrera gave up an RBI double to Gordon Beckham with two outs in the ninth. Alex Colome then gave up a run-scoring double to Stewart before retiring Nicholas Castellanos for his 19th save in 20 chances.

 

Jeimer Candelario homered after getting hit in the wrist area earlier in the game for Detroit, which has lost 10 of 11.

 

Norris (2-8) is 0-7 in his past 10 starts after getting tagged for six runs and eight hits in five-plus innings.

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Blackhawks Sign Goalie Lehner To $5 Million Deal

Goalie Robin Lehner signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Blackhawks on Monday, Bob McKenzie of TSN reports.

 

This is a bit of a shocker, as Collin Delia appeared poised to take over as Corey Crawford's backup in 2019-20, but the Blackhawks are clearly hoping to replicate the success the Islanders had last season while deploying Lehner and Thomas Greiss as a highly effective one-two punch. 

 

Crawford and Lehner will likely be splitting starts pretty evenly, but if Crawford suffers another head injury, Lehner will be ready to take over as Chicago's unquestioned No. 1 netminder.

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Cardinals, Cubs Lose; White Sox, Tigers Washed Out

>>Pirates Down Cubs

 

Adam Frazier backed up his big Monday night by going 4 for 4 - including a three-run shot off Mike Montgomery shortly after a long rain delay - and scored three runs to lead the Pirates to a 5-1 victory.

 

Starling Marte had two hits for the Pirates and Josh Bell picked up his major-league leading 78th RBI on a sacrifice fly as Pittsburgh backed up an 18-run outburst against Chicago to pull within two games of .500 (41-43) for the first time since June 2.

 

The Cubs managed just six hits against starter Joe Musgrove and five relievers and didn't get a runner past first base until a two-out double by Addison Russell in the eighth. Willson Contreras hit an RBI double in the ninth against Pittsburgh closer Felipe Vazquez to avoid the shutout.

 

Chicago has dropped three straight and four of five to remain a game behind first-place Milwaukee in the Central, where all five teams are separated by 5 1/2 games.

 

Hendricks gave up two runs in three innings with a walk and four strikeouts for Chicago, which has dropped three straight and four of five.

 

Yu Darvish (2-4, 4.98 ERA) looks for his first victory since April 27 on Wednesday. Darvish had a streak of 10 straight no-decisions end in a loss to Atlanta last week.

 

Chris Archer (3-6, 5.50) is scheduled to make his 15th start of the season on Wednesday. Archer left a victory over Milwaukee last Friday after four innings due to discomfort in his left hip.

 

>>Mariners Outlast Cardinals

 

Tim Beckham hit a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning that he punctuated with a little bit of a bat flip, helping the Seattle Mariners snap a four-game losing streak with a 5-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Beckham caught up to another fastball for his third career pinch-hit homer and 13th of the season off Giovanny Gallegos (1-1) in the eighth inning. The hit broke a 4-all tie and sent the Cardinals to their sixth loss in seven games, dropping one game below .500.

 

Omar Narvaez also homered for the Mariners to help build a 4-2 lead through six innings. But Yairo Munoz, in the lineup for the injured Matt Carpenter, tied the game at 4-4 in the seventh with a two-out, two-run homer.

 

Jose Martinez had two solo home runs, off opener Matt Carasiti in the first inning and reliever Wade LeBlanc in the sixth, for the Cardinals.

 

Jack Flaherty paid tribute to Tyler Skaggs on Tuesday night, one day after his close friend was found dead in his Texas hotel room on a road trip with the Los Angeles Angels.

 

The Cardinals starter wrote Skaggs' name in the pitching mound dirt before his start against the Mariners and had his friend on his mind most of the night. The two were so close, and the impact of Skaggs' death so powerful, that St. Louis manager Mike Shildt offered to let Flaherty miss his start. Flaherty declined.

 

Flaherty pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs.

 

Adam Wainwright (5-7, 4.35 ERA) is 5-2 in games pitched against AL West opponents.

Mike Leake (7-7, 4.63 ERA) is 5-2 following a loss (he lost to Milwaukee on June 27), the only current Seattle starter above .500.

 

>>Tigers, White Sox Washed Out

 

A downpour on Tuesday night shouldn't delay the major league debut of Chicago White Sox pitching prospect Dylan Cease

Tuesday's game between the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers was postponed by rain nearly an hour after the scheduled first pitch. It will be made up on Sept. 27 as part of a straight doubleheader.

 

But the 23-year-old Cease is still scheduled to start the first game of a split doubleheader on Wednesday against Detroit, facing lefty Daniel Norris. Chicago left-hander Ross Detwiler will take the mound in the nightcap against Tigers lefty Tyler Alexander, who was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to make his major league debut.

 

Cease hadn't yet been recalled from Triple-A Charlotte following Tuesday's rainout, but the prized White Sox right-hander, weather permitting, is ready to go. Ranked as the No. 18 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline, Cease was part of the five-player trade in July 2017 that sent left-hander Jose Quintana to the crosstown Cubs and brought outfielder Eloy Jimenez to the South Side.

 

Cease's debut isn't intended as a spot start. The White Sox desperately need another arm for their depleted rotation, especially with top prospect Michael Kopech and lefty Carlos Rodon out until next season following Tommy John surgery.

 

Cease is 5-2 with 4.48 ERA in 15 starts at Charlotte. Before pitching a scoreless inning in his last outing on Thursday, he had allowed 13 earned runs over 11 1/3 innings in three previous starts.

Cease faces LHP Norris (2-7, 4.62) in the opener on Wednesday. LHP Alexander takes the mound against Detwiler (1-0, 3.60)

 

The 33-year-old Detwiler earned his first major league win in nearly three years last Friday when he tossed five effective innings against Minnesota. Alexander, a Chicago native, was 2-9, with a 6.23 ERA in 15 outings at Toledo.

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Pirates Blast Off on Cubs

Josh Bell, a first-time All-Star, smashed three home runs to boost his season total to 25, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to an 18-5 rout over the Chicago Cubs on Monday night.

 

Bell, who will be part of the eight-man derby field in Cleveland next week, hit a three-run shot off rookie Adbert Alzolay (1-1) in the first inning, a two-run drive off Alzolay in the second and finished off a four-hit, seven-RBI night by taking new Chicago closer Craig Kimbrel deep in the eighth as Pittsburgh began a pivotal seven-game homestand by pounding out a season-high 23 hits.

 

Adam Frazier finished 5 for 6 and tied a major league record with four doubles. Colin Moran had a career-high five hits for as Pittsburgh boosted its team batting average to .268, fourth-best in the majors.

 

Trevor Williams (3-2) picked up his first win since May 10 and added a key RBI single during the fourth to help the Pirates pull away. Fellow pitcher Steven Brault added a pinch-hit single in the sixth.

 

All eight position players finished with at least one hit.

 

Jung Ho Kang hit his seventh home run of the season off Chicago infielder Daniel Descalso, who made a cameo on the mound in the seventh with the game well out of hand. Jose Osuna hit a solo home run off Kimbrel, who came on to get some work after making his debut with the Cubs last week.

 

Javier Baez hit his 21st home run for Chicago. Kris Bryant and David Bote had two hits each, but the Cubs couldn't keep pace while falling out of first in the NL Central.

 

Alzolay gave up seven runs in 2 2/3 innings with a walk and three strikeouts as his ERA zoomed from 2.08 to 7.15.

 

The Cubs fell a game behind Milwaukee with their second straight loss and have struggled on the road. Chicago is just 16-24 away from Wrigley Field and 7-11 over its last 18 games.

 

Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.36 ERA) returns Tuesday from a stint on the injured list due to right shoulder inflammation. Hendricks is 4-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 13 starts against Pittsburgh.

 

Joe Musgrove (6-7, 4.27) is 2-2 with a 1.37 ERA in four starts against the Cubs.

 

>>Angels LHP Skaggs Found Dead in Texas at Age 27

 

The Los Angeles Angels announced left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs died Monday. Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in Southlake, Texas, according to police. No further details about the cause of death are available at this time.

 

In response, the Angels and Rangers did not play their scheduled contest on Monday evening. Their game will be made up in August. The rest of the three games in the series are expected to be played this week.

 

Angels GM Billy Eppler addressed reporters Monday night, saying Skaggs "touched a lot of people's lives."

 

The Southlake Police Department issued this release, stating no foul play is suspected. Suicide is also "not suspected," a police spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times.

 

Skaggs, who would've turned 28 on July 13, had pitched in the majors in parts of seven seasons. Most recently, he started against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon. Originally the No. 40 pick in the 2009 draft, Skaggs was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a package for Dan Haren. The Angels later reacquired Skaggs as part of a three-team deal that also included Mark Trumbo and Adam Eaton. 

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Blues, Blackhawks Free Agency Notes

Former Chicago Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin signed a seven-year, $81.5 million contract with the Rangers on Monday, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports.

 

New York has reeled in the biggest fish in the free agency pond, further turbocharging a rebuild that has quickly moved into the competitive phase thanks to the offseason additions of Panarin, Jacob Trouba and second overall pick Kaapo Kakko. 

 

The Russian winger has 320 points in 322 career NHL appearances between the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets. He should instantly slot in on the top line and No. 1 power-play unit on Broadway.

 

Ryan Carpenter signed a three-year, $3 million contract with the Blackhawks on Monday, Chris Kuc of The Athletic reports.

 

Carpenter appeared in 68 games with the Golden Knights in 2018-19, tallying five goals and 18 points over that span. The 28-year-old will likely center the Blackhawks' fourth line while also contributing as a penalty killer in 2019-20.

 

Winger Sammy Blais signed a one-year, $850,000 extension with the St. Louis Blues on Monday, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic reports.

 

Blais isn't a big scorer with seven points in 43 career games, but he brings much-needed energy in a bottom-six role. Keeping the 2014 sixth-rounder on hand was an easy decision for the Stanley Cup champs given his affordability and chemistry with the rest of the locker room.

 

Centerman Matt Duchene signed a seven-year, $56 million contract with the Nashville Predators on Monday, Adam Vingan of The Athletic reports.

 

Nashville already has all of its defensive regulars under contract for the 2019-20 season, so it makes sense that the Predators would turn their attention to bolstering the top-six forward group upon this major signing of Duchene, with the average annual value on his contract ($8.0 million) matching that of revered assistant captain Ryan Johansen. 

 

The Predators averaged a putrid two goals per game in an abbreviated 2019 postseason run, meaning Duchene -- an accomplished top-six, power-play forward with a career average of 0.75 points per game between the Avalanche, Senators and Blue Jackets -- will be relied upon heavily, just as he was in his most recent stint with Columbus.

 

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky signed a seven-year, $70 million contract with the Florida Panthers on Monday.

 

This deal makes Bobrovsky the second highest paid goaltender in the NHL behind Carey Price, and for good reason, as he's been one of the best backstops in the league since joining Columbus in 2012-13, compiling a 213-130-27 record while maintaining a 2.41 GAA and .921 save percentage through 374 appearances spread over seven seasons. 

 

The two-time Vezina Trophy winner will be 37 years old by the time his contract with Florida is up, and he'll almost certainly have declined by then, but the Panthers are trying to compete for a Stanley Cup now, so they'll worry about the long-term ramifications of this deal later. 

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Cardinals, Sox Win Sunday; Cubs Lose

>>Cardinals Solve Padres

 

Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer with two outs in the 11th inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the San Diego Padres 5-3 Sunday and snap a five-game losing streak.

 

Wieters' shot off lefty Brad Wieck (0-1) reached the balcony on the fourth level of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner at Petco Park. It was his fourth and came with Kolten Wong aboard on an infield single.

 

Manny Machado hit a two-run home run in the fourth, giving the Padres three players with at least 20, and Eric Hosmer had three hits. San Diego had its four-game winning streak snapped.

 

Carlos Martinez (2-0) pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief for the win and Dominic Leone got the final two outs for his first save.

 

Machado joined Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe, who each have 24 homers, among Padres players with at least 20.

 

Jack Flaherty (4-5, 4.75) is scheduled to start Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series at Seattle.

 

>>Sox Down Twins

 

Lucas Giolito allowed one hit in five innings and the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 on Sunday.

Yoan Moncada homered and he and Jose Abreu had three hits apiece for the White Sox, who won two of three against the AL Central-leading Twins.

 

Nelson Cruz homered for the Twins, who had won eight of nine against Chicago.

 

Giolito (11-2) struck out four and lowered his ERA to 2.72 before a nearly three-hour rain delay forced his exit. Giolito was coming off a loss to the Chicago Cubs and a no-decision against Boston after he went 9-0 in his previous 11 starts.

 

Moncada hit a two-run home run in the third for his 14th of the season. Alex Colome got four outs to earn his 18th save out of 19 opportunities.

 

Lewis Thorpe (0-1), a 23-year-old left-hander from Melbourne, Australia, made his major league debut for the Twins. He allowed two runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked two in five innings. Thorpe was 0-1 with a 4.08 ERA in June at Triple-A Rochester.

 

Abreu, Giolito and catcher James McCann were selected from the White Sox.

 

Reynaldo Lopez (4-7, 6.12) starts Tuesday's series opener against Detroit and LHP Matthew Boyd (5-6, 3.72). Lopez is 1-3 with a 7.61 ERA in his last seven starts.

 

>>Reds Down Cubs

 

Eugenio Suarez ended his slump with Cincinnati's longest homer of the season, Anthony DeSclafani pitched six scoreless innings and the Reds held off the Chicago Cubs 8-6 Sunday.

Phillip Ervin and Nick Senzel drove in two runs each, and Raisel Iglesias escaped with a six-out save despite allowing Jason Heyward's three-run homer in the ninth. Kyle Schwarber also had a late connection for the Cubs.

 

The Cubs have dropped 3 of 4 and finished June 14-15, their first losing month since May 2017.

Yasiel Puig stole two bases a day after a shouting match with Chicago reliever Pedro Strop - Puig was upset after being hit by a 3-0 pitch. He scored after both stolen bases thanks to Ervin's bloop singles, including one during a four-run eighth. Senzel added a two-run single during the big frame.

 

DeSclafani (5-4) ended his day by striking out David Bote with two runners on and celebrated with a fist pump. He struck out seven and allowed five hits and a walk.

 

Schwarber capped a three-run seventh with his 18th homer. Chicago got the potential go-ahead runs to second and third in the eighth before Iglesias coaxed Albert Almora Jr. into an inning-ending foul popup. Heyward's shot in the ninth cut the deficit to two, but Iglesias was able to finish his 14th save.

 

Lester allowed four runs - three earned - on five hits and two walks. He tied his season high with eight strikeouts.

 

Adbert Alzolay (1-0) makes his third career appearance, second start and first against the Pirates in the opener of a four-game series at Pittsburgh on Monday.

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