Major League Baseball
MLB News Wire
  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Boston's Ortiz questionable for Friday
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- The Boston Red Sox are not sure what to expect from their most dangerous hitter, David Ortiz, when they take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series starting on Friday at Tropicana Field.

    • Ortiz, who hit four homers in the first three games of a four-game series against the Blue Jays, had to leave the series finale Thursday with back spasms.

      He could not finish his at-bat in the ninth inning of an 8-0 loss to the Blue Jays. After checking his swing on a ball, he left in some discomfort and

      outfielder Jonny Gomes took over the at-bat and hit a game-ending fly ball.

      "In that final check swing, he felt some spasm in the upper-mid back, we're still examining him right now, and it's right now day-to-day," manager John

      Farrell said.

      Ortiz said he felt a "pop or something" in his upper back on his final at-bat in Wednesday's 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays. It had cleared up and he was able to

      play on Thursday.

      "I made like a rough move on that pitch, like tried to go and stop," Ortiz said. "It pulled me a little bit more today. Hopefully it's not anything serious.

      We'll see how it feels tomorrow."

      He did not know if he would require further time off. Friday is the anticipated rematch with Rays left-hander David Price, who hit two Red Sox, including

      Ortiz, on May 30 that started a bench-clearing incident. Price said he did not like the way Ortiz admired a home run in last year's playoffs.

      Ortiz could not say whether he will be able to face Price on Friday.

      "I don't know," Ortiz said. "We haven't talked about it yet. ... Pretty sure I can probably come in and see how it goes. But hopefully it's nothing serious."

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Soria will be Tigers' seventh-inning man
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Joakim Soria ranked eighth in the American League with 17 saves while with the Texas Rangers this season, but he will have a different role after he was acquired by the Detroit Tigers in a trade Wednesday.

    • Joe Nathan, who has 21 saves, remains the Tigers' closer, and Joba Chamberlain, who leads the league with 22 holds, retains his place as the eighth-inning setup man.

      That leaves the seventh inning for Soria.

      "I think it was more important for us to get somebody who could pitch late in the game, that can pitch in the seventh, eighth or ninth," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a conference call with reporters. "That was really our main focus."

      Soria, a right-hander, has been especially tough against right-handed hitters this season, holding them to a .089 average (4-for-45), second best among all major league relievers.

      Soria wasn't needed Thursday as the Tigers got seven innings from Max Scherzer in a 6-4 win over the Detroit Tigers. Chamberlain gave up a run in the eighth, and Nathan struck out the side in the ninth for the save.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Mariners' bring back Morales to boost offense
    By The Sports Xchange

    SEATTLE -- Playing the part of trade-deadline buyers while trying to recapture lightning in a bottle Thursday, the Seattle Mariners acquired veteran Kendrys Morales.

    • In exchange for the designated hitter/first baseman, Seattle sent reliever Stephen Pryor to the Minnesota Twins.

      Morales, 31, was a key contributor to the Mariners in 2013, when he led the club in batting (.277) and RBIs (80) while hitting 23 home runs. He was such a success in his one season with Seattle that the Mariners tried to re-sign him to an extension, only to be thwarted in their efforts by Morales and his agent, Scott Boras.

      Because any other team that signed him this season would have had to compensate the Mariners with a draft pick, Morales went unsigned until after the June draft, at which time compensation was no longer required. Morales and the Twins agreed to a one-year deal worth $7.4 million -- the prorated amount of a $12 million contract had he played an entire season.

      The Mariners have been desperate for some pop from the right side of the plate, and the switch-hitting Morales has that potential -- although he hit only one home run in 154 at-bats with the Twins. If he can put up numbers anywhere near his production from 2013, it would give the Mariners a potentially lethal middle of the lineup that also includes second baseman Robinson Cano and third baseman Kyle Seager.

      If nothing else, the deal gives Seattle its most intimidating set of 3-4-5 hitters in about a decade, since players such as Bret Boone, Edgar Martinez and John Olerud were anchoring the lineup.

      Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said that Morales' numbers with the Twins (.234, 18 RBIs) were of little concern in the deal.

      "He's in a pennant race, and now he has technically spring training under his belt -- unfortunately he had to do it at the major league level," Zduriencik told reporters, referring to all the time Morales missed before going straight to the Twins without spring training or any minor league at-bats. "We all feel that Kendrys will hit his stride and be the Kendrys Morales we all know."

      The Mariners did have to give up a young flamethrower to acquire Morales, but Pryor, 25, isn't nearly the prospect he was at the beginning of last season. Pryor was looked at as a potential closer of the future before he tore both latissimus dorsi and triceps muscles, requiring separate surgeries within a matter of four months during the 2013 season. Pryor spent all but one game this season at Triple-A Tacoma after rehabilitating all offseason.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Tigers' Scherzer tops Angels for 12th win
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Good pitching always beats good hitting.

    • Or not.

      Thursday's game between Detroit and Los Angeles was billed as a premier pitching matchup between two 11-game winners -- the Angels' Garrett Richards and the Tigers' Max Scherzer.

      However, the Angels and Tigers also happen to be two of the best-hitting teams in the American League.

      In the end, it was third baseman Nick Castellanos' two-run double in the sixth inning that gave the Tigers the lead for good in a 6-4 victory.

      The Tigers began the night ranked first in the league in batting average, hits, total bases, doubles, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. The Angels were first in runs and RBIs, and second in average, hits, total bases, doubles and on-base percentage.

      When push came to shove, it was the Tigers hitters who did a better job of exploiting the opposing pitcher's mistakes to come away with a win.

      "I cannot say he was hittable," Tigers right fielder Torii Hunter said of Richards. "It was not fun. He made some mistakes, and we live off mistakes. We don't live off pitchers' pitches. He made a couple mistakes, he hung a slider or curveball to me and I was able to capitalize on it. Other than that, Garrett was filthy."

      Hunter's RBI double off Richards in the sixth inning cut the Angels' lead to 3-2. Castellanos followed with his two-run double to put Detroit up 4-3, and the Tigers held the lead the rest of the way.

      Scherzer was perfect through three innings and worked himself out of a jam in the fourth before the Angels got to him in the fifth. Los Angeles collected four hits in the inning, including an RBI infield single by designated hitter C.J. Cron and a two-run single by right fielder Kole Calhoun to establish a 3-1 lead.

      "They were able to get to me there, they put together some really good at-bats against me," Scherzer said. "They grind each at-bat, foul pitches off and were able to capitalize on some mistakes. I made some good pitches, and they were able to put the ball in play. They got some hits that way to keep the inning going."

      Scherzer had just the one bad inning. Outside of that, he retired the side in order five times and kept the Angels from mounting any serious scoring threats.

      Scherzer (12-3) gave up three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out 11 in seven innings. He moved into a tie for the major league lead with 12 wins.

      "I thought against Scherzer we did a good job," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He struck out 11, but for the most part we executed well, moved runners over. Kole had the big hit to give us a lead in the fifth, and we had other opportunities."

      The three-run sixth spelled the end for Richards, who gave up four runs on seven hits and two walks. It marked only the fourth time in his 21 starts he allowed more than three runs in a game, and the first time since May 30.

      "I think some things might have caught up to him," Scioscia said of Richards (11-3). "His command was a little bit off early, but his velocity was good and his movement was terrific. His slider was there, but he got some pitches in some zones where those guys caught up to them."

      The Tigers added single runs off the Angels' bullpen in the seventh and eighth innings to give themselves a cushion. The Angels scored once in the eighth against Tigers reliever Joba Chamberlain to narrow their deficit to 6-4, but Joe Nathan struck out the side in the ninth for his 21st save.

      With the win, the Tigers increased their American League Central lead to seven games, with the Kansas City Royals now in second place ahead of the Cleveland Indians. The Angels fell three games behind the Oakland A's in the AL West.

      NOTES: The Angels reached 60 wins in their first 100 games for the sixth time in franchise history. Three of the previous five times, they reached the playoffs. ... Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera led the majors hitting with runners in scoring position through Wednesday, batting .385 (35-for-91) in those situations. He went 0-for-2 with RBI chances Thursday. ... Angels CF Mike Trout led the majors with 58 extra-base hits and 226 total bases entering play Thursday. He went 1-for-4 with a double in the series opener against Detroit. ... Tigers CF Austin Jackson is hitting .383 (31-for-81) with 18 runs, 10 doubles, two triples, one homer and 10 RBIs since July 2.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Aoki knocks in winner as Royals top Indians in extras
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It took 14 innings, but the Kansas City Royals pulled out a victory over the Cleveland Indians.

    • Nori Aoki singled home the winning run in the 14th inning as the Kansas City Royals topped the Cleveland Indians 2-1 Thursday night.

      "It was huge," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We were really struggling at that point to make anything happen.

      The Royals (51-50) won their third consecutive game and moved a half-game above the Indians in the American League Central. Cleveland (51-51) fell for the fourth time in five games.

      Aoki's one-out single scored right fielder Lorenzo Cain, who began the inning with an infield single stole second. Aoki was serving as the designated hitter for the first time in his career.

      "Lo beats out an infield single and steals second and Nori comes up with the big base hit to end the ball game," Yost said. "Our bullpen was phenomenal. Our starting pitcher was phenomenal, but unfortunately so was there's. Danny (Duffy) was absolutely outstanding. Danny was unbelievable. (Corey) Kluber was unbelievable."

      Aaron Crow (5-1) struck out all three batters he faced in the 14th. He was the seventh Royals pitcher. Marc Rzepczynski (0-3) allowed one run in one-plus inning.

      The Indians tied the score in the ninth when catcher Yan Gomes' two-out single scored first baseman Carlos Santana, who drew a leadoff walk. Kansas City closer Greg Holland blew just his second save in 28 opportunities.

      Kansas City's Mike Moustakas scored an unearned run in the eighth. The Royals third baseman stroked a fly ball double to left. When left fielder Ryan Raburn picked up the ball in foul territory, his awful throw wound up in center, allowing Moustakas to come home.

      "When Moose scored the run, I thought how crazy is this," Yost said.

      Raburn said it was "a tough one to swallow."

      "My teammates picked me up but then we weren't able to hold on," Raburn said. "If it was a game where we were way ahead we'd have had a good laugh about it. With the way the game was playing out I don't think anybody was more mad than I was. I was coming up to throw to the infield and I saw our infielders going towards third. I tried to hold up and I couldn't. The ball slipped out of my hand."

      Indians manager Terry Francona said Raburn "made a good effort and didn't catch it, and we had the shift on."

      "He tried to hold up and the ball slipped out of his hand," Francona said. "It's a fluky thing. Just a lot of guys trying real hard but it didn't end up well."

      Indians right-hander Corey Kluber limited the Royals to two hits and one unearned run over nine innings. Kluber, who won his first three July starts, struck out 10 and walked none.

      "Maybe it's the fact that they're aggressive," Kluber said of the strikeouts. "With aggressive teams, if you execute your pitches you can have success."

      He lost his perfect-game bid in the seventh on second baseman Omar Infante's single with one out. He said he thought Moustakas' eighth inning double was going foul.

      "It's one of those things, one of the weird things that happens in this game," Kluber said.

      Royals left-hander Danny Duffy limited the Indians to two hits and no runs before departing after 107 pitches and seven innings.

      "It was a good outing by Kluber," Duffy said. "I was just trying to stay in there and compete and keep my team in the game. "It was great to see Aoki get that hit. It couldn't happen to a better guy. He put a good swing on it and laced it down the line. Cain came in with a slide home. Overall, it was just a great team win. It's something we needed big time."

      Royals right-hander Wade Davis weaved his way into and out of trouble in the eighth. The Indians loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, but center fielder Michael Brantley grounded into an inning-ending double play.

      Duffy, who lost his three previous starts, did not allow a baserunner until first baseman Carlos Santana led off the fifth with a single to left. Duffy walked Raburn to put two men on with no outs, but he retired the next three to pitch out of the jam, striking out Gomes and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall to end the inning.

      In the first half of the game, the only thing close to a Kansas City hit was Alex Gordon's sinking liner that Cleveland left fielder Mike Aviles caught to end the fourth.

      NOTES: 1B Eric Hosmer was not in the Royals' lineup for the third time in four games because of a bruised right hand. ... Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera has not played since exiting Monday with lower back spasms. ... The Royals sent UT Jimmy Paredes to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations. Paredes was designated for assignment July 16. The Royals acquired Paredes on Feb. 17 off waivers from the Orioles. He went 2-for-10 in nine games for Kansas City. ... Indians RHP Justin Masterson, who is on the disabled list due to right knee inflammation, will make a rehab start Friday for Triple-A Columbus.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    A's finally cut ties with RHP Johnson
    By The Sports Xchange

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Struggling right-hander Jim Johnson's nightmare season in Oakland ended Thursday morning when the Athletics designated him for assignment.

    • The A's signed the former Baltimore Oriole as a free agent to be their closer. Johnson saved 101 games over the previous two season with Baltimore, but he struggled early with the A's and quickly lost the ninth-inning job.

      In his A's debut on Opening Night, he gave up two runs on two hits in one-third of an inning, taking the loss in a 2-0 defeat against Cleveland. A's fans loudly booed him as he walked off the mound, and he was booed repeatedly after every poor outing at home.

      "It was very tough," A's manager Bob Melvin said of his talk with Johnson. "There's a human side to all this, too. The performance wasn't great, but it's not like he wasn't accountable. It's not like he didn't feel bad about it. Like last night, the last thing he wants is for the rest of the bullpen to have to come in and be used in a (blowout) game like that.

      "I just couldn't get him in a spot where he could get on a roll. I feel awful about it, too, because it's my job to get him in a position to succeed, and it just didn't happen here. It's not like the stuff was any different. He just had a tough time showing some consistency here."

      Johnson went 4-2 with a 6.92 ERA and a .353 opponents batting average -- the highest in the American League -- in 38 appearances for the A's. He had two saves and one blown save. Johnson allowed 12 runs on 13 hits in 4 1/3 innings over his final five games with Oakland. He gave up four runs and four hits without retiring a batter Wednesday night in the Athletics' 9-7 victory against the Houston Astros.

      "It started out bad for him, and he just couldn't get into a spot where he could find himself and not have to think about some of the failures or whatever that were going on," Melvin said before his team's 13-1 victory against Houston. "It just kept, a good word is snowballing on him.

      "A lot of times when you get dug into a hole like this, maybe the best thing for him is to get a change of scenery, a breath of fresh air. So it wouldn't surprise me if somebody picked him up and he started to pitch a lot better."

      A's closer Sean Doolittle said he kept expecting Johnson to turn things around.

      "Because the attitude and the work ethic he brought to the field every day in spite of maybe the numbers and struggles on the field, you wouldn't have known that he was struggling based on the way he was going about his business every day," Doolittle said. "And I think that says a lot about him as a person and a teammate that he wasn't going to let his struggles affect the bullpen or the team because there are guys that kind of wear it on their sleeve and bring it around. I have a ton of respect for him as a person and a teammate and a pitcher. I just feel really bad for him that things didn't work out the way we all hoped they would."

      Getting booed at home from Game 1 on appeared to affect Johnson. He went 0-2 with a 12.21 ERA at Oakland and 4-0 with a 4.10 ERA on the road.

      "It's hard to get booed at home," Melvin said. "Nobody likes it. Whether that weighed on him or not, I don't know. That's more of a question for him. But it was pretty consistent, and my guess is it probably affected him some."

      Doolittle said, "He and the fans, they got off on the wrong foot. There were a couple times where it looked like he was going to turn the corner and pitch more the way he is capable of pitching. It just never worked out."

      The A's called up Evan Scribner to replace Johnson in the bullpen, and Scribner pitched a scoreless inning to close out Thursday's win.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Chen's fielding, pitching push Orioles past Mariners
    By The Sports Xchange

    SEATTLE -- Wei-Yin Chen made a stunning play to prevent the Mariners from scoring a first-inning run, then he did his part to make sure Seattle didn't come close to scoring again Thursday night.

    • After using his glove to scoop and throw the ball for a out at home plate in the first, the Orioles left-hander didn't allow another runner past first base. He threw eight innings of five-hit ball in Baltimore's 4-0 win over the Mariners.

      "He took us as far as he could," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said after Chen's 109-pitch effort. "That's about as good as he's pitched."

      The closest Seattle got to a run came in the first inning, when leadoff hitter James Jones tried to score from third base on a slow chopper hit by second baseman Robinson Cano in front of the mound. Chen scooped the ball with his mitt and tossed it home in one motion, recording the second out of the inning when catcher Caleb Joseph tagged out Jones at the plate.

      "I saw the runner was going, so I just did what I needed to do to get the ball to the plate," Chen said through an interpreter. "I had a lot of practice on those in spring training, and that's the result of all that practice."

      Chen and reliever Darren O'Day combined on the shutout, while Baltimore (56-45) got all the offense it needed in the third inning. The Orioles rode a four-run third inning, highlighted by Delmon Young's three-run homer, to the victory.

      Chen (11-3) won his fourth consecutive start and held an opponent without a run for only the second time this season.

      "My slider and curveball worked well today, and I had good command of my fastball," Chen said. "That's why I was able to pitch so well today."

      Young provided the big blow with a three-run homer in the third inning. He hit the first pitch he saw from Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma over the left field fence for a 4-0 lead.

      "(Iwakuma) elevated his slider," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said, "and you can't do that against a guy who hits the slider so well."

      Iwakuma only had one bad inning, but it was enough to saddle the right-hander with his first loss in almost a month. Iwakuma (8-5) gave up four runs, all of them coming in the third inning, on seven hits in seven innings. He did not allow a walk, extending his streak to 35 2/3 consecutive innings without issuing one.

      Since his previous loss on June 25, Iwakuma was 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA through four July starts heading into Thursday.

      The Mariners, who acquired veteran slugger Kendrys Morales from the Minnesota Twins earlier in the day but had yet to welcome him to the team, were held to five hits. Seattle (53-49) has scored just three runs during a three-game losing streak.

      "We're not swinging the bats well right now," McClendon said. "We just have to keep grinding it out. When you don't hit, you don't look good."

      The Orioles had eight hits, five of which came in the third inning.

      In the third inning, the first four Baltimore batters reached base. Third baseman Ryan Flaherty and catcher Caleb Joseph collected singles before right fielder Nick Markakis drove in the first run with a single. Young then hit the first pitch from Iwakuma over the left field fence to open up a 4-0 lead.

      The seldom-used Young, who went 2-for-4, collected his first home run and first multiple-hit game of July.

      The Mariners had a chance to get on the board first, when Jones walked to lead off the bottom of the first inning and moved to third base on a stolen base and groundout.

      After he was retired on Cano's grounder, McClendon challenged the call at the plate, which was upheld. Afterward, the Seattle manager was scratching his head about the new rule that forbids catchers to block the plate. Joseph's foot was in the way when Jones attempted to make a headfirst slide, but the catcher was not called for obstruction.

      "I'm a little puzzled with that," McClendon said. "(Joseph) didn't have the ball, and he was in front of the plate. To me, that's blocking the plate."

      NOTES: The Mariners made a pre-deadline deal, sending RHP Stephen Pryor, a hard-throwing reliever, to Minnesota to reacquire DH Kendrys Morales. The 31-year-old Morales hit 23 homers and had a team-high 80 RBIs for Seattle last year but opted not to re-sign with the team. He played 39 games for the Twins after being signed in June, hitting .234 with one home run and 18 RBIs. ... Orioles 3B Manny Machado (back spasms) was out of the lineup for the third game in a row. ... Seattle placed INF Willie Bloomquist (knee contusion) on the 15-day disabled list, selected SS Chris Taylor from Triple-A Tacoma and recalled DH Jesus Montero from Tacoma. The Mariners had a roster spot available after optioning RHP Taijuan Walker back to Tacoma after his Wednesday start. ... Baltimore acquired OF/INF Jimmy Paredes from Kansas City for future considerations. Paredes was subsequently optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Paredes, 25, was hitting .305 for Triple-A Omaha.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Game roundup: Hamels, Phillies handle Giants
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHILADELPHIA -- Cole Hamels played stopper Thursday afternoon, pitching the Philadelphia Phillies to a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park.

    • Hamels (5-5) stymied the first-place Giants with eight innings of one-run ball, striking out 10 to help the Phillies avoid a four-game sweep. Jonathan Papelbon threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning to notch his 24th save.

      The Phillies pushed across a run in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI single by Marlon Byrd. The Giants got to Hamels in the top of the fifth inning to knot the score on Ehire Adrianza's two-out base hit to score Gregor Blanco.

      Chase Utley quickly snatched the lead back for the Phillies with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, making it 2-1.

      Yankees 4, Rangers 2

      NEW YORK -- Brandon McCarthy pitched six innings and New York held off Texas at Yankee Stadium.

      Chase Headley had an RBI single, Francisco Cervelli delivered a run-scoring double and left fielder Brett Gardner lifted a sacrifice fly for the Yankees, who are 6-1 during a 10-game homestand. Brian McCann added an insurance run in the eighth inning with an RBI double.

      McCarthy (2-0) held the Rangers to one run and four hits. Elvis Andrus had an RBI single and first baseman J.P. Arencibia homered for Texas, which has lost 17 of 20.

      A's 13, Astros 1

      OAKLAND, Calif. -- Brandon Moss hit his third grand slam of the season, Jeff Samardzija threw eight strong innings and Oakland routed Houston at O.co Coliseum.

      Making his fourth start since being traded to the A's from the Chicago Cubs, Samardzija (2-1) allowed one run and five hits in eight innings. He struck out six and walked none.

      The A's led 4-1 entering the bottom of the sixth inning when Moss made it 8-1 with one swing of the bat against Astros reliever Anthony Bass, launching a first-pitch fastball to right field for the grand slam.

      Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 0

      TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman allowed one hit in seven innings and Juan Francisco homered and drove in four runs as Toronto defeated Boston for its third win in a row.

      Stroman (6-2) did not allow a hit until Shane Victorino led off the seventh inning with a soft single to center. The rookie right-hander struck out seven and allowed two walks to win his second start in a row.

      Francisco tripled and scored a run in the second inning, hit a two-run homer in the third and had a two-run single in the fifth. Toronto's 14 hits included three doubles and two RBIs by Melky Cabrera.

      Marlins 3, Braves 2

      ATLANTA -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit two doubles and drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the ninth inning against Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel to give Miami a come-from-behind win.

      Saltalamacchia, a former Atlanta Braves farmhand, completed a ninth-inning rally by a lining a single to center field that scored Marcell Ozuna, who slid in ahead of an accurate throw from B.J. Upton.

      Ozuna struck out, but he raced to first base when the ball bounced away from catcher Evan Gattis. Ozuna advanced to second base on Kimbrel's second wild pitch of the inning and scored on Saltalamacchia's two-out hit.

      Brewers 9, Mets 1

      MILWAUKEE -- Matt Garza held New York to two hits over eight innings, and Milwaukee hit three home runs in the win.

      Garza (7-7) allowed one run while striking out four and issuing one walk.

      Jonathan Lucroy and Khris Davis hit solo homers for the Brewers, and Ryan Braun added a two-run shot. Lucroy, Davis and Chris Gomez each had two hits, and Lucroy, Davis, Braun and Jean Segura each knocked in two runs.

      White Sox 5, Twins 2

      MINNEAPOLIS -- Hector Noesi allowed two runs and three hits in 7 2/3 innings, and Chicago topped Minnesota.

      Noesi threw his longest outing in more than two years. He struck out four and did not issue a walk. Daniel Webb got the last out in the eighth, and Jake Petricka pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save.

      Adam Eaton, whose third-inning single gave Chicago a 1-0 lead, finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Alexei Ramirez and Conor Gillaspie added two hits apiece for the White Sox.

      Padres 13, Cubs 3

      CHICAGO -- San Diego jumped to an early lead and took advantage of shaky Chicago pitching in a ninth-run sixth inning on the way to a blowout victory.

      Padres right-hander Tyson Ross (9-10) struck out a career-high 11. He gave up one run on five hits and one walk in six innings.

      Seth Smith went 3-for-4 with two runs, Will Venable finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Rene Rivera went 3-for-5 with a homer, two runs and three RBIs for San Diego.

      Royals 2, Indians 1 (14 innings)

      KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nori Aoki singled home the winning run as Kansas City topped Cleveland.

      Aoki's one-out single scored right fielder Lorenzo Cain, who began the inning with a walk and stole second. Aoki was serving as the designated hitter for the first time in his career.

      Aaron Crow (5-1) struck out all three batters he faced in the 14th. He was the seventh Royals pitcher. Marc Rzepczynski (0-3) allowed one run in one-plus inning.

      Orioles 4, Mariners 0

      SEATTLE -- Wei-Yin Chen threw eight innings of five-hit ball, and Baltimore rode a four-run third inning to a win over Seattle.

      Chen (11-3) won his fourth consecutive start and held an opponent without a run for only the second time this season.

      Orioles designated hitter Delmon Young provided the big blow, a three-run homer in the third inning. The seldom-used Young, who went 2-for-4, collected his first home run and first multiple-hit game of July.

      Tigers 6, Angels 4

      ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Nick Castellanos' two-run double capped a three-run sixth inning that propelled Detroit to a win over Los Angeles.

      Detroit's Max Scherzer moved into a tie for the major league lead with his 12th win. He allowed three runs in seven innings while striking out 11. The Angels' Garrett Richards, who was aiming for his 12th win, gave up four runs in six innings.

      Richards and the Angels had a 3-1 lead through five innings, but the Tigers broke through in the sixth, Torii Hunter (RBI double) and Castellanos (two-run double) coming up with the key hits.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Padres bats come to life in win over Cubs
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- The San Diego Padres bats came to life with the biggest run production of the season Thursday.

    • The Padres jumped to an early lead and took advantage of shaky Chicago Cubs pitching with a nine-run sixth on the way to a 13-3 victory.

      "Since the break you've seen us score a little bit more runs and some guys are starting to climb a lift bit with their averages," said manager Bud Black after the Padres (45-56) pounded out 14 hits against six Cubs pitchers. "All in all, a very good offensive night for a number of players, everyone contributed."

      The win was the second straight and gave the Padres two-of-three in series and four wins in seven meetings with the Cubs (41-59) this season.

      San Diego right-hander Tyson Ross (9-10) won his second straight, giving up one earned run on five hits while he walked one and struck out a career-high 11.

      "The fastball-slider combination was there and it's devastating," Black said. "He threw some fastballs up by some guys, he threw some fastballs on the inside corner to some lefties that had some comeback action for a called third strike. Good stuff."

      Right fielder Seth Smith was 3-for-4 with two runs, center fielder Will Venable was 3-for-5 with two RBIs while catcher Rene Rivera went 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs.

      Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro was 2-for-3 and recorded his 800th career hit in the eighth.

      Chicago pitching collapsed in the sixth inning as San Diego sent 15 batters to the plate and put the game out of reach.

      "I hit twice in that inning and we scored nine runs, it was awesome," said Rivera. "You could see everybody in the dugout was cheering each other and supporting each other. It was awesome, good times."

      Cubs right-handed starter Edwin Jackson (5-11) trailed 3-1 when he left the game with right hand cramping after facing two batters in the sixth.

      "It was a little frustrating when you go from feeling pretty good and feeling like you could go deep in a game and then all of a sudden you can't throw a strike," Jackson said. "'It was one of those things when something can go wrong it does."

      Right-handed reliever Brian Schlitter entered and the roof caved in as the Padres ultimately sent 15 batters to the plate.

      Schlitter loaded the bases and gave up three runs with none out. The big blow -- a two-RBI single by third baseman Chris Nelson -- gave the Padres a 6-1 lead.

      He again loaded the bases when he hit Ross with a pitch and two more runs came home on shortstop Alexi Amarista's single up the middle for an 8-1 lead.

      The bases were loaded again when Schlitter was pulled for left-hander Wesley Wright, still with none out.

      Wright didn't fare much better, giving up four more runs -- three the responsibility of Schlitter -- before Ross grounded to second to end the inning.

      "We tried everything we could to kind of minimize the damage but it ended up escalating," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "It seemed like no matter who we used today, it kept getting away and it kind of steamrolled."

      Jackson was eventually credited with giving up four runs on seven hits. Jackson walked one and struck out four.

      The Cubs scored two runs in the eighth to narrow the margin as they lost their second straight and 13th in 16 games.

      The Padres scored twice in the first with two outs. Right fielder Seth Smith singled to left and came home on first baseman Yasmani Grandal's triple to right. Grandal scored on Venable's RBI base hit to center.

      The Cubs got a run in the fourth, as third baseman Luis Valbuena singled to right to score first baseman Anthony Rizzo with one out.

      The Padres promptly replied, as Rivera clubbed his seventh home run of the season, a solo shot, with no outs in the fifth.

      NOTES: RHP Jesse Hahn (5-2, 2.21 ERA) fills out the blank spot in the Padres' rotation as he takes the mound in Friday's opener of a weekend series at Atlanta. LHP Alex Wood (7-7, 3.24 ERA) starts for the Braves. ... San Diego RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 1.31 ERA) gets an extra day off after throwing 120 pitches Sunday against the Mets in a no-hit bid broken up after 7 2/3 innings. He will pitch Saturday. ... Before Thursday, Padres pitchers allowed three earned runs or fewer in 25 of their past 27 games since July 21, posting a major-league-best 2.18 ERA in that span. ... Cubs pitchers went three consecutive games without giving up a home run entering Thursday. RHP Jake Arrieta has a 41-inning stretch without allowing a home run. He last allowed a long ball June 18 in Miami. ... Cubs LHP Travis Wood (7-9, 5.12 ERA) faces St. Louis Cardinals RHP Joe Kelley (2-1, 2.84 ERA) Friday in the opener of a weekend series at Wrigley Field.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Noesi,White Sox top Twins
    By The Sports Xchange

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Chicago White Sox pitcher Hector Noesi said he developed a routine on days where he is pitching, but was somewhat vague on specifics.

    • Whatever it is, the White Sox hope he continues to do it.

      Noesi was very good Thursday, allowing only three hits and two runs over seven-plus innings as the White Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-2 at Target Field.

      The 27-year old Dominican, pitching for his third organization this season, was better than his line suggested. He allowed only one hit through seven innings, a bloop single by Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe in the fourth inning that landed between three Chicago defenders. He retired 19 of the first 22 batters he faced and 11 of 12 after the Plouffe single until the eighth inning, when a single and a two-run homer knocked him from the game.

      "He's had some games where he deserved better," Ventura said. "Even tonight, it was one mistake. They hadn't really hit anything hard off him all night. He gave up two runs on one mistake."

      The outing was Noesi's longest since back-to-back eight-inning efforts in May of 2012. He lost both of those games, however. Noesi (5-6) entered the game with a 5.21 ERA this season.

      "Everything was working today," Noesi said. "When you have command with your fastball, every pitch you can mix in and they're going to swing and miss."

      It helped that the White Sox were able to provide early run support as well. After a quiet first two innings, the White Sox got the bats going in the third. A two-out double by center fielder Adam Eaton ahead of a sharp RBI single up the middle by shortstop Alexei Ramirez gave Chicago a 1-0 lead.

      Twins starter Phil Hughes was knocked from the game to start the fourth inning after a smash up the middle by designated hitter Adam Dunn hit the right-hander just above the right ankle.

      Chicago welcomed reliever Samuel Deduno with two singles to load the bases with two outs. Deduno missed on a full-count pitch to catcher Tyler Flowers to walk in a run before leaving a pitch up to Eaton, who smashed a two-run single up the middle to make it 4-0.

      Eaton finished the night 3-for 5 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored.

      "It was a good team win tonight," Eaton said. "Noesi pitched his butt off and we had some timely hits."

      Hughes was diagnosed with a right shin contusion and is considered day-to-day after X-rays showed no breaks. He allowed four hits and two earned runs in three-plus innings, striking out four.

      "It hurt so bad, I knew something was up," Hughes said. "I'm really thankful it isn't broken. Upset I couldn't continue, but that's the way it goes."

      The injury to Hughes was a worst-case scenario for a Twins club with a rotation already in-flux. An injury to Kyle Gibson forced long reliever Anthony Swarzak into a spot-start Wednesday against Cleveland, where he threw 74 pitches -- making him unavailable for a few days. The injury to Hughes forced Deduno, Minnesota's other innings-eater out of the bullpen, to go four innings Thursday. Gibson was scheduled to start Wednesday, was pushed back to Saturday, but is likely to have it pushed back yet again to sometime early next week.

      With an off-day coming Monday, Hughes said he is hopeful about making his next start on time.

      "It'll be a couple of days before I can really do anything on it," Hughes said. "But with the way the rotation is going right now, I feel a responsibility to get out there."

      NOTES: The Twins traded DH-1B Kendrys Morales to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for RHP Stephen Pryor. Morales signed a one-year contract with the Twins on June 8 and hit .234 with one home run in 39 games. Morales will join the Mariners on Friday. Pryor was assigned to Triple-A Rochester ... The Twins recalled SS Jorge Polanco from Double-AA New Britain on Thursday to take the place of Morales on the 25-man roster. Polanco has played in four games with Minnesota this season and has a double and a triple in five at-bats. He also has three RBIs and two walks. ... The Twins recalled RHP Ryan Pressly from Rochester on Wednesday after designating veteran RHP Matt Guerrier for assignment. ... The White Sox placed RHP Zach Putnam on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Chicago recalled RHP Andre Rienzo from Triple-A Charlotte.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Brewers' bats back Garza in 9-1 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    MILWAUKEE -- If there were any lingering effects from Matt Garza's last start, he wasn't showing it Thursday night at Miller Park.

    • The right-hander gave up five runs and lasted just one-third of an inning his last time out but was on top of his game against the New York Mets, striking out four and issuing only one walk while giving up just one run as the Milwaukee Brewers rolled to a 9-1 victory.

      "That last outing, it was what it was," Garza said. "I threw good pitches, but stuff kept falling. Tonight, it was ground balls to our guys and they kept most of the stuff in the yard, so it was great.

      "The biggest thing was I kept this thing rolling. The guys have been swinging the bat well and I got an early cushion, so it was easy to keep attacking.

      "It's easy to pitch when you have a six-run lead."

      The lead came courtesy of the Brewers' suddenly resurgent offense.

      Milwaukee scored four or fewer runs 13 times and hit seven home runs while losing 13 of 16, but on their current four-game winning streak, the Brewers are averaging 5.75 runs per game and have homered nine times.

      "With the pitching staff we have, I'd hope to think the offense doesn't all go cold like we did," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I think if we're more consistent with it, I would think with our staff -- we may have some bad stretches, but not have a streak where you are losing a lot in a row."

      Davis, the left fielder, played a big role in the Brewers' attack Thursday, going 2-for-3 with a double and a solo home run in the sixth inning -- one of three Milwaukee batters with two hits on the day.

      "We kind of expect that as baseball players that we are going to fall into slumps, but hitting is contagious," Davis said. "Once we start popping them out of the yard, it feels like everybody is going to start.

      "They do come in bunches, though."

      Catcher Jonathan Lucroy got things started with a one-out home run in the first inning to put Milwaukee on the board.

      The Brewers added four runs in the second inning when Mets right-hander Dillon Gee issued one-out walks to Davis and first baseman Mark Reynolds, who both scored on shortstop Jean Segura's triple.

      Lucroy drove in another with a base hit before right fielder Ryan Braun ended the inning by bouncing into a fielder's choice.

      Back-to-back doubles by Weeks and Davis to open the third gave the Brewers a 6-0 lead.

      "I was getting behind everybody, trying to make perfect pitches," Gee said. "You fall behind, and then they earned it. I threw them strikes after (falling behind) and they earned it.

      "Tonight wasn't a good night."

      Davis opened the sixth with his 17th home run of the season and Braun hit a two-run shot in the seventh, his 14th homer of the year.

      Both the Davis and Braun home runs came off right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, who took over for Gee in the sixth inning.

      Gee (4-3) struck out six but allowed six runs and six hits in five innings.

      "We know Dillon is better than that," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He knows he is better than that."

      The Mets' run came on first baseman Lucas Duda's leadoff home run in the seventh inning.

      Milwaukee extended its winning streak to four games and increased its lead in the NL Central to a full three games ahead of the second-place St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, both of whom were idle Thursday night.

      "We're just going to ride this thing, one day at a time," Garza said.

      The Mets have lost four of their last six games.

      NOTES: The Brewers are the only National League team with six players who have hit 10 or more home runs and the only team in baseball with four qualifying players batting at least .300. ... New York optioned OF Kirk Niewenhaus and recalled INF Wilmer Flores from Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Milwaukee 2B Scooter Gennett sat for the second consecutive start because of a strained right quadriceps. Manager Ron Roenicke said Gennett took batting practice and was feeling better. ... RF Curtis Granderson returned to the Mets' lineup and was atop the order after missing the previous two games with a stomach illness. ... Brewers RF Ryan Braun extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Astros face union grievance over top pick
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Major League Baseball Players' Association filed a grievance against the Houston Astros after they failed to sign No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken before last Friday's deadline, according to multiple reports Thursday.

    • The union contends that the Astros attempted to manipulate Aiken to sign for below the slotted amount based on questions about the health of his elbow.

      The Astros initially reached agreement with Aiken, a left-handed high school pitcher from San Diego, on a $6.5 million bonus. But the team had questions about the elbow after an examination in Houston and lowered their offer to $3.168 million before they upped it to $5 million before the deadline.

      Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the team made three offers to Aikin last Friday but that he rejected each. The Astros apparently needed to sign Aiken to then sign Jacob Nix, a pitcher who was picked in the fifth round and had a verbal agreement for a $1.5 million bonus. But that deal hinged on Aiken signing.

      "Today, two young men should be one step closer to realizing their dreams of becoming major league ballplayers," MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said last week. "Because of the actions of the Houston Astros, they are not. The MLBPA, the players and their advisers are exploring all legal options.”

      Aiken's agent, Casey Close, has not commented on the situation.

  • Friday, July 25, 2014
    Phils call-up Ruf gets playing time at Howard's expense
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHILADELPHIA -- Ryne Sandberg wouldn't call it a platoon on Wednesday.

    • On Thursday, however, it sure looked and sounded more like one.

      The Philadelphia Phillies' manager sat struggling and high-paid first baseman Ryan Howard for the second consecutive game, and instead played Darin Ruf, who was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday.

      "It's still early in the process. We wanted to see (Ruf) play for a couple of games, get him some at-bats and basically go from there," Sandberg said after the Phillies' 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants. "We'll continue to watch."

      Howard, 34, is hitting .224 with a .305 on-base percentage and 118 strikeouts this season. He has one home run in his last 121 plate appearances and three doubles in his last 55 games dating back to May 22.

      The kicker: Howard is in the third year of a hefty five-year, $125 million deal.

      The lefty-swinging Howard even sat Thursday against Giants right-handed starter Tim Hudson, a pitcher against whom he is hitting .328 with seven career homers.

      So, is this a possible platoon?

      "If he has trouble against left-handed pitching and Darin Ruf is swinging it, that becomes an option," Sandberg said. "If (a platoon) becomes the scenario and both guys are going well, that's a good scenario."

      Is this a benching of some sort?

      "A benching?" Sandberg responded. "No, it was more of a case of Darin just getting here and I wanted to take a look at him for at least a couple of games and see where he's at and then go from there."

      Ruf went 1-for-4 Thursday, making him 1-for-7 since his call-up.

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Marlins rally to win series in Atlanta
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- The Miami Marlins may have found the answer to Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel.

    • The Marlins scored a ninth-inning run in an unusual manner against Atlanta's All-Star closer on Thursday, and they came away with a 3-2, come-from-behind win over the Braves. Miami earned three victories in the four-game series.

      "Two wild pitches and a knock. We'll take it," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "This has been a tough place for us to play. We made some mistakes, but we kept fighting and giving great effort."

      Miami's winning rally began innocently. In a 2-2 game, Kimbrel started the ninth by striking out first baseman Garrett Jones and followed with a strikeout of Marcell Ozuna, but the Marlins center fielder was able to take first base when the ball bounced away from catcher Evan Gattis.

      Ozuna advanced to second base on Kimbrel's second wild pitch of the inning and scored on catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia's one-out single to center field. Ozuna slid in a step ahead of an accurate throw from B.J. Upton.

      "Kimbrel's the best closer in the game," said Miami closer Steve Cishek, who pitched a scoreless ninth for his 24th save. "We could have had him the first night, too. Maybe we've got his number a little."

      Kimbrel (0-2) allowed two walks and a hit in one inning on Monday, but he did not allow a run. The run he permitted Thursday was the first against him since June 20.

      "We caught some breaks, but we made him throw a lot of pitches," Redmond said.

      Miami starter Henderson Alvarez (7-5) pitched eight innings, his longest appearance since June 6. He allowed a two-run homer to third baseman Chris Johnson in the second inning and twice escaped after allowing a runner to reach second base with one out.

      Alvarez allowed two runs on six hits and one walk and struck out four. He retired the final 10 batters he faced.

      "He was very good," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "The only ball he made a mistake on was the to C.J. Otherwise, he was dominant."

      Atlanta starter Aaron Harang allowed two runs, seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings. It was his team-leading 18th quality start and second straight start without a decision.

      "He deserved better," Gonzalez said. "We just didn't give him any run support."

      The Braves jumped on top in the second inning thanks to Johnson's eighth home run of the season. It was only the eighth homer allowed this year by Alvarez, who had a streak of 68 1/3 innings without allowing a home run earlier this season.

      The Marlins tied the score with two runs in the fifth inning against Harang, which broke a streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings by the right-hander.

      Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria singled home Ozuna, who led off with a walk and took third on a double by Saltalamacchia. Left fielder Christian Yelich got the other run home with a grounder to second that the Braves could not convert into a double play.

      Saltalamacchia went 3-for-4 with two doubles. It was his third multi-hit game of the year against the Braves, the team that drafted and signed him in 2003.

      "Salty had a couple of big hits for us," Redmond said.

      "We have a lot of confidence in Salty," Cishek said.

      It was another frustrating night for the Atlanta offense. The Braves were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and left three runners on base. Left fielder Justin Upton got three of Atlanta's six hits.

      "We've got to start hitting the ball and we'll be all right," Gonzalez said.

      NOTES: A storm blew through downtown Atlanta about 90 minutes before the game. It rained for about 30 minutes and the grounds crew was able to get the field prepared in time for the first pitch at 7:10 p.m. EDT. ... Atlanta will start LHP Alex Wood (7-7) in the opener of a four-game series with San Diego on Friday. RHP Jesse Hahn (5-2) will start for the Padres. ... Miami visits Houston for a three-game series, with LHP Brad Hand (1-2) going against Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel (9-6) on Friday. ... Atlanta SS Andrelton Simmons was given the night off and was replaced by Ramiro Pena. Simmons started 96 of the first 101 games. ... The Marlins successfully challenged a call in the sixth inning. First base umpire Rob Drake ruled that Atlanta LF Justin Upton got back to the bag safely on a line drive hit by RF Jason Heyward. However, the replay showed that SS Adeiny Hechavarria's throw beat the diving Upton.

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Giants ready to renew rivalry with Dodgers
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHILADELPHIA -- The San Francisco Giants hit the road after the All-Star break and took care of business.

    • Now the fun begins.

      After a 5-2 trip away from the Bay Area, the first-place Giants (57-45) welcome the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers (56-47) to AT&T Park for a three-game weekend series that has must-see entertainment written all over it.

      "It's going to be a good, exciting series -- it's what you play for," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said after his team's 2-1 loss to the Phillies on Thursday that concluded the trip. "We need to head home feeling good about this road trip. We've got a big series ahead of us."

      San Francisco holds a 1 1/2-game lead over Los Angeles in the National League West. The next closest team is double-digit games off the pace, so the division should come down to the two teams expected to win it before the season started.

      "It's what we thought it would be: a tight race," Bochy said. "It's what it is, and it's good for baseball -- two good teams going at it, a lot of excitement in the air, which it should be. It's a series that will get a lot of attention."

      Even in July.

      "It's a big series for us," Giant starter Tim Hudson said. "Every series against those guys is going to be big from here on out."

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Indians' Kluber loses perfect game in 7th
    By The Sports Xchange

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cleveland Indians right-hander Corey Kluber lost a perfect-game bid in the seventh inning Thursday night.

    • Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante singled to center with one out in the seventh. The next batter, Alex Gordon, struck out, and Infante was caught stealing second on the play to end the inning.

      The game was scoreless through seven innings, as Royals left-hander Danny Duffy was also pitching effectively.

      In the first half of the game, the only thing close to a Kansas City hit was Gordon's sinking liner that Cleveland left fielder Mike Aviles caught to end the fourth.

      Kluber, 28, began the night with a 10-6 record and a 2.95 ERA. He was 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA in his previous seven starts.

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Moss hits third slam in A's 13-1 rout
    By The Sports Xchange

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Less than two months ago, Oakland A's first baseman Brandon Moss had never hit a grand slam in his major-league career.

    • Now Moss is a grand slam hitting machine.

      Moss hit his third grand slam of the season Thursday, lifting the A's to a 13-1 victory over the Houston Astros and giving right-hander Jeff Samardzija all the support he needed with one swing of the bat.

      Making his fourth start since being traded to the A's from the Chicago Cubs, Samardzija (2-1) allowed one run and five hits in eight innings. He struck out six and walked none.

      The A's led 4-1 entering the bottom of the sixth inning when Moss made it 8-1, sending Astros reliever Anthony Bass' first pitch over the right field fence.

      "I've had quite a few at-bats with bases loaded this year," Moss said. "You get into certain situations and a guy's got to make a pitch and you're being aggressive. It could just as easily be a foul ball or something.

      "I stay with the same approach and try to drive the ball and try to hit a fly ball and sometimes it goes over the fence and sometimes I pop up and sometimes I swing over a slider. It's one of those things where I got a good pitch to hit, and I didn't miss that one."

      Moss belted his first grand slam on May 30 at the Coliseum in the first inning off Los Angeles Angels right-hander Garrett Richards. He hit his second grand slam June 8 at Camden Yards in the third inning off Baltimore Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.

      Moss launched Bass' 96 mph fastball high to right field for grand slam No. 3. The moon shot kept carrying and carrying on a warm afternoon and barely got over the fence.

      "I thought it was going to be a sacrifice fly," said Moss, who equaled a career high with an eight-game hitting streak. "I was shocked. I really was."

      Samardzija, who rarely had much offensive support with the Cubs, was ecstatic.

      "That really broke it wide open," Samardzija said. "Made the dugout nice and loose and having a good time. Everyone loves when Mossy goes deep."

      After beating the Astros 9-7 on Wednesday night, the A's had a depleted bullpen Thursday, but Samardzija did most of the work, just as A's manager Bob Melvin had hoped.

      "I was actually at the hotel last night and I saw (Melvin's) postgame interview," Samardzija said. "His answer to what the bullpen plan was. I was like, 'Well, I better get to bed and get ready.' It was pretty cool to hear that. I love when people put some pressure on you and expect a lot out of you. It really makes you come to the park ready to do your job and pick those guys up."

      The home run was Moss' team-high 23rd of the season and his fifth in July. He has 71 RBIs, one behind third baseman Josh Donaldson's team-high 72. Twelve of those RBIs came on three swings.

      "That's not fair," Melvin joked. "Some guys have to work to get 12 in a month, and he's got 12 on three at-bats. For a patient guy with bases loaded, a pitcher's really got nowhere to go. So he's sitting on a particular pitch and trying to put a good swing on it, and he did again."

      The A's added four runs in the eighth inning when first baseman Stephen Vogt drilled a three-run double.

      Right fielder Josh Reddick went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI for the A's. Catcher Derek Norris and shortstop Jed Lowrie each had three hits in the A's 14-hit attack.

      Designated hitter Chris Carter hit his 20th home run of the season for Houston, a solo shot in the fourth, but Samardzija dominated for most of the game.

      "The reason they went out and got Samardzija is because he could give them games like he gave them today," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "You're talking about a front of the rotation guy that gave them eight strong innings and pretty much had complete command of the game."

      Feldman (4-8) allowed six runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings and lost his third straight decision. He walked five and struck out four.

      "It was a battle for him all day," Porter said of Feldman. "Early in the game, he really had his breaking ball working, and they started laying off and made him come back into the zone."

      The A's won the series 2-1 and finished their six-game homestand with a 4-2 record.

      NOTES: Oakland LF Yoenis Cespedes (sprained right thumb) was out of the lineup Thursday, but A's manager Bob Melvin said he might be available off the bench and there's "a good chance he starts tomorrow" against Texas. "That is good news. The swelling was minimal. It was more just the soreness in the joint." ... A's RHP Jim Johnson was designated for assignment before Thursday's game. The A's signed Johnson as a free agent to be their closer, but he struggled early and quickly lost that job. ... The A's recalled RHP Evan Scribner from Triple-A Sacramento before their game against Houston. ... Astros SS Marwin Gonzalez, who is dealing with a sore hamstring, was in the starting lineup but came out after the top of the seventh.

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    MLB roundup: Mariners add Morales in trade
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Seattle Mariners acquired first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales from the Minnesota Twins on Thursday in exchange for right-handed relief pitcher Stephen Pryor.

    • Morales, 31, is scheduled to report to the Mariners on Friday, at which time a 25-man roster move will be made. He rejoins Seattle after a brief stint with the Twins. Morales, who signed as a free agent with Minnesota on June 8, appeared in 39 games and batted .234 with 11 doubles, one home run and 18 RBIs. He had a 12-game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday when he went 0-for-4 in the Twins' 3-1 win over Cleveland.

      Pryor, 25, made one appearance for Seattle this year after opening the season on the disabled list following surgery to repair a latissimus dorsi muscle. He appeared in 34 games with the Mariners from 2012 to 2014, posting a 2.81 ERA.

      ---Right-hander Jerome Williams will start for Texas on Friday night against the American League West-leading Oakland Athletics after signing with the Rangers.

      The addition of Williams to Texas' depleted pitching staff was announced after the Rangers lost 4-2 to the New York Yankees on Thursday afternoon. The 32-year-old was released by the Houston Astros this month after posting a 1-4 record with a 6.04 ERA in 14 relief appearances.

      ---The New York Yankees added a left-handed arm to their pitching staff Thursday by acquiring Chris Capuano from the Colorado Rockies for cash considerations.

      The 35-year-old Capuano signed as a free agent with the Rockies on July 4 and started four combined games with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs. He had a 1-0 record with a 2.79 ERA. In 28 relief appearances for the Boston Red Sox earlier in the year, Capuano posted a 1-1 record with a 4.55 ERA before his release on July 1.

      ---Contract talks between the Boston Red Sox and left-handerr Jon Lester will be tabled until the season ends.

      Lester asked the team to halt the ongoing negotiations so that he can focus solely on pitching, and since the calendar turned to June he has never been better. He is coming off his best month of the season in which he went 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in June, and has allowed only one earned run in his past 23 innings.

      Lester, 30, is in the final year of his contract and if the two sides cannot reach a new deal, he will become a coveted free agent at the end of the season.

      ---Former major leaguer Chuck Knoblauch was charged with assaulting his former wife, and as a result of the incident the Minnesota Twins canceled the team's Hall of Fame induction ceremony scheduled next month.

      According to K-HOU television in Houston, the 46-year-old Knoblauch was charged with assault of a family member, Cheri Knoblauch, whom he divorced in 2012. He was released on a $10,000 bond. Knoblauch was previously convicted of hitting then-wife Stacy Stelmach in 2010 and received one year of probation.

      Knoblauch had been scheduled to be inducted Aug. 23 at Target Field. He retired in 2002 after a 12-year career with the New York Yankees, Twins and Kansas City Royals. He was the 1991 American League rookie of the year with the Twins.

      ---Right-handed reliever Zach Putnam was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on Thursday and the Chicago White Sox recalled right-hander Andre Rienzo from Class AAA Charlotte.

      Putnam, 27, is 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA, three saves and a team-leading 12 holds in 42 appearances in his first season with the White Sox. Rienzo went 4-5 with a 5.87 ERA in 14 games, including 11 starts, in his previous stint with the team this season (April 19-July 12).

      ---The Baltimore Orioles acquired infielder/outfielder Jimmy Paredes from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash considerations, the teams announced Thursday.

      Paredes was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the trade. The 25-year-old hit .305 with five home runs and 36 RBIs in 65 games for Kansas City's Triple-A Omaha club this season, and he was 17-for-18 in stolen-base attempts. Over eight minor league seasons, he has 183 stolen bases.

      ---New York Yankees first Mark Teixeira missed his fourth straight game with a lat strain and his 25th game of the season.

      The Yankees will decide whether they need to place him on the disabled list before Friday's game with the Toronto Blue Jays.

      ---Oakland Athletics left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (sprained right thumb) was out of the lineup Thursday, but A's manager Bob Melvin said he might be available off the bench and that there's "a good chance he starts" Friday against Texas.

      A's right-hander Jim Johnson was designated for assignment before Thursday's game, one day after his latest meltdown out of the bullpen. Johnson gave up four runs and four hits without retiring a batter in the eighth inning Wednesday. The A's signed Johnson as a free agent to be their closer, but he struggled early and quickly lost that job. Johnson went 4-2 with a 6.92 ERA.

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Hamels handles Giants in Phillies' 2-1 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    PHILADELPHIA -- In a season that will likely be one to forget for the Philadelphia Phillies, Cole Hamels is having one to remember.

    • In the meantime, he's also helping the moribund Phillies pick up a few wins among the pile of losses.

      The left-hander played stopper once again Thursday afternoon, pitching Philadelphia to a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park.

      "He's really been consistent," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's pitched like an ace."

      Hamels (5-5) stymied the first-place Giants with eight innings of one-run ball, striking out 10 to help Philadelphia avoid a four-game sweep. Since June 1, he has a 1.75 ERA, 81 strikeouts and 24 walks.

      Hamels was in complete control and the Phillies needed it.

      "In losing the past three games, you just want to go out there and win," said Hamels, who was reaching 95 mph with his fastball to augment his offspeed pitches. "Everything was coming out the right way. I wasn't having to put as much effort into each pitch. Just the way I was in sync. Everything kind of fired out and I guess it showed on the radar gun."

      Closer Jonathan Papelbon threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 24th save.

      The last-place Phillies (44-58) have won just two of their last nine games -- both 2-1 victories in which Hamels was the winning pitcher. The Giants (57-45) went 5-2 on their seven-game road trip to open the second half of the season with a pivotal series with the Los Angeles Dodgers (56-47) ahead.

      San Francisco leads its division rival in the NL West by 1 1/2 games.

      "We need to head home feeling good about this road trip," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've got a big series ahead of us.

      "It's going to be a good, exciting series -- it's what you play for."

      San Francisco starter Tim Hudson (8-7) gave the Giants an opportunity to come home riding a four-game sweep. The veteran right-hander gaveup two unearned runs in six innings.

      "You're hoping your guy gives you a chance, and that's what (Hudson) did -- he pitched great," Bochy said. "We had a couple chances there, but we couldn't get another run for him."

      Left fielder Michael Morse dropped a shallow fly ball to start the bottom of the fifth inning, which resulted in the game's decisive run. However, Hudson blamed himself for the other mistake when he crossed up catcher Buster Posey in the first inning, allowing shortstop Jimmy Rollins to advance from second to third and eventually score on a single by right fielder Marlon Byrd.

      "We tried to be creative and mix things up. It wasn't one of my prouder moments, but I crossed him up in the first inning and it essentially cost us a run," Hudson said. "I forgot that we changed our signs."

      Philadelphia took advantage of the two San Francisco blunders, and that was all Hamels needed.

      "He was clearly on top of his game today. I've seen him throw some really good games throughout his career," said Hudson, who played in the NL East for nine seasons. "Today wasn't an easy day in the park for us. I don't ever recall his fastball being as good as it was today. His fastball had some juice on it and his offspeed was as good as I've seen it."

      The Phillies pushed across a run in the bottom of the first inning on Byrd's RBI single.

      The Giants got to Hamels in the top of the fifth inning to knot the score. Second baseman Ehire Adrianza delivered a two-out base hit up the middle to score center fielder Gregor Blanco, who singled to lead off the inning.

      Second baseman Chase Utley quickly snatched the lead back with an RBI single of his own in the bottom of the fifth inning, restoring Philadelphia's one-run lead. Center fielder Ben Revere scored after reaching second base on Morse’s error.

      "He's a guy that's done a pretty good job out there," Bochy said of Morse. "He made a long run for that ball and just couldn't quite hold onto it. I've been happy with what he's done in left field."

      The Giants threatened in the top of the fourth inning against Hamels. San Francisco loaded the bases with two outs after Utley airmailed a throw to first on a potential inning-ending double-play ground ball. Hamels, however, saw his way out of the jam by getting shortstop Joaquin Arias to ground out.

      After the fifth-inning runs, it was all Hamels.

      "It really seemed like he turned it up a notch," Sandberg said. "He's on top of his game."

      NOTES: Phillies 1B Ryan Howard was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game. Manager Ryne Sandberg wants 1B Darin Ruf, who was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday, to get some work at the position, especially given the struggles of Howard this season. "It's still early in the process," Sandberg said of the team's situation at first base. "We wanted to see (Ruf) play for a couple of games, get him some at-bats and basically go from there. We'll continue to watch." ... Giants 2B Ehire Adrianza left the game before the bottom of the seventh inning because of a right hamstring strain, according to manager Bruce Bochy. Adrianza will be evaluated on Friday. ... Philles RHP Jonathan Papelbon's save was career No. 310, tying Hall of Famer Goose Gossage for 21st place all time. ... The Giants head home to face the Los Angeles Dodgers for three games. The Dodgers are in second place in the NL West, 1 1/2 games behind the Giants. ... The Phillies welcome the Arizona Diamondbacks for three games at Citizens Bank Park this weekend before starting a seven-game road trip.

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Yankees make deal for LHP Capuano
    By The Sports Xchange

    The New York Yankees added a left-handed arm to their pitching staff Thursday by acquiring Chris Capuano from the Colorado Rockies for cash considerations.

    • The 35-year-old Capuano signed as a free agent with the Rockies on July 4 and started four combined games with Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs. He had a 1-0 record with a 2.79 ERA.

      In 28 relief appearances for the Boston Red Sox earlier in the year, Capuano posted a 1-1 record with a 4.55 ERA before his release on July 1.

      Capuano, a former National League All-Star, has spent 10 years in the major leagues, logging a 74-84 record with a 4.28 ERA. His career stops include the Arizona Diamondbacks (2003), Milwaukee Brewers (2004-07, '10), New York Mets (2011), Los Angeles Dodgers (2012-13) and the Red Sox (2014).

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Rangers add Williams to pitching staff
    By The Sports Xchange

    Right-hander Jerome Williams will start for Texas on Friday night against the American League West-leading Oakland Athletics after signing with the Rangers.

    • The addition of Williams to Texas' depleted pitching staff was announced after the Rangers lost 4-2 to the New York Yankees on Thursday afternoon. The 32-year-old was released by the Houston Astros this month after posting a 1-4 record with a 6.04 ERA in 14 relief appearances.

      In nine major league seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, Angels and Nationals, Williams has a 43-51 record with a 4.45 ERA.

      At 40-62, the Rangers have the worst record in the major leagues and their 4.84 staff ERA is the lowest in baseball. Injuries forced Texas into using a record 30 pitchers before the All-Star Game break.

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Stroman, Francisco carry Jays to 8-0 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- John Gibbons felt some relief when Marcus Stroman lost his no-hitter in the seventh inning of the Toronto Blue Jays' 8-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.

    • If Stroman's mastery had continued, the Blue Jays manager would have faced a difficult decision. Would he let Stroman go for the no-hitter or take the rookie right-hander out to protect him from a mounting pitch count?

      It was a question Gibbons could not answer.

      Boston right fielder Shane Victorino led off the seventh with a soft single to center.

      "It was getting a little hairy there," Gibbons said. "If he keeps that no-hitter going. ... I can't say that I'm glad he gave up a hit, but ... It was going through my mind. If he keeps going, you've got a young kid, you're trying to win a division, do you keep throwing him out there? I don't know if relieved is the word, but it didn't hurt."

      By that time the Blue Jays (54-49) were on their way to their third win in a row after losing 14-1 in the opener of the four-game series with the Red Sox (47-55) on Monday.

      First baseman Juan Francisco led the offense with a home run and four RBIs and was a double short of hitting for the cycle.

      The Blue Jays totaled 14 hits, including three doubles and two RBIs by left fielder Melky Cabrera to complete a 5-2 homestand.

      Stroman (6-2) struck out seven and allowed two walks in seven innings to win his second start in a row -- both times going seven shutout innings -- and his third straight decision in six starts.

      Stroman finished with 97 pitches against the Red Sox.

      Gibbons was asked if he would have let Stroman stay in if he still had a no-hitter.

      "You'll never know," he said.

      Stroman said, "I think they would have let me go. They're definitely watching pitches. It would have been tough."

      Red Sox manager John Farrell said, "He had good stuff. He was able to get the ball on the ground, get a ground-ball double play when he needed to. A couple of different types of breaking balls, with a pretty good power slurve along with a cutter."

      Stroman said, "I had trouble actually locating my four-seam fastball and I went to the sinker today. That was a huge pitch for me."

      He said started to think about the no-hitter in the sixth inning.

      "I looked up and saw a zero and said this is pretty crazy," he said.

      Stroman said Victorino hit "a bad curveball" to end the bid.

      "It just kind of hung up there," Stroman said. "(Catcher Dioner Navarro) came in and said, man, you should have spiked it. We were pretty mad at each other."

      After Victorino's hit, designated hitter David Ortiz lifted a fly to left for the first out and first baseman Mike Napoli grounded into a double play.

      Red Sox right-hander Rubby De La Rosa (3-3) allowed nine hits, two walks and seven runs (six earned) in four-plus innings.

      "I was trying to make my changes, trying to make ground balls, but they were making adjustments," De La Rosa said. "Yeah, it's not mechanical. Every pitcher tries to make his best pitches. It's a little complicated. What happened today, I'll try not to think about it and look forward for the next one."

      Right-hander Todd Redmond took over in the eighth inning and allowed a walk. Left-hander Rob Rasmussen pitched the ninth, walking two batters before getting a double play grounder from Victorino. Ortiz then left the game after he was hurt while checking his swing on ball two.

      "He felt some spasm in the upper-mid back; we're still examining him right now, and it's right now day to day," Farrell said.

      Outfielder Jonny Gomes pinch hit and ended the game with a fly ball.

      Francisco hit his 15th homer of the season to score two runs in the third inning. He also drove in two runs in the fifth with a single against right-hander Burke Badenhop.

      NOTES: Red Sox DH David Ortiz hit a three-run homer in the first inning on Wednesday to reach 1,501 RBIs in his 2,067th game. He became the 14th fastest player to reach 1,500 RBIs and is the only active left-handed hitter to reach that plateau. ... Blue Jays CF Colby Rasmus did not start Thursday's game against the Red Sox with OF Anthony Gose being used in center field. ... The Blue Jays go on the road for their next 10 games starting Friday in New York when LHP Mark Buehrle (10-6, 2.86 ERA) will start against Yankees RHP Hiroki Kuroda (6-6, 3.88 ERA). ... The Red Sox open a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Friday and will start LHP Jon Lester (10-7, 2.50 ERA) against LHP David Price (10-7, 3.60 ERA).

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Yankees welcome routine 4-2 win
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- The previous three nights can be best described as long and strange for the New York Yankees.

    • On Thursday, the Yankees were more than pleased to have a normal afternoon that turned into another win.

      Brandon McCarthy pitched six innings and the Yankees concluded a bizarre four-game series with a 4-2 victory over the Texas Rangers.

      Switch-hitting third baseman Chase Headley had an RBI single, and catcher Francisco Cervelli and first baseman Brian McCann added RBI doubles. Left fielder Brett Gardner lifted a sacrifice fly for the Yankees (53-48), who are 6-1 during a 10-game homestand and have 12 wins in their last 18 games.

      The latest win came after the teams spent nearly 12 hours in the previous games deciding outcomes.

      The Yankees opened the series by making five errors in a nine-inning game for the first time since 1998. They then picked up a 14-inning win on Headley's RBI single Tuesday in a five-hour game on the day that he arrived in the second inning after a trade from San Diego. On Wednesday, New York won a rain-shortened 4 1/3-inning game that was decided after a nearly two-hour delay that saw the grounds crew struggle to get the tarp on the field.

      "It was nice just to play a normal game," Headley said. "I actually came in and felt in like I was going through my normal routine and it felt like a normal day at the ballpark, which we hadn't had yet."

      Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "The days were strange. This series really started off strange with five errors and then to win the next two and then to come out today, to win the game was nice."

      McCarthy continued helping New York's depleted rotation have some normalcy by allowing one run and five hits in six innings. His outing marked the 10th straight time Yankees pitchers have allowed four runs or less, and it was the 10th time in 12 games that a New York starter allowed two earned runs or less.

      He did so on a day when his stuff was not sharp at times, resulting in many long at-bats. Texas fouled off 33 pitches and had 12 at-bats that lasted at least five pitches. But McCarthy struck out five, walked two, threw 74 of 109 pitches for strikes and got five ground-ball outs plus a double play.

      "At least from where I felt today, it was good that I stayed with Cervy (Cervelli), kind of grind through it and got the results that I needed," McCarthy said. "There's always improvements that I can make, but to get out of it and get a win, that's a good thing."

      Girardi said, "They put some long at-bats on him. They fouled off a lot of pitches, but he just kept at it. He kept throwing strikes and with his sinker, his cutter and his breaking ball. He just found a way to get through it."

      Shortstop Elvis Andrus had an RBI single and first baseman J.P. Arencibia homered for Texas, which has lost 17 of 20. Rookie second baseman Rougned Odor had two hits, but RF Alex Rios and third baseman Adrian Beltre went hitless in a combined eight at-bats.

      "We're keeping ourselves in ballgames," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We just have to take advantage of the opportunities."

      Texas right-hander Colby Lewis (6-8) allowed three runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings and lost his third straight start.

      McCarthy allowed a run with two on and two outs in the third inning. Andrus hit a popup into shallow center field that second baseman Brian Roberts went back to get, but the ball fell in and Odor scored.

      McCarthy finished his third outing as a Yankee by retiring 10 of the last 12 hitters, including a strikeout of Andrus with the score tied 1-1 with two on for the final out of the fifth. Then the Yankees went ahead on Cervelli's double to left and took a 3-1 lead on Gardner's sacrifice fly to left field.

      Adam Warren allowed the home run to Arencibia but got two fly balls before Matt Thornton secured the final out of the seventh. Dellin Betances worked a perfect eighth and David Robertson put the tying run on first with one out in the ninth but protected the two-run lead with two strikeouts for his 25th save.

      NOTES: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira missed his fourth straight game with a lat strain and his 25th game of the season. The Yankees will decide whether they need to place him on the disabled list before Friday's game with the Toronto Blue Jays. ... SS Derek Jeter had the day off from New York's starting lineup but would have started a night game. ... After trading RHP Joakim Soria to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, the Rangers called up RHP Nate Adcock from Triple-A Round Rock. ... The Rangers said RHP Nick Tepesch will not make the start Friday. RHP Jerome Williams was signed after the game and will get that start. ... Texas pitching coach Mike Maddux will miss this weekend's series with Oakland to attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for his brother Greg Maddux. Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins will serve as the pitching coach and Round Rock pitching coach Brad Holman will fill in for Hawkins.

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    Knoblauch charged with assault
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former major leaguer Chuck Knoblauch was charged with assaulting his former wife, and as a result of the incident the Minnesota Twins canceled the team's Hall of Fame induction ceremony scheduled next month.

    • According to K-HOU television in Houston, the 46-year-old Knoblauch was charged with assault of a family member, Cheri Knoblauch, whom he divorced in 2012. He was released on a $10,000 bond.

      Knoblauch was previously convicted of hitting then-wife Stacy Stelmach in 2010 and received one year of probation in that case.

      Knoblauch had been scheduled to be inducted on Aug. 23 at Target Field.

      Knoblauch retired in 2002 following a 12-year career with the New York Yankees, Twins and Kansas City Royals. He was the 1991 American League rookie of the year with the Twins.

      The Twins issued this statement:

      "In light of recent news reports surrounding Chuck Knoblauch, as well as direct communication with the former Twins second baseman, the Minnesota Twins have decided to cancel the team's 2014 Hall of Fame induction ceremony scheduled for August 23 at Target Field.

      "In January of this year, Knoblauch was elected by a 62-member committee consisting of local and national media, club officials, fans and past elected members, using rules similar to those necessary for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y."

      Founded in 2000, the Twins Hall of Fame has 26 current inductees including players, managers, broadcasters, owners and members of the ballclub's front office.

  • Thursday, July 24, 2014
    White Sox place Putnam on DL
    By The Sports Xchange

    Right-handed reliever Zach Putnam was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on Thursday, when the Chicago White Sox recalled right-hander Andre Rienzo from Class AAA Charlotte.

    • Putnam, 27, is 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA, three saves and a team-leading 12 holds in 42 appearances in his first season with the White Sox.

      Rienzo went 4-5 with a 5.87 ERA in 14 games, including 11 starts, in his previous stint with the team this season (April 19-July 12).