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The Padres were within arm’s length of .500 at 34-40, having won nine of 15, when the A’s ventured into San Diego and used a ninth-inning, two-out, two-strike, game-tying home run from Stephen Piscotty off relief ace Brad Hand to trigger a two-game sweep, winning 4-2 and 12-4.
The Padres now head north well out of contention in the National League West, having lost 11 of 14.
The A’s, meanwhile, have won 12 of 15 to surge well above .500 at 46-39 and into contention in the American League wild-card race.
Oakland has made much of its recent run without standout third baseman Matt Chapman, who has taken time off to allow pain in his right hand to subside.
Two cortisone shots later, Chapman had a pain-free hitting session Sunday and was sent to Class A for an injury-rehab game Monday.
It’s possible he could be reinstated from the disabled list during this series.
“He hit a few off the back wall in center field, so that tells me enough,” A’s manager Bob Melvin observed Sunday. “Getting him back in the lineup will be a nice little kick for us.”
The A’s need no such boost in their pitching. They have allowed two or fewer runs in four of their last five games.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt (1-3, 2.82 ERA) will look to extend that impressive run while at the same time taste his first career success in interleague play.
He has never faced the Padres in his career, and has lost both interleague starts despite a 2.45 ERA.
One intriguing potential matchup in the series is A’s closer Blake Treinen against Padres slugger Eric Hosmer, a pairing that carried a bit of history into a game-ending showdown in the A’s earlier 4-2 win in San Diego.
Then a member of the Kansas City Royals, Hosmer bombed a two-run, go-ahead homer off Treinen in the eighth inning of their first career head-to-head last August.
Treinen then extracted a measure of revenge in the June 19 rematch in San Diego, closing out the 10-inning game by striking out Hosmer as he represented the potential tying run.
Bassitt will be opposed by left-hander Clayton Richard (7-7, 4.29), who had a four-game winning streak stopped in a 5-2 loss at Texas last Wednesday.
He retains a good interleague record (9-5, 3.50) despite not having beaten an American League opponent since 2015.
You have to go back three years before that to find his last appearance against the A’s in Oakland, but it was a memorable one. He shut out a playoff-bound A’s team for 7 2/3 innings in 2012, allowing five hits in a 2-1 win.
He has faced the A’s three times in his career, twice as a starter, and gone 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA.
One A’s hitter that Richard will have to deal with is the aforementioned Piscotty, who played last season for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Piscotty has dominated the head-to-heads, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a flyout to deep center field in the only non-hit of the matchup.
Matt Kemp wasn’t supposed to last long in his return to Los Angeles. He was tabbed as trade bait after arriving from Atlanta in exchange for a salary dump by the Dodgers.
The 33-year-old slugger has made himself at home again in a hurry.
Kemp got three hits and drove in four runs, including a go-ahead homer leading off the eighth inning that rallied the Dodgers past the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Sunday to prevent a sweep and end a three-game skid.
Kemp is on track to earn his third All-Star nod and first since 2012. He’s the second-leading vote-getter, ahead of Washington’s Bryce Harper, among NL outfielders.
”That’s what the All-Star Game is, having a good first half,” Kemp said. ”My real focus is trying to get to the playoffs and win a championship, something I’ve never done.”
Kemp was 1 for 6 in the first two games of the series, which the Dodgers lost by identical scores of 3-1. He has been solid in his last 14 games against Colorado, batting .438 with 11 RBIs.
”He showed in spring training he was in shape and was hitting from the start,” Dodgers starter Ross Stripling said.
Kemp sent his 14th homer of the season over the center-field wall off Adam Ottavino (4-2) to put Los Angeles ahead 5-4. It was the Dodgers’ first homer of July after they hit a major league-leading and franchise-record 55 in June.
One out later, Yasiel Puig doubled. Joc Pederson followed and reached on an infield single to second that DJ LeMahieu dived to stop. Puig made a heads-up baserunning play when he scored an insurance run after taking an extra base on Pederson’s hit.
Puig took advantage of LeMahieu’s soft throw from his knees to first baseman Ian Desmond.
”DJ slipped,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. ”If DJ wanted to do it over again he would probably give a firmer throw to Desmond to get it back in.”
Puig hopped back and forth before taking off for the plate, sliding belly first. He got up and swung his arms in wild celebration with the Dodgers ahead 6-4.
Kemp drove in the Dodgers’ first three runs with an RBI groundout in the first, a double in the third and a single in the fifth.
Daniel Hudson (3-2) went one inning. Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save.
Nolan Arenado hit his team-leading 21st homer and had an RBI grounder, helping the Rockies take a 4-2 lead in the fifth.
Rockies starter Chad Bettis was pulled after three innings because of fluid underneath a callus on his right middle finger. The right-hander allowed two runs and three hits, struck out two and walked two in his shortest outing of the season.
”It is really painful,” Bettis said. ”It is kind of something that is a little bit of a mental block trying to battle through that pain. I felt like it got to the point where I really needed to say something.”
Stripling gave up four runs and a season-high nine hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one.
Rockies: RHP Bryan Shaw (right calf strain) will throw a bullpen session on Monday and simulated game on Wednesday. He is working on mechanics with his delivery and more consistent pitch locations.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (7-6, 3.29 ERA) makes his second straight start against the Giants on Monday in the home opener of a three-game set. He is 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA at Coors Field in his career against them.
Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (4-5, 4.00) starts on Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the Pirates. In eight games (seven starts) against them, Wood is 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA.
The offense that Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez has been waiting for showed up just in time to prevent a sweep at the hands of a division rival Sunday night.
Daniel Murphy’s single drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth inning and the Nationals rallied past the Philadelphia Phillies 8-6 to salvage the finale of the three-game series.
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”We weren’t scoring very many runs,” Martinez said, ”and for us to come out and compete like we did today and put up eight runs . and just really work very good at-bats, I felt really good for the boys and I know they’ll feed off it.”
Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams homered for the Phillies, who had won three straight.
Pinch hitter Brian Goodwin led off the eighth with a walk. With one out, right-hander Seranthony Dominguez (1-2) came on to face Harper, who doubled to right, with Goodwin stopping at third.
After Rendon grounded out, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler elected to walk rookie Juan Soto and pitch to the veteran Murphy, who began the day hitting .135.
”You pick your poison right there,” Kapler said. ”You have two very good hitters. The first one in Soto has been elite. And Murphy has struggled a little bit. And we went after the guy that was struggling and coming off injury.”
After throwing three 98-mph plus fastballs to get ahead 1-2, Dominguez tried a slider that Murphy lined to shallow right. Taylor’s single made it 8-6.
”I was watching some film on him and he had kind of gone with the slider as a kill shot to a couple lefties, so once I got two strikes I was aware of it,” Murphy said. ”I hadn’t seen it yet, so that’s never any fun, but fortunately I was able to get it in the air enough and kind of scoop it over Cesar (Hernandez’s) head at second base.”
The Phillies took a 6-2 lead in the fifth on a two-run triple by Odubel Herrera and a two-run homer by Williams, but the bullpen surrendered six runs.
Washington pulled within a run at 6-5 in the sixth with four two-out hits, including an RBI triple by Trea Turner and RBI doubles by Harper and Rendon.
Rendon has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games is batting .447 (17-for-38) in that span with three homers, seven RBIs and nine runs scored.
Phillies: C Andrew Knapp left in the seventh with a right knee contusion. … 3B Maikel Franco slipped on first base and fell hard in the eighth. He stayed in to run but left after the half-inning with lower back tightness. … INF Jesmuel Valent锟絥 was placed on the paternity leave list and OF Dylan Cozens (left quadriceps strain) was reinstated from the 10-day DL.
Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right hamstring strain) allowed 11 runs in 4 2/3 innings of a rehab start at Class A Potomac on Sunday. ”I’m more concerned with the way he feels,” manager Dave Martinez said, downplaying the results. ”We’ll go from there.” … RH reliever Brandon Kintzler (right forearm flexor strain) threw a scoreless inning at Potomac. … RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) played catch on the field again. ”We’ll keep doing his throwing progression and figure out when he can actually throw from the mound,” Martinez said.
Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.82) starts the opener of a series against the Yankees on Monday. He is 0-0 with a 3.24 ERA in two games vs. New York.
Nationals: RHP Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.08) opens a series at Tampa Bay on Monday. He is 2-2 with a 5.54 ERA in six games against the Rays.
Sonny Gray will get at least one more chance to show he deserves to keep his place in New York’s rotation, though the Yankees are growing increasingly concerned about the struggling starter.
Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer, Yangervis Solarte reached base four times and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Gray and the Yankees 6-2 on Friday night.
Smoak connected in Toronto’s five-run second inning, when the Blue Jays batted around and put an early end to Gray’s outing.
”I am concerned but we also believe in the stuff,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Gray. ”We’ve got to try and help him right the ship a little bit.”
Gray (5-7) allowed five runs and six hits in two innings, his shortest start of the season and his third straight loss.
”It’s not early in the season anymore,” Gray said. ”This is when you’re expected to go out there and contribute and get in some type of rhythm and put together solid starts back to back. I haven’t even been close to being able to do that.”
Gray lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his previous start, matching a season worst by allowing six runs in an 11-0 loss to the division-leading Boston Red Sox.
Boone said Gray will face Baltimore next week and dismissed the idea of skipping Gray to help clear his head.
Solarte went 3 for 4 with a walk as the Blue Jays won for the 12th time in 16 home games.
Aaron Hicks homered and had two RBIs in the opener of New York’s 11-game road trip. Hicks has hit five home runs in his past five games.
Gray retired the first two batters before loading the bases with two walks and a single. He escaped unscathed when Russell Martin struck out swinging.
Things went downhill for Gray in the second, which began with Randal Grichuk’s double. One out later, Devon Travis and Curtis Granderson hit back-to-back RBI singles. Smoak capped the inning with a two-out homer, his 12th.
Hicks hit a solo home run in the third, his career-high 16th, then chased Blue Jays right-hander Sam Gaviglio with a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. Joe Biagini came on and struck out Giancarlo Stanton looking, then got Didi Gregorius to fly out.
New York went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners stranded.
”We just didn’t get that hit to put us over tonight,” Boone said.
Gaviglio allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. Gaviglio is winless in seven starts, dating to a May 25 victory at Philadelphia.
Biagni (1-5) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win, snapping a streak of 10 straight losing decisions.
Five Blue Jays relievers combined to pitch 4 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just one hit.
”Our bullpen did some kind of job,” manager John Gibbons said.
Boone said finishing off hitters is Gray’s biggest challenge.
”It’s getting himself into good counts and making pitches when he has a chance to put guys away,” Boone said. ”That’s what he’s really struggled with.”
David Hale pitched 5 2/3 innings in relief of Gray, his longest career outing as a reliever. Hale allowed one run and five hits.
Yankees: New York recalled INF Tyler Wade from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He takes the place of 2B Gleyber Torres (right hip), who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday. … RHP Masahiro Tanaka (left and right hamstring strains) allowed two runs and three hits in five innings in a rehab start at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. Tanaka is expected to return to New York’s rotation next Tuesday at Baltimore. … Boone said LHP CC Sabathia will pitch the opening game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Orioles. New York will call up a pitcher from the minors to start Game 2, Boone said, with RHP Luis Cessa and RHP Jonathan Loaisiga among the candidates.
Blue Jays: LHP Jaime Garcia (shoulder) felt good after a bullpen session Friday and will be re-evaluated Saturday. He has yet to begin a rehab assignment. … Utilityman Darnell Sweeney cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo.
Yankees RHP Luis Severino (13-2, 1.98) faces Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-4, 4.03) on Saturday afternoon. Severino, who leads the majors in wins, will be pitching on extra rest thanks to New York’s off day Thursday. Happ lost to Detroit last Sunday, matching season worsts by allowing seven runs and 10 hits. The defeat snapped Happ’s streak of six straight winning decisions.
Hirano may be a major league rookie, but his work the last five seasons as a closer with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan has translated well.
Hirano, 34, had a franchise-record 26-game scoreless streak broken in an 8-4 loss to St. Louis on Wednesday, when he finished one scoreless appearance short of tying former Red Sox right-hander Koji Uehara for the longest such streak by a Japanese-born pitcher in major league history. Even that loss could not diminish the value Hirano has had this season.
Arizona right-hander Shelby Miller is scheduled to face San Diego left-hander Eric Lauer in the first game of the series Thursday.
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo was Boston’s bench coach when Uehara set the record in 2013, so he can provide a comparison of Uehara and Hirano.
“They have the same work habits, which is pretty impressive,” Lovullo said. “They both come in and get their work done pregame. They come in and get their work done postgame. They find themselves healthy and strong and prepared for every single one of their outings.
“They both have a fearlessness to their game and an approach to understanding what needs to happen during each at-bat. They are not afraid to put the ball on the plate with two different pitches. They go out and expect to get outs. Very similar mind-set. Very similar makeup. Very similar confidence.”
Hirano is 2-0 with a 1.43 ERA in 42 appearances. He has 19 holds, fourth in the majors, and he has permitted only one of his 16 inherited runners to score while being primarily used in the seventh inning. Eighth-inning reliever Archie Bradley leads the majors with 22 holds and closer Brad Boxberger has 20 saves.
Uehara began the 2013 season in a similar setup role in the Boston bullpen before advancing to the closer’s role after injuries thinned the relief corps. He finished with 21 saves, a 1.09 ERA and an 0.57 WHIP.
“As soon as he became the closer, he gave off a certain edge and a certain confidence that was noticeable,” Lovullo said.
Hirano has a 1.01 WHIP, fourth among major league relievers with at least 40 appearances.
“He’s been very versatile,” Lovullo said. “He’s unfazed by any role we have asked him to do. He can pitch in traffic. He can start clean innings. He can get left-handers and right-handers out.”
The Diamondbacks lost two of three to St. Louis and have dropped five of their past six games overall. They took two out of three games in their only other series against the Padres this season, also at Chase Field.
San Diego has slumped over the last 2 1/2 weeks. The Padres have lost three in a row and are 3-13 since beating Atlanta 9-3 behind left-hander Clayton Richard on June 15. They have scored 30 runs in their last 10 games.
“We’re not getting hits with runners in scoring position,” San Diego manager Andy Green told reporters after a two-game sweep in Oakland.
“Sometimes the best thing you can do is relax, go play baseball and enjoy what you’re doing. Then the hits start coming.”
Christian Villanueva hit his 17th homer for the Padres in a 4-2 loss to the A’s Wednesday.
Miller is 0-2 with an 11.42 ERA in two starts this season after returning from a 14-month absence following Tommy John surgery in last May, 2017. He has given up 15 hits and 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings.
Miller is 2-2 with a 4.54 ERA in eight career appearances, including seven starts, against the Padres. He had a strong outing against them early last season, giving up four hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings in the third of his four starts before suffering the elbow injury.
Rookie Lauer joined the Padres’ rotation in late April and is 3-5 with a 5.08 ERA in 13 starts this season. He was 2-2 with a 2.76 ERA in six June starts and is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA in seven road starts.
He has never faced the Diamondbacks.
PHOENIX — As the second half of the season commences, both Arizona and San Francisco have reasons to feel confident as they prepare for the third game of a three-game weekend series Sunday.
Arizona survived a 2-15 stretch in May and is playing as well as it did in the early going, when it did not lose any of its first 12 series. The Giants have won nine of 11 after going 18-10 in June, their first winning month since June, 2016.
“I know that we got off to a great start and hit a little downturn and fought back,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said when asked about his takeaways from the first half.
“The obvious thing is, we are playing very good baseball now. We’ve grown and learned and become stronger and tougher because of the situation we walked through in May. They have never pointed their finger at anything or any anyone in an particular situation or moment.
“When it didn’t go well, they were accountable. They played united baseball. We’re right in the middle of a story that we continue to want to tell the way we are telling it.”
Arizona right-hander Zack Godley will oppose Giants left-hander Derek Holland in the final game of the series at Chase Field on Sunday afternoon. The Giants begin a three-game series in Colorado on Monday while the Diamondbacks will host a three-game series against St. Louis.
“Considering everything that is happened, we are right in the thick of things, which is where you want to be,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said.
“If you would have told me what we have to deal with – three starters out, (Joe) Panik out, (Evan) Longoria out. Sure, no question you take it. I think it is going to be tight in September. Hopefully we’re right there. That’s our plan.”
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In the interim, Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez have pitched well. The Giants also have received only five starts from Madison Bumgarner, who opened the season on the disabled list before returning in early June.
Arizona outfielders A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza Jr. also are nearing a return from the disabled list after missing considerable time. The Diamondbacks also lost starters Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray for 58 days before returning.
Pollock and Souza Jr. are on rehab assignments for Triple-A Reno, and Pollock is likely to return before the All-Star break. Pollock was slashing .293/.349/.620 with 10 doubles, 11 homers and nine stolen bases in 43 games before suffering a fractured thumb trying to make a diving catch in center field in the ninth inning of a 7-2 loss to Milwaukee on May 14.
“You think about what the (injury) losses are,” Lovullo said “It’s been a very interesting season. I think the most resilient teams are the ones that understand and accept what’s happening day by day, whether it is good or bad, and move on to the next day as quickly as possible.
“We are a resilient group. We can turn the page quickly, no matter what the results are.”
Godley, 9-5 with a 4.58 ERA, is one victory short of NL leaders Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and Aaron Nola, in part because he has received 4.63 runs of support in his 16 starts. His 1.52 WHIP is 44th and last among qualified NL starters [url=http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-miles-wood-jersey]Miles Wood Jersey[/url] , and he has made seven quality starts.
Godley is 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two starts against the Giants this season and is 2-2 with a 6.97 ERA in six career appearances, four starts, against them. Godley has pitched his best at home this season, going 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA in six starts.
Holland (5-7, 4.24) is coming off arguably his best outing of the season, although he did not receive a decision in a 3-2 victory over Colorado. Holland gave up one run on six hits in a season-high 6 2/3 innings while striking out a season high eight. It was his longest appearance since he went eight innings against Seattle on May 21, 2017.
He is 0-1 in two starts against the Diamondbacks, both with Texas. Holland is 3-5 with a 3.94 ERA in nine road starts this season. He has never pitched in Chase Field.
“At some point, obviously we need to put both ends together and get the pitching we need, get some early runs and get the game on our terms and we’re going to start to do things the way we can,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Meanwhile, the Orioles are mired in last place and own the worst record in Major League Baseball. Baltimore has lost five straight, including its first-ever four-game sweep at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.
“I don’t like losing any games. It eats at you,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “But you should be doing those things all the time, because things are always evolving, especially in our situation compared to some of the people we compete against in this division.”
The Orioles, looking at a possible rebuild, are open to trading several key players, including shortstop Manny Machado and closer Zach Britton, as they look toward the future. On Thursday, the team recalled rookie Chance Sisco, who is viewed as a long-term fixture as the starting catcher and will split time with Caleb Joseph.
“We know we’re getting right, left, right against Anaheim. We know they only have two left-handed hitters. It’s more about today now, but we’re going to make use of all their skills and keep them all in the mix.
“And also, part of Chance’s development is two steps forward, one step back. We’ll keep trying to do what’s best for his long-term development and success.”
The Orioles have also struggled with injuries. Both right-handed reliever Darren O’Day (hamstring) and outfielder Craig Gentry (rib fracture) were placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier this week. The team’s most consistent starter, Dylan Budy (ankle), is also on the DL.
Baltimore looks to get off to a solid start against the Angels with rookie David Hess (2-4, 5.44 ERA) starting the opener. He has shown some upside but has lost his last three decisions.
In his last outing, Hess allowed five runs and seven hits in just four innings of a 7-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
“The results speak for themselves,” Hess said. “They’re definitely different, but I think just executing pitches, I think I haven’t done it as well the past few starts. I think just getting back to what was successful those first few outings. I think we’ll get back to work and make a good move for the next outing.”
Los Angeles will be without reliever Jake Jewell, who suffered an ankle injury while covering home plate after a wild pitch against the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
It was ”Turn Ahead the Clock” night at Safeco Field, including back-to-the future sleeveless uniforms with shirt tails out and some shiny silver shoes and helmets.
The Seattle Mariners feel like their future is now, earning a season-best sixth consecutive victory by beating the Kansas City Royals 6-4 on Saturday night.
Ryon Healy had four hits, including a home run and three RBIs. Felix Hernandez (8-6) earned the win despite back stiffness so severe that it was difficult for him to bend over.
”It was real bad,” Hernandez said. ”I put a heat pad on it between innings and I couldn’t sit (in the dugout). I was standing up the whole game.”
The stiffness showed in the first inning when Hernandez gave up four consecutive hits, including a three-run homer to Mike Moustakas. But Hernandez managed to pitch four scoreless innings afterward.
Did he consider skipping his start?
”Come on, man,” he said. ”I had to go out there. But the ump wouldn’t let me wear my hat backwards (on the uniform night). ”He said it was too much of a distraction with my jersey out and the earrings. I said. `Look, this is the future.’ `’
Edwin Diaz pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 31st save of the season.
Jason Hammels (2-10) lost his fifth straight, allowing all six runs on 13 hits in six innings.
”Mechanically, the first few innings I was a mess,” Hammels said. ”That’s a tough lineup. I felt like I was throwing batting practice today.”
So did Hernandez in the first inning, but Seattle manager Scott Servais said they were just hoping to get five innings out of him.
The Mariners (53-31) are 22 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2003 season. They have gone 16 consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance, the longest dry spell in professional sports.
”We’re just living the dream now,” Hernandez said. ”I love these guys. It’s the best team we’ve had in my 14 years. It’s fun.”
Kansas City manager Ned Yost said he knew Hernandez would get better as the game progressed.
”Good pitchers, if you’re going to get them, you better get them early because they’re going to settle in,” Yost said. ”Hernandez settled in in the second.”
The Mariners quickly got back in it. Mitch Haniger made it 3-1 in the bottom of the first when he doubled to the gap in left-center to score Jean Segura, who singled.
The Mariners took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the second. Healy homered to left-center to tie it at 3 and Mike Zunino hit a sacrifice fly.
The Mariners added two more runs on five hits in the third inning to take a 6-3 lead.
It was another impressive win for the Mariners on a night of uniforms that were supposed to represent the year 2027. Dee Gordon wore his hat backward and Nelson Cruz showed off his giant biceps in the sleeveless attire.
”Dee put so much effort into it, so it was his night,”’ Healy said. ”But Nelson and those arms. My goodness. That’s shear intimidation when he doesn’t wear sleeves.”
Royals: Yost said RHP Ian Kennedy was feeling better Saturday after experiencing tightness on his left side when he left the game Friday after five innings. Yost didn’t day whether Kennedy would make his next scheduled start . INF Chester Cuthbert (lower back strain) went 0 for 2 with a walk and a run scored in his first rehab assignment game at Triple-A Omaha on Friday night. Cuthbert appeared in 30 games and was hitting .194 before the injury on May 16.
Royals: RHP Brad Keller (2-2, 2.25) will make his sixth start of the year Sunday. Keller is coming off the best start of his rookie season when he pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed only two hits in a 2-0 victory over the Angels Monday.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton (7-2, 3.65) will make his 18th start of the season Sunday. Paxton leads the team in strikeouts this season with 134 in 103 2/3 innings. He has six double-digit strikeout games in 2018 and his 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings are fourth-best in the AL.
Conforto homered for the second time in three games and drove in a career high four runs, Steven Matz pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1.
Conforto lined a three-run homer in the second inning, and that was all the support Matz needed against one of baseball’s hottest teams. Matz (3-4) allowed a run, six hits and a walk with three strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.
”Trying to stay behind it a little bit, that’s the best way I can explain it,” said Conforto, who was 2 for 29 over his last nine games. ”It’s something that I’ve been through before.”
The Mets ended a four-game losing streak and have won just two of their last 14 games. The Diamondbacks lost for just the second time in nine games.
”Doing some things that we’d been talking about as far as basic baseball I think is big for us,” Conforto said. ”We know we’re better players than the product has been.”
New York made it 4-0 in the third when Amed Rosario led off with a double and scored on starter Patrick Corbin’s wild pitch. The Mets had scored three or fewer runs in 11 straight games.
Corbin got into another jam in the sixth but got some help from center fielder Chris Owings, who threw out Brandon Nimmo trying to score from second base on a shallow single. With two outs in the inning, Conforto doubled into the right-field corner to drive in another run.
”You give up three quick runs the way Matz was throwing, it was a little too much for us to play some catch-up,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Corbin (6-3) surrendered five runs and eight hits in six innings with seven strikeouts.
”Take a way a couple of pitches there, I think it could have been decent,” Corbin said. ”They just did a good job, made it tough. I got the pitch count up there a little bit and they made me work.”
The Diamondbacks made it 5-1 in the sixth with Nick Ahmed’s double and Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI groundout.
Arizona loaded the bases in the seventh against Matz and reliever Robert Gsellman, who rode onto the field in the Diamondbacks’ new bullpen cart. Gsellman got Ahmed to ground into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
”Honestly, after the second inning it all clicked for me and I started feeling really good out there,” Matz said.
The Mets’ Anthony Swarzak struck out the side in the ninth to end it.
GREET THE METS
Most of the right field seats at Chase Field on Saturday night were taken up by hundreds of chanting Mets fans in blue shirts representing a group called the Seven Line Army. It bills itself on Twitter as ”the largest traveling supporter section in baseball history.”
The group went crazy as Conforto’s home run sailed into its area, and roared again when Conforto took his position in center field and waved before the start of the bottom of the second.
The fans serenaded Mets pinch hitter Jose Reyes with a soccer-style cheer in the ninth while he was at bat.
Mets: Reliever Jeurys Familia is with the team in Arizona and is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday. He’s been out with a sore right shoulder since June 7. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said he ”wouldn’t be afraid” to go to Familia in the eighth or ninth inning right away. … OF Jay Bruce is expected to be in Sunday’s lineup after missing the past three games with a sore back. … RHP Noah Syndergaard (right index finger) is moving closer to starting a throwing program.
Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller (Tommy John surgery rehab) made a strong start for Class A Visalia on Saturday night [url=http://www.atlantafalconsteamonline.com/customized]Customized Atlanta Falcons Jerseys[/url] , allowing three hits in 6 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts. … LHP Robbie Ray (oblique) will throw up to 70 pitches Tuesday for Triple-A Reno. … RHP Randall Delgado (oblique) is set for one inning of work for Reno on Sunday.
Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (2-5) is set for his fourth career start at Chase Field. He has 1.93 ERA in three previous starts.
Diamondbacks: RHP Clay Buchholz (1-1) faces the Mets. He has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his five starts this season.
James Shields of the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds play in opposite leagues and rarely see each other, yet they currently have much in common.
Now that they’re starting to make something out of what appeared to be a totally lost season, they’d like to keep it going.
The Reds got off to the worst start in baseball at 8-27, one so bad that getting to .500 looked to be as much of a challenge as winning a division title would be for most teams.
But when the Reds (36-48) take on the right-handed Shields and the White Sox on Monday night at Great American Ball Park, in the teams’ first matchup since 2015, they’ll be one of the majors’ hottest clubs. They’ve won 11 of 14 after taking the final two games of a four-game weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers, and interim manager Jim Riggleman now has a 33-33 record for a last-place team.
Considering that Riggleman took over a Reds team that was 3-15 under former manager Bryan Price, that’s something of an accomplishment. And the Reds own a 6-1 record in interleague games.
“We know we can play with these teams that are in first place in their division,” Riggleman said.
They’re winning now in grand fashion, too. Jose Peraza hit the team’s major league-leading ninth grand slam Sunday in an 8-2 win over the Brewers, their second in two games (pitcher Michael Lorenzen hit a pinch-grand slam Saturday) and sixth in 17 games. They’ve already tied a club season record.
“We’ve been getting better at-bats … and we’ve happened to have men on base,” Riggleman said.
Cincinnati starter Matt Harvey pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings before being lifted after a rain delay, and the Reds dealt Brewers rookie Freddy Peralta (3-1), who gave up three runs in five innings, his first major league loss. Peralta allowed only one hit in seven shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals in his previous start.
“That’s probably the best I’ve felt since 2013,” said Harvey (4-5), who won his third straight start.
Shields (3-9), likewise, is beginning to see a ray of sunshine in what previously was a gloomy season. He’s coming off his best start of the year [url=http://www.baltimoreravensteamauthentic.com/customized]Customized Baltimore Ravens Jerseys[/url] , pitching seven shutout innings and giving up four hits Wednesday in a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. It was his 12th quality start of the season, or five more than he had all of last season.
Shields still isn’t the pitcher that won 13 or more games seven times from 2008 to 2015, but it hasn’t helped that he’s pitching for a team that’s off to the second worst start in franchise history. He has allowed a respectable six earned runs in his last four starts, and twice yielded one or no runs while lasting at least seven innings.
At age 36, Shields is making adjustments to compensate for his decreased velocity, yet has pitched at least six innings in 12 of his last 13 starts for a last-place team.
“My body’s feeling really good this year, and this is kind of what I’ve done my whole career,” Shields told reporters after the game against the Twins. “I strive to go as deep as I possibly can in games and so far it’s been good.
“I’m not throwing as hard as I used to. If I were to throw over the top, I’d still throw a little harder than I am right now. (But) at the end of the day, I’m feeling really good with my delivery right now, my mechanics. It’s been a lot of fun making these adjustments.”
Shields goes against Reds right-hander Luis Castillo (5-8), who was 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five June starts. He retired the first 11 batters he faced Wednesday at Atlanta, only to give up four quick runs on a walk and five consecutive singles, although the Reds came back to win 6-5.
Castillo is 0-1 in two starts against American League clubs this season, giving up eight runs in six innings. He has never faced the White Sox.
Shields is 18-18 with a 4.57 ERA in interleague play and 0-2 in two career starts against the Reds, the last of which was in 2015.
The White Sox (29-54) ended a three-game losing streak Sunday by salvaging the final game of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers, winning 10-5 as Avisail Garcia went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
The Reds have won five consecutive interleague games but are facing the White Sox at Great American Ball Park for the first time since 2009. The White Sox are 16-4 overall against the Reds and 10-2 in Cincinnati, though that success there predated any of the current players.
In a story March 5 about the Super Bowl DVD [url=http://www.houstontexansteamonline.com/customized]Customized Houston Texans Jerseys[/url] , The Associated Press reported the site of NFL Films as Mount Royal, New Jersey. The correct site is Mount Laurel, New Jersey.
A corrected version of the story is below:
PHI-NALLY: An Oscar winner in Philadelphia?
Putting together a documentary of a Super Bowl season is an extensive and exhausting project
By BARRY WILNER
AP Sports Writer
Putting together a documentary of a Super Bowl season is an extensive and exhausting project.
Except when it becomes a labor of love.
For dozens of employees at NFL Films, the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles season was particularly special. Thus, the DVD that chronicles it and becomes available to the public on Tuesday – PHI-NALLY is how it is dubbed – wasn’t exactly work.
”We are in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, which is about 20 minutes from the Linc,” says Todd Schmidt, who produces such enterprises for NFL Films. ”So many of our people are lifelong fans of the Eagles, who have suffered for all those years. And that is something the becomes part of the film; we wanted people out there to understand what some of these people went through during that crazy game and this season.
”I would love for an Arizona Cardinals fan to get the same bang out of this as my 22-year-old son and a lifelong Eagles fan will, and I like to think that the story will do that. This is more than a story of a football season. It’s about why teams and fans don’t quit, and that’s what Philly fans are like. They may get a lot of criticism, but there’s a reason Rocky means so much and showing the heart to never give up means so much.”
NFL Films had the good fortune of being able to place microphones on coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Nick Foles. The exchanges between them not only are insightful football-wise [url=http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/customized]Customized Indianapolis Colts Jerseys[/url] , they provide a window into the aggressiveness that was so critical to not only upending the Patriots in a classic Super Bowl, but in the Eagles putting together such a successful season.
Indeed, Philadelphia’s 41-33 victory in Minneapolis probably made for a much more enchanting story than had the Patriots won. After all, New England taking the NFL title is anything but new, and the Eagles last won it in 1960, when Norm Van Brocklin was the quarterback and Chuck Bednarik was playing linebacker and center.
So Schmidt opted to open the documentary with a shot of Franklin Field on the University of Pennsylvania campus – the site of that 1960 win over Green Bay. And he decided to close the film with the parade witnessed by more than 700,000 ”so you get a clear idea of what this meant to the city of Philadelphia, the people of Philadelphia, and to Eagles fans.”
NFL Films actually makes two 55-minute films annually. The 2017 version of the Patriots’ season ”will not see the light of day,” Schmidt explains. But it also would have had plenty of cachet.
”Had the Patriots won, it would have been a film of dominance; if they had won they would have been the `27 Yankees. It would have been magnificent if they had pulled out that game, two of the most amazing Super Bowls back to back. Tom Brady would go down as the greatest magician ever to walk the earth.
”We are storytellers and we would have made the elements we had work well.”
Still, the elements they had on Philadelphia’s side certainly seem more compelling. A team loses five key players, including late in the schedule the QB who appeared headed to league MVP honors. It’s an underdog in all of its postseason games despite being a top seed. Its history of falling short is monumental.
And then it wins a classic Super Bowl against an NFL dynasty.
”The Eagles story has a lot more historical context, which is red meat to a storyteller,” Schmidt says. ”The more context and unique elements of the story, the better the story. So I loved the Eagles story.”
As did so many of his co-workers.
OAKLAND, Calif. — The San Diego Padres will attempt to cool down Jed Lowrie and the Oakland Athletics with a pitcher being promoted from the minor leagues when the clubs complete a two-game interleague series Wednesday afternoon.
Right-hander Luis Perdomo (1-2, 8.36 ERA), who has pitched well at Triple-A El Paso after a disastrous April for the Padres, is expected to be added to the 25-man major-league roster in time to duel A’s left-hander Sean Manaea (8-6, 3.38).
Lowrie had the big blow of the game, a three-run double as part of a five-run sixth inning that allowed the A’s to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 5-2 lead.
The big hit came in Lowrie’s return to his natural position, second base, after he had made 14 starts at third base while Matt Chapman was out with a hand injury.
Chapman was reinstated from the disabled list Tuesday and went 0-for-3.
A’s manager Bob Melvin pushed Lowrie for the American League All-Star team even before Tuesday’s heroics, hoping his time at third base caught the eye of those who will be selecting the club’s reserves.
“In those games, you never know where they go, and versatility could play a part,” Melvin said. “So I think the fact he played so well at third base might even increase his chances to make the All-Star team.”
Lowrie is tied for third in the American League in RBIs with 59 and tied for sixth in doubles with 25.
He had three hits, including two home runs, and four RBIs when the A’s swept a pair from the Padres in San Diego last month.
The A’s have been on a roll since, winning 13 of their last 16 games to improve to a season-best-tying eight games over .500 (47-39).
Tuesday’s victory raised their interleague record to 6-2 this season.
Perdomo has faced neither Lowrie nor the A’s in his three-year career.
An eight-game winner in 2017, he began the season in the majors, but couldn’t get into the fifth inning in three of his four April starts before being sent to Triple A.