Sunday, April 17, 2016

Texas stings homer-happy O's with six-run 7th

The Rangers rallied for six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and held on for an 8-4 victory over the Orioles at Globe Life Park on Saturday night. The Rangers have won two of three over the Orioles in the four-game series that concludes Sunday.
The Rangers won even they were out-homered 3-0 by the Orioles.
"Our guys continue to grind out at-bats," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "The home runs will come for us, but it's about putting runs on the board, putting good at-bats together and capitalizing on your run-scoring opportunities."
The Rangers trailed, 4-2, going into the seventh, before Brett Nicholas led off the inning with a walk and went to third on a double by Delino DeShields off of Orioles starter Yovani Gallardo. Manager Buck Showalter then went to his bullpen beginning with left-hander T.J. McFarland, but the Rangers came back for their first victory this season when trailing after six innings.
The Orioles wasted three home runs. Manny MachadoAdam Jones and Chris Davis all went deep off of Rangers starter Colby Lewis. The Orioles have hit 23 home runs in their first 11 games. But all three Orioles homers Saturday were solo shots, and they left nine men on base in the game.
"One night it's, you got people out there [on base] and you don't get them in, another night it's, you hit a home run and nobody's on base," Showalter said. "It's kind of a tribute to their guy too."
Lewis allowed four runs in six innings and left trailing, 4-2.
"To kind of keep them at bay for six innings and keep it close, that's all I wanted to do," Lewis said. "Anytime you can keep a team like that close, I felt like our offense is going to eventually get it going."
Clutch hitting arrives in seventh: The Rangers were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position through the sixth inning. Then they went 4-for-6 in the sixth with an infield single byNomar Mazara, a double by Mitch Moreland against left-hander McFarland after Adrian Beltre was walked intentionally, and a pair of two-out run-scoring singles by Rougned Odorand Elvis Andrus.
"We just found a way to make something happen," Moreland said. "We were finally able to string some hits together and have a big inning. We haven't hit our stride yet offensively, but we're still getting the job done." More >
Jones' mammoth homer puts O's ahead: Tied at 1 to start the third, Jones absolutely hammered a 1-0 Lewis pitch into left-center, hitting it over the visitor's bullpen and into a brick wall 440 feet from the plate. According to Statcast™, Jones' homer left his bat at 108.5 mph. The leadoff homer was Jones' first of the year and gave Baltimore the lead.
Beltre drives in two: Beltre drove in the first runs for the Rangers off Gallardo -- both times with runners at the corners and one out. Beltre had a sacrifice fly in the first and brought home another run in the fifth on a slow grounder to third that resulted in a force at second.
"It doesn't matter how we score, whether it's by hit, error or home run," Beltre said. "It's all about scoring runs."
Diving stops boost Gallardo: Baltimore made some fantastic defensive plays to support Gallardo. In the second inning, second baseman Jonathan Schoop robbed Odor with a diving stop up the middle and quick throw to first. Third baseman Machado contributed an even more dazzling play two innings later, when Andrus ripped a hard bouncer down the third-base line; Machado dove to his right and just managed to field the ball, then threw a dart across the diamond to easily retire Andrus. Machado stymied Andrus again in the sixth, starting a nifty 5-4-3, inning-ending double play with a spinning throw.
"They want to make that diving play and help the pitchers out," Gallardo said. "It's obviously a good feeling. … Make them put the ball in play, put the ball on the ground, and they're going to make an exciting play for you."
Rangers reliever Keone Kela earned the victory with a scoreless seventh. The victory came on his 23rd birthday. He is the ninth Rangers pitcher to win on his birthday, and the first sinceNick Martinez on Aug. 5 last season. The only other reliever was Wes Littleton on Sept. 2, 2007, against the Angels.
Delino DeShields tried to steal second after a leadoff single in the eighth inning, but was thrown out by catcher Matt Wieters. The Rangers challenged the call and a replay review ruled it would stand.
Orioles: Righty Mike Wright will start for the Orioles at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday. Wright got the win in his only start of 2016 at Boston, pitching five innings and allowing four runs on five hits. Wright has never faced the Rangers.
Rangers: Derek Holland starts for the Rangers against the Orioles at 2:05 p.m. CT on Sunday in Arlington. This is the final of a four-game series. The Rangers have lost three of their first four day games.

Maeda rides shutout streak vs. Shark, Giants

Kenta Maeda remains a novelty. Thus, he'll likely be a central figure when the Giants and Dodgers conclude their three-game series Sunday at 5:05 p.m. PT.
Maeda, the right-hander who spent his previous eight professional seasons in Japan, began his Dodgers career by pitching six shutout innings in each of his first two Major League starts. With Maeda signed to an eight-year contract, the Giants will try to get as good a look at him as possible, since they'll continue to face him during the foreseeable future.
The Giants will be glad to get this game out of the way. They'll begin a 10-game homestand, matching their longest of the year, on Monday against Arizona. Miami and San Diego also will visit AT&T Park during this stretch.
Things to know about this game
• This will be the third consecutive road start to open the season for Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija. He also pitched at Milwaukee and Colorado. Samardzija owns a 1-2 record and a 4.91 ERA in four career appearances, including two starts, against the Dodgers.
• These teams will clash in San Francisco in a three-game series June 10-12, but they won't play at Dodger Stadium again until Aug. 23-25.
• Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has recorded saves in four of the team's seven victories. Jansen has successfully converted his last 16 save opportunities dating to Aug. 26 and is 15 saves shy of Eric Gagné's franchise record.

Giants back Cueto's gem, hold off Dodgers

Johnny Cueto wasn't quite perfect Saturday night, but his performance was enough for the Giants to down the Dodgers, 4-3, and even the weekend series.
The right-hander took a perfect game into the fifth inning and finished with just one earned run in 7 1/3 innings pitched, a strong bounceback effort from a six-run start in San Francisco last Sunday. His three hits allowed was his best regular-season mark since a two-hit shutout against the Nationals last July.
Yasmani Grandal was the consistent thorn in the Giants' side, hitting a double into center field that broke up Cueto's perfect game and making a juggling grab on a foul popup in the seventh. Grandal also hit a double to lead off the ninth inning and eventually reached third, where he was stranded to end the game as Giants closer Santiago Casilla induced a game-ending fly to left from pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy fleetingly considered bypassing Puig by intentionally walking him. But, with Casilla on the mound, Bochy rejected this idea just as quickly.
"I've got my closer out there. I didn't want to send a message that I didn't think he could get him," Bochy said. "I had confidence in him."
Can-do Crawford: Shortstop Brandon Crawford's all-around skills made a significant difference for the Giants. He ran down Trayce Thompson's fly ball to left field in the third inning and made a remarkable over-the-shoulder catch. One inning later, Crawford smacked a run-scoring, ground-rule double to left.
Crawford made his presence felt, just as the Giants missed him while losing Friday night's series opener.
"You're talking about one of the best all-around shortstops in the game," Bochy said. "I don't care who you have. He's a difference-maker. … He's one of our guys. Any time you take out one of your core players, you're hoping the guy going in for him can pick him up, but you don't expect him to be as good as the guy that's starting."
Asked whether Crawford's catch ranked among his best, Bochy said, "It's right up there. That was impressive. That was a Willie Mays-type catch, with his back to the ball. He made it so easy, too. Anything he does, doesn't surprise me. I've seen it so many times."
Seager keeps it close:Corey Seager picked a decent time to hit his first home run of the season, knocking out a two-run dinger in the eighth to bring the Dodgers within one run.More >
Going to extremes: Though Javier Lopez yielded Seager's homer, it was a decent night for the Giants' bullpen. Two of the 'pen's younger relievers, Hunter Strickland and Josh Osich, each recorded a key out in the eighth, and Casilla looked strong while racking up his third save.
Kazmir stumbles again: Kazmir had another disappointing day on the mound, allowing four runs and 11 baserunners in four-plus innings. His outing went south in the top of the fifth, when four straight Giants reached base. The final straw was Brandon Belt's single to scoreJoe Panik, which led to a call for Adam Liberatore. Kazmir has allowed 10 earned runs in two starts against the Giants in 2016.
"I was actually looking at video, just pitches that were not aggressive in the strike zone and four walks, that's a tell right there," he said. "Fifth inning, that's something that's really frustrating, just not attacking hitters. Just getting out of my game, I think that was the main thing that I saw."
Giants: Right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who'll start Sunday's series finale against Los Angeles, has made just two career appearances -- including one start -- at Dodger Stadium. He's 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in those outings. First pitch is at 5:05 p.m. PT and the game will be televised on ESPN.
Dodgers: Kenta Maeda will take the mound looking to make a third straight scoreless start in the rubber match. He had the same line (6 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 4 K) in both of his first two starts with the Dodgers.

Erlin, early star of Padres' rotation, meets Corbin

The Padres' top pitcher goes against the Arizona Diamondback on Sunday and it's not who you think it is.
On a staff that includes James Shields, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, how has Robbie Erlin seized the top billing?
"Robbie has been great,'' Padres manager Andy Green said. "Since the beginning of Spring Training, all the way through now, with the exception of one start in El Paso in an exhibition game, he has been off the charts. He's throwing the ball better than anybody.''
Erlin (1-1, 0.93 ERA) is coming off his first start in which he worked six innings of one-run ball in a loss at Philadelphia. The southpaw has been solid since being recalled from Triple-A on April 8.
Lefty Patrick Corbin (0-1, 3.46 ERA) opposes the Padres. He's 2-3 in six career games (five starts) against San Diego. That includes splitting two decisions at Petco Park.
After wrapping up the three-game series on Sunday, the teams won't meet again until late May when the Padres visit Arizona.
Things to know about this game
• San Diego's Matt Kemp has the fourth-most hits of any opponent against Arizona, with 152. Former Rockie Todd Helton is No. 1 at 246.
• Corbin is facing the Padres for the first time since July 28, 2013, when he lost despite allowing one run in eight innings.
• Paul Goldschmidt seeks to reach base via a walk or a hit for the 33rd time in 38 career games against the Padres.

Upton's last lick in 14th wins it straightaway

Melvin Upton, Jr.'s two-out, two-run homer off Rubby De La Rosa in the 14th inning landed just out of the reach of a leaping David Peralta in center and lifted the Padres to a 5-3 walk-off win over the D-backs on Saturday night at Petco Park to even the weekend series at a game apiece.
"That swing right there brings life not just into the day but also the season," Padres manager Andry Green said.
The Padres built a 3-0 lead thanks to a two-run second inning during which D-backs starterShelby Miller struggled with his command and was forced to leave due to an injury. Alexei Ramirez drove home a run in the inning and moved to third on an error by center fielderSocrates Brito while Jon Jay drew a bases-loaded walk.
Matt Kemp added a solo home run in the third for the Padres and right-hander Andrew Cashner kept the D-backs in check until fifth when Jean Segura's groundout scoredYasmany Tomas. The D-backs were able to push across an unearned run in the seventh before tying up the game in the eighth when Rickie Weeks Jr. scored from third on Brandon Maurer's wild pitch.
"Good battle, man," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. " Both teams. They made some great plays. We made some great plays. We just sort of, kind of ran out. Rubby did the best he could."
Bullpen worn out: With Miller's early departure the D-backs relievers wound up having to throw 12 innings. Arizona used its entire bullpen plus De La Rosa, who was scheduled to start Monday. The 'pen allowed three runs, two of which came on the game-winning homer.
"I think the amount that we fought tonight and competed, especially losing Shelby so early, I think it showed a lot of character in our team," said closer Brad Ziegler, who threw two innings. "Obviously the bullpen, those guys threw great tonight to keep the score where it was and give us a chance to come back. We fought, but we just couldn't get that one more run that we needed."
Short outing: Miller scraped his right hand on the mound during his follow through on a 1-1 pitch to Cashner in the second causing cuts on both of the knuckles on his index finger. His departure one batter later forced an already-depleted Arizona bullpen to pick up 11 1/3 innings.
"My mechanics were kind of out of whack and my hand kind of hit the ground a couple of times," Miller said.
Kemp KO's another HR: Matt Kemp slugged his fourth home run of the season when he stroked a 1-0 changeup into the left-field seats for a 3-0 Padres lead in the third. For Kemp, it was his 31st home run against the D-backs. Among active players, only Adrian Gonzalez(34), has more homers vs. Arizona.
Quack attack: Kevin Quackenbush relieved Casher in the seventh and the D-backs nearly got even. Quackenbush allowed a double to Tomas and he scored on Drury's sacrifice fly to pull Arizona to within 3-2. The run was unearned because Upton Jr. misplayed Tomas' double.
Upton provided the first walk-off win of the season for the Padres with his homer in the 14th inning. It was also the 100th walk-off victory in Petco Park history and the Padres' 16th against Arizona, the most vs. any opponent.
The D-backs tied the game in the eighth inning after a review upheld Weeks being safe at home after a wild pitch by Maurer. Weeks raced to the plate and just beat Maurer's tag fromDerek Norris' relay, a call which stood after a 2:08 delay.
Ramirez led off the ninth by drawing a walk and he proceeded to steal second. The D-backs challenged the ruling on the field and the call was overturned, which proved to be important because one out later Cory Spangenberg singled to center.
D-backs: Patrick Corbin will get the start Sunday at Petco Park in the series finale. The left-hander was the team's best pitcher during the spring and he's carried that over into the regular season. In two career starts at Petco Park, he is 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA.
Padres: San Diego ends its three-game series against Arizona by sending Robbie Erlin (1-1, 0.93) out to face Corbin (0-1, 3.46) in a battle of left-handers. Erlin, who didn't make the Opening Day roster, has been solid since being summoned on April 8 from Triple-A. He's making his second start this year, with his win coming in his lone relief appearance.

Medlen, Bassitt set to match up in rubber game

Right-hander Kris Medlen looks to take another step forward in his recovery from Tommy John surgery when the Royals conclude their seven-game road trip against Chris Bassitt and the A's on Sunday at the Coliseum.
Medlen (1-0) had seven strikeouts in his season debut against Houston on April 12. It was his most strikeouts since Sept. 27, 2013, his final start before undergoing surgery that forced him to miss all of 2014 and the first half of '15.
Bassitt is carrying a respectable 2.92 ERA into the game though he has yet to earn a decision this season. The right-hander has allowed four earned runs in 12 1/3 innings, but the A's have scored just four runs with him on the mound.
Things to know about this game
• Medlen spent his first five seasons in the National League and will be facing the A's for the first time in his career. That leaves the Angels, Mariners, Rangers and Braves as the only teams he has yet to pitch against.
• Bassitt is making his third career start against Kansas City, but his first with Oakland. He faced the Royals twice previously while with the White Sox.
• Kansas City has not lost back-to-back games in Oakland since getting swept in a three-game series May 17-19, 2013.

CarGo aims to extend 21-game hit streak vs. Lester, Cubs

The turn of the calendar hasn't affected Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez. He finished last year with a 10-game hit streak, and his fourth-inning single off the Cubs' stingy Jake Arrieta gave him an 11-game run to start this season. The 21-gamer he'll take into Sunday afternoon's final game of three against the Cubs at Wrigley Field is a career high.
But Gonzalez, who according to Elias is the fourth player in the last 50 seasons to end one season with a hit steak of at least 10 games and begin the next with another such streak, said his team is not living in the past. With five straight losing seasons, Gonzalez said he encourages looking forward.
"You have to put it that way, even when you have bad games, stay positive," said Gonzalez, who also knocked his fourth home run of the season on Saturday, a two-run shot off Cubs reliever Travis Wood in the ninth in the Cubs' 6-2 win. "There's another opportunity the next day. So far that's what we've been doing. You can't get stuck in the past."
Three things to know
• The Cubs will start Jon Lester (1-0, 2.77 ERA), who is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in two career starts against the Rockies. Lester pitching means David Ross will be catching back-to-back games. He started Saturday because of matchup considerations, and manager Joe Maddon said the veteran Ross has been conditioned to handle the workload.
"I don't think we're pushing David right now," Maddon said. "I think David's at the top of his game."
• Sunday is the one-year anniversary of Cubs power-hitting third baseman Kris Bryant's debut.
"It's been a big year for me," he said. "I learned a lot along the way. I'm far from where I want to be."
• Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood (1-1) will make his Wrigley Field debut. In two starts, Chatwood has given up a .333 opponents' batting average and his five strikeouts against one walk in 12 1/3 innings has helped him stay competitive

Wacha, Moscot face off in rubber game

A struggling Reds pitching staff will try to cool the Cardinals' red hot offense as the teams meet Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium.
Right-hander Jon Moscot will make his season debut for the Reds, who have given up 36 runs through the first four games of their road trip including 14 to the Cardinals on Friday. Reds pitchers have walked 26 batters during that stretch.
The Cardinals will counter with righty Michael Wacha, who pitched six shutout innings in a 10-1 win over Milwaukee on Monday. Wacha is 5-1 with a 1.87 ERA in nine career starts against the Reds, holding them to one run or less in six of those starts.
The Cardinals have scored 62 runs in their six wins this season and have scored 10 or more in four of their first 11 games.
Three things to know
• Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina will be presented his eighth Gold Glove and fourth Platinum Glove award by Rawlings before Sunday's game.
• Moscot (strained left intercostal muscle) will be activated from the disabled list before the game. Manager Bryan Price has indicated that the Reds would go from an eight-man to a seven-man bullpen to make room for Moscott.
• Matt Adams hit his fifth career pinch hit home run against the Reds on Friday. Three of Adams' pinch hit homers have come against Cincinnati.

Gibson, Twins seek sweep vs. Tropeano, Angels

Hurlers headed in opposite directions to start the season square off at Target Field on Sunday when Nick Tropeano and Kyle Gibson meet in the series finale.
Tropeano looks to build off his stellar season debut when he was victorious in Oakland on April 11, blanking the A's over five innings while striking out six. He made one career relief appearance at Target Field last September and worked a scoreless frame.
Gibson, on the other hand, has absorbed losses in his first two outings of the season for Minnesota. His second start against the White Sox, was an improvement from the opener, as he surrendered one earned run in 5 2/3 innings.
Minnesota is looking to Gibson for its third straight win after starting the season 0-9. Los Angeles (5-6) would climb back to .500 with a win.
Three things to know about this game
• Gibson didn't fare particularly well in two starts against the Halos last season, going 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA. Over his career, he's winless against the Angels, posting a 7.18 ERA in five starts.
• CJ Cron and Mike Trout have enjoyed the greatest success among Angels hitters against Gibson, albeit in a small sample size. Cron is 3-for-7, while Trout is 3-for-8 with a homer and three RBIs. Albert Pujols is the only other Angels batter to go deep off Gibson.
• The Twins' sample size against Tropeano is even smaller, as they have a combined three plate appearances against him.

Hard-fought series between Tigers, Astros comes to a close

The Tigers and Astros face off for the rubber match of their three-game set on Sunday in Minute Maid Park. The series has been evenly matched so far, with the teams splitting a pair of hotly contested contests.
For the visitors it's all about heading toward another destination with a win after some run-scoring struggles through two games in Houston. Right-hander Anibal Sanchez gets the ball for Detroit, and he'll look to build on some early-season success.
Despite struggles getting to the sixth in the past, Sanchez has reliably reached that inning in each of his first two starts, with five scoreless frames in both. But he hasn't finished a sixth yet thanks to allowing a pair of runs before being pulled in both outings. He's still arguably been Detroit's most consistent starter through a couple turns of the rotation.
Houston will counter with its own veteran right-hander, Mike Fiers, to close out a seven-game homestand. Fiers has a 1.64 ERA in 11 career innings against the Tigers across two starts. He labored a bit early in his first two outings this season but has proven to be a reliable innings-eater against quality American League lineups.
Things to know about this game:
• Though the Astros are one of the most prolific homer-hitting teams in baseball, they're now just 3-7 when launching a homer after dropping Saturday's game despite two long balls in the first inning.
• Double plays could keep bailing out the Tigers. Five combined double plays on Friday and Saturday have pushed their tally to 17 this season, the second most in the AL.
• Detroit's Miguel Cabrera is two RBIs shy of tying Jim Rice for 61st all-time in MLB. Cabrera currently has 1,449 RBIs in 1,948 career games.

Tigers knot set with Astros on Salty's jack

The Tigers rallied from an early three-run deficit, taking the lead on a two-run homer by Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the sixth inning, to beat the Astros, 5-3, and give Justin Verlander his first win of the season on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
Astros outfielder George Springer (3-for-4) followed a leadoff single by Jose Altuve in the first inning with a line-drive home run off the left-field foul pole. Verlander (1-1) struck out the next two batters before Tyler White took him deep with a solo shot into the Crawford Boxes in left for a 3-0 lead, but the Tigers chipped away.
"They had guys on base the whole game," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "What was it? 15 hits, 10 or 11 left on base -- just traffic all over the place, and they never let up. They had four innings where they scored. We scored one. Unless you put a big number up, if you get outscored in innings, 4-1, it's probably not going to end up in your favor."
The Tigers scored once in the second and again in the fifth before taking a 4-3 lead in the sixth when Saltalamacchia clanked a two-run homer off the right-field foul pole against Astros starter Collin McHugh (1-2), who gave up four runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Verlander allowed three runs and seven hits with eight strikeouts in six innings.
"Getting down, 3-0, and coming back like that was a good comeback," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. "We had nine innings to do it, but still. You're down, 3-0, and you're on the road, it's not easy to do."
Salty shows pop: The Tigers' catcher isn't exactly known for his extra-base hits -- he had a .420 career slugging percentage entering the game -- but he lifted a Detroit offense that's had trouble fully capitalizing through two games in Houston. Saltalamacchia swung a one-run game in Detroit's favor with his foul-pole shot, which followed his second-inning ground-rule double. Saltalamacchia already has three home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.019 OPS, nearly 300 points above his career average. More >
Springer comes around: Springer, who was in a 1-for-11 slump going into the game, came through with his first three-hit game of the season to provide a spark in the No. 2 hole in the batting order. After his first-inning homer, Springer singled to left field in the third and singled to center field in the fifth inning.
"We can put a lot of pressure on teams, but we have to stay within our elements to be good," Hinch said. "George is an example of that tonight. He got great results, and we have a few other guys who could take a deep breath and maybe not overdo it." More >
Off the mat: Verlander never had his best stuff, but he was exactly what the Tigers needed after a brutal first inning. The pair of homers put Detroit in a hole and indicated that Verlander's seven-run struggle in Pittsburgh may not have been a fluke. Instead he allowed just one runner past first base the rest of the way and struck out eight to keep Houston's early lead manageable.
"With our offense, I give up three early, but you still know if you settle down, it gives us a chance to win," Verlander said. "That was my main focus. ... I was able to make pitches the rest of the night and pitch pretty well."
The Tigers turned two double plays, and they've now facilitated double plays in nine straight games. That's the most since they did so in eight consecutive contests from Sept. 1-8, 2010.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus won a pair of challenges. The first came in the third inning, when Altuve was ruled safe diving back into first base on a pickoff attempt. Ausmus prompted a manager's challenge, which overturned the call and wiped out a potential Astros threat.
In the sixth, Jose Iglesias was called out at second on a stolen-base attempt, but he was quickly ruled safe after a short review.
Tigers: Right-hander Anibal Sanchez takes the bump for Sunday's 2:10 p.m. ET rubber match at Minute Maid Park. Sanchez is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA this season but has yet to finish six innings in either of his two outings. In his only start against Houston last season, he gave up seven runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Astros: The Astros will send right-hander Mike Fiers to the mound to close out their first homestand of the season at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday. In 11 starts for the Astros, Fiers has gone 2-2 with a 3.29 ERA.