Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bats carry Astros again in Game 2 victory

The Astros matched their home run total from their previous 12 games by getting home runs from Evan GattisCarlos Correa and George Springer to cruise to a 10-2 win and a doubleheader sweep of the Twins on Thursday night at Target Field.
Houston, which beat the Twins, 15-7, in Game 1, has won three in a row after dropping 11 of their previous 14 games, including Monday's series opener. Thursday's second game was scheduled after Wednesday's game was rained out.
"This is the good version of us," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The more selective we are, the better we are. We feed off of each other. There's no doubt when our big boys are producing, it takes a lot of pressure off the guys at the rest of the order and don't have to carry us."
Gattis clubbed a three-run homer in the second off Tommy Milone (3-4), Correa led off the third with a 446-foot shot to center field and Springer (3-for-4) added a two-run, opposite-field homer in the fourth to make it 7-0. Jose Altuve beat out an infield hit to extend his road on-base streak to 41 games. Milone left after three innings with tighness in his left shoulder.
Chris Devenski (1-4) picked up his first career win by throwing five scoreless innings in a spot start. He allowed only two hits and didn't walk a batter while striking out five. He threw 51 of his 71 pitches for strikes. Milone was rocked for five runs and five hits in three innings.
"We had to turn the page from last night, and it didn't turn out particularly well," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "Long day. Frustrating. I know the guys were trying. A couple of short outings from our starters taxed us fairly well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Astros getting offensive: After struggling to score any runs for two weeks, the Astros got them in bunches against the Twins. Thursday's outburst gave the Astros 25 runs scored in two games, which matched their total runs scored in their previous 11 games. They also bashed out 35 hits in the two games, and the three homers equaled their total from their previous 12 games.
"Things have changed," Springer said. "We were able to string together some hits. This is a long year. You're going to have stuff like that. We were able to swing ourselves out of it today and hopefully it can continue." More >
Albers returns: Left-hander Andrew Albers was called up from Triple-A Rochester to be Minnesota's 26th man for the nightcap of the doubleheader but found himself moved to the 25-man roster after Buddy Boshers was placed on the DL. Albers' first MLB appearance since May 1, 2015, was rocky at the start, as he allowed four runs, including a two-run homer to Springer, in his first two innings. But he settled down and preserved Minnesota's bullpen by pitching six innings to finish the game, allowing five runs (three earned) on 11 hits in a 108-pitch outing.
"I'm grateful that Albers was here," Molitor said. "What he did, you can't underscore enough. He came out, he got banged around a bit the first couple of innings, but he ended up throwing 108 pitches. He picked us up." More >
Devo gets in win column: The rookie right-hander has flourished in relief after not getting great results in four starts earlier this season, but he was terrific in a spot start. He gave up a double to Brian Dozier to start the first and then sent down 15 of the final 17 batters he faced, with a fourth-inning single by Miguel Sano the only other hit.
"He picked us big time by going through five innings," Hinch said. "He's so efficient when he's right. He got into the fifth inning relatively quickly." More >
Polanco extends streak: After going 2-for-4 in the first game of the doubleheader, Twins infielder Jorge Polanco extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the seventh inning off Houston left-hander Kevin Chapman and later added an infield single in the eighth. The streak is the second-longest active streak in the AL behind Cleveland's Jose Ramirez (15 games). He is slashing .388/.385/.531 since he was recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Albers became the 26th pitcher used by the Twins this season, a new team record. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Albers' 108 pitches are tied for the most in a relief appearance in Twins history. Oscar Munoz also threw 108 pitches in relief on Aug. 21, 1995.
"We kept checking in with him, and even after the eighth inning, I was tempted to get [reliever Ryan] Pressly in there, which I really didn't want to do," Molitor said. "But [Albers] said he was good. He said he was just starting to get loose."
WHAT'S NEXT
Astros: Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove will make his second career start when the Astros open a three-game series against the Blue Jays at 6:07 p.m. CT Friday at Rogers Centre. Musgrove, who struck out eight batters in 4 1/3 innings in relief in his Aug. 2 debut, held the Rangers to one run and five hits in seven innings Sunday, but is looking for first win.
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-6, 4.86 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game series against the Royals on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT. It will be the first time he will face Kansas City this year, but he's 5-3 with a 2.55 ERA in eight career starts against the Royals.

Lights out: Yankees rally past Red Sox

The Fenway Park crowd was electric with hostility each time Alex Rodriguezcame to the plate on Thursday night, but they were reduced to groans when the Red Sox let a second straight rivalry game get away in a 4-2 defeat to the Yankees in the rubber match of a three-game series.
The Bronx Bombers scored three in the eighth against Brad Ziegler to quickly overturn the 2-1 lead Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez departed with.
Gary SanchezAaron Hicks and Brett Gardner got the rally started with singles. With the bases loaded and one out, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a liner to left that Andrew Benintendi lost in the lights for a two-run double.
"It went in the lights but that's no excuse," Benintendi said. "I should have caught it."
A-Rod (0-for-4) hit a dribbler in front of the plate in his final Fenway at-bat that scored Gardner for an insurance run.
"Not how I pictured it when I woke up this morning," Rodriguez said, "but definitely glad that run came in and we won the game."
E-Rod was marvelous for Boston, allowing three hits and a run while walking one and striking out six over seven innings. It was the second straight night a Boston starter left with a lead and had to settle for a no-decision. The lefty came out after 93 pitches, as Red Sox manager John Farrell felt his best chance to win was for Ziegler and Craig Kimbrel to pitch the last two innings.
"Where we were in the lineup with the guys that have done damage to him up to that point, felt like with Ziegler and Kimbrel available, turn it over to those two guys to close it out," said Farrell. "He did an outstanding job for those seven innings of work. On a hot, muggy night, I felt like that was the time to make a move."
Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda held Boston to two runs over six innings despite allowing eight hits.
The loss dropped the Red Sox three games behind the Blue Jays in the American League East and a half-game ahead for the second AL Wild Card.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Blinded by the light(s): Benintendi has had a stellar start to his Red Sox career, but he was frustrated by his inability to snare Ellsbury's liner at the crucial point of the game. In fairness, it's hard to catch what you can't see.
"Not much you can do about it," Benintendi said. "I tried to put my glove up where I thought it was going to be. It just went right over my glove."
A-Rod bids Fenway adieu: Playing in the penultimate game of his career in the ballpark where he made his Major League debut at the age of 18 while with the Mariners, Rodriguez provided the game's game last run.
"Kind of a funny hit at the end," Rodriguez said. "I just really was thinking about getting one run in, at least, and extending our lead."
Ortiz heats right up: It didn't take long for David Ortiz to show he was over the right shin injury he suffered in Wednesday's game. In the first pitch of his first at-bat on Thursday, the slugger rifled a ground-rule double into the corner in right. He even scored from second on a single to center by Hanley Ramirez. Ortiz finished 1-for-3. Ramirez left the game in the bottom of the eighth after jarring his back trying to make a play at first base in the top of the inning. More >
Romine rocks one: E-Rod threw a hanging slider to first baseman Austin Romine in the third inning and Romine got all of it, belting a solo homer over the Green Monster to tie the game at 1. It was his fourth home run and 20th RBI of the season, both career highs.
QUOTABLE
"It will be pretty good for my Instagram account." -- Rodriguez, on a photo he took next to a No. 13 inside the Green Monster before Thursday's game
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In his young career, Eduardo Rodriguez has been masterful against the Yankees, going 4-1 with a 1.88 ERA in six starts.
WHAT'S NEXT
Yankees: A-Rod will play what could be the last game of his career at Yankee Stadium against the Rays on Friday. He is expected to start at designated hitter after manager Joe Girardi declined his request to play third base. A ceremony honoring Rodriguez will begin at 6:50 p.m. ET before first pitch at 7:35. Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia (6-9, 4.18 ERA) will make the start for New York.
Red Sox: Lefty David Price is still in search of more consistency in his first season in Boston. Last time out against the Dodgers, Price gave up six hits and six runs (three earned) over six innings. At Fenway, Price is 6-3 with a 4.33 ERA. On Friday, he'll take the mound at 7:10 p.m. against the D-backs, who occupy last place in the National League West.

O's bust out in Oakland, hold on for Tillman's 15th

 Mark Trumbo hit his first grand slam of the year as part of a five-RBI day, andChris Tillman won for the 15th time, as the Orioles held off a late A's surge and avoided a sweep at the Coliseum on Thursday with a 9-6 win.
The A's brought the potential game-winning run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. But Orioles closer Zach Britton got Danny Valencia to ground out to second base with the bases loaded for his 35th save, moving Baltimore within a half-game of first-place Toronto. Britton has not allowed an earned run in 39 straight appearances, an MLB record.
Baltimore's offense finally erupted after scoring only three runs through the first three games of the series. A three-run fourth, capped by a two-run double by Pedro Alvarez, snapped a scoreless streak of 17 consecutive innings dating back to Tuesday. The O's only added on from there, loading the bases an inning later for Trumbo, who hit his Major League-leading 32nd homer and third career grand slam to make it 7-0.
"[Trumbo's] had a good season," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "Just because he hasn't been perfect the last week or so, a lot of people would like to trade places with him statistically. We're lucky to have him, or we wouldn't be where we are."
Tillman is now tied with Boston's Rick Porcello for the second-most wins in the American League, trailing only Toronto's J.A. Happ (16). Tillman allowed a two-run homer to Ryon Healy in the fifth, but was otherwise solid, holding Oakland to five hits over seven innings while striking out four. It was the seventh straight quality start by a Baltimore starter on the team's 10-game road trip.
Andrew Triggs, a converted reliever making his second start of the season, was charged with his first loss of the season. He was the A's eighth different starter in their last eight games, the first time that's occurred since 1961. Triggs ran into trouble in the fourth inning, as Baltimore sent seven batters to the plate in a four-hit, three-run frame.
Oakland's bullpen didn't fare much better, allowing six runs in five innings of relief, includingAdam Jones' 23rd home run of the season in the seventh inning. Baltimore led 9-2 until the A's narrowed the deficit in a four-run eighth inning, sparked by a Max Muncy homer and a two-run double by Yonder Alonso.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Britton blanks another opponent: Britton allowed a one-out walk and back-to-back two-out singles in the ninth, but kept the A's off the board. His 39th straight appearance without allowing an earned run moved him past Brett Cecil and Craig Kimbrel for the longest streak in MLB history. The last time Britton yielded an earned run was on April 30, when he allowed one on one hit to the Chicago White Sox. He gave up three unearned runs on June 21 vs. the Padres.
A's pitching magic runs out: Baltimore struggled mightily through three games in this series, no matter who the A's started. Kendall Graveman was strong Monday; another reliever-turned-starter, Zach Neal, managed 5 1/3 innings Tuesday; and Ross Detwilerthrew eight shutout innings Wednesday in his first Major League start in more than a year. Triggs opened with three scoreless innings, appearing to embark on yet another unlikely strong performance, before stumbling in the fourth.
"Today he was a starter out of necessity," A's manager Bob Melvin said of Triggs. "It's well-documented we've had a lot of pitchers hurt. ... I thought he pitched really well in the early innings."
Finding offense: The Orioles were hard-pressed for offense in their first three games in Oakland. But, putting the ball in play became contagious in the fourth and fifth innings, as Baltimore broke the game wide open with seven runs. Manny Machado and Chris Davisstarted the rally in the fourth with a pair of one-out singles. Trumbo then put the Orioles on the board with a single to score Machado, and Alvarez broke the inning open with a two-run double to center field. The Orioles hadn't scored in 17 innings before the three-run rally. Trumbo, who was batting .115 in his last 16 games entering Thursday, then followed up that inning with a two-out grand slam to give Tillman a seven-run cushion.
"The last couple days, we haven't been able to get anything going," Alvarez said. "To put some runs on the board obviously felt good. It's always good when we can give our pitchers some breathing room."
Healy helps his cause: Healy robbed Machado of a hit in the first inning, tumbling to his left to snare a grounder before popping up and throwing Machado out at first. Four innings later, Healy made an impact at the plate, belting a two-run homer to left. Healy, who hit .316 over the first five games of his career, was batting .191 in his last 15 games prior to Thursday.
"He's been a little bit ... I don't want to say struggling ... but you find out the character of a young player who comes up and starts out real good and goes through some hard times," Melvin said. "They're making some better pitches on him. We've seen and we know he's a fighter. To come back and make some good plays and swing the bat well ... usually your game kind of surfaces again."
QUOTABLE
"It's fun to be a part of, that friendly competition." -- Tillman, on a strong stretch from O's starting pitchers
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
The A's challenged the second-to-last play of the game after Brett Eibner appeared to be thrown out at third base by Jonathan Schoop. Eibner had rounded third after Khris Davissingled up the middle, and replay showed he dove back to the bag in time, which led to the call on the field being overturned and the game continuing.
"You just can't make the last out over there, and he knows that," Melvin said. "He scrambled back and he was safe. Give him some credit ... There has to be some awareness there, and it was just enough to get him back to the bag."
WHAT'S NEXT
Orioles: The Orioles will open a three-game series against the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on Friday night at 7:15 p.m PT. Right-handerDylan Bundy will be on the mound. He set a career high with nine strikeouts in his last start Sunday.
Athletics: The A's begin a three-game series with the Mariners on Friday at 7:05 p.m. PT, concluding a 10-game homestand. Sean Manaea (3-7, 4.58) starts for the A's, facing the Mariners for the second time this season. He allowed four runs in five innings against Seattle on May 4, earning a no-decision. Manaea is 1-3 with a 3.12 ERA over his last eight games.

CarGo, Rox turn tables on Rangers with late rally

The Rockies had been victimized by late-inning comebacks through the first three games of their four-game home-and-home series with the Rangers. But they found themselves on the right side of a comeback victory Thursday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
Carlos Gonzalez, battling a left ankle sprain, came off the bench and erased some of the Rockies' frustrations with a tiebreaking three-run double in the eighth that led them to a 12-9 victory over the American League West-leading Rangers. The win ended a four-game losing streak for the Rockies and a five-game winning streak for the Rangers.
"I'm glad that I got the job done today, especially after all the tough losses that we've had against the Rangers and to be able to return the favor," said Gonzalez, who extended his hitting streak to 18 games. "They've been so great doing that all year, coming from behind and winning games."
It looked to be a similar tale for the Rockies and their bullpen when the Rangers scored four runs in the seventh to take a 9-7 lead, highlighted by back-to-back homers from Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland and an RBI double from Elvis Andrus. But Tony Woltersstarted the eighth-inning rally with an RBI single off left-hander Jake Diekman before David Dahl tied the game with a bases-loaded walk, and Gonzalez then cleared the bases off right-hander Matt Bush, who blew his third save a day after picking up his first career save.
"[Diekman] looked like he lost a little feel for the strike zone, feel for the pitch. I think the last couple outings have been kind of erratic," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "... As far as Bush, trying to nip the edges and walked a run in. Still feel like he needed to attack the strike zone."
Right-hander Scott Oberg picked up his first win of the season, despite allowing two runs in the seventh.
"What we've been through the last four or five days, it happens again today -- 105 degrees out there -- and we still fight our way back," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "That's why I've been focused on all the positives even though we've lost some tough games here lately."
Charlie Blackmon opened the scoring in the four-hour and three-minute contest -- which included 29 hits between both teams -- with a homer on the second pitch of the game off Rangers starter Lucas Harrell. The homer traveled an estimated 455 feet, per Statcast™. It was Blackmon's longest of the year and his eighth leadoff homer of the season, which gave him the Major League lead over Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson. Blackmon ended the day 4-for-6 and has multiple hits in five of his last six games.
The Rockies scored three in the third and two in the fourth off Harrell, who allowed six runs on nine hits in six innings. But the Rangers mirrored them in runs in both the third and fourth innings off Colorado starter Chad BettisRougned Odor drove in three of the Rangers' five runs in those innings with an RBI triple in the third and a two-run homer in the fourth. Bettis broke a streak of six straight quality starts after giving up five runs over five innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Dahl in the MLB books: Dahl singled in the first inning to extend his career-beginning hit streak to 17 games, which tied him with Chuck Aleno of the 1941 Reds for the Major League record. Dahl surpassed Juan Pierre's Rockies record 16-game hit streak to begin his career in 2000. More >
Historical homer leads to big inning: Beltre got the Rangers' four-run seventh going with a solo homer that just cleared the right-field fence. It was career home run No. 431 for Beltre, tying him with Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. for 47th on the all-time list. Beltre is now three home runs away from tying former Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez and former Braves outfielder Andruw Jones for No. 44 on the list, with Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera also sitting at 434 career homers.
Diekman, Bush have rough 8th: Diekman was on the hook for three of the five runs allowed in the eighth after giving up an RBI single to Wolters and a single to Blackmon before being replaced. Bush got DJ LeMahieu out on an attempted safety squeeze before walkingNolan Arenado and Dahl to force in the run. Gonzalez then broke the game open with his three-run double.
"It stings when position players and starters fight so hard and play their tails off when it's like [105 degrees] outside," Diekman said. "To blow the game like that, it sucks."
Bullpen can smile: The Rockies had blown three straight save chances and blown late leads in four of their previous six games. It seemed iffy in the eighth when Jake McGee gave up Beltre's popup single -- one that Wolters, who had moved from catcher to shortstop, couldn't corral -- and hit Moreland. But McGee escaped with a strikeout and two fly balls despite a two-out wild pitch.
And Adam Ottavino, who blew his first save chance as the closer Monday night, struck out the side in a spotless ninth.
"Normally, it's just another game, but we really needed this win," Ottavino said. "I want to hug everybody in here, because we could've given in like five times in that game."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Beltre passed Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio with his 1,538th career RBI on a groundout in the third inning, placing him alone at No. 47 on the all-time list. After later adding a solo home run, he needs one more RBI to tie Willie Stargell and Harry Heilmann for No. 45 on the all-time list.
UNDER REVIEW
Banister lost a challenge on a close play at first following a ground ball to Andrus that resulted in a Rockies run. Cristhian Adames hit a grounder to Andrus' right and the shortstop made a jump throw to first, but the umpires ruled Adames safe on the close play as LeMahieu scored. They confirmed the call after a replay review and the Rockies' run stayed on the board.
WHAT'S NEXT
Rockies: Rookie righty Jon Gray had a 0.69 ERA in the second half before surrendering eight runs in 3 2/3 innings of a loss to the Marlins at home on Sunday. That means Gray (8-5, 4.26 ERA), who has 13 quality starts out of 20 total this season, will look to rebound against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Friday at 5:05 p.m. MT.
Rangers: Yu Darvish will start the opener of a three-game set for the Rangers against the Tigers at 7:05 p.m. CT on Friday at Globe Life Park. Darvish (2-3, 2.78 ERA) threw a season-high seven innings while not allowing a run and striking out eight against the Astros on Sunday.

Brewers score in every inning, bash 3 homers

 Perfect games are an incredibly rare feat in baseball, but a team scoring in every inning is an even more infrequent occasion. On Thursday afternoon, the Brewers didn't come close to a perfect game, but, instead, became the 19th team since 1900 to score in every inning that they came to bat of an 11-3 rout of the Braves at Miller Park.
Chris Carter got things rolling for Milwaukee with a two-run homer in the first, and Scooter Gennett and Hernan Perez followed suit with solo shots of their own. The Crew capped off the day with an RBI triple by Orlando Arcia with two outs in the eighth.
"I feel bad, because I think I was the only guy that didn't touch base," said Brewers right-hander Matt Garza.
He was right. Every starting position player for the Brewers had at least one hit. Four different players scored multiple runs.
Garza did his part with six quality innings to win his third straight start. After missing the first two months of the season with a right lat strain, Garza seems to have found his stride, allowing eight earned runs over his last four starts.
Braves starter Roberto Hernandez surrendered the initial damage, allowing five runs over four innings in his second big league outing of the season. Atlanta dropped consecutive games to split the four-game set with the Brewers. The Braves' 'pen worked 13 consecutive scoreless innings during the first three games of this series and then surrendered six runs (five earned) in this finale.
"It wasn't our best day out there," Braves catcher Anthony Recker said. "We just weren't able to get guys out when we needed to. They did a good job of putting some good pitches in play. We had a few too many walks. It was just not a good day, but on to the next one."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Piña colada: When the Brewers traded away All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy at the Trade Deadline, it opened up a roster spot for Manny Pina, 29, who had been at Triple-A Colorado Springs. On Thursday, Piña delivered his best big league performance to date with two hits, including a bases-clearing double to give the Brewers a 9-2 lead in the sixth. The three RBIs were the first of Piña's career, which includes brief stops with the Royals in 2011-12.
"Pina's double, I thought, that's what kind of made you exhale a little bit," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "In the sixth, they scored two runs back to make it 6-2, and then they had first and second and they had kind of a shot there. But the Pina double in the bottom of the inning was the hit. He had more good at-bats today."
Reality sets in for an old vet: It didn't take long for Hernandez to provide the reminder he was just a short-term fix for an injury-depleted rotation that should welcome Julio Teheranback from the disabled list next week. Making his second start of the season, the 35-year-old right-hander allowed seven hits, including the three solo homers, over four innings. Two of the outs he was credited with came courtesy of catcher Recker, who notched three caught stealings, including two within the first three innings.
"It's going to get better," said Braves manager Brian Snitker, who could also welcome relieverArodys Vizcaino and starting catcher Tyler Flowers back to his roster next week. "We've got guys coming. I think we're doing a good job of hanging in there right now with all of the injuries and stretching the organization as thin as we've had."
President Carter: Carter came into the game with the most homers at home in baseball and promptly extended that lead with his 20th homer at Miller Park this season. Despite being out front on a 3-2 slider from Hernandez, Carter muscled it into the Milwaukee bullpen in left-center to put the Brewers up, 2-0. It was Carter's 27th homer of the season, matching the most by a Brewer over the last four seasons.
"I was just trying to hit that ball, I wasn't trying to hit a homer," Carter said. "I just ended up clicking it just right and hitting a home run on it."
Aybar stays hot: One day after bidding adieu to a 14-game hitting streak, Erick Aybarproduced a three-hit game, which was highlighted when he opened a two-run sixth with his second homer of the season. The much-maligned shortstop stood as one of baseball's least productive players throughout this season's first four months. But with free agency looming, he has hit .377 (23-for-61) over his past 15 games.
"He's been swinging the bat really well," Snitker said. "He's just playing really solid baseball. Since we put him in the two-hole, he's kind of gone off a little bit."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Brewers have scored 26 runs in Garza's last two starts, including 22 runs while he's been in the game. But outside of those two outbursts, the team has struggled to score since trading away cleanup hitter Lucroy. In their other eight games this month, the Brewers have scored 22 total runs.
WHAT'S NEXT
Braves: Mike Foltynewicz will be on the mound when Atlanta travels to Washington, D.C., to begin a three-game series against the Nationals on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Foltynewicz bounced back from two rough starts by tossing six solid innings against the Cardinals on Sunday.
Brewers: Jimmy Nelson will match up against the Reds' Homer Bailey on Friday night in the Cincinnati veteran's third start back from Tommy John surgery. Nelson, 1-8 with a 5.40 ERA in his last 12 starts, including four straight losses, is scheduled to throw his first pitch at 7:10 p.m. CT.