Mauricio Dubon hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and Michael Brantley had four hits to lead the Houston Astros to an 8-3 win over the Seattle Mariners in a testy game featuring teams battling for a wild card.

Yordan Alvarez and Martin Maldonado also went deep for the Astros, who took two of three in the series and pulled within one-half game of Toronto for the second wild card in the AL.

They also moved one game ahead of Seattle and remained 2 ½ games behind West-leading Texas, which defeated the Angels 5-0.

It was the fifth loss in six games for the Mariners, who host Texas for the final four games of the season starting Thursday.

Tensions flared at the end of the sixth inning after Astros reliever Hector Neris struck out Julio Rodriguez.

Neris charged at Rodriguez while yelling and that caused both benches and bullpens to clear, though no punches were thrown.

Alvarez led off the fourth inning with his 31st home run to make it 1-1, and after Jose Abreu and Brantley singled, Dubon took Bryce Miller over the wall in left for a 4-1 lead.

Seattle made it a one-run game in the bottom half on Eugenio Suarez’s two-run single, but Houston struck for three runs in the seventh on Kyle Tucker’s run-scoring double and RBI singles by Abreu and Brantley.


Orioles win to trim magic number to one

Adley Rutschman homered and drove in three runs to back Grayson Rodriguez’s strong start and the Baltimore Orioles took another step toward the AL East title with a 5-1 win over the Washington Nationals.

Baltimore’s fourth straight win and 99th of the season means it can clinch its first division title since 2014 with a win or a loss by Tampa Bay.

The Orioles haven’t won 100 games since going 100-62 in 1980.

Rutschman opened the scoring in the third with a two-run blast – his 20th – off Patrick Corbin and added an RBI single in the fifth.

Rodriguez allowed a run and six hits over 5 2/3 innings before Baltimore’s bullpen finished with 3 1/3 perfect innings.


Marlins split doubleheader, tie for final NL wild card

The Miami Marlins scored twice in the ninth inning with the help of an error and defeated the New York Mets 4-2 in the nightcap for a doubleheader split.

After losing the opener 11-2, the Marlins were tied 2-2 entering the ninth inning of the second game and loaded the bases on two singles and an intentional walk.

Xavier Edwards scored the go-ahead run when third baseman Brett Baty flubbed a grounder by pinch-hitter Yuli Gurriel Jr. One out later, Bryan De La Cruz’s single made it 4-2.

Jon Berti and Jesus Sanchez homered in the second game for Miami, which is tied for the third wild card with the Cubs, who lost 6-5 in 10 innings to Atlanta.

New York’s Francisco Lindor had three home runs and six RBIs in the doubleheader.

Jose Abreu had two home runs and seven RBIs and Justin Verlander outpitched former teammate Max Scherzer to power the Houston Astros to a 12-3 rout of the Texas Rangers and a three-game sweep on Wednesday.

The game was billed as a marquee pitching matchup between Verlander and Scherzer, who both began this season with the New York Mets and were also teammates with Detroit from 2010-14.

The pitcher’s duel never materialised, however, as the Astros roughed up Scherzer for seven runs – all on home runs - and six hits over three innings.

Abreu’s grand slam in the third inning was the third homer against Scherzer, who also was taken deep by Yordan Alvarez in the first inning and by Michael Brantley in the second.

Rangers All-Star slugger Adolis Garcia was injured trying to make a leaping catch at the wall on Brantley’s homer.

He jammed his right leg hard after coming down to the ground, and the Rangers said he had knee discomfort.

Verlander scattered four hits and one earned run over seven innings. He struck out six and walked one for his fifth win in his past six starts.

The sweep put Houston in sole possession of the AL West lead for the first time this season, one game ahead of Seattle.

Marcus Semien hit a pair of solo homers for Texas, which has lost 15 of 19 to fall three games behind the Astros.


Surging Cubs finish sweep of reeling Giants

Seiya Suzuki had a bases-clearing double and Cody Bellinger homered to lead the Chicago Cubs to an 8-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Chicago won its fourth straight to move a season-best 12 games over .500 and pulled within 1 ½ games of NL Central-leading Milwaukee.

Rookie Jordan Wicks allowed two runs and nine hits over 6 2/3 innings to improve to 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA in his first three major league starts.

The Giants lost their sixth straight and fell 2 ½ games behind the third and final NL wild-card spot.


Marlins rout Dodgers for 6th straight win

Joey Wendle had four RBIs and fell a triple shy of the cycle as the Miami Marlins won their sixth in a row, 11-4 over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The victory came after the Marlins placed reigning Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara and All-Star slugger Jorge Soler on the injured list earlier in the day.

Wendle, Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jesus Sanchez homered during Miami’s 9-run fifth inning against Lance Lynn.

Jacob Stallings had two hits in the inning for the Marlins, who moved ahead of Cincinnati into the third wild-card spot.

Jose Altuve hit home runs in each of his first three plate appearances, Framber Valdez threw seven strong innings and the Houston Astros routed the Texas Rangers 14-1 Tuesday.

With the win and Seattle Mariners’ loss, the Astros pulled into sole possession of first place in the AL West for the first time this season.

Altuve hit all three of his homers in the first three innings, one-upping the two home runs he hit in Monday’s series opener. The 2017 AL MVP has five deep balls in the last two games after hitting just one in his previous 21 games.

Altuve’s first two round-trippers came against Nathan Eovaldi, who lasted just 1 1/3 innings in his return from a six-week stint on the injured list.

Martin Maldonado added two home runs for the Astros, and Yordan Alvarez hit one.

Valdez kept the Rangers’ bats quiet most of the night, allowing one run and six hits over seven innings.

Houston (79-61) have a two-game lead over Texas (76-62) in baseball’s closest division race. Seattle (77-61) sits between, one game back of the Astros.

Wednesday’s series finale features a matchup of three-time Cy Young Award winners when the Astros send Justin Verlander to the mound to face the Rangers’ Max Scherzer.


Stanton hits 400th HR, Yankees back to .500

Giancarlo Stanton scorched a line-drive for his 400th career home run and the New York Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 5-1 for their seventh win in their last eight games.

Stanton’s two-run blast off Jose Ciserno in the sixth inning broke a 1-1 tie and made him the 58th slugger to reach 400 home runs in a career.

Gerrit Cole produced another quality start, allowing one run and eight hits over six innings. Cole has bolstered his case for the AL Cy Young Award by winning each of his last three starts and dropping his season ERA to 2.90.

New York (69-69) got back to .500 with the win but remains in last place in the AL East and are 7 ½ games back of a wild card spot.


Reds rally late to edge Mariners

Nick Martini hit a game-tying three-run homer in the eighth inning, Christian Encarnacion-Strand delivered the winning RBI in the ninth and the Cincinnati Reds rallied for a 7-6 walk-off win over the Seattle Mariners.

The Reds trailed 6-3 with one out in the eighth before Martini came off the bench to tie the game with one swing. An inning later, Encarnacion-Strand’s single drove in Elly De La Cruz from second base.

Cincinnati survived a big night from Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez, who had two home runs and four RBIs. Teoscar Hernandez also went deep for the Mariners, giving him six homers in his last 10 games.

The dramatic win kept the Reds (73-68) slotted for the NL’s final wild card spot, remaining half a game ahead of the Miami Marlins.

Rookie Jasson Dominguez's two-run homer in the sixth inning accounted for the go-ahead runs as the New York Yankees completed a stunning three-game road sweep of the Houston Astros with a 6-1 victory on Sunday night.

Dominguez took Astros starter Cristian Javier's pitch over the right-field wall to snap a 1-1 tie for the 20-year-old's second big hit of the series. He homered off 2022 American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander in his first major league at-bat during New York's 6-2 victory in Friday's opener.

DJ LeMahieu had an RBI double earlier in the Yankees' three-run sixth inning, while Gleyber Torres homered in the ninth while finishing 2 for 4.

The defending World Series champion Astros entered the series on a five-game winning streak and missed out on a chance to move into a first-place tie in the AL West. Division leader Seattle remained a game up on Houston despite the Mariners losing, 6-3, to the New York Mets on Sunday.

Michael King allowed one run and five hits over five innings to help the Yankees to their sixth win in seven games.

Javier struck out eight over six innings but was reached for three runs on four hits. 


Garcia's homer in ninth lifts Rangers over Twins

The Texas Rangers did manage to gain ground on the Mariners in the AL West race after Adolis Garcia's walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the playoff hopefuls to a 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Garcia had struck out in each of his previous four at-bats before launching his 34th homer of the season, a leadoff drive off Josh Winder, to break a 5-5 deadlock and end Texas' three-game losing streak.

The Rangers won for just the fourth time in their last 16 games and moved within one game of first-place Seattle.

Mitch Garver had a three-run homer in the first inning for Texas and finished 4 for 4 with four RBIs.

The Twins forged a 5-5 tie on Royce Lewis' RBI single off reliever Jose Leclerc in the eighth, though Rangers closer Will Smith prevented further damage by inducing an inning-ending double play from Carlos Correa with the bases loaded. 

Lewis earlier tied the contest with a three-run homer in the fifth and ended 3 for 5 for AL Central-leading Minnesota. Correa also had three hits, including an RBI single in the seventh.


Rookie Miller stars as Dodgers prevent sweep from Braves

Bobby Miller threw seven outstanding innings to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a needed 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves in the finale of a four-game series between the National League's top two teams.

NL East-leading Atlanta had taken the first three matchups of the weekend set, but managed just one run on three hits off Miller as the talented rookie stopped the Braves' six-game winning streak and improved to 9-3 on the season.

Miller took a shutout into the seventh before surrendering Matt Olson's 44th home run of the season, which tied the Atlanta slugger with Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani for the major league lead.

Braves starter Charlie Morton kept the NL West-leading Dodgers off the board until the bottom of the fifth, which he began by walking James Outman before Miguel Rojas delivered an RBI double for the game's first run. Mookie Betts followed with a single that plated Rojas for a 2-0 lead. 

Betts went 3 for 4 on the afternoon, while Olson had two of Atlanta's five total hits.




Christian Yelich hit a leadoff home run and Mark Canha added a two-run shot in the first inning as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs, 6-2, Monday to extend their season-high winning streak to nine games. 

The Brewers tagged Cubs starter Jameson Taillon for four first-inning runs en route to taking the opener of this key three-game series between National League Central rivals. Milwaukee increased its lead over second-place Chicago to five games. 

Milwaukee starter Wade Miley, who pitched for the Cubs last season, allowed solo home runs to Ian Happ and Patrick Wisdom but gave up only four hits in six innings to improve to 7-3 on the season.

Elvis Peguero, Joel Payamps and Hoby Milner allowed only one hit the rest of the way as the Brewers improved to 5-3 this season against Chicago.

The Brewers are now 25-12 against NL Central teams and have won 11 of their last 15 division games.

The Cubs entered the series having won seven of nine overall to take the lead in the race for the NL's second wild card. Chicago remains a half-game ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks for that spot. 


Altuve hits for cycle to lead Astros' rout of Red Sox

Jose Altuve recorded the first cycle by a Houston Astros player in 10 years to lead the defending World Series champions to a 13-5 rout of the Boston Red Sox.

After producing a double in the third inning, a single in the fifth and a two-run triple in the sixth, Altuve launched a two-run homer over Fenway Park's Green Monster in the eighth to register the ninth cyle in Astros history and first since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013.

Yordan Alvarez also had four RBIs and four hits, including a three-run homer during a big sixth inning in which Houston scored six times to erase a 4-3 deficit. 

Jose Abreu added a solo homer and finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs in Houston's third straight win. The Astros remained a game back of Seattle for first place in the American League West after the Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics, 7-0, on Monday.

Masataka Yoshida went 3 for 5 with three runs scored for Boston, which had taken a 4-3 lead on Adam Duvall's two-run homer in the fifth. 

The Red Sox have lost two straight and now trail the Astros and Texas Rangers by 5 1/2 games for the AL"s final two wild card spots. 


Rookie Harrison dominant in Giants' win over Reds

Rookie Kyle Harrison struck out 11 over 6 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first major league victory and lead the San Francisco Giants to a 4-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of an important three-game series between NL playoff contenders.

Making just his second career major league start and first at home, Harrison yielded just three hits and two walks to help the Giants gain ground in the NL wild card race. San Francisco now trails Arizona by only a half-game for the league's final playoff spot after the Diamondbacks were dealt a 7-4 loss by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.

Wilmer Flores' RBI double in the first inning staked Harrison to a 1-0 lead and the Giants scored twice more in third, highlighted by Patrick Bailey's run-scoring double.

All three early runs came off Cincinnati starter Andrew Abbott, who lasted just 3 1/3 innings and allowed five hits and three walks despite striking out six. 

The Reds have now lost four of five and remain 1 1/2 games back of Arizona for the final wild card spot. 

Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle homered and All-Star closer Felix Bautista escaped trouble as the Baltimore Orioles held on for a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros to avoid a series sweep on Thursday.

Bautista was called on to protect a 5-3 lead in the ninth inning for Baltimore but again struggled, giving up a run and loading the bases before getting Jon Singleton to pop up for the final out.

Bautista, who gave up a ninth-inning grand slam to Kyle Tucker on Tuesday, has allowed five earned runs in his last two appearances after giving up just five in his first 48 games this season. His season ERA went from 0.85 to 1.66 in this series.

Dean Kremer limited Houston to two runs and six hits in seven innings to join teammate Kyle Gibson as Baltimore’s 11-game winners.

Rutschman led off the bottom of the first against Hunter Brown with his 16th home run and Mountcastle’s two-run shot in the seventh extended the lead to 5-2.

The AL-best Orioles have gone 76 consecutive series of at least two decisions without being swept for the fifth-longest streak in major league history.

With Tampa Bay’s loss to St. Louis on Thursday, Baltimore owns a three-game lead in the East.

Jose Altuve went 4 for 5 with a home run for Houston, which dropped 2 ½ games behind AL West-leading Texas.


Phillies star Harper injured in win

Trea Turner, Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto hit two-run homers and the Philadelphia Phillies overcame Bryce Harper’s injury in a 6-2 win over the Washington Nationals.

Harper left in the top of the fifth inning with what the team called mid-back spasms. He was undergoing evaluation and manager Rob Thomson said he’s day to day.

Philadelphia improved to a season-best 12 games over .500 and moved 1 ½ games ahead of idle San Francisco for the top spot in the NL wild-card race.

Turner’s 12th home run in the sixth inning gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead and Castellanos and Realmuto both went deep in the seventh off reliever Joe La Sorsa to make it 6-1.


Kershaw sharp in return as Dodgers stay hot

Clayton Kerhaw worked five effective innings in his first appearance in six weeks and the Los Angeles Dodgers edged the Colorado Rockies 2-1 for their ninth win in 10 games.

Kershaw allowed his only run on Elehuris Montero’s fifth-inning home run and two other hits with no walks and four strikeouts. The left-hander had been sidelined since June 27 with left shoulder soreness.

Ryan Yarbrough fanned four in three scoreless innings before Brusdar Graterol pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save.

Max Muncy drove in both runs for the Dodgers, hitting his 28th home run in the seventh inning and drawing a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.

Kyle Tucker came through with a grand slam off All-Star closer Felix Bautista in the ninth inning as the Houston Astros rallied for a stunning 7-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.

Bautista was called on to protect a 6-3 lead in the ninth but promptly walked pinch-hitter Jon Singleton before Jose Altuve blooped a single.

After Alex Bregman struck out, Yordan Alvarez followed with a deep drive to centre that Jorge Mateo – a shortstop making only his second start of the year in centre field – failed to make the play on, and the ball bounced off the wall for a very long single.

Tucker battled Bautista for nine pitches, finally hitting a 100-mph fastball into the seats in right-centre for his 20th home run and second grand slam this season.

Bautista had allowed only five earned runs all season before Houston scored four on him in two-thirds of an inning.

Baltimore had a four-game winning streak snapped and its lead in the AL East was cut to two games over Tampa Bay.

Ryan Mountcastle hit a first-inning home run – a two-run blast – and Adley Rutschman added a two-run shot of his own in the second to put the Orioles up 5-0.

Houston starter Framber Valdez, who threw a no-hitter in his previous start, allowed a season high-tying six runs and eight hits in seven innings.


Scherzer pitches Rangers to eighth straight win

Max Scherzer pitched seven strong innings and Corey Seager had three hits with a home run to lead the Texas Rangers to their season-high eighth straight win, 6-1 over the Oakland Athletics.

Scherzer limited last-place Oakland to three hits with two walks and six strikeouts in his second start with the Rangers.

Robbie Grossman doubled home a run in the second inning and scored on Sam Huff’s double to trigger a three-run fourth.

Seager capped that outburst with an RBI double and hit his 19th home run in the seventh inning – his sixth homer in his last eight games.

The win was the 68th for the Rangers, equalling their total from all last season. The eight-game streak is their longest since winning 10 straight from May 9-19, 2017.


Gilbert shuts down Padres as Mariners stay hot

Logan Gilbert pitched one-hit ball and struck out a career-high 12 over seven innings as the Seattle Mariners beat the San Diego Padres 2-0 for their sixth consecutive win.

Gilbert retired 21 of the 22 batters he faced, allowing only an infield single to Xander Bogaerts in the second inning.

Matt Brash struck out Trent Grisham with runners on the corners in the eighth and Andres Munoz worked the ninth.

Seattle moved a season-high nine games over .500 and pulled within two games of Toronto for the third and final AL wild-card spot.

The Mariners scored the game’s first run in the fifth inning on a bases-loaded walk to Cal Raleigh and Dylan Moore tripled home another run in the sixth.

Houston Astros left-hander Framber Valdez became the third pitcher this season to throw a no-hitter, shutting down the Cleveland Guardians in a 2-0 win on Tuesday.

Valdez gave up just one baserunner on a walk in the fifth inning, but still faced the minimum thanks to a double play. He struck out seven and threw 65 of his 93 pitches for strikes.

It was the 16th no-hitter in Astros’ history and the first in the regular season by one pitcher since Justin Verlander against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 1, 2019.

Valdez’ historic outing – the first no-hitter by an Astros lefty- came hours after Houston re-acquired Verlander from the New York Mets.

Valdez joined Domingo German of the New York Yankees, who threw a perfect game at Oakland on June 28, and three pitchers from the Detroit Tigers, who combined for a no-hitter against Toronto on July 8.

Kyle Tucker provided all the offence with a two-run single in the third inning to help the Astros remain one-half game behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers.

Cleveland has lost four of five while scoring just 10 runs.


Swanson powers Cubs to rout of Reds

Dansby Swanson homered twice and drove in five runs and the Chicago Cubs went deep seven times in a 20-9 drubbing of the Cincinnati Reds.

Mike Tauchman homered and had four RBIs and Jeimer Candelario had four hits in his first game with Chicago since he was re-acquired in a trade with the Washington Nationals on Monday. He made his major league debut with the Cubs in 2016.

Nico Hoener, Miguel Amaya, Cody Bellinger and Patrick Wisdom all homered for Chicago, which tied a modern franchise record with seven home runs, last accomplished on May 17, 1977, against San Diego. 

Reds starter Ben Lively was tagged for 13 runs and 13 hits over four innings.


Rays’ Eflin first in AL to 12 wins

Zach Eflin pitched three-hit ball over six scoreless innings to become the American League’s first 12-game winner as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees, 5-2.

Eflin struck out five and did not walk a batter to join Philadelphia’s Taijuan Walker as the only 12-game winners in the majors.

Randy Arozarena hit a two-run homer and Yandy Diaz also went deep as the Rays won their third straight to stay 1 ½ games behind East-leading Baltimore.

The last-place Yankees have lost 14 of 21 and were nearly shut out until Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu had RBI singles in the ninth.

Justin Verlander helped the Houston Astros capture a pair of World Series titles, and the club is hoping he can lead them to another championship.

Verlander was traded to the Astros from the New York Mets in a blockbuster deal hours before MLB’s deadline on Tuesday.

The Mets received two minor league outfielders - 22-year-old Drew Gilbert, Houston’s No. 1-ranked prospect, and 20-year-old Ryan Clifford, who was the Astros’ No. 4 prospect.

Verlander signed a two-year, $86.7million contract with the Mets last December, shortly after earning his second World Series title with Houston and third Cy Young Award.

The 40-year-old has been pitching well lately, going 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA in six July starts, but the Mets have been a major disappointment and are tearing down the most expensive roster in major league history.

Fellow three-time Cy Young Award-winner Max Scherzer, who signed a three-year, $130million deal after the 2021 season, was traded to the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

Hours after that deal was officially announced, Verlander became the 49th pitcher in MLB history to 250 victories.

Of those wins, 61 came while pitching for the Astros – tied with Jim Deshaies for the 15th most in club history.

Verlander was first acquired by Houston during the 2017 season from the Detroit Tigers and helped the Astros to the franchise’s first World Series title later that fall.

During his time with Houston, Verlander made 102 starts and posted a 2.26 ERA – the lowest in franchise history among the 46 players with a minimum of 500 innings pitched for the club.

The Astros have won five of the last six AL West crowns and have reached the AL championship series in each of the last four seasons, but enter August one-half game behind the first-place Texas Rangers.


Blue Jays acquire DeJong after Bichette injures knee

The Toronto Blue Jays moved quickly in finding a replacement for Bo Bichette in the event the All-Star shortstop would’ve been sidelined for a while, trading for the St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul DeJong.

Bichette, the AL leader in batting average (.321) and hits (144), exited Monday’s 4-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles with a right knee injury.

The extent of Bichette’s injury was uncertain early Tuesday, but after trading for DeJong, it was reported that an MRI on the knee revealed no significant structural damage, and he’s considered day to day.

DeJong was considered the top shortstop on the trade market.

An All-Star in 2019, the 29-year-old is batting .233 with 13 home runs, 11 doubles and 32 RBIs in 81 games.

He is also one of the better fielders at his position, registering a .990 fielding percentage – second only to the Minnesota Twins’ Carlos Correa for the best among all qualifying shortstops.

To complete the trade, the Cardinals are getting 24-year-old pitching prospect Matt Svanson from the Blue Jays.


Phillies get All-Star Lorenzen from Tigers

The Philadelphia Phillies have bolstered their rotation, acquiring right-hander Michael Lorenzen from the Detroit Tigers for 20-year-old infielder Hao-Yu Lee.

Lorenzen, who will become a free agent after this season, was named to his first All-Star team this year, going 5-7 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 18 starts. He has struck out 83 and walked 27 over 105 2/3 innings.

The 31-year-old began his career as a starter for the Cincinnati Reds in 2015 before spending the next six seasons working out of their bullpen.

He signed with the Los Angeles Angels prior to last season and moved back into the starting rotation, going 8-6 with a 4.24 ERA in 18 outings.

He now joins a Phillies team that reached last year’s World Series and is in possession of the NL’s second wild card.


Marlins bolster lineup with sluggers Burger, Bell

The Miami Marlins added two key bats to their lineup at the deadline, acquiring infielder Jake Burger from the Chicago White Sox and first baseman Josh Bell from the Cleveland Guardians.

The Marlins (57-51) find themselves in rare playoff contention but are hoping to improve their 27th-ranked offence that scores 4.09 runs per game.

Burger, 27, is tied for eighth in MLB with 25 home runs this season but is batting just .214 in 88 games. Of Burger’s 63 hits this season, 41 have gone for extra bases.

Bell, who will turn 31 later this month, was a 2019 All-Star but will be playing on his fifth team since 2020.

In the deals, the Marlins sent pitching prospect Jake Eder to Chicago, while Cleveland added infield prospect Khalil Watson. The Guardians also acquired Jean Segura in the deal but are expected to release the veteran infielder.


AL East-leading Orioles add RHP Flaherty

Enjoying their best season in a decade, the Baltimore Orioles fortified their rotation by acquiring right-hander Jack Flaherty from the St. Louis Cardinals for three prospects.

Leading the AL East with a 65-41 record and with a stacked farm system, the Orioles had the chance to be among the most aggressive teams at the deadline but held on to all eight of their prospects ranked by MLB Pipeline in baseball’s top 100.

Flaherty struggled earlier this season but was 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA in five July starts.

Flaherty put together his best season in 2019, when he was 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA and threw nearly 200 innings.

Injuries have derailed Flaherty’s previous three seasons, but he has made 20 starts this year with a 4.43 ERA and 7-6 record.  


Padres are buyers; adding Hill, Choi in trade with Pirates

The San Diego Padres are five games out of a playoff spot but are making moves to get back to the postseason.

The Padres acquired veteran left-hander Rich Hill and first baseman Ji Man Choi from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

This will be the 13th major league team for the 43-year-old Hill, who is 7-10 with a 4.76 ERA in 22 starts in his 19th MLB season.

Choi, 32, is batting .268 with four home runs and nine RBIs in 14 games since coming off the injured list after missing more than two months due to a left Achilles strain.

San Diego, which reached last season’s NL championship series but must pass five teams in the NL wild-card race, sent Pittsburgh three prospects - headlined by lefty Jackson Wolf.

Adolis Garcia capped a seven-run fifth inning with a grand slam and the Texas Rangers scored 13 straight runs in a testy 13-5 rout of the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

Marcus Semien went 3 for 3 with a two-run homer, Nathaniel Lowe went deep and drove in three runs and Leody Tavares added three RBIs as Texas avoided a sweep and extended its AL West lead over Houston to two games.

Following his slam, Garcia exchanged words with catcher Martin Maldonado. That led to the benches and bullpens emptying, though no punches were thrown in the scrum around home plate.

Both benches were warned in the third inning after Houston’s Framber Valdez hit Semien in the left shoulder with a pitch. Rangers’ starter Andrew Heaney hit Yordan Alvarez on the right shoulder with a pitch in the first inning.

Alex Bregman hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Yainer Diaz had a two-run shot in the ninth for the Astros, who had won three straight and six of seven to tighten the division race.

Texas scored four runs in the fourth to chase starter Framber Valdez, who allowed a season-high six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Tavares singled home two runs before Semien connected for his 15th home run.

Sam Huff led off the fifth with his first home run of the season and Robbie Grossman tripled and scored on Tavares’ single. After Semien and Ezequiel Duran singled and Lowe’s walk forced in a run, Garcia belted his grand slam to make it 13-3. 


Brewers’ Peralta overpowers Reds

Freddy Peralta tied a career high with 13 strikeouts over six innings and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-0 in an NL Central matchup.

Peralta scattered four hits without a walk and matched the 13 strikeouts he had in his major league debut at Colorado on May 13, 2018.

Elvis Peguero, Joel Payamps and Devin Williams each worked one inning to complete Milwaukee’s 12th shutout of the season.

Tyrone Taylor hit a two-run homer for the Brewers, who won two of three in the series and opened a 1 ½-game lead over the Reds in the Central.


Red Sox rally past Braves

Justin Turner delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning and the Boston Red Sox rallied for their fourth straight win, 5-3 over the major league-leading Atlanta Braves.

Rafael Devers, Triston Casas and Adam Duvall homered to help Boston overcome a three-run deficit on Ozzie Albies’ three-run shot in the sixth inning.

Devers’ 25th home run got the Red Sox on the board in the bottom of the sixth and Casas’ shot in the seventh made it 3-2. After Conner Wong singled and Yu Chang reached on an error, Turner doubled off the Green Monster to put Boston on top.



J.P. France pitched seven strong innings, Kyle Tucker and Martin Maldonado hit solo home runs and the Houston Astros held off the Texas Rangers for a 4-3 win Tuesday, pulling to within a game of the AL West lead.

France gave up five hits and one unearned run while getting through seven innings in just 84 pitches. The 28-year-old rookie improved to 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA over his last five starts.

The Astros, who won Monday’s series opener 10-9, led 4-1 heading into the ninth inning, but closer Ryan Pressly gave up a two-run homer to Mitch Garver with two outs before recording his 24th save.

Houston has won four straight and improved to 6-3 this season against its in-state rival, and the Rangers now lead the AL West by just one game.

Texas has lost four of its last five games and – after a torrid opening to expectation-filled season – has gone 19-23 since June 7.


Abbott sharp as Reds hold off Brewers

Rookie Andrew Abbott scattered seven hits over six scoreless innings and the Cincinnati Reds withstood a frantic ninth-inning comeback attempt to edge the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-3.

Abbott struck out nine and walked one to outduel Corbin Burnes and avenge a pair of losses earlier this month to the Brewers.

Ian Gibault and Lucas Sims each worked one scoreless inning before Daniel Duarte surrendered a walk, a single and Christian Yelich’s opposite-field three-run homer in the ninth to get Milwaukee within 4-3.

Alexis Diaz gave up an infield single to William Contreras and hit Willy Adames in the helmet with a pitch before retiring Andruw Monasterio on a flyout for his 30th save. 

Jonathan India and Joey Votto had RBI singles in the fourth inning and Will Benson provided some needed insurance in the ninth with a two-run homer.

The win moved the Reds within one-half game of the NL Central-leading Brewers.


Mariners score 7 runs late to rally past Twins

Julio Rodriguez’s second home run of the game came in a four-run eighth and helped the Seattle Mariners rally for a 9-7 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Seattle trailed 4-0 after the first inning and 6-2 entering eighth before score four in the eighth and two more in the ninth.

Cal Raleigh doubled home a run and Teoscar Hernandez had a run-scoring groundout before Rodriguez’s two-run shot – his 16th of the season - made it 6-6.

Rookie Cade Marlowe, who hit his first major league homer in the fifth, opened the ninth with a walk, stole second, moved to third on an infield single and scored with Kolten Wong on Eugenio Suarez’s double.

Minnesota began the day with an MLB-best nine wins since the All-Star break but had a four-game winning streak snapped.



Chas McCormick had a career-high six RBIs and Yainer Diaz singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Houston Astros cut into the Texas Rangers' American League West lead with a 10-9 victory on Monday.

McCormick's three-run homer off Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning tied the game at 9-9 and set up Diaz's later heroics as the Astros took the opener of this key three-game series. Houston's fifth win in six games also moved the reigning World Series champions within two games of the Rangers in the division standings.

Texas reliever Alex Speas walked Kyle Tucker and McCormick in the ninth before Diaz lined a one-out single to right field to send the Rangers to their third loss in four games following a 6-0 start after the All-Star break.

Alex Bregman had three hits and scored twice for Houston, while closer Ryan Pressly threw a scoreless top of the ninth to record the win.

Josh Jung had a two-run homer and Josh Smith added a solo shot for Texas. Rangers starter Jon Gray struck out six in five innings, but walked three and allowed a season high-tying six runs. 


Brewers score in ninth to win opener of key series with Reds

Christian Yelich singled in the deciding run in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Milwaukee Brewers came through with a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of an important three-game series between the National League Central's top two teams.

Yelich's hit off All-Star closer Alexis Diaz halted Cincinnati's five-game winning streak and extended Milwaukee's lead over the second-place Reds in the division to 1 1/2 games.

It also continued the Brewers' dominance of Cincinnati this season. Milwaukee has now won nine of 11 meetings between the NL Central rivals and is 6-1 against the Reds in July.

Diaz failed to record an out after entering with the game tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, as he walked Blake Perkins on four pitches and surrendered a single to pinch-hitter Jesse Winker before Yelich sent a ground ball through the right side of the infield to score Perkins from second.

The Brewers trailed 2-1 before Sal Frelick took Reds starter Graham Ashcraft's pitch over the right-field wall in the sixth inning for his first major league home run.

Elly De La Cruz accounted for all the Reds' scoring with a two-run homer in the third.

Aschcraft struck out eight while allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings, while Brewers starter Colin Rea yielded two runs over six innings. 


Orioles edge Phillies to stay hot

Colton Cowser delivered late at the plate and in the field as the Baltimore Orioles edged the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 Monday to earn their 13th win in 16 games.

Cowser, who entered the game in the third inning to replace the injured Aaron Hicks, put the Orioles up in the ninth inning with an RBI double off Philadelphia closer Craig Kimbrel, driving in Gunnar Henderson.

Cowser’s clutch hit came after he collected an outfield assist in the eighth inning with a cutoff throw to shortstop Jorge Mateo, who threw out Bryce Harper at home to keep the game tied 2-2.

Ryan Mountcastle and Jordan Westburg hit solo home runs for the Orioles (62-38), who extended their AL East lead over the idle Tampa Bay Rays to 2 1/2 games.

Dean Kremer allowed one run and three hits in seven innings’ work to outduel Philadelphia starter Cristopher Sanchez, who allowed two runs while also pitching seven innings.

The Phillies (53-47) have lost five of six but remain just a half-game back of an NL wild card spot. 

Houston Astros star Jose Altuve will remain sidelined through at least the All-Star break after the team placed the veteran second baseman on the 10-day injured list Thursday.

Altuve has missed Houston's last two games after hurting his left oblique during batting practice on Tuesday. The move is retroactive to July 4, so the 2017 American League MVP will be eligible to return for the Astros' first game after the upcoming All-Star break on July 14.

"We're in no rush to try to rush him back prior to the break," Astros general manager Dana Brown told reporters Wednesday. 

Brown added that Altuve's injury is not as serious as the right oblique issue that caused the 33-year-ol to miss four games last month.

"Even if it's [an injured list], we thought about it, he would be back - maybe miss one day," he said.

Altuve is batting .264 with six home runs, 18 RBIs and five stolen bases this season. Three of those homers have come in his last six games.

Houston has also been without slugger Yordan Alvarez since June 9 due to an oblique strain. The 2023 All-Star is expected to return sometime in July.

Utlityman Mauricio Dubon will serve as the Astros' primary second baseman for their final series before the break, a four-game set against the Seattle Mariners that begins Thursday.

Dubon is batting .292 with four homers, 21 RBIs and five stolen bases in 68 games. 


The Cincinnati Reds can stake their claim as the hottest team in baseball after Jonathan India and Will Benson led them to a 10-3 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday.

It was the seventh straight win for the surprising Reds, their longest streak since June 2018 and the longest active run in the majors.

Cincinnati, which lost 100 games last season, moved one game over .500 for the first time since it was 3-2 in early April.  

India opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-run homer – his third in seven games -  off Brandon Bielak and Benson led off the fourth with a triple and scored on Curt Casali’s sacrifice bunt.

Benson greeted reliever Phil Maton with a two-run single in the fifth inning to make it 5-1.

That was more than enough offense for Hunter Greene, who allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. He won for the second time in four starts after opening the season without a victory in his first 10.

Tyler Stephenson singled home another run in the seventh and pinch-hitter Kevin Newman drove in two in Cincinnati’s four-run ninth.

Jose Altuve matched a career best with four hits, including a homer and two doubles. His 35th career four-hit game moved him past Hall of Famer Craig Biggio for the most in Astros history.


Streaking Giants pound rival Dodgers

J.D. Davis had a pinch-hit grand slam and LaMonte Wade Jr. added a three-run homer to lift the San Francisco Giants to their sixth consecutive win, a 15-0 drubbing of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Alex Wood and rookie Bobby Miller exchanged zeroes until the Giants broke through with four runs off Miller in the fifth inning on Brandon Crawford’s RBI single and Wade’s ninth home run of the season.

San Francisco extended its advantage to 9-0 an inning later. Crawford delivered another RBI single before Davis connected off reliever Alex Vesia with the bases loaded for his second grand slam this season and third of his career.

Davis closed the scoring with his fifth RBI in San Francisco’s three-run ninth.


Royals erase big deficit to snap 10-game losing streak

Samad Taylor delivered a walk-off single in his major league debut and the Kansas City Royals ended a 10-game skid by rallying for a 10-9 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Faced with an 8-2 deficit in the seventh inning, the Royals scored three runs in the frame and tied it with three more in the eighth. Bobby Witt Jr. had a two-run double in the seventh and singled home another two in the eighth.

The Angels went back on top in the ninth on Mike Trout’s RBI single, but the Royals walked it off in the bottom half as Maikel Garcia singled home a run before scoring on Taylor’s single to deep centre.

Brandon Drury homered twice and Shohei Ohtani took over the major league lead with his 23rd home run, his eighth in his last 12 games.

The Houston Astros will be without one of baseball's best hitters for the foreseeable future after placing slugger Yordan Alvarez on the 10-day injured list with right oblique discomfort.

The Astros announced the move on Friday and said Alvarez will head back to Houston for further evaluation.

A timetable for a return won't be made until after he's evaluated, though Astros second baseman Jose Altuve suffered a mild oblique injury while swinging a bat on June 2 and ended up missing only four games.

It's possible Houston believes Alvarez's injury is more serious, however, seeing as the team already placed him on the injured list. The recovery time for oblique strains is typically four-to-six weeks.



Alvarez exited Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays after experiencing discomfort in his right oblique during his at-bat in the first inning.

He said he initially felt soreness in the oblique on his final swing in the batting cage before the game.

Alvarez ended up grounding out on his first-inning at-bat, ending a 19-game on-base streak in which he slashed .246/.383/.646 with eight home runs, 16 RBIs and 18 runs.

Alvarez leads the majors with 55 RBIs and his 17 home runs trail only New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge's 19 for the most in the AL.

Since the start of the 2021 season, Alvarez's 87 home runs are seventh in MLB.

The 25-year-old won the AL Rookie of the Year in 2019 and made his first All-Star Game last season after hitting 37 home runs - the most ever by a left-handed hitter in Houston franchise history.

Thursday's setback was the third straight loss for the Astros, dropping them to 36-27 - five games behind the first-place Texas Rangers in the AL West.

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