Fort Worth Star-Telegram


HOUSTON — Rougned Odor homered twice, including a go-ahead, two-run shot in the eighth inning to lead the Rangers past the Astros, 4-2, Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. Texas goes for the sweep Wednesday night.


Rangers starter Nick Martinez allowed two solo homers — one to George Springer to lead off the bottom of the first and one to Carlos Correa to lead off the fourth. Martinez left trailing 2-1 after six innings. Jose Leclerc took over and threw a scoreless seventh. Keone Kela started the eighth and had two outs and two on (after an infield single and a walk) before Matt Bush came in to face Jose Altuve. Bush got Altuve swinging on a curve ball out of the zone to end the inning and preserve the 4 -2 lead. Bush pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the four-out save, his eighth. Leclerc earned the win, his first in the majors.


The Rangers got on the board with a run in the fifth to pull to within 2-1. Jonathan Lucroy and Odor started the inning with opposite-field singles to left. Jurickson Profar reached to load the bases on a fielder’s choice to Correa at shortstop who tried to step on second before throwing to first in hopes of turning a double play. With two outs, Shin-Soo Choo worked a run-scoring walk to bring home Lucroy. Elvis Andrus popped out to second to leave the bases loaded. Odor homered to start the seventh inning to tie it at 2-2. Odor’s two-run, opposite-field homer in the eighth gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead. Lucroy singled ahead of the homer with two outs.


Odor collected three hits in a game for the first time in 2017.


St. Louis 6-5, Milwaukee 0-8


ST. LOUIS — As much as Jose Martinez has wondered what to do to bring attention to the combustible turmoil in his homeland, Venezuela, and keep in touch with his young son, he has also wanted to show his guest the best of what the majors have to offer.


After all, everyone likes to impress their mother.


Martinez’s mother, Evelyn, has been visiting her son for the better part of this month, and her stay has included trips to Chicago and Cincinnati, and parts of two home stands, including this one. Oh, and now a first for her son.


Martinez drilled two home runs for his first multi-homer game in the majors. Martinez’s solo homer in the fifth inning made a winner of Lance Lynn (5-3).


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ST. LOUIS — After the Cardinals had played catch-up for several innings, right-hander Trevor Rosenthal had a rare misstep in the eighth when the Milwaukee Brewers scored three runs to break a 5-5 tie and take an 8-5 victory Tuesday night as the day-night doubleheader at Busch Stadium ended with one win apiece.


Rosenthal, who had struck out all three hitters he faced on Sunday, didn’t retire any of four hitters he faced in the eighth.


St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Rosenthal walked two hitters and allowed two line singles through the box before giving way to closer Seung Hwan Oh, who rarely enters games when the club is behind. Oh allowed a run-scoring single to Manny Pina and a sacrifice fly caught by Jedd Gyorko, who made his first appearance in left field when he entered the game with Oh. Gyorko also caught the final out of the inning.


Matt Carpenter homered, doubled and singled for the Cardinals, with his homer tying the score in the seventh. He is 11 for 28 since being restored to the leadoff spot.


Left-hander Marco Gonzales, starting for the Cardinals for the first time since 2015, was staked to a 2-0 lead but allowed three home runs in the third and fourth innings, the latter of which he didn’t finish.


Struggling left-handed relievers Brett Cecil and Kevin Siegrist knocked off three scoreless innings, two by Cecil. But the more reliable Rosenthal had little to offer as he suffered his third loss in four decisions.


Jose Martinez had two homers and drove in three runs as the Cardinals won the opener 6-0 behind five scoreless innings from Lance Lynn (5-3).


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(c)2017 St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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The San Diego Union-Tribune


SAN DIEGO — The regular center fielder is on a slow path back from a calf strain. The projected left fielder could miss the entire season with a back injury and another is weeks away from returning from a fractured foot.


No worries and, apparently, no hurry.


Franchy Cordero and Jose Pirela have those spots covered pretty well these days.


A day after swatting his first career homer, the 22-year-old Cordero added a second and third on Tuesday and minor league veteran Pirela extended his hitting streak to seven games to back Clayton Richard’s workmanlike shutout bid in a 6-2 San Diego Padres’ win over the Cincinnati Reds in front of 20,463 at Petco Park.


His offense jumping on Cincinnati from the get-go for a second night in a row, the 33-year-old Richard largely breezed through his sixth quality start in 14 starts. The tensest moment arrived in the eighth when Richard walked Joey Votto to load the bases with two outs, pushing his pitch count to 105 and fetching Andy Green from the dugout.


Yet Richard wasn’t done.


Green allowed him to stay in the game, and . 90 mph sinker produced a roller up the third base line. Cory Spangenberg bare-handed it to make a spectacular play at first to end the threat, allowing Richard a shot at the third shutout of his career.


It didn’t happen.


Richard allowed back-to-back singles to open the ninth and paid for it when Tucker Barnhardt dropped a two-run double to right, ending his night with a career-high 127 pitches.


He struck out six and scattered eight hits over 8 2/3 innings. After rookie Phil Maton allowed Billy Hamilton’s comebacker to sneak through the infield, the win was secured when Brandon Maurer retired Scooter Gennett for the final out.


The shutout bid came hours after Green revealed Alex Dickerson’s latest setback could have him considering surgery before long. He was diagnosed with a disc protrusion after visiting with spine specialists in spring training and had continued discomfort in the area halt his rehab program earlier this month.


“I can’t look at you right now and say I’m optimistic that he plays this year,” Green said Tuesday afternoon. “He’s worked incredibly hard to get back. It’s right at the point where he starts playing, gets up the next day after playing and he just doesn’t feel right. That’s frustrating for him and us. Going into the season I expected him to hit fourth or fifth … and not having him at all has been tough and tough on him.”


Surgery remains a last-ditch avenue, albeit one that is up for discussion as Dickerson explores his options, which could include second opinions from outside the organization.


The outlook for Manuel Margot (calf) and Travis Jankowski (foot) were much more optimistic.


Margot took batting practice on the field before Tuesday’s game and is progressing toward a minor league rehab assignment, either during the upcoming road trip or shortly after. Meantime, Monday’s CT scan cleared Jankowski for a return to action, although Green cautioned that the 25-year-old outfielder was “weeks away” from returning from the broken bone sustained when he fouled a ball off his foot in Atlanta in April.


Together, the two opened the season as Green’s primary options in the leadoff spot. Without them, that job has fallen to Pirela, who has reached base in seven straight games and is 15-for-30 with two homers, six RBIs and four walks since he was recalled from Triple-A El Paso on June 6.


On Tuesday, Pirela singled off Scott Feldman (5 IP, 4 ER) to open the game, moved to second on Cordero’s ensuing single and scored on Wil Myers’ single.


By the time Yangervis Solarte added an RBI single on Feldman’s seventh pitch of the game, the Padres were up 2-0.


Cordero added his second homer in as many days with a 420-foot blast to center to open the third. Four innings later, he sent a nearly identical shot off Tony Cingrani to center, 424 feet from the plate, to push the Padres’ advantage to 5-0.


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(c)2017 The San Diego Union-Tribune


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Los Angeles Times


CLEVELAND — Cody Bellinger became the first player to homer off Cleveland Indians star reliever Andrew Miller in 2017, Clayton Kershaw gutted through seven innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers secured a 7-5 series opening victory at Progressive Field.


Bellinger supplied enough power to lift a hanging slider over the right-field fence and break a deadlock in the eighth inning. Miller had faced 121 batters this year and kept each man in the park. Bellinger was the first left-handed hitter to take Miller deep since Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer did so on Aug. 1, 2016.


As insurance, an inning later, Bellinger deposited another slider, this one from left-handed reliever Boone Logan, in the right-field seats. The three-run shot gave him 17 home runs on the season. He has hit multiple homers in a game four times this season. Only two other Dodgers rookies have accomplished such a feat — Mike Piazza in 1993 and Corey Seager in 2016.


The Dodgers were forced to use Kenley Jansen in a save situation despite taking a five-run lead into the ninth. Chris Hatcher gave up a three-run homer to 31-year-old journeyman Daniel Robertson.


Kershaw operated with insufficient command of his fastball, too often either sending the pitch over the heart of the plate or outside the strike zone. He still held the Indians to a pair of runs on six hits. He logged seven innings for the seventh time in eight games.


The Dodgers (40-25) struck first. Appearing in an American League park for the first time this season, Yasiel Puig fell to the No. 9 spot in the batting order. He came up with two outs and a runner aboard in the second inning. Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer pumped a 1-1 fastball down the middle. Puig drove the baseball beyond the center-field fence.


The Indians responded with pressure on Kershaw. In the first inning, he had wriggled free from a jam after a leadoff double by second baseman Jason Kipnis. Kershaw answered by procuring three outs in six pitches.


Kershaw could not repeat that sequence in the third. He got punished for an inside fastball to Robertson, who doubled into the left-field corner. Kershaw secured two quick outs, but fell behind outfielder Michael Brantley. In a 2-0 count, Kershaw allowed a fastball to drift over the middle. Brantley stroked it into right for an RBI single.


The faulty fastball command hurt Kershaw again in the fifth. He opened the inning with a slider and a curveball for a strike against Indians catcher Roberto Perez. Perez entered the evening with a .139 batting average, but he still hung around to run the count full. A 93-mph fastball split the plate in half. Perez bashed it over the elevated fence in left to tie the game. It was Perez’s first home run of the season.


Kershaw kept leaving fastballs in the zone. Kipnis followed Perez by banging a one-out double off the wall. Kershaw walked Brantley by spraying fastballs and sliders in the dirt. An escape hatch appeared when Kershaw jammed Cleveland first baseman Carlos Santana with a slider and induced a pop-up to end the inning.


An appearance by Miller, Cleveland’s lanky, left-handed relief ace, spoiled a Dodgers rally in the sixth. The team chased Bauer from the game after a leadoff double by Bellinger plus walks by Logan Forsythe and Joc Pederson. With the bases loaded and two out, Indians manager Terry Francona assigned Miller to face Puig.


Miller is the rare reliever who resides on the same plane as Kenley Jansen. Unlike Jansen, though, Miller does not close. He arrives mid-game, whenever danger arises, and almost always, snuffs out the danger. He spotted a slider inside for one strike against Puig. Miller zipped a 97-mph fastball past Puig for another. The last pitch was another slider, down and in, snapping underneath Puig’s swing to strand three Dodgers.


Bellinger would have more success with Miller two innings later.


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(c)2017 Los Angeles Times


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Chicago Tribune


NEW YORK — Anthony Rizzo would like to play left field or even pitch.


And the Cubs slugger is happy to settle for a temporary spot batting leadoff, especially after the manner in which he sparked a sluggish offense Tuesday night.


Rizzo christened his first career start leading off when he smacked a home run. Later, he drew a bases-loaded walk and ripped an RBI double in a 14-3 victory over the Mets that snapped a nine-game road losing streak.


“Riz set the tone,” manager Joe Maddon said.


The Cubs erupted for a season-high five home runs in a 15-hit attack that allowed Jon Lester to cruise to his 150th career victory.


Maddon simply said Rizzo was chosen to lead off because Ben Zobrist was unavailable with a sore left wrist and Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber have been struggling.


“My reaction was why not?” Lester said. “Anything to get us going, and he did.”


Rizzo told his teammates that he was going to steal second on the first pitch to the next hitter if he led off the game with a single, but instead hit the second pitch of the game over fence in center field. But his biggest at-bat occurred in the second when he battled from an 0-2 count against Zach Wheeler to draw a walk that snapped a 1-1 tie and set up Happ’s grand slam that capped a seven-run second — the Cubs’ biggest inning of the season.


The top four Cubs batters — Rizzo, Happ, Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward (batting cleanup for the first time) — each hit home runs and Javier Baez came off the bench to hit a two-run shot in the ninth.


The 14 runs equaled their season high and helped lift the Cubs (32-32) to the .500 mark and bolster Maddon’s faith in an offense that was second-to-last in the National League with a .232 batting average and last with a .214 batting average with runners in scoring position.


“Let’s go on a run now,” Rizzo said. “It would be great. Just keep winning. That’s it, no matter what, keep winning. This could be the start of something, but it’s only one game.”


The lineup shake-up occurred slightly less than two years after Maddon hired a magician to help relax his players after five straight losses.


Before Tuesday, Rizzo had one at-bat in the leadoff spot and he batted leadoff in an exhibition game against the Reds in Las Vegas in which he homered.


“He has fun with it,” Maddon said. “He doesn’t look at it any way except he’s going to have fun.”


Maddon admitted Rizzo had a better chance of playing left field than he does of pitching.


Now Maddon, who visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral before Tuesday’s game, doesn’t plan on making a return trip to church Wednesday as the Cubs try to win their first road series since winning two of three at Pittsburgh on April 24-26.


“I really refrain from praying for success as a group hitting,” Maddon said. “That’s not what (lighting) candles is for.”


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(c)2017 Chicago Tribune


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The Philadelphia Inquirer


BOSTON — The green wall in left field at Fenway Park is 37 feet, 2 inches tall. It is a fine wall, a beloved wall. Rheal Cormier, the former Phillies reliever, once went inside the wall and scribbled on its concrete. “Life is beautiful,” he wrote in French.


But Maikel Franco does not like the Green Monster, not after a 4-3 Phillies loss that extended the unbearable weight carried by the worst team in baseball. He hit a ball at 110 mph that smacked the green padding, less than a foot from the top. It was a home run anywhere else. Here, it was an eighth-inning double that could not score Howie Kendrick from first base. The Phillies did not score.


They did not score in the 10th, either, when Franco pelted the wall with another 110-mph liner. Or in the 12th, when Franco smashed the 12th pitch of his at-bat toward the middle of the diamond only for Boston to turn a spectacular 4-6-3 double play. It was the first time the Red Sox retired Franco in eight plate appearances. The embattled third baseman can see the light.


The Phillies? Their anguish is limitless. They are 21 games under .500. They have lost seven straight. This loss, attached to Luis Garcia, was their seventh walk-off defeat in 2017.


It reduced Franco’s success to a silver lining. It minimized four scoreless innings from Edubray Ramos and Jeanmar Gomez. It overshadowed what was a gritty night for Ben Lively, a rookie who challenged the potent Red Sox lineup and survived seven innings.


His 108 pitches were the most by a Phillies starter this season.


Lively became the first Phillies pitcher since Bill Champion in 1969 to toss at least seven innings in each of his first three career starts. Champion braved eight seasons in the majors with a 4.69 ERA.


Just five pitchers since 2000 have reached seven innings in each of their first three major-league starts. They were: Cody Anderson (2015), Masahiro Tanaka (2014), Andrew Albers (2013), Zach Duke (2005), and Rich Harden (2003).


Lively has not done it with swing-and-miss stuff. He fanned two Red Sox in his seven innings Tuesday to actually raise his strikeout rate. He has walked more (seven) than he has struck out (five) in his 21 innings. He has permitted a hit per inning.


But his ERA is 3.00. The rise in fastball velocity and premium placed on strikeout pitchers in the modern game has relinquished a contact pitcher like Lively to second-class status. That does not preclude him from enjoying success in the majors. The margin for error is just thinner.


The Phillies like him because, for whatever he lacks in stuff, he compensates with conviction. Lively will not nibble; 67 percent of his pitches in the majors have been strikes.


“He really shows no fear,” Mackanin said. “He throws strikes and comes right after the hitters. If you don’t throw hard but you locate your fastball in the right spot, you have a chance to be successful. He attacks the hitters. He has that drive. He shows no fear on the mound.


“Now, I’m sure at some point he’s going to be tested. How he rebounds is important. But it’s not all about velocity. It’s about makeup and location and command.”


Before Lively arrived, it was clear he had little left to accomplish at triple A, where he had made 28 starts and pitched to a 2.84 ERA. The challenges are mightier in the majors, and it could be that Lively’s future resides in a big-league bullpen. For now, he has provided an unexpected steadiness in the rotation.


“I like him,” Mackanin said.


But that only dulled the pain endured on another lost night.


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(c)2017 The Philadelphia Inquirer


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Star Tribune (Minneapolis)


MINNEAPOLIS — After back-to-back drubbings, the Twins got to enjoy an offensive eruption of their own on Tuesday night. Max Kepler and Brian Dozier homered, Eddie Rosario connected three times, and the Twins punished Seattle pitching with 28 hits — a new franchise record — including eight in a row in the third inning, snapping their five-game Target Field losing streak by crushing the Mariners 20-7.


Every Twins starter but Joe Mauer knocked a hit in the third inning, and Mauer joined the fun two innings later, as Minnesota scored 20 runs for the first time since 2014.


The Twins scored seven runs in both the third and seventh innings, after getting off to a four-run start in the second, and improved to 13-19 at home.


Rosario, Kennys Vargas and Jason Castro collected four hits apiece, and Eduardo Escobar tied a career high with five hits, all singles.


The Twins had been outscored 27-11 in their past two games, and quickly fell behind 3-0 in this one. But they responded with a record-breaking offensive explosion.


Kyle Gibson won his fourth consecutive decision, and second in a row against the Mariners, leading the Twins to the blowout. It’s true, but hardly accurate. Gibson reverted to the problematic, always-in-trouble nibbler that earned him a demotion to Class AAA last month. The veteran right-hander gave up 12 hits, most by a Twins pitcher in one game since Ricky Nolasco in August 2014, and he left runners in scoring position in four innings.


At one point in the fourth inning, after he had surrendered three doubles to the first four batters of the inning, Paul Molitor jogged to the mound for a one-on-one conference, signaling to catcher Castro to remain where he was.


After the meeting, Gibson settled down and retired the side without incident. But he gave up two more hits and another run in the next inning.


None of it mattered, though, thanks to the piling-it-on Twins offense. Trailing 3-0, the Twins took the lead with a four-run second, begun by Kepler’s long home run into the right-field stands, and capped by Rosario’s even-longer home run off the right field facade.


After Mauer struck out to open the fourth, the next six Twins singled off Seattle starter Christian Bergman, Jorge Polanco’s RBI single finally forcing Bergman out of the game. But Rosario greeted reliever Casey Lawrence with a first-pitch blast to the Seattle bullpen, his second two-run shot on two pitches from two pitchers.


Brian Dozier immediately followed with his 11th home run of the season, the team’s first back-to-back homers since the same two hitters managed the feat last August.


Another seven-run inning in the eighth gave the Twins 19 runs, and insured that Gibson would become the first Twins pitcher to give up 12 hits yet record a victory since Kyle Lohse in 2002.


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(c)2017 Star Tribune (Minneapolis)


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Detroit Free Press


DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers were down.


They fell behind early in their return to Comerica Park Tuesday, as Buck Farmer was chased by the Diamondbacks after hit after hit, and seemed to have nothing going against ace righty Zack Greinke.


Through five innings, all they could muster was two hits.


But they were not down for the count. What began with a throwing error on an easy-out play in the bottom of the sixth inning ended with a six-run inning as they climbed their way out of a big deficit and charged up the home fans.


It wasn’t meant to be, though.


After a strong bullpen effort — throwing 52/3 scoreless innings — David Peralta greeted closer Justin Wilson with a lefty-on-lefty solo home run in the top of the ninth inning to beat the Tigers, 7-6.


The game seemed a foregone conclusion until the sixth inning, when the Tigers flipped the script.


In that inning, Ian Kinsler singled with one out. Then, on a slow roller by Alex Avila to second base, shortstop Chris Owings — shifting Avila towards right field — spun and tried for a double play. The ball got past third baseman Jake Lamb, who was covering second base and without a player in the vicinity, Kinsler scored.


Then Miguel Cabrera doubled to right-center field, punctuated by right fielder David Peralta misplaying the ball. It was RBI No. 1,582 for Cabrera, tying him with Al Kaline for 41st place in Major League Baseball history, according to Baseball-Reference.com.


Greinke struggled to right the ship.


After Victor Martinez struck out swinging, J.D. Martinez hit his 11th home run of the season, a two-run shot, to pull the Tigers within two runs.


They weren’t finished.


Justin Upton walked, chasing Greinke, and then three straight singles from Nick Castellanos, Alex Presley and Jose Iglesias tied the game.


Alex Wilson’s struggles continued in the eighth inning, loading the bases with nobody out but danced out of damage thanks to a first base-to-catcher-to-first base double play.


Farmer’s 13-inning scoreless streak was snapped in the first when he allowed two runs on five singles. The Diamondbacks added four more in the third inning, two on a monster home run by Paul Goldschmidt.


He was pulled shortly thereafter and relieved by Chad Bell, who played the unsung hero, throwing 32/3 scoreless innings on four hits.


Bell exited after allowing a double to open the seventh inning. Francisco Rodriguez retired three batters in a row.


Former Tiger Fernando Rodney picked up the save in the ninth inning.


With the loss, the Tigers fall to 30-33. They are 10-8 in one-run games.


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(c)2017 Detroit Free Press


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Chicago Tribune


CHICAGO — Matt Davidson crushed his first career grand slam 435 feet into the left-field stands Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field to help the Sox to a 6-1 victory against the Orioles.


Avisail Garcia’s two-run double off Orioles right-hander Alec Asher gave the Sox a 2-1 lead in the fourth. They were Garcia’s team-leading 46th and 47th RBIs of the season.


In the sixth, Jose Abreu singled, Garcia was hit on the elbow by a pitch and Todd Frazier walked to set up Davidson’s 12th homer of the year, off Asher.


Sox left-hander Derek Holland, coming off two of his worst starts of the season, rebounded for a quality start — a rare feat among Sox pitchers these days. He gave up one earned run on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts over six innings.


Joey Rickard doubled to lead off the game, advanced on an Adam Jones sacrifice bunt and scored on Manny Machado’s RBI single. Sox left fielder Melky Cabrera threw out Machado advancing to second.


Anthony Swarzak and Tommy Kahnle each pitched a scoreless inning in relief.


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(c)2017 Chicago Tribune


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PHOTOS (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194):


Akron Beacon Journal


CLEVELAND — Andrew Miller escaped a crucial bases-loaded jam but later allowed the first home run off him since Game 7 of last year’s World Series, as the Indians fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-5, Tuesday night at Progressive Field.


Miller (3-1) entered in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and two outs, relieving Trevor Bauer in a 2-2 tie. As he has so consistently, Miller erased the threat, striking out Yasiel Puig with a slider to keep it tied.


In the eighth, though, Cody Bellinger became the first hitter since the Chicago Cubs’ David Ross in Game 7 to homer off Miller, drilling a solo shot to right field to put the Dodgers up, 3-2. From there, the Dodgers cruised.


The Dodgers (40-25) added on later in the inning. Chris Taylor walked and later scored via a throwing error on Jason Kipnis that made it 4-2. And in the ninth, Bellinger struck again in what proved to be the decisive blow, blasting a three-run home run off Boone Logan that put the game out of reach.


With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Daniel Robertson drilled a three-run home run to the Home Run Porch off Dodgers reliever Chris Hatcher in left field to make 7-5, but closer Kenley Jansen (12 saves) quickly ended any threat of a complete comeback by striking out Kipnis to close out the game.


Earlier in the game, Puig drove a two-run home run off Bauer to put the Dodgers up 2-0 that ended with Puig appearing to flip off the Indians’ crowd as he rounded the bases. Bauer lasted 52/3 innings, gave up two runs on six hits and three walks and struck out five.


The Indians (31-30) were able to do some damage against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (9-2), Bauer’s counterpart and the best pitcher in the game today. Daniel Robertson led off the third inning with a double to left field before Kershaw easily recorded the next two outs. Trying to take advantage of the type of scoring chance that doesn’t often present itself against Kershaw, Michael Brantley roped a mislocated pitch into right field for a single that cut the Dodgers’ early lead to 2-1.


Two innings later, a display of power from Roberto Perez the Indians haven’t seen since last October. Perez has struggled offensively all season and had yet to hit a home run. As unpredictable as baseball can be, Perez belted a 430-foot, no-doubter home run to tie it 2-2. Per Statcast, that home run, which had an exit velocity of 110 mph, was the second-hardest home run hit off Kershaw since the beginning of 2015. The last time Perez hit a home run in a game that counted was in the World Series.


Unfortunately for the Indians, Perez’s blast wasn’t the only unlikely home run of the night, with Bellinger’s solo shot eventually giving the Dodgers the upper hand.


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(c)2017 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)


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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


WASHINGTON — R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball comes and goes at this stage of the veteran’s career, and for two innings Tuesday night it was gone. Gone as in not behaving as he wanted it to, and gone as in pitches deposited into the seats by Nationals hitters.


Ryan Zimmerman hit two home runs off Dickey and Daniel Murphy hit another off the knuckleballer, powering the Nationals to a 10-5 win against the Braves to even the series at a game apiece at Nationals Park.


Dansby Swanson had a two-run double in the fourth inning and Rio Ruiz hit a two-run homer in a three-run sixth as the Braves took a 5-3 lead, but Dickey failed to retire any of the five batters he faced in the bottom of the sixth, and all of them scored before the inning was through.


That gave the lead back to the Nationals, whose shoddy bullpen managed to protect it this time, unlike Monday when the Braves outscored the Nationals 5-1 in the final two innings of an 11-10 win in a dizzying series opener.


Swanson went 3 for 3 with an intentional walk in four plate appearances, his second three-hit game in seven days after having none previously this season.


Zimmerman and Murphy were a combined 6 for 8 with three homers and five RBIs for the Nationals, who’ve won 24 of their past 27 home games against the Braves.


Dickey (4-5) followed his best start of the season by allowing eight hits and eight runs in five-plus innings Tuesday, the last runs charged to him coming after Luke Jackson came on in relief and gave up a two-run double to the first batter he faced, Matt Wieters.


The Nationals sent seven batters to the plate in the sixth inning before the Braves recorded an out.


Zimmerman and Murphy hit back-to-back homers in the first inning and Zimmerman added a two-run homer in the sixth off Dickey, moving Zimmerman into a tie with Vladimir Guerrero for the Expos/Nationals franchise home-run lead with 234.


Nationals starter Joe Ross gave up nine hits, five runs and three walks in 52/3 innings — the fifth time he allowed five or more earned runs in eight starts this season — but the Braves couldn’t add any runs against a Nationals bullpen that began the day with a National League-worst 5.06 ERA.


In Dickey’s last outing Thursday against the Phillies, he had his best start of the season with Tyler Flowers catching him for the first time since spring training. Dickey held the Phillies to three hits and one run with no walks and eight strikeouts in seven innings of a 3-1 Braves win at SunTrust Park.


With Flowers behind the plate again Tuesday, Dickey allowed a triple to the second batter he faced, Ryan Raburn, who scored on a Bryce Harper’s groundout for a 1-0 lead. Then things really got troublesome for Dickey, who gave up homers to Zimmerman and Murphy in a span of three pitches.


That made it three runs allowed by Dickey before recording his third out.


But then at that point, as if flipping a switch, Dickey found his groove again and suddenly looked like he had five days before against the Phillies. The 42-year-old retired 13 of the next 14 batters including perfect innings in the third, fourth and fifth, with four strikeouts in those innings.


Then, that figurative switch got flipped again before the sixth inning. And the Nationals lit him up.


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(c)2017 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)


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Chicago Tribune


NEW YORK — Anthony Rizzo, batting leadoff for the first time in his career, hit a home run and drew a bases-loaded walk in his first two at-bats Tuesday night. Rizzo’s walk was topped by the first grand slam of Ian Happ’s career, off Zach Wheeler, as the Cubs rolled to a 14-3 victory over the Mets at steamy Citi Field. The Cubs hit a season-high five homers.


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At the plate


Manager Joe Maddon believed Rizzo was the best option to bat leadoff with Ben Zobrist nursing a sore left wrist and with Kyle Schwarber and Happ struggling. Jon Lester helped his cause with a single during a seven-run second. Addison Russell capped the rally with a two-run double that knocked out Wheeler. Jason Heyward smacked a two-run homer in the sixth.


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On the mound


After a choppy first inning, Lester settled down and retired 18 of the next 19 batters. Reliever Felix Pena allowed consecutive homers to Neil Walker and Lucas Duda in the ninth.


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In the field


Happ made his second start at second base and looked comfortable fielding grounders by Wilmer Flores in the first and Lucas Duda in the fourth. Schwarber caught the final two innings.


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Key number


1 — Games Schwarber has hit in the sixth spot this season


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The quote


“We’ve had a good walk, but not a good run yet. We have to get on that good run. I’m not discouraged. I believe in our guys.” — Cubs manager Joe Maddon.


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(c)2017 Chicago Tribune


Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com


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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


PITTSBURGH — Gerrit Cole needed to bounce back. After a nightmarish four-game stretch in which he allowed 23 earned runs and three double-digit hit games, Cole was lost, unable to locate the form he showed in his first five starts.


On Tuesday, at least, Cole looks like he might be on his way to finding it. The right-hander threw seven innings of three-hit baseball, allowing one earned run, as the Pirates beat the Rockies, 5-2, to win their fourth consecutive game. It is the first time this season the Pirates have won four in a row.


Pinch hitting for Cole, John Jaso hit a one-out home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to put the Pirates on top once again. It was his second pinch-hit homer of the season, and his fourth overall.


Jordy Mercer reached safely after Elias Diaz grounded out to start the seventh. With Cole already at 100 pitches, manager Clint Hurdle made the decision to insert Jaso.


Jaso had seen just one pitch from reliever Adam Ottavino, who replaced starter Tyler Chatwood to start the inning, before he ripped the ball into the outfield bullpen.


Juan Nicasio pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out two, before turning it over to Felipe Rivero.


Rivero ended his streak of 13 straight scoreless appearances, allowing one hit and one earned run, but he still was able to preserve the victory.


The Pirates picked up insurance runs in the eight from Andrew McCutchen, who belted a two-out, two-run home run into the left-field seats to make it 5-1. McCutchen also homered in the fourth inning, giving him his 13th career game with multiple home runs. He has 11 homers on the year.


Since moving to the 6th spot in the lineup 17 games ago, McCutchen has been ablaze. He has five home runs since the move and has batted .405 (17 of 42).


In the fourth, McCutchen took a 2-2 pitch from Chatwood to left field for the first run of the game. It was the only run allowed by Chatwood, who entered the game 2-0 in June with a 1.29 ERA.


Cole walked three batters Tuesday, one of which proved to be consequential. After sending down Carlos Gonzalez and Ian Desmond, Cole issued a two-out walk to shortstop Trevor Story, who would come around to score on Tony Wolters outfield single.


Mercer’s throw to the plate was just a tad late, which allowed Story to slide around the tag to tie the game at 1-1.


Cole again found himself in trouble during the sixth inning. With one out, DJ LeMahieu hit a chopper back to Cole, who couldn’t gather it off his glove. Cole then forced a hurried, side-arm throw to first, which was low and rolled past Bell, allowing LeMahieu to take second. Cole was charged with two errors on the play.


Nolan Arenado followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, which allowed LeMahieu to move over to third base. But Cole remained composed and was able to get out of the jam on a broken-bat pop out from Mark Reynolds.


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(c)2017 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette at www.post-gazette.com


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Sun Sentinel


MIAMI — Sometime soon, when their injured players aren’t injured anymore, the Miami Marlins will have a few personnel decisions to make — roster spots, defensive alignments, lineup tweaks and the like.


Manager Don Mattingly knows it’s coming, and he freely admits some of those decisions will be tougher than others. But he also knows how he’ll handle at least one of them: Giancarlo Stanton won’t move from the No. 2 spot in the lineup, not even when third baseman Martin Prado returns, which could be as soon as the end of next week if his rehab assignment goes smoothly.


Stanton homered again in the Marlins’ 8-1 win over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday, showing again that the move Mattingly made in part on a whim three weeks ago has worked.


And so Prado, the Marlins’ No. 2 hitter when healthy since the start of last season and for stretches before that, will find a new offensive home.


“It’s going pretty well. I don’t really want to mess with that,” Mattingly said Tuesday afternoon. “We’ll figure it out as we go. I don’t know if everybody is in the lineup every day, but I think in general we don’t move G around. G’s doing well.”


Stanton’s dinger Tuesday was a part of Miami’s game-winning rally in the fifth, five consecutive two-out hits to turn a tie into a four-run cushion against Oakland starter Jharel Cotton (five innings, five runs). It landed about 398 feet from home — modest by Stanton’s standards — but peaked at 152 feet, his tallest since MLB began tracking such data in 2015.


Before Stanton, Dee Gordon slapped a run-scoring single to left. After Stanton, J.T. Realmuto doubled to right-center to score Christian Yelich, who had reached on a soft grounder toward shortstop.


Right-hander Jose Urena turned in his best outing in a month: six innings, one run. He allowed only three hits and one walk, and he struck out four.


Urena’s night was marred only by a three-batter stretch and a balk in the second inning. The A’s bookended Chad Pinder’s hit-by-pitch with hard-hit singles from Yonder Alonso and Matt Joyce to load the bases with one out. With two outs, Urena balked, allowing Alonso.


Urena rebounded by retiring his next 13 batters, pitching into the seventh.


Marcell Ozuna reached base in all four tries, going 3 for 3 with a walk. His homer — to right-center, off the face of the upper deck — in the fourth tied it.


Tyler Moore also had a three-hit night. He doubled twice, the second scoring a pair of runs in the seventh.


Oakland’s last threat came in the seventh, when it put its first two runners on against Urena. Righty David Phelps entered and got the next three batters, including two looking at called strike three.


Ichiro Suzuki’s pinch-hit single in the eighth moved him into a tie with Derek Jeter for the all-time interleague hits record with 364.


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(c)2017 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)


Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com


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