Schwarber hits 2 HRs; Phils split with Nats to lead Brewers
Kyle Schwarber has hit two of Philadelphia’s five homers in the first four innings to help the Phillies get a much-needed win as they try to end an 11-year playoff drought, salvaging a split of a day-night doubleheader with an 8-2 victory over the Washington Nationals in a rainy Game 2.
Kirby starts with record 24 straight strikes; Nats top M's
Seattle right-hander George Kirby set a major league record by throwing 24 straight strikes to start the game and fellow Mariners rookie Julio Rodriguez reached a new level, but Ildemaro Vargas hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning that lifted the Washington Nationals to a 3-1 win.
LEADING OFF: Opening day! Guardians debut, Ohtani and Braves
Cubs veteran Kyle Hendricks is set to deliver the first pitch of the season against Corbin Burnes and Milwaukee at Wrigley Field just past 2:20 p.m. EDT, the first of seven games still on the calendar amid rainy forecasts across the country.
Giolito fires back at Donaldson, White Sox beat Twins 7-6
Lucas Giolito lobbed an expletive-laced response in Josh Donaldson’s direction after the slugger appeared to yell “Not sticky anymore,” after a first-inning homer, overshadowing Gavin Sheets’ successful debut for the White Sox in a 7-6 victory over the Twins.
Diamondbacks' Gallen has sore forearm, might miss opener
Gallen went 3-2 with a 2.75 ERA during the pandemic-shortened season, striking out 82 in 72 innings. SETBACK IN THE BULLPENBlue Jays right-hander Kirby Yates will miss several weeks because of a strained muscle in his forearm. He allowed one run and five hits, striking out five without a walk. Bryan Abreu, a top Astros pitching prospect who turns 24 next month, started and pitched three perfect innings, striking out four. Baltimore starter John Means allowed four hits and walked three over 3 2/3 innings, striking out three.
Twins finalize $13M contract with DH Nelson Cruz
FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2020, file photo, Minnesota Twins' Nelson Cruz, center, smiles in the dugout after the Twins clinched the AL Central championship with the Chicago White Sox's loss during the tenth inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Twins are bringing back designated hitter Nelson Cruz on a one-year, $13 million contract, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig, File)MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins finalized their $13 million, one-year contract with designated hitter Nelson Cruz on Wednesday, retaining the most valuable player from the AL Central champion teams of the last two seasons. Last season, Cruz batted .303 with 16 homers and 33 RBIs in 53 games in the pandemic-shortened schedule. Cruz won the team MVP and leadership awards in each of the last two seasons as well.
AP source: Twins reach 1-year, $13M deal with DH Nelson Cruz
FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2020, file photo, Minnesota Twins' Nelson Cruz, center, smiles in the dugout after the Twins clinched the AL Central championship with the Chicago White Sox's loss during the tenth inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Twins are bringing back designated hitter Nelson Cruz on a one-year, $13 million contract, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig, File)MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Twins are bringing back designated hitter Nelson Cruz on a one-year, $13 million contract, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. The six-time All-Star won Silver Slugger awards in 2019 and 2020, when the Twins won the AL Central both seasons. Cruz was about the only constant, despite being at least 10 years older than most of the regulars.
Freeman among trio of Braves on All-MLB first team
Freeman easily won the NL MVP award Thursday, Nov. 12, topping off a trying year that saw him become so ill with COVID-19 he prayed please dont take me. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)NEW YORK – National League MVP Freddie Freeman was one of three Atlanta Braves selected to the All-MLB first team on Wednesday night. San Diego had two players on the top team: shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and third baseman Manny Machado. AL MVP José Abreu of the Chicago White Sox was the first baseman on the second team, which also included Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto, Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and Indians third baseman José Ramírez.
Stroman, Gausman take $18.9M; Springer, LeMahieu reject
Gausman and Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman accepted $18.9 million qualifying offers Wednesday, Nov. 11, receiving one-year deals to stay with their teams rather than test what they could get in free agency. Qualifying offers began after the 2012 season, and only 10 of 96 offers have been accepted. Stroman was acquired by the Mets from Toronto in July 2019 for left-hander Anthony Kay and minor league right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson. Gausman has a 50-66 record and 4.26 ERA in nine seasons with Baltimore, Atlanta and San Francisco. Tomlin gets a $1 million salary next season, and the deal includes a $1.25 million club option with a $250,000 buyout.
Springer, LeMahieu, Realmuto among 6 given qualifying offers
Springer, New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu and Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto were among just six free agents who received $18.9 million qualifying offers on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, from their former teams. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)NEW YORK – Houston outfielder George Springer, New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu and Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto were among just six free agents who received $18.9 million qualifying offers on Sunday from their former teams. Arizona exercised a $4.25 million option on pitcher Merrill Kelly rather than pay a $500,000 buyout, and Baltiore exercised a $3.5 million option on shortstop José Iglesias rather than pay a $500,000 buyout.
LEADING OFF: Stanton's HR streak, Kershaw at home, Acuña hit
(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)A look at what's happening around the majors on Wednesday:STANTON'S STREAKYankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton has homered in all four of the team's postseason games this year. The two-time NL home run champion is from the Los Angeles area and says “that SoCal air" is helping the ball fly. If the Dodgers advance to the NL Championship Series or World Series, fans will be allowed at those games. “At this point I think we’ve grown accustomed to it.”Alcantara insisted he didn’t intend to hit Acuña and that Miami’s game plan is simply to pitch inside to him. Springer’s 17 postseason homers tied Nelson Cruz and Jim Thome for most through a player’s first 54 postseason games.
Springer hits 2 HRs, Astros beat A's 5-2 for 2-0 ALDS lead
Houston Astros' Carlos Correa, left, and George Springer celebrate after the Astros defeated the Oakland Athletics in Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. The Houston Astros can't miss these days. “With every victory, the energy and the confidence grows,” first-year Houston manager Dusty Baker said. Five of Springer’s postseason homers have come at Dodger Stadium, where the Astros beat the Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. The scandal led to season-long suspensions of Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch, who both were fired.
Over in a hurry: A couple bad days end MLB seasons
Two games, 22 innings and zero runs: Just like that, Cincinnati and its faltering offense had been eliminated from the MLB playoffs by the Atlanta Braves. For fans who enjoy chaos, drama and sheer randomness, the past three days provided it. With a revised schedule that restricted teams to their geographic regions — East vs. East, Central vs. Central and West vs. West — home teams went 500-398 for a .557 winning percentage, the highest since .559 in 2010, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Whether home or away, the end came quickly for some teams over the past few days. “It's a really tough season, everything to go through, playing through a pandemic, doing all this,” Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said.
Astros sweep as Twins lose 18th straight in playoffs
"But what are they going to say now?”Nine months after Houston's rules-breaking, sign-stealing system was revealed, the Astros advanced to the Division Series in Los Angeles. The Twins are 0-18 in the playoffs since winning Game 1 of their Division Series at the New York Yankees on Oct. 5, 2004, a total of seven rounds lost. Since that date, the Astros are 43-35 in postseason play, winning 10 of 15 rounds with three trips to the World Series. In a three-game division series sweep by the Yankees last year, the Twins totaled seven runs and 22 hits. Baldelli declined to confirm whether Buxton was experiencing a recurrence of concussion symptoms that kept him out of the last two regular season games.
Astros win 4-1 in Game 1; Twins' record losing streak at 17
Houston Astros' Carlos Correa, left, and George Springer, center, jump in celebration of the Astros 4-1 win over the Minnesota Twins 4-1 in Game 1 of an American League wild-card baseball series, Tuesday Sept. 29, 2020, in Minneapolis. They know what it’s like," said manager Dusty Baker, after the Astros became the first team in major league history to win a game after reaching the postseason with a losing record. It didn’t go my way,” said Romo, who has three World Series rings with San Francisco and pitched in his 30th career postseason game. Minnesota’s previous win in the playoffs was notched in New York on Oct. 5, 2004, in Game 1 of the AL division series. UP NEXTThe Astros were waiting until after the game to announce their starter for Game 2, though Valdez's appearance took him out of the mix.
Lots of unfamiliar territory in 2020 baseball playoffs
Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts flies out to right field during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Los Angeles. Welcome to the first round of the 2020 playoffs, a class with an unusual amount of homework — and precious little room for error. After the pandemic-shortened regular season was limited to regional play, seven of the eight wild-card series involve teams that haven't played any meaningful games against each other since last year. “It’s like the old days, man, when you played a team you’ve never played before. That means a lot of video and scouting work before the AL playoffs begin Tuesday and the NL postseason starts Wednesday.
Reds top Twins 7-2, clinch 1st playoff spot since 2013
Cincinnati Reds players climb over the dugout fence and head to celebrate with pitcher Wade Miley after the Reds earned a playoff berth with a 7-2 over the Minnesota Twins in a baseball game Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)MINNEAPOLIS – Mike Moustakas homered twice, Freddy Galvis hit a solo shot and the Cincinnati Reds clinched their first playoff spot since 2013, beating the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins 7-2 Friday night. Joey Votto and the Reds had endured six straight losing seasons before advancing this year under manager David Bell. Twins: RHP Homer Bailey, who spent 12 of his 14 major league seasons with the Reds, was designated for assignment prior to the game. Twins: RHP Michael Pineda (2-0, 3.18 ERA) pitches the middle game of the series.
LEADING OFF: NL playoff race wide open, AL nearly locked in
The Marlins, Phillies, Cardinals, Reds, Brewers and Giants are the top teams still in contention -- and they’re packed tightly with slots available for one team from the NL East, another from the NL Central and then two wild cards. The Mets (26-31) and Rockies (25-31) are mathematically eligible but need to win out just to have a shot. AL-MOST OVEROnly one playoff spot remains open in the AL, and Michael Brantley and the Astros are on the verge of clinching it. The Twins are trying to seal the AL Central. The Chisox have lost five in a row, dropping them out of the AL Central lead and one game behind Minnesota.
Twins clinch 2nd straight playoff spot, beat Mills, Cubs 8-1
Minnesota Twins' Jake Cave (60) runs to score on a single hit by Eddie Rosario against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)CHICAGO – Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sanó and Josh Donaldson homered as the Minnesota Twins clinched a second straight postseason berth with an 8-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night. The Twins, who won the division last year, will make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2009-10. After Mills struck out the first two batters of the game, Rosario homered on the first pitch he saw for a 1-0 lead. In the sixth, Rosario hit an RBI single for a 2-1 lead.
Dunning pitches White Sox past Twins for 6th straight win
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dane Dunning delivers during the first inning of the team's baseball game against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Chicago. The AL-best White Sox also moved 16 games over .500 for the first time since they were 71-55 on Aug. 26, 2012. Byron Buxton hit his third career inside-the-park homer for Minnesota, but the Twins finished with just four hits. But the White Sox went ahead to stay with three runs in the bottom of the third. White Sox: LHP Jace Fry threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings after he was reinstated from the 10-day injured list.
Engel gets big hit as White Sox top Twins 3-1
Chicago White Sox's Adam Engel (15) celebrates with catcher Yasmani Grandal and relief pitcher Alex Colome the team's 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins after a baseball game, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)CHICAGO – Adam Engel delivered a tiebreaking pinch-hit single in the eighth inning, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 3-1 on Monday night to increased their lead in the AL Central. The White Sox (31-16) moved two games ahead of the second-place Twins (30-19). White Sox reliever Gio González retired the first two batters in the eighth before issuing consecutive walks. The White Sox are off to their best start since they were 31-15 in 2006.
Wieters has 19-pitch at-bat as Cardinals split DH with Twins
St. Louis Cardinals' Harrison Bader celebrates after scoring during the third inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)ST. LOUIS Backup catcher Matt Wieters acknowledges he might have to get in better shape for the St. Louis Cardinals. Wieters hit 14 foul balls during a grueling 19-pitch at-bat that finished with a deep flyout with the bases loaded during a wild rally that sent the Cardinals over the Minnesota Twins 6-4 Tuesday night for a doubleheader split. Wieters set the Cardinals record for a plate appearance in that span, topping 17 pitches seen by Rick Ankiel in 2008. Everyone says St. Louis is a baseball town, and my father absolutely was a baseball guy.
Glasnow overpowers Yanks as Rays go to 7-1 vs NY this season
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow winds up during the second inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)NEW YORK After a decade spent chasing their big-budget AL East rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays are pummeling the New York Yankees. The AL East leaders improved to 7-1 against the Yankees this season and stretched their division cushion to 4 1/2 games. TRAINER'S ROOMRays: 3B Yandy Daz was pulled with left hamstring tightness in the fifth and is day to day. UP NEXTYankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (0-1, 3.48 ERA) will start on extended five days' rest against Rays RHP Trevor Richards (0-0, 4.71).
Maeda's no-hitter ends in 9th; Twins top Brewers 4-3 in 12
Minnesota Twins pitcher Kenta Maeda of Japan throws against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)MINNEAPOLIS Kenta Maeda lost a no-hitter in the ninth inning for the Minnesota Twins, who blew a three-run lead but came back to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 in 12 innings. Maeda's no-hit bid was ended by Eric Sogard's soft single that soared just over the glove of a leaping Polanco at shortstop. Maeda retired 21 straight batters in a stretch from the first to the eighth innings and finished with 12 strikeouts. Opponents are 0 for 22 against Hader this season, with four walks and one hit by pitch 12 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.
LEADING OFF: Brewers eye 3rd straight win vs rival Cubs
Cubs ace Jon Lester @-0, 1.06 ERA) will try to end the short skid in the finale against Milwaukees Josh Lindblom (1-0, 5.68). The team opted to place the 22-year-old on the injured list retroactive to last Tuesday, meaning he won't be eligible to return before Friday. The ace landed on the 10-day injured list with carpal tunnel neuritis on his right (pitching) hand. This is his first trip to the injured list since 2018. Brady Singer starts for the Royals in the series finale.
Twins rout Brewers, 12-2, behind Kenta Maeda
Minnesota Twins' Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Jake Cave celebrate after a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)MILWAUKEE Byron Buxton hit two solo home runs and Miguel San added another as the Minnesota Twins jumped to an early lead and routed the Milwaukee Brewers 12-2 on Wednesday night. The victory gave the AL Central-leading Twins a 2-1 series win over the Brewers, who dropped to 2-6 at home. Minnesota starter Kenta Maeda (3-0), in his first season with the Twins after being acquired from the Dodgers in February, retired the first 11 batters he faced. Brewers: In Chicago facing Cubs RHP Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.12 ERA), who has thrown 16 strikeouts in 17 innings.
MLB returns with thrills; red flags remain after 1st weekend
The 60-game sprint started with a bang thunder, actually, along with a torrential downpour in the rain-shortened opener between the Yankees and Nationals. Now is when people will finally listen, explained Stanton, a Black slugger with the New York Yankees who plans to kneel throughout the season. Made it interesting.Lastly, MLB unveiled another modification hours before first pitch, expanding the postseason from 10 teams to 16. The news Sunday of potential outbreaks with the Reds and Marlins was a reminder of how fragile the season could be. If 10 or 15 or 25 guys do it and the rest are messing around, it can mess everything up.
Garca homers twice as White Sox pound Twins 10-3
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)CHICAGO Leury Garca homered from both sides of the plate, helping Dallas Keuchel and the Chicago White Sox pound the Minnesota Twins 10-3 on Saturday. Keuchel allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings in his White Sox debut after agreeing to a $55.5 million, three-year contract in December. McCann singled in Adam Engel before Garca belted a three-run drive off left-hander Devin Smeltzer in the seventh, making it 10-3 White Sox. It also was the 11th time a White Sox player had connected from both sides of the plate in a single game. WORTH NOTINGThe White Sox announced right-hander Carson Fulmer had been claimed off waivers by Detroit.
Record 109 Dominican players on opening day MLB rosters
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)NEW YORK A record 109 players from the Dominican Republic were on opening-day major league rosters, boosted by an expanded pool following the layoff caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Major League Baseball said Friday that 288 of 1,026 players on opening-day rosters were born outside the 50 states, which comes to 28.1%. Total players born outside the 50 states topped the previous high of 259 in 2017. Last years opening-day rosters included 251 of 882 players born outside the 50 states. Houston and Minnesota Twins have the most players born outside the 50 states with 15 each, two more than the Chicago White Sox, Miami and New York Yankees.
The ESPYS focus on honors, pandemic and racial justice
Love received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY Awards on Sunday, June 21, 2020, for sparking a national conversation about mental health. The focus of Sunday night's show on ESPN was hope and inspiration in the time of coronavirus. Two years ago, he wrote an online essay detailing his struggles with mental health, including having a panic attack during a game. As a result, other athletes and fans began sharing details of their own mental health challenges and sharing resources on how to get help. During the COVID-19 crisis, he's shared tips on how to cope with the stress and isolation caused by the pandemic.