MLB ROUNDUP: WANDER FRANCO’S WALK-OFF HR CAPS RAYS’ WILD WIN
Wander Franco led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a 411-foot home run to right to give the Tampa Bay Rays a wild 9-8 victory over the Cleveland Guardians on Friday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Franco jumped all over a 1-1 slider from Cleveland’s Nick Sandlin (5-5) to smack his 17th homer of the season. Franco had three RBIs and Isaac Paredes hit a two-run homer for the Rays, who blew a three-run, ninth-inning lead before Franco’s heroics.
Paredes’ 23rd homer of the season in the sixth gave the Rays a 5-4 lead. Tampa Bay tacked on three runs in the seventh without a hit as they loaded the bases with one out on three walks from Daniel Norris. The Rays then scored two on an Andres Gimenez error and another on a Manuel Margot fielder’s choice.
Myles Straw hit his first homer of the season for Cleveland, which has lost 10 of its last 14 games. The Guardians also scored three runs without a hit, tying the game in the ninth on three walks, a hit batter and three wild pitches.
Rangers 2, Giants 1
Jon Gray combined with two relievers on a three-hitter, Nathaniel Lowe and Mitch Garver hit consecutive pitches for home runs and visiting Texas celebrated manager Bruce Bochy’s return to San Francisco with a victory.
The Oracle Park visit was the first for the 68-year-old Bochy since he stepped down after the 2019 season following 13 years as the Giants’ manager, a stint that included three World Series titles. Bochy watched Gray (8-5) fire seven shutout innings, with the right-hander allowing just two hits while fanning seven.
While the Rangers earned their ninth win in their last 10 games, the Giants suffered their fifth loss in the club’s last six games.
Yankees 9, Marlins 4
Anthony Volpe belted a three-run home run and Aaron Judge also went deep to lift visiting New York over Miami.
New York’s Kyle Higashioka ripped a two-run single in the ninth inning to highlight a three-hit performance. Oswaldo Cabrera, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Gleyber Torres each had an RBI single for the Yankees, who recorded 14 hits and went 7-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Randy Vasquez (2-1), who was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre prior to the game, picked up the win after allowing two runs on three hits in 3 2/3 innings. Jesus Luzardo (8-7) permitted seven runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings to lose his second straight start.
Phillies 13, Twins 2
Bryson Stott homered, doubled and drove in three runs while J.T. Realmuto hit a homer, singled and had two RBIs as host Philadelphia crushed Minnesota.
Johan Rojas hit his first career homer and knocked in three runs, Trea Turner added three hits and two RBIs and Nick Castellanos ripped three hits for the Phillies, who have won three straight. Kyle Schwarber left the game in the seventh after fouling a ball off his foot while Bryce Harper sat out with back spasms and is considered day-to-day.
Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler each hit a solo home run for the Twins. Polanco and Michael A. Taylor had two hits each for Minnesota, which has dropped four in a row. Twins starter Dallas Keuchel (0-1) lasted only 1 2/3 innings and gave up six hits and six runs with two walks and no strikeouts.
Braves 7, Mets 0
Austin Riley had three hits, including a home run, and a pair of RBIs for visiting Atlanta, which rolled over New York in the opener of a four-game series.
The Braves improved to 4-4 on a season-long 11-game road trip. The Mets fell to 2-8 this month. Eddie Rosario had two hits and three RBIs for the Braves. Charlie Morton (11-10) earned the win after allowing three hits and walking a career-high seven while striking out four over five-plus innings.
Mark Vientos had two singles for the Mets, who left 14 runners on base and went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Tylor Megill (6-6) took the loss after allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits and one walk while striking out three over 5 1/3 innings.
Nationals 8, Athletics 2
Ildemaro Vargas hit a three-run home run as Keibert Ruiz and Jake Alu also homered in Washington’s victory over visiting Oakland in the opener of a three-game series.
It was a tight game until Vargas’ fourth blast of the season in the bottom of the seventh inning. Alu’s first career home run came in his 14th game in the majors, a solo shot in the eighth.
Ruiz, Vargas and Stone Garrett all had two hits for Washington, which received at least one hit from every batter in the lineup to total 12 as a team. Athletics starter Paul Blackburn (2-3) took the loss, giving up four runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. The team had won his past three starts.
Reds 9, Pirates 2
Luke Maile hit a three-run home run and Elly De La Cruz also drove in three as visiting Cincinnati toppled Pittsburgh.
Spencer Steer added an RBI double and an RBI single, and TJ Friedl had an RBI single for the Reds, who had lost two in a row and eight of nine.
Cincinnati starter Andrew Abbott (7-3) allowed two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings, with nine strikeouts and no walks. Ke’Bryan Hayes homered and Andrew McCutchen hit an RBI single for the Pirates, who have lost three of four.
Red Sox 5, Tigers 2
Chris Sale pitched in a major league game for the first time in more than two months and Triston Casas hit a three-run home run to help Boston stretch its winning streak to three games by beating visiting Detroit.
Casas put Boston in front 4-0 when he hit his 19th homer of the season in the fourth inning. It was the first home run Tigers starter Tarik Skubal has allowed this season.
Sale, who spent more than two months on the injured list with shoulder inflammation, retired the first 14 batters he faced. Sale allowed two runs on one hit, struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter in 4 2/3 innings. Kerry Carpenter’s solo home run in the fifth was the only hit Sale allowed.
Cubs 6, Blue Jays 2
Javier Assad pitched seven strong innings, Cody Bellinger hit a two-run home run and visiting Chicago defeated Toronto.
Nico Hoerner added a solo shot and Bellinger, Hoerner and Ian Happ each had two hits for the Cubs, who are 7-3 this month. Assad (2-2) allowed one run, four hits and one walk with two strikeouts in his third start of the season.
Brandon Belt hit a solo home run for the Blue Jays, who returned from a 5-2 road trip. Toronto starter Jose Berrios (9-8) allowed six runs (four earned) and nine hits with three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Royals 12, Cardinals 8
Salvador Perez went 4-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs as host Kansas City jumped to a 9-0 lead after two innings, then had to stave off St. Louis’ attempted comeback.
Maikel Garcia singled twice and scored twice, extending his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games and matching the Royals’ rookie hitting-streak record. Nelson Velazquez and Bobby Witt Jr. added homers as Kansas City won its seventh straight home game.
Willson Contreras went 3-for-3 with a 461-foot home run and five RBIs for St. Louis, which has dropped 13 of 20 since its season-best, six-game winning streak July 15-20. Adam Wainwright (3-7) was torched for eight runs — his most since June 17, 2017 — on nine hits while recording three outs.
Astros 11, Angels 3
Jon Singleton posted his first career multi-home run game and Justin Verlander won in his 500th career start as Houston walloped visiting Los Angeles.
Singleton, signed by Houston as a minor league free agent on June 24 and recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land on Tuesday, went 3-for-4 with a walk and a career-high five RBIs in his first appearance at Minute Maid Park for the Astros since Sept. 25, 2015.
Verlander (7-6) made his first start in Houston since being re-acquired by the Astros at the trade deadline. He became the 50th pitcher in history to record 500 career starts, delivering a quality start in the process by allowing three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts over six innings.
Brewers 7, White Sox 6 (10 innings)
Mark Canha delivered a go-ahead, pinch-hit double in the 10th inning and the bullpen contributed 4 1/3 innings of one-run relief to lift Milwaukee over host Chicago.
William Contreras, Carlos Santana and Victor Caratini had two hits apiece for the Brewers, who maintained a 2 1/2-game lead on the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds atop the National League Central. The Brewers have played extra innings in four of the past six games, including three straight.
Eloy Jimenez smacked a two-run home run among his three hits for Chicago, while Yoan Moncada and Andrew Vaughn had two hits apiece.
Padres 10, Diamondbacks 5
San Diego left-hander Blake Snell continued his mastery of Arizona and Xander Bogaerts had four hits, including a two-run home run, and three RBIs in Phoenix.
The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Padres, whose offensive outburst matched the run total they scored during that stretch.
Snell, who entered the game 4-1 with a 0.84 ERA in eight career games (seven starts) against the Diamondbacks, allowed only two hits in six innings while striking out seven and walking four.
Mariners 9, Orioles 2
Julio Rodriguez, moved back into the leadoff spot with J.P. Crawford placed on the 7-day concussion list, doubled, homered and drove in four runs, and Luis Castillo pitched six strong innings as Seattle routed visiting Baltimore.
Cal Raleigh and Ty France also homered for the Mariners, who won their eighth in a row and for the 13th time in their past 15 to pull within a half-game of Toronto for the American League’s third and final wild-card playoff berth.
Anthony Santander homered for the AL East-leading Orioles, who lost for the third time in their past four games.
Dodgers 6, Rockies 1
Lance Lynn delivered another strong start for his new team, Freddie Freeman drove in two runs and Los Angeles beat Colorado for a season-high-tying sixth straight win.
Lynn (9-9) gave up one unearned run on four hits with nine strikeouts and one walk over five innings. He has allowed a combined five runs — four earned — in three starts for the Dodgers, winning each of them, after he was acquired from the Chicago White Sox near the trade deadline.
Brendan Rodgers drove in a run for the Rockies in his return to the lineup and left-hander Austin Gomber (9-9) allowed only two runs on eight hits over five innings.
CORTES’ SEASON WITH YANKEES COULD BE OVER AFTER HE GOES BACK ON INJURED LIST
Nestor Cortes’ season with the New York Yankees could be over after he went back on the injured list with a strained left rotator cuff, one start into his return from a two-month layoff.
The 28-year-old left-hander was put on the 15-day IL on Friday, six days after pitching four innings against Houston in his first big league appearance since May 30.
“We haven’t received all the details. I learned of the results when I got to the stadium,” Cortes said before the Yankees played Miami. “The one thing I was told is I cannot throw a baseball for four weeks. After that, we don’t know. It all depends on how I’m feeling with the recovery.”
Cortes is 5-2 with a 4.97 ERA in 12 starts, allowing 11 home runs in 63 1/3 innings. He went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA last year, earning his first All-Star selection.
Cortes made minor league injury rehabilitation appearances for Double-A Somerset on July 23 and 29, then threw 64 pitches against the Astros on Aug. 5. He gave up one hit, a solo homer by Jose Altuve.
“Definitely disappointing. Feeling for Nestor,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He put himself in a really good spot to get back. He was throwing the ball so well and had a great first start coming back off the IL. He just didn’t recover properly.”
Cortes could not throw his scheduled bullpen session on Thursday. The injury is similar to what first landed him on the IL.
“You’re talking three or four weeks of no throw,” Boone said. “Then, essentially starting over from there. We’ll see where we are in a few weeks.”
Cortes was born in Cuba and grew up in Hialeah. He had been scheduled to start Saturday and had reserved 40 tickets for each game of the series for family and friends.
“I was super proud, looking forward on returning to Miami and pitching in front of all the fans,” Cortes said. “This is not how I wanted it to happen but these are setbacks that you encounter in life.”
New York made the IL move retroactive to Tuesday and recalled right-handers Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
BLUE JAYS SEND STRUGGLING RHP ALEK MANOAH TO MINORS FOR THE SECOND TIME THIS SEASON
TORONTO (AP) The Toronto Blue Jays optioned right-hander Alek Manoah to Triple-A Buffalo on Friday, the second time this season the 2022 AL Cy Young Award finalist has been demoted to the minor leagues.
Manoah (3-9) allowed four runs in four-plus innings in a loss at Cleveland on Thursday. He’s 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA over seven starts since July 7, when he returned from his first demotion.
Toronto has been using a six-man rotation during a stretch of 17 games in 17 days, which ends Sunday. Left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu returned from Tommy John surgery Aug. 1 and has made two starts.
“With where we are right now in terms of schedule and other starters, it’s a tough discussion,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said of the decision to demote Manoah. “He’s our opening day starter. It’s an unfortunate thing for anyone.”
Manoah has struggled since going 16-7 with a 2.24 ERA in 2022, when he finished third in AL Cy Young voting. He was sent to the rookie-level Florida Complex League in June to work on his mechanics after opening the season 1-7 with a 6.36 ERA.
Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano (back) will begin a rehab assignment at Buffalo on Saturday, Schneider said. If all goes well, Romano could return Tuesday against Philadelphia.
All-Star shortstop Bo Bichette (right knee) ran on the field, hit in the cage and took grounders Friday. Bichette leads the AL with a .321 batting average.
Bichette left a July 31 game against Baltimore after jamming his knee when he pulled up while running the bases.
“Still day-to-day but he’s making good progress,” Schneider said.
The Blue Jays, who hosted the Chicago Cubs in the opener of a three-game series Friday night, replaced Manoah by recalling right-hander Hagen Danner from Buffalo. Danner pitched in 23 games with the Bisons, all but one in relief. He struck out 35 batters and walked seven in 28 1/3 innings.
ANGELS’ TROUT HITS OFF PITCHING MACHINE, MOVING CLOSER TO RETURN FROM INJURY
HOUSTON (AP) Mike Trout hit off a pitching machine Friday for the first time since fracturing his left hamate bone and manager Phil Nevin said the Angels’ star outfielder is moving closer to a return.
Trout has been out since July 3 and Nevin said before the start of a series with the Astros that the team believes he’s close, but that there still isn’t a timetable for his return.
“There’s going to be some hot spots around the wrist,” Nevin said. “It’s natural when these things happen with this surgery. It’s not necessarily … where it was fixed, but the areas around it, it could get sensitive. So, you’ve got to keep swinging.”
Trout hit off a tee earlier this week.
Nevin added that the more swings he gets in, the more he’ll start to feel like he can “let it go, which I don’t think is too far way.”
Nevin said he wasn’t sure whether Trout would go on a rehabilitation assignment before coming off the injured list and said that they’ll discuss that in the next day or two.
ORIOLES ACTIVATE CENTER FIELDER CEDRIC MULLINS FROM 10-DAY IL
SEATTLE (AP) The Baltimore Orioles activated center fielder Cedric Mullins from the 10-day injured list on Friday.
Mullins had been sidelined for most of the past month with a right adductor groin strain. He was in the lineup in center and batting fifth for Friday’s opener of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
The IL stint was Mullins’ second this season. He was out from May 30 to June 24 with a right groin strain, and the issue cropped up again a few weeks later. Mullins returned to the IL on July 16.
He’s hitting .269 with nine homers and 47 RBIs in 69 games. The AL-best Orioles have gone 15-9 since Mullins last played on July 15, but their outfield depth has been tested with Mullins and Aaron Hicks both hurt.
The Orioles sent outfielder Ryan McKenna to Triple-A Norfolk. In a separate move, Baltimore optioned right-handed pitcher Joey Krehbiel to Norfolk and recalled left-hander Nick Vespi.
SLUGGER BRYCE HARPER OUT OF LINEUP WITH BACK SPASMS; DAY TO DAY FOR NL WILD CARD-LEADING PHILLIES
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Bryce Harper flexed his legs, his shoulders, doing all he could to stay in the game for the Philadelphia Phillies. But back spasms forced the slugger out of one game, and he will have to sit out for at least one more.
Harper was not in the lineup for Friday night’s game against Minnesota, a day after the two-time NL MVP was sidelined by mid-back spasms. There was some good news for the NL champion Phillies as they try to keep the top spot in the NL wild-card race: Harper is day to day and shouldn’t miss much time.
“I felt better today. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow,” Harper said.
With Harper out of the lineup, the Phillies started Alec Bohm at first base and moved suddenly streaking shortstop Trea Turner to third in the batting order.
Harper said the spasms were unrelated to back pain that kept him out of games in 2021. He said his issues started in the first inning in Thursday’s win over Washington but he wanted to continue to play.
“I just didn’t feel like it was fair for me to come out of the game in the first,” he said. “I thought I could loosen it up. Just wasn’t able to get it loose to where I wanted it to be.”
Harper said he did not think he would be available to pinch-hit in the opener of a three-game series against the Twins.
“We’ll see how they work it out during the course of the night,” manager Rob Thomson said.
Harper had played his 12th game at first base after starting 70 games at designated hitter following offseason Tommy John surgery that limited him to just eight games in right field in 2022. He had not previously played the infield after 1,446 games as an outfielder or designated hitter.
Harper is hitting .293 with seven homers and 38 RBIs. Bohm has received the majority of Philadelphia’s starts at the position in place of Rhys Hoskins, who was lost late in spring training with a left anterior cruciate ligament tear.
The Phillies entered Friday holding a 2½-game lead over San Francisco for the top wild-card spot They were 5-2 on their current 10-game homestand.
Turner has keyed the run to first with a fantastic week that started with a social media push for Phillies fans to cheer him — often, with standing ovations — on each at-bat. Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million deal with the Phillies in the offseason, but struggled in his first season in Philly and was even dropped from second to eighth in the batting order.
But since the ovations started last Friday against Kansas City, Turner has hit .370 (10 for 27) with two homers, four doubles, eight RBIs and four runs in seven games.
Turner later splashed a thank you message to fans on digital billboards rented by the Phillies.
“He’s been swinging the bat well, now,” Thomson said Friday. ”(He’s) barreling the ball up now and not jumping and hitting the balls off the end of the bat. When he does that, he’s really good.”
Harper had started to find his power groove of late, hitting two homers on the homestand. Through the first seven games of the homestand, the Phillies have hit 18 home runs. The total ties them for most homers over a seven-game span at home since 1901.
REDS DEMOTE VETERAN INF/OF NICK SENZEL TO TRIPLE-A LOUISVILLE AND RECALL HENRY RAMOS
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Cincinnati Reds optioned infielder/outfielder Nick Senzel, the second overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft, to Triple-A Louisville on Friday.
Senzel had been in the major leagues continuously since 2019, except for rehab assignments. The 28-year-old was hitting .219 in 80 games with nine home runs and five stolen bases.
“Nick’s been with us a long time, he’s been an important part of the team and helped us win a lot of games,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It got to the point where Nick wasn’t going to be playing much over the next 10 days or so primarily because he starts against left-handers and there aren’t a lot of left-handers coming up on the schedule.
“So, we made the choice to send him to Triple-A to get regular at-bats and get back on track.”
The Reds selected the contract of outfielder Henry Ramos from Louisville. The rookie played in 18 games for Cincinnati earlier this season and had a .242 batting average.
Right-hander Eduardo Salazar was designated for assignment to open a spot for Ramos on the 40-man roster.
The Reds entered Friday tied for second with the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central, 2 1/2 games behind Milwaukee. Cincinnati also trailed Miami by one-half game for the third NL wild card.