MLB ROUNDUP: ROYALS’ BOBBY WITT JR. HITS WALK-OFF SLAM IN 10TH
Bobby Witt Jr.’s walk-off grand slam lifted the Kansas City Royals to an 8-5, 10-inning win over the visiting Minnesota Twins on Friday.
Witt finished 4-for-5 with a career-high six RBIs.
After Jhoan Duran (2-5) walked the bases full with one out, Witt hit his first career grand slam 414 feet to left. He connected on a 101.8 mph fastball on a 3-2 count. It was the first walk-off grand slam this year by a player whose team was trailing at the time.
Kyle Farmer’s two-out RBI single off Taylor Clarke (2-4) in the top of the 10th gave Minnesota a 5-4 advantage. The Twins had rallied to tie the game 4-4 in the ninth on Jorge Polanco’s two-out, two-run double off Scott Barlow.
It was the 15th consecutive start without a victory for Gray, dating to an April 30 win against Kansas City. He allowed three runs on five hits while striking out five and walking none in six innings. Royals starter Brady Singer allowed two runs on four hits and two walks in five innings, fanning 10.
Mets 5, Nationals 1
Pete Alonso accounted for all five runs with two home runs and Max Scherzer surrendered one run over seven innings as host New York beat Washington.
Alonso hit a three-run homer in the fifth against MacKenzie Gore and a two-run shot against Rico Garcia in the seventh. The multi-homer game was the second of the week for Alonso. Scherzer (9-4) gave up six hits, walked two and struck out seven.
Luis Garcia homered in the seventh for the Nationals, who fell to 7-7 since the All-Star break. Gore (6-8) allowed three runs on five hits and four walks while striking out two over five innings.
Orioles 1, Yankees 0
Anthony Santander hit a one-out home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Baltimore a victory over visiting New York. Santander’s 18th long ball of the season came off Tommy Kahnle (1-1).
Orioles starter Grayson Rodriguez threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings, and Yankees starter Gerrit Cole tossed seven shutout frames. Felix Bautista (6-1), the fifth Baltimore pitcher, struck out two batters in a perfect ninth for the victory.
Aaron Judge was in the Yankees’ lineup as the designated hitter and batted in the No. 2 spot after sitting out since June 3 because of a torn toe ligament. He went 0-for-1 with three walks.
Reds 6, Dodgers 5
Jake Fraley and Spencer Steer homered and visiting Cincinnati held on to beat Los Angeles in the opener of a three-game series.
Elly De La Cruz tripled to open the game and scored on a TJ Friedl groundout as the Reds improved to 3-1 this season against the Dodgers. Brandon Williamson (3-2) gave up two runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings, and Alexis Diaz recorded the final four outs for his 31st save.
Freddie Freeman drove in two runs and Amed Rosario had an RBI and two hits in his Dodgers debut, but Los Angeles fell to 1-3 to start its first homestand of the second half.
Marlins 6, Tigers 5
Bryan De La Cruz homered and drove in three runs, leading host Miami to a win over Detroit.
Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez, who leads the majors with a .380 batting average, went 3-for-4. He also tops the majors with 15 three-hit games. Miami starter Braxton Garrett was left with a tough-luck no-decision after allowing five hits, one walk and one run, none earned, in six innings.
The Tigers took their fourth loss in a row, with reliever Jason Foley (2-3) yielding both runs in the eighth.
Blue Jays 4, Angels 1
Matt Chapman, Danny Jansen and Whit Merrifield hit home runs and Toronto defeated visiting Los Angeles.
Merrifield had three hits and two runs in the opener of a three-game series. The Angels had a four-game winning streak end. Toronto right-hander Kevin Gausman (8-5) allowed one run, five hits and three walks with nine strikeouts in six-plus innings.
Shohei Ohtani hit his major-league-leading 39th home run of the season for the Angels. Ohtani did not bat when his turn came up with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, leaving due to cramps in both calves. Mickey Moniak singled for Los Angeles to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.
Phillies 2, Pirates 1
Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run homer in the third as visiting Philadelphia won their third straight contest, a close victory over Pittsburgh.
Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler (8-5) gave up one run and three hits in 6 2/3 innings, with 11 strikeouts and one walk. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 17th save.
Ji Man Choi hit an RBI double for the Pirates, who were coming off a 3-3 West Coast trip. Pittsburgh starter Mitch Keller (9-7), who had lost two starts in a row coming off his first All-Star Game appearance, was more proficient this time. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up two runs and six hits, with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Braves 10, Brewers 7
Marcell Ozuna homered to lead off the fourth inning and Austin Riley and Matt Olson belted solo shots in the seventh to lift host Atlanta to victory over Milwaukee.
Atlanta’s Orlando Arcia ripped a two-run single in the second inning and Eddie Rosario did the same as part of a four-run seventh. Olson drove in two runs and Ozuna scored three times as the Braves banged out 15 hits to snap a two-game skid.
Milwaukee’s Abraham Toro highlighted a three-hit, four-RBI performance with a three-run homer in the eighth inning. Joey Wiemer had a two-run double, Tyrone Taylor added an RBI single and Andruw Monasterio joined Sal Frelick in scoring three runs for the Brewers.
White Sox 3, Guardians 0
Luis Robert and Jake Burger homered to support five strong innings from Touki Toussaint as host Chicago stopped a six-game skid by blanking Cleveland.
The White Sox earned their first victory since July 20. Robert launched his team-leading 29th home run to open the scoring in the first inning, connecting against Guardians starter Xzavion Curry (3-1) after Tim Anderson grounded into a double play.
Burger went deep with one out in the sixth to continue his homer binge. He has homered in three consecutive games and has six homers in his past 12 games overall. He has 25 this season. Toussaint (1-3) pitched five shutout innings, his first win with Chicago since the club claimed him off waivers from Cleveland in June.
Red Sox 3, Giants 2
Triston Casas doubled, homered and drove in two runs as Boston won at San Francisco. Red Sox reliever Josh Winckowski pitched out of a seventh-inning jam to protect a one-run lead.
Rob Refsnyder drove in a key run with a pinch-hit single and Kutter Crawford (5-5) gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings for the Red Sox, who earned their fifth win in a row.
Joc Pederson homered for the Giants. Logan Webb (8-9) yielded three runs in 7 1/3 innings.
Padres 7, Rangers 1
Joe Musgrove worked six scoreless innings and Manny Machado drove in three runs as San Diego defeated visiting Texas to open a three-game interleague series.
Musgrove (10-3) gave up four hits and two walks while striking out five in his ninth straight quality start. Fernando Tatis Jr. homered for the Padres.
Rangers starter Dane Dunning (8-4) gave up three runs in five innings. Marcus Semien drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth to break up the Padres’ shutout bid.
Rays 4, Astros 3
Jose Siri utilized his exceptional speed to manufacture the decisive run in the ninth inning as Tampa Bay defeated host Houston.
Siri opened the ninth with a hustle double to left field off Astros closer Ryan Pressly (3-3) before advancing to third on a flyout to right. He later scored when Yandy Diaz added a sacrifice fly.
Four Rays relievers combined to hold Houston hitless over the final four innings. Colin Poche (8-3) pitched a perfect eighth to get the win, and Pete Fairbanks notched his 13th save by working around a one-out walk in the ninth.
Cubs 3, Cardinals 2
Mike Tauchman made the game-saving catch at the center field wall with two outs in the ninth inning as visiting Chicago edged St. Louis for its seventh straight victory.
Cardinals pinch-hitter Alec Burleson lifted the potential two-run homer against Adbert Alzolay, but the leaping Tauchman reached over the wall to catch the ball and end the game. Lars Nootbaar hit two homers for the Cardinals, who lost for the sixth time in their last eight games.
Patrick Wisdom hit a homer for the Cubs and Dansby Swanson and Trey Mancini also drove in runs. Drew Smyly (8-7) came on in the third inning and allowed one run on two hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings.
Mariners 5, Diamondbacks 2
Cal Raleigh and Tom Murphy stroked consecutive two-run doubles in a four-run first inning to jump-start Seattle to a victory over Arizona in Phoenix.
Eugenio Suarez added an RBI single, and Ty France, Julio Rodriguez, Murphy and Raleigh had two hits apiece as Seattle won for the sixth time in eight games. Logan Gilbert (9-5) was charged with two runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk anyone while winning his fourth straight decision.
Ketel Marte had three singles and a walk for Arizona, which is 3-10 since the All-Star break and has lost 15 of its past 20 contests. Dominic Canzone had two hits for the Diamondbacks.
Athletics 8, Rockies 5
Zack Gelof and Ramon Laureano homered, Tony Kemp had two doubles, and Oakland beat Colorado in Denver to end a three-game skid.
A’s starter JP Sears (2-7) threw five innings of one-run ball. He allowed four hits and a walk and struck out five. Trevor May got the final three outs for his 10th save.
Randal Grichuk homered for Colorado, which lost its third straight. Starter Kyle Freeland (4-11) allowed five runs, three earned, on nine hits and no walks while striking out three in four innings.
REDS MANAGER DAVID BELL GETS 3-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION
LOS ANGELES (AP) Manager David Bell, who has presided over a successful turnaround in Cincinnati, received a three-year contract extension from the Reds.
The deal that runs through the 2026 season was announced Friday night before the team faced the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
The Reds are currently 56-48 and 1 1/2 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central. They’re trying to become the first team in major league history to win a division title after losing at least 100 games the previous season. They were 62-100 last year, tying Pittsburgh for last in the division.
“We’re in a really strong place right now,” Bell said. “I absolutely love our players, love our team, love the direction we’re headed. I’m truly, truly honored to be able to do this, a job that I love in the city of Cincinnati, and for our fans.”
Bell is on track to become the longest-tenured Reds manager since Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson, who was at the helm from 1970-78 and won two World Series titles.
“David has done a great job. His coaching staff has done a great job this year,” general manager Nick Kroll said. “We came in and it was about growing, and we’ve done that. We’ve created a good culture around our major-league clubhouse, we’ve integrated a lot of young players into our major-league team and continued to grow.”
In 2021, the Reds had a record of 83-79. In 2020, they were 31-29 during the pandemic-delayed season and earned their first postseason berth since 2013. The club had winning records in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2012-13.
“I’m excited about where we are, I’m excited about where we’re going. Are we there yet? No. Do we still have work to do? Yeah, we do,” Kroll said. “But at the same time, it’s been a lot of fun to watch these players grow, these coaches grow, and our team and our organization get better.”
Kroll said the coaching staff’s contracts have not yet been extended.
Bell, a 50-year-old native of Cincinnati, was hired in 2018 on a three-year deal with a club option for 2022. In 2021, the team gave him a two-year extension through this season.
“I figured it would work out the way it was supposed to,” he said.
Bell is the son of former major leaguer and front office executive Buddy Bell.
ASTROS ACQUIRE RELIEVER GRAVEMAN FROM WHITE SOX FOR MINOR LEAGUE CATCHER LEE
HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Astros acquired reliever Kendall Graveman from the Chicago White Sox on Friday in exchange for minor league catcher Korey Lee.
General manager Dana Brown announced the trade that brought the right-handed Graveman back to Houston after he spent the last two months of the 2021 season with the Astros.
“We feel like he’s going to come in here and make an impact,” Brown said. “He could pitch some high pressure innings for us and his stuff is really good, very competitive, the ball moves all over the place. So we felt like he was a fit both for the team and his ability and to gel with our clubhouse makeup.”
Graveman was 3-4 with eight saves and a 3.48 ERA in 45 appearances for the White Sox this season. In his first stint with the Astros after a trade from Seattle, he had a 3.13 ERA in 23 appearances.
In the 2021 postseason, he had a 1.64 ERA in nine appearances, including three in the World Series.
The 32-year-old Graveman has a career 4.00 ERA and 24 saves in nine major league seasons.
Lee was a first-round pick by the Astros in the 2019 draft from California-Berkeley. He made his major league debut last year and hit .160 with two doubles and four RBIs in 12 appearances.
He spent all this season with Triple-A Sugar Land, where he is hitting .283 with five homers and 32 RBIs.
“You hate to lose some of your prospects,” Brown said. “But at the end of the day, we thought we had a chance to really bridge the gap to the end of our bullpen and win more games.”
METS TRADE CLOSER DAVID ROBERTSON TO MARLINS FOR TWO MINOR LEAGUERS
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets began the process of dismantling the team with the largest payroll of all-time late Thursday night, trading closer David Robertson to the Miami Marlins for two teenage minor leaguers.
The Mets, who began the season with a $353 million payroll, beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 to improve to 48-54. They are seven games behind the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds, who are in a virtual tie for the last two NL wild-card spots.
The trade results in a savings of nearly $6.75 million for the Mets. The Marlins pay the $3,548,387 remaining of Robertson’s $10 million salary. New York’s luxury tax bill is reduced by $3.19 million.
“We didn’t have visions of this at the start of the season,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said.
The Marlins, with the seventh-lowest payroll in the majors at a little more than $91 million, are a half-game behind the Phillies and Reds after going 7-13 this month.
Robertson warmed up in the eighth inning of a tie game before a 97-minute rain delay gave Eppler and Marlins general manager Kim Ng time to complete the trade. Brooks Raley pitched the ninth and earned his second save.
“That was unique,” Eppler said. “But the rain delay provided an opportunity for us to kind of get a final offer from Miami.”
Miami sent a pair of players from its rookie-level Florida Complex League affiliate, Marco Vargas and catcher Ronald Hernandez, to the Mets in exchange for Robertson, who signed a one-year deal in December with the expectations he’d help serve as a late-inning bridge to closer Edwin Diaz.
But Diaz suffered a torn patella tendon during the World Baseball Classic, vaulting the 38-year-old Robertson into the ninth-inning role. Robertson has been the Mets’ most reliable reliever, getting 14 saves and posting a 2.05 ERA for a team that entered Thursday with a 4.22 bullpen ERA — the 10th-worst in the majors.
“I’ve said (it) I don’t know how many times — there’s a ton of talent in this clubhouse, we just weren’t able to put it together,” Robertson said. “When you can’t put it together in time, GMs and owners have to make decisions. And I was one of those decisions and I got moved.”
Eppler said the Mets remain in listening mode. Mark Canha, Tommy Pham and Carlos Carrasco are all due to hit free agency after the season while Omar Narváez, in the first year of a two-year deal, lost the everyday starting catching job to rookie Francisco Álvarez.
Max Scherzer has a $43.3 million player option for next season while fellow former Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander is guaranteed $43.3 million in 2024, the final season of his two-year deal.
“It’s a little different than just declaring it and calling everybody and saying we’re sellers,” Eppler said. “It’s more just looking at it on a case-by-case basis, hearing who clubs kind of covet and hearing what their kind of price point is on players.”
RANGERS PLACE ALL-STAR CATCHER JONAH HEIM ON 10-DAY IL WITH A LEFT WRIST INJURY
SAN DIEGO (AP) The AL West-leading Texas Rangers placed All-Star catcher Jonah Heim on the 10-day injured list Friday with a strained tendon in his left wrist.
Heim came out of a game at Houston on Wednesday after hurting his wrist on an awkward swing in the fourth inning. Heim is batting .280 with an .816 OPS, and has 14 home runs and a career-high 70 RBIs in 90 games.
Heim has started 80 of 103 games this season. The switch-hitter leads big league catchers in RBIs (66), hits (89), doubles (23), and runs (tied, 47). His .413 average with runners in scoring position is third-highest among qualifiers.
Mitch Garver started at catcher in the opener of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.
The Rangers also recalled outfielder Bubba Thompson from Triple-A Round Rock, optioned right-hander Owen White to Round Rock and activated right-hander Josh Sborz from the 15-day injured list.
Sborz went 4-4 with a 4.54 ERA in 29 relief appearances before being placed on the 15-day IL on July 15 with right biceps tendinitis.
TAKE 5: BEST PLAYERS AVAILABLE AT THE DEADLINE
Scratch Shohei Ohtani from the list of players available at the 2023 MLB trade deadline. His complete game shutout of the Detroit Tigers on Thursday sealed his fate for the rest of this season in Anaheim as the Angels make moves to push for a postseason berth.
While the MVP-caliber talent won’t be on the block, there are plenty of All-Stars in play.
Recent history indicates at least a few of these marquee names are soon to be found at new addresses.
Field Level Media identifies the five best players available ahead of the Tuesday trade deadline:
–Juan Soto, OF, Padres
Available is relative, we get it.
But “willing to trade” and “listening” are being used to describe San Diego’s position on Soto deals. Considering the haul the Padres parted with to acquire Soto from the Washington Nationals and the state of the NL West standings, this isn’t a major surprise.
Soto won’t hit free agency until 2025, but the Padres are saddled with massive salary commitments to Yu Darvish, Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove and Josh Hader — all over $14 million for 2023. San Diego is third in total payroll at more than $231 million, and the 2023 numbers don’t take into complete account the $340 million commitment to Fernando Tatis Jr., whose base salary is $7 million.
Would the deep-pocket New York Yankees or prospect-rich Seattle Mariners take a swing at Soto?
Soto, 24, is batting .262 with 20 home runs, yet projections for a long-term contract float him into newly established territory pioneered in the past year by Aaron Judge (nine years, $360 million) or Machado (11 years, $350 million).
–Blake Snell, SP, Padres
In the final year of his contract on a team with noted perspiration about payroll relative to results, there’s a case for Snell being the top player available at the deadline.
With 147 strikeouts in 114 innings pitched and proven postseason credentials, Snell would be a significant add at the front of any rotation.
In his past five starts, Snell has allowed just two earned runs with 33 strikeouts. He has a 0.78 ERA in his past 12 starts.
Should the Padres opt to move Snell, he would be a big draw in the AL East either returning to the Tampa Bay Rays or perhaps tempting the Baltimore Orioles to dangle one of their top prospects.
–Nolan Arenado, 3B, Cardinals
No-trade clauses can be sticky. St. Louis isn’t likely sweating Arenado’s veto power with the Los Angeles Dodgers emerging as a favorite for the Southern California native.
Arenado is owed $109 million on a deal that expires after the 2027 season, which is palatable for Los Angeles despite his age (32). His career wins-above-replacement of 54.0 and steady production on the other side of 30 are encouraging for a win-now buyer.
Whether the Dodgers are willing to meet the asking price of the Cardinals with a top-tier prospect haul might be the only roadblock.
–Justin Verlander, SP, Mets
Most of the American League West wants to place a bid on Verlander, hoping to get the vintage version and not the creaky 40-year-old edition starting to appear in spots this season with New York.
Verlander (5-5, 3.24 ERA) has 15 starts this season and was back to being a front-end workhorse in July. In five starts he has allowed six earned runs with 27 strikeouts in 32 innings.
He signed a two-year, $86.7 million contract with the Mets that includes a team option for $35 million in 2025.
This is where the no-trade clause comes into play.
Seattle and Houston are threats, but multiple reports put the Texas Rangers at the front of the line for Verlander with Jacob deGrom done for the season and Jon Gray showing signs of a slowdown.
White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn could be the consolation prize.
–Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox
At 63 losses and counting entering Friday, Chicago has already moved starting pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez to the Angels. They are verified sellers.
A former AL batting champion, Anderson’s contract includes a team option for 2024 at $14 million and he’s just 30 years old with the type of energizing personality that implies he’d have major value to a contender down the stretch.
CARDINALS’ MILES MIKOLAS BANNED 5 GAMES FOR THROWING AT IAN HAPP
Major League Baseball suspended St. Louis Cardinals right-handed pitcher Miles Mikolas five games Friday for intentionally throwing at the Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ.
Mikolas, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, is appealing the discipline. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol was also suspended for one game and will serve it Friday night’s game against the Cubs.
In the top of the first inning of Thursday night’s game between the Cardinals and Cubs, Happ hit Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras in the head with his bat on an uncontrolled backswing on a swinging strike. Contreras had to leave the game and the Cardinals ruled him day-to-day with a scalp laceration.
Contreras and Happ, who are former teammates with the Cubs, hugged before the catcher left the game, and Happ would later say it was an accident, but Mikolas was unconvinced. He threw his next pitch to Happ up and in, then plunked him on the hip with a fastball.
The umpires gathered, and crew chief Lance Barksdale ejected Mikolas. Marmol subsequently was tossed after continuing his protest over Mikolas’ ejection.
“In any circumstance, I’ve got Willson’s back,” Mikolas said after the game. “He’s my catcher. I consider him a really good friend now. Any single one of these guys in this locker room I go to bat for 100 percent. So that’s something I think we as a team believe in is just always having each other’s backs and I guess that’s what the umpires thought I was doing, and it’s unfortunate that there was no warning or anything like that.”
Marmol also said his pitcher should have received a warning if the umpires had an issue with the first pitch.
“Yeah, if the explanation was that there was intent behind the first pitch, then I feel like there should have been a warning after the first pitch,” Marmol said. “That could’ve saved everybody a lot of trouble.”