Phillies

Best of MLB: J.D. Martinez becomes 18th player with 4 HRs in a game

usa-jd-martinez-diamondbacks.jpg
AP Images

Best of MLB: J.D. Martinez becomes 18th player with 4 HRs in a game

LOS ANGELES — J.D. Martinez keeps doing damage and the Arizona Diamondbacks keep winning.

Martinez tied a major league record by slugging four of Arizona's six home runs, and the Diamondbacks routed the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers 13-0 on Monday night for their 11th straight victory.

"We were part of history," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "You can't believe it after it keeps happening -- second, third and finally the fourth time. It was amazing. J.D. works as hard as anybody at his swing, perfecting his craft, and he deserves that moment."

Martinez was the headliner on a big night for a couple Diamondbacks.

Robbie Ray struck out a career-high 14 while helping second-place Arizona to its longest win streak since it also won 11 in a row from June 18-30, 2003.

"He has our number," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He was exceptional."

Martinez is the 18th player in major league history to hit four homers in a game, and the 16th in the modern era. The team's six homers tied for the most in Dodger Stadium history by a visitor.

"I felt like it was one of those days," Martinez said. "I was seeing the ball well and when I was swinging, I was hitting it." (See full recap)

Indians win 12th straight game
CHICAGO — Trevor Bauer was sharp again to win his eighth straight decision, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 on Monday for their 12th straight victory.

Bauer (15-8) gave up two runs on three hits with nine strikeouts and one walk over 6 1/3 innings as the Indians allowed more than two runs for just the third time in the winning streak.

Jose Ramirez hit his third home run in two games and 23rd of the season, and Carlos Santana added his 22nd to power the Indians' offense.

James Shields (2-6) kept the White Sox in the game before taking a line drive by Francisco Mejia off the knee in the top of the seventh. Shields limped off the field and is considered day-to-day.

The veteran right-hander allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings, extending his streak to 11 starts without a win.

The 21-year-old Mejia, a top catching prospect, had a run-scoring single in the fourth for his first hit and RBI in his first career start for the Indians (see full recap).

Jake Arrieta exits with injury as Pirates rout Cubs
PITTSBURGH — Josh Bell broke the National League record for most home runs by a rookie switch hitter, hitting his 24th of the season off hurting Chicago ace Jake Arrieta to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Cubs 12-0 on Monday.

Bell had three hits and four RBIs, including a two-run shot off Arrieta in the first inning. Bell moved ahead of former Atlanta star Chipper Jones, who hit 23 for the Braves in 1995. Max Moroff added three hits and four RBIs for Pittsburgh, including a solo home run off Arrieta (14-9) in the third.

Arrieta was removed later in the third inning with an apparent right leg injury. The 2015 Cy Young Award winner clutched his right leg several times following a pitch to Bell. Arrieta attempted to throw a practice pitch after being visited by trainers but failed to release the ball while in obvious pain.

Chad Kuhl (7-10) allowed four hits in seven innings for the Pirates, striking out a career-high eight. Pittsburgh has won three straight (see full recap).

Carlos Martinez throws three-hit shutout in Cardinals' win over Padres
SAN DIEGO — Carlos Martinez threw a three-hitter and struck out 10, Yadier Molina hit a two-run single and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres 2-0 Monday for their fourth victory in five games.

The Cardinals remained three games behind Colorado in the race for the NL's second wild card.

It was the second career shutout and complete game for Martinez (11-10). He got his first of each on June 10 when he threw a four-hitter and struck out 11 in a 7-0 victory against Philadelphia. He also pitched nine scoreless innings against San Francisco on May 20 in a game the Cardinals lost 3-1 in the 13th.

Martinez allowed only three singles and walked three. The Padres didn't get a runner into scoring position the whole game and never had two runners on in any inning.

Luis Perdomo (7-9) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings (see full recap).

Billy Hamilton's walk-off HR pushes Reds past Brewers
CINCINNATI — Billy Hamilton hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, sending the Cincinnati Reds over the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 Monday.

Hamilton, who leads the majors with 58 stolen bases, sent a drive into the left-field seats for his fourth homer of the season. He connected off Josh Hader (1-3).

The last-place Reds opened a three-game series by stopping the playoff-contending Brewers. Raisel Iglesias (3-2) pitched a perfect ninth for the win.

Hamilton had two hits and also threw a runner out at the plate from center field (see full recap).

Tim Tebow's chances of actually playing in majors

uspresswire-mets-tim-tebow.jpg
USA Today Images

Tim Tebow's chances of actually playing in majors

Could "Tim Tebow in the major leagues" actually be a thing in 2018?

The mere suggestion that Tebow could one day rise to baseball's highest level sounded crazy in the summer of 2016 when he signed with the Mets.

One former Phillie referred to it as a "slap in the face."

Longtime baseball man Larry Bowa said this in August 2016:

"Whosever idea it is, they don't respect the game of baseball. It's a hard game. You don't come in at age 28 or 29. I'm not saying he's not a good athlete, but this is a hard game and there are a lot of good athletes in pro ball that never get to the big leagues. 

"I don't think it can happen. There are guys 28 or 29 that are getting released everyday. How can you take 10 years off and all of the sudden be facing guys throwing 95, guys throwing sliders?"

Yet here we are in spring training 2018 and Mets GM Sandy Alderson has said he expects to see Tebow play in The Show.

"Somebody asked me whether I think he'll be a major league player at some point," Alderson told reporters Sunday. "I think he will play in the major leagues. That's my guess. That's my hope, and to some extent now after a year and a half, a modest expectation."

Bovada has set Tebow's odds of playing in the majors in the 2018 or 2019 regular season at 6/1. If you bet against him, it's 1/10, meaning a $100 bet would win you $10.

Tebow played at two levels in 2017: Class A and Class A Advanced. He hit .226/.309/.347 with 24 doubles, eight homers and 52 RBIs in 486 plate appearances. He walked 43 times and struck out 126.

Nearly all of Tebow's minor-league innings have come in left field, where he had 10 errors and two outfield assists in 2017.

Tebow last appeared in the NFL in the 2015 preseason with the Eagles. He went 21 for 36 for 286 yards with two TDs and an interception, adding 82 yards on 14 carries with a TD on the ground but failing to make Chip Kelly's 53-man roster.

Bombs away! Nick Williams takes aim on manager's car in batting practice

Bombs away! Nick Williams takes aim on manager's car in batting practice

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A week into camp, Nick Williams looks primed to build on last year’s impressive rookie season.

Williams has been launching balls in batting practice and manager Gabe Kapler loves it — even if it means he’ll be charged for a little damage to his rental car.

On Tuesday, Williams clubbed a ball far over the fence at Mike Schmidt Field. It landed on the roof of Kapler’s rented Ford Explorer, leaving a dent that would hold a couple of servings of creamed spinach.

“I would trade a Nick Williams home run for a dent in a rental car any day of the week,” Kapler said Tuesday.

“I’m glad he said that,” Williams said Wednesday morning, “because it felt kind of good to hit it.”

Later on Wednesday, Williams put on another power display at Schmidt Field. It was so impressive that Cesar Hernandez considered leaving the field, grabbing his keys and moving his car.

“I just missed Cesar’s car,” Williams said with a laugh.

Kapler was again impressed with Williams’ round of BP.

“Today we had a nice little breeze coming in from right field,” Kapler said. “The breeze did not stop Nick Williams from destroying the baseball and almost hitting my car for a second day straight.

“If he is destroying cars and it happens to be mine, no problem.”

Kapler has no intention of parking elsewhere in coming days. In fact, he likes the idea of Williams using his car for target practice.

“We’re going to make it a bull’s-eye for him,” Kapler said. “That’ll be a running joke. It’s a great way to build relationships. It’s part of the whole scientific plan to make this work.”

Williams, 24, arrived in the majors in June of last season. He played in 83 games and hit .288 with 12 homers, 55 RBIs and an .811 OPS. Like a number of players on the roster, he would benefit from fewer strikeouts and more walks (97/20 in 343 plate appearances last season), but a week into camp, Kapler likes the hitting potential he sees in the young outfielder.

“He’s really shining,” Kapler said. “He really is. He walks around with a perpetual smile on his face.

“Our hitting coaches are enthused about the bat path. The way he sort of lofts the ball to the middle of the field. Some hitters, when they strike their best ball, it’s on the ground. But Nick, when he makes his most solid contract, it has a nice loft to his swing. And in the middle of the field, there aren’t many guys who can drive the ball like he can.”

The Phillies have four outfielders worthy of regular playing time. Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera line up to play left field and center field, respectively. Williams will get time in right. Aaron Altherr can play any outfield position.

Kapler is reluctant to assign roles at this point in camp. But he is confident he can find all four playing time.

“I’m not concerned about that,” he said. “Between pinch-hitting, interleague, someone getting a tweak and missing a week, the occasional rep at first base [for Hoskins], they’re all going to get a ton of reps. I envision plenty of at-bats to keep everybody satisfied, healthy and performing well.”