Phillies

Best of MLB: Jose Ramirez's 5 extra-base hits help Indians to 11th straight win

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Best of MLB: Jose Ramirez's 5 extra-base hits help Indians to 11th straight win

DETROIT -- Jose Ramirez tied a major league record with five extra-base hits, including a pair of home runs that deflected off Detroit outfielders, and the Cleveland Indians routed the Tigers 11-1 Sunday for their 11th straight victory.

Ramirez had three doubles in becoming the 13th player with five extra-base hits in a game. Kris Bryant of the Cubs did it last year, and the previous Cleveland player to accomplish the feat was Kelly Shoppach in 2008.

The AL Central-leading Indians have their longest winning streak since a team-record 14-game run last year. Ramirez went 5 for 5, driving in three runs and scoring three.

Ramirez hit a strange solo homer in the first. The ball hit the yellow padding on top of the left-field fence, caromed straight in the air and bounced off the padding and back into play. As left fielder Mikie Mahtook tried to grab it with his bare hand, he knocked over the fence.

In the sixth, right fielder Alex Presley reached above the fence for Ramirez's drive and ball bounced out of his glove and over the wall.

Ramirez hit a leadoff double in the eighth and Giovanny Urshela pinch ran. Urshela batted in the ninth (see full recap).

Diamondbacks top Rockies, 5-1, for 10th straight win
DENVER -- Ketel Marte and Brandon Drury homered in a three-run sixth to bolster a strong outing by Zack Godley and the Arizona Diamondbacks extended their winning streak to 10 games with a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

This is the Diamondbacks' longest winning streak since they captured a franchise-best 12 straight in 2003.

Godley (7-7) allowed three hits, walked six and struck out seven over six innings to help Arizona sweep a three-game series from the Rockies. The Diamondbacks increased their lead over Colorado for the top NL wild-card spot to 6 1/2 games. The slumping Rockies saw their lead over Milwaukee for the second wild card trimmed to just a half-game.

Tied at 1 in the sixth, Marte lined a slider from German Marquez (10-6) over the fence in left for his first homer since July 29. Drury later followed with a two-run shot off Marquez, who allowed four runs over six innings and struck out nine (see full recap).

Astros sweep Mets in first series in Houston since Hurricane Harvey
HOUSTON -- Cameron Maybin hit a three-run homer, George Springer connected for the second straight day and the Houston Astros beat the New York Mets 8-6 on Sunday for a sweep of their weekend series.

Josh Reddick added two hits and three RBIs for the Astros, who won both games of a doubleheader on Saturday in their first home games since flooding from Hurricane Harvey devastated the city.

Houston trailed 4-1 before pushing across five runs in the third. Carlos Correa hit an RBI single in his return from the disabled list. Reddick also singled in a run before Maybin connected for his first homer since he was claimed on waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday.

Cubs lose Baez, game to Braves as win streak halted at 5
CHICAGO -- Max Fried combined with four relievers on a five-hitter in his first major league start, and the Atlanta Braves ended the Chicago Cubs' six-game winning streak with a 5-1 victory Sunday.

The NL Central-leading Cubs had matched their longest winning string of the season. Rookie Ian Happ hit his 21st homer, but Chicago couldn't get much going coming off a 14-12 victory.

The Cubs also lost Javier Baez after he got shaken up diving into second base in the second inning. Chicago's electrifying star trotted out to shortstop in the third but exited the game with one out.

Recalled from Triple-A on Friday, Fried (1-0) gave up a run and four hits in five innings. The bullpen held Chicago to one hit, helping the Braves avoid the weekend sweep.

Mike Montgomery (5-7) gave up three runs and five hits in five innings (see full recap).

Phillies turn sights to starting pitching after adding relievers at winter meetings

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Phillies turn sights to starting pitching after adding relievers at winter meetings

ORLANDO, Fla. — Matt Klentak's trip to the winter meetings netted two veteran relievers, Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter.

Now, Klentak's focus becomes starting pitching. He'd like to add at least one before spring training begins, and chances are good that he will.

"We will probably slow down on the reliever front for a little while," the Phillies general manager said on Wednesday, Day 3 of the meetings. "I think for right now, we’ll probably shift our focus back toward the starting pitcher market, see what comes of that and just be patient with it.

"My expectation is that we will have another move before we go to spring training. I would not be surprised if we’re done for the winter meetings, but I would be surprised if we’re done for the offseason."

The Phillies have probed the free-agent market — big-ticket items such as Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta are unlikely — and spent the fall gauging other teams on which starters could become available in trades.

"I couldn't handicap the way it'll happen or even if it'll happen," Klentak said. "I think we're continuing to stay engaged with some agents. There's a few teams we've talked to about trades, some short-term options, some more controllable options. I just don't know.

"We've said as an industry and the Phillies have talked about this for a long time: it's so important to be able to develop your own starting pitchers because to acquire them in a trade is incredibly expensive in terms of player capital and to acquire them in free agency is incredibly expensive in terms of total dollars. Maybe never in our history has it been more important to develop starting pitchers."

In recent seasons, the Phillies have added starting pitchers (Jeremy Hellickson, Charlie Morton, Clay Buchholz) near the end of their contracts. The Phils could still do that and have the money to take on a salary dump. But there would be merit to taking on a younger pitcher who has more contractual control, and the Phillies have the prospects to get in the hunt for Chris Archer, Gerrit Cole or Michael Fulmer, three pitchers who fit this profile.

The Phillies have a logjam in the middle infield with J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery pushing Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez. Galvis and Hernandez are both available for trades. Officials from other clubs say the Phillies have been aggressive in shopping Galvis. The Phils will look to get pitching for Galvis, but the return might not be robust because he is a rental player who will be a free agent after the 2018 season. Hernandez figures to bring a better return because he has three years of contractual control remaining. A person from a club that has spoken to the Phillies about Hernandez said the Phils are looking for two pitchers for him.

Another starting arm is needed to complement a group of starters that includes Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson and Ben Lively.

It's possible the Phils could also look for a veteran outfielder to come off the bench. But it's just as possible that the Phils give in-house prospect Roman Quinn a chance to be that guy. Quinn, a dynamic, speedy switch-hitter, has been plagued by injuries throughout his minor-league career, including last season when he missed significant time at Triple A with an elbow injury. He will turn 25 in May. It might be time to bring him, even if it means filling a reserve role.

"This is a year we want to find out about our young kids," Klentak said. "If we can find out about Roman Quinn, we would like to do that. On the flip side, if we have a chance to bring in a great makeup, complementary player that can help our young kids and show them the ropes a little bit, then we’d be open to that, too. That’s not likely to be an early offseason venture."

Also, as the rest of the offseason plays out, the Phils will monitor the availability of Miami outfielder Christian Yelich. The Phils have long liked Yelich and would certainly try to make a play for him. But as much as the Phillies like the player, Klentak has made it clear he's not in a hurry to subtract core players and prospects. That could hurt the Phillies' chances because it would take a big package of talent to get Yelich.

Notes
The Phillies pick third in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday morning. They will likely make a pick, but there's a strong possibility they will make it for another club and quickly trade the player. If the Phils lost someone in the draft, it could be outfielder Carlos Tocci or lefthander Brandon Leibrandt.

Klentak hinted that hard-throwing pitching prospect Seranthony Dominguez would begin transitioning to the bullpen in spring training. Mark Appel will also make the move to the bullpen.

Marlins continue fire sale by trading Marcell Ozuna

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Marlins continue fire sale by trading Marcell Ozuna

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Miami has agreed to trade left fielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press, the third All-Star jettisoned by the Marlins this month in an unrelenting payroll purge under new CEO Derek Jeter.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement had not been announced and was subject to a physical.

"Ozuna is one of those names that you have to have great respect, especially as much we see him," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said at the winter meetings. "We're at that necessary point of talking through health always, no matter what the player is. It's not just a formality."

An All-Star the past two seasons, the 27-year-old Ozuna set career bests this season with a .312 average, 37 homers and 124 RBIs. He is eligible for salary arbitration and likely will earn more than $10 million. He can become a free agent after the 2019 season.

Miami traded second baseman Dee Gordon to Seattle last Thursday for three prospects and dealt right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, the reigning NL MVP, to the New York Yankees on Monday for second baseman Starlin Castro and two prospects. The Cardinals had a deal in place for Stanton last week, but he invoked his no-trade clause and blocked the move.

"I was just very impressed the fact that we were involved in those conversations," Matheny said. "Unfortunately, that didn't work, but I think that just kind of parlayed into, OK, now what are we going to do?"

Ozuna likely will be in the outfielder with Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham. St. Louis could trade right fielder Stephen Piscotty.

Matheny wouldn't commit to an alignment.

"Something we're appreciative of is the humility of our players to maybe go to a spot where they haven't been before," he said. "You go in with your ideals of what you would like to see, and you're going to have to be flexible."

Center fielder Christian Yelich could be the next to exit the downsizing Marlins, bought by Bruce Sherman's group on Oct. 2.

Miami had a $116 million payroll on Aug. 31, up from $81 million at the end of last year, and is intent on reducing obligations. Stanton was owed $295 million over the next decade, and Gordon $38 million through 2020.