Best of MLB: Max Scherzer helps Nationals overpower Marlins in return from DL

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Best of MLB: Max Scherzer helps Nationals overpower Marlins in return from DL

WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer overpowered Giancarlo Stanton, Howie Kendrick hit a three-run triple and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 11-2 on Monday night.

Scherzer (13-5) allowed one run and five hits, including Christian Yelich's home run, and had 10 strikeouts in his return from the 10-day disabled list.

Stanton, named NL Player of the Week for the second time this month on Monday, went 0 for 3 against Scherzer with two strikeouts and a groundball double play one day after becoming the first NL player to hit 50 home runs in a season since Prince Fielder in 2007.

Jayson Werth had a two-run homer off Jose Urena (12-6) in his first game with the Nationals since suffering a left foot contusion on June 5.

Matt Wieters added a two-run single in the decisive sixth for an 11-1 lead as Washington halted Miami's four-game winning streak.

Stanton batted .448 (13 for 29) with five home runs and 11 RBI last week. His 17 homers in August are one shy of the major league record of 18 set by Rudy York in 1937. The slugger didn't hit the ball out of the infield against Scherzer (see full recap).

Kluber outduels Severino in Indians’ win
NEW YORK -- Corey Kluber outpitched Luis Severino in a marquee matchup of All-Stars, and slumping Jose Ramirez homered twice to power the Cleveland Indians past the New York Yankees 6-2 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.

Carlos Santana hit a tiebreaking homer off Severino in the seventh inning and Austin Jackson also went deep for the AL Central leaders, who increased their cushion to seven games over idle Minnesota.

Coming off three consecutive shutouts in a sweep of Kansas City, the defending AL champions ran their scoreless streak to 30 innings before Chase Headley homered against Kluber (13-4) leading off the third. The 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner went eight innings and allowed only three hits, rebounding from a loss to Boston last week that ended a five-game winning streak and marked his first defeat since July 4.

Kluber struck out seven and walked one as the Indians (74-56) won for the 14th time in 18 games (see full recap).

Jones HR helps surging Orioles beat Mariners
BALTIMORE -- Adam Jones hit a milestone home run, Welington Castillo had three hits and two RBIs and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Seattle Mariners 7-6 Monday night for their fifth straight victory.

Chris Davis doubled in the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning for the resurgent Orioles, who climbed over .500 (66-65) for the first time since June 11. Baltimore jumped past Seattle (66-66) to within 1 games of idle Minnesota for the final AL wild-card spot.

Jones' solo home run in the fifth inning gave him 25 for an Orioles-record seventh consecutive season. He shared the mark of six with Cal Ripken Jr.

Ben Gamel homered and had a career-high five RBIs in Seattle's third straight defeat.

With the score tied at 6, Trey Mancini led off the Baltimore seventh with a single off Emilio Pagan (1-3) and Davis followed with a liner into the right-field corner (see full recap).

Phillies set to unveil new ace Jake Arrieta in spring training

Phillies set to unveil new ace Jake Arrieta in spring training

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Thursday starts the one-week countdown to opening day.

Oh, yeah, and Jake Arrieta will also make his Grapefruit League debut.

It figures to be the highlight of the spring.

Arrieta signed a three-year, $75 million contract with the Phillies last week. He has completed a progression from bullpen work — he actually had gotten well into that on his own before signing — to facing hitters in a controlled situation.

Now, it’s time to face some competition — the Detroit Tigers. The game will be televised on NBCSP+ at 1 p.m.

The Phillies have yet to decide when Arrieta will make his regular-season debut. The pitcher believes he will be ready during the first week of the season. The team will exercise caution. Arrieta’s performance Thursday — and possibly more important, his recovery — will go a long way into determining when the Phils turn him loose.

“I’m looking for him to be healthy, first and foremost,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I would love to see him come out just like he has in his live batting practice sessions and in his bullpens, which is strong, ball looking like a lead fastball, featuring that great cutter and a lot of that great deception.

"We’re looking for him to be Jake Arrieta. Most importantly, most critically and most consequentially, I’m looking for him to be healthy and strong.”

Kapler said the Phils would be flexible on Arrieta’s pitch count. Fifty or so seems like a good guess.

Arrieta has been around for a week now. His teammates are thrilled to have him.

“Obviously, with the Arrieta signing, we got a lot better not only on the field but in the clubhouse,” Rhys Hoskins said (more on him here). “What he’s going to be able to do not only for the pitchers but for some of us young position guys — I mean he’s recently won a World Series, he’s a Cy Young guy, he knows how to compete at the highest level. We have a good group. It’s meshing pretty quickly. I’m excited to see how it goes once we start.”

Rhys Hoskins doing damage as opening day comes into sight

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Rhys Hoskins doing damage as opening day comes into sight


DUNEDIN, Fla. — The season opener is eight days away and Rhys Hoskins says his swing “is getting there.” 

Getting there? Really?

It looks like it already arrived with the morning mail.

Hoskins continued his recent run of excellent at-bats in Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He belted a two-run homer, a solo homer and also worked a walk. Over his last five games, he is 6 for 16 with five walks. For the spring, he is hitting .279 (12 for 43) with four doubles, four homers, eight RBIs, 11 runs scored and an OPS of 1.066.

“What does he have, 10 strikeouts and 10 walks on the spring?” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler asked.

Indeed, those are the numbers.

“That is fantastic,” Kapler said. “Obviously, he’s swinging the bat beautifully and really controlling the at-bats.”

It all starts with pitch recognition.

“I’ve been pretty happy with that throughout camp,” Hoskins said. “I don’t feel like I’ve chased too many, which is always good. I’ve seen a bunch of breaking balls and been able to recognize them early.”

The outstanding selectivity that Hoskins has allows him to work pitchers into fastball counts. He did that in the first inning when he got a 3-1 fastball from Marcus Stroman and drove it over the left-field wall. The ball left the bat at 108 miles per hour.

Obviously, Hoskins was pleased that the ball left the yard. He was more pleased with the swing. He believes pitchers will try to bust him in this season and he’s ready for it.

“I was really, really happy with the first at-bat,” he said. “I had been struggling with the ball in. I was able to keep my hands inside of it and the ball went.”

His second homer came on a 1-1 fastball from Luis Santos. The wind was blowing out at Dunedin Stadium. Hoskins saw a pitch up and took a rip.

“On a day like today, if you see the ball up you’re going to have a pretty good chance,” he said.

Hoskins batted second in the lineup, ahead of Maikel Franco and Carlos Santana. Kapler has juggled lineups all spring and has strongly implied that he will do that, based on matchups, during the regular season.

“I don’t care where I hit,” Hoskins said. “With the guys we have and the way they’re going to construct the lineup, if I hit second, fourth, sixth, I think I’m going to be able to hit with men on base.

“Throughout my career I’ve been a run producer, so that’s the main thing for me. If I can create some runs, whether it’s scoring runs or driving in runs, I’ll be happy.”

The Phils and Jays played to a 7-7 tie. The Phillies’ bullpen gave up five runs in the last two innings to let a 7-2 lead get away. The Phils used 10 pitchers, including two day-trippers from minor-league camp. Starter Nick Pivetta pitched two perfect innings. The team purposely scaled him back to keep him in line with a 25-inning spring target. Scott Kingery and Aaron Altherr also hit home runs.