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Best of MLB: Rangers blitz Astros in opener of series relocated for storm

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Best of MLB: Rangers blitz Astros in opener of series relocated for storm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Shin-Soo Choo homered and drove in four runs Tuesday night, helping the Texas Rangers rout the Astros 12-2 in the opener of a series relocated to Florida due to flooding in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Adrian Beltre of the Rangers drove in three runs to pass Hall of Famer Ernie Banks for 28th on the career RBI list with 1,637 while Joey Gallo hit a two-run homer off Mike Fiers (8-9) before an announced crowd of 3,485 at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The three-game series that concludes Thursday was moved from Minute Maid Park because of flooding in the Houston area, with the Astros serving as the home team after the Rangers declined a proposal to play the games in Arlington, Texas.

It's only the fourth time in major league history that games have been relocated to neutral sites because of weather (see full recap).

Sale fans 11 as Red Sox shut out Blue Jays
TORONTO -- Chris Sale and two relievers combined on a four-hitter, Hanley Ramirez hit a solo home run and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Sale (15-6) fanned 11 in his ML-best 17th double-digit strikeout game, raising his league-leading total to 264. His 15 wins lead the AL.

Sale, who matched a season-worst by allowing seven runs in his previous outing, pitched seven innings. The left-hander has not allowed a run in 22 innings against the Blue Jays this season.

After Toronto DH Kendrys Morales hit a one-out double in the second inning, Sale retired 17 consecutive batters before Morales singled to begin the eighth.

Kevin Pillar chased Sale with a single, and Addison Reed came on to strike out pinch-hitter Ezequiel Carrera and Miguel Montero. Ryan Goins singled to load the bases for Steve Pearce, but he grounded into a fielder's choice.

Craig Kimblrel finished for his 31st save in 35 chances.

Toronto has lost nine of 11 (see full recap).

Nationals top Marlins despite Stanton’s 51st HR
WASHINGTON -- Giancarlo Stanton tied a major league record with his 18th home run in August, but Anthony Rendon had four RBIs and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 8-3 on Tuesday night.

Stanton hit a long homer in the first inning off Edwin Jackson (5-3), his 51st this season, to open the scoring following a 26-minute rain delay. His August output matched the mark set by Rudy York with the Detroit Tigers in 1937. Sammy Sosa set the record for homers in a month when he hit 20 in June 1998, and Stanton has two games left this month to catch the former Cubs slugger.

Stanton added an RBI with a deep sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.

Rendon's three-run double in the seventh came after Washington's bullpen thwarted a rally earlier in the inning. Daniel Murphy also had a two-run single.

The Nationals, 16-7 since Aug. 6, had five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings against Vance Worley (2-4) (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees to force Game 7 in ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees to force Game 7 in ALCS

BOX SCORE

HOUSTON — Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dusty Baker fired by Nationals after 2 NL East titles

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Dusty Baker fired by Nationals after 2 NL East titles

WASHINGTON -- Dusty Baker's time as the manager of the Washington Nationals is over after two seasons, two NL East titles and zero playoff series victories.

The Nationals announced Friday that they would not be bringing Baker back. His two-year deal with the club is expiring.

The contracts for the members of Baker's coaching staff also are finished. The team said it will work with its new manager to fill those positions.

The moves come the week after Washington was eliminated from its NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs with a 9-8 loss at home in Game 5. The Nationals also were bounced from the postseason in the NLDS round in 2016 -- also with a Game 5 loss at home by one run, that time against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This outcome, essentially, is what Baker was worried about as far back as spring training in February, when he made clear his desire for a new contract, knowing his was up after 2017.

Before the series against the Cubs began, Baker was asked about his possible future in Washington.

"I've given some thought to some things, but we were told that we were waiting until after the season to make a determination," he said at the time. "There's a good chance I'll be back."

He expected negotiations to pick up after the season ended (see full story).

Turner, Taylor repay Dodgers' patience by sharing NLCS MVP
CHICAGO -- Justin Turner and Chris Taylor shared MVP honors in the NL Championship Series, repaying a Dodgers organization willing to roll the dice on players whose big league careers were stalled.

In Turner's case, it was then-bench coach Tim Wallach who rediscovered him playing in a Cal State-Fullerton alumni baseball game four years ago, after his career appeared all but over.

In Taylor's case, it was Los Angeles' willingness to gamble that an offseason of grueling workouts would enable the young utilityman to rebuild his swing in a matter of months.

The co-MVPs turned up in the interview room together after the Dodgers eliminated the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs 11-1 in Game 5. They were champagne-soaked with hats turned backward, a pair of goggles still perched on Turner's head. Fittingly, they doused each other with praise.

"He's a dynamic player and a table setter," said Turner, who hit .333 for the series, with two home runs and seven RBIs. "When he goes, we usually go as a team."

"I talk to him as much as I can. He's one of the reasons I decided to make the changes I did," said Taylor, who finished at .316 with two homers and three RBIs. Both men also walked five times, as many as the entire Cubs roster (see full story).

Rare Jackie Robinson rookie jersey up for auction
NEW YORK -- A rare jersey from Jackie Robinson's historic rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers 70 years ago could be available for someone with a few spare millions.

The jersey, part of a Heroes of Sports offering by Heritage Auctions, has been certified by Mears, one of the top memorabilia authentication companies. It is accompanied by a letter from Robinson's widow, Rachel, saying it is the one brought home by the Hall of Famer at the end of the 1947 season, when he became the first black player in the majors and earned Rookie of the Year honors.

"This is the only one known from the `47 season, the only one that survived," Chris Ivy, Heritage's director of sports auctions, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "It stayed in his closet for five decades plus until it was eventually sold to a private collector in the early 2000s."

The online auction opened Friday and closes at 11 p.m. on Nov. 19. The entire collection is from one owner and can be viewed on Heritage's website. Other items available for bidding include Babe Ruth's pants from the Hall of Fame induction in 1939, Keith Hernandez's 1978 Gold Glove award, a Wilt Chamberlain jersey from 1966, Bill Vukovich's Indianapolis 500 trophy from 1953 and Muhammad Ali's shoes from his fight against Ken Norton in 1973.

Ivy said the Robinson jersey has been valued at more than $3 million. He wouldn't be surprised to see it exceed that.

"It's tough to estimate a piece like this -- it's a one of a kind," he said. "As far as collectibles a rookie (jersey) is always sought after, something that's significant."