Phillies

Best of MLB: Tigers beat Rays but lose Cabrera, Zimmermann

Best of MLB: Tigers beat Rays but lose Cabrera, Zimmermann

DETROIT -- Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez homered, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-4 on Sunday despite losing starter Jordan Zimmermann to a strained groin in the sixth inning.

Detroit has won six of seven, but Zimmermann's injury is a concern. He has been the team's best pitcher after signing with the Tigers in the offseason. Zimmermann (7-2) allowed two runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings -- this was the first start all year in which he didn't make it through six.

Cabrera also left early. with a left knee bruise after being hit by a pitch in the seventh.

Logan Morrison and Tim Beckham homered for Tampa Bay, but that wasn't enough to overcome a poor outing by Chris Archer (3-5) (see full recap).

Hamels strikes out 11 in win over Astros
HOUSTON -- Cole Hamels fanned a season-high 11 in eight sparkling innings and the Texas Rangers jumped on Dallas Keuchel early, cruising to an easy 9-2 win over the Houston Astros to complete a three-game sweep Sunday.

The Rangers have taken six in row from Houston and 14 of 16. The Astros have lost four straight overall.

Hamels (5-0) has won a career-best 12 straight decisions dating to last year. He allowed five hits and two runs -- one earned -- in his longest start this season to lower his ERA to 2.83.

Nomar Mazara hit an RBI single during a five-run third against Keuchel (2-6) and added a two-run homer to pad the lead in the seventh.

Keuchel (2-6) continues to struggle in the follow-up to his 20-win season. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner allowed nine hits and seven runs in six innings, extending his skid to five games (see full recap).

Syndergaard fans 11, Mets sweep Brewers
NEW YORK -- Noah Syndergaard struck out 11 in seven overpowering innings and Michael Conforto homered to help the New York Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 Sunday for a three-game sweep.

Asdrubal Cabrera broke a fourth-inning tie with a two-run single that sent the Mets to their 12th victory in the last 16 home games. Next up, they visit NL East rival Washington for a rematch after the Nationals took two of three at Citi Field last week.

Conforto connected early off Chase Anderson (2-6), who took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning of his previous start against the Chicago Cubs and came within one out of a shutout. This time, he lasted five innings and was hurt by Ryan Braun's misplay in left field.

Back in the lineup after missing four games with a stiff back, Braun singled once in four at-bats. He got a bad break on Yoenis Cespedes' shallow looper in the fourth and let it bounce past him for a double that put runners at second and third (see full recap).

Scherzer, Nationals crush Marlins, 8-2
MIAMI -- Max Scherzer eased up on the strikeouts but allowed only two runs in eight innings Sunday to help the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 8-2.

Scherzer (5-3) struck out eight, gave up six hits, walked none and threw 103 pitches. He has 38 strikeouts in his past three starts, including a record-tying 20 against Detroit.

Justin Bour ended Scherzer's shutout bid with a two-run homer in the seventh, his ninth home run this season and his second in as many games. Scherzer has allowed 14 homers this year, including nine in his past four starts.

Washington won the three-game series and took a 7-6 edge in the season series. The NL East foes don't meet again until Sept. 19.

Nationals leadoff batter Ben Revere had three hits, two runs, two RBIs and his first two stolen bases of the year, and hiked his average to .185 (see full recap).

Dodgers top Padres in 17-inning marathon
SAN DIEGO -- Yasiel Puig hit a tiebreaking, two-run single with the bases loaded and one out in the 17th inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 9-5 on Sunday to snap a four-game losing streak.

The game started in afternoon sunshine and ended at dusk, taking 5 hours, 47 minutes.

The Dodgers started the four-run rally off rookie Luis Perdomo when Howie Kendrick hit a leadoff double that bounced over the wall in right-center field. Adrian Gonzalez was intentionally walked and reliever Ross Stripling advanced them with a groundout. Joc Pederson was intentionally walked to load the bases, and then Puig singled up the middle. Pederson scored on a wild pitch and Carl Crawford hit an RBI grounder.

Stripling (2-3) pitched three innings for the win. Perdomo (1-1) was the hard-luck loser after pitching five innings (see full recap).

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Morphine found in Roy Halladay's system before fatal plane crash

Morphine found in Roy Halladay's system before fatal plane crash

Roy Halladay had morphine in his system when the plane he was piloting crashed and he tragically died in November, according to Halladay's autopsy report, released Friday.

Zolpidem, the generic name for Ambien, and amphetamines were also found in Halladay's system.

As TMZ points out via the Food and Drug Administration, the amount of Zolpidem found in Halladay's system (72 ng/ml) is more than enough to impair a driver and increase the risk of an accident.

Halladay had a blood alcohol content of 0.01, according to the autopsy report. 

The official cause of Halladay's death was blunt force trauma, with drowning a contributing factor.

The crash took place on Nov. 7 in the Gulf of Mexico, with more details emerging in a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board two weeks later.

Nick Williams talks up Phillies to a free-agent Cy Young winner

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AP Images/USA Today Images

Nick Williams talks up Phillies to a free-agent Cy Young winner

It's not clear whether the Phillies will add a starting pitcher before opening day, but surely they would like to.

General manager Matt Klentak “is busting his ass every single day looking for every possible opportunity to upgrade our team from every perspective,” manager Gabe Kapler said on Tuesday. “That includes looking at every option possible for the rotation.”

Klentak has kept a close eye on the trade market, but has found the prices (i.e., the young talent that must be surrendered) for top, controllable starters to be prohibitive.

He has kept a close eye on the free-agent market, but the length of contracts that top pitchers are looking for has given him pause.

For months, the Phillies have distanced themselves from speculation that has connected them to elite level free-agent pitchers Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta.

But with spring training less than a month away and both pitchers still unsigned, the Phillies would at least have to consider both pitchers if their asking prices experience a January thaw.

Six or seven years? No way.

Three years? Hmmm. Let's talk.

The Phillies are hosting a number of their young players this week. Rhys Hoskins, Jerad Eickhoff, Mark Leiter and Nick Williams were all in town on Tuesday.

Williams has set his sights on making the National League All-Star team in 2018.

“That's what I'm shooting for,” he said at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday. “I think I had a pretty good year last year. I'm shooting for more now. I don't think being an All-Star is shooting too high.”

Williams, 24, hit .288 with 12 homers, 55 RBIs and an .811 OPS in 83 games, mostly in right field, with the big club as a rookie last season.

To give himself the best chance of surpassing those numbers — and achieving his goal of making the All-Star team — Williams has spent the offseason in Austin, Texas, working with personal trainer Jeremy Hills, a former University of Texas football player.

Williams is working hard on agility, which will help him in the outfield and on the base paths.

And guess who one of his daily workout partners is?

Free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta.

Back in Austin, between reps and protein shakes, Williams has occasionally talked up Philadelphia as a potential landing spot to Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner who will turn 32 in March.

“He loves it here,” Williams said of Arrieta, who, as a free agent and a Scott Boras client, is astute enough not to rule out any team, particularly one as deep-pocketed as the Phillies. “He has told me he likes working with young guys. I'm like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I'm not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I'm not really in his position.”

Williams smiled.

“I hope to be one day,” he said.

Williams marveled at Arrieta's work ethic in the gym.

And he expressed gratitude for the kindness and generosity Arrieta has showed him.

“He's bought a lot of my protein shakes,” Williams said.

Time will tell if the Phillies add a starting pitcher to the group that already consists of Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and other youngsters. The hunch is they will, though it's unclear what the magnitude of that talent will be. Klentak's search for an arm likely won't stop with the addition of one pitcher and it will likely continue through July. And beyond. The quest to build a championship-caliber staff never stops.

“The pursuit is very real,” Kapler said of Klentak's search for pitching. “I have a lot of trust that we'll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we're better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”