Best of MLB: Twins rally late, beat Royals in 10 innings

Best of MLB: Twins rally late, beat Royals in 10 innings

MINNEAPOLIS -- Pinch hitter Kennys Vargas launched a tying, two-run homer in the ninth inning and Jorge Polanco hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th, lifting the Minnesota Twins over the Kansas City Royals 4-3 on Friday night.

Polanco lofted a soft liner to left field and Joe Mauer beat Alex Gordon's throw to the plate. Al Albuquerque (0-1) walked the first two batters of the inning and reliever Travis Wood walked Max Kepler, loading the bases with no outs for Polanco.

Brandon Kintzler (2-0) allowed two hits in the top of the 10th, but snagged a comebacker to start an inning-ending double play.

Vargas batted for Byron Buxton Vargas following Jason Castro's one-out single in the ninth. Vargas sent Kelvin Herrera's 1-0 offering into the second deck in right-center field.

Vargas was recalled from Triple-A on April 23 and is tied for second on the team with five home runs despite playing just 17 games. Herrera had his second blown save of the season in 10 chances (see full recap).

deGrom, Mets shut down Angels
NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom dominated until dealing with discomfort in his throwing hand in the seventh, then escaped a no-out, bases-loaded jam that inning to help the New York Mets beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-0 on Friday night and snap a seven-game losing streak.

The Mets avoided their first eight-game skid since losing 11 straight in 2004.

After multiple visits by Mets coaches and a trainer, DeGrom survived the seventh with a strikeout, a juggling catch by shortstop Jose Reyes and Cameron Maybin's flyout.

Jerry Blevins got two outs in his major league-leading 25th appearance, Paul Sewald recorded an out in the eighth and Addison Reed pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

Terry Collins managed his 1,012th game with the Mets, tying Davey Johnson for the most with the franchise. Collins is 498-514 in seven seasons with New York.

Ricky Nolasco (2-3) allowed two runs, one earned, over six innings. Los Angeles had won four straight (see full recap).

Amarista, Rockies thump skidding Reds
CINCINNATI -- Alexi Amarista hit a three-run homer and a run-scoring single during Colorado's eight-run rally on Friday night, and the Rockies extended the best start in their history with a 12-6 victory over the slumping Cincinnati Reds.

The Rockies lead the NL in wins at 27-16, their best mark through 43 games.

Amarista's three-run shot off Lisalverto Bonilla (0-2) sparked the big sixth-inning rally. Nolan Arenado had a two-run homer off Wandy Peralta. Amarista kept it going with an RBI single during his second at-bat in the inning, matching his career high with four RBIs. Colorado sent 14 batters to the plate and piled up nine hits overall.

Cincinnati hadn't allowed that many runs in an inning since 2015, when it gave up 10 at Colorado.

The Reds have lost seven straight, their longest skid since they dropped 11 in a row last May (see full recap).

Alex Cobb? Matt Klentak discusses replacing Jerad Eickhoff

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Alex Cobb? Matt Klentak discusses replacing Jerad Eickhoff

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies signed free-agent right-hander Jake Arrieta earlier this week.

That's probably going to be the extent of their pitching additions for now.

Jerad Eickhoff is out until at least May with a strained right lat muscle and that creates a sizable hole in the Phillies rotation.

The hole is likely to be filled internally, according to general manager Matt Klentak. The team is not likely to make a run at Alex Cobb, who remains on the free-agent market.

"I doubt it," Klentak said when asked if he would look outside the organization to fill Eickhoff's spot. "I don't think we have to. I think a lot of our guys have shown very well in camp. They have gotten their pitch counts up, they're getting to the point of being fully stretched out.

"More than anything, I think we're going to have some tough decisions on figuring out who is in the rotation, who is in the bullpen, who goes into the Triple-A rotation, who goes into the Double-A rotation. We've got a lot of tough decisions to make on that front, but I don't think we're in a position where we have to go outside. We have a lot of candidates to take the ball at the big league level so we'll be fine."

Aaron Nola will start on opening day. Arrieta will be in the rotation, though he might need an extra week or so to get ready. Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta are likely to hold down spots. That leaves Zach Eflin, Ben Lively, Mark Leiter Jr., Jake Thompson, Drew Hutchison and Tom Eshelman in the running for the final spot in the five-man rotation. Eshelman, strike-thrower extraordinaire, was the Phillies' minor-league pitcher of the year last year and projects to be in Philadelphia before long. However, it might not be at the outset of the season because he is not on the 40-man roster. Neither is Hutchison.

The Phillies do not need a fifth starter until April 11 so they could employ some creative roster construction until then. They could go with four starters and an extra reliever or bench man. Or they could bring an extra starter and "piggyback" him with Arrieta, a move that would allow Arrieta to make an abbreviated start during the first week of the season.

"There's a decent chance we open the season with somewhat of a non-traditional 25-man roster, not because we're trying to be cute but because we don't need the fifth starter until the 11th," Klentak said. "We're going to do whatever puts us in the best position to win those first 10 days of the season."

The Phillies made one transaction on Friday. They added utility man Pedro Florimon to the 40-man roster. He had a provision in his minor-league contract that allowed him to become a free agent if he wasn't on the 40-man roster by March 15. Florimon is a candidate for a spot on the Phillies' bench. The move doesn't guarantee that Florimon will win a spot, but it gives the team more time to evaluate him. To make room for Florimon, the Phillies designated infielder Eliezer Alvarez for assignment.

Florimon homered in the Phillies' 6-4 loss to Toronto in Clearwater Friday. Cam Rupp and Cesar Hernandez also homered. Velasquez gave up five hits and a run in 2⅔ innings. He struck out five.

In Lakeland, Pivetta allowed two runs over five innings as the Phils and Tigers played to a 6-6 tie. J.P. Crawford and Ryan Flaherty both homered.

Phillies lose Jerad Eickhoff for 6-8 weeks

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Phillies lose Jerad Eickhoff for 6-8 weeks

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies' pitching staff has suffered a setback.

Jerad Eickhoff, projected as a member of the season-opening starting rotation, has been shut down with a strained right lat muscle, the area behind his shoulder. He will open the season on the disabled list and be sidelined into May, based on the team's six- to eight-week timetable for treatment and recovery.

Eickhoff, 27, spent time on the disabled list with a similar injury last season. That injury was technically called an upper back strain.

Manager Gabe Kapler said Eickhoff injured himself on one of the final pitches he threw during his last start.

Eickhoff led the Phillies' staff in ERA (3.65) while making 33 starts in 2016. He was limited to 24 starts and had a 4.71 ERA last year while making two trips to the DL. His second trip to the DL, which ended his season, was for a nerve irritation in his right hand. Eickhoff is in Philadelphia being checked by doctors.

"We want to ensure, and we're pretty confident, that it's not related in any way to the (nerve) stuff he was dealing with last year," manager Gabe Kapler said.

Kapler added, "It's a mild lat strain. There might be a blessing in disguise here. We're always thinking about keeping guys healthy and strong and limiting their total innings count. Those are things that are always on our mind so it's possible the innings are limited on the front end and then in September, October, he's strong and healthy and prepared to go through a full season."

With Eickhoff down, the Phillies suddenly have some openings in their rotation. Jake Arrieta, who signed with the Phillies on Monday, believes he can be ready for the first week of the season, but nothing is official. Aaron Nola will be the opening day starter and Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez are good bets to be in the rotation. The final spot could go to Zach Eflin, Ben Lively, Mark Leiter Jr. or Tom Eshelman.

It is not known whether the Phillies would pursue free agent Alex Cobb. On Monday, general manager Matt Klentak said his offseason moves were likely complete.