Javier Baez

MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

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MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (see full recap).

Tanaka, Yankees blank Astros to take ALCS lead
NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans (see full recap).

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).

MLB Notes: Yankees place catcher Gary Sanchez on 10-day DL

MLB Notes: Yankees place catcher Gary Sanchez on 10-day DL

BALTIMORE -- The New York Yankees have put catcher Gary Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right biceps.

Sanchez was hurt while at the plate in the fifth inning of Saturday's game against the Orioles. After taking a swing, he injured his arm on the follow-through.

He was immediately removed from the game and replaced by Austin Romine. Sanchez hit 20 home runs in 201 at-bats as a rookie last year.

The Yankees intend to recall catcher Kyle Higashioka from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Sanchez has played in all five games for New York and is tied for the team lead with 20 at-bats.

Asked if he was concerned about the severity of the injury, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, '"'Of course. You're talking about the throwing arm."

Girardi added, "We'll evaluate it in a couple days when he gets back to New York."

Cubs: Javier Baez returns day after outfield collision
MILWAUKEE -- Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez is back in the lineup a day after he was injured in an outfield collision.

Baez was set to play against Milwaukee at Miller Park.

Baez was bruised around his left eye when he collided with center fielder Jason Heyward on Friday night and left the game. Baez arrived at the ballpark Saturday and assured manager Joe Maddon that he could see properly.

"I'm 100 percent normal," Baez said. "I went to hit and I was feeling good. Since I came out of the game, I was icing it, so the swelling was going down. It was kind of purple today, but I'm good."

Maddon said Baez will have a regularly scheduled off day Sunday.

Heyward was not in the lineup Saturday night. Maddon said the collision had nothing to do with Heyward's absence (see full story).

Red Sox: David Price progressing in recovery from elbow strain
DETROIT -- David Price threw out to 120 feet Saturday in what Boston manager John Farrell described as "another consistent work day" for the left-hander who is recovering from an elbow strain.

Farrell said Price threw with increments at 60, 90 and 120 feet and "was able to spin the ball on flat ground" before the Red Sox took on the Detroit Tigers.

Boston again fielded a short-handed lineup. Several players have been ill recently.

Farrell said: "There's three different things that are going around. One's a respiratory one, one's flu-like symptoms, and one is the full-blown flu."

Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez did not start, and reliever Joe Kelly was unavailable.

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (forearm strain) threw Saturday and is on track to start Tuesday against Baltimore (see full story).

Speed bump: Radar readings up with MLB change to Statcast
NEW YORK -- The scoreboard at Citi Field showed Jacob deGrom hitting 98 mph, and the ballpark buzzed with the Mets star back in top form.

In Seattle, fans surely thought the same when Felix Hernandez's fastball ticked up on opening day. And how about that extra juice from Detroit ace Justin Verlander?

All across the majors, pitchers are ramping up the velocity this season -- or at least it seems that way.

Not so fast. They're actually getting a little help: Major League Baseball has changed the way it's recording and reporting pitch speeds, driving up readings all over the league.

After previously using PITCHf/x to provide velocities to broadcasts and ballparks, Major League Baseball Advanced Media is instead supplying numbers from its Statcast system. They key difference is that PITCHf/x calculates velocity at a set point -- usually 50 or 55 feet from the back of home plate -- while Statcast is able to measure velocity directly out of the pitcher's hand.

Because of that difference, Statcast readings are faster than PITCHf/x by about 0.6 mph on average, according to MLBAM senior data architect Tom Tango.

"We do have the technology to capture the speed right out of the hand now," Tango told The Associated Press. "So that's what we report."

Trouble is, for now, fans and analysts aren't necessarily comparing apples to apples on pitch speeds from last year (see full story).