Phillies

Best of MLB: Indians' win streak ends at 22 with loss to Royals

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USA Today Images

Best of MLB: Indians' win streak ends at 22 with loss to Royals

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians can return to clinching their division and playoff preparations.

Their historic winning streak is, well, history.

Cleveland had its AL record run stopped at 22 straight games on Friday night as the Indians were beaten 4-3 by the Kansas City Royals, who became the first team to conquer the defending league champions since Aug. 23.

Jason Vargas (16-10) pitched into the sixth and Brandon Moss homered off Trevor Bauer (16-9) as the Royals ended baseball's longest win streak in 101 years. The Indians set a new league mark and came within four of matching the overall record held by the 1916 New York Giants.

Following a magical, walk-off win in extra innings on Thursday night, the Indians couldn't muster another late rally and fell for the first time in more than three weeks.

When Francisco Lindor struck out with a runner on first to end it, the packed crowd gave the Indians a prolonged standing ovation. Manager Terry Francona and the Cleveland players came out of the dugout to salute their fans (see full recap).

Dodgers' rebound continues with 7-0 blanking of Nationals
WASHINGTON -- Alex Wood threw six shutout innings, Corey Seager hit a three-run homer during a five-run second and the Los Angeles Dodgers' rebound continued with a 7-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday.

Wood (15-3) allowed three hits with eight strikeouts and one walk for Los Angeles, which has won three in a row after losing 11 consecutive games and 16 of 17.

The teams entered the highly anticipated three-game series having clinched playoff berths and owning the top two records in the National League. The Dodgers lowered their magic number to clinch the NL West to six.

Justin Turner and Yasiel Puig homered in the Dodgers' first Washington appearance since winning Game 5 of the NL Division Series last October.

The NL East champion Nationals fell six games back of Los Angeles in the chase for home-field advantage in the playoffs (see full recap).

Cozart homers twice as Reds beat Pirates
CINCINNATI -- Zack Cozart hit two of Cincinnati's four solo home runs and the Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 on Friday night.

Joey Votto and Scott Schebler both homered, sending the Pirates to their third straight loss and eighth in the last nine games.

Chad Kuhl gave up all four home runs, a single-game career high for the second-year right-hander. He previously hadn't allowed more than two in any game and yielded only four over a combined 12 starts in July and August.

The Reds reached Kuhl (7-11) for eight hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

Homer Bailey allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings for his first win in six starts since Aug. 11. Bailey (5-8) gave up five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. He also hit a batter (see full recap).

Krukcast: Why Philadelphia sports fans are great

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AP Images

Krukcast: Why Philadelphia sports fans are great

On this edition of Krukcast, John Kruk and Gregg Murphy discuss Philadelphia sports fans. Despite the national narrative, why the fans of this city are great. Also, the expectations of the fans are not unreasonable at all.

Plus, Kruk shares his favorite fan stories from his playing days. One involves having beers with opposing fans after a game.

1:00 -  The national myth that Philadelphia fans are the worst.
5:00 -  Are fans here that different from other fans?
10:00 - Most creative fans around baseball.
14:00 - Murph's worst fan story (shocker).
18:00 -  If the fans here are so bad, why do players choose to play in Philly?

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Keep an eye on the record – will they finish over .500? – and Scott Kingery in final week of Phillies season

Keep an eye on the record – will they finish over .500? – and Scott Kingery in final week of Phillies season

ATLANTA — The final week of the Phillies season is upon us.

The team has been eliminated from all postseason possibility after a collapse that has seen it post a record of 15-29 since it was in first place in the NL East on Aug. 5.

Here are a few things worth keeping an eye on over the final week:

• Will the team finish with a winning record?

On Aug. 5, the Phils were 15 games over .500 and the thought of a sixth straight losing season seemed incomprehensible. Now they are just a game over .500 and need to win four of their final seven — no easy task with four against contending Colorado on deck — to finish with a winning record.

“It’s very important,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Everybody understands that there's a lot of value in having a winning season.”

The Phils have not had a winning season since 2011, the last time they made the playoffs. They finished .500 in 2012.

• Will Aaron Nola get one more start (see story)

• How much more will Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro and J.P. Crawford play?

Williams is nursing a sore and swollen right middle finger and it hurts when he swings. Alfaro came out of Sunday’s game with a sore right quad muscle. Crawford still has a sore right shoulder. He fell on it making a play in the field Wednesday night and was not ready to play Sunday.

• Will Scott Kingery get some time at second base?

It’s his natural position and he could be the guy there next season if Cesar Hernandez is dealt.

“I don't think there's a need, but I think it would be cool to see him out at second base before the season's over,” Kapler said. “We're not going to force anything. If it makes sense for our club and it gives us a chance to win and is the right thing for Scott Kingery, we'll do it.”

Kingery has played just 23 innings at second this season and not started there since April 16.

“At this point, I think it might feel a little bit weird to go over there,” Kingery said. “But I think to get back to the natural position, maybe just find some rhythm over there and get at least a couple games over there. So if something ends up happening and I play there a little more next season, I’ll be ready for it.”

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