Phillies

Best of MLB: Matthew Boyd falls an out short of no-hitter in Tigers' win over White Sox

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Best of MLB: Matthew Boyd falls an out short of no-hitter in Tigers' win over White Sox

DETROIT -- Matthew Boyd's no-hit bid ended when Tim Anderson doubled with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Detroit left-hander closed out a 12-0 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday for the first nine-inning complete game of his professional career.

Boyd (6-10) allowed only two runners -- a walk to Rob Brantly in the third and Anderson's double to the gap in right-center field with two outs in the ninth. He threw a career-high 121 pitches and struck out five.

The 26-year-old had not thrown a complete game in 52 previous major league starts and had never thrown a nine-inning complete game in 121 previous professional starts.

Miami's Edinson Volquez has the only no-hitter in the majors this year, against Arizona on June 3 (see full recap).

Astros clinch AL West with win over Mariners
HOUSTON -- Justin Verlander struck out 10 batters over seven innings in his first home start for Houston while Derek Fisher and Marwin Gonzalez homered in a big fifth inning as the Astros clinched the American League West with a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday for their first division title since 2001.

George Springer and Carlos Correa also homered for the Astros, who won their first division title since 2001 and seventh overall. The Astros become the first team in Major League Baseball history to win titles in three divisions after previously winning the NL West and NL Central.

Verlander (13-8) retired his first seven batters before Ben Gamel homered into the right-center bullpen in the third. He allowed just two singles after that to improve to 3-0 since he was acquired from Detroit on Aug. 31.

Andrew Moore (1-4) allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings (see full recap).

Jason Heyward gets big hit as Cubs sweep Cardinals
CHICAGO -- Jason Heyward hit a tiebreaking RBI single with two out in the seventh, and the Chicago Cubs swept the St. Louis Cardinals with a 4-3 victory on Sunday.

Ben Zobrist drove in two runs and Kyle Schwarber hit his 27th homer as the NL Central-leading Cubs closed out a 6-3 homestand with their sixth consecutive victory. They stayed four games ahead of Milwaukee and increased their advantage over third-place St. Louis to six games.

Pedro Strop (5-4) worked a rocky seventh for the win and Wade Davis got three outs for his 31st save in 31 chances. Dexter Fowler flied out to the warning track in center with a runner on first to end the game.

The Cardinals trailed 3-0 before Fowler hit a tying three-run homer off Jose Quintana with two out in the sixth, silencing the crowd of 37,242 on a warm, sunny day at Wrigley Field. The inning began with a double for Matt Carpenter that eluded a lunging Schwarber in left (see full recap).

David Price returns in Red Sox's loss to Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Price returned from a nearly two-month layoff by pitching two hitless innings for the Boston Red Sox in a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner was activated Thursday and pitched for the first time since July 22 after being sidelined by left elbow inflammation. He struck out two in his first relief appearance since 2010.

Jake Odorizzi (9-8) gave up one hit in six innings and the Rays salvaged the finale of a three-game series. Jesus Sucre's solo home run off Eduardo Rodriguez regained the lead for Tampa Bay in the sixth inning after Jackie Bradley Jr. homered for the only hit off Odorizzi.

It was the sixth home run for Sucre and the 17th for Bradley.

Odorizzi took a no-hitter into the sixth, having given up only a first-inning walk to Dustin Pedroia. He had retired 14 straight when he walked Brock Holt to lead off the sixth. Bradley's two-run homer followed on a 3-2 pitch, tying the game 2-2.

Rodriguez (5-6) took the loss for the Red Sox, who opened the day three games in front of the Yankees in the AL East (see full recap).

Rosario's 2 homers, Mauer's slam propel Twins past Blue Jays
MINNEAPOLIS -- Eddie Rosario homered twice, Joe Mauer hit a grand slam and the Minnesota Twins overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 13-7 Sunday and maintain control for the second AL wild card.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning after Josh Donaldson's second homer. Rosario and Byron Buxton hit consecutive homers to start the Twins' rally as Minnesota burst ahead with a seven-run bottom half that included Jorge Polanco's tiebreaking RBI grounder. Minnesota pulled away with six runs in the fifth against reliever Chris Rowley.

Minnesota began the day one game ahead of the Los Angeles Angels for the second wild card and closed within four games of the Yankees heading into a three-game series at New York that starts Monday (see full recap).

Can Phillies stay in the race? A look at their daunting upcoming schedule

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Can Phillies stay in the race? A look at their daunting upcoming schedule

When it's Aug. 13 and you're heavily involved in both the division and wild-card races, every game left is huge. There is no one game — aside from the head-to-head Braves matchups — among the Phillies' remaining 45 that carries more importance than another. 

But looking at the upcoming schedule, if the Phils don't survive these next 19, those late-September games against the Braves might not end up meaning a ton.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Phillies host the Red Sox, who are a ludicrous 50 games over .500 at 85-35. Wednesday, the Phils will face former AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello.

Following the Red Sox is a five-game home series against the Mets, which includes a doubleheader Thursday. The Mets are terrible, but Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are not. On Friday, the Phils face Syndergaard. On Saturday, they face deGrom, who's had the lowest ERA in baseball most of the season.

It gets no easier from there, with a road series against the Nationals. In the final game of the Nats series, the Phils will face Max Scherzer. Five days later, they'll face Scherzer again.

Washington's offense is rounding into form and the Nats could be a very dangerous team down the stretch after months of underperformance. 

Bryce Harper has hit .343/.464/.657 with six doubles and five homers over his last 20 games.

Daniel Murphy is finally all the way back from offseason microfracture surgery. In his last 15 games, he's hit .411 with a 1.111 OPS.

Ryan Zimmerman is also finally healthy. He's hit .386/.462/.795 with 10 extra-base hits and 18 RBI over his last 13 games.

The tough stretch ends Aug. 31-Sept. 2 with a three-game series against the Cubs, who have the best record in the NL.

After that is a respite on the road against the Marlins and Mets.

The Braves' upcoming schedule is a bit softer, but they do have 30 games in the next 30 days because of so many early postponements. These are the dog days and it's worth keeping an eye on how young pitchers like Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb hold up late in a pressure-packed season.

Newcomb has a 5.06 ERA in his last eight starts. Foltynewicz has a 5.40 ERA with eight home runs allowed over his last six.

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Surprising how many NL teams let Justin Bour slip to Phillies

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Surprising how many NL teams let Justin Bour slip to Phillies

The Justin Bour-Matt Stairs comparison has been a popular one in the days since the Phillies surprisingly acquired Bour from the Marlins. Big, burly, power-hitting, left-handed first basemen.

But in several other ways, this move was different. 

• Bour is 10 years younger than Stairs was when the Phils traded for him in 2008. 

• Bour was acquired the second week of August; Stairs was acquired at the end of August. Stairs had just 19 regular-season plate appearances with the Phils in 2008. Bour should be able to double that pretty easily.

• Stairs was under contract for the following season. Bour is under contract the next two seasons after this one.

That last point was why it was so surprising that various NL teams let Bour slide through the waiver order and make it to the Phillies. 

A refresher: Once August hits, in order to trade a player, a team must first place him on waivers. The waiver queue is based on the inverse order of the standings in that player's league. So when Bour is placed on waivers, the worst team in the NL gets first dibs. If he passed through every NL team unclaimed, the worst AL team would get next crack at him and so on. (More on August trade rules here.)

It would have been one thing if Bour was a rental. In that case, he would have made sense only for contenders.

But Bour isn't a rental. He was awarded a $3.4 million salary this season, his first of arbitration eligibility. He's under team control each of the next two seasons and figures to make an estimated $14 million in 2019 and 2020 combined.

That's not a ton of money for a starting-caliber first baseman who has an .821 OPS since 2015 with 31 homers per 162 games.

Where were the Mets? Where were the Rockies? The Pirates?

The Mets have no offense. At first base, they've been playing Wilmer Flores, who is not the long-term answer. Prospect Dom Smith has hit .193 in 257 big-league plate appearances and has also had a poor season at Triple A. 

If you're the Mets, a team that acts as a small-market club with little money to spend, why not take a flier on Bour for a modest price over the next two seasons? Is anyone awake in Flushing?

The Rockies, a contender, haven't gotten great production from first base. It's been a combination of Ian Desmond and left-handed hitting Ryan McMahon. Against righties, Bour is an upgrade over both.

When Bour was placed on waivers at the beginning of the month, Pirates 1B Josh Bell was on the DL. Bell, a switch-hitter the Pirates are high on, has been a league-average first baseman since getting to the majors. He's been good against right-handed pitching but Bour has just been better, with a career OPS 73 points higher. 

The money

It will be interesting to see whether the Phillies keep Bour around past this season. If he produces as a pinch-hitter and fits in, he'd be a valuable bench bat to have. He'd be valuable insurance for Carlos Santana.

One of the things to really like about Bour is his production against pitching within the division. He's 8 for 21 (.381) with two homers, a double and three walks against Jacob deGrom. Yes, that Jacob deGrom. Bour has been one of the very best hitters in the league against deGrom during the righty's stellar career.

Bour has gone a respectable 5 for 17 (.294) vs. Noah Syndergaard. 

He's reached base in 17 of 28 plate appearances vs. Julio Teheran. 

He's 8 for 15 with two homers and a double against Mike Foltynewicz.

He has a homer and a .385 OBP in 26 plate appearances vs. Stephen Strasburg.

This all matters moving forward in a division with so many high-quality starting pitchers.

The Phillies are a deep-pocketed team that could afford to pay Bour $5.5 million or so next season as a non-regular. Not every team is in that position but the Phils are. Aside from their arbitration-eligible players, the Phils have just six players under contract for 2019: Jake Arrieta, Santana, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, Odubel Herrera and Scott Kingery.

Their decision whether to keep Bour around, trade him or non-tender him will obviously be affected by their pursuit of top free agents like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. It will also be affected by how the Phils approach the pending free agency of Wilson Ramos and Asdrubal Cabrera, two players who make even more sense to retain because of the positions they play.

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