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).

Former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel denied of Baseball Hall of Fame election

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Former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel denied of Baseball Hall of Fame election

LAS VEGAS — Longtime closer Lee Smith and smooth-swinging Harold Baines were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

"Very shocked," Baines said on a conference call.

Former outfielder and manager Lou Piniella fell one vote short.

Results of the 16-member Today's Game Era Committee were announced at the winter meetings. It took 12 votes for election — Smith was unanimous, Baines got 12 and Piniella had 11.

Smith and Baines both debuted in Chicago during the 1980 season. Smith began with the Cubs and went on to post a then-record 478 saves while Baines started out with the White Sox and had 2,866 hits.

George Steinbrenner, Orel Hershiser, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Davey Johnson and Charlie Manuel all received fewer than five votes.

Baines was a .289 hitter with 384 home runs in a 22-year career. He never drew more than 6.1 percent in five elections by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, far from the 75 percent required.

"I wasn't expecting this day to come," the six-time All-Star said.

The Hall board-appointed panel included longtime White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and Baines said he was grateful for his support. Hall members Greg Maddux, Roberto Alomar, Joe Morgan, Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick, Tony La Russa, John Schuerholz, Ozzie Smith and Joe Torre also were on the panel.

Smith's fastball helped him become a seven-time All-Star in an 18-year-old career. He owned the major league record for saves when he retired during the 1997 season while with Montreal, and Trevor Hoffman and then Mariano Rivera reset the mark.

Smith, who never reached 51 percent in 15 BBWAA elections, became the seventh pitcher who mostly was a reliever to make the Hall. Baines was a designated hitter for much of his career, and DHs have struggled to gain backing from Hall voters.

Both closers and DHs could see the numbers increase again very shortly.

Rivera is eligible for the first time and big-hitting DH Edgar Martinez will be back on the ballot when results of the next BBWAA election are announced Jan. 22.

Induction ceremonies are scheduled for July 21 at Cooperstown, New York.

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Phillies officials arrive at MLB winter meetings expecting an 'exhausting week'

Phillies officials arrive at MLB winter meetings expecting an 'exhausting week'

LAS VEGAS — Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and his top lieutenants arrived at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino for baseball’s winter meetings Sunday afternoon.

Klentak acquired shortstop Jean Segura in a trade with Seattle last week. The move, which sent Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford to the Mariners, improved the Phillies’ offense (greatly) and defense at the position and cleared a path for Rhys Hoskins to move back to first base.

Klentak is looking to turn an 80-win team into a playoff club and there is much work left to do this offseason. He will spend the next few days in Las Vegas looking for more improvements to the offense as well as the pitching staff.

“We need to get into that 90-plus win area and there are a lot of ways we can do that,” Klentak said before leaving Philadelphia.

“We’re open-minded to a lot of different things. We’re going to look in a lot of different directions. It could be in the form of a big-ticket free agent. It could be in the form of trades or other areas. The name of the game is trying to get better and that’s what we’re trying to do. I’m expecting an exhausting week.”

The Phillies’ search for more offense still seems to hinge on Manny Machado. The Phils have long liked him and have an interest in signing him to play third base, where he grades out as an elite defender. Phillies officials have been in contact with Machado’s representative, Dan Lozano, and they will surely speak again at the meetings. The question remains: Will Machado back off his desire to play shortstop — some believe he would for the right money — and his desire to play for the New York Yankees, who do have interest in him? Time will tell.

Free agent Bryce Harper will cast a large shadow over the meetings. The slugging outfielder hails from Las Vegas and there will surely be speculation that he could sign in his hometown. That seems unlikely, however, because Harper is seeking the richest contract ever — more than Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million — and a deal like that will take some time. Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, is always patient and willing to go deep into the winter to get his price.

The Phillies remain interested in Harper — who wouldn’t be? — and will surely meet with Boras this week. But at the moment, Harper appears to rank below Machado on the Phillies’ wish list. Of course, things can change in a hurry at this time of the year.

Michael Brantley is another free agent in the Phillies’ focus. The 31-year-old leftfielder, a three-time All-Star, hit .309 with an .832 OPS for Cleveland last season. It would not be surprising at all to see the Phillies end up with Brantley.

“I like the guys we have in the outfield,” Klentak said of Odubel Herrera, Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr. “We can mix and match with what we have. Having said that, we’re always looking for the areas on the roster where we can upgrade and make an improvement and I do think the outfield lends itself to that.”

As for pitching, the Phils would still like to add a lefty starter to balance out a righty-dominant rotation. The team is interested in free agent J.A. Happ and Arizona trade candidate Robbie Ray. The Phils would also like to add a lefty like Zach Britton or Andrew Miller to the bullpen. Both are free agents.

Klentak and his aides headed right off to the Phillies’ hotel suite (war room) upon arriving at the winter meetings Sunday afternoon. No wasting time. There’s a lot of work to do looking for those 10 more wins that could make the Phils a contender.

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