Phillies

Best of MLB: Springer, Astros top Mets in return to Houston

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Best of MLB: Springer, Astros top Mets in return to Houston

HOUSTON -- George Springer hit his career-best 30th home run and J.D Davis also went deep to lead Houston over the New York Mets and Matt Harvey 12-8 Saturday in the Astros' first game at Minute Maid Park since Hurricane Harvey devastated the area.

A crowd of 30,319 attended the doubleheader opener. The Astros had moved a home series against rival Texas to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The AL West leaders, who lost two of three to the Rangers, then postponed Friday's game by a day, allowing players time to work in the community.

Harvey (4-4) was pounded for seven runs and eight hits in a career-low two innings as Houston romped to a 7-0 lead. Harvey had not pitched for the Mets since June 14 because of a stress injury to the scapula bone in his right shoulder.

Jose Altuve had an RBI single and Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run single, then scored on Cameron Maybon's single as Houston built a four-run lead in the 37-pitch inning. Maybin was claimed on waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday.

Springer hit a two-run homer in the second, when Harvey threw a run-scoring wild pitch (see full recap).

Holliday returns with 3-run HR, Yankees beat Red Sox 5-1
NEW YORK -- Matt Holliday made a smashing return to the Yankees' lineup, hitting a three-run homer that led Masahiro Tanaka and New York over the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox 5-1 Saturday.

The Yankees, already holding the top spot in the wild-card race, pulled within 4 games of Boston. The rivals close their season series Sunday night.

Holliday hadn't played in the majors since going on the disabled list almost a month ago with a back injury. He was activated Friday but sat out a 4-1 loss.

Holliday was greeted with "Welcome Back" by the public address announcer when the lineups were introduced, drawing a rippling of applause. Later, he revved up the sellout crowd of 46,536 on a holiday weekend.

It was 1-all in the sixth inning when Holliday launched a drive to left off Drew Pomeranz (14-5) estimated at 443 feet. Holliday pointed toward the Yankees dugout on his way toward first base after his 17th home run -- his previous homer was July 16, a tying shot in the ninth off Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel at Fenway Park (see full recap).

Rivera hits grand slam as streaking Cubs top Braves 14-12
CHICAGO -- Rene Rivera hit a grand slam, Anthony Rizzo added a three-run triple and the Chicago Cubs held off the Atlanta Braves for a 14-12 victory on Saturday in Jon Lester's return from the disabled list.

Javier Baez and Jason Heyward also homered for the NL Central-leading Cubs, who have won six straight and 12 of 15 overall. Rivera, Rizzo, Baez and Heyward finished with two hits apiece.

Lester (9-7) allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings in his first start since Aug. 16. He had been sidelined by tightness in his left lat and general shoulder fatigue.

Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp and Rio Ruiz homered for Atlanta, which has dropped six of eight. Rookies Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson had three hits apiece, and Nick Markakis had two hits and drove in two runs (see full recap).

Solarte homers in 9th to give Padres 6-5 win over Dodgers
SAN DIEGO -- Yangervis Solarte homered with one out in the ninth inning to lift the San Diego Padres to a 6-5 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first game of a split doubleheader on Saturday, the sixth loss in seven games for the NL West leaders.

Solarte's first career walkoff homer came off Pedro Baez (3-3). It was his 15th this season.

It came after Justin Turner's pinch-hit, two-run homer off All-Star closer Brad Hand (3-4) tied the game at five.

The Dodgers blew leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-1, and trailed 5-3 in the top of the ninth. Rob Segedin hit a leadoff double off Hand and Turner hit a one-out, no-doubter into the second deck in left field. It was his 18th of the season and the fifth pinch-hit homer of his career (see full recap).

Are Phillies' odds to win National League an overreaction by Vegas?

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Are Phillies' odds to win National League an overreaction by Vegas?

On opening day, the Phillies' odds to win the National League were 40/1.

A week before the trade deadline, they are 6/1, according to Bovada.

The Phils have come a long, long way since those final few days of March and the national perception of this team has changed completely. 

As of Thursday, the only two teams with shorter odds to win the NL pennant were the Dodgers (3/1) and Cubs (7/2). These odds were released after the Dodgers acquired Manny Machado.

It's interesting to see the Phillies so high on the list, even though they entered Sunday's doubleheader a dozen games over .500 and with the NL's second-best record. Vegas obviously expects the Phillies to add a piece or two before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

The other reason the Phils' odds are shorter than those of the Diamondbacks (15/2) and Brewers (8/1) is that the Phillies are favored to win the NL East. So even if teams like Arizona and Milwaukee have more talent or end up with a better record than the Phillies, those clubs would most likely be participating in the wild-card game. The Dodgers and Cubs are heavily favored to hold on to win their divisions.

The Phillies are narrowly favored to win the NL East. They are +155, while the Braves are +165 and the Nationals are +200. (This means that a $100 bet on the Phillies would win you $155.)

The Braves entered Sunday a half-game behind the Phillies. They've won two in a row after losing eight of 10. 

As for the Nationals, things just keep getting worse. Washington is a game under .500 at 48-49, and they've taken L's both on and off the field this weekend. There was the dugout confrontation between Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg on Friday, and then the news Sunday that All-Star closer Sean Doolittle is dealing with a stress reaction in his foot that will keep him out at least another few weeks.

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Phillies-Padres postponed, rescheduled as part of doubleheader Sunday

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Phillies-Padres postponed, rescheduled as part of doubleheader Sunday

Saturday night’s Phillies-San Diego Padres game has been postponed because of rain.

The game will be made up Sunday as part of a separate admission doubleheader.

The start of Sunday’s regularly scheduled game (game 50 ticket) will be moved from 1:30 p.m. to 12:05 p.m. Gates will open at 11:05 a.m.

The makeup game (game 49 ticket) will start at 6:05 p.m. According to the team, fans holding tickets for Saturday night's game may use them for Sunday night’s 6:05 p.m. game. Fans unable to attend that game may exchange them for any remaining home game this season.

Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta will be the Phillies’ starting pitchers in Sunday’s doubleheader. Pivetta will start Game 1 and Velasquez will take the mound for Game 2.

The Phillies returned from the All-Star break and posted an 11-5 win over the Padres on Friday night. That game began a stretch of 19 of 29 games against non-contending teams for the Phillies.

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