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O's drop series opener to A's

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O's drop series opener to A's

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer while playing with a sore right wrist, and the AL wild card-leading Oakland Athletics beat Baltimore 3-2 on Friday night to prevent the Orioles from moving into sole possession of first place in the AL East.

Jonny Gomes hit a go-ahead RBI single in the fifth to back A's rookie Tommy Milone in the opener of a key series between playoff contenders. Oakland (83-61) received a clubhouse visit before the game from pitcher Brandon McCarthy , more than a week after he was struck in the head with a line drive and underwent surgery.

The Orioles (81-63) remained tied atop the division with the New York Yankees , who lost 6-4 at home to Tampa Bay.

Milone (13-10) allowed one earned run over 6 1-3 innings to win for the fourth time in five starts. He induced three double plays, allowed six hits, struck out two and walked two. His 13 wins are an Oakland rookie record.

A's starters have walked three or fewer batters in 43 straight games.

McCarthy, the team's opening-day starter, was hit in the head by a liner from the Angels' Erick Aybar on Sept. 5 and underwent surgery. He was released from the hospital Tuesday.

Gomes had everybody sign a batting helmet for the pitcher with the words "heads up" written on the bill.

Cespedes, the rookie from Cuba, connected for his 19th home run. That gave Oakland 85 homers since the All-Star break.

Cespedes played left field and batted cleanup a day after leaving a loss to the Angels in the fifth inning after injuring his right wrist on a slide.

"I'm going to rest after we get a championship," Cespedes said. "I'm going to be in the lineup every day."

Chris Davis then tied it at 2 when he hit his 26th home run leading off the fifth.

The sellout crowd of 35,067 - a big turnout for fireworks night - booed Baltimore starter Joe Saunders (2-2) when he intentionally walked Cespedes in the fifth.
O
akland's bullpen produced another impressive game. After All-Star Ryan Cook struck out two in a perfect eighth, Grant Balfour finished for his 18th save in 20th chances.

Matt Wieters beat out an infield single to start the ninth and Xavier Avery entered to pinch run. Pinch-hitter Endy Chavez struck out swinging, then Mark Reynolds flied out. Catcher Derek Norris threw out Avery stealing to end the 2-hour, 37-minute game.

Saunders allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings, struck out six and walked two. He had a two-start winning streak stopped in his fourth outing since being acquired from Arizona on Aug. 26.

The left-hander is 13-5 in 20 career starts against the A's, but was 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA over his previous four against Oakland with two complete games and a shutout coming into Friday.

The Orioles gave Saunders a lead in the third when Manny Machado scored on third baseman Josh Donaldson 's error. The ball hit off of Donaldson's glove arm and popped high toward shortstop Stephen Drew .

Prior to this season, the last time these clubs met after the All-Star break each with records above .500 was Sept. 2, 1992, according to STATS LLC.

Oakland No. 9 hitter Adam Rosales doubled and scored as the A's improved to 52-4 when giving up two or fewer runs.

NOTES: A's 3B Brandon Inge underwent successful arthroscopic surgery Thursday on his right shoulder to repair the labrum. The operation was performed in Detroit by Dr. Stephen Lemos, the Tigers' orthopedic surgeon. He hopes to be ready for spring training 2013. ... Orioles LHP Troy Patton (right ankle) is scheduled to throw an inning Sunday at instructional league. ... The Orioles still haven't named a starter for Sunday's series finale. LHP Randy Wolf is a candidate. ... RHP Jarrod Parker (10-8) pitches Saturday against Orioles LHP Zach Britton (5-2).

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.

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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado took an even larger lead in the latest update for 2018 MLB All-Star Game voting.

The superstar shortstop maintained his position at the top of American League shortstops in the second round of All-Star voting updates, released Tuesday morning. 

After the first ballot was released, Machado led the shortstops category by over 100,00 votes.

This week, he now holds north of a 200,000-vote lead over last year’s American League starter, Carlos Correa.

The Astros’ Correa jumped from fourth to second this past week while the Indians’ Francisco Lindor dropped to third.  

Machado now has 671,133 votes, seventh among all American League players. For the second straight week, Machado remained the only Orioles player on the list.

Through 69 games in 2018, Machado is batting .310 with 18 home runs, 15 doubles and 53 RBIs. He is posting his best OPS (.945) and on-base percentage (.377) in his career, a bright spot for the O’s, who sit dead last in MLB with a 20-50 record.

The All-Star voting will be open until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET and fans can vote five times every 24 hours.

The next AL voting update will be announced June 26.

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