Orioles

Tigers hope bats warm up in World Series chill

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Tigers hope bats warm up in World Series chill

DETROIT (AP) Toting his tiny aluminum bat, 5-year-old Gage Brookens wandered toward the cage and watched Austin Jackson, Omar Infante and a few other Tigers take batting practice on a chilly afternoon at Comerica Park.

Maybe that's what these slumping Detroit hitters need in this World Series. Metal bats, rather than their weak wood.

``Oh, I don't know if they'd allow that,'' kidded Gage's grandpop, Tigers first base coach Tom Brookens. ``But the hitters definitely wouldn't mind.''

Something better change for Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and the Tigers real soon or their year is going to end real shortly. They totaled only three runs and 10 hits in San Francisco while falling into a 2-0 deficit against the Giants.

Game 3 is Saturday night, with Anibal Sanchez starting for Detroit against Ryan Vogelsong.

The Tigers are hoping that a switch in scenery - the ivy hanging on the center-field backdrop at Comerica has turned to autumn colors since the AL championship series - and a flip in pitchers might help.

Throttled by left-handed starters Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner at AT&T Park, the Tigers are eager to see a right-hander. Any right-hander, in fact: Detroit batted .275 against righties, .253 vs. lefties.

``Sometimes you can't explain it,'' Tigers catcher Alex Avila said before a workout Friday. ``In our case, we've had trouble all year with left-handed pitching, which is strange because we have a lot of good hitters on the team.''

``It'll be a nice change, obviously, to face a right-hander because we've had more success.''

The Tigers will see Vogelsong, followed by fellow right-hander Matt Cain in Game 4.

``We've gone through spurts this whole season where we've thrown the ball like this as a staff,'' Vogelsong said. ``We obviously had our downtime there in the middle of September and at the end of August.''

``And we're just all kind of hitting our stride here at the same time. It's up to me and Matt now to keep it going over here in Detroit.''

Tigers manager Jim Leyland plans to insert speedy rookie Quintin Berry and Andy Dirks in his outfield.

A few big hits would certainly energize the Tigers. So might a few breaks, they believe.

``The ball just hasn't rolled our way yet,'' Berry said. ``They got a hit off the third-base bag. They had a bunt that wouldn't go foul. They made great catches in left field.

``But no excuses. We're back at home, this is our chance.''

No mistaking that the Series has shifted from California to Michigan.

In San Francisco, it was downright balmy in the 60s, and made for a pair of picture-perfect settings to play ball.

At Comerica, it was in the mid-40s and the lights were turned on while the Tigers worked out. The forecast was for Game 3 was for temperatures to drop into the upper 30s in the later innings.

``We have got heaters in the dugout for both teams, obviously. Ours is going to be a little warmer than theirs, I think, tomorrow night,'' Leyland said. ``But that's all right. We're not going to tell them that. I'm just kidding.''

``You know what? It's cold, but I mean this is the World Series. It's cold for everybody. It's cold for the fans, the beer is cold, everything is cold. It's great. Enjoy it.''

While the Tigers have lost five straight World Series games dating to 2006 against St. Louis, they've also won five postseason home games in a row. Detroit began that string last year in the ALCS, took two against Oakland this year in the division series and then finished off an ALCS sweep of the Yankees.

Overall, the Tigers have taken eight straight at home.

``I think a lot of teams, your really good teams, they dominate at home. That's what they do - the Cardinals, the Reds, they were really tough at home,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

``We ended up having a pretty good home record, despite having some struggles there in September or late August. But it's a team that feeds on probably their home crowd, and they're more comfortable at home, and that's usually the case in baseball. But this certainly is a club that we know is playing very well here.''

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Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

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Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

For well over six seasons, Manny Machado's value to the Baltimore Orioles has been solely his ability to hit and play the field.

All that has changed, now that the Orioles are looking to receive a huge return for their All-Star shortstop in a blockbuster trade.

Machado homered before being removed on a wet day, Adam Jones hit a three-run double and Baltimore rallied past the Texas Rangers 6-5 Sunday.

Machado was taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter after a 26-minute rain delay. The move was designed to get their star player off a sloppy field, because the last-place Orioles are entertaining offers for Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"Obviously there's a different situation going on with Manny. You all know that," Showalter said. "That had a lot to do with it."

Plain and simple, the Orioles can't afford to have Machado get hurt. Now, more than ever.

"A month ago he wouldn't have come out of the game," Showalter acknowledged. "We know that. You know it."

After being replaced by Jace Peterson, Machado sat in the dugout, wearing a sweatshirt and joking with his teammates.

"I don't know why (Showalter) did it or not," Machado said. "He just told me, `I'm going to take you out. You had a good first half and go represent us well in the All-Star Game.'"

Machado is Baltimore's lone representative for Tuesday's showcase. He has spent his entire career in Baltimore, but his contract expires after this season and the Orioles don't appear interested in locking him up with a long-term deal.

"I'm going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop. It's just always a blessing," Machado said. "I thank God. I thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates, the fans, the organization. I mean it's just been very incredible."

In a matchup between two teams staggering into the break, Texas got a first-inning grand slam from rookie Ronald Guzman but quickly gave the lead away in losing for the seventh time in nine games.

Machado ignited the comeback with his 24th homer, and Jones' bases-clearing double in the third off Mike Minor (6-6) put Baltimore ahead to stay.

"I'll be fine," said Minor, who yielded five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. "I'll reflect a little bit and then get back to it."

The game ended when Texas pinch-runner Carlos Tocci was thrown out at the plate on a double by Elvis Andrus. Running from first base, Tocci was tagged out by catcher Caleb Joseph following throws by right fielder Mark Trumbo and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

"Textbook," Showalter said.

Texas manager Jeff Bannister called it a "situation where they had to throw it on line to throw Tocci out. They executed well."

Tanner Scott (1-1), the first of four Baltimore relievers, earned his first big league win.

Zach Britton, another Oriole supposedly on the trading block, worked the ninth for his fourth save, the second in two days.

Texas broke on top when Miguel Castro issued three straight walks and Guzman sent a one-out drive over the right-field wall for his first career grand slam.

It was 4-1 in the third when Joseph hit an RBI double and Jones doubled down the left-field line following a walk to Machado.

Shin-Soo Choo homered in the seventh to get the Rangers to 6-5.

STREAKY

Choo opened the game with a walk, extending to 51 his single-season club record streak of games reaching base via a hit, walk or HBP. ... Texas' Delino DeShields went 0 for 3, stretching his hitless drought to 28 at-bats. ... Jones snapped a 1-for-16 skid with his third-inning double.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: RF Nomar Mazara was given the day off after hurting his hand Saturday night in the outfield.

Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman (back) was set to make his final rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk. ... INF Steve Wilkerson (oblique) and OF Craig Gentry (rib fracture) likely won't come off the DL before August, Showalter said. ... RHP Andrew Cashner (neck strain) will be activated from the DL on Saturday or Sunday to face Toronto, Showalter said.

UP NEXT

Rangers: The rotation after the All-Star break, beginning Friday against visiting Cleveland: Martin Perez, Bartolo Colon, Cole Hamels, Yovani Gallardo and Minor.

Orioles: After the All-Star break, Dylan Bundy will start at Toronto on Friday night.

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Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

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Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner each hit a two-run single in Washington's five-run seventh inning, helping the Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-1 on Sunday.

Matt Adams added two hits and scored a run as Washington salvaged a split of its four-game set against New York. A preseason favorite to win the NL East and contend for a World Series championship, the disappointing Nationals hit the All-Star break with a 48-48 record, good for third in the division.

Jeremy Hellickson (4-1) pitched six crisp innings in his second straight win. The veteran right-hander allowed one run and two hits, struck out six and walked two.

Jose Reyes drove in Michael Conforto with a fielder's choice in the second, tying it at 1, but Washington grabbed control in the seventh.

Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon opened the inning with walks against Anthony Swarzak (0-2). Tim Peterson then came in and surrendered singles to Adams and Murphy, who came off the bench to hit for Michael A. Taylor.

Jerry Blevins replaced Peterson with two out and runners on second and third. But he hit Wilmer Difo and Adam Eaton before Turner's single gave Washington a 6-1 lead.

New York wasted a solid start by Corey Oswalt, who allowed two hits in five innings. The Mets got off to a fast start this year, but hit the break last in the division with a 39-55 record, a percentage point behind fourth-place Miami.

WAITING

A steady drizzle delayed the start by 47 minutes.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) pitched 5 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Class A Potomac. He allowed three runs, struck out seven and walked one. Strasburg has been on the disabled list since June 10.

Mets: Yoenis Cespedes is scheduled to play five simulated innings in left field at the team's facility in Florida on Monday. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the 32-year-old outfielder, who has been sidelined by a right hip flexor and strained quadriceps, could return as the designated hitter next weekend against the Yankees If he is able to play on consecutive days.

MAKING MOVES

The Nationals recalled right-hander Trevor Gott from Triple-A Syracuse. Right-hander Austin Voth, who took the loss in his big league debut Saturday, was sent back to Syracuse.

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