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Defending champs ready to make All-Star splash

MLB.com

The All-Star Game presented by MasterCard is special to the six Astros in Washington, D.C., for Tuesday's game for different reasons.

For third baseman Alex Bregman and pitcher Charlie Morton, it's meaningful because it's their first Midsummer Classic. For pitcher Justin Verlander, it's validation that he's as good as he's ever been at age 35. Jose Altuve, who's a six-time All-Star and reigning AL Most Valuable Player at 28 years old, never takes one for granted.

The All-Star Game presented by MasterCard is special to the six Astros in Washington, D.C., for Tuesday's game for different reasons.

For third baseman Alex Bregman and pitcher Charlie Morton, it's meaningful because it's their first Midsummer Classic. For pitcher Justin Verlander, it's validation that he's as good as he's ever been at age 35. Jose Altuve, who's a six-time All-Star and reigning AL Most Valuable Player at 28 years old, never takes one for granted.

:: Complete All-Star Game coverage ::

"I'm as happy as I was my first five All-Stars, and I hope in my career I can get even more," he said. "It's a dream come true. It's a cool experience. You get to play with guys that you don't have the chance to play with every day on the same team, like [Mike] Trout and [Manny] Machado. It's really cool."

Bregman, Morton, Verlander and Altuve join outfielder George Springer and pitcher Gerrit Cole on the AL All-Star team, which is managed by Houston skipper AJ Hinch. The strong Astros flavor in the Midsummer Classic, Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT on FOX, is no surprise considering the Astros won the World Series last year and hit this season's All-Star break with 64 wins.

The Astros' contingent is soaking up every minute of the experience in the nation's capital.

"It's really special," Morton said. "This is something that I realized recently really mattered a lot to me. I was like, if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, but I realized this is the best I've ever thrown and if it doesn't happen now I'm in trouble. I really wanted it to happen, to have the opportunity to be there."

Morton, who won 14 games last year in his first season in Houston, has put together another strong season, going 11-2 with a 2.96 ERA in 19 starts. He helps anchor an Astros rotation that includes follow All-Star right-handers Verlander (9-5, 2.29 ERA) and Cole (10-2, 2.52 ERA).

Morton, 34, was a late addition to the AL team, and that couldn't have made his teammates happier. He's arguably the most popular player in the clubhouse.

"It's awesome," Verlander said. "He deserves it, and to be able to experience this with him for his first All-Star Game, it's really cool."

Video: Cole talks about how much he admires Morton

Cole smiled when he told the story of arriving at Nationals Park on Monday and having to stop while Morton had a long conversation with Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola. Morton only threw in four games for Philadelphia in 2016 before getting hurt, but it was clear he left an impact on his teammates like he has in Houston.

"I'm thinking, 'Chuck threw 14 innings for the Phillies and played one year, and Aaron Nola is an All-Star and fantastic pitcher and he's got mad respect and mad love for this guy,'" Cole said. "That's the impact Charlie makes wherever he goes."

Bregman, 24, has arguably been the Astros' best offensive player this season, hitting .288 with a team-high 20 homers and 64 RBIs. Having the All-Star Game in Washington is especially meaningful considering his grandfather, Stan Bregman, had a law firm that represented the Washington Senators baseball team.

Stan Bregman negotiated the sale of the team, which moved to Minneapolis and became the Twins. He later negotiated the hiring of baseball great Ted Williams as the manager for a new Washington Senators expansion team. Alex's father, Sam, used to sit on Williams' lap in the clubhouse.

"It's super special," Bregman said.

Like Morton, Cole has rejuvenated his career a bit in Houston. He's changed his repertoire with Astros pitching coach Brent Strom and focused on sustainability with his body and his mechanics. He's struck out 177 batters in 128 1/3 innings.

"I expect to perform well, but this is kind of the cherry on top," he said. "It's a wonderful venue and great to meet other great players in the same position. I'm thankful to be back here and thankful to have the votes from my peers. It's not really a focus going into the year, but it's really rewarding when you do get elected."

Video: Cole wants to hit off Clemens and pitch to Aaron

Springer is no stranger to the big stage. He started for the AL last year in Miami and overcame four strikeouts in Game 1 of the World Series to swat five homers in the following six games en route to being named World Series Most Valuable Player.

"This is why you play, to be in the spotlight, in the moment," he said. "The playoffs are unlike anything else I've experienced in my life. … It's fun to be here and fun to enjoy all this stuff."

Verlander, who won't be available to pitch on Tuesday after throwing 5 2/3 innings on Sunday in Houston, is an All-Star for the seventh time, but this is his first selection since 2013 with the Tigers. He's perhaps throwing the best baseball of his career.

"This one actually kind of has a special place in my heart because I haven't been since 2013 and have been through a lot injury-wise and had surgery and fought back from that," he said. "To be able to be back on my game after some time, it's a special feeling to be here and be able to represent myself and the team."

While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX on Tuesday, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.

For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, George Springer, Justin Verlander

Bregman edged by Schwarber in Derby nail-biter

MLB.com

WASHINTON -- Alex Bregman put on a late charge in the first round of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, but he came up a few feet short, falling to Kyle Schwarber, 16-15, when his final drive hit off the left-center-field wall as time expired.

Scwarber posted 16 homers in his first time in the box on Monday night at Nationals Park. He hit14 in regulation and two more during his bonus time of 30 seconds that was awarded for hitting two blasts over 440 feet. Schwarber hit what ended up being the deciding blast to the third deck in right field to advance to the semifinals.

WASHINTON -- Alex Bregman put on a late charge in the first round of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, but he came up a few feet short, falling to Kyle Schwarber, 16-15, when his final drive hit off the left-center-field wall as time expired.

Scwarber posted 16 homers in his first time in the box on Monday night at Nationals Park. He hit14 in regulation and two more during his bonus time of 30 seconds that was awarded for hitting two blasts over 440 feet. Schwarber hit what ended up being the deciding blast to the third deck in right field to advance to the semifinals.

Round-by-round recap of T-Mobile Home Run Derby

:: Complete Home Run Derby coverage ::

It looked like Schwarber's total was safe when Bregman called a timeout with 2:04 remaining and seven home runs on the board, but the Astros' infielder was just waiting to make a dramatic finish.

"That was a lot of fun," Bregman said. "I'll tell you, it was a lot of fun to see [Jose] Altuve, [Justin] Verlander and all the guys and Gerrit [Cole] and Charlie [Morton] and [George] Springer getting hyped for the last few swings. You know what? Maybe next year."

Tweet from @astros: The support from the teammates. 😭 pic.twitter.com/YLFzJjtMMX

The hype that Bregman's teammates were giving him was well deserved. With just over a minute remaining on the clock, Bregman launched four consecutive long balls before missing one --- only to come back with his fifth blast since the 1:02 mark. Bregman's final swing came up just a few feet shy of forcing a 60-second swing-off.

"I gave it everything I got," Bregman said. "I tried to win the thing and hit a few line drives that would've landed in the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid that didn't land in the Crawford Boxes here."

Video: HRD Rd1: Bregman drills 15 home runs in Round 1

According to Statcast™, the average distance of Bregman's 15 home runs was 397.3 feet. His longest was projected to travel 422 feet, and his top exit velocity of the night was 103 mph.

"I had a great time," Bregman said. "[Javier] Bracamonte filled up the zone with strikes. Came up a little short, but who knows, maybe in the future I'll do it again and maybe win next time."

:: Complete All-Star Game coverage ::

Although it was a hard-fought match, the battle between Schwarber and Bregman ended with a hug.

Now that the Home Run Derby is over, Bregman is looking forward to turning the page and focusing on his performance in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard.

"It was great," Bregman said of squaring up against Schwarber. "We played together on Team USA. He had a heck of a performance tonight. It's going to be fun. Looking forward to tomorrow. The game's going to be a blast."

Schwarber defeated the Phillies' Rhys Hoskins in the semifinals before falling to hometown hero Bryce Harper in an exciting final.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

Houston Astros, Alex Bregman

How every team's players fared at Futures Game

MLB.com

The 20th edition of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game had no shortage of big moments, with the two sides combining for eight home runs -- doubling the previous Futures Game record -- as Team USA outslugged the World, 10-6, on All-Star Sunday at Nationals Park.

The 20th edition of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game had no shortage of big moments, with the two sides combining for eight home runs -- doubling the previous Futures Game record -- as Team USA outslugged the World, 10-6, on All-Star Sunday at Nationals Park.

:: 2018 Futures Game coverage ::

Below is a recap of each player's performance, with a breakdown of each club's representatives.

ANGELS
Jo Adell, OF, LAA No. 1 | MLB No. 36
Adell went 1-for-4, but it wasn't for a lack of contact, which has been a concern early in his career. Adell grounded out to Fernando Tatis Jr. in the first, then popped out twice and hit a sac fly.

Box score

ASTROS
Yordan Alvarez, OF/1B, HOU No. 3 | MLB No. 51
Playing in his second straight Futures Game, Alvarez went 1-for-3 with a walk, and he drew widespread attention, both on the field and in the social realms, for his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame.

ATHLETICS
Jesus Luzardo, LHP, OAK No. 1 | MLB No. 20
Luzardo started for the World Team and pitched the first two innings, giving up three hits and an earned run in the first inning. Luzardo reached 97 mph on his four-seamer, while showing movement on many of his secondary pitches, particularly the two-seamer and slider. As he has over parts of his young career, Luzardo struggled with command. But scouting reports suggest that once Luzardo finds control, he possesses top-of-the-rotation stuff.

Video: WLD@USA: Luzardo strikes out Hiura, Jansen in the 2nd

BLUE JAYS
Bo Bichette, SS/2B, TOR No. 2 | MLB No. 7
Toronto's incredibly talented hitter finished 1-for-3 with a 102.2-mph ground-ball single off Bryan Mata in the third inning. He also got a bit of a surprise in the first inning, when Luzardo quick-pitched him into a flyout.

Danny Jansen, C, TOR No. 6
Jansen sparked a USA rally in the fourth by launching a changeup up and out for a 381-foot game-tying home run to left, which was quickly followed up by Ke'Bryan Hayes' tater to left-center. Toronto's top catching prospect finished 1-for-2 with two runs driven in.

Video: WLD@USA: Jansen clubs a two-run homer to left field

BRAVES
Kyle Wright, RHP, ATL No. 2 | MLB No. 25
Inheriting runners at first and third and no outs in the top of the eighth, Wright induced a flyout from Miguel Amaya and a double play from Andres Gimenez to escape the jam.

Touki Toussaint, RHP, ATL No. 10
A day after being promoted to the World Team roster as a late addition, Toussaint twirled the eighth inning, giving up a triple to Taylor Trammel -- which many, including Trammel, thought was headed to the bleachers before pegging into the center-field wall. Toussaint, who was recently promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett and led the Southern League (Double-A) in strikeouts at the time of his promotion, sat in the high-90s with his two-seamer, dropped 10 mph on his changeup and dropped another 10 mph on his curveball, which he threw just once.

BREWERS
Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL No. 1 | MLB No. 30
Hiura's hitting ability has helped his name come up often with the non-waiver Trade Deadline looming, but he struck out in each of his two plate appearances Sunday.

Luis Ortiz, RHP, MIL No. 4
Ortiz was the last player on either roster to enter the game, doing so with two outs in the top of the ninth against Yusniel Diaz, who had homered twice already. Ortiz threw one pitch, a 95.4-mph four-seamer, that induced a groundout to end the game.

Video: WLD@USA: Ortiz gets Diaz to ground out to end 9th

CARDINALS
Dakota Hudson, RHP, STL No. 3

Hudson made the most of his 11 pitches over a perfect sixth inning. His fastball never dropped below 96 mph, and his slider fooled Keibert Ruiz for a strikeout. That specific combination is why there might be a spot for him in the Cardinals' bullpen at some point.

Andrew Knizner, C, STL No. 5
Days after he was added to the Team USA roster as as an injury replacement for A's catcher Sean Murphy, Knizner entered in the sixth to catch for fellow Cards prospect Hudson. The 23-year-old Knizner, who is hitting .310/.376/.418 between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, went 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts.

Randy Arozarena, OF, STL. No. 7
Arozarena entered in the bottom of the seventh and got just one at-bat. He reached on a fielding error by USA first baseman and Mets prospect Peter Alonso.

CUBS
Miguel Amaya, C/1B, CHC No. 10
Amaya went 0-for-2 at the plate after starting at catcher for the World Team.

D-BACKS
Yoan Lopez, RHP, ARI No. 25
Lopez faced just one batter -- entering with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and the game tied at 5 -- striking out Ryan Mountcastle on three fastballs clocked at 96.4, 96.0 and 97.2 mph.

Video: WLD@USA: Lopez gets Mountcastle swinging in the 5th

DODGERS
Keibert Ruiz, C, LAD No. 2 | MLB No. 44
Ruiz, whose name has been linked to Manny Machado trade rumors, left the game after getting clocked on his right hand by a foul ball. X-rays were negative, according to the Los Angeles Times. At the dish, Ruiz struck out in his lone at-bat during the sixth inning.

Yusniel Diaz, OF, LAD No. 4 | MLB No. 85
Diaz entered the game with just six homers over the entire season with Double-A Tulsa. He added another pair on Sunday -- a 409-foot blast in the fifth and a 408-foot shot in the seventh. Diaz became just the second player to homer twice in Futures Game history and was one of just five players to remain in the game from start to finish.

Video: WLD@USA: Diaz clobbers 2-run jack, game-tying HR

GIANTS
Shaun Anderson, RHP, SF No. 7
Anderson gave up a solo home run to Diaz in the seventh, but wound up being the winning pitcher after Team USA powered to a lead it wouldn't relinquish in the following frame. Anderson, who will be promoted to Triple-A Sacramento to start the second half, also gave up a hit to fellow Giants prospect Heliot Ramos just after surrendering the homer.

Heliot Ramos, OF, SF No. 1 | MLB No. 70
Ramos laced a single off fellow Giants prospect Anderson in the seventh in his lone at-bat. He didn't see any action in the field since he entered the game as the designated hitter.

INDIANS
Kieran Lovegrove, RHP
Lovegrove entered Sunday having faced 100 hitters this year without giving up a homer. That ended when Trammel -- the first batter Lovegrove faced -- launched a 438-foot laser to straightaway center. Over his brief appearance in the sixth inning, Lovegrove faced one more batter, recorded an out, then was pulled.

MARINERS
Kyle Lewis, OF, SEA No. 1 | MLB No. 58
Lewis went 0-for-1 with a flyout to right in his first at-bat, a walk and a run scored, courtesy of Hayes' deep fly to left in the fourth frame, and he didn't see any action in the field.

MARLINS
Jorge Guzman, RHP, MIA No. 3
Guzman, who many will identify as a key return in the Giancarlo Stanton trade, flashed his raw stuff to the three batters he faced, throwing 10 pitches -- all between 96.8 and 99.7 mph -- with one strikeout.

Tweet from @Marlins: Hitters have 99 problems and they're all miles per hour.Jorge Guzman was all 🔥 at the Futures Game. #JustGettinStarted pic.twitter.com/tw6iYWWnSm

METS
Andres Gimenez, SS, NYM No. 1 | MLB No. 68
Gimenez went 0-for-2 with a pair of groundouts, including an inning-ending double play in the eighth with runners on first and third.

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: No big deal. It���s just a Hall of Famer sharing hitting tips with a young prospect. This might be the biggest moment of Andres Gimenez���s pro career. #FuturesGame. #Mets pic.twitter.com/ShXlU7IUTW

Peter Alonso, 1B, NYM No. 2 | MLB No. 69
Eager to join in the power party, Alonso gave Mets fans a glimpse of what could be to come when he launched a 415-foot homer to left. The deep fly was scorched at 113.6 mph and lifted at a 46-degree launch angle, according to Statcast™. Yoenis Cespedes is the only Mets player to hit a homer with a higher exit velocity this year.

Video: WLD@USA: Alonso's 415-foot home run down the line

NATIONALS
Carter Kieboom, SS, WSH No. 2 | MLB No. 62
Kieboom didn't quite have the homecoming he was hoping for, going 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts, including one looking on a 78.6-mph curveball from Toussaint.

Luis Garcia, SS/2B, WSH No. 5
Garcia drew a walk in his lone plate appearance during the eighth inning, while also contributing three-plus innings at second base.

ORIOLES
Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, BAL No. 1 | MLB No. 80
Mountcastle, who could be a huge part of the post-Machado Orioles, went 0-for-2 with a strikeout against Lopez and a flyout against Guzman.

Alex Wells, LHP BAL No. 8
Wells faced only Buddy Reed and Knizner and got each out quickly, throwing just nine pitches. Reed nearly took Wells deep, flying out to the left-field wall, but Wells quickly bounced back to strike out Knizner on three called strikes in a row.

PADRES
Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, SD No. 1 | MLB No. 3
Tatis laced a 102.3-mph heater from Hunter Greene for a 107.1-mph single to right, then swiped second during the next at-bat, putting his plus speed on display with a Sprint Speed of 28.4 feet per second, per Statcast™, well above the Major League average of 27.0.

Video: WLD@USA: Tatis Jr. rips a single off a 102-mph heater

Luis Urias, 2B/SS, SD No. 3 | MLB No. 29
Urias had an unfortunate run-in with a 100.4-mph fastball on his left elbow, though he was wearing a protective guard. Urias struck out in his other two plate appearances, and was pulled in the bottom of the fifth.

Buddy Reed, OF
Reed, who just this week was called up to Double-A San Antonio after clubbing 12 homers from Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, narrowly missed a deep fly in the sixth, having lifted one 346 feet to the wall in left in a full count against Wells. However, Reed made up for it in the field in the following frame, robbing Tatis of what would've been his third hit with a running grab in right-center.

Video: WLD@USA: Reed on his mom, playing hockey

PHILLIES
Adonis Medina, RHP, PHI No. 2 | MLB No. 74
Medina's wild pitch in the seventh inning broke a 6-6 tie and gave Team USA a lead it wouldn't relinquish. The right-hander lost control of a two-seamer that landed in the dirt with Brendan Rodgers batting, and allowed Adell to score from third. For that, Medina was credited as the losing pitcher.

Video: WLD@USA: Adell scores go-ahead run on wild pitch

PIRATES
Mitch Keller, RHP, PIT No. 1 | MLB No. 12
Keller tossed a perfect first inning on eight pitches, striking out Luis Alexander Basabe to lead off the game, then inducing a pair of flyouts. Keller topped out on his four-seam fastball at 99.5 mph.

Video: WLD@USA: Keller K's Basabe, retires the side in order

Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, PIT No. 3
Hayes, son of 14-year MLB veteran Charlie Hayes, launched a 405-foot homer deep to the left-field bleachers to complete back-to-back deep flies with Jansen, putting Team USA up by two in the fourth. Team USA manager Torii Hunter, being interviewed at the time of Hayes' homer was ecstatic.

Video: WLD@USA: Hunter cheers on Team USA at Futures Game

RANGERS
C.D. Pelham, LHP, TEX No. 19
Pelham walked the first batter he faced, narrowly missing ball four on an inside fastball at 97.9 mph, then got into more trouble when Arozarena reached on an error by first baseman Alonso, putting runners on the corners. That'd be it for Pelham after that, though Wright helped bail him out of the jam.

Leody Taveras, OF, TEX No. 1 | MLB No. 28
Taveras went 0-for-2 with a popup and a groundout, and finished the game after entering as the World Team's center fielder in the bottom of the sixth.

RAYS
Nate Lowe, 1B
Lowe laced an RBI single off Luzardo with two outs in the first that scored Brendan Rodgers to put Team USA up, 1-0, in the opening frame.

Video: WLD@USA: Lowe opens the scoring with an RBI single

Jesus Sanchez, OF, TB No. 4 | MLB No. 35
Sanchez went 0-for-3, grounding into a pair of double plays and flying out to center off a slider from Justus Sheffield in the second inning. His stat sheet won't show it, but Sanchez impressed with a fluid swing from the left side.

RED SOX
Bryan Mata, RHP, BOS No. 4
The 19-year-old, as he has much of this season, had to battle traffic and command, but he left after tossing a scoreless third inning. Mata sat at an impressive 95 mph on his two-seam fastball, and complemented his heat with varying speeds in the high-70s on his curve, though he got just one swing-and-miss on 31 pitches.

REDS
Hunter Greene, RHP, CIN No. 2 | MLB No. 18
The Reds' flamethrower maxed out the radar gun, throwing all 19 of his fastballs above 100 mph and averaging 101.3 mph. Heat alone wasn't enough to keep Basabe from homering and Tatis from following up with a single -- both off 102.3-mph pitches -- but the ease with which Greene delivered his triple-digit velocity was mighty impressive nonetheless.

Video: WLD@USA: Greene talks playing in Futures Game

Taylor Trammell, OF, CIN No. 3 | MLB No. 34
With raw athleticism that stood out during a 38-touchdown season as a high school football star in 2015, Trammell got the chance to put his tools on display. And he didn't disappoint. Cincinnati's No. 35 overall pick in '16, Trammell launched a 107.9-mph homer that traveled a projected 438 feet -- the deepest of the eight homers hit in the game.

Trammell nearly got hold of another one -- and thought he did, given his reaction -- with a fly ball off the center-field wall in the eighth inning, gesturing to the USA dugout as he rounded first, only to settle for a triple. He was named the Futures Game MVP.

Video: WLD@USA: Trammell clubs HR, wins Futures Game MVP

ROCKIES
Brendan Rodgers, SS, COL No. 1 | MLB No. 6
Rodgers roped a Statcast-projected 108.7-mph double into the left-center-field gap with two outs and in a full count, then scored during the ensuing at-bat by Lowe to put Team USA on board first. Rodgers chased an outside curveball from Mata in his second at-bat during the third inning for a strikeout.

Jesus Tinoco, RHP, COL No. 12
Tinoco induced a groundout to Double-A Hartford teammate Rodgers as part of a three-up, three-down, nine-pitch outing after entering in the bottom of the fourth. He began the day by retiring Bichette with a flyout to right.

ROYALS
Seuly Matias, OF, KC No. 3
Matias got the World Team on the board with a 100.7-mph solo homer off Yankees lefty Sheffield, then followed up with a single in the fifth to round out a 2-for-3 day.

Video: WLD@USA: Matias puts the World on the board with a HR

TIGERS
Matt Manning, RHP, DET No. 2 | MLB No. 47
Manning gave up two earned runs on four hits, including a homer to Diaz, while working the fourth and fifth innings. His fastball averaged 94.1 mph, and he complemented it with good variance on his curveball, which hovered in the high-70s.

Video: WLD@USA: Manning strikes out Urias in the 5th inning

Dawel Lugo, 2B, DET No. 12
Acquired last summer as part of the J.D. Martinez deal, Detroit's talented infielder scored a run and went 1-for-2 with a single off Sheffield.

TWINS 
Alex Kirilloff, OF, MIN No. 3 | MLB No. 67
Minnesota's top outfield prospect lined two singles -- one to left field and the other to right-center -- as part of a 2-for-3 day with a run scored. His second single came off Lewis Thorpe, his fellow up-and-comer in the Twins system.

Lewis Thorpe, LHP, MIN No. 11
Thorpe struggled to keep the ball in the park during his fourth-inning stint, surrendering homers to Jansen and Hayes as part of three hits and a walk surrendered in just two-thirds of an inning.

Video: WLD@USA: Thorpe K's Hiura swinging in the 4th inning

WHITE SOX
Dylan Cease, RHP, CWS No. 4 | MLB No. 40
Entering in the top of the ninth, Cease induced a groundout from Leodys Taveras then got Tatis to fly out to right before paving way for Ortiz's victory-sealing groundout.

Video: WLD@USA: Basabe homers off 102-mph pitch from Greene

Luis Alexander Basabe, OF, CWS No. 13
One of the most impressive plays of the entire game came in the top of the third, when Basabe timed Greene's 102.3-mph fastball and muscled it out for a 404-foot home run.

Tweet from @darenw: Luis Alexander Basabe just turned on a 102.3 MPH fastball for a home run... Would be fastest pitch in @mlb hit for a HR since Rafael Devers took Chapman deep last season on a 102.8 MPH pitch.

Basabe also nabbed a runner at second base with an accurate first-inning throw from center field.

YANKEES
Justus Sheffield, LHP, NYY No. 2 | MLB No. 39
Sheffield gave up a second-inning homer to Matias that tied the game at 1. Sheffield was also credited for another earned run for allowing his final batter, Lugo, reach on a single. Lugo then scored on Basabe's homer off Greene.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. MLB.com's Matt Kelly contributed to this story.

Hinch names rotation after All-Star break

Astros skipper excited for Midsummer Classic; Crane, players to attend ESPY Awards
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- On Sunday, Astros manager AJ Hinch set his pitching rotation out of the All-Star break. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will open the second half of the season on Friday in Anaheim against the Angels, with Justin Verlander pitching Saturday and Lance McCullers Jr. on Sunday.

Following an off-day, the Astros will send a pair of All-Stars to the mound to face the Rockies with Gerrit Cole starting July 24 and Charlie Morton on July 25 at Coors Field in Denver.

View Full Game Coverage

HOUSTON -- On Sunday, Astros manager AJ Hinch set his pitching rotation out of the All-Star break. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will open the second half of the season on Friday in Anaheim against the Angels, with Justin Verlander pitching Saturday and Lance McCullers Jr. on Sunday.

Following an off-day, the Astros will send a pair of All-Stars to the mound to face the Rockies with Gerrit Cole starting July 24 and Charlie Morton on July 25 at Coors Field in Denver.

View Full Game Coverage

"There's a lot of thought that goes into setting the rotation," Hinch said. "Some of it's rest, some of it is matchups, some of it is the addition of Charlie Morton to the All-Star Game. That changed a game or two I was going to use him. You know, keeping [Verlander] on somewhat normal rest, but not too prolonged a rest, which is something he's accustomed to his career, [was a factor]. We play in a National League ballpark on the second part of that road trip. Little bits of pieces of a lot of different things."

The Astros have five off-days in August, which will mean some of the starters could go six days between starts during the month, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"Every team has this new schedule of five or six days off in one month," Hinch said. "Ours happens to come in August, which is pretty much where I would draw it up if I had to choose myself. You don't really want that kind of rest in April and May. July, we get the natural off-days with the All-Star break. August is a picture-perfect time for our position players and our pitchers to play five or six games a row at a time until the end of the month."

Hinch excited for All-Star Game
Hinch, who's managing the American League in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, said he's looking forward to standing up before the American League All-Stars when they convene on Monday in Washington and addressing them as a group. Hinch will have six of his own players in the room: Jose Altuve, Verlander, Cole, Alex Bregman, Morton and George Springer.

"It will be fun to stand up in front of that team tomorrow before our workout and just have that collection of talent, that moment, that five- or 10-minute meeting to show some appreciation for the names in that room, the performances in that room and tell a few stories of how a lot of guys got there," Hinch said. "There's not a lot of prep work, there's not a lot of strategy and grinding and getting ready like I normally would for a game. In-game stuff will be pretty cool to see when you're in the dugout with a lot of people you don't normally get to be in the dugout with."

Video: AJ Hinch discusses managing the AL All-Star Team

Following Sunday's game against the Tigers, Hinch will fly with his family to Washington on a charter filled with Astros, including the six All-Stars and their families, his entire coaching staff and several members of the front office and other team employees.

Correa to continue rehab
Astros shortstop Carlos Correa will remain in Houston during the All-Star break and continue his rehab from a sore back. Correa, who started at shortstop for the AL in the All-Star Game a year ago, has been on the disabled list since June 26 with lower back soreness. Hinch said Sunday there are no plans yet to get him out on a Minor League rehab assignment.

"We still don't have a plan for him," Hinch said. "He's not doing anything aggressively on the field that would warrant a plan in place to send him out. We're going to send him out as soon as we can. It's a slow process right now."

Crane, players to attend ESPY Awards
Astros owner Jim Crane will represent the team at ESPN's ESPY Awards on Wednesday in Los Angeles, along with Keuchel, Altuve, Springer and Bregman. The Astros open the second half of the season Friday in nearby Anaheim.

The Astros are up for five awards: Altuve for Best Male Athlete, Springer for Best Championship Performance, Game 5 of the Astros' World Series win over the Dodgers is nominated for Best Game, the 2017 Astros are up for Best Team and Altuve for Best MLB Player.

"This will be my first time," Keuchel said. "I've watched it the last handful of years and it's a cool event for the athletes to remember what happened the last year in sports and individual accomplishments and team accomplishments. It's cool for guys to be recognized."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros

Verlander K's 12 Tigers but allows 4 homers

Right-hander goes 6 innings in first start vs. former club
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- Justin Verlander's first start against his former team will be remembered more for the career-high-tying four homers he allowed on Sunday at Minute Maid Park than the flashes of brilliance he showed while striking out 12 batters.

Verlander, traded to the Astros last August after nearly 13 seasons with the Tigers, gave up homers to John Hicks in the second inning, Jeimer Candelario in the fifth inning and Niko Goodrum and Jim Adduci in the sixth in Houston's 6-3 loss. The right-hander lost his third consecutive decision.

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HOUSTON -- Justin Verlander's first start against his former team will be remembered more for the career-high-tying four homers he allowed on Sunday at Minute Maid Park than the flashes of brilliance he showed while striking out 12 batters.

Verlander, traded to the Astros last August after nearly 13 seasons with the Tigers, gave up homers to John Hicks in the second inning, Jeimer Candelario in the fifth inning and Niko Goodrum and Jim Adduci in the sixth in Houston's 6-3 loss. The right-hander lost his third consecutive decision.

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"You know, it was just an interesting day," said Verlander, who went 0-3 with a 4.10 ERA in his final five starts starts prior to the break. "I had great stuff. It seemed like any time I made mistake they were on it in any capacity, and if I didn't, I struck them out. Like I said, one of the weirdest games of my career."

The Astros hit the All-Star break with a 64-35 record, winning 27 of their final 37 games to grow their lead in the American League West. On Sunday, they were held to four hits and managed a run on a double-play grounder, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Yuli Gurriel.

Video: DET@HOU: Gurriel's sacrifice fly brings home Bregman

"It was an off day for us," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "I think that our at-bats were OK. Here and there, we put up pretty good at-bats. It was a quiet day and quiet days aren't our norm, but it kind of fell on the wrong day."

Verlander (9-5) lasted six innings, allowing six runs (five earned) -- his most runs allowed with Houston -- without issuing a walk. He struck out the side in the first and fourth innings but couldn't stay away from the long ball. It's the third time in his career he's allowed four homers in a game. The other two times were against Cleveland -- in 2016 and '17.

"I went back and looked at some of the pitches," Verlander said. "The one to Hicks wasn't as bad as I thought. It stayed a little up and it still got away from him and he was able to get the barrel to it. The one to Goodrum stayed up and that was an expected result. Aducci, decent pitch, just wanted to get something up in the zone."

Video: DET@HOU: Verlander K's Castellanos and the side

As far as facing his former club, Verlander said he woke up uncharacteristically early Sunday, but he said it was pretty much like any other start.

"Once you cross the white lines, it's business as usual," Verlander said. "It's not like they have the same lineup. There's a lot of different guys I didn't really know in there. Definitely weird."

The double-digit strikeout game was the 47th of Verlander's career, and with 12 strikeouts he moved past Hall of Famers Bob Feller and Warren Spahn and into 26th place on the all-time K's list with 2,588. On the list at No. 25 is another Hall of Famer, Tom Glavine with 2,607.

SOUND SMART
Verlander is the fifth pitcher in Major League history to strike out at least 12 batters in a game and allow at least four home runs, joining Colby Lewis (2012), Curt Schilling (1997), Art Mahaffey ('62) and Bill Werle ('50).

Video: DET@HOU: Verlander K's Jones to start the game

HE SAID IT
"I'm not going to let this leave a bitter taste in my mouth. You look at the big picture, not the result I wanted today, but I'm healthy and feel good and the stuff is there. The first half was about as good as I could have drawn it up." -- Verlander

Video: DET@HOU: Verlander fans Rodriguez for his 10th K

UP NEXT
Dallas Keuchel will get the first start for the Astros post-All-Star break when they start a three-game series against the Angels in Anaheim at 9:07 p.m. CT on Friday. Keuchel is 4-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his last six starts.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Justin Verlander

Homers punctuate Astros' rout, Cole's 10th win

Reddick, Gattis hit consecutive HRs before White adds 2-run blast
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- The Astros were pushing the tempo early in the game, going from first to third base on hits and turning bloopers into doubles. Before Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer knew what hit him, the Astros had built a five-run lead after three innings.

It wasn't until later in the game when the Astros really flexed their muscles, with Josh Reddick and Evan Gattis swatting back-to-back homers in the fifth and Tyler White hitting a two-run blast in the seventh to send Houston to a 9-1 win over the Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

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HOUSTON -- The Astros were pushing the tempo early in the game, going from first to third base on hits and turning bloopers into doubles. Before Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer knew what hit him, the Astros had built a five-run lead after three innings.

It wasn't until later in the game when the Astros really flexed their muscles, with Josh Reddick and Evan Gattis swatting back-to-back homers in the fifth and Tyler White hitting a two-run blast in the seventh to send Houston to a 9-1 win over the Tigers on Saturday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

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"We talked going into this series, we wanted to put pressure on them like we do every series," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "But when we get going like that, we keep coming at you and it changes the whole psyche of the pitcher. He's got to speed up a little bit, do a little bit extra, and if he makes a mistake, we hit the ball out of the ballpark. Really a complete offense."

Video: DET@HOU: Springer smacks an RBI double to left field

All-Star starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (10-2) joined teammates Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. as double-digit game winners by allowing one run in 5 2/3 innings, striking out eight and walking four. He was one out away from throwing six scoreless innings before giving up a two-out double by James McCann that drove in Detroit's first run of the series.

"It was a good outing for him," Hinch said. "He had to push a little bit. He pushed his pitch count up a little bit higher than he wanted. We had a thin bullpen again today. It was big for him to get a couple of outs into the sixth."

Video: DET@HOU: Cole strikes out 8, records 10th win of year

Cole, who threw 107 pitches three days ahead of a possible appearance in the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard (Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. CT on FOX), was activated from the bereavement list prior to Saturday's game after missing three games following the death of his grandmother.

"It was tough to keep the emotions in check at times, trying to control things that are out of my control," Cole said. "I'm thankful we put up a bunch of runs and gave us some cushion and all in all played a good game."

Video: DET@HOU: Bregman plates Federowicz with a single

Yuli Gurriel's sac fly and Reddick's bloop double in the first put the Astros ahead, 2-0, and an RBI double by George Springer and single by Alex Bregman made it 4-0. Marwin Gonzalez stretched the lead to 5-0 with a bloop single in the third.

Video: DET@HOU: Gonzalez plates Gurriel on a single to left

Reddick and Gattis hit back-to-back homers in the fifth to chase Fulmer and push the lead to 7-0. All but one Astros starter had at least one hit, with Reddick and Springer going 2-for-4.

"Our guys see the All-Star break right out in front of us, so there's a little bit of a rush to put up numbers, to get that last hit, that last homer," Hinch said. "We still have another game left. Guys are so proud of the first half that we're having as a team. They're proud of a lot of guys. Evan Gattis, with the way his year started, to the way his first half is finishing, you look up on the board and he has 19 homers now. That's a good first half for him."

Video: DET@HOU: Hinch on the Astros' offensive breakout

SOUND SMART
The Astros have three pitchers with at least 10 wins prior to the All-Star break for the second time in franchise history. Jose Lima, Mike Hampton and Shane Reynolds did it in 1999.

Video: DET@HOU: Hinch, Cole, Reddick on homers, 9-1 victory

HE SAID IT
"I'm just happy to have some RBIs today. Yuli usually takes them all from me. I gave him a hard time about it, because it's usually him driving them all in and left me with nothing. It was actually nice to have some guys on base and actually come through and get the job done today with the bloop and the homer." -- Reddick

Video: DET@HOU: Reddick laces an RBI double to right field

UP NEXT
All-Star right-hander Justin Verlander (9-4, 2.05 ERA) will make his first start against his former team when the Astros close out the first half of the season against the Tigers at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Verlander won 183 games in 13 years for the Tigers, who traded him to Houston on Aug. 31. Former Astros right-hander Francisco Liriano (3-5, 4.74 ERA) will start for Detroit after receiving his World Series ring from the Astros on Saturday.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Gerrit Cole, Evan Gattis, Josh Reddick

Fiers, Liriano receive WS rings in Houston

Righty led Astros in IP in 2017; lefty pitched in 5 postseason games
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- Tigers starting pitchers Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano received 2017 World Series rings for their contributions to the Astros' championship last season prior to Saturday's game at Minute Maid Park.

Fiers led the Astros in innings pitched in 2017, with 153 1/3 in 28 starts (29 games), but he did not pitch in the postseason. Liriano, whom the Astros acquired from the Blue Jays at the non-waiver Trade Deadline as a reliever last July, appeared in five postseason games last fall.

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HOUSTON -- Tigers starting pitchers Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano received 2017 World Series rings for their contributions to the Astros' championship last season prior to Saturday's game at Minute Maid Park.

Fiers led the Astros in innings pitched in 2017, with 153 1/3 in 28 starts (29 games), but he did not pitch in the postseason. Liriano, whom the Astros acquired from the Blue Jays at the non-waiver Trade Deadline as a reliever last July, appeared in five postseason games last fall.

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"It's an unbelievable moment," Liriano said before the event. "I'm very happy and looking forward to getting it today. Ready to see it."

Fiers started in Friday's 3-0 series-opening loss to the Astros. An Astros pitcher for parts of 2015-17 before becoming a free agent in December and signing with Detroit, Fiers surrendered three runs on nine hits to his former club over six innings.

Video: DET@HOU: Fiers fans Gonzalez to start the bottom 2nd

After punctuating his short Astros career with a ring Saturday, Liriano is scheduled to complete this weekend's three-game series at Houston with his 15th start of this season Sunday at Minute Maid.

"I'm sure they both are very anxious," said Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire. "It's a big deal. It's a big deal when you get to that World Series and win it. I was fortunate enough to do it once early in Minnesota as a coach. These guys have been waiting for this. It's an exciting thing. They were a part of a really special team. They're pretty fired up."

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

Detroit Tigers, Mike Fiers, Francisco Liriano

Justin Verlander and Kate Upton are going to have their first baby

When an announcement is important, you don't have to dress it up in a ton of verbiage or pomp and circumstance. The news itself says all that needs to be said.

That was certainly the case on Saturday morning when Kate Upton posted a photo on Instagram with a simple caption: "#PregnantinMiami @justinverlander." Justin Verlander and Upton are ready to welcome their first child into the world:

Keuchel stays hot as Astros shut out Tigers

Bregman homers as southpaw wins fourth straight decision
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel didn't make the American League All-Star team, but hitting the break with a full head of steam isn't a bad consolation prize.

Keuchel continued his resurgence by throwing six frames, while Alex Bregman smacked a two-run homer in the first inning to send the Astros to a 3-0 win over the Tigers on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

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HOUSTON -- Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel didn't make the American League All-Star team, but hitting the break with a full head of steam isn't a bad consolation prize.

Keuchel continued his resurgence by throwing six frames, while Alex Bregman smacked a two-run homer in the first inning to send the Astros to a 3-0 win over the Tigers on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

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"It's really nice," Keuchel said. "August and September is the grind, because you can see the finish line, but it's nice to finish off technically the first half on a high note, for sure."

Keuchel (7-8) won his fourth consecutive decision and third consecutive start by holding the Tigers to six singles while throwing 98 pitches. The lefty improved to 4-0 with a 2.17 ERA in six starts since June 16. He's allowed no earned runs in six innings in three of his last six starts.

"I think he's Dallas Keuchel," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "I think he's really good. I think he's found his timing, his rhythm, his pitches. His changeup usage has been excellent. He controls contact. … Let's not forget he's Dallas Keuchel and he's really good."

Video: DET@HOU: Hinch on Keuchel's outing, Bregman's night

Bregman socked his 12th homer in his past 27 games when he took former teammate Mike Fiers deep in the first inning for his 20th homer of the season after George Springer led off the game with an infield hit. Fiers, who led the Astros in innings pitched last year, was making his first start against his former team.

"Springer did a great job getting on base, and when you get a leadoff guy on like that, it puts the pressure on the pitcher," Bregman said. "I was fortunate enough to get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it."

• Bregman sets career high with 20th homer

Video: DET@HOU: Bregman crushes his 20th homer of the season

The Astros strung three consecutive singles to start the third, with Yuli Gurriel driving in Bregman for a 3-0 lead. Fiers (6-6) sent down 11 of the next 13 batters he faced to deliver a quality start for the Tigers.

"You get the lead and you can throw the first pitch, that's a good way to get to somebody who is pitching well is be first," Hinch said. "We did that, obviously. George leads the game off with a hit, Bregman hits a homer and before you know it, it's 2-0. We hit the ball pretty well. We also found some holes and continue to put some pressure on him to make pitches."

Video: DET@HOU: Astros turn two to end the top of the 5th

Tony Sipp, Brad Peacock and Hector Rondon each threw a scoreless inning to finish off the Astros' ninth shutout, which ties for the AL lead and matches their regular-season total from last season.

"I've just been fortunate to make quality pitches early," Keuchel said. "That's been a focus of mine, trying to attack the guys instead of trying to be perfect every single pitch. I"ve been riding that. I'd like to have still get some more fastballs for strikes early in the count … but with the changeup, it's provided me another quality pitch to offset the guys in what they want to do the other way."

Video: DET@HOU: Keuchel fans Hicks, strands 2 runners

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Keuchel's escape: The Tigers loaded the bases in the sixth against Keuchel on a pair of singles and a walk. The southpaw got Mikie Mahtook to pop out to first base before getting Victor Martinez to hit into a sharp fielder's choice up the middle of the field to end his outing and keep the Tigers scoreless.

"With Victor, I got ahead 0-2, but three uncompetitive pitches there really forced my hand, 3-2, and I was lucky enough to make a good pitch 3-2 with the fastball down and in," Keuchel said. "He's a great hitter and I put myself in a bad situation, but luckily I got out of it."

Video: DET@HOU: Altuve retires McCann on fielder's choice

SOUND SMART
Jose Altuve (2-for-4) has hits in 21 consecutive starts at Minute Maid Park, which is the longest streak of his career and the longest by an Astros player at the ballpark.

HE SAID IT
"It's fun to play defense behind him and how he's getting swings and misses and getting ground balls like he does." -- Bregman on Keuchel

Video: DET@HOU: Keuchel, Bregman on Astros 3-0 win vs Tigers

UP NEXT
Right-hander Gerrit Cole (9-2, 2.57 ERA) has one more chance to extend his club record of 169 strikeouts prior to the All-Star break when he starts Saturday's 3:10 p.m CT game against the Tigers at Minute Maid Park. Cole comes off the bereavement list to replace outfielder Jake Marisnick, who was optioned to Triple-A Fresno after Friday's game. Former Astro Francisco Liriano (3-5, 4.74 ERA) will start for Detroit.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Dallas Keuchel

Bregman sets HR career high ahead of Derby

Astros third baseman takes over club RBI lead with two-run shot off Fiers
MLB.com

HOUSTON -- Alex Bregman continues to be in Home Run Derby form.

Bregman clubbed his career-high 20th homer of the season in the first inning of Friday's game against the Tigers, taking former Astros teammates Mike Fiers deep to left-center field, to lead the Astros to a 3-0 win Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

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HOUSTON -- Alex Bregman continues to be in Home Run Derby form.

Bregman clubbed his career-high 20th homer of the season in the first inning of Friday's game against the Tigers, taking former Astros teammates Mike Fiers deep to left-center field, to lead the Astros to a 3-0 win Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

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Bregman is hitting .321 with 15 homers and 40 RBIS in his last 38 games, including 12 homers in his past 27 games and seven in his last 12.

"I've been just getting an approach and sticking to it and trying to get a good pitch to hit," Bregman said.

The All-Star, who will participate in Monday's T-Mobile Home Run Derby prior to representing the club in Tuesday's All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, now leads the Astros in homers (20), doubles (30), RBIs (63), total bases (197) and OPS (.923).

• Bregman named to Home Run Derby

"His at-bat quality -- I've said this before -- has grown and he's maturing and getting better and he understands what he's looking for," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "When he has two strikes [in the first inning Friday], he has two wasteful pitches below the zone and he doesn't offer at it. He gets himself a good pitch to hit and does damage. His at-bat quality along with his extra-base hits, he's incredibly locked into the strike zone right now."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Alex Bregman