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Yanks clinch WC berth on walk-off win in 11th

MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- One year after their run ended a victory shy of advancing to the World Series, the Yankees are officially back in the postseason for another crack at the title. Aaron Hicks lifted New York to a 3-2 victory over the Orioles in 11 innings on Saturday at Yankee Stadium, punching a ticket for the American League Wild Card Game and freeing the club to pop corks in celebration.

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View Full Game Coverage NEW YORK -- One year after their run ended a victory shy of advancing to the World Series, the Yankees are officially back in the postseason for another crack at the title. Aaron Hicks lifted New York to a 3-2 victory over the Orioles in 11 innings on Saturday at Yankee Stadium, punching a ticket for the American League Wild Card Game and freeing the club to pop corks in celebration.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Lance Lynn, Luke Voit

Braves capture first NL East title since 2013

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman knew this year would be different than any of the previous four, but he certainly didn't have a feel for the tremendous satisfaction he and his Braves teammates would actually feel six months after he exited Spring Training wondering, "Why not us?"

Nearly 30 years after creating the improbable worst-to-first 1991 season, the Braves staged yet another unexpected celebration after clinching the National League East with Saturday afternoon's 5-3 win over the Phillies at SunTrust Park. The champagne shower proved to be extra sweet for Freeman, Nick Markakis and manager Brian Snitker, who all experienced the painful portion of the massive rebuild that began four years ago.

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ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman knew this year would be different than any of the previous four, but he certainly didn't have a feel for the tremendous satisfaction he and his Braves teammates would actually feel six months after he exited Spring Training wondering, "Why not us?"

Nearly 30 years after creating the improbable worst-to-first 1991 season, the Braves staged yet another unexpected celebration after clinching the National League East with Saturday afternoon's 5-3 win over the Phillies at SunTrust Park. The champagne shower proved to be extra sweet for Freeman, Nick Markakis and manager Brian Snitker, who all experienced the painful portion of the massive rebuild that began four years ago.

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Get new Braves postseason gear

"This group of guys [has] been relentless throughout the whole year," Markakis said. "It showed, and it paid off. I couldn't be more proud of these guys. It's an honor to be a part of this team and go out there and grind every day with these guys."

Video: PHI@ATL: Freeman plates a pair with single to center

Coming off four consecutive losing seasons, the Braves are division champs for the first time since 2013 and the second time since '05. They sat at the top of the division standings for much of the season's first half, stumbled in July and then regained sole possession of first place for good on Aug. 13. They had lost 14 of their past 18 home games before delivering the dagger by winning each of the first three games of this four-game set against the second-place Phillies.

"You sit back sometimes and wonder what this is going to feel like," Snitker said. "When I was here as a third-base coach and we won the division or the Wild Card, it was great. You wonder as a manager how it would feel, and it's even better than I had anticipated."

10 defining moments of the Braves' 2018 season

When Snitker replaced Fredi Gonzalez as Atlanta's manager a little more than a month into the 2016 season, he was viewed as the loyal organizational coach who would likely be re-assigned by the end of the season. A little more than two years later, he's a National League Manager of the Year candidate thanks to the ascension of players like Mike Foltynewicz, who is heading toward the playoffs looking like a legit front-line starter.

Standing as the most significant acquisition made within the first year of the rebuild, Foltynewicz fittingly took control during this clinching game and provided a performance that conjured memories of former Braves pitcher John Smoltz, the Hall of Famer who served as FOX Sports' analyst during Saturday's game.

"It was very different knowing what's at stake, but at the same time you can't get overhyped, like I tended to do in the past with bigger games," Foltynewicz said. "To be able to do it in front of our home crowd was pretty special."

Video: PHI@ATL: Folty takes no-no into 7th in East clincher

Foltynewicz held the Phillies hitless until Odubel Herrera singled to begin the seventh inning and did not allow a baserunner to advance to second base until Maikel Franco singled and Pedro Florimon walked with one out in the eighth. Jesse Biddle entered and promptly walked Jose Bautista before allowing Cesar Hernandez's two-run single.

"I thought [Foltynewicz] was going to go all the way," Snitker said. "His pitch count was so low. It was unbelievable how efficient and how good he was in arguably our biggest game of the year."

Video: PHI@ATL: Foltynewicz discusses making the postseason

After Rhys Hoskins cut the Braves' lead to one run with a single against Brad Brach, the Braves responded much like they did two weeks ago, when they blew a six-run eighth-inning lead in a loss to the Red Sox and then proceeded to win seven of their next eight games.

Jonny Venters prevented further damage as he retired the only two batters he faced in the eighth and extended the splendor of a season he never expected to experience. His season debut for the Rays marked the first time he had pitched in a Major League game since coming out of the Braves' bullpen during the 2012 Wild Card Game -- the final game of Chipper Jones' career.

Video: How They Got There: Atlanta Braves

A late-July trade brought him back to Atlanta and provided him this chance to be a key figure for this group of overachieving underdogs.

"It's pretty special to do it with these guys," Venters said. "We knew we had something special since day one. But to be able to do it and pull it out, it's pretty special."

As he has so often done since giving the Braves no choice but to keep him as their starting third baseman, Johan Camargo made some key contributions in this clincher. He made an incredible diving grab in the fifth inning and provided a two-run, first-inning single against Jake Arrieta, who walked three in the first and allowed Freeman's two-run single before exiting after just two innings.

Video: PHI@ATL: Camargo plates 2 to give Braves early lead

"When I walked in the clubhouse after the first few days of Spring Training, you could tell we had the talent," Freeman said. "We still had to wait for a few guys to get here. They got here and they made a huge impact. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies. They're 20 and 21 years old. They get to walk into winning. That's awesome. Hopefully, we can continue it for a long time."

Video: PHI@ATL: Freeman on going back to the postseason

RARE COMPANY
Acuna made his presence felt when he ran down Aaron Altherr's long drive against Venters in the eighth. But the 20-year-old phenom truly provided a spark when he walked and stole second base in the first inning. He joined Alex Rodriguez, Orlando Cepeda and Mike Trout as the only players in Major League history to record at least 25 homers and 15 stolen bases in their age-20 season or younger.

Video: PHI@ATL: Acuna Jr. swipes his 15th base of the season

WOW!
Camargo preserved Foltynewicz's no-hit bid and produced one of the finest catches you'll see from a third baseman when he dove to grab Maikel Franco's 105.7-mph liner in the fifth inning. The play conjured memories of one Martin Prado made for the Braves near the end of the 2010 season. Unfortunately for Prado, that proved to be a season-ending play, as he tore his oblique muscle and suffered a hip pointer.

"That's what this group did all year," Braves bench coach Walt Weiss said. "Guys made plays. Camargo, in particular, I'm so proud of him because I'm sure he heard the whispers about third base all year, and all he did at third base all year was get better and better and better. Now, he's a helluva player. I think it's great he ends up making a huge play to help us clinch."

Video: PHI@ATL: Camargo robs Franco with superb leaping grab

HE SAID IT
"I probably haven't even felt half the emotions I have until I sit down and reflect. It's really true. We really did it." -- Snitker

"I love these guys. I love this place. I love this team, and I love this city. It's amazing. It's such a blessing to be here." -- Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson, an Atlanta native

UP NEXT
Anibal Sanchez will take the mound when the Braves and Phillies conclude their four-game series Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET at SunTrust Park. Sanchez will be starting on regular rest and looking to build on the strong outing he produced when he struck out nine Cardinals batters on Tuesday. The veteran has a 3.02 ERA over his past nine starts. Philadelphia will counter with National League Cy Young Award candidate Aaron Nola.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Mike Foltynewicz, Ronald Acuna Jr.

Cards' WC hopes helped by O'Neill's HR in 10th

St. Louis takes 2-game lead over Rockies for 2nd Wild Card
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

ST. LOUIS -- The sudden chill that swept over downtown St. Louis gave Saturday's matinee an October vibe. It also reminded Tyler O'Neill of home. Which is why the Canada native, already soaked after his walk-off home run sent the Cardinals to a 5-4, 10-inning win over the Giants, asked for more than the traditional water-cooler shower.

"I made sure they drenched some ice on me," O'Neill said. "I like the cold weather."

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ST. LOUIS -- The sudden chill that swept over downtown St. Louis gave Saturday's matinee an October vibe. It also reminded Tyler O'Neill of home. Which is why the Canada native, already soaked after his walk-off home run sent the Cardinals to a 5-4, 10-inning win over the Giants, asked for more than the traditional water-cooler shower.

"I made sure they drenched some ice on me," O'Neill said. "I like the cold weather."

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Bare-chested on the Busch Stadium grass, O'Neill struck a heroic pose. His theatrics capped a game his manager called a "vintage" day, salvaging what might have been Adam Wainwright's final start in St. Louis and allowing the Cardinals to keep pace in the crowded NL postseason picture, moving them two games up on the Rockies for the second Wild Card spot, pending the Rockies' late game Saturday. St. Louis has now won five of its last six games, and will go for a sweep Sunday ahead of two all-important series with the Brewers and Cubs.

"I've had some walk-offs in the Minors," O'Neill said. "But nothing compares to being in a pennant race."

On the opposite side of the Cardinals clubhouse, Wainwright grinned. He's one of the few in St. Louis' youth-infused locker room who's been here before. And now, after spending much of the season injured and inactive, he's re-emerged as a big reason, with seven games to play, the Cards once again have October squarely in their sights.

Video: SF@STL: Wainwright strikes out Longoria swinging

"To be in the moment here in September is really special," Wainwright said. "I'm glad some of our young guys are playing meaningful games. We haven't played in the postseason in a few years, it's about time we do that again."

Wainwright is so focused on the team's postseason fortunes that the idea of Saturday marking the 37-year-old's final start in St. Louis "barely weighed on me at all," he said. It remains a very real possibility, with his next start set for the season's final weekend in Chicago and Wainwright's contract up at the end of the year. But after Wainwright spent six more innings largely silencing an opponent -- he ended up allowing four earned runs after a barrage of bad luck soured his line -- those unknowns drifted even further from the periphery.

"I don't think Waino or this team feels like that might have been his last start at Busch," manager Mike Shildt said. 'I'd love to see him in the playoffs, pitching at Busch."

And perhaps he will. That's certainly more likely now, after Wainwright, Yadier Molina and O'Neill dragged the Cardinals past a season-high four errors, and Carlos Martinez set the stage for their 11th walk-off win. Wainwright was dominant until two errors and three bloop singles gave the Giants a lead in the seventh, one Molina immediately nullified with a game-tying, two-run homer off Dereck Rodriguez in the bottom of the frame.

Video: SF@STL: Molina crushes a game-tying, 2-run HR in 7th

"Vintage is a good word for that," Shildt said of Molina and Wainwright, the longest-tenured teammates in Major League Baseball.

After Dakota Hudson (1 2/3 scoreless) pushed the Cardinals past regulation, two more miscues -- on one misplay by Matt Carpenter -- put Martinez in a bases-loaded jam in the 10th. But Martinez, pitching for the fourth time in six games, struck out Alen Hanson and Austin Slater to end the threat. That set up O'Neill, who sent a 2-2 curveball from Mark Melancon 410 feet over the left-field wall. The blast lifted St. Louis to its 11th walk-off win of the year and ignited the paid crowd of 45,878 at Busch.

"It's definitely leading up to a postseason atmosphere," O'Neill said. "Finishing it off for the guys was a great feeling."

SOUND SMART
• Molina's home run was the 145th of his career, passing his brother, Bengie, for the most in the Molina family.

• Of the eight hits Wainwright allowed, none of them exceeded the 95 mph exit velocity threshold Statcast™ deems "hard-hit." Said Wainwright, who has stuck out 18 in 17 1/3 innings since returning from the DL: "That's probably the softest four runs I've ever given up. That was incredible."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Martinez would not have wiggled out of the ninth without help from Yairo Munoz, who, in place of injured Kolten Wong, made a Wong-like play at second base to take a hit away from Gregor Blanco. Munoz charged Blanco's soft grounder and threw from the ground to record the second out of the inning.

Video: Munoz's nice flip play

HE SAID IT
"I don't want to get into that. That's an HR [Human Resources] issue." -- Shildt, on O'Neill's teammates ripping his shirt off postgame

UP NEXT
Miles Mikolas (16-4, 3.01 ERA) has a chance to pitch himself into a tie for the National League lead in wins with a victory Sunday, when the right-hander takes the ball for the finale of St. Louis' three-game set with San Francisco. Doing so would only add to the list of accomplishments for Mikolas, who also leads the league in walk-rate in his first season back from Japan. Lefty Andrew Suarez (7-11, 4.24) opposes for the Giants, with first pitch slated for 1:15 p.m. CT from Busch Stadium.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals

Indians 1st team with 4 starters to have 200 K's

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- The Progressive Field crowd rose to its feet and Mike Clevinger paused for a moment behind the mound, collecting himself amidst a standing ovation in the second inning on Saturday night. With a strikeout of Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr., Clevinger put the 2018 Indians into the record books.

Clevinger's called strikeout of Bradley marked the 200th punchout of the season for the Indians' starter, making Cleveland the only team in Major League history to have four pitchers reach that milestone in the same campaign. Clevinger joined ace Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer in the 200-K club.

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CLEVELAND -- The Progressive Field crowd rose to its feet and Mike Clevinger paused for a moment behind the mound, collecting himself amidst a standing ovation in the second inning on Saturday night. With a strikeout of Boston's Jackie Bradley Jr., Clevinger put the 2018 Indians into the record books.

Clevinger's called strikeout of Bradley marked the 200th punchout of the season for the Indians' starter, making Cleveland the only team in Major League history to have four pitchers reach that milestone in the same campaign. Clevinger joined ace Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer in the 200-K club.

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The 2013 Tigers (Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander), 1969 Astros (Larry Dierker, Tom Griffin and Don Wilson) and the '67 Twins (Dave Boswell, Dean Chance and Jim Kaat) were the only previous teams to have three pitchers reach 200 strikeouts in the same season. The 2017 Indians came close, but Bauer (196 strikeouts) fell just short of joining Kluber (265) and Carrasco (226).

The Astros currently have two pitchers (Gerrit Cole and Verlander) in the 200-K club, with Charlie Morton (195) on the cusp of reaching the benchmark, too. Morton is slated to start against the Angels on Sunday.

This is the second season in a row that Cleveland's pitchers have made history. Last year, the Indians' staff as a whole set a single-season record for WAR (31.9 per Fangraphs) and become the only team in MLB history to average more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings. This year's Astros (10.5 K/9) are on pace to surpass the 2017 Tribe (10.1) in that category.

Heading into Saturday, the Indians' rotation led the Majors in WAR (21.6), with Bauer (tied for second at 6.0), Carrasco (fifth at 5.0), Kluber (sixth at 4.9) and Clevinger (seventh at 4.3) all in the top 10 in the American League. Bauer (12-6, 2.21 ERA and 217 strikeouts) and Kluber (19-7, 2.93 ERA and 205 strikeouts) are in the conversation for the AL Cy Young Award, with Carrasco (16-9, 3.35 ERA and 217 strikeouts) right behind them.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Mike Clevinger

Injury updates: Correa, Paxton, Cain, Belt

MLB.com

Here's a roundup of the latest injury news across the Majors.

Carlos Correa, Astros
Correa, who won't play in this weekend's series against the Angels. was subdued on his 24th birthday on Saturday, expressing his desire to finally get his back issue solved and hopefully return to the lineup soon for the final seven games of the regular season.

Here's a roundup of the latest injury news across the Majors.

Carlos Correa, Astros
Correa, who won't play in this weekend's series against the Angels. was subdued on his 24th birthday on Saturday, expressing his desire to finally get his back issue solved and hopefully return to the lineup soon for the final seven games of the regular season.

"I'm trying to get better, healthy," Correa said. "My back just got tied up again and I want to make sure I'm ready to go for the playoffs." More > 

James Paxton and Felix Hernandez, Mariners
Paxton threw a bullpen session prior to Friday's game and if he shows no lingering issues from last week's bout with pneumonia, will return to the rotation either Monday or Tuesday against the A's and could start twice in the final seven-game homestand.

Hernandez, who has been sidelined since Sept. 8 with a tight right hamstring, rejoined the team in Texas and played flat-ground catch on Friday. He was expected to throw a bullpen on Saturday to see if he's OK to get one final start this season later next week. More > 

Lorenzo Cain, Brewers
Cain was not in the Brewers' lineup Saturday for third consecutive game after leaving Tuesday's game with an intercostal strain in his rib cage. He remains day to day, as the Brewers are being conservative with his return. More > 

Video: Craig Counsell provides an update on Cain's injury

Brandon Belt, Giants
Belt underwent season-ending surgery Friday morning in San Francisco to clean up the meniscus and cartilage in his right knee. He had played through the discomfort, but the Giants decided to go through with the procedure.

"It was a cleanup and all went well," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He'll just rehab and be ready for Spring Training." More > 

Kolten Wong, Cardinals
Though the Cardinals don't believe Wong's latest hamstring issue is serious, Saturday's quick turnaround forced them to be cautious with their second baseman, at least for a day. Wong was not in the lineup on Saturday after cramps in both hamstrings forced him out of Friday's 5-3 win over the Giants. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Wong could be available off the bench, and that he projects Wong's absence to be a short one. More > 

Chad Kuhl, Pirates
Kuhl had surgery on Wednesday in New York and rejoined the Pirates on Friday at PNC Park, ready to begin the long road back from Tommy John surgery. It will likely be 14 to 16 months before he is ready to pitch in a Major League game again. He will spend most of the offseason at home in Delaware, going through physical therapy. More > 

Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner, Orioles
On Sept. 11, Cobb was pulled after throwing 30 pitches over two innings against the A's after aggravating the blister on his right middle finger. Cashner then couldn't make it out of the third inning the next night after allowing eight runs on eight hits. He was sent for an MRI the day after his start for pain he had been battling in his left knee.

After Cobb threw his second successful bullpen Friday since being sidelined, Orioles manager Buck Showalter announced that Cobb will get the start in the series finale against the Yankees on Sunday. Although there are only nine games remaining on the Orioles' schedule after Friday's opener in New York, Showalter said there is still a chance that Cashner could pitch at least one more time. More > 

Video: OAK@BAL: Cobb exits game with blister in 2nd

Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Mitch Garver and Logan Forsythe, Twins
Sano, who returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing 12 games with a left knee injury, flew back to the Twin Cities for further testing on his knee, manager Paul Molitor said Friday.

Sano suffered the injury on a slide in Houston on Sept. 4, getting carted off the field after jamming his knee into the second-base bag. There were initial fears it could be a significant injury, as he had a titanium rod inserted in his left shin in the offseason. But he felt good enough to return to the lineup on Tuesday, only to feel discomfort in the back of his knee while playing.

Rosario underwent an MRI exam on his strained right quad, which revealed inflammation. He's expected to miss the rest of the season but Molitor said they'll find out more on Tuesday, when the Twins return home to Target Field.

Garver is also not expected to catch again this season after suffering a concussion on Sept. 12, but there's a remote chance he could return as a designated hitter next week.

Forsythe woke up with inflammation in his right knee on Friday and was held out of the lineup Friday and Saturday. It's not considered serious, but the Twins want to be cautious. More > 

Ji-Man Choi, Rays
Choi exited Friday night's 11-3 win over the Blue Jays with left knee soreness after hitting a leadoff double in the fifth inning. He remained out of the starting lineup on Saturday, although he did enter the game as a pinch-hitter. More > 

Young fan takes being fake ump seriously

In recent years, we've seen plenty of fans dress up like umpires and "call" the action from the stands. It's a fun gag, an excuse to both dress up and shout at the top of your lungs without the people around you looking at you like you're crazy. 

But for Vincent, a 10-year-old at Saturday's Mets-Nationals game in D.C., it was no laughing matter -- this was a business trip.

Yanks become 6th team with at least 250 HRs

1997 Mariners hold all-time single-season record with 264
MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- Aaron Hicks reached the right-field seats at Yankee Stadium for the Bronx Bombers' 250th home run of the season in the second inning on Saturday afternoon, and they aren't slowing down in their pursuit of the all-time single-season record.

Two batters later, Luke Voit followed with his 11th home run as a Yankee, a solo blast that landed in the right-center-field bullpen. Both homers came off Orioles right-hander David Hess as the Yanks became just the sixth team in Major League history to hit at least 250 homers in a season.

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NEW YORK -- Aaron Hicks reached the right-field seats at Yankee Stadium for the Bronx Bombers' 250th home run of the season in the second inning on Saturday afternoon, and they aren't slowing down in their pursuit of the all-time single-season record.

Two batters later, Luke Voit followed with his 11th home run as a Yankee, a solo blast that landed in the right-center-field bullpen. Both homers came off Orioles right-hander David Hess as the Yanks became just the sixth team in Major League history to hit at least 250 homers in a season.

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The last team to reach that milestone was the 2016 Orioles, who hit 253 homers. The all-time record is held by the 1997 Mariners (264), followed by the '05 Rangers (260), the '10 Blue Jays (257) and the '96 Orioles (257).

Voit's two-run homer on Thursday against the Red Sox was New York's 245th, shattering a franchise record set in 2010. The Bombers entered play on Saturday having hit 15 homers in their last seven games, and on pace to slug 264 for the year.

Hicks, who has 26 homers, is one of five Yankees with at least 25. That ties a franchise record set in 2009. The Major League record is six, set by the '03 Red Sox.

Video: BAL@NYY: Hicks belts a solo home run to right field

In addition, the Yankees recently became the first Major League team to have a dozen players each hit 10 or more homers in the same season. The previous mark of 11 was shared by four clubs: the 2015 and '17 Astros, the '04 Tigers and the '16 Twins.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks, Luke Voit

Hearing MVP chants, Baez smashes 34th HR

Cubs' versatile star greeted with MVP chants vs. White Sox
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- There aren't many teams who can lose a position player and slide an MVP candidate into that spot like the Cubs will do at shortstop with Javier Baez.

As soon as Baez stepped into the batter's box in the first inning on Saturday night against White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, the "M-V-P" chants started. Baez responded by hitting the first pitch he saw, a changeup, to left field for his 34th home run, driving in Ben Zobrist who had singled and giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

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CHICAGO -- There aren't many teams who can lose a position player and slide an MVP candidate into that spot like the Cubs will do at shortstop with Javier Baez.

As soon as Baez stepped into the batter's box in the first inning on Saturday night against White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito, the "M-V-P" chants started. Baez responded by hitting the first pitch he saw, a changeup, to left field for his 34th home run, driving in Ben Zobrist who had singled and giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

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With Addison Russell absent after being placed on administrative leave, Baez will take over at shortstop. Saturday was Baez's 43rd start at shortstop this season, having subbed for Russell when he was injured.

"We're kind of lucky that Javy is able to do that as well as he does," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He's had a lot of play out there already this year. I feel very comfortable about it."

Baez has been Mr. Versatility for the Cubs, starting 75 games at second and 18 at third base.

"You don't even think twice when you put Javy's name at shortstop," Maddon said.

You also could make a case that Baez is the top shortstop in the National League.

"Think about it -- he might be the best overall shortstop in the league right now, if you want to grade it all out with his offense and defense and baserunning," Maddon said. "American League, there's some competition on that side. Overall, he's a top three, top five shortstop in all of baseball right now, even though he hasn't played there a whole lot."

On Friday, Russell was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball after allegations of domestic violence resurfaced in a blog posted by his ex-wife. Maddon said he had not talked to Russell.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez

Dodgers' push in need of Machado turnaround

MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- It should have been the perfect match, a superstar shortstop on the verge of free agency traded to a contending club needing to replace its injured superstar shortstop.

But with barely a week left in the regular season and the Dodgers still working hard to land a postseason berth, Manny Machado has been something of a disappointment.

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LOS ANGELES -- It should have been the perfect match, a superstar shortstop on the verge of free agency traded to a contending club needing to replace its injured superstar shortstop.

But with barely a week left in the regular season and the Dodgers still working hard to land a postseason berth, Manny Machado has been something of a disappointment.

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Since the 5-for-1 trade during the All-Star break that brought Machado to the Dodgers, he's hit 52 points lower -- with an OPS nearly 200 points lower -- than he did in Baltimore. His strikeout ratio is way up.

What will get him going?

"No. 1 is Manny saying to himself, 'I need to get going,' that's most important," said manager Dave Roberts. "Behind that, yeah, we need to get him going. The question is, how? It's more about staying in the strike zone. One component is still learning the league, which is fair. There's another component about trying not to do too much, and I think he might be victim of that."

Machado's numbers are especially down against right-handed pitching since coming to the Dodgers -- .233/.266/.421.

"Our hitting guys have done a lot of talking with him about mechanics and hitting approach and he knows. He's been around long enough to know what to do," Roberts said.

"There is a human element to being the guy, wanting to be the guy when the situation presents itself. That's hard to force. You can see teams are pitching him carefully. And until he shows he adjusts, they're going to continue to do so. That's a fact."

Rotation set for Arizona series
Ross Stripling, who has lasted only 3 1/3 innings in each of his last three starts, will get the ball again Wednesday night, in the finale of the series in Arizona.

Roberts said Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler will start against the D-backs on Monday and Tuesday. Thursday is an off-day and Roberts has not announced probable starters for the series in San Francisco that ends the regular season. If nobody is skipped, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kershaw would line up.

Dodgers unveil 50th Dreamfield
Kershaw, Yasiel Puig, Roberts as well as front office and political figures unveiled the 50th Dodgers Dreamfield at Algin Sutton Recreation Center in South Los Angeles on Saturday.

The completion of this Dreamfield marked the final step in LADF's commitment to create 50 fields in 15 years. Since 2003, over $10 million has been invested in these fields, which have impacted the lives of over 300,000 youth in and around Los Angeles. The foundation announced an extension of the original 50 fields with an additional $10 million to build 75 fields by the 75th anniversary of the Dodgers' move to Los Angeles.

The $300,000 project dedicated on Saturday was partially funded by donations from the City of Los Angeles, Puig's Wildhorse Foundation, the Tyler Development Corporation, Clayton & Ellen Kershaw, the LA84 Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, and the Bruce P. Rubenstein Family.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Manny Machado

MLB, Yankees host stickball tourney in Bronx

MLB.com @ladsonbill24

NEW YORK -- It was the game of the year on the streets of River Avenue near Yankee Stadium. As part of the Play Ball initiative, the New York Emperors Stickball League, along with Major League Baseball and the Yankees, put on a stickball event under the elevated No. 4 train line on Saturday.

Kids from ages 10-14 were invited to come out to participate in the tournament and enjoy the game from which baseball originated. And what a doozy it was in the championship round. The title game went 10 innings as the Red Legends edged the Navy Blue Pinstripes, 5-4.

NEW YORK -- It was the game of the year on the streets of River Avenue near Yankee Stadium. As part of the Play Ball initiative, the New York Emperors Stickball League, along with Major League Baseball and the Yankees, put on a stickball event under the elevated No. 4 train line on Saturday.

Kids from ages 10-14 were invited to come out to participate in the tournament and enjoy the game from which baseball originated. And what a doozy it was in the championship round. The title game went 10 innings as the Red Legends edged the Navy Blue Pinstripes, 5-4.

The Legends were then honored at Yankee Stadium before the game between the Yankees and Orioles. As a treat, Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius came on the field and met the kids.

"It's an experience I want [to have] with my sister," said Aalya Colon, a member of the Legends who played alongside her twin, Alyissa.

But many of the Legends' players said going to Yankee Stadium and meeting Gregorius is not what made their day.

"I got to play with … people on my team, and I also wanted to win because of my dad," Seth Lippod said. "I get to make new friends and have fun. The team is pretty much our family."

The Colon twins were simply happy they were able to play together.

"We are very competitive. We like to play against each other, but we like to play with each other," Aalya said.

Legends head coach Vido Caraldes said that's what playing stickball is all about: being with family and friends.

"I've seen teams made up of brothers and sisters, fathers and sons. I love that aspect of the game," Caraldes said. "You are also competing with friends. You see them every single Sunday. You argue together, laugh together. It makes it a beautiful place to be."

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

New York Yankees

Phillies see NL East hopes end in Atlanta

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

ATLANTA -- Gabe Kapler opened Spring Training a little more than seven months ago saying the Phillies had the opportunity to "shock" people.

It meant, he said, they would be "very competitive" in September. It meant "being in the mix, being in the hunt, fighting for the National League East." In March, after a bad season-opening series against the Braves, Kapler doubled-down. He stood in the middle of the manager's office at SunTrust Park and said the losses would not dash their hopes to make the postseason, "which I believe we will do." But nearly six months later the Braves ended the Phillies' title hunt, clinching the NL East with Saturday's 5-3 victory.

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ATLANTA -- Gabe Kapler opened Spring Training a little more than seven months ago saying the Phillies had the opportunity to "shock" people.

It meant, he said, they would be "very competitive" in September. It meant "being in the mix, being in the hunt, fighting for the National League East." In March, after a bad season-opening series against the Braves, Kapler doubled-down. He stood in the middle of the manager's office at SunTrust Park and said the losses would not dash their hopes to make the postseason, "which I believe we will do." But nearly six months later the Braves ended the Phillies' title hunt, clinching the NL East with Saturday's 5-3 victory.

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The Phillies can be eliminated from NL Wild Card contention as early as Sunday.

"I'm going to keep this answer relatively short. We feel disappointment," Kapler said after watching the Braves celebrate on the field. "I'm not going to keep moving on that response. I don't know that there's much else to say on it. Yes, we feel disappointment."

The Phillies had the second-best record (63-48) in the National League on Aug. 5. They have the worst record (15-28) in the NL since. Yes, the Phillies lost 96 games last season. Yes, they opened the season with the youngest roster in baseball. Yes, they played important games in September. But this was a lost opportunity and opportunities aren't guaranteed in the future, although the Phillies seem well positioned to make a deeper run in 2019 and beyond.

Video: PHI@ATL: Kapler talks Phillies' season after 5-3 loss

 So, what went wrong?

"Defense, pitching and we didn't swing the bats well," Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta said. "We didn't score as many runs as the other team. That's all phases of the game, we weren't as good, and I think that's pretty obvious."

Arrieta's assessment is the simple and correct one. The Phillies' offense struggled to score runs throughout the season, even after acquiring Wilson Ramos, Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Bour and Jose Bautista before and after the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. They had the worst defense in baseball, which impacted nearly every game. The Phillies pitched pretty well through early August, but struggled down the stretch.

Arrieta notably struggled. He allowed four runs in just two innings Saturday, marking the shortest start of his career. He is 3-4 with a 5.09 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break and 1-4 with a 6.64 ERA in his last eight starts, which coincides with the Phillies' fall from contention.

The Phillies needed more from Arrieta, who signed a three-year, $75-million contract in March.

Video: PHI@ATL: Arrieta fans Freeman in the 1st inning

"This wasn't something that started today obviously," Arrieta said about the Phillies' late-season swoon. "Individually, the last month or so I haven't been very good, and we didn't really take care of our business to get the job done. They did. That's why we have the result that we currently have."

Arrieta said he does not know why he hasn't pitched well.

"This game is humbling," Arrieta said. "You don't always have it figured out and when you feel like you do, you get kicked in the teeth."

 Video: PHI@ATL: Herrera singles to end Folty's no-hit bid

Rhys Hoskins seems to feel the same way. He is one of the team's few bona fide young stars. His 127 OPS+ is 29th out of 144 qualified hitters in baseball. He has had a very good season, but he also has been streaky.

The struggles have gnawed at him.

Following Friday night's loss to the Braves, which put the Phillies on the brink of elimination, Hoskins sat in front of his locker with the a red hoodie pulled over his head. He sat there seemingly forever as teammates around him showered, changed, talked, ate and left the ballpark.

"I take a lot of responsibility for it," Hoskins said about the team's late-season fade. "I wasn't me. That's frustrating and disappointing. But all you can do is learn from it.

"The inconsistency is frustrating. That's what makes good players great. I think it comes as a learned skill. All I can do is take what has happened, albeit disappointing, and learn from it and move forward with it."

The Phillies would be well-served to surround Hoskins with more like-minded players in the future. He cannot carry the burden alone. The front office will pursue superstar free agents like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper in the offseason. But they need other players currently in the organization to be better.

Video: PHI@ATL: Morgan struck by comebacker, exits game

Arrieta and Hoskins are optimistic things will be better next year.

"We're close," Arrieta said. "It just didn't happen for us."

"Despite the result of what's happened in the last couple of months, there's a lot of excitement around this club," Hoskins said. "There's a lot of young guys that have taken steps forward. You've seen that throughout the year. You caught glimpses of it for long stretches at a time. I think with more experience, more games played, the more you learn, those stretches get longer and the bad stretches get shorter. So, yeah, it's exciting going forward. Obviously, as disappointing as it gets right now. But we'll hang our hat on that: It's going to be exciting going forward."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mike Foltynewicz needed just six pitches to retire the Phillies in order in the first inning. Conversely, Arrieta walked the first two batters he faced on eight pitches before striking out Freddie Freeman on three pitches. Arrieta then walked Nick Markakis on four pitches to load the bases. Johan Camargo followed with a single to left field to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ender Inciarte to make it 2-0. Arrieta allowed two more runs in the second inning before leaving the game. He said he expects to make his next start, although the Phillies could save him for next season.

"I have plenty of bullets," Arrieta said. "Health-wise I'm fine. The results stunk. I'm not blaming it on anything other than just not being very good."

Video: PHI@ATL: Camargo plates 2 to give Braves early lead

SOUND SMART
Hoskins singled to score a run in the eighth inning, when the Phillies scored three runs to make it 4-3. He has 32 home runs and 93 RBIs this season. He is trying to become the first Phillies player to have 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBIs in a season since Ryan Howard in 2011, when the slugger had 33 homers and 116 RBIs.

Video: PHI@ATL: Hoskins brings Phillies within 1 with single

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Phillies envisioned themselves celebrating a division title on a field somewhere in the season's final days. Instead, they watched the Braves.

"I think it's important to feel the blow of that," Kapler said. "Because up until a couple of days ago, I felt like we had a chance to be the ones having that moment at our ballpark. And I never came off that position because I always thought it to be possible, and I always believed in the players in that room. I think there's some value in just allowing the sting of that to sink in and acknowledge it and use it as motivation for next season."

Video: Must C Clinch: Braves capture NL East division crown

HE SAID IT
"It's hard to quantify chemistry. It really is. I wish I had an answer for you. I think if I did have an answer for you, then things might have not gone the way that they did. But it's something that you think about. Look, I think every guy's goal in here was to do what they're doing today. I don't think that changed from before July 31 to after July 31. So, in that sense, I'm not sure it had much to do with where we're at right now." -- Hoskins, on the roster additions perhaps altering the team's chemistry the final several weeks of the season

UP NEXT
Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (16-5, 2.44 ERA) faces Braves right-hander Anibal Sanchez (6-6, 3.01 ERA) on Sunday in the final game of a four-game series at SunTrust Park. Nola remains a National League Cy Young Award candidate, although Mets ace Jacob deGrom is the heavy favorite to take home the hardware. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Jake Arrieta

30 best games of '18 -- 1 player from every team

MLB.com @RichardJustice

We went in search of magic. That is, players rising up and doing something they may remember forever. Every team, all 30 of them, has moments like this.

From bunches of home runs to bunches of strikeouts, from household names to players you may not have heard of before, these are players that become part of the fabric of a season.

We went in search of magic. That is, players rising up and doing something they may remember forever. Every team, all 30 of them, has moments like this.

From bunches of home runs to bunches of strikeouts, from household names to players you may not have heard of before, these are players that become part of the fabric of a season.

Here we go: 30 special individual performances for 30 teams:

American League East

Blue Jays: Yangervis Solarte
Date: May 3 vs. CLE
The infielder collected five hits, including a decisive 11th-inning grand slam, in a 13-11 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field. He became the second player in the live-ball era with at least five hits, including an extra-inning grand slam. The other was Jim Rice in 1984.

Orioles: Manny Machado
Date: 
May 11 vs. TB
Machado hit two home runs, including a seventh-inning grand slam, and drove in six as the Orioles beat the Rays, 9-4, at Camden Yards. At 25, he became the youngest Orioles player to hit 150 home runs. "Words can't even describe how exciting that it is, reaching that milestone," he said.

Rays: Ji-Man Choi
Date: 
Sept. 10 vs. CLE
Choi's two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning produced a 6-5 victory over the Indians. In one swing, he kept Tampa Bay's postseason hopes alive and extended its home winning streak to 12 games.

Video: NYY@BOS: Betts his slam, collects four hits vs. Yanks

Red Sox: Mookie Betts
Date: 
April 10 vs. NYY
Betts scored five runs and collected four hits, including two doubles and a grand slam, in a 14-1 victory over the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Yankees: Luis Severino
Date:
May 2 at HOU
Severino struck out 10 Astros in the first complete game of his career, a 4-0 victory at Minute Maid Park. "I wouldn't want to be in the box facing him," teammate Giancarlo Stanton said. "He's going to pound the zone at 100 mph, and if you look on time for that, you're going to get that 90-mph slider. It's exactly what we needed tonight and another par-for-the-course outing for him."

AL CENTRAL

Video: Must C Clutch: Lindor homers twice to hold off Twins

Indians: Francisco Lindor
Date:
May 31 at MIN
Lindor had two doubles, two homers and four RBIs in a 9-8 win over the Twins at Target Field. He joined Adrian Beltre, Jim Edmonds and Rafael Palmeiro as the only players since 1908 to have two such games in the same season.

Royals: Jorge Lopez
Date:
Sept. 8 at MIN
Lopez took a perfect game into the ninth inning in the seventh start of his career. The 25-year-old right-hander walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth, then allowed a hit before departing in what would be a 4-1 win over the Twins at Target Field.

Tigers: Nicholas Castellanos
Date:
Aug. 13 vs. CWS
Castellanos went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs in a 9-5 victory over the White Sox. Among the hits was a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning off Jeanmar Gomez.

Twins: Eddie Rosario
Date:
June 3 vs. CLE
With his father sitting a few feet from home plate, Eddie Rosario homered three times, including a two-run walk-off shot that gave the Twins a 7-5 victory over the Indians at Target Field. "It was Rosie's day," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I've seen a lot of good days in the big leagues. But I don't know if I've seen one that was more dramatic than that as far as the first inning all the way through the end."

White Sox: Matt Davidson
Date: 
March 29 at KC
Davidson became the fourth player to hit three home runs on Opening Day as the White Sox rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Royals, 14-7, at Kauffman Stadium. "What an incredible day he had," teammate James Shields said. "Really happy for him. He works his butt off every day, and to have a day like that is pretty special."

AL WEST

Video: LAA@NYY: Trout goes 5-for-5 with career-high 4 XBHs

Angels: Mike Trout
Date:
May 26 at NYY
Trout had a home run, three doubles and an infield single in an 11-4 victory at Yankee Stadium. "He's an unbelievable player and I think he showed that tonight," Yankees starter Sonny Gray said. "He put some good swings on the ball and in the fourth, he hit that homer. That was ultimately the icing on the cake for me."

Astros: Gerrit Cole
Date:
 May 4 at ARI
Cole struck out 16 D-backs in a one-hit complete game, an 8-0 victory at Chase Field. He finished it with a 99-mph fastball to strike out Jarrod Dyson. "Wow," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "It's hard to describe. It's an incredible display of pitching."

Athletics: Sean Manaea
Date:
April 21 vs. BOS
Manaea threw the seventh no-hitter in Oakland A's history in a 3-0 victory over the Red Sox at the Coliseum. "I've caught a lot of great pitchers in this game," A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy said, "and that was the most well-pitched, well-executed game I've ever had behind the plate."

Video: Paxton tosses sixth no-hitter in Mariners history

Mariners: James Paxton
Date:
May 8 at TOR
Paxton returned to his native Canada to no-hit the Blue Jays, 5-0, at Rogers Centre. It was the first complete game of his career. "To have it happen in Canada. What are the odds?" Paxton said. "Just very special."

Rangers: Rougned Odor
Date:
July 28 at HOU
Odor hit two home runs and had a double and two singles in a 7-3 victory at Minute Maid Park. "We talked about finding his swagger, getting his swagger back, getting that confidence back," then-Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Know that you're a really good player and just go show it and stay focused on every single pitch."

NL EAST

Video: Must C Classic: Acuna's 2 homers make history

Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr.
Date:
Aug. 14 vs. MIA
Acuna homered twice and added a single in a 10-6 victory over the Marlins at SunTrust Park. The 20-year-old hit the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first inning to become the youngest player ever to homer in five consecutive games. "He's the best player I've ever seen," Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte said. "He's just unbelievable."

Marlins: Jose Urena
Date:
Aug. 19 at WSH
Urena retired the final 16 Nationals in a complete-game 12-1 victory at Nationals Park. "You can just see the fire in his eyes every time he's out there," Marlins shortstop JT Riddle said.

Video: NYM@CHC: deGrom K's 10, notches 2 hits vs. Cubs

Mets: Jacob deGrom
Date:
Aug. 28 at CHC
deGrom struck out 10 Cubs and allowed one run in an eight-inning masterpiece of a loss at Wrigley Field. "The guy is as advertised," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That's different. That's another level of stuff."

Nationals: Max Scherzer
Date:
May 6 vs. PHI
Scherzer struck out 15 Phillies in 6 1/3 innings in a 5-4 victory at Nationals Park. He was the first pitcher in history to get 15 strikeouts in 6 1/3 (or fewer) innings. "He doesn't slow," Nationals manager Davey Martinez said. "I watch him in the gym. I watch him watch video. His mind is constantly going and constantly learning."

Phillies: Odubel Herrera
Date:
June 22 at WSH
Herrera scored four runs and had four hits, including a homer, in a 12-2 victory at Nationals Park. "It's simply incredible what he can do," teammate Zach Eflin said. "The thing with Odubel is that he can shake off anything at any given time. He can look like he's struggling and next pitch he sends it 440 feet."

NL CENTRAL

Video: MIL@CIN: Yelich records cycle with 6 hits, shows arm

Brewers: Christian Yelich
Date:
Aug. 29 at CIN
Yelich hit for the cycle -- the first of two Yelich cycles this season -- and had six hits in all in a 13-12, 10-inning victory over the Reds at Great American Ball Park. "I've never seen a game like that," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's coming up there and you're thinking he can't do it again, and he does it again."

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter
Date:
July 20 at CHC
Carpenter became the second player in MLB history to hit three homers and two doubles in a game. He did it all in in six innings in an 18-5 victory at Wrigley Field. "I'm having a hard time coming up with words to describe a day like this," Carpenter said.

Cubs: David Bote
Date:
Aug. 12 vs. WSH
Bote delivered a pinch-hit grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning at Wrigley Field to turn a 3-0 loss into a 4-3, walk-off victory over the Nationals. He became the first Cubs player to hit a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam since Earl Averill in 1959.

Pirates: Jameson Taillon
Date:
April 8 vs. CIN
Taillon tossed a one-hitter and drove in Pittsburgh's first run in a 5-0 victory over over the Reds at PNC Park. It was Pittsburgh's first complete-game one-hitter since A.J. Burnett shut out the Cubs in 2012. "This guy, he's special," Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli said.

Reds: Scooter Gennett
Date:
May 26 at COL
Gennett collected five hits -- a first-inning home run and four singles -- and was part of a game-ending defensive play to close out a 6-5 victory over the Rockies at Coors Field.

NL WEST

D-Backs: A.J. Pollock
Date:
April 30 vs. LAD
Pollock hit three home runs in an 8-5 win at Chase Field. "I'm seeing the ball pretty well right now," he said. "I don't know. Some days it just works."

Video: Must C Classic: Puig crushes 3 homers vs. Cardinals

Dodgers: Yasiel Puig
Date:
Sept. 15 at STL
Puig launched three home runs and drove in seven runs in a 17-4 victory over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Puig explained his power surge as only he can: He said the grasshoppers that have swarmed Busch Stadium have gotten him going. He said he considered eating one or two. Manager Dave Roberts had a better explanation. "He's focused and he understands the importance of every pitch," he said. "And when he does that, he's as good as anybody in baseball."

Giants: Andrew McCutchen
Date:
April 7 vs. LAD
McCutchen went 6-for-7 with four RBIs, including a walk-off home run, in a 14-inning, 7-5 victory over the Dodgers at AT&T Park. Giants manager Bruce Bochy called the victory "epic" and added, "It's one of those Giants-Dodgers games that will be talked about."

Padres: Christian Villanueva
Date:
April 3 vs. COL
Villanueva belted three home runs in his 14th career game in an 8-4 victory over the Rockies at Petco Park. "I have a lot of dreams, I have a lot of goals, and I think, little by little, I'm starting to reach them," Villanueva said.

Rockies: DJ LeMahieu
Date:
June 28 at SF
LeMahieu's go-ahead home run at AT&T Park probably did more than give the Rockies a 9-8 victory. It came at a time when they were in fourth place in the NL West and had fallen eight games off the pace. There was speculation they might sell at the Trade Deadline. The Rockies won 44 of their next 69 games. Only the Cubs did better in that time.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.