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Crew clobbers Cards, back alone atop Central

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- For the Brewers' offense right now, it's boom or bust -- there isn't much of an in-between. Take the last six games: 1 run, 13, 1, 9, 0, 3.

Add Thursday night's series opener with the Cardinals to the boom category, as the Brewers teed off on two-time All-Star Carlos Martinez and Brent Suter delivered a strong outing in an 11-3 win at Miller Park. Milwaukee has sole possession again of first place in the NL Central with its National League-best 44th win.

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MILWAUKEE -- For the Brewers' offense right now, it's boom or bust -- there isn't much of an in-between. Take the last six games: 1 run, 13, 1, 9, 0, 3.

Add Thursday night's series opener with the Cardinals to the boom category, as the Brewers teed off on two-time All-Star Carlos Martinez and Brent Suter delivered a strong outing in an 11-3 win at Miller Park. Milwaukee has sole possession again of first place in the NL Central with its National League-best 44th win.

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"You take the 11-run nights. It's what you do," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "If you can take advantage of some mistakes, take advantage of pitches and put a big number up there on some nights, for sure that's good. But it's not really reflective of the next day."

And, early on, the Brewers definitely took advantage of Martinez, who entered the night with a 2.73 ERA. They grabbed the lead in the first on a bizarre play that saw Cards left fielder Marcell Ozuna climb the wall, seemingly prepared to rob Jesus Aguilar of a home run, but the ball actually bounced off the lower half of the wall and ended up being a two-run double. By the time there was one out in the fourth inning, every Brewer (except the scuffling Eric Sogard and the pitcher, Suter) had a base knock -- and catcher Manny Pina had two extra-base hits (six total in his last 10 games).

Video: STL@MIL: Pina crushes a solo homer to left-center

The Brewers forced Martinez out after four as his ERA ballooned to 3.24 with seven runs allowed (five earned). Milwaukee had five extra-base hits, including a leadoff homer in the fourth by Pina, but "boom" nights don't happen without being opportunistic of a few gift runs, and the Cardinals provided six of those.

Lorenzo Cain hit a grounder to Matt Carpenter at third with one out in the fourth. Carpenter couldn't make the backhanded stop and was charged with an error. Cain scored on Travis Shaw's double, and Shaw advanced home on a pair of wild pitches -- scoring on a ball that slipped out of Martinez's hand and ended up halfway up the third-base line.

Video: STL@MIL: Shaw plates Cain with opposite-field double

"I don't know if his cleat got stuck. I'm not sure," Counsell said of the wild pitch. "It wasn't an injury or anything. I thought his cleat might have gotten stuck. That's as far as I saw."

Video: STL@MIL: Shaw scores on Martinez's wacky wild pitch

Eric Thames extended the Brewers' lead with a bases-clearing triple -- his first of 2018 -- in the seventh inning, all unearned runs after an error by second baseman Jedd Gyorko earlier in the frame. Thames scored on another error by Gyorko, the sixth unearned run of the game charged to the Cardinals.

But Suter didn't need all of the insurance his offense provided him. After Carpenter drilled an 86.4-mph fastball down the middle of the plate to center for a home run on the first pitch of the game, Suter settled in by getting soft contact, and retired the next 12 Cardinals he faced.

"Not that I just laid it in there, but it kind of fired me up," Suter said. "It was like, 'OK, they're coming out swinging. I have to locate better and come out with that much more conviction on my early pitches.' After that, I was able to get some early outs and keep them off the bases."

Suter picked up his team-high eighth win of the season, exiting after seven innings of two-run, two-hit ball, while striking out five.

Video: STL@MIL: Suter holds Cards to 2 runs over 7 innings

On matching a career high with seven innings pitched for the second straight start, Suter said: "The efficiency was there and just being able to fight through any kind of fatigue and being able to make pitches late. It's something I trained for in the offseason, so to see it be able to come to fruition the last couple starts feels good."

Taylor Williams and Dan Jennings both struggled finishing the game in relief of Suter. Williams stranded the bases loaded in the eighth, and Jennings allowed three hits and a run in the ninth.

Cain (right hamstring) was replaced by Domingo Santana after the fourth inning for precautionary reasons, but Counsell said he expects him to be in the lineup tomorrow. Cain was 2-for-3 with two runs and a RBI.

Video: STL@MIL: Cain drives in Thames to pad Brewers' lead

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Aguilar's home run?: Aguilar nearly had a home run in the first inning -- or at least that's what Ozuna thought. Aguilar hit a fly ball to deep left-center, and Ozuna attempted to scale the wall as if to rob a home run, but the ball caromed off the base of the wall and went for a two-run double for the Brewers, pushing them ahead for good.

"I kind of hit it good, until I saw Ozuna jump," Aguilar said. "But I thought I got lucky on that play."

Probably more important, though, was the Brewers' success against Martinez in that first inning. Entering the game as a team with a .192 average (10-for-52) with one RBI over two games against Martinez this season, Milwaukee went 3-for-6 with two RBIs in the first frame alone.

"[Martinez is] a familiar foe, for sure," Counsell said. "We just took advantage of an off-night for him. It was good that we did. Some guys had good at-bats, we kept the pressure on him and were able to get him out after four innings."

Video: STL@MIL: Counsell discusses Suter, bats in 11-3 win

Thames' triple: Like Aguilar's near home run in the first, Thames almost connected for his third home run in his last two games at Miller Park in the seventh, but instead settled for a bases-clearing triple after Tommy Pham kept the ball in the ballpark with a leaping effort at the center-field wall. Thames' three RBIs gave the Brewers at least nine runs for the third time in their last seven games.

Video: STL@MIL: Thames clears the bases with a triple

SOUND SMART
After his first-inning double, Aguilar has multiple RBIs in each of his last four starts, one game shy of Jeromy Burnitz's club record in 1999. Aguilar is the 16th Brewer to accomplish the feat, and the first since Adam Lind in 2015.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Aguilar didn't just help the Brewers' effort on offense in the series opener against the Cardinals, but he made a slick diving play on Harrison Bader's liner to end the second inning. With the shift on, Aguilar dove to his right and made the catch, making it six Cardinals in a row retired for Suter.

"I felt like a really good player," Aguilar said. "I just try to go there and give 100 percent, especially with Suter pitching because he has a lot of energy."

Video: STL@MIL: Aguilar lays out to snag Bader's line drive

HE SAID IT
"I hate that, it's really hard for a position player to hit off another position player. I saw 59 [mph], 60, 63, and I was like, 'No way.' It is what it is, that's baseball." -- Aguilar, after grounding into a double play against Cardinals infielder Greg Garcia, who made his first-career pitching appearance in the eighth inning

Video: STL@MIL: Garcia induces double play on 63-mph pitch

UP NEXT
Right-hander Junior Guerra (3-5, 2.89 ERA) will start for the Brewers on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT in the second of their four-game set with the Cardinals at Miller Park. St. Louis has proved no challenge for Guerra this season, as he has thrown 11 1/3 innings of one-run ball over two starts against them, including six shutout innings on May 30. Right-hander Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.66 ERA) starts for St. Louis.

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen__Cohn.

Milwaukee Brewers, Jesus Aguilar, Lorenzo Cain, Manny Pina, Travis Shaw, Brent Suter, Eric Thames

Trout's 1,000th game: 3 BB, 2 R, 1 Angels win

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout continued his hot June stretch, drawing three walks and scoring two runs in his 1,000th Major League game and the Angels added three home runs on their way to an 8-5 series-opening win over the Blue Jays at Angel Stadium.

Over his last nine games, Trout is hitting .640 (16-for-25) with four home runs, nine RBIs and 14 walks. During that span, he has reached base in 32 of his 42 plate appearances for a .756 on-base percentage. He leads the Majors with 67 walks -- 12 more than Bryce Harper, the next-highest player on the list.

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ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout continued his hot June stretch, drawing three walks and scoring two runs in his 1,000th Major League game and the Angels added three home runs on their way to an 8-5 series-opening win over the Blue Jays at Angel Stadium.

Over his last nine games, Trout is hitting .640 (16-for-25) with four home runs, nine RBIs and 14 walks. During that span, he has reached base in 32 of his 42 plate appearances for a .756 on-base percentage. He leads the Majors with 67 walks -- 12 more than Bryce Harper, the next-highest player on the list.

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1,000 games in, Trout remains peerless

"This guy is just getting started in his career," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I can only say that as exceptional of a ballplayer that he is, he has equaled that as a person. He's a tremendous person, just really has a sense of duty. He comes out here every day wanting to play the best he can. He's great with his teammates and has great perspective on what his talent is and what a gift he has. He works hard at it."

While Trout kept the line moving, his teammates provided the power. Kole Calhoun launched a go-ahead home run and Luis Valbuena homered twice down the stretch, as the pair continued to bounce back from early-season slumps.

Calhoun's two-run shot off John Axford gave the Angels a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning, and Valbuena ensured it held up, adding a two-run homer in the fifth and a solo homer in the seventh.

Video: TOR@LAA: Valbuena hits 2 homers in Angels' win

The Angels' offense helped the club withstand an abbreviated outing from left-hander John Lamb, who started on short notice because scheduled starter Tyler Skaggs was scratched with right hamstring tightness. Lamb lasted just 3 1/3 innings, yielding three runs on six hits while throwing 76 pitches in his first career outing at Angel Stadium.

"It didn't really affect me," Lamb said of the short notice. "I was just excited to be out there on the bump again and hopefully help the team win the ballgame, which we did, so that was nice."

Reliever Noe Ramirez took over for Lamb and helped bridge the gap for the Angels, retiring all eight batters he faced while striking out four. Rookie Justin Anderson worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his third save of the year.

"Noe had really good command," Scioscia said. "He had everything working, and needless to say, that's probably the most important stretch on our pitching side."

Video: TOR@LAA: Scioscia talks Calhoun, Valbuena in 8-5 win

The Angels opened the scoring in the first inning after Trout walked, advanced to third on Justin Upton's double and scurried home on a wild pitch from Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez. Albert Pujols then delivered an RBI single to extend the Angels' lead to 2-0.

That was the last inning for Sanchez, who left with a contusion on his right index finger. The Blue Jays tried to pick up their starter. They got on the board in the second on a pair of doubles from Kendrys Morales and Aledmys Diaz, tied it in the third on Justin Smoak's RBI double off Lamb and former Angels prospect Randal Grichuk homered to give Toronto a one-run lead in the fourth, setting up Calhoun's lead-changing shot.

Calhoun's third home run of the season and second in as many games nicked off the glove of Kevin Pillar and landed above the new home run barrier on the right-center-field wall. Calhoun is now 4-for-10 with two home runs and three RBIs in three games since returning from the disabled list on Monday.

Video: TOR@LAA: Calhoun clubs a 2-run homer just past Pillar

"I think that he looks so comfortable out there," Scioscia said of Calhoun. "He's seeing the ball much better, more plate coverage. All the things that lead to positive results seem to be in his game."

Calhoun was struggling when he suffered a right oblique strain on May 31, but he used his time off to revamp his batting stance, adopting a more pronounced crouch and lowering his hands.

"I was hitting .145 and went on the DL," Calhoun said when asked what had prompted the changes. "You look at some things, try to simplify everything, come up something, and it's paying off right now."

In the fifth, Trout walked and scored again on Valbuena's two-run homer to left-center field, pushing the Angels' advantage to 6-3. It was Valbuena's seventh home run of the season and his first since May 29.

Video: TOR@LAA: Valbuena on hitting 2 home runs in 8-5 win

Valbuena's eighth home run of the year came just two innings later, as he launched a fastball from Preston Guilmet to right-center field to make it 8-4 and secure his eighth career multihomer game. It was an encouraging sign for Valbuena, who had entered Thursday mired in a 5-for-43 slump that had caused his batting average to slip to .216.

"When I'm swinging at good pitches in the strike zone, it makes a big difference," Valbuena said. "That's what happened to me. I was swinging at a lot of bad pitches, and I struggled a little bit the last two weeks, but I'll be better."

SOUND SMART
Trout set a career high by drawing at least two walks in his fourth consecutive game. His 67 walks this season are the most in franchise history through 75 games. Trout now has a .356 career batting average in June, the highest among active players with at least 400 plate appearances.

Video: Comparing Trout to the greats through 1,000 games

UP NEXT
Left-hander Andrew Heaney (3-5, 3.64 ERA) will start opposite right-hander Marco Estrada (4-6, 4.66 ERA) on Friday night as the Angels and Blue Jays continue their four-game series at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Heaney took a no-decision in his last start on Sunday after allowing three runs over eight innings. He made his only career start against the Blue Jays on Aug. 22, 2015, when he gave up a career-high eight runs over 3 1/3 innings.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout

MLB Buzz: Will Mets deal their 2 aces?

MLB.com

As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.

Mets more likely to trade Wheeler than deGrom, Syndergaard?
June 21: The Mets have been calling around to gauge other teams' trade interest in their players, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.

Mets more likely to trade Wheeler than deGrom, Syndergaard?
June 21: The Mets have been calling around to gauge other teams' trade interest in their players, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

While rivals are dubious the Mets will trade either Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, the club is finding interest in Zack Wheeler, per Heyman. Meanwhile, there hasn't been much chatter yet regarding Steven Matz.

MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported Monday that the Mets are "open for business" as it relates to prospective trade offers ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

• Non-waiver Trade Deadline explained

However, it will likely take a major haul to acquire either deGrom or Syndergaard. A Mets source told Heyman the club would need to get Gleyber Torres back to trade deGrom to the Yankees, which provides a sense of the asking price the club has placed on the ace. Of course, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has already nixed the idea of trading Torres, joking that he still has to "walk around this city."

Wheeler will surely cost teams less than it would take to acquire deGrom or Syndergaard. The righty owns a 4.82 ERA this season and has an extensive injury history, but his FIP is a promising 3.80. He was also hitting 99 mph with his four-seam fastball in his most recent start on June 17 against the D-backs.

Morning Lineup Podcast talks third-base trade market

Could Phils jump into Machado sweepstakes early?
June 21: The Phillies, who have been thought to be planning a pursuit of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado when he hits the free-agent market this offseason, are having problems on the left side of their infield: Not only have they been getting little production there, rookie shortstop/third baseman J.P. Crawford recently broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch.

According to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports, Philadelphia -- with several front-office executives having been with Baltimore when Machado was drafted -- would love to add the superstar third baseman, but the question remains whether the Phillies will be a contender as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline nears.

Royals shift focus to trading Moustakas after Herrera deal
June 21: After a trade that sent closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals, the Royals are now shifting their focus to moving third baseman Mike Moustakas, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

Moustakas is on a one-year deal with Kansas City that includes a mutual option for 2019. He's having a solid season, slashing .263/.319/.480 with 14 home runs after belting a career-high 38 in 2017, though he has been slumping of late. Moustakas has played his entire eight-year career with the Royals.

Video: MLB Tonight on Herrera being traded to the Nats

Padres a potential trade suitor for Machado?
June 21: The list of potential trade destinations for Orioles shortstop Manny Machado could surprisingly include San Diego, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman in an article for FanRag Sports.

The Padres have certainly shown a willingness to make bold moves during general manager A.J. Preller's tenure, trading for Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Craig Kimbrel prior to the 2015 season and signing Eric Hosmer to a club-record $144 million, eight-year contract in February 2018. And with the No. 1 farm system in baseball, per MLB Pipeline's preseason rankings, the Padres certainly have a prospect group that will entice the Orioles.

Video: Morosi discusses Machado trade possibilities and more

A trade between the Padres and Orioles remains unlikely, however, as San Diego is in last place in the National League West and would have little chance of re-signing Machado after this season, given their sizable commitment to Hosmer and Machado's preference to remain at shortstop long term. San Diego's top prospect is shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.

Per Heyman, a Padres source downplayed the possibility of a Machado deal and said the club is simply doing its "due diligence."

Phillies a potential landing spot for Beltre
June 21: With J.P. Crawford set to miss 4-6 weeks due to a fractured left hand and both Maikel Franco and Scott Kingery carrying sub-.700 OPS marks, the Phillies will likely look to acquire a veteran to upgrade the left side of their infield, according to MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi.

While the Phillies have long been linked to the Orioles' Manny Machado, Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is another option the club could pursue, per Morosi.

Morosi: Hot market for hot corner

Beltre will be a free agent after this season, making him a prime candidate to be moved by the Rangers, who are in last place in the American League West and sit 15 games behind in the race for the second Wild Card spot.

Video: Phillies GM Klentak talks bullpen, Trade Deadline

Beltre has spent substantial time on the disabled list with various leg injuries over the past two years, but he remains a productive hitter. Over 45 games this season, the 39-year-old owns a .302/.357/.428 slash line.

And while the Rangers have used Beltre as the designated hitter more often lately, the five-time Gold Glove Award winner can still handle himself at the hot corner. In 32 games at third base this season, Beltre has recorded three defensive runs saved.

Of course, Beltre has a full no-trade clause, and it remains to be seen if he'll waive it to join a contender.

Red Sox looking to upgrade bullpen; Hand an option?
June 20: The Red Sox are interested in bolstering their relief corps, according to MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi, and Padres closer Brad Hand may be a target for the club.

However, San Diego's asking price for Hand could be prohibitive. Per Morosi, the Padres are expected to seek a young everyday player, such as Rafael Devers, in exchange for the left-hander.

Hand, who has a National League-leading 21 saves with a 2.43 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP this season, is signed through 2020 with a team option for 2021, so the Padres are in no rush to deal him.

Boston has the sixth-best bullpen ERA (3.17) in the Majors, but the club's 'pen lacks depth with Carson Smith out for the season following shoulder surgery and Steven Wright currently starting in place of the injured Drew Pomeranz (left biceps tendinitis).

Video: DeRo discusses his Top 5 trade candidates

O's, D-backs have talked Machado trade
June 19: The Orioles and D-backs have engaged in discussions regarding a potential trade for Manny Machado, according to MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi, and dialogue remains open between the two clubs.

Morosi described the trade talks as "due diligence on Arizona's part as the team's needs become clear." The two clubs also reportedly discussed a Machado trade this past offseason. Arizona currently holds the top spot in the National League West, but the second-place Dodgers narrowed the gap when they defeated the Cubs in Game 1 of a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon.

It's unclear whether the D-backs are interested in acquiring Machado to play shortstop or third base.

The 25-year-old would be an offensive upgrade over starting third baseman Jake Lamb and shortstop Nick Ahmed, as he's hitting .310 with 18 homers, 53 RBIs and a .945 OPS over 69 games for the Orioles in 2018 and owns a lifetime 118 wRC+.

But Machado has struggled defensively in his first season as the O's primary shortstop, recording -15 defensive runs saved (DRS). Ahmed, meanwhile, has notched six DRS. Machado has proven to be a stellar defender at the hot corner in the past, posting 81 DRS as a third baseman during his career and winning two AL Gold Glove Awards at the position.

Video: MLB Tonight on the D-backs' interest in Machado

Yanks, M's looking to acquire Happ
June 18: As the Yankees and Mariners have emerged as true contenders in the American League pennant race, so, too, have their roster voids -- specifically within their starting rotations. Both clubs are believed to be in the market for an available arm over the next six weeks, and MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported on Monday that each is interested in Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ.

In the midst of an All-Star-caliber season, Happ has a 3.48 ERA over 82 2/3 innings in 14 starts. He is in the final year of a three-year, $36 million contract, and due to his lingering free agency, he might not be as costly a return in what is shaping up to be a thin trade market for starters.

Both Seattle and New York have gotten above-average production from their starting staffs, though each has shown signs of vulnerability.

Video: Morosi on potential trade fits for J.A. Happ

Beyond AL Cy Young Award candidate Luis Severino, the Yankees have gotten inconsistent results from Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery was lost for the season because of Tommy John surgery and Domingo German hasn't yet exhibited enough to warrant the fifth spot for good. CC Sabathia has been reliable, when healthy. To complement their elite offense and lights-out bullpen, the Yankees have long been speculated to retool their rotation ahead of the Deadline.

Morosi noted that the Yankees might have more incentive to go after a lefty given that the division-rival Red Sox have an MLB-best .813 OPS against righties but only a .672 mark against southpaws. In addition to their 13 regular-season meetings remaining, there's a strong chance the Yankees could go through Boston in the postseason.

The Mariners' rotation has also proven to be top heavy, with arguably the AL's best starter in James Paxton. However, No. 2 starter Felix Hernandez has struggled to a career-worst 5.44 ERA, and he has given up five or more earned runs in five of his 15 starts. No. 5 starter Wade LeBlanc has been a pleasant surprise, but at 33 years old, there have been questions about his sustainability.

In a loaded AL East, Toronto entered 2018 with its most realistic avenue to the postseason via an AL Wild Card berth, but it entered Monday 12 1/2 games back of the second AL's spot. The Jays are 32-38 despite winning seven of their last 10, including sweeps of the Nationals and Orioles.

Bumgarner goes 8 scoreless, dominates Padres

Lefty also drives in run while notching first win of season
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- The genuine Madison Bumgarner showed up Thursday at AT&T Park. You know him. He's the guy who strings together zeros on the scoreboard like pearls on a necklace, for whom pitching late into the game is an imperative, not an anomaly, and who considers generating offense as important as preventing it.

Bumgarner's fingerprints were all over the Giants' 3-0 victory over the Padres, which was exactly the way he wanted it as he secured his first win of the season.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The genuine Madison Bumgarner showed up Thursday at AT&T Park. You know him. He's the guy who strings together zeros on the scoreboard like pearls on a necklace, for whom pitching late into the game is an imperative, not an anomaly, and who considers generating offense as important as preventing it.

Bumgarner's fingerprints were all over the Giants' 3-0 victory over the Padres, which was exactly the way he wanted it as he secured his first win of the season.

View Full Game Coverage

Bumgarner went eight innings and never encountered serious trouble in the series opener against the Padres, who have lost five consecutive games. The left-hander didn't go more than six innings in any of his first three starts this year.

"It feels like everything keeps improving and kind of getting back in the swing of things," Bumgarner said. "Command was the biggest jump for me tonight. It's good that's coming along."

Video: SD@SF: Bochy on Bumgarner's scoreless outing in win

Bumgarner issued two walks, struck out eight and yielded three hits. Two of them were doubles by Manuel Margot, the only Padres player to reach scoring position.

"They've got some guys that you need to be careful with," Bumgarner said after the Giants (38-38) returned to the .500 mark. "They've got a good lineup. I felt good about that. I was able to keep it off the barrels for the most part. It was a good overall game."

Padres manager Andy Green indicated that Bumgarner altered his pitching pattern to adjust to San Diego's hitters.

Video: SD@SF: Bumgarner K's Myers to end the top of the 3rd

"He changed today for us," Green said. "There was a lot of offspeed thrown, a lot more than I've ever seen him throw, and a different type of mix. It caught us off-guard."

Bumgarner has been slow to regain his form due to the fractured fifth metacarpal in his left hand he sustained in Spring Training, which delayed his season debut to June 5. On Thursday, however, he looked every bit like the 2014 postseason hero and four-time All-Star who has maintained the Giants' pitching-rich tradition.

Bumgarner immediately felt ready to deliver a strong effort, which was unusual for him.

"I don't put a lot of stock in the bullpen before the game," Bumgarner said. "But today, I could tell that my stuff was picking up a little."

Even Buster Posey, who caught Bumgarner during warmups and the game, was pleasantly surprised when his batterymate remarked on his physical surge.

"He has as good of body awareness as anybody," Posey said, "so I took that as a good sign."

Video: SD@SF: Bumgarner plates the 1st run with a sac fly

Bumgarner asserted himself at the plate as well, hoisting a fifth-inning sacrifice fly to drive in the Giants' first run. Alen Hanson's leadoff triple in the eighth led to a two-run rally, which included a Posey RBI single, and cleared the way for Mark Melancon to record his first save since June 20, 2017.

"It was the Madison we know," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He really hit his spots. Great focus out there, had all his pitches going. He mixed it up well and hit his spots. He knocks in the first run. It was a type of game we've seen so many times from him."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Run prevented: The Padres had a chance to score in the fifth, which began with Jose Pirela's single. One out later, Margot hit his second double, which right fielder Andrew McCutchen played smoothly off the wall. Second baseman Joe Panik took McCutchen's relay and flung another strike to Posey. Ignoring third-base coach Glenn Hoffman's stop sign, Pirela charged home and was easily tagged out by Posey.

"I thought if [Pirela] kept going that we would have him," Bochy said. "The cutoff and relay are so important. If you execute it, you can save yourself a lot of runs."

Video: SD@SF: McCutchen, Panik relay to nab Pirela at home

SOUND SMART
This was the Giants' 100th victory over the Padres at AT&T Park, which opened in 2000.

UP NEXT
Chris Stratton is scheduled to start Friday's 7:15 p.m. PT game against the Padres. The right-hander has done exactly what he is supposed to do: Keep the team in the game. San Francisco is 11-4 in Stratton's starts, including 6-1 at AT&T Park. Stratton has found a semblance of a groove, having allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his last six starts. Stratton will be opposed by a familiar Giants foe -- left-hander Clayton Richard.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner

Soto's clutch 2-run double carries Nats over O's

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals slotted Bryce Harper into the leadoff spot for Thursday's game against the Orioles in an effort to help him see more pitches and draw more walks. It was a change manager Dave Martinez employed earlier this season, when he was trying to get Harper more opportunities to hit to break out of a slump. Certainly, it was a move Martinez felt comfortable making, because he could slot rookie phenom Juan Soto into the cleanup spot without worry.

Soto responded -- as he continues to do during this impressive start to his career -- with a two-run double in the eighth inning to break a tie game and lead the Nationals to a 4-2 victory over the Orioles at Nationals Park. Even as Washington continues to throw new challenges at Soto, 19, he continues to excel at them all.

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WASHINGTON -- The Nationals slotted Bryce Harper into the leadoff spot for Thursday's game against the Orioles in an effort to help him see more pitches and draw more walks. It was a change manager Dave Martinez employed earlier this season, when he was trying to get Harper more opportunities to hit to break out of a slump. Certainly, it was a move Martinez felt comfortable making, because he could slot rookie phenom Juan Soto into the cleanup spot without worry.

Soto responded -- as he continues to do during this impressive start to his career -- with a two-run double in the eighth inning to break a tie game and lead the Nationals to a 4-2 victory over the Orioles at Nationals Park. Even as Washington continues to throw new challenges at Soto, 19, he continues to excel at them all.

View Full Game Coverage

"He's got unbelievable poise," Martinez said. "No matter what the situation is."

Video: Must C Clutch: Harper doubles, Soto rips go-ahead hit

The table was set for Soto's double thanks to a leadoff two-bagger from Harper that capped off one of his most productive nights at the plate in weeks. Harper went 1-for-1 with a pair of walks, a sacrifice fly and scored the go-ahead run.

This was a major positive for Harper, who has especially struggled in his past nine games, going 2-for-32 with nine strikeouts and four walks. Still, after the game he maintained he has been feeling great at the plate despite his struggles.

"My swing has felt great," Harper reiterated. "I've felt great the past month and a half or so, just chasing pitches. Trying to get a pitch over the plate that I can drive and do the things that I can to put the bat on the ball -- and not just 'pitcher pitches down and away, or up and in,' or anything like that. Tonight, I tried to do the best I could to get a ball over the middle [of the plate], and I was able to do that."

Video: BAL@WSH: Harper plates Difo with a sac fly to left

It was a positive breakthrough for the Nationals' offense, which has struggled to consistently score runs lately. Harper's sac fly and Anthony Rendon's solo homer were the only runs they scored against Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman, who gave up two runs in six innings.

Video: BAL@WSH: Rendon crushes a game-tying solo HR in 6th

But that was enough for Max Scherzer, who was not his usual dominant self, but good enough to withstand some early hard contact from Orioles hitters. He surrendered a pair of home runs -- solo shots from both Colby Rasmus and Mark Trumbo -- to mark the first time this season he has surrendered multiple homers in an outing. Scherzer still responded to hold Baltimore to two runs over seven innings with nine strikeouts.

Scherzer channels 50 Cent on weird wild pitch

"Hey, we won the ballgame," Scherzer said. "That's what matters. That's my job as the starting pitcher: Pitch deep in the game, give my team a chance to win. Two solo home runs, turn the page. Move on from it and continue to pitch."

Video: BAL@WSH: Scherzer K's 9 over 7 innings of 2-run ball

SOUND SMART
Soto's game-winning double came on a ball he drove to left field, another clutch hit for him going the opposite way. He entered this game batting 12-for-21 with an MLB-best 1.190 slugging percentage when hitting to the opposite field, a clear strength for him early on.

"I always hit it to the other way," Soto said. "I like to hit it there. It's better for me. I can see the ball better when I hit it over there."

HE SAID IT
"I think we're all amazed every single day. He's got some antics. He's got some flair. He's a great young player. He's just enjoying himself. He's the bat we kind of need in our lineup right now, that's hot. And teams are going to have to figure out how to get him out, because it's tough right now. He's really locked into what he wants to do. And every time he steps to the plate, he competes. And he takes his walks. He understands, he has a great feel for the strike zone that he doesn't expand as much as you would think for a young guy. To have that type of eye, it's remarkable for him to be able to do that at this time, at this age and at this level." --  Scherzer, on Soto

UP NEXT
The Nationals will begin a three-game series with the Phillies on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. ET, with right-hander Tanner Roark set to take the mound at Nationals Park. He is trying to bounce back from his shortest outing of the season, a four-inning start against the Blue Jays. Right-hander Zach Eflin will be the opposing pitcher for Philadelphia.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals

Ozuna's attempted HR robbery goes awry

Marcell Ozuna has played left field in each of his 68 games this season for the Cardinals. He's definitely used to the position. 

But if there's one thing baseball reminds us of on a daily basis, it's that it isn't afraid to humble you at any time. The first inning of St. Louis' 11-3 loss to the Brewers on Thursday at Miller Park did just that to Ozuna when Jesus Aguilar clubbed a deep fly ball to left field.

Scherzer channels 50 Cent on weird wild pitch

Max Scherzer knows a thing or two about pitching -- well, he knows a lot more than that. He's a three-time recipient of the Cy Young Award and has a 13.6 K/9 rate on the season. The guy is ridiculous. Still, even he manages to throw a wild pitch every now and then.

Fun in the sun: 24 hours of baseball in Alaska

Summer solstice brings 113th Midnight Sun Game to Fairbanks
MLB.com

Major League Baseball celebrated the 113th Midnight Sun Game by organizing an unprecedented 24 hours of Play Ball events around this year's game in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Throughout the 24-hour period of daylight during summer solstice, MLB and its partners -- the American Legion, PONY Baseball and Softball, USA Baseball and USA Softball -- hosted a number of baseball and softball activities for both adults and kids.

Major League Baseball celebrated the 113th Midnight Sun Game by organizing an unprecedented 24 hours of Play Ball events around this year's game in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Throughout the 24-hour period of daylight during summer solstice, MLB and its partners -- the American Legion, PONY Baseball and Softball, USA Baseball and USA Softball -- hosted a number of baseball and softball activities for both adults and kids.

During the "Open Session" Play Ball events, approximately 600 youth players, ages 6 to 12, ran through informal baseball and softball stations. The day's other activities included games featuring baseball and softball organizations -- including the Armed Forces Softball League, American Legion, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) and USA Baseball and USA Softball -- which culminated with the Midnight Sun Game.

The main event was between collegiate summer baseball teams, the Alaska Goldpanners and the Orange County Surf at Fairbanks' Growden Park. It began at 10 p.m. local time and did not use any artificial light. The Midnight Sun Game was first played in 1906 and has been hosted annually by the Goldpanners since 1960, their first year of competition.

Video: Bean discusses 24 Hours of Play Ball in Alaska

Billy Bean, a former big leaguer and MLB's vice president and special assistant to the Commissioner, was in attendance. Bean was named the Goldpanners' Most Valuable Player in 1985.

Tweet from @PlayBall: The finishing touch to 24 hours of #PlayBall?The @RealGoldpanners' Midnight Sun Game. pic.twitter.com/AAnkMIwKgB

Here's a recap from this one-of-a-kind event:

Fairbanks, June 21 -- 11 p.m.
For years, baseball fans from all over the world have gathered to watch the collegiate summer baseball team, the Alaska Goldpanners, play in the Midnight Sun Game. The game, which began at 10 p.m. Alaska time, did not use any artificial light, but it was lit instead by the summer solstice.

Fairbanks, June 21 -- 9:30 p.m.
During the Midnight Sun Game pregame ceremonies, Jim Matherly, mayor of Fairbanks, and Karl Kassel, mayor of Fairbanks North Star Borough, adorn the Play Ball baseball with the Alaska state stamp. Play Ball has officially traveled to 25 (half!) of the United States!

Video: Mayors adorn the Play Ball baseball with Alaska Stamp

Fairbanks, June 21 -- 8 p.m.
Gates open at Growden Park for the Midnight Sun Game; enter Marc Christensen, Larry Bingham, Michael Cronk -- three retired baseball fans from San Francisco touring the country one ballpark at a time. Since beginning their quest in 2010, they've visited all 30 big league parks and 82 Minor League parks. This trip began in Seattle before heading to Anchorage and then Fairbanks for the Midnight Sun Game. Growdin is the fifth ballpark of their visit to Alaska. Missing from their crew on this trip is Gary Bingham, brother of Larry.

Fairbanks, June 21 -- 2:30 p.m.
Play Ball is all about bringing the game to places it hasn't thrived traditionally, or perhaps in a long time. While you may not think of Alaska when you think baseball, the game is alive and well in America's north-most state. More than 300 kids came out for a Play Ball doubleheader event ahead of the Midnight Sun Game.

Fairbanks, June 21 -- 9 a.m
Based here in Alaska, these men and women serve our country in the Air Force and Army. Today, we salute them as they take the diamond.

Fairbanks, June 21 -- 8 a.m.
Little League is serious business up in Alaska. With limited months to play the game outside, two teams from the Anchorage Boys & Girls Club made the eight-hour bus trek up to Fairbanks to play with local PONY and RBI teams to celebrate a full day of sunlight. That's Fairbanks in red, with Anchorage in blue.

 

Fairbanks, June 21 -- 1:00 a.m.
How's this for a baseball sky at one o'clock in the morning?

Fairbanks, June 21 -- 12:01 a.m.
The first of many pitches on the day is thrown as American Legion Post 30 faces American Legion Post 11 in Game 1 of 24 Hours of Play Ball.

Video: Riccobono excited for 24 Hours of Play Ball in Alaska

Fairbanks, June 20 -- 11:56 p.m.
Bean, Rick Riccobono (chief development officer, USA Baseball) and David James (vice president, baseball and softball development, Major League Baseball) throw out the first pitch to begin the 24 hours of Play Ball in Fairbanks, Alaska in celebration of the summer solstice.

Shannon Ford is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @Shannon__Ford.

deGrom watch, Phils-Nats series top weekend

MLB.com @castrovince

There are people -- people with these things called calendars -- who will try to tell you summer began with the so-called "summer solstice" on Thursday. Ah, but we know better, don't we, baseball fans? We know summer technically began the minute the boys of summer took to the fields at the start of this 2018 season (even though the weather in April was memorably miserable).

Anyway, it's good to have the calendar crowd along for the ride now. Summer's here, and the time is right for watching baseball from your seat. The races are real, the halfway point is approaching and these are five topics worth tracking as we head into the weekend:

There are people -- people with these things called calendars -- who will try to tell you summer began with the so-called "summer solstice" on Thursday. Ah, but we know better, don't we, baseball fans? We know summer technically began the minute the boys of summer took to the fields at the start of this 2018 season (even though the weather in April was memorably miserable).

Anyway, it's good to have the calendar crowd along for the ride now. Summer's here, and the time is right for watching baseball from your seat. The races are real, the halfway point is approaching and these are five topics worth tracking as we head into the weekend:

1. The Phil of the chase
Are both of the National League East's surprise squads legit? Well, the Braves sure appear to be just that, because, you know, it is June 22 and they are in first place in the division with the league's second-best run differential.

The Phillies, though, appeared to be slipping back in the pack when they dropped seven of their first eight games this month. The good thing about being ahead of schedule in your rebuild is that you're ahead of schedule in your rebuild. The bad thing is that people will point to every misstep as the beginning of the crash back to reality.

Video: MIL@PHI: Eflin tosses six strong innings vs. Brewers

But the Phils have rebounded in a big way with consecutive series wins against the Rockies, Brewers and Cardinals. And now they've got a three-game set at Nationals Park this weekend that serves as another chance to prove their staying power against a division power. They avoid facing Max Scherzer and are throwing the red-hot Zach Eflin tonight (7:05 ET) and All-Star candidate Aaron Nola on Saturday (4:05 p.m.). One subplot surrounding this series is that the Nats landed Kelvin Herrera in the trade market this week, but that's not going to be the last deal that goes down in this division.

"What we've said all along is that if we can come out of June in a good position and get ourselves on a roll going into July," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak told reporters, "that would put us in position to make additions."

The Phillies are rolling right now, and continuing that roll against the Nats would sure give the front office additional incentive to make a big push.

2. deGreat
We nearly had a Clayton Kershaw-Jacob deGrom duel on tap for Dodgers-Mets on Saturday at Citi Field, but L.A. has opted to give Kershaw, returning from a back injury, a rehab start at Triple-A Oklahoma City before he rejoins the active roster. So it's Caleb Ferguson on the hill instead for the visitors in the 7:15 p.m. ET game.

But deGrom's having a pretty "peak Kershaw"-like 2018 so far (minus the wins, of course), and that's plenty attractive on its own. He owns a 0.90 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings over his last 11 starts. He's gotten the win in just three of them because of, well, reasons, but deGrom's performance in a rough season for the Mets only increases the talk of what a valuable trade chip he would be this summer.

Video: NYM@ATL: deGrom strikes out 7 over 7 strong innings

The Mets are not likely to take advantage of that value, but, were they to actually dangle deGrom, the Dodgers would be an ideal suitor. Los Angeles' current front office has been reluctant to complete deals involving multiple top prospects, but the injury issues that have hampered Kershaw and the rotation at large (and Kershaw's potential to opt-out at year's end) make a compelling argument for diving in here.

Anyway, that's all just fun trade banter, unlikely to be realized in real life. All that really matters this weekend is that we get to see deGrom continue his bid for the NL Cy Young Award, and maybe he'll get enough support to actually come away with his second victory in as many starts.

3. You again?
The Mariners and Red Sox played a four-game series at Safeco Field last weekend in which three of the games were decided by a single run. In the first game, there was a vintage David Price-Felix Hernandez duel. In the second, there was a late-inning rally by that never-say-die Seattle squad. In the third, there was a beautiful battle between knuckleballer Steven Wright and junkballer Wade LeBlanc, resulting in a 1-0 M's win. And though the Red Sox erupted offensively in a lopsided series finale, the two clubs split the series and likely came away with an increased appreciation for their potential October opponent.

Video: BOS@SEA: LeBlanc strikes out 9 over 7 2/3 scoreless

So what do you say we do it again?

The M's and Sox will meet this time at Fenway Park in a three-game set that begins at 7:10 tonight, with a LeBlanc-Wright reunion. LeBlanc retired 22 straight in his 1-0 victory over Boston last week, and Wright has a 0.44 ERA in 20 2/3 innings over three starts this month. These guys might not have great "stuff," but watching them oppose each other is great stuff.

4. Cardinal sins
The NL Central was billed as a three-team race going into the season, with the Brewers and Cardinals both in hot pursuit of the two-time-defending-division-champion Cubs. And though the Pirates have had moments of friskiness that have amplified that outlook, the three-team-race idea has generally held true.

Video: MLB Tonight: Yadier Molina's return, swing evolution

But the Cards have been lagging in that race in recent weeks. Injuries to Paul DeJong and the since-returned Yadier Molina -- as well as bullpen, defense and extra-base-hit issues (only the Marlins have fewer) -- have caught up to this club, which has dropped four of its last six series. The rotation hasn't been as sharp in June, and the departure of the DL'd Michael Wacha, who was otherwise having an excellent season, with an oblique strain isn't helping matters there.

With all of the above serving as a backdrop to how the Cards will handle the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, series like their four-gamer continuing this weekend against the Brew Crew take on added prominence. The series resumes tonight with Jack Flaherty opposing Junior Guerra at 8:10 p.m. in Milwaukee.

5. Bieber fever
Shane Bieber is going to have to endure the Justin Bieber puns for as long as he pitches in the big leagues. And right now, with Carlos Carrasco on the shelf with a bruised forearm, which he sustained on a comebacker, Bieber is in the big leagues indefinitely.

Video: MIN@CLE: Bieber fans 7 in first Major League win

A fourth-round pick in 2016, Bieber wasn't what you'd call an uber-prospect. But a ridiculous 14.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Minors had a way of elevating his profile, and he showed great composure in pitching around traffic to limit the damage to one run over 5 2/3 innings in his first big league win against the Twins on Sunday.

In giving Bieber an idea of how to prepare himself between starts, Indians manager Terry Francona pointed Bieber to two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and said, "Follow him." Bieber has drawn comparisons to Kluber for his poise and command. So let's see what the 23-year-old can do opposite Mike Fiers and the Tigers in his next opportunity, at 7:10 ET tonight at Progressive Field.

And sure, keep the Bieber jokes coming, if you feel that's your Purpose.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Top 100 Prospects update: 15 rise, 8 fall, 5 enter

MLB.com @JimCallisMLB

Our annual midsummer overhaul of MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list is still a month away. Before we get to that, we're back with our second series of tweaks.

We now have two-plus months of Minor League performance to evaluate, compared to a month when we made our first series of adjustments in early May, so we were more aggressive this time around.

Our annual midsummer overhaul of MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list is still a month away. Before we get to that, we're back with our second series of tweaks.

We now have two-plus months of Minor League performance to evaluate, compared to a month when we made our first series of adjustments in early May, so we were more aggressive this time around.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

When we reconsidered the top 15 prospects on the list, we left only the top two guys (Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) in place. We also moved 15 players up and eight down by a significant amount, and added five new prospects at the bottom of the Top 100:

The Top 15

green up arrow Juan Soto, OF, Nationals (No. 13 to No. 3)
Nineteen-year-olds aren't supposed to jump from Class A to the big leagues in six weeks and hit .326/.423/.596 with six homers in their first 27 games in the Majors.

Video: NYY@WSH: Soto smashes a 2-run shot to the second deck

green up arrow Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros (No. 14 to No. 10)
After selling out a bit for power while slamming a career-high 25 homers in 2017, he's showing more patience while continuing to drive the ball and looks like a perennial 20-20 player.

green up arrow Royce Lewis, SS, Twins (No. 18 to No. 13)
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 Draft has been everything expected offensively and better than anticipated at shortstop.

red down arrow Francisco Mejia, C, Indians (No. 11 to No. 17)
He didn't cross the Mendoza Line for good until June 3, and while he's starting to hit like his old self, there are increasing concerns that he lacks the receiving skills to be an everyday catcher.

Thirteen prospects in our previous top 15 moved at least slightly, so we're not going to break them all down individually. Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. leaped over Reds third baseman Nick Senzel and Nationals outfielder Victor Robles into our top five. Astros right-hander Forrest Whitley remained just ahead of White Sox righty Michael Kopech as the highest-ranked pitcher, though both slid out of the top 10.

Risers

green up arrow Mike Soroka, RHP, Braves (No. 26 to No. 16)
He's always had polish, his stuff seems to get better every year and he has looked at home in Atlanta at age 20.

Video: NYM@ATL: Soroka's no-hit bid ends on Conforto's knock

green up arrow Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Athletics (No. 31 to No. 22)
His pitchability and his changeup rank among the best in the Minors, and he's a rare southpaw who can hit 98 mph with his fastball.

green up arrow Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers (No. 48 to No. 32)
Regarded as the best pure hitter in the 2017 Draft, he has looked exactly like that while batting .335/.392/.534 and reaching Double-A in his first full pro season.

green up arrow Jesus Sanchez, OF, Rays (No. 49 to 37)
A natural hitter with the chance for solid tools across the board, he's thriving in Class A as a 20-year-old.

green up arrow Jo Adell, OF, Angels (No. 53 to No. 38)
Questions about his ability to handle quality pitching dogged him as an amateur but didn't stop him from going 10th overall in the 2017 Draft, and he's dispelling them by hitting .318/.373/.617 with 14 homers and 11 steals in 50 games across two Class A levels.

Video: Top Prospects: Jo Adell, OF, Angels

green up arrow Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox (No. 52 to No. 43)
He's making strides with his control and command, and his mid-90s fastball and hammer curveball are as good as ever.

green up arrow Dane Dunning, RHP, White Sox (No. 65 to No. 56)
While he doesn't have the sexiest stuff among White Sox starting pitcher prospects, he commands a solid arsenal and looks like a lock to be a mid-rotation starter.

green up arrow Austin Riley, 3B, Braves (No. 72 to No. 52)
He continues to improve at tapping into his considerable power potential and playing the hot corner, so it might not be long before Atlanta summons him.

green up arrow Tyler O'Neill, OF, Cardinals (No. 73 to No. 53)
With 46 homers in 171 Triple-A games, he has nothing left to prove in Triple-A but no path to immediate playing time in St. Louis.

Video: KC@STL: O'Neill homers in his third straight game

green up arrow Yordan Alvarez, OF/1B, Astros (No. 74 to No. 54)
Plucked from the Dodgers in a trade before making his pro debut, he has raked ever since and looks like he'll hit for plenty of average and power.

green up arrow Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals (No. 79 to No. 66)
There may not be another shortstop prospect who can match his combination of hitting ability, power, patience and consistent contact.

green up arrow Sean Murphy, C, Athletics (No. 92 to No. 70)
Not only is his combination of arm strength and receiving ability as good as any catcher's in the Minors, but he's also improving as a hitter and making the most of his raw power.

green up arrow Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins (No. 98 to No. 71)
The Rookie-level Appalachian League MVP in his 2016 pro debut, he missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery and has reclaimed his all-around hitting ability this spring.

green up arrow Andres Gimenez, SS, Mets (No. 99 to No. 72)
He's more advanced offensively than Amed Rosario was at the same stage (age 19) and is no slouch with the glove either.

green up arrow Peter Alonso, 1B, Mets (No. 100 to No. 73)
He somehow hasn't gotten the acclaim that should come from hitting .301/.390/.543 in two-plus years as a pro.

Fallers

red down arrow Austin Hays, OF, Orioles (No. 32 to unranked)
The first player from the 2016 Draft to reach the Majors, he has battled shoulder and ankle injuries this year and batted .224/.259/.375 in Double-A.

red down arrow Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants (No. 54 to No. 74)
The five-tool ability and huge ceiling are still there, though he's going to need to cut down on his strikeouts.

red down arrow Jorge Mateo, SS/OF, Athletics (No. 62 to No. 76)
His approach at the plate has disintegrated, which makes it difficult for him to take advantage of his game-changing speed.

red down arrow Chance Adams, RHP, Yankees (No. 66 to unranked)
With his command regressing as he repeats Triple-A, he looks like he might be more of a reliever than a mid-rotation starter.

red down arrow J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, Astros (No. 67 to unranked)
He has wipeout stuff but can't always locate it where he wants, and he has made just two starts this year because of an undisclosed injury.

red down arrow Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Twins (No. 69 to No. 77)
After dominating at every previous level of the Minors, he hit the wall in Triple-A at the end of 2017 and again this year.

red down arrow Pavin Smith, 1B, D-backs (No. 81 to unranked)
The No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 Draft is controlling the strike zone, but an advanced college hitter should produce better than a .229/.337/.379 line in Class A Advanced.

red down arrow D.J. Peters, OF, Dodgers (No. 96 to unranked)
His power is jaw-dropping but his 32 percent strikeout rate in Double-A is worrisome.

New Additions

green up arrow Griffin Canning, RHP, Angels (unranked to No. 96)
Concerns about his pre-Draft MRI knocked him from the first round to the second in 2017, yet he has reached the mid-90s with his fastball and showed an array of solid secondary pitches while reaching Triple-A just 12 starts into his pro debut this year.

Video: Top Prospects: Griffin Canning, RHP, Angels

green up arrow Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates (unranked to No. 97)
He has shown the ability to put the bat on the ball and play a fine third base, and now he's starting to display the power scouts always believed he had.

green up arrow Brusdar Graterol, RHP, Twins (unranked to No. 98)
Two years removed from Tommy John surgery, he can hit 100 mph and also miss bats with both his slider and curveball.

green up arrow Zack Collins, C, White Sox (unranked to No. 99)
While his power and patience were evident in his first two pro seasons, he's hitting the ball with more authority in 2018.

green up arrow Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers (unranked to No. 100)
He's an all-bat guy, but his bat has produced 81 homers in 402 pro games.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.