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Cueto lowers ERA to 0.35 as Giants top Halos

Righty takes no-hit bid into sixth; Belt homers for fourth straight game
Special to MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- It took three-plus weeks and an epic day from Brandon Belt, as the Giants finally won their first series this season.

Belt's historic 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning Sunday was the conversation piece, but his fifth-inning home run helped fuel a 4-2 victory over the Angels.

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ANAHEIM -- It took three-plus weeks and an epic day from Brandon Belt, as the Giants finally won their first series this season.

Belt's historic 21-pitch at-bat in the first inning Sunday was the conversation piece, but his fifth-inning home run helped fuel a 4-2 victory over the Angels.

View Full Game Coverage

Johnny Cueto contributed his fair share as well, holding the Angels to no runs on two hits after carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He lowered his ERA to 0.35 after four starts.

The Giants won two of the three games at Anaheim, in a rematch of the thrilling 2002 World Series won by the Angels.

A day after striking out 17 times against the Angels, the Giants tagged 77 pitches on Angels starter Jaime Barria in two-plus innings, with 49 of those pitches coming in the first inning alone. Barria gave up two runs on five hits with a walk in his second career appearance.

Belt's 21-pitch at-bat, as the second batter of the game, took 12 minutes and included 16 foul balls. It ended with him hitting a fly ball to right field. His next two at-bats used a combined 17 pitches and he finished those with a single and his home run, respectively.

Video: SF@LAA: Barria induces fly out, ends 21-pitch at-bat

Belt ended the day with three hits and saw 40 pitches in his five plate appearances.

Buster Posey, who returned to the lineup after missing Saturday's game with back tightness, brought home the first Giants run in the third inning when he grounded into a double play. Evan Longoria added a two-run home run in the third, his fourth of the season.

Belt's towering home run in the fifth easily cleared the wall in right field and gave him four home runs in the past four games he has played. He did not play in Friday's game at Anaheim, which was also his 30th birthday.

Video: SF@LAA: Belt lifts a solo long ball to right field

Cueto, who missed a recent start with an ankle sprain, pitched through some discomfort, even getting a visit from the trainer at one point. He did not give up a base hit until Ian Kinsler singled to lead off the sixth inning.

The Angels closed the gap to 4-2 in the eighth inning on Mike Trout's third home in three games. Trout took over sole possession of the Major League lead in homers with nine.

Hunter Strickland gave up two hits, but pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his third save.

Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com.

San Francisco Giants

HR leader Trout's 'Space Jam'-inspired secret

Mike Trout smacked a Major League-leading ninth home run on Sunday in the bottom of the eighth against the Giants. The two-run shot was a line drive to right field and we were reminded, once again, that his bat is one of the best in the game. We know his resume is filled to the brim with accomplishments including two American League MVP's and six All-Star selections -- to name a few. And now we know he has some Space Jam-inspired juice that's perhaps been carrying him this whole time.

Khris crushes 3-run homer to lift A's over Boston

Special to MLB.com

OAKLAND -- Khris Davis wasn't going to let David Price get ahead of him. The A's DH went to the plate in the eighth inning of a tie game and hit a first-pitch three-run homer that carried the Athletics to a 4-1 win over the Boston Red Sox at the Coliseum on Sunday.

"It was first-pitch hacking, that's what happened," Davis said after the A's became the first team this season to hand the Red Sox back-to-back losses. "I think he wanted it a little further in, obviously. It was on the plate, and I was looking to be aggressive and get him early."

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OAKLAND -- Khris Davis wasn't going to let David Price get ahead of him. The A's DH went to the plate in the eighth inning of a tie game and hit a first-pitch three-run homer that carried the Athletics to a 4-1 win over the Boston Red Sox at the Coliseum on Sunday.

"It was first-pitch hacking, that's what happened," Davis said after the A's became the first team this season to hand the Red Sox back-to-back losses. "I think he wanted it a little further in, obviously. It was on the plate, and I was looking to be aggressive and get him early."

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Davis, who also drove in Oakland's first run with an RBI single in the first, and the A's were feeling good about themselves after a 5-1 homestand that included some dominant pitching. Between the seventh inning Friday and the seventh inning Sunday, the A's pitchers held MLB's highest-scoring team without a run.

Video: BOS@OAK: Davis grounds an RBI single to left

Starter Daniel Mengden, who'd allowed the White Sox one run in eight innings earlier in the week, came back with one run allowed in 6 1/3 innings against Boston, a team averaging 6 1/2 runs per game before the last two days.

"It's special for the starters to be able to come in after the game knowing we did our jobs," Mengden said. "We know we're going to score runs if we give our guys a chance."

Video: BOS@OAK: Mengden allows one run over 6 1/3 frames

Now Oakland, 11-11, has a chance to get over .500 as it heads out on a three-city trip to Texas, Houston and Seattle.

"This is huge -- we've just got to ride the wave out as long as we can," Davis said. "The pitching has been fantastic. Anytime the pitching is on, we want to be putting up runs. We couldn't ask for anything more."

In the wake of Saturday's no-hitter from Sean Manaea, Mengden did what he could to keep the Red Sox's bats at bay. Ahead 1-0 from the first, Mengden threw six shutout innings before Brock Holt's one-out double tied the game and put men on second and third with one out. Yusmeiro Petit, who'd just rejoined the team after almost a week off to visit his ailing mother in Venezuela, pitched out of the jam.

"That was incredible," Mengden said of the job Petit did. "He cleaned up my mess."

Video: BOS@OAK: Petit strikes out Lin to escape jam

Oakland had only one runner in scoring position against Price between the second and seventh innings. But Marcus Semien and Stephen Piscotty singled with one out in the eighth, and after Jed Lowrie struck out, it was up to Davis to deliver his sixth homer and let closer Blake Treinen take it the rest of the way home.

Treinen, who took over one out into the top of the eighth, got two quick outs in the ninth only to come up limping after the second. He'd caught his spikes in the dirt and felt "a little grab" in his knee, but said after about 20 seconds of being checked out, he felt fine.

Video: BOS@OAK: Treinen injured on nice play, stays in

SOUND SMART
Semien, who leads off most of the time against left-handed pitching, scored all three runs Saturday and the first two A's runs Sunday to give him five in a row. And with the A's in the middle of five consecutive games against left-handed starter, he'll be at the top of the lineup again the next three days.

HE SAID IT
"Khris Davis is a three-run homer waiting to happen." -- A's manager Bob Melvin

Video: BOS@OAK: Melvin on handing Red Sox first series loss

UP NEXT
A's DH Davis, who drove in four runs Sunday, will be looking to fatten his offensive numbers during the three-game series vs. the Rangers, which begins Monday at 5:05 p.m. PT. He has eight career homers and a .338 career average at Globe Life Park. The downside is he's never gotten a hit (0-for-6) against Monday starter Matt Moore, who will oppose Oakland starter Trevor Cahill.

John Hickey is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

Oakland Athletics, Daniel Mengden

Belt has historic 21-pitch at-bat vs. Angels

Special to MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- The Giants' Brandon Belt owned the stage Sunday, not only for his historic 21-pitch at-bat during a 4-2 win over the Angels, but also for hitting a home run in his fourth consecutive game played.

Belt hit 16 foul balls in the first-inning plate appearance against Angels starter Jaime Barria that ended with a fly ball to right field.

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ANAHEIM -- The Giants' Brandon Belt owned the stage Sunday, not only for his historic 21-pitch at-bat during a 4-2 win over the Angels, but also for hitting a home run in his fourth consecutive game played.

Belt hit 16 foul balls in the first-inning plate appearance against Angels starter Jaime Barria that ended with a fly ball to right field.

View Full Game Coverage

He had an eight-pitch at-bat in the third inning when he singled to right field and then crushed a deep home run to right in a nine-pitch at-bat in the fifth.

Belt hit a home run at Arizona on Wednesday and another on Thursday against the Diamondbacks. He did not play in Friday's game at Anaheim, which was his 30th birthday. Belt then hit a home run Saturday against the Angels and added another Sunday, his fifth of the season.

The last Giants player to hit a home run in four consecutive games played was Hunter Pence in 2013.

Belt's marathon first-inning at-bat bested the previous record of a 20-pitch duel between the Astros' Ricky Gutierrez and the Indians' Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998. That at-bat ended with a swinging strikeout for Colon.

Video: HOU@CLE: Colon K's Gutierrez in 20-pitch at-bat

Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who homered on the 18th pitch of an at-bat when he played for the Dodgers in May 2004, tweeted his appreciation for Belt's resilient approach.

Tweet from @ac13alex: 21 pitches?Good at bat.

Barria was making his second appearance in the Majors, having been called up earlier in the day by the Angels to make the start against the Giants. His only other start came April 11 against the Texas Rangers, when he gave up one run over five innings and picked up the victory.

Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com.

San Francisco Giants, Brandon Belt, Bartolo Colon

Bryant hit in helmet, no signs of concussion

Special to MLB.com

DENVER -- Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant took a pitch to the helmet in the first inning of Sunday's 9-7 win against the Rockies and had to leave the game.

Bryant was examined upon exiting the game and passed all tests. He has a small laceration above his left eye from his sunglasses, but shows no signs of a concussion. He will continue to be evaluated.

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DENVER -- Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant took a pitch to the helmet in the first inning of Sunday's 9-7 win against the Rockies and had to leave the game.

Bryant was examined upon exiting the game and passed all tests. He has a small laceration above his left eye from his sunglasses, but shows no signs of a concussion. He will continue to be evaluated.

View Full Game Coverage

After retiring the first two batters and getting a 1-2 count on Bryant, Rockies starter German Marquez threw a 96.3-mph fastball high and inside that hit Bryant in the front of the helmet. He walked away from the plate toward the dugout and was immediately met by manager Joe Maddon, who embraced him in part to ensure he was OK. Bryant stayed on his feet while talking to Maddon and the head trainer and was helped off the field by the two.

David Bote, who had been recalled the day before and started at third base Saturday, pinch-ran for Bryant and took third in the bottom of the inning. He scored on the first of four consecutive two-out singles from Anthony Rizzo, Tommy La Stella, Kyle Schwarber and Victor Caratini as the Cubs erupted for three runs.

Cubs hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant hitting coach Andy Haines were both ejected after delivering heated remarks to home-plate umpire Cory Blaser.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.

Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant

Andujar's 4 hits lift Yanks to series win over Jays

Special to MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Years from now, if Gleyber Torres develops into the star the Yankees think he'll become, you can go ahead and tell people you remember his Major League debut. Just don't forget to mention Miguel Andujar's name.

Sunday may have been Gleyber Day in the Bronx, the first Major League game for a 21-year-old ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 5 prospect in the game. But while Torres had a quiet debut, going 0-for-4, the 23-year-old Andujar continued an impressive week with four hits in a 5-1 Yankees win over the Blue Jays. New York finished the weekend with a four-game series victory.

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NEW YORK -- Years from now, if Gleyber Torres develops into the star the Yankees think he'll become, you can go ahead and tell people you remember his Major League debut. Just don't forget to mention Miguel Andujar's name.

Sunday may have been Gleyber Day in the Bronx, the first Major League game for a 21-year-old ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 5 prospect in the game. But while Torres had a quiet debut, going 0-for-4, the 23-year-old Andujar continued an impressive week with four hits in a 5-1 Yankees win over the Blue Jays. New York finished the weekend with a four-game series victory.

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"I've known Miggy for two years, and I know he can hit," said Torres, who was teammates with Andujar in the 2016 Arizona Fall League. "I'm happy he has had a good week."

It's actually been a week-plus, an important 10 days for Andujar and maybe for the Yankees' future. He had been playing third base in place of the injured Brandon Drury, but through April 12, he was 3-for-28 with no extra-base hits. Meanwhile, the Yankees had Torres playing third base at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Video: TOR@NYY: Boone on Andujar's confidence, hit streak

In six games since, Andujar has gone 13-for-25 with seven doubles, a triple and two home runs. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Yankees shifted Torres back to second base and then called him up to play that position in the Major Leagues.

Andujar is now the third baseman, and when you added in Torres at second and 24-year-old Luis Severino on the mound, the Yankees had a young look Sunday that suggested good things to come. Severino allowed just one run on three hits in seven innings to win for the fourth time in five starts.

Shortstop Didi Gregorius, an elder statesman in this group at 28, also had a big day Sunday with a first-inning home run and a seventh-inning sacrifice fly.

"It's what everyone's been talking about," Gregorius said. "We've got a lot of prospects."

Video: TOR@NYY: Gregorius belts a solo homer to right

Gregorius said when he saw Andujar before Sunday's game, the third baseman told him, "I'm feeling good."

"I told him, 'Show me,'" Gregorius said.

Andujar did just that. With a runner on first and one out in the second inning, he doubled down the left-field line to set up Austin Romine's two-run double later in the inning. Andujar added an infield hit in the fourth inning, a run-scoring double in the sixth and another infield hit in the eighth.

"To me, it's about getting an opportunity and doing your job," Andujar said through an interpreter. "I'm getting a great opportunity."

Video: TOR@NYY: Romine rips a two-run double to right

What he's showing at the plate isn't a surprise to Yankee players and coaches who have long expressed confidence in Andujar's bat.

"Everybody knows he can hit," Severino said.

Everybody believes Torres will hit, too, and no one will be too concerned about his hitless debut. Torres got a standing ovation when he came to the plate for his first Major League at-bat in the second inning, but he struck out against Jays starter Jaime Garcia. Torres grounded into a double play in the fourth, popped out in the sixth and flied out to right field in the eighth.

Video: TOR@NYY: Torres receives ovation before first at-bat

It was an 0-for-4, but maybe it was also the start of something bigger. And maybe in the future, people will remember Sunday for both Torres and Andujar.

"In Andujar and Gleyber, we have two really good players," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Severino goes seven: Boone started Severino on Opening Day, and he calls him the Yankees' ace. The skipper treated him that way Sunday, sending him back out for the seventh inning when Severino had already thrown a season-high 97 pitches. Severino made it through the seventh, finishing with 112 pitches.

Video: TOR@NYY: Severino fans six over seven strong innings

"To get us through seven was huge," Boone said. "That's what an ace looks like."

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Yankees and the crowd thought Tyler Austin had an infield hit in the eighth inning Sunday, but first-base umpire Ted Barrett called him out. The Yankees asked for a replay review, believing shortstop Lourdes Gurriel Jr.'s throw had pulled first baseman Justin Smoak off the bag. After review, the call was allowed to stand, causing Boone to raise his arms in the air and bringing loud boos from Yankee fans who believed the replay they saw showed Smoak's foot off the bag.

Video: TOR@NYY: Gurriel Jr. nabs Austin despite challenge

Boone later said the Yankees' replay room had some doubt the call would be overturned, because it wasn't clear where Smoak's foot was when he caught the ball.

UP NEXT
The Yankees and Twins, who met in the American League Wild Card Game last October, will be back at Yankee Stadium for a four-game series beginning with a 7:05 p.m. ET game Monday night. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (2-2, 6.45 ERA) will be on the mound for the Yankees, with right-hander Jake Odorizzi (1-1, 3.38 ERA) starting for the Twins.

Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar, Didi Gregorius, Austin Romine, Luis Severino

MLB unveils sustainability efforts on Earth Day

MLB.com

Major League Baseball celebrated Earth Day on Sunday by unveiling a bevy of sustainability initiatives that will be instituted by each team.

The initiatives include "Green Teams" and sustainable activations that will take place during All-Star Week in Washington, D.C. MLB plans to partner with George Washington University and Georgetown to activate the "Green Teams" among students to bring awareness to environmental efforts.

Major League Baseball celebrated Earth Day on Sunday by unveiling a bevy of sustainability initiatives that will be instituted by each team.

The initiatives include "Green Teams" and sustainable activations that will take place during All-Star Week in Washington, D.C. MLB plans to partner with George Washington University and Georgetown to activate the "Green Teams" among students to bring awareness to environmental efforts.

In addition, MLB plans to offset its environmental footprint of player travel, energy and water usage during All-Star Week. This will work in conjunction with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and Change the Course program.

Later in the year, MLB plans to partner with Arizona State University on sustainability efforts. They also seek to embark on several projects, such as Upcycling with Refried Tees, volunteering at local variety Boys and Girls Clubs and donating excess supplies following the first "MLB FoodFest."

The sustainability efforts also extend to each club. Below is a look at how each club will celebrate and support Earth Day efforts:

• The Orioles kicked off Earth Day celebrations with a pregame ceremony that awarded Camden Yards with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. The honor is the result of a multi-year effort of research and enhancements to Camden Yards, which is the oldest ballpark to reach the distinction. AT&T Park, SunTrust Park, Marlins Park, Target Field and Nationals Park are also LEED certified. More >

• The Orioles also wore special Earth Day jerseys to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The O's are one of many teams that will have added LED Field Lighting by the end of 2018. Other teams that will use LED lighting are the Indians, Braves, Astros, Royals, Angels, Twins, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, Padres, Giants, Mariners, Rangers and Reds.

• The Reds became more energy efficient with LED lights that have a lifespan of 30 years. The club also placed 200 recycle bins around Great American Ball Park and have been heavily involved with donating to the local community. More >

• The Braves will also utilize LED lighting in their sustainability efforts. They are LEED certified and follow strict guidelines for environmental responsibility for reducing water, energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. More >

• The Astros retrofitted their light fixtures near front-office spaces and updated their center-field lighting LED. The Phillies now have LED lamps and lighting in the field and clubhouse, and the Indians have 75 percent of office lights with LED. The Pirates also reduced energy demand by 2,000 kWD with their new backfield lights.

• Reducing waste is an area of concern for the Rangers. They participated in Earth Day activities and continue to recycle waste and reduce their environmental footprint. In 2017, the club recycled 358 tons of waste and implemented LED Field Lighting that results in 60 percent of energy savings. More >

• The Rays also participated in a similar fashion. They celebrated Earth Day by increasing the number of recycling bins at Tropicana Field. Several other teams joined in to reduce recycling waste, including the Mariners, Giants, Royals, Yankees, Twins, Phillies, Mets and Nationals.

• Some teams also celebrated Earth Day with new initiatives and planned community events. The Red Sox worked alongside partners to conduct a post-game waste sort, and the White Sox instituted a new policy of serving drinks without straws. More >

The Tigers worked with The Greening Detroit, a local non-profit, to help plant trees in the community, and the Dodgers worked with community partners to plant 60 new trees at Sycamore Grove Park. The Pirates will open a Suite Patio Rooftop Garden and used 100 percent of renewable energy sources from Direct Energy Certificates on Earth Day. The Mariners also worked to offer volunteer opportunities with nonprofits.

• The D-backs continued to make Earth Day an environmental year-round priority. On Sunday, the club helped to harvest the D-backs Green Urban Garden and worked to maintain several green spaces around Chase Field. In addition, the Dean of the Arizona State School of Sustainability, Chris Boone, threw out the first pitch. More >

• Lastly, nine teams utilized solar power in their ballparks. The Padres have the largest solar power system after implementing it earlier in the year. Many teams also reduced water consumption, with the Giants debuting a new underground sprinkler system. The system helps manage the microclimates of the field and helps to limit overwatering.

Each club will continue to make improvements as the season continues.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter at @jaylonthompson.

Carlos Gomez is bat snapper, walk-off HR hitter

The Rays won in walk-off fashion on Sunday, compliments of a moonshot from Carlos Gomez in the bottom of the ninth. And it was the cherry on top of a previous at-bat that left him with some broken lumber. 

Phillies now 9-1 at home after walk-off sweep

Altherr delivers game-winner; Pivetta extends staff streak to 12 games with 3 ER or fewer
Special to MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Altherr went about two steps out of the batter's box, raised his arms and then waited for the mob to greet him at first base.

This is the way things are going for the Phillies right now. They expect good things to happen at any moment.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron Altherr went about two steps out of the batter's box, raised his arms and then waited for the mob to greet him at first base.

This is the way things are going for the Phillies right now. They expect good things to happen at any moment.

View Full Game Coverage

Altherr's one-out single scored Andrew Knapp with the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th, and the Phillies completed a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 3-2 win Sunday afternoon.

Video: PIT@PHI: Altherr gets walk-off, three hits off bench

The Phillies are now 9-1 at Citizens Bank Park and winners of their past seven at home. The 9-1 mark to start a season at home is the best for the Phils since they started the 1964 season by going 9-1 in their first 10 games at Connie Mack Stadium. Since a 1-4 road trip to start the season, Philadelphia is now 13-3 over its past 16 games. And they are doing it in different ways every day.

"It's a different atmosphere when you are winning," said Altherr, who recorded his his first career walk-off hit. "That's for sure. We'll just try to keep this rolling and we'll keep battling."

The Pirates, meanwhile, have now lost a season-high four straight thanks to the sweep, and have scored just five runs in that stretch.

This one didn't come easy. The Phillies were getting no-hit until the fifth and struggled to generate much offense to support starting pitcher Nick Pivetta. And yet, they were still able to record their first four-game sweep against the Pirates since May 12-15, 1994, at Veterans Stadium.

Video: PIT@PHI: Pivetta strikes out seven, lines RBI double

"This is the proudest day that I've had of our men," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.

With one out in the 11th, Knapp hit a ball to left that kept carrying through the South Philly wind. It eventually hit the chain-link fencing above the extended glove of Pirates left-fielder Corey Dickerson. As the ball rolled back toward the infield, Knapp hustled out a triple, with third-base coach Dusty Wathan giving him a stop sign. Altherr then roped a single through a drawn-in infield for the game-winner.

Video: PIT@PHI: Knapp triples after review in the 11th

On Sunday, Pivetta gave the Phillies another solid outing from a starting pitcher. Pivetta went 6 1/3 innings, allowing five hits, walking two and striking out seven. The only blemish on his afternoon came in the top of the fifth, when he surrendered a two-run homer to Pirates catcher Elias Diaz that briefly gave Pittsburgh the lead.

Two hours later, Altherr would bring Knapp home, with the Phillies finding yet another way to get a win. And as the smoke machine and the strobe lights filled the home clubhouse afterward, it was pretty clear to see how much things have changed.

"I feel really good about our confidence levels right now," Kapler said. "We're having a lot of fun. I think having fun in baseball is really important. It's a long season. Keeping it light -- we laugh in the dugout. I hope you guys are seeing that. A lot of smiles and a lot of laughter, and after the games, we're having a great time in there. We take it seriously and we prepare like animals, but we also enjoy each others' company, and we're laughing a lot and having a lot of fun, and that leads to confidence."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With the Phillies being held hitless by Williams through 4 innings, Pivetta roped a double into the right-field corner that broke up the bid and scored Knapp to cut the Pittsburgh lead to 2-1. Pivetta would then score on a Cesar Hernandez sacrifice fly to left to tie the game.

"I was just trying to get back the two runs that I gave up and give the team a chance to win," Pivetta said. "Dusty gave me the go-ahead and I ran as fast as I can, and got there [on the sacrifice fly.]"

Video: PIT@PHI: Pivetta breaks up no-no with an RBI double

SOUND SMART
Phillies starting pitchers have allowed three runs or fewer in each of their last 12 games. It is the club's longest stretch since a 13-game streak from April 27 to May 11, 2011. Phillies starters have a 2.38 ERA in the 12-game span.

HE SAID IT
"I thought for a second, maybe once I saw the ball ricochet. But I was saying that my legs after 11 innings probably aren't the best. I might have run out of steam." -- Knapp, on possibly attempting an inside-the-park home run in the 11th

UP NEXT
The Phillies have an off-day on Monday before returning to Citizens Bank Park for a three-game set against the D-backs. Vince Velasquez will get the start on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET for Philadelphia against D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray.

Kevin Cooney is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Phillies, Nick Pivetta

Don't worry, Yankees fans: Stanton will be fine

MLB.com @MikeLupica

There was a moment in Spring Training, a month ago in Tampa, Fla., almost exactly, when Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees newbie, was telling the media that he was ready for the scrutiny he would face when he came north with his new team.

"The good times will be magnified, and so will the bad," Stanton said. "The fans expect a lot. I expect a lot, too."

There was a moment in Spring Training, a month ago in Tampa, Fla., almost exactly, when Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees newbie, was telling the media that he was ready for the scrutiny he would face when he came north with his new team.

"The good times will be magnified, and so will the bad," Stanton said. "The fans expect a lot. I expect a lot, too."

It was another way of saying that he felt as if he were prepared for New York and Yankee Stadium and Yankees fans, the whole thing. He was telling the truth, and he sounded quite reasonable.

Only he wasn't prepared. Hardly anybody ever is. They don't know what it's like until they are here. It always reminds me of an old line from Ernie Accorsi, former New York Giants general manager, about what it's like for players who've never played in the Super Bowl to run out of the tunnel to actually play the game.

"It's like they've just landed on a different planet," Accorsi said.

Not everybody struggles. Some struggle for reasons that have nothing to do with baseball. So many of Reggie Jackson's problems in his first year with the Yankees, one that ended with him hitting three home runs against the Dodgers on the night when the Yanks won the 1977 World Series, were self-inflicted because of the "straw that stirs the drink" article about him in Sport magazine, one that got him sideways right away -- to say the least -- with Thurman Munson. And Reggie was a much bigger baseball star by the time he got to New York than Stanton ever was in Miami.

So it's quite prophetic that Reggie said this to my friend Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record one day in Clearwater, Fla., this past spring, speaking of Stanton:

"It'll be fun in Spring Training. It'll be work the first month."

Video: Must C Classic: Stanton hits two HRs in Yanks debut

It has turned out to be work for Stanton this first month -- oh boy, has it ever. The guy who hit 59 home runs for the Marlins last season and chased 60 all the way to his last at-bat in a Miami uniform -- and who broke in on Opening Day with two home runs against the Blue Jays -- is hitting .185 in 81 at-bats. He has struck out 32 times. He went 0-for-4 against the Blue Jays on Sunday. His OPS is .678. He started slowly for the Marlins last season, but not like this.

The other night, Stanton got an infield hit against the Blue Jays and a walk and worked the count a few times, and this was treated like some kind of triumph at the Stadium. It had come to that. And having told you that, and given you the numbers, I still believe Stanton is going to have a big year. He absolutely has started slowly before. He has had brutal slumps in the past, when it seemed as if he struck out for a whole month.

Maybe he won't hit 60 homers. Maybe he and Aaron Judge won't combine for 100. But Stanton will power through this -- in all ways -- the way Reggie did and Alex Rodriguez did when he got to New York, even though it wasn't nearly as bad for A-Rod as it's been for Stanton. In his first April in New York, in 2004, A-Rod hit .268, with four home runs and seven RBIs, numbers that seem Ruthian right now compared to Stanton's. He ended up with 36 home runs that year. The next year, he hit 48 for the Yankees, and two years after that, he hit 54. It is also always worth remembering that Rodriguez was hitting in the old Stadium, not the new one, where balls fly out of the place like Titleists flying off the face of one of those new space-age drivers.

But again, nobody, especially nobody in New York, should be shocked at this kind of start for Stanton. It was probably inevitable that he would start this way, just because so many new Yankees have started pretty much the same way. It is a familiar Yankees version of "The Out-of-Towners." You think you know what to expect. You don't.

Tino Martinez, who turned out to be a big Yankee on a Yankees team as great as they have ever had, which means Joe Torre's Yankees, was a hot mess when he first joined the team in 1996. Not only was he new, he was replacing Donald Arthur Mattingly at first base, and everybody knows the last memory of Mattingly that had been burned into the hearts of Yankees fans: He had hit .417 against the Mariners in one of the great and rousing first-round series, against Seattle in 1995.

Tino showed up in town and was hitting under .100 at one point in April. He had three hits in his first 34 at-bats. He looked even more helpless at the Stadium at the beginning than he did on the road, so he was the one who heard it from Yankees fans the way Stanton has, including getting booed at the Yankees' home opener on a day when he struck out five times. But by the end of the 1996 season, Tino had 25 homers,117 RBIs and a .292 batting average, and the Yankees had won their first World Series since 1978.

Video: TB@NYY: Rays pitchers strike out Stanton five times

Didi Gregorius, who was as dangerous a hitter as Judge last October, struggled mightily after running out to shortstop to replace Captain Jeter in April 2015. He struggled at the plate and in the field and on the bases and maybe even driving to work on the Major Deegan Expressway. He came out of it, of course. He was too talented not to. So was Tino. So, mightily, is Stanton. What he is experiencing so far is like pledging the most famous baseball fraternity in this world. Soon, maybe by the end of this week, the big launch angler from South Florida will be likely launch-angling like crazy.

Just not yet.

Something else worth remembering: Stanton has frankly never faced this kind of scrutiny before, even hitting 59 homers in a season. He has never had this kind of stage, this kind of attention, this kind of noise, never faced this kind of pressure in a baseball life that hasn't yet seen a single postseason game. That is just the fact of things. It was nice in South Florida. It was warm. It was relatively quiet. It's different here. Others have discovered that. Now he has.

It was T.S. Eliot who famously wrote about April being the cruelest month. That's especially true for newbies at Yankee Stadium. Big city. Different planet.

Mike Lupica is a columnist for MLB.com. He also writes for the New York Daily News.

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

Almora Jr. makes 3 unreal catches for Cubs

Albert Almora Jr. has put on a defensive clinic this weekend during the Cubs' series against the Rockies at Coors Field. On Saturday, he covered 87 feet en route to a basket catch on a drive by DJ LeMahieu, but that was just a warm-up for Sunday.

Rendon's toe injury finally sends him to DL

Nats' third baseman hits shelf after missing seven games
MLB.com @JamalCollier

LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rendon lifted up his leg to reveal the black bruise underneath his left big toe, a result of the ball he fouled off his foot more than a week ago. He had been doing his best to avoid the disabled list, taking batting practice, jogging or trying to field grounders each day. At best, he could have been considered a pinch-hitting option off the bench late in games.

Every time he felt enough improvement to add more pressure to his toe, however, he would come up sore the following day. Finally, prior to Sunday night's game against the Dodgers, the Nationals decided to place Rendon on the DL. Right-hander Austin L. Adams was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse in his place.

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LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Rendon lifted up his leg to reveal the black bruise underneath his left big toe, a result of the ball he fouled off his foot more than a week ago. He had been doing his best to avoid the disabled list, taking batting practice, jogging or trying to field grounders each day. At best, he could have been considered a pinch-hitting option off the bench late in games.

Every time he felt enough improvement to add more pressure to his toe, however, he would come up sore the following day. Finally, prior to Sunday night's game against the Dodgers, the Nationals decided to place Rendon on the DL. Right-hander Austin L. Adams was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse in his place.

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"It's just a slower process than we anticipated," Rendon said. "I think the hardest part is you have days where it feels good and you push it, and then come in the next day and it's sore. It's like you take one step forward and two steps back."

Rendon will miss his eighth consecutive game on Sunday in what will be his ninth day since the foul ball against the Rockies that forced him to exit the game after seven inning on April 13. The Nationals were able to backdate his stint on the DL to April 19, but Washington played with a short roster for more than a week with hopes Rendon could return soon.

And now Rendon can not return to the lineup until next Sunday.

"It wasn't for lack of effort," manager Dave Martinez said. "He was really trying to play. ... When you lose a guy like Rendon, who's a big part of your lineup and he's telling you he'll be available, you got to give him that opportunity. And it got to the point now where he finally realized, 'I can hit, but I can't do the things I need to be doing to help us win.'"

The injury is another blow to the Nationals, as Rendon joins second baseman Daniel Murphy (knee) and left fielder Adam Eaton (ankle) on the shelf. Murphy is at extended spring training, and his return is still a few weeks away. Eaton was eligible to return from the DL on Thursday and Martinez said they are hopeful he could return at some point this week in San Francisco. 

Rendon had been off to a good start batting in front of Bryce Harper in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, posting a slash line of .286/.355/.411 in 14 games. Rendon has been able to hit without pain, but he struggles with the toe while taking ground balls at third base or trying to pivot and throw. With him still feeling pain fielding grounders, he has not attempted to sprint.

"I don't want to come back and be here and be only a pinch-hit threat," Rendon said. "I want to play defense. I want to make sure I'm helping the team."

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

Washington Nationals, Anthony Rendon

Yelich leads Crew to 6th straight win, sweep

Special to MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Christian Yelich put the exclamation point on the Brewers' first four-game sweep at home in almost a decade at the expense of his former team.

Yelich, who hit 39 homers over the two previous seasons with the Marlins, hit the first of his career against Miami on Sunday at Miller Park, helping the Brewers to their sixth straight win and a sweep with a 4-2 victory.

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MILWAUKEE -- Christian Yelich put the exclamation point on the Brewers' first four-game sweep at home in almost a decade at the expense of his former team.

Yelich, who hit 39 homers over the two previous seasons with the Marlins, hit the first of his career against Miami on Sunday at Miller Park, helping the Brewers to their sixth straight win and a sweep with a 4-2 victory.

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It was the Brewers' first four-game sweep at Miller Park since August 2008 against the Nationals.

"It's great momentum heading into this [nine-game] road trip, kind of a long one coming up," Yelich said. "It was an important homestand for us, and we were able to come home and play really well."

Marlins starter Caleb Smith retired the first nine he faced, before Lorenzo Cain lined a single to right field to lead off the fourth. Yelich, activated off the disabled list Tuesday (right oblique strain), then drove a 2-1 pitch over the wall in center field.

"It was supposed to be a two-seam [fastball] in, and it was just middle of the plate, down in the zone," Smith said. "He put a good swing on it. That's really the pitch that cost us the lead."

Yelich's drive had an exit velocity of 111.3 mph, his fourth-hardest-hit homer of the Statcast™ era, and a launch angle of 20 degrees. The Brewers' outfielder was traded to Milwaukee in January for four prospects, including outfielder Lewis Brinson, who hit three home runs in the first three games for the Marlins in the series.

"I felt good in the work I did leading up to coming off the DL," Yelich said. "I felt prepared. I felt ready. At that point, you're just confident that you can go out and perform the way that you have to."

Cain and Yelich had the only two hits Milwaukee registered against Smith, who struck out a career-high 10 with no walks in six innings. The Brewers added an unearned run in the seventh when first baseman Justin Bour misplayed Eric Thames' pinch-hit grounder with the bases loaded. Jesus Aguilar drove in the Brewers' fourth run with a single in the eighth inning.

Video: MIA@MIL: Aguilar plates Cain with line-drive single

Junior Guerra gave up an unearned run in the first but then settled in. He pitched into the sixth inning, when he left with the bases loaded and none out. Jeremy Jeffress relieved and retired the next three hitters to escape the jam. Josh Hader struck out four and registered his third two-inning save of the season.

Video: MIA@MIL: Guerra starts the game with a strikeout

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jeffress escapes trouble: Jeffress didn't get a decision or save, but he might have recorded the three most crucial outs of the game. With the Brewers up 2-1 in the sixth, Miami loaded the bases with no outs against Guerra on singles by J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro and a walk to Bour. Jeffress came in and struck out Brian Anderson, retired J.B. Shuck on a popup in foul territory and struck out Brinson.

"Those are those big outs," Jeffress said. "Those are the things we live for, definitely the things I live for."

Video: MIA@MIL: Jeffress escapes a bases-loaded jam in 6th

"Today's sixth inning by [Jeffress] was absolutely incredible," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "You can't do any better than that. I know we make a big deal about the ninth inning, or whatever the inning is, but that was the game. I think that was the case today, where that was the ballgame, and he delivered. He delivered big time."

Video: MIA@MIL: Counsell on bullpen?s success in 4-2 win

Bour's blunder: The Brewers benefited from a baserunning mistake by Bour. Miami pulled within 3-2 with an unearned run in the eighth. With one out, Anderson flied out to center, but Bour lost track of the outs and continued on toward third and was easily doubled off first.

Video: MIA@MIL: Cain makes catch in center, doubles up Bour

SOUND SMART
Prior to Hader, the last Brewers reliever with three two-inning saves in a season was Mike DeJean in 2002.

"This is definitely a fun little thing going on" said Hader, who is helping offset the loss of All-Star closer Corey Knebel, who went down on April 5 with a strained right hamstring. "It's always nice to get outs. It's always nice to finish a game with a win, high-fives and all that. It's a different role, but it's a good one for me."

Video: MIA@MIL: Hader retires Maybin to record six-out save

UP NEXT
After an off-day Monday, the Brewers open a nine-game road trip Tuesday with the first of two games at Kansas City. Zach Davies, who has never faced the Royals, starts the opener at 7:15 p.m. CT. Davies allowed just three hits over 6 1/3 innings in his last start, a 2-0 victory over the Reds. Ian Kennedy will get the start for Kansas City.

Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Brewers, Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, Christian Yelich

Buehler to make first big league start