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Defending champion Astros clinch playoff berth

Gurriel hits two homers, drives in career-high seven
Special to MLB.com

HOUSTON -- On a night the Astros clinched a postseason berth, Yuli Gurriel had a celebratory game with two home runs and a career-high seven RBIs.

The Astros clinched their third playoff spot in four seasons with an 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Their magic number to clinch was 1, but Tampa Bay defeated Toronto, forcing the Astros to win in order to punch their ticket. Houston's magic number to clinch the American League West currently stands at 6, pending the result of Oakland's game against Minnesota.

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HOUSTON -- On a night the Astros clinched a postseason berth, Yuli Gurriel had a celebratory game with two home runs and a career-high seven RBIs.

The Astros clinched their third playoff spot in four seasons with an 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Their magic number to clinch was 1, but Tampa Bay defeated Toronto, forcing the Astros to win in order to punch their ticket. Houston's magic number to clinch the American League West currently stands at 6, pending the result of Oakland's game against Minnesota.

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Gurriel's first-inning grand slam provided all the runs Astros starter Gerrit Cole would need. The right-hander struck out 12 for an AL-leading 272, overtaking teammate Justin Verlander (269).

Video: LAA@HOU: Gurriel swats 2 homers and drives in 7

Gurriel's 11th home run of the season was his third career grand slam and second of the season. He previously accomplished the feat on June 24 against the Royals. The slam was the seventh this season for the Astros, tying a single-season franchise record (2007 and 2001). It traveled a projected 368 feet, with a launch angle of 27 degrees, according to Statcast™.

He added a two-run homer in the third inning off Andrew Heaney, his 12th jack of the season, and logged an RBI single in his third at-bat in the fifth inning against reliever Taylor Cole for a 7-0 lead.

George Springer clubbed a three-run homer in a four-run eighth inning to cap the win.

Video: LAA@HOU: Springer belts a towering 3-run homer

SOUND SMART
Gurriel's seven RBIs were the most for the Astros since J.R. Towles had a club-record eight RBIs on Sept. 20, 2007, against the Cardinals.

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With a third-inning strikeout of Kaleb Cowart, Cole reached 1,000 career strikeouts. Cole struck out Cowart looking on a 83.1-mph knuckle curve for the second out. Cole came into the game with 994 strikeouts.

Video: LAA@HOU: Cole K's Cowart for 1,000th career strikeout

UP NEXT
Verlander (16-9, 2.67 ERA) goes for his 17th win in the middle game against the Angels at 6:10 p.m. CT on Saturday at Minute Maid Park. Righty Jaime Barria (10-9, 3.61 ERA) will start for the Halos. Verlander, who is in competition with teammate Gerrit Cole for the league strikeout crown, has pitched seven innings in each of his past three starts -- all wins -- including an 11-strikeout performance against the D-backs in his last start.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston.

Houston Astros, Gerrit Cole, Yuli Gurriel

Braves cut magic number to 2 in comeback win

MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- As they have overachieved and distanced themselves from what now appears to be a highly successful rebuild, the Braves have taken great pride in their ability to respond to adversity with a strong sense of resiliency.

The Braves took another step toward a National League East title as they claimed a 6-5 win over the Phillies on Friday night at SunTrust Park. Ozzie Albies fueled a five-run seventh with a home run, and Johan Camargo capped it with a two-run single that led him and his teammates to do some more chest-pumping.

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ATLANTA -- As they have overachieved and distanced themselves from what now appears to be a highly successful rebuild, the Braves have taken great pride in their ability to respond to adversity with a strong sense of resiliency.

The Braves took another step toward a National League East title as they claimed a 6-5 win over the Phillies on Friday night at SunTrust Park. Ozzie Albies fueled a five-run seventh with a home run, and Johan Camargo capped it with a two-run single that led him and his teammates to do some more chest-pumping.

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With wins in the first two games of this series, the Braves have moved 7 1/2 games in front of the second-place Phillies. Their magic number is two, meaning they can clinch the division as early as Saturday.

Julio Teheran provided one of his finest starts of the season, but he faded during a three-run seventh inning that was marred by Ronald Acuna Jr.'s defensive miscue. The resulting three-run deficit quickly faded as the Braves began their comeback with Albies's two-run homer off Pat Neshek, who allowed four earned runs while recording just one out.

Albies' second home run from the left side of the plate since the All-Star break was followed by a Dansby Swanson walk and the infield single Lucas Duda recorded against a defensive shift. Ender Inciarte extended his strong second half with a game-tying double. Camargo then ended his seven-pitch at-bat by lacing a two-run single to left against former Atlanta lefty Luis Avilan.

Teheran reunited with his first-inning struggles when Cesar Hernandez began the game with a homer to right field. The veteran hurler then retired 14 of the next 15 batters faced before pitching around J.P. Crawford's sixth-inning triple. But his impressive effort began to deteriorate when Justin Bour drew a four-pitch walk with one out in the seventh.

After Carlos Santana singled, Acuna initially broke in to field a Wilson Ramos's fly ball that sailed over his head, resulting in a two-run double. Teheran exited after allowing Jose Bautista's one-out RBI single. He was charged with four earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. But his effort strengthened his bid to earn the fourth spot in what would be a four-man playoff rotation.

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

Atlanta Braves, Ozzie Albies, Johan Camargo, Julio Teheran

Red Sox tie franchise record with 105 wins

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

CLEVELAND -- They keep pushing forward, these Red Sox. A night after they clinched the American League East, there was rest for several key players, but no letdown from the crew that played.

And after another comeback victory -- this one by a score of 6-5 over the Indians -- it can now be said that no team in franchise history has won more games than the 2018 Red Sox.

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CLEVELAND -- They keep pushing forward, these Red Sox. A night after they clinched the American League East, there was rest for several key players, but no letdown from the crew that played.

And after another comeback victory -- this one by a score of 6-5 over the Indians -- it can now be said that no team in franchise history has won more games than the 2018 Red Sox.

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Video: BOS@CLE: Travis hits his first Major League home run

Conquest No. 105 tied the 1912 club for the team record, and the magic number is down to one for Boston to clinch home-field advantage all the way through the World Series.

With most of the regulars on the bench, Sam Travis and Tzu-Wei Lin belted their first career homers.

Video: BOS@CLE: Lin belts a solo home run to right field

During a four-run surge in the seventh inning that completed a comeback from 4-1 down, Travis tied it with a two-run double and Lin put the Sox ahead for good on an RBI single off the foot of Indians righty Shane Bieber.

Video: BOS@CLE: Travis rips a game-tying 2-run double in 7th

Meanwhile, ace Chris Sale continued his ramp-up toward the postseason by throwing 73 pitches in 3 1/3 innings. The lefty walked none and struck out seven. His 35-inning scoreless streak ended when Josh Donaldson belted a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth.

Video: BOS@CLE: Sale strikes out 7, allows 2 runs vs. Tribe

Sale's final start of the regular season will take place on Wednesday night at Fenway Park against the Orioles.

Heath Hembree came on in place of Sale and promptly served up a two-run homer to Yan Gomes.

The team's 47th comeback win of the season was helped by Rafael Devers smashing No. 18, a solo shot to right in the sixth that slimmed Cleveland's deficit to 4-2, and helping to set the stage for that big seventh.

Video: BOS@CLE: Devers clubs a solo home run to right field

While manager Alex Cora used many of his low-leverage relievers, including a couple of September callups, he was able to close with Craig Kimbrel, who nailed down save No. 42 in the ninth.

Video: BOS@CLE: Kimbrel retires Donaldson to record the save

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Rafael Devers, Tzu-Wei Lin, Chris Sale, Sam Travis

CC has O's number, and Yanks' is at 2

Gregorius, Hicks each hit two-run homers in series opener
MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia's world has changed immeasurably in the 6,375 days since his Major League debut against a lineup that featured Cal Ripken Jr. and Brady Anderson. As the innings odometer swelled, his rock-and-fire velocity diminished, necessitating a more cerebral method of attack. This still remains constant: He could defeat Baltimore then, and he still can.

Sabathia hurled six innings of two-run ball, picking up his 20th career victory against Baltimore as the Yankees withstood a late surge in a 10-8 win on Friday evening at Yankee Stadium. Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks belted two-run homers in support of the 38-year-old left-hander, who has now tallied 20 or more career wins against four separate big league franchises.

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NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia's world has changed immeasurably in the 6,375 days since his Major League debut against a lineup that featured Cal Ripken Jr. and Brady Anderson. As the innings odometer swelled, his rock-and-fire velocity diminished, necessitating a more cerebral method of attack. This still remains constant: He could defeat Baltimore then, and he still can.

Sabathia hurled six innings of two-run ball, picking up his 20th career victory against Baltimore as the Yankees withstood a late surge in a 10-8 win on Friday evening at Yankee Stadium. Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks belted two-run homers in support of the 38-year-old left-hander, who has now tallied 20 or more career wins against four separate big league franchises.

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With the win, the Yankees' magic number to clinch a postseason berth stands at 2. They can clinch it on Saturday with a win and a Rays loss.

Gregorius cracked a first-inning drive and Hicks went deep in the fourth as the Yankees hung six runs on rookie right-hander Yefry Ramirez. Gleyber Torres and Austin Romine also drove in runs off Ramirez, who has allowed 16 to the Yankees in 15 2/3 innings (9.19 ERA) since he was traded by New York to Baltimore on the final day of July 2017.

Sabathia blanked Baltimore through four innings before Adam Jones notched a two-run single in the fifth. Striking out five and retiring the last four hitters he faced in a 97-pitch effort, Sabathia now has 20 or more career wins against the Royals (21), Tigers (21), Twins (20) and Orioles (20). No other pitcher who debuted since 1990 has accomplished that feat.

Andrew McCutchen added a seventh-inning RBI single and Luke Voit knocked home another two runs, which improbably became important as the Yankees withstood three late homers off the bullpen. Only DJ Stewart's eighth-inning blast off David Robertson came against a pitcher who is likely to appear on the postseason roster; Austin Wynns hit a seventh-inning homer off Jonathan Loaisiga and Renato Nunez took A.J. Cole deep in the eighth for a two-run shot.

Aaron Judge provided breathing room in the eighth with a run-scoring double. Dellin Betances worked the ninth for his fourth save.

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

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia

deGrom adds quality-start record to Cy resume

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

WASHINGTON -- Quietly, Jacob deGrom shuffled about the Mets' clubhouse on Friday afternoon, going over scouting reports with catcher Devin Mesoraco, but otherwise saying little.

"He comes loose and relaxed, just like he does every day," manager Mickey Callaway said before the game. "And then when it's game time, his face changes."

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WASHINGTON -- Quietly, Jacob deGrom shuffled about the Mets' clubhouse on Friday afternoon, going over scouting reports with catcher Devin Mesoraco, but otherwise saying little.

"He comes loose and relaxed, just like he does every day," manager Mickey Callaway said before the game. "And then when it's game time, his face changes."

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That deGrom subsequently went out and delivered seven innings of one-run ball in a 4-2 win over the Nationals is the magic of his season. Now sporting a 1.77 ERA with one start remaining, deGrom has, for all intents and purposes, locked up the National League ERA title. He delivered his 23rd consecutive quality start in Friday's victory at Nationals Park to set an MLB single-season record, and has compiled more consecutive starts of three runs or fewer (28) than anyone in Major League history.

"He tends to step it up when it matters the most," Callaway said. "That's the definition of a true ace."

More and more, the NL Cy Young Award appears to be a foregone conclusion for deGrom, despite his 9-9 record. He demonstrated his knack for run prevention throughout his winning performance, cracking for his only run after issuing a leadoff walk in the second and allowing a sacrifice fly to Ryan Zimmerman two batters later. deGrom then picked Wilmer Difo off at first base and retired 15 of the final 17 Nationals he faced.

His quality start broke a tie with Chris Carpenter (2005) and Bob Gibson (1968) for the single-season mark.

He struck out eight, increasing his season total to 259, the fifth-highest total in Mets history behind Dwight Gooden and Tom Seaver. He also ensured that, barring a complete meltdown in his final start, he will become the sixth pitcher this century to throw at least 200 innings with a sub-2.00 ERA.

The Mets even supported deGrom with offense this time, plating runs on a Jay Bruce RBI single in the first inning, then a Bruce RBI double, a Dominic Smith RBI single and a Mesoraco RBI double in the third. That pushed deGrom's record back to .500, potentially sparing him the ambivalence of becoming the first starter in history to win a Cy Young with a losing record.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

History made as Gurriel Bros. each go deep twice

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Yuli Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. took the field in two different countries Friday night, roughly 1,500 miles apart. But each of them did what they've done ever since they grew up together in Cuba: Hit with authority.

Each of the Gurriel brothers knocked a pair of home runs, which according to the Elias Sports Bureau made them the first brothers in history with multi-homer performances on the same day. It was a special night for the Gurriels, who starred for the Cuban National team before defecting to the United States in February 2016.

Yuli Gurriel and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. took the field in two different countries Friday night, roughly 1,500 miles apart. But each of them did what they've done ever since they grew up together in Cuba: Hit with authority.

Each of the Gurriel brothers knocked a pair of home runs, which according to the Elias Sports Bureau made them the first brothers in history with multi-homer performances on the same day. It was a special night for the Gurriels, who starred for the Cuban National team before defecting to the United States in February 2016.

The younger of the two, Lourdes Jr., kicked things off for the Blue Jays with a mammoth first-inning dinger off Rays opener Diego Castillo. Gurriel squared up Castillo's 99.1-mph fastball and drove the pitch a projected 450 feet over the center-field wall at Rogers Centre, marking the longest homer hit off a pitch 99 mph or faster since Statcast™ began tracking homer distances in 2015. It was also the fastest pitch homered on by a Blue Jays player in 2018.

Video: TB@TOR: Gurriel launches solo homer to center in 1st

Lourdes, who broke out of a tough slump with a game-tying, two-run tater in his final plate appearance against the Rays on Thursday, homered in his third straight at-bat with a fourth-inning blast off Tampa Bay's Jalen Beeks. Lourdes' second blast was another shot to center field, this time measuring a projected 415 feet per Statcast™.

Video: TB@TOR: Gurriel smacks 2nd homer of game to center

"I knew when I came back from my injury, sooner or later, I was going to start getting the groove back a little bit," Lourdes told MLB.com on Friday. "I didn't lose confidence at all. I knew I had it in me and I just kept working hard. I was really confident in myself and I see the results now."

Not to be outdone, Yuli began his own assault on the fences shortly after Lourdes' second tater with a first-inning grand slam off Angels starter Andrew Heaney. Yuli's first blast could hardly have been more different than his brother's pair, tucking around the right-field foul pole at Minute Maid Park. The Astros' first baseman followed up with a two-run homer to left off Heaney in the third, giving him a career-high six RBIs. In the fifth, he added to that total with an RBI single.

• Defending champion Astros clinch playoff berth

Video: LAA@HOU: Gurriel swats 2 homers and drives in 7

All told, the Gurriel brothers tallied four homers and nine RBIs in their first six plate appearances of the night, surely making both their family and countrymen proud back in Cuba. Lourdes' teammate and fellow Cuban Kendrys Morales was first to let him know what his older brother was up to in Texas.

"He told me, 'Hey, congratulations,'" said Gurriel. "I just said, 'Thank you.' I thought it was because I hit two homers, but then he told me it was because my brother also hit two homers. I'm happy for him and I'm happy for me, as well."

The Gurriels' big night sets the stage for next week's three-game set between the Astros and Blue Jays beginning Monday in Toronto. That will mark the first time the brothers will face each other on opposite sides of the field since the Blue Jays called up Lourdes in April.

"I'm very happy," Lourdes said, "but I'm also curious, because it's going to be the first time that I'm going to play against him. That's never happened before. It's a little bit weird, I'll see how I'm going to feel that day."

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros, Yuli Gurriel, Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Sale ramps up for playoffs with 7 strikeouts

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

CLEVELAND -- Ace Chris Sale's ramp-up for the start of the playoffs took another positive step in the Red Sox's 7-5 win over the Indians on Friday night, when he got up to 73 pitches.

Prior to the game, manager Alex Cora had targeted five innings and 75 pitches. Sale wound up reaching that pitch count in 3 1/3 innings, thanks to some extended at-bats by the Indians.

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CLEVELAND -- Ace Chris Sale's ramp-up for the start of the playoffs took another positive step in the Red Sox's 7-5 win over the Indians on Friday night, when he got up to 73 pitches.

Prior to the game, manager Alex Cora had targeted five innings and 75 pitches. Sale wound up reaching that pitch count in 3 1/3 innings, thanks to some extended at-bats by the Indians.

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Sale looked sharp for the most part, walking none, striking out seven and allowing five hits.

And for the first time July 6, Sale was scored upon.

Josh Donaldson snapped Sale's scoreless streak at 35 innings when he smashed a solo shot to left in the fourth. A second run was charged to Sale when Heath Hembree allowed one of his inherited runners to score on a two-run homer by Yan Gomes.

The homer was the first Sale allowed in 75 innings, dating back to June 1 in Houston, when George Springer took him out of the yard.

This was Sale's third start since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 11. Sale had been sidelined with mild inflammation in his left shoulder.

Sale is expected to make his final start of the regular season against the Orioles on Wednesday at Fenway Park. He is all but certain to be Boston's starter for Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Oct. 5 at Fenway.

Against the Indians, Sale topped out at 95.4 mph with his four-seamer and averaged 93.4 mph. He generated 11 swings and misses.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Chris Sale

Meadows leads Rays, who keep WC hopes alive

MLB.com

TORONTO -- Austin Meadows showed a little bit of what has made him one of baseball's top prospects Friday night.

The 23-year-old outfielder replaced an injured Ji-Man Choi in the sixth inning and singled in his first at-bat, cashing in a pair of runs, before stealing second and scoring later in the inning. It was all part of a four-run sixth inning in the Rays' 11-3 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

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TORONTO -- Austin Meadows showed a little bit of what has made him one of baseball's top prospects Friday night.

The 23-year-old outfielder replaced an injured Ji-Man Choi in the sixth inning and singled in his first at-bat, cashing in a pair of runs, before stealing second and scoring later in the inning. It was all part of a four-run sixth inning in the Rays' 11-3 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

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In the seventh inning, Meadows added another RBI single, cashing in Mallex Smith from second when a ground ball found its way through the left side of the infield. He came around to score two batters later when Joey Wendle doubled to center.

Meadows finished the night 3-for-3 with a pair of singles and a one-out double in the ninth.

Tommy Pham pushed his on-base streak to 23 games with a 2-for-3 night, including a pair of walks, two RBIs and a run scored.

With the win, the Rays moved to six games back of the second American League Wild Card spot pending the result of the Athletics' game Friday night against the Twins.

Diego Castillo opened the game for the Rays. He allowed a solo homer to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and finished the night with one inning pitched and just one hit allowed.

Castillo turned the ball over to Jalen Beeks, who went three innings, allowing two runs on a pair of solo homers. Going into Friday night, Beeks had pitched to a 2.36 ERA over his last nine appearances.

Blue Jays starter Sean Reid-Foley pitched four-plus innings, surrendering four runs (two earned) and was removed after allowing a pair of extra-base hits to lead off the fifth inning.

Aaron Rose is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Tampa Bay Rays, Austin Meadows

Beltre passes Musial, Stargell with 476th HR

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Third baseman Adrian Beltre gave the Rangers an early 3-0 lead with a milestone home run against the Mariners on Friday night at Globe Life Park.

Beltre launched a three-run shot off starter Erasmo Ramirez in the first inning. It was the 476th home run of Beltre's career, moving him past Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 30th all-time.

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ARLINGTON -- Third baseman Adrian Beltre gave the Rangers an early 3-0 lead with a milestone home run against the Mariners on Friday night at Globe Life Park.

Beltre launched a three-run shot off starter Erasmo Ramirez in the first inning. It was the 476th home run of Beltre's career, moving him past Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 30th all-time.

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Beltre now has 1,701 career RBIs, passing Jim Thome (1,699) for 24th all-time. He's hit seven of his 14 home runs in September and has six doubles, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored in his last 16 games.

Wesley Dotson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington.

Texas Rangers, Adrian Beltre

Addison Russell placed on administrative leave

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat and @DKramer_

Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball on Friday following allegations of domestic abuse from his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy-Russell.

On Wednesday, Reidy-Russell, who was married to Russell for nearly two years, published a blog post in which she accused her ex-husband of subjecting her to emotional and physical abuse over the course of their marriage.

Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball on Friday following allegations of domestic abuse from his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy-Russell.

On Wednesday, Reidy-Russell, who was married to Russell for nearly two years, published a blog post in which she accused her ex-husband of subjecting her to emotional and physical abuse over the course of their marriage.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts met with Russell at their offices near Wrigley Field on Friday morning. They informed Russell that he was being placed on administrative leave.

MLB opened an investigation in June 2017 after a friend of Reidy-Russell posted a comment describing violence in the couple's relationship on a since-deleted Instagram photo from Reidy-Russell accusing Russell of infidelity. Reidy-Russell declined to speak with MLB as part of the investigation and although Russell was never disciplined, the investigation remained open.

Administrative leave is initially up to seven days and there is a process by which MLB can request an extension of another seven days.

"We were aware the investigation had remained open," Epstein said Friday. "I'd been in touch from time to time with the league's investigative body to get updates and let them know we were fully cooperative to bring it to a conclusion. They assured us that it remained open, and they were doing everything they could. Surprised? Yes, certainly."

Last year, Russell said he didn't physically harm his ex-wife, issuing a statement saying, "Any allegation I have abused my wife is false and hurtful."

"We questioned him on it and he reaffirmed his stance that he did not do what he is accused of having done," Epstein said.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he never discussed the allegations last year.

"Addy and I talk about a lot of things," Maddon said. "That was not brought up between he and I personally. I didn't think it was appropriate to attempt to counsel him. He'll seek his own counsel."

Maddon had not spoken to Russell on Friday.

"There's a process involved, there's a process in place," Maddon said.

Epstein did not want to speculate on whether the status of the investigation will change.

"Last year, this was a third-party accusation on social media," Epstein said. "Now this is a direct accusation from the accuser and potential victim so the situation has changed. He was not placed on administrative leave last year. We think this step is appropriate in light of the post. 

"Given the facts last year, I think we handled it appropriately. Given the new information that came to light late last night and early this morning, we are also handling it appropriately. It would not have been appropriate and it would've sent the wrong message to have Addison wearing a Chicago Cubs uniform this morning. We fully support placing him on administrative leave."

Shortly after the allegations surfaced last year, Reidy-Russell and Russell -- who have a 3-year-old son together -- divorced.

"Major League Baseball takes all allegations of domestic violence seriously," MLB said in a statement. "When the allegations against Addison Russell became public on June 7, 2017, the Commissioner's Office's Department of Investigations immediately commenced an investigation. Melisa Russell declined to participate in the investigation at that time. Our investigation of this matter has remained open and we have continued our efforts to gather information.

"With the new details revealed in today's blog post by Ms. Russell, Mr. Russell has been placed on Administrative Leave in accordance with the Joint MLB-MLBPA Domestic Violence Policy. We are hopeful that this new information will allow us to complete the investigation as promptly as possible."

The Cubs issued the following statement:

"We take allegations of domestic violence seriously and support the League's decision to place Addison Russell on administrative leave given new details revealed today. We will continue to cooperate with the League's investigation so the appropriate action can be taken."

Russell, 24, is batting .250 with five home runs in 130 games this season with the Cubs. Later on Friday, he issued the following statement:

"These allegations are completely false. I made that clear to Major League Baseball last year and reiterated it to the Cubs today. I'm confident any full and fair investigation will fully exonerate me. The protection of my children is foremost in my mind so I will have no further comment. "

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Chicago Cubs, Addison Russell

Bauer fires 1 1/3 scoreless frames in return

MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- After facing seven batters on Friday night, Trevor Bauer walked off the mound to a chorus of cheers from the Progressive Field faithful. The ovation was less about the pitcher's performance than it was a response to what the outing could mean for October.

Bauer was activated from the disabled list prior the Tribe's 7-5 loss to the Red Sox and worked into the second inning in his first start since Aug. 11. It was step one in a process of determining whether there is enough time on the schedule to have Bauer positioned to return to the rotation for the American League Division Series.

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CLEVELAND -- After facing seven batters on Friday night, Trevor Bauer walked off the mound to a chorus of cheers from the Progressive Field faithful. The ovation was less about the pitcher's performance than it was a response to what the outing could mean for October.

Bauer was activated from the disabled list prior the Tribe's 7-5 loss to the Red Sox and worked into the second inning in his first start since Aug. 11. It was step one in a process of determining whether there is enough time on the schedule to have Bauer positioned to return to the rotation for the American League Division Series.

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Video: BOS@CLE: Donaldson crushes a solo home run off Sale

Without Minor League games available, the AL Central champions had Bauer log an abbreviated appearance against Boston, which featured a watered-down lineup in the wake of clinching the AL East the night before in New York. The right-hander logged 34 pitches (17 strikes) over 1 1/3 innings, in which he scattered two singles, issued one walk and had an impressive strikeout.

After giving up consecutive singles in the second to Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, Bauer was pulled in favor of lefty Tyler Olson, who escaped the jam with a double-play grounder off the bat of Blake Swihart. Bauer then moved out to the bullpen in center field, working through a series of pitches to continue to build up his pitch count.

Video: BOS@CLE: Gomes drives a 2-run home run to left field

The punchout came against AL MVP Award candidate J.D. Martinez to open the second inning. Bauer started with a fastball up and away, returned with a curveball low in the zone and finished off the slugger with a slider that tailed away from Martinez's swing. It was a snapshot of how Bauer thrust himself into the AL Cy Young Award conversation in the season's first four months.

On the year, Bauer is 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA in 26 starts, in which he has 215 strikeouts against 57 walks in 167 1/3 innings. According to Fangraphs' version of WAR, Bauer entered the night ranked third in the AL with 6.0, even after missing the past six weeks due to a stress fracture in his right fibula. That injury was the result of an ill-fated comebacker off the bat of Jose Abreu in Bauer's last start in August.

Video: BOS@CLE: Ramirez hits an RBI double to left field

Against the Red Sox, Bauer averaged 93.8 mph on his four-seamer in the first inning and saw that rate drop to 92.8 mph in the second, per Statcast™. Entering the game, he had a 94.6 mph average on that fastball this season. Bauer topped out at 95.5 mph against Boston, which saw his four-seamer (14), slider (seven), changeup (five), cutter (four), curveball (three) and two-seamer (one).

Prior to Friday's outing, Bauer logged a three-inning simulated outing against hitters on Tuesday, throwing roughly 60 pitches in the workout. If everything goes according to plan, the starter will start again this coming Tuesday on the road against the White Sox. Bauer would then be in line to potentially work for a third time on Sept. 30 in Kansas City in preparation for the ALDS, which begins Oct. 5.

As things stand right now, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco project to be Cleveland's Game 1 and Game 2 starters, respectively, for the ALDS, barring anything unexpected. Mike Clevinger figures to be behind them, with either rookie Shane Bieber or Bauer rounding out the rotation. If Bauer is cleared for that role, Bieber would likely shift to the bullpen for the playoffs.

The bulk of the damage by the Red Sox on Friday night was done against Bieber, who was making his first career relief appearance. The righty took over in the third and limited Boston to a pair of solo homers (Sam Travis and Rafael Devers) in his first four innings of work. The Red Sox then broke through with a four-run, six-hit seventh to collect their 105th win of the year.

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

Cleveland Indians, Trevor Bauer, Josh Donaldson, Yan Gomes

Phils allow 5 runs in 7th, lose ground to Braves

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

ATLANTA -- The Phillies could be eliminated from National League East title contention as early as Saturday following Friday night's 6-5 loss to the Braves at SunTrust Park.

The Phillies scored three runs in the seventh inning to take a three-run lead, but Phillies relievers Pat Neshek and Luis Avilan allowed five runs in the bottom of the inning as Atlanta cruised to an emotional comeback victory. The Braves have a 7 1/2-game lead over the Phillies, who have just nine games to play.

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ATLANTA -- The Phillies could be eliminated from National League East title contention as early as Saturday following Friday night's 6-5 loss to the Braves at SunTrust Park.

The Phillies scored three runs in the seventh inning to take a three-run lead, but Phillies relievers Pat Neshek and Luis Avilan allowed five runs in the bottom of the inning as Atlanta cruised to an emotional comeback victory. The Braves have a 7 1/2-game lead over the Phillies, who have just nine games to play.

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Atlanta's magic number is two, meaning a victory over the Phillies on Saturday or Sunday will clinch the division.

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

Philadelphia Phillies

Injury updates: Cain, Correa, Eaton, Abreu

MLB.com

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

Lorenzo Cain, Brewers
Cain was not in the starting lineup Friday for the second straight game due to an intercostal strain in his rib cage, which caused an early exit from Tuesday's contest.

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

Lorenzo Cain, Brewers
Cain was not in the starting lineup Friday for the second straight game due to an intercostal strain in his rib cage, which caused an early exit from Tuesday's contest.

"We're just giving him rest," manager Craig Counsell said. "Rest is going to help him. So that's where we're at. I know he's champing at the bit, but I think we're also trying to be cautious and plan for possibly six weeks here. That's important to keep in mind. He's doing good, but he's got a little injury there and we're just trying to give him as much time as we possibly can." More >

Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers Jr., Astros
Correa, who is still dealing with lower back soreness, will sit out the Astros' weekend series vs. the Angels before attempting to play next week.

"Carlos is still not right," manager AJ Hinch said before Friday night's game. "He's played through it and it hasn't worked out."

McCullers, meanwhile, is expected to rejoin the Astros on Saturday after throwing a simulated game Friday, and he could make two relief appearances in the final week of the regular season. The right-hander has been sidelined since early August with a muscle strain in his right forearm. More >

Adam Eaton, Nationals
Dealing with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee, Eaton was out of the starting lineup Friday for the third time in the past four games. However, manager Dave Martinez indicated he is merely exercising caution.

"He said it's just stiff," Martinez said. "I told him to take a couple days off, and at this point, I don't want him re-injuring anything." More >

Jose Abreu, White Sox
Abreu, who was hospitalized this week due to an infection in his right thigh and is still dealing with pain, is hoping to play again this season.

"Everybody knows I like to play. It doesn't matter if I'm in pain or not. I like to be on the field," Abreu said through interpreter Billy Russo prior to Friday's series opener with the Cubs. "I'm a little sore right now, but at this moment we just have to wait to see the doctors, wait and see what they say about can I play or not play.

"I would like to help this team, as I always want. But at this moment, I can't play right now. We'll see what the doctors say." More >

Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner, Orioles
The Orioles are preparing for the return of at least one of their injured veteran starters, as Cobb is scheduled to face the Yankees on Sunday in his first outing since exiting Sept. 11 with a blister on his right middle finger.

However, it remains uncertain if Cashner (left knee soreness) will make it back to the mound this season.

"I know what a competitive guy he is and how much he'd like to do that, but if there's any doubt at all, we're not going to pitch him," manager Buck Showalter said of Cashner. More >

Michael Fulmer, Tigers
Fulmer underwent surgery Thursday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

The right-hander, who had a partial meniscectomy, rather than a full reattachment or reconstruction, is expected to be ready for Spring Training. More >

Sean Manaea and Trevor Cahill, A's
Encouraged by the results of Manaea's arthroscopic left shoulder surgery Wednesday, the A's aren't ready to rule out the southpaw for 2019.

"The surgery went well enough that there's some hope that potentially he could pitch next year, later on in the season," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "From the beginning, hearing about where this thing could go, we've anticipated him being out for the entire season, but we'll leave a ray of hope that potentially he could come back sometime next year."

Meanwhile, Cahill is expected to return to the mound Sunday against the Twins after missing two starts with upper back discomfort. More >

Eduardo Nunez, Red Sox
Nunez, who has been experiencing recurring right leg discomfort, is not expected to play until Monday.

"He's not playing this weekend most likely," manager Alex Cora said. "I'm going to try to stay away from him, so hopefully he'll be back for the Baltimore series. [Trainer] Brad [Pearson] was talking about him last year when he came over from San Francisco that it was an issue throughout his career and he's doing a better job as far as stretching and being stronger." More >

Wilmer Flores, Mets
After an exam revealed that he is dealing with early onset arthritis in both knees, Flores has been shut down for the rest of the season. The Mets believe he will be fine long before Spring Training.

"It's not like surgery is recommended at this time or anything," manager Mickey Callaway said. "Rest and a couple of injections is supposed to knock this out pretty good." More >

Chad Kuhl, Pirates
Kuhl underwent Tommy John surgery Wednesday and is expected to miss all of 2019, as the procedure comes with an expected recovery time of 14-16 months.

The right-hander last pitched June 26, when he exited his start against the Mets with right forearm discomfort. More >