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BREAKING: Braves calling up prospect Acuna

MLB.com @mlbbowman

CINCINNATI -- Ronald Acuna had to wait a little longer than anticipated, but the much-hyped prospect will now have the chance to display his tremendous talents at the Major League level.

A Major League source said Acuna was informed late Tuesday night he will join the Braves in Cincinnati for Wednesday night's game against the Reds. The 20-year-old outfielder now stands less than 24 hours away from experiencing one of the most anticipated Major League debuts baseball has seen over the past decade.

CINCINNATI -- Ronald Acuna had to wait a little longer than anticipated, but the much-hyped prospect will now have the chance to display his tremendous talents at the Major League level.

A Major League source said Acuna was informed late Tuesday night he will join the Braves in Cincinnati for Wednesday night's game against the Reds. The 20-year-old outfielder now stands less than 24 hours away from experiencing one of the most anticipated Major League debuts baseball has seen over the past decade.

Acuna will serve as Atlanta's starting left fielder and attempt to bolster a lineup that has tallied a National League-high 122 runs without him. The five-tool outfielder ranks second only to Angels rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 prospects list.

It remains to be seen where Braves manager Brian Snitker will place Acuna in the lineup, but there's a possibility he could soon find himself batting behind Freddie Freeman and potential cleanup hitter Jose Bautista, who could join Atlanta's roster later this week.

With Acuna's arrival, Preston Tucker's powerful left-handed bat will be an asset off the bench. Tucker has played a key role in the Braves' early-season success, but he entered the season knowing his starting role could be temporary.

After Acuna dazzled during Spring Training, the anticipation was he might make his big league debut on April 14, which was the earliest date the Braves could have promoted him and secured an extra year of contractual control. But his arrival was delayed, as he went 5-for-36 with 14 strikeouts to start the season with Triple-A Gwinnett.

But Acuna has warmed up of late, with 11 hits, including a homer and double, in his last 33 at-bats. He has battled slow starts in the past, and his latest one might have been influenced by the nine-day dead period that separated his final Spring Training game and Gwinnett's season opener.

Braves fans have been eagerly awaiting Acuna's arrival since he progressed his way from Class A Advanced Florida to Gwinnett last year. He was named MLB Pipeline's Hitter of the Year after he hit .325 with 21 homers, 44 stolen bases and a .896 OPS in 2017.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Ronald Acuna Jr.

Cain homers in KC return; Crew's streak at 7

Special to MLB.com

KANSAS CITY -- Travis Shaw staggered the Royals early and Lorenzo Cain finished them off late as the sizzling Brewers used the long ball for a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night that extended their winning streak to seven games.

On the night of Cain's return to Kauffman Stadium, where he played a major role in helping the Royals win two pennants and a World Series title in 2015, the winning script was all that Cain could have wanted.

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KANSAS CITY -- Travis Shaw staggered the Royals early and Lorenzo Cain finished them off late as the sizzling Brewers used the long ball for a 5-2 victory on Tuesday night that extended their winning streak to seven games.

On the night of Cain's return to Kauffman Stadium, where he played a major role in helping the Royals win two pennants and a World Series title in 2015, the winning script was all that Cain could have wanted.

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The Brewers, who have their longest streak since winning eight in a row from June 28-July 5 in 2015, opened a nine-game road trip with a loud bang. An RBI single by Ryan Braun in the third came on a liner that took a wicked carom off Royals starter Ian Kennedy's right foot. After a few practice tosses, Kennedy stayed in and Shaw promptly made him pay with a three-run homer that traveled a projected 437 feet, according to Statcast™.

Video: MIL@KC: Shaw mashes a three-run homer in the 3rd

"This is a tough place to score," Shaw said. "When you can get up early, it's huge."

The Royals cut their deficit to 4-2 and seemed to have some momentum when Cain stepped in against rookie Burch Smith leading off the seventh. Cain showed his flair for the dramatic moments later when he launched a solo homer to right-center. He was serenaded with cheers from Royals fans as he circled the bases.

Video: MIL@KC: Cain on his homer, reception in Kansas City

"Nice to hit a homer against my former team," Cain said. "There's no better feeling than when people are cheering for you like that."

Brewers manager Craig Counsell was happy to see the homecoming story play out well for Cain on a night when his club kept up its winning ways.

Video: MIL@KC: Cain receives standing ovation in Kansas City

"He should get treatment like that," Counsell said of the cheers for Cain. "He had a great game today. If they want to love on him, we'll try to do it again [Wednesday]."

Brewers starter Zach Davies got away with some hard-hit outs, but he navigated through six innings having allowed only two runs.

Video: MIL@KC: Davies strikes out Gordon to end the 2nd

"I couldn't locate much after the second or third inning," Davies said. "It was a grind day."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Trailing, 4-2, the Royals put their leadoff man on in the sixth. Then, Salvador Perez, who had homered earlier, sent a scorcher to third that Shaw handled with quick reflexes. Shaw started an around-the-horn double play and that was enough to get Davies through six. If the ball gets by Shaw, who knows?

Video: MIL@KC: Brewers go around the horn for double play

"That double play was huge," Davies said.

SOUND SMART
The Brewers snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Royals dating to their previous win on June 23, 2007.

HE SAID IT
"We're getting contributions from a lot of guys. The home run ball and the [offensive] pressure have picked up." -- Counsell, on the Brewers' win streak

UP NEXT
Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (1-1, 4.18 ERA) will look to build on his impressive outing on Friday when he starts the series finale against the Royals on Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. CT. Chacin worked six scoreless innings against the Marlins, allowing four hits while striking out five and walking three. Chacin will face a stout mound opponent in Kansas City right-hander Jason Hammel, who is winless despite a 3.20 ERA.

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com based in Kansas City.

Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Zach Davies, Travis Shaw

Simmons homers twice as Halos outslug Astros

MLB.com @alysonfooter

HOUSTON -- One day after sitting out to rest a sore forearm, shortstop Andrelton Simmons bounced back in dramatic fashion, homering twice and recording five RBIs in the Angels' 8-7 comeback win over the Astros on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Angels, who survived a mediocre outing from two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, have won the first two contests of the three-game series with the Astros and moved a half-game ahead of them into first place in the American League West standings. It also marked the Angels' 11th straight road victory.

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HOUSTON -- One day after sitting out to rest a sore forearm, shortstop Andrelton Simmons bounced back in dramatic fashion, homering twice and recording five RBIs in the Angels' 8-7 comeback win over the Astros on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Angels, who survived a mediocre outing from two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, have won the first two contests of the three-game series with the Astros and moved a half-game ahead of them into first place in the American League West standings. It also marked the Angels' 11th straight road victory.

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Ohtani yielded four runs and five walks over 5 1/3 innings, throwing a season-high 98 pitches.

Simmons, playing for the first time since a hit by pitch knocked him out in the fourth inning of Sunday's game against the Giants, recorded three hits. None was bigger than his go-ahead three-run homer off Houston reliever Joe Smith in the seventh inning to give the Angels an 8-5 lead.

The home run occurred just after Albert Pujols logged his 2,993rd career hit -- an RBI single that tied the game at five.

Simmons' leadoff shot in the second gave the Angels a 2-0 advantage. He also singled in the third.

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Los Angeles Angels, Andrelton Simmons

Schwarber's 2 HRs lift Cubs in '16 WS rematch

MLB.com @castrovince

CLEVELAND -- Even if this hadn't been the building in which the Cubs enjoyed a champagne celebration 108 years in the making back in 2016, Progressive Field would rate as a pretty special place for Kyle Schwarber.

It's the ballpark where Schwarber notched his first big league hit and his first home run in 2015. It's the ballpark where he returned from a torn ACL to serve as the Cubs' dynamo DH in that fascinating '16 Fall Classic. And on Tuesday night, it was the ballpark where his two home runs keyed a dinger derby off Tribe starter Josh Tomlin in a 10-3 victory. As a steady rain fell on the Indians and Cubs, conjuring up memories of the last time they had met on this field, Schwarber, who came in swinging a hot bat, brought the thunder and lightning with his fifth and sixth homers of the young season.

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CLEVELAND -- Even if this hadn't been the building in which the Cubs enjoyed a champagne celebration 108 years in the making back in 2016, Progressive Field would rate as a pretty special place for Kyle Schwarber.

It's the ballpark where Schwarber notched his first big league hit and his first home run in 2015. It's the ballpark where he returned from a torn ACL to serve as the Cubs' dynamo DH in that fascinating '16 Fall Classic. And on Tuesday night, it was the ballpark where his two home runs keyed a dinger derby off Tribe starter Josh Tomlin in a 10-3 victory. As a steady rain fell on the Indians and Cubs, conjuring up memories of the last time they had met on this field, Schwarber, who came in swinging a hot bat, brought the thunder and lightning with his fifth and sixth homers of the young season.

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"He's from Ohio, right?" Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of Schwarber. "Obviously, he sees the ball well here. The first time he showed up it was his premiere. That was all adrenaline. The World Series was adrenaline. And right now he's been swinging the bat well. So he shows up in Cleveland at the right times."

At 117.1 mph, Schwarber's solo shot on a 2-1 offering from Tomlin in the second inning had the fifth-highest exit velocity of any home run tracked by Statcast™ so far in 2018. In fact, Schwarber's blast into the right-field seats was the hardest hit of any kind by a Cubs player since Statcast™ began tracking in '15. He broke his own club record for hardest homer set with a 114.3-mph shot last Sept. 19.

Video: CHC@CLE: Schwarber ropes solo home run to right field

"I hit it right on a good spot on a changeup there," Schwarber said. "I was able to put a good swing on it."

Schwarber's second homer, leading off the fourth inning, was of the high, arching variety, but it was still a prodigious 407-foot poke that gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead.

Video: CHC@CLE: Schwarber launches second homer of the game

Backing a solid effort from Tyler Chatwood, who earned his first victory as a Cub, the North Siders had runs aplenty in this ballgame, with Willson Contreras and Ian Happ also going deep off Tomlin to knock him out before the end of the fourth. But it was Schwarber's success that stood out in this season in which his slimmed-down body and need for a bounceback bat have been such narrative focal points.

Video: CHC@CLE: Contreras cranks solo home run to left field

If you're scoring at home, Schwarber has made this place his home. He's played just seven career games at Progressive Field, counting the World Series, and he's gone 15-for-30 with three homers, a double, a triple and three walks in that small sample.

"I always thought this was a good park to hit in," Schwarber said. "I guess I just hit well here. I don't know."

Video: CHC@CLE: Happ hits opposite-field homer down the line

But the Middletown, Ohio, native doesn't need to return to his Buckeye roots to rip hits these days. Schwarber came into this two-game set with hits in 12 of his previous 29 at-bats, raising his season average from .172 to .293 in the process and inspiring hope that he can have the kind of offensive impact he provided in his rousing rookie year -- a year in which Progressive Field served as his personal launching pad.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The fifth inning has been quite a bugaboo for Cubs pitchers this season. The 11.84 fifth-inning ERA they took into Tuesday's tilt was by far the highest in the big leagues, and it's a big reason why Cubs starters have had so much trouble going deep into ballgames (they entered averaging just 5.12 innings per start).

So when Chatwood, staked to a 5-1 lead, surrendered a leadoff walk to Roberto Perez in the fifth inning (one of five walks allowed by Chatwood on this night), it looked like a sticky situation. But Chatwood got Bradley Zimmer and Rajai Davis to strike out in succession, then got Francisco Lindor to ground out to escape the inning unscathed. He would go on to face just one batter in the seventh (a Tyler Naquin single), but he became the first Cubs starter this season to pitch into the seventh.

"I don't feel like I was very sharp," Chatwood said. "Obviously, I need to clean up my walks still. But I was able to battle and keep us in the game. I guess you can't complain anytime you win a game."

Video: CHC@CLE: Chatwood fans Davis for his fifth strikeout

SOUND SMART
The Cubs' 48 runs in innings seven through nine this season are the most of any National League club.

HE SAID IT
"We're still in that mode of utilizing the whole field. I hope that doesn't end until 2019 Spring Training and we can work on it again, because this is the approach we're looking for." -- Maddon, on a Cubs lineup that has scored 19 runs over the past two games

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Davis didn't get to the Cubs this time. When the Indians' left fielder, who hit the game-tying homer in Game 7 in 2016, tried to score from second on a Jose Ramirez single to right field with two outs in the third, right fielder Jason Heyward made a great throw to Contreras, who applied the tag as Davis slid across the plate headfirst. The Indians challenged the call that Davis was out, but the call stood following a replay review.

Video: CHC@CLE: Heyward cuts down Davis with perfect throw

The Cubs also won a challenge in the second inning when Naquin was ruled safe after a Chatwood pickoff attempt. The call was overturned upon replay review for the third out of the inning.

Video: CHC@CLE: Chatwood nabs Naquin at first after review

UP NEXT
The Cubs wrap their brief return to Progressive Field with Wednesday's 6:10 p.m. CT game against the Indians. Jon Lester will return to the scene where he was last seen throwing three relief innings in an epic Game 7, opposing Trevor Bauer. The Cubs are hoping Kris Bryant, who was held out of the starting lineup Tuesday night after getting hit in the head by a pitch Sunday in Colorado, will be back at third base.

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.

Chicago Cubs, Kyle Schwarber

Granderson launches walk-off homer vs. Kimbrel

MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' first series of the year against the Red Sox is going to be used as a measuring stick to see how they match up with arguably the top team in the American League East. Curtis Granderson and J.A. Happ made sure they passed the first test with flying colors.

Granderson threw out the potential go-ahead run in top of the ninth inning and then hit a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 10th as the Blue Jays overcame Roberto Osuna's first blown save of the year in a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox.

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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' first series of the year against the Red Sox is going to be used as a measuring stick to see how they match up with arguably the top team in the American League East. Curtis Granderson and J.A. Happ made sure they passed the first test with flying colors.

Granderson threw out the potential go-ahead run in top of the ninth inning and then hit a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 10th as the Blue Jays overcame Roberto Osuna's first blown save of the year in a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox.

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Happ came away with a no-decision, but he played a big role in the win by limiting Boston's offense to one run over seven strong innings.

Video: BOS@TOR: Granderson gets doused twice after walk-off

"I'm trying to just do anything I can to help the team win and put ourselves in an opportunity to win," said Granderson, who has eight RBIs over his last five games. "Starting in right, starting in center, starting in left, trying to get on base, I'm just trying to do the little things, because this team has such a great ability to come up in big situations."

It was the fourth walk-off home run of Granderson's career, and it came on a 2-0 fastball from Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. Toronto picked up its second walk-off victory of the year and improved to 2-0 in extra-innings games this season. Granderson went 3-for-5 with his third home run of the season.

Tuesday's game marked the first of 18 games between the two clubs. The Red Sox, along with the Yankees, have long been considered the favorites in the division, but the Blue Jays have been turning a few heads with their early season play. The victory in the series opener ensured that Toronto will finish March/April with at least a .500 record, something that hasn't happened since 2012.

Video: BOS@TOR: Gibbons on Happ's outing, win in extras

One win might not seem like much, but it's a symbolic victory for a Blue Jays team that entered this game having lost eight consecutive games to Boston at Rogers Centre. Last season, Toronto was outscored 107-75 by the Red Sox, and its -32 run differential vs. the Sox was the organization's lowest since posting a -51 against the Rays in 2012. Something has to change if the Blue Jays are going to be taken seriously in the division, and Tuesday was a good start.

Video: Must C Clutch: Granderson belts a walk-off home run

Happ never had multiple baserunners at any point during his fifth start of the year. He frequently used his four-seam fastball up in the zone to generate swing and miss from the Red Sox as he picked up double digit strikeouts for the first time since Aug. 2, 2017, vs. the White Sox. The 35-year-old averaged 92.7 mph with the four seamer while mixing in his slider and curveball combo 20 times in his strongest outing of the year.

"We remember that they've played well here, so it's nice to set the tone and get that first one here," Happ said. "I think it's something that's going to be a battle all season long. I think these are two really good ballclubs and that we'll see a lot of games pretty tight like this one."

Video: BOS@TOR: Happ strikes out 10 over seven innings

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Can't close it out: Osuna got himself into all sorts of trouble in the top of the ninth inning. Hanley Ramirez and Rafael Devers singled to put runners on first and second with one out while Eduardo Nunez followed with an RBI single. Later in the frame, Boston loaded the bases as Brock Holt delivered the game tying run with an RBI single to left field. It could have been a lot worse, but Granderson saved the day by throwing out Nunez at the plate on Holt's RBI single, which eventually forced extra innings. Osuna picked up his first blown save of the year in seven attempts and also surrendered his first earned runs of the season.

Video: BOS@TOR: Granderson makes a run-saving throw in 9th

"That's the way baseball is sometimes," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I think that was Osuna's and Kimbrel's first runs they've given up all year. That's why you call it the big leagues … The guys battled. That was a big game for us. If you don't win that one, it's a kick in the teeth."

The fortunate bounce: The Blue Jays opened the scoring in the bottom of the second when they had runners on the corners and Boston third baseman Devers was unable to field a grounder and make a throw home in time to get a sliding Steve Pearce. Later in the frame, Devers was put under the spotlight once again with a pair of runners on base. This time, Granderson hit a hard grounder that deflected off Devers' glove to allow two more runs to score.

Video: BOS@TOR: Granderson plates two with a single to left

SOUND SMART
Over the previous five years, Toronto had the worst March/April record in the Major Leagues, going 52-75 (.409). A year ago, the Blue Jays did not pick up their 14th victory until Game No. 35 on May 11. This season, they reached 14 wins in Game No. 24 on April 24.

HE SAID IT
"I think the city is hurting right now and we had some first responders here today. I hope they enjoyed the game, if they stayed until the end, which I think they did. I think it was a meaningful win for us on several levels." -- Happ, when asked about the importance of winning the series opener as he referenced Monday's tragic events in Toronto that saw multiple casualties following an attack involving a white van

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Blue Jays were in a perfect position add another insurance run when Teoscar Hernandez stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth. With a runner on second, Hernandez hit a sharp liner to right field that appeared destined for extra bases, but Mookie Betts had other ideas. According to Statcast™, Betts covered 53 feet in 3.5 seconds to make a four-star grab that came with a catch probability of 31 percent. Yangervis Solarte followed by lining out to second base and the Blue Jays came up empty in the fifth.

Video: BOS@TOR: Statcast™ measures Betts' four-star grab

UP NEXT
The Blue Jays will continue their three-game series against the Red Sox when Aaron Sanchez (1-2, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound on Wednesday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET. Sanchez has experienced a dip in velocity so far this season. In 2017, he averaged 95.0 mph on his two-seam fastball, but in a recent outing against the Yankees, that number dropped to 92.8. The velocity has not impacted his performance with three quality starts in four outings. Boston will counter with left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (2-0, 3.45 ERA).

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Curtis Granderson, J.A. Happ, Roberto Osuna

Cespedes hits incredible 463-foot game-tying HR

Three-run homer marks longest by Mets player tracked by Statcast
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

ST. LOUIS -- Yoenis Cespedes sauntered a step or two toward first base, bat in hand, eyes transfixed on his handiwork. Upward the ball went on a sharp arc to left field, crashing down about a third of the way up Busch Stadium's second deck.

As Cespedes rounded the bases, chain jangling against his chest, he did not yet know that he had hit the longest, hardest home run of his Mets career, contributing half of the club's offense in Tuesday's 6-5 win over the Cardinals. But he did realize this could be the spark he needs to emerge from a season-long slump.

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ST. LOUIS -- Yoenis Cespedes sauntered a step or two toward first base, bat in hand, eyes transfixed on his handiwork. Upward the ball went on a sharp arc to left field, crashing down about a third of the way up Busch Stadium's second deck.

As Cespedes rounded the bases, chain jangling against his chest, he did not yet know that he had hit the longest, hardest home run of his Mets career, contributing half of the club's offense in Tuesday's 6-5 win over the Cardinals. But he did realize this could be the spark he needs to emerge from a season-long slump.

View Full Game Coverage

Cespedes crushed his 115.1-mph, 463-foot homer off Luke Weaver in the fifth inning for the hardest and longest home run any Mets player has hit since Statcast™ began tracking in 2015. The game-tying three-run shot was the third longest by a visiting player in Busch history, according to Cardinals records, and the second longest hit in St. Louis over the past four seasons.

Cespedes' previous long was a 457-foot homer in San Francisco in 2016. The Mets' previous longest homer tracked by Statcast™ was Justin Ruggiano's 461-foot shot in 2016, also at Busch Stadium. Although Cespedes' Tuesday blast was projected just two feet longer, its combination of speed, distance and trajectory had several teammates in the Mets' dugout mouthing, "Wow."

"I thought it maybe was going to clear the left-field fence, just barely," manager Mickey Callaway said, laughing.

Longest home runs for every MLB team

For Cespedes, the Statcast™ accolades were a bonus. The home run's importance in a game the Mets won was paramount.

Perhaps even more critical was what it could mean for Cespedes' future.

Entering the night in a 10-for-61 (.164) slump with 28 strikeouts, Cespedes lined into a double play and struck out in his first two at-bats against Weaver. Despite contributing game-winning RBIs on three separate occasions in April, Cespedes also rose to the top of the Major League strikeout leaderboard, bemoaning often that he couldn't find his timing at the plate.

Things grew grim enough that Cespedes, an avid golfer who gave up the game in an attempt to keep his legs healthy during the season, said last weekend that he is considering playing again as a way to streamline his swing mechanics. The only reason he didn't do so on Monday's off-day, Cespedes indicated, was because all eight sets of clubs that he owns are at his home in Florida.

No matter. Working ahead in the count, 3-1, against Weaver, Cespedes dropped his bat head to meet a changeup that broke in toward him, low in the zone. Five-and-a-half seconds later, the ball landed, perhaps carrying a bit of Cespedes' slump with it.

"In that at-bat, he was losing the strike zone with the fastball, so I was hoping to catch a changeup," Cespedes said through an interpreter. "Then, I caught it. And I hit it."

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

New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes

Shohei Ohtani hit 101 mph on Tuesday night, the fastest by a starting pitcher this season

Avila, D-backs bring thunder in rainy Philly

Catcher homers on 3-hit night; Dyson, Descalso also go deep
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHILADELPHIA -- It wasn't like D-backs catcher Alex Avila didn't believe in himself, or didn't think he could hit. But when you're struggling night in and night out at the plate, thoughts have a way of creeping into your head that you'd just as soon push out.

Avila busted out of his season-opening slump in a big way Tuesday night as he collected three hits, including his first homer of the year, and drove home a pair in the D-backs' 8-4 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

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PHILADELPHIA -- It wasn't like D-backs catcher Alex Avila didn't believe in himself, or didn't think he could hit. But when you're struggling night in and night out at the plate, thoughts have a way of creeping into your head that you'd just as soon push out.

Avila busted out of his season-opening slump in a big way Tuesday night as he collected three hits, including his first homer of the year, and drove home a pair in the D-backs' 8-4 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

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The D-backs came into Tuesday's contest ranked 10th in the National League in runs scored, this while missing a pair of key pieces due to injury. Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. has been out all season with a strained right pectoral muscle, and third baseman Jake Lamb has played in just four games due to a sprained left AC joint.

Video: ARI@PHI: Ray, Lovullo discuss 8-4 win over Phillies

David Peralta, Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock have hit, and the D-backs have found ways to win games, but if somehow Avila were to get hot, well that lineup would get a whole lot longer and more dangerous.

Avila, who came into the game hitting .114, hit a 2-1 fastball from Vince Velasquez in the third inning way over the wall in right.

"He jumps on a fastball, a 96-mph fastball and hits it for a long home run and some really good at-bats inside of the day for him," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "Good approach, really solid, backspinning the ball in the middle of the diamond, that's what he's built on. It's just tough when you start out the season that way, it's noticeable because things are inflated or deflated. But I know he's the guy you saw today."

Video: ARI@PHI: Avila launches a mammoth homer deep to right

The D-backs banked on Avila being that guy when they signed him to a two-year, $8.25 million deal in late January.

"Obviously, you want to make a good impression on a new team," Avila said. "At the same time, though, everybody in here knows that there's a reason why they wanted me to come here. That's part of everyone understanding it's a hard game."

Avila followed up the homer with a single in the fifth and an RBI single to the gap in right-center in the sixth.

Video: ARI@PHI: Avila rips an RBI single to right

"When you have the success like that, the confidence goes up, whether you think about it or not," Avila said. "It happens kind of naturally subconsciously. It also depends on the next guy that you face. Today, I saw the ball really well. For the most part, I've been seeing it well. The combination of not putting aggressive swings on the pitches I should hit and also overthinking things, which happens in this game quite often to everybody. The thing is, you can't abandon the process, and understand that as quickly as it can go bad, it can go good, too."

Jarrod Dyson and Daniel Descalso also homered for the D-backs. Avila and Dyson got the D-backs going with back-to-back homers to open the third, and Descalso added a two-run homer in the eighth to give them a cushion.

Young fan assists on Avila, Dyson homers

Video: ARI@PHI: Descalso belts a two-run homer to right

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Peralta gets go-ahead: Peralta drove home a pair of runs with a one-out double in the fifth that put the D-backs on top, 4-3. The hit helped snap Peralta out of a mini slump. He had been hitless in his previous 10 at-bats with a walk.

"Peralta came up big and kind of broke the game open with that big hit," Lovullo said.

Video: ARI@PHI: Peralta rips a two-run double down the line

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Goldschmidt had a trip around the bases in the eighth that was more befitting a speedster than a first baseman. Goldschmidt beat out an infield hit to second to lead off the inning and then stole second. When second baseman Cesar Hernandez was unable to field the throw from catcher Jorge Alfaro, Goldschmidt advanced to third. That caused the Phillies to play the infield in and the next hitter, Pollock, chopped a single over the head of shortstop Pedro Florimon as Goldschmidt trotted home.

"That's one of our characteristics," Lovullo said. "He hits a routine ground ball to second base, hustles down the line, he ends up stealing a base and getting to third on an overthrow. Those are the things that we do inside of the game."

Video: ARI@PHI: Pollock bounces an RBI single to center

HE SAID IT
"It's not easy. You play long enough, you understand you're going to go through some really bad stretches. I've gone through some really bad stretches in my career, and I'm still playing. It happens to everybody. That's just part of being a professional. Just kind of continuing, as everybody likes to say, the grind. That's just the way it is." -- Avila

UP NEXT
The D-backs continue their series with the Phillies on Wednesday night (4:05 MST) with Zack Greinke on the mound. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP in his last two starts. He is 8-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 11 career starts against the Phillies. Right-hander Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.04 ERA) makes the start for Philadelphia. He struck out 10 and allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings last week against the Pirates.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Alex Avila, Daniel Descalso, Jarrod Dyson, David Peralta, Robbie Ray

Sanchez homers twice; Judge hits 7th HR

MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' powerful duo of Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge is continuing to rewrite the record books on a nightly basis, contributing three big swings to the club's 8-3 victory over the Twins on Tuesday evening at Yankee Stadium.

Belting a solo homer to right field in the second inning and depositing a two-run shot to the netting that covers Monument Park in the seventh, Sanchez became the first player in Major League history to record nine multihomer games in his first 196 career games.

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NEW YORK -- The Yankees' powerful duo of Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge is continuing to rewrite the record books on a nightly basis, contributing three big swings to the club's 8-3 victory over the Twins on Tuesday evening at Yankee Stadium.

Belting a solo homer to right field in the second inning and depositing a two-run shot to the netting that covers Monument Park in the seventh, Sanchez became the first player in Major League history to record nine multihomer games in his first 196 career games.

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He then laughed after receiving the silent treatment in the dugout from Judge, who had gone deep earlier in the seventh inning, remaining ahead of Mark McGwire's historic pace as the fastest player to reach 63 home runs for his career.

Sanchez gets silent treatment after 2nd HR

Judge's solo shot off the Twins' Tyler Duffey, an opposite-field blast to right field, was his seventh of the season in his 204th career game. McGwire hit 63 homers in his first 207 games for the 1986-88 Athletics; Judge was also the fastest to 60, 61 and 62 homers.

It was the fourth homer of the homestand for Judge, who recorded his second three-hit game of the season and has reached base safely in all 19 games this month, owning the longest on-base streak in the American League this year.

Video: MIN@NYY: Judge belts a solo home run to right field

"We're getting there. It's still early," Judge said. "We've got to stick to our approach and keep having good at-bats, grinding out the starters, especially facing a guy like [Jose] Berrios, who has some of the best stuff in the game. If you're able to keep getting those 3-2 counts, fight off those tough pitches and get his pitch count up, then try to get into that bullpen, we're going to be in good position."

Sanchez hit his fourth and fifth homers of the season, taking a 94.1-mph heater from Berrios deep in the second inning and pummeling Duffey's high 91.7-mph fastball in the seventh.

"When he uses the big part of the field, he's a guy that can drive the ball out anywhere in the ballpark," manager Aaron Boone said. "I think we've seen him off and on get more bat through the middle. I thought he was, for the most part, really quiet at the plate tonight. He's special when he's controlling the strike zone. That's his biggest challenge sometimes."

Sanchez's 58 homers tie him with McGwire for the third most by a player through 196 games, trailing only Judge and Rudy York of the 1930s Tigers, who had 59. Sanchez has also hit safely in nine of 10 games, batting .341 over that span.

"When he's using the whole field and really driving balls to center field and using the right-field gap, that's when he's at his best," Judge said. "That's what we saw tonight. He was on tonight. We've just got to keep it rolling."

Didi Gregorius also went deep on Tuesday, giving the Yankees back-to-back games with four homers, a feat last accomplished on June 10-11 of last season, against the Orioles. New York has outscored opponents, 36-6, during the four-game winning streak, moving a season-high four games above .500.

Video: MIN@NYY: Didi belts two-run homer to the second deck

"In general, it's just the approach we have," Sanchez said. "Every time we go out there, we try to give the best that we have. With the lineup we have, it's a very good lineup. When things are working well, you'll notice."

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

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez

Beltre's hamstring 'not feeling great' after exit

Rangers 3B comes up lame out of batter's box, heads for MRI, evaluation
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers suffered another significant injury when third baseman Adrian Beltre sustained a strained left hamstring in the eighth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Athletics on Tuesday.

Beltre will undergo an MRI on Wednesday and be re-evaluated. But the Rangers are clearly bracing for the possibility of losing Beltre for an extended period of time.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers suffered another significant injury when third baseman Adrian Beltre sustained a strained left hamstring in the eighth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Athletics on Tuesday.

Beltre will undergo an MRI on Wednesday and be re-evaluated. But the Rangers are clearly bracing for the possibility of losing Beltre for an extended period of time.

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"It's not feeling great but, we'll know more tomorrow after the MRI," Beltre said.

Video: OAK@TEX: Beltre on hamstring strain suffered in loss

The Rangers are already without second baseman Rougned Odor, who will be out at least a couple more weeks with a strained left hamstring, and Elvis Andrus, who will likely be out until June with a fracture in his right elbow. They just got back Delino DeShields on Sunday after he missed three weeks with a broken bone in his left wrist. Now this.

"Obviously disappointed because we already have other key players hurt," Beltre said. "It's no secret we have been struggling offensively and trying to find a way to get through it. I'm supposed to be one of the guys who is getting better, and now this happens."

The Rangers have two options at the Major League level to replace Beltre. Joey Gallo's primary position in the Minor Leagues was third base, although he was focused on first base in Spring Training and has since moved to left field because of other injuries. Renato Nunez, who was acquired off waivers from the Athletics last week, has also played more third base than other positions in his career.

Video: OAK@TEX: Gallo doubles to left, drives in Beltre

The Rangers don't have a true third baseman at Triple-A Round Rock. Hanser Alberto is their most experienced infielder at Round Rock, but he plays mainly middle-infield. If they go with Nunez or Gallo, it could mean calling up an extra outfielder, either Ryan Rua, Willie Calhoun or Destin Hood.

"Listen, there are tough times in sports," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We talk about it all the time, the inherent dangers on the field of play. For that group of players in the clubhouse, I feel for all of them. They go out there and battle and play hard and grind through adversity. To lose the number of players we have, it's tough, it's gut-wrenching. But I will continue to say this. We will continue to play hard. There is no quit. We will continue to fight."

This is the same hamstring that limited Beltre at the end of last season. The Rangers were careful with him in Spring Training, and Beltre said he has felt great since then.

But that all changed in the eighth inning. Beltre came to bat with Shin-Soo Choo on first and two outs, and lined what should have been a double into the right-center gap. While Choo was circling the bases, Beltre pulled up immediately and had to painfully hobble his way to first base.

"I hit the ball, started to jog to first," Beltre said. "The fourth step I felt it grab."

There was no hesitation. Beltre was immediately pulled from the game. Now the Rangers will wait, and it's not likely to be good news.

"Like I said, it's not feeling great but we'll wait until the MRI to see what is going on in there," Beltre said.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Adrian Beltre

Giants power past Nats on Mac's clutch mash

San Francisco secures series victory with 3rd straight win
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mac Williamson isn't indestructible. But he gained an aura of invincibility during the Giants' 4-3 victory Tuesday night over the Washington Nationals when he collided with one wall and cleared another with a go-ahead home run.

Williamson avoided serious injury when he crashed into the barrier adjacent to the Giants' bullpen as he pursued Bryce Harper's fifth-inning fly ball. Williamson sprinted into foul territory, but missed the catch and stumbled on one of the bullpen mounds, tumbling into the wall. After a brief examination, Williamson remained in the game.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Mac Williamson isn't indestructible. But he gained an aura of invincibility during the Giants' 4-3 victory Tuesday night over the Washington Nationals when he collided with one wall and cleared another with a go-ahead home run.

Williamson avoided serious injury when he crashed into the barrier adjacent to the Giants' bullpen as he pursued Bryce Harper's fifth-inning fly ball. Williamson sprinted into foul territory, but missed the catch and stumbled on one of the bullpen mounds, tumbling into the wall. After a brief examination, Williamson remained in the game.

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That left Williamson available to face Nationals starter Tanner Roark with two outs in the sixth. Williamson, who proved with his 464-foot drive to right-center field Monday night that there's no part of AT&T Park he can't reach, drove a pitch to straightaway center field to snap a 3-3 tie. According to Statcast™, Williamson's third home run in five games since his recall from Triple-A Sacramento traveled a projected 423 feet.

The Giants secured their fourth victory in five games, while Washington dropped its fourth in a row.

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

Listen to this awesome story about a young fan who 'assisted' with Alex Avila and Jarrod Dyson's homers

Hunter Gillett showed off his D-backs gear with pride as he was interviewed by FOX Sports Arizona on Tuesday night, sharing an incredible story about his special moments with Alex Avila and Jarrod Dyson.

Pujols' RBI single puts him 7 shy of 3,000 hits

MLB.com @alysonfooter

HOUSTON -- Albert Pujols inched closer to his 3,000th hit with a single in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's 8-7 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park. It was career hit No. 2,993 for Pujols, who needs just seven more to reach the prestigious milestone.

Pujols logged the game-tying hit off Houston right-handed reliever Joe Smith, who then yielded a three-run homer to Andrelton Simmons.

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HOUSTON -- Albert Pujols inched closer to his 3,000th hit with a single in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's 8-7 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park. It was career hit No. 2,993 for Pujols, who needs just seven more to reach the prestigious milestone.

Pujols logged the game-tying hit off Houston right-handed reliever Joe Smith, who then yielded a three-run homer to Andrelton Simmons.

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"I got a situation the first couple of at-bats to drive in some runs," Pujols said. "It was a big spot right there. I tried to get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing, and that's what I did. Joe Smith's pretty tough. He has a really good submarine slider and good sinker. I kept my hands inside and drove the ball back to the middle. I'm glad that I kept the rally going."

Video: LAA@HOU: Trout, Simmons, Pujols power Angels to win

When Pujols reaches the 3,000-hit mark, he will become just the fourth player in Major League history with at least 3,000 hits and 600 homers, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Alex Rodriguez. Pujols is 32nd on the all-time hits list, behind Roberto Clemente, who had exactly 3,000 during his Hall of Fame career.

3,000-hit club

The milestone hit should come sometime soon, and while Pujols does think about it on a daily basis, the first baseman/designated hitter insists it's not at the forefront of his mind when he's preparing for games. But he also knows 3,000 is special, and he'll be grateful for the moment when it does happen.

"I don't want to ignore it," Pujols said. "It's something everybody's aware of, including myself. But my main focus is to try to help the ballclub win. If I stay healthy, one of these days it's going to come. I don't put pressure on myself. I just try to put a good swing, just like I have [for the other other] 2,993.

"Sooner or later, seven more will come. I don't really think about it. It's hard for me to focus on that. My focus is on helping this ballclub to win."

Tweet from @Angels: SEVEN!!!!!!! 💪💪💪💪💪💪💪@PujolsFive didn't like our last tweet. He ties the game up with a RBI single!#RoadTo3000 pic.twitter.com/9oZKCqxLJu

Pujols, who was hitless in four plate appearances on Monday and his first three at-bats on Tuesday, has had more success in Houston than any visiting player in the history of Minute Maid Park. He has 63 lifetime home runs versus the Astros, including the postseason, a record by a large margin. The only players within 20 homers of Pujols are Aaron (46) and Willie McCovey (44).

Given the success Pujols has had in Houston, perhaps it would have been fitting for him to log hit No. 3,000 at Minute Maid Park. Fortunately for the Angels and their fans, the team is headed home after Wednesday's series finale for a six-game homestand, opening up the real possibility that Pujols will reach the milestone in front of his own fans.

"I think it'll be a pretty emotional day, the day it happens," Pujols said. "Pretty exciting. I hope at the end of the day, it happens in a game we win. It'll be more special."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

Los Angeles Angels, Albert Pujols