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Best getting better, Trout on insane .696 clip

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- There was no other player the Angels would have rather had up to bat in that situation.

Down by one run in the fifth inning, the Angels had loaded the bases with one out against D-backs right-hander Matt Koch, bringing Mike Trout to the plate. Arizona pitching coach Mike Butcher jogged out to the mound to briefly strategize with Koch, but his counsel proved of little use against Trout, who promptly lined a first-pitch fastball to center field for a two-run, go-ahead single that helped lift the Angels to a 5-4 win over the D-backs on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.

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ANAHEIM -- There was no other player the Angels would have rather had up to bat in that situation.

Down by one run in the fifth inning, the Angels had loaded the bases with one out against D-backs right-hander Matt Koch, bringing Mike Trout to the plate. Arizona pitching coach Mike Butcher jogged out to the mound to briefly strategize with Koch, but his counsel proved of little use against Trout, who promptly lined a first-pitch fastball to center field for a two-run, go-ahead single that helped lift the Angels to a 5-4 win over the D-backs on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.

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The Angels' beleaguered bullpen bent but didn't break in the ninth inning, as Blake Parker yielded a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt that brought the D-backs within one, but Jake Lamb subsequently flew out to end the game.

Video: ARI@LAA: Parker retires Lamb to earn the save

Widely regarded as the best player in baseball, Trout's production has surged to an otherworldly level over the last week. He has recorded only seven outs over his last 37 plate appearances, batting .696 with 11 walks (four intentional) and one hit-by-pitch.

Ian Kinsler and Kole Calhoun added a pair of solo home runs, and Felix Pena delivered four solid innings in his first MLB start to help the Angels snap a three-game skid and secure a split of their two-game Interleague series with the D-backs.

All 38 of Pena's previous MLB outings had come in relief, but the Angels decided to convert him to a starter this season and inserted him into their rotation following the injuries to Garrett Richards and Nick Tropeano. The 28-year-old right-hander had not pitched since June 8 at any level, but he made the most of his opportunity on Tuesday, yielding one run on two hits while walking three and striking out six.

Video: ARI@LAA: Pena strikes out Descalso to end the threat

In the first inning, Pena gave up a leadoff single to Jon Jay, who advanced to second on a wild pitch before taking third on another single by Lamb. The D-backs got on the board after Jay scored on a forceout by David Peralta, but Pena then struck out Daniel Descalso to end the inning.

Kinsler countered by blasting Koch's third pitch of the game into the Angels' bullpen in left field for his 10th home run of the season, tying the game, 1-1. It was the 48th leadoff home run of Kinsler's career, which ranks fourth all-time.

Video: ARI@LAA: Kinsler slugs a solo homer to left field

Pena maneuvered through traffic over the next three innings, but he avoided further damage and departed after throwing 74 pitches. Left-hander Jose Alvarez took over in the fifth and retired the first two batters he faced, but Jake Lamb then worked a walk during an 11-pitch at-bat and scored on Peralta's ensuing double to give the D-backs a 2-1 lead.

The Angels rallied in the fifth after Koch drilled Martin Maldonado and Kinsler and David Fletcher singled to load the bases with one out, setting up Trout's clutch hit. Another run scored after Ketel Marte missed Jarrod Dyson's relay throw, allowing the Angels to build a 4-2 lead.

Calhoun capped the Angels' offensive output with a solo home run off Koch in the sixth, collecting his second homer of the season and his first since Opening Day. Calhoun is now 3-for-7 in his first two games since coming off the disabled list on Monday.

Video: ARI@LAA: Calhoun rips a solo home run to extend lead

YOUNG DEPARTS
Chris Young, who started in center field on Tuesday, departed the game after seven innings with a hamstring injury, according to the Angels. Calhoun shifted from right field to center field to replace Young. Fletcher moved from third base to right field, and Luis Valbuena entered the game to play third.

UP NEXT
The Angels will enjoy an off-day on Wednesday before opening a four-game series against the Blue Jays on Thursday at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (6-4, 2.81 ERA) will start opposite Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez (3-5, 4.35 ERA) in the series opener. Skaggs is 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA in three June starts. He faced the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on May 23 and took a no-decision after allowing three runs over five innings.

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

Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout

Yanks' 118 homers through 70 games a record pace

Stanton, Andujar, Hicks, Torres flex their muscles
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' offense continued to showcase its power against the Mariners on Tuesday, slugging four home runs in a 7-2 victory.

New York's 118 homers ties the 2000 Cardinals for the second-most hit through the first 70 games of the season, trailing just the 1999 Mariners, who hit 130, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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NEW YORK -- The Yankees' offense continued to showcase its power against the Mariners on Tuesday, slugging four home runs in a 7-2 victory.

New York's 118 homers ties the 2000 Cardinals for the second-most hit through the first 70 games of the season, trailing just the 1999 Mariners, who hit 130, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

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Coming off a four-hit night against the Nationals on Monday, Giancarlo Stanton started Tuesday's slugfest in the first inning. The slugger blasted the first pitch he saw from Marco Gonzales -- a 79.3-mph curveball -- 426 feet that had an exit velocity of 111.5 mph, according to Statcast™.

In just 72 at-bats against left-handed pitching, Stanton has hit .347 with nine home runs and 19 RBIs.

Video: SEA@NYY: Stanton mashes a solo big fly to center

"It's a lot of fun," Stanton said of the team's power surge. "It's fun to watch from the inside, and I'm sure it's fun to watch being a fan. Yeah, we were clicking on all cylinders tonight."

With the game tied at 1 in the fifth, Miguel Andujar launched a two-run homer to left-center field, snapping an 0-for-14 skid. According to Statcast™, it had a projected distance of 427 feet with an exit velocity of 110.3 mph. It was the fifth of the rookie's nine long balls hit this season that have either tied the game or given the Yankees the lead.

Video: SEA@NYY: Andujar hammers a 2-run big fly to left

"I stayed positive," Andujar said. "I know I can hit. I go to home plate with a plan and do my job, and try to hit the ball hard."

Two batters later, Aaron Hicks followed suit by hitting a two-run shot of his own to left-center on a first-pitch, 83.4-mph changeup from Gonzales to give New York a 5-1 lead. Hicks has now hit a home run in a career-high three straight games and four of his last six.

Video: SEA@NYY: Hicks sticks 2-run homer into bullpen bench

"Especially from the right side most of the year, he's been in a really good power position and impacting the ball, not so much hooking the ball, but straight out to left-center and center," manager Aaron Boone said. "He's playing well for us and playing a big role for us in helping us win games."

"Keep riding that streak as much as possible," Hicks said. "Make sure I stay humble with it and just continue to try to help your team win."

Gleyber Torres got in on the fun in the eighth, hitting a solo shot on an 0-1, 93.2-mph fastball off Seattle reliever Nick Rumbelow. Torres has hit 14 home runs, which ties Aaron Judge for third-most through a player's first 50 career games in franchise history. Torres trails Gary Sanchez (19) and Kevin Maas (15).

Video: SEA@NYY: Torres crushes a solo homer to left field

"I think every day I take more experience to every at-bat and I take more maturity, for sure, and I feel better every day," said Torres. "I just try to put the ball in play. I try to have good contact and look for my pitch and try to help my team."

"I've just kind of been impressed with how well they've done," Boone said of Torres and Andujar. "They've been huge for us. They've been impact players for us. Just really proud of the way they've handled themselves, the way they've shown the ability to make adjustments. And I think they're just kind of showing the baseball world that they're really good players."

"We have good players here," Andujar said. "Everyone here can hit."

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres

Marlins, Giants exchange HBPs; Straily ejected

SF starter Rodriguez plunks Brinson, prompting warnings; Mattingly also tossed
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

SAN FRANCISCO -- After Buster Posey was struck by a Dan Straily fastball, a couple of quick ejections underscored the Giants' 6-3 win over the Marlins at AT&T Park on Tuesday night.

Straily and Miami manager Don Mattingly were tossed by home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher in a tense second inning that included two batters hit by first-pitch fastballs.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- After Buster Posey was struck by a Dan Straily fastball, a couple of quick ejections underscored the Giants' 6-3 win over the Marlins at AT&T Park on Tuesday night.

Straily and Miami manager Don Mattingly were tossed by home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher in a tense second inning that included two batters hit by first-pitch fastballs.

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Posey was the second hit batter in the game, as Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Lewis Brinson in the top half of the same frame. That followed a heated exchange between Brinson and Giants reliever Hunter Strickland on Monday night.

"I just lost a fastball in," Straily said. "[I'm] trying to throw a fastball in and get him off the plate. Obviously, Andy thought it was on purpose, and so he got me out of there."

Video: MIA@SF: Straily, Mattingly tossed after hit by pitch

Straily plunked Posey, who homered in the first inning, with a 91.3 mph fastball, creating some tensions on the field, but nothing escalated. Because warnings had already been issued after the first hit batsman, both Straily and Mattingly were tossed.

"I was surprised there were warnings, especially after our guy gets hit," Mattingly said. "I was talking about you're going to give a warning there, you usually give a warning after two guys have been hit. One guy gets hit, another guy gets hit and then there's the warnings. I think everybody knows if you give one warning after one guy then you're asking for trouble like out of the blue."

Rookie Elieser Hernandez replaced Straily, who worked 1 1/3 innings, allowing four runs.

Warnings had been issued in the top of the second when Rodriguez plunked Brinson with a 91.9 mph fastball.

Video: MIA@SF: Brinson gets plunked by Rodriguez in the 2nd

"We're just trying to make a pitch inside," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He got extended on us yesterday. Dereck did a nice job getting us out of that inning, working through some trouble and getting us through five."

At that point, Fletcher warned both benches, and Mattingly exchanged words with the umpires.

Another side story developed during the game when the Giants television announcers suggested Mattingly was overheard commenting in the direction of Posey, "You're next."

Mattingly and Posey both said that was incorrect.

"I know, I heard it when I came in those guys were saying I said something about 'You're next,'" Mattingly said. "I would not say that."

Posey also downplayed the report.

"As you guys know, I wouldn't talk about that, but no, he didn't," Posey said.

Asked if he felt he was drilled in retaliation for Brinson, Posey said: 'I don't know. It sure seemed that way."

Frustrations had brewed since Monday night, when the Marlins rallied for three runs in the ninth inning off Strickland to claim a 5-4 win. In that inning, Brinson had the game-tying single and flipped his bat afterward.

When Strickland was replaced later in the inning, he stared at Brinson, who was on third base. The first pitch of the Brinson-Strickland at-bat was a brushback fastball.

"Last time we faced them, he threw me inside and was working me inside," Brinson said. "I don't think [it was on purpose]. No, I don't think so."

Brinson said he was surprised warnings were issued.

"Right there, yeah," Brinson said. "But the umpire is just doing his job. He's got to protect everybody and make sure everybody is safe out there. I'm a little surprised, but like I said, the umpire is just doing his job."

Going back to last week when the teams played in Miami, Brinson had a game-tying sacrifice fly in the ninth inning off Strickland.

Also during the series at Marlins Park, Straily threw a pitch that broke the hand of Giants third baseman Evan Longoria.

"Well, my response I guess would be, 'Were they throwing at Longoria?" Bochy said. "Tommy [Kelby Tomlinson] got hit in the back last night. That's my response. Were they throwing at him? Those are things you don't know."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins, San Francisco Giants, Lewis Brinson, Buster Posey, Dereck Rodriguez, Dan Straily

Almora, Bryant rally Cubs in 10th to split DH

Schwarber's game-tying HR in 7th takes Montgomery off hook
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Albert Almora Jr. ripped a walk-off single to right field in the 10th inning to give the Cubs a 2-1 win and split Tuesday's doubleheader with the Dodgers at Wrigley Field.

Kris Bryant led off the 10th with a triple into the right-field corner off Brock Stewart, and the Dodgers intentionally walked Javier Baez to set up the game-winner from Almora.

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CHICAGO -- Albert Almora Jr. ripped a walk-off single to right field in the 10th inning to give the Cubs a 2-1 win and split Tuesday's doubleheader with the Dodgers at Wrigley Field.

Kris Bryant led off the 10th with a triple into the right-field corner off Brock Stewart, and the Dodgers intentionally walked Javier Baez to set up the game-winner from Almora.

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Almora said he took it "personal" -- the Dodgers had intentionally walked the batter before him to load the bases in Game 1 and he popped out to end the eighth inning. The 10th inning of Game 2 gave Almora a shot at redemption.

"I really wanted that one pretty bad," Almora said. "I absolutely knew they were going to walk Javy to pitch to me. It was just a little bit of revenge from the first game."

Video: LAD@CHC: Almora Jr. on bullpen, walk-off hit in 10th

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he wasn't quite sure why the Dodgers chose to face Almora over Baez, who is more prone to strikeouts, with a runner on third and nobody out.

"That's why he was hitting three. Albert makes contact," Maddon said. "The first game, he popped that one ball up, but I loved him in that moment. I have no idea what their strategy was but I loved him in that moment."

Video: LAD@CHC: Bryant's triple leads to walk-off in 10th

Kyle Schwarber tied the game, 1-1, in the seventh when he crushed a home run to right field off reliever Erik Goeddel, who entered Tuesday's game without allowing a run in 19 straight innings -- the longest active streak in the Majors.

The homer was Schwarber's 13th of the season, and it had an exit velocity of 101.8 mph and traveled a projected 400 feet, according to Statcast™.

Video: LAD@CHC: Schwarber ties game with a solo homer in 7th

Mike Montgomery, making his fifth start in place of the injured Yu Darvish, wasn't as sharp as he has been but was able to escape trouble for most of the night. The Dodgers got to him in the sixth inning when Austin Barnes singled to left to bring home Cody Bellinger, who stole second with two outs to get into scoring position.

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the 10th against Justin Hancock -- called up as the Cubs' 26th man for the second game of the doubleheader -- before lefty Rob Zastryzny came in and got Yasmani Grandal to fly out and end the inning.

Video: LAD@CHC: Zastryzny leaves the bases loaded in 10th

"They bring their best against us," Almora said. "To be the best you've got to beat the best."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Baez was making his first start since getting hit on the elbow in Sunday night's game vs. the Cardinals, and he wasted little time before flashing some leather. He made a nice backhanded snag on a grounder up the middle to end the fifth inning and started a 4-6-3 double play in the eighth.

"He's exciting, there's no question," Maddon said. "We enjoy watching it as much as the fans do. He also had really good at-bats."

Video: LAD@CHC: Baez makes a smooth backhanded play in 5th

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
With nobody out and a runner on first in the seventh, Anthony Rizzo made a leaping grab to rob Enrique Hernandez of extra bases and tagged the bag with his glove to complete a double play.

Video: LAD@CHC: Rizzo makes a leaping grab to start slick DP

HE SAID IT
"I just wanted to get it done. First of all, I wanted to go home and sleep. I wanted to do it myself just because it's a little payback from the first game." -- Almora, on his walk-off hit after spending more than 12 hours at the ballpark Tuesday

UP NEXT
Jon Lester will take the mound for the Cubs in the finale of this three-game series. Lester is 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA over his past five starts, and opponents are hitting .190 against him in that span. Right-hander Ross Stripling will start for the Dodgers, with first pitch set for 1:20 p.m. CT from Wrigley Field.

Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant, Albert Almora Jr., Mike Montgomery, Kyle Schwarber, Rob Zastryzny

JV fans 10, but Rays halt Astros' win streak at 12

MLB.com

HOUSTON -- The streak was remarkable and long-lasting. But all things must come to an end.

The Astros dropped their first game since June 5, 2-1, to the Rays on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park, ending their winning streak at 12 games, which tied for the longest in franchise history.

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HOUSTON -- The streak was remarkable and long-lasting. But all things must come to an end.

The Astros dropped their first game since June 5, 2-1, to the Rays on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park, ending their winning streak at 12 games, which tied for the longest in franchise history.

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"Even after this loss, we're such a fun group that we'll show up tomorrow and guys will still be cracking jokes and having a lot of fun," said Astros catcher Max Stassi. "We'll go out there and play hard. We'll be fine."

A potential win No. 13 was in the hands of Justin Verlander, the Astros' grizzled ace who's possibly better suited to secure a 13th consecutive win than any other starting pitcher on the planet this season.

Verlander struck out 10 over 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball with 122 pitches, his most in a regular-season start since June 11, 2014, with the Tigers. It's was another phenomenal showing, with little offensive production behind it. The Astros scored one run while Verlander dotted 10 strikeouts, his most since tallying 14 on May 1, and the only blemish was a solo home run by C.J. Cron in the second inning.

"He was really good," said Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who returned from the disabled list Tuesday night. "It's been awhile since I faced big league pitching. He has the numbers he has for a reason. He was spectacular."

Video: TB@HOU: Cron opens the scoring with a solo homer

"I thought it was unbelievable," Stassi said. "His bullpen before the game was perfect. I've never caught a pregame bullpen session with him like that. It was awesome. He had conviction of all four pitches -- located up, located down, in and out. He had Verlander stuff."

Hector Rondon entered in the seventh inning with a runner on second base as Verlander's pitch count soared, needing one out to complete the inning unscathed. He did.

Rondon returned for the eighth inning and allowed an RBI single to Rays catcher Wilson Ramos. Ramos' single, which gave the Rays a 2-1 lead, was the first run Rondon had allowed since May 13.

Video: TB@HOU: Ramos hits go-ahead RBI single in the 8th

The Astros (49-26) are just behind the pace of the World Series champion club last season, which was 50-25.

"We didn't quite hit enough," said manager AJ Hinch. "We were shut down by a pretty good pitcher."

Video: TB@HOU: Snell K's 6, allows 1 run over 7 innings

Rays starter Blake Snell held the Astros to one run through seven innings, tying him with Verlander with nine wins and for the most starts with one or zero runs allowed in the American League.

"Snell's nasty," Hinch said. "Look at the league and look at the numbers, the entire league is having a hard time hitting him when he's in the strike zone."

Alex Bregman, who started his first game at second base this season on Jose Altuve's day off, reached base in his 30th consecutive game with two walks and an RBI single in the third inning.

Video: TB@HOU: Bregman drives an RBI single to right field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Astros' hottest hitter of late, Evan Gattis, was in position to strike with one out and runners on first and third in the first inning. Gattis flied out to Carlos Gomez in short right field, but far enough for George Springer to attempt to reach home on a potential sacrifice fly. Ramos bobbled Gomez's throw, but Springer missed the plate on his slide and Ramos tagged him to end the inning with a double play.

Video: TB@HOU: Gomez throws out Springer at home for DP

SOUND SMART
Yes, Verlander's 122 pitches were the most he's thrown in a regular-season game in years, but they were not the most he's thrown in a calendar year. He threw 124 pitches in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees on Oct. 14.

The Astros are 0-3 when Verlander strikes out 10-plus batters this season. They have scored a total of two runs in those games.

Video: TB@HOU: Hinch on offensive struggles in loss to Rays

HE SAID IT
"It's something special. To understand that when I'm coming off the mound, I think these fans appreciate not just what I've done, but just going out there trying to grind, throw 120 pitches and get us to the seventh inning. I think that's what they were cheering for. That's what we work for. I work my butt off to be able to try to go out there and extend it and go an extra inning night in and night out." -- Verlander, on receiving a standing ovation following his 122-pitch outing

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Bregman plunged a deep liner in the third inning off the wall in right-center field and drove in Springer from second base. Attempting to take second while Springer charged home, Bregman overshot the bag on his slide and was tagged out by Adeiny Hechavarria on a close play as he lunged back. The Astros challenged the call, but it would stand.

Video: TB@HOU: Gomez throws out Bregman at second base

UP NEXT
The Astros will conclude their three-game series against the Rays at 7:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park. Right-handed veteran Charlie Morton will get the ball for Houston against Tampa Bay righty Nathan Eovaldi. Morton picked up his eighth win of the season on Friday in Kansas City.

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

Houston Astros, Justin Verlander

Right before hitting a grand slam, Joey Votto attempted to shoo a bird away that was interrupting the game

Joey Votto never ceases to amaze us. On Tuesday night, during the Reds' 9-5 win over the Tigers, Votto watched an impressive slider delivered by Matthew Boyd go right past him. And while that first-inning at-bat didn't pan out the way he wanted, he redeemed himself in the third with a grand slam. But not before having a small encounter with a bird.

JBJ makes 'unreal' 103.4 mph throw to nab runner

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

MINNEAPOLIS -- As Jackie Bradley Jr. camped under a 317-foot fly ball to center field, it sure looked like the Twins were going to add an insurance run on what looked like a routine sacrifice fly.

Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon wasn't even sure Bradley would throw home. But by now, there can be no assumptions when Bradley is the one fielding.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- As Jackie Bradley Jr. camped under a 317-foot fly ball to center field, it sure looked like the Twins were going to add an insurance run on what looked like a routine sacrifice fly.

Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon wasn't even sure Bradley would throw home. But by now, there can be no assumptions when Bradley is the one fielding.

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Bradley circled around the ball to create a strong throwing angle for himself and unleashed an absolute laser. Leon gathered the throw -- which Statcast™ tracked at 103.4 mph -- and tagged Robbie Grossman out at the plate.

For the Red Sox, it was, without question, the highlight in Tuesday's 6-2 loss to the Twins at Target Field.

The throw was the hardest by an outfielder this season in the Majors. It was the fourth-hardest throw and third-hardest assist tracked by Statcast™ since the system began in 2015.

"Oh, unreal," manager Alex Cora said. "I saw him getting an angle, and I was like, 'This might be fun here.' It's kind of like showcase baseball. 'The scouts are looking, and I'm going to throw it as hard as I can to see if I can get him, and I did.' That was a great play."

Video: BOS@MIN: Bradley throws out Grossman, call confirmed

The hardest throw tracked by Statcast™ was by Aaron Hicks (105.5 mph) on April 20, 2016. Brett Phillips had the next two hardest (104.7 mph on Sept. 19, 2017, and 104.0 on Sept. 13, 2017).

Normally, Bradley would enjoy talking about taking part in a jaw-dropping highlight. But in this case, he was annoyed by making a fielding error on Eduardo Escobar's double earlier in the inning, which allowed a run to score, and because the Red Sox lost.

Video: BOS@MIN: Escobar plates LaMarre, error scores Mauer

"Just got behind the ball and made a throw," said Bradley, who has started three double plays this season. "I don't care about the throw."

Bradley's teammates enjoyed it.

"That was amazing," Leon said. "Just amazing. I wasn't sure if he was going to throw the ball. That was one of the best throws I've ever seen."

Leon didn't realize how hard the throw was until a reporter relayed the reading to him.

"That's insane," Leon said. "I thought it was 97-100, but wow."

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

Boston Red Sox, Jackie Bradley Jr.

Carpenter leads 2 Cards rallies, wins it with HR

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

PHILADELPHIA -- For weeks as the Cardinals tried to slug their way out of an exceedingly tough stretch, their offense spun itself into an alarming trend. St. Louis swatted its way up the long ball leaderboards, but the typical byproducts of power were scarce to arrive. They rarely walked. Strikeouts mounted disproportionately. Doubles and triples were reduced to an endangered species.

In doing so, the Cardinals largely failed to weather their growing list of other problems: a suddenly stumbling starting rotation, a bullpen famously in flux, etc. They sought rallies to complement the home runs, not supplant them. On Tuesday night, both arrived in unison, when the Cardinals used three homers and a four-run seventh to steal a 7-6 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

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PHILADELPHIA -- For weeks as the Cardinals tried to slug their way out of an exceedingly tough stretch, their offense spun itself into an alarming trend. St. Louis swatted its way up the long ball leaderboards, but the typical byproducts of power were scarce to arrive. They rarely walked. Strikeouts mounted disproportionately. Doubles and triples were reduced to an endangered species.

In doing so, the Cardinals largely failed to weather their growing list of other problems: a suddenly stumbling starting rotation, a bullpen famously in flux, etc. They sought rallies to complement the home runs, not supplant them. On Tuesday night, both arrived in unison, when the Cardinals used three homers and a four-run seventh to steal a 7-6 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

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"I don't know if relief is the right word, but it feels good to come back when we're down," said Matt Carpenter, the night's offensive star. "Especially after a tough loss, being able to come back in any fashion is a good feeling."

Carpenter was at the center of all of it. Down two runs in the seventh, Carpenter lashed a two-run double to tie the game, before a Jose Martinez two-bagger gave St. Louis a lead two batters later. Then, after Jordan Hicks allowed two inherited runners to score in the eighth, Carpenter cranked an 0-2 Seranthony Dominguez fastball inside the right-field foul pole for the game-winning tally. It marked the first career homer allowed by the hard-throwing rookie Dominguez.

"He has 98 mph with cut," Carpenter said. "It's something where you have to step in the box and be ready to go. Because it's coming at ya."

Video: STL@PHI: Pham crushes a long solo home run to left

Carpenter's blast ensured the Cardinals avoided their sixth loss in seven games and capped a second consecutive night they spent continually fighting back against the Phillies. Monday's loss and Tuesday's win featured eerie parallels: in both, two solo homers (from Tommy Pham and Kolten Wong) inched the Cardinals closer after their starter (in Tuesday's case, Luke Weaver) allowed four runs through five. In both, the bullpen coughed up two late runs. And in both, a clutch solo blast put St. Louis ahead.

The difference was their rally in the seventh, pieced together by four balls put in play with authority. Yairo Munoz singled and Wong was hit by a pitch in front of Carpenter, who took Tommy Hunter to the wall in right-center. A Pham single preceded Martinez, who scored Carpenter and Pham with a drive to center. The seventh-inning rally was their first four-run sequence to come without a home run in three full weeks.

Video: STL@PHI: Martinez give Cardinals the lead with double

"How about it? Here they come," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, of the doubles. "That's the result of guys taking good at-bats and good hitters getting locked in."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Here we go again: The Cardinals' lead evaporated in the eighth, after Jesmuel Valentin walked and Cesar Hernandez singled off reliever Austin Gomber. That set up a marquee matchup: Rhys Hoskins against Hicks, who was summoned to defuse the threat. Hoskins lined a two-strike, 101.3-mph fastball from Hicks to the wall in right-center for a two-out, game-tying double.

But after Carpenter put the Cardinals back on top in the ninth, Hicks earned the win with a 1-2-3 bottom half of the frame.

Video: STL@PHI: Hicks K's Knapp for final out of the game

SOUND SMART
Statcast™ tracked the Dominguez fastball Carpenter hit out at 98.1 mph, the second-hardest pitch he's homered against in his career. It was also the hardest pitch any Cardinals hitter has homered against this season.

"I wouldn't say I sold out for it," Carpenter said. "But I was ready for it."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Holland returns: Sidelined since May 26 with a hip impingement, Greg Holland impressed in his first appearance back from the disabled list. Originally warming up with the Cardinals down two, Holland instead entered in a high-leverage spot: with St. Louis suddenly holding a two-run lead in the seventh. His command crisp and slider sharp, Holland looked little like the powder keg who'd allowed 14 earned runs over his first 18 games. He retired the side in order, striking out two.

"It wasn't by design. I think we'd rather have thrown him in a different spot, but we got him ready to go," Matheny said. "I want Greg to thrive on any opportunity we get him, and continue to prove to himself, more so than anybody else, that the stuff is right."

Video: STL@PHI: Holland strikes out Altherr in return

HE SAID IT
"To be honest with you, I don't regret it at all because I have a sequence when I pitch. I tried to make a quality pitch. I'm not sure it just stayed hanging in the middle or if it was in and he just made good contact." -- Dominguez, on the home run allowed to Carpenter

UP NEXT
Wednesday's series finale will feature a rematch of talented righties, when Michael Wacha (8-2, 3.24) and Jake Arrieta (5-5, 3.33) oppose each other for the second time this season. Wacha outpitched Arrieta when the Phillies visited Busch Stadium last month by firing six strong innings in a 12-4 Cardinals win. However, Wacha is coming off the worst start of his career, statistically, allowing nine runs (eight earned) against the Cubs. First pitch is slated for 12:05 p.m. CT from Citizens Bank Park.

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

St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Carpenter

A Pirates fan spilled his beer attempting a foul ball catch and Manny Pina was not pleased

Nothing should ever come between a fan and his or her beer -- unless it's a foul ball. Gabby DiMarco proved that you can have both a souvenir and a frothy beverage in one sitting -- and so did this Pirates fan, sort of:

Braves face Blue Jays, only on Facebook today

Veteran hurlers having strong seasons set to face off in Toronto
MLB.com @MannyOnMLB

This week, Major League Baseball offers fans another unique viewing experience with the continuation of its digital-only broadcasts. Today's Braves-Blue Jays matchup will stream live in the United States exclusively on Facebook. The finale of the two-game Interleague series at Rogers Centre is one of 25 streaming broadcasts scheduled for 2018 as part of MLB's partnership with Facebook.

Fans can catch the 12:37 p.m. ET contest by logging onto Facebook's MLB Live page from their phones, tablets, smart TVs or other streaming devices. MLB Network will produce the game, with play-by-play announcer Scott Braun; analysts Mark DeRosa and J.P. Arencibia; and in-game reporter Alexa Datt. DeRosa had a 16-year MLB career that included seven seasons with the Braves from 1998-2004. Arencibia was a catcher for the Blue Jays from 2010-13.

View Full Game Coverage

This week, Major League Baseball offers fans another unique viewing experience with the continuation of its digital-only broadcasts. Today's Braves-Blue Jays matchup will stream live in the United States exclusively on Facebook. The finale of the two-game Interleague series at Rogers Centre is one of 25 streaming broadcasts scheduled for 2018 as part of MLB's partnership with Facebook.

Fans can catch the 12:37 p.m. ET contest by logging onto Facebook's MLB Live page from their phones, tablets, smart TVs or other streaming devices. MLB Network will produce the game, with play-by-play announcer Scott Braun; analysts Mark DeRosa and J.P. Arencibia; and in-game reporter Alexa Datt. DeRosa had a 16-year MLB career that included seven seasons with the Braves from 1998-2004. Arencibia was a catcher for the Blue Jays from 2010-13.

View Full Game Coverage

How to watch on mobile and desktop
Desktop
1. Search for "MLB Live" on Facebook
2. Follow the "MLB Live" show page

Mobile
1. Download the Facebook video app on your TV or streaming device and search for "MLB Live"
2. Or stream the game from your phone to a TV on the same WiFi network by tapping the TV icon.

Upcoming Facebook games (all times ET)
• Wednesday, June 20: ATL-TOR, 12:37 p.m.
• Wednesday, June 27: KC-MIL, 2:10 p.m.

Things to know about the Braves-Blue Jays game
Veteran left-hander J.A. Happ is slated to take the ball for the Blue Jays. The 35-year-old continues to defy Father Time, entering the game with a 3.48 ERA and a career-high 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings over 14 starts. After giving up four runs over five innings at Detroit on June 2, Happ hasn't allowed an earned run in 12 innings over his last two starts. He hasn't faced Atlanta since April 9, 2012, when he was pitching for the Astros.

Video: TOR@TB: Happ holds Rays to 1 hit over 5 scoreless

The Braves are scheduled to counter with veteran right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who is enjoying a rejuvenation this season. The 34-year-old owns a 1.93 ERA over seven appearances (six starts) after posting a 5.67 mark over the previous three seasons with the Tigers. He faced Toronto twice last year, giving up 12 runs in 10 2/3 innings (10.12 ERA).

Video: SD@ATL: Sanchez tosses 7 shutout innings vs. Padres

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, J.A. Happ, Anibal Sanchez

New leader at catcher, overall on AL ASG ballot

Ramos passes Sanchez behind plate; Altuve overtakes Betts in total votes
MLB.com @castrovince

An American League backstop battle has broken out in voting on the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot.

VOTE NOW: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

An American League backstop battle has broken out in voting on the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot.

VOTE NOW: 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot

The Rays' Wilson Ramos has overtaken the Yankees' Gary Sanchez for the AL's starting spot behind the plate in the latest voting update released Tuesday. Voting to decide the starters for the 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on July 17 at Washington's Nationals Park continues until 11:59 p.m. ET on July 5.

Though catcher is the only place where a change has taken place at the top, we also have a new top overall vote-getter, with Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (1,572,101) holding a slight edge over Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts (1,568,417) among all Major Leaguers. Freddie Freeman leads the NL with 1,433,140 votes.

National League voting update

Here are the latest results in the AL:

Video: TB@HOU: Ramos opens the scoring with a 2-run jack

CATCHER
1. Wilson Ramos, Rays: 678,159
2. Gary Sanchez, Yankees: 618,899
3. Brian McCann, Astros: 401,336
4. Salvador Perez, Royals: 344,915
5. Yan Gomes, Indians: 200,275

Sanchez's spot at the top with a sub-.200 batting average got a lot of attention when the first results were released last week. Ramos has a .286 average, .332 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage, compared to Sanchez's .194 average, .294 on-base percentage and .440 slugging percentage. Ramos has made it back into the limelight after an awful right knee injury sidelined him late during a 2016 season with the Nationals in which he made the NL All-Star squad for his first Midsummer Classic selection. The other change here is Gomes' arrival into the top five, bumping the Angels' Martin Maldonado.

Video: CLE@CWS: Abreu belts an opposite-field 2-run homer

FIRST BASE
1. Jose Abreu, White Sox: 636,666
2. Mitch Moreland, Red Sox: 472,245
3. Yuli Gurriel, Astros: 368,863
4. Albert Pujols, Angels: 336,724
5. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 333,130

Cabrera's season-ending ruptured left biceps tendon caused his fall from third to fifth, and Gurriel has risen two spots in this pecking order. But it's still Abreu well out in front in a year in which he's logged a .283/.338/.500 line for the White Sox.

Video: TB@HOU: Altuve shows off his speed, legs out a single

SECOND BASE
1. Jose Altuve, Astros: 1,572,101
2. Gleyber Torres, Yankees: 534,758
3. Dee Gordon, Mariners: 244,488
4. Jason Kipnis, Indians: 156,347
5. Jed Lowrie, A's: 130,479

Altuve has more than a million votes more than his next-closest competition, so we're going to go out on a limb and suggest he's in good shape to make his fourth straight start for the AL. Now the only question is whether the reigning AL MVP Award winner, who played a big part in the Astros' just-completed 10-0 road trip, can maintain his lead in the overall voting.

Video: MIN@CLE: Ramirez crushes 21st home run of the year

THIRD BASE
1. Jose Ramirez, Indians: 893,530
2. Miguel Andujar, Yankees: 509,188
3. Alex Bregman, Astros: 410,412
4. Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 249,080
5. Mike Moustakas, Royals: 231,363

Ramirez, with 21 long balls, is already closing in on his homer total (29) from last year, when he finished third in the AL MVP Award voting, and he continues to run away with what would be his second straight starting assignment. The rest of the top five is unchanged from last week.

Video: MIA@BAL: Machado flares 2-run single to right-center

SHORTSTOP
1. Manny Machado, Orioles: 671,133
2. Carlos Correa, Astros: 458,367
3. Francisco Lindor, Indians: 420,674
4. Didi Gregorius, Yankees: 413,135
5. Jean Segura, Mariners: 312,407

Machado, who leads a deep position in OPS (.945), homers (18) and RBIs (53), continues to be at the top of the heap here, but there were changes below him. Correa, who has been productive since his return from right side discomfort, usurped the second spot from Lindor. And Segura, who has put up an .852 OPS for the surprising Mariners, entered the top five, knocking out the Angels' Andrelton Simmons.

Video: BOS@BAL: Betts belts 1st homer since coming off DL

OUTFIELD
1. Mookie Betts, Red Sox: 1,568,417
2. Mike Trout, Angels: 1,323,292
3. Aaron Judge, Yankees: 1,061,370
4. Michael Brantley, Indians: 518,350
5. George Springer, Astros: 511,815
6. Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox: 509,780
7. Brett Gardner, Yankees: 330,970
8. Marwin Gonzalez, Astros: 300,694
9. Mitch Haniger, Mariners: 295,057
10. Josh Reddick, Astros: 278,332
11. Nicholas Castellanos, Tigers: 256,889
12. Eddie Rosario, Twins: 248,451
13. Aaron Hicks, Yankees: 239,594
14. Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox: 237,937
15. Ben Gamel, Mariners: 151,097

The three starting spots seem pretty well settled here, as Trout (.332/.464/.688), Betts (.340/.419/.699) and Judge (.275/.395/.558) are all having absurdly good seasons in big markets. The only changes here are Haniger's jump from 13th to ninth, Reddick's leapfrog of Castellanos, Rosario and Bradley trading spots, and Gamel bumping the Indians' Tyler Naquin from the top 15.

Video: BOS@BAL: Martinez mashes his 22nd homer of the season

DESIGNATED HITTER
1. J.D. Martinez, Red Sox: 1,119,263
2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees: 478,872
3. Evan Gattis, Astros: 363,362
4. Shohei Ohtani, Angels: 350,579
5. Edwin Encarnacion, Indians: 260,915

With Ohtani out with an elbow injury and Gattis continuing to assert himself as one of the most productive players in baseball over the past month, those two flipped rankings in this week's update. But the top two spots are unchanged, and Martinez is well on his way to a much-deserved first All-Star selection since 2015, and his first turn as a starter.

Fans may cast votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- on computers, tablets and smartphones -- exclusively online using the 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Ballot until Thursday, July 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. On smartphones and tablets, fans can also access the ballot via the MLB At Bat and MLB Ballpark mobile apps. Each fan can vote up to five times in any 24-hour period, for a maximum of 35 ballots cast.

Following the announcement of this year's All-Star starters, reserves and pitchers, fans should return to MLB.com and cast their 2018 Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote for the final player on each league's roster. Then on Tuesday, July 17, while watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, fans may visit MLB.com to submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote.

The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.

For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.

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.

MLB Buzz: D-backs, O's chat about Machado

MLB.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are Mets 'open for business?'
June 18: The Mets are reportedly "open for business" as it relates to prospective trade offers ahead of the non-waiver Trade Deadline, including on ace Jacob deGrom, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal. The club would be more inclined to move Noah Syndergaard, per Rosenthal, but it might be inclined to part with deGrom given the right return.

deGrom would cost a "boatload" in return, one source told Rosenthal, and likely for a combination of Major League talent as well as highly touted prospects, which perhaps only a handful of clubs could fulfill. deGrom has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining before he becomes a free agent, while Syndergaard wouldn't hit the market until after the 2021 season.

deGrom is firmly in the mix for the National League Cy Young Award, with the Majors' best ERA (1.55) over 87 1/3 innings in 14 starts. He's currently on pace for career bests in strikeout rate (32.8 percent), opposing batting average (.206) and WHIP (1.01), as he's one of the few glimmering spotlights for a Mets team that tumbled out of first place in early May. The right-hander did avoid a significant injury scare nearly seven weeks ago when he hyperextended his pitching elbow on an awkward swing, landing on the 10-day disabled list.

Syndergaard hasn't pitched since May 25 due to a strained ligament on his right index finger. The high-velocity right-hander missed nearly the entire 2017 season due to a partial tear in his right lat. Over 11 starts this year, Syndergaard is 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA.

Monday's report surfaced less than two weeks after general manager Sandy Alderson called the liklelihood of a teardown "very remote" in an interview with USA Today.

"Just because you tear it down doesn't mean you're going to have a great rebuild. It doesn't work that way. It just doesn't," Alderson said at the time.

In Rosenthal's report, he indicates that the club would ideally like to retain most of its controllable nucleus -- shortstop Amed Rosario, outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto and right-handers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman -- but those chips are likely the most coveted by other clubs.

Yanks, M's looking to acquire Happ

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mariners' rotation has also proven to be top heavy, with arguably the AL's best starter in James Paxton. However, No. 2 starter Felix Hernandez has struggled to a career-worst 5.44 ERA, and he has given up five or more earned runs in five of his 15 starts. No. 5 starter