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Machado's Dodgers debut a win for LA

Wearing No. 8, All-Star shortstop goes 2-for-3 with two walks
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Finally, Manny Machado could just play a baseball game.

After rumors circled and a media circus ensued around Machado and his potential suitors at the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, the four-time All-Star shortstop was officially introduced as a member of the Dodgers before Friday night's second-half opener against the Brewers at Miller Park. Acquired from the Orioles on Wednesday and widely recognized as the top player on the trade market this season, Machado can finally focus on the on-field side of things.

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MILWAUKEE -- Finally, Manny Machado could just play a baseball game.

After rumors circled and a media circus ensued around Machado and his potential suitors at the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, the four-time All-Star shortstop was officially introduced as a member of the Dodgers before Friday night's second-half opener against the Brewers at Miller Park. Acquired from the Orioles on Wednesday and widely recognized as the top player on the trade market this season, Machado can finally focus on the on-field side of things.

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Machado, who started at shortstop and batted second on Friday, wasted no time getting acclimated to his new club as he singled off Brewers starter Wade Miley in his first at-bat in the top of the first inning. Machado walked in his next two appearances and logged his second single in the seventh off reliever Taylor Williams as the Dodgers went on to win, 6-4.

"It was awesome," Machado said. "It was amazing to go out there and put on that uniform. Just happy to be here with these guys: a great group, great team, great leadership."

Wearing a new jersey didn't phase the 26-year-old, who claimed before the game he wasn't tense about his debut.

Video: LAD@MIL: Hernandez talks 3-run HR, Machado's impact

"I've been doing this since I was a kid," Machado said. "I just go out there and I'm always going to play with a smile on my face. Why would I be nervous? It's baseball. Jitters were going through, and it was totally different, but I was excited."

While Machado wore No. 13 over his six years with the O's, Max Muncy already dons the number with the Dodgers. Machado chose No. 8 -- a homage to his favorite basketball player (and the namesake of his dog, Kobe), Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

Video: Machado discusses being a member of the Dodgers

Muncy was never even asked about the potential of having to change his number.

"I went to the lake house, turned my phone off and just tried to enjoy my time off," Muncy said. "I was excited about [getting him], and I started checking my phone seeing if there were any messages about changing numbers, and nobody ever asked me. I assumed I was keeping my number.

"Or I assumed I was going to show up today and have a different number," he joked.

Despite the new number, the Dodgers are hoping they get the same Machado production (.315 average, 24 homers, 65 RBIs with the Orioles this season) over the next two-plus months.

Video: Farhan Zaidi on acquiring Machado from the Orioles

"We think Manny was the most impactful player on the market at the time, and any contender could see he could make a positive impact for him," general manager Farhan Zaidi said. "We just tried to stay involved. We knew it was in the making for months. For a player of Manny's caliber, you're going to have to give up a lot, and we did. He was our No. 1 priority this month."

Machado slots right in at short with Corey Seager sidelined for the rest of the season after having Tommy John surgery in early May, but manager Dave Roberts said the possibility exists down the line for Machado to play third base -- his primary position until this season.

"He hasn't taken any grounders yet this year at third base," Roberts said, "so you have to appreciate that and understand that he hasn't done it all year, and we want to put him in the best position of success."

On if he has a position preference, Machado said: "I'm here to win. At the end of the day, I want to win a ring."

Video: 2018 ASG: Kemp doubles, takes selfie with Machado

Speculation increased about the potential of a trade during Tuesday's All-Star Game when Machado took a selfie at second base with now-Dodgers teammate Matt Kemp. The screenshot of the two taking the photo quickly went viral on Twitter, leading viewers to think the pair knew something that everyone else didn't -- but Machado quelled those theorists with his explanation.

"I just wanted to take a picture with everyone at second base, and Matt just happened to be the first one there," Machado said. "Taking a picture with him, those memories won't be forgotten."

On if there really was more to the selfie, Kemp chuckled: "Maybe, maybe not. Who knows?"

There was a more somber side to the acquisition, which came with Machado's inevitable departure from the last-place Orioles. Machado said he had the chance to say goodbye to a few close friends, but the quick turnaround between Tuesday's game, Wednesday's trade and having to be in Milwaukee on Friday made it difficult to do much else.

In a Friday afternoon Instagram post, Machado thanked the Orioles' organization, fans, manager Buck Showalter and teammates, including Jonathan Schoop.

"I first joined the organization at the age of 17 and these past eight years have far exceeded anything I ever could have imagined," Machado wrote. "Thank you Birdland! You are forever in my heart!"

To make room for Machado on the 25-man roster, the Dodgers optioned outfielder Andrew Toles to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

"It's exciting," Roberts said. "It makes our club considerably better. [Machado] looks pretty good in Dodger blue."

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

Los Angeles Dodgers, Manny Machado

Source: Mets working to trade Familia

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- The A's are working toward finalizing a trade with the Mets that would further strengthen their sturdy bullpen.

Sources indicated to MLB.com on Friday evening that right-hander Jeurys Familia could soon be Oakland-bound. Combined with All-Star closer Blake Treinen and rookie phenom Lou Trivino, they would form a three-headed relief monster for a club making a surprising playoff push. The A's are expected to part with multiple prospects.

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NEW YORK -- The A's are working toward finalizing a trade with the Mets that would further strengthen their sturdy bullpen.

Sources indicated to MLB.com on Friday evening that right-hander Jeurys Familia could soon be Oakland-bound. Combined with All-Star closer Blake Treinen and rookie phenom Lou Trivino, they would form a three-headed relief monster for a club making a surprising playoff push. The A's are expected to part with multiple prospects.

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Neither team confirmed the deal, which could be finalized as soon as Saturday.

"The most important thing for me is, I had a really good time here," Familia said before leaving the clubhouse on Friday. "It's tough, man. Just waiting right now on what's going to happen."

About midway through the Mets' 7-5 win over the Yankees, manager Mickey Callaway received word from the front office that a trade was brewing. Callaway was instructed not to use Familia, who sat in a hooded sweatshirt on the bullpen bench as Robert Gsellman closed out the victory.

Entering the day three games back of the Mariners for the second American League Wild Card spot, the A's have flourished thanks in large part to their bullpen. They are 38-0 when leading after seven innings this season, and 46-0 when leading after eight, relying on Treinen and Trivino.

Familia, who ranks third in Mets history with 123 saves, would add an accomplished closer's resume to that mix. Over seven seasons, he owns a 2.66 ERA with more than a strikeout per inning, including 43 whiffs in 40 2/3 innings this year.

Much as the A's envision a three-headed monster at the back of their bullpen, the Mets believed Familia, AJ Ramos, Anthony Swarzak and Jerry Blevins would form the core of a standout bullpen for them this season. Only Familia has remained mostly healthy and consistent.

He has also saved some of his best pitching for July, throwing seven shutout innings this month.

Video: NYM@TOR: Familia retires Granderson to earn the save

"He's done a great job for the organization," Callaway said. "Such a great guy with everybody in the clubhouse, the staff. He'll be missed if he ends up going."

Even before the Padres traded Brad Hand to the Indians this week, Familia was arguably the top bullpen option available for contenders such as the A's -- though his resume is not without its flaws. During the 2015 World Series, Familia blew three saves. Familia also served a 15-game suspension in 2017 for violating Major League Baseball's joint domestic violence policy, then missed time later that year recovering from arterial surgery on his right shoulder.

But he has rebounded from injury issues to thrive in 2018, morphing back into an attractive trade chip. A Mets club that entered the season with postseason aspirations is now taking calls on players ranging from Familia to Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler, with even Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard more remote possibilities to be traded.

Although Familia is making $7.925 million this season, Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said Friday that the Mets are willing to eat salary in an effort to acquire the best prospects possible in any deals. There was no immediate word how salary issues would work between the Mets and A's.

"We're looking to maximize value coming back," Ricco said. "We have the ability to carry some of the money in order to increase the return."

As Familia slung a bag over his shoulder and prepared to leave the Mets' clubhouse late Friday night, a group of teammates approached his locker. They hugged Familia and slapped him on the back, wishing him luck.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook. Jane Lee also contributed to this story.

New York Mets, Jeurys Familia

Keuchel loses no-no in 7th, earns 4th straight W

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

ANAHEIM -- No left-hander in Astros history has ever thrown a no-hitter. Dallas Keuchel made a serious bid to end that drought Friday night at Angel Stadium.

Keuchel won his fourth consecutive start by holding the Angels to one run and two hits in 7 2/3 innings in the Astros' 3-1 victory, losing a no-hitter with two outs in the seventh inning when Justin Upton's line drive glanced off the glove of shortstop Marwin Gonzalez and was ruled a hit.

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ANAHEIM -- No left-hander in Astros history has ever thrown a no-hitter. Dallas Keuchel made a serious bid to end that drought Friday night at Angel Stadium.

Keuchel won his fourth consecutive start by holding the Angels to one run and two hits in 7 2/3 innings in the Astros' 3-1 victory, losing a no-hitter with two outs in the seventh inning when Justin Upton's line drive glanced off the glove of shortstop Marwin Gonzalez and was ruled a hit.

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Keuchel (8-8) retired 20 of the first 21 batters he faced, allowing a leadoff walk to David Fletcher in the fourth for the Angels' only baserunner through six innings. Keuchel is 5-0 with a 2.00 ERA in his last seven starts, allowing no homers in 45 innings in that span.

"This is what I planned out for myself before the season started," Keuchel said. "It's nice to get off to a fast start, but being injured for the middle months -- seems like the last two years -- I focused on trying to hit my stride in July and August and I couldn't feel better."

Astros manager AJ Hinch lauded Keuchel's fastball command and his exceptional use of the changeup.

"He arguably never should have given up a run -- maybe not even a hit," he said. "There was a lot of good tonight in Dallas and he came out ready to go."

Video: HOU@LAA: Hinch on Keuchel's 7 1/3 no-hit innings

In the seventh, Andrelton Simmons led off with a sinking liner that left fielder Preston Tucker casually caught just above the ground. Mike Trout lined out softly back to Keuchel before Upton hit a 101.8-mph liner that Gonzalez couldn't catch. It was ruled a hit, but Hinch and even Gonzalez thought it should have been an error, which would have kept the no-hitter alive.

"[Keuchel] did amazing today, one of the best games of the season," Gonzalez said. "Unfortunately, it was a tough day for me and I couldn't help him the way I should have. That happens."

The fans booed when "base hit" was posted on the scoreboard, but the official scorer's call became moot when Ian Kinsler led off the eighth with a clean single. Kinsler reached third on a bounced throw by Gonzalez that wasn't ruled an error and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jabari Blash, who was the final batter Keuchel faced.

"I would put that as an error, and the other, too, that I threw to third," Gonzalez said. "In my personal opinion, it should have been an error. I don't know why they got a hit for the first one. That changed the game a little bit for him and the momentum. But for me, that was an error."

George Springer, who bashed a homer in the 10th inning of the All-Star Game on Tuesday, began the game with a single and scored on a Jose Altuve single. The Astros took a 2-0 lead in the second when Josh Reddick made an aggressive read and scored from third on a shallow ball to center that was caught by the second baseman. Reddick's RBI triple in the third scored Evan Gattis for a 3-0 lead.

Video: HOU@LAA: Reddick ropes an RBI triple the corner

"No doubt, Dallas pitched a good game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We hit four or five balls on the nose and had nothing to show for it. But not to take anything away from Dallas. He pitched a good game, and kept the ball away from our barrels. We hit a lot of ground balls."

SOUND SMART
The Astros are the first defending World Series champion to win 65 of their first 100 games since the 1968 Cardinals.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
A terrific diving catch by Yuli Gurriel to rob Upton to end the fourth inning helped preserve Keuchel's no-hit bid. With an 83.6-mph exit velocity and 10-degree launch angle, the ball had a 57-percent hit probability, according to Statcast™. Gurriel was able to dive to his right and catch the ball, allowing Keuchel to send down 12 of the first 13 hitters he faced.

Video: HOU@LAA: Gurriel lays out for tremendous diving catch

HE SAID IT
"Nowadays, the no-hitter alerts comes in the fourth or fifth inning. I can just hear it even though I don't have my phone with me." -- Hinch

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Astros got a call overturned in the first inning that led to a run. Springer, who led off the game with a single, was tagged out at first base when he strayed too far off the bag, but the Astros challenged the out call and it was overturned. Springer wound up scoring on an Altuve single.

Video: HOU@LAA: Springer uses swim move, Astros win review

UP NEXT
Justin Verlander (9-5, 2.29 ERA) starts for the Astros in Saturday's 6:15 p.m. CT game against the Angels at Minute Maid Park. Verlander, who went 0-3 with a 4.10 ERA in his final six starts before the All-Star break, threw a five-hit shutout in his previous start against the Angels on May 16 in Anaheim. Former Astros pitcher Nick Tropeano (3-4, 4.83 ERA) starts for the Angels.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Dallas Keuchel

Tapia's slam, Arenado's 2 HRs keep Rox rolling

Arenado hits two homers as Rockies top D-backs for sixth straight win
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

PHOENIX -- Raimel Tapia doesn't show off his power too often, but came through when the Rockies needed him on Friday, hitting a grand slam in the seventh to lift Colorado to an 11-10 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field.

Tapia's first homer of the season -- and third in 102 Major League games -- meant Nolan Arenado's two homers could be celebrated for more than just pulling him into a tie with the Brewers' Jesus Aguilar for the National League lead with 25.

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PHOENIX -- Raimel Tapia doesn't show off his power too often, but came through when the Rockies needed him on Friday, hitting a grand slam in the seventh to lift Colorado to an 11-10 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field.

Tapia's first homer of the season -- and third in 102 Major League games -- meant Nolan Arenado's two homers could be celebrated for more than just pulling him into a tie with the Brewers' Jesus Aguilar for the National League lead with 25.

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Most importantly, it kept the Rockies -- winners of 14 of the last 17 games, and six straight -- two games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers, and a half-game games behind the second-place D-backs. It didn't come easily. Adam Ottavino, closing because Wade Davis was at the team hotel due to an illness, gave up two hits and a run, and committed an error in 1 1/3 innings. But he froze Jon Jay on a 1-2 fastball with the potential tying run at third to complete his third save.

D-backs reliever Archie Bradley (2-2) was already having uncharacteristic control issues. He walked three, including walking Tony Wolters with the bases loaded to force in a run and cut the D-backs' lead to one run.

Tapia, who hit for average throughout the Minors but found his power with 10 homers this year in Triple-A, was the next man up. He swatted Bradley's 96 mph fastball a projected 387 feet to give the Rockies an 11-8 lead.

The two-out slam was part of a six-run outburst against Bradley -- who had thrown scoreless ball in all but three of his previous 23 games. The right-handed Bradley had held lefty hitters to 1-for-33 over his previous 18 games, but the leadoff walk to Charlie Blackmon, an RBI single to Carlos Gonzalez (one of his two hits through gaping holes on the left side), walks to Gerardo Parra and Wolters and the homer all came from left-handed hitters.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies

Stras exits in 5th, has words with Max

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Manager Dave Martinez called Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer into his office following the Nationals' 8-5 loss to the Braves on Friday night, after the two got into a heated argument in the dugout when Strasburg was removed in the fifth inning of his first start since being activated off the disabled list.

No one would share what was said in the dugout or the office or even what caused the argument, which Martinez chalked up to two competitive players. He also said the 15-minute meeting in his office at Nationals Park was productive.

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WASHINGTON -- Manager Dave Martinez called Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer into his office following the Nationals' 8-5 loss to the Braves on Friday night, after the two got into a heated argument in the dugout when Strasburg was removed in the fifth inning of his first start since being activated off the disabled list.

No one would share what was said in the dugout or the office or even what caused the argument, which Martinez chalked up to two competitive players. He also said the 15-minute meeting in his office at Nationals Park was productive.

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"This stuff happens," Martinez said. "I've been on teams where guys wanted to choke each other. It's a long season. They get it. They understand. We talk about it. I don't want to lose sleep about it. It was a really good conversation. I'll just leave it at that. Things are good."

Video: ATL@WSH: Martinez on Strasburg, loss to Braves

After Strasburg returned to the dugout after being pulled with two outs in the fifth with the Nats trailing, 6-2, Scherzer was waiting for him in the dugout and patted him on the back. Strasburg sat on the bench behind him and the two began an animated exchange that appeared to grow testy. After a few moments, Strasburg stood up and stormed down the steps toward the clubhouse, and Scherzer followed.

Scherzer was not available to reporters after the game. Strasburg declined to give any insight into the situation.

"It's part of family," Strasburg said. "You got to be in the family."

Perhaps it was frustration with his performance, as Strasburg gave up six runs on eight hits. Or maybe frustration is beginning to boil over for the Nationals, who fell below .500 with Friday's loss in what is a crucial three-game series with the Braves. Atlanta is now six games ahead of Washington.

"The way I look at it, they want to take ownership," Martinez said. "I gather that's what it was about. They sat there and there's two guys that are very competitive, and they got heated up and that was it. Tomorrow, they'll be hugging probably and laughing and joking and we'll move on."

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

Washington Nationals, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg

Carp in rare company with 3 HRs, 2 2Bs

Cards 1B makes history with 7-RBI game, ties franchise record for most leadoff homers
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

CHICAGO -- An afternoon that opened with Matt Carpenter tying Lou Brock in the record books ended with the Cardinals first baseman rewriting them.

Carpenter became the first player in franchise history -- and just the second in Major League history -- to hit three home runs and two doubles in a game. Carpenter did it all in the first six innings of Friday's game against the Cubs, too, along with scoring four runs and driving in a career-high seven. The Cardinals won, 18-5.

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CHICAGO -- An afternoon that opened with Matt Carpenter tying Lou Brock in the record books ended with the Cardinals first baseman rewriting them.

Carpenter became the first player in franchise history -- and just the second in Major League history -- to hit three home runs and two doubles in a game. Carpenter did it all in the first six innings of Friday's game against the Cubs, too, along with scoring four runs and driving in a career-high seven. The Cardinals won, 18-5.

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Until Friday, no player had ever tallied five extra-base hits before the seventh inning.

"A day to remember, for sure," Carpenter said afterward. "I'm having a hard time coming up with words to describe a day like this."

Video: STL@CHC: Cardinals on Carpenter's 3-HR, 5-hit game

Perhaps historical context will help.

On the 14-year anniversary of Albert Pujols' first three-homer performance at Wrigley Field, Carpenter became the first Cardinals leadoff hitter to go deep three times in a game. He's the 11th player in the past 110 years to tally five extra-base hits and the first to do so from the leadoff spot.

Carpenter's 16 total bases are also a record for a leadoff batter, breaking the mark of 15 set by the Dodgers' Davey Lopes at Wrigley Field on Aug. 20, 1974. The feat ties the Cardinals record set by Mark Whiten in his memorable four-homer game on Sept. 7, 1993. Carpenter now has two games this season of at least 12 total bases, the first time that's been accomplished by a Cards player since Pujols in 2006.

Video: STL@CIN: Whiten hits four home runs in one game

Carpenter became the first Cardinals leadoff hitter since Augie Bergamo in 1945 to drive in seven runs, and he tied Brock's franchise record with his 21st career leadoff homer. It was his sixth this season, establishing a single-season franchise record.

Carpenter joins Chicago's Kris Bryant as the only players in baseball history with a three-homer, two-double game.

Video: CHC@CIN: Bryant makes history with five hits vs. Reds

"It's so impressive, and you take in the fact with how he started the year," said Bryant, who started at third base for the Cubs on Friday. "I think it was 150 at-bats, and he was at [a] .150 [batting average]. Now he's turned it around. It's fun to see. It stinks when it's against us, but he's a heck of a player. Now, there's two of us. He's a pretty cool guy to share it with."

Carpenter's year got off to an inauspicious start, as he slashed .140/.286/.272 in his first 140 plate appearances. Since then, Carpenter has pulled his season OPS up to .958 by hitting .346/.435/.738.

Carpenter began his historic performance by stinging Cubs starter Jon Lester with his third leadoff homer in the team's past four games. An inning later, Carpenter stretched the Cardinals' lead by blasting another two-out pitch from Lester, this one landing 421 feet away. Carpenter had entered the game 7-for-50 with one home run in his career against Lester.

Carpenter tallied both of his doubles during the Cardinals' seven-run fourth, and he secured his first career three-homer game after deciding during the top of the sixth to take one more at-bat before finishing out the day as a spectator. He has now homered in four straight games for the first time in his career.

Video: STL@CHC: Shildt on Carpenter's 5-hit, 3-HR game

Since Statcast™ started tracking launch angle in 2015, no player had previously hit three home runs in a game with a launch angle greater than 35 degrees until Friday. Carpenter's final home run had a launch angle of 49 degrees, which is tied for the second-highest on a home run in the past four years. The ball had a 2-percent hit probability.

All five of Carpenter's hits had an exit velocity of 95-plus mph, and four of them came with two strikes. The exception was his third home run, which came when Carpenter ambushed a first-pitch fastball from Brian Duensing. Carpenter, who had hit 16 of his first 20 homers off righties, connected for all three on Friday against left-handed pitchers.

"Just a joy to watch and be a part of it," interim manager Mike Shildt said. "That's a special day."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Carpenter

MiLBer proves king of the hill on unreal catch

The Fresno Grizzlies had a solid outing in the 8-5 win over the Isotopes on Friday night. A.J. Reed hit his 21st homer of the season and drove in five runs and Jake Marisnick reached base five times and scored four runs. But wait -- there's more thanks to a dazzling play by Myles Straw.

J-Ram 1st to 30 HRs; Tribe downs Texas in 11

Third baseman homers, makes clutch defensive play and scores game-winning run
MLB.com @MLBastian

ARLINGTON -- Jose Ramirez was in the middle of everything on Friday night. He ignited a comeback with an impressive home run that put him atop the MLB leaderboard. The All-Star third baseman made a clutch defensive play to help halt a Rangers rally. And he scored the final run to push Cleveland to the win column.

On a night when a pile of problems could have sunk the Tribe, Ramirez and the Cleveland offense bailed out the pitchers and pulled off a 9-8 victory in 11 innings at Globe Life Park. Trevor Bauer lasted only four innings, new relief ace Brad Hand allowed a home run and Cody Allen blew a save.

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ARLINGTON -- Jose Ramirez was in the middle of everything on Friday night. He ignited a comeback with an impressive home run that put him atop the MLB leaderboard. The All-Star third baseman made a clutch defensive play to help halt a Rangers rally. And he scored the final run to push Cleveland to the win column.

On a night when a pile of problems could have sunk the Tribe, Ramirez and the Cleveland offense bailed out the pitchers and pulled off a 9-8 victory in 11 innings at Globe Life Park. Trevor Bauer lasted only four innings, new relief ace Brad Hand allowed a home run and Cody Allen blew a save.

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Cleveland won anyway.

"What can't he do? He can do everything," Indians reliever Dan Otero said of Ramirez. "I'm glad he's on our team. He does something every game that I feel like kind of wows us. He doesn't really surprise us anymore, but it's kind of like, 'Oh my gosh, this guy's really good.'"

In the sixth inning, Ramirez became the first Major Leaguer to reach 30 homers this season, setting a career high in the process. The leadoff shot on a first-pitch fastball against Texas lefty Martin Perez pulled the game into a 4-4 tie and sparked a four-run push by the Indians offense over the next two frames.

Ramirez opened the 11th inning with a double to the wall in right-center field and then scored on a go-ahead single by Edwin Encarnacion. That cancelled out the back-to-back home runs that Allen allowed to Robinson Chirinos and Joey Gallo (two homers in the loss) in the ninth inning, which tied the game 8-8 at the time.

Video: CLE@TEX: Encarnacion lines a go-ahead RBI hit in 11th 

"He's got a career high in homers, and it's July 20th," Allen said. "He's a guy that's in very elite company in a lot of things. He's a great player. The guy wants to be great. He cares about winning as much as the next guy."

With his performance, Ramirez now ranks first in MLB with 6.7 Wins Above Replacement (via Fangraphs), moving ahead of Angels superstar Mike Trout and Boston's Mookie Betts, who have 6.4 apiece. The Tribe's switch-hitting slugger leads the Majors in extra-base hits with 59, is sporting a .302/.400/.635 slash line and has more walks (57) than strikeouts (48).

Against the Rangers, Ramirez also came up big in the field.

Texas was on the cusp of a walkoff win in the 10th, when reliever Zach McAllister gave up three straight singles to load the bases. He then induced a chopper off the bat of Ronald Guzman to Ramirez, who gloved the grounder and fired the ball to catcher Yan Gomes for an out at the plate.

"[That] almost looks like a game-winner," said Indians manager Terry Francona, referring to the Guzman grounder to Ramirez. "Josey backhands it. That was a harder play than he made it look."

McAllister then struck out Chirinos and Gallo to strand all three runners.

Video: CLE@TEX: McAllister strands the bases loaded in 10th

"Either get them out or walk off the mound," McAllister said. "To me, I was just trying to let everything go as hard as I could and rip some breaking balls and try to put it where they couldn't hit it. … I definitely don't want to put myself in that situation, but I was glad I was able to get out of it for sure."

Ramirez was not alone when it came to bailing out Bauer (four runs on nine hits with five walks in a 102-pitch effort) and Allen. Yandy Diaz enjoyed a four-hit night in his season debut for the Tribe. Jason Kipnis launched a two-run homer and had three RBIs in the win. Brandon Guyer collected three hits.

Video: CLE@TEX: Diaz notches 4 hits in 1st game of 2018

"There's always times that they pitch really well," Ramirez said through team translator Will Clements. "So, it's nice to be able to pick them up."

Bauer smirked when asked if the team has come to expect the unexpected from Ramirez.

"What's unexpected about that? I don't think anyone here is surprised," Bauer said. "When Josey hits a homer or makes a great play at third or spins himself into a top and hits a ball off the top of a wall or something like that, it's like, 'Yeah, that's Josey.' It's spectacular, but it's the norm."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Oliver's escape: With the Rangers looking to build on a 4-3 lead in the fifth, veteran lefty Oliver Perez took over for Bauer with no outs and runners on first and second. The 36-year-old reliever started by creating a pair of pop-outs in foul territory off the bats of Gallo and Delino DeShields. Perez finished off the frame with a called strikeout against Shin-Soo Choo. Through 22 appearances, the left-hander now has a 0.63 ERA for the Indians. That escape came right before Ramirez's game-tying home run.

"I thought Oliver saved the game right there," Francona said. "That was about four hours ago. If he doesn't pitch well, we're going to lose."

Trouble in the ninth: Armed with a two-run lead and with two outs already recorded, Allen fired a fastball to Chirinos in a 1-0 count in the ninth. The Texas catcher crushed the pitch a projected 456 feet to left-center to trim the Tribe's lead to 8-7. One pitch later, the closer challenged Gallo with a high-and-tight four-seamer, when the slugger sent a projected 472 feet to right. Allen, who has allowed nine runs (six vs. the Reds on July 13) in his last four appearances combined, escaped further damage, but sent the game into extras.

"It wasn't exactly the way we drew it up," Allen said. "I hate to say this, but a win's a win. It shouldn't have come to that, but sometimes it does. And really good teams find a way to win those games and tonight we did."

Video: CLE@TEX: Rangers go back-to-back to tie game in 9th

THE NEW GUYS
Texas' late push began in the seventh, when Hand took over with one out in the seventh and surrendered a two-run homer to Gallo to cut Cleveland's lead to 7-6 at the time. From there, the new Tribe lefty set down the next three batters he faced in order, working into the eighth inning.

It was reminiscent of Aug. 1, 2016, when Andrew Miller allowed a home run to the first batter he faced (Joe Mauer) in his first appearance for the Indians after being acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Yankees. Miller went on to be a force for Cleveland in its '16 World Series run.

Video: CLE@TEX: Hand K's Calhoun for 1st Indians strikeout

"It's a good omen that Hand gave up a homer his first outing for us," quipped Otero, who worked the 11th inning to earn the save. "Andrew did the same thing a couple years ago and this one went further. … So, maybe we'll go a little further also in the playoffs. Who knows?"

Tribe fans also got their first look at sidearmer Adam Cimber, who was acquired with Hand from the Padres in exchange for catching prospect Francisco Mejia on Thursday. Cimber gave up one-out single to Elvis Andrus, but then created an inning-ending double play from Adrian Beltre.

Video: CLE@TEX: Cimber gets inning-ending DP in the 8th

SOUND SMART
Ramirez is the first batter in Indians history to have at least 20 stolen bases and 30 home runs within the team's first 100 games of a season. In fact, Ramirez has joined Alex Rodriguez (1998), Jeff Bagwell (1999) and Alfonso Soriano (2006) as the only players to accomplish that feat in MLB history.

Ramirez is the fourth Indians player (five times overall) to reach 30 homers within the team's first 97 games. The others include Rocky Colavito (1959), Albert Belle (1994 and '96) and Jim Thome (2001).

UP NEXT
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (11-5, 4.12 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Tribe on Saturday, when the Rangers host the Indians in an 8:05 p.m. ET tilt at Globe Life Park. Carrasco is 4-3 with a 3.33 ERA in eight road outings this season. Texas will counter with righty Bartolo Colon (5-7, 4.64 ERA). 

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

Cleveland Indians, Jose Ramirez

Cat shows off its sprint speed at Reds game

The Reds and Pirates had to endure a nearly three-hour rain delay on Friday night at Great American Ball Park before even the first pitch was thrown. Despite Joey Votto's antics during the delay, the lack of baseball probably caused some restlessness in the stands -- and not just from the humans in attendance.

Case-in point: The conclusion of the top of the fourth inning. Corey Dickerson was at the plate against Tyler Mahle. During the first pitch, the matchup was interrupted by an unexpected furry guest.

O's 'barreling ahead' in Britton trade talks

Cubs, Astros, Yankees, Red Sox among teams reportedly interested
MLB.com

The Manny Machado trade? That's so two days ago. Zach Britton is looking like the next prominent Orioles player to be dealt, as Baltimore continues the full-scale rebuild that began with Machado being sent to the Dodgers on Wednesday.

The deal shipping Brad Hand from the Padres to the Indians on Thursday may only increase the interest in Britton, as there's now one less difference-making reliever on the market.

The Manny Machado trade? That's so two days ago. Zach Britton is looking like the next prominent Orioles player to be dealt, as Baltimore continues the full-scale rebuild that began with Machado being sent to the Dodgers on Wednesday.

The deal shipping Brad Hand from the Padres to the Indians on Thursday may only increase the interest in Britton, as there's now one less difference-making reliever on the market.

Britton, who is set to become a free agent after this season, closed the first half by tossing seven straight scoreless innings, with six strikeouts and three walks in that span. The 30-year-old southpaw has shown a notable velocity increase lately as he gets back in a groove after missing the first two and a half months while recovering from offseason surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon.

Video: Richard Justice discusses the latest MLB trade rumors

Here's the latest trade news surrounding the O's closer:

• ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Orioles are "barreling ahead" with trade discussions regarding Britton, naming the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, Astros, Phillies and Braves as teams in the mix. Braves executive vice president and general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently expressed his reluctance to trade for rental players in a Q&A session with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, so it's unclear how serious Atlanta's interest is.

Tweet from @jcrasnick: The #Orioles are barreling ahead with Zach Britton trade talks now that they���ve moved Machado and officially declared a rebuild. #Cubs, #Yankees, #Redsox, #SfGiants, #Astros and #Phillies are among the teams in the mix.

Tweet from @jcrasnick: The #Braves have talked to the #Orioles about Zach Britton, so you can add them to the list of teams in the mix. Atlanta needs bullpen help and has a lot of talent in the system. A lot depends on how deep Alex Anthopoulos is willing to dig for a rental player.

• Sources tell Bruce Levine of 670 The Score that the Cubs are a "main player" for Britton. The Cubs bolstered their bullpen with Thursday's trade for Jesse Chavez, but that move doesn't satisfy their need for a late-inning arm, especially after Brandon Morrow was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right biceps inflammation.

Tweet from @MLBBruceLevine: Orioles GM Dan Duquette on MLB radio just said his next efforts will be to move the Zach Britton trade market forward . Sources point to the Chicago Cubs as a main player if they are convinced he is healthy.

While the Cubs' bullpen has performed well this season, manager Joe Maddon made it clear he's in favor of adding a reliever. "If you look at the numbers, our pitching is among the best," Maddon said, per a story by Levine. "We are always looking to make things stronger. That is what GMs do. We will see how the whole thing plays out. The bullpen is still very thick. It's not like there is a lack of confidence down there. But if I was running the team and you get in this position, you always try to make things a little better."

• According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Britton was included in the Phillies' trade discussions for Machado and the club "will stay on him" after narrowly missing out on the All-Star shortstop.

Video: MLB Tonight breaks down the latest trade targets

• The Orioles have been scouting the Red Sox's Double-A affiliate, and specifically third baseman Michael Chavis (Boston's No. 1 prospect, No. 63 overall, per MLB Pipeline), according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Chavis recently returned from an 80-game suspension and has played only 10 contests this season.

Tweet from @nickcafardo: With the Red Sox interested in Orioles reliever Zach Britton, the Orioles have been scouting Portland (AA). One of the players they'd like to watch, third baseman Michael Chavis, hasn't played since July 14th. Chavis is a little rusty after serving an 80-game PED suspension.

Per the Baltimore Sun, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette recently commented on Britton's resurgence and indicated that the market for the reliever had begun to increase.

"Clubs have become more interested in Zach as he has regained his velocity and particularly, the sink and movement on his pitch," Duquette said. "He had a really good week this past week, so clubs have renewed their interest in Zach. We engaged other clubs on that front, but we're not as far down the road in the process, and I think that's partly because clubs were waiting to see how Zach was throwing, and exactly what role he could help on a pennant-contending team."

• MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli reported earlier this week that the market for Britton had "picked up steam," noting that the Orioles could move quickly on a Britton trade after getting the Machado deal done.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Zach Britton

Enjoy the start of the 2nd half with free MLB.TV

MLB.com

Baseball's stretch run in the second half of the season got underway on Friday with no shortage of drama, and there's no better time to jump in on wall-to-wall live streaming on MLB.TV.

MLB.TV, Major League Baseball's live streaming service, is free and available for all out-of-market games through Sunday's schedule. Viewers can simply create an MLB.TV account and enjoy the pitches, hits, catches and celebrations during the first weekend of the season's crucial second half. Viewers that took advantage of MLB.TV on Friday were treated to plenty of excitement.

Baseball's stretch run in the second half of the season got underway on Friday with no shortage of drama, and there's no better time to jump in on wall-to-wall live streaming on MLB.TV.

MLB.TV, Major League Baseball's live streaming service, is free and available for all out-of-market games through Sunday's schedule. Viewers can simply create an MLB.TV account and enjoy the pitches, hits, catches and celebrations during the first weekend of the season's crucial second half. Viewers that took advantage of MLB.TV on Friday were treated to plenty of excitement.

Watch live games on MLB.TV

In his Dodgers debut, four-time All-Star Manny Machado reached base four times with two singles and a pair of walks as the Dodgers won a clash with the playoff-hopeful Brewers in Milwaukee. The Orioles sent shockwaves through baseball when they traded Machado, the face of their franchise, to Los Angeles for a package of five prospects on Wednesday.

Former Padres closer Brad Hand and fellow acquisition Adam Cimber made their Indians debuts Friday night in an 11-inning, back-and-forth affair against the Rangers following their Thursday trade to Cleveland. Hand allowed a homer to Joey Gallo, while Cimber yielded a single before getting an inning-ending double play in a game Cleveland would go on to win, 9-8.

There's more to watch other than intrigue surrounding the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Mets are in the Bronx for another chapter of their Subway Series rivalry with the Yankees, and Mets star Yoenis Cespedes announced his return from a prolonged stint on the disabled list with a third-inning homer as part of a 2-for-4 performance in Friday's 7-5 win.

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Cardinals continue their four-game series this weekend in Chicago after a record-breaking performance from Matt Carpenter in the Cardinals' 18-5 Friday rout of their rivals. Elsewhere, the Nationals try to make up ground in the National League East in a home series against the Braves, and the reigning World Series-champion Astros saw Dallas Keuchel take a no-hit bid into the seventh inning against Mike Trout and the Angels in the series opener in Anaheim.

All live games streamed on any MLB.TV product and available via MLB.com At Bat are subject to local, regional or national blackouts. If a game is blacked out in an area, it is not available for live game viewing via MLB.TV. For MLB.TV subscribers within an area subject to blackout, applicable games will be available as archived games approximately 90 minutes following their conclusions.

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

Moved to leadoff spot, Acuna leads Braves to win

MLB.com @mlbbowman

WASHINGTON -- Nearly three months after his much-anticipated arrival and a few weeks removed from his month-long disabled list stint, Ronald Acuna Jr. may now be in position to be the difference maker the Braves need to make a strong run at a division crown.

Displaying the tools that earned him the honor of entering this season as MLB Pipeline's top overall prospect, Acuna gladly accepted his first assignment in the leadoff spot and put on a show during Friday night's 8-5 win over Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals at Nationals Park. The 20-year-old phenom finished a triple shy of the cycle and became the youngest player of the modern era (since 1900) to homer and steal two bases in a game, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

View Full Game Coverage

WASHINGTON -- Nearly three months after his much-anticipated arrival and a few weeks removed from his month-long disabled list stint, Ronald Acuna Jr. may now be in position to be the difference maker the Braves need to make a strong run at a division crown.

Displaying the tools that earned him the honor of entering this season as MLB Pipeline's top overall prospect, Acuna gladly accepted his first assignment in the leadoff spot and put on a show during Friday night's 8-5 win over Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals at Nationals Park. The 20-year-old phenom finished a triple shy of the cycle and became the youngest player of the modern era (since 1900) to homer and steal two bases in a game, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

View Full Game Coverage

"When I first saw him in Spring Training, I felt he was one of the best young players I've seen at that age," said Charlie Culberson, who homered in the victory. "He's a five-tool player. He's fun to watch, and it looks like he's getting back in his groove."

Video: ATL@WSH: Culberson slugs a solo homer in the 6th

Acuna capped the fifth three-hit game of his young career with an eighth-inning solo shot that served as an exclamation point for the Braves, who remain a half-game behind the National League East-leading Phillies despite stumbling at the end of the first half. By sweeping this series, they would strengthen their position as buyers and create some Trade Deadline uncertainty for the third-place Nationals, who sit 6 1/2 games out.

"I definitely felt more comfortable tonight," Acuna said through an interpreter. "I was starting to feel more comfortable as the first half was coming to a close. I was making some adjustments with the mechanics of my swing. Fortunately, I've been able to adapt."

Video: ATL@WSH: Camargo punches an RBI double to the gap

While it was expected the Braves would open the second half with someone other than Ender Inciarte as the leadoff hitter, Snitker provided somewhat of a surprise when he tabbed Acuna, who had hit .212 (11-for-52) with a .255 on-base percentage since returning on June 29 from the lengthy stint necessitated by a strained left anterior cruciate ligament.

But it didn't take long for the dynamic outfielder to make a difference. He singled during a two-run first and doubled during a three-run fifth that chased Strasburg, who allowed six runs and eight hits over 4 2/3 innings. The Nationals right-hander has lasted fewer than five innings in eight of 30 career starts against the Braves.

"[Acuna] looked like he did in Spring Training," Snitker said. "He set the table for us all night. It was really good. He had some really good at-bats. He was kind of a different guy there. He was swinging the bat really well."

Video: ATL@WSH: Markakis scores Freeman on a sacrifice fly

Acuna showed off his speed as he doubled his season total with a pair of stolen bases. He swiped second ahead of the first-inning RBI double produced by Ozzie Albies, who promptly stole third and scored on Freddie Freeman's groundout. But the All-Star second baseman tweaked his right hamstring during this trip around the bases and made a precautionary exit in the third inning.

Albies will likely miss the remainder of this series and seems questionable for a two-game set that begins Monday in Miami. But with Acuna, the Braves at least have half of a duo with the potential this second half to show why it may already be the Majors' most dynamic.

"To be the player that everybody wants, he's in the process," Braves veteran pitcher Anibal Sanchez said of Acuna. "But the way he is right now, enjoying the game, being healthy and putting up those numbers, it's really, really impressive."

Video: ATL@WSH: Albies opens the scoring on an RBI double

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sanchez's willingness to provide instruction to younger starters has been invaluable, but his most important lesson might have been delivered on Friday, when the hurler totaled 52 pitches through the first two innings and still managed to allow just three runs over six frames.

The Nationals seemed primed to strike when a Matt Wieters double, a Strasburg single and an Adam Eaton walk loaded the bases with just one out in the second. But Sanchez got Trea Turner to look at a 1-2 cutter on the inside corner and then escaped unscathed with a Bryce Harper groundout.

"He never stops pitching," Snitker said. "Every pitch is a big deal for him. He has a purpose for every one and he doesn't give in. He trusts his stuff. In the beginning, I was thinking maybe we can get him through four [innings]."

Video: ATL@WSH: Sanchez retires Harper to leave 'em loaded

SOUND SMART
Nationals 19-year-old outfielder Juan Soto created more history when he hit a two-run homer in the eighth against Jesse Biddle. According to Elias, Soto and Acuna are the first opposing players to homer in the same game before turning 21 since Egyptian Healy of the Indianapolis Hoosiers and Mike Tiernan of the New York Giants did so on May 19, 1887.

Video: ATL@WSH: Soto clobbers a 2-run homer into the bullpen

NATS KILLER
Strasburg and the Nationals are well aware of why Freeman is arguably the top candidate for the NL MVP Award. The Braves first baseman delivered a two-run double during the fifth and is hitting .333 (30-for-90) with a 1.080 OPS against Washington since the start of the 2017 season.

Freeman has hit .354 (17-for-48) with five doubles and four homers in his career against Strasburg.

Video: ATL@WSH: Freeman drives a 2-run double down the line

UP NEXT
Sean Newcomb will take the mound when the Braves and Nationals resume their three-game series at 7:05 p.m. ET on Saturday. Newcomb had a 2.73 ERA after he limited the Nationals to two runs over seven innings on May 31, but the young southpaw produced a 4.68 ERA over his next eight starts before the break. Washington will counter with Gio Gonzalez, who has a 5.04 ERA in 22 career starts against Atlanta.

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

Atlanta Braves, Ronald Acuna Jr.