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Trout goes oppo for MLB-leading 10th homer

MLB.com @alysonfooter

HOUSTON -- It didn't take long for Mike Trout to reach the double-digit mark for home runs in 2018. He launched homer No. 10 on the first pitch he saw from Astros right-hander Charlie Morton -- a 96.5-mph four-seam fastball -- on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park, giving the Angels a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning.

Trout, whose homer traveled 371 feet with a launch angle of 35 degrees according to Statcast™, became the fastest to 10 homers in Angels history, reaching the mark in the club's 24th game. The prior record was nine, most recently done by Albert Pujols in 2014. Trout didn't hit his 10th homer of '17 until May 13, in his 33rd game off the season. 

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HOUSTON -- It didn't take long for Mike Trout to reach the double-digit mark for home runs in 2018. He launched homer No. 10 on the first pitch he saw from Astros right-hander Charlie Morton -- a 96.5-mph four-seam fastball -- on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park, giving the Angels a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning.

Trout, whose homer traveled 371 feet with a launch angle of 35 degrees according to Statcast™, became the fastest to 10 homers in Angels history, reaching the mark in the club's 24th game. The prior record was nine, most recently done by Albert Pujols in 2014. Trout didn't hit his 10th homer of '17 until May 13, in his 33rd game off the season. 

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The homer came on Morton's fourth pitch in a game that had already brought with it a lot of intrigue, even before the first pitch was thrown. Morton entered the game with the lowest ERA in the American League at 0.72, and on the Angels' side, Shohei Ohtani took the mound looking to become the first Major Leaguer in history to log three wins and three home runs in the month of April.

Trout has reached base safely in 10 of his last 17 plate appearances. He's 8-for-15 with two doubles, four homers and five RBIs during that span.

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

Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout

Granderson launches walk-off homer vs. Kimbrel

MLB.com @gregorMLB

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

Granderson hit the walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Blue Jays were able to overcome Roberto Osuna's first blown save of the year in a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox. Happ came away with a no-decision, but he played a big role in the win by limiting Boston's offense to one run over seven strong innings.

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

Granderson hit the walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Blue Jays were able to overcome Roberto Osuna's first blown save of the year in a 4-3 victory over the Red Sox. Happ came away with a no-decision, but he played a big role in the win by limiting Boston's offense to one run over seven strong innings.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adrian Beltre kept playing fast and loose with the rules, but umpire Greg Gibson was there to enforce them

Adrian Beltre is a funny guy. He likes to mess around not only with other players but with on-deck circles as well. During Tuesday night's game between the Rangers and Athletics, Beltre had some lighthearted fun with third-base umpire Greg Gibson.

With one man on and no outs in the top of the second inning, A's center fielder Mark Canha lined a ball to Beltre. Recognizing he might be able to turn two if he didn't catch it, Beltre tried to act like he dropped the ball:

Cespedes hits incredible 463-foot game-tying HR

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

ST. LOUIS -- The deepest slump of Yoenis Cespedes' career has not robbed his bat of its signature thunder.

Cespedes crushed a 115.1-mph, 463-foot homer off Luke Weaver in the fifth inning Tuesday at Busch Stadium, the hardest and longest home run any Mets player has hit since Statcast™ began tracking in 2015. The game-tying three-run shot, which landed in the second deck in left field, was the third longest by a visiting player in Busch history.

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ST. LOUIS -- The deepest slump of Yoenis Cespedes' career has not robbed his bat of its signature thunder.

Cespedes crushed a 115.1-mph, 463-foot homer off Luke Weaver in the fifth inning Tuesday at Busch Stadium, the hardest and longest home run any Mets player has hit since Statcast™ began tracking in 2015. The game-tying three-run shot, which landed in the second deck in left field, was the third longest by a visiting player in Busch history.

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Cespedes' previous long home run was a 457-foot shot in San Francisco in 2016.

It was a well-timed homer for Cespedes, who entered the night in a 10-for-61 (.164) slump with 28 strikeouts. He lined into a double play and struck out in his first two at-bats against Weaver, before crushing a 3-1 changeup over the fence in the fifth.

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

New York Mets, Yoenis Cespedes

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

MLB.com @castrovince

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Chicago Cubs, Kyle Schwarber

Cain gets big ovation, homers in return to KC

Brewers outfielder also receives hug from former teammate Perez
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy and @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain knew thoughts of the past would flood his mind upon his return to Kauffman Stadium. Royals fans and his old friends made sure of that in Tuesday night's series opener.

As Cain stepped onto the field for warmups, a huge cheer rose up from the stands. When he stepped into the batter's box to lead off, an even louder cheer greeted him.

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KANSAS CITY -- Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain knew thoughts of the past would flood his mind upon his return to Kauffman Stadium. Royals fans and his old friends made sure of that in Tuesday night's series opener.

As Cain stepped onto the field for warmups, a huge cheer rose up from the stands. When he stepped into the batter's box to lead off, an even louder cheer greeted him.

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After removing his batting helmet to salute the fans, Cain got a bro-hug from former teammate and playful social-media nemesis, Royals catcher Salvador Perez. And actually, Perez was back at his usual antics before the game, crashing Cain's pregame media conference. Cain later hit his third homer of the season in the seventh inning to extend the Brewers' lead to 5-2.

"I love you, bro," Perez said as he exited the conference.

Indeed, there were so many memories packed into his six years in Kansas City that Cain has trouble picking just one.

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

"You know how many good memories I had in K.C.?" Cain asks, leaning back in a black leather chair in his corner of the Brewers clubhouse.

He ticks through some of them. Two World Series. Sweeping through the first three rounds of the playoffs in 2014 on the way to Kansas City's first Fall Classic berth in three decades. Scoring from first base on Eric Hosmer's single for the go-ahead run against the Blue Jays in the decisive Game 6 of the '15 American League Championship Series. His walk to spark a ninth-inning comeback against Matt Harvey and the Mets in Game 5 of the '15 World Series, a night that would end with the Royals popping champagne.

There are too many highlights, too many private moments with teammates, too many good memories with long-suffering Royals fans, to choose one, he says.

Then one flashes into his mind.

Video: MIL@KC: Perez welcomes Cain back to Kansas City

"That parade," Cain said. "I've never seen so many people in one place in my life. Just blue everywhere. There were a lot of moments, but that parade was unreal."

*****

Cain doesn't have much to say about the way it ended. He knew "eventually, we were going to have to move on" in Kansas City.

"I can't wait to see LoLo," said Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas said before the opener. "That's a brother, you know. That's a guy we miss and we love."

The Royals were headed in a different direction and let Cain go in free agency without making an offer. After Cain signed with the Brewers for five years and $80 million in January, he received a congratulatory text message from Royals general manager Dayton Moore. It was a reminder, Cain said in Spring Training, that baseball is business.

In Milwaukee, Cain returned to the organization that made him a 17th-round Draft pick in 2004, when he had played baseball for barely three years. Cain was focused on basketball until his sophomore year of high school in Florida.

In 2010, when he made it to the Major Leagues with the Brewers, he was still learning lessons.

Longtime Brewers coach Ed Sedar offered an example. One day in Houston -- it must have been Sept. 15, from the way Sedar tells the story -- he telephoned Cain's hotel room at about 10:30 a.m.

Sedar recalls the conversation like this:

Sedar: "Hey, 'Lo,' what you doing?"

Cain: "Hey, Eddie! I'm just sitting back, watching TV in bed. What are you doing?"

Sedar: "I'm watching the team stretch."

Cain: "We've got a day game?!? I've got to go, Eddie!"

Sedar has told that story a lot since Cain returned, and it always gets a laugh. Ryan Braun remembers it.

"And it still happens," Braun said over the weekend. "I guarantee you, he had no idea what time the game was tonight. How he made it this far is amazing."

Braun was kidding, of course. He knows how Cain got this far. Braun has watched Cain compile a .303/.400/.461 slash line in the first 90 plate appearances of his second stint with the Brewers while playing a terrific center field.

It was on that promise that the Royals acquired Cain, along with young shortstop Alcides Escobar and pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi from the Brewers in December 2010 for Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt.

The trade worked for both teams. The Brewers set a franchise record with 96 regular-season wins in 2011 and made it to the National League Championship Series. The Royals added Cain and Escobar to a core of developing players that would go even farther.

"We grew up playing in this organization together," Moustakas said. "I can't wait to see him. I'm excited for him. I'm excited for what he got in the offseason. To go back to where he was originally from was pretty cool. It's just an awesome thing to be able to come back here, for him."

"It will be good to see him," said Royals catcher Drew Butera. "He's a good friend to all of us. When he steps between the lines, we'll try to beat him any way we can. But it will be good to see him, of course."

Cain said he wanted Royals fans to know he is genuinely thankful for their patience in the tough seasons leading up to those World Series years, and that he is looking forward to seeing them again.

"I expect that they'll show me some love," he said. "It was a good six-year run over there. Those fans always supported us and poured their hearts out to us when we played. I'm just happy we were able to give it back by winning that World Series. Those were good times."

Now he wants the same for Milwaukee.

"That's why I came here," Cain said. "That's a feeling you always remember. I've felt that feeling and I have a World Series ring to prove it. I want to share that feeling with everybody here."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB and listen to his podcast.

Milwaukee Brewers, Lorenzo Cain

Yanks win 4th straight on 4 HRs, CC's command

MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia showcased his pinpoint command over six excellent innings and the Yankees belted another four home runs as their bats continue to warm up, enjoying an 8-3 romp over the Twins on Tuesday evening at Yankee Stadium.

Gary Sanchez homered twice, Didi Gregorius extended his team lead with a two-run shot and Aaron Judge slugged a solo drive in support of Sabathia, who limited Minnesota to an unearned run and two hits as he improved to 20-9 lifetime against the Twins.

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NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia showcased his pinpoint command over six excellent innings and the Yankees belted another four home runs as their bats continue to warm up, enjoying an 8-3 romp over the Twins on Tuesday evening at Yankee Stadium.

Gary Sanchez homered twice, Didi Gregorius extended his team lead with a two-run shot and Aaron Judge slugged a solo drive in support of Sabathia, who limited Minnesota to an unearned run and two hits as he improved to 20-9 lifetime against the Twins.

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The Yankees logged their seventh win in nine games behind the 37-year-old left-hander, who picked up his first victory of the year. Sabathia was touched only by Eduardo Escobar's first-inning double, with Miguel Sano chugging home as Judge had difficulty scooping up the ball in the right-field corner.

From there, Sabathia stifled the Twins, firing an economical 82 pitches before the Yankees handed the game off to the bullpen. Sabathia walked one and struck out four, giving him 2,857 career strikeouts, passing Jim Bunning (2,855) for sole possession of 17th place all-time.

Twins starter Jose Berrios was knocked around for five runs and six hits in four-plus innings. Sanchez homered in the second, and Gregorius lifted an RBI single in the third and added a two-run homer in the fifth, giving him a team-leading eight long balls. Gleyber Torres also notched his first career RBI with a fourth-inning single.

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

Dellin Betances wobbled in a shaky seventh inning but the Yankees responded with three runs in the home half against Tyler Duffey. Judge slugged his seventh homer, surpassing Mark McGwire as the fastest player to reach 63 homers in terms of games played (204). Sanchez tacked on a two-run shot to become the first player to enjoy nine multihomer games in his first 196 games.

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

UP NEXT
Sonny Gray will take another crack at turning around his slow start on Wednesday when he takes on the Twins in the third game of this four-game series at 6:35 p.m. ET. Gray will pitch to catcher Austin Romine, with whom he worked in his first two outings this season. Right-hander Lance Lynn draws the start for Minnesota.

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

New York Yankees

Salvy belts 1st homer of '18 in return from DL

Gordon also activated before series opener with Brewers
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' lineup welcomed back two key components on Tuesday as catcher Salvador Perez and left fielder Alex Gordon were activated from the disabled list.

Finally, the lineup looked again like the one they left Spring Training with. And that's what it felt like for Perez.

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KANSAS CITY -- The Royals' lineup welcomed back two key components on Tuesday as catcher Salvador Perez and left fielder Alex Gordon were activated from the disabled list.

Finally, the lineup looked again like the one they left Spring Training with. And that's what it felt like for Perez.

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"It feels like Opening Day to me," Perez said, smiling.

Perez, who was in the starting lineup and batting cleanup, hit a home run in his second at-bat against the Brewers. He suffered a Grade 2 sprain in his left knee two days before Opening Day when he slipped going up his stairs while carrying his luggage. The original prognosis suggested Perez would miss at least 4-6 weeks. Perez is back on the low end of that estimate.

"You know me," Perez said. "I like to play hard and compete."

Gordon is recovering from a left hip labral tear. He, too, is back quicker than most thought. He started in left field on Tuesday after a brief rehab stint at Triple-A Omaha.

"I was only gone four days [in Omaha], but it felt like three weeks," Gordon said. "I wanted to get back soon."

To make room for Perez and Gordon, the Royals optioned catcher Cam Gallagher and outfielder Paulo Orlando to Omaha.

The Royals also placed struggling right-handed reliever Justin Grimm on the 10-day disabled list (retroactive to April 22) because of lower back stiffness and recalled left-hander Eric Stout from Omaha.

After a promising start to 2018, Grimm gave up 16 runs in his last five relief outings. His ERA is 21.86.

"He's not getting it done right now," manager Ned Yost said. "And there's a reason he's not getting it done because he can't fire off his back side. We need to calm [his back] down so he can start firing off his back side again."

Stout held opponents to a .214 batting average in five relief outings for Omaha this season.

The Royals chose to keep outfielder Abraham Almonte over Orlando. Almonte hit two home runs on the recent road trip, including a grand slam on Sunday in Detroit.

"He's done a nice job out there defensively," Yost said. "Has been swinging the bat well. It was a hard decision, but we went with him."

Umpire charity auction
Major League Baseball (MLB) umpires will offer up more than 300 items that include priceless autographed sports memorabilia, one-of-a-kind VIP experiences, and upgraded ticket packages during its 10th Annual UMPS CARE Charities Online Auction. The auction is currently underway at www.mlb.com/UmpsCare and closes at 9 p.m. CT on Monday. Some of the items up for bid include signed bats, cleats, jerseys, photos, and baseballs from some of the biggest stars. There are also opportunities to watch batting practice up close on the field at many MLB ballparks, hotel stays with game tickets, opportunities to have lunch with an MLB umpire, suites and tickets from Minor League Baseball clubs, golf foursomes and more.

All proceeds from the Online Auction support UMPS CARE Charities youth programs to provide Major League Baseball experiences for children awaiting adoption, Build-A-Bear Workshop experiences for hospitalized children coping with serious illnesses, college scholarships for deserving young adults who were adopted as children, and financial assistance for families in need.

"Each year thanks to the support from our friends in Major League Baseball and throughout the sports world we get some fantastic items for our auction, and this year is no exception," said former MLB umpire and Board President for UMPS CARE Charities Gary Darling. "This is the biggest fundraising initiative that we have to help so many children in need, and we can't thank everyone enough for all of the support. Please tell all of your friends, bid early and bid often to help this great cause."

Among the Royals items for sale include a George Brett signed jersey and bat, a Mike Moustakas signed jersey and bat, and a Perez signed bat and batting helmet.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez

Gonzales fans 8 as Mariners blank White Sox

Special to MLB.com

CHICAGO -- On a day when Mariners manager Scott Servais said he needed more from his starting pitching, Marco Gonzales delivered.

Coming off an eight-strikeout effort last week against the Astros, Gonzales threw six-plus brilliant innings and matched his season high with another eight strikeouts on Tuesday in the Mariners' 1-0 victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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CHICAGO -- On a day when Mariners manager Scott Servais said he needed more from his starting pitching, Marco Gonzales delivered.

Coming off an eight-strikeout effort last week against the Astros, Gonzales threw six-plus brilliant innings and matched his season high with another eight strikeouts on Tuesday in the Mariners' 1-0 victory over the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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"Every time out, I'm trying to build off of something I did the last time," Gonzales said. "I'm just trying to take positives out of every start and build on it and stay aggressive."

Gonzales managed to pitch out of a couple of jams when necessary, using a pickoff and a double play to avoid trouble in the first inning before he notched his final strikeout with two runners on the corners in the sixth.

Video: SEA@CWS: Segura makes sprawling stop to rob Thompson

Mitch Haniger, who had homered in four straight games, didn't extend the streak on Tuesday, but he did come through with a fourth-inning RBI single that drove in Kyle Seager, who doubled with two outs. Haniger finished 1-for-4 with three strikeouts.

His lone hit, however, accounted for all the offense the Mariners needed.

Video: SEA@CWS: Haniger singles in Seager to open scoring

"I was just trying to hit the ball hard," Haniger said. "Luckily, it squeaked through and got the run across."

Gonzales, who finished one strikeout off his career best of nine, scattered five hits and walked one. After opening the first inning with back-to-back hits, the White Sox went hitless until Tim Anderson led off the sixth with a single.

Relievers Dan Altavilla and Marc Rzepczynski protected the 1-0 lead in the seventh when they retired the next three hitters, stranding Moncada at second base. Edwin Diaz earned his ninth save of the season with a perfect ninth.

Video: CWS@SEA: Diaz fans Moncada to earn his ninth save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pickoff move: After allowing back-to-back singles Anderson and Yolmer Sanchez in the first inning, Gonzales picked off Anderson in a confusing play in which both Anderson and Sanchez got caught up in rundowns. Anderson, who started at second, was eventually nabbed at third on what went down as a 1-4-5-3-6-5 caught-stealing, while Sanchez made it back to first. Gonzales then induced a more conventional 5-4-3 double play from Jose Abreu to escape the inning.

"After the pickoff, my confidence went way up," Gonzales said.

Video: SEA@CWS: Mariners nab Anderson in a rundown

Leave them looking: With the Mariners leading 1-0 in the sixth inning, Gonzales protected the razor-thin margin when he struck out Matt Davidson looking. The strikeout, Gonzales' eighth of the day, came after he allowed a two-out single to Welington Castillo that pushed Anderson to third. White Sox manager Rick Renteria was ejected by home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook after a vociferous argument over the called third strike to Davidson.

"You're picking the right times when you want to extend Marco and [show] him that we do have a lot of faith in him and trust in him," Servais said. "He was still throwing the ball really well at that point and made pitches when he needed to. [I'm] happy for him, and we had just enough offense today, as well."

Video: SEA@CWS: Renteria ejected for arguing with the umpire

HE SAID IT
"I tried to use every advantage I could get. Talking to a couple of hitters in the first inning, saying, 'What are you seeing out there, what's kind of deceiving?' … Guys just said, 'Everything that comes out looks like a fastball -- you don't know what it is.'" -- Gonzales, on making the most of the shadows hitters had to deal with as part of Tuesday's late afternoon start

UP NEXT
Right-hander Felix Hernandez (2-2, 5.06 ERA) has shown flashes of rediscovering his old form, but has yet to truly get rolling and will look for his first victory since April 10. Hernandez will face Chicago's James Shields in a matinee set for 11:10 a.m. PT on Wednesday.

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago.

Seattle Mariners, Marco Gonzales

Pham homers in return to Cardinals' lineup

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

ST. LOUIS -- It appears a little rest did Tommy Pham some good.

The Cardinals center fielder homered in his first at-bat in his return to the lineup from a groin injury Tuesday against the Mets, hitting a two-run shot off Zack Wheeler in the first inning. Pham improved to 3-for-4 with three walks in his career against Wheeler.

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ST. LOUIS -- It appears a little rest did Tommy Pham some good.

The Cardinals center fielder homered in his first at-bat in his return to the lineup from a groin injury Tuesday against the Mets, hitting a two-run shot off Zack Wheeler in the first inning. Pham improved to 3-for-4 with three walks in his career against Wheeler.

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Pham sent an 0-1 pitch onto the lawn beyond the center-field wall to give the Cardinals an early 2-0 lead. It was Pham's first at-bat since Friday. He started just one of the club's previous four games after initially feeling tightness in his right groin late in a cold-weather win in Chicago last week.

Pham passed a series of tests the day after and did not require an MRI, though the Cardinals and Pham treated the injury cautiously.

Coming off a breakout 2017 season, Pham has again been one of the Cardinals' most complete players. Entering Tuesday, he was hitting .316 with 21 hits in 19 games and leading St. Louis in runs (18), stolen bases (five), on-base percentage (.444), walk rate (18.5 percent) and Wins Above Replacement (1.0).

"He always had something to prove," manager Mike Matheny said before the game. "We learned that all winter. He did some things really well [last year], and it wasn't enough. I know he's not surprised that he's gotten off to this start. It's exactly what he expects from himself."

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

St. Louis Cardinals, Tommy Pham

A rogue hot dog has escaped Cleveland's Hot Dog Race and we're all doomed

If you turned on the Cubs-Indians pregame on Tuesday, you might've expected to see some players stretching, a live look at batting practice or perhaps highlights from the last time the two teams met.

You probably weren't ready for this. 

Kennedy exits early with right foot contusion

Streak of striking out at least one batter comes to end at 273 games
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy left Tuesday's game against the Brewers after three innings with a right foot contusion. X-rays were negative.

Kennedy was hit in the top of the third by a line drive off the bat of Ryan Braun, which went for an RBI infield hit. Kennedy was visited on the mound by Royals manager Ned Yost and trainer Nick Kenney.

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KANSAS CITY -- Royals right-hander Ian Kennedy left Tuesday's game against the Brewers after three innings with a right foot contusion. X-rays were negative.

Kennedy was hit in the top of the third by a line drive off the bat of Ryan Braun, which went for an RBI infield hit. Kennedy was visited on the mound by Royals manager Ned Yost and trainer Nick Kenney.

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Kennedy stayed in the game and finished the third inning, but gave up a three-run home run to Travis Shaw.

Kennedy was replaced in the top of the fourth inning by Burch Smith with the Royals trailing, 4-0.

His streak of striking out at least one batter ended at 273 games, the second-longest active streak to start a career behind David Price's 274.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals, Ian Kennedy

Tigers-Pirates rained out; DH on Wednesday

Taillon starts Game 1, Kuhl on mound for Game 2
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' series opener against the Tigers on Tuesday night was postponed due to rain.

The clubs will make up Tuesday's game on Wednesday, with a traditional doubleheader beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The second game will begin approximately 30 minutes after the final out of Game 1.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' series opener against the Tigers on Tuesday night was postponed due to rain.

The clubs will make up Tuesday's game on Wednesday, with a traditional doubleheader beginning at 4:05 p.m. ET. The second game will begin approximately 30 minutes after the final out of Game 1.

The postponement didn't change either team's pitching plans for the series. The Pirates will start right-hander Jameson Taillon against righty Jordan Zimmermann in Game 1; both were scheduled to pitch Tuesday night. Pittsburgh right-hander Chad Kuhl will face Detroit lefty Matthew Boyd in the nightcap, as scheduled. Each club can call up a designated 26th player for the second half of the doubleheader.

Right-handers Ivan Nova and Michael Fulmer are slated to start Thursday's series finale.

This may throw a wrench into the Pirates' rotation plans, however, as they had been scheduled to stay on turn against the Cardinals this weekend at PNC Park. With Kuhl now starting Wednesday instead of Tuesday, he will not be fully rested in time to start on Sunday. The Bucs could turn to right-hander Tyler Glasnow, a starting pitcher who has worked out the bullpen all season, or call up another pitcher from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Pirates rainout policy

Tickets for Tuesday's game can be exchanged for Wednesday's doubleheader, or any remaining game this season on a dollar-for-dollar basis, the Pirates announced.

First pitch on Tuesday was scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET at PNC Park. Just after 7 p.m., with the tarp still on the infield and nobody warming up, the Pirates announced the game would be delayed. Ninety-seven minutes later, Pittsburgh announced the postponement.

These clubs are familiar with weather-related delays, as their Opening Day matchup on March 29 at Comerica Park was postponed a day. Their second game of the season was also pushed back a day, leading to a doubleheader on April 1. Tuesday was the Pirates' fourth postponed game of the season, as they had two games victimized by weather in Detroit and another at Wrigley Field on April 9.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates

After Gary Sanchez's second homer, Aaron Judge showed he's the king of the silent treatment