MLB Wrap: Scherzer K's 14 as Tigers beat Pirates

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MLB Wrap: Scherzer K's 14 as Tigers beat Pirates

DETROIT -- Max Scherzer and Brad Ausmus both knew early on Thursday afternoon that something special might be happening.

Their reactions were slightly different.

When Scherzer struck out eight Pittsburgh batters in the first three innings, Ausmus was thinking of two of the worst days of his playing career.

"I've been the victim of two 20-strikeout games, and when he started out that fast, I was starting to wonder if he could put up a huge total," said Ausmus, who faced Roger Clemens in his 1996 20-K game and Kerry Wood two years later. "He was making pitches that looked like the ones Kerry was throwing that day."

Scherzer also knew a big number was possible, but he didn't care about records (see full recap).

Royals rally to beat A's
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nori Aoki and Billy Butler each drove in two runs in a five-run seventh and the surging Kansas City Royals rallied to defeat the Oakland Athletics 7-3 Thursday.

The Royals have won 18 of 22 to move 12 games above .500 for the first time since July 20, 2003.

The Royals took the season series, winning five of seven against the Athletics, who have the best record in the majors.

Aoki's two-run triple put the Royals ahead 5-3. Butler's single scored Aoki and Alcides Escobar. Jarrod Dyson fouled off four consecutive pitches before hitting an RBI single to right for the first run of the inning (see full recap).

Gordon leads Dodgers over Braves
ATLANTA - Despite hitting only .229 in the first 12 games in August, Dee Gordon remained confident in his approach as he refused to make changes that might lead to bad habits.

Gordon's self-confidence paid off on Thursday, as he had three hits and scored four runs to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers past the slumping Atlanta Braves 6-4 on Thursday.

Gordon, hitting .291 overall, also stole two bases, increasing his total to 54, the most in the major leagues.

"Dee Gordon beat us," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's probably your most traditional leadoff hitter I've seen in a long time."

Gordon had plenty of help. Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez, who followed Gordon in the batting order, each also had three hits. Gonzalez drove in three runs (see full recap).

Fiers K's 14 in Brewers' win
CHICAGO -- Mike Fiers struck out a career-high 14 through six innings of three-hit ball, Khris Davis and Mark Reynolds homered, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-2 on Thursday to widen their first-place lead in the NL Central.

Scooter Gennett drove in two runs with a double, and Elian Herrera and Carlos Gomez each had RBIs to help the Brewers move 2 games ahead of Pittsburgh and St. Louis. The Cardinals host San Diego on Thursday night.

Fiers (2-1) dominated and walked only one in his second start this season since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville to face the Dodgers last Saturday. In that one, he pitched eight strong innings and outdueled Zack Greinke for his first win this season.

Cubs starter Edwin Jackson (6-13) lasted just 4 2-3 innings and allowed five runs before being lifted for Jacob Turner, who pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings in his Cubs debut. Jackson has lost six of his last seven decisions (see full recap).

Harper, LaRoche homer in Nats 4-1 win vs. Mets
NEW YORK -- Stephen Strasburg bounced back from a poor start to pitch seven efficient innings, Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche each hit a two-run homer, and the Washington Nationals beat the New York Mets 4-1 Thursday night to set a franchise record with their 11th consecutive win on the road against one team.

The Mets' 11 straight losses to Washington in Queens are their most against one team in club history. New York lost 10 in a row to the Braves at Shea Stadium from 1991-92.

Strasburg (9-10) gave up three hits and an unearned run, improving to 2-8 in 13 road starts. He struck out eight and walked two.

Rafael Soriano was perfect in the ninth for his second straight save in the series and 28th overall (see full recap).

7-run sixth powers Red Sox over Astros
BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia's two-run double capped a seven-run sixth inning Thursday night that sent the Boston Red Sox to their fourth straight win, 9-4 over the Houston Astros.

Pedroia finished with three hits, Daniel Nava had two doubles and David Ortiz added two singles as the Red Sox improved to 8-0 in Fenway Park against the Astros.

Matt Dominguez hit a two-run homer for Houston, which opened a 10-game road trip with its fourth loss in five games.

Allen Webster (3-1) gave up four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in six innings for Boston.

Trailing 4-1, the Red Sox chased starter Scott Feldman (6-9) during their biggest inning of the season (see full recap).

Marlins beat Diamondbacks in 10 innings
MIAMI -- Marcell Ozuna doubled home Garrett Jones with the winning run in the 10th inning, and the Miami Marlins topped the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 on Thursday night.

Ozuna's line-drive to left-center came off Bradin Hagens (0-1), who was making his major league debut. Hagens got a double play to escape the ninth, but Jones reached on a leadoff walk in the 10th and scored two batters later.

Mike Dunn (10-5) pitched two perfect innings for Miami and became the first reliever to reach double-digits in wins since Matt Belisle for Colorado in 2011, according to STATS.

Mark Trumbo had a pair of RBI singles for Arizona. Diamondbacks starter Chase Anderson allowed nine hits and three runs in six innings, and David Peralta had an RBI triple to highlight a two-run third (see full recap).

Jay lifts Cardinals, 4-3, over Padres
ST. LOUIS -- Pinch-hitter Jon Jay delivered a two-run double in the eighth inning and right fielder Shane Robinson threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth to help the St. Louis Cardinals hold off the San Diego Padres 4-3 Thursday night.

Jhonny Peralta hit an early two-run homer for the Cardinals, who moved ahead of Pittsburgh into second place in the NL Central. St. Louis remained two games behind division-leading Milwaukee.

San Diego had its five-game winning streak snapped and fell to 16-9 since the All-Star break.

Trailing by two in the ninth, the Padres loaded the bases with one out against closer Trevor Rosenthal. Pinch-hitter Jake Goebbert came through with an RBI single to right, but Alexi Amarista was cut down at home when he tried to score from second (see full recap).

Rays top Rangers, 6-3
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Evan Longoria homered and drove in three runs, Jake Odorizzi helped extend Tampa Bay's impressive road pitching streak with seven strong innings, and the Rays beat the Texas Rangers 6-3 Thursday night.

Longoria's team-leading 15th homer was a two-run shot that gave the Rays a 6-2 lead in the fifth. Logan Forsythe had a two-run homer, his fifth, to put the Rays in front to stay in the second.

Odorizzi (9-9) struck out seven to help give the Rays their AL-record 18th consecutive road game without allowing more than three runs.

Robbie Ross (2-5) came up from Triple-A Round Rock to fill in for Texas ace Yu Darvish, who is sidelined with elbow inflammation. The left-hander gave up six runs in 4 1-3 innings (see full recap).

Rhys Hoskins' epic at-bat finishes in heroics as Phillies knock off Dodgers again

Rhys Hoskins' epic at-bat finishes in heroics as Phillies knock off Dodgers again

BOX SCORE

The attendance at Citizens Bank Park for Tuesday night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers was just 20,145.

Years from now, it will be quadruple that.

Everyone will say they were there the night Rhys Hoskins went toe-to-toe with Pedro Baez's high-octane fastball and delivered the big hit that helped lift the Phillies to an emotional 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers (see observations).

Hoskins, the Phillies' rookie sensation, had four RBIs in the game, all of them coming on full-count hits in the sixth and seventh innings.

He got the Phillies on the board with an RBI single against Dodgers starter Yu Darvish in sixth inning.

Then, with two outs in the seventh, he lashed a tie-breaking, three-run double to left-center, capping an intense, 10-pitch at-bat in which he saw 10 straight fastballs from Baez. Every pitch in the at-bat ranged from 96 to 98 miles per hour. Hoskins fouled off four straight full-count fastballs before delivering the bases-clearing double.

Hoskins has electrified the Phillies with 18 home runs in a little more than a month, but his reaction to the go-ahead double suggested it might have ranked No. 1 on his personal hit chart. When he reached second base, he raised his arms and pointed euphorically at the dugout, where his teammates were going wild.

"Big situation against a pretty good team," a calmer Hoskins said afterward. "I think the 10-pitch at-bat probably had something to do with it.

"Obviously, the guy throws pretty hard, so he likes his fastball. He made some good pitches, too, with good strikes, not really anything in the middle of the plate. I was just lucky enough to put a good swing on the last one."

The Dodgers aren't just a pretty good team, as Hoskins described them. They are the best team in baseball. The Phillies have the second-worst record in the game. But the Phils have managed to beat the Dodgers two nights in a row — with two of the top pitchers in the game on the mound. The Phils beat three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw on Monday night. Darvish took a no-decision in Tuesday night's game.

Hoskins has played a big role in both wins. He drew a two-out walk against Kershaw in the sixth inning of Monday night's win to extend the inning for Aaron Altherr. Altherr clubbed a decisive grand slam.

Tuesday night's four-RBI performance left Hoskins with 43 in 39 games. Only Albert Pujols had more RBIs (44) in the first 39 games of his career. Joe DiMaggio had 42 RBIs in his first 39 games.

Hoskins' plate discipline and selectivity are already stuff of legend. He saw 30 pitches in four trips to the plate.

"The longer I’m in there, the more pitches I see, the more comfortable I start to feel," he said. "I’m kind of able to hone in on the timing, which is pretty important for me. The more you see it, the more you know what it looks like, the more comfortable you get."

Manager Pete Mackanin marveled at Hoskins' ability to work pitchers into fastball counts.

"He’s not going to get himself out," Mackanin said. "He’s not going to expand the strike zone, which makes him a good hitter. I’m glad we have him. I always think he’s going to do something special the deeper he goes into the count."

Aaron Nola was grateful for Hoskins' big hit in the seventh inning. It made him a winner.

"He was fouling balls off at his neck," said Nola, describing Hoskins' showdown with Baez. "So you get a ball a little bit lower, you knew he was going to time it up finally. He saw 30 pitches in the game. It was just a matter of time that he was going to make them pay for it and he did."

The Phillies are 18-14 at home since the All-Star break. They were once on a collision course for 100 losses. Now they need to win just three of their final 11 games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1961.

The Dodgers came into Tuesday night's game with a magic number of three to wrap up the NL West title. They will be in Philadelphia for two more days. The Phillies will continue to try to prevent champagne from being sprayed in their ballpark.

"Experience-wise for some of us young guys, this is pretty invaluable," Hoskins said of the competitive atmosphere. "They’re still trying to clinch their division, so it’s just good baseball."

So good that more than 20,145 will say they were there someday.

Best of MLB: Cubs top Rays in Joe Maddon's return to Tampa, push win streak to 7

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Best of MLB: Cubs top Rays in Joe Maddon's return to Tampa, push win streak to 7

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Mike Montgomery took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, Kyle Schwarber hit his 28th home run and the Chicago Cubs extended their winning streak to a season-high seven by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 Tuesday in manager Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field.

Maddon managed the Rays from 2006-14, then left to manage Chicago and last year led the Cubs to their first World Series title since 1908. Chicago entered with a 3 -game lead over second-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

A crowd of 25,046, the largest at the Trop since opening day, gave Maddon a standing ovation in the middle of the first inning.

"I thought it was a quick nine years," he said of his time with the Rays. "I try to stay in the present tense, but that was a fast nine years and I have nothing but warm and fuzzies about it."

Montgomery (7-8) allowed one hit in six innings, a one-out homer in the sixth by Brad Miller. Montgomery struck out six, walked one and hit his first batter, Kevin Kiermaier.

Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr. and Wade Davis each followed with an inning of perfect relief to complete the one-hitter. Davis struck out the side and remained perfect in 32 save chances.

Schwarber homered in the second and Javier Baez hit an RBI double in the fifth against Chris Archer (9-11), who gave up four hits in six innings. Archer struck out six, riaising his total to 241 -- 11 shy of the team record he set two years ago. He is 2-6 in his last 14 starts (see full recap).

Brewers hold off Pirates to keep pace in NL Central
PITTSBURGH -- Chase Anderson had eight strikeouts in six innings, Domingo Santana homered and the Milwaukee Brewers shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second straight day, 1-0 on Tuesday night.

The Brewers won for the ninth time in 11 games, keeping pace in the NL Central and wild-card races. They won for the fourth time in the past seven days against reeling Pittsburgh, which has lost a season-high seven consecutive games and 12 of 13.

It was the 12th shutout of the season for the Brewers, tied for the second-most in the NL.

Anderson (11-3) allowed five singles. Anthony Swarzak retired six of the seven batters he faced, and Corey Knebel earned a save with a perfect ninth. Seven of his 39 saves this season have come against the Pirates (see full recap).

Wild pitch in extras sends Red Sox past Orioles
BALTIMORE -- Jackie Bradley Jr. scored the game's lone run on a wild pitch by Brad Brach in the 11th inning, and the Boston Red Sox used six pitchers to silence the Baltimore Orioles' bats in a 1-0 victory Tuesday night.

Boston has won 10 of 13 to move a season-high 23 games over .500 (87-64) and draw closer to clinching a postseason berth. The Red Sox started the day with a three-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.

It was the second straight tight, lengthy game between these AL East rivals. Boston won in 11 innings on Monday night and is 15-3 in extra-inning games.

With a runner on second and two outs in the 11th, Brach (4-5) walked Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, who sidestepped a bouncing pitch from Brach that enabled Bradley to score without a throw (see full recap).

MLB season home run record set in Blue Jays' win over Royals
TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman pitched seven innings to win for the first time in six starts, Darwin Barney hit a two-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Kansas City outfielder Alex Gordon's solo home run off Ryan Tepera in the eighth was the 5,694th of this major league season, breaking the record set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era. The record was broken with just less than two weeks remaining in the regular season.

There were 5,610 homers last year, an average of 2.31 per game, and this year's average of 2.53 entering Tuesday projects to 6,139. That would be up 47 percent from 4,186 in 2014.

Barney went 2 for 3 with three RBIs as the Blue Jays opened their final homestand on a winning note.

Stroman (12-8) allowed one run and four hits for his first victory since Aug. 16 against Tampa Bay (see full recap).