Miami Marlins

Best of MLB: Red Sox's Sale reaches 300 Ks; Marlins' Stanton hits 56th HR

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Best of MLB: Red Sox's Sale reaches 300 Ks; Marlins' Stanton hits 56th HR

BALTIMORE -- Chris Sale was at his very best -- right down to his momentous last pitch -- in another meaningful victory for the Boston Red Sox.

Sale struck out 13 to become the first AL pitcher in 18 years to reach the 300 mark, and Boston moved to the brink of clinching a playoff berth by beating the Baltimore Orioles 9-0 on Wednesday night.

Sale (17-7) reached the milestone on his 111th and final pitch, a called third strike against Ryan Flaherty to end the eighth inning. The last AL pitcher to fan 300 batters in a season was Boston's Pedro Martinez in 1999, when he set a club record with 313.

Red Sox manager John Farrell sent Sale back out for the eighth inning to give him a shot at getting No. 300 (see full recap).

Stanton hits 56th homer, Marlins sweep Mets
MIAMI -- Home runs before small crowds in the eighth inning of lopsided games between also-rans count, too, which is fortunate for Giancarlo Stanton.

Now he needs only five more for 61.

Stanton hit his major league-leading 56th homer in the eighth Wednesday to punctuate the Miami Marlins' 9-2 win over the New York Mets, which completed a three-game sweep.

Announced attendance was 16,033, but the actual turnout was perhaps one-third that total. The Marlins are destined to miss the playoffs for the 14th year in a row despite Stanton's homer show (see full recap).

Rays, Snell end Cubs' 7-game winning streak
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Their seven-game winning streak is over and the Chicago Cubs are still being challenged for the NL Central lead with 11 games left in the season.

Blake Snell gave up two hits in seven shutout innings and the Tampa Bay Rays ended the Cubs' season-best winning streak 8-1 on Wednesday night.

The Cubs, who had not lost since being swept by the Milwaukee Brewers in a three-game series in Chicago on Sept. 8-10, are scheduled to open a four-game series in Milwaukee on Thursday night, holding a 3 1/2-game lead over the Brewers.

"It's going to be very exciting," manager Joe Maddon said. "We got the split here, which is good. Moving it forward, you've got to beat ‘em straight-up sometimes and that's what we're going to have to do,” (see full recap).

Nationals rally for 6 runs in 8th to beat Braves
ATLANTA -- Manager Dusty Baker was hardly surprised that the heart of the Nationals' order took so many pitches in the eighth inning.

"It's easy to be patient when they're not near the strike zone," he said. "We capitalized on it. You're going to get hits after that."

Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino issued three bases-loaded walks in the six-run eighth, Gio Gonzalez pitched seven strong innings and Washington beat Atlanta 7-3 on Wednesday night (see full recap).

Rhys Hoskins — there's nothing he can't do — leads Phillies' home run barrage

Rhys Hoskins — there's nothing he can't do — leads Phillies' home run barrage

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Rhys Hoskins makes the best cheesesteak in town. He can run the Rocky steps in three seconds flat then knock out 50 push-ups at the top. One-handed. He can bench press the Liberty Bell, dunk on Joel Embiid and part traffic on the Schuylkill with a simple wave of his hand.

He is the most interesting man in Philadelphia. There is nothing he can't do.

And, on Thursday night, he became the first player in baseball history to be asked for his autograph in the dugout ... by a teammate ... during the game.

"He's creating history," said Cameron Perkins, who approached Hoskins with a ball in the dugout and requested an autograph after the rookie slugger belted his nightly homer in the Phillies' 10-0 demolition of the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park (see observations).

"What he's doing is ridiculous. It's fun to watch. It's still underappreciated. I don't think everybody understands how hard it is to do that over and over again."

Hoskins has been with the Phillies since Aug. 10 for a total of 34 games and 118 at-bats. He has 18 home runs, which is just three shy of the team lead held by Tommy Joseph. With 16 games left, he stands an excellent chance of leading the club in home runs — remarkable considering he did not hit his first home run until Aug. 14.

He hit four of them in the Phillies' three-game sweep of the Marlins. The Phillies won the first game in 15 innings then outscored the Marlins, 18-1, over the next two games.

Hoskins is now rivaling Carson Wentz as the hottest autograph in town, so hot that his teammates playfully ask for them in the dugout.

"It's fun," Hoskins said. "I don't think hitting a home run is ever not going to be fun — for everyone. When someone hits a home run, it gives the team a little jolt, a little spark of energy and obviously the long ball was good to us tonight."

Indeed, the Phillies hit four of them — three against Miami's Vance Worley in the second inning.

Jorge Alfaro hit a rising line drive into the second deck in left (459 feet) and Freddy Galvis hit one 414 feet to left-center before Hoskins smacked a two-run shot, his first to the opposite field (see video).

"That was fun," manager Pete Mackanin said of the entire night. "Alfaro hit that bomb, Freddy hit a two-run dinger and Hoskins hit another blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

Clearly, Mackanin is running out of words to describe Hoskins' home run frenzy, which started with 29 in 115 games at Triple A Lehigh Valley.

But Perkins, a teammate of Hoskins in the minors and now in the majors, is not running out of words.

"I know you guys are new to this because he hasn't been up here, but I've been playing with him all year and this is the exact same thing as spring training and Lehigh Valley," Perkins said. "He's so good at putting quality at-bats together even when he gets out or strikes out. He sees a bunch of pitches or he'll walk. He's a very special hitter. He makes it look easy. Sometimes it can be frustrating to watch him because it's hit, hit, hit, hit. It's so hard and he makes it look so easy. He's a very good, very smart hitter."

Perkins came off the bench and hit the Phillies' fourth home run as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. His first big-league homer came against Miami lefty Justin Nicolino and he received a celebratory water-cooler dousing after the game.

"That was pretty cool," Hoskins said. "He put a good swing on it. I heard a couple of guys say they thought he was going to do it on that at-bat. The couple years I played with him he has hit lefties pretty well, so that was a special moment. I'm happy for him. It's something that he’ll always remember."

Perkins confirmed that.

"It's the moment I've been waiting for my entire life," said Perkins, a rookie who will turn 27 later this month. "Everyone wants the dream of having the cooler dumped on them, even though it wasn't as significant as I'd hope in a 9-0 game. But I'll still take it. Everyone dreams of hitting that walk-off home run. But getting the cooler dumped on you and finally getting one is definitely a dream come true."

Perkins will work on getting the ball as a souvenir.

He has a plan.

"If I have to bargain, I'll get Rhys to sign some balls," he said. "I'm sure the person who caught my home run ball would love Rhys' autograph. I'm going to need some of those."

Phillies-Marlins observations: Guess what … Rhys Hoskins homers again in blowout win

Phillies-Marlins observations: Guess what … Rhys Hoskins homers again in blowout win

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Yes, Rhys Hoskins hit another home run.
 
Moving on ... the Phillies routed the Miami Marlins for the second straight night Thursday, scoring a 10-0 win on the strength of three home runs in the second inning and a solid pitching performance from Jake Thompson.
 
The Phillies swept the reeling Marlins and outscored them, 18-1, these last two nights.
 
Miami has lost 15 of 17.
 
• Hoskins clubbed his 18th homer in 34 games and it was noteworthy because it was his first to the opposite field (see video). All of his previous 17 homers were from dead center to left field.
 
• We haven't seen a player work counts like Hoskins since Chase Utley and Jayson Werth. Ten of Hoskins' homers have come with two strikes.
 
• More Hoskins-mania: He has 130 RBIs between the minors and the majors this season, the most among all professional players. His combined total of 47 homers is second only to Miami's Giancarlo Stanton (54). Hoskins is slashing .314/.442/.805 (see story).
 
• The Marlins have been a frequent opponent of the Phillies during Hoskins' time in the majors. He already qualifies as a Marlins killer. In 10 games, he has eight homers and 19 RBIs against them.
 
• Freddy Galvis singled and belted a two-run homer. He is hitting .256 with 12 homers and 61 RBIs. He does not have a great on-base percentage (.308) but it is much improved from last year's mark of .274. He plays Gold Glove caliber defense. The Phillies front office wants to build a lineup around players with high on-base marks and that points to J.P. Crawford being the shortstop possibly as soon as opening day 2018 and Galvis being shopped for pitching this winter. Surely, the Phillies should be able to get value for a player like Galvis.
 
• The Phillies had 14 hits, including four homers. Every one of their starting position players collected a hit before the game was two innings old.
 
• Catcher Jorge Alfaro clubbed the first of three Phillies' homers in the second inning, a mammoth, 459-foot shot into the second deck above left field. It came off the bat at 109 mph. Alfaro's game needs work, particularly behind the plate, but he's got two big power tools in his bat and his arm. If he can ever add around those ...
 
• Marlins manager Don Mattingly started a watered-down lineup that did not include regular outfielders Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. Together that group has hit 104 home runs this season. Mattingly decided to give the trio a rest after the Marlins lost, 8-1, Wednesday night. Mattingly, a longtime player, coach and manager, said that was the worst he'd ever felt after a game and he wanted to give his stud outfielders a chance to reset. Thursday night's pounding could not have made him feel any better.
 
• Mattingly also made a day-of-game change in his starting pitcher, replacing Jose Urena with Vance Worley. The change was made because the Marlins wanted to give their rotation an extra day of rest. Worley, who entered the game with a 6.58 ERA, hadn't started since Aug. 29 and had pitched just 1 1/3 innings of relief since then. It's tough to be sharp pitching that little. Predictably, Worley was not. He gave up eight runs in 1 1/3 inning. Worley surrendered 1,264 feet worth of homers in the second inning.
 
• The Phillies gave Thompson a 9-0 lead after two innings.
 
• Cameron Perkins' first big-league homer was a pinch-hit shot in the eighth. He went to the same Indianapolis high school as Phillies Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, a fact that Matt Breen does not give a hoot about because he thinks the world began on the day he graduated from high school.
 
• The Phillies entered the game with the second-worst record in the majors, percentage points ahead of San Francisco. The Phils have to win at least six of their final 16 games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1961.
 
• The A's return to Philadelphia on Friday night. Pitching matchups for the interleague series against Oakland:
 
Friday night — RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (3-5, 4.84) vs. RHP Daniel Mengden (0-1, 7.07)
 
Saturday night — RHP Ben Lively (3-6, 3.86) vs. RHP Kendall Graveman (5-4, 4.48)
 
Sunday afternoon — RHP Henderson Alvarez (season debut) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (10-10, 4.65)