Happy 4th! Harper homers with USA bat

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Happy 4th! Harper homers with USA bat

Nothing goes together quite like baseball and America. Don't believe us? Just ask Bryce Harper, who stepped to the plate during the Nats' July 4th matchup with the Giants rocking some highly patriotic lumber that we can only assume was harvested from a forest using nothing but freedom and was then transported to Nationals Park on the backs of bald eagles.

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Avisail jumps into highlight reels, robs HR

Snares game-tying shot from Davis in ninth inning

Avisail jumps into highlight reels, robs HR

CHICAGO -- David Robertson didn't keep the baseball used to strike out Matt Wieters and close out a 3-2 White Sox victory over the Orioles on Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field.

Yes, it was Robertson's 18th save as White Sox closer, and he keeps a baseball from each one. But on this afternoon, the ball went to right fielder Avisail Garcia.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

In 1st start at first, Avila dives into crowd

Filling in for Miggy, Tigers' usual catcher flips headfirst into stands

In 1st start at first, Avila dives into crowd

DETROIT -- Before Saturday's 8-3 victory over the Blue Jays, during which he made his first career start at first base, the Tigers' Alex Avila downplayed expectations.

"I'm not going to be amazing over there by any means, but I think I'll do adequate," Avila said.

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Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ByAZuniga. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Panda raises the bar in defensive clinic

Falls into Astros' dugout on catch; starts 5-6-3 DP in shift

Panda raises the bar in defensive clinic

BOSTON -- Although he's not quite known for his fleetness of foot, Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval still has a penchant for flashing moments of highlight-reel defense at the hot corner. On Saturday, he reminded fans that the dugout railing is no match for a fast-moving Panda during Boston's 6-1 win over the Astros at Fenway Park.

In the fourth inning, outfielder Preston Tucker led off by hitting a popup into foul territory along the edge of the Houston dugout. Sandoval tracked the ball, reached over the railing and tumbled into the dugout, but he held on to make an impressive catch for the out.

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Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

All-Star starters unveiled Sunday, full roster Monday

Watch selection shows on ESPN; Final Vote to get underway Monday

All-Star starters unveiled Sunday, full roster Monday

It was historic because it happened exclusively online. It was personal because it decided the fate of your favorite players. It was intense because you argued a lot. And it was teamwork because you helped shatter a Major League Baseball record.

After 65 consecutive days of relentless fan voting to determine starting positions players for the 86th All-Star Game on July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, the largest All-Star balloting program in sports closed at 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

FAQ: How exactly are All-Star rosters constructed?

FAQ: How exactly are All-Star rosters constructed?

It's the time of year when division races become clearer, the Trade Deadline looms and the baseball world prepares to descend upon one lucky city that has been selected to play host to one of Major League Baseball's jewel events -- the All-Star Game.

With the All-Star Game, comes All-Star confusion -- not about the game itself, but the rosters, and how exactly they're configured.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giants use CF to try to pick off Harper

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Giants use CF to try to pick off Harper

During Saturday's game against the Nationals, the Giants experimented with a rather unique pick-off move. Bryce Harper had a bit of a lead off second base, so they tried to get him out … using center fielder Gregor Blanco.

For something as odd as this to work, it would require Blanco to sneak into the infield as smoothly as a ninja cat. However, that's not quite what happened. 

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Error hands Yankees 2nd straight walk-off win

Error hands Yankees 2nd straight walk-off win

NEW YORK -- The Yankees and Rays were tied in the ninth when Ramon Flores laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance pinch-runner Jose Pirela to third and Chris Young to second. But reliever Brad Boxberger's errant throw to first base allowed Pirela to come sliding into home as the Yanks topped the Rays, 3-2, on Saturday at Yankee Stadium with their second straight walk-off victory.

"I just yanked the throw," Boxberger said. " ... I should have made that play and I didn't."

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miggy on DL with calf strain, to miss 6 weeks

Tigers call up Marte from Triple-A Toledo to take spot on active roster

Miggy on DL with calf strain, to miss 6 weeks

DETROIT -- For the first time in his career, Miguel Cabrera is headed to the disabled list. The American League's hitting leader and two-time Most Valuable Player Award winner went on the 15-day DL on Saturday morning with a left calf strain sustained on the basepaths in Friday night's 8-6 victory over the Blue Jays.

An MRI taken on the calf revealed a Grade 3 calf strain -- including tearing of muscle fibers -- which is expected to keep Cabrera out for around six weeks. The Tigers were expecting to get an additional opinion from Dr. Robert Anderson, the specialist who performed surgery last fall on Cabrera's left ankle and foot.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Today's starting lineups: July 4

Below are today's starting lineups that have been made public by Major League Baseball's clubs.

A lineup is not official until it is handed to the umpire.

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Santana's own swipe can help fans steal a home

Quicken Loans sweepstakes offers chance to win mortgage payment valued at up to $1,500

Santana's own swipe can help fans steal a home

Aggressive baserunning by the Astros on Friday capped a four-run 10th inning in a 12-8 win over the Red Sox, but it could pay even greater dividends for a lucky fan, thanks to the Quicken Loans "Steal A Home" program.

• Quicken Loans: Steal a Home Sweepstakes

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Strasburg exits early with left side injury

Strasburg exits early with left side injury

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg left Saturday's 9-3 win over the Giants in the fourth inning because of tightness in his left side and was replaced by right-hander Tanner Roark.

Strasburg was cruising for 3 2/3 innings, allowing one hit and striking out three batters, as the Nationals led the Giants, 3-0. Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos believed that Strasburg was having his best game of the season.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Look out! Pigeon attacks Kiermaier after hit

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Look out! Pigeon attacks Kiermaier after hit

The Rays and Yankees were deadlocked, 3-3, in the top of the 12th inning. With two runners on, Kevin Kiermaier hit an RBI single to center field. He stood at first base, basking in what at the time was the go-ahead run (the Yankees walked off in the bottom of the inning) and was removing his shin guard when, suddenly, A PIGEON FLEW AT HIS FACE.

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Rookie Graveman outduels King Felix in win

Rookie Graveman outduels King Felix in win

OAKLAND -- A's rookie Kendall Graveman outdueled Mariners ace Felix Hernandez on Saturday as Oakland won a Fourth of July afternoon showdown, 2-0, at the Coliseum.

Graveman allowed just five hits over seven scoreless innings, improving his record as a starter to 5-2 with a 1.78 ERA in nine games since being recalled from Triple-A in late May. The win pulls the A's (38-46) to a half-game behind Seattle (37-44) at the bottom of the American League West.

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Trevor Hass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Questions remain if Cueto will pitch in All-Star Game

Questions remain if Cueto will pitch in All-Star Game

CINCINNATI -- Unlike his dynamic 2014 season, Reds ace Johnny Cueto isn't a lock to make the 2015 National All-Star team this year when reserve rosters and pitchers are revealed on Monday night.

But just like last year, Cueto may not be able to pitch if he makes the team. That's because he's once again lined up to pitch the final game of the first half on Sunday, when he faces the Marlins.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Russell recalls 'whirlwind' year after megadeal

Infielder thankful to be part of Cubs on anniversary of blockbuster with A's

Russell recalls 'whirlwind' year after megadeal

CHICAGO -- The Fourth of July means more than fireworks for rookie Addison Russell. This year, the date marks the one-year anniversary of when the infielder was traded from the Athletics to the Cubs.

Russell, 21, posted on Twitter: "Happy 4th to everyone out there! July 4th is also the day @billy_mckinney and I became Cubbies #WeAreGood #missyabud"

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Marty Noble

Baseball's true colors are red, white and blue

Baseball's true colors are red, white and blue

Hot dogs, baseball, apple pie and the Fourth of July. They are birds of a feather, and the plumes are red, white and blue. Today is the day when picnics, patriotism and parades join hands with pitchouts, popups and power hitting, and when flags and fly balls fill the air. Doubleheaders no longer appear on Independence Day schedules, but make no mistake, this is a baseball day as much as Opening Day or the first day of the World Series.

"Baseball, gentlemen, baseball!" is what curmudgeon Jimmy Cannon told fellow baseball writers one day in Cincinnati, late in the 1964 season, when their chirping conversation turned to college football. Cannon's words echo loudly every July 4.

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Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matz, eyeing encore, faces Dodgers

After memorable debut, southpaw gets first test on the road

Matz, eyeing encore, faces Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- This time around, Steven Matz will have no family in the crowd, no screaming throngs of friends behind the home dugout. When Matz takes the mound for his second career start Sunday at Dodger Stadium, it will be normal.

Sort of.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

2015 Draft: Signing and Bonus Tracker

Here's a complete breakdown of which 2015 Draft picks from the first 10 rounds have agreed to terms, along with their reported bonuses and starting assignments. The list will be updated through the July 17 signing deadline.

Clubs have not announced or confirmed bonuses.

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Cards recall Navy vet Harris, option G. Garcia

Club now playing with four-man bench, eight-man bullpen

Cards recall Navy vet Harris, option G. Garcia

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals added an extra arm to the bullpen on Saturday, summoning reliever Mitch Harris from Triple-A and clearing a roster spot for him by optioning infielder Greg Garcia to Memphis.

The move, which represents the Cardinals' third player transaction in as many days, leaves the club with a four-man bench and an eight-man bullpen.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

DeJesus screams for ice cream in dugout

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DeJesus screams for ice cream in dugout

Everyone loves free baseball. When games stretch into the wee hours of the night, traffic is easier leaving the ballpark, the likelihood that you get to witness an incredible finish increases and you get plenty of opportunities to "aww" at parents holding their sleeping kids who couldn't quite make it past their bedtime.

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239 reasons to love baseball and America

Fourth of July is perfect time to celebrate country and sport

239 reasons to love baseball and America

Pedro Martinez, about to be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this month, struck out 239 batters for Boston in 2002 and gave up 239 home runs in his career.

Rod Carew led the Majors with 239 hits for Minnesota in his American League MVP season of 1977 -- exactly 80 years after Wee Willie Keeler reached that career-best number for Baltimore.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sox keeping options open on Pedroia's return

Takes batting practice, could return for Yankees series

Sox keeping options open on Pedroia's return

BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia took batting practice for the second straight day, and the Red Sox haven't ruled him out for a return against the Yankees next weekend.

However, the club could also take a more conservative course of action and have the invaluable second baseman come back after the All-Star break.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mattingly believes Puig's power will return

Mattingly believes Puig's power will return

LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig made a return from the disabled list on June 6, but his home run power has yet to return.

Entering Saturday, Puig was hitting .286 in 34 games this season, but his power numbers have declined, even going back to the second half of last season. The 24-year-old had three home runs this season and eight home runs in his last 555 plate appearances over his last 131 games.

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Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fourth of July standings can predict playoffs

Teams in first place on the Fourth are likely to be playing in October

Fourth of July standings can predict playoffs

Perhaps no holiday coincides better with Major League Baseball than Independence Day.

The two have long gone hand in hand and, this year in particular, the patriotic holiday just so happens to fall square in the middle of the national pastime's season. With that in mind, what better time than now to check in on the postseason prospects of the current division leaders?

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Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pham fuels Cards' skid-busting win vs. Padres

Pham fuels Cards' skid-busting win vs. Padres

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' offense didn't exactly break out on Saturday, but it did enough to snap a season-long four-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Padres in front of a sellout crowd at Busch Stadium.

Recent Cardinals callup Tommy Pham scored the go-ahead run in the eighth after reaching on an Alexi Amarista error, swiping second -- his first Major League steal -- moving to third on a groundout and sliding safely into home on Jhonny Peralta's sacrifice fly. Padres reliever Brandon Maurer took the loss despite not allowing a hit in his inning of work.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats' bats provide Fourth of July fireworks

Nats' bats provide Fourth of July fireworks

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals displayed their own set of fireworks in the batter's box and defeated the Giants, 9-3, in Saturday's Independence Day matinee at Nationals Park.

Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner was on the mound when the Nationals scored three runs in the first inning on homers by Michael Taylor and Bryce Harper. By the time Bumgarner left the game, he had allowed six runs over five-plus innings.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yanks rally on McCann's walk-off HR in 12th

Yanks rally on McCann's walk-off HR in 12th

NEW YORK -- Brian McCann sent a walk-off three-run homer over the right-field fence in the 12th inning to push the Yankees past the Rays, 7-5, on Friday night at Yankee Stadium. It was the Yankees' first walk-off win of the year.

"That would have been an extremely tough game to lose, and I give our guys a ton of credit," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

In face of injuries, Cardinals persevere

In face of injuries, Cardinals persevere

With the season reaching the midway point this weekend, the Cardinals find themselves not only sitting atop the National League Central, six games in front of the second-place Pirates, but they're the only big league team on pace to win 100 games.

Go figure.

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zaaaaaaATracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Trout, Scherzer and the best of 2015 so far

Trout, Scherzer and the best of 2015 so far

On this Fourth of July, we salute a baseball season that has given us new stars like Joc Pederson, Kris Bryant and Carlos Correa. We pause to praise the greatness of Max Scherzer, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. We raise a glass to the Astros, the Twins and the Cubs.

And we salute a completely scrambled playoff picture, the promise of a chaotic non-waiver Trade Deadline and a September that has the potential to be the best ever. On this day of celebration and thanks, we're reminded there has never been a better time to be a baseball fan.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.