Baseball brings Byrd, inspirational teen together

Former big league pitcher's life changed when he took in youth from poor neighborhood

Baseball brings Byrd, inspirational teen together

Alpharetta, Ga., is a leafy, affluent community north of Atlanta. The median family income, according to the 2010 census, is over $110,000. The population is 72 percent white, 11.2 percent African-American.

Former big league pitcher Paul Byrd lives there.

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

Rodriguez baffles Rangers in sparkling MLB debut

Rodriguez baffles Rangers in sparkling MLB debut

ARLINGTON -- Red Sox rookie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez made a terrific Major League debut, throwing 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a 5-1 victory over the Rangers on Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

Rodriguez beat Rangers starter Nick Martinez, who suffered his first loss of the season. Martinez, who entered the game third in the league with a 1.96 ERA, allowed two runs in seven innings and is now 4-1 with a 2.03 ERA in 10 starts.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. Cody Stavenhagen is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kluber racks up 13 K's; Tribe tops Mariners

Kluber racks up 13 K's; Tribe tops Mariners

SEATTLE -- The Indians got another good outing from their rejuvenated Cy Young Award winner and the Mariners were left with concerns about their emerging young starter in a 5-3 Cleveland win that opened a four-game series at Safeco Field on Thursday night.

Tribe right-hander Corey Kluber entered the evening leading the American League in strikeouts with 83 and trailing only Washington's Max Scherzer (85) for the Major League's most so far this season, but Kluber blew past Scherzer with 13 punchouts. He struck out the side in the fifth inning, punched out two more in the sixth, and struck out the side again in his seventh and final inning.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

ASG debate: Rizzo or A-Gone at first in NL?

ASG debate: Rizzo or A-Gone at first in NL?

*** We will be doing daily ASG debates until 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game balloting ends on July 2. We will frequently be pitting one player against another and have a writer make a case for one of them, but that doesn't mean there aren't other great candidates for that position. In fact, your comments could spark a new debate for us to tackle. So let us know what you think! ***

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was asked the other day if he'd ever seen a hitter with as effective of a two-strike approach as Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.

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

A-Rod ties Bonds for 2nd on RBI list

Yanks slugger: It's 'special' to catch friend at 1,996

A-Rod ties Bonds for 2nd on RBI list

OAKLAND -- Alex Rodriguez drove in the 1,996th run of his career on Thursday, tying Barry Bonds for second place on baseball's all-time RBI list, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Rodriguez lifted a fifth-inning sacrifice fly to center field off Athletics starter Kendall Graveman, driving home Brett Gardner with the Yankees' third run of the evening in a 5-4 loss.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamilton gets standing ovation in return to Texas

Rangers slugger rewards crowd with double in first at-bat, adds RBI single

Hamilton gets standing ovation in return to Texas

ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton returned to his old ballpark on Thursday night and hit a first-pitch double in his first at-bat. In his final at-bat of the night, he had an RBI single to keep the Rangers from getting shut out.

That was about it for the Rangers' offensive highlights, as they returned to Arlington from a 7-2 road trip and opened a seven-game homestand with a 5-1 loss to the Red Sox.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miggy OK after being plunked on right foot

Tigers' star slugger expects to be ready for Friday night's game

Miggy OK after being plunked on right foot

ANAHEIM -- Miguel Cabrera's 1,402nd career RBI was just his second through a hit-by-pitch. It nearly came at a steep price in Thursday night's 12-2 loss.

As Cabrera hobbled around home plate, keeping pressure off his surgically repaired right foot after C.J. Wilson had hit it, he seemed to be balancing the fate of the Tigers' offense on it.

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

A look inside new Top 200 Draft Prospects list

With less than two weeks remaining, rankings shift to highlight premier talent

A look inside new Top 200 Draft Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com has just unveiled an updated and expanded First-Year Player Draft Top 200 Prospects list. While Lake Mary (Fla.) High shortstop Brendan Rodgers remains the top-rated talent, much has changed since our previous installment last month.

Arkansas outfielder Andrew Benintendi has made the biggest move up the list, going from No. 63 in April to No. 8 with less than two weeks remaining before the Draft. The Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, Benintendi is one of two NCAA Division I players with at least 15 homers and 20 stolen bases. The other is North Florida outfielder Donnie Dewees, who is also trending upward from No. 51 to 35.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers open doors to 'Selig Experience'

Miller Park multimedia exhibit honors feats of former owner, Commissioner

Brewers open doors to 'Selig Experience'

MILWAUKEE -- Part history lesson, part homage to the man who brought Major League Baseball back to Milwaukee, the "Selig Experience" opened at Miller Park on Thursday with a pair of Alan H. "Bud" Seligs in attendance -- one in the flesh, another in hologram.

And while he's no expert on the technology that makes the latter work, Hall of Famer Robin Yount offered a glowing review.

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

Tanaka could start for Yankees next week

Following second rehab outing, righty meeting club in California, might get call in Seattle

Tanaka could start for Yankees next week

OAKLAND -- Masahiro Tanaka's next start could come at the big league level, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Thursday.

Tanaka is en route to meet the club following his second Minor League rehabilitation start on Wednesday at Pawtucket for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and the right-hander could be slotted to start on Tuesday or Wednesday against the Mariners in Seattle.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

DraftKings picks: Howard, Fielder, Choo

DraftKings picks: Howard, Fielder, Choo

Welcome to DraftKings fantasy baseball, the Official Daily Fantasy Game of Major League Baseball.

The players listed below could provide difference-making stats for DraftKings participants on Friday.

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Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

What to watch for in today's games

Veterans Shields, Liriano duel in SD; Harvey aims to rebound; playoff preview in St. Louis?

What to watch for in today's games

Sometimes, marquee free agents live up to their advanced billing.

The Padres signed James Shields in the winter in the hopes of adding a frontline starter to their rotation, and the veteran right-hander has been every bit as good as advertised. Shields is 6-0 with a 3.75 ERA through his first 10 starts, and he'll try to add another positive start against the Pirates tonight.

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

Bucs roll to seventh straight with rout of Padres

Bucs roll to seventh straight with rout of Padres

SAN DIEGO -- The Pirates continued to ride their starting pitching Thursday night against the Padres at Petco Park as they won their seventh in a row, 11-5, this time behind veteran right-hander A.J. Burnett.

Pirates starters are 7-0 during the streak and Burnett continued a spectacular May. In this month alone, Burnett is 5-0, winning five in a row in his six starts. But it was his worst outing of the month statistically, as he allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Burnett had allowed five runs (four earned) in his previous six starts.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Jay Paris is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

CT scan shows 2 fractures in Werth's wrist

Injured by May 15 HBP, Nationals outfielder unlikely to return before August

CT scan shows 2 fractures in Werth's wrist

NEW YORK -- A CT scan of Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth's left wrist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on Thursday revealed two small fractures, according to a baseball source. The Nationals have not confirmed the news.

Dr. Richard Berger, who operated on Werth's wrist in 2012, is convinced that the veteran outfielder will return to full strength. If Werth's rehabilitation goes according to plan, he could return as early as August.

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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.

Angels crush three homers in rout of Tigers

Angels crush three homers in rout of Tigers

ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols and Matt Joyce hit early home runs, and Chris Iannetta came through with a late grand slam, to lead the Angels to a 12-2 win over the Tigers in Thursday's series opener at Angel Stadium.

Tigers right-hander Buck Farmer, starting in place of an injured Kyle Lobstein, was greeted by Pujols' line-drive two-run homer in the first inning and Joyce's long solo shot to right to open the second. Miguel Cabrera produced the Tigers' first run -- but with his foot, not his bat -- when he was hit by a C.J. Wilson pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the third. Jose Iglesias tacked on the other with a double in the ninth.

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David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Verlander set for first rehab start on Sunday

Verlander set for first rehab start on Sunday

ANAHEIM -- Justin Verlander got his first-ever look at Oracle Arena and NBA playoff basketball Wednesday night, joining teammate Miguel Cabrera to watch the Golden State Warriors advance to the NBA Finals. Come Sunday, he'll get his first taste of Triple-A baseball.

Clearly, he's hoping his start for Toledo on Sunday afternoon at Indianapolis will be a quick pit stop on his way back to the Tigers' rotation. The team, for its part, hasn't committed to one start or more, preferring to wait and see how his arm responds over 80-85 pitches.

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

A's rally against CC, edge Yankees

A's rally against CC, edge Yankees

OAKLAND -- Billy Burns and Brett Lawrie homered, and the A's posted a pair of runs in the seventh inning to break ahead and claim a 5-4 series-opening victory over the Yankees at the Coliseum on Thursday evening.

Lawrie wiped away a two-run Yankees lead in the sixth with a two-run home run off left-hander CC Sabathia, who allowed eight hits in six-plus innings and was charged with all five runs, and the A's went ahead in the seventh when Ben Zobrist drew a bases-loaded walk against right-hander David Carpenter.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

On Their Game: Randy Johnson and Geddy Lee

Base to bass: Hall of Famers are friends, and Big Unit rocks as a photographer

On Their Game: Randy Johnson and Geddy Lee

AUSTIN, Texas -- Amid the lights, video boards, shooting sparklers and other elaborate props that are commonplace on stage at a rock concert stands a quiet and very tall figure, dressed in blue jeans and an unassuming T-shirt, holding a camera.

He needs to be close to action, but he also has to stay out of the way of the main attraction, all the while capturing the poignant moments that will eventually document this particular moment in the band's history.

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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.

Soft-tossing Astros finding unique success

Statcast: Two Houston pitchers among top five in limiting exit velocity

Soft-tossing Astros finding unique success

When Astros rookie Lance McCullers made his Major League debut on May 18, it took him all of two pitches to do something no other Houston starter has done all season long, before or since: throw a pitch harder than 94 mph. More than 14,000 pitches across baseball have come to the plate that fast so far this season; eight pitchers have done it more than 300 times by themselves. Other than a few particularly hard heaters from reliever Josh Fields, no Astro -- and certainly no one in the rotation -- had crossed the threshold.

In a sport that's always trying to find the next flame-throwing big thing -- average fastball velocity has increased slightly each year since 2008 -- the Astros have taken a completely different approach. They throw their fastballs softer than any team in baseball, with a Statcast™ perceived velocity of just 90.12 mph through Memorial Day. You might assume it's a just a lack of talent on a team coming off six consecutive losing seasons. However, it might actually be a concerted effort to look for something a little different than the traditional big heat -- and it's working.

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Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

How to see the 'Selig Experience'

Free exhibit inside Miller Park delivers story of former owner, Commissioner

How to see the 'Selig Experience'

MILWAUKEE -- The "Selig Experience" is a new attraction on Miller Park's loge level that tells the story of club founder Allan H. "Bud" Selig. Here's how to experience it for yourself:

• The attraction will be open to the general public during all Brewers home games from the time that gates open until the seventh inning. Admission is free for those with tickets to the game, including two reserved showings each day. Fans can register in advance to see the Selig Experience at Miller Park for no charge by visiting brewers.com/SeligExperience.

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

Bogaerts exits with bruised left forearm after HBP

Bogaerts exits with bruised left forearm after HBP

ARLINGTON -- Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts left Thursday's game against the Rangers two innings after he was hit on the left wrist by an 0-2 pitch from Nick Martinez in the second. The Red Sox announced that Bogaerts has a bruised left forearm.

Bogaerts was in visible pain after getting hit, but trainers tended to him and he ended up staying in the game until the fourth inning. New acquisition Carlos Peguero hit for Bogaerts and moved into left field, with Brock Holt taking Bogaerts' place at short.

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

Belt's blast helps power Giants past Braves

Belt's blast helps power Giants past Braves

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Heston recovered from a two-game slump by pitching 7 1/3 smooth innings and Brandon Belt homered to ignite a late scoring binge for the Giants, who continued their month-long surge with a 7-0 win over the Braves on Thursday night at AT&T Park.

Heston (5-3) allowed 11 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings spanning his previous pair of starts, but he permitted just four hits while allowing one Braves runner to move into scoring position. The rookie right-hander thus helped the Giants win their fifth consecutive home game, secure their 12th victory in 14 games overall and improve to 20-7 in May.

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

Mariners await news on severity of Paxton's injury

Starter exits early vs. Indians after feeling 'twinge' in finger

Mariners await news on severity of Paxton's injury

SEATTLE -- The Mariners have been beyond pleased with the progress of left-hander James Paxton. After Thursday night, though, their enthusiasm has been put on hold.

Paxton was removed from the 5-3 loss to the Indians with two outs in the top of the fifth inning because of discomfort in the middle finger of his pitching hand. He was slated to be re-evaluated Friday.

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

Kazmir may miss just one start

MRI shows no structural damage to shoulder; A's not planning to put lefty on DL

Kazmir may miss just one start

OAKLAND -- A's left-hander Scott Kazmir could potentially miss just one start, after an MRI on his shoulder revealed no structural damage.

"Just a little bit of a weak shoulder at this point," said A's manager Bob Melvin before the 5-4 victory over the Yankees.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cano out of starting lineup for 1st time this season

Seattle second baseman scratched with illness

Cano out of starting lineup for 1st time this season

SEATTLE -- It isn't just a Mariners rarity when Robinson Cano isn't in the lineup. He hadn't missed a game this season, missed only five last year, and had averaged 160 games for the previous seven seasons with the Yankees.

So even though Cano entered Thursday night's 5-3 loss to the Indians at Safeco Field with a very un-Cano-like .253/.296/.333 line, one home run and 13 RBIs, it didn't take long for Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon to explain why the second baseman's name didn't appear on the card for the first time in 2015.

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

Shakeup atop Top International Prospects list

Shakeup atop Top International Prospects list

Three top prospects have officially changed the landscape of the international market.

Cuban outfield prospect Eddy Julio Martinez, who some have compared to a young Andruw Jones, infielder Lucius Fox, who is from the Bahamas, and Cuban pitcher Yadier Alvarez have emerged as the top three eligible players for the international signing period that begins on July 2.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kluber puts early struggles further in rearview

Indians ace's 13-K effort continues run of strong starts

Kluber puts early struggles further in rearview

SEATTLE -- This was the main event. The heavyweight matchup that the fans inside Safeco Field paid to see on Thursday night. Indians ace Corey Kluber stared in at Seattle slugger Nelson Cruz in a power-versus-power moment that was critical to the contest.

The Mariners had two runners aboard with two outs in the fifth inning. Kluber had a three-run lead.

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

Halos to stay cautious with Aybar's hamstring

Club does not expect shortstop to need DL stint with tight left hammy

Halos to stay cautious with Aybar's hamstring

ANAHEIM -- Angels shortstop Erick Aybar felt some tightness in his left hamstring while running down the first-base line in the fifth inning, prompting him to exit Thursday's 12-2 win early.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he doesn't expect Aybar to go on the disabled list, "but we will definitely make sure that he's 100 percent before he gets back in our lineup."

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dominant Sale sets up win as Sox hold off O's

Dominant Sale sets up win as Sox hold off O's

BALTIMORE -- Chicago ace Chris Sale was dominant, spoiling Orioles rookie Tyler Wilson's impressive first Major League start and striking out 12 in the White Sox 3-2 Game 1 win over Baltimore on Thursday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Sale went 7 2/3 scoreless innings, tallying a season high in strikeouts and holding the O's to just four singles. Baltimore didn't get on the board until Chris Davis' two-run homer -- his third in two games -- off reliever Zach Duke in the ninth.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Orioles pepper Sox in Game 2 to split twin bill

Orioles pepper Sox in Game 2 to split twin bill

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles tallied 13 hits and capitalized on some sloppy White Sox defense to pave the way for a 6-3 win and a doubleheader split at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday night.

Baltimore scored five runs (four earned) over six innings off rookie starter Chris Beck, who was making his Major League debut.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.