Max takes over after Bryce's HR as Nats edge Phils

Max takes over after Bryce's HR as Nats edge Phils

WASHINGTON -- Nationals starter Max Scherzer was brilliant on the mound yet again, and it was his leadoff single in the sixth and run scored from first base on Ian Desmond's double that decided Washington's 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Friday night at Nationals Park.

On the bump, Scherzer outdueled Sean O'Sullivan, lasting eight innings and allowing only a second-inning run. Now 5-3 on the season, after winning his fourth straight start, Scherzer recorded his sixth consecutive outing of at least seven innings pitched.

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Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cruz homers to back Felix vs. Jays

Cruz homers to back Felix vs. Jays

TORONTO -- Felix Hernandez had another dominating performance while Nelson Cruz homered and Logan Morrison added a two-run triple in the Mariners' 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

Hernandez surrendered a solo homer to Edwin Encarnacion in the first inning, but was borderline flawless from that point on. He faced the minimum from the second inning through the fifth and allowed only two baserunners to reach scoring position.

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Gregor Chisholm and Greg Johns are reporters for MLB.com. 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.

ASG debate: Prince or Hosmer at first in AL?

Rusurging Ranger, emerging Royals star clash on Midsummer Classic ballot

ASG debate: Prince or Hosmer at first in AL?

*** We will be doing daily ASG debates until 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! ***

You want a head-to-head All-Star ballot matchup? Last week, the Royals and Rangers split a four-game series at Globe Life Park. Prince Fielder homered in Games 1 and 3, and Texas won those. Eric Hosmer homered in Games 2 and 4, and Kansas City won those.

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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.

Ichiro moves past Babe on all-time hits list

Ichiro moves past Babe on all-time hits list

MIAMI -- Ichiro Suzuki passed Babe Ruth on the all-time hits list in his first at-bat, going the other way on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the second inning with a single to left-center.

With the hit, the 41-year-old Suzuki moves into 38th place since 1900 with hit No. 2,874. It also sparked a two-run rally that extended the Marlins' lead to 3-0.

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Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

A-Rod ties Babe for fourth in RBIs

A-Rod ties Babe for fourth in RBIs

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez drove in the 1,992nd run of his career Friday, tying Babe Ruth for fourth place on the all-time RBI list, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Rodriguez's seventh-inning single to center field off Rangers starter Colby Lewis drove home Slade Heathcott with the Yankees' fifth run of the evening.

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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.

Prince parks pair as Rangers outslug Yanks

Prince parks pair as Rangers outslug Yanks

NEW YORK -- Prince Fielder homered twice and Mitch Moreland also cleared the wall as the Rangers knocked around Michael Pineda and the Yankees, holding on to secure a 10-9 victory on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

Texas capitalized upon sloppy defense to hang a seven-run third inning on Pineda, who contributed to the jam with a throwing error of his own. Delino DeShields and Shin-Soo Choo also drove in runs against Pineda, who was charged with four earned runs over six innings.

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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. 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.

Martinez, Simon keep Tigers rolling vs. Astros

Martinez, Simon keep Tigers rolling vs. Astros

DETROIT -- J.D. Martinez's three-run home run helped power Alfredo Simon through seven strong innings, sending the Tigers to their second straight win over the American League West-leading Astros -- and third straight overall -- with a 6-2 victory Friday night at Comerica Park.

Martinez's ninth home run of the year was a two-out shot that salvaged a third-inning scoring chance created by back-to-back singles from Jose Iglesias and Anthony Gose, the latter coming on a well-placed bunt to the right side. Astros starter Collin McHugh (5-2) overcame it to last seven innings, but Houston's high-power, low-average offense couldn't get him the lead back.

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

Quicken, Pollock can help you 'Steal A Home'

Fans can win free mortgage payment up to $1,500 after speedster swipes plate

Quicken, Pollock can help you 'Steal A Home'

There was big news on the U.S. mortgage lending front in recent hours, as the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage ticked down to 3.84 percent and A.J. Pollock stole home.

While real estate buyers and sellers digest the news of Freddie Mac's key figures released on Thursday, the real upside here for Major League Baseball fans is the chance to win a free mortgage payment of up to $1,500 from Quicken Loans thanks to one of those club-record-tying seven stolen bases by the D-backs in their 6-1 victory a night earlier in Miami.

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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.

Bucs' Cole fans 10 Mets, outduels Thor

Bucs' Cole fans 10 Mets, outduels Thor

PITTSBURGH -- Gerrit Cole emerged victorious in a battle of electric young right arms Friday night, outdueling Noah Syndergaard and looking like one of the National League's top pitchers as the Pirates beat the Mets, 4-1, at PNC Park.

Cole ran out of the Pirates' dugout to start the ninth inning, seeking the first complete game of his big league career, but fell two outs short. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out 10 and threw a career-high 8 1/3 innings, improving to 6-2 with a 2.05 ERA after his seventh quality start of the season.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. 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.

Homers power Rays to victory over A's

Homers power Rays to victory over A's

ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria's three-run homer led the Rays to a 5-2 win over the A's on Friday night at Tropicana Field.

Longoria rerouted a 1-2 Scott Kazmir fastball into the left-field stands with two aboard for his fifth home run of the season.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Michael Kolligian is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Konerko honored to have No. 14 retired

Konerko honored to have No. 14 retired

CHICAGO -- The sendoff given to Paul Konerko last September on the night before the end of his 16-year-career with the White Sox and 18-year career overall would have been sufficient closure for the White Sox captain.

Konerko received a concourse statue and the baseball he hit for a grand slam in Game 2 of the 2005 World Series sweep of Houston among the many gifts and honors. But having his jersey No. 14 retired, as announced during his retirement ceremony at the end of 2014 and taking place on Saturday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field, truly brings the consummate White Sox professional full circle.

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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.

Big leaguers teach fundamentals at Hall

Big leaguers teach fundamentals at Hall

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- There's no cheating the basics. The path to the Hall of Fame begins on anonymous fields and involves learning the basic fundamentals, and 150 local area kids got the benefit of a lesson from some of baseball's best on Friday afternoon. Seven former big leaguers suited up and got involved at Doubleday Field on Friday, running the kids through their paces and helping them brush up on each of the game's disparate skills.

Former Atlanta southpaw Steve Avery was on hand to teach the basics of pitching, and big league catchers Bengie Molina and Ed Taubensee tutored their young charges in catching and hitting, respectively. Jack Wilson, a former All-Star with the Pirates, taught the basic of infield play, and Jim Eisenreich was on hand to teach basic fundamentals in the outfield. There were also stations devoted to baserunning and bunting for the three-hour clinic.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Konerko's everyman style made him a favorite

Statistics alone cannot begin to measure why slugger touched hearts of fans

Konerko's everyman style made him a favorite

His tools were a first baseman's mitt and a bat, not a sledgehammer or a wrench. But Paul Konerko was the first person you wanted to see after clocking in on the job. Any job.

He wasn't ever just another guy, just another baseball player, but he carried himself like he could have been your mailman or auto mechanic -- not the guy facing Mariano Rivera with the game on the line. The deep connection that developed between Konerko and White Sox fans is the way baseball should be.

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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.

Hanley exits game due to left hand soreness

Red Sox left fielder was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning

Hanley exits game due to left hand soreness

BOSTON -- Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez exited Friday's game against the Angels in the top of the sixth inning with left hand soreness.

In the bottom of the fourth, Ramirez was plunked on that hand by a pitch from Angels right-hander Garrett Richards.

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

Smith appeals 8-game penalty for substance

Brewers' clubhouse calmer day after heated exchange in Atlanta

Smith appeals 8-game penalty for substance

ATLANTA -- Brewers reliever Will Smith is not trying to dodge justice in his appeal of the eight-game suspension Major League Baseball handed down Friday. He knows, technically, that he broke a longstanding rule that prohibits pitchers from using foreign substances. He admits it.

Smith just thinks his particular crime doesn't fit that kind of time.

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John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Braves miffed by 'blatant' use of substance

In aftermath of Smith's ejection, many OK with pitchers improving grip

Braves miffed by 'blatant' use of substance

ATLANTA -- Count Braves right fielder Nick Markakis among the Major League hitters who are comforted by the trend of pitchers using a hidden foreign substance to improve their grip of the baseball.

But when that substance is clearly visible -- like it was Thursday night when Brewers left-hander Will Smith was caught with a mixture of sunscreen and rosin on his right forearm -- umpires really have no option other than to abide by the rules.

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

Mariano's son among Draft's family ties

Kin of current, former Major Leaguers ready to take game to professional level

Mariano's son among Draft's family ties

Hearing their name called during next month's First-Year Player Draft would be a dream come true for many hopeful future big leaguers, some of whom will be trying to build upon their already strong family legacy within the game.

More than a thousand names will be called over the 40-round affair from June 8-10, and many could have a familiar ring to them. In fact, eight of MLB.com's Top 100 Draft prospects alone have family ties to Major League Baseball.

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

Werth: Nats benefiting from relaxed Harper

Rehabbing outfielder focused on keeping distractions from derailing ultimate goal

Werth: Nats benefiting from relaxed Harper

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper has been carrying the Nationals for more than a month with his big bat, and teammate Jayson Werth called Harper's fast start "awesome."

Harper clubbed his 16th home run, and 11th in 14 games, during Friday's 2-1 win over the Phillies, and he leads the National League in nine offensive categories, including home runs, RBIs and on-base percentage.

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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.

Ryu had pitched through shoulder issue since '12

Ryu had pitched through shoulder issue since '12

LOS ANGELES -- Hyun-Jin Ryu said the shoulder labrum repaired in season-ending surgery on Thursday showed up on the first MRI exam he had before signing with the Dodgers in 2012.

But Ryu, his left arm in a sling during a Dodger Stadium news conference, said he was always able to pitch with it and figured he'd be able to again after it flared up in Spring Training.

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

Tomas finds groove since being called up

D-backs' third baseman enjoying his first stint in Major Leagues

Tomas finds groove since being called up

PHOENIX -- A month and a week into his Major League career, Yasmany Tomas is having fun. With a six-game streak of two hits or more going into Friday's series opener between the D-backs and the Cubs, the Cuban-born slugger has found his groove at the plate and in the field at third base.

"I'm really enjoying myself in the games now, like I did in Cuba,", Tomas said Friday during a Spanish-language press conference at Chase Field. "I think that's important for any player. It's serious business, but at the same time it's a game. I'm having good results right now and I feel really good. I'm going to do everything I can to keep it going."

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David Venn is executive editor of Spanish-LasMayores.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers pull Peralta early with left side injury

Right-hander replaced after 4 innings with Crew carrying big lead

Brewers pull Peralta early with left side injury

ATLANTA -- Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta was cruising Friday night, something he hasn't done much this season, when he felt some tightness in his left side on a pitch in the fourth inning against the Braves.

After a brief injury timeout -- he pulled up after a low 2-2 slider to Atlanta's Alberto Callaspo -- Peralta finished the inning without incident. But with a 9-0 lead after a seven-run fourth inning, the Brewers decided to pull the right-hander and start the fifth with righty reliever Michael Blazek. The club announced Peralta left the game with left side tightness.

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John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox add Rusney, option Bradley

Cuban outfielder plays right field, bats eighth in 2015 debut

Red Sox add Rusney, option Bradley

BOSTON -- The Red Sox, in desperate need of a spark to their struggling offense, summoned Rusney Castillo to Fenway Park for Friday's game against the Angels. The right-handed hitter was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket and immediately placed in Boston's lineup in the eighth spot and in right field for the opener of a three-game series.

"Well, he's someone who has got the ability to impact the baseball," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

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

Puig still sidelined with tight hamstring

Left leg bothered Dodgers outfielder while trying to jog this week

Puig still sidelined with tight hamstring

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig felt continued left hamstring tightness trying to jog this week and remains sidelined indefinitely, manager Don Mattingly said Friday.

Puig, an All-Star last year, has played only 11 of the Dodgers' 40 games this year. He has two home runs and four RBIs. He was originally injured April 13, then reinjured April 24. He hurt it for a third time during a Minor League rehab game May 8.

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

10 bizarre rules you won't believe existed

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10 bizarre rules you won't believe existed

Baseball has been played roughly the same way for so long that its rules have become sacred institutions. The numbers are spoken of in hushed tones, and even thinking about touching them is akin to heresy: Of course there are 90 feet between bases, because it just feels right, and has for generations.

But the path the game took to get here was more trial and error than divine intervention, the game's founding fathers throwing all kinds of stuff against the wall to see what stuck. It was a long and winding road, full of detours and dead ends and pegging innocent baserunners (no, really). To appreciate just how far we've come, behold, we give you nine incredibly weird rules that we swear actually existed.

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'Tough as they come' Pujols back for Angels

First baseman was hit on left hand/wrist by pitch in Toronto

'Tough as they come' Pujols back for Angels

BOSTON -- Albert Pujols returned to the Angels' lineup for Friday's series opener against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, two days after a fastball hit him on the left hand/wrist.

Pujols thought he was headed for the disabled list while in Toronto on Wednesday night, but a CT scan revealed only a bruise and the swelling on the bottom of his left hand subsided significantly by Thursday afternoon. The 35-year-old first baseman will initially have to hit through a little bit of pain, but he believes it's manageable.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

McCullers has ability to close games

McCullers has ability to close games

Right-hander Lance McCullers has made a rather quick rise through the Astros' organization. The club's No. 10 prospect was promoted to the big league club Monday after having spent parts of only four seasons in the Minors.

The son of former Major League relief pitcher Lance McCullers, the younger McCullers earned numerous honors and great recognition at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla. McCullers won't be 22 until October, and it's quite possible he could add strength to his 6-foot-2, 205-pound, highly athletic frame.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Trying next step, Verlander to throw sim game

Rehabbing righty scheduled to face Tigers hitters Tuesday in Oakland

Trying next step, Verlander to throw sim game

DETROIT -- Six weeks after Justin Verlander threw a simulated game and fell short of his goal, he's scheduled to throw another one. He'll face a group of Tigers hitters Tuesday afternoon in Oakland, where Detroit faces the A's next week, as he tries the next step in his rehab process.

Verlander threw an extended bullpen session Thursday at Comerica Park, sitting down and getting back up to simulate innings breaks in his start. He threw his regular pregame warmup routine in the bullpen, about 45 pitches by manager Brad Ausmus' estimation, then two innings of 15 pitches each, with eight warmup pitches beforehand.

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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.

Jay nearing return from left wrist tendinitis

Jay nearing return from left wrist tendinitis

KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder Jon Jay was in an upbeat mood as he relaxed in the Cardinals' clubhouse on Friday afternoon.

"I'm going to hit with the club on the field today and that's good news for me," Jay said.

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Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rodon's next start delayed; Noesi to take hill Monday

Top prospect has struggled with command in Majors

Rodon's next start delayed; Noesi to take hill Monday

CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon's previous start for the White Sox came on Wednesday night against the Indians, when the rookie southpaw walked five over six innings and allowed one run.

His next start takes place on … .

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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.