Encarnacion extends hit streak to 24 with a homer

Encarnacion extends hit streak to 24 with a homer

TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion didn't waste any time extending his Major League-best hitting streak on Saturday afternoon at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays' slugger clubbed a three-run shot in the first inning against the Tigers to spot the home team an early 3-0 lead.

After Josh Donaldson singled and Jose Bautista walked, Encarnacion took a 1-1 curveball from Detroit starter Buck Farmer deep to left field, marking the 24th game in a row in which the Blue Jays' cleanup man has recorded a hit. It's the longest Blue Jays hitting streak since Scott Rolen had a hit in 25 straight games in 2009.

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

What to watch for in today's games

What to watch for in today's games

The final Saturday in August is here, yet it already feels like September with many exciting races heating up throughout Major League Baseball.

Here are four games to watch Saturday:

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Today's starting lineups: Aug. 29

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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LA's Win, Vin situation: 15 K's, Scully in '16

LA's Win, Vin situation: 15 K's, Scully in '16

LOS ANGELES -- On the night Vin Scully announced he will return to the broadcast booth next season, Clayton Kershaw struck out 14 and the Dodgers put up a three-run sixth inning to beat the Cubs, 4-1, on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out one in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to complete a 15-K night for Dodgers pitchers.

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Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Hal Bodley

Yost's use of superb 'pen changing baseball

Yost's use of superb 'pen changing baseball

ST. PETERSBURG -- It's not exactly revolutionary, but the high-flying Kansas City Royals are changing the face of baseball with the way manager Ned Yost uses his talented bullpen.

Other teams are adopting the successful formula, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if in seasons to come, it becomes the accepted way, just like today's widely used defensive shifts.

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Hal Bodley, dean of American baseball writers, is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. Follow him @halbodley on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

USA finalists out to end long LLWS droughts

Pennsylvania, Texas haven't won Little League World Series since '60s

USA finalists out to end long LLWS droughts

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA -- As the Red Land Little League team from Pennsylvania and the Pearland Little League squad from Texas prepare for the U.S. Championship game at Lamade Stadium on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC), they have more than just a spot in Sunday's World Series Championship on the line. With a win, one of these clubs also takes one more step toward a title five decades in the making.

No team from Texas has won the world championship since 1966. The drought for Pennsylvania has lasted even longer, going back to the '60 Little League World Series.

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Jake Schwartzstein is an editor for Major League Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Goins takes advantage of lapse to score on a two-base sac fly

Goins takes advantage of lapse to score on a two-base sac fly

TORONTO -- Ryan Goins scored all the way from second on a two-base sacrifice fly in the fourth inning of the Blue Jays' game against the Tigers on Saturday at Rogers Centre.

Josh Donaldson flied out to Detroit center fielder Anthony Gose, who hauled in what he thought was the third out of the inning and began trotting off the field. Unfortunately for him, it was only the second out.

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

Statcast tracks Polanco's arm, Swihart's legs

Ellsbury, Turner also star on D while quartet of sluggers hit crushing blasts

Statcast tracks Polanco's arm, Swihart's legs

Though Statcast™ was busy tracking its usual dose of home runs on Friday, it was defense that reigned supreme on this night.

From a potentially game-saving double play in Pittsburgh to a near-perfectly executed sliding catch on the warning track to a rookie flashing his elite speed, there was no shortage of defensive gems in Friday's action. There was, of course, also a trio of towering home runs from some of the game's top sluggers, as well as an unusual "inside-the-park" homer in Queens.

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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.

Bridgeport leaders happy to see kids Play Ball

Senator Blumenthal, Mayor Finch and ex-big leaguer Echevarria speak at camp

Bridgeport leaders happy to see kids Play Ball

BRIDGEPORT, CT -- The Play Ball initiative wound its way to one of its final cities on Saturday, when Bridgeport went above and beyond the call of participation. Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut, staged free instructional clinics at four area fields to celebrate youth participation in baseball.

One of the clinics -- the one held at Freedom Park -- brought some distinguished guests to be part of the proceedings. Senator Richard Blumenthal attended the clinic and spoke briefly to the kids, as did Mayor Bill Finch and Angel Echevarria, a former big leaguer who grew up in Bridgeport decades ago.

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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.

Kiermaier literally left hanging on catwalk HR

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Kiermaier literally left hanging on catwalk HR

On Friday, the Rays' catwalk reared its head again. In the top of the third inning, the Royals' Kendrys Morales drove another ball high off the catwalk, though this time the blast was ruled a home run. Which is a good call --- the projected distance was an absurd 442.64 feet. 

More importantly though, we got to see Kevin Kiermaier show off some Michael Jordan-esque hangtime as he hung on the wall waiting for it to come down -- only to watch the ball land roughly 50 feet away from him. 

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MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Use Cutch in a Pirates stack vs. Rusin

Use Cutch in a Pirates stack vs. Rusin

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 Saturday.

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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.

Donaldson HR reaches facing of fifth deck

Third baseman's blast hits facing of upper deck at Rogers Centre

Donaldson HR reaches facing of fifth deck

TORONTO -- By now, everyone knows Josh Donaldson can hit the long ball. But his towering solo homer in the third inning of the Blue Jays' victory over the Tigers was impressive by even the loftiest of standards.

Donaldson sent a 1-2 fastball from Tigers starter Matt Boyd off the facing of the fifth deck -- a projected 454 feet, according to Statcast™ -- to help the Blue Jays to a 5-3 win in the series opener on Friday at Rogers Centre.

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

Throw-lanco: Pirate shows off cannon

Right fielder nabs Reyes at home to preserve 8th-inning tie

Throw-lanco: Pirate shows off cannon

PITTSBURGH -- Right fielder Gregory Polanco saved the bacon for the Pirates in the eighth inning of their 5-3 victory over Colorado on Friday night.

With the game tied, 3-3, Polanco caught a one-out line drive from Nolan Arenado and gunned down Jose Reyes at home plate, completing an inning-ending double play.

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

RBI World Series documentaries to honor youth baseball

RBI World Series documentaries to honor youth baseball

MLB Network and MLB.com will air two documentaries on Sunday that offer a look inside the 2015 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series from Texas earlier this month, with inside-look footage focusing on several participants from across the U.S.

The two specials, entitled "Building Dreams," will air at 11 and 11:30 a.m. ET. They feature commentary from various RBI World Series players, coaches and family members; Major League Baseball and Rangers executives; MLB educational programming consultant Sharon Robinson; Major Leaguers Yovani Gallardo and Chris Archer; former big leaguer Ivan Rodriguez; and former UCLA softball player Jen Schroeder.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

2015 Postseason Schedule

Wild Card Games to begin playoffs on Oct. 6-7; World Series to start on Oct. 27

The 2015 postseason schedule will begin on Oct. 6, with the 111th Fall Classic to open on Oct. 27 in an American League ballpark, thanks to the AL's 6-3 victory in last month's All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile. The full postseason schedule can be found at MLB.com/postseason.

Following the scheduled regular-season finales on Sunday, Oct. 4, potentially necessary regular-season tiebreaker games would be telecast exclusively by ESPN the next day. Then the postseason will begin that Tuesday, with the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on ESPN. The National League equivalent is scheduled for Oct. 7, televised exclusively by TBS.

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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.

Papi ties Gehrig, McGriff with 493rd homer

Papi ties Gehrig, McGriff with 493rd homer

NEW YORK -- David Ortiz continued his push toward home run No. 500 on Friday night at Citi Field, rejuvenating his team's offense in the process.

The Red Sox had been shut out by Matt Harvey for six innings and were down 2-0 when Ortiz dug in to lead off the seventh. On the first pitch he saw from Mets reliever Logan Verrett, Ortiz pummeled a solo shot over the wall in center. It was the first strike back for the Red Sox in a 6-4, 10-inning victory over the Mets.

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

Inside-the-park HR or not, Red Sox nip Mets

Catcher's go-ahead inside-the-park shot in 10th cleared line at top of fence

Inside-the-park HR or not, Red Sox nip Mets

NEW YORK -- Blake Swihart absolutely crushed the ball that turned Friday night's game in favor of the Red Sox. But when you haven't hit a home run in 134 at-bats, you don't assume anything.

With a mad dash around the bases in the top of the 10th inning, Swihart collected his second career homer -- and first inside-the-parker. At least it goes into the books as an inside-the-park home run in a game the Red Sox won over the Mets, 6-4, at Citi Field.

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

Tomlinson, Giants walk off against Cards

Tomlinson, Giants walk off against Cards

SAN FRANCISCO -- Kelby Tomlinson delivered a walk-off single in the ninth inning and Marlon Byrd smacked a grand slam in the third to power the San Francisco Giants to a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night at AT&T Park.

After hitting his first career home run Thursday, Tomlinson one-upped himself Friday, lining a 2-2 fastball to center field off the Cardinals' Kevin Siegrist with the bases loaded to pull the Giants to 4 1/2 games back of the Cubs for the second National League Wild Card spot and keep them 2 1/2 behind the Dodgers in the NL West.

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

Mariners dismiss Zduriencik from GM post

Mariners dismiss Zduriencik from GM post

Jack Zduriencik, who has been unable to get the Seattle Mariners into the playoffs during his seven years as their general manager, was relieved of his duties on Friday, and a search will begin immediately for his replacement.

Jeff Kingston, who has been the team's assistant general manager since 2009, will handle the GM duties for the remainder of the season.

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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.

R.B.I., Derby games a hit with Little Leaguers

LLWS Family Fun Zone gives players, fans a chance to play

R.B.I., Derby games a hit with Little Leaguers

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Even kids who aren't playing in this year's Little League World Series are getting into the game in Williamsport. In the Family Fun Zone, an area in the Little League complex behind Lamade and Volunteer Stadiums, fans of all ages are immersed in all things baseball, particularly through MLB's R.B.I. Baseball 15 and Home Run Derby 2015 games.

"I did really well in the last round; I had like 12 home runs," boasted Branden Settnek of his performance in Home Run Derby, in which players attempt to launch as many dingers as possible before time runs out. "It's fun; you get to be a player in MLB."

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Allison Duffy is an associate editor for Major League Baseball. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Thole optioned to make room for Hutchison

Thole optioned to make room for Hutchison

TORONTO -- Josh Thole packed for Bluefield, Va., after he was optioned to the Blue Jays' rookie affiliate following Friday's win over the Tigers at Rogers Centre. Bluefield's season ends Sept. 1, at which point the Blue Jays can recall the 28-year-old catcher.

Had the club sent him to Triple-A Buffalo, he wouldn't have been eligible for recall until Sept. 7, the last day of the Bisons' season, because of the 10-day stay rule. The Thole move was necessary to make room on the roster for Drew Hutchison, who was brought back from Buffalo to make Saturday's start against Detroit.

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

VerHagen a good fit for Tigers' bullpen

VerHagen a good fit for Tigers' bullpen

TORONTO -- Drew VerHagen has a low, quiet voice that befits his laid-back personality. He does not come off as an adrenaline junkie. To hear VerHagen talk about a relief role fitting him, however, sounds like an entirely different person on the mound.

"I found as a starter, if I ever got too amped, there was always a valley where -- if I peaked too high -- my adrenaline would fall off in the next inning or two," VerHagen said. "I don't really have to worry about that in the 'pen. It's really fun not having to tone that back."

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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.

Redus leads Play Ball festivities in Birmingham

Redus leads Play Ball festivities in Birmingham

The city of Birmingham looked to the future and celebrated its past Friday, when more than 200 local students came out for the latest events in the Play Ball initative. Former big leaguer Gary Redus greeted the kids, and he signed autographs and participated in an instructional clinic at Railroad Park.

The students, all of whom came from Birmingham City Schools, also got to be among the first citizens in town to tour the Birmingham Negro Southern League Museum. That museum, built to honor the city's role in the development of the game, opened to the public for the first time on Friday.

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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.

Kershaw speaks volumes, as Vin reveals plan

Dodgers ace dominates Cubs; broadcaster announces he'll return

Kershaw speaks volumes, as Vin reveals plan

LOS ANGELES -- Broadcaster Vin Scully announced Friday that he'll return for his 67th season with the Dodgers in 2016, but even the legend behind the microphone might have to find new ways to describe Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw was at his best, tying a season-high with 14 strikeouts and dominating his eight innings, allowing just three hits and one run. Kenley Jansen struck out another batter for good measure as the Dodgers beat the Cubs, 4-1, on Friday night.

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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.

The LLWS players pick their favorite MLB stars

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The LLWS players pick their favorite MLB stars

By the end of the Little League World Series on Sunday, we'll all have picked out our favorite young players. Think Mo'ne Davis in 2014, or the pitcher this year who was just as amped about giving up a grand slam as the kid who hit it. Actually, if we're being honest, there are too many to pick a favorite.

But who do the Little Leaguers name as their favorite baseball players? Which Major Leaguers are most popular among the talent in Williamsport?

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Puig placed on DL; Dodgers call up Peraza

Puig placed on DL; Dodgers call up Peraza

LOS ANGELES -- For the second time in less than two weeks, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig injured his hamstring, although this injury forced him to the 15-day disabled list on Friday. To replace Puig, Los Angeles called up infielder Jose Peraza from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Manager Don Mattingly believes the 24-year-old Puig will be sidelined for more than 10 days, so the club opted to put Puig on the disabled list.

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

Position player Gomes pitches wacky ninth inning

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Position player Gomes pitches wacky ninth inning

With the way the 2015 season has gone, you may have assumed you'd seen about all the different position player pitching there is to see. But with the Braves down big to the Yankess on Friday, we all learned a valuable lesson: You have not lived until you've seen Jonny Gomes pitch. 

Gomes is the Platonic idealof the position player pitcher -- the beard, the unbuttoned jersey, the sure-why-not ethos that results from surviving five different brushes with death. And when the moment of truth finally arrived, oh man, did Jonny Gomes not disappoint. Over the course of one glorious inning, he flinched, kicked, flailed, hat-tipped and occasionally pitched his way into our hearts, and to commemorate this historic moment, we've compiled this exhaustive timeline.

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McCann homers in return to Turner Field

Yankees catcher hits three-run shot in eighth inning

McCann homers in return to Turner Field

ATLANTA -- The reception was warm, the runs were in plentiful supply and Yankees catcher Brian McCann was able to enjoy his happy homecoming on Friday, homering to slap an exclamation point on his first game as a visitor at Turner Field.

The former Braves backstop received a standing ovation before his first at-bat, and heard another loud round of applause while rounding the bases after hitting a three-run homer in the eighth inning off Andrew McKirahan in the Yankees' 15-4 victory.

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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.

Byrd's slam sets Giants' single-season record

Byrd's slam sets Giants' single-season record

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marlon Byrd might have figured that he'd hit another grand slam at some juncture of his career. But he never would have guessed the identity of the pitcher he would victimize.

Byrd's career-long slump against St. Louis starter Michael Wacha lengthened to 0-for-17 Friday night with a first-inning strikeout that stranded two baserunners. It was the eighth strikeout Wacha had recorded against Byrd. But Byrd wiped out the memory of many of those fruitless at-bats by belting a third-inning grand slam that opened the scoring in the Giants' 5-4 triumph over the St. Louis Cardinals.

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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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.