Week ahead: Potential playoff teams meet

Red Sox, Indians set for 4-game rematch of 2016 ALDS

Week ahead: Potential playoff teams meet

September is looming. The final month of the regular season in Major League Baseball, the one that has a penchant for pennant-race pandemonium, is now a milepost just a few more clicks up the old hardball interstate. The week ahead is the last full seven-day panel of 2017 in which each slate of games has the word "August" before it.

In other words, game on. The end of August is coming soon, and plans are already being made for October.

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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.

History 'n' the shaking: Cards-Bucs, Bravo!

Little League Classic caps weekend in Williamsport

History 'n' the shaking: Cards-Bucs, Bravo!

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Big league dreams came true on Sunday night at BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field.

The first MLB Little League Classic between the Pirates and Cardinals wasn't just a home run, it was a grand slam.

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Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Junior Leaguer leapt over the fence to rob HR

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Junior Leaguer leapt over the fence to rob HR

While Major Leaguers from the Cardinals and Pirates are spending their day basking in the glow of the Little League World Series, the Junior League World Series was taking place in Taylor, Mich.

During the fourth inning against Chinese Taipei, Pennsylvania center fielder Jack Regenye delivered the highlight of the weekend as he leapt straight over the outfield wall to rob a home run:

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Cubs rally for 3 in 10th to walk off with sweep

Cubs rally for 3 in 10th to walk off with sweep

CHICAGO -- Alex Avila belted a two-run walk-off single with one out in the 10th inning to power the Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the Blue Jays and complete a sweep of the Interleague series.

The Blue Jays had scored twice in the 10th, including the go-ahead run on Kevin Pillar's RBI single.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

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

Beltre dresses for success, Texas-style

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Beltre dresses for success, Texas-style

After a tough 3-2 loss to the White Sox on Sunday, the Rangers were headed to Anaheim for a big four-game set against the Angels. To get extra motivation, the Rangers decided to channel some state pride -- donning Texas flag blazers, jeans, cowboy hats and western-style belt buckles. They were "Texans" and they were looking fantastic.

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MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Manfred sees annual potential in Williamsport

Little League Classic draws heavy praise in first edition

Manfred sees annual potential in Williamsport

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Sunday's MLB Little League Classic between the Pirates and Cardinals was not officially branded as an "inaugural" event. But the phrase appears likely to apply, given Commissioner Rob Manfred's enthusiastic remarks about the possibility of bringing Major League Baseball back to the Little League World Series in 2018 and beyond.

"Hopefully we'll continue to play here and it will become an annual event," Manfred said. "My expectation is that if we do it again, we would use different teams. With all special events, we try to rotate teams through them. I know there was a lot of interest throughout the league from teams that wanted to be here and had players that played in the Little League World Series."

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

How to watch eclipse, baseball at same time

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How to watch eclipse, baseball at same time

On Monday, the entire continental United States will witness its first total solar eclipse since 1918. Pretty cool, right? But we know what you're thinking -- how can I watch the eclipse and watch some baseball? Luckily for you, we're here to help.

If you happen to be in the path of totality, that means you'll see the moon totally cover the sun (get it?). But don't worry if you're not -- you might still see partial coverage. Just look at this eclipse map to see which MLB stadiums are in or near the path of totality to plan your perfect eclipse/baseball day.  

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Cool to be kind: MLB joins anti-bullying platform

Shred Hate initiative to launch in 3 markets in 2017-18, then expand

Cool to be kind: MLB joins anti-bullying platform

More than 10 million students report being bullied each year in the U.S., according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Education, and those are just the ones who report it. That translates to nearly one in every four students, meaning someone's child is being bullied right now at a school somewhere near you.

"Young people should be able to enjoy a positive and formative time in school and in sports," Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "Students who are experiencing anything less deserve our support."

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

JBJ, Porcello push Sox's lead over Yanks to 5

JBJ, Porcello push Sox's lead over Yanks to 5

BOSTON -- For the second straight weekend, the Red Sox were successful in their quest of preventing the Yankees from making a dent in the American League East standings.

Backed by a pair of two-out RBI hits by Jackie Bradley Jr. and a strong pitching performance from the resurgent Rick Porcello, Boston once again took two out of three from New York, opening up a five-game lead in the division with a 5-1 victory on Sunday at Fenway Park.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. 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.

44 is the new 30: Colon has W vs. all MLB teams

With victory over D-backs, veteran becomes 18th pitcher to accomplish feat

44 is the new 30: Colon has W vs. all MLB teams

MINNEAPOLIS -- Arizona left fielder Gregor Blanco hovered over home plate, almost as if he were frozen in place by an 85.5 mph fastball from Bartolo Colon to end the sixth inning. Colon walked off the mound, while Blanco could merely watch following the strikeout.

The K closed the book on Colon's day, during which he helped push the Twins past the D-backs, 12-5, on Sunday at Target Field. It notched the team's first three-game sweep over a National League opponent since June 2011 vs. San Diego.

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Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen of the Week: Nationals

Bullpen of the Week: Nationals

The Washington Nationals are gearing up for what they hope will be a deep run into October and the first World Series in the history of their franchise. One area of weakness they had to address at the non-waiver Trade Deadline was their bullpen, and they've done it. Big-time.

Washington's new relievers are delivering at the right time of the season, and they did enough to earn the honor of "Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford."

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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.

ALDS rematch highlights MLB.TV slate

Indians host Red Sox as first-place clubs open 4-game set

ALDS rematch highlights MLB.TV slate

A pair of first-place American League clubs clash in Cleveland as the Red Sox and Indians open up a four-game set at Progressive Field. It's a rematch of last year's American League Division Series when Cleveland swept Boston in three games, and the matchup highlights an abbreviated slate of nine games streaming live on MLB.TV.

Boston and Cleveland sit atop their respective division entering play today, but other contending clubs are not far behind. The Sox are trying to stave off the Yankees in the AL East, while the Tribe have the Twins and Royals looking to push their way into the top spot in the AL Central.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Little wonder: Classic unites kids of all ages

MLB's special event at LLWS proves worthy of repeating

Little wonder: Classic unites kids of all ages

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- From the mound, he could hear the rumble and see the wave, the shrieking of voices and the parting of bodies as the men in black and gold made their way through the stands. Here, in the midst of the game of Reid Hefflick's young life, came one of the more surreal moments of his young life.

"Oh my!" Hefflick, a 13-year-old member of Canada's Little League World Series squad who hit a three-run homer and pitched 3 2/3 effective innings in a win over Latin America, thought to himself. "The Pittsburgh Pirates are watching me pitching!"

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Deals not done: A guide to waiver trades

Deals not done: A guide to waiver trades

The non-waiver Trade Deadline is considered the height of the summer transaction season, but trades do not stop on July 31. However, in order to deal a player on its 40-man roster after that date, a team must go through the waiver system.

Just last season, Carlos Ruiz (Phillies to Dodgers), Marc Rzepczynski (A's to Nationals), Coco Crisp (A's to Indians) and Fernando Salas (Angels to Mets) were among the players dealt in August. On occasion, there is also a major trade during the waiver period. For example, on Aug. 25, 2012, the Dodgers and Red Sox pulled off the massive nine-player swap that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to Los Angeles.

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

Stanton's 45th HR, Conley's 11 K's knock Mets

Stanton's 45th HR, Conley's 11 K's knock Mets

NEW YORK -- The Mets couldn't avoid pitching to Giancarlo Stanton on Sunday afternoon, and the slugger made them pay. Stanton belted a three-run homer in the seventh inning off Jacob deGrom, as the Marlins held on for a 6-4 victory in the series finale at Citi Field.

Miami left-hander Adam Conley posted his first career double-digit strikeout game, fanning 11 in seven innings. Yoenis Cespedes homered in the first inning, but that was the only damage Conley encountered.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York and covered the Mets on Sunday.

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

Umpires remove protest wristbands

World Umpires Association to meet with MLB governing board

Umpires remove protest wristbands

A league-wide umpire measure that played out on Saturday has been put on hold pending a meeting with the MLB governing board at the suggestion of Commissioner Rob Manfred.

The World Umpires Association, the governing body that represents MLB umpires, announced via Twitter that it would remove the symbolic white wristbands that they wore on Saturday as response to "escalating verbal attacks" this season.

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Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bell's 4 RBIs lead Bucs to LL Classic win

Bell's 4 RBIs lead Bucs to LL Classic win

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The Pirates and Cardinals spent most of Sunday afternoon serving as honored guests and humbled fans, taking in all the sights and sounds the Little League World Series has to offer. But while the day was dedicated to Little Leaguers, the big leaguers took center stage Sunday night as the Bucs beat the Cards, 6-3, in the inaugural MLB Little League Classic at historic Bowman Field.

For all the fun they had as fans, watching Little League World Series games and chatting up their younger counterparts in the stands, the Pirates and Cardinals knew they were in Williamsport for a reason: a Major League game in a Minor League ballpark before a crowd of Little League families. 

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Bill Murray is opening up his Class A ballpark for eclipse watchers and thinks the world might end

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Bill Murray is opening up his Class A ballpark for eclipse watchers and thinks the world might end

Bill Murray is many things -- an actor, a singing Cubs fan, an engagement photo shoot crasher, a sailor -- but maybe most importantly (for our sake, anyway) he's co-owner of the Class A Charleston RiverDogs. Although the Yankees' affiliate doesn't have a game on Monday afternoon and can't join in on the "watch a game, see an eclipse" promotions happening at other Minor League ballparks, Murray is a man of the people and told MiLB.com's Ben Hill that the park will open up for anybody who wants to use the stands as their eclipse-watching theater.

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Leader Watch: NL Wild Card race tightens up

Six teams now within 7 games of each other in push for postseason

Leader Watch: NL Wild Card race tightens up

Two months ago, as play wrapped up on the evening of June 20, the three best teams by record in the National League could be found out west. The Rockies led the NL West by half a game over the Dodgers with a 47-26 record. The D-backs sat just 1 1/2 games back of the Dodgers, and the general assumption was that the NL Wild Card Game would be staged between whichever two of those clubs didn't win the division. The Cubs were the next closest team in the chase for the league's second Wild Card spot, 7 1/2 games back of Arizona.

But the Major League calendar is long and winding, and with six weeks left in the regular season, the Senior Circuit's Wild Card picture is much more crowded. The Dodgers have won 41 of their 50 games since June 21, and while Colorado and Arizona still hold the two Wild Card spots, they are clinging more precariously than before.

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Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Another trick at the wall: Pillar robs Bryant in ivy

Another trick at the wall: Pillar robs Bryant in ivy

CHICAGO -- Kevin Pillar didn't exactly run through a brick wall to make another highlight-reel catch, but he came pretty close.

Pillar made one of his most difficult grabs yet in Toronto's 6-5 loss to the Cubs on Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field. He has survived some crashes into walls before, but nothing quite like the one he experienced in the series finale vs. Chicago.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Josh Harrison wore cleats autographed by Little Leaguers for the Little League Classic

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Josh Harrison wore cleats autographed by Little Leaguers for the Little League Classic

Usually it's the kids asking the Major League stars for their autograph. Things are a little different at the Little League Classic. With the Pirates and Cardinals battling on Sunday night in Williamsport, Pa., the players got to show off a little flair with their Players Weekend uniforms, brightly colored bats and, of course, special cleats. 

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Gio wins 12th as Nationals take series in SD

Gio wins 12th as Nationals take series in SD

SAN DIEGO -- Gio Gonzalez overcame a cumbersome first inning to pitch into the seventh Sunday, guiding the Nationals to a 4-1 victory over the Padres as they took three of four games at Petco Park.

Gonzalez threw 32 pitches in the first, the result of a pair of singles and Wilmer Difo's two-out error that brought in a run. From there, Gonzalez baffled the Padres, finishing his day having allowed one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings, while striking out eight on a season-high 121 pitches.

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Tim Powers is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. He covered the Nationals on Sunday.

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

Cards, Bucs shake hands after LL Classic

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Cards, Bucs shake hands after LL Classic

It's a classic element of almost all youth sports: When the game is over, you get in line and shake hands while telling your opposition "Good game." By the time you advance to the professional game, when wins and losses have become more important, the handshakes are long gone. 

But at Sunday's Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa., the Pirates and Cardinals brought back the move following Pittsburgh's 6-3 win.

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Cards relish time with Little Leaguers

Cards relish time with Little Leaguers

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Before the Cardinals settled into the clubhouse at historic Bowman Field for Sunday's Little League Classic against the Pirates, they spent the morning interacting with the other teams of baseball players in town.

Those were, of course, the Little League World Series participants, many of whom had the opportunity to shoot selfies, snag autographs or play in front of the Major League players they'd love to become. In total, the Cardinals spent about two hours at the Little League World Series complex.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hammel pitches Royals past sizzling Tribe

Hammel pitches Royals past sizzling Tribe

KANSAS CITY -- A potential statement series didn't turn out the way the Royals wanted it to, but they did avoid the sweep thanks to a strong start from right-hander Jason Hammel and some offensive help from their bench players.

Hammel turned in six innings and gave up five hits and three runs, and the Royals held back the red-hot Indians, 7-4, Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.

Meeting Little Leaguers big hit with Pirates

Major Leaguers relish fun time with younger players

Meeting Little Leaguers big hit with Pirates

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- From the moment the Pirates stepped off the bus and made their way toward the Little League World Series fields, manager Clint Hurdle said, "It was almost just like fireworks." How so?

"Things kept happening," Hurdle said. "Things that made you smile, things that made you happy you were here, appreciative you had the opportunity to be a part of something that was happening for the first time ever."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Verlander spins gem as Tigers cool off Dodgers

Verlander spins gem as Tigers cool off Dodgers

DETROIT -- A day of dueling no-hit bids turned into a home run derby down the foul lines. Justin Upton's two-run homer capped a four-run sixth inning off previously perfect Kenta Maeda, earning Justin Verlander a victory for his gem in a 6-1 Tigers win over the Dodgers on Sunday at Comerica Park that snapped Los Angeles' win streak at six.

The Dodgers' attempt at a Major League-record 14th consecutive Interleague victory ended with drama. While Verlander took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, Maeda retired the first 15 batters he faced. Former Tiger Curtis Granderson provided the game's first hit with a solo homer off his ex-teammate with two outs in the sixth, but Dixon Machado's two-run double capped a string of three consecutive Tigers hits leading off the bottom of the inning to put Detroit ahead for good.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

Catherine Slonksnis is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit and covered the Dodgers on Sunday.

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

Kangaroo-jack: Cards swipe Aussie's mascot

Kangaroo-jack: Cards swipe Aussie's mascot

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- First came the Rally Squirrel. Then came this year's Rally Cat. But now, St. Louis has taken the Australian Little League's blow-up kangaroo as the team's new good-luck mascot.

When the Cardinals visited the Little League Complex Sunday afternoon before MLB's first Little League Classic, they challenged Australia's players to a game of ping pong. But what started as a harmless game of table tennis quickly turned into, what Australia believes to be, a robbery.

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Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Snell, Rays blank Mariners in Wild Card battle

Snell, Rays blank Mariners in Wild Card battle

ST. PETERSBURG -- Blake Snell hung nothing but zeros on the scoreboard, and the Rays got all the offense they needed from a pair of homers in a 3-0 win over the Mariners on Sunday at Tropicana Field.

Hoping to rekindle postseason hopes, the Rays (61-65) snapped a four-game losing streak and avoided getting swept by one of the teams they are competing against for the American League's second Wild Card spot, the Mariners (63-62), who saw their four-game winning streak end. Seattle fell to 1 1/2 games behind the Angels and Twins, who are tied for that slot.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Mariners on Sunday.

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

Canada, Southwest, Southeast, Japan win in LLWS

Greenville, N.C., tosses no-hitter; home runs lift White Rock, B.C., Lufkin, Texas; Toyko relies on small ball

Canada, Southwest, Southeast, Japan win in LLWS

WILLIAMSPORT, PA. -- The Little League World Series continued Sunday with four games. Here is a recap of what has happened so far and what remains ahead:

Southeast 16, West 0
Chase Anderson, Matthew Matthijs and Will Casey combined to throw a no-hitter for Southeast (Greenville, N.C.). Anderson earned the win, striking out four in three innings. It was the Southeast's second combined no-hitter of the LLWS. 

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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.