Astros win race to 50 victories, sweep A's

Astros win race to 50 victories, sweep A's

OAKLAND -- The Astros won their 50th game of the season on Thursday afternoon, holding off an A's rally for a 12-9 victory to complete a four-game sweep at Oakland Coliseum.

It marked the Astros' 10th straight win at the Coliseum and makes them the fourth-fastest team to 50 wins this century.

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Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area and covered the Astros on Thursday.

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

Godley, Goldy lead D-backs over Rockies

Godley, Goldy lead D-backs over Rockies

DENVER -- Zack Godley pitched like a veteran in his first career start at Coors Field as the D-backs took the rubber game, 10-3, from the Rockies on Thursday afternoon. After a Charlie Blackmon solo home run to lead off the first, Godley settled in to keep the Rockies off the scoreboard again until the eighth.

The win wrapped a 7-1 road trip for the D-backs, who moved into a virtual tie with the Rockies for second place in the National League West, one game behind the Dodgers.

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Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver who covered the Rockies on Thursday.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

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

With baby in hospital, Shaw doing double duty

Third baseman flooring teammates with focus at ballpark amid scary period

With baby in hospital, Shaw doing double duty

MILWAUKEE -- The easy part was the three hits and three RBIs. The hard part was getting on that airplane.

Yet that is what the job required on Thursday of Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw, after his productive day at the plate fueled a 4-2 win over the Pirates at Miller Park. Shaw had spent the early morning with newborn daughter Ryann and wife Lindy at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, where he's been every morning and night since Ryann was born earlier this month with a congenital heart defect.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

Cubs send slumping Schwarber to Triple-A

Cubs send slumping Schwarber to Triple-A

MIAMI -- Maybe pushing the reset button is all Kyle Schwarber needs to return to his 2016 World Series form. At least that's the hope for the Cubs, manager Joe Maddon and Schwarber's teammates.

"We think this is best for him right now," Maddon said of the young slugger, who was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Thursday. "We know he's gonna be back, and obviously just look forward to it. I really personally love having him here, too. It's just even when he's struggling, whenever he walks up to the plate, everyone expects something good to happen. So let's just get him right for him and for us."

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Patrick Pinak is a reporter for MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Petriello

More dominant: Jansen or Kimbrel?

Both closers are incredible, but Dodgers righty leads all pitchers with .164 Expected wOBA

More dominant: Jansen or Kimbrel?

There's no shortage of dominant relievers in baseball these days, but for all the greatness we're seeing from stars like Andrew Miller, Greg Holland, and Wade Davis, plus lesser-known names like Felipe Rivero and Corey Knebel, there's two studs pretty clearly standing head and shoulders above everyone else: Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen. They've been baseball's two best relievers this year, and they've been two of the best for the last half-decade, too.

But which one has been better in 2017? The right answer, as it usually is, is that you could make a case for either one. They're both elite. They're both practically unhittable. They're both having the best seasons of what were already great careers, and they both may very well end up in Cooperstown next to one another someday. They're that good.

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Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast. He has previously written for ESPN Insider and FanGraphs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statcast of the Day: Blackmon's lifted homer

Statcast of the Day: Blackmon's lifted homer

DENVER -- As if the Rocky Mountain wonder needs another weapon at the plate, Charlie Blackmon proved in Thursday's 10-3 loss to the D-backs he may have added one.

Leading off the game in a 2-2 count, the Rockies' center fielder lifted a curveball that dipped 44.8 inches 433 feet to the visitors' bullpen, the fourth-deepest of his 16 homers this year. At 0.84 feet off the ground, it was the lowest pitch converted for a home run in MLB this year, and second-lowest since Statcast™ was implemented in 2015.

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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.

Springer day to day with left hand contusion

Springer day to day with left hand contusion

OAKLAND -- Astros leadoff man George Springer exited Thursday's 12-9 win over the A's at the Coliseum after being hit by a pitch on the left hand from Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn during the game's first plate appearance.

X-rays came back negative, and Springer is listed as day to day with a left hand contusion.

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Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bo offers tips to youth at Breakthrough Series

Bo offers tips to youth at Breakthrough Series

CHICAGO -- Bo knows it's important for Major League Baseball to reach out to youth everywhere.

That's why the man former White Sox and Mets manager Jerry Manuel called "the greatest athlete we've ever seen" spoke to 60 high school baseball players at the Breakthrough Series at Curtis Granderson Field at the University of Illinois-Chicago on Thursday.

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

Rangers rope 4 homers to top Blue Jays

Rangers rope 4 homers to top Blue Jays

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers exploded for four home runs -- including two from Carlos Gomez -- and jumped out to an early lead they never relinquished in an 11-4 win over the Blue Jays in the series finale on Thursday at Globe Life Park.

Texas hung seven earned runs in four innings on Toronto starter Marcus Stroman, the most Stroman has allowed in his career. He allowed runs in each of the first four innings and tied his career high of three home runs allowed. Of the Rangers' 11 hits, seven of them went for extra bases.

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Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington.

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.

2017 Draft: Signing and Bonus Tracker

2017 Draft: Signing and Bonus Tracker

Below is a complete breakdown of which 2017 Draft picks from the first 10 rounds agreed to terms, along with their reported bonuses and starting assignments.

Here are the bonus pools for all 30 clubs:

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Griffey gives wisdom at Breakthrough Series

Three-day camp in Chicago gives high schoolers chance to learn, showcase talent

Griffey gives wisdom at Breakthrough Series

CHICAGO -- Ken Griffey Jr. recalls spending hours deep in the bowels of big league ballparks and working with Major Leaguers, to the extent of getting kicked out for spending so much time there.

Griffey's time with his father, Ken Griffey Sr., exposed him to big league wisdom from a young age. Now, he's looking to pay it forward to the next generation of baseball talent.

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

Marlins shopping shortstop Hechavarria

O's, Rays have approached Marlins about 2-time Gold Glove Award finalist

Marlins shopping shortstop Hechavarria

MIAMI -- The Marlins are actively shopping shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, with multiple teams showing interest.

According to sources, MLB.com has learned that the Rays and Orioles have already reached out in regards to Hechavarria, and an undisclosed third club entered the picture on Thursday.

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

After delay, 5-run 1st lifts White Sox over Twins

After delay, 5-run 1st lifts White Sox over Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- After a record-breaking rain delay, a five-run first inning from the White Sox was more than enough to back a strong start by left-hander Jose Quintana in a 9-0 win over the Twins on Thursday at Target Field.

The 4-hour, 50-minute rain delay was the longest in Twins history, and nearly two hours longer than the next longest delay (three hours) at Target Field. Chicago won for the first time in its last five games against Minnesota.

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Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis and covered the Twins on Thursday.

Tyler Mason is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minneapolis and covered the White Sox on Thursday.

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

Start your own season by purchasing R.B.I. Baseball

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Start your own season by purchasing R.B.I. Baseball
R.B.I. Baseball 2017 is here, and it can be yours today.

The Corey Seager-adorned game (or Kevin Pillar if you're in Canada) is available to purchase in North America at GameStop, Best Buy, Walmart, Target and MLB.com, among other participating outlets. Globally, it's accessible as a digital download on the Xbox Marketplace, PlayStation Store and the App Store on iPhone and iPad.

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Bird's plans in the air after cortisone injection

Bird's plans in the air after cortisone injection

NEW YORK -- Yankees first baseman Greg Bird received a cortisone shot on Tuesday to relieve inflammation in his right ankle, but much of the details regarding his next step are unknown. Bird will resume baseball activities following a three- to five-day rest period, which is the amount of time is should take for the shot to reduce the swelling in the ankle.

"He'll go back to rehab and start playing games and try to get his bat going," said manager Joe Girardi, though he wasn't sure if Bird's rehab assignment would be with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or Double-A Trenton.

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Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chase paces Crew with 6th straight quality start

Chase paces Crew with 6th straight quality start

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson logged his sixth straight quality start and Travis Shaw homered and drove in three runs in a 4-2 win over the Pirates on Thursday at Miller Park, which sent the Brewers back on the road with at least a game and a half lead over the rest of the National League Central.

"This team, this run," said Anderson, "it's been a lot of fun."

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Carson Mason is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Pirates on Thursday.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. 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.

A young D-backs fan had the best reaction to Paul Goldschmidt signing a baseball

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A young D-backs fan had the best reaction to Paul Goldschmidt signing a baseball

Paul Goldschmidt is off to a fantastic start to the 2017 season, as entering play on Thursday, he had 17 homers and led the Majors with a .446 on-base percentage. The D-backs' strong position in the NL West race is no accident.

A few grateful D-backs fans at Coors Field were lucky enough to have Goldschmidt sign a few baseballs for them prior to the team's Thursday afternoon game against the Rockies, and one was absolutely blown away to meet her hero.

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MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Justice: Legit check for 10 top contenders

Justice: Legit check for 10 top contenders

This baseball season is roughly two weeks away from its halfway point, so the contending teams at this point are legitimate. Young players do sometimes hit a wall in the second half, which could impact the standings.

But not always.

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Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mark Feinsand

Boston in hot (corner) pursuit before Deadline

Red Sox likely to make push for third baseman, will be among teams seeking pitching

Boston in hot (corner) pursuit before Deadline

Pablo Sandoval was one of the game's biggest feel-good stories this spring, but his season has turned into a horror tale for the Red Sox, who are now in the market for a third baseman between now and the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Boston surged to the top of the American League East this week thanks in part to the Yankees' lengthy losing streak, but according to a source, the Red Sox are looking to make some major upgrades over the next six weeks, starting first and foremost with the hot corner.

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

Boston renames street in Papi's honor

Red Sox legend will have his No. 34 retired Friday at Fenway Park

Boston renames street in Papi's honor

Yawkey Way Extension is now officially David Ortiz Drive.

The City of Boston renamed the street near Fenway Park in honor of the Red Sox legend on Thursday, the first in a series of events leading up to the retirement of his No. 34 before Friday night's game against the Angels at Fenway.

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

Street makes long-awaited return to Majors

Street makes long-awaited return to Majors

NEW YORK -- Angels reliever Huston Street is back in the Majors for the first time in 11 months.

Street, who last pitched for the Angels on July 31, 2016, was activated off the 60-day disabled list on Thursday prior to the Halos' series finale against the Yankees in the Bronx. To clear a roster spot for Street, the Angels optioned Mike Morin to Triple-A Salt Lake.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

13 post-Super Two prospects that may get call

13 post-Super Two prospects that may get call

Talent and opportunity aren't the only factors that dictate when a team calls up a prospect. Service-time considerations also play a role.

A player needs six full years of service time to reach free agency, so clubs will sometimes delay promotions a couple weeks at the start of the season. The most famous recent example of this came in 2015, when Kris Bryant led all players with nine homers during Spring Training yet the Cubs waited until April 17 to summon him from Triple-A. As a result, he'll become a free agent after the 2021 season rather than after 2020.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Handy man: Rendon dangerous in any count

Nats 3B has uncanny ability to foul off tough pitches

Handy man: Rendon dangerous in any count

The first thing anyone mentions about Anthony Rendon are his hands. Then you shake one, cavernous and workman-like, and it swallows yours whole.

"For me, they are how I can control the bat," the Nationals' third baseman said one recent afternoon, his right hand clamped over the barrel of his Marucci maple bat. "I don't have 250 pounds ... coming from my frame. If I can manipulate this barrel, I can be successful."

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

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

College coach recalls Buehrle-Pujols matchup

College coach recalls Buehrle-Pujols matchup

CHICAGO -- The next time you're driving by a baseball game and have a few minutes to spend, you might want to pull over the car and take a look. You never know what -- and specifically, who -- you might see.

It doesn't matter if there are thousands of people in the stands or only a few dozen. The latter was the case when Jefferson College faced Maple Woods Community College in a regional tournament game in 1999, and if you were one of those there you can brag about having witnessed the first time a 214-game winner faced a future Hall of Famer. Albert Pujols hit a long opposite-field homer off Mark Buehrle in the first inning, on a fastball if we can trust the memory of Dave Oster, who was Jefferson's coach. It would be the only hit Buehrle allowed to Pujols or anyone else on the Centaurs that day as his team rolled to a 9-1 victory.

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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.

Phils ride HRs, Nola's 8 K's to snap skid

Phils ride HRs, Nola's 8 K's to snap skid

PHILADELPHIA -- For the second straight game, the Phillies jumped out to a multi-run lead against the Cardinals. They held onto it Thursday.

Behind 7 1/3 strong innings from Aaron Nola and a pair of solo homers from Freddy Galvis and Tommy Joseph, the Phillies topped the Cardinals, 5-1, to snap a five-game losing streak. It was just the second win in the past 15 games for the Phillies, who squandered a 5-0 lead Wednesday night.

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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia who covered the Cardinals on Thursday.

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia who covered the Phillies on Thursday.

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

Some A's fans behind home plate dressed up in tribute to Stephen Vogt after his DFA news

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Some A's fans behind home plate dressed up in tribute to Stephen Vogt after his DFA news

Before the A's matinee with the Astros at the Coliseum on Thursday afternoon, the team designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment. This was obviously a big deal for many fans, considering Vogt was a fan favorite, a team leader and was an AL All-Star in 2015 and 2016. 

A group of A's season ticket holders from San Jose, sitting in the Diamond Level seats behind home plate for Thursday's game, a 12-9 loss to the Astros, apparently saw fit to pay homage to Vogt with some inspired wardrobe selections and were caught on camera in the seventh inning.

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Papi 10 List, No. 2: Papi Strong

Post-Marathon speech inspired Fenway faithful

Papi 10 List, No. 2: Papi Strong

In honor of David Ortiz having his No. 34 retired by the Red Sox, MLB.com and John Hancock are celebrating Big Papi's greatest career moments with the "Papi 10 List," counting down one legendary moment each day leading up to Friday's pregame ceremony at Fenway Park.

It will go down as one of the most memorable 57-word speeches in the history of any sporting venue.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marlins place Ziegler on DL, activate Tazawa

Marlins place Ziegler on DL, activate Tazawa

MIAMI -- The Marlins welcomed one veteran reliever back Thursday, while another headed to the disabled list.

Junichi Tazawa was reinstated from the DL, and Brad Ziegler was placed on the 10-day DL with a right back strain.

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

Matheny recalls Kile's impact, encouragement

Thursday marks 15 years since death of former Cardinals pitcher

Matheny recalls Kile's impact, encouragement

PHILADELPHIA -- Thursday marked 15 years since the death of former Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile. Cards manager Mike Matheny's first three years in St. Louis overlapped with Kile's only three seasons in the organization.

Kile passed away from a heart attack at the age of 33.

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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia who covered the Cardinals on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Donaldson day to day with left knee soreness

Pearce also tentative, though knee X-rays encouraging

Donaldson day to day with left knee soreness

ARLINGTON -- A freak accident has resulted in yet another Blue Jays injury, and this time, it involved star third baseman Josh Donaldson.

Donaldson was out of the lineup in Toronto's 11-4 loss to the Rangers on Thursday afternoon because of a sore left knee. He is considered day to day, and he hopes to play in Friday's series opener vs. the Royals, but the Blue Jays won't know more until they touch down in Kansas City.

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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.