Cruz's 14th HR helps Felix reach 5-0 for 1st time

Cruz's 14th HR helps Felix reach 5-0 for 1st time

ANAHEIM -- Nelson Cruz crushed his Major League-leading 14th home run and Felix Hernandez remained unbeaten on the season as the Mariners snapped a four-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Angels in Monday night's series opener.

Hernandez is off to the first 5-0 start of his career as he outdueled Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker, allowing just one run on six hits over seven innings to lower his ERA to 1.73. The Mariners are 6-0 when Hernandez starts and 5-15 in the rest of their games.

More

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wild 1st sets tone as Cards outslug Cubs

Wild 1st sets tone as Cards outslug Cubs

ST. LOUIS -- Following a trio of walk-off wins over the weekend, the Cardinals rolled their winning streak to seven by erasing an early five-run deficit and snatching a 10-9 victory from the Cubs in Monday's series opener at Busch Stadium. The win improved the Cardinals to 19-6, marking their best start through 25 games in modern franchise history.

"If any team had the right to maybe shut down after this weekend and how everything played out, this team could have, and that wasn't at all what it was," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think I said yesterday that 'wow' was my explanation. I don't even know what to give you today because, to me, that's just a sign of a tough team, a mentally tough team that is going to be relentless. I hope that's something that we never lose."

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve, Springer make eye-popping plays

Astros second baseman barehands ball in fifth; right fielder slides for grab in sixth

Altuve, Springer make eye-popping plays

HOUSTON -- Any good pitcher can use some stellar defense. Just ask Astros starter Dallas Keuchel, who benefited from a couple of terrific plays made behind him in Monday's 2-1 loss to the Rangers.

All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve bailed out Keuchel with the Astros leading, 1-0, in the fifth inning when he made a terrific barehanded grab and throw to retire the speedy Adam Rosales at first base for the second out of the inning.

More

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers snap Astros' 10-game winning streak

Rangers snap Astros' 10-game winning streak

HOUSTON -- Robinson Chirinos scored Adrian Beltre on a sacrifice fly to center field in the ninth inning that broke a tie and sent the Rangers to a 2-1 win Monday night at Minute Maid Park, breaking the Astros' 10-game winning streak. It was their first loss of the season in any game in which they had the lead.

Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel carried a shutout into the eighth inning before giving up an RBI single to Jake Smolinski, who scored Delino DeShields from second base shortly after DeShields stole second base on a pitch in the dirt. Keuchel held the Rangers to five hits and one run while striking out eight in eight innings for his 13th consecutive quality start.

More

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

ASG debate: Gordon or Kendrick at second in NL?

Both players flourishing with new squad after being acquired in offseason

ASG debate: Gordon or Kendrick at second in NL?

*** 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! ***

Dee Gordon and Howie Kendrick are highly productive players at second base, and both of them are making a smooth transition to a new team. But that's where the similarities end. They get their job done at a high level in entirely different styles.

More

Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statcast signs point to Span's revival

Statcast signs point to Span's revival

It took Denard Span four-tenths of a second to react to the rocket that Giancarlo Stanton sent to the left-center warning track in the sixth inning of what was a tie game in Washington on Monday night, according to Statcast™. By the time the ball landed, 362.3 feet from Stanton's bat, Span had reached a top speed of 19.1 mph and covered more than 97 feet to haul the ball in and preserve the tie, an important moment in what would become a 6-4 Nationals victory over the Marlins.

Several years ago, back when Span was considered among baseball's best defensive outfielders, that play might not have been so notable. Between 2011-13, first with Minnesota and then with Washington, Span had the third-highest defensive runs saved of the 27 center fielders who accumulated at least 1,500 innings. Those numbers took a serious nosedive last year, ranking him as a slight negative across the board, and while single-year defensive metrics aren't above reproach, the truth of the matter is that Span is in his age-31 season and has some injury concerns.

More

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

Brewers rally to win Counsell's debut

Brewers rally to win Counsell's debut

MILWAUKEE -- Clayton Kershaw hit a wall, and the Brewers took advantage to make a winner of their rookie manager on Monday.

Held to a run on three hits while Kershaw cruised through the first seven innings on 76 pitches, the Brewers scored three runs in the eighth off Kershaw and reliever Chris Hatcher for a 4-3 win over the Dodgers at Miller Park. The game ball went to new Brewers manager Craig Counsell, who had been formally named to the post less than 12 hours earlier.

More

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MadBum prompts thoughts of no-no vs. Padres

MadBum prompts thoughts of no-no vs. Padres

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Monday before allowing a hit to Justin Upton, one of the few blights in a dominant start as the Giants defeated the Padres, 2-0, at AT&T Park.

Bumgarner (3-1) allowed consecutive singles to Upton and Yangervis Solarte to begin the seventh inning but little else. He allowed one walk and had six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.

More

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ortiz, Vlad Jr. lead Top 30 International Prospects list

Sixteen-year-old, 260-pound slugger is No. 1, followed by son of nine-time All-Star Guerrero

Ortiz, Vlad Jr. lead Top 30 International Prospects list

Just watching teenage outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz step into the batter's box is enough to make the most seasoned scouts look up from their clipboards and put down their pens.

The sounds -- the whip of Ortiz's bat speeding through the hitting zone and thunderous cracks of the barrel colliding with the ball -- are inescapable.

More

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

MLB.com Columnist

Paul Hagen

After 100 days, Manfred is just getting started

After 100 days, Manfred is just getting started

The first 100 days in office are considered a useful yardstick for presidents. It's not a bad way to look at the start of a Commissioner, either, as Rob Manfred reached that milestone Monday after succeeding Bud Selig on Jan. 25.

"He has done a very good job," Royals owner David Glass said. "It is very hard to follow your mentor. Bud was his mentor for 20 years, but he is well-organized and thoughtful and he makes every decision with the best interests of baseball in mind."

More

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

Yunel's fifth hit of game lifts Nats past Marlins

Yunel's fifth hit of game lifts Nats past Marlins

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to overcome a two-run deficit and beat the Marlins, 6-4, Monday at Nationals Park.

Yunel Escobar capped a 5-for-5 performance with a sharp single to right field that scored two runs to break a 4-4 tie. Ian Desmond's two-run home run to center field -- both hits coming off reliever Bryan Morris -- brought the Nationals back from a 4-2 deficit. The four runs in the inning were one more than Washington scored in its past three games combined -- a pair of 1-0 wins and a 4-0 loss, all against the Mets.

More

Damian Cristodero and Ben Standig are contributors to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Darth Vader does interview at Fenway Park

|
Darth Vader does interview at Fenway Park

Monday was May the Fourth, which meant many ballparks were honoring that little movie franchise that's been around for around five decades. Darth Vader showed up at Fenway Park with his Storm Troopers and inexplicably agreed to do an interview.

Continue Reading on Cut4

What to watch for in today's games

Billingsley returns to Majors for Phillies; Latos will test hamstring vs. Strasburg

What to watch for in today's games

Rivalry is in the air on Tuesday, with 12 of the 15 games being played across the day coming between teams in the same division. After a number of off-days on Monday, here are five things to watch for in Tuesday's full slate:

Lyons debuts in Waino's spot: CHC @ STL, 8:15 p.m. ET

More

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.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

DraftKings picks: Freeman, Greinke, McCann

DraftKings picks: Freeman, Greinke, McCann

Tuesday could be a tough day for roster construction in DraftKings, but we are here to help with the process. For starters, you'll find a scarcity of top-tier hurlers from which to choose. And when looking to build an offense, several teams set to face backend arms will be playing at pitcher-friendly venues -- a fact that partially negates the value of the attractive opposing matchups. With these factors considered, the players listed below could provide answers to the toughest questions.

Gregory Polanco (Pirates): The speedy outfielder could improve on his career .746 OPS against right-handers (.450 vs. lefties) on Tuesday, when he faces Reds rookie righty Michael Lorenzen. The owner of a 1.33 WHIP as a Minor Leaguer, the 23-year-old allowed nine baserunners in five innings during his big league debut on April 29.

More

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.

Two Wrigley bleacher sections open Monday

Two Wrigley bleacher sections open Monday

ST. LOUIS -- Wrigley Field will nearly be back to normal with the opening of the left- and center-field bleachers on Monday.

The opening of the left- and center-field bleachers will coincide with the Cubs Charities' "Pink Out," presented by Advocate Health Care. Each fan in the bleachers that day will receive a pink T-shirt to promote breast cancer prevention awareness and celebrate moms and women everywhere who are survivors.

More

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Announcer snags foul ball to save his colleague

|
Announcer snags foul ball to save his colleague

Perched all the way up above home plate, you'd assume that announcers were generally in a pretty safe spot. Well luckily for everyone, you weren't in the booth during the Angels loss to the Mariners on Wednesday night -- Anaheim's Spanish-language commentator Jose Mota was, and he isn't nearly so naive. 

Mota comes prepared for any and every occupational hazard, and when a foul ball was bearing down on colleague Amaury Pi-Gonzalez, he knew just what to do.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Bumgarner's gem rescues Giants' defense

Ace allows two hits in 7 1/3 innings to mask team's four errors

Bumgarner's gem rescues Giants' defense

SAN FRANCISCO -- Perhaps lost in Madison Bumgarner's masterful performance during Monday's 2-0 Giants win over the Padres was the fact that San Francisco committed a season-high four errors.

But Bumgarner's brilliance wiped out any miscues on the field, as he held the Padres hitless for six innings before the Padres broke through with harmless back-to-back singles to lead off the seventh. In all, Bumgarner worked 7 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out six.

More

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

Late rally lifts Blue Jays to victory over Yankees

Late rally lifts Blue Jays to victory over Yankees

TORONTO -- Russell Martin had a pinch-hit single and Edwin Encarnacion contributed an RBI double as the Blue Jays rallied in the eighth inning to steal a victory away from the Yankees and take the series opener, 3-1, on Monday night at Rogers Centre.

Toronto entered the eighth trailing, 1-0, until Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista sparked a rally with a pair of one-out singles off Yankees right-hander Chris Martin. New York's Dellin Betances entered, and he was promptly greeted with Encarnacion's RBI bloop double to shallow left field.

More

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rendon's rehab interrupted by oblique injury

Infielder was working to return from knee sprain; R. Johnson has foot surgery

Rendon's rehab interrupted by oblique injury

WASHINGTON -- The mystery surrounding Anthony Rendon's injury is over. The "tightness" in his left side that kept the Nationals infielder out of four rehab games last week was diagnosed Monday as an oblique injury.

There is no timetable for Rendon's return or when he can aggressively begin rehab, manager Matt Williams said.

More

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

Twins power past A's for fifth straight win

Twins power past A's for fifth straight win

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins extended their winning streak to five games, as they erased an early four-run deficit with Torii Hunter coming through with a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning in an 8-7 win over the A's on Monday night at Target Field.

Twins right-hander Phil Hughes gave up a grand slam to Stephen Vogt just five batters into the game, but settled down from there. After the Twins rallied with four runs in the second to tie it, Hughes gave up a go-ahead run on a solo shot to Mark Canha in the sixth.

More

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

MadBum exacts revenge on NL West rivals

Giants ace masterful in atoning for subpar April start at Petco Park

MadBum exacts revenge on NL West rivals

SAN FRANCISCO -- Three weeks earlier, in San Diego, the Padres had been downright rude to Madison Bumgarner. The Southern gentleman couldn't have cared much for it, even if he elected to keep his thoughts to himself.

Getting even, and maybe just a tad mad, Bumgarner did to the Padres on Monday night in a 2-0 Giants victory at AT&T Park what they had done to him at Petco Park in producing 10 hits and five runs across three innings on April 11. He humbled them -- and then dismissed the subject as quickly as he'd dispatched the rebuilt National League West rivals.

More

Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays' bats come alive, take opener vs. Red Sox

Rays' bats come alive, take opener vs. Red Sox

BOSTON -- The Rays broke out quickly in Monday's opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park and never looked back, rolling to a 5-1 victory over the Red Sox.

Tampa Bay scored two in the first and two more in the second against Boston right-hander Clay Buchholz. Jake Odorizzi made the early offense stand up, allowing seven hits and a run over seven innings. The righty struck out six and walked none.

More

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

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

No Waino, no problem for determined Cardinals

Off to its best start in modern era, St. Louis proves it's built for success

No Waino, no problem for determined Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have their best start in the modern era. And they are doing this without their recognized ace.

St. Louis is 19-6, but they are also 8-2 since Adam Wainwright went down for the season with a torn Achilles tendon.

More

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

Cards off to best start in modern franchise history

Cards off to best start in modern franchise history

ST. LOUIS -- Mark Reynolds thought he was merely volunteering for a one-day duty a week ago when he assisted manager Mike Matheny by bringing the lineup card to the home-plate umpire. Seven days later, it's now a part of his job description.

The Cardinals scored 11 times to beat the Phillies that evening, leaving Reynolds to be hunted each pregame since to make the walk to home plate. The club hasn't lost under his lineup watch, stringing together its longest winning streak since 2010 and racing out to an early 5 1/2-game cushion in the National League Central.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kershaw makes behind-the-back snag

Left-hander robs former teammate Herrera during Monday's game

Kershaw makes behind-the-back snag

MILWAUKEE -- It must be more than luck when Clayton Kershaw gloves a potential base hit behind his back.

He did it again during Monday night's 4-3 loss to the Brewers, robbing former teammate Elian Herrera of a ball headed toward center field by snagging it with his glove behind his back and throwing Herrera out.

More

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

Brewers provide storybook ending for Counsell

Eighth-inning rally gives rookie manager dramatic win in debut

Brewers provide storybook ending for Counsell

MILWAUKEE -- Craig Counsell seemed undaunted Monday morning by the fact his managerial debut coincided with a Clayton Kershaw start, even predicting, "it could be a good story someday."

Turns out, Counsell was right.

More

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

Schafer dazzles with outstanding diving grab

Center fielder's catch helped maintain Twins' lead over A's

Schafer dazzles with outstanding diving grab

MINNEAPOLIS -- Jordan Schafer knew as soon as he hit the ground that he had come up with a run-saving diving catch in shallow center field to end the eighth inning, but it wasn't quite as clear for first-base umpire Todd Tichenor.

With Brett Lawrie at second base and two outs in the eighth, Billy Burns hit a sinking line drive to center off reliever Blaine Boyer, and Schafer made an impressive diving play. But Tichenor ruled it wasn't a catch, so Twins manager Paul Molitor challenged it, and it was ultimately overturned to end the inning.

More

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Buxton, Correa deliver walk-off winners

Clutch performances by two of game's top three prospects highlight Monday's Minors action

Buxton, Correa deliver walk-off winners

Two of the best players in the Minors came through with game-winning hits on Monday night.Twins No. 1 prospect (No. 1 overall) Byron Buxton cracked a walk-off home run for Double-A Chattanooga, while Astros No. 1 prospect (No. 3 overall) Carlos Correa knocked a bases-clearing, two-out double for Double-A Corpus Christi in the bottom of the ninth.

Correa's clutch shot didn't clear the fence, but he had more hits than Buxton (1-for-4) did Monday night. The shortstop was 3-for-5 with two singles and the deciding two-bagger in a 5-4 win.

More

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

Escobar's 5-hit night spurs Nats' offense

Third baseman comes through with go-ahead knock in 4-run 8th inning

Escobar's 5-hit night spurs Nats' offense

WASHINGTON -- Yunel Escobar is the quintessential man of few words. And as usual Monday night, the Nationals third baseman got right to the point discussing Washington's dramatic 6-4 victory over the Marlins at Nationals Park.

"That," Escobar said, with bullpen catcher Nilson Robledo interpreting from Spanish, "was the best game of my career."

More

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

Jays coach Jacoby suspended, will appeal

Blue Jays hitting coach reportedly got into heated exchange with umpire crew Wednesday

Jays coach Jacoby suspended, will appeal

TORONTO -- Blue Jays hitting coach Brook Jacoby has received a 14-game suspension from Major League Baseball for his "postgame conduct toward the umpire crew" assigned to Wednesday's game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The suspension was announced by MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre prior to Monday night's game against the Yankees. Toronto later issued a news release stating that the suspension will be appealed and the club would not have any comment on the matter until a hearing is held.

More

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.