MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Ker-show: 132 pitches, 15 K's, 1 sweep

Another masterpiece from ace lifts Dodgers to 6 1/2-game lead in NL West

Ker-show: 132 pitches, 15 K's, 1 sweep

LOS ANGELES -- From his observation point roughly 75 feet away, Jimmy Rollins saw nothing of concern with Clayton Kershaw in the ninth inning Wednesday as the pitch count rose along with pulse rates at Dodger Stadium. The Giants were threatening, but the big lefty was still dealing.

"If the velocity starts dropping and he's not as sharp, that's when you know he's getting tired," Rollins said in the afterglow of a 2-1 Dodgers triumph completing a three-game sweep and knocking the Giants 6 1/2 games off their National League West lead.

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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.

Aggressive Donaldson races home on popout

Aggressive Donaldson races home on popout

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson is one of the frontrunners for the American League MVP Award because of his bat and glove, but in Wednesday night's 5-1 win over the Indians, it was his legs that had the fans at Rogers Centre in a frenzy.

Donaldson scored from third on a sacrifice popup to shallow right-center field and later stretched a single into a double by taking advantage of a lackadaisical Michael Brantley in left field. Donaldson finished the game 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Tejada's blooper turns into HR for Mets

Tejada's blooper turns into HR for Mets

NEW YORK -- From his vantage point at second base, Kelly Johnson went through the same sequence of emotions as nearly everyone else in Citi Field: disbelief that Ruben Tejada's hit skipped past Domonic Brown, concern for Brown as he flipped over the outfield wall and onto the concrete below, then a blaze of excitement as he watched Tejada race around the bases for the Mets' first inside-the-park home run in a half-decade.

For the Mets, it was a defining moment in Wednesday's 9-4 win over the Phillies, another machine-like demonstration of their newfound offensive capabilities. For Brown, who left the park with concussion-like symptoms, it could have lasting repercussions. For Tejada, it was the lead highlight of what has quietly been a solid season in a previously disappointing career.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statcast: O's stand out in all facets

Davis homers twice; Jones displays rocket arm with run-saving throw to plate

Statcast: O's stand out in all facets

The Orioles snapped a six-game losing streak in style on Wednesday night. They hit a few home runs, robbed one at the wall and watched their star center fielder cut down another run at the plate.

Adam Jones' assist from center field leads off Wednesday's highlights, which also include a defensive robbery by Steve Pearce, a pair of Chris Davis homers, an inside-the-park round-tripper in New York and a pair of prodigious homers in Missouri.

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

No letting up for Jays, Yanks in airtight East

No letting up for Jays, Yanks in airtight East

Although no team is eligible to clinch a playoff berth quite yet, the postseason picture is starting to take shape.

With several intra-division series throughout September, there will be no shortage of meaningful games as the season winds down and the field is narrowed to 10.

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

Pujols hits 555th HR in chase for stellar year

Veteran ties Manny for 14th on all-time list, takes things one year at a time

Pujols hits 555th HR in chase for stellar year

OAKLAND -- Albert Pujols' second-inning homer against the electric Sonny Gray, a key blow in a 9-4 win over the A's, gave him 555 career home runs, tying him with countryman Manny Ramirez for 14th on the all-time list. It gave him 35 this year, joining only three others -- Alex Rodriguez, Mike Schmidt and Willie Mays -- to reach 35-plus homers 10 times within their first 15 seasons. And it put him on pace for 42, a number he hasn't reached since 2010.

In some ways, though, Pujols is still chasing that season. He's still trying to be the player he was back then, and part of him can't accept being anything less.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

#TBT: That time Mulholland threw his glove

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#TBT: That time Mulholland threw his glove

Like all great hitters, Keith Hernandez owns an encyclopedic knowledge of his career. The Mets broadcaster has catalogued in his mind thousands of at bats from across his 17 years in the Majors, which he can recall in often colorfully painstaking detail.

Then there is one memory, from 29 years ago today, that history (and we) won't let him forget.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Zim's big night carries Nats over Cards

Zim's big night carries Nats over Cards

ST. LOUIS -- With a pair of solo homers and a go-ahead RBI double off Jonathan Broxton in the eighth, Ryan Zimmerman helped the Nationals salvage a win during their three-game visit to Busch Stadium. Washington's 4-3 victory halted the Cardinals' winning streak at four games.

Zimmerman, who homered in each of the first two games of the series, took fill-in starter Tyler Lyons deep with solo shots in the fourth and sixth. Jayson Werth preceded those blasts with one of his own, a solo homer in the third inning that erased the Cardinals' early lead.

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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. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Andrus' thievery can help fans steal a home

Quicken Loans sweepstakes offers chance to win mortgage payment valued at up to $1,500

Andrus' thievery can help fans steal a home

The deadline from Monday's sweepstakes hadn't even closed before Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus gave fans yet another opportunity to score a free mortgage payment.

In the Rangers' 8-6 win over the Padres, Andrus pulled off the rare straight steal of home, reactivating the Quicken Loans "Steal A Home" program, barely more than 24 hours after the Angels' C.J. Cron did the same Monday night.

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

Key things to watch for in today's games

Key things to watch for in today's games

There are only six games around the Major Leagues on Thursday, but the Padres and Dodgers still provide a marquee matchup. San Diego and Los Angeles will kick off a four-game set, and the Dodgers lead 8-4 in the season series despite outscoring the Padres by just three runs (47-44).

The Dodgers went 15-12 in August and solidified their grip on the NL West, and they've managed to stay afloat despite a 28-36 record on the road. Los Angeles is scoring 4.08 runs per game, slightly below the league average (4.10), and has the fourth-best ERA (3.39) of any NL team.

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

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Rox, Giants hitters primed for big night

Rox, Giants hitters primed for big night

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 Thursday.

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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.

O's 'Crush' losing skid with Davis' heroics

First baseman's 2nd HR gives Baltimore walk-off win in 11th vs. Rays

O's 'Crush' losing skid with Davis' heroics

BALTIMORE -- With the Orioles down 11 runs in Tuesday night's game, manager Buck Showalter began removing some of the starters prior to the ninth inning and Chris Davis was one of the guys he had in mind. If it's OK with you, Davis said, I'd like to finish this thing.

And when the slugger hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, he gave Showalter a look before trotting the bases.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Stoic through it all, Votto reaching new heights

Reds superstar making critics look foolish with vintage second-half surge

Stoic through it all, Votto reaching new heights

Joey Votto dropped the bat nonchalantly and looked briefly toward left field as the baseball soared into the seats. And then he was off circling the bases, head down, as always, expressionless, as always.

This was one more perfect moment in a season filled with them. If we're discussing the best baseball players on the planet, Votto is back on everyone's short list, a point that was driven home on Wednesday as he hammered a three-run home run in the ninth inning to set the Reds up for a 7-4 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. 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.

CarGo drives in 7, ties for NL HR lead

Colorado sluggers tied for NL lead with 33 homers

CarGo drives in 7, ties for NL HR lead

DENVER -- Carlos Gonzalez had never faced D-backs rookie reliever Keith Hessler before. He had some paperwork that said Hessler threw an upper-90s fastball with a slider, but the resources were still limited.

The Arizona left-hander chose to come with three straight sliders -- the last of which proved costly. Gonzalez went down and got the third breaking ball, crushing it off the second-deck façade in right field for a seventh-inning, go-ahead grand slam. Gonzalez tacked on a second homer in the eighth for good measure, helping propel the Rockies to a 9-4 win on Wednesday at Coors Field.

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

Harper exits with tightness in left glute

Harper exits with tightness in left glute

ST. LOUIS -- Bryce Harper left Wednesday's 4-3 victory over the Cardinals because of tightness in his left glute and was replaced by Matt den Dekker.

Harper sustained the injury in the seventh inning of Tuesday's game against the Cardinals after touching base awkwardly beating out an infield single. By the time Wednesday's game started, the injury had worsened.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miggy miffed by ejection for arguing strike call

Miggy miffed by ejection for arguing strike call

DETROIT -- The outcome of the Tigers' 12-1 loss to the Royals was decided relatively early. The drama, however, still lingered after the game, from Miguel Cabrera's argument and ejection over a called third strike to a trade of hit-by-pitches between Yordano Ventura and Randy Wolf.

Cabrera's seventh career ejection came not from home-plate umpire Quinn Wolcott, who made the call on Ventura's 99-mph full-count fastball leading off the fourth inning. Instead, crew chief Gary Cederstrom made the ejection from third base.

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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.

Utley's first LA homer cashes in Kersh's gem

Utley's first LA homer cashes in Kersh's gem

LOS ANGELES -- The other hero of the game for the Dodgers was Chase Utley.

His game-winning home run became a footnote Wednesday night, but without it, Clayton Kershaw would have had a 15-strikeout, hang-with-'em no-decision.

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

Longoria eclipses 200-HR milestone in loss

All-Star becomes 1st 3B with 200 HRs, 250 doubles in 1st 8 seasons

Longoria eclipses 200-HR milestone in loss

BALTIMORE -- Evan Longoria cut loose with a mammoth homer on Wednesday night, giving him 200 for his career.

Longoria enjoyed the blast so much that he added a second in the ninth, giving him his second multi-home run game of the season and the 15th of his career. Despite his heroics, the Rays lost to the Orioles 7-6 in 11 innings at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yankees outslug Red Sox with five HRs

Yankees outslug Red Sox with five HRs

BOSTON -- The Yankees hit five home runs in support of Masahiro Tanaka, then weathered a late rally to wrap up a successful road trip with a 13-8 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday at Fenway Park.

Greg Bird, John Ryan Murphy and Carlos Beltran homered as part of an eight-run second inning off left-hander Henry Owens, who lasted just 1 2/3 frames while giving up six hits and seven runs. Stephen Drew and Didi Gregorius later homered, as the bottom four hitters in New York's lineup went deep in the contest.

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

Moreland delivers in 10th as Texas tops Padres

Moreland delivers in 10th as Texas tops Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Mitch Moreland doubled home Elvis Andrus in the top of the 10th inning and the Rangers held on for a 4-3 victory over the Padres on Wednesday night.

The victory moved the Rangers within two games of the Astros in the American League West, and they maintain a one-game lead over the Twins for the second Wild Card spot.

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Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mets plan to skip Harvey before season ends

Right-hander experienced dehydration symptoms during start vs. Philly

Mets plan to skip Harvey before season ends

NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey experienced mild dehydration symptoms during and after Wednesday's 9-4 win over the Phillies, but the team does not consider them serious enough to affect him going forward.

On a broader note, it is becoming clearer and clearer that the Mets will do everything within their power to protect Harvey's health down the stretch.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Royals' 4 homers, Ventura's 11 K's tame Tigers

Royals' 4 homers, Ventura's 11 K's tame Tigers

KANSAS CITY -- Rookie Cheslor Cuthbert homered and had four RBIs, Kendrys Morales and Lorenzo Cain each homered and had three RBIs, and right-hander Yordano Ventura matched a career high with 11 strikeouts as the Royals pummeled the Tigers in a 12-1 win on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.

Ventura pitched seven strong innings, giving up just five hits and one run. It was his fifth straight quality start -- he's posted a 1.13 ERA over that span. And his 11 K's matched his previous outing.

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Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. 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.

Cruz strains quad on play at home vs. Astros

Cruz strains quad on play at home vs. Astros

HOUSTON -- Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz was removed from Wednesday night's 8-3 Seattle win over the Astros with a strained quad muscle in his right leg after getting thrown out at the plate in the top of the seventh inning, and his status is day to day as the club heads to Oakland for its next series on Friday.

Cruz was thrown out by Colby Rasmus trying to score on a flyout by Mark Trumbo, but he said he actually felt the muscle tighten up moments earlier when he hustled to third while teammate Kyle Seager was in a rundown after breaking for the plate on an infield chopper.

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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.

Mathias among 10 top prospect performers Wednesday

Indians No. 21 prospect goes 4-for-5 with a career-high 6 RBIs for Mahoning Valley

Mathias among 10 top prospect performers Wednesday

Mark Mathias' career is just beginning, but he may never have as good of a game as he did Wednesday.

The Indians' No. 21 prospect homered and tripled as part of a 4-for-5 performance, while his career-high six RBIs proved to be the difference in Class A Short Season Mahoning Valley's 11-5 victory over Auburn.

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

Meeting to help determine direction of Marlins

Jennings to discuss possible transition back to GM with Hill, Samson, Loria

Meeting to help determine direction of Marlins

ATLANTA -- The Marlins are in the process of making widespread changes, and what transpires during an organizational meeting on Thursday in Miami will determine the direction of upper management.

Manager Dan Jennings is scheduled to meet with president of baseball operations Michael Hill, team president David Samson and owner Jeffrey Loria regarding his transition back into the front office.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. 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.

Clutch Votto blasts Reds past Cubs in ninth

Clutch Votto blasts Reds past Cubs in ninth

CHICAGO -- Joey Votto crushed a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to power the Reds to a 7-4 victory over the Cubs on Wednesday at Wrigley Field. Chicago had tied the game in the bottom of the eighth on Kris Bryant's two-run home run, but Bryant's error helped keep Cincinnati's ninth alive.

Votto connected off Hector Rondon after Jason Bourgeois reached on an infield single and Jay Bruce was safe on a ball that went through Bryant's legs. With the win, the Reds won their first series since July 27-29 against the Cardinals.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Schwarber sidelined with right rib soreness

Jackson makes first career start in right field; Rondon hits 100 mph

Schwarber sidelined with right rib soreness

CHICAGO -- Rookie Kyle Schwarber was scratched from Wednesday's lineup with right rib soreness, which he felt while hitting in the batting cage prior to the game. He was to undergo an MRI as a precaution.

On Tuesday, Schwarber hit his 12th home run since being called up on July 17, which is second in the National League since the All-Star break. He was batting .255 since the break, with five doubles and 32 RBIs.

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