MadBum stifles Cubs in graceful August exit

Giants' ace finishes month 5-0 after fanning 12 through six, allowing two hits and making acrobatic play

MadBum stifles Cubs in graceful August exit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner concluded his graceful waltz through August with his fanciest footwork of the month.

Bumgarner displayed his characteristic dominance Thursday with 12 strikeouts in six innings during the Giants' 9-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs. But San Francisco's ace most impressively maintained control of himself on foot, not on the mound.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

White Sox don 'interesting' '70s throwback uniforms

'I like 'em; business casual,' Ventura says of collared jerseys

White Sox don 'interesting' '70s throwback uniforms

CHICAGO -- When most teams wear throwback uniforms, the players barely notice anymore. The colors and designs may be different, but most of the replica uniforms are similar to what is worn today.

Then there's the throwback uniforms the White Sox wore for Thursday night's game with the Mariners at U.S. Cellular Field. The duds, originally worn from 1976-81, grabbed the attention of the players as soon as they arrived at the ballpark.

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

Cueto effect: Ventura improves since KC trade

After Reds' ace joined Royals, righty has seen turnaround

Cueto effect: Ventura improves since KC trade

KANSAS CITY -- As Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura racked up a career-high 11 strikeouts in six scoreless innings during the Royals' 5-3 win over Baltimore on Thursday, the search was on as to what has triggered his sudden turnaround.

In late July, Ventura was struggling so badly that the Royals had optioned him to Triple-A. But then came the Jason Vargas injury, Ventura was recalled before he even left, and he's been a different pitcher since.

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

Mets break, then extend club mark for monthly HRs

d'Arnaud belts team's 41st homer of August before Cespedes, Johnson follow

Mets break, then extend club mark for monthly HRs

PHILADELPHIA -- When the Mets tied their franchise record for home runs in a month with five games left to go in August, it seemed like a matter of time before their new-look offense would strike again.

On cue, the Mets entered uncharted territory with a trio of home runs in the middle innings Thursday against the Phillies. Travis d'Arnaud's two-run shot off Aaron Harang in the fourth inning was their 41st of the month, snapping a tie with the Mets' previous club record of 40 set in June 2006. An inning later, Yoenis Cespedes extended the record to 42 with his own two-run homer, and Kelly Johnson hit a game-tying solo shot for No. 43.

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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.

Cubs acquire Rodney in deal with Mariners

Rosscup optioned to Triple-A; Schlitter designated for assignment

Cubs acquire Rodney in deal with Mariners

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Cubs added another arm to the bullpen mix Thursday, acquiring right-hander Fernando Rodney from the Mariners for a player to be named or cash considerations. Rodney is expected to join the Cubs on Friday in Los Angeles.

"I was there for that year when he had the best in history," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the right-hander's 2012 season with the Rays, when he compiled an 0.60 ERA in 76 games with 48 saves. "He has the kind of stuff to get out both righties and lefties. I know he had trouble or struggled a bit this year, but I'm eager to see him in person and find out what's going on."

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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.

Greinke cruises as Dodgers sweep Reds

Greinke cruises as Dodgers sweep Reds

CINCINNATI -- Zack Greinke fired a four-hitter for seven scoreless innings to outduel Anthony DeSclafani as the Dodgers edged the Reds on Thursday afternoon, 1-0, for their first series sweep at Great American Ball Park since 2008.

The Reds have lost 12 of 13, while the Dodgers had lost the first five games of the trip in Oakland and Houston before the three-game sweep. The win left the first-place Dodgers 2 1/2 games ahead of the Giants, who beat the Cubs, 9-1.

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

Venable makes leaping grab to save run

Venable makes leaping grab to save run

ARLINGTON -- Rangers left fielder Will Venable made his first start in five games with a right-hander on the mound for the Blue Jays and made a terrific defensive play in the second inning of a 4-1 win on Thursday afternoon at Globe Life Park.

The Blue Jays had Ben Revere on first with two outs when Cliff Pennington sliced a drive to left field. The ball was not hit deep, but Venable was playing shallow and had to race straight back to catch up. At the last moment, he made a diving catch going away from home plate. If he doesn't catch the ball, Revere would have scored easily.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats' Taylor exits after crashing into wall

Nats' Taylor exits after crashing into wall

WASHINGTON -- Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor exited Thursday's 4-2 win against the Padres because of a right leg injury.

With two outs in the seventh inning and the Nats leading, 3-1, Melvin Upton Jr. tripled to center field while Taylor crashed into the wall attempting to make the catch. It appeared Taylor hurt his right knee, and he was on the ground for a few minutes before he left the game.

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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.

Manfred: More safety netting being discussed

Manfred: More safety netting being discussed

PHILADELPHIA -- Commissioner Rob Manfred said discussions regarding extended safety netting at Major League ballparks are ongoing and that he hopes to make a recommendation to owners during quarterly meetings in Dallas in November.

He made his remarks before Thursday night's Phillies game against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park as he completed his goal of visiting all 30 clubs after succeeding Bud Selig in January.

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

Mexico routs Venezuela, reaches Int'l Championship

Mexico routs Venezuela, reaches Int'l Championship

The final spots in the International and United States Championship games were up for grabs on Thursday at the Little League World Series.

Mexico was the first to punch its ticket, rolling past Venezuela to set up a clash with Japan on Saturday. That set the stage for California to face Texas (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), playing for a U.S. championship matchup against Pennsylvania.

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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.

Sano belts RBI double off catwalk at Tropicana Field

Sano belts RBI double off catwalk at Tropicana Field

ST. PETERBURG -- Twins rookie slugger Miguel Sano hit one of the more unusual doubles of the season on Thursday night, as he crushed a high drive off Rays left-hander Drew Smyly that hit the "B" ring at Tropicana Field and remained in play for an RBI double.

With two out in the third and Brian Dozier at first base, Sano smacked an 0-1 fastball to left-center that would have been a homer, but instead hit the catwalk. Dozier scored from first on the play, while Sano held at second base.

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

Relay race: Cubs thwart inside-the-park HR

Russell's strong throw home bails out Denorfia, who thought Aoki's ball went foul on lunging attempt

Relay race: Cubs thwart inside-the-park HR

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon was able to find a bright spot after watching the Giants' Madison Bumgarner strike out 12 over six innings in Chicago's 9-1 loss on Thursday. In the Giants' seventh, the Cubs were able to thwart Nori Aoki, who got a little too adventurous on the bases.

With one out and the Giants leading, 5-1, Aoki lofted a ball to left field, which deflected off Chris Denorfia's glove and into foul territory.

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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.

Yunel hit by pitch, exits with right hand injury

Yunel hit by pitch, exits with right hand injury

WASHINGTON -- Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar exited Thursday's 4-2 win against the Padres because of a right hand injury.

With the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Escobar was hit on the right hand by a pitch thrown by right-hander Andrew Cashner. Jayson Werth scored on the play to get the Nationals on the board.

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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.

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.

Bucs keep it loose with pregame dugout antics

Long-standing dance ritual starting to garner attention

Bucs keep it loose with pregame dugout antics

MIAMI -- Take a look into the Pirates' dugout moments before first pitch every night. You never know what you might see.

It could be Andrew McCutchen pretending to row a boat, with his bat as the oar. You might find Josh Harrison doing the limbo under his bat. Either way, odds are you will find McCutchen and Harrison dancing in the middle of a crowd of teammates, some of them stomping their feet while others bang on empty gum buckets.

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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.

Gallardo picks up 100th career victory

Gallardo picks up 100th career victory

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers had extra reason to celebrate a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon in the clubhouse afterwards.

The Rangers wanted to salute starter Yovani Gallardo, who pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in the August heat and earned his 100th career victory.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jay set to rehab at Triple-A this weekend

Jay set to rehab at Triple-A this weekend

PHOENIX -- Of the Cardinals' seven players rehabbing an injury, outfielder Jon Jay will be the first to begin a rehab assignment with one of the organization's Minor League affiliates.

Jay, who has missed the team's last 51 games while strengthening his left wrist, is scheduled to meet up with the Triple-A Memphis club on Friday as it continues a road series in Reno, Nev. The Cardinals have not determined whether Jay will be in Friday's lineup or wait until the weekend to play. The team has also not projected how long the rehab assignment will last. With rosters set to expand on Tuesday, the Cardinals would not activate the center fielder before then.

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

Puig exits after reinjuring right hamstring

Dodgers outfielder says it's worse than original injury; no word on how long he'll be out

Puig exits after reinjuring right hamstring

CINCINNATI -- Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig said he reinjured his right hamstring Thursday worse than the original injury suffered last week in Oakland.

Puig left Thursday's 1-0 victory against the Reds after pulling up in pain legging out an infield single in the top of the ninth inning.

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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.

Jeter just Rickrolled everyone in his new Q&A

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Jeter just Rickrolled everyone in his new Q&A

Derek Jeter is a notoriously private guy. He's not active on social media and has never posted any Dubsmash videos of himself singing songs from "Minions."

But on Thursday, he debuted a mailbag feature on his website, The Players' Tribune, in which he answered questions from fans like, "Do you like cilantro?" The Captain, it turns out, does not.

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MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Banister's influence shouldn't be overlooked

Banister's influence shouldn't be overlooked

ARLINGTON -- There's nothing about the Rangers that really computes. Not that the Rangers care.

Texas somehow pulled out a 4-1 victory against the American League East-leading Blue Jays at Globe Life Park on Thursday afternoon, and it walked out of the ballpark tied for the second AL Wild Card spot with the Twins, who are playing against the Rays on Thursday.

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

Watch Griffey Jr catch a fish in new Macklemore video

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Watch Griffey Jr catch a fish in new Macklemore video

On Thursday, the rapper released his latest video, "Downtown," one upping his Mariners ante with a cameo from the Cultural Ambassador of Left-Handed Swings. I speak, of course, about Ken Griffey, Jr. 

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MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Despite injuries, Giants are time-tested champs

Veterans' mental toughness, newcomers' energy a boon in season's final five weeks

Despite injuries, Giants are time-tested champs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Every now and then, it's not a bad idea to recall the immortal words of former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich: "Never underestimate the heart of a champion."

Rudy T. was referring to his back-to-back kings of the NBA in 1994 and '95, but his sentiments also apply to the three-time World Series champion Giants. Fans in San Francisco and its environs know never to underestimate these guys, even as their faith repeatedly is tested in odd-numbered years such as 2015.

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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.

Cervelli ejected after home-plate argument

Pirates catcher apparently disagrees with strike call

Cervelli ejected after home-plate argument

MIAMI -- Catcher Francisco Cervelli was ejected during the third inning of the Pirates' 2-1 win over the Marlins on Thursday night at Marlins Park.

With a 1-0 count against Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis, right-hander Gerrit Cole fired a 94-mph fastball to Cervelli. The pitch appeared to cross the plate low and just outside the strike zone.

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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.

Loney drops appeal, serves 1-game suspension

Loney drops appeal, serves 1-game suspension

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays first baseman James Loney dropped his appeal for the one-game suspension he received on Tuesday.

Loney reached his decision prior to Thursday night's game against the Twins.

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

Giants rout Cubs for series win, gain ground

Giants rout Cubs for series win, gain ground

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner fanned 12 Cubs over six innings and Marlon Byrd drilled a three-run homer to propel San Francisco to a 9-1 victory over Chicago on Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park.

The outcome marked the first time the Cubs lost a series to a National League opponent since they were swept by Philadelphia, July 24-26.

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Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. 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.

Jennings favors changing ballpark dimensions

Marlins manager has long been a proponent of moving in fences

Jennings favors changing ballpark dimensions

MIAMI -- Miami manager Dan Jennings is in favor of the Marlins Park fences being moved in, as well as lowered, in the offseason.

While team president David Samson said Wednesday that the organization is considering making the adjustments to the spacious ballpark, Jennings said prior to Thursday's series finale against Pittsburgh that he is all for them.

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

Living a dream: Tomlinson's 1st homer grand

Giants rookie emotional after receiving rousing ovation following slam

Living a dream: Tomlinson's 1st homer grand

SAN FRANCISCO -- Growing up in Chickasha, Okla., Giants rookie Kelby Tomlinson always dreamed of hitting a home run in the Major Leagues. On Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park, his wish finally came true.

Tomlinson connected for his first career home run, and it was a grand slam off reliever James Russell in the eighth inning that put an exclamation point on San Francisco's 9-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.

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

Matz to make rehab start Monday, then rejoin Mets

Rookie left-hander will make final appearance for Double-A Binghamton

Matz to make rehab start Monday, then rejoin Mets

PHILADELPHIA -- Steven Matz's return to the Mets is now less than a week away.

The Mets announced Thursday that Matz will make his fourth and final Minor League rehab start Monday for Double-A Binghamton, and they will recall him the next day when rosters expand. Matz, the club's No. 1 prospect, has been on the disabled list since July 10 with a strained left lat muscle. He fired six one-hit innings in his latest rehab start Wednesday for Binghamton, stretching out to 56 pitches.

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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.

DeShields turns Bautista's error into 'homer'

DeShields turns Bautista's error into 'homer'

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers clung to a one-run lead through 6 1/2 innings on Thursday afternoon, mainly because of some tough, gritty pitching in the Texas heat.

Then they got a huge break on the kind of "home run" usually reserved for Little League and it gave them the margin they needed for a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jays.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cool running: Rangers snap Jays' streak

Cool running: Rangers snap Jays' streak

ARLINGTON -- Tough pitching on a hot afternoon helped the Rangers avoid a sweep as they cooled off the Blue Jays with a 4-1 victory on Thursday.

Five Rangers pitchers combined for the victory, led by starter Yovani Gallardo. He held the Blue Jays scoreless for 5 1/3 innings before relievers Keone Kela, Jake Diekman, Sam Dyson and Shawn Tolleson battled their way through 3 2/3 innings. The Blue Jays had eight baserunners on in the last four innings, but they managed just one run. Toronto was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. 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.