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Last Build Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2016 22:19:08 PDT

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Baseball-Highlights from MLB games on Saturday (Reuters)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 22:19:08 PDT

Highlights from Major League Baseball games on Saturday: Nationals 6, Pirates 1 Washington won their third National League East title in the last five years with a victory over the Pittsburgh at PNC Park on Saturday night, coupled with the New York Mets' 10-8 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos each drove in two runs and reliever Reynaldo Lopez (4-3) pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings for Washington (90-64). The Nationals' Joe Ross was making his second start since missing 66 games because of right shoulder inflammation.



Nationals bounce back from disappointment to win NL East (Big League Stew)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 19:59:57 PDT

The Washington Nationals watched the playoffs from home last season after completely unraveling in the second half. On Saturday, Washington clinched its third NL East championship in five years by defeating the Pirates 6-1 at PNC Park. The Nationals join the Chicago Cubs as division champions in the NL.



Blue Jays' Bautista comes up big in key situation and other takeaways from win over Yankees (Eh Game)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:24:24 PDT

TORONTO — The right guy, at the right time. That’s how Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons described the situation in the bottom of the eighth inning when, with two on and two out, Jose Bautista came up to bat. On a 2-0 pitch right down the middle of the plate, the right fielder didn't miss, hitting a three-run blast into the left field stands, giving the Blue Jays the 3-0 lead against the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon. It was a lead they would not relinquish, earning themselves back-to-back wins to open the final homestand of the regular season at the Rogers Centre. " Looks like he’s heating up at the right time," Gibbons said in his post-game press conference. "Jose, he’s been known to do some things at key spots. I was sitting there on the bench with DeMarlo (Hale), and I mentioned that to him. You know, right guy, right time basically." According to the Blue Jays’ public relations staff, it was the 16th time in Bautista’s career that he’s given his team the lead with a the long ball in the eighth inning or later. Fourteen times he did it for the Blue Jays. In other words, Bautista has been "the right guy, at the right time" many times before. “Obviously last year and obviously this year, it seems like he always steps up in those key moments when we need him most,” sais Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman about Bautista. The win also helps the Blue Jays tighten their grip on the top wild-card spot in the American League. At the conclusion of their 3-0 win, the Blue Jays held a two game-lead over the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles for the top wild-card spot. (Note: The Orioles could cut that lead to 1.5 games with a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night). After a shaky start to September, the Blue Jays look to be hitting their stride again when it matters most. With that in mind, here are three other takeaways from Saturday’s game: Pitching duel for last playoff rotation spot: For a second day in a row, a Blue Jays starter held the Yankees scoreless. On Saturday afternoon, Marcus Stroman took the mound and pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just one hit, while striking out five. That performance comes just one night after veteran starter Francisco Liriano did much the same, blanking the Yankees through six innings Friday night in the eventual 9-0 rout. With J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez all but locks for the potential playoff rotation, there could be a battle brewing between Liriano and Stroman for that fourth spot. Gibbons said Stroman looked “as good as I’ve seen him,” in his outing Saturday. As for Stroman, he said he was happy with his performance. “I had everything going. I felt great out there. I felt strong. Felt like I was pretty much hitting all my spots,” he said. “I don’t know if it was best, but I put it up there as one of the best performances that I’ve had as far as stuff wise and as far as giving us an opportunity to win late in the game.” Scoreboard watch: With just eight games left on the schedule, the American League playoff picture is beginning to take shape. The Texas Rangers have clinched the AL West, while the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox appear poised to secure top spots in the AL Central and East, respectively. As mentioned, the Blue Jays are currently in possession of the top wild-card spot with Detroit and Baltimore jockeying for the second position. On the outside, but still very much in the hunt, are the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners, while the Yankees and Kansas City Royals seem to be long shots, at best. Needless to say, this is the time of the year when watching the out-of-town scoreboard can sometimes be more thrilling than watching what’s happening on the field. “You’re aware of it,” manager Gibbons said of watching the out-of-town scores. “Really from the beginning of the season on, I glance up cause it’s right out there on the walls… but you know what, you really have to take care [...]



LEADING OFF: Mets need innings, Lester makes Cy pitch (The Associated Press)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 18:10:43 PDT

A look at what's happening all around the majors Sunday:



Andrus' homers leads AL West champ Rangers over A's 5-0 (The Associated Press)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 17:28:52 PDT

Elvis Andrus had been dealing with flu symptoms and kept his celebration rather subdued after the Texas Rangers clinched the AL West, so he asked manager Jeff Banister afterward to please put him in the lineup again Saturday. The lone veteran in the lineup a day after Texas won captured another division title, Andrus showed it by hitting a pair of two-run homers in the Rangers' 5-0 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday. Texas wants to keep winning to earn home-field advantage.



Adrian Beltre tries out for new role on rare off day (Big League Stew)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 16:57:27 PDT

On Friday night, the Texas Rangers clinched their second straight AL West title with a 3-0 win over the A’s. That meant it was celebration time in the visitor’s clubhouse at the Oakland Coliseum. In fact, every regular, save for shortstop Elvis Andrus, was on the bench. Manager Jeff Banister is probably glad he did too, as he delivered a pair of two-run home runs in Texas’ 5-0 win.



AL West champ Rangers celebrate, plan for another playoffs (The Associated Press)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 16:57:27 PDT

Colby Lewis obliged his wife when she requested a picture under an AL West champion banner of the four Texas players part of each division title since 2010. Lewis was joined for the celebratory clubhouse photo op Friday night by Elvis Andrus, Derek Holland and Mitch Moreland. The Rangers are on to the playoffs again after capturing their second straight AL West title and fourth since 2010 with a 3-0 win against the Oakland Athletics.



Five reasons the Rangers could win the World Series (Big League Stew)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 15:00:36 PDT

The Texas Rangers became the first American League team and the second team overall — joining the Chicago Cubs — to secure a postseason berth after clinching the AL West on Friday night. The triumph continues a pretty solid run of success for the Rangers. In fact, the Rangers won it back-to-back in 2010-11 as well, before reaching and losing the World Series in both of those seasons.



LEADING OFF: Cubs go for Wrigley record, Porcello chases 22 (The Associated Press)

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 00:13:12 PDT

A look at what's happening all around the majors today:



Baseball-Highlights from MLB games on Friday (Reuters)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 23:40:00 PDT

Highlights from Major League Baseball games on Friday: Cubs 5, Cardinals 0 Jake Arrieta's goal may be perfection but he realizes he can occasionally ease up and still have good outcomes. Arrieta (18-7) scattered five hits in a seven-inning shutout effort as the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field. Chicago (98-55) topped last year's 97-win total and matched the most victories by any Cubs team since 1945 with its fourth straight in the opener of a three-game weekend series.



David Ortiz breaks record held by Shoeless Joe Jackson (Big League Stew)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 23:28:47 PDT

With each passing week, it seems “Big Papi” reaches another milestone or breaks another record. That continued in Friday’s 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Rays, as Ortiz’s two-run first-inning home run helped him break a record previously held by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. Ortiz now has 124 RBIs on the season, which is the most ever in a player’s final season, topping Jackson’s 1920 season.



Rangers blank A's to book first AL playoff berth (Reuters)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 23:20:53 PDT

(Reuters) - The Texas Rangers became the first American League team to clinch a playoff spot when they clinched the AL West Division with a 3-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday. Starter Cole Hamels breezed through seven scoreless innings while Carlos Beltran and Adrian Beltre each homered to allow the Rangers to celebrate a post-season berth with a shutout. The victory secured a second consecutive division title for Texas (91-63), who lost in the American League Division Series a year ago, and fourth in the last seven years.



Rangers face A's with eye on home field (The Associated Press)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 23:12:43 PDT

The Texas Rangers took the first step Friday night toward what they hope will be a World Series championship when they clinched the American League West crown. One day after beating the Oakland A's 3-0, the Rangers will try to zero in on their next goal, securing home-field advantage for the AL playoffs. Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish will face A's rookie right-hander Raul Alcantara in the second game of the three-game series at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.



Rangers include Bush, Jeffress in brief booze-free festivity (The Associated Press)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 23:02:47 PDT

Matt Bush was a pivotal piece in the Texas Rangers' AL West title run. The former No. 1 overall pick by his hometown San Diego Padres in 2004 and now a 30-year-old rookie, Bush served a 51-month prison sentence for a drunken driving with serious bodily harm. ''Every single player on this team is part of the family,'' Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said.



Baseball-Rangers blank A's to book first AL playoff berth (Reuters)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 22:53:26 PDT

The Texas Rangers became the first American League team to clinch a playoff spot when they clinched the AL West Division with a 3-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday. Starter Cole Hamels breezed through seven scoreless innings while Carlos Beltran and Adrian Beltre each homered to allow the Rangers to celebrate a post-season berth with a shutout. The victory secured a second consecutive division title for Texas (91-63), who lost in the American League Division Series a year ago, and fourth in the last seven years.



Rangers beat Oakland to clinch AL West (AFP)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 22:52:05 PDT

Cole Hamels threw seven shutout innings as the Texas Rangers defeated the Oakland Athletics 3-0 and clinched the American League West Division crown on Friday. Adrian Beltre also blasted a two-run homer for the Rangers who won the West for the second straight year and for the fourth time in the past seven Major League Baseball seasons. Texas reached the World Series in back to back years in 2011 and 2010 but lost both times.



Prince Fielder joins Rangers AL West celebration (Big League Stew)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 22:49:06 PDT

The whole Texas Rangers crew was on hand Friday night for their AL West-clinching celebration in Oakland. Needless to say, the reality of that situation did not settle well with Fielder initially. As the Rangers players ran on the field following their 3-0 win against the A’s, Fielder was right there among them.



Rangers clinch AL West with 3-0 win over Oakland (The Associated Press)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 22:27:27 PDT

Adrian Beltre and the Texas Rangers were subdued as they began the celebration, exchanging hugs near the pitcher's mound at Oakland Coliseum. The Rangers are getting pretty good at this division title thing. Beltre hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning and the Texas Rangers secured their second straight AL West title, becoming the first American League team to clinch a playoff spot with a 3-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.



Rangers clinch AL West despite shockingly small run differential (Big League Stew)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 20:57:11 PDT

The best team in the American League West resides in north Texas. The Texas Rangers are division champions for the second straight season — and the fourth time since 2010 — after dispatching the A’s 3-0 in Oakland. Cole Hamels pitched seven scoreless innings in the clincher, striking out six.



Rangers' Jeffress reinstated following arrest on DWI charge (The Associated Press)

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 18:02:17 PDT

Texas Rangers reliever Jeremy Jeffress has been reinstated by Major League Baseball and joined the team Friday after being placed on the restricted list following an arrest on a drunken driving charge last month. Jeffress was arrested Aug. 26., less than a month after being acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers before the Aug. 1 deadline. The right-handed reliever was at an inpatient rehab clinic for a little more than three weeks, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said.



With Texas close to AL West title, Hamels and Yu can tune up (The Associated Press)

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 20:43:03 PDT

Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish are scheduled to start the next two games for the Texas Rangers, after some extra rest for the aces lined up to start the team's first two playoff games. With more than a week left in the regular season and the Rangers on the verge of clinching their second consecutive AL West title, there is also the opportunity for Hamels and Darvish to get back on track before the postseason after some subpar outings this month. All-Star lefty Hamels (14-5, 3.42 ERA) has a 10.50 ERA over his last four starts, though the Rangers have won three of those games.



Rangers' Hamels looks to regain form against A's (The Associated Press)

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 20:11:26 PDT

Left-hander Cole Hamels has a gaudy 14-5 record and solid 3.42 ERA in his first full season with the first-place Texas Rangers, but has struggled down the stretch. In his past four starts, Hamels is 0-1 with a 10.50 ERA over 18 innings. Hamels gave up six runs and two homers over six innings and had a no-decision in the 7-6 Rangers' victory against Oakland on Sept. 16.



Blue Jays and Orioles lose critical games thanks to crushing errors (Big League Stew)

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 22:29:59 PDT

The atmosphere for this week’s Blue Jays-Mariners series at Safeco Field and Red Sox-Orioles at Camden Yards have been off the charts. Unfortunately, both games were also mostly decided by defensive blunders that knocked the wind out of the respective losing team as much as they raised the spirits of the winners. Beginning in Seattle, Aaron Sanchez and Felix Hernandez went toe-to-toe in a fantastic pitcher’s duel.



Baseball-Highlights of Wednesday's MLB games (Reuters)

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 22:26:06 PDT

(Adds final game) Sept 21 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Major League Baseball games on Wednesday: Yankees 11, Rays 5 Red-hot Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez hit two more home runs, giving him five in his last four games, as New York rolled to an 11-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. New York jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two innings, then held off the Rays (64-87), who inched back with five solo home runs. Rockies 11, Cardinals 1 Nolan Arenado hit a grand slam as the Colorado Rockies piled on rookie starter Luke Weaver early and beat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-1.



Angels douse Rangers 5-4, Texas still short of AL West title (The Associated Press)

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 21:03:14 PDT

The Texas Rangers most likely will be AL West champions by time they return home next week. ''Destiny is in our hands,'' shortstop Elvis Andrus said. With nine games left in the regular season, the magic number remained at two for the Rangers (90-63) to clinch their second consecutive AL West title and seventh overall.



Look to Philadelphia (Rotoworld)

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 10:32:00 PDT

Brad Johnson covers the latest closer and stolen base news with just 12 days left in the season.



Rob Manfred made no sense while stumping for the Rangers' new stadium (Big League Stew)

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 08:45:11 PDT

On Nov. 8, residents of Arlington, Texas will vote on an important issue: whether to spend public money to fund a new, retractable-roof stadium for the Texas Rangers. Commissioner Rob Manfred definitely wants a new stadium for the Rangers, and he stumped for it in Arlington on Tuesday by saying some truly baffling things. “From a playing perspective, the heat wears you down playing in it game after game,” Manfred said.



LEADING OFF: Rangers can clinch, Red Sox seek 7th straight (The Associated Press)

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 01:55:43 PDT

A look at what's happening all around the majors today:



Bottom of lineup leading Rangers vs. Angels (The Associated Press)

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 23:57:26 PDT

The Texas Rangers own one of the deepest lineups in baseball, in part, because of what they've been able to get at the bottom end. The last third of the lineup for much of the season has been Mitch Moreland, rookie Nomar Mazara and Elvis Andrus. Andrus is batting close to .300.



Baseball-Highlights from Tuesday's MLB games (Reuters)

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 23:34:03 PDT

(Adds late games) Sept 20 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights from Major League Baseball games on Tuesday: Cardinals 10, Rockies 5 Adam Wainwright, who turned 35 three weeks ago, has shown his age this season and was not at his best, but more than made up for any mound shortcomings with his bat. Wainwright doubled home two runs in the third off Jorge De La Rosa and singled home two runs in the fifth off Eddie Butler. Wainwright (12-9) worked 5-1/3 innings, the third time in four starts he failed to reach the sixth.