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Astros vs Yanks, Musgrove returns to face Phils


A glimpse of what’s happening around the majors today:

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BATTLE IN THE BRONX

The American League powerhouses clash when Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees host Yordan Álvarez and the Houston Astros in the opener of a highly anticipated four-game series.

New York (51-18) has the best record at the majors, and Houston (43-25) is second to the Yankees in the AL standings. Both clubs already hold double-digit division leads, so this game could certainly serve as another playoff preview in October.

Still reeling from ALCS losses to Houston in 2017 and 2019, Yankees fans are sure to boo and mock the Astros again for their 2017-18 cheating scandal.

Judge leads the major leagues with 27 homers after hitting a pair in Wednesday night’s win at Tampa Bay. Álvarez is tied for second with 21 after throwing three in a two-game sweep against the New York Mets at home.

Álvarez has nine homers in his last 20 games.

“Every time a player goes to New York and plays there, it’s really exciting with the history of this team and the stadium,” he said through an interpreter. “We know they’re a very good team, so we’ll just compete and try to win.”

Framber Valdez (7-3, 2.78 ERA) starts for Houston against Jameson Taillon (8-1, 2.70).

HAPPY TO SEE YOU AGAIN

Joe Musgrove (8-0, 1.59 ERA) is off the COVID-19 injured list to start for the San Diego Padres against Bryce Harper and the visiting Phillies. Musgrove went to IL last Friday after testing positive.

Ranger Suarez (5-4, 4.43) pitches for Philadelphia in Game 1 of a four-game series.

Kyle Schwarber has reached base in 26 straight games for the Phillies. But they have lost three in a row after winning 14 of their first 16 under interim coach Rob Thomson, who took over when Joe Girardi was fired. Harper returned to the roster Wednesday at Texas after missing three games with an infected blister in his left index finger.

San Diego swept Arizona’s three-game series without All-Star slugger Manny Machado, who sprained his left ankle last weekend. The team doesn’t believe Machado should be on the disabled list.

Padres manager Bob Melvin returned to the dugout on Wednesday after missing 11 games while under COVID-19 protocols.

ON GUARD

José Ramírez and the burning Cleveland Guardians attempt a three-game sweep at Minnesota that would give them a two-game lead in the AL Central over the Twins.

The young Guardians rallied for four runs in the ninth inning Wednesday night to stun Minnesota 11-10. Cleveland has won seven straight series and is 17-4 since May 30.

“I think we’re a special team,” shortstop Amed Rosario said through an interpreter.

Zach Plesac (2-4, 4.41 ERA) pitches for the Guardians against Devin Smeltzer (3-1, 3.52). The teams will also meet five times in four days next week in Cleveland.

‘THE PEN IS POWERFUL

Nolan Arenado and the Cardinals have a one-game lead in NL Central over the Brewers heading into the final of their four-game series in Milwaukee.

Over the past two games, the St. Louis relievers have allowed just one hit and three walks while tossing 10 1/3 innings scoreless.

“There are some amazing arms out there,” Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright said. “We love our place when we get to them.”

Dakota Hudson (5-3, 3.31 ERA) takes on 29-year-old Milwaukee rookie Jason Alexander (1-0, 2.42).

THE NEXT GENERATION

Three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw (4-1, 2.08 ERA) starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers against Reds rookie Hunter Greene (3-7, 5.26), who threw 39 shots at over 100 mph when he faced his hometown team in April.

Freddie Freeman has seven RBIs in the first two games of the series at last-place Cincinnati, which has lost six straight and eight straight in two seasons to the Dodgers at Great American Ball Park.

WAVING WHITE SOX

After seeing three players leave early, the White Sox are in a bit of a shock ahead of their home series opener against Baltimore.

Chicago outfielder Luis Robert extended his hitting streak to 13 games Wednesday in a 9-5 loss to Toronto. But he slowly ran to first and stayed there when his hit passed left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and finally left the game in the eighth.

“When he’s not going (after) the balls to the wall, he’s not going to second, you know he’s feeling ouchis there,” Chicago manager Tony La Russa said.

White Sox infielder Danny Mendick left with right knee discomfort after colliding with outfielder Adam Haseley on a rough pop. Right fielder Adam Engel is out with right hamstring pain.

Star shortstop Tim Anderson, who returned Monday after missing 18 games with a sprained right groin, has not been playing under doctor’s orders, La Russa said. And first baseman Jose Abreu was relegated to designated hitter duties with a hip problem.

AVAILABLE

Veteran outfielder Lorenzo Cain cleared waivers and became a free agent – at 36, he’s not sure he hopes to play again.

Cain was batting .179 with one home run and nine RBIs in 43 games when he was released by the Brewers. He is in the final season of a five-year, $80 million contract.

The two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner was slated for assignment on Saturday. On that day, he reached 10 years of service in the major leagues, which allowed him to be fully invested in the players’ pension fund.

“It just got to a point where it’s probably about time,” Cain said after Milwaukee switched rosters. “I didn’t perform as I would have liked, but the situation is what it is. I had a great career. I can’t really be upset about anything, but yeah, it’s about time.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.





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