The New York Yankees made a move to bolster their already strong bullpen on Monday by acquiring right-hander Scott Effross from the Chicago Cubs for minor league pitcher Hayden Wesneski.

Effross made his major league debut for the Cubs last August and had a 3.68 earned run average (ERA) over 14 2/3 innings in 2021.

He has been solid this season, posting a 2.66 ERA with 50 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 44 innings over 47 appearances.

New York entered Monday's action with the best record in the AL at 69-34, and their 2.92 bullpen ERA ranks second in the majors behind the Houston Astros (2.79).

The Yankees, though, recently lost right-hander Michael King (6-3, 2.29 ERA, 66 strikeouts in 51 innings) to a season-ending elbow injury and were looking to upgrade their relief corps ahead of Tuesday's MLB trade deadline.

Wesneski was a sixth-round selection by the Yankees in the 2019 Amateur Draft. The right-hander has gone 6-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 19 starts this season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The Kansas City Royals avoided a series sweep on Sunday with a 8-6 come-from-behind win on the road against the New York Yankees, with a pair of late home runs turning the tide.

Both starting pitchers finished with mediocre figures, but they were both spotless early, holding the game scoreless through the first four innings. The fifth inning was a different story, with the sides combining for seven runs. 

The Royals struck first as Nick Pratto came through with a two-run, bases loaded single, before Maikel Garcia followed him with an RBI double, and they capped off a four-run frame with an RBI groundout from Whit Merrifield.

But the best team in baseball this season answered right back, with Kyle Higashioka batting in a run with his single, before D.J. LeMahieu brought him home with a homer to the short porch at right-field. 

Later in the seventh inning, with Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks on base, Anthony Rizzo shot the Yankees into a 6-4 lead with the longest hit in the game up to that point, a 418-foot home run over the right-field wall.

Kansas City's Hunter Dozier topped that the next inning with a 420-foot shot to left-field, trimming the margin to 6-5 and setting up an exciting finish.

Needing three outs to secure the win, the Yankees brought in elite relief pitcher Clay Holmes for the save, but it did not go to plan.

Holmes got the first out, but then issued a five-pitch walk to Merrifield, before hitting Bobby Witt Jr with a pitch to put runners on first and second with Salvador Perez at the plate.

Perez had been swinging a hot bat as of late with three home runs in his past seven games, and he added one more with a monstrous 441-foot nuke to center-field, jumping ahead 8-6 in the final frame.

Instead of handing the ball to a new closer, the Royals let Taylor Clarke head back out for his second inning to finish the job.

Yankees superstar Aaron Judge finished hit-less, but he contributed with two walks and a run.

The win is only the Royals' second from their past 12 meetings with the Yankees.

Austin Riley walks it off for the Braves

A quality pitching duel broke out in the Atlanta Braves' 1-0 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks, with Austin Riley batting home the first run of the game in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Braves ace pitcher Max Fried allowed four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in his seven scoreless innings, while Arizona's Merrill Kelly was slightly better, conceding three hits and two walks to go with eight strikeouts over the same stretch of innings.

The Braves had five hits in the game, and two of them were by Riley, who has quickly established himself as a realistic NL MVP candidate. 

Riley is fourth in the league in home runs (29), and second in total bases (239) – trailing only Aaron Judge.

Alvarez plays the hero in Houston

Speaking of players having unbelievable under-the-radar seasons, Houston Astros star Yordan Alvarez continued what is arguably the best hitting season in the majors with the winner in his side's 3-2 victory against the Seattle Mariners.

He went zero-for-four in regulation, but with scores tied in extra innings he came through with a clutch hit to drive in the winning run.

Alvarez leads the league in on-base percentage (.417) and trails only Judge in slugging percentage (.670 compared to Judge's .671).

Aaron Judge became the second-fastest player to ever hit 200 career home runs as he connected on his 42nd of the season in the New York Yankees' 8-2 home victory against the Kansas City Royals.

Judge's moment came in the second inning, but it was not his side's first home run of the night after D.J. LeMahieu blasted a 410-footer to center-field as the Yankees' first batter of the game.

After All-Star catcher Jose Trevino got on base, Judge took one opposite-field to put the Yankees 4-0 up. He reached his 200th home run in his 671st career game – 13 games slower than former Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.

That was not all Judge would do in this contest, getting on base four times as he finished with a pair of hits and a pair of walks. He now has 10 more home runs than second-placed Kyle Schwarber (32).

On the mound, Nestor Cortes put in a strong showing to be credited with the win, giving up two runs in five innings, striking out five. 

After a clean Aroldis Chapman inning in relief, Clarke Schmidt then came in for a three-inning save, striking out five batters and throwing 52 pitches.

Twins stars go deep against Padres

Both Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa hit home runs in the Minnesota Twins' 7-4 win on the road against the San Diego Padres.

Stars on both sides were swinging a heavy bat, with Padres MVP candidate Manny Machado opening the scoring with his own solo shot in the third inning.

But the Twins had all the answers, as Buxton destroyed a baseball 434 feet over the left-field wall an inning later, before Correa kick-started his side's five-run eighth frame with his own two-run homer.

Shohei puts on a show

The Los Angeles Angels rallied back late to defeat the Texas Rangers 9-7, headlined by reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani's 22nd home run of the season.

The superstar designated hitter – who has also pitched the sixth most strikeouts in all of baseball this season (146 in 17 starts) – connected on a 424-foot, three-run home run to center-field in the third inning to give the Angels a 3-2 lead. Only 15 players have hit more home runs this campaign.

Texas fought back in the middle innings through home runs to Marcus Semien and Meibrys Viloria, but the Angels scored five in the eighth inning to steal the result.

Aaron Judge's magical season continued on Friday night as he blasted another two home runs to help the New York Yankees defeat the Kansas City Royals 11-5 at Yankee Stadium.

New York got off to a perfect start in the first inning thanks to a 422-foot Anthony Rizzo solo homer, before Judge connected on his own monstrous 449-foot nuke in the third inning to make it 3-0.

It was smooth sailing for Yankees ace Gerrit Cole on the mound through four innings, but he struggled mightily in the fifth, giving up five runs after a three-run homer to Salvador Perez. Cole finished with five earned runs and nine strikeouts from his six innings of work.

The Royals' 5-3 lead would hold until the eighth inning, when newly acquired Andrew Benintendi trimmed the margin by one with his RBI infield single, before Aaron Hicks was gifted a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at 5-5.

Their damage in the eighth inning was far from done, with Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino driving in a run each, bringing Judge to the plate with bases loaded.

The American League MVP co-favourite took full advantage, crushing a grand slam to bring his RBI tally for the day up to six, putting a bow on the win.

His home runs were his 40th and 41st of the season – nine clear of second-placed Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber (32).

Mets get to Alcantara

Arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball this year, Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara, had his worst start of the season as his side went down 6-4 at home against the New York Mets.

The NL Cy Young award favourite was clearly off from the beginning, needing 53 pitches to get through the first two innings, allowing four hits, three walks and three runs in the process. 

With the game tied at 4-4 in the eighth inning, it was Mets lead-off hitter Brandon Nimmo who was the hero with a two-run home run, which proved to be the difference.

Alvarez stays hot for Houston

Yordan Alvarez may not have the home run total of Aaron Judge, but the Houston Astros All-Star has been statistically the best hitter in all of baseball this season, showing his talent in an 11-1 drubbing of the Seattle Mariners.

He got on-base from all five of his at-bats, finishing three-for-three at the plate with two walks, including his 30th home run of the season – third-most in the majors.

Incredibly, he leads the league in both on-base percentage (.423) and slugging percentage (.687).

The Philadelphia Phillies rode a strong starting pitching performance from Zack Wheeler to an 8-4 road victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

All nine Phillies batters finished with at least one hit – racking up 15 total hits as a team – and it got started in the first inning as Darick Hall made it a 2-0 game with his two-run triple. Nick Castellanos then drove in Hall with a base hit to make it 3-0 in the opening frame.

Wheeler never gave the Pirates a chance to fight back into the contest, holding the home side scoreless until late in the seventh inning. He finished with two earned runs from three hits and three walks, striking out eight.

After Alec Bohm's base hit to make it 4-0 in the second inning, there was a lull in the action until Kyle Schwarber made his presence known in the sixth frame.

With two runners on base, Schwarber connected on his 32nd home run of the season, trailing only Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.

The Pirates rallied hard in the last inning, scoring five runs from four hits off Jeurys Familia, but there was not much to cheer about up until that point, except for an exciting showing from rookie Cal Mitchell.

Mitchell delivered the only runs for his side in the first eight innings with his towering 414-foot, two-run homer to center-field off Wheeler. He finished three-for-four at the plate, also adding a pair of singles.

Judge does it again for the Yankees

Aaron Judge won the New York Yankees another game off his bat as he blasted the game-winning, walk-off home run to defeat the Kansas City Royals 1-0 at home.

Both sides pitched beautifully, with Royals starter Brady Singer giving up just one hit while striking out 10 in seven innings, while Yankees starter Jameson Taillon struck out eight batters in six scoreless frames.

The home run was Judge's league-leading 39th of the season – seven more than any other player.

Angels blow another Ohtani gem

The Los Angeles Angels wasted another terrific starting pitching performance from two-way All-Star Shohei Ohtani, going down 2-0 at home to the Texas Rangers.

Ohtani struck out 11 batters in six innings, giving up two runs from eight hits in his 10th quality start (meaning at least six innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs) of the season. He now has 145 strikeouts for the season – the sixth most in the majors, and the five players ahead of him have all started at least two more contests.

Only Atlanta Braves rookie Spencer Strider (13.4) has a higher strikeouts-per-nine-innings stat than Ohtani's 13.1.

The New York Yankees have acquired outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for three minor leaguers.

New York has been looking for an outfield bat with Giancarlo Stanton going on the injured list recently and Joey Gallo continuing his season-long struggles.

Benintendi, a first-time All-Star this season, was among the better rental bats available and is a free agent after this season. He is batting .321 with three home runs and 39 RBIs in 92 games for the Royals.

The left-handed hitting Benintendi spent his first five seasons with the Boston Red Sox before he was traded to Kansas City in February 2021.

He was one of 10 players that were unable to play in Kansas City’s recent series in Toronto because he is unvaccinated. The Yankees have three games remaining in Toronto this season.

The Yankees own the best record in the majors at 66-33 but have lost 12 of their past 20 games.

Despite missing a pair of National League MVP candidates, the St Louis Cardinals rode a big performance from future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols to a 6-1 away win against the Toronto Blue Jays.

With both Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado unavailable for their side's trip to Toronto due to their vaccination status, it was a combination of new blood and a blast from the past as they made it look easy.

40-year-old starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was at the peak of his powers, giving up just five hits and no walks for one earned run in seven innings, striking out eight batters. 

While Wainwright controlled the contest with the ball, 42-year-old Pujols made noise with the bat, knocking a single in his first at-bat, a double in his second try, and then a massive 439-foot, three-run homer with his third trip to the plate. It was longer than any home run Pujols hit in this year's Home Run Derby.

Rookie Nolan Gorman – 20 years younger than Pujols – also went deep with a solo home run, while he and 24-year-old Lars Nootbaar were two of five Cardinals to collect multiple hits.

Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr finished two-for-four at the plate, while ace pitcher Kevin Gausman struggled in one of his worst performances of the season. 

Gausman gave up five runs in less than five innings, allowing eight hits and a walk with his six strikeouts.

Mets walk-off against Yankees

The New York Mets threatened to waste a spectacular start from pitcher Max Scherzer, but ultimately got the job done in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the New York Yankees 3-2 in walk-off fashion.

Pete Alonso's solo home run in the second inning and Francisco Lindor's RBI single in the third frame were the only runs before Max Scherzer was withdrawn, having pitched seven shut-out innings.

As soon as Scherzer was removed, the Yankees came back with a two-run homer from Gleyber Torres, but Eduardo Escobar led off the ninth inning with a double, setting up Starling Marte to be the hero and drive him in with a base hit.

J-Rod does it again for the Mariners

Rookie All-Star Julio Rodriguez showed once again why he is one of the most exciting young talents in all of baseball, blasting a three-run home run to give his Seattle Mariners a 4-2 home win against the Texas Rangers.

Rodriguez, 21, stepped up to the plate in the seventh inning with two runners on base, trailing 2-1, and he connected on a 419-foot no-doubter over the left-field wall to snatch back the lead.

This season, Rodriguez leads all rookies in hits (96), runs (54), home runs (17), RBIs (53), and stolen bases (21).

Eduardo Escobar and Edwin Diaz came up big as the New York Mets beat their cross-town rival Yankees in what could be a potential World Series rehearsal on Tuesday, emerging with a 6-3 win.

Kicking off a highly anticipated Subway Series, with 2015 being the last time the two teams lead their respective divisions, the Mets made the big plays amid a charged atmosphere in Queens.

Back-to-back home runs from Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge put the Yankees up 2-0 in a thrilling first inning, with the Mets rallying back with four runs in their opening frame, including Escobar's huge two-run, two-out shot off Jordan Montgomery.

Before extending their lead to 6-3 in the eighth inning, Diaz came in to close for the Mets, striking out four and giving up a solitary hit for his 22nd save out of 25.

Running away with the American League at one point, the Yankees now only lead the Houston Astros by two games on 66-32, while the Mets moved to 60-37 and within five of the National League-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

Springer slam propels Blue Jays

Though his team trail the Yankees by 11.5 games in the AL East, George Springer hit the seventh grand slam of his career, as the Toronto Blue Jays claimed a 10-3 win over the St Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals were without Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, whose unvaccinated status prohibits them from entering Canadian soil, with Alejandro Kirk hitting his 12th homer of the year.

It was not enough against the Blue Jays, who notched up a tie-breaking five-run sixth inning via Springer's slam and Matt Chapman's RBI single, to extend their winning streak to seven games.

Pinder punches second slam of the night in A's win

The Houston Astros were not able to capitalise on the Yankees' defeat and edge closer in the AL standings, with the Oakland Athletics earning a 5-3 win.

The best and worst records in the AL West faced off and the latter reeled off a four-run third inning to get the eventual win, with Chad Pinder slugging a grand slam of his own off Luis Garcia.

The A's are now one game away from a shock three-game series sweep against the Astros, who remain stuck on 64-34.

All-Star Giancarlo Stanton has been placed on the New York Yankees' 10-day injured list due to left Achilles tendonitis.

Yankees outfielder Stanton has been in strong form in the majors this season, batting .228 with 24 home runs and 61 RBIs. He also won last week's All-Star Game MVP.

Stanton had been out of the Yankees' starting line-up in their past two games and the franchise announced the roster move ahead of Tuesday's game against the New York Mets.

The 32-year-old had undergone an MRI on Monday after experiencing a sore Achilles, with Yankees manager Aaron Boone hoping it was a "minor thing".

Boone revealed that Stanton will take a complete break from baseball for 10 days and indicated that Stanton's timeframe to return to play was roughly two to three weeks.

"Could be shorter. We'll see," he said. "We'll just kind of make those evaluations, or the trainers [will], and see how he does this week."

Trayce Thompson drove in two runs and helped break the game open for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who claimed a four-game series sweep with a 7-4 win against the rival San Francisco Giants on Sunday.

Scores were tied at 4-4 following Darin Ruf's two-run homer off Clayton Kershaw in the fifth inning, as the Giants looked to deny their first sweep at Dodger Stadium since 1995.

Kershaw was ultimately pulled in the fifth, giving up five hits and striking out six over 94 pitches, before Craig Kimbrel eventually came in for his 17th save and the Dodgers' eighth consecutive win.

Jake Lamb's double drove in the go-ahead run the game up for grabs in the seventh inning, before Thompson's drive deep to right-centre scored Max Muncy with his brother and Golden State Warriors star Klay in attendance.

The Dodgers maintained their six-game lead over the New York Mets atop the National League standings, extending their record to 64-30 with the victory.

Judge goes deep again in Yankees win

Aaron Judge hit his fourth home run from his past four games as he continues his outlier season, extending his league-leading home run tally to 37 in the New York Yankees' 6-0 away win against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

After starting the series against the Orioles with two home runs, and following it with four hits and two RBIs yesterday, Judge stayed hot as he connected on a 456-foot blast in the third inning. He now leads the MLB for home runs with 37, seven more than the next best in Kyle Schwarber.

On the mound, Nestor Cortes was at his best for the Yankees, giving up six hits and no walks in six scoreless innings, striking out seven. Clarke Schmidt then came in for the unconventional three-inning save.

Alcantara strikes out 10 for Marlins

Arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball this year, Sandy Alcantara struck out 10 batters as his Miami Marlins defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 in extra innings.

In his six innings of work, Alcantara gave up two earned runs from just two hits and three walks, earning his 15th quality start of the season, one off the MLB lead held by Houston's Framber Valdez and Toronto's Alek Manoah.

According to Baseball Reference's Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Alcantara has been the most valuable player in all of baseball this season, and he is the only pitcher in the top-five.

The New York Yankees’ bullpen took a serious hit when the team announced on Saturday that right-hander Michael King has been placed on the 60-day injured list with a fractured right elbow, possibly ending the key reliever’s season.

Pitching in the eighth inning of Friday’s win over the Baltimore Orioles, King walked off the mound in discomfort immediately after throwing a slider, calling for his team's training staff.

The New York Post reported late on Friday that King’s season is over.

King, 27, was on pace for a career year in 2022, posting a 2.29 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 51 innings out of the bullpen.

In his fourth year in the majors - all with the Yankees - King had settled comfortably into his role in the seventh and eighth innings, setting up breakout closer Clay Holmes.

The Yankees took advantage of relatively good health early this season and have an MLB-leading 65-30 record, but King's injury comes just a week after starter Luis Severino was placed on the injured list with a right lat strain.

The New York bullpen has posted an ERA of 2.96 this season, trailing only the Houston Astros (2.72), despite playing without Zack Britton, Miguel Castro and Chad Green.

Britton, who underwent Tommy John surgery last September will have a chance to return this season if his rehabilitation stays on track.

With King's injury coming more than a week before MLB's August 2 trade deadline, the Yankees could look to add pitching in hopes of making a World Series run.

The Pittsburgh Pirates' David Bednar and Chicago Cubs’ David Robertson - a former Yankee - are among the top relievers thought to be available at the deadline.

There is a chance, however, that New York keeps its bullpen intact, hoping for resurgent second-half performances from the likes of Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Loaisiga, who have thrown just 20 1/3 innings each this season.

Chapman, formerly one of the game’s most imposing relievers, has a 5.75 ERA and has allowed at least one run in nine of his last 13 appearances.

Loaisiga was a breakout star in the Yankees’ bullpen in 2021, but his ERA has jumped from 2.17 last season to 7.52 this season.

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge extended his league-leading home run tally as he connected on number 35 and 36 for the season in his side's 7-6 away win against the Baltimore Orioles.

With the game scoreless in the third inning and with two outs, the Yankees were able to keep the frame alive with a walk to Joey Gallo and a base hit for D.J. LeMahieu, setting up Judge to bring them both home with a 436-foot blast over the left-field wall.

The Orioles struck back nearly instantly, starting their half of the third with a Ramon Urias single, followed by a Jorge Mateo RBI double and a RBI base hit for Cedric Mullins to trim the margin to 3-2.

All-Star catcher Jose Trevino made it 4-2 for the Yankees when his double brought around Josh Donaldson to score in the fourth inning, and an inning later Judge did it again, this time with a monstrous 465-foot solo bomb for his 36th home run of the season.

He is six home runs clear of Kyle Schwarber (30) in second place, and nobody else has more than 28.

The ice-cold Gallo also hit a solo home run to make it 7-3 in the seventh frame, and it proved to be a crucial run as Anthony Santander hit a three-run shot in the bottom of the same inning to make it 7-6.

But the Yankees bullpen was up to the task of defending the lead, with Michael King collecting three outs from the three batters he faced, before Clay Holmes came in for the five-out save.

With the win, the Yankees move to 65-30 for the season, two games clear of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros for the best record in baseball.

Blue Jays score 28 at Fenway Park

The Toronto Blue Jays made a mess of the Boston Red Sox, with an 11-run fifth inning headlining an outrageous 28-5 victory, the most runs ever scored by the Blue Jays in a single game.

There were some horrific fielding mistakes from the Red Sox, with none worse than center-fielder Jarren Duran losing track of a fly-ball in the third inning with bases loaded, allowing Raimel Tapia to come around for an inside-the-park grand slam. It was the first inside-the-park grand slam since 2017.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr finished six-for-seven at the plate, Tapia batted in six runs, Danny Jansen batted in six runs, and nine Blue Jays finished with multiple hits.

Astros snap Mariners' 14-game winning streak

The Seattle Mariners' winning streak has been broken at 14 games, one shy of their franchise record set back in 2001, losing to the Houston Astros 5-2 after rookie All-Star Julio Rodriguez was a late scratching due to wrist soreness.

A strong pitching performance from Astros starter Jose Urquidy kept the Mariners scoreless through the first five innings, allowing the visiting side to build a strong 5-0 lead highlighted by solo home runs to Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez and Martin Maldonado.

The win ties the Astros with the Dodgers for the second-best record in the majors at 62-32.

Yordan Alvarez was full of belief that the Houston Astros could beat the New York Yankees, even before they went out and swept a double-header.

Houston claimed two wins over the American League leaders on Thursday, triumphing 3-2 and 7-5 respectively at Minute Maid Park.

That puts the Astros to within two and a half games of the Yankees, with the best records in the American League having gone head-to-head.

The Astros have now moved to a 5-2 record for the season against the Yankees, who have now lost seven of their past 10 games.

Alvarez homered in the second game and, along with Alex Bregman, combined for five RBIs as Houston won for the 61st time this season.

"I'm not going to say it doesn't mean anything," Alvarez told reporters. 

"They're a really good team, but we also know we're a really good team as well.

"Beating them feels good, but we know that we’re capable of doing it."

The next time the teams face off could be in the postseason, with the Astros - thanks to their positive season series record - holding home-field advantage should that be the case.

"We were trying to chase a team and wanted to really win this first game, and that put us in a position that if we end up tied, we won the tiebreaker," said Astros coach Dusty Baker after the first game, having taken a risk by utilising his best pitchers in the early encounter.

"We really didn't want to take that into the second game. We went through our bullpen in the first game and that's why it was important for us to win it."

The Astros and Yankees faced off in the 2017 American League Championship Series, with the home team winning all seven games and Houston triumphing. Two years later, the Astros again succeeded, this time thanks to a walk-off home run from Jose Altuve in Game 6.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone understands the recent history of the rivalry, though his hope of claiming two victories failed to come to fruition.

"I'm aware of that, but it doesn't change the fact that we're going to try to win this game and win the night game," Boone said before the games.

"We're in the business of being the best team we can be right now and trying to win every time we are out there."

The Houston Astros started their second half of the MLB season in positive fashion, claiming a double-header sweep over the New York Yankees on Thursday.

The two best records in the American League (AL) faced off and the Astros bested the Yankees once again, moving to a 5-2 head-to-head record for the season with respective 3-2 and 7-5 wins at Minute Maid Park.

After splitting a four-game series in the Bronx in June, Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman both homered and combined for five RBIs to hand the Astros the third win at home this season over the AL leaders.

In the earlier game, Bregman, Korey Lee and rookie JJ Matijevic combined for RBIs while Cristian Javier struck out three but only gave up two hits over 99 pitches in five innings.

With the sweep coming out of the All-Star Game, the Astros suddenly moved to within three games of the AL-leading Yankees, who have now lost seven of their past 10 games.

Gray gets Rangers rolling

Jon Gray led the way for the Texas Rangers as they commenced an 11-game road trip, shutting the Miami Marlins out for an 8-0 win.

Gray struck out five and conceded only four hits over 94 pitches in six innings, while Adolis Garcia homered and drove in three runs.

The Marlins slipped further away from the National League's wild card race with the defeat, now six games back with a fourth consecutive defeat and extending their scoreless streak to 34 innings.

Betts denies Giants comeback

Mookie Betts saved the day for the Los Angeles Dodgers after they almost squandered a big lead, eventually claiming a 9-6 win over their rivals in the San Francisco Giants.

Things were looking good early for the Dodgers, taking a 5-0 lead after the opening three innings off star Giants pitcher Carlos Rodon, with Freddie Freeman scoring a solo home run in the first inning with two out.

The Giants fought back in the seventh through Evan Longoria and Darin Ruf, though, with the two scoring home runs to set up a five-run inning.

A Trayce Thompson triple drove Gavin Lux home to tie after Thair Estrada was walked in the eighth, before a three-run shot from Betts off Jarlin Garcia gave the Dodgers the eventual win.

Betts confirmed the win with a great defensive play in the following inning, making a spectacular sliding catch deep in right-field to retire Joc Pederson.

Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale suffered yet another injury Sunday as he broke the pinky finger on his pitching hand when he was hit by a line drive in the first inning against the New York Yankees. 

Sale was making his second start of the season after recovering from a fractured rib sustained while working out during the Major League Baseball lockout. 

With two outs in the first inning Sunday, Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks hit a liner off Sale’s hand that ricocheted into right field for an RBI single. Sale looked down at his hand and immediately walked to the Boston dugout. 

Sale signed a five-year, $145million contract extension with Boston in 2019, but he’s pitched a combined 48 1/3 innings since the end of that campaign. 

The seven-time All-Star missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery before making his 2021 debut on August 14, going 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA in nine starts. 

If Sale needs surgery on his pinky, he could miss the rest of the regular season for a Boston team that heads into the All-Star break in the hunt for an American League wild-card spot. 

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