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Cubs vs Braves

CHICAGO — Tucked among a storage unit that houses some of Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s personal belongings is a framed poster bearing the image of Jackie Robinson.

For years, the poster hung in the visiting manager’s office at old Yankee Stadium. Then the manager of the Rays, who played in the final game at the famed park, Maddon asked clubhouse manager Lou Cucuzza Jr. if he could purchase the poster. It wasn’t for sale, Maddon was told. But he could have it and the poster immediately became one of Maddon’s prized baseball collectibles.

“If you have [courage], if that’s part of your makeup, you can be a lot of different things,” Maddon said before Monday’s Braves-Cubs game, a makeup from April 15 when Jackie Robinson Day was celebrated around the Major Leagues. “But if you’re lacking that one quality, it’s very difficult to include the rest of the better qualities in life. [Robinson] is all of that — he speaks to courage and I’ve always respected that about him.”

Players from both teams wore jerseys bearing No. 42 to honor Robinson, and jerseys and caps alike had a “42” patch stitched onto them. While baseball sets a day aside each season to honor Robinson, players acknowledge that the tradition never gets old.

“[Robinson] changed baseball for a great reason,” Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber said. “Just the way that he handled it and faced adversity, it’s a great example for all of us to learn from. You can’t thank that guy enough for what he did for the game of baseball, because he changed it positively for everyone.”

Braves catcher Tyler Flowers was on the disabled list on April 15 and would have missed Jackie Robinson Day had the weather cooperated in Chicago. Back in the lineup on Monday, Flowers said he is grateful to have the chance to wear No. 42.

“I’ve always thought it’s a very special day to reflect and remember the people that kind of set the stage before us and what they had to go through, specifically Jackie and other players who broke ground to give opportunities to players behind them,” Flowers said.

Braves shortstop Charlie Culberson was glad to see the game rescheduled, allowing Robinson to be honored in Chicago.

“We’re a month late on it, but there’s a reason why Jackie has his own day,” Culberson said. “What he did for this game and more than just the game of baseball.”

Jeff Arnold is a contributor to based in Chicago. John Jackson contributed to this story. Atlanta Braves will wrap up a seven-game road trip on Monday with a quick stop at Wrigley Field to face the Chicago Cubs. Monday’s game was originally slated to be played back on April 15 but was rescheduled due to inclement weather.

Following Monday’s game, both teams will fly back to Atlanta where they will begin a three-game series at SunTrust Park on Tuesday.

Atlanta comes in playing well going 5-1 on their current road trip. At 24-15, the Braves lead the NL East by one full game over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Cubs dropped a 5-3 decision to the White Sox on Sunday and enter Monday’s game 21-16 and 1.0 game out of first in a tightly contested NL Central.

The two teams split games in that earlier series with Atlanta winning the opener 4-0 behind a strong outing by Anibal Sanchez. The Braves led 10-2 after four in the second game but were undone by a nine-run eighth inning.

Julio Teheran will get the nod on Monday for the Braves and will be looking to pick up where he left off in his last outing. Teheran allowed four hits over six shutout innings against the Phillies in his last start and hasn’t allowed a run in his last 13 innings. He has held opponents to two runs or less in five of his last six starts.

Jose Quintana has quietly put together a good stretch of his own. Quintana allowed five hits and one run over six innings in a win over Miami last time out. He has allowed one earned run over his last 17.0 innings. He was tagged for three unearned runs two starts ago against the Cardinals.

Quintana is 2-0 in three career starts against the Braves but hasn’t exactly pitched well allowing 21 hits and 12 runs in just 14 innings.

Darvish’s first season in Chicago has been a struggle so far. Tuesday’s game will be his first appearance since May 2 when he was tagged for seven hits including three home runs and five earned runs over just 4.1 innings. He missed his last scheduled start due to flu-like symptoms and was placed on the disabled list.

Darvish’s only other career appearance against the Braves came earlier this season where he allowed nine hits and four runs in just 4.2 innings.

Mike Foltynewicz has been one of the bigger surprises for the Braves this season. Folty bounced back from his first rough outing of the season last time out allowing three hits and one unearned run over five innings against the Marlins. Plagued by consistency issues in the past, Foltynewicz has allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his eight starts this season.

Tyler Chatwood is 3-0 and has allowed just six earned runs over his last four starts but has been walking the tightrope thanks to some control issues. During that span (22.0 innings) he has walked 18 batters including 10 over his last two starts. He has 32 walks on the season in just 37.2 innings. He has limited hitters to just a .202 average against on the season and that has helped him overcome the walks.


McCarthy came out of the gates strong allowing nine earned runs in his first six starts combined. He has been lit up in his last two allowing 23 hits and 14 runs in just 8.1 innings. Command issues have largely been to blame as opponents are hitting .535 against him during May.

McCarthy has pitched well in his career against the Cubs allowing just three earned runs over 24.1 innings.Jon Lester is off to a good start in 2018 and will get the start in the series finale on Thursday. Lester allowed four hits and one run over 5.2 innings in his last start against the White Sox. He has allowed three earned runs or less in seven of his eight starts this season.


A costly fifth inning error by Jose Bautista put a big of a damper on Mike Soroka’s last start but the 20-year old rookie has been otherwise impressive. After holding the Mets to one run over six innings in his debut, Soroka struggled with his command in a loss to the Giants. He challenged himself to be more aggressive and was in control before that error proved costly in a big inning for the Marlins.

Soroka allowed eight hits but only one of his five runs allowed was earned. He struck out seven and walked just on over 4.2 innings. His down and away slider was a weapon and he walked out of that outing feeling good despite the result.

Italian Open 2018

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But such is life for the teenager tennis phenom, who not only shook off the rust from an ugly first set, but achieved another milestone in the process.

After dropping a lackluster first set 6-1, Shapovalov stormed back in the second, and then won in a tie-break in the third to take down Tomáš Berdych, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(5). With the victory, Shapovalov earned the requisite points to pass Milos Raonic in the ATP, becoming the highest-ranked Canadian male player.

Berdych needed only 30 minutes to dispatch the Canadian teen in the opening set in Rome, leading 5-0 off a pair of breaks before Shapovalov finally produced his first hold to get the deficit to 5-1. Shapovalov began to get his feet under him at that point — a pair of aces in that game — and earned his first break point of the match before Berdych battled back to finally put away Shapovalov and take the set.

The second was a very different story, though, and Shapovalov came out looking like a player who had built some confidence off his late surge in the first. The players traded holds to open the second, but Shapovalov broke at 2-1 and consolidated out to 4-1, using that lead to serve out the second set, 6-3.

Kerber has recovered from a thigh injury sustained at the Stuttgart Open last month and produced an impressive performance on the clay at Pietrangeli. The German controlled the first set, keeping Zarina Diyas at bay with a powerful serve.

However, the latter fought back in the second, eventually pushing the set into a tiebreak. It meant Kerber had to hold her nerve, something the 30-year-old managed well as she booked safe passage through to Round 3.

Kerber manufactured some excellent shots.

Things were easier for Svitolina, who made short work of Petra Martic on Court Centrale. It took the champion just over an hour to seal a straight-sets win.

Elsewhere, Danielle Collins needed a third set to get past Sorana Cirstea. Collins, who reached the last four at the Miami Open, proved her credentials to do even better on Rome clay after a skilled and determined performance.

Daria Kasatkina is also into the next round after seeing off Ajla Tomljanovic. Meanwhile, Timea Babos, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sakkari also progressed.

The latter entered Round 3 after beating Kiki Bertens. Despite reaching the final of the Madrid Open earlier this month, Bertens never settled in the Italian capital.

Instead, Sakkari won seventy percent of her break points. It was enough to send Bertens to a surprise early exit.

Jelena Ostapenko also progressed after an excellent win over Shuai Zhang. Ostapenko built her victory on an awesome forehand, like this one from early in the second set

The notable result in the men’s bracket came from Shapovalov beating Berdych. It took him three sets to do it, but Canadian Shapovalov stayed focused, despite losing three break points.

Berdych was able to break the Shapovalov serve, but also yielded eight aces to his opponents’ power. Having cruised to an opening-set victory, Berdych appeared to lose his intensity somewhat, as 19-year-old Shapovalov excelled on his Rome debut.

After winning 6-3 in the second, the teenager kept cool during the tiebreak in the third. In the process, Shapovalov achieved an early career milestone, per TSN’s Mark Masters

There was also a worthy win for ninth seed Goffin. The Belgian stumbled early against Marco Cecchinato but composed himself enough to power through the next two sets.

Goffin won the second and third 6-2 on a day defined by his ability to wreck the Cecchinato serve. In all, Goffin converted seven of 14 break points to frustrate his plucky opponent.

There was disappointment for Borna Coric, though, after the talented Croatian was forced to retire against Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 21-year-old had fallen behind 4-1 in the opening set.

Tsitsipas is now set to face Juan Martin del Potro in the third round, while Del Potro’s fellow Argentinian Diego Schwartzman will face Benoit Paire after beating Nicolas Jarry in straight sets.

There’s a dubious reward for Nikoloz Basilashvili after he beat Filippo Baldi. Basilashvili now gets to face last year’s runner-up Novak Djokovic. One of the day’s more exciting matches involved Lucas Pouille surviving a scare against Andreas Seppi. The wild-card entrant rocked Pouille by winning the second set with room to spare, before pushing the third to a tiebreak.

Pouille held firm, though, seeing off Seppi despite the latter having the complete support of the crowd. A later match saw Jack Sock beaten by Philipp Kohlschreiber. The German toppled the 13th seed in straight sets because of the way he both held and broke serve.

Kohlschreiber held all eight break points he faced, while successfully converting each of the three he forced. Defending champion Alexander Zverev will be in action on Day 5, as will Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov. The women’s bracket will feature Simona Halep, Sharapova and Venus Williams.

Golden Knights vs Jets

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The Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets meet in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals at 7 p.m. ET Saturday. Winnipeg is -145 on the money line at home, meaning you would need to risk $145 to win $100, while Vegas is +125 (risk $100 to win $125). The Over-Under, or total number of goals oddsmakers think will be scored in this 2018 NHL Playoff game, is 6.

Before you make your NHL Playoffs 2018 pick, you need to see what SportsLine expert David Kelly has to say. A Toronto-born hockey analyst with multiple advanced degrees, Kelly has been one of the nation’s premier hockey handicappers, earning more than $5,000 for $100 bettors this season.He knows the ins and outs of these two teams, going 18-9 on Winnipeg games and 25-14 on those involving Las Vegas.

Now, using his proprietary models and unmatched knowledge of the game, Kelly has examined Game 1 from every angle. We can tell you Kelly is leaning Over, but he has a strong money-line pick, and you won’t discover his reasons buried in any box score. He’s sharing it over at SportsLine.

Kelly knows Vegas is an outstanding 4-1 on the road this postseason after going 22-19 outside T-Mobile Arena during the regular season. In their two regular-season meetings in Winnipeg, the Knights went 1-1, winning the last game on Feb. 1 in overtime.Both teams have played effectively this postseason, with Winnipeg at 8-4 and Las Vegas winning eight of its 10 games.

“The potential problem for Vegas is that it hasn’t met an attacking team with speed to burn like Winnipeg,” Kelly told SportsLine. “The Jets can apply exhausting pressure in the neutral and offensive zones.”Mark Scheifele leads the Jets in playoff goals with 11 and points with 16. Three Knights, including William Karlsson, have four tallies.This series could be won on goaltending, and two of the very best will be between the pipes. Marc-Andre Fleury of the Knights leads all goalies this postseason with a .951 save percentage and 1.53 goals against average. He’s also notched four shutouts. Jets net minder Connor Hellebuyck enters this series on a .927 save clip and 2.25 GAA with two shutouts.

So which team does Kelly believe wins Game 1? Visit SportsLine now to get David Kelly’s exclusive pick, all from an incomparable NHL expert who’s 18-9 on picks involving the Jets.Then Reilly Smith swept the puck off the stick of Winnipeg forward Kyle Connor at centre ice and the turnover turned into a Jonathan Marchessault breakaway goal.The Jets had life with a power play to start the final period. But Fleury was at his best and snuffed out any comeback attempt.

A Connor goal midway through the third period pushed the Jets to within 2-1, but Marchessault scored his second of the game 98 seconds later, as the result of a poor neutral-zone pinch from Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba.A 40-goal regular season and an 11-goal, 33-point run in the Remparts march to the QMJHL conference finals in 2011 earned him a pro contract with the New York Rangers. But Marchessault bounced from there to the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Tampa Bay Lightning to the Florida Panthers.

From afar, he always admired Martin St. Louis, the patron saint of pint-sized players. Although St. Louis had moved on by the time Marchessault suited up for the Lightning, he learned a great deal as one of the Black Aces (replacement players) in the Lightning’s run to the 2015 Stanley Cup final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Last year, he checked in with a career-high 30 goals with the Panthers. Despite his production, he was left exposed in the expansion draft.How did he follow that season up? He piled up a career-high 75 points. He has been even better in the postseason with six goals and 15 points in a dozen games.A player like Marchessault will give the Jets trouble. But there are plenty more just like him. The Jets found out the hard way on Monday.Before you make your pick, you need to see what SportsLine expert David Kelly has to say. A Toronto-born hockey analyst with multiple advanced degrees, Kelly has been one of the nation’s premier hockey handicappers, earning more than $5,000 for $100 bettors this season.

He knows the ins and outs of these two teams, going 13-6 on the money line for Vegas games and 10-4 on those involving Winnipeg.Now, using his proprietary models and unmatched knowledge of the game, Kelly has examined Game 2 from every angle. We can tell you Kelly is leaning toward the over and has a strong money-line pick, and you won’t discover his reasons buried in any box score. He’s sharing it over at SportsLine.

Kelly knows Winnipeg is a scorching 5-2 at home this postseason after going 32-9 at Bell MTS during the regular season. Even with the Game 1 loss, Vegas is a very respectable 4-2 on the road in the 2018 NHL playoffs.Both teams have played effectively this postseason, with the Knights at 8-3 and the Jets winning nine of their 13 games.”What stands out is the takeaway number, which was dominated by the Jets 10-1,” Kelly told SportsLine. “In an evenly played, hard-hitting contest like Game 1, turnovers are often the deciding factor in the outcome.”

The Jets’ Mark Scheifele leads all skaters in playoff goals with 12 and has also racked up six assists. William Karlsson is the Knights’ top scorer with five tallies.Kelly noted the power play could be an important part of this series and the Jets delivered in Game 1, going 2 for 4 on the man advantage. The Knights’ penalty kill is still a solid 82 percent this postseason but they need to avoid excessive time in the box.

So which squad does Kelly believe takes Game 2 of the Western Conference finals? Visit SportsLine now to get David Kelly’s exclusive selection, all from an incomparable NHL expert who’s 23-10 combined on the teams’ most recent picks.The Jets host the Golden Knights Monday in Game 2 of their Western Conference finals series.Winnipeg emerged victorious in Game 1, winning 4-2 behind goals from four different players and three assists from Blake Wheeler. The Jets scored three goals in the first period and never looked back.

Vegas came into the series after needing six games to get past the Sharks in the previous round. The Golden Knights started that series with a 7-0 win, and they closed it out with a 3-0 victory, for their third and fourth shutouts of the postseason.Winnipeg alternated wins with the Predators for seven games in its last series, and had a 5-1 victory in Nashville to clinch the series. The Jets have five players who have accounted for at least 10 points so far this postseason, led by Mark Scheifele who has 11 goals and five assists.Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and said the expansion Vegas Golden Knights sent a message, bouncing back with a 3-1 series-evening win over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night in Game 2 of the Western Conference final.

“Every time we need a big game as a group, we show up,” Marchessault said. “We showed the hockey world we earned the right to be here.”Tomas Tatar scored 6:37 into the game for the Golden Knights and Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 30 saves.Kyle Connor scored midway through the third period to pull Winnipeg within a goal. Marchessault restored the two-goal lead 1:28 later.

After losing the series opener, Marchessault told reporters the team faced a must-win game.”If you’re going to talk out there in the media that you have to be better, I think you need to lead by example,” he said. “I tried to do that.””I don’t think anybody is panicking,” Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba said. “We like our road game. We like where it was in the Nashville series.”Winnipeg won three times on the top-seeded Predators’ home ice, including Game 7 last week.

The expansion Golden Knights appeared to be rusty in the series opener and the Jets scored three goals early in a 4-2 win about 48 hours after advancing out of the second round.It looked like they were going to pick up where they left off.”They came out flying again with a lot of speed,” Fleury said.Fleury, who helped the Pittsburgh Penguins win three Stanley Cups, made key stops early and got help from teammate and a post in the opening minutes to keep the puck out of his net.

“Fleury had to make three or four really good saves in the first seven minutes,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “We rebounded after that. We got that 2-0 lead and it was a different game for us. When teams are chasing the lead, it’s tough for teams to battle back.”

Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele, who has postseason-high 12 goals , got the puck past Fleury in the opening moments of the game and Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt cleared it from the crease .Vegas generated offense by making plays without the puck, forcing turnovers to set up goals.”We were on them,” Golden Knights forward Erik Haula said. “That’s our game. We’re a fast team. I think we showed that.”

After the Jets failed to control the puck out of a corner in their end, Tatar ended up stuffing the puck in the net after hitting the side of the net with a shot.Connor was pressured into turning over the puck near center ice late in the opening period and Reilly Smith set up Marchessault, his former Florida Panthers teammate, at the blue line and he scored on a breakaway backhander.”There was about 57 minutes of that game that was pretty good for us,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. “Three minutes of it got away from us.

The Jets closed the scoreless second period and started the third on the power play and still couldn’t get the puck past Fleury.Winnipeg kept up the pressure on by relentlessly forechecking and drew another penalty early in the third. Connor took advantage, squeezing a shot between Fleury and the post from the bottom of the left circle 7:17 into the third.That whipped the white-clad fans into a frenzy – triggering jeers of “Fleu-ry! Fleu-ry!” – and were quickly quieted by another Marchessault backhander that beat Hellebuyck.

The Jets pulled their goaltender to add another skater over the last couple minutes of the game, but Fleury didn’t let the puck get past him again.NOTES: Vegas put Tatar and Tomas Nosek in place of David Perron and Oscar Lindberg. Gallant said Perron was not a healthy scratch. “He wasn’t feeling well,” Gallant said. “I think he’ll be fine.” … The Jets have not lost consecutive games this postseason. … Vegas acquired Tatar from the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline for a first-round pick and he played in just his fifth game of this postseason and scored his first goal. “What a luxury to be able to put Tomas Tatar into a game in the playoffs,” Schmidt said. “The guy has been an incredible player in this league and proved it for many years.”

Barcelona vs Mamelodi Sundowns

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The wait is finally over after FC Barcelona confirmed on Tuesday night that Argentinean superstar Lionel Messi and Uruguay marksman Luis Suárez would face Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on Wednesday.SA league champions Sundowns host their Spanish counterparts in the highly anticipated Nelson Mandela Centenary Cup encounter, and the uncertainty over Messi’s availability had been a huge source of unease for the nation’s soccer lovers.South Africans were left in the dark after the two teams failed to confirm whether the reigning Spanish champions would bring a full strength squad to the match, which was listed as part of their weekly training schedule.

Barcelona finally put local fans out of their misery when they confirmed in a tweet that Messi and Suárez would make the trip to South Africa.Barcelona are expected to arrive at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning and they will fly out immediately after the match to prepare for their last league match of the season, against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou, on Sunday.

Barca Squad: Ter Stegen‚ Cillessen‚ Semedo‚ Piqué‚ Rakitic‚ Sergio‚ Denis‚ Iniesta‚ Suárez‚ Messi‚ Dembélé‚ Coutinho‚ Paulinho‚ Alcácer‚ Alba‚ Digne‚ S Roberto‚ André Gomes‚ A Vidal‚ Y Mina‚ Aleñá (26)‚ R de Galarreta‚ J Cuenca.Mamelodi Sundowns vs Barcelona is set to be one of the most iconic games to take place in South Africa. With massive stars like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez confirmed to play in the match, this showpiece event is set to live up to the hype.

Barcelona return to face the PSL champions 11 years after the sides first met. It was the Spanish title-winners’ maiden visit to South Africa, as they ran out 2-1 winners against the Sundowns.Now, the hosts have a chance for revenge. Although, this fixture is being played in a kind spirit. Barcelona agreed to be part of the celebrations for #Mandela100, commemorating a century since the legendary leader was born.Jacques Grobbelaar is a CEO for Stadium Management SA. The FNB Stadium (venue for the game) falls under his remit and he’s very much been the source of all the breaking information so far. He was the first to confirm the kick-off time, as well as ticket prices.

Now, we’re getting regular updates from him on how fast these tickets are going. Yes, as you’ve guessed, they’re flying off the shelves:Dr Grobbelaar revealed that the entire allocation of 78 787 has sold out, just 72 hours after going on sale. If that doesn’t convince you how much of a religion football is to South African fans, nothing willFC Barcelona will not confirm their trip to South Africa for an international friendly with Mamelodi Sundowns until they have ‘enough payment guarantees’, Catalunya Ràdio reports.

Sundowns announced last week that the Spanish giants will be revisiting South Africa for a friendly match scheduled for May 16, 2018 at the FNB Stadium.While Barcelona denied any knowledge of the proposed match twice this week when contacted by Goal, the encounter appears likely to go ahead as initially planned, provided Sundowns meet all their demands before it’s too late.According to Goal sources, the club officials were ordered not to utter a word to the media about Sundowns’ invitation until everything is finalized. If there are no payment guarantees then the proposed match will not take place.

Independent Media in South Africa reports that Barcelona have demanded a fee of around R100 million to take part in the match.With just seven days to go before the said match, it remains to be seen if everything will finalised just in time for the event to be a success.Sundowns said the proposed match will form part of the Nelson Mandela’s Centenary celebrations. The former South African state president, who passed away in December 2013, would have turned 100 this year.

Furthermore, Catalunya Ràdio reports that Fifa president Gianni Infantino as well as former USA state president Barack Obama will be among the dignitaries attending the proposed match.Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA) CEO Jacques Grobbelaar has announced ticket pricing for the encounter on his official Twitter account.While Mamelodi Sundowns enjoyed a trophy parade on the streets of Pretoria on Monday, Barcelona suffered an injury blow ahead of their big clash against Masandawana at the FNB Stadium on Wednesday.

Defender Thomas Vermaelen picked up a hamstring injury on Sunday night during Barca’s shock 5-4 defeat to Levante, which resulted in their 43-match unbeaten run in La Liga being ended.Ernesto Valverde’s team were hoping to become the first club ever to go through the league season without a defeat, but they fell short in their penultimate La Liga clash.Gerard Pique, who was “rested” on the bench, had to replace the 32-year-old Belgian Vermaelen in the 30th minute against Levante.

Rays vs Royals

Everything went right for the Royals on the key play in their game against the Rays at Kauffman Stadium, except for the final result.As Tampa Bay’s Adeiny Hechavarria tried to score from second on a single to right field, Jorge Soler made a great throw and Salvador Perez was in good position at the plate. However, Hechavarria avoided Perez’s first tag attempt, then found himself in no-man’s land behind the plate.But Hechavarria managed to slip a hand on the plate ahead of Perez’s tag, giving the Rays a 2-1 lead, and that ended up being the final score of the game.Hechavarria, through team interpreter Manny Navarro, told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times: “That was pure instinct. I went in thinking going in to slide, but he was right there kind of blocking the plate. So I went around and I was going to put one hand in and I saw he was going to put one hand there, so I flipped and put the other hand in there just in time.”

Putin’s lackeys enter action tonight with much to prove and more on the line. At six games under .500 and 11 games back in the American League East standings, the ruthless Russian President is growing increasingly impatient that his troops are sullying Mother Russia’s reputation. Adding fuel to the fire is Robert Mueller’s investigation, which continues to grow in its breadth and could uncover improprieties in the St. Petersburg Devil Rays’ business practices or worse any day now.With pressure mounting on all fronts, the tensions are sure to be running high. The Devil Rays will turn to southpaw Ryan Yarbrough to try to silence the Royals in the middle of the Heartland. Eric Skoglund with toe the slab for the Royals.

The communist nine will align themselves thusly:Some people on social media wondered why Hechavarria wasn’t ruled out of the base path.
Here is what the Major League Baseball rulebook says about base runners. Rule 5.09b: “Any runner is out when: (1) He runs more than 3 feet away from his base path to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s base path is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely.”Hechavarria was never more than 3 feet away from the plate on the play, so he wasn’t ruled out.The Mets pounded Jaime Garcia, tagging the Blue Jays pitcher for six runs in 3.2 innings of work en route to a blowout win. Juan Lagares recorded four of New York’s 16 hits and finished with three RBI in helping hand Toronto its third straight loss.

Although he’s among the greatest Canadians to ever play baseball, while appearing on the Yahoo! Sports MLB Podcast, Toronto native Joey Votto had some strong words about baseball in Canada, saying he doesn’t care about it.
Mariners infielder Robinson Cano has been handed a 80-game suspension for a violation of Major League Baseball and the MLBPA’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.TSN Baseball Insider Steve Phillips weighs in on the 80-game suspension handed out to Mariners’ infielder Robinson Cano for testing positive for a masking agent for performance-enhancing substances and what this means for the Mariners’ post-season chances and the likelihood of Cano going into the Hall of Fame.ESPN’s Pedro Gomez breaks down Robinson Cano’s 80-game suspension after the Mariners second baseman positive for a banned substance.

Tyler Austin hit a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly as the Yankees rallied from a three-run deficit, but the game was suspended with the score 3-3 after 5 1/2 innings because of rain. The game is scheduled to continue at 5:05 pm et Wednesday.Stephen Piscotty homered in his first at-bat after being reinstated from the bereavement list and saluted his late mother as he crossed home plate, helping lead the Athletics to a win over the Red Sox in a game delayed almost two hours because of weather.Jordan Lyles came within five outs of the first perfect game in Padres history before allowing a single to Trevor Story in a shutout victory against the Rockies. Lyles finished the day giving up just the one hit over 7.1 masterful innings while matching his career-high with 10 strikeouts.

Get out to the ball park this season to see a matchup between two quality American League teams. The Kansas City Royals will be taking on the Tampa Bay Rays in a contest that should enthrall any fan of Major League Baseball. The Royals have a solid collection of young talent that could have them contending in the AL Central, while the Rays often find themselves in contention for a playoff spot year after year. Get your tickets to see the Royals go head-to-head with the Rays this season, and you’ll see some of the best baseball in the bigs. As always, StubHub has you covered for all the MLB access you crave.

For the first time in days, the Royals can’t blame a loss on their starting pitcher.The Royals lost 2-1 to the Rays on Monday at Kauffman Stadium after stranding the tying run at third base.Before that, they saw rookie starter Eric Skoglund throw a career-high 7 2/3 innings, receive a standing ovation from a sparse crowd and surrender no free passes.In each of his 11 previous major-league starts, Skoglund issued at least one walk. He issued none Monday and struck out four while allowing two runs on seven hits.”He was down in the zone. He attacked,” said manager Ned Yost. “They beat him going the opposite way, which is good hitting, taking what he gave them. Good fastball, good curve, good change-up, elevated when he wanted to. Threw the ball extremely well.”

All the Royals needed was length from a starting pitcher. And on Monday, Skoglund provided that in multiple ways. He used his 6-foot-7 frame to his advantage on a few comebackers, and in one instance whipped out his arm to glove a chopper hit by Wilson Ramos in the first inning, starting a double play at second base.But most importantly, Skoglund pitched beyond the sixth inning. No Royals starter had done that since Skoglund pitched 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision Wednesday at Baltimore. The futility from the starters who followed forced Yost to tax the bullpen for 18 innings between Wednesday and Sunday.How they lost: The Royals tallied six hits but were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. With the chance to tie the game in the ninth inning after Jon Jay’s one-out triple, Ryan Goins, who was subbed into the game in the eighth when Cheslor Cuthbert’s back spasmed, struck out looking at Alex Colome’s cutter on the far corner. Then Alex Gordon grounded out to end the game.

With the score tied 1-1 in the sixth, Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria blew threw third-base coach Matt Quatraro’s stop sign when Matt Duffy shot a single into right field.The Royals did not challenge the call.”I thought the play was gonna be like a bam-bam play, pretty close,” Perez said. “As soon as I caught the ball, I was looking for him to jump and tried to tag him.
“He just moved to the other side. I tried to follow him, follow his body. He did a tremendous job changing hands. You guys saw that. That’s pretty good for him.”

Giro d’Italia 2018

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Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe discuss the fact that Mitchelton-Scott’s dream position has been altered by the fact that Esteban Chaves struggled on the first climb, found himself unable to follow the wheels and eventually lost 25 minutes – tumbling down from second place overall and leaving his team-mate Simon Yates as the undisputed leader of the squad for the remainder of the race.
We hear from Mitchelton-Scott’s domestique Sam Bewley, sports director Matt White and Chaves himself and get Yates’s verdict on his nickname – Sanguinaccio Volante, or the Flying Black Pudding.

The stage was won by Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric who got into the early break, only to be caught when the main peloton put the pressure on to make sure Chaves and sprinter Elia Viviani did not make contact. Mohoric attacked again in the final 40 kilometres and then outsprinted Nico Denz to add a Giro stage win to his victory at the Vuelta a Espana last year.

In the final part we have an exclusive interview with Team Sky’s Chris Froome about his Giro so far, which has been compromised by crashes, and what he thinks he can do in the second half of the race.
Team Mitchelton-Scott are set to go all in behind their British rider and the current Giro d’Italia leader Simon Yates in his quest to win a first Grand Tour after his team-mate and closest rival, Esteban Chaves, endured a terrible day in the east of Italy.

Chaves began Tuesday’s stage 10 with a 32-second gap to Yates wearing the Maglia Rosa, but struggled from the start and never recovered, losing several costly minutes which effectively ended his challenge with 10 race days still to go.

The rest of the overall contenders finished in the main pack, including Tom Dumoulin and Thibaut Pinot, as Bahrain-Merida’s 23-year-old Matej Mohoric clinched the stage win in Gualdo Tadino, Umbria.
“Chaves just had a bad moment on the first climb of the day,” Yates said afterwards. “Straight after the rest day, you don’t know how the body responds. I’m very disappointed for him because he’s worked hard for this Giro.”

Following the second of three rest days in this year’s tour, most of the peloton returned on Tuesday morning determined to break Mitchelton-Scott’s hold on the race, with both Yates and Chaves at the top of the standings.

Yates had a strong day, claiming three bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint point. But Chaves quickly slipped away around the first category two climb heading north from Penne, and despite the efforts of several team-mates to help haul him back into contention, the Colombian slipped away and eventually rolled in around 15 minutes behind his rivals.

“I was going to go for the bonus sprint because I need to gain time on Dumoulin,” he said. ”But, when I saw Pinot getting a lead out, I went past him. I need as many seconds as I can get so maybe I need to go for more bonus seconds.

Refreshed after a day off for the transfer from Israel, Lotto Fix All’s Tim Wellens claimed victory on a punchy uphill finale in Caltagirone on stage 4. The race lead remained with Dennis, while Chris Froome (Team Sky) lost some time. Michael Woods (EF-Drapac) managed to steal a few seconds, as did Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) in a move that would presage his sparkling performances in the mountains later in the week.

Froome was far more attentive in the second steep finale to stage 5 in Santa Ninfa, won by Enrico Battaglin (LottoNl-Jumbo), and while the overall contenders had to fight to stay together, there were no big changes in the overall aside from Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) losing time due to a crash.

The peloton moved to the mainland for a short, flat, and beautifully scenic stage to Praia a Mare, where Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) finally turned around his record of near-misses and claimed his maiden Grand Tour victory over Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors).

The respite in climbing was brief, and two 200+km days followed, with back-to-back summit finishes. The first, to Montevergine di Mercogliano, was a fast grind to the finish that did little to change the overall classification. It was a fine platform for the talents of Richard Carapaz (Movistar), who jetted away in the finale to claim the first Grand Tour stage victory by an Ecuadorean rider.

The highest point in the Apennines proved a far more complicated affair, with the climb to Gran Sasso d’Italia surpassing the snow line at a whopping 2135m. Although not as steep as some of the Giro d’Italia’s later ascents, the sheer length, altitude and a strong head wind proved to be the undoing of a number of riders.

But not for Yates, who stole away from a quartet in the final hundred metres to take the stage victory while wearing the maglia rosa over a frustrated Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), with Chaves just behind. With Tom Dumoulin losing a dozen seconds and missing the time bonuses, Chaves moved into second at 32 seconds, with Dumoulin at 38 seconds in third.


Atletico Madrid vs Marseille

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LYON, France: After painful defeats in recent continental finals, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are determined to justify their status as favourites in Wednesday’s Europa League showpiece against Marseille in Lyon.

Atletico lost in extra time to Real Madrid in the Champions League final of 2014, having been seconds away from victory in 90 minutes, and then lost on penalties to their city rivals in the final of the same competition two years later.

An exit from this season’s Champions League in the group stage came as a big surprise for a formidable side spearheaded by Antoine Griezmann in attack, but they have put that behind them to close in on glory in Europe’s less prestigious competition.

Atletico are looking to win the Europa League for the third time in nine seasons, after triumphing in 2010 and again in 2012, shortly after ‘Cholo’ Simeone was appointed coach.“We can’t wait for the final to come around,” full-back Juanfran told Radio Marca as Atletico target a first trophy since 2014, when they won La Liga.

“With ‘Cholo’ lots of things have changed at Atletico. Everything we have experienced in these last few years we will remember forever. I hope we can get another little medal.”It would be a first, and possibly last major medal as an Atletico player for Griezmann, who was raised not far from Lyon but has spent his whole career in Spain.

The 27-year-old forward joined Atletico from Real Sociedad on the back of their title success in 2014, but could soon be on his way to Barcelona.Griezmann and Diego Costa will lead Simeone’s attack as Atletico return to Lyon, where they lost 3-0 to Dynamo Kiev in the final of the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup in 1986.

Atletico have had plenty of heartbreak in European finals down the years, as have Marseille.The French club have previously appeared in four, losing three, the exception being their victory over AC Milan in the inaugural Champions League final in 1993.

Rudi Garcia’s team were not expected to make it this far, having started their European campaign in the qualifying rounds last July.But after rousing wins over RB Leipzig in the last eight and Salzburg in the semi-finals, OM and their passionate fans are now dreaming of glory on home soil.

“Those who won the Champions League in 1993 are still heroes because nobody else has done it since,” Dimitri Payet told“We know how tough it is. Of course, that’s an added source of motivation, and if we do win the final, our names will be written into the club’s history books forever.”

Marseille are also battling for a top-three finish in the French league, and the fear is that fatigue will be a factor as they try to break down Atletico’s brilliant defence.“They are a big club, a super team with great players and a great coach. They are used to playing in big European matches. They are clear favourites but we will do everything to create a surprise,” winger Florian Thauvin told sports daily L’Equipe.

Payet is “optimistic” he will shake off a minor muscle problem to feature in Wednesday’s game, where Marseille will hope to have a big support behind them.Only around 11,500 of their fans will officially be in attendance, however, but several thousand more should make the three-hour trip to Lyon.

Authorities are preparing for the threat of trouble, with a big rivalry developing in recent years between Marseille and Lyon.Since reaching the final, Marseille fans have taunted Lyon and their outspoken president Jean-Michel Aulas with chants of: “We’re going to smash up your house”.
Atletico are playing in their third European final in five years, having lost the Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016, after winning the Europa League under his guidance in 2012.

Marseille, contrastingly, have not been in the last two of a European tournament for more than a decade, but with their impressive run to Lyon Simeone is loathe to pay too much attention to history.
Atletico Madrid is the overwhelming favorite to win the Europa League for the third time. The latest odds have Atletico at -250 and Olympique Marseilles +250.

Atletico won the inaugural Europa League in 2010 after the competition superseded the UEFA Cup and won again in 2012.

Over the last five seasons, Atletico ranks as the second-best team in European competition according to the UEFA coefficient rankings with only Real Madrid better.
It is not surprising that Real Madrid holds an edge given that they have been Atletico’s nemesis. Real Madrid has knocked off Atletico in the Champions League in each of the last four seasons – the final 2014, 2016, quarter-final 2015 and semi-final 2017.

Atletico was expected to go deep into this season’s Champions League as well but stumbled at the group stage finishing behind Chelsea and Roma. A third-place finish relegated Atleti to the Europa League.

In the knock stages, Atletico cruised past Copenhagen and Lokomotiv Moscow before encountering stiffer opposition from Sporting Lisbon and Arsenal.

Atletico’s parsimonious defense has only allowed 4 goals in 8 games while scoring 17. In eight games Atleti lost just once.

Cardinals vs Twins

The Cardinals are in Minnesota on Wednesday, playing the second game of brief two game series, that seems to be going on throughout the major leagues on Tuesday and Wednesday. St. Louis had been playing great baseball, having won seven of nine, until losing to the Padres on Saturday and then 5-3 on Sunday. Still, they are 22-16 and just one game behind the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the NL Central.

The Twins started off the season well, then went into a big rut, but have fought their way back into contention. Of course, in the case of the AL Central, that’s pretty easy to do in what is the worst division in baseball. The Indians are in first with a record of just 20-20 and the Twins are 1.5 games behind with a record of 17-20.

Miles Mikolas takes the mound on Wednesday and he will look to stay perfect. He’s 5-0 on the young year and has sparkling numbers to go with. It’s a pretty amazing story considering the guy is 29 years old and had made a grand total of 10 starts in his major league career entering this year. But he’s now put together seven great starts to begin this year, amassing the perfect record while he’s out.

Of all the numbers that stand out, his 2.51 ERA is probably last on the list. Most impressive is his K/BB ratio of 35/3. You just don’t see that unless you’re Clayton Kershaw. He also has a WHIP of .96 and batters are hitting just over .200 against him. How does this happen for a guy making his 18th career start on Wednesday?Lance Lynn will be making the start for the Twins on Wednesday and he’ll be facing off against an old friend, having spent several years with the Cardinals. He probably wishes he was back in St. Louis as things aren’t going all that great so far this year with the 31 year old right hander entering the game against the Cards with a 1-3 record and a 7.34 ERA. He doesn’t look anything like the pitcher he did in St. Louis.

He’s given up at least four earned runs in four of his last five starts, and he’s actually lucky he’s only got three losses on the season. He has an absurd 25 walks in 34 innings and an even more absurd 1.98 WHIP. Runners are hitting .312 against him and it’s almost surprising that his ERA isn’t higher than 7.34.After they came to St. Louis and won both games, the Cardinals are hoping to pull off the same feat in Minneapolis against the Twins this week. The brief, two-game meeting will begin on Tuesday evening. The Cardinals enter the series with a 22-16 record; the Twins are 17-19.

Tuesday’s contest will feature a pair of young right-handed hurlers on the mound, as 23-year-old Jose Berrios will face off with 22-year-old Jack Flaherty. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time. Berrios, Minnesota’s first-round pick in 2012, has recently experienced a rough stretch. Dating back to April 24, Berrios has allowed at least four earned runs in four starts – and five runs in two of those outings. Nonetheless, Berrios leads the Twins’ pitching staff with a 1.04 WHIP and 40 frames. Opposing batters are hitting .223 against Berrios with only nine walks.

Flaherty is starting in place of Carlos Martinez, who hit the disabled list with a right lat strain following his last start. This will be Flaherty’s third big-league start of the year and his first since April 28. In his last outing for the Triple-A Redbirds, Flaherty fanned a career-high 13 batters. In five starts for the Redbirds, Flaherty was 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 31 2⁄3 innings. If Adam Wainwright’s recent struggles require him to miss a start, Flaherty could be the guy the Cardinals rely on to fill the void.A quick turnaround follows Tuesday’s contest, as Wednesday’s series finale will start at 12:10 PM Central time. St. Louis will work against a familiar face, with Lance Lynn slated to the take the mound against Miles Mikolas and the Cardinals. Lynn has struggled in his new threads, having already allowed six home runs and 25 walks in seven starts. Lynn might be able to right himself when he faces a team he knows very well; however, the Cardinals have the same upside against Lynn.

Mikolas, who ‘replaced’ Lynn in the Cardinals’ rotation, has been more than the team envisioned him to be. In seven starts for St. Louis, Mikolas has maintained a 3.10 xFIP with a 35:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 46 2⁄3 innings, serving as an excellent number-two behind Martinez. Though wins aren’t a stat to put stock in, Mikolas is the only National League pitcher with five wins and zero losses and one of only three in the game; Charlie Morton of the Astros and Hector Velazquez of the Red Sox are the other two.From his perch in center field, Byron Buxton found himself trying to communicate telepathically with the Twins battery of Jose Berrios and Bobby Wilson.

“I’ve got the best view in center,” Buxton said after Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. “A few times I was like, ‘Throw the curveball again. Throw the curveball.’ And he’d throw the curveball again, and they’d swing and miss.”

Of the 15 swing-and-miss strikes Berrios coaxed on this 10-strikeout night, seven came on a curveball he had stunningly lost over his previous four outings while posting an 8.84 earned-run average. Working into the eighth inning for the first time in over a month, Berrios allowed just two singles, both in the third inning, and gave up just a walk and a hit batter the rest of his 102-pitch night.

“That’s Berrios,” Buxton said. “All his pitches were working tonight. I’ve been blessed enough to see him coming up through the minor leagues. Tonight was a great example of who he is and how he plays baseball.”

It was the Twins’ third win in as many tries in this home-and-home interleague series, which concludes Wednesday afternoon at Target Field. It also kept them from a three-game losing streak for the first time since dropping eight in a row last month.

The Twins have outscored the Cardinals 17-2 over the past nine days, piling up 30 hits to their eight. Might that have something to do with the fact the Twins’ top two video advance scouts (Jeremy Hefner and Corey Baker) are recently retired pitchers in the Cardinals’ farm system?

Playing in front of a national television audience on FS1, the Twins broke a 16-inning scoring drought with three straight singles in the sixth inning. The last of those, by Eduardo Escobar, tied the score and chased 22-year-old right-hander Jack Flaherty after 98 pitches.

“That was an icebreaker for us,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “It just kind of opened the gates, took some of the weight off our backs offensively.”

Next came a pivotal three-run seventh, which started when Logan Morrison whacked a Brett Cecil slider off the base of the wall in right for a leadoff double. Buxton, looking to advance Morrison, then bunted a Luke Gregerson slider back toward the mound.Not only did Buxton, playing through a hairline fracture in his left big toe, beat the throw for just his second hit since coming off the disabled list, but Gregerson threw the ball into right field. Morrison scored on the error as Buxton took second and then third as well on a ball in the dirt to Ehire Adrianza.

That brought up Wilson, the 35-year-old journeyman catcher who will stick around a while longer with Jason Castro recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Wilson fouled off a safety squeeze bunt attempt before putting the next pitch in the left-field seats.

It was Wilson’s 17th career homer but his first in the majors since Sept. 21, 2016, when he took Masahiro Tanaka deep while playing for the Tampa Bay Rays. Wilson’s blast snapped a string of 36 innings without a home run for the Twins.

“I don’t think I’ve sniffed a slider in the last week,” Wilson said.The Twins had managed just one run over their previous 23 innings and three over their previous 32. Morrison’s double was just their fifth extra-base hit — all doubles — since the start of play on Saturday.

That late outburst made sure the Twins didn’t waste a much-needed gem from Berrios (4-4), who struck out at least one batter in each of the first seven innings. He credited a bullpen session Saturday in Anaheim, Calif., which Wilson caught, for reminding him to use his legs and improve the hand speed on his curve.

“When I’m aggressive and use the lower part of my body, I feel like it breaks better,” Berrios said through a translator. “The reality is I wasn’t happy with those last four starts. My mind-set wasn’t right. Tonight I came back to basics. I worked hard for this outing, and the result was there.”

Said Wilson after catching Berrios for the first time in a regular-season game: “Wow. That’s the Berrios I think everybody in this room is used to seeing. That’s front-line stuff right there.” returned to the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup Tuesday night after getting a few days off to regroup. Now, it’s Dexter Fowler’s turn to get back on track.

Fowler is expected back among St. Louis’ starting nine Wednesday when the Cardinals wrap up a two-game interleague series with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn.

The center fielder was expected to be a sparkplug atop St. Louis’ lineup this season, but both he and Carpenter got off to the worst offensive starts of their careers. Carpenter was batting .145 and Fowler .146 when the Cardinals arrived in Minneapolis. Carpenter went hitless on Tuesday and his average is down to .140.

Fowler went 0-for-6 in St. Louis’ 2-1 victory Saturday night and spent nearly an hour in the batting cage after the game, trying to find a way out of his funk.Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had considered starting Fowler Tuesday in the series opener but opted to give him another day off and said he has kept Fowler in the loop the entire time.”Something is just off,” Matheny said. “If you can pinpoint it, you’d fix it. ‘Oh, I found something!’ That’s typically the conversation. But that’s after days of repetition and after lots of sleepless nights trying to figure it out. You grind your way through it.

“It’s all about confidence. That’s the root of it. I don’t know which comes first. When the confidence is lacking, with anything you do out there, your lack of success diminishes significantly.”If Fowler does return Wednesday, he’ll be greeted by a familiar face as right-hander Lance Lynn takes the mound for Minnesota.

Lynn spent his last six seasons with the Cardinals, going 72-47 with a 3.38 ERA. Lynn turned down a $17.4 million qualifying offer from St. Louis and didn’t land with the Twins — who signed him to a one-year deal — until late in spring training.Lynn didn’t face the Cardinals when the Twins visited St. Louis last week, but didn’t mince words about his departure.

“I was here for seven years, and there’s no loyalty in the game,” Lynn told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “You’ve noticed players not having the loyalty anymore either. … Maybe I’ll just go on and be a hired gun the rest of my career; I don’t really care.”

But he’s gotten off to a slow start in his new home. Lynn is 1-3 with a 7.34 ERA through seven starts this season, and he allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks on Friday against the Angels in his last outing.


Blue Jays vs Mets

The Mets (19-18) and Blue Jays (21-20) are each struggling to remain over .500 after getting off to a fast start. New York opened 11-1 but is just 8-17 since, a stretch in which it has not won back-to-back games. Toronto began the season 12-5 but is just 9-15 since, a stretch in which it has posted consecutive victories once.

A sputtering offense has been an issue for both teams. The Mets have scored three runs or fewer 16 times in the last 25 games, including each of the last four.“I don’t think our team is built for just putting together hit after hit after hit and going 1st to 3rd and things like that,” rookie Mets manager Mickey Callaway said following Sunday’s loss. “I think when the home runs start to come, that’s when you’re gonna see the team we are.”

The Mets entered Monday tied for 11th in the National League with 37 homers, including just 11 since May 1.The Blue Jays entered Monday ranked fourth in the majors with 56 homers but have been limited to three runs or fewer 12 times in the last 24 games.“There are a few guys in the lineup who are cold, no doubt,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told reporters Saturday. “You’re definitely going to go through that at times.”

Syndergaard will be pitching for the first time since May 6, when he didn’t factor into the decision after giving up two runs over six innings in the Mets’ 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies. Syndergaard was scheduled to pitch against the Phillies Saturday night but was pushed back after he warmed up prior to the game being postponed due to rain.

Garcia didn’t factor into the decision last Wednesday, when he gave up two runs (one earned) over five innings in the Blue Jays’ 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.Syndergaard will be making his second career start against the Blue Jays, who drafted him in the first round of the 2010 draft and traded him to the Mets in a trade that netted Toronto reigning Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey in December 2012. Syndergaard didn’t factor into the decision on June 15, 2015, when he gave up one run while striking out a then-career-high 11 batters over six innings.

The rare visit to Queens for the Blue Jays will serve as a homecoming for Toronto outfielder Curtis Granderson, who will play at Citi Field for the first time since the Mets traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers last August. Granderson helped New York to a World Series and a wild-card berth during his three-plus seasons with the club.

The Blue Jays learned Monday they will be without closer Roberto Osuna for at least another week. Osuna was arrested for assaulting a woman the morning of May 8 and was immediately placed on administrative leave, which was scheduled to expire Monday before it was extended to May 21.Before the 2017 season, Major League Baseball shortened the primary disabled list from 15 to 10 days. Teams took advantage, using it more often to avoid the awkward balance between players remaining on the active roster while nursing injuries and a hesitance to miss much time.

For now, the sputtering Mets, who overhauled their medical procedures after an injury-plagued 2017, have resisted placing outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who has a history of leg injuries, on the disabled list despite his hobbled movements on the field.

Because Cespedes had not improved since he last played, on Sunday, the Mets sent him for a magnetic resonance imaging examination before Tuesday’s 12-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. It revealed a mild strain of Cespedes’s right hip flexor, and he did not appear in Tuesday’s game, which was delayed at the start for nearly 90 minutes because of rain.

“He’s still functional,” General Manager Sandy Alderson said before the game. “And this is not a typical injury where running is going to lead to greater injury. But we’re going to be careful.”Amed Rosario missed a three-run home run by inches, instead settling for a go-ahead run-scoring double, one of his three hits on the night. Juan Lagares added a two-run single and Asdrubal Cabrera chipped in with a run-scoring double. It was enough to buoy Syndergaard, who has not pitched quite like himself recently but limited Toronto to two runs over five innings.

In the eighth inning, Devin Mesoraco, the catcher the Mets acquired from Cincinnati in a trade for Matt Harvey, added a two-run home run, which was the second time he has gone deep in five games for the Mets.

But the theme of the day was a recurring one for Cespedes and the Mets: a leg injury appears, he tries to play through it, and he more often than not ends up on the disabled list later.Jaime Garcia’s promising performance in his last start last Wednesday amounted to a hill of beans.

The Blue Jays left-handed starter enjoyed his second-best outing of the season against the Seattle Mariners last week, giving up three hits and two runs in five innings and fueling hope that he was turning his season around.

But on a damp Tuesday night in Queens, Garcia followed that up with one of his worst performances, giving up six runs in 3.2 innings as Toronto lost to the New York Mets 12-2 at Citi Field.

The slumping Jays, who were out-hit 16-6, have now lost four of their last five and three in a row. They are also a .500 team (21-21) for the first time since April 2.In taking the loss, Garcia fell to 2-3 with a 6.28 ERA and has not reached six innings since his first start on April 2.New York starter Noah Syndergaard was as good with the bat as he was on the mound. The former Jays draft pick went five innings, but worked hard, throwing 103 pitches. He also hit a double and picked up two RBI.

One of the few notables for the Jays was the debut of 2010 draft pick Deck McGuire, who recorded his first career Major League hit in the eighth off Seth Lugo, the first hit by a Toronto pitcher since Marcus Stroman last May 18.

Also, catcher Russell Martin was moved to shortstop in the eighth, the first time he has ever played that position in the bigs.New York catcher Devin Mesoraco hit the game’s only homer, a two-run blast in the eighth off McGuire.The Mets jumped into the lead in the second inning when Syndergaard smacked a double down the line, scoring Mesoraco from first. Toronto right fielder Teoscar Hernandez handled the ball like it was a hand grenade, soft tossing it to first baseman Justin Smoak, taking away any chance of nailing Mesoraco at home.

The Jays loaded the bases with two out in the third and Yangervis Solarte punched a seeing-eye single through the middle of the infield to score two runs.Syndergaard tied it up for the Mets in the bottom of the fourth with a sac fly to centre to score Jay Bruce from third. The next hitter, Amed Rosario, smacked a double off the wall in centre to score one more run, giving the Mets the lead for good.Noah Syndergaard won for the first time in five weeks, knocking in two early runs against the team that traded him to rouse a sluggish New York Mets offense Tuesday night during a 12-2 rout of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Missing injured sluggers Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier from a slumping lineup, the Mets finally broke through anyway against Jaime Garcia and the skidding Blue Jays after an 86-minute rain delay at the start.Juan Lagares had four hits, three RBIs and a stolen base to help New York improve to 12-0 at home against Toronto – the longest such streak in interleague history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

New catcher Devin Mesoraco homered and scored four runs while reaching base safely all five times up. Amed Rosario added three hits and two RBIs from the No. 9 spot in the batting order.Making his first start in nine days because of a rainout last weekend, Syndergaard (3-1) threw 103 pitches over five innings but allowed only Yangervis Solarte’s two-run single.

He laced an RBI double in the second and lofted a sacrifice fly in a five-run fourth, which included a single by Jose Reyes that loaded the bases for Syndergaard and snapped New York’s 0-for-24 slide with runners in scoring position.Toronto drafted Syndergaard 38th overall in 2010 and shipped him to New York in a package for reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey in December 2012. The right-hander made one previous start against the Blue Jays, striking out 11 over six innings of two-hit ball in a no-decision during his rookie season on June 15, 2015.

The Mets, who finished with 16 hits, won for only the third time in 12 games and stopped a six-game losing streak at home. They had scored three runs or fewer in nine of the past 11 games.Garcia (2-3), who is 0-4 at Citi Field, was charged with six runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings as the Blue Jays (21-21) fell back to .500 for the first time since they were 2-2. Toronto has dropped three in a row and eight of 11.

Curtis Granderson received a warm hand in his first game at Citi Field since the Mets traded him to the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers last August. The 37-year-old outfielder, who signed with Toronto in the offseason, hit 95 home runs for New York from 2014-17 – plus three more in the 2015 World Series. He is tied for the team record with 21 leadoff homers. Granderson said his favorite memories with the Mets were winning the pennant in his hometown of Chicago – and anytime popular teammate Bartolo Colon pitched at Citi Field. The Mets showed a tribute video just before the game and Granderson smiled as he pointed at the camera while getting loose on the field.

Blue Jays: SS Troy Tulowitzki (right heel) began running on an anti-gravity treadmill. He is taking grounders hit at him and will progress to live batting practice this week before a follow-up appointment with his surgeon next week. … SS Aledmys Diaz (sprained right ankle) is hitting and running on the anti-gravity treadmill at the team’s complex in Florida. RHP Marcus Stroman (right shoulder fatigue) will report there on Thursday. … OF-1B Steve Pearce (strained left oblique) reported improvement but isn’t ready to begin baseball activities. … OF Randal Grichuk (sprained right knee) is running and going through outfield drills.

Mets: Cespedes sat out after an MRI revealed a mild right hip flexor strain. GM Sandy Alderson said the team will decide in the next couple of days whether to put the All-Star outfielder on the 10-day disabled list. Cespedes has been dealing with the nagging injury for more than a week, though he’s described it as discomfort in his quadriceps. … Frazier (strained left hamstring) is eligible to come off the 10-day DL on Friday. … RHP Anthony Swarzak (strained left oblique), RHP Hansel Robles (sprained right knee), C Kevin Plawecki (broken left hand) and INF T.J. Rivera (Tommy John surgery) are rehabbing in Florida.

Phillies vs Orioles

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After waiting for more than three hours, Tuesday night’s Phillies-Orioles game was postponed due to inclement weather.

The teams will play a makeup game on Thursday, July 12, with the time to be determined. Tickets for Tuesday’s game will be automatically honored for the makeup game.

The threat of poor weather coming Tuesday night caused the Orioles to tarp the field at 7 p.m. ET. About an hour later, the rain started with the weather forecast showing no window for the foreseeable future. The Orioles-Phillies Wednesday afternoon game was pushed up to 12:05 p.m. ET in hopes of getting it in despite another poor weather forecast.

Playing in his first game back with the A’s after taking time to grieve the passing of his mother, Gretchen, Piscotty had just homered in his first at-bat at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. The gesture, he said last week after his mom died following a year-long battle with ALS, was her way of signaling, “I love you and thank you” in her final days

Daniel Descalso hit a two-out single to break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning. It provided the D-backs with a positive ending to a day where they learned starting center fielder A.J. Pollock would miss four to eight weeks with a fracture in his left thumb.

What’s the perfect way to end your baseball career? Is it a walk-off home run? A walk-off balk? An inside-the-park grand slam? No, none of these things.

The best thing you can do is what Fairfield senior Drew Blake did during his home finale against UMass on Tuesday. In his penultimate at-bat, Blake launched his eighth homer of the season over the right-field fence … directly to where his dad was standing.

While your acquaintances will nod their heads in commiseration when you fail, your friends know you well enough to laugh at your foibles. It’s the meaning of true friendship.

Which means that David Robertson and Masahiro Tanaka must be the closest of pals. After the Nats’ Gio Gonzalez turned Tanaka into a whirling dervish with a curveball in the second inning of Tuesday night’s game, Robertson literally howled with laughter as Tanaka walked back to the dugout

The start of tonight’s Orioles game against the Philadelphia Phillies has been delayed by the threat of inclement weather.

There is a severe thunderstorm warning in effect, and even though dark clouds are rolling in, it has yet to begin raining at Camden Yards.

Neither starting pitcher began warming up before the game, and both bullpens were empty just minutes before the game’s scheduled first pitch.

Pregame festivities went off as normal, but it was announced just before the Orioles were to take the field that the beginning of the game would be delayed because of the threat of inclement weather and the grounds crew placed the tarpaulin on the field.

The Orioles announced that the team would be monitoring forecasts from National Weather Service and announce an expected start time as soon as possible.

The Orioles and Phillies are opening a two-game series at Camden Yards tonight. Wednesday’s game is scheduled for 12:35 p.m., and both teams will be traveling after the game, the Orioles to Boston and the Phillies to St. Louis. This is an interleague series, so it is the Phillies’ only trip to Baltimore.

Orioles’ ownership’s annual neglect of the international market remains one of the most egregious examples of poor decision-making by a club in any area of baseball operations. Ownership’s disregard for international signings continues to damage the franchise, leaving the Orioles farm system nearly devoid of homegrown international prospects.

That’s unlikely to change soon. During the entire 2017 calendar year, the Orioles signed just nine international players. They signed Ricardo Castro, a 17-year-old Venezuelan center fielder with above-average speed and arm strength, for $150,000, with the rest of their signings getting less than $100,000. That’s like going through the top eight rounds of the draft and passing on all of your picks.

During that 2017 calendar year, the Orioles’ spent just $535,000 total. Remarkably, that’s an increase from the paltry $260,000 they spent in 2016, meaning the Orioles went two full years without spending $1 million combined on international prospects. It’s not a one-year or a two-year aberration. It’s a deliberate approach that the Orioles have taken for years, one that spans multiple management teams, because the decision comes from above the general manager. Ownership simply does not give the team’s scouts adequate resources to be able to do their jobs.

While other teams in their division add players like Gary Sanchez, Rafael Devers, Luis Severino, Miguel Andujar, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Wander Franco, no team in baseball has a worse international strategy than the Orioles. Players like Sanchez, Devers and Guerrero were all premium prospects in their class who cost north of $1 million, and the Orioles eliminate themselves from ever signing that caliber of player.

Teams can still find big leaguers at lower price points. Not only to the Orioles handcuff themselves on the top-tier international free agents, they also severely limit their chances of signing a future Top 100 prospect at a bargain price.

The Braves signed the game’s No. 1 prospect, Ronald Acuna, for $100,000 when he was a 16-year-old in Venezuela. The Orioles gave bonuses of $100,000 or more to just two players combined in all of 2016 and 2017. The Phillies signed the No. 22 prospect, righthander Sixto Sanchez, for $35,000, and other teams consistently find good pitchers for lower prices in Latin America. Yet while the Orioles signed just nine players in all of 2017, the Phillies added 54 international players to their farm system during that same time period. Clubs understand that there is a significant amount of luck involved when a player they sign for $35,000 turns into a big leaguer. Yet teams like the Phillies also give themselves greater opportunities to be lucky and hit on those players because they sign a high enough volume of players to tilt the probabilities in their favor.