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Red Sox Sweep Royals Behind Lester’s Gem

Red Sox Sweep Royals Behind Lester’s Gem

Lisa Blumenfield/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Jon Lester tossed eight shutout innings, striking out eight batters in a 6-0 Red Sox win over Kansas City on Sunday. The win was the fourth in a row for Boston (46-52), giving them a sweep over the Royals (48-49) at Fenway Park.

The Boston ace dominated, allowing no earned runs for the third time in four starts.

Throughout the 2014 season, the talk about Lester off the field has been surrounding his impending free agency. The southpaw can become a free agent at the end of the season and has been pitching without negotiating a new contract during the year. In his last seven starts, Lester is 4-0 with a 0.85 earned run average.

"You've got to take each one as an individual," Lester said. "If I'm out there thinking about what I did last time, I'm not worried about the right things."

His offense gave Lester more than enough run support, beginning in the first with an RBI groundout from Dustin Pedroia. Daniel Nava drove in three runs on the day, including a two-run double in the third. The game was blown open in the fourth after David Ross' two-run home run made it a 5-0 Red Sox lead.

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Indians Sweep Detroit in Doubleheader

Indians Sweep Detroit in Doubleheader

Jason Miller/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- The Cleveland Indians swept a doubleheader in Detroit on Saturday, closing to within 4 1/2 games of the division leading Tigers. The Indians (50-47) opened the day with a 6-2 win before downing Detroit (53-41) 5-2 in the nightcap.

Game One's story was the impressive pitching performance of Corey Kluber. The righty pitched into the ninth inning, striking out 10 batters. He came within one out of his second complete game before Bryan Shaw relieved him to finish things out.

The big offensive blow came in the fifth inning with three run-scoring hits to put Cleveland up 3-0. Another run came across in the sixth before the Indians tacked on two more in the ninth. 

Game Two was not so easy for the Indians, taking a tied game into the final inning of regulation. Chris Dickerson hit a pair of solo home runs to put Cleveland up 2-1 after six frames before Austin Jackson's RBI triple in the seventh tied things up.

The Indians then loaded the bases in the top of the ninth against Joe Nathan. Carlos Santana took advantage with a bases clearing double to right-center. Cody Allen finished things off in the bottom half for his 13th save.

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Donaldson Hits Three-Run Walk-Off HR to Power A’s Past Orioles

Donaldson Hits Three-Run Walk-Off HR to Power A’s Past Orioles

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Josh Donaldson hit a three-run, walk-off home run to give the Oakland Athletics a 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

The walk-off was the 28-year-old Donaldson's fifth of his career.

"I enjoy those moments," Donaldson said. "It's one of those things where you've got to try to relish the opportunity, and anytime I can step up to the plate with an at-bat to help our team win the game or win the game right there, I feel better about it."

The Athletics (60-36) now lead the Angels by 1 1/2 games in the AL West.

Meanwhile, The Orioles (52-43) still have a four game lead over the Blue Jays and Yankees in the AL East.

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Astros Can’t Strike Deal With Top Pick

Astros Can’t Strike Deal With Top Pick

Rich Schultz/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For just the third time in history, the top pick in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft goes unsigned. The Houston Astros failed to reach a deal with left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken before Friday's deadline.

The high school southpaw was originally offered a $6.5 million signing bonus, but sources say that offer was lowered when concerns about Aiken's elbow ligament rose. Aiken was the third high school pitcher ever to be taken number one overall and was the first high school lefty to go in the top five since 2002.

The MLB players association has said the union is working with Aiken to explore all possible options, as well as looking into the way Houston handled negotiations with fifth-round pick Jacob Nix.

"Today, two young men should be one step closer to realizing their dreams of becoming Major League ballplayers," Tony Clark, head of the MLBPA said in a statement. "Because of the actions of the Houston Astros, they are not. The MLBPA, the players and their advisers are exploring all legal options."

The Astros have maintained that no wrongdoing occurred in the negotiations and that Aiken's deal was "extremely fair considering all the factors involved in this case."

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Sabathia to Have Season-Ending Surgery

Sabathia to Have Season-Ending Surgery

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The injury news continues to get worse for the New York Yankees. General Manager Brian Cashman announced on Friday that the pitcher is set to have season-ending surgery on his right knee.

The southpaw will have arthroscopic debridement surgery in hopes of returning for the 2015 season. The procedure is an alternative to microfracture surgery, but could still be in play if the first surgery does not go as planned. 

"He tried the rehab side of it, and obviously that didn't work," Cashman said of the decision for Sabathia to go under the knife. "If he had three different options, that was the least. Now, we are on the middle side of this thing, the cleanup of the knee, and hopefully that is good enough."

Sabathia is one of four starting pitchers the Yankees have lost to injury in 2014 since Opening Day. Ivan Nova is already out for the year with Tohmmy John surgery, while Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda are hopeful to return. Sabathia 304 with a 5.28 earned run average at the time of his injury.

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Houston Street Dealt to Angels

Houston Street Dealt to Angels

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Los Angeles Angels executed a deal on Friday that will help them attempt to keep pace in the increasingly competitive AL West, acquiring closer Houston Street from San Diego as part of a six player deal. 

The Padres will receive four prospects in return while also sending minor league pitcher Trevor Gott. Second baseman Taylor Lindsey, pitchers R.J. Alvarez and Elliot Morris, along with shortstop Jose Rondon were packaged together by the Angels. The deal is still pending a physical.

Currently holding a 1.09 earned run average with 24 saves, Street is fifth on the career saves list among active pitchers. 

Street will join and Angels team that sits two games behind the Oakland Athletics, who hold the best record in baseball. In his tenth year, the closer has converted 258 saves and holds a career 2.87 ERA. The righty began his career in Oakland, pitching four years for the Athletics.

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Tracy McGrady Retires From Baseball

Tracy McGrady Retires From Baseball

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tracy McGrady has retired for the second time, this time from the game of baseball. The former NBA All-Star called it quits after appearing in four games for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.

His final appearance came in the Atlantic League All-Star Game, and ended with his first-ever strikeout. McGrady tossed 1 1/3 innings, fanning Bryan Pounds to pick up the first, and only, "K" of his career. In total, the 35-year-old threw a total of 6 2/3 innings, earning a 6.75 ERA.

"This has been an awesome year," McGrady said, according to CBS Houston. "Not having my basketball career end the way I wanted but having the opportunity to be friends with some of the guys and get to know them and compete with them, learn from them every day, it's been an honor."

McGrady played baseball all the way up until his senior year of high school, when he transferred to a school without a baseball team. He then focused on basketball and became a seven-time All-Star.

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Grand Slams From Posey, Bumgarner Give Giants Win

Grand Slams From Posey, Bumgarner Give Giants Win

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey launched the second grand slam of his career in the bottom of the fifth inning, giving the Giants a 4-1 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks. One inning later, pitcher Madison Bumgarner did the same in an 8-4 win.

It was the first time in Major League Baseball history that batterymates each hit grand slams in the same game. For Bumgarner, it was his second slam of 2014 as he became the first pitcher in 48 seasons to complete that feat. Tony Cloninger hit two in one game for Atlanta, against the Giants, at Candlestick Park in 1966.

"That's pretty cool," Bumgarner said after the win. "This game is full of strange statistics. It seems like there is a first every day. It's crazy to get that many opportunities as a pitcher."

The righty went 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits, while striking out five. Bumgarner (10-7) ended a three-game personal losing streak as the Giants (52-43) won five of their final nine games before the All-Star break.

Vidal Nuno (0-1) took the loss in his second start for Arizona, giving up four runs on six hits in just five innings. The Diamondbacks (40-56) have lost five of their last 13 games.

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Ruth’s 1918 Red Sox Contract Sells For One Million Dollars

Ruth’s 1918 Red Sox Contract Sells For One Million Dollars

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- At an auction in Baltimore, Md., Babe Ruth's 1918 contract with the Boston Red Sox was sold for $1.02 million on Saturday night. When it was originally sold almost 100 years ago, the deal was worth just $5,000.

The contract was signed by American League president Ban Johnson, Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, and Ruth himself. The price tag eclipsed the record for a bidding price of a sports contract, surpassing the 1919 document that sent Ruth to the New York Yankees, which sold for $996,000 back in 2005.

The item was part of a collection of Ruth memorabilia, designed to honor the 100th anniversary of his professional debut. Other items included a bat from early in his career and a signed ball, both of which fetched more than $95,000. One of the more intriguing items, the very first home run ball Ruth ever hit at Yankee Stadium, did not sell. The ball was collected by a construction worker when Ruth was called over to test out the dimensions of the new ballpark in February of 1923.

Other items that were up for auction on Saturday included ticket stubs from the clinching game of each of New York's 27 championship years ($58,000) and a Super Bowl VIII ring from the 1972 Miami Dolphins perfect season ($19,000).

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Abreu Launches MLB-Best 29th Homer in Win

Abreu Launches MLB-Best 29th Homer in Win(Major League BaseballCLEVELAND) -- Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu continues to dazzle. On Saturday, the first baseman launched his 29th home run of the season, the most in the MLB so far this year. "He's good," said White Sox manager Robin Ventur...

Angels Win Seventh Straight, Beat Rangers

Angels Win Seventh Straight, Beat Rangers

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- Mike Trout's 22nd home run of the year proved to be more than enough on Friday as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim beat Texas 3-0. It was the seventh straight win for the Angles (55-37) who have also won eight of their last nine.

Garrett Richards was masterful on the hill, scattering five hits in his seven innings of work for Los Angeles. The righty is now unbeaten in his last eight starts, winning seven in a row, with a 1.27 earned run average. Richards (11-2) has not lost since a May 30 defeat at Oakland.

Trout's homer was the first hit of the night for the Angels as Nick Tepesch had retired the first 10 batters he faced for the Rangers (38-55). Tepesch (3-5) then gave up two more runs in the top of the seventh inning before ultimately being pulled in favor of Neftali Feliz. Texas has lost 12 of its last 13 and currently sits with the worst record in the bigs.

Adrian Beltre did extend his hitting streak to 15 games for Texas but the team was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

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Tanaka Apologies to Fans for Injury

Tanaka Apologies to Fans for Injury

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A day after being diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his pitching arm, Masahiro Tanaka issued an apology to both the New York Yankees and their fans on Friday. Tanaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday before the official determination was made.

"I give everything I have every time I take the ball. With that, I also know that there will always be a risk of injury when playing this game that I love," said Tanaka. "Right now I feel that the most important thing for me is to keep my head up, remain focused on the task at hand and devote all my energy into healing the injury in order to come back strong."

Yankees owner Brian Cashman said the righty could return in as little as six weeks but also acknowledged the possibility of Tommy John surgery. Tanaka saw three separate doctors on Thursday, including head team physician, Dr. Christopher S. Ahmad, and each agreed on a timetable of six weeks.

Tanaka is currently 12-4 on the year with a 2.51 earned run average and was recently voted to the Major League All-Star Game. He now joins a list of ever growing Yankees on the DL, including three other starting pitchers.

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Sale, Rizzo Win MLB Final Vote

Sale, Rizzo Win MLB Final Vote

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- On Thursday, MLB's fan base spoke, electing Chris Sale and Anthony Rizzo as the Final Vote winners for the 2014 All-Star Game.

It is the 13th season in which the social media/Internet voting method has taken place to decide the final member for both the American League and National League teams.

Sale, an ace on the Chicago White Sox staff, received 6.7 million votes to earn his third All-Star spot. The lefty is 8-1 on the year with a 2.08 earned run average and has been the most dominant pitcher on the White Sox staff.

The 8.8 million votes cast for Rizzo gave the Chicago Cubs first baseman his first ever All-Star appearance. Rizzo his currently hitting .277 for the Cubs and is tied for second in the NL with 20 home runs. He joins shortstop Starlin Castro on the NL roster.

Meanwhile, Erik Aybar of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will replace Kansas City's Alex Gordon on the AL squad. Gordon received an injection on Thursday to help combat a sprained right wrist.

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Red Sox Walk-Off for Second Straight Night

Red Sox Walk-Off for Second Straight Night

iStockphoto(BOSTON) -- For the second consecutive night, the Boston Red Sox walked-off against the Chicago White Sox in an afternoon affair at Fenway Park on Thursday.

Mike Carp's pinch-hit single in the bottom of the tenth scored Daniel Nava to give Boston (41-51) the win.

For Carp, it was a grateful return to the lineup after missing more than a month with a broken right foot. After being placed on the disabled list back on June 2, Carp was activated Monday before delivering a game-winner on Thursday.

"Some of the nights, I almost had to turn the TV off in those situations because you can't be there to help," said Carp. "It's tough being on the DL with a boot on my foot."

The Red Sox trailed 1-0 early but scored three runs in the sixth against Jose Quintana to take the lead.

Chicago (44-49) tied things up in the ninth when Koji Uehara gave up a two-run homer to Conor Gillaspie, forcing extra innings. 

Nava led off the bottom of the tenth with a pinch-hit walk before being advanced to second on Mookie Betts' sacrifice bunt. Stephen Drew was intentionally walked to set up the double play, but Carp singled to left field for the winning run.

It is the eighth time this season that Boston has won in walk-off fashion.

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Kershaw’s Scoreless Streak Ends, Dodgers Win

Kershaw’s Scoreless Streak Ends, Dodgers Win

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Clayton Kershaw continued his dominant stretch, picking up yet another victory as he went the full nine innings on Thursday. However, the Dodgers southpaw's scoreless innings streak came to an end when Chase Headley hit a solo home run in the sixth.

The Dodgers (52-42) would win the game over San Diego, 2-1, as Kershaw allowed just three hits while striking out 11 batters. The hurler was again in complete control, keeping the Padres (40-52) off the board through the first five innings. Kershaw then got the first two outs of the sixth before Headley's solo shot tied the game at 1-1. That snapped a streak of 41.2 scoreless innings for Kershaw, fifth longest in the modern era.

"It was over the fence, so it was a mistake -- and it tied the game," Kershaw said. "When it's a game like that, one mistake can kill you. Fortunately for me, that one mistake didn't."

Los Angeles would get the lead back in the home half of the inning on Adrian Gonzalez' sacrifice fly. That helped Kershaw (11-2) win his eighth consecutive start. In each of those starts, the lefty struck out at least seven batters, making him the third pitcher in 100 years to accomplish that feat.

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MLB All-Star Teams Announced

MLB All-Star Teams Announced

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) -- The 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star teams were announced on Sunday night. Toronto's Jose Bautista was the leading vote-getter among all players, garnering 5.6 million fan votes.

Joining Bautista in the starting lineup for the American League are Miguel Cabrera (Detroit), Robinson Cano (Seattle), Josh Donaldson (Oakland), Derek Jeter (New York), Nelson Cruz (Baltimore), Adam Jones (Baltimore), Mike Trout (Baltimore)  and Matt Wieters (Baltimore). Boston's John Farrell will be the manager after leading the Red Sox to the World Series last year.

Baltimore led the AL with three starters voted into the lineup. Wieters, who is injured and cannot play, was replaced by Kansas City's Salvador Perez. The Athletics boast the best record in the bigs and lead every team with six total selections. Other notables on the AL squad include pitchers Yu Darvish (Texas) and Masahiro Tanaka (New York) along with Yoenis Cespedes (Oakland) and Victor Martinez (Detroit).

The National League will be led by Yadier Molina (St. Louis) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia), each of whom will be making their sixth appearance in the midsummer classic. Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona), Aramis Ramirez (Milwaukee), Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado), Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh), Carlos Gomez (Milwaukee) and Yasiel Puig (Los Angeles) were also voted into the starting lineup.

Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija was voted a member of the NL squad but will not be allowed to pitch after being traded to Oakland. His spot was filled by Atlanta's Julio Teheran. The Dodgers Clayton Kershaw and St. Louis' Adam Wainwright headline the pitching staff for manager Mike Matheny.

The MLB All-Star Game will take place at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn. on Tues., July 15.

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Cruz Leads Orioles in DH Split with Boston

Cruz Leads Orioles in DH Split with Boston

Jim Rogash/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- After Jonathan Herrera's walk-off, pinch-hit single gave the Boston Red Sox a 3-2 win in Game One of a doubleheader, Nelson Cruz went 5-for-5 to lead Baltimore to a 7-4 win in the nightcap on Saturday. Cruz finished the second game mere inches from the cycle, being tagged out trying to stretch a double into a triple.

The Red Sox (39-48) took the first game on the strength of Jon Lester's impressive pitching. The southpaw tossed eight innings, giving up two unearned runs, while striking out seven in a no-decision. He was matched by Miguel Gonzalez, who struck out six in eight innings. Johnny Gomes beat out an infield single to lead off the ninth. He was sacrificed to second by David Ross before scoring on Herrera's broken bat looper to right.

In the nightcap, the Orioles (47-40) jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to Nick Hundley's fourth inning homer. Boston tied things up on Stephen Drew's second homer of the day before adding two more in the home half. Baltimore would then score five unanswered runs en route to a split. Cruz homered in the fifth after doubling and lacing a single in his previous two at-bats. His infield single in the sixth chased Red Sox starter John Lackey. Cruz's fifth hit of the night came in the eighth with a double to left-center but he was thrown out trying to leg it into a triple.

"I had to try and see what happened," Cruz said, smiling. "I don't remember the last time I hit a triple."

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Kershaw’s Scoreless Streak up to 36 innings

Kershaw’s Scoreless Streak up to 36 innings

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images(DENVER, Colo.) -- Clayton Kershaw continued his torrid performance on the mound by throwing eight shutout innings on Friday night in Colorado. The southpaw has now extended his career-high scoreless innings streak to 36 in a row.

"You don't ever want to give up a run," Kershaw casually said. "I guess that's the goal."

The Dodger ace gave up just two hits in a 9-0 rout of the Rockies. He was supplied with more than enough offense as Los Angeles score three runs in the first inning. Yasiel Puig opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the first. 

Kershaw last allowed in the third inning at Arizona on June 13. The Major League record, 59 consecutive scoreless inning,  is held by former Dodger Orel Hershiser. Of the 36 scoreless innings tossed by Kershaw, he has thrown 17 of those frames against the Rockies. 

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Cubs Send Samardzija at Oakland

Cubs Send Samardzija at Oakland

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Chicago Cubs continued to revamp their farm system while the Oakland Athletics may have cemented their spot as a World Series favorite. On Friday night, the Cubs dealt starting pitchers Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija to Oakland for a trio of prospects and a player to be named later.

Samardzija is 2-7 on the year with a 2.83 earned run average. Hammel, who pitched the Cubs to a win on Friday night, has a 2.98 ERA and a 7-5 overall record. The 29-year-old Samardzija still has one year of arbitration to go before being eligible to become a free agent. Hammel's contract expires at the end of this season. 

To complete the deal, the Athletics (53-33) gave up three of their top prospects along with a future consideration. Addison Russell, the 2012 first-round pick by Oakland, is ranked as the third best prospect in all of minor league baseball by Keith Law. Billy McKinney is hitting .241 on the year with 10 homers and 33 RBI while pitcher Dan Straily were also part of the trade.

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Tanaka Picks Up 12th Win for Yankees

Tanaka Picks Up 12th Win for Yankees

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images (MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.) -- Carlos Beltran hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the fifth, helping Masahiro Tanaka win his Major League best 12th game of the season. The homer also allowed the Yankees to snap a season-long five-game losing streak.

New York (42-42) trailed 2-0 after four innings before the Beltran blast. Zelous Wheeler followed with a solo shot to make it a 4-2 lead over Minnesota. That allowed Tanaka (12-3) more than enough help to get the victory. The rookie right hander finished the game going seven innings allowing four runs on nine hits while striking out three.

Former Yankee Phil Hughes (8-5) took the loss by allowing all seven runs on eight hits in six and one-third innings. The Twins (38-46) were able to get within a run on a Kendrys Morales ground out in the sixth but could not push the tying run across. 

Tanaka set a New York rookie record for wins prior to the All-Star break. David Robertson picked up his 19th save of the season by striking out the side in the ninth.

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