Time: 01:10 P.M. EST Venue: Turner Field
While the pitching staff played a key role in starting an impressive surge, the San Francisco Giants' offense has picked up recently. They could put it all together when Jeff Samardzija chases his fourth straight victory and tries to lead the visiting Giants to their 16th win in 18 games Monday against the MLB-worst Atlanta Braves. San Francisco starters posted a 1.53 ERA to make up for a lineup that averaged just 3.4 runs over the first 15 games during this stretch. That changed in the last two games at Coors Field as the Giants totaled 18 runs and 33 hits to take two of three in the series. Denard Span, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Gregor Blanco each had three hits in a season high-tying 17-hit attack in Sunday's 8-3 victory. Posey went 5 for 9 with two home runs, a double and six RBIs in the last two games, while Pence was 5 for 10 with three doubles and three RBIs and Blanco has gone 10 for 21 with three RBIs in his last five. San Francisco (32-20) hopes to continue its high-scoring ways with Samardzija (7-2, 2.54 ERA) on the hill. The right-hander has a chance to match Sunday's winner Johnny Cueto for the team lead in victories. The team's loaded rotation also includes left-handed ace Madison Bumgarner, who has a 6-2 record to go along with a 2.12 ERA." To come here every day and watch each guy pitch has been great," Samardzija told MLB's official website. "To see the success that especially Johnny and Bum have had fuels you to go out and do your part." Samardzija also looks to win four consecutive starts for the first time in his career after he surrendered one run and struck out seven over 6 2/3 innings in Tuesday's 8-2 home win over San Diego. He's been particularly stellar in May, going 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA in five starts. The 31-year-old has gone 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA in four career starts against the Braves (14-35), though he hasn't faced them since 2014. Gordon Beckham is 3 for 10 with a home run off him, but Freddie Freeman has gone 0 for 9 with four strikeouts in this matchup. Atlanta has averaged 3.1 runs and hit .233 while dropping 21 of 25 at Turner Field. The Braves, off to their worst record through 49 games since the 1911 Boston team, only had three hits in Sunday's 7-3 loss to Miami. They'll hope to do better for Mike Foltynewicz (1-2, 3.95) in the opener of this four-game series. He's shown some promise by limiting opponents to two runs or less in three of his last four starts. Foltynewicz overcame four walks Wednesday when he allowed one run and struck out seven over 5 2/3 innings in a 3-2 loss to Milwaukee. After giving up two runs over 6 2/3 innings in a 4-2 loss at San Francisco on May 29, 2015, he surrendered six runs and nine hits - including four homers - over six innings in a 9-8 home win in August. Brandon Crawford should be happy to see him after hitting a pair of home runs in that contest, while Posey and Brandon Belt also went deep. The Giants have won five of the last six meetings at Turner Field.
Time: 01:10 P.M. EST Venue: Citi Field
Jose Quintana has lost his last three starts, yet his ERA remains in the top 10 in all of baseball. Matt Harvey has lost his last three starts and seen his ERA balloon to an embarrassing level. The Chicago White Sox's impressive No. 2 and the New York Mets' former No. 1 square off Monday with Chicago looking to end a crippling six-game losing streak. After Sunday's 5-4 loss in Kansas City, the White Sox (27-24) have been swept in consecutive series and their once formidable pitching staff is failing them. They've posted a 6.10 ERA and given up at least five runs in five of the six on the skid with the bullpen at 7.79. Ace Chris Sale isn't yet concerned after watching the bullpen blow another lead Sunday." We're too good of a team,'' Sale said. ''I can't tell you enough that this is nothing but a speed bump. ... This was as bad of a series as you could possibly have, and there's still no doubt in our minds that we're going to push through this and figure it out and find a way to get back and win some ballgames.'' Onto Quintana (5-4, 2.22 ERA), whose personal losing streak has come with a 4.19 ERA. The left-hander gave up three runs and five hits with eight strikeouts in Wednesday's 4-3 home loss to Cleveland. He was given one run of support for a third straight start, which is the same formula that turned him into an under .500 pitcher over the previous two seasons despite a 3.34 ERA. Quintana has never faced the Mets, but Yoenis Cespedes is 9 for 15 with four home runs, a triple and two doubles against him. Asdrubal Cabrera is 2 for 19. Harvey (3-7, 6.08) hasn't made it through six innings on his skid. The right-hander has a 10.80 ERA in his last three outings after giving up five runs and eight hits ??? three home runs ??? in Tuesday's 7-4 loss in Washington. The club has apparently been able to find something that's off mechanically as he works deeper into games, though they weren't specific when addressing it after working with manager Terry Collins, pitching coach Dan Warthen and a few players on Friday." The second time through the order, we're seeing things he's doing that are keeping him from having the ability to make the pitches he needs to make," Collins said. "We're seeing a velocity drop, and there is a reason for that. We're seeing a lack of a feel for his breaking ball." His one start against the White Sox had no such issues as Harvey gave up a hit and struck out 12 in a shutout on May 7, 2013. He was perfect until an infield single in the seventh inning. Longtime NL East foe Jimmy Rollins is 5 for 19 with two home runs and two doubles off Harvey. New York (28-21) will be happy to face anyone other than Clayton Kershaw after Sunday's 4-2 loss in which they managed five hits. Over a 2-3 span, the Mets are batting .172.
Time: 01:35 P.M. EST Venue: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
The Baltimore Orioles were happy to complete a losing road trip with a series victory as they head home for a major challenge. They'll start a four-game series Monday against the Boston Red Sox in a matchup of the AL East's top two teams. Baltimore (28-20) went all the way across the country and back in a 4-5 trip that included stops in Anaheim, Houston and Cleveland. The Orioles won 6-4 over the Indians on Sunday to enter with some momentum. They'll need it because Boston (30-20) holds a one-game lead in the division and features AL batting leader Xander Bogaerts, who is at .351 with a .398 mark in a 22-game hitting streak that is the second longest in the majors this year to the 29-game one by teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. that was snapped last week." It's no treat playing Boston but it's good going home," manager Buck Showalter said. "We've had some people being in some real unfriendly environments and it'll be a quick turnaround with another day game tomorrow." The Orioles will get a break if David Ortiz sits out a second straight game. The slugger was scratched from Sunday's 5-3, 11-inning victory at Toronto with a sore left foot after he was hit there by a pitch the day before." I had him in the lineup originally but then, when he tried to run, it was not feeling good," manager John Farrell said. "Didn't want to push it. We're hopeful he'll be back in the lineup tomorrow." The Red Sox got an RBI double in the 11th inning from Dustin Pedroia to avoid a three-game sweep. The Blue Jays took the first two games of the series by scoring in their final at-bats." On the heels of two really tough days up here I thought we battled back, took the lead, gave it up and kept coming," Farrell said. "I couldn't be more proud with the energy and effort." Pedroia is 10 for 24 with five doubles in his last six games, with four RBIs in his last two. He and the Red Sox will see Tyler Wilson (2-3, 3.80 ERA) for the second time after the Orioles starter worked three scoreless innings of relief against them in a 4-2 loss at Boston on April 13. Baltimore took two of three in that series - the first between these clubs. Wilson is 2-3 with a 4.41 ERA in six starts, yielding four runs in six innings of Wednesday's 4-3 loss to Houston. He also had two errors. The Red Sox will start knuckleballer Steven Wright (4-4, 2.52) after he gave up three runs in seven-plus innings of Wednesday's 10-3 rout of Colorado. Wright has a 1.73 ERA on the road. He has allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings of relief in two career appearances versus Baltimore. No Orioles hitter has more than three at-bats against him. Wright's batterymate will once again be Ryan Hanigan, who leads the majors with 13 passed balls. Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo went 6 for 12 with a homer, three doubles and five RBIs over the weekend while Manny Machado was 6 for 13 with three doubles.
Time: 02:10 P.M. EST Venue: Miller Park
As the calendar approaches June, Carlos Martinez likely can't wait to turn the page on May. The St. Louis Cardinals pitcher hopes to end a rough month on a positive note in Monday's opener of a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. Martinez (4-5, 4.25 ERA) seemed on the verge of taking a major step forward after posting a 1.93 ERA in winning each of his four April starts. It's been an entirely different outcome in May, as he's lost five straight outings while producing a 6.84 ERA. The 24-year-old struggled again Wednesday, allowing six runs in five innings of a 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. It's the third consecutive start that Martinez has surrendered at least four runs and fourth straight in which he hasn't lasted beyond five innings. Martinez's inconsistency has mirrored the first two months for St. Louis (26-25), which continues to hover around .500 and lose ground to the NL Central-leading Cubs. The Cardinals appeared to be making headway with consecutive wins in Washington that preceded Sunday's 10-2 loss and resulted in a four-game series split. The Nationals broke open the game with a five-run seventh inning against a bullpen that didn't have key members Seung Hwan Oh and Kevin Siegrist available due to heavy usage over the past week." We can't just keep using the same guys every night. We're going to blow them out," manager Mike Matheny told MLB's official website. A matchup in Milwaukee (23-27) could bode well for Martinez, as he dominated in two starts at Miller Park last season and owns a 1.75 ERA there. He limited the Brewers to a run over eight innings last September and struck out eight over seven in a 3-0 win on April 24, 2015. The Brewers also may not have their best hitter available with Ryan Braun having missed two straight games with a stiff neck. Milwaukee has been getting production from other spots during a stretch in which it's won five of six. Jonathan Lucroy went 6 for 11 with two homers and nine RBIs in this weekend's series with Cincinnati, Aaron Hill is 8 for 13 with two homers over his last four games and Jonathan Villar is 9 for 19 with seven runs scored over the past five. Villar went 2 for 2 and scored three times in Sunday's 5-4 win over the Reds, raising his average to .373 since May 9.'' That's the kind of guy you want in the leadoff spot," said Lucroy, who had three RBIs in all three games. "He's got speed, he's hitting for average, he's walking and he's making good decisions. It's nice to get up there and have a guy on base every time you get up to hit.'' Junior Guerra (3-0, 3.30) has also provided an unexpected lift, with the Brewers having won all of the 31-year-old rookie's five starts since he joined the rotation May 3. He's yielded three runs and recorded 21 strikeouts in 18 innings over his last three. Guerra followed an 11-strikeout effort to defeat the Cubs on May 19 by tossing five scoreless innings in Wednesday's 3-2, 13-inning win at Atlanta. St. Louis took two of three at home from the Brewers from April 11-14 and have won 11 of 15 in the series. The Cardinals are 9-2 in their last 11 visits to Miller Park.
Time: 04:05 P.M. EST Venue: Oakland Coliseum
The AL's lowest-scoring team finally woke up over the weekend and next draws a matchup against the team with the league's next highest ERA to its own. The last-place Minnesota Twins hope to keep improving their own dismal numbers when they visit the Oakland Athletics on Monday seeking their longest winning streak of the season. Minnesota (15-34) has won four straight for the second time, capping the run with a weekend sweep at Seattle. The Twins seek their first five-game run since winning six in a row from Aug. 20-26, and they can do so by snapping a two-game skid against the Athletics (22-29). They averaged only 3.56 runs through their first 45 games but have totaled 25 and batted .288 during the win streak. Of their 40 hits, 11 are home runs, and they belted three in a game three times - a number they reached only twice previously. Miguel Sano has been the biggest contributor, homering in each game on the streak to raise his team-leading total to 11. Joe Mauer has gone deep three times, Eduardo Nunez hit two and Brian Dozier and Robbie Grossman one each. The Twins' lineup will try to keep raising its AL-low 3.77 scoring average against Oakland, which just took the final two games of a three-game set versus Detroit. The Athletics' ERA of 4.76 is the league's second worst, ahead of only Minnesota's 4.98. Oakland received a scare in Sunday's 4-2 win when starter Rich Hill left in the seventh inning with what was termed a slight groin strain. Manager Bob Melvin said Hill didn't want to leave the game, so he made the decision to replace him out of caution.'' He was still pitching effectively,'' Melvin said. ''I didn't want to take a chance it would get worse.'' The A's will send the struggling Kendall Graveman to the mound for this series opener. Graveman (1-6, 5.36 ERA) hasn't won since April 20, losing five straight starts before allowing two runs and seven hits over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision at Seattle on Tuesday. The right-hander has struggled to a 6.57 ERA in May, surrendering 36 hits in 24 2/3 innings while walking 12 and striking out 17. Minnesota's Ervin Santana (1-3, 4.17) also took a big step backward in his latest outing, Tuesday's 7-4 loss to Kansas City. The 12-year-veteran was tagged for season highs of six runs and nine hits over 3 2/3 innings, as his ERA jumped more than a run from 3.13." My command was not good," Santana told MLB's official website. "Everything was up in the zone." The right-hander may have a prime opportunity to get back on track against a team he has dominated. Santana is 15-6 with a 2.07 ERA in 27 career starts versus Oakland. His 15 wins are his most against any opponent, while his ERA is lower than any team he has faced more than four times. Santana's 1.93 ERA at Oakland Coliseum is lower than any venue he has pitched in more than twice. Oakland's Billy Butler bats just .235 in the matchup, but five of his eight hits are home runs.
Time: 04:10 P.M. EST Venue: Safeco Field
It hasn't been an enjoyable holiday weekend for the Seattle Mariners, and if it ends on a similar note, they're going to be looking at their longest losing streak since the first eight games of the season. Home struggles are complicating their otherwise promising year in the AL West, which they'll try to begin correcting Monday in the first of four games against the San Diego Padres. The Mariners (28-21) suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Minnesota Twins and haven't gone beyond that since dropping five straight from April 8-12. That also came entirely at home, and Seattle has fallen to 10-14 at Safeco Field. Sunday's 5-4 loss came with a two-run ninth-inning rally falling just short. Franklin Gutierrez and Robinson Cano at least stayed hot. Gutierrez's two-run homer got Seattle within a run in the ninth and was his third in six games while going 8 for 20. Cano hit his third home run in five games and is 8 for 21 with five extra-base hits in that time." I'm just trying to be ready for the first pitch," Cano told MLB's official website. "I don't want to be taking a strike and then have to swing at whatever they throw. I'm just trying to take advantage of anything over the plate." It hasn't taken much to beat the Padres (20-31) since the middle of the month. They fell 6-3 in Arizona on Sunday and are 3-10 with 3.5 runs per game and a .206 team average dating to May 15. The current eight-game road trip is off to a 1-5 start after dropping two of three in Arizona and being swept in San Francisco. They'll have to turn it around against Nathan Karns, whose first season in Seattle has been mostly strong since he lost his debut. Karns (4-1, 3.53 ERA) is 4-0 with a 3.13 ERA in eight starts since, though he's been limited to five innings in each of his last two. The right-hander gave up three runs and five hits in Tuesday's 6-5 home win over Oakland but settled for a no-decision. Alexei Ramirez is 1 for 8 against him, but Melvin Upton Jr. (1 for 2) and Adam Rosales (1 for 3) have both homered off Karns. He's up against Andrew Cashner, whose return from the disabled list was adequate but shorter than he'd probably like due to control issues. Cashner (2-4, 4.87), who missed time with a strained right hamstring, pitched for the first time since May 8 in Tuesday's 8-2 loss in San Francisco. The right-hander gave up three runs and four hits with four walks in six innings. He's walking 3.98 batters per nine innings and hasn't gone beyond six innings so far this year." He battled well," Padres manager Andy Green said. "I think his ball-strike ratio probably wasn't what it normally is for him. He typically commands the zone very well. I chalk that up to first time back on the mound in competition in 15 days. I thought he battled well, got off the mound well, fielded bunts well." Cashner is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts and a relief appearance against the Mariners. Seattle took three of four in last season's matchup of home-and-home two-game series while holding the Padres off the board in the last two for a scoreless innings streak of 19.
Time: 05:05 P.M. EST Venue: Wrigley Field
Once again, there seems to be no slowing down the Chicago Cubs. The same can be said about their catalyst, Ben Zobrist. Zobrist's batting average continues to climb just like Chicago's record, and the 11-year veteran looks to extend his 15-game hitting streak and the Cubs' five-game run when they open a four-game series against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night. Chicago (34-14) regrouped from a 4-8 stretch with five consecutive victories, capped by a weekend sweep of Philadelphia to open a 10-game homestand. The Cubs became baseball's first team to improve to 20 games over .500.'' Now the next goal is 25,'' manager Joe Maddon said. That seems like a cinch with the Cubs hitting again. They have recorded double-digit hits in four of their last five games while averaging 7.6 runs. Zobrist was in the middle of it, extending his hitting streak to 15 games with a three-run home run in Sunday's 7-2 win. He's reached base safely in his last 34 starts and collected 40 hits in May - more than in any month of his career. Zobrist became the first Cubs player with 40 May hits since Alfonso Soriano in 2008. He is batting .463 over his last 22 games, and his overall .351 average sits behind only Washington's Daniel Murphy (.387) in the NL.'' I'm trying to figure out myself if I can keep this up, to be honest,'' Zobrist said. ''I don't think I've ever had a month where I've hit this well.'' Chicago has scored just eight runs in its last six games against the Dodgers (27-24), who took four of the last five in 2015. Monday starter Jason Hammel went 0-1 despite a 2.13 ERA in two starts last season against Los Angeles. Hammel (6-1, 2.17 ERA) has a 5.00 ERA in 12 career starts against the Dodgers. Chase Utley (5 for 9 with a home run) and Howie Kendrick (7 for 16 with two doubles) have seen him well. Hammel, though, is off to the best start of his 11-year career. Though he admittedly struggled with command, the right-hander tossed a season-high 7 1/3 innings in Tuesday's 12-3 win over St. Louis and held the Cardinals to a run and four hits. He will face a lineup that has averaged 5.57 runs during a 6-1 stretch. The Dodgers were mostly stifled in Sunday's 4-2 win over the New York Mets, but Adrian Gonzalez won it with a two-run single in the ninth inning. Clayton Kershaw struck out 10 in 7 2/3 innings, meaning he won't face the Cubs.'' Bummer, man,'' Maddon said, smiling. Instead, it will be Alex Wood (1-3, 4.03) for the opener. The left-hander had his start pushed back three days because of irritation in his left triceps from hitting, though it didn't keep him from striking out a career-high 13 in his last start. Wood gave up two runs and four hits over six-plus innings in a 3-2 loss at San Diego on May 21. He has a 1.96 ERA and 27 strikeouts in his last three starts, though he is still seeking his first win since April 13." It's the consistency of all my pitches, to get ahead and throw all three when and where I want them," Wood told MLB's official website. "When I can do that, it turns into punchouts and more importantly keeps guys off the bases." Wood has a 4.76 ERA in his two career starts against the Cubs, but he held them to two runs in six innings of a 2-0 loss on Aug. 30.
Time: 06:10 P.M. EST Venue: Progressive Field
The Cleveland Indians have been nearly unbeatable the last two years with Josh Tomlin on the mound. They have won 16 of the last 17 starts by Tomlin, who looks to improve to 8-0 on Monday night in the opener of a three-game set against the visiting Texas Rangers. Cleveland (26-22) is 16-2 in starts by Tomlin since he returned last year after right shoulder surgery, with victories in all eight in 2016. He cruised through eight innings by allowing two runs in Tuesday's 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox and Chris Sale, who suffered his first loss." I was able to throw strikes and mix it up enough to where they put the ball in play and the guys made the plays," Tomlin said. Tomlin (7-0, 3.35 ERA) has benefited from generous run support with an average of 6.88. The Indians have scored at least five runs in all but one of his eight outings. He is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career starts against the Rangers. Adrian Beltre has the most at-bats against Tomlin among Texas hitters, going 3 for 7. One hitter who is hoping to face Tomlin is the Rangers' Ryan Rua - and not because he relishes the matchup. The outfielder grew up in the Cleveland area as an Indians fan and said that the only game he played at Progressive Field came in high school." It is a big deal," Rua told the Rangers' official website. "Growing up 20-25 minutes outside the city, I'm sure I'll have a lot of family and friends there." Another Ohio native will be on the mound for Texas in Derek Holland (3-4, 5.21), who is 2-0 with a 1.16 ERA in three starts at Cleveland with the Rangers winning all of them. The Indians have some hitters who have enjoyed success versus Holland. Carlos Santana is 7 for 18 in this matchup, Jason Kipnis is 5 for 15 and Mike Napoli 4 for 12. Holland has one of baseball's worst road ERAs at 6.41. The left-hander yielded two runs in 6 2/3 innings of Monday's 2-0 home loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Texas (29-21) has won seven of nine after seeing Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland homer in Sunday's 6-2 victory over Pittsburgh. Fielder ended a career-long homer drought at 34 games with his third of the season. Moreland went deep again after he stopped a 1-for-27 skid with a home run Saturday." They know that the stroke is still there, they know that the power is there," manager Jeff Banister said. "I believe in the impact that they have on our lineup, and our players in that clubhouse believe in the impact in those players and what they're going to be able to do for us this year." Beltre homered twice in the weekend series, going 4 for 10. Napoli will face the Rangers for the first time since playing 35 games for them last year after coming over from Boston on Aug. 7. These teams split six meetings in 2015.
Time: 07:05 P.M. EST Venue: Citizens Bank Park
Mother Nature may be the only one capable of preventing Bryce Harper from producing more fireworks in Philadelphia on Memorial Day. Harper looks to extend a six-game home run streak at Citizens Bank Park when the Washington Nationals open a three-city trip Monday night, though the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Bonnie could put those plans on hold. A forecast of steady rain threatens the opener of this three-game series, though the Phillies may not mind a day off to recover from losing five of six on a rough week-long trek. The offense continued its season-long struggles in the second leg, managing five runs in dropping all three games to the Chicago Cubs over the weekend. After being held to five hits by Kyle Hendricks in Saturday's 4-1 defeat, Philadelphia (26-24) mustered six in Sunday's 7-2 loss to fall to 2-7 over its last nine.'' The Cubs have a very good team, probably the best team in baseball right now and they beat us fair and square,'' manager Pete Mackanin said. "We didn't string any hits together.'' The slump could continue if Tanner Roark (3-4, 2.71 ERA) duplicates his performance against the Phillies on April 28, when the right-hander yielded two hits over seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 Philadelphia win at Nationals Park. He's been sharp in his past two starts as well, limiting Miami to a run over 6 2/3 innings in a victory May 20 and allowing one earned run through seven of Wednesday's 2-0 loss to the Mets. Roark hasn't fared as well at Citizens Bank Park, where he's 1-4 with an 8.27 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance. He surrendered career highs of eight runs and 12 hits in 3 1/3 innings in an 8-5 loss there on June 28. Harper has had no problems hitting in Philadelphia. The reigning NL MVP owns a .325 average and 11 homers in 31 games at Citizens Bank Park and is 14 for 24 with seven homers and 13 RBIs over his past six visits. He went 7 for 11 with six RBIs while homering in each game as the Nationals took two of three in Philadelphia from April 15-17. After scoring eight runs in losing three of four, Washington (30-21) experienced an offensive breakout in Sunday's 10-2 win over St. Louis. Wilson Ramos went 3 for 3 with a homer and four RBIs and Jayson Werth had a pinch-hit grand slam to help Stephen Strasburg move to 9-0 and win his 12th straight decision since September. Anthony Rendon added a solo homer and finished 2 for 4 to increase his average to .381 since May 10." It was good to get (production) from all the guys," manager Dusty Baker said. "We played a good game." Harper is 3 for 6 with five walks against Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.97), who aims for a fourth consecutive quality start. After allowing two earned runs over 13 innings in home wins over Cincinnati and Miami, the former AL Rookie of the Year permitted three while fanning seven over seven in Tuesday's 3-1 loss in Detroit. Hellickson was reached for five earned runs in a season-low three innings in a 9-1 home loss to Washington on April 15, but allowed two hits and struck out eight over seven in a 3-0 win at Nationals Park on April 27, part of a three-game Phillies' sweep. Tommy Joseph homered for Philadelphia on Sunday and is hitting .310 with three homers over his last nine games. The rookie has taken over at first base for the slumping Ryan Howard, who's 6 for 66 since April 30.
Time: 07:07 P.M. EST Venue: Rogers Centre
The New York Yankees made the most of limited opportunities in their last game, and they may not have many in their next. Coming off their first victory in over a century in which they were held to one hit, the Yankees now face one of the AL's stingiest pitchers in Monday night's opener of a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees managed only one baserunner off Tampa Bay's Jake Odorizzi before Brett Gardner walked with one out in the seventh inning. Starlin Castro followed with a home run to spoil the no-hit bid and lift New York to a 2-1 victory for its eighth win in 11 games. New York's lone other win with a single hit occurred in a six-inning game against Cleveland on July 10, 1914.'' We really weren't doing much,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''We get a huge hit from Starlin.'' The Yankees (24-25) recorded just four hits in a 4-1 win over the Rays on Friday, scoring three runs on homers from Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran. They're batting .170 but have homered eight times over their last six. New York homered twice off Marco Estrada (2-2, 2.76 ERA) in Wednesday's home matchup with Toronto, but registered just two other hits during the right-hander's seven innings in the Blue Jays' 8-4 victory. Estrada hasn't permitted more than five hits while working at least six innings in each of his last six starts, and his .184 batting average against is the lowest among AL hurlers. He hadn't won since April 13, however, receiving 10 runs of support over a seven-start drought. The 32-year-old is 2-2 with a 3.79 ERA in six starts against New York since the start of last season, though he's 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in three at Rogers Centre. Estrada faces a Yankee lineup that's hoping to have both Beltran and Mark Teixeira back in it. Teixeira hasn't started the last five games due to recurring neck soreness, though he entered Sunday's contest as a defensive replacement after Dustin Ackley exited with a shoulder injury that's likely to send him to the disabled list. Beltran, batting .333 with four homers and 12 RBIs over his last nine, was held out of Sunday's game with a sore back. Toronto (26-26) won the final two of last week's three-game set at Yankee Stadium, the beginning of a season-high four-game streak that ended with Sunday's 5-3, 11-inning loss to Boston. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion each homered but the Blue Jays finished 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position." I don't think anybody in here is discouraged," said R. A. Dickey, who didn't allow a hit through five innings but gave up three runs in the sixth. "We had a chance at another great win, just couldn't push one across when we had to." Bautista is batting .308 with four homers and nine RBIs over a nine-game hitting streak since being inserted into the leadoff spot May 19. Toronto amassed 28 runs during the winning streak and reached Ivan Nova (3-2, 3.65) for four in 6 2/3 innings in Wednesday's victory. The right-hander had yielded three over 16 1/3 innings in his first three starts since returning to the rotation and entered off consecutive wins over the White Sox and Oakland. The Blue Jays have posed problems for Nova of late, as he's 1-4 with a 7.24 ERA in six appearances against them since the start of last season. Toronto took two of three from New York at home from April 12-14 and has won 10 of the last 14 meetings.
Time: 07:10 P.M. EST Venue: Marlins Park
Aside from one subpar outing, Jeff Locke has put together a stretch manager Clint Hurdle feels might be his best since joining Pittsburgh. The left-hander might not have to deal with Giancarlo Stanton on Monday night, but he'll try to contain hot-hitting Marcell Ozuna as the Pirates open a four-game road series against the Miami Marlins. While he allowed six runs over 5 1/3 innings in an 8-2 road loss to the Chicago Cubs on May 14, Locke (3-3, 5.08 ERA) has gone 3-0 with a 3.34 ERA in his other six starts during this solid stretch. Now the 30-year-old will try to win three consecutive starts for the first time in his six-year career with Pittsburgh (28-21) after giving up four runs over 6 1/3 innings in Wednesday's 5-4 victory over Arizona." Maybe I'm preparing myself a little bit better for these starts than I have in the past," he told MLB's official website. "I'm making sure I do my homework before the outing, three or four days before the start, and then you know what you want to do against these guys." Given his success in this series, Locke might be able to help the Pirates avoid their first three-game losing streak since dropping four straight from May 1-4. He's 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA in his four starts versus Miami - all Pittsburgh wins - since the start of 2014. Stanton has gone 7 for 14 with two home runs lifetime when facing Locke, but he's missed the past five games due to soreness in his side. The star slugger took batting practice before Sunday's 7-3 win at Atlanta and is expected to return at some point during this series. Chris Johnson is 7 for 15 with two homers and Ozuna has gone 4 for 11 in the matchup. Ozuna went 2 for 4 with his 10th long ball Sunday, leaving him with a .488 average over an 11-game hitting streak. The center fielder also has reached safely in 36 straight games. Derek Dietrich went 3 for 3 with a home run, double and four RBIs for Miami (26-24), which seeks its second back-to-back wins since May 16. He's gone 12 for 23 over a six-game hitting streak, but won't play in this one after getting hit on the head by a foul ball in his own dugout.'' Hopefully it's just a headache," pitcher Tom Koehler said. Justin Nicolino (2-2, 4.37) hopes to build on Wednesday's effort in which he snapped a two-game losing streak. He allowed three runs and struck out a season-high six over 5 2/3 innings in a 4-3 win at Tampa Bay. In his only start versus Pittsburgh, the left-hander gave up two runs despite walking four over six innings in a 2-1 loss Aug. 27. Andrew McCutchen singled and walked twice when facing him in that contest. Since averaging 8 runs over a five-game winning streak, the Pirates have totaled four in consecutive losses. Starling Marte and Francisco Cervelli had four of the team's eight hits in Sunday's 6-2 loss at Texas. McCutchen has hit .426 over his last 19 games against the Marlins, while Gregory Polanco is batting .419 with 10 RBIs in his 11 meetings. Pittsburgh has outscored Miami 44-20 while winning eight of the last nine matchups and has won the season series the last four years.
Time: 08:00 P.M. EST Venue: Consol Energy Center
PITTSBURGH (AP) It wasn't supposed to take the San Jose Sharks this long to reach their first Stanley Cup Final. It wasn't supposed to take this long for Sidney Crosby to guide the Pittsburgh Penguins back to a destination many figured they'd become a fixture at after winning it all in 2009. Not that either side is complaining. Certainly not the Sharks, whose nearly quarter-century wait to play on the NHL's biggest stage will finally end Monday night when the puck drops for Game 1. Certainly not Crosby, who raised the Cup after beating Detroit seven years ago but has spent a significant portion of the interim dealing with concussions that threatened to derail his career and fending off criticism as the thoughtful captain of a team whose explosiveness during the regular season too often failed to translate into regular mid-June parade through the heart of the city. Maybe the Penguins should have returned to the Cup Final before now. The fact they didn't makes the bumpy path the franchise and its superstar captain took to get here seem worth it." I think I appreciated it prior to going through some of those things," Crosby said. "I think now having gone through those things I definitely appreciate it more. I think I realize how tough it is to get to this point." It's a sentiment not lost on the Sharks, who became one of the NHL's most consistent winners shortly after coming into the league in 1991. Yet spring after spring, optimism would morph into disappointment. The nadir came in 2014, when a 3-0 lead over Los Angeles in the first round somehow turned into a 4-3 loss. The collapse sent the Sharks into a spiral that took a full year to recover from, one that in some ways sowed the seeds for a breakthrough more than two decades in the making. General manager Doug Wilson tweaked the roster around fixtures Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, who remained hopeful San Jose's window for success hadn't shut completely even as the postseason meltdowns piled up." I always believed that next year was going to be the year, I really did," Thornton said. "I always thought we were a couple pieces away. Even last year not making the playoffs, I honestly thought we were a couple pieces away, and here we are." The Penguins, like the Sharks, are a study in near instant alchemy. General manager Jim Rutherford rebuilt the team on the fly after taking over in June, 2014 and with the team sleepwalking last December, fired respected-but-hardly-charismatic Mike Johnston and replaced him with the decidedly harder-edged Mike Sullivan. The results were nearly instantaneous. Freed to play to its strengths instead of guarding against its weaknesses, Pittsburgh rocketed through the second half of the season and showed the resilience it has sometimes lacked during Crosby's tenure by rallying from a 3-2 deficit against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals, dominating Games 6 and 7 to finally earn a shot at bookending the Cup that was supposed to give birth to a dynasty but instead led to years of frustration. True catharsis for one side is four wins away. Some things to look for over the next two weeks of what promises to be an entertaining final. FRESH FACES: When the season began, Matt Murray was in the minor leagues. Now the 22-year-old who was supposed to be Pittsburgh's goalie of the future is now very much the goalie of the present. Pressed into action when veteran Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a concussion on March 31, Murray held onto the job even after Fleury returned by playing with the steady hand of a guy in his 10th postseason, not his first. San Jose counterpart Martin Jones served as Jonathan Quick's backup when the Kings won it all in 2014 and has thrived while playing behind a defense that sometimes doesn't give him much to do. Jones has faced over 30 shots just four times during the playoffs." HBK" IS H-O-T: Pittsburgh's best line during the playoffs isn't the one centered by Crosby or Malkin but Nick Bonino, who has teamed with Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin to produce 17 goals and 28 assists in 18 games. Put together when Malkin missed six weeks with an elbow injury, the trio has given the Penguins the balance they desperately needed after years of being too reliant on their stars for production. POWERFUL SHARKS: San Jose's brilliant run to the Finals has been spearheaded by a power play that is converting on 27 percent (17 of 63) of its chances during the playoffs. The Sharks are 9-2 when they score with the man advantage and just 3-4 when it does not. OLD MEN AND THE C(UP): Both teams have relied heavily on players who began their NHL careers in another millennium. Pittsburgh center Matt Cullen, who turns 40 in November, has four goals during the playoffs. Thornton and Marleau, both 36, were taken with the top two picks in the 1997 draft that was held in Pittsburgh while 37-year-old Dainius Zubrus draws stares from younger teammates when he tells them he used to play against Hall of Famer (and current Penguins owner) Mario Lemieux." When I say 'Twenty years ago I was playing against Lemieux, they say 'I was 2-years-old,'" Zubrus said.
Time: 08:15 P.M. EST Venue: Kauffman Stadium
A weekend of comebacks has the Kansas City Royals back on top of the AL Central. They'll try to make it six straight home wins over the Tampa Bay Rays in Monday night's opener of a three-game series. Fans in Kansas City have seen some amazing moments from their ballclub over the last two-plus years, although the World Series champions may have outdone themselves this weekend. The Royals (27-22) trailed in the seventh inning or later in all three games of a home sweep of the Chicago White Sox. The weekend started Friday when Kansas City scored five runs over the seventh and eighth innings of a 7-5 victory. The next night, the Royals scored seven in the bottom of the ninth for a remarkable 8-7 win. Kansas City then trailed 4-2 going into the eighth inning Sunday before Cheslor Cuthbert drove in the go-ahead run with an infield hit to cap a three-run rally for a 5-4 win. Lorenzo Cain started the rally with a one-out solo homer." It's got to be in the back of their minds: Here they come," manager Ned Yost said. The Royals moved one-half game ahead of Cleveland and one game up on Chicago. Cuthbert went 4 for 11 in the series and Brett Eibner was 5 for 11 in his first big league action. The Royals are short-handed with left fielder Alex Gordon on the disabled list and catcher Salvador Perez expected to be out seven to 10 days with a bruised left thigh after colliding with third baseman Cuthbert on Saturday. They have taken 20 of the last 26 meetings with the Rays, including 12 of the last 13 at home. Tampa Bay (22-26) has lost seven of nine after Sunday's discouraging 2-1 loss to the New York Yankees. Jake Odorizzi took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before issuing a walk in front of Starlin Castro's homer for the Yankees' only hit of the game. Evan Longoria's RBI single in the third inning was all the Rays mustered as they went 0 for 5 in their other at-bats with runners in scoring position." Their guy was good, but we've got to find a way to get some more runs there," manager Kevin Cash said. "We had our opportunities. It just didn't happen." Cash will give Matt Andriese (3-0, 2.63 ERA) his fifth start after the Rays lost his last one Wednesday as he gave up three runs in six innings of a 4-3 home defeat to Miami. Andriese is limiting hitters to a .196 average. The right-hander allowed one run over 7 2/3 innings against Kansas City last year in two appearances, with one start. He'll be backed in the bullpen by Brad Boxberger, who will be activated and available for his season debut after abdominal muscle surgery. The closer was an All-Star last year with 41 saves to rank fourth in the majors." Everything feels 100 percent," Boxberger said. "I feel like I'm where I need (to be) in order to get big league guys out." The Royals will start Ian Kennedy (4-3, 3.38) after he surrendered two runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings Monday before being pulled due to rain in a 10-4 rout at Minnesota. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA in three home starts this season, but 0-4 with a 7.99 ERA in his last five overall against the Rays.
Time: 09:00 P.M. EST Venue: ORACLE Arena
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) After a record 73 wins and a memorable Game 6 comeback on the road, the Golden State Warriors' goal of getting back to the NBA Finals and defending their title comes down to Game 7 at home against the powerful Oklahoma City Thunder. All along, the Warriors have said the numerous team milestones and personal accomplishments they set during this special season won't matter a bit unless they repeat as champions. They need one more victory to become the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 postseason deficit.'' I've learned that our players are tough, they're mentally tough,'' Coach of the Year Steve Kerr said Sunday, when his team took a day off from film and practice. ''I don't know if I really learned that. I already knew that. But they've firmly confirmed that. It's been a great comeback. Now we still have to play. We still have another game.'' Kerr just wanted his Warriors to grab back some momentum from Kevin Durant and the Thunder. Now, they have it, all right, heading into the decisive game of the Western Conference finals Monday night after winning two straight. When his team won Game 5 on Thursday night, MVP Stephen Curry hollered ''We ain't going home!'' - and Golden State wants no part of the Thunder having the last say in the Warriors' summer plans.'' We got a big one last night to stay alive, and now we've got some momentum. But it can work in reverse,'' Kerr said. ''One game changes everything, and we've got to come out and play our game and play well to finish the series out.'' Golden State hardly considers this a gimmee just because the team is playing at deafening Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have lost just three times this season. They have had their problems against Durant, Russell Westbrook and the towering Thunder. Oklahoma City is fueled by trying to reach its first NBA Finals since losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012. James and Cleveland are waiting on Monday's winner.'' It's going to be a hard game. If we thought tonight was hard, Game 7's going to be even tougher,'' Curry said. ''Everybody on both sides of the ball is going to leave it all out on the floor. It's win or go home. So we can't expect just because we're at home that we can just show up and win.'' As has been the case all playoffs with Curry ailing, Golden State got a huge performance from Klay Thompson. He made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points in a 108-101 win at Oklahoma City on Saturday night, and will need an encore Monday.'' Lot of people probably counted us out,'' Thompson said. Kerr said last week that his group might be different than the all the other teams that have tried to come back from 3-1 down: because the Warriors won it all last year. The Thunder certainly would have preferred to close out the series at home over traveling back across the country to the Bay Area for the deciding game. Yet they never expected it to be easy against the 2015 champs.'' This is what you dream about, getting this opportunity. We've got to take advantage of it,'' Durant said Sunday. ''Go up into their building, and it's going to be great atmosphere. ... No matter where you play, you've still got to play. That's how we look at it.'' That's partly because first-year Thunder coach Billy Donovan has talked to his team about the mentality it takes to win in a hostile venue like raucous, sold-out Oracle Arena, and Oklahoma City came in and did it in Game 1.'' We lost Game 6, and it was a tough, hard-fought game,'' Donovan said. ''We're disappointed about not having a different outcome. But we haven't lost the series, and we have an opportunity again. I think just being around these guys, they're a resilient group.'' Curry and the Warriors expect another entertaining, great game. From an ankle injury that sidelined him in the first round against Houston to a sprained right knee and puffy elbow, Curry has dealt with his share of pain this postseason. He has to push that aside for what he hopes is one more game this series and then a second straight trip to the Finals and another championship.'' I actually kind of like it, because you understand the moment of the playoffs and just kind of gets you going,'' he said. ''I'll be ready to go and give it everything I've got for Game 7.'' ---AP Sports Writer Cliff Brunt in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.
Time: 09:05 P.M. EST Venue: Angel Stadium of Anaheim
The last time the Detroit Tigers won a road series against the Los Angeles Angels, Justin Verlander was still two seasons away from winning his AL Cy Young Award. He and his club will try to revert to that form Monday night as the Tigers begin a three-game series at Angel Stadium, though it might be Los Angeles who needs an impressive outing from their starting pitcher after playing 13 innings on Sunday. The Tigers (24-25) are 4-17 in Los Angeles since taking two of three from Aug. 24-26, 2009. That includes a four-game sweep last season and seven in a row with Detroit scoring 1.7 runs per game and batting .183. Verlander (4-4, 4.02 ERA), the 2011 AL Cy Young winner, may struggle to make such numbers hold up, though he has won consecutive starts and is coming off his best of the year. The right-hander gave up three hits with 10 strikeouts in eight scoreless innings of Tuesday's 3-1 home win over Philadelphia. His manager has seen this sort of stuff coming for a few more starts." Pretty much the same as what we've seen the last four starts," manager Brad Ausmus told MLB's official website. "His fastball's really working for him. He's getting swings and misses on it. He's mixing in his other stuff. His slider was really good, a hard slider tonight, borderline cutter at times. But he was outstanding." The same goes for his last outing against the Angels as Verlander carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning before a Chris Iannetta double ended it. But that was in Detroit. In Anaheim, Verlander is 2-3 with a 6.19 ERA in six career starts. Cliff Pennington (0 for 13), Kole Calhoun (0 for 7 with four strikeouts), Mike Trout (1 for 9) and Yunel Escobar (3 for 15) have all struggled against him. The Angels counter with Jhoulys Chacin, who is three starts into his career with Los Angeles and still seeking his first win. Chacin (0-1, 4.67), who came over from Atlanta on May 11, gave up three runs and five hits in six innings of Tuesday's 4-1 loss in Texas for his first decision with his new club. The right-hander, who's spent the overwhelming portion of his career in the NL, has never faced the Tigers but has almost always known how to retire Justin Upton (2 for 20 with 11 strikeouts). The Angels (22-28) are coming off Sunday's 8-6, 13-inning home loss to Houston, in which they leaned on the bullpen for eight innings of work. Johnny Giavotella struck out three times in the final five innings with seven total runners on base, but he's batting .397 in 16 games since entering play on May 13 batting .200." Johnny is one of our guys,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He's going to put the ball in play there (most times). He had three opportunities this afternoon and couldn't put the ball in play. That's not like Johnny.'' The Tigers dropped the last two of a three-game series in Oakland after winning their previous three series. Victor Martinez had three of their five hits and is batting .481 on a seven-game hitting streak.