Here’s a look at some of today’s big sports stories.
Harper leads voting for midsummer classic
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and New York Yankees rookie outfielder Aaron Judge are the top vote-getters in their respective leagues for the upcoming Major League All-Star game in Miami.
Harper led all players with over 4.6 million votes and is joined in the National League starting outfield by Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon and Marcell Ozuna of the Marlins.
The NL starting infield has first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and second baseman Daniel Murphy, both of the Nationals. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado and Reds shortstop Zack Cozart fill out the infield, with Giants catcher Buster Posey behind the plate.
Judge was the AL’s top vote-getter and will be part of a starting outfield that includes Houston’s George Springer and Mike Trout of the Angels. Trout is currently injured and plans to begin a rehab assignment this week.
A pair of Astros are part of the AL’s starting infield after shortstop Carlos Correa and second baseman Jose Altuve were chosen in the balloting, along with Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez and Toronto first baseman Justin Smoak. Kansas City’s Salvador Perez will be the starting catcher for the Junior Circuit, and Tampa Bay’s Corey Dickerson will serve as the designated hitter.
The 12 first-time starters are the most since voting was returned to fans in 1970.
Reliever Wade Davis was the only player chosen from the defending World Series-champion Cubs, and he wasn’t with the team last season. The Cubs had seven All-Stars in 2016.
Astros, Bosox, Indians pad lead
The American League division leaders managed to pull away from the rest of their rivals on Sunday.
Carlos Correa was 4-for-5 with three RBIs as Houston hammered the New York Yankees, 8-1. Marwin Gonzalez and Yuli Gurriel each hit two-run homers for the Astros, who took the rubber match of the three-game series. Houston also received strong performances from its bullpen once Mike Fiers was lifted after four shutout innings.
The Astros won for the 10th time in their last 13 games to surge 14 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Los Angeles Angels.
Luis Severino was tagged for six runs over 5 1/3 innings as the Yankees fell three games behind the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox.
Mookie Betts was the hitting star for the Bosox in a 15-1 dismantling of the Blue Jays in Toronto. Betts homered twice and matched a career-high with eight RBIs as Boston completed a three-game sweep and won for the sixth time in games. He smacked a three-run homer in the fourth inning and a two-run blast in the sixth for his second multihomer game of the season.
Drew Pomeranz worked six innings and is 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA in his last six road starts.
Cleveland roughed up Justin Verlander and took a three-game lead in the AL Central by outscoring Detroit, 11-8. Jose Ramirez homered twice, including a three-run shot in the fourth inning. Lonnie Chisenhall hit a two-run shot off Verlander, who was tagged for seven runs over 3 1/3 innings.
Verlander failed to strike out a batter for the first time in 332 appearances since April 2007.
Kansas City and Minnesota are tied for second in the AL Central following the Royals’ 6-2 win over the Twins. Alcides Escobar had two hits and two RBIs to back Scott Alexander, who picked up his first big league win by working out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. Whit Merrifield went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three stolen bases as the Royals won for the 15th time in 21 games.
Elsewhere in the majors:
The Dodgers lost for just the fourth time in 24 games as Manuel Margot and Jose Pirela drove in two runs apiece to stake the Padres to a 5-0 lead by the fourth inning of a 5-3 victory against Los Angeles. Margot homered in the first and added an RBI double that capped the Padres’ three-run second. Jhoulys Chacin worked five scoreless innings as San Diego cut the Dodgers’ lead in the NL West to 2 ½ games over Arizona.
The Diamondbacks completed a 4-3 win over the Rockies on Ketel Marte’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. The game-winning hit came a half-inning after Charlie Blackmon tied it with an RBI single, the first earned run allowed by Fernando Rodney in 21 games. Chris Owings hit a two-run homer and Brandon Drury had three hits as Arizona dealt Colorado its 10th loss in 11 games.
The Cubs inched a game closer to the NL Central lead as Jake Arrieta pitched one-hit ball over seven innings of a 6-2 victory at Cincinnati. Arrieta allowed no stolen bases after giving up seven in his previous start versus the Nationals. Ian Happ homered twice and had four RBIs to help the Cubs avoid a sweep and move back to .500.
Milwaukee’s lead over the Cubs is down to two games after Marcell Ozuna homered twice and Derek Dietrich added a blast in the Marlins’ 10-3 pounding of the Brewers. Ozuna’s 22nd homer of the season and second of the day came after his bat was thrown out of the game because of too much pine tar. His first round-tripper was a three-run shot that put the Marlins ahead for good.
Bryce Harper homered twice against Carlos Martinez and collected four RBIs as the Nationals beat the Cardinals, 7-2 to avoid a three-game sweep. St. Louis did little against Max Scherzer, who allowed just two hits and struck out 12 over seven shutout innings. Washington ended the Cardinals’ four-game winning streak and kept their 8 1/2-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East.
The Phillies were 7-1 winners over the Mets behind Nick Pivetta, who allowed just one hit over seven innings for his second big league win. Maikel Franco had a two-run double in a four-run second that put the Phils ahead for good. Leadoff man Daniel Nava had three hits and two RBIs as Philadelphia dealt the Mets just their second loss in nine games.
The Giants own a season-high six-game winning streak after rallying in the late innings to beat the Pirates, 5-3. Brandon Belt homered to spark San Francisco’s three-run seventh and slammed a two-run shot in the eighth. Jeff Samardzija won his second straight start, allowing two runs and six hits in six innings.
The Mariners pulled out a 5-3 win over the Angels on Robinson Cano’s three-run homer in the eighth inning. Seattle starter James Paxton retired the first 16 Angels he faced and left the game after yielding just two hits over 6 1/3 innings. Jean Segura had four hits and drove in two runs as the Mariners took two of three at Anaheim.
The Orioles avoided a three-game sweep as Manny Machado belted a three-run homer and Mark Trumbo added a solo shot in a 7-1 whipping of the Rays. Kevin Gausman struck out nine and held Tampa Bay to a pair of hits over seven innings to lower his ERA to 5.61. Rays manager Kevin Cash was in the dugout despite fracturing his left ankle while tripping over a railroad track during a morning run through Baltimore.
Yolmer Sanchez hit a two-out, two-run home run in the eighth to rally the White Sox past the Rangers, 6-5. Melky Cabrera also homered for Chicago, which trailed following Jonathan Lucroy’s two-run single in the fifth. Texas loaded the bases in the ninth before David Robertson struck out Carlos Gomez to end it.
Kurt Suzuki’s second homer of the day was a 12th-inning blast that lifted the Braves past the Athletics, 4-3. Matt Kemp doubled home a tiebreaking run in the 11th, but the A’s extended the game on Bruce Maxwell’s single in the bottom half. Ender Inciarte had three of Atlanta’s nine hits, including an RBI double.
RHP Grilli traded from Toronto to Texas