Sports: LEADING OFF: J-Rod hurt, Judge rules, Mets rolling

Judge, Yanks on top as baseball returns from All-Star break

  Judge, Yanks on top as baseball returns from All-Star break CHICAGO (AP) — Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees, Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros — they're all just looking for more of the same. The Atlanta Braves' title defense is rolling along, and Julio Rodríguez and the Seattle Mariners are looking to crash the playoff party. As baseball returns from the All-Star break — all packed up and ready to go after the AL's 3-2 victory at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night — the postseason picture is quite crowded, thanks to the addition of a third wild card in each league. The October equation can change in a hurry, too. Just ask Rodríguez and the Mariners, winners of 14 in a row.

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

  LEADING OFF: J-Rod hurt, Judge rules, Mets rolling © Provided by The Canadian Press

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FINGERS CROSSED

The playoff-hopeful Seattle Mariners are holding their collective breath that All-Star rookie Julio Rodríguez isn't seriously injured.

Rodríguez was hit on the back of his right hand near the wrist as he swung awkwardly at a pitch in the eighth inning Saturday night at Houston. He struck out, but played defense in the bottom half before exiting in the ninth.

Seattle manager Scott Servais said the outfielder would get X-rays later Saturday.

“He did not feel comfortable with a bat in his hand,” Servais said. “So, we’ll pray that it is not broken.”

Machado hits 2-run homer, Padres hold off slumping Mets 2-1

  Machado hits 2-run homer, Padres hold off slumping Mets 2-1 NEW YORK (AP) — Manny Machado hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning off Chris Bassitt and the San Diego Padres hung on for a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday night. Taylor Rogers allowed a bloop RBI single to J.D. Davis in the ninth before retiring Tomás Nido on a popup with runners at the corners for his major league-leading 28th save in 33 opportunities. New York's lead in the NL East is down to a half-game over the defending World Series champion Braves, its smallest since April 12. The Mets had a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1. San Diego was held without a hit for 4 1/3 innings by Bassitt (7-7) until Eric Hosmer had a clean single to right field.

Abraham Toro pinch-hit for Rodríguez and delivered a two-run single with two outs in the ninth as the Mariners rallied for a 5-4 victory.

The 21-year-old Rodríguez, who was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, is batting .274 with 18 homers and 57 RBIs.

ALL RISE

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has been on an incredible tear since the All-Star break, hitting .436 with nine homers and 21 RBIs in 10 games. He went deep again in Saturday's victory over Kansas City, becoming the second-fastest player in major league history to reach 200 career home runs.

Judge's 200th homer came in his 671st career game. Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard achieved the feat in 2009 in his 658th game.

Eligible for free agency after the season, Judge has 42 homers and is on pace for 67. He is tied with Sammy Sosa and two behind Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire for the most before Aug. 1 in MLB history. Bonds holds the season record with 73 homers in 2001.

Alonso's 3-run HR, 4 RBIs leads Mets over Padres 8-5

  Alonso's 3-run HR, 4 RBIs leads Mets over Padres 8-5 NEW YORK (AP) — Pete Alonso lifted the ball into the left-field seats and sent the New York Mets soaring into their high-profile Subway Series matchup against the Yankees and Aaron Judge. Alonso hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off Joe Musgrove and had four RBIs to retake the major league lead, leading the Mets over the San Diego Padres 8-5 on Sunday night and avoiding a three-game sweep. Next up: a two-game series against the Yankees at Citi Field starting Tuesday night. Both teams lead their divisions, and Alonso's 82 RBIs are one more than Judge's total. “I wouldn't really call it toe to toe, me versus him," Alonso said.

The American League-leading Yankees try for a four-game sweep. They’ve won seven straight against the Royals and 10 of the last 11.

BEST OF THE METS

Taijuan Walker (8-2, 2.67 ERA) and the NL East-leading New York Mets go for their sixth straight victory and a three-game sweep in Miami when they take on Pablo López (7-5, 3.03) and the Marlins.

Through 100 games, the Mets (63-37) have the second-best record in club history. The 1986 World Series championship team was 68-32 at the same point.

The Marlins lost their sixth in a row at home. They have not homered in their own ballpark since July 5 — a stretch of 11 games.

E-ROD EMERGES

Tigers left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will report to Detroit’s spring training facility in Florida and could pitch for Class A Lakeland next week.

Rodriguez signed a $77 million, five-year contract last November but hasn’t pitched for the Tigers since May 18, when he left a game against Tampa Bay in the first inning with sprained ribs. He was then placed on the restricted list June 13 due to personal reasons.

Mets edge Yankees 3-2 in 9th for 2-game Subway Series sweep

  Mets edge Yankees 3-2 in 9th for 2-game Subway Series sweep NEW YORK (AP) — With two first-place teams on the field, the New York Mets made this Subway Series a one-way ride. Starling Marte singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Mets beat the crosstown Yankees 3-2 Wednesday night for a two-game sweep. Max Scherzer was marvelous on his 38th birthday, striking out Aaron Judge three times to help the Mets take a 2-0 lead into the eighth. Gleyber Torres tied it with a two-run homer off reliever David Peterson, normally a starter. “Every time Max had to make a pitch, he made it,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “Just so strong mentally.

The ex-Boston Red Sox pitcher is 1-3 with a 4.38 ERA in eight starts. The Tigers spent big on him and shortstop Javier Báez last winter but have struggled this season, going into Sunday’s game at Toronto 41-61.

OUCH!

Holding a slim lead in the AL Central, the Minnesota Twins will be without two dangerous hitters for a while.

The team placed outfielder Max Kepler and infielder Miguel Sanó on the 10-day injured list Saturday, a big setback for a squad with playoff aspirations.

Sanó’s return to the IL with left knee inflammation is particularly tough because he had returned just four days earlier from missing 75 games after having surgery in May to repair torn meniscus in the knee. He apparently aggravated the knee during his recent rehab assignment.

The Twins say he will undergo an MRI when they return to Minneapolis after a weekend series at San Diego.

Sanó went 0 for 6 in his three games back.

Kepler broke the fifth toe on his right foot when he was hit by a pitch at Detroit last Sunday. He had gone through workouts and the Twins hoped to keep him on the active roster but decided to shut him down.

Stu Cowan: Mike Matheson's parents thrilled about trade to Canadiens

  Stu Cowan: Mike Matheson's parents thrilled about trade to Canadiens Rod Matheson might have to build a backyard rink again at his Pointe-Claire home. This one would be for his grandson. All three of Rod and Marg Matheson’s children — Kelly, now 32, Kenny, 31, and Mike, 28 — learned to skate on the backyard rink and later they all went through the hockey Sport-Études program at John Rennie High School. Mike left home at 17 to pursue his hockey career with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints in Iowa before being selected by the Florida Panthers in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Kepler was hitting .244 with nine homers and 39 RBIs.

GUARD DOWN

Guardians breakout slugger Josh Naylor is sidelined and set to meet with team doctors after experiencing numbness in the same right ankle he severely injured in June 2021.

Naylor was scratched from the lineup Saturday before a 6-4 loss to the Rays, and manager Terry Francona said Naylor will be evaluated when the team returns home after Sunday’s series finale.

“He was on his way to go get loose and said it went numb on him and it was hard for him to walk,” Francona said. “It’s hard to imagine that something significant happened when he was on his way to get loose, so that’s hopeful.”

In a game at Minnesota on June 27, 2021, Naylor was in right field and chasing a shallow flyball when he collided with second baseman Ernie Clement on Jorge Polanco’s single.

Naylor is hitting .282 with 14 homers, 53 RBIs and an .846 OPS in 70 games this season.

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The Associated Press

Bat boy draws ire of Max Scherzer by running behind plate while Mets pitcher is in mid-windup .
Bat boy draws ire of Max Scherzer by running behind plate while Mets pitcher is in mid-windupAs he was about to throw his first pitch in the top of the fifth inning against the Braves, the bat boy ran behind home plate to grab some equipment off the Mets' on-deck circle. He seemed unaware that he had delayed the action.

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