AP Sports Wrap for Wednesday, August 26 2015
UNDATED (AP) — Houston and Toronto did each other a favor on Wednesday. The Astros topped the New York Yankees in the afternoon before the Blue Jays ripped Texas, allowing Houston and Toronto to pad their leads in the American League division races.
Evan Gattis belted a pair of homers and Collin McHugh carried a shutout into the seventh inning of the Astros' 6-2 win over the Yanks. Gattis delivered three homers and six RBIs in the last two games of the series following the Astros' 1-0 loss in the opener.
McHugh improved to 14-7 and blanked the Yankees until Didi Gregorius smacked a two-run homer in the seventh.
Toronto's 12-4 pounding of the Rangers gives the Jays a two-game lead over New York in the AL East and puts the Astros 5 ½ games ahead of Texas in the AL West. Edwin Encarnacion extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a grand slam that highlighted the Jays' six-run sixth. Justin Smoak had three RBIs, including a tiebreaking, two-run blast in the fifth.
David Price gave up two runs and five hits while fanning eight to improve to 13-4.
In other major league finals:
— The Orioles had dropped six straight before they banged out five home runs in an 8-5 win against Kansas City. Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop and Chris Davis hit two-run shots off Johnny Cueto, who was rocked for six runs and eight hits in just five innings. The Royals lead the AL West by 12 games over Minnesota, and the Orioles are within two games of Texas and Minnesota for the final AL wild-card berth.
— Eduardo Escobar slammed a pair of solo homers in the Twins' sixth consecutive victory, 5-3 at Tampa Bay. Joe Mauer put Minnesota ahead to stay with an RBI single in the seventh. Mauer had three of the Twins' 13 hits.
— Justin Verlander came within three outs of his third career no-hitter while pitching Detroit past the Los Angeles Angels 5-0. The gem ended when Chris Iannetta led off the top of the ninth with a double, but Verlander's one-hit shutout was more than enough to drop the Angels six games behind the AL West-leading Astros. Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez socked two-run homers in the fifth after Nick Castellanos unloaded a second-inning blast.
— The Cardinals' 3-1 win at Arizona keeps St. Louis atop the NL Central by 4 ½ games over the Pirates. John Lackey gave up seven hits in as many innings and blanked the Diamondbacks following Paul Goldschmidt's solo blast in the first. Kolten Wong doubled home the tiebreaking run in the seventh after Mark Reynolds knotted the score with a fifth-inning homer.
— Pittsburgh was a 7-2 winner at Miami behind Andrew McCutchen's three-run homer and four RBIs. McCutchen's blast was part of a six-run second that put the Pirates ahead 7-1. Jeff Locke earned the Buc' fourth victory in five games, allowing two runs and five hits.
— The Giants and Cubs were tied 2-2 until Buster Posey and Kelby Tomlinson hit RBI doubles in the sixth inning of San Francisco's 4-2 triumph over Chicago. Nori Aoki smacked a solo homer and Jake Peavy worked into the seventh to help the Giants end the Cubbies' six-game winning streak. San Francisco also stayed 2 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers and climbed within 6 ½ games of the Cubs for the second NL wild-card berth.
— Scott Van Slyke, A.J. Ellis and Yasiel Puig homered during a five-run fourth that carried the Dodgers past the Reds 7-4 in Cincinnati. Brett Anderson was reached for five hits and three unearned runs in 6 2/3 innings as the Dodgers won their second straight since a season-worst, five-game skid. The Reds have dropped 11 of 12 and are 1-8 on their 10-game homestand.
— The New York Mets won their sixth in a row and increased their lead in the NL East to 6 ½ games over the Nationals by taking a 9-4 decision in Philadelphia. Bartolo Colon struck out eight and scattered five hits in seven shutout innings as the Mets improved to 7-1 on their nine-game road trip. Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs.
— Justin Upton homered twice and had three RBIs as San Diego nipped the Nationals 6-5 in Washington. Matt Kemp put the Padres ahead to stay with a two-run double before scoring on Upton's two-run blast later in the third. Ryan Zimmerman drove in a pair and Bryce Harper provided an RBI single that got the Nats within 6-5 in the seventh.
— Nelson Cruz belted his major league-leading 39th homer and Felix Hernandez picked up his 15th victory in Seattle's 8-2 pounding of Oakland. Cruz was 3-for-4 with a solo blast and three RBIs to back Hernandez, who gave up two runs and just three hits in eight innings. Billy Burns and Brett Lawrie homered off Hernandez.
— Shelby Miller's winless streak is at 18 starts following Atlanta's 6-3 loss to Colorado. Brandon Barnes was 3-for-4 with a two-run homer for the Rockies, who trailed 3-0 against Miller in the seventh before winning their second straight.
— Travis Shaw broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer in the sixth to push Boston past the White Sox 3-0 in Chicago. Rick Porcello combined with two relievers on a six-hitter, holding the White Sox to three singles and a pair of doubles in seven innings.
— Cleveland beat Milwaukee 6-2 as Jason Kipnis delivered a two-run double and a solo homer. Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor was 2-for-3 with two stolen bases and a run scored.
Rays lose catcher
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay catcher Curt Casali has been placed on the 15-day disabled list one day after straining his left hamstring running the bases after hitting a home run Tuesday night. Casali's leg started getting tight running to first base following his 10th homer and ninth since the All-Star break. He slowly finished his trip around the bases with a slight limp before heading toward the clubhouse.
Former, current Niner indicted
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Santa Clara County grand jury has indicted former San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald on one count of rape of an intoxicated person.
The indictment stems from an incident last Dec. 15 at McDonald's home.
Current 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks has also been charged by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office with misdemeanor sexual battery for an alleged assault the same day involving the same victim. The case against Brooks also was announced Wednesday.
NFL-JONATHAN MARTIN-SOCIAL MEDIA
Martin says he's attempted suicide
MIAMI (AP) — Former NFL tackle Jonathan Martin posted on Facebook that difficulties in the profession led him to attempt suicide multiple times. He says he wanted to share his struggle with social isolation to help others.
Martin says his problems date to childhood in California, and to being told his entire life he was not "black enough."
Martin made national headlines when he abruptly left the Miami Dolphins during the 2013 season amid reports he was bullied by teammates on the offensive line. He retired this year.
Manziel elbow problems continue
UNDATED (AP) — Johnny Manziel's elbow soreness isn't going away, and the Browns quarterback will likely sit out Saturday's exhibition at Tampa Bay.
Manziel didn't throw at practice again after an MRI showed no structural damage. Coach Mike Pettine acknowledged for the first time that the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner has dealt with elbow issues since high school.
Manziel's elbow problem flared up Sunday on a long throw, forcing off the field for the final 30 minutes of practice.
In other NFL news;
— Rex Grossman has been signed by the Atlanta Falcons to compete for the backup quarterback job behind Matt Ryan. Grossman, who hasn't thrown an NFL pass since 2011, helped Chicago go 13-3 in 2006 and reach the Super Bowl. He's 26-22 in his career since getting drafted in the first round 12 years ago.
— Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora is retiring as a member of the New York Giants. Umenyiora signed a one-day contract and announced his retirement after 12 NFL seasons, the first 10 with New York and last two in Atlanta. He won two Super Bowls with the Giants.
— Denver has released kicker Connor Barth to make room for Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis, who was a free agent. Connor made 15 of 16 field goals over the final five weeks last season but is being replaced by Brandon McManus, who was 9-for-13 before Denver cut him last year.
Rams stadium funding faces opposition
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The St. Louis Rams could be a little closer to returning to Los Angeles after Missouri's legislative budget leaders said they oppose spending taxpayer money on a new football stadium.
House Budget Chairman Tom Flanigan sent a letter Wednesday to Gov. Jay Nixon warning that he will block any effort to put money in the state budget for payments on a new stadium unless the Legislature or voters first approve the additional debt. Nixon and the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority are working to piece together money for a new stadium as a counterproposal to efforts by Rams owner Stan Kroenke to move the team to the Los Angeles area.
LA bid stumbles
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles' 2024 Olympics plan has stalled amid questions about potential runaway costs and the impact on neighborhoods already strangled by traffic and congestion.
The City Council had been expected to vote on a proposal to give Mayor Eric Garcetti broad authority to execute agreements linked to the bid. But the vote has been pushed back until at least Friday, 2 1/2 weeks before a Sept. 15 deadline for the USOC to enter a bid with the IOC for the 2024 Games.
Chico Maki dies
TORONTO (AP) — Longtime Chicago Blackhawks right wing Ron "Chico" Maki has died at 76.
Maki appeared in three All-Star games during a 15-year NHL career spent entirely with the Hawks. He helped Chicago reach the 1971 and '73 finals after appearing in one playoff game with the 1961 Stanley Cup champs.
Maki had 143 goals and 435 points in 841 regular-season games from 1961-76.
LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES
Lewisberry, Japan advance
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, and Japan have advanced to the bracket championship games at the Little League World Series.
Lewisberry shut out Pearland, Texas, 3-0 to earn a meeting against either Pearland or Bonita, California, in Saturday's United States championship game.
Japan moved on with a 5-4 decision over Venezuela and will take on Mexico or Venezuela for the International title.
The World Championship game is Sunday.