AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Mets work over Phillies...Kershaw fans 15...Rangers crawl within 2 games of Astros in AL West
UNDATED (AP) —Ruben Tejada hit an inside-the-park homer and drove in four runs to back Matt Harvey as the New York Mets returned to their winning ways against the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-4.
Yoenis Cespedes and rookie Michael Conforto had conventional home runs for the NL East leaders, who won for the 14th time in 16 games against the last-place Phillies this season. Philadelphia snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Mets with a 14-8 rout Tuesday.
Harvey improved to 12-7.
In other major league action:
— Washington remained six and a-half games back of the Mets thanks to Ryan Zimmerman. The Nationals first baseman hit two solo homers and a tiebreaking, run-scoring double in the eighth inning of the Nats' 4-3 win over NL Central-leading St. Louis. Jayson Werth also homered for the Nats, who salvaged one of three in St. Louis.
__ The Los Angeles Dodgers have opened a six-and-a-half game lead in the NL West after beating the San Francisco Giants for the second straight night, 2-1. Clayton Kershaw struck out 15 in his six-hitter. Newly acquired Chase Utley broke a 1-1 tie with a sixth inning home run.
— Jonathan Lucroy drove in three runs and extended his hitting streak to 10 games as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates for the fifth straight time, 9-4. The fourth-place Brewers have won seven of their last eight against Pittsburgh, which leads the NL wild-card race.
— Rookie Shawn O'Malley had three hits, including a tiebreaking RBI single in a two-run eighth inning, and Logan Morrison padded the lead with a three-run shot in the ninth to help the Seattle Mariners to an 8-3 victory over the Houston Astros.
__ Texas moved within two games of the AL West-leading Astros by outlasting San Diego 4-3. Mitch Moreland drove in the go-ahead run with a double in the 10th.
— The New York Yankees erupted with eight runs in the second inning to clobber Boston 13-8 to take two of three from the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Carlos Beltran swatted a two-run homer, his 14th of the year. That was one of three homers the Yankees hit in the second inning. All in all, the Yanks hit five homers.
— R.A. Dickey pitched a four-hitter to win his seventh straight decision, Josh Donaldson had three hits and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1. The Jays have won seven of eight to stay a game and a-half up on the Yanks in the AL East.
— Albert Pujols hit a two-run drive to make him one of four players with 10 career 35-homer seasons, and the Los Angeles Angels jumped on AL ERA leader Sonny Gray from the start to beat the Oakland Athletics 9-4. Pujols hit his 555th career and joined Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt and Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez to have reached 35 home runs in 10 or more years.
— Joey Votto's two-out, three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning gave Cincinnati a 7-4 win over the Cubs. Votto came through right after Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant let a grounder get through his legs for an error. Bryant had tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-run homer.
— Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run homer to help Miami beat the reeling Braves 7-3. Martin Prado and Jeff Mathis added two RBIs each to help send Atlanta to its eighth straight home loss. That hasn't happened since 1988.
— AL Central leader Kansas City mauled Detroit 12-1. Yordano Ventura struck out 11 over seven sharp innings to improve to 10-7. The Royals hit four home runs -- Kendrys Morales hit a three-run shot, Cheslor Cuthbert added his first career homer, and Ben Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain also went deep.
— Baltimore ended a six-game losing streak by beating Tampa Bay 7-6 on a Chris Davis walkoff homer in the 11th. It was the second homer of the game for Davis, who has 38 for the season.
— Tommy Milone struck out seven in seven innings and Miguel Sano hit another monster home run to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 3-0.
— In a typical Coors Field game, Colorado rapped out 18 hits in the Rockies' 9-4 win over Arizona. Carlos Gonzalez had a huge night with two home runs, including a grand slam, and seven RBIs.
Strasburg to miss a turn...Mets adjust their rotation
UNDATED (AP) — Stephen Strasburg won't make his next scheduled start for the Washington Nationals on Friday. Strasburg was limited to four innings by upper back tightness his last outing.
In other baseball news:
__ The NL East-leading New York Mets confirmed that starter Noah Syndergaard will be skipped this weekend in Miami when fellow rookie Steven Matz returns from injury. Mets manager Terry Collins also acknowledged ace Matt Harvey will likely be passed over once more in his first season back from Tommy John surgery.
__The Pittsburgh Pirates have selected the contract Pedro Florimon from the minors, bringing the infielder back for another tour in the big leagues this season. Florimon hit .105 with no homers and an RBI in 15 games in Pittsburgh. He was outrighted Aug. 25 to Triple-A Indianapolis, playing three games.
Serena and Djokovic move through to third round
NEW YORK (AP) — Top seed Serena Williams is into the third round of the U.S. Open but it was hardly a masterpiece.
The defending champ bested Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 7-6, 6-3, overcoming 10 double faults and two dozen other unforced errors. Afterward, she said she was a "little tight" about the match.
Williams is looking to become the first player since Steffi Graf (grahf) in 1988 to win all four majors in one year.
Sister Venus Williams moved closer to the tournament's second week by beating Irina Falconi 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2 in an all-American second-round matchup.
Novak Djokovic simply does not lose second-round Grand Slam matches.
The No. 1-seeded Serb took a bit of time to get going Wednesday night at the U.S. Open, splitting the opening eight games. Then he reeled off 14 of the remaining 17 in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory over 52nd-ranked Andreas Haider-Maurer of Austria.
Defending men's champ Marin Cilic is through to the third round. The ninth-seed advanced with 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 win over Russia's Evgeny Donskoy.
The career of Mardy Fish is over. The 33-year old American, who was once at top-10 player, was ousted in the second round in a five-set, 3 hour and 11 minute match against Feliciano Lopez.
American Madison Keys has reached the third round at the U.S. Open for the first time, beating Tereza Smitkova 6-1, 6-2. The 19th seed has now advanced to at least the third round at every major this year.
The Bryan brothers will go a year without winning a Grand Slam title for the first time in more than a decade. The top-seeded twins were upset by fellow Americans Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3 in the first round of men's doubles.
Teams continue to work on their rosters
UNDATED (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have signed backup quarterback Derek Anderson to a two-year contract extension. The move keeps him with the team through the 2017 season and provides depth and experience behind Cam Newton. Anderson joined Carolina as a free agent in 2011 but didn't see much action his first three seasons. He started two games last season against Tampa Bay and won both, helping the Panthers win their second straight NFC South title.
— The New York Giants have re-signed place-kicker Chris Boswell. New York made the move because veteran Josh Brown bruised his leg two weeks ago when he made a tackle against Jacksonville. Boswell was in the Giants' training camp until being waived on Aug. 16.
—Former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. is a finalist for the 2016 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a contributor. DeBartolo was nominated by the nine-member contributors committee. Elections will be held on Feb. 6, the night before the Super Bowl. DeBartolo, 68, must receive 80 percent of the ballots to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
— Lance Briggs, a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker who helped the Chicago Bears reach the Super Bowl, plans to retire. Briggs had 16 interceptions, 15 sacks and five touchdowns in his career. But after missing just four games from 2003 to 2012, Briggs struggled to stay healthy the past two seasons.
LAWRENCE PHILLIPS-CELLMATE KILLED
Former player charged with murder
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips has been charged with murder in the death of his cellmate at a Central California prison. Phillips is in prison for choking his girlfriend and driving a car into three teens after a pickup football game. He is suspected of strangling 37-year-old Damion Soward at Kern Valley State Prison in April.
Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. He played for the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers during a three-year NFL career.