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Benches clear as A’s sweep Astros

OAKLAND: Kyle Tucker #30 of the Houston Astros slides into second base with a double beating the throw to Chad Pinder #18 of the Oakland Athletics in the top of the ninth inning at Ring Central Coliseum in Oakland, California. – AFP

Oakland tattooed rookie Cristian Javier for three early home runs and Jesus Luzardo recorded his first major league win by pitching into the sixth inning Sunday as the host Athletics completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros with a 7-2 victory in a game that saw the benches empty. After A’s center fielder Ramon Laureano was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game with Oakland leading 6-2 in the seventh, Laureano exchanged words with Houston pitcher Humberto Castellanos before charging the Houston dugout from first base.

Laureano was tackled by Astros players, Oakland catcher Austin Allen raced in and engaged aggressively with Houston counterpart Martin Maldonado. Laureano and Allen were ejected. The Oakland bullpen, which had allowed just one earned run over eight innings in the first two games of the series, was brilliant once again in the series finale, following Luzardo with 3 1/3 shutout innings to wrap up the Athletics’ ninth straight win.

Michael Perez’s two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning broke a tie and completed host Tampa Bay’s comeback against New York, giving the Rays three wins in the four-game series. The winning rally began with Mike Brosseau’s lead-off double. The Rays nearly didn’t take advantage against reliever Zack Britton (0-1) until Perez came through with a single to right field. The Rays trailed 3-0 in the seventh until Brosseau’s two-run home run followed by Brandon Lowe’s solo shot allowed them to pull even with one out, resulting in Yankees starter James Paxton’s exit. Ryan Thompson (1-0), a 28-year-old right-hander, earned his first big-league victory with one inning of relief.

AJ Pollock and Mookie Betts each hit late three-run home runs as Los Angeles rallied to beat San Francisco at Dodger Stadium, continuing its streak of not losing a series this season. Dodgers starter Walker Buehler gave up just one hit over 5 2/3 innings as Los Angeles improved to 4-3 against the Giants this season, all at home.

Trailing 2-0 with just two hits heading into the seventh inning, the Dodgers got a one-out single from Cody Bellinger to chase starter Kevin Gausman. Justin Turner singled off right-hander Tyler Rogers (1-3), with Pollock hitting a two-out home run to left field for the lead. Betts’ three-run insurance home run came in the eighth against right-hander Shaun Anderson. The long ball was Betts’ fourth of the season with his new club.

Dinelson Lamet flirted with a no-hitter in a second straight start and San Diego hit four of its six homers in two innings against Madison Bumgarner as the Padres beat visiting Arizona in the rubber match of a three-game series at Petco Park. Manny Machado hit two solo homers against Bumgarner. Wil Myers and Fernando Tatis Jr. both hit two-run homers, while Ty France and Francisco Mejia homered in the third against Diamondbacks reliever Taylor Widener. The six home runs were a Padres record at Petco Park and one shy of the franchise’s single-game record. Lamet retired the first 14 Diamondbacks he faced before hitting Andy Young with a pitch. Kole Calhoun ended the bid for a no-hitter and shutout, leading off the seventh inning with his third home run.

Rookie Brady Singer and three Kansas City relievers combined to beat visiting Minnesota as the Royals swept the three-game series and won their fourth straight game. Last season, the Royals failed to win any of their six series against the Twins. The Kansas City bullpen pitched 13 1/3 innings of relief in the series, allowing just two runs. Scott Barlow picked up his first save. Singer (1-1) earned his first career victory in his Kauffman Stadium debut after three starts on the road. He allowed two runs on five hits, with two walks and four strikeouts. He’s pitched exactly five innings in each of his four starts. Jose Berrios (1-2) took the loss for Minnesota. He allowed four runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out four.

Nick Solak’s first home run of the season was taken away, but it didn’t stop Texas from completing a three-game sweep of Los Angeles in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers had a 5-2 lead in the fifth inning when Solak lifted a fly ball to deep right field off Angels reliever Mike Mayers. Angels rookie right fielder Jo Adell attempted to catch the ball on the warning track, a few feet in front of the wall. But the ball glanced off the tip of Adell’s glove and caromed over the fence. The play initially was ruled a home run but the official scorer later changed it to a four-base error on Adell.

Jacob deGrom struck out six, and speedy rookie Andres Gimenez scored three runs, smacked three hits and stole a base, leading host New York past Miami for the second straight day. Miami first baseman Jesus Aguilar’s two-run homer did the only damage against deGrom (2-0), who lasted five innings. A two-time reigning National League Cy Young award winner, deGrom was not as sharp as usual, allowing seven hits and two walks. The Mets, who won a home series for the first time this season, have won two straight games. Their bullpen did the job, producing four scoreless innings. Seth Lugo pitched the ninth for his third save of the season. Marlins starter Pablo Lopez (1-1) took the loss, allowing five hits, four walks and three runs (two earned) in five innings.

Ronald Acuna Jr. homered and drove in two runs to lift Atlanta past host Philadelphia in the first game of a doubleheader. Adam Duvall doubled, singled and knocked in three runs while Freddie Freeman added three hits for the Braves. Freeman, who went 0-for-4 on Saturday and had his average dip to .200, recorded his 119th career three-hit game. Atlanta southpaw Tyler Matzek (2-0) earned the win in relief and Mark Melancon tossed a scoreless seventh for his third save in three opportunities. Phillies starter Vince Velasquez tossed four-plus innings and gave up three hits and one run while striking out six and walking three. Deolis Guerra (1-1) picked up the loss in relief.

Acuna Jr. added four more hits, including two more home runs, and drove in three runs as Atlanta completed the sweep of the road doubleheader. Freddie Freeman homered, doubled, tripled and knocked in three runs while Travis d’Arnaud and Marcell Ozuna contributed two hits each in the seven-inning contest for the Braves. Braves starter Max Fried tossed five scoreless innings and allowed four hits. Fried, who improved to 3-0, struck out six and walked one.

The game between Baltimore and Washington at Nationals Park was suspended in the top of the sixth inning with the Orioles leading and will resume next Friday. When the rains came, the grounds crew at Nationals Park had problems getting their tarp on the field. The resumption will be at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, as the two teams are set to play there next weekend. Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg struggled in his season debut before the storm. He lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits — though he gave up only two hits and no runs through four innings. He struck out two and walked one. Orioles starter Asher Wojciechowski fared better, although his outing also was brief. The right-hander did not allow a run on three hits in 3 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out four.

Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single in the eighth inning lifted Detroit to a sweep of its three-game series in Pittsburgh. At 1-1 in the eighth and with two outs, Pirates reliever Richard Rodriguez (0-1) hit Jonathan Schoop. With Cabrera up, Rodriguez had a problem with his cleats on delivery and threw a wild pitch toward his own dugout, allowing Schoop to get to second. Cabrera followed with a single to left to drive in Schoop. It was the Tigers’ first road series sweep since June 2018. Detroit starter Spencer Turnbull (2-0), who snapped a 19-start winless streak his last time out, pitched seven innings, giving up one run and five hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Justin Smoak had two hits during a six-run sixth inning, including a two-run single, and Milwaukee avoided a three-game series sweep at the hands of visiting Cincinnati. After totaling four runs in losing the first two games of the series, the Brewers broke out to salvage a game in the weekend set. Smoak and Keston Hiura each had three hits as Milwaukee scored eight times over the sixth and seventh innings to record its first home victory of 2020. Jesse Winker went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs for Cincinnati, which opened the scoring in the first inning but couldn’t hold the lead.

Mitch Moreland’s second home run of the game, a two-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, gave Boston a walk-off win over Toronto. It was the sixth homer of the season for Moreland, who also hit a solo shot in the second as the Red Sox won the rubber match of the three-game series. Rafael Devers also hit a solo homer for Boston. Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette hit solo homers for the Blue Jays, who nearly won it despite Boston starter Nathan Eovaldi matching his career best with 10 strikeouts.

Justus Sheffield pitched six shutout innings for his first major league victory and Seattle held off visiting Colorado to snap the Rockies’ three-game winning streak. Dylan Moore homered for the Mariners, who stopped their own three-game skid and finished 3-7 on their opening homestand. Sheffield (1-2) was making his 10th major league start. The left-hander allowed four hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven. Right-hander Taylor Williams went the final 1 1/3 innings for his third save. For the Rockies, Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-3 to improve his batting average to a major league-leading .458. Third baseman Nolan Arenado, batting just .185, got the day off.

Mike Freeman had two hits and singled in the eventual game-winning run in the 10th inning to lift Cleveland over host Chicago White Sox and claim the rubber game of the three-game series. Cesar Hernandez added two hits for the Indians. Oliver Perez recorded the final two outs to earn his first save. Phil Maton (1-0) was the winner, striking out two in a perfect ninth. Jimmy Cordero (0-1) took the loss after allowing two runs on two hits in the 10th.

Cleveland took a 5-3 lead in the 10th, as Delino DeShields drove in a run with a safety squeeze before Freeman grounded an RBI single to center with two out. The White Sox mounted a rally against Brad Hand in the bottom half of the 10th. James McCann hit an RBI single and Danny Mendick walked, but after a rain delay, Perez came on to get a popup and a strikeout. – Reuters

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