Wednesday's MLB: Justin Verlander stars as Astros blank Mets 2-0

By Curt Anderson
Associated Press

New York — Justin Verlander pitched two-hit ball for eight innings, Jason Castro lined a two-run homer in the ninth and the Houston Astros beat the Mets 2-0 Wednesday to send New York to its first three-game losing streak this season.

Astros left fielder Yordan Álvarez and shortstop Jeremy Peña were hurt when they collided in the eighth while running down Dominic Smith’s popup. Both called for the ball and as Peña caught the pop, and they hit each other in the face with their gloves. Álvarez was removed on a cart, sitting up, and Peña walked back to the dugout during the eight-minute delay.

Verlander (10-3) became the majors’ first 10-game winner, striking out six and walking one. Ryan Pressly pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 19 chances.

New York's Taijuan Walker allowed four hits in a season-high 7 1/3 innings. Drew Smith (1-2) got the loss.

Pittsburgh 8, (at) Washington 7: Bryan Reynolds hit a career-high three homers and drove in six runs, leading Pittsburgh to the win.

The Pirates ended a five-game losing streak.

Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Paolo Espino and a solo drive in the sixth off Carl Edwards Jr. (2-2).

Edwards exited with two runners on base in the seventh, giving way to Kyle Finnegan.

After Ke’Bryan Hayes struck out, Reynolds launched Finnegan’s elevated sinker into the visitors’ bullpen in left-center for a three-run homer that put the Pirates up 8-6.

Daniel Vogelbach also homered for Pittsburgh. Chase De Jong (3-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, and rookie Yerry De Los Santos earned his first career save.

New York Yankees 5, (at) Oakland 3: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton homered to fuel the Yankees’ major league-best 24th comeback victory.

The Yankees completed a three-game sweep of baseball’s worst team and improved to 56-20, matching the 2001 Mariners and 1998 Yankees for baseball’s best 76-game start since 1930.

New York's Jameson Taillon gave up three runs in the first inning, but Judge countered with a two-run drive in the first and Stanton hit a three-run homer in the third against Cole Irvin (2-6).

The Yankees are 25-1 when Judge and Stanton homer in the same game, including 9-0 this season.

Taillon (9-1) grinded through five innings, and Clay Holmes pitched the ninth for his 14th save to end a seven-game homestand.

Milwaukee 5, (at) Tampa Bay 3: Rowdy Tellez hit two home runs and Milwaukee center fielder Jonathan Davis made a spectacular catch, sending the Brewers to the win.

Tellez hit his 15th homer, a tiebreaking solo drive in the eighth inning against Calvin Faucher (1-2). The ball struck the outer C-ring of the catwalk at Tropicana Field.

In the second, Tellez homered to deep center off opener Jalen Beeks.

Davis robbed Randy Arozarena of an extra-base hit in the second when he made a flying, over-the-shoulder catch while crashing headfirst into the wall. He stayed down for several minutes holding his back and initially stayed in the game before leaving with lower back and rib cage discomfort.

Luis Urías and Jace Peterson also homered for Milwaukee. Brad Boxberger (2-1) got the win, and Josh Hader earned his 24th save.

(At) Kansas City 2, Texas 1: Zack Greinke pitched six innings of one-run ball in his 500th career start, helping the Royals avoid a three-game sweep.

Kansas City’s Kyle Isbel provided the winning cushion with his second home run in as many games.

Greinke (2-4) is the 48th pitcher in major league history to start 500 games, and the only active pitcher to reach that milestone. Scott Barlow worked a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 12 chances.

Leody Taveras homered for Texas. Dane Dunning (1-6) yielded two runs and six hits in six innings.

St. Pete mayor reopens talks on future of Rays stadium site

St. Petersburg, Fla. — The mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, is reopening talks about the future of the Tropicana Field site where baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays play their home games.

Mayor Ken Welch said Wednesday that two previous proposals for the 86-acre downtown location are being scrapped, with a new round of plans to be solicited beginning in mid-August. Welch, St. Petersburg’s first Black mayor, has made a priority of including such things as affordable housing and greater job opportunities along with Rays baseball.

Mayor Ken Welch said two previous proposals for the 86-acre downtown location are being scrapped, with a new round of plans to be solicited beginning in mid-August.

Welch said the goal is to choose a new redevelopment plan by year’s end. The Rays’ Tropicana Field lease is up in 2027 and Welch said the new plan should envision including a stadium at the site.

“I don’t believe waiting a few months to get this right is unreasonable,” the mayor said at a news conference near Tropicana Field. “I think St. Petersburg is the best opportunity for the Rays. It’s about making sure we’ve got the right plan for where we are in 2022.”

The Rays have played at the domed, tilted Tropicana Field since their inaugural 1998 season. The site is in the former Gas Plant neighborhood, where Black-owned businesses and homes were uprooted for the stadium’s original development and, before that, interstate highway construction. Welch said a goal is to restore some of that former neighborhood, where his father ran a wood yard business years ago.

“It’s about rebuilding a community that was there and was dispersed,” he said, holding an axe handle from his father’s business.

Despite regular success on the field, the Rays consistently have among the lowest attendance figures in Major League Baseball. The team has looked into moving, perhaps in Tampa’s Ybor City area, and also discussed splitting the season between St. Petersburg and Montreal until MLB called a halt to that idea.

The previous bidders for the plan — developers Sugar Hill and Midtown Development — can submit new proposals under the new process, Welch said. The former mayor, Rick Kriseman, had chosen the Midtown plan just before leaving office.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in June that the Rays and Oakland Athletics need to reach new ballpark deals soon and left open the possibility of considering relocation if agreements are not struck.

“There is urgency with respect to Tampa,” Manfred said during a news conference following an owners meeting. “There needs to be a resolution in the Tampa Bay region for the Rays.”

Welch said the new redevelopment plan should bring certainty to the Rays and rebuild, to some extent, the community that was torn apart by previous projects.

“We’ve been waiting for decades,” the mayor said. “The Rays stadium question has to be answered.”