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Astros eye West title behind Verlander

(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

The victory that will lift the Astros to their third consecutive American League West pennant will eventually come to fruition, and in all likelihood, it could manifest Sunday when Houston concludes its three-game weekend set against the visiting Los Angeles Angels.

With their Cy Young Award frontrunner, right-hander Justin Verlander, on the bump, the Astros should feel good about their chances of recording their 12th win in 14 games at home against the Angels. Despite their 8-4 victory Saturday, the Angels are just 7-18 over their last 25 road games.

The underlying concern for the Astros (101-54) -- in the pursuit of their ninth full-season division title in franchise history, the best record in the majors, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs -- is what role veteran left-hander Wade Miley will play come the postseason.


Surging A's aim to increase WC lead

Veteran right-handers Tanner Roark and Lance Lynn will have different agendas Sunday afternoon when they go head-to-head in the series finale between the host Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers.

The A's have dominated the first two games of the series, winning 8-0 and 12-3 to run their winning streak against the Rangers to seven. Oakland has already clinched the season series with a 13-5 advantage.


Brewers look for 15th win in 17 games

With the end of the regular season looming on Sept. 29, chances are looking better that the Milwaukee Brewers will be celebrating a postseason berth before that.

The Brewers, with star Christian Yelich done for the season after an injury to his kneecap, and veterans Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun hobbled by nagging injuries but still coming up big, are three games up on the rival Chicago Cubs for the National League's second wild card.


Reeling Cubs try to avoid sweep to Cards

This is not what the Chicago Cubs had in mind.

Chicago (82-73) had a chance to push for a division title with a strong series against the St. Louis Cardinals (88-67) this weekend. Instead, the Cubs have lost the first three games of the series and five straight games overall to put their season in jeopardy.


Rays seek more extra-inning magic

If the Tampa Bay Rays could play 11 innings every day, they might be unstoppable.

The Rays won in 11 innings for the third straight game Saturday, defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Nate Lowe's two-run homer. The teams will continue their four-game series Sunday at Tropicana Field.


Padres fire manager Green amid late skid

SAN DIEGO (AP) Rod Barajas was at his daughter's soccer game in Del Mar on Saturday morning when general manager A.J. Preller called to say that Andy Green was out as manager of the underperforming San Diego Padres.

"I jumped in the car and came over straight to the field, and he asked me if I wanted to take over for the last eight games. And I said, `absolutely,'" Barajas recalled a few hours before beginning his stint as interim manager against the Arizona Diamondbacks.


Stanton homers, Paxton wins 10th in row

NEW YORK (AP) The oft-injured Yankees started Saturday with a rare positive medical report. Then they got something even scarcer this year - a signature, soaring home run from Giancarlo Stanton.

Stanton connected for the first time since missing nearly three months to injury, James Paxton won his 10th straight start and New York beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-2.


Nats score 6 in 10th, lead top WC by 1

MIAMI (AP) Kurt Suzuki made the most of his first at-bat following a lengthy absence.

Suzuki's pinch-hit, bases-clearing double capped a six-run, 10th inning and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 10-4 Saturday night.


Harper's 3-run HR lifts Phils by Indians

CLEVELAND (AP) Bryce Harper crossed home and triumphantly raised his arms with a gesture usually reserved for Ohio State football celebrations.

This time, it also meant something for Philadelphia's baseball hopes.

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