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BC-BBO--Leading Off

April 7, 2019
By The Associated Press

A look at what’s happening around the majors Sunday:

MIGHTY, MIGHTY MARINERS

Seattle has been swinging big in 2019, entering its series finale against the White Sox leading the majors with 24 homers. All that power has the Mariners off to an 8-2 start, best in club history. Jay Bruce went deep twice and Tim Beckham added a three-run shot in a 9-2 win Saturday over Chicago. Bruce leads the club with five homers, and Beckham and Domingo Santana are next with four each — all three of those players were added in the offseason, part of a rebuild by general manager Jerry Dipoto.

MILE HIGH SPOTLIGHT

Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN makes its first appearance at Coors Field since 2001 when Nolan Arenado and the Rockies host Justin Turner and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who beat Colorado in a one-game tiebreaker for the NL West title last season.

COLD CRUSH

Chris Davis is likely to get back into the lineup for Baltimore still seeking his first hit of 2019. The 33-year-old is 0 for 19 with 11 strikeouts this season — including 0 for 2 Saturday off the bench — and he’s 0 for 40 dating to Sept. 14. Davis still has four years left on his $161 million contract, and Baltimore is hesitant to cut him loose. “I’m seeing a guy who’s giving a great effort. It’s just not happening right now,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We wanted to get him off to a good start. It’s not the start he wanted to get off to, but I’m going to continue to play him and continue to support him and find the right matchups for him to try to get him off the schneid early.”

ONE STEP AT A TIME

Now that the Reds halted their 30-inning scoreless drought, they’ll try to go further and snap a seven-game skid when they play their series finale at Pittsburgh. Cincinnati’s longest streak without a run since 2015 ended Saturday when Kyle Farmer hit a two-run homer in the third. But the Reds are winless since taking their season opener against the Pirates under new manager David Bell. They entered Saturday with a major league-low .157 batting average and only three homers. “We’ve been struggling to get the wins and we need to do that for sure,” Bell said. “But at the same time, I think scoring five runs after not scoring for a few days was big. I think we can build on that.”

STARTING HOT

Cleveland’s starting pitchers have dominated Toronto over the first three games of their four-game set, and Mike Clevinger looks to do the same in the finale. Trevor Bauer pitched seven hitless innings Thursday, Shane Bieber allowed two runs in six innings Friday and Carlos Carrasco became the first Indians pitcher since at least 1908 to strike out 12 over five innings Saturday. Clevinger struck out a career-high 12 in his first start this season against the White Sox, and more swings and misses are likely against a Blue Jays club that has scored two or fewer runs in seven of its 10 games.

MAD MAX

Max Scherzer (0-2, 2.13 ERA) makes his third start in Washington’s first eight games of the season when the Nationals play the rubber game of their series against the NL East rival New York Mets at Citi Field. The three-time Cy Young Award winner hasn’t lost three straight starts since 2015, his first season in Washington. He faces Zack Wheeler and a Mets team that is 6-2 after hitting five homers off Nationals pitching Saturday.

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