MLB-SCHEDULE

Banged-up Astros to get Springer back

UNDATED (AP) — All-Star outfielder George Springer is expected to come off the disabled list for the Houston Astros when the defending champions visit Oakland for the opener of a pivotal three-game series between AL West contenders. Last year's World Series MVP has been sidelined with a sprained left thumb.

Charlie Morton pitches for the banged-up Astros, who have a two-game lead in the division over the surprising Athletics. Edwin Jackson gets the ball for Oakland.

In other games on the Friday schedule:

— Yadier Molina and the Cardinals host Milwaukee in a matchup of NL Central contenders chasing the first-place Cubs. Rookie right-hander Jack Flaherty starts for St. Louis, which had its eight-game winning streak snapped Thursday night with a 5-4 loss to Washington. Flaherty struck out a career-high 13 in his last start against the Brewers on June 22. Freddy Peralta goes for Milwaukee.

— Cole Hamels looks to keep it going for the Cubs at Pittsburgh. Hamels is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA since Chicago acquired him from Texas at the trade deadline. Trevor Williams starts for the Pirates.

— San Francisco turns to right-hander Casey Kelly to start in Cincinnati after placing standout rookie Dereck Rodriguez on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. Kelly is the son of Reds bench coach Pat Kelly. Rodriguez, the son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, is 6-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 14 outings this season. The Giants have gone 9-3 in his starts. He was injured during the scrum between the Giants and Dodgers on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Casey Kelly pitched five scoreless innings of relief Saturday against Pittsburgh in his first major league appearance since 2016, then took the loss Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

— After setting a franchise record by scoring 24 runs Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader at Philadelphia, the Mets send Noah Syndergaard to the mound against Phillies ace Aaron Nola. With the help of 11 unearned runs, New York became the first NL team since the 1933 New York Giants to score 15 runs in consecutive games. The Mets routed Baltimore 16-5 on Wednesday night. They also are the only team since 1900 to have a win and a loss by at least 20 runs in the same season.

RUSSIA-WORLD CUP STADIUMS

Calls in Russia to probe World Cup flood damage

MOSCOW (AP) — An influential campaign group close to the Kremlin has called for an investigation into how stadiums and infrastructure built for the World Cup have failed to cope with floods.

An embankment outside the stadium in Volgograd collapsed onto a road on the day of the final, while leaks were reported at the stadium in Nizhny Novgorod during heavy rain last month which also caused flooding nearby.

The All-Russian People's Front, which was launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2011, says regional officials should investigate the cases.