LEADING OFF: Acuna provides instant pop, Darvish gets closer
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
Atlanta rookie Ronald Acuna Jr. has homered five games in a row — at 20, he’s the youngest major leaguer to do that. He’s also hit leadoff home runs in three straight, connecting the last two days on the first pitch Miami threw.
Acuna later added his 19th homer with a three-run drive in the seventh inning Tuesday night.
Brady Anderson was last player with so much leadoff success, homering four straight times to start games for Baltimore in 1996.
Acuna has matched the Atlanta record for consecutive games with a home run set by Brian McCann in 2006. Acuna will try to keep the streaks going when the Braves face Jose Urena and the Marlins at SunTrust Park.
Minus MVP Jose Altuve, the AL West-leading Astros are struggling. They’ve matched a season high with five straight losses, have dropped nine in a row at home, and their lead in the AL West is down to just a game over surging Oakland. Houston will try to reverse the slides when Gerrit Cole (10-5, 2.75 ERA) starts vs. Colorado lefty Tyler Anderson (6-4, 3.94) at Minute Maid Park.
Mariners ace James Paxton will see how he’s feeling, a day after he was hit in the left forearm by Jed Lowrie’s line drive. The big lefty was forced to leave in the first inning at Oakland and diagnosed with a bruise. Paxton is 10-5, including a no-hitter vs. Toronto, and a 3.68 ERA for the playoff contenders.
The Cubs will check on Yu Darvish and if he’s OK, the right-hander could go on a minor league rehab assignment. Darvish threw about 55 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday.
Sidelined because of triceps and elbow injuries, Darvish has not pitched since he won at Cincinnati on May 20. He is 1-3 with a 4.95 ERA in eight starts after signing a $126 million, six-year deal with Chicago in February.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler could return from a strained left hamstring when the Red Sox play at Philadelphia. The 36-year-old was sent from the Angels to Boston late last month before the trade deadline. In three games for his new team, the four-time All-Star went 4 for 10, scored three runs, stole two bases and made a couple of sharp plays in the field.
Chris Archer starts for the third time since being traded from Tampa Bay to Pittsburgh. The two-time All-Star hasn’t gone more than five innings so far for the Pirates, and will try to add a little length when he pitches at Minnesota.
Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler (7-6, 3.82 ERA) tries to win his sixth straight start when he pitches at Camden Yards. He held the Orioles scoreless over seven innings June 6, but did not get a decision.