LEADING OFF: Jays roll into Baltimore; Porcello seeks 18th W
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
Josh Donaldson and the first-place Blue Jays roll into a pivotal series at AL East-rival Baltimore. Donaldson had his first three-homer game Sunday in a 9-6 win that gave Toronto a sweep of Minnesota. Fans in Canada threw caps onto the field to celebrate the home run hat trick. The Blue Jays hold a slim lead in the division over the Red Sox and Orioles.
Rick Porcello (17-3, 3.23 ERA) tries to become the first 18-game winner in the majors when the Red Sox host the Rays. Boston will be without second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who left the team Sunday night following a death in the family. The Red Sox did not put him on the bereavement list, though, and he's expected to return Tuesday.
TUESDAY MORNING IN JAPAN
Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish and Mariners opponent Hisashi Iwakuma both came to the big leagues before the 2012 season. They will start against each other in the majors for the third time - and first since April 2013 - in the opener of a three-game series between AL West rivals. Darvish and Iwakuma split their previous two meetings in the majors, with each winning at home. They squared off six times in Japan, with Darvish earning three wins and Iwakuma two.
ACE IS UP
Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta (16-5, 2.62 ERA), leading the NL in wins, opens a seven-game homestand against the Pirates. Last time out, Arrieta gave up two hits in eight scoreless innings to beat San Diego.
In his first major league start this season, Mets right-hander Rafael Montero faces All-Star ace Jose Fernandez (13-7, 2.91 ERA) and the Marlins in the opener of an important four-game series between wild-card hopefuls at Citi Field. Set to be recalled from Double-A Binghamton, Montero was tabbed to fill in for Jacob deGrom, who is skipping a turn to regroup from two poor starts. Miami, however, scored only 13 runs on the 2-4 homestand it just completed.
The Twins have lost a season-worst 10 consecutive games heading into their series at first-place Cleveland. Left-hander Hector Santiago (10-8, 5.16 ERA), who starts the opener, has not pitched since Aug. 20 because of a sore left thumb. Minnesota has allowed eight or more runs in a franchise-high six straight games.