LEADING OFF: Harper’s homers, Indians go deep, Cueto warms

Sports

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper is doused following his grand slam ended the team’s baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 7-5. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

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

BRYCE BLASTS

Quiet for much of the season, Bryce Harper is making a lot of noise lately for the Phillies.

Harper hollered as he ran around the bases after hitting a game-ending grand slam that rallied Philadelphia over the Cubs 7-5 Thursday night for a three-game sweep. Harper has seven homers and 15 RBIs in the last 12 games, keeping the Phils in the thick of the NL wild-card chase.

Harper is batting .253 with 25 home runs and 87 RBIs. His slam was his biggest hit since signing a $330 million, 13-year contract to join the Phillies in spring training.

“Before I went to the plate, I touched my heart and I was thinking to myself: Why am I not jittery? Why am I not excited? But that’s just how I am,” Harper said. “I go up there and each at-bat is the same. I don’t think about bases loaded. I try to get a pitch I can drive and hopefully good things happen. I love those moments. I love those opportunities. I think it helped me a lot from a young age going through those emotions and having those opportunities at 8, 9, 10 years old in big-time games going to different states and cities playing for a lot of teams.”

The Phillies next take on San Diego at Citizens Bank Park.

TEEING OFF

Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana and the Indians began their week-plus in New York by routing the Yankees 19-5. Cleveland clubbed seven home runs, matching the most ever allowed in a game by the Yankees.

Rookie right-hander Aaron Civale (1-1, 1.00 ERA) makes his fourth major league start, taking on Yankees righty Masahiro Tanaka (8-6, 4.64).

After a four-game series in the Bronx wraps up this week, the Indians get a day off before playing three in Queens against the Mets.

Also from the playoff-contending Indians: Right-hander Carlos Carrasco, diagnosed in June with a treatable form of leukemia, plans to throw batting practice at Class A Lake County.

HEATING UP

The Giants could accelerate their timeline for pitcher Johnny Cueto to help with their pursuit of an NL wild card. The two-time All-Star had Tommy John surgery last August.

Cueto gave up one run in 2 2/3 innings Thursday for Class A San Jose on a limited pitch count. He struck out seven in four scoreless innings in his first two rehab appearances in the rookie Arizona League.

The original plan was to have the 33-year-old righty make at least two more rehab starts after that, but that could change.

“We’ll see where we are at. I’m not saying we’re going to do anything. I’m just saying that we will re-evaluate,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said before the game.

CHECK HIM

The Dodgers will see how outfielder Kristopher Negrón is feeling, a day after he scraped his nose and forehead when he did a face plant in a vain attempt to catch Lewis Brinson’s double in Miami. Concussion tests and X-rays were negative.

STINGY

Rangers left-hander Mike Minor has pitched 16 consecutive scoreless innings, including back-to-back 1-0 wins. The All-Star threw eight innings Sunday at Milwaukee, becoming the first pitcher to win consecutive road starts with one run of support since Tampa Bay’s Steve Trachsel in 2000, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Minor (11-6, 2.90 ERA) is home to face Minnesota and Jake Odorizzi (13-5, 3.44), who has made 13 starts this season when he allowed no more than one earned run.

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