LEADING OFF: Soto swings away, Harvey’s home debut with Reds

By The Associated Press

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

Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto (22) celebrates his three-run home run with Pedro Severino (29) and Mark Reynolds (14) during the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Monday, May 21, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Nationals outfielder Juan Soto looks to add to his hit total. The youngest player in the majors at 19, he launched a 442-foot home run Monday night in his first big league start. Soto also singled while driving in three runs at home against San Diego. According to Baseball-Reference.com, he was the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Washington teammate Bryce Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Gerrit Cole starts at home for Houston, facing the Giants. The right-hander has been dominant in his first season with the Astros, going 4-1 with a 1.75 ERA while striking out 93 in 61 2/3 innings.

It’s another rematch of the 2016 World Series when the Chicago Cubs host Cleveland at Wrigley Field. Trevor Bauer (3-3, 2.59 ERA) pitches for the Indians after throwing eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts last Wednesday in Detroit. Tyler Chatwood (3-3, 3.14) goes for the Cubs. Bauer and Chatwood both won when the teams split a two-game series last month in Cleveland. Of course, it was the Cubs who rallied to win the World Series in seven games two years ago, taking Game 7 in extra innings at Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

For the fourth time already this season, Braves right-hander Brandon McCarthy pitches against Vince Velasquez of the Phillies. It was the same thing Monday night when Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz and Philadelphia’s Nick Pivetta squared off for the fourth time this year. McCarthy (4-2, 5.05 ERA) will look to improve to 4-0 against the Phillies. He has a 2.25 ERA in three starts spanning 16 innings. Velasquez (4-4, 4.37) is 0-3 versus the Braves. He’s lasted just 12 2/3 innings in those three outings.

Matt Harvey makes his home debut for Cincinnati against Pittsburgh. Acquired in a May 8 trade with the Mets, the former ace has started twice on the road for the Reds with mixed results in a pair of no-decisions. He threw four shutout innings of one-hit ball at Dodger Stadium and then was touched up for three runs and seven hits in four innings at San Francisco. One bright spot: Harvey hasn’t walked a batter since joining the Reds’ rotation, striking out seven. Jameson Taillon gets the ball as the Pirates try to snap a three-game skid. He is 0-3 in his last seven starts.

Both starters in the Yankees-Rangers matchup have had a lot of extra time to rest. Texas lefty Cole Hamels (2-4) will be pitching for the first time in 11 days, and Domingo German (0-1) is going to the mound for the first time in 10 days. Hamels was scratched from his last turn in the rotation because of neck stiffness. German, a rookie right-hander, got pushed back because New York had two scheduled off days in what turned out to be a rainy week.

Arizona has lost five in a row and 11 of 12, scoring just 24 runs in that span. The Diamondbacks were playing well atop the NL West when their skid began. Matt Koch looks for big improvement in his start at Milwaukee — in his last outing, the Brewers tagged him for four home runs in 4 1/3 innings.


More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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