Jose Bautista

Robinson Cano picks his AL Home Run Derby team

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There was no talking Josh Hamilton into taking part in the Home Run Derby, so Robinson Cano went with some pretty good fallbacks Monday: Jose Bautista, Prince Fielder and Mark Trumbo.

Bautista leads the AL with 26 homers at the moment, one more than Hamilton. Cano and Trumbo both have 20 apiece, while Fielder lags behind with 12. All told, the AL Home Run Derby team has 78 homers this year, compared to 68 for Matt Kemp’s NL squad, which is comprised of himself, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Beltran.

Besides Hamilton, David Ortiz, who participated the last two years, opted out of consideration for the AL squad this year. Adam Dunn, who is third in the AL with 24 homers, is a surprising omission, but he too may have declined.

Cano was named captain of this year’s squad by virtue of winning the Home Run Derby last year. He hit 12 homers in the finale to edge Adrian Gonzalez.

John Jaso hits for the cycle

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 27:  John Jaso #28 of the Pittsburgh Pirates looks on during the game against the Seattle Mariners during inter-league play on July 27, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. Jaso’s cycle is the first to be hit at PNC Park. It’s also the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.

Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.

Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.

Freddie Freeman extends hitting streak to 30 games

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17: Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves waits to bat in the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 17, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
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Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games with a single to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s win against the Phillies. Prior to that at-bat, he had grounded out, been hit by a pitch, and walked.

Freeman entered Wednesday night batting .382/.477/.673 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 24 runs scored over his past 29 games. Though his numbers are lacking compared to National League MVP Award favorite Kris Bryant, Freeman will get some top-five votes. On the season, he entered Wednesday hitting .307/.404/.576 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI, and 99 runs scored in 673 plate appearances.

Freeman’s 30-game hitting streak is the longest such streak in the majors this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. He has also reached base safely in 46 consecutive games.