Edinson Volquez

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Volquez to start possible clincher after dad’s death

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NEW YORK (AP) Edinson Volquez will have his dad on his mind Sunday night when he tries to pitch the Kansas City Royals to their first World Series title in 30 years.

Volquez’s father, 63-year-old Daniel Volquez, died of heart failure hours before the right-hander started the opener Tuesday. Volquez said he got the news after Kansas City’s 5-4, 14-inning win, then flew home to the Dominican Republic.

He returned Saturday just before the start of Game 4, when the Royals rallied for a 5-3 win over the New York Mets and a 3-1 World Series lead.

“I wish he could be here right now and enjoy every game that I pitch,” Volquez said. “And tomorrow I’m going to be thinking of my mom, and the rest of my family is going to be so happy to see me pitch. My mom told me before I got here: `Go over there and enjoy the game like you always do and be proud. We are proud of you.'”

Volquez said he played catch a little bit on Friday. He wore a hooded sweat shirt in the Kansas City dugout during Game 4, and he may have his father’s name with him on the Citi Field mound.

“Inside my hat – put it inside my hat or in my glove,” he said. “I haven’t done it yet, but tomorrow maybe I will.”

Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakes, Chris Young and the rest of the Royals greeted Volquez when he returned.

“Every one of us gave him a big hug. We love the dude. He’s our brother,” pitcher Danny Duffy said. “Under the circumstances I don’t know if I’d be strong enough but he’s an amazing teammate, an amazing human being.”

Volquez allowed three runs over six innings in a no-decision in the opener, and Royals manager Ned Yost did not hesitate to select him for Game 5.

“He’s worked so hard to get to this point,” Yost said. “And it was like (teammate) Chris Young when his dad passed away. Chris just knew how proud his dad was of him and that his dad would want him to carry on. His dad would want him to be on that mound and helping his team win. And I imagine that Edi’s dad would want the same thing.”

Volquez said his family made the correct decision when they elected not to break the news before Tuesday’s start.

“If my wife told me,” he said, “I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to pitch. She decided to tell me later. And I think that was the right choice.”

Mets manager Terry Collins, whose father died in February, had some insight into Volquez’s emotions.

“I’m sure the one thing his father would want him to do is pitch Game 5,” Collins said. “So you’re challenged by that, the grief, and yet, hey, look, you know what would make him proud and make him happy, and that’s to go out and do what you do best and that’s to pitch.”

“So I salute him because I know how hard it will be for him. Right now he’s got something else to pitch for, and that’s the memory of his dad. He’s already tough enough,” he said.

Kansas City counts on Volquez. Signed to a $20 million, two-year contract, he led the team in wins (13) and ERA (3.55) during the regular season while throwing 200 1-3 innings. Volquez is 1-2 with a 4.37 ERA in four starts this postseason.

His mother told him this week how much his accomplishments meant to her husband:

“He passed away,” Volquez quoted his mom as saying, “but he was really happy to see you pitch in the big leagues, your dream.”

Volquez thought back to his years, what his father did to start him on his baseball career.

“He was everything for me. He was one of the greatest men,” the pitcher said. “I remember he bought me my first glove and my first spikes, brought me to the field. He knew that’s what I want to be.”

George Springer, out since July 2 with fractured right wrist, expected to take BP on Monday

George Springer

George Springer is finally beginning to make legit progress in his recovery from a fractured right wrist.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch told Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle on Sunday afternoon that the 25-year-old outfielder is lined up to take batting practice ahead of the Astros’ series opener against the Yankees on Monday evening in New York.

“It’s very encouraging,” said Hinch. “That’s when it starts to feel real that he’s becoming more and more of an active player, when his normal routine is like any other player on our team. … I’m thrilled with the progress that he’s made.”

Springer has been on the disabled list since July 2, a day after he took an Edinson Volquez pitch off his right arm. He was sporting an .822 OPS, 13 homers, and 14 steals in 75 games before the injury.

Springer should be ready to rejoin the AL West-leading Astros in early September.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

Hisahi Iwakuma

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Mariners 3, Orioles 0: Hisashi Iwakuma with the no-no. He walked three and struck out seven. It’s been a not-great year for both Iwakuma and the M’s, but this will at least give them something to put on the highlight reel. You’ve probably seen the final out highlight a few times since yesterday, but don’t sleep on Kyle Seager’s sweet catch in foul territory in the ninth to keep things going:

Mets 3, Rockies 0: Midseason additions Juan Uribe and Yoenis Cespedes each knock in a run, Cespedes on a homer, and Jacob deGrom continues to be ridiculous, striking out 10 in seven innings. Question: did the Rockies even bring their bats to New York?

Indians 2, Yankees 1: The Yankees; offensive struggles continue, this time managing only one run against Danny Salazar and the Tribe. And with that New York falls out of first place in the AL East. Maybe, like the Nationals, they have a veteran on the team who thinks it’s actually better to be in second place. I sort of doubt it, but I didn’t think such a beast existed before yesterday, so who knows?

Blue Jays 10, Athletics 3: Ten straight wins for Toronto and that puts them in first place. Chris Colabello and Justin Smoak, each castoffs from other teams, went deep with three-run shots. Josh Donaldson, who the A’s figured would be cool to trade away, knocked in two more runs giving him 85 on the year. And R.A. Dickey pitched well, giving the Jays their sixteenth straight game in which their starter has allowed three or fewer earned runs. They have one more this afternoon against the A’s and then weekend they face the Yankees in Toronto. It’s gonna be nuts.

Marlins 14, Red Sox 6: The Fish put up a ten-run sixth inning during which rookie J.T. Realmuto drove in five all by himself. He drove in six runs overall on the day. All this from a guy whose name sounds like something a kid make up on the spot when caught by a security guard with a spray paint can or something.

“Hey, you! Put that can down! What’s your name, kid?”

“It’s um . . . J.T. . . uhhh . . .Re . . .al . . .muto.”

“No, wait a minute. I know your parents. You’re Beth and Ryan Hogard’s son. That’s it, I’m calling your father!”

“Aw, man.”

Meanwhile, David Ortiz hit two homers in a winning effort in a losing cause.

Astros 2, Giants 0: Five pitchers, led by Scott Feldman, combine to toss a five-hit shutout for the Astros. Chris Heston allowed a homer to Colby Rasmus but otherwise pitched well. Ya need help, though.

Phillies 7, Diamondbacks 6: Down by one, the Phillies put up a four-run sixth inning capped by a Cameron Rupp three-run homer. He also had a sac fly in the game giving him four RBI. Rupp also made a nice swipe tag on a play at the plate that went to replay review and was upheld. Here’s Dbacks manager Chip Hale after the call went against him:

“I thought he was safe. I guess it wasn’t enough evidence,” Hale said. “That’s what you always hear. That’s their excuse. Not enough evidence. That’s the way it goes.”

You mad, bro?  The Phillies avoid the sweep. 

Reds 7, Padres 3: Matt Kemp hit a first inning three-run homer, but that’s all the Padres would do. Joey Votto hit a two-run homer. He also scored on a balk by James Shields, who has not won in 13 starts. Only three years left on that $75 million deal.


Rays 9, Braves 6: The Braves blew a four-run lead in the seventh when the Rays put up a six-spot. Curt Casali hit a two-run homer that inning along with a James Loney RBI double and a Logan Forsythe sacrifice fly. There was also a wild pitch and some clownshoes Braves defense in the mix. Personally, I spent my evening watching the Perseid meteor shower. It was far more engaging.

Cardinals 4, Pirates 2: Michael Wacha beats Gerrit Cole, giving the former his 14th win and leaving the latter at 14 wins, which ties both of them with Felix Hernandez for tops in the game. This was the Yadier Molina show, though. He had an RBI triple thanks to a poor decision in the outfield by Gregory Polanco, who let the ball get by him. He also stole a dang base — third base! — and threw out Polanco trying to steal.

Cubs 3, Brewers 2: Assuming, as it often safe to assume, that a wild pitch is a joint failure of catcher and pitcher, Miguel Montero contributed to this one going to extra innings when a wild pitch went past him in the ninth to tie the score. But he atoned just fine, thanks, by hitting the walkoff homer for the Cubs sixth straight win and their 12th in 13 games. Chicago is only a game and a half behind Pittsburgh for second place in the Central and first place in the NL Wild Card race.

White Sox 3, Angels 2: Avisail Garcia doubled in Jose Abreu in the 13th for the walkoff win. There was some controversy here in the ninth inning when the Angels tied it up, though. Angels shortstop Erick Aybar struck out to lead off the ninth against Dave Robertson. The ball was in the dirt, so catcher Tyler Flowers reached out to tag Aybar on the leg and was called out, but Aybar still broke for first base. A replay challenge ensued on whether the tag was made. After the out was confirmed, Mike Scioscia came out to argue and/or get an explanation from the home plate umpire. As he did so, he stood in front of home plate. After the game Robertson, who went on to blow the save that inning and force extras, called the move “bush league” by Scioscia, claiming that he was delaying the game by arguing and implying that he did so in that exact spot to keep Robertson from getting loose during the replay delay. Scioscia denied it. Fun, fun times.

Tigers 7, Royals 4: Detroit rallied with a four-run eighth inning and added one more in the ninth. The rally started against Edinson Volquez, who Ned Yost left to begin the eighth inning rather than go to Kelvin Herrera. Herrera was eventually called upon and let a couple of inherited runners score. Defensible given where Volquez’s pitch count was, I suppose, and the Royals lead in the Central is so big that it kind of doesn’t matter I guess. It’s the kind of decision that Yost would be wise to avoid when the games matter a bit more in October.

Twins 11, Rangers 1: Miguel Sano homered twice as the Twins win in a laugher. Both of his shots were absolute rockets that went upper deck. They were almost as impressive as the Perseid meteor shower.

Dodgers 3, Nationals 0: Clayton Kershaw with eight strikeouts in eight shutout innings. He was perfect through six. He also crossed the 200-strikeout mark and it was only August 12. It’s his sixth straight year of 200Ks, which matches Koufax and Tom Seaver for the lead in that department in the National League. I assumed Nolan Ryan, like, doubled up on that at some point but even he never had six-straight 200K seasons. Which is sort of amazing to me, but that’s how streaks go I guess. And that’s how crazy consistent Kershaw has been.