Rays' Carlos Pena homers in sixth straight game

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carlos pena headshot rays.jpgRays slugger Carlos Pena drilled yet another home run in Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Marlins, topping Jose Canseco’s franchise record of consecutive games with a long ball.

Pena has homered in six straight contests and is now chasing the all-time record held by Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Dale Long, who all homered in eight straight games.  The Tampa Bay left-hander had a .169 batting average when this show of power began last Sunday and is now hitting .196.  His slugging percentage has also risen exponentially to .439 and he’s among the league-leaders in home runs with 15.

The 32-year-old Pena is in a contract year, meaning he will be seeking the big bucks in just a handful of months.  He was off to a horrendous start, but teams in need of a first baseman or DH have now certainly taken notice.

Due in large part to Pena’s hot bat, the Rays have won four of their last six games and sit atop the American League East with a MLB-best 40-22 record.  The Yankees trail by one game.

White Sox won’t make bid for Bryce Harper

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The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.

Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.

Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.

The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.