LEADING OFF: Rockies-Twins in surprising 1st-place matchup
A look at what's happening all around the majors today:
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
Two of baseball's biggest surprises square off when the Colorado Rockies visit Minnesota in an interleague matchup of first-place teams. Ervin Santana (6-1, 1.50 ERA) starts for the Twins against rookie German Marquez (1-2, 4.88). Both pitchers are coming off excellent outings - Santana threw two-hit ball for seven shutout innings at Cleveland, and Marquez limited the World Series champion Cubs to three hits in eight scoreless innings. The 22-year-old Marquez took a no-hitter into the seventh against Chicago and even had a two-run single for his first major league hit.
A GIANT 20?
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw goes for his 20th career win over the Giants when he starts against Johnny Cueto at AT&T Park. Kershaw is 19-9 with 1.66 ERA overall vs. San Francisco, including 11-4 with a 1.36 ERA by the Bay. Kershaw has already faced the Giants twice this year, while Cueto has opposed the Dodgers twice. In their one head-to-head matchup, Cueto won at Dodger Stadium.
Royals left-hander Jason Vargas takes a 13-inning scoreless streak into his start against the upstart Yankees. The 34-year-old Vargas has suddenly emerged as one of the AL's top performers, leading the league with a 1.01 ERA through seven starts. He'll get his toughest test yet against Aaron Judge and a high-powered New York lineup, which leads the AL in runs, homers and on-base percentage. Big righty Michael Pineda is up for the Yankees.
TRY, TRY AGAIN
Embattled right-hander Matt Harvey tries to get back on track in his second start for the New York Mets since serving a three-game suspension imposed by the team for skipping a home game after a late night on the town. Harvey lost at Milwaukee last Friday, dropping to 2-3 with a 5.62 ERA. This time, he returns to Arizona - the site of his successful major league debut in 2012.
Freddie Freeman and Atlanta swept a two-game series in Toronto, and now they'll try to take two more from the Blue Jays at home. The teams switch stadiums without a break, with Mike Foltynewicz starting for the Braves vs. Joe Biagini. Freeman kept up his torrid pace and is hitting .343 with 14 home runs and 25 RBIs.