LEADING OFF: Stanton chases record; NL Central showdown

A look at what's happening all around the majors today:

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AUGUST RUSH

Giancarlo Stanton has two games left to match Sammy Sosa's mark for home runs in a month. Stanton tied the record Tuesday for long balls in August with 18, and he's two shy of the 20 Sosa hit in June 1998. Stanton has 51 homers through 131 games, approximating the pace set by Sosa (51) and Mark McGwire (53) when they surpassed Roger Maris' longtime record of 61 home runs in a season in 1998. Stanton will face Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg before Miami returns home to begin a series against Philadelphia on Thursday.

CENTRAL SHOWDOWN

Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez and Brewers righty Chase Anderson square off to close out a two-game series between NL Central playoff contenders. Martinez (10-9, 3.48 ERA) has won three straight decisions and is 4-1 in his past six starts. Anderson (7-3, 2.87) has allowed three runs over 10 innings in two starts since returning from a left oblique strain.

DOUBLE DIP

After getting rained out Tuesday night, the Indians and Yankees play a single-admission doubleheader in New York. Left-hander Jaime Garcia starts the opener for the Yankees. In the second game, it will be rookie Jordan Montgomery (7-6), who will be recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Cleveland will counter with Trevor Bauer (13-8) and Ryan Merritt (1-0). New York slugger Aaron Judge will return to the lineup after sitting out Monday. CC Sabathia (10-5) had been scheduled to pitch for the Yankees but will be pushed back to start Thursday against the AL East-leading Red Sox. Cleveland, which leads the AL Central, has won five straight. The Indians will now play two road doubleheaders in a three-day span, with a day off in between. They have a split doubleheader against Detroit on Friday.

BACK ON THE BOARD

Finally off the schneid, the Royals will send Jason Vargas out to face the Rays in a bid to make up ground in the crowded AL wild-card race. Kansas City ended its scoreless streak Tuesday night at 45 innings, three shy of the major league record held by the 1968 Chicago Cubs and 1906 Philadelphia Athletics. Despite losing four straight shutouts during the skid, the Royals are still among eight teams that entered Tuesday within three games of the final AL postseason spot.

ON THE MEND

With a four-game lead in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox are trying to get healthy and whole for the stretch drive. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia (left knee) plans to run the bases for the second straight day in Toronto. If all goes well, Pedroia hopes to return to the lineup during Boston's four-game series with the second-place Yankees beginning Thursday night in New York. In addition, David Price (left elbow) is expected to throw off a mound Wednesday for the first time since his July 22 start against the Angels.

RAY'S RETURN

Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray (10-5, 3.06 ERA) makes his second start since returning from a scary injury when the Diamondbacks face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ray was sharp last Thursday, holding the New York Mets to a run in five innings of a 3-2 win in his first start since being struck on the head by a line drive in July. Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-6, 3.34) pitches for the Dodgers.

PHILLY TWINBILL

Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins looks to resume his power-packed start at the plate when Philadelphia and Atlanta play a traditional doubleheader after getting rained out Tuesday night. Hoskins is batting .395 during a 10-game hitting streak and has an RBI in six straight games. His 25 RBIs in August are the most by a Phillies rookie in a month since Willie Montanez had 29 in June 1971. Hoskins failed to homer Monday night, ending his streak at five consecutive games. But he is the fastest player ever to reach 11 home runs, doing it in 18 games and 64 at-bats. The last-place Phillies have gone 12-2 against the Braves this season and won all eight meetings at Citizens Bank Park.

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

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