LEADING OFF: Mets surge, Astros go yard, Aquino’s power

Sports
Luis Guillorme

New York Mets’ Luis Guillorme is greeted by teammates after hitting a home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

METS MAGIC

Ace Jacob deGrom (7-7, 2.77) and the streaking Mets go for their ninth straight win and a three-game sweep of Washington.

New York has won 15 of 16, posting a pair of late-inning comeback wins this weekend at energized Citi Field. The Mets have pulled within a half-game of Washington for the first NL wild card.

DeGrom is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his past six starts. He’ll try to stay hot against Aníbal Sanchez (7-6, 3.67) in the series finale.

ASTROS BLAST OFF

Coming off the highest-scoring game in franchise history, Houston tries for its ninth straight win when it takes on Baltimore.

The Astros teed off at Camden Yards on Saturday night, with rookie Yordan Alvarez hitting three home runs in a 23-2 romp. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa also homered as Houston set a team record with 13 extra-base hits.

The Orioles have allowed a major league-leading 240 homers and lost five straight.

Justin Verlander (15-4, 2.68 ERA), who has won his last five starts, pitches for the AL West leaders against Baltimore righty Asher Wojciechowski (2-5, 4.89 ERA).

MAKING A NAME

Reds rookie Aristides Aquino has hit seven home runs in his first 10 games, tying the record set by Colorado’s Trevor Story in 2016.

Aquino connected three times Saturday night against the Cubs. With those whiplash swings, the 25-year-old outfielder who struggled to escape the lowest levels of minor league ball has become an overnight sensation in Cincinnati.

Aquino has homered in four straight games, one shy of the team mark. The only other Reds rookie to homer in four straight was Eric Davis in 1984 — they share the same No. 44 and have a similar swing.

Next up for Aquino is Chicago lefty Jon Lester, who gave 11 runs — matching his career high — in his last start against Oakland.

TWILIGHT TIME

Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta (8-8, 4.41 ERA) faces San Francisco in his sixth start since revealing he has a bone spur on his pitching elbow that will likely require surgery. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 with a 4.34 ERA over his last six starts.

Giants lefty Connor Menez (0-1, 5.73) makes his third career start.

Both pitchers might benefit from a late-afternoon start at Oracle Park in this week’s Sunday night telecast, when hitters could have trouble seeing the ball in the twilight.

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