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Can’t stop the Yankees: New York wins in Baltimore to reach MLB-best 26-9

It's been all smiles for Jose Trevino (right), Aaron Hicks, and the Yankees as they race away from the field in the American League East.Nick Wass/Associated Press

Luis Severino allowed one hit in six innings, and Jose Trevino became the first New York catcher with a home run this year when he hit a three-run drive in the fourth to lift the surging Yankees over the Orioles, 6-2, Monday night in Baltimore.

Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rizzo added back-to-back solo homers in the ninth for the Yankees, who won for the 19th time in 22 games. New York (26-9) is off to one of the best 35-game starts in franchise history. Only the 1939 and 1928 teams, at 28-7, were better at this point.

Anthony Santander homered twice for Baltimore’s only runs, but the Orioles managed only one other hit in the game.

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Kyle Bradish (1-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 4⅓ innings in his fourth career start. He walked three and struck out six.

New York’s starting pitchers have allowed three runs or fewer in 33 of 35 starts this season. Rizzo, Stanton, and Aaron Judge — who had the night off — are the first trio of Yankees hitters to reach double digits in home runs by the team’s 35th game.

Late long ball gets Tigers past Rays

Harold Castro hit his first home run of the year with two outs in the ninth inning, a tiebreaking shot that sent the Detroit Tigers past the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2, in St. Petersburg, Fla., for their season-best fourth straight victory.

Castro connected off Andrew Kittredge (3-1) for his first long ball since going deep in consecutive games against Oakland in early September last year. He had three home runs in 2021.

Harold Castro delivered the big blast for the Tigers.Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Michael Fulmer (2-2) got the win in relief and Gregory Soto pitched the ninth for his sixth save in seven tries.

Brett Phillips had three of Tampa Bay’s six hits, including his third home run of the season, which helped the Rays erase a 2-0 deficit in the sixth. Corey Kluber allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. He struck out eight, including five in a row.

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Albert Pujols’ pitching debut was notable, but it was his Cardinals teammates who broke a record

That Albert Pujols took the mound as a pitcher for the first time at age 42 and did not set a record is all you need to know about the depth of Major League Baseball’s record books.

There he was Sunday, a hulking first baseman in the waning days of his celebrated career, throwing 61 mile-per-hour fastballs and 54 m.p.h. curves in the ninth inning to help close a blowout 15-6 win over the San Francisco Giants without taxing the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen. Pujols was lit up to the tune of three hits (two homers), a walk, and four earned runs, yet he walked away with the title of second-oldest player to pitch for the first time since at least 1929.

At 42 years, 119 days old, Pujols fell 106 days short of Lena Blackburne, the manager of the Chicago White Sox, who inserted himself into a 17-2 blowout loss to the Red Sox in 1929 at 42 years, 225 days old. Both were older than Satchel Paige, who got into an American League game for the first time at 42 years, 2 days old in 1948 after having started his major league career in the Negro leagues in 1927.

Despite the poor results and the lack of a superlative, Pujols, who blossomed into a much happier version of himself once he landed with the Los Angeles Dodgers last season and who seems to have carried that over in his return to St. Louis, was amused by the whole thing.

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“A dream come true to say that I did it,” he told reporters. “It was fun. It wasn’t fun giving up two bombs. I think the fans had a good time. I’m sure the guys that took me deep did, too.”

At least Pujols can hang his hat on having hit 677 more home runs than Blackburne, a light-hitting infielder who was technically still a player-manager in 1929 but had appeared in only one other game since 1919. Pujols’ appearance was a hit on social media, and Evan Longoria of the Giants was so amused after advancing two runners with a single that he asked to have the ball retrieved for him.

The coverage in The New York Times of Blackburne’s feat, in which he allowed a two-run single to Jack Rothrock, who was thrown out to end the inning trying to stretch it into a double, was fairly minimal. Irving Vaughan of The Chicago Tribune seemed absolutely disgusted with the White Sox, declaring they “are no longer comical; they are pathetic.”

There was a record broken Sunday, however. Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina broke the major league record for most wins together as a battery — 203, to the 202 amassed by Warren Spahn and Del Crandall of the Braves from 1949-1963.

St. Louis was off Monday, its scheduled game at the New York Mets postponed because of rain in the forecast. The teams scheduled a single-admission doubleheader for Tuesday at Citi Field, their first meetings since getting into a bench-clearing scuffle last month in St. Louis.

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Johnny Cueto back in the majors with White Sox

Two-time All-Star Johnny Cueto was brought up from Triple-A Charlotte by the Chicago White Sox, and the righthander was slated to start the opener of a five-game series at Kansas City.

Cueto agreed to a minor league deal with the White Sox in April. His contract includes a $4 million salary in the majors and a $210,000 salary in the minors. He went 0-1 with a 5.17 ERA in four starts with Charlotte.

Cueto spent the previous six seasons with San Francisco, going 7-7 with a 4.08 ERA in 22 games, 21 starts, for the Giants last year. He broke into the majors with Cincinnati in 2008.

Infielder Danny Mendick was sent down.

Cy Young winner Robbie Ray absent as Toronto tops Seattle

Yusei Kikuchi allowed one hit over six shutout innings to beat his former team, Bo Bichette and Matt Chapman backed the lefthander with home runs, and the Toronto Blue Jays topped the Seattle Mariners, 6-2. Bichette went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and scored twice as the Blue Jays returned home from a 2-7 trip. Raimel Tapia hit an RBI single in the sixth and pinch-hitter Alejandro Kirk added a two-run single in the seventh as the Blue Jays scored more than five runs for the first time since May 7 at Cleveland. Not in attendance for the visitors was Mariners lefty Robbie Ray, who won the 2021 AL Cy Young Award with Toronto. Seattle took advantage of a May 12 day off to alter their rotation so that Ray started Sunday in New York, where he allowed five runs in six innings, then remained in the US while teammates traveled to Canada for Monday’s series opener. There was no locker for Ray in the Mariners’ clubhouse in Toronto. Manager Scott Servais said Ray will rejoin the team in Boston on Thursday for a four-game series against the Red Sox . . . Sandy Alcantara retired his last 20 batters, pitching three-hit ball over eight innings to lead Miami over Washington, 8-2 — just the Marlins’ fourth win in 15 games. Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Bryan De La Cruz had three hits each, and Avisaíl García homered for the Marlins, who had 16 hits and matched their second-highest total this season . . . Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela left a game against San Francisco with a back injury after throwing a warm-up pitch in the third inning. Senzatela winced and walked gingerly off the mound after suffering what the team later said was a lower back strain . . . The Kansas City Royals fired hitting coach Terry Bradshaw and promoted Alex Zumwalt to fill his role in a shakeup of the coaching staff that they hope will wake up one of the worst offenses in the majors this season. The Royals have scored 118 runs through their first 32 games, better only than the Tigers, Orioles, and White Sox, and their 21 home runs trail only the Tigers and Red Sox for the worst total in the big leagues. The Royals began the day 12-20, 6½ games behind the Twins in the AL Central. Zumwalt was hired as a scout in 2011 but more recently has spearheaded a shift in hitting development within the Royals’ minor league program. The results last season were evident in Bobby Witt Jr. earning the Minor League Player of the Year award from Baseball America and MJ Melendez taking the Joe Bauman Award as the minor league home run champ. Both are with the big league club this season. Bradshaw, meanwhile, had been with the Royals system since 2000 and helped to usher to the majors Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer, two of the cornerstones of their 2015 championship team . . . Yankees lefthander Nestor Cortes said he deactivated his Twitter account after screenshots surfaced Sunday of tweets from a decade ago that included racial slurs. Cortes appeared to be quoting rap lyrics in at least some of the tweets, and he did not seem to be using the words to demean anyone directly. “I felt like it wasn’t the right message that I wanted to send out, when I was 17 years old,” Cortes said before Monday’s game against Baltimore. “Those happened 10 years ago. I deactivated my Twitter to clean stuff up. . . . It’s not acceptable. I think I could have managed myself and said stuff differently. But I’m here today to say that I’m going to work on it and fix it” . . . Gerardo Parra says he is retiring from baseball after 12 seasons in the major leagues and will become a special assistant to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. Parra, who reached the majors in 2009 and played for six organizations, became a fan favorite as he helped Washington win the 2019 World Series, making “Baby Shark” his walkup song.

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