LEADING OFF: Rockies-Twins in surprising 1st-place matchup

A look at what's happening around Major League Baseball on Wednesday:



Two of baseball's biggest surprises square off when the Colorado Rockies visit the Minnesota Twins in an interleague matchup of first-place teams. Ervin Santana (6-1, 1.50 ERA) pitches 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.


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, Cueto has twice gone against the Dodgers " in their one head-to-head matchup, Cueto won at Dodger Stadium.


Royals left-hander Jason Vargas takes a 13-inning scoreless streak into a 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 high-powered New York, which leads the AL in runs, home runs and on-base percentage. Big righty Michael Pineda is up for the Yankees.


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.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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