LEADING OFF: Franco ties a Mantle mark, Civale returns

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Tampa Bay Rays' Wander Franco smiles at third base coach Rodney Linares after he tripled against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 6, 2021, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

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Rays rookie Wander Franco keeps putting up impressive numbers and has reached base safely in 36 straight games. That’s the longest active streak in the majors and is tied with Mickey Mantle (1951-52) for the best by an American League player under age 21; Frank Robinson holds that MLB record with 43 in a row for the Reds in 1956.

The 20-year-old Franco tripled in his first at-bat Monday at Fenway Park. He wound up with four hits as the AL East leaders beat Boston 11-10 in 10 innings.

Franco is hitting .290 and has scored 48 runs and driven in 36 since making his big league debut this year. At the time of his promotion in June, he was considered the best minor league prospect in baseball.


Aaron Civale returns to the mound when the Cleveland Indians host Minnesota. The 26-year-old Civale (10-2, 3.32 ERA) was in the middle of a breakout season when he sprained the middle finger on his right hand during a start at the Chicago Cubs on June 21.

The right-hander made three minor league rehab starts, going 1-0 with a 0.79 ERA. John Gant (4-9, 3.98 ERA) pitches for the Twins.


Bryce Harper and the Phillies look to beat the NL Central-leading Brewers for the sixth straight time this season when Aaron Nola (7-7, 4.54 ERA) pitches against Eric Lauer (4-5, 3.75) in Milwaukee. Nola is 4-0 with a 2.75 ERA in seven career starts versus the Brewers, including a 6-5 victory on May 4 when he struck out 10 in Philadelphia.

Harper hit one of Philadelphia’s six homers Monday during a 12-0 romp in the series opener. He is batting .383 (18 for 47) with five home runs and 14 RBIs in his last 12 games.

Milwaukee has an 11-game cushion in its division, but the Phillies are chasing a playoff spot. They’ve won eight of 10 to close within 1 1/2 games of first-place Atlanta in the NL East and two games of San Diego for the second NL wild card.

Brewers right fielder Avisaíl García, out of the starting lineup since last Thursday with soreness in his lower back and legs, could return Tuesday or Wednesday, manager Craig Counsell said.


The Blue Jays will see how George Springer is feeling, a day after he fouled a ball off his knee and exited a game at Yankee Stadium.

Springer has missed most of his first season with Toronto because of an assortment of injuries. He was hurt in the eighth inning of an 8-0 win over New York and stayed in, but gingerly walked back to the dugout after striking out.

Springer, who was the Blue Jays’ designated hitter, was replaced by Jake Lamb in the ninth. Manager Charlie Montoyo said Springer had a contusion and is day to day.

The 2017 World Series MVP with Houston, Springer is hitting .260 with 16 home runs and 35 RBIs in 56 games this year.

In a matchup of playoff contenders, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (14-6, 2.73 ERA) starts the second game of a four-game seies. Cole fanned 15 in seven innings against the Angels in his last outing — he’s two behind Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler for most strikeouts in the majors.


Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw (elbow inflammation) is scheduled to pitch three innings in a rehab outing for Triple-A Oklahoma City. If all goes well, the team expects the three-time Cy Young Award winner will be ready to return for his next start.


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