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LEADING OFF: Kershaw faces D-backs; Verlander vs Yankees

Associated Press

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

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Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.84 ERA) tries to slow down A.J. Pollock and the first-place Diamondbacks (20-8) in Arizona. Pollock hit three home runs Monday night during an 8-5 victory in the series opener as the Diamondbacks won for the 12th time in the last 13 regular-season meetings between the NL West rivals — six of seven this year. In the 2017 playoffs, the Dodgers cruised to a three-game sweep of Arizona, but they've had trouble with Pollock this season. He had a two-homer game at Dodger Stadium on April 14 and is batting .361 with five home runs, 10 RBIs and 10 runs scored in his last nine games. To make matters worse for the injury-depleted Dodgers (12-16), the defending NL champions just learned star shortstop Corey Seager will have season-ending Tommy John surgery this week.

GROUNDED IN HOUSTON

Didi Gregorius and the powerful Yankees have been putting up big offensive numbers — except against the World Series champion Astros . New York has lost seven straight in Houston including the postseason, scoring no more than one run in each of its last six games there. This time, the Bronx Bombers face Justin Verlander (4-0, 1.36 ERA), who is 9-0 in 11 regular-season starts for the Astros dating to last year. Charlie Morton pitched Houston to a 2-1 victory in the series opener Monday, stopping New York's nine-game winning streak in the first meeting between the teams since Morton won 4-0 in Game 7 of last year's AL Championship Series.

CHECKUP

Hoping for clearance to begin a throwing program, Giants ace Madison Bumgarner traveled to Arizona to see the doctor who performed surgery on his broken left pinkie. Dr. Donald Sheridan inserted three pins into Bumgarner's pinkie after the 2014 World Series MVP was hit by a line drive late in spring training . Even if Bumgarner is cleared to start throwing, the four-time All-Star is still likely a month away from rejoining the big league club. San Francisco also will be without Joe Panik for at least six weeks after the second baseman had surgery on his left thumb.

CALENDAR CLUB

Xander Bogaerts and the major league-leading Red Sox (21-7) look for a smooth start to May after ending April with a bang. Bogaerts hit a grand slam over the Green Monster and out of Fenway Park on Monday night as Boston beat Kansas City 10-6 to finish with 19 wins in April, a franchise record for that month. It was Boston's sixth slam this season, tying the 1996 Montreal Expos for the most ever by May 1. The Red Sox didn't even hit one last season.

STINGY STAFF

Kyle Hendricks (2-1, 3.10 ERA) tries to extend Chicago's five-game winning streak when the Cubs host Nolan Arenado and the Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field. Cubs starters have gone 33 2/3 straight innings without giving up an earned run, the longest streak for the team since at least 1974. It's the longest stretch in the majors since Washington's rotation had a streak of 47 1/3 innings in June 2015. Chicago pitchers have permitted only four runs and 21 hits during the last five games.

ACES UP

Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (5-1, 1.62 ERA) starts for Washington, while Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 2.86 ERA) gets the ball for the New York Mets, Chris Sale (2-1, 2.31) is on the mound for Boston, Chris Archer (2-1, 6.61) goes for Tampa Bay, and Felix Hernandez (3-2, 4.96) pitches for Seattle.

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

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