Leading Off: Baseball Gets 1St 9-Inning Twinbills Since 2019

The Ukrainian flag is display in solidarity during opening ceremonies before a baseball game between the New York Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Friday, April 15, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
The Ukrainian flag is display in solidarity during opening ceremonies before a baseball game between the New York Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Friday, April 15, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
View All (8)

A look at what’s happening around baseball today:

___

18 INNINGS

Tuesday's schedule will feature two doubleheaders — the first in the majors this season and the first twinbills of nine-inning games since Sept. 28, 2019.

Major League Baseball used seven-inning doubleheaders in 2020 and ’21 amid rules changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, but did away with the shortened games for this season.

There were 31 scheduled doubleheaders on the calendar when the lockout-delayed season began, but these first two twinbills were added because of weather. Arizona's game at Washington and San Francisco's game at the New York Mets were postponed Monday because of rain.

The Diamondbacks and Nationals will play a split doubleheader with the first game at 1:05 p.m., while the Giants and Mets' conventional doubleheader will start at 3:10 p.m.

The Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox played the most recent twinbill of nine-inning games on the penultimate day of the 2019 season. Host Chicago won the opener 7-1 and lost the second game 4-3.

LEG WORK

Second baseman Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros are hoping for good news from the doctor after the seven-time All-Star exited Monday night’s 8-3 win over the Angels in the eighth inning with a strained left hamstring.

Altuve, the 2017 AL MVP, beat out an infield single and then fell past first base. He sat on the ground and threw down his batting helmet as he winced in pain.

“We’ll have more answers (Tuesday),” manager Dusty Baker said. “He will see the doctor. I can say that.”

Altuve said he would have tests done, but wasn’t sure exactly what those would be.

“I’m actually feeling better than what I was expecting, but we’ll see tomorrow,” he said.

SINGLE DIGITS

The Yankees don’t have any single-digit jersey numbers left, but their scoring is stuck there.

In 10 games this season, New York has scored 6, 4, 3, 0, 4, 4, 3, 1, 5 and 0 runs.

That adds up to 30, the Yankees’ second-lowest run total through 10 games since the American League adopted the designated hitter in 1973. New York has managed a 5-5 record.

The Yankees totaled 26 runs through 10 games in 1977, but that season worked out OK for them: The team went on to win the World Series.

MAX EFFORT

Perhaps pitching in his hometown of Los Angeles — and against former teammate Freddie Freeman — will fire up Atlanta lefty Max Fried, who is seeking his first win of the season.

Fried, who wore No. 32 in high school to honor Sandy Koufax while pitching at LA's Harvard-Westlake School, is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts this season. He takes the mound for the Braves against Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.38).

Although wins by starting pitchers get less attention than they used to, Fried's record from 2019-21 was an eye-popping 38-13. He's 40-20 in his career with a 3.40 ERA.

Freeman hit his first home run in a Dodgers uniform — against his old team, no less — to help Los Angeles beat the Braves 7-4 on Monday night for its seventh consecutive victory. He also made an excellent defensive play at first base and finished 1 for 3 with two runs and two walks.

Before the game, an emotional Freeman spent time in the Atlanta clubhouse, reliving memories of winning last year’s World Series, the franchise’s first championship since 1995. He signed a $162 million, six-year deal with the Dodgers in March, ending a 12-year run with the Braves, the only team the Southern California native had played for.

“It was a special day,” Freeman said, “one I’ll always remember.”

ACUÑA EYES RETURN

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. is scheduled to start an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett at Jacksonville. It will be his first game since July 10, when he tore his right ACL against Miami.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports