LEADING OFF: Home run streaks, Bochy’s goodbye in San Diego

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Mookie Betts

Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts is doused after their victory over the New York Yankees in a baseball game at Fenway Park, Friday, July 26, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

DRIVE FOR FIVE

Four days in a row, a player has hit three home runs. Who can make it five? AL MVP Mookie Betts had his fifth career three-homer game — one shy of the big league record — in Boston’s 10-5 victory Friday night over the rival Yankees. Betts followed Mets second baseman Robinson Canó on Tuesday night, Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong on Wednesday and Minnesota slugger Nelson Cruz on Thursday. Before this stretch, there had never even been three consecutive days with a three-homer game in the majors. “It’s crazy just to see it once,” Betts said. “But I guess to see it four straight days, there’s a lot of good hitters out there, and they’re showing it.”

HALF A DOZEN

A pair of big boppers will try to go deep for the sixth consecutive game.

Paul Goldschmidt has homered in a career-best five straight to help the streaking Cardinals take over sole possession of first place in the NL Central for the first time since May 7. He’ll face Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole (11-5, 3.03 ERA), who leads the majors with 205 strikeouts and is 6-0 with a 1.94 ERA since June 1. Goldschmidt’s five-game run is one short of the club record shared by Matt Carpenter and Mark McGwire.

“It’s the year of the homer, so it shouldn’t surprise me,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said.

Nelson Cruz has connected seven times during his five-game homer streak for the Twins, who became the fastest team to 200 homers in major league history as they beat the Chicago White Sox 6-2 on Friday night. Max Kepler hit a three-run drive for the milestone homer in Minnesota’s 103rd game of the season. The previous mark was 122 games by the 2005 Texas Rangers.

FINAL PORT CALL

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is making his last scheduled trip to San Diego this weekend before retiring at the end of the season, his 13th with San Francisco and 25th overall in the big leagues. He managed the Padres for 12 seasons before jumping to the Giants and winning three World Series titles between 2010 and 2014.

“There’s no question the last day driving here it’s going to be a drive down memory lane,” Bochy said.

The Padres honored Bochy with a pregame ceremony Friday night, showing a video montage of his years playing with and managing the team. He was presented with a huge bottle of wine and some saltwater fishing rods. Then the surging Giants went out and won 2-1 on Pablo Sandoval’s home run in the 11th inning for their 18th victory in 22 games.

ACHING ARMS

Jon Lester (9-6, 3.87 ERA) makes his 400th major league start when the Chicago Cubs play at Milwaukee in a matchup of NL Central contenders. Meanwhile, the Brewers just hope Chase Anderson (5-2, 3.90) can get through his outing unharmed after a string of starters were injured lately. Gio Gonzalez left in the seventh inning Friday night when his shoulder tightened up. That came after All-Star Brandon Woodruff went on the injured list Monday with a strained left oblique and Jhoulys Chacín was placed on the injured list Thursday with a strained lat. Gonzalez was making his second start since spending six weeks on the IL with left arm fatigue. “I think I’ll be all right,” he said. Milwaukee has not ruled out Gonzalez for his next scheduled start.

WELCOME BACK

For the first time in two years, Yasmany Tomás is earning his big salary in the big leagues. The 28-year-old outfielder was brought back from the minors by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday and grounded out as a pinch hitter in a 3-2 loss to Miami.

“I never lost hope. I always knew my destiny was to play in the major leagues,” Tomás said in Spanish.

Tomás was sent outright to Triple-A Reno in April 2018, with Arizona responsible for the $42.5 million owed over the remaining three seasons of a $68.5 million, six-year contract he signed after defecting from Cuba. He was batting .305 with 29 home runs and 80 RBIs for the Aces this year.

“He’s been working hard to make this day happen,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “It’s a deserving call.”

Tomás has a $15.5 million salary this year and is due $17 million in 2020.

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