The first pitcher to reach 17 wins is...

The first pitcher to reach 17 wins is...

From Comcast SportsNetPHOENIX (AP) -- Johnny Cueto leads the majors in wins and has his sights set even higher.Cueto scattered four hits over seven innings for his 17th victory and the Cincinnati Reds beat the slumping Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 on Tuesday night."All I can promise is to try and keep going because I want to win 20 games," Cueto said through a translator. "I felt better as the game went on. I was able to gather more strength and continue."Cueto (17-4) gave up two runs, struck out one and walked five for his eighth victory in nine decisions. The right-hander lowered his NL-leading ERA to 2.48."He's feeling it every time he goes out there," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.Ryan Hanigan hit a two-run single and Todd Frazier added a two-run triple for the Reds, who won for the third time in four games and stretched their lead in the NL Central to seven games over St. Louis.Jonathan Broxton pitched the eighth and Aroldis Chapman closed it out for his 33rd save and 25th straight, tied with Texas reliever Joe Nathan for the longest active streak in the majors.Wade Miley (14-9) allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out five for the Diamondbacks, who have lost five straight and seven of nine."The first couple of innings everything was up," Miley said. "I was able to make the adjustment, but it didn't work out."Arizona opened a 1-0 lead in the first when Gerardo Parra doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason Kubel.But the Reds rallied in the second and flipped the momentum with a long at-bat.Frazier led off the inning with a single and Miley got ahead of Scott Rolen 1-2. Rolen then fouled off two pitches, took a ball, fouled off two more, took a third ball and fouled off five pitches in a row before drawing a 15-pitch walk."I'd have rather singled on the first pitch," Rolen said.Baker thought the battle affected Arizona's rookie left-hander."That took a whole inning out of him," Baker said. "Foul off a pitch, foul off a pitch -- he was trying everything. That takes a lot out of a pitcher."Chris Heisey singled to load the bases and Frazier scored on a wild pitch before Hanigan lined a two-run single to center for a 3-1 lead.John McDonald reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a double to left by Parra in the fifth to pull the Diamondbacks to 3-2.Frazier tripled home Brandon Phillips and Ryan Ludwick in the eighth against Matt Lindstrom, who was making his Arizona debut after being traded from Baltimore for Joe Saunders on Sunday."We were just up the one run so that little cushion was helpful," Frazier said.NOTES:Phillips stole second in the eighth, his 11th stolen base in 12 attempts. ... Miley needed 54 pitches to get through the first two innings but threw only 53 over his final five. ... Reds RHP Mat Latos (10-4) will look to bounce back from a rough outing when he pitches Wednesday against LHP Patrick Corbin (5-5). Latos allowed seven runs and nine hits Friday against St. Louis for his first loss since July 18. Corbin will be the third straight rookie the Diamondbacks send to the mound.

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Dusty Baker drops hints about playoff roles for Nationals rookies

Dusty Baker drops hints about playoff roles for Nationals rookies

The Nationals beat the Diamondbacks in their series finale on Thursday and by doing so inched closer to securing home field advantage in the NL Division Series. They earned the win despite playing without Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper, who remained out with injuries.

In order to make it happen, they needed contributions from unexpected places. Catcher Pedro Severino homered and walked. Second baseman Wilmer Difo also hit a home run, the first of his young MLB career. Michael Taylor had three hits and drove in two runs. Those three led the way on offense on a day their regulars - Trea Turner, Jayson Werth, Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa and Anthony Rendon - went a combined 2-for-16. 

Rookie Reynaldo Lopez also chipped in with 3 2/3 innings of relief work. The coincidence that he, Severino and Difo all made their mark was not lost on them or manager Dusty Baker. The trio are all young players from the Dominican Republic.

"It was Dominican Republic Day," Baker said. Our Dominicans hit two home runs and pitched well... Maybe they had it mixed up, they thought today was Latin Day instead of yesterday."

Baker was referring to a special pregame ceremony at Nationals Park on Wednesday that featured Latin American flags on the field and a representative from the D.R. to throw out the first pitch. 

The players picked up on it, as well.

“It was very fun and exciting," Lopez said through an interpreter. "He said as I came into the dugout to Dusty having known that Difo had hit a home run as well as Severino already and they’ve been doing a good job and I was pitching very well, he said ‘I guess today is really Latin day.’ It was just very humorous, but it was fun. And he kept repeating that because we were all performing so well for him, so it was great.”

"Very excited that all three of us were able to do a great job for the team today," Difo said through an interpreter. "Just keep working hard to show everybody that we deserve to be here and that we can contribute and help the team win. I’m just very excited about today."

Severino knows he will be on the playoff roster at this point. With the loss of Wilson Ramos to a season-ending injury, Severino is the next man up.

Difo and Taylor would need an injury or two to clear room for them. They are unlikely to make the final 25.

[RELATED: What will Joe Ross' role be for Nationals in playoffs?]

Lopez, though, is in a battle for the bullpen. Depending on how many pitchers they keep, Lopez could definitely find himself in that mix. And Baker is already talking like Lopez will be pitching in October.

"He's been working on some things," Baker said. "He picked up his tempo. He throws strikes. He appears unfazed by the situation or having to come into the game. And I'm just hoping that he continues that same mindset when we get to the playoffs because it's the same game. More at stake and the world's watching, but it's the same game."

Baker also dropped a hint about Severino that should be kept in mind over the next week. 

"All of our young guys dont appear to be intimidated at all by being young. They're about to venture into territories that they haven't been before. And I told him, 'Hey, man, I want you to do the same thing as [Clayton] Kershaw if you're starting in L.A.' And he said OK and left it at that."

It sounds like Severino has at least a decent chance of starting Game 1 on Friday.

[RELATED: Matt Belisle sounds like safe bet for Nats playoff roster]

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David Ortiz's image being mowed into outfield at Fenway Park

David Ortiz's image being mowed into outfield at Fenway Park

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz will be handing up the cleats after this season. Given his status as a sports legend for the New England area, it's only fitting that the home town send him out with style.

Fenway Park will have a very different look in the outfield as the Red Sox close out their regular season in a three-game series against Toronto starting on Friday. Here is what fans have to look forward to seeing:

Considering how much time I spend just trying to get my lawn to look green and grow grass, this is pretty darn impressive.

RELATED: Orioles give David Ortiz hilariously appropriate, shade-filled retirement gift