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LEADING OFF: Astros' Alvarez opens fast, Newcomb hit in head

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


Cuban rookie Yordan Alvarez is off to a smashing start for the injury-depleted Houston Astros, becoming just one of four players in major league history to hit four home runs in his first five games.

The 21-year-old is 8 for 17 so far. He’s driven in eight runs, scored eight times and also drawn six walks.

Alvarez hit an upper-deck drive at Minute Maid Park on Saturday and joined Trevor Story, who hit six homers for Colorado in 2016, Yasiel Puig (Dodgers, 2013) and Mike Jacobs (Mets, 2005) for big starts.

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Alvarez and the Astros take on Toronto.


The Yankees are expected to say when Edwin Encarnación will join them after getting the slugger in a late-night trade from Seattle.

The 36-year-old Encarnación leads the AL with 21 home runs. He has averaged 37 homers and 109 RBIs in his last seven seasons. The first baseman/designated hitter is a three-time All-Star who moved from Cleveland to Seattle last December in a three-team trade that included Tampa Bay.


Braves starter Sean Newcomb was forced to leave Saturday night’s start against Philadelphia after being hit in the back of the head by a line drive off the bat of J.T. Realmuto. Newcomb walked off the field under his own power in Atlanta, escorted by two trainers. The ball was clocked at 102 mph and caromed off Newcomb’s head and sailed into the netting behind the Phillies’ dugout on the third base side. Realmuto covered his mouth with both hands as he ran to first base on what went as a ground-rule double. … Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard exited his start on Saturday night after reaching for his right hamstring following a pitch. He quickly walked off the field with a bit of a limp in the seventh inning against St. Louis.


Cody Allen is available after the Los Angeles Angels designated the veteran reliever for assignment.

Allen was cut Saturday, a day after giving up four runs while getting only two outs at Tampa Bay. He is 0-2 with a 6.26 ERA and four saves in four chances, and was sidelined earlier this season with a back strain.

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The 30-year-old Allen was signed to a one-year, $8.5 million contract in January after seven seasons with the Cleveland Indians.


The Angels (35-36) look to reach the .500 mark for the first time since April 15 when rookie Griffin Canning faces Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field. Los Angeles has had five previous chances to get back to the break-even mark and lost each time. Canning (2-2) is one of four pitchers in American League history to have five-or-more strikeouts in each of his first eight major league starts.


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