Di­a­mond nuggets:

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - INSIDE -

Ma­jor League Base­ball se­ries to watch, team-by-team notes, trans­ac­tions, stand­ings.

TWINS AT ROY­ALS ( Sept. 7- 10)

Two Amer­i­can League Cen­tral ri­vals with hopes of reach­ing the wild- card game meet for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive week­end, this time for a four- game se­ries at Kauff­man Sta­dium. The Roy­als took two of three from the Twins last week­end at Minneapolis as left fielder Melky

Cabr­era went 6- for- 11 (. 545) with three ex­tra- base hits. How­ever, Min­nesota leads the sea­son se­ries 9- 6. That is quite a turn­around from the pre­vi­ous four sea­sons, when the Roy­als won 53 of 76 games be­tween the teams.

RAYS AT RED SOX ( Sept. 8- 10)

The Rays have played bet­ter this sea­son than most prob­a­bly ex­pected. And while they are still hold­ing onto post­sea­son hopes, per­haps mak­ing things dif­fi­cult for the di­vi­sion leader might be a sat­is­fy­ing byprod­uct. The Red Sox hold slim ad­van­tages in the sea­son se­ries ( 7- 6) and at Fen­way Park ( 4- 3), while the Rays have outscored Bos­ton by one run over­all ( 53- 52). Of their last 22 games, 15 have been de­cided by one run ( 10) or two ( five). Mookie Betts is hit­ting .291 against the Rays this sea­son, and Corey Dick­er­son is bat­ting .310 against Bos­ton.

BREWERS AT CUBS ( Sept. 8- 10)

The Na­tional League Cen­tral­lead­ing Cubs will try to put more dis­tance be­tween them and the sec­ond- place Brewers in a three­game se­ries at Wrigley Field. The Cubs are 7- 5 against the Brewers this year and 43- 26 in the last four sea­sons. Third base­man Kris Bry

ant has led the way this sea­son, hit­ting .383 with four dou­bles, three home runs and three stolen bases, while right- han­der Jake Ar­ri­eta has won both starts vs. Mil­wau­kee while post­ing a 2.08 ERA. Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is hit­ting .324 against the Cubs with two dou­bles and three homers.

MARINERS AT RANGERS ( Sept. 11- 14)

One rea­son the Mariners have stayed alive in the wild- card race is be­cause they have won eight of 12 games against the Rangers. Seat­tle started the sea­son by los­ing eight of its first 10 games but then was re­vived when it swept the visit­ing Rangers, as Nel­son Cruz pro­vided a walk- off sin­gle in the fi­nale. It’s pos­si­ble in­jured starters James

Pax­ton and Felix Her­nan­dez will be back for the Mariners.

ROCK­IES AT DI­A­MOND­BACKS ( Sept. 11- 14)

For th­ese wild- card con­tenders, all four games are a “dou­ble- pay­out” op­por­tu­nity. The Di­a­mond­backs have played well of late, in­clud­ing a week­end sweep at Colorado, and are in po­si­tion to earn the first of the two wild cards — which would al­low them to line up ace Zack

Greinke. Led by Paul Gold­schmidt ( four home runs) and A. J.

Pol­lock (. 552 slug­ging per­cent­age), they have av­er­aged 5.3 runs per game against the Rock­ies while go­ing 9- 6. Rock­ies slug­ger Mark

Reynolds has five home runs in 48 at- bats against Ari­zona but is hit­ting only .188.

MAR­LINS AT PHILLIES ( Sept. 12- 14)

The two big­gest home run sto­ries in Au­gust were the Mar­lins’

Gian­carlo Stan­ton, who be­came the first player in four sea­sons to hit 50 home runs in a sea­son, and the Phillies’ Rhys

Hoskins, who be­came the first player to hit 11 home runs in his first 18 ma­jor league games. Now they meet for three days in the ball­park that has been the friendli­est to home runs in the ma­jor leagues this sea­son.

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