PITTSBURGH (AP) — The National League Central is providing Major League Baseball with a needed dose of pennant fever. All five teams are separated by just 4 1/2 games coming out of the All-Star break. The other five divisions have at least a 5 1/2-game gap between first and second. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon says the division is tight because all five teams are trying to win. That includes upstart Cincinnati and resilient Pittsburgh, which are in the thick of the race with the Cubs, Milwaukee and St. Louis.
CHICAGO (AP) — Work crews have begun extending the protective netting to the foul poles at Guaranteed Rate Field, a step the Chicago White Sox are taking following a couple of high-profile injuries this season. The White Sox became the first major league team to take the step after a liner by Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. struck a 4-year-old girl in Houston in May. A woman was hit by a foul ball off the bat of White Sox slugger Eloy Jiménez in Chicago on June 10.