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Diamond digest: Baseball’s top story lines this week

New York Mets catcher Rene Rivera watches as Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Chase Utley (26) celebrates with teammates after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 28, 2016, in New York.
New York Mets catcher Rene Rivera watches as Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Chase Utley (26) celebrates with teammates after hitting a grand slam during the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 28, 2016, in New York. The Associated Press

Here are five interesting stories in Major League Baseball this week:

Utley responds in grand fashion

After the New York Mets missed, Chase Utley connected – twice.

The Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman hit a grand slam and a solo home run after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back during a 9-1 rout of New York on Saturday.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch – which certainly appeared to be his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year’s playoffs.

Asked if he thought Syndergaard delivered a purpose pitch, Utley told The Associated Press: “Possibly, but I understand it.”

Still streaking in Boston

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. had the longest hitting streak in the major leagues this season, going 29 games with a hit before an 0-for-4 night Friday ended the run.

The current high streak in the majors? That belongs to Bradley’s teammate, Xander Bogaerts.

Boston’s shortstop went 1 for 6 in Sunday’s win over host Toronto to extend his hitting streak to 22 games.

Hey Yu, welcome back

Yu Darvish hadn’t pitched in the majors since August 2014.

Despite the long hiatus and undergoing Tommy John surgery following a spring training game last year, Texas’ right-hander looked like his old self Saturday against Pittsburgh.

The Associated Press reports Darvish hit 98 mph in the first inning and got the win in the Rangers’ 5-2 home victory. Darvish went five innings against the Pirates, allowing one run on three hits. He struck out seven and walked one while improving to 7-1 against the National League.

Who’s your daddy?

The San Francisco Giants are the hottest team in baseball. They’ve won 15 of their last 17 games and their .615 winning percentage trails only the Chicago Cubs (34-14, .708).

Part of the Giants’ run can be attributed to their dominance of a division rival. The Giants (32-20) are 9-0 against the San Diego Padres this season, including six wins during this stretch.

The National League West teams don’t meet again until July 15, when the Padres will host a three-game series.

One is enough for Yankees

For the first time in a century, the New York Yankees won a game with just one hit.

Starlin Castro’s two-run homer off Jake Odorizzi in the seventh inning was enough to give the Yankees a 2-1 victory over the host Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

According to Baseball Reference data going back to 1913, the Yankees’ only other one-hit victory was over Cleveland in a doubleheader nightcap on July 10, 1914.

The Associated Press contributed to this report; compiled by Noel Harris

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