LEADING OFF: Mad Max and Gerrit Cole return, Fenway freebie

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


Nationals ace Max Scherzer comes off the injured list to start at last-place Pittsburgh. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 9-5 with a 2.41 ERA in 20 starts but has pitched only once over the past six weeks because of a strained muscle in his back. His 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings lead the National League. Washington currently holds a wild-card spot.


The Boston Red Sox are offering free admission to fans under the age of 18 for the 1:05 p.m. EDT conclusion of a game against Kansas City that was suspended on Aug. 7 because of rain. An admission fee of $5 for adults will be donated to the Jimmy Fund. Play will resume in the top of the 10th inning with the score tied 4-all and Josh Taylor working with a 2-1 count on Royals catcher Meibrys Viloria.


Three-time All-Star Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.87 ERA) makes his first start in 15 days for AL West-leading Houston after being scratched last week due to discomfort in his right hamstring. Cole, second in the majors with 226 strikeouts, has won 10 straight decisions. Jordan Zimmerman (1-8, 6.66) gets the ball for Detroit, which has the worst record in the majors even after beating Astros ace Justin Verlander 2-1 Wednesday night as one of the largest MLB underdogs in recent memory. Zimmerman allowed one hit in five scoreless innings last time out against Tampa Bay.


The next time the Orioles give up a home run, they will break the major league record for most allowed in one season. Last-place Baltimore shares the mark with the 2016 Cincinnati Reds after serving up No. 258 on the year Wednesday night in an 8-1 victory over Kansas City. “We’re all tired of seeing them and hopefully we can get better going forward,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. Asher Wojciechowski (2-6, 4.78 ERA), who has served up 12 long balls in 49 innings, starts at Camden Yards against Tampa Bay.


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