LEADING OFF: Votto tries to tie HR mark, ex-Cubs on the move

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

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EIGHT IS ENOUGH

Joey Votto has homered in seven straight games and the Cincinnati Reds star can match a major league record by going deep against the New York Mets.

Votto connected for a solo shot to center field off Mets reliever Drew Smith during Cincinnati’s 6-2 victory Friday night at Citi Field.

The six-time All-Star and 2010 NL MVP became the eighth player to homer in at least seven straight games and first since Kendrys Morales did it for the Toronto Blue Jays in August 2018. Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993) are the only players to go deep in eight consecutive games.

Votto has nine homers and 15 RBIs during his streak, which began last Saturday and includes just one hit that wasn’t a home run — an infield single against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

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REVISED ROSTERS

Plenty of big-name players are in different uniforms this weekend after a whirlwind of activity before MLB’s trade deadline Friday.

Max Scherzer and Trea Turner wearing Dodger blue, Kris Bryant heading to the Golden Gate. Javier Báez joining the Mets, Craig Kimbrel crossing town to the White Sox, José Berríos moving north of the border.

It truly was an All-Star trade deadline day, with those big names changing teams after a flurry that had already seen the likes of Nelson Cruz, Anthony Rizzo, Joey Gallo and Adam Frazier changing teams.

While contenders tried to boost their rosters, the also-ran Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals became shells of their former championship selves.

Less than two years after winning their World Series title, the Nationals sent eight players to six different contenders, including two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Scherzer and All-Star shortstop Turner to the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

The complete teardown of that title team from baseball’s last full 162-game season came even swifter than that of the Chicago Cubs. In their own selloff before the deadline, the Cubs traded away two of the biggest pieces remaining from their 2016 team that ended a 108-year title drought — Kris Bryant, the NL MVP that season, and popular first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

EX-CUBS GALORE

Javier Báez is expected to make his debut with the New York Mets at Citi Field while the San Francisco Giants hope Kris Bryant can make it to their bayside ballpark in time for their afternoon game against the Houston Astros.

Báez and Bryant, who helped the Cubs win the 2016 World Series, were part of a mass exodus out of Chicago in the hours before the trade deadline.

Báez, the flashy shortstop, was sent to the NL East-leading Mets along with pitcher Trevor Williams for outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong. The two-time All-Star and 2020 Gold Glove winner gives New York an immediate fill-in for his buddy, injured shortstop Francisco Lindor.

The NL West-leading Giants were finalizing a cross-country itinerary for Bryant with the intention of getting him into uniform on Saturday. Bryant was the NL MVP in 2016, the same season the Cubs captured their first World Series crown in 108 years.

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, meanwhile, went from the North Side of Chicago to the South Side when the Cubs traded him to the AL Central-leading White Sox. The Cubs were in Washington, so Kimbrel will return to Chicago for the White Sox’s weekend series with Cleveland.

ALL-STAR MATCHUP

There will be a matchup of All-Star pitchers when Germán Márquez starts for Colorado in the middle game of a weekend series in San Diego, where Yu Darvish takes the mound for the Padres.

Márquez (8-8, 3.54 ERA) threw a perfect inning for the National League in the All-Star Game played before his home fans at Coors Field on July 13, but the right-hander has lost his two starts since for the Rockies. He has allowed eight runs over 12 1/3 innings his last two starts after going 4-0 his previous five.

Darvish (7-5, 3.27) missed the All-Star Game because of a bad back, and he’s winless in July. He is 0-3 with a 7.32 ERA in four starts this month.

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