Carlos Beltran Astros Crushed Trade Deadline ... I Gotta Admit It

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SOLID MOVES
TMZSports.com

Despite working for the NY Yankees these days ... even Carlos Beltran had to admit the Houston Astros CRUSHED the MLB treadline -- telling TMZ Sports he loved the Zack Greinke pickup!

"I mean, Greinke's one of the best pitchers in the game," Beltran says.

Of course, Carlos did have two stints as an Astro during his 20-year MLB career ... but the 42-year-old now works as an adviser to Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

But, Beltran just had to put work allegiances aside when our camera guy asked about the league's trade deadline moves ... saying the Astros are going to be VERY tough to beat now.

"They have three starting guys over there that are No. 1 on any team in baseball."

Beltran ain't kidding, the two favorites for the AL Cy Young this year are Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander ... and with a 2.90 ERA and 135 Ks, Greinke was a leader for the award in the NL before the trade.

But, Carlos still showed his Yanks love despite their inability to make a big move at the deadline ... saying he still thinks NY has enough to win the World Series!!

Johnny Damon Warns Yanks & Astros ... Red Sox Will Be Scary In Playoffs!!!

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A TALE OF TWO CITIES
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Johnny Damon is sending a huge warning signal to the AL's top dogs ... telling TMZ Sports if the Yankees and Astros let Boston climb into the postseason -- the Sox might just win it all!!!

We got Johnny out in NYC this week and had to ask some baseball questions ... and that's when the 2-time All-Star told us teams NEED to be afraid of the Red Sox's potential.

"If they can somehow get above Tampa and make the playoffs, they're going to be scary," Damon says.

And, if you think Johnny is just blowin' smoke because he's a Sox legend ... he ain't -- he tells us he's still got some bitterness toward the way he left the team after the 2005 season.

"Boston and I, it was a little like a divorce," he says.

Johnny tells us the Red Sox are legit this year ... and if they had actually signed a closer in the offseason, he thinks they'd be much closer to the Yankees in the AL East standings right now.

Still, Damon says he thinks the Astros are the favorite for now ... saying when he watched Justin Verlander pitch earlier this week -- he didn't seem hittable!!!

By the way, Damon also tells us he hasn't spoken to his good friend and former teammate David Ortiz since he left the hospital ... but he made sure to send his well wishes to Big Papi.

Justin Verlander Impressed With Scherzer ... Pitched w/ Broken Nose!

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PLAYIN' THROUGH THE PAIN
TMZSports.com

Justin Verlander is giving props to Max Scherzer for coming back strong from a gnarly broken nose injury ... telling TMZ Sports, "I appreciate him working through the pain."

Of course, Mad Max took a baseball straight to the face during a bunting drill in Nationals' batting practice Tuesday ... and suffered a nasty broken nose and a black eye as a result.

But, Scherzer toughed it out and pitched for Washington just 24 hours later ... and DOMINATED -- throwing 7 innings with no earned runs and 10 strikeouts against the Phillies.

Verlander -- who played with Max for a few years in Detroit -- says he saw his ex-teammate put in the work ... and he was impressed!!!

By the way ... we also asked Verlander if he thinks he's done enough in his own career to deserve a spot in the Hall of Fame -- and he tells us he ain't so sure.

But, with 213 career wins, 2,839 strikeouts AND an MVP award on his resume ... come on, JV!!!

Dennis Eckersley Warns MLB ... You Have To Extend Stadium Netting!

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PROTECT THE FANS!
TMZSports.com

Dennis Eckersley -- one of the greatest MLB closers EVER -- says baseball HAS to extend the netting around its stadiums ... or else more fans are going to get seriously hurt.

Of course, one young fan at a Houston Astros game Wednesday night nearly suffered that fate after getting struck by a line drive ... but it appears the child is going to be OKAY.

Eckersley clearly feels that's way too close for comfort either way ... and now he's calling for ALL major league squads to extend the netting in their stadiums from foul pole to foul pole.

"It looks ugly," Eckersley told us out in NYC on Thursday afternoon ... "but ya gotta do it."

For their part, the MLB says it's considering all options ... telling TMZ Sports in a statement Thursday morning, "Clubs have significantly expanded netting and their inventory of protected seats in recent years."

"With last night’s event in mind, we will continue our efforts on this important issue."

MLB 'Continuing Efforts' to Protect Fans ... After Girl Struck By Foul Ball

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Major League Baseball says the injury to the little girl struck by a foul ball at the Houston Astros game is "extremely upsetting" ... and insists the league is focused on finding more ways to protect the fans.

The little girl was in the stands at Minute Maid Park in Houston when Cubs star Albert Almora Jr. ripped a line drive foul ball down the 3rd baseline that struck the child directly.

The girl was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was treated for injuries -- but she's reportedly doing okay.

Almora Jr. was visibly shaken after the incident and appeared to be crying. He was consoled by his teammates and later vowed to get in touch with the girl's family to offer his prayers and any other assistance he could provide.

Now, the MLB is also weighing in ... telling TMZ Sports, "The events at last night’s game were extremely upsetting. We send our best wishes to the child and family involved."

A spokesperson added, "Clubs have significantly expanded netting and their inventory of protected seats in recent years. With last night’s event in mind, we will continue our efforts on this important issue."

Before the start of the 2018 season, every MLB club agreed to put up netting in dangerous areas in their ballparks ... but clearly, more work needs to be done.

Astros' Carlos Correa Masseuse Broke My Rib During Home Rubdown

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Move over Robert Kraft, here's another crazy story about a celebrity massage gone wrong.

Houston Astros' star shortstop, Carlos Correa, says he'll be out for the next 4 to 6 weeks ... BECAUSE HIS MASSEUSE BROKE HIS RIB DURING A MASSAGE!!

Yes. He's serious!!

Correa -- who's making $5 MILLION this season -- announced the injury moment ago and he's pointing the finger squarely at the person in charge of his rubdown.

"I sustained the rib fracture during a massage at my home on Tuesday," the 24-year-old said in a statement.

"To sustain an injury in such an unusual way makes it even more frustrating. However, I will work hard to get back on the field as quickly as possible to help our team achieve our goal of winning another championship."

"I'm extremely disappointed about not being on the field with my teammates."

FYI ... Correa has made over $12 MILLION from the Astros since they drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick back in 2012 -- so, not exactly a great look for the guy.

What's even worse? 24-year-old Carlos was killin' it for Houston when he was healthy this season ... batting .295 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs.

Ice up!!!!!

Astros' George Springer Punished By MLB Mouthed Homophobic Slur at Umpire

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Houston Astros star George Springer has been disciplined by the MLB ... and it's over a homophobic slur he mouthed at an umpire after a strikeout.

The incident went down back on April 23 during the Astros-Twins game -- when Springer was called out on strikes by umpire Angel Hernandez on a pitch GP clearly thought was WAY too low.

As Springer was venting about the call in the dugout ... cameras caught the outfielder mouthing the words to Angel, "f**king c*** sucker!"

Now, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has issued a statement to Outsports ... saying the MLB has internally punished the 'Stros star for the vulgar language.

"This inappropriate behavior was addressed with Mr. Springer and the Houston Astros,” Manfred said ... “and he has been disciplined.”

Unclear what the punishment was for Springer ... but he has NOT been suspended for the altercation.

Neither Springer nor the Astros have yet to comment on the situation.

For his part, George has been a key contributor to the 'Stros this season ... batting .274 with 9 home runs already.

Houston Astros Fan Gnarly Finger Injury Pics In T-Shirt Cannon Incident

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TMZ Sports has obtained pictures of the injury a Houston Astros fan allegedly suffered when the team's mascot "shattered" her finger with a t-shirt cannon last summer ... and they're gnarly.

A woman claims she was at a 'Stros game last July 8 when Orbit -- Houston's furry mascot -- fired t-shirts at her and her family at a rapid pace from his "bazooka style T-shirt cannon."

The woman -- who filed a lawsuit against the team for the incident this week -- says one of the t-shirts caught her square in the hand ... and mangled her left index finger.

You can see in the photos, her digit was severely swollen and bruised ... and needed TWO screws to help stabilize it.

In her lawsuit, the woman says she had to have multiple surgeries to fix the issue ... and claims she still has little range of motion in the finger.

Now, she's suing the team for $1 million ... saying the team failed miserably to protect its fans.

We've reached out to the Astros for comment ... but so far, no word back yet.

Kate Upton & Justin Verlander It's a Girl!!!

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Kate Upton and Justin Verlander are the proud new parents of a baby girl ... and like her parents, she's already dominating the spotlight.

Kate announced Saturday on Instagram she gave birth to Genevieve Upton Verlander. She finished the caption with what appears to be Genevieve's birthday -- 11.7.18, which, of course, was Wednesday.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

As we reported ... the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model announced back in July she was expecting her first kid. But, getting knocked up wasn't pulling her away from her S.I. duties. At the time she announced -- which BTW would have put her at around 5 months pregnant -- Kate was in Miami helping S.I. find its next roster of models. Gotta pay the bills.

She married the Houston Astros pitcher about a year ago. They had been dating for 5 years before tying the knot in Italy. Congrats!!!

David Ortiz Drops F-Bomb When He Learns Red Sox Score

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MAD PAPI
TMZSports.com

This is great -- David Ortiz with some real emotion when he learned his beloved Red Sox lost to the Astros on Saturday night.

"AH, F**K!"

So, why didn't he know the score himself?

Big Papi missed Game 1 of the ALCS to hit up the Drake show at Staples Center instead.

Big Papi swears he was still watching the Sox during the concert ... but clearly not long enough to see the final score -- 'cause he was PISSED when we told him it was 7-2 'Stros.

Good news for D.O. ... the Sox bounced back to win Game 2 on Sunday -- and we're pretty sure he didn't miss that one.

No Papi curses here.

Eric Karros Predicts Doom for Boston ... Astros Beat Sox

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GOIN' ALL THE WAY
TMZSports.com

He predicted the Dodgers would make the playoffs ... now Eric Karros is breaking out the crystal ball yet again for a World Series prediction -- and Red Sox fans ain't gonna like this.

TMZ Sports spoke with the Dodgers legend/prophet about the final 4 teams in the MLB playoffs ... and he's expecting a rematch of last year's Fall Classic between the Dodgers and Houston Astros.

Not only is he predicting L.A. to make it, but he also says they have a serious shot at winning it all. He's also biased as all get-out.

Oh, and to the people predicting Clayton Kershaw will choke in the post-season -- KARROS SAYS YOU'RE WRONG!!

Again -- biased -- but Karros says the Dodgers' ace will go down as one of the best pitchers ever.

Dodgers take on the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 1 of the NLCS on Friday ... and the Sox and 'Stros kick things off Saturday.

Astros' Ryan Pressly Confronts Roberto Osuna Heckler ... 'You're Being a Dickhead'

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VERBAL ALTERCATION
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Houston Astros pitcher Ryan Pressly tried to play the role of peacemaker with a heckler who was going after Roberto Osuna ... but Pressly ended up calling the guy a "dickhead" and walking away.

It all went down on Monday when the Astros were taking on the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field for Game 3 of the ALDS ... when a CLE fan began teeing off on Osuna.

The person who shot the video says the heckler was going after Osuna about his domestic violence arrest -- yelling things like, "Do you remember baseball before you committed domestic violence?"

Osuna -- who pled not guilty in his criminal case -- didn't say one word to the heckler but fellow pitcher Pressly came over to try to calm things down.

"Stop, stop, stop ... I don't care what you say. You can talk all the sh*t you want. Just don't bring that stuff up," Pressly said.

The heckler argued that Osuna should be able to handle the trash talk because he's a pro -- but Pressly fired back.

"He's trying to be a professional ... but you're coming over here being a dickhead, dude."

Finally, Pressly gives up and walks away ... telling the heckler, "You're f*cking soft."

The Astros ultimately won the game 11-3 -- clinching the series. Osuna never had to come in and pitch.

Houston Astros Brooms & Booze!! ... Sweep Tribe in ALDS

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BOTTLE POPPIN'

The Houston Astros are back in the ALCS for the second year in a row ... but they're celebrating like it's their first time -- drenching their locker room with TONS of beer and champagne!!

The 'stros just finished off their sweep of the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS with an 11-3 win on Monday ... and Jose Altuve & Co. made themselves right at home in the visitor's locker room at Progressive Field.

What's more incredible than their blowout win over the Tribe -- the amount of booze that is flying through the air at one time.

Silver lining for Cleveland -- the Chief Wahoo is officially retired with the Indians' season ending. So, good riddance, racist logo.

Justin Verlander Charged $1 Million ... For Being 'Dodger Killer'

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Justin Verlander's World Series ring nearly came with a $1 MILLION price tag ... 'cause an L.A. restaurant (jokingly) hit him with a HUGE "Dodger Killer" fee!!

The Astros ace -- who crushed L.A. in the World Series last year -- was dining at The Cabana Cafe in Bev Hills when, to his surprise, THE BILL CAME OUT TO OVER A MILLION DOLLARS!!

As Verlander read over the receipt, though ... it became clear to him, he just got punk'd.

"Beverly Hills Hotel really making me pay for that World Series win 😂😂," Verlander said of the massive charge.

"Thanks for the great lunch as always!"

As for why Verlander's grubbin' in L.A. this weekend ... he's in town for a series with the Angels.

So, rest easy, Dodgers fans ... for now.

Deshaun Watson Bros Out with Aaron Judge ... at Astros Game

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YOUNG STUDS
Mark Berman

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson had a great day at Minute Maid Park ... rubbing elbows with some huge stars -- from Aaron Judge to CC Sabathia ... even Reggie Jackson!

Deshaun was a special VIP guest of the Houston Astros before they took on the New York Yankees -- and FOX 26's Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) was right there on the field as Watson came face-to-face with the MLB greats.

By the way, Watson is no small dude -- he's 6'2", 215 pounds and looks TINY next to 6'7", 285-pound Judge!

Watson got his own custom jersey and even got to hang with the team during batting practice.

The good news for Texans fans ... Watson was walking around without a hitch in his step following that ACL tear in his left knee back in November.

Ted Cruz Bet You My Rockets Will Visit Trump ... Unlike the Warriors

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A TED BIT EXCITED
TMZSports.com

Ted Cruz says it's awesome his hometown Astros (mostly) said what's up to Trump at the White House ... and he's got faith the Rockets will, too.

We got the Texas Senator after he took in Monday's World Series ceremony in D.C. -- and you can tell he was still PUMPED off his 'Stros winning their first title.

"To win it in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, when so many Houstonians, so many Texans, were hurting -- it just meant an enormous amount," Cruz told TMZ Sports.

It was all pretty touching stuff from Ted ... that is 'til the conversation turned to the defending champion, Warriors -- who staunchly rejected their Oval Office visit.

"I think it is unfortunate that we've seen that happen ... I'm hoping that this is the first of at least two Houston trips to the White House this year."

Guessing he hasn't seen James Harden's hat ...