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LEADING OFF: Darvish, Greinke still among elite on mound

A look at what's happening on Sunday in the majors:

WINDY CITY WINDUP

Yu Darvish tries for his career-high fifth straight win when he starts for the Cubs against the White Sox in the series finale at Wrigley Field.

Darvish (4-1, 1.80 ERA) has dominated since losing his first outing of the season. The 34-year-old Japanese star traces some of his success to taking a more deliberate approach on the mound.

Dylan Cease (4-1, 3.16 ERA) has won four straight starts for the White Sox, allowing just five earned runs in that span. The 24-year-old righty was drafted by the Cubs in 2014, and then traded across town with outfielder Eloy Jiménez in a package for pitcher José Quintana in July 2017. Cease has never faced the Cubs.

GREINKE VS. PADRES

Even at 36 years old, right-hander Zack Greinke keeps chugging along as one of the best pitchers in the big leagues. The six-time All-Star and 2009 Cy Young Award winner has a 1.84 ERA through five starts, helping the Astros maintain a winning record despite a rash of injuries, including losing ace pitcher Justin Verlander.

On Sunday, Grienke faces the San Diego Padres, who have quickly turned into one of the National League’s most intriguing teams. The Padres’ lineup is built around Fernando Tatis Jr. The 21-year-old shortstop is an MVP candidate with a .313 batting average, a big league-high 12 homers and six stolen bases through Friday’s games.

HOLT'S AVAILABLE

The Brewers designated veteran utilityman Brock Holt for assignment after he got off to a poor start at the plate. The 32-year-old former All-Star hit just .100 (3 for 30) after signing a free agent deal with Milwaukee in February that included a club option for 2021.

“At this point we didn’t feel like we were getting anywhere,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “So we’re going to try something different. That’s the point we reached with Brock, unfortunately. He’s a really good teammate. However this affected him, it just didn’t work I guess is the best way to say it.”

Milwaukee filled Holt’s spot on the roster by recalling utilityman Jace Peterson from its alternate training site.

PITTSBURGH'S MINI-PUSH

A pitiful season for Pittsburgh is showing faint signs of turning around. The Pirates won two games in a row for the first time all season by beating Milwaukee 12-5 on Saturday. Now they'll go for three straight when right-hander JT Brubaker takes the mound.

To say it's been a rough start for the Pirates would be an understatement. Pittsburgh lost 17 of its first 21 games before the current two-game winning streak.

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