LEADING OFF: Key showdown at Fenway, Cards on 12G streak

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole starts the opener of a crucial three-game series at Fenway Park with the Red Sox two games ahead of New York for the top AL wild card. Boston has won seven straight to build a small cushion over the Yankees and Blue Jays. With New York closing the season against AL East foes Boston, Toronto and Tampa Bay, Cole said he is drawing inspiration down the stretch from a story he had been told recently about ancient warriors honing their warfare skills against elite fighters from neighboring cities to stay sharp. Also, the Cardinals take a 12-game winning streak into a doubleheader at Wrigley Field.