MLB report Astros rock Rangers

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

HOUSTON — The Astros blew open a close game with a nine-run sixth inning to take the series finale against the Rangers 13-2 Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.

Rangers right-hander Andrew Cashner worked out of jams in each of the first three innings, allowing runs in the first and second but escaped unscathed in the third after the Astros had runners on the corners with no outs. Carlos Beltran lined out to first base and Joey Gallo was able to double up Carlos Correa for a double play before Cashner struck out Brian McCann to strand Jose Altuve at third. Atluve doubled in the first and move to third on a wild pitch and gave Houston a 1-0 lead on Correa’s groundout. In the second, McCann led off with a double to the left-field corner and scored on Marwin Gonzalez’s single to center to make it 2-0.

Altuve doubled and Correa singled to start the fifth and later scored to push the lead to 4-1. Cashner was replaced without recording an out in the fifth by Jeremy Jeffress. The Astros scored nine runs on seven hits, two walks and two hit batters in the sixth. Jeffress was charged with four runs on three hits, including two solo homers that got the rally started with no outs. Tony Barnette was charged with three runs on two hits and two walks and didn’t record an out. Dillon Gee mopped up the final three innings, allowing two runs on four hits.

Astros rookie right-hander Francis Martes held the Rangers scoreless through the first four innings.

Milwaukee 7, St. Louis 6

ST. LOUIS — An early flurry of offense wound up carrying the Milwaukee Brewers past the St. Louis Cardinals in a rain-soaked game at Busch Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Brewers scored six runs in the first two innings, got a key RBI single from Hernan Perez in the seventh and held on for a 7-6 victory in a game that featured two separate delays totaling 1 hour 50 minutes.

The two teams have been bedeviled by inclement weather in both series so far in St. Louis. A postponement on May 3 led to a doubleheader on Tuesday, which the Brewers and Cardinals split, and Wednesday’s delay meant play would extend into late-night hours.

The story coming in for the Brewers was the return of Matt Garza, who’d been reinstated from the 10-day disabled list earlier in the day. He missed his last start after coming out on the wrong end of a collision with 6-foot-3, 250-pound Jesus Aguilar.

He couldn’t have asked for a better scenario to return to, as Milwaukee’s offense jumped on St. Louis starter Mike Leake for six runs in the first two innings.

Eric Thames’ two-run homer two batters into the game made it 2-0 in the first. Eric Sogard’s two-run double in the second made it 4-0, then Thames doubled in Sogard and Travis Shaw singled in Thames to make it 6-0.

Seeing Thames break out early was undoubtedly a nice sight for the Brewers. He’d recorded just one multi-RBI game since May 9 and one multi-extra-base hit game since May 7.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Colorado 5, Pittsburgh 1

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates’ four-game winning streak ended Wednesday with a 5-1 loss against the Colorado Rockies, who avoided a sweep in PNC Park.

Too often the Rockies walked off the field with Pirates baserunners stranded. They had men on second and third with one out in the fifth; no runs. They had men on the corners, nobody out, in the sixth, and got one run on Gregory Polanco’s double-play grounder. Loading the bases in the seventh proved fruitless.

Wednesday’s start became the third in Chad Kuhl’s past five during which he exited after five innings due to the need for runs but could have continued. He threw only 75 pitches Wednesday, walked one and struck out three.

The Rockies had a 1-0 lead entering the fifth because of Ian Desmond’s second-inning home run. He walked to lead off the fifth, and Raimel Tapia singled.

Trevor Story rolled a ball to the right of Max Moroff, who started in place of Jordy Mercer at shortstop. Moroff had made two nice plays in the second and fourth innings, but could not reach Story’s single. Desmond scored. Josh Bell charged Rockies starter German Marquez’s bunt and had the option of going to the plate to prevent a run or throwing to first for the sure out. He did neither, bobbling the ball, and the Rockies took a 3-0 lead.

The Pirates let a scoring chance in the fifth slip. After Andrew McCutchen’s one-out single, Marquez hit Francisco Cervelli in the arm with the first pitch. Cervelli and Rockies catcher Tony Wolters got into it, forcing the dugouts and bullpens to empty.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

, but nothing happened. Cervelli was displeased. So was Gerrit Cole. When play resumed, Moroff and pinch-hitter Jose Osuna could not bring home a run.


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NEW YORK — Allow home runs to the first two batters of the game? Lose your second baseman to a dastardly looking leg injury? Take out your starter after just 58 pitches? Have to use another pitcher as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded because you’re short of players?

The Mets scoffed at all of that Wednesday night. They rallied from an injury to Neil Walker, an ineffective and short start by Matt Harvey and an early three-run deficit to beat the Cubs, 9-4, before 34,566 at Citi Field.

Curtis Granderson gave the Mets their first lead when he led off their five-run eighth inning with a home run into the right-field corner. Granderson was rewarded with a curtain call after his seventh home run of the season and 300th of his career.

The Mets, who have won five of six, expanded their lead later in the inning when Lucas Duda — who entered the game after Walker got hurt — hit a three-run homer to right.

The home team’s fun didn’t stop there as the Mets batted around. T.J. Rivera drove in the final run with the last of three consecutive singles following Duda’s blast.

The Mets lost Walker in the third inning when the second baseman pulled up while racing to try to beat out a bunt. Walker never made it to the bag as he grabbed his left leg in pain in the hamstring area and went down.

The Mets later announced Walker had suffered a “left leg injury” and would have an MRI Thursday.

Harvey, who threw five shutout innings but needed 104 pitches in his last outing, didn’t take long to give up his first run Wednesday. Anthony Rizzo hit his first pitch for a home run to left-center field. Rizzo also homered leading off Tuesday’s game against Zack Wheeler.

The Cubs made it 2-0 against Harvey when the next batter, Ian Happ, hit a home run into the visiting bullpen in right-center.

The Mets got a run back in the second when third baseman Kris Bryant dropped Jose Reyes’ two-out grounder while transferring to throw for a run-scoring error.

Harvey settled in for a time after Happ’s homer, retiring 10 of the next 11 batters before John Jay singled with one out in the fourth. Kyle Schwarber followed with a massive 467-foot, two-run home run over the Shea Bridge in right-center to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.

Harvey retired the next two hitters on grounders and exited the inning having thrown only 58 pitches. The Mets did not announce during the game whether Harvey was removed because of injury.

Harvey, who allowed four runs and four hits with one walk and struck out five, has given up 16 home runs in 701/3 innings.

Down by three runs with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth, Terry Collins sent out Steven Matz, and not Yoenis Cespedes or Michael Conforto, to bat for Harvey against left-handed starter Mike Montgomery.

Matz made his manager look good by beating out a grounder to deep shortstop for an RBI single. Juan Lagares followed with a sacrifice fly to pull the Mets to within 4-3.

Conforto and Cespedes both pinch hit later in the game.

Lagares cracked a two-out RBI triple to center in the seventh to tie it at 4. The relievers after Harvey — Paul Sewald, Fernando Salas, winner Jerry Blevins (4-0) and Addison Reed — threw five shutout innings.


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The Orange County Register

ANAHEIM, Calif. — On a night that Eric Young Jr. continued to make Los Angeles Angels’ fans wonder what the team will do with him when Mike Trout comes back, Matt Shoemaker showed why you can never look too far ahead in this game.

Shoemaker left the game in the fourth inning with tightness in his forearm. There was no further word on the severity of his injury.

The good news was that the Angels still won, beating the New York Yankees, 7-5, with Andrelton Simmons providing the go-ahead runs with a two-run homer in the seventh.

The lesson, though, is that it’s pointless to try to predict roster moves too far in the future, because each day brings the potential of another injury that changes the variables.

In Shoemaker’s case, the Angels have Doug Fister throwing at Triple-A, scheduled to start on Friday and with a June 21 out in his contract. If Shoemaker needs to miss a start, Fister would seem to be the obvious one to take his spot.

As for Young, he has been a revelation for the Angels ever since he came to the big leagues to take Trout’s spot. A night after he had the game-tying and game-winning hits, the 32-year-old journeyman provided the go-ahead RBI, threw out a runner at the plate and made a diving catch.

Just after his catch in the top of the seventh preserved a tie, Simmons ripped a homer in the bottom of the inning. His seventh homer of the year put the Angels ahead, 7-5, in a game in which they had trailed 4-0 before even coming to bat.

Shoemaker gave up four runs in the first, three on a Gary Sanchez 441-foot homer. After that, though, he settled down. He escaped without damage in the second and third.

In the fourth, after he had allowed two singles, one an infield hit, to start the inning, the Angels summoned trainer Eric Munson to the mound to check on him. After some discussion, Shoemaker left the game.

Meanwhile, the Angels chipped away at Michael Pineda to get the lead.

They scored one in the first, but they nearly tied it. Luis Valbuena blasted a drive to straightaway center with the bases loaded. Aaron Hicks leapt at the fence and snagged it, perhaps robbing Valbuena of a grand slam. He settled for a sacrifice fly.

In the second, Danny Espinosa blasted a two-run homer, as he continues to dig out of an early season hole. Espinosa came into Wednesday’s game hitting .257 in his previous 11 games, with a homer and two doubles. It’s progress for a player whose average has been well under .200 all season.

Young’s RBI single capped a two-run third to give the Angels the lead, but the Yankees tied it with an unearned run in the sixth.


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The Baltimore Sun

CHICAGO — Welington Castillo’s towering fifth-inning grand slam Wednesday night packed a lot of meaning for a reeling Baltimore Orioles team that had lost six consecutive games overall, had dropped 11 straight on the road and had fallen a game below .500 for the first time since 2015.

The blast, part of a nine-run outburst over three innings that erased a 5-1 deficit, put the Orioles ahead to stay in a rain-delayed 10-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

It came on a night when the Orioles finally cashed in on some early-inning chances; when their top starter, Dylan Bundy, overcame a shaky start to pitch deep enough for the win; and when their skid had lasted long enough that they started to wonder if — not when — it would end.

With the win, the Orioles pulled back to .500 (32-32) and gave themselves a chance to salvage a series split in Chicago with a win in Thursday’s matinee.

Castillo capitalizes: Staked to a 5-1 lead thanks to some mistakes by both Bundy and the Orioles defense behind him, Miguel Gonzalez simply gave the Orioles too many chances to break out of their recent inability to put together a big inning.

They loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning, and did so again with two outs in the fifth inning. Both times, it was designated hitter Mark Trumbo, first baseman Trey Mancini and second baseman Jonathan Schoop who reached in order.

In the fourth inning, a run came in on a fielder’s choice by Castillo, then two more on a two-out single by left fielder Hyun Soo Kim before Castillo was caught in a rundown to end the inning.

An inning later, Castillo came up with three on again and hit his first career grand slam to center field to put the Orioles ahead 8-5, a lead they never relinquished.

Bundy battles: Bundy ended up giving the Orioles a hole to climb out of, just like so many of the team’s starting pitchers who preceded him, but was allowed to stay in the game after the White Sox managed five runs off him in the first two innings to give them five innings of work.

Even after a 90-minute rain delay that kept him waiting to get ready, Bundy featured one of his best fastballs of the season. It averaged 93 mph and topped out at 96 mph, but even with that it was a shaky beginning. He settled in, though, to yield just one hit in his final three innings.

Bundy allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits in five innings with three walks and four strikeouts to improve his record to 7-5.

Split start for Schoop: Schoop was involved in everything over the first few innings of the game — and not all of it good.

He was shifted behind second base with a man on first and two outs in the first inning and couldn’t chase down a ball deep in the first base hole. Two batters later, the White Sox went up 2-0 with a bases-loaded single by shortstop Tim Anderson.

He doubled home their first run of the game in the second inning, but helped give it back and then some in the home half. After a double to right field by left fielder Melky Cabrera, Schoop caught the relay throw and fired to third base to try and catch the runner on his way back. The ball ended up in the photo well, allowing a run to score on an error, and the White Sox ended that inning with a 5-1 lead.

Big in the middle: Schoop’s later at-bats atoned for some of the early miscues, though. He had two hits and a walk while scoring twice. His day was only bested by rookie first baseman Trey Mancini, who scored three times while going 3-for-4 with a double.

Trumbo, Mancini, and Schoop will likely be entrenched in the 4-5-6 spots in the lineup without first baseman Chris Davis, and if Wednesday is any indication, they feed off one another quite well.

The trio combined for seven hits and scored seven of the team’s nine runs.

Wright role: Right-hander Mike Wright rebounded from a tough inning of work Saturday in New York with two scoreless innings of two-hit ball to bridge between Bundy and Mychal Givens.

It’s not exactly the one-inning power reliever role some envision for Wright, but he has shown signs of effectiveness out of the bullpen over the past few weeks.

Givens, who has gotten plenty of rest after a busy first six weeks of the season, allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings before Brad Brach got the final out.

Unhappy debut for Washington: Rookie David Washington, making his major league debut, was the only Orioles starter not to get a hit. He struck out three times.


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Akron Beacon Journal

CLEVELAND — Andrew Miller hadn’t given up a home run this season prior to this week. He had been as virtually unhittable as any pitcher in baseball, as no hitter had been able to get ahold of a fastball or slider enough to send it out of the park or, really, do any damage at all.

In a play that stunned Miller and most of the crowd at Progressive Field, the Los Angels Dodgers hit the go-ahead home run off of Miller for the second straight game, as the Indians fell, 6-4, on Wednesday night.

The loss dropped the Indians to 31-31 for the season. It’s the first time since April 18 (7-7) they have been at or below .500.

Tied 2-2 in the eighth, Enrique Hernandez drove a solo home run to right field off Miller that led to a four-run eighth to take the lead and put the game out of reach. On Tuesday night, Miller (3-2) also gave up a go-ahead home run, also in the eighth inning, that one belonging to Cody Bellinger.

The Dodgers (41-25) added on following the go-ahead shot. Yasmani Grandal grounded into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play, but Erik Gonzalez, who started the game after Jason Kipnis was scratched due to neck stiffness, wasn’t on the base during the turn, allowing a run to score. With Zach McAllister on the mound, Chris Taylor later blooped a single into center field to score two more runs and make it 6-2.

In the bottom of the eighth, Michael Brantley doubled in a run and Edwin Encarnacion drove him in with a check-swing single to chip away at the Dodgers’ lead, but the Indians couldn’t overcome the Dodgers’ rally in the eighth.

The Dodgers earlier in the game put two runners in scoring position in the second inning and got both home on a 75-foot, weakly-hit ground ball and a play more-often seen in Little League.

With two outs, Joc Pederson grounded a ball to third base that Jose Ramirez had to quickly gather to try to make it a close play, but he couldn’t get a handle on it, putting the Dodgers up 1-0. With Chris Taylor on third, Pederson then tried to steal second base. Yan Gomes fired to second base to try to get the third out and had Pederson beat by several steps, but Gonzalez instead threw back to Gomes after Taylor had broken for home. His throw was off line, technically meaning Taylor stole home and giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.

The Dodgers later tried the double-steal again, only this time Gomes fired to third base and caught Pederson too far off the base to end the inning.

The Indians’ cut the lead in half in the sixth and evened the score in the seventh against the Dodgers bullpen. Facing Grant Dayton with runners on the corners, Michael Brantley hit a fly ball to center field that right fielder Yaisel Puig, owner one of the game’s best arms, ran over to catch. Bradley Zimmer, in the leadoff spot in Kipnis’ absence, tested his arm and won the battle to make it 2-1. An inning later, Jose Ramirez blasted a solo home run to right field, his ninth of the season.

Indians ace Corey Kluber turned in another strong outing since his return to the disabled list and made some history while doing it. Kluber allowed two runs on four hits and a walk and struck out 10 in seven innings.

With a strikeout of Puig in the fifth, Kluber became the 11th Indians pitcher to reach 1,000 strikeouts in his career. He also became the fastest to reach that mark in franchise history, besting Bob Feller by 19 games (148-167). Sam McDowell (169 games), CC Sabathia (195) and Luis Tiant (199) all reached that mark in fewer than 200 games.

Kluber also became the seventh pitcher in baseball history to reach 1,000 strikeouts in 150 appearances or fewer, joining some elite company that includes Kerry Wood (134 games), Tim Lincecum (136), Roger Clemens (143), Stephen Strasburg (144), Dwight Gooden (145) and Hideo Nomo (147).


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Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

MINNEAPOLIS — Ervin Santana wasn’t the same pitcher Wednesday as he was last Friday, when he shut out the San Francisco Giants.

He never is.

Santana’s teams entered the night 3-7 in his next start after a shutout, and the Twins are 0-4, an odd pattern that emphasizes that momentum among starting pitchers probably doesn’t exist. The Mariners handed Santana a two-run deficit just five pitches into his start on Wednesday, added three more runs in the third inning, and chased him after just five innings in a game that Seattle won 6-4.

Santana, who leads the majors with three shutouts this season, but who hasn’t followed up a shutout with a victory since 2011, surrendered a single to Ben Gamel to open the game, then left a 1-1 slider high in the strike zone to Mitch Haniger, a pitch that wound up two rows deep in the left-field stands. The Mariners loaded the bases against the Twins’ ace in the second inning, but Robinson Cano stranded all three with a grounder to short.

But in the third inning, the Mariners used the home run to punish Santana once more, mounting a three-run rally with two outs. Danny Valencia and Jarrod Dyson singled, sending up Mike Zunino with runners on base. That hasn’t ended well for the Twins lately; Zunino had hit three homers against Minnesota pitching already this month, including a walk-off winner in Seattle one week earlier.

This time, the Mariners catcher got a slider low in the strike zone, and he golfed it high off the upper-deck facade above the bullpens in left field.

Santana got a measure of revenge, or so the Mariners thought, by hitting Haniger in the elbow with a two-strike fastball in the fourth inning, then ricocheting a pitch off Zunino’s shoulder in the fifth. Zunino yelled at Santana as he took first base, and the umpires huddled together. They finally warned both benches about throwing at hitters, a warning that Santana visibly objected to.

The Twins, though, used home runs to close the 5-0 deficit. Eduardo Escobar, following his five-hit Tuesday, slammed a fifth inning pitch from Seattle rookie Sam Gaviglio deep into the right field stands, his sixth homer of the season.

Two batters later, Byron Buxton smacked his fourth of the season into the Mariners’ bullpen, making it 5-2.

And an inning later, after Seattle added an unearned run off reliever Buddy Boshers on a two-out single by Danny Valencia, Miguel Sano joined the fun, reaching out to club an outside pitch into the second deck in left-center, his 16th homer of the season.

The two-run shot also gave him 48 RBI this season, pulling him within four of Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz for the AL lead.

The Twins tried to mount a rally in the ninth. Jason Castro walked and Byron Buxton got an infield hit, bringing up Eddie Rosario who had hit three home runs the day before. He struck out this time for the second out of the inning.

Brian Dozier came up next. He flied out to center field.


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The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies returned home Wednesday for the first time in 10 days to find a new addition inside their clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park. Chairs and tables were rearranged to create space for a Ping-Pong table, which instantly became the most popular spot in the room.

Cameron Rupp, the team’s catcher stuck in a horrible slump, shaved his beard before the game. Maikel Franco and Luis Garcia taped a mini basketball hoop to an empty locker and shot a foam ball.

It’s a long season. They’ll do anything to change the mood that hovers over the worst team in baseball.

These are forgettable times — a 7-3 loss to Boston was the eighth straight defeat. It was punctuated by loud “Let’s go Red Sox!” chants greeted with apathy from Phillies fans. Boston slapped Jeremy Hellickson for five innings. The Phillies offense was silent, even after Red Sox starter Brian Johnson succumbed to a shoulder injury in the third inning.

The Phillies are 21-43, the franchise’s worst record through 64 games since 1945. That team lost 108 games as ownership attempted to rebrand the team as the “Blue Jays.” That, too, generated an apathetic response.

All that awaits the Phillies on Thursday is Chris Sale, the Boston left-hander who leads the majors with 126 strikeouts.

There are holes up and down the lineup. The reinforcements, for now, will not arrive. Pete Mackanin is tasked with finding some sort of cohesive unit with the current options. The Phillies manager has stashed Michael Saunders on his bench to allow more playing time for Daniel Nava. A similar switch has happened with the catchers, and it could tip toward Andrew Knapp’s favor soon.

Rupp started for the second straight night. He went 0 for 4 and struck out in the eighth inning as the tying run at the plate. He has six hits in his last 57 at-bats with 22 strikeouts. His OPS has dipped to .637.

This was the team’s 13th game in June. Rupp has started seven and Knapp six. Knapp’s production has slowed; the rookie just 4 for 25 this month. But Rupp’s slump is so deep that Knapp could steal a majority of time behind the plate.

It could be that both catchers have a future in the majors as backups. Jorge Alfaro, far from a finished product, looms at triple A. He must be in the majors next season because he has no minor league options remaining.

So that could prompt a little closer look at Knapp for the remainder of 2017.


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Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann had his longest outing of the season.

But the Detroit Tigers lost for the sixth time in their past eight games.

Zimmermann allowed two runs on six hits over a season-high eight innings. He didn’t allow a walk and struck out five.

The Tigers had plenty of opportunities to give Zimmermann more run support, but they went on to lose, 2-1, on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

Zimmermann hadn’t pitched more than six innings in any of his previous 12 starts this season. He threw a season-high 108 pitches. It was the fourth time he has thrown 100 or more pitches in a game and the most since he threw 103 at the Tampa Bay Rays on April 19.

The Tigers (30-34) were swept in the two-game series at Comerica Park by the Diamondbacks, who are coached by former Tiger Torey Lovullo.

Zimmermann has allowed four runs in a span of 20 innings over his past three starts. The Tigers fell to 5-8 in Zimmermann’s 13 starts.

The outfield defense didn’t do Zimmermann any early favors. A bloop single by Gregor Blanco got past left fielder Justin Upton. Blanco went to third on the fielding error and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by David Peralta. Paul Goldschmidt followed with a single and eventually scored on a two-out single by Brandon Drury.

The Tigers cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third. Ian Kinsler hit a two-out double to left and Alex Avila followed with a RBI double to left.

The Tigers had chances to tie the game in the fourth and fifth inning but failed to do so.

With runners on the corners and two outs in the fourth, Andrew Romine struck out swinging at a 95-mph fastball from Taijuan Walker.

The Tigers had runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth before Victor Martinez flied out to left.

Walker allowed one run on six hits over five innings. He walked one and struck out six. It was his first start since being reinstated from the 10-day disabled list. Walker went on the DL on May 21 for a blister on his right index finger.

J.D. Martinez hit a 93-mph fastball from Randall Delgado to the warning track in right in the sixth inning.

Alex Avila flied out to the warning track in left in the bottom of the eighth inning for the Tigers.

With a runner on first and two out in the eighth inning, J.D. Martinez struck out swinging at a high fastball from Delgado.

Ex-Tiger Fernando Rodney struck out the side in the ninth to earn the save for the Diamondbacks. Upton and Nick Castellanos both struck out looking at change-ups. Romine struck out swinging.


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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

WASHINGTON — The Braves had waited a long time to celebrate a series win at Nationals Park, so long that most of the current Atlanta roster wasn’t even on the team the last time it happened.

But Julio Teheran was, and he also got some long-overdue satisfaction Wednesday in the Braves’ 13-2 rout against the Nationals, snapping his eight-start winless streak against the Nationals while helping the Braves clinch their first series win at Nationals Park since April 2014.

Brandon Phillips had a season-high four hits and Ender Inciarte and Nick Markakis had three hits apiece as the top three in the Braves’ batting order went 10-for-16 with seven runs and six RBIs.

Teheran was 0-3 with a 6.11 ERA in his past eight starts against the Nationals before Wednesday, when he pitched seven strong innings to remain unbeaten on the road this season. He limited them to six hits, two runs and one walk with three strikeouts in seven innings despite sitting through some long innings while the Braves were batting, including three-run innings in the first and third and a six-run seventh inning.

The Braves are 4-2 with a pair of series wins home and away against the Nationals this season, and outscored them 29-22 while taking two of three in this series. Before this week, the Braves had been 2-23 in their past 25 games at Nationals Park going back to June 2014.

The only negative for the Braves was seeing cleanup hitter Matt Kemp leave Wednesday’s game with a leg injury in the third inning, but the team characterized it as only left-hamstring tightness and Kemp said he left as a precautionary measure after having a stint on the disabled list in April for a right-hamstring strain.

Teheran improved to a 5-0 with a 2.89 ERA in seven road starts, compared to 1-4 with a 7.25 ERA in seven home starts. Before allowing seven runs, 11 hits and two homers in five innings of his last road start June 4 at Cincinnati, he had a 1.42 ERA and .599 opponents’ OPS in five road starts.

But at Nationals Park, Teheran had gone 0-2 with a 5.76 ERA in his past four starts before Wednesday, his winless streak coinciding with the Braves’ 2-25 stretch at the ballpark prior to this series. He gave up six runs and two homers twice at Nationals Park in those four starts.

In losing 23 of their past 25 games at Nationals Park before this series, the Braves had averaged under 2.9 runs per game, scored more than five runs only four times and never scored more than eight. They had not scored more than 15 runs in any series at Nationals Park during that span and had totaled just seven and nine runs while getting swept in four-game series in 2015 and 2016.

The Braves won a three-game series in Washington for the first time since taking two of three at Nationals Park in April 2014. They also split a four-game June series at Washington in June 2014, but beginning with losses in the last two games of that series the Braves were 2-25 with a 5.84 ERA at Nationals Park prior to this series, getting out-hit .300-.226, out-homered 31-9 and outscored 145-72.

But that run ended this week, or at least was interrupted by the Braves, who won a three-game series despite allowing a .392 batting average, six homers and 20 runs in the first two games. They won 11-10 in the series opener and lost 10-5 on Tuesday before roughing up Tanner Roark in the series finale.

It would be severe understatement to say the Braves were overdue both at Nationals Park and against Roark, who came into Wednesday’s game with a 5-1 record and 1.95 ERA in 15 career games (10 starts) against the Braves, including 4-0 with a 0.76 ERA in eight home games (five starts).

On Wednesday, he gave up three runs before recording the second out of the game. Roark lasted five innings and was charged with nine hits, seven runs and two walks.


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Sun Sentinel

MIAMI — How’s this for a homestand? Two games, two wins, 21 hours.

That sums up the first half of the Miami Marlins’ unusual week, which included an 11-6 win over the Oakland Athletics at Marlins Park on Wednesday afternoon. It was the back half of a two-game series with the A’s, whom the Marlins swept, sandwiched between off days on Monday and Thursday.

Up next, the Marlins will fly to Atlanta on Thursday evening before playing the Braves on Friday, Miami’s first trip to the new SunTrust Park.

Starring during the quick stint in South Florida was an offense rolling as well as it has all season. After an early four-run hole, Miami outscored Oakland 11-2 after the first inning and a half to improve to 12-5 over the past two and a half weeks.

That’s a drastic departure from a month ago, when even four runs in a game was difficult to come by for the Marlins.

“There were times last month when we got down a run and I was like, I hope they don’t score first. Because it felt like if the other team scored first, we were in trouble,” manager Don Mattingly said. “But now you don’t have that same feeling.”

Miami scored in six innings Wednesday (including multiple runs in inning Nos. 2-5), and the top four hitters in the lineup (Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna) all had multiple hits.

Ozuna and Tyler Moore homered in the second. Ozuna’s was his 17th of the season, tied with Stanton for the team lead.

“O’s homer is huge,” Mattingly said. “That one is an important run that didn’t seem huge at the time. In my mind, it just lets everybody know we’re in this game and there’s a long way to go.”

Tomas Telis’ pinch-hit double to left-center in the fourth tied the game, and Gordon’s single to left put the Marlins up.

They tacked on relentlessly from there: another in the fourth (Yelich hit by a pitch with the bases loaded), two more in the fifth (JT Riddle single, Gordon sacrifice fly), one in the sixth (Ozuna double) and one more in the seventh (Stanton single).

Again: It couldn’t be more different from May.

“Our guys are just, you know, doing their job,” Yelich said. “We’re down four in the second and you don’t think it’s over by any means.”

The early runs came against A’s right-hander Daniel Gossett, who allowed six earned in 31/3 innings in his major league debut. He also got down a sacrifice bunt and managed an infield single in his two plate appearances, the first of his professional career.

The Marlins’ large lead allowed Mattingly to use his low-leverage relievers by game’s end, the result well in hand. Drew Steckenrider was the last of six bullpen arms to combine for five innings of one-run ball.

Right-hander Edinson Volquez, who in his previous three starts allowed one run in 22 innings, was neither effective nor efficient as he had been in those games. He lasted only four innings, allowing five runs (four earned).

Ryon Healy had the big blow, a three-run homer to center in the second. Volquez also walked in a run during a three-walk, 31-pitch first inning and gave up an RBI double to Jed Lowrie in the fourth.

“I didn’t feel really good today,” Volquez said. “I don’t think I had everything working. I got in trouble myself, walking people.”

Or, as Mattingly put it: “Rough.”

Mattingly indicated that the strange week, with two days off, wasn’t unwelcome. It offers rest, particularly for those Marlins who play every day, and the road trip is easier knowing the flights are short ones and a long homestand awaits starting next week.

Plus, checking out the Braves’ new digs will be nice — nicer if Miami keeps hitting the way it has.

“Hopefully we can keep riding this,” Mattingly said.


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PHOTOS (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194):

The San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO — Yes, Franchy Cordero showed bunt. It was only a show. The 22-year-old rookie, too, believes he’s swinging the bat too well at the moment to give himself up.

“I was just trying to bring the infield in,” Cordero said through an interpreter after his seventh-inning single propelled the Padres to a 4-2 win over the Reds on Wednesday afternoon and just San Diego’s second series sweep of the season. “I was trying to bring them in just a little more. Then any ball I hit would be able to get through.”

It worked.

Cordero’s single through the right side of the infield with runners on first and second staked the Padres to their first lead of the afternoon. It was his seventh hit of a series that saw the converted center field prospect blast the first three homers of his career — including two on Tuesday — double and drive in four runs in 14 at-bats.

Which is why third baseman Glenn Hoffman felt compelled to have a brief conversation with Cordero drawing strike one with a half-hearted attempt at a bunt with runners on first and second.

The reliever, Michael Lorenzen, had walked the first two hitters on eight pitches. No one outside Jose Pirela was swinging the bat better than Cordero. The message was succinct when Hoffman called timeout to speak into the Dominican’s ear just up the third base line.

Hoffman just hoped nothing was lost in translation when he delivering the directive in English: Swing.

“I didn’t know the Spanish word for ‘swing,’” Hoffman said with a chuckle, “but he got it.”

Cordero’s getting a lot these days.

His second single of the afternoon pushed his batting line to .339/.383/.625 through his first 17 games in the majors and — paired with Hunter Renfroe’s game-tying blast in the sixth — made right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (6-5, 5.10 ERA) a winner for the fourth time in seven Petco Park starts (1.72 ERA).

The 29-year-old Venezuelan struck out four, walked one and allowed two hits — Jose Peraza’s homer to lead off the game and Joey Votto’s solo shot in the fourth — over an efficient seven-inning outing that might have gone even longer had his spot in the lineup not come up to lead off the seventh.

“He was really pitch-efficient all day, the two home runs being the only damage,” Green said. “The rest of the day he was getting early action with pitches just outside the strike zone very often. That’s a great recipe for success.”

At 85 pitches in a 2-2 game, Chacin was lifted for pinch-hitter Matt Szczur, who walked to lead off the inning.

Pirela followed with a walk and Cordero pulled a 1-1, 91 mph cutter through the right side of the infield to give the Padres their first lead of the game. Renfroe’s RBI groundout to second with the bases loaded extended that advantage to 4-2 before Brad Hand and Brandon Maurer closed the game with scoreless frames.

An inning before Cordero’s go-ahead single, Renfroe interrupted a 1-for-19 slump with a two-run, 433-foot homer off Amir Garrett (6 IP) that bounced off the back of the Estrella Jalisco Landing deck in left field.

The home run was his 14th of the season, tied with Nate Colbert (1969) for the most by a Padres rookie before the All-Star break despite his .224 batting average.

“He’s a power guy,” Green said. “At the end of the day he’s going to run through phases where he’s not squaring the ball up consistently. What we want as an organization when he’s going through those stretches, if he’s staying in the strike zone, it’s going to come back quicker.”


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