BALTIMORE (AP) — Adam Duvall tied a Braves record with his 10th homer in September, and Atlanta used the collective work of six pitchers to beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 Tuesday night.
Freddie Freeman had three hits, including a pair of RBI doubles, to help the Braves bounce back from a 14-1 drubbing by Baltimore one night earlier.
The victory, combined with Miami’s loss to Boston, left Atlanta with a 3 1/2-game lead in the NL East as the abbreviated 60-game schedule nears its conclusion. The Braves have 11 games left and Miami has 14 to go.
Duvall hit a solo shot off Thomas Eshelman (3-1) to make it 2-0 in the fourth inning. It was his 15th home run of the season and 10th in 15 games this month, matching the Braves mark for September shared by sluggers Dale Murphy (1983) and Chipper Jones (1999).
The score stayed that way until Freeman doubled and scored in a three-run ninth.
With Freeman riding a 10-game hitting streak, Duvall regularly going deep and several others knocking the ball around, the Braves have weapons beyond their formidable bullpen.
”It’s very impressive,” Duvall said. ”I’ve been on some good offensive lineups, but this one is top tier. Day in and day out, you almost expect it every day.”
Injuries to several members of the starting rotation have forced the Braves to rely more heavily on their batters, and for the most part they’ve delivered.
”It’s been a little surprising,” manager Brian Snitker said. ”They’ve all gotten it going together. In our circumstances, thank God we did. If we had to pick something to jell with what we’ve been through, that’d be the one aspect we really needed.”
Huascar Ynoa allowed two hits over four innings and the bullpen gave up just two hits the rest of the way. Former Orioles reliever Darren O’Day (4-0) worked the fifth, the first of five pitchers to throw one inning apiece.
Ynoa needed three more outs to get his first big league win, but stiffness in his lower back ruined his bid.
”We didn’t want to push him. We wanted to get out in front of it,” Snitker said.
It was Atlanta’s first win at Camden Yards in 11 years, and with a victory Wednesday the Braves will earn their first series win in Baltimore since 2004.
Jose Iglesias had two hits and a ninth-inning RBI for the Orioles, who have lost six of seven.
Manager Brandon Hyde was ejected in the fourth after he emerged from the dugout to argue the ruling that Ronald Acuna Jr. did not swing on a 3-1 pitch.
”We had some disagreement on a few check swings,” Hyde said. ”A pretty quick hook.”
Hyde was ejected almost as soon as he came out of the dugout, then was told by first base umpire Brennan Miller that he was too close in this age of social distancing.
”It was definitely the weirdest ejection I’ve ever been part of,” Hyde said.
The wait is over for left-hander Cole Hamels, who is poised to come off the 45-day injured list Wednesday night and pitch for the first time as a member of the Braves.
After signing a one-year contract with Atlanta in December, Hamels arrived at spring training with a sore shoulder. Then, he developed triceps tendinitis during summer camp.
The rehab, at long last, is done.
”Now it’s just a matter of being around these guys. That’s the thing you miss the most,” Hamels said. ”I was able to watch them play, but you’re not able to celebrate with them.”
Hamels, 36, has designs on carrying the Braves into the playoffs and deep into the postseason. Pitching is what he does best, and the four-time All-Star hasn’t done it competitively since September with the Cubs.
”It’s something that I know I love to do,” he said, ”and I’m excited to be able to do it in a Braves uniform.”
Braves: Hamels is 2-4 with a 5.48 ERA in seven career appearances against Baltimore.
Orioles: Rookie LHP Keegan Akin (0-1, 4.61) tries to rebound from a poor outing against the Yankees in which he failed to get out of the first inning.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
How a Bradley Beal trade could put Wizards in control of the 2020 NBA Draft
How a Beal trade could put Wizards in control of the draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Bradley Beal fell short of making the All-NBA team this season and the Wizards are excited about the prospect of pairing him with a healthy John Wall, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from predicting how many different ways Washington could trade the shooting guard before next season.
Though it’s unclear how motivated the Wizards would be to trade Beal after he signed a two-year max extension in October 2019, one team that would have the assets to make an intriguing offer is the Golden State Warriors. Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes proposed a trade scenario Saturday that would put the Wizards in a pivotal spot ahead of this winter’s NBA draft.
Hughes suggested the Wizards trade Beal to the Warriors in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, Eric Paschall and the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, while also noting Washington could push for the Warriors’ rights to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 2021 first-rounder to complete the deal.
“Andrew Wiggins’ salary is an albatross, but Wall’s is already dragging the Wizards’ prospects down,” Hughes wrote. “The theory here is that the Wizards are going to be bad regardless and that getting a high lottery pick and an all-rookie first-teamer is worth the price of acknowledging this is a rebuild—albeit one made more difficult by Wall’s contract.”
The Wizards already have the No. 9 overall pick—the same draft position they used to take Rui Hachimura last year—but adding the second pick would make them the only team with two selections in the top 15. While there is no clear choice for the Timberwolves with the No. 1 pick, adding any of James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards would give Washington a significant piece to build around.
Not to be forgotten are the acquisitions of Wiggins and Paschall.
Wiggins, who the Warriors traded for at the deadline this season, is signed through the 2022-23 season at about $30 million a year. He’s averaged 19.7 points per game in his career while managing to avoid any major injuries. Paschall was drafted by Golden State in the second round last year and proved to be a steal, making the NBA All-Rookie First Team behind a scoring average of 14 points per game.
It would be an enticing scenario, though one that would force the Wizards to concede they won’t be ready to contend by the 2020-21 season. But if any team has the assets to entice Washington to hit the reset button, it’s the Warriors.
Blue Jays clinch AL wild-card spot
The surprising Toronto Blue Jays have clinched a spot in American League playoffs.
With a 4-1 win over the Yankees on Thursday, the Blue Jays joined a loaded field that includes the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians. It’s Toronto’s first postseason appearance since 2016 and only their third since winning back-to-back World Series in 1992-93.
The Blue Jays success has been shocking for a couple reasons. First and foremost, they didn’t get to play a true home game all season after Canadian officials ruled against them traveling in and out of Canada during the pandemic. The Blue Jays made Sahlen Field in Buffalo their home away from home.
Beyond that, the Blue Jays weren’t figured to be contenders just yet. The franchise has been in rebuild mode, but has developed quicker than expected. The young core of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio have all been contributors and supporting players like Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. have made them a dangerous team.
The last remaining playoff spot in the AL figures to go to the Houston Astros when they clinch second place in the AL West. Their magic number heading into Thursday was two. The Blue Jays figure to be the No. 8 seed in the AL, which means they would meat the Rays in a best-of-three series.
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Indians beat Chisox for 4-game sweep, playoff seeds at stake
CLEVELAND (AP) — José Ramírez delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4 Thursday night for a four-game sweep in a matchup of playoff-bound teams.
The victory pulled the Indians within one game of Chicago for the fourth seed and home-field advantage in the first round of the postseason. Idle Minnesota leads the White Sox by one game in the AL Central with three to play.
The Indians have won five straight and the White Sox have lost five in a row.
Chicago scored three times in the top of the seventh to take a 4-1 lead, but Cleveland answered with four in the bottom half. Ramírez’s two-out double to center off Carlos Rodón (0-2) drove in César Hernández and Delino DeShields.
On Tuesday night, Ramírez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning to lift Cleveland over the White Sox 5-3 to clinch a playoff spot.
AL MVP candidate Ramírez went 2 for 3 in the series finale and is hitting .485 with eight homers and 20 RBIs over his last 13 games.
Cam Hill (2-0) worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win and Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his AL-high 15th save in 15 chances.
White Sox starter Dallas Keuchel allowed one run in six innings in his second start since a stint on the injured list with back spasms. The left-hander went 1-0 with a 0.45 ERA in four September outings, lowering his season mark to 1.99, second-best in the AL.
Indians right-hander Zach Plesac went 6 2/3 innings, surrendering four runs and striking out seven. He was chased in the seventh after Nomar Mazara singled home two runs, which was preceded by an RBI groundout by Yasmani Grandal.
Yolmer Sánchez hit his first homer since July 19, 2019, to put the White Sox up 1-0 in the third. It was the first run scored by Chicago against Plesac in 16 1/3 innings this season.
White Sox OF Luis Robert, who is mired in a 0-for-28 slump and doesn’t have a hit since Sept. 15, was not in the lineup. The 23-year-old Cuban leads all rookies with 30 RBIs and is tied for first with 11 homers, but has just six hits in his last 70 at-bats (.086).
“The reality is you have a young man coming into the big leagues, and no matter how talented you are, you hit a wall,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Nobody wants to see the wall be hit, but you hit a wall.”
The White Sox fell out of the division lead for the first time since Sept. 4 when they lost 3-2 at Cleveland on Wednesday. Renteria admitted their struggles are taking a toll. “There is this belief that players don’t lose their confidence or their trust, but that’s not true,” he said before the game. “Every single one of us loses confidence and trust in ourselves at times.”
White Sox: LHP Aaron Bummer (left biceps strain) and LHP Carlos Rodón (left shoulder soreness) were activated off the 45-day injured list. Bummer had been sidelined since Aug. 8 and Rodón last pitched on Aug. 3. In corresponding moves, RHP Steve Cishek and LHP Ross Detwiler were designated for assignment.
White Sox: RHP Dylan Cease (5-3, 3.52 ERA) opens a three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field against Cubs RHP Yu Darvish. The White Sox took two of three from their Windy City rivals at Wrigley Field from Aug. 21-23.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (3-4, 2.90 ERA) takes the hill against Pirates RHP Mitch Keller as Cleveland wraps up the regular season with three home games. Carrasco struck out a season-high 11 at Detroit on Sept. 20.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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