Fortunately for the Braves, Jason Heyward’s struggle with the lights on a Raul Ibanez fly to right and Jack Wilson’s potentially huge error only cost Tim Hudson one run and the Braves are taking a 3-2 lead on the Phillies into the bottom of the seventh.
Wilson’s error on Carlos Ruiz’s grounder to short allowed one run and put the tying run in scoring position and the go-ahead run on first. However, Eric O’Flaherty took over for Hudson then and induced an inning-ending double play from Shane Victorino.
Hudson ended up allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings in what would be his 17th win if the Braves can hold on. The Cards are up 6-0 on Houston, so it looks like the Braves will need the victory to force a one-game playoff.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.