Lucas Duda homers twice in win over Braves

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With Lucas Duda and David Wright doing the heavy lifting for the offense, the Mets beat the Braves 4-2 this afternoon to move to 2-0 on the season.

Wright struck first in the bottom of the first inning, driving a ball to what was once his comfort zone in right-center field. While the Mets moved in the fences at Field during the offseason, this one didn’t need any help. It traveled 430 feet, clearing both the new and old fences.

Duda homered twice on the day for the first multi-homer game of his career. The first one benefited from the new dimensions, but it wasn’t a cheap one, either. It went 410 feet to right-center field. Duda’s second one, a screamer down the right field line, would have been out in any other year. It went 360 feet.

The Braves also got into the action, as Martin Prado stroked a game-tying two-run homer in the top of the fifth which traveled 345 feet to left. That one would have been a home run last year, also. And so, Citi Field hasn’t become a homer-haven overnight, but today showed that the stadium will at least play more fair, which was the intention all along.

Dickey allowed two runs over six innings while Bobby Parnell, Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco combined for three innings of scoreless relief to lock down the victory.

Video: Bryce Harper crushes a home run to the Chase Field concourse

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Aaron Judge may be the talk of the town right now, but let’s not forget some of Major League Baseball’s more established sluggers. Take the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, for instance, who jumped on a full count during the first inning of Saturday’s game and postmarked the ball to the center field concourse in Chase Field.

Harper’s mammoth hit was the first career home run allowed by Diamondbacks’ rookie Anthony Banda. Banda quickly recovered with an inning-ending strikeout to Ryan Zimmerman, but was booted from his big league debut after Harper, Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon combined for a three-run spread in the sixth.

The first-inning homer also served another purpose: it extended Harper’s hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in MLB this season. He’ll need four more games to tie the 19-game streak Royals’ infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield established back in June.

The Nationals currently lead the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Chi Chi Gonzalez to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez is slated for Tommy John surgery, according to a report by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Gonzalez was placed on the 60-day disabled list back in early April with a partial UCL tear and was working towards a throwing program before getting sidelined with more elbow pain. He’s expected to miss the entirety of the 2018 season while recovering from the surgery.

This is the second straight season that has been derailed for Gonzalez due to injury. The 25-year-old starter pitched just 10 1/3 innings in 2016 after recovering from a torn UCL, and was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to finish out the year after compiling an 8.71 ERA, 7.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in three starts with the club. He showed more promise in Triple-A with a 4.70 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 5.9 SO/9 through 24 starts and 138 innings.

It’s a tough blow for the Rangers, who have seen Gonzalez healthy in just one major league season to date. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters that a recent MRI showed signs of weakening in the ligament, which disrupted the team’s plans to have the right-hander stick to a six- to eight-week recovery timetable after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection (via Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). The surgery is expected to take place next week and will put Gonzalez’s earliest return date sometime in September 2018.