R.A. Dickey tosses five-hit shutout vs. Marlins for 17th win

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UPDATE: Dickey and Cueto have some company. Gio Gonzalez just tossed a five-hit shutout of his own vs. the Cardinals for his 17th win.

9:50 PM: R.A. Dickey tossed a five-hit shutout tonight as part of a 3-0 victory over the Marlins, putting him into a tie with fellow National League Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto for the major league lead with 17 wins. He is 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA in four starts against the Marlins this year.

Dickey walked three while all five hits he gave up were singles. He struck out seven and threw 114 pitches. According to Brooks Baseball, he induced 20 swings and misses.

Ike Davis provided all the offense Dickey would need, collecting a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth inning and a two-run homer in the seventh. The 25-year-old first baseman is still batting just .225 after getting off to an absolutely dreadful start, but he now has 25 homers and 74 RBI on the year.

But this night was all about Dickey. The knuckleballer continues to build a compelling case for individual hardware, as he ranks third in the National League in ERA (2.63), second in strikeouts (190), and first in WHIP (1.01), complete games (five) and shutouts (three). Only Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez have logged more innings than Dickey (191 1/3) this year.

Braves’ prospect Ronald Acuna wins AFL MVP, helps clinch AFL Championship Game

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The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.

At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.

Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.

From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.

Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.