Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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The Yankees lost 6-4 to the Rays last night, so the Orioles had yet another chance to gain sole possession of first-place in the American League East. They failed to make it happen.

In front of a packed house at O.co Coliseum, the Athletics topped the Orioles 3-2 last night. Yes, the Orioles actually lost a one-run game.

Tommy Milone allowed two runs (one earned) over 6 1/3 innings in the victory. Yoenis Cespedes, who left Thursday’s game with a sprained right wrist, delivered a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning while Jonny Gomes’ RBI single in the fifth ended up being the difference in the game.

Grant Balfour was pulled from a save chance on Tuesday night, but A’s manager Bob Melvin went right back to him in the ninth inning last night. He gave up a leadoff single to Matt Wieters before getting Endy Chavez to strike out and Mark Reynolds to fly out deep to left field. The game ended when pinch-runner Xavier Avery was thrown out by Derek Norris while trying to steal second base. Chris Davis, who homered earlier in the game, was hitting at the time. Rough way to lose.

The series will resume tonight when Zach Britton opposes Jarrod Parker. The Orioles and Yankees remained tied atop the American League East at 81-63. Meanwhile, the Athletics are in the driver’s seat for the top Wild Card spot at 83-61.

Your Friday box scores:

Pirates 4, Cubs 7

Rays 6, Yankees 4

Reds 0, Marlins 4

Tigers 4, Indians 0

Nationals 1, Braves 2

Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 5

Phillies 12, Astros 6

Mariners 3, Rangers 9

Mets 7, Brewers 3

White Sox 6, Twins 0

Giants 6, Diamondbacks 2

Angels 9, Royals 7

Rockies 7, Padres 4

Cardinals 5, Dodgers 8

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.