Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

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Because the Cardinals have been just as hot and currently hold the top spot in the National League Central standings, the Reds’ run of success over the past couple of weeks has flown somewhat under the radar.

Cincinnati was at it again on Saturday evening at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, routing the host Phillies by a score of 10-0. Joey Votto reached base in all six of his plate appearances, pushing his batting line to .346/.473/.531. Bronson Arroyo tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings and now has a 1.86 ERA in three May starts. Even Jay Bruce, who had well-documented struggles in April, is starting to come alive this month with a .999 OPS and 16 RBI in 14 games.

The Reds, 26-17 overall, have won 13 of their last 17 games and trail St. Louis by only a game and a half in the NL Central. That should be an excellent back-and-forth all year.

Your Saturday box scores and recaps:

Mariners 4, Indians 5

Blue Jays 2, Yankees 7

Mets 2, Cubs 8

Rays 10, Orioles 6

White Sox 9, Angels 12

Reds 10, Phillies 0

Astros 4, Pirates 2 (11 innings)

Red Sox 12, Twins 5

Dodgers 1, Braves 3

Diamondbacks 1, Marlins 0

Brewers 6, Cardinals 4 (10 innings)

Tigers 2, Rangers 7

Giants 2, Rockies 10

Nationals 1, Padres 2

Royals 1, Athletics 2

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.