The cream is rising to the top in the National League East.
While the Nationals had their five-game winning streak snapped yesterday against the Cubs, the Braves topped the Diamondbacks by the score of 8-2 last night. It was Atlanta’s eighth straight victory and their 10th win in their last 11 games.
Ervin Santana allowed two runs over 7 1/3 innings in the victory while the Braves’ offense pounded out 12 hits. Freddie Freeman had a pair of RBI singles to lead the charge.
The Braves are back to 10 games over .500 for the first time since late April and currently sit at 48-38 on the year, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals for the division lead. With the Marlins, Mets, and Phillies all fading, it should be a two-team battle for most of the summer.
Your Friday box scores:
Diamondbacks 2, Braves 5
Cubs 7, Nationals 2
Yankees 6, Twins 5
Phillies 2, Pirates 8
Blue Jays 0, Athletics 1 (12 innings)
Giants 0, Padres 2
Royals 7, Indians 1
Brewers 2, Reds 4
Rays 6, Tigers 3
Marlins 2, Cardinals 3
Mariners 1, White Sox 7
Rangers 5, Mets 6
Astros 6, Angels 7
Dodgers 9, Rockies 0
Orioles/Red Sox – PPD
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.