Starter Aaron Harang was far from dominant and Andrelton Simmons made a rare pair of ugly errors at shortstop, but the Braves produced 10 runs on 14 hits Saturday to beat the Diamondbacks. It was the ninth win in a row for Atlanta — currently the top dog in the National League East by 1 1/2 games.
Simmons made up for his defensive miscues by tallying four RBI and left fielder Justin Upton slugged a two-run homer. Even center fielder B.J. Upton got in on the act, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
The Braves will be looking for their 10th consecutive victory on Sunday afternoon and a three-game sweep of the visiting Diamondbacks. Alex Wood is on the bump.
Your box scores and recaps from Saturday …
Orioles 2, Red Sox 3 (Game 1)
Mariners 3, White Sox 2 (14 innings)
Yankees 1, Twins 2 (11 innings)
Marlins 6, Cardinals 5
Cubs 0, Nationals 13
Phillies 2, Pirates 3
Rays 7, Tigers 2
Diamondbacks 4, Braves 10
Brewers 1, Reds 0
Dodgers 7, Rockies 8
Royals 3, Indians 7
Rangers 5, Mets 3
Giants 5, Padres 3 (10 innings)
Orioles 7, Red Sox 4 (Game 2)
Astros 5, Angels 11
Blue Jays 1, Athletics 5
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.