It wasn’t easy, but the Braves snapped their eight-game losing streak last night with a 7-6 win over the first-place Nationals at Turner Park in Atlanta.
The Braves scored all seven runs against Stephen Strasburg, who was chased after just five innings and gave up four home runs. Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, and Tommy La Stella all went deep for Atlanta. For La Stella, it was his first major league home run. Strasburg hadn’t given up more than two home runs in any of his previous 99 starts in the majors.
It wasn’t long before the lead became tenuous, as Ervin Santana gave up four runs in the sixth inning, including a three-run homer from Anthony Rendon. Then, after a rain delay of over an hour, the Nationals got closer in the seventh with a solo homer from Wilson Ramos and a sacrifice fly from Asdrubal Cabrera. However, Jordan Walden and Craig Kimbrel were able to combine to get the final seven outs to secure the one-run victory.
The Braves now sit at 59-56 on the year, 3 1/2 games behind the Nationals in the National League East. They’ll try to keep chipping away when they send Aaron Harang to the hill tonight against Tanner Roark.
Your Friday box scores:
Nationals 6, Braves 7
Rays 4, Cubs 3 (10 innings)
Indians 6, Yankees 10
Mets 5, Phillies 4
Tigers 5, Blue Jays 4
Padres 1, Pirates 2
Rangers 3, Astros 4
Marlins 2, Reds 1
Cardinals 2, Orioles 12
Giants 2, Royals 4
Red Sox 4, Angels 2
Twins 5, Athletics 6
Dodgers 3, Brewers 9
Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 5
White Sox 1, Mariners 4
Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.
Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.
Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:
I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.
The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.
Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.
Jim Leyland also got in on the action:
Go Puerto Rico.