It was a night of firsts for the Braves when they opened SunTrust Park to the public for the first time during the regular season. Following the fanfare of the opening ceremonies, which featured MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox and singer-songwriter Phillip Phillips, among others, center fielder Ender Inciarte snagged a first-pitch fly ball and recorded the first out in SunTrust history.
In the bottom of the first inning, Inciarte kicked things off again with the Braves’ first hit in the new park, a leadoff single on a 1-2 count from San Diego right-hander Jhoulys Chacin. Two batters later, Nick Markakis plated the first run, bringing Inciarte and Freddie Freeman home to score on a two-run double. The Braves’ two-run lead evaporated in the second inning, however, when Atlanta starter Julio Teheran had the unfortunate distinction of allowing the first runs to an opposing team, serving up back-to-back RBI singles to Chacin and Manuel Margot.
By the sixth, with the Braves hanging onto a 3-2 lead after a Julio Teheran single in the fourth, Inciarte had another first to record: the first SunTrust home run. He plucked a 3-1 pitch and drove it over the right field wall, driving in Emilio Bonifacio and padding Atlanta’s lead for their eventual 5-2 win.
You can see Inciarte’s full highlight reel below:
Giants’ right-hander Mark Melancon is considering surgery for an undisclosed injury, the pitcher told reporters prior to Friday’s game against the Phillies. Melancon did not divulge the exact location of the injury, but revealed that it had been plaguing him off and on since the 2012 season and was a separate issue from the right pronator strain that kept him sidelined through much of July and August. Giants’ head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner called the injury day-to-day and has not revealed a timetable for the right-hander’s return, should surgery become necessary.
Melancon, 32, has struggled to replicate the sparkling pitching line he produced with the Pirates and Nationals in 2016. He’s toting a 3.80 ERA through 25 appearances with San Francisco, flanked by a 1.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 23 2/3 innings. His season has been significantly shortened after multiple trips to the disabled list for a right forearm strain, and while he looked to be in line to resume his closing duties this week, the Giants will likely play it safe with the veteran righty to keep him from compromising his health in 2018.
Although the injury doesn’t appear to be severe in nature, it’s clearly intensified over the last few months. Per MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Melancon said he’s “had discomfort every day this season,” though he hopes to continue pitching through the remainder of 2017. The Giants aren’t on the verge of contending by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid end to the 2017 season could help Melancon make some headway as he looks to reclaim his status as the team’s closer next spring.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.